The Order (group)

The Order (group)
The Order
Abbreviation Brüder Schweigen, Silent Brotherhood
Formation 1983
Extinction 1984
Type White nationalism
Purpose/focus Paramilitary fomenting white nationalist revolution, against what they call the Zionist Occupation Government.
Location United States
Key people Robert Jay Mathews
David Lane

The Order, also known as the Brüder Schweigen (German for Brothers Keep Silent) or Silent Brotherhood, was an organization active in the United States between 1983 and 1984. The Order, a white nationalist revolutionary group, is probably best known for the 1984 murder of radio talk show host Alan Berg.



The Order was founded by Robert Jay Mathews in late September 1983 at Mathews' farm near Metaline Falls, Washington.[1] Matthews was baptized into the Mormon faith as a high schooler. He formed the "Sons of Liberty", an anti-communist militia mostly made up of Mormon survivalists. A fundamental goal of The Order was revolution against the American government, which its members, and those of other white supremacist groups, believed to be controlled by a cabal of prominent Jews. The Order was named after, and partly modeled on, a fictional group in William Luther Pierce's novel The Turner Diaries.[2] The Order's goals included the establishment of a homeland (now the Northwest Territorial Imperative) from which Jews and non-whites would be barred. They often referred to the United States federal government as ZOG, an acronym for Zionist Occupied Government. Members of the Order included Randy Evans, Gary Yarborough, Bruce Pierce, Denver Parmenter, Frank Silva, Richard Scutari, David Lane, Randy Duey, and David Tate.

The Order raised money through violent crime. First the robbery of a sex shop, which netted them less than USD $400. Their later attacks were more effective, including several lucrative bank robberies, as well as bombings of a theater and a synagogue. The Order ran a large[3] counterfeiting operation, and executed a series[citation needed] of armored car robberies, including one near Ukiah, California that netted $3.8 million.[4]

The Order drew up a hit list of enemies, and on June 18, 1984 radio talk show host Alan Berg was murdered in front of his home by Bruce Pierce, assisted by other members of The Order.[5] Berg was number two on The Order's list.[6] Berg's murder and the subsequent trial formed the basis of Steven Dietz's 1988 play God's Country, and also loosely inspired Eric Bogosian's play Talk Radio (later adapted into a film by Oliver Stone) and the film Betrayed. A fictional version of the story was also the subject of the movie Brotherhood of Murder.

In December 1984, authorities were able to track Mathews down to a house on Whidbey Island where he refused to surrender.[2] During a shootout, the house was ignited by incendiary flares, became engulfed in flames and Mathews was killed.[2] Mathews is highly esteemed by some white nationalists.[7][8]


Ten members of The Order were tried and convicted under Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statutes. In a separate trial, three other members of The Order were tried and convicted of violating the civil rights of Alan Berg.[9] No one has been charged in the murder of Berg. David Lane, the getaway driver for Berg's assailants, was sentenced to 190 consecutive years on the charges of racketeering, conspiracy, and violating Berg's civil rights. He died in prison in 2007.[10] Lane is regarded by many white supremacists as a hero, political prisoner and martyr. Order member Bruce Pierce was sentenced to 252 years in prison for his involvement in the Berg assassination, and died of natural causes at the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex on August 16, 2010. He was 56.[11] In another trial, 14 men were charged with sedition, conspiracy and civil rights violations.[10] Thirteen of them were acquitted, and the judge dismissed the charges against the fourteenth man for lack of evidence.[10] Over 75 men and women were tried and convicted of various charges connected to The Order.[clarification needed]

A 2011 NPR report claimed some of the people associated with this group were imprisoned in a highly restrictive Communication Management Unit. [12] Richard Scutari, member of the Order, was sentenced to a 60 year prison term in 1985, being removed to USP Marion CMU in July of 2008.


  1. ^ "Jury Told of Plan to Kill Radio Host (Subscription needed)". The New York Times. November 8, 1987. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Alliance and the Law". Southern Poverty Law Center. Spring 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  3. ^ New York Times - 2 Linked to Aryan groups plead guilty in plot
  4. ^ "Free the Order Rally". Southern Poverty Law Center. Spring 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  5. ^ "Death List Names Given to US Jury". New York Times. September 17, 1985. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  6. ^ Morris Dees and Steve Fiffer. Hate on Trial: The Case Against America's Most Dangerous Neo-Nazi. Villard Books, 1993. page xiiv
  7. ^
  8. ^ National Vanguard
  9. ^ Knudson, Thomas J. (October 31, 1987). "Trial Opens in Slaying of Radio Talk Show Host". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  10. ^ a b c "Extremism in America: David Lane". Anti-Defamation League. 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  11. ^ The Denver Post, "Neo-Nazi gunman in Alan Berg's murder dies in prison," by Howard Pankratz (August 17th, 2010 - retrieved on August 17th, 2010).
  12. ^ DATA & GRAPHICS: Population Of The Communications Management Units, Margot Williams and Alyson Hurt, NPR, 3-3-11, retrieved 2011 03 04 from

Further reading

  • Kevin Flynn and Gary Gerhardt. The Silent Brotherhood, Signet 1990, ISBN 978-0451167866.
  • Thomas Martinez and John Guinther. The Brotherhood of Murder, iUniverse 1999, ISBN 978-1583485804.
  • Morris Dees. Gathering Storm: America's Militia Threat. Harper Perennial (April 23, 1997) ISBN 0060927895
  • Magnus Söderman and Henrik Holappa. Unbroken Warrior - The Richard Scutari Letters, Nationellt Motstånd Förlag 2011, ISBN 978-91-85737-04-8

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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