Eric Webb: I didn’t give them money for any paramilitary crap. No, um, but I mean, I gave them shells for target practice when I was up here shooting.
Geraldine Moriba: In season two of Sounds Like Hate, we’re the only journalists granted exclusive access inside the fortified headquarters of the neo-nazi hate group, the base. I’m Geraldine Moriba.
Jamila Paksima: And I’m Jamila Paksima. A warning to our listeners, much of what you hear will be disturbing. Our story contains offensive language and discussions about the violent collapse of America.
Eric Webb: Watch your step there.
Jamila Paksima: We traveled with Eric Webb as he returned for the first time to see what remained on his family farm in Bad Axe, Michigan, after a major FBI raid.
Eric Webb: The FBI wouldn’t have done this. They wouldn’t have just thrown stuff on the ground. ‘Cuz the rest of the house wasn’t all trash looking. They went through everything, which you’re supposed to do on a search warrant. But still…
Geraldine Moriba: Webb is an optometrist and a divorced father of two boys.
Eric Webb: This looks like a dark place where there was no good.
Geraldine Moriba: When his son, Tristan, moved to the farmhouse, the 17 year old invited as many as five other radicalized white supremacists to join him. This is when the Webb property became a hate camp, where Michigan paramilitary training for the base took place.
Jamila Paksima: They have all of their nazi paraphernalia in one of these barns.
Eric Webb: The garage.
Jamila Paksima: OK. Can we see that?
Eric Webb: Yeah, I think the FBI took all that though.
Jamila Paksima: Webb says he was worried about the hunting rifles and long guns his son and roommates had access to, especially after they showed up in town at a George Floyd rally, brandishing semi-automatic rifles.
Eric Webb: He thought he was standing up for something. And I told him, I said, you went about it in the wrong way.
Jamila Paksima: Webb took no responsibility for his son’s actions.
Eric Webb: I can’t believe that’s legal to let my son be in a pressure cooker situation like that with a loaded weapon. And it’s legal. That’s for the police officers and National Guard to stand guard not, not a 17-year-old kid.
Jamila Paksima: As soon as I entered the home I saw carnage everywhere. Closets were emptied, drawers turned inside out, piles of clothing on the floors, and white power stickers exclaiming ‘hate is not a crime’ were stuck to virtually every bedroom window.
Jamila Paksima: In the past, have you walked in here and seen something different? What was here?
Eric Webb: I think they had a nazi flag or one of those iron cr-. I think they had an iron cross or something out here, like, on the wall.
Jamila Paksima: What do you say to your son who’s hanging a hitler poster in this room or in your garage?
Eric Webb: I tell him I don’t agree.
Jamila Paksima: Why don’t you just take it down? It’s your home.
Eric Webb: I’m not, I’m not confrontational. I’m a peace guy and I’m not going to get in a fight with people over something that silly. And I figured if I, if I tear it down. If I just pull rank, ‘I’m your dad.’ I lose the battle. I’m, I’m not letting you see your error.
Jamila Paksima: Webb says when he visited he didn’t ask his son or the other men to remove these symbols of hate off his property. He refused to accept his son had already set up the perfect place to bring white supremacists to live.
Eric Webb: And there’s a swastika on the bathroom door.
Jamila Paksima: So when you see this swastika spray painted inside your house.
Eric Webb: It’s disgusting.
Jamila Paksima: During an eight-hour raid, the FBI searched every room, the attic, and crawl spaces. They removed the nazi memorobilia, a dozen gas masks, and surveillance equipment, but their report did not mention anything about weapons.
Jamila Paksima: This is the gun cabinet.
Eric Webb: Uh, huh.
Jamila Paksima: And you thought that they would not break into it?
Eric Webb: No.
Jamila Paksima: It has a piece of glass on it.
Eric Webb: Well, I know, but.
Jamila Paksima: Anyone can break into that thing.
Eric Webb: Oh, I know, but I wasn’t worried about someone doing it. I mean, you do that once and then you’re done.
Jamila Paksima: On the floor in the sunroom there was evidence the FBI had cleaned out the gun cabinet. I saw several empty ammunition boxes and two empty hand gun cases.
Eric Webb: A white guy saying ‘end apartheid now,’ whistling, and another guy peeing on his leg, ‘roll over white man.’
Jamila Paksima: What are you holding? It looks like a pamphlet, right?
Eric Webb: It’s just more propaganda.
Jamila Paksima: It’s all about black people. It’s using the N-word. It’s using the word [bleep] and ‘what’s on a [bleep] mind?’ I mean, this stuff is awful.
Eric Webb: Seeing that bothers me because seeing that.
Jamila Paksima: It’s so disturbing.
Eric Webb: It’s – He believes that he’s not racist. But when you see that.
Jamila Paksima: Why would he hang this on a wall?
Eric Webb: Um, white supremacists, to me, are the people that believe white people are superior, and I don’t believe Tristan has ever expressed that. He’s a, he’s a white separatist, like, he loves Malcolm X.
Geraldine Moriba: Coming up in season two of Sounds Like Hate, the father of a white supremacist.
Eric Webb: White supremacy.
Jamila Paksima: He thinks he’s superior. You don’t think so?
Eric Webb: No, ‘cause he’s like Malcolm X. He really believes, like, he’s just.
Jamila Paksima: That the way he lives, the purity that he wants, that he doesn’t want race mixing.
Eric Webb: That’s – He said to me.
Jamila Paksima: He’s a racist.
Geraldine Moriba: And his son who was openly preparing for a race war and the collapse of America.
Tristan Webb: They’re moving towards more involvement in the group and training, in general, just moving towards making training everything, in light, in our lives and only focusing on that and focusing on the movement.
911 Operator: Huron County 911. You have an emergency?
Jamila Paksima: In Baseless Four, we reveal what prompted this 911 call.
911 Operator: Is that, that’s the assault rifle?
Eric Webb: Yeah.
911 Operator: OK. I do not want you to go back to that house. Do you understand me ok?
Jamila Paksima: Follow our investigation into that house and find out what was going on inside when the FBI arrested the Michigan leader of the base. I’m Jamila Paksima.
Geraldine Moriba: And I’m Geraldine Moriba. Newest episodes of Sounds Like Hate are available wherever you find your favorite podcasts. Subscribe today and remember, give us a rating and leave a review, it really helps.