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IN SEPTEMBER 1983, the Bruder Schweigen (also known as the Silent Brotherhood or The Order) was formed by Robert “Robbie” J. Matthews in Washington state. Matthews had been born in Marfa, Texas, but his family had been forced to move to Phoenix, Arizona, when the dry goods business owned by his father, John, collapsed. As a youth, Matthews became concerned with the threat of communism to the United States, especially in 1964 when conservative icon Senator Barry Goldwater from Arizona ran for the presidency on the Republican Party ticket. Matthews fell under the influence of the John Birch Society, founded in 1958. The society was named for U.S. Captain John Birch, who was shot by the Chinese communists while on a mission in Suchow, China, ...

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