U.S. State Department Official Involved in White Nationalist Movement, Hatewatch Determines
A U.S. State Department official oversaw the Washington, D.C.-area chapter of a white nationalist organization, hosted white nationalists at his home and published white nationalist propaganda online, Hatewatch has determined.
The official, Matthew Q. Gebert, works as a foreign affairs officer assigned to the Bureau of Energy Resources, a State Department spokesperson told Hatewatch. Online, and in private correspondences with other white nationalists, Gebert uses “Coach Finstock” as a pseudonym. Through that alias, he expressed a desire to build a country for whites only.
“[Whites] need a country of our own with nukes, and we will retake this thing lickety split,” “Coach Finstock” said on a May 2018 episode of “The Fatherland,” a white nationalist podcast. “That’s all that we need. We need a country founded for white people with a nuclear deterrent. And you watch how the world trembles.”
Gebert joined the State Department in 2013 as a presidential management fellow, according to an alumni update published about him in George Washington University’s GW Magazine that summer. Presidential management fellowships are considered prestigious. The program has a "narrow focus – developing a cadre of potential government leaders," according to a website devoted to the program.
A post Gebert made as “Finstock” on a white nationalism-focused forum called The Right Stuff suggests his radicalization started in 2015, two years after he started his job with the State Department. “I got into this [movement] and off the conservative reservation in 2015,” he wrote in a January 2018 thread called “Ricky Vaughn is a N*****f----- who has no place in [The Right Stuff],” which referred to the pseudonymous identity used by an internet personality in the white nationalist “alt-right” movement.
Using a pseudonym, Gebert expressed an understanding that his connections to white nationalism could end his career.
“There are bigger things than a career and a paycheck, and I don’t want to lose mine,” Gebert said as “Coach Finstock” on an episode of “The Fatherland” recorded in August 2017, referring to his commitment to white nationalism. “I am prepared to lose mine. Because this is the most important thing to me in my life … in tandem with my family, of course.”
Hatewatch left a voice message for Gebert at the State Department on June 25, 2019, asking him about “Coach Finstock.” Gebert never returned the call.
Gebert’s links to white nationalism
Two separate sources told Hatewatch they spent time at Gebert’s home in Leesburg, Virginia, in 2017 at gatherings that included such known members of the white nationalist movement as podcaster Michael Peinovich and “Marcus Halberstram,” the pseudonymous co-host of a podcast called “Fash the Nation.”
One of the sources told Hatewatch they spent the night at Gebert’s home following a party on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2017. The other source, who is close to Peinovich’s inner circle, told Hatewatch that parties centered around holidays were commonly held at Gebert’s home, and typically included people associated with the white nationalist movement.
Hatewatch ascertained the location of Gebert’s home using Loudoun County, Virginia, property records. Gebert and his wife, Anna Vuckovic, purchased their home June 1, 2012, for $531,000 and still own it today, the records show.
While standing outside the house listed in the property records, Hatewatch contacted the source who is close to Peinovich’s inner circle to solicit a description of the home. “It’s at the end of a cul-de-sac,” the source said without hesitating, accurately describing the location.
Both sources who claimed to have spent time at Gebert’s home provided detailed descriptions of its exterior to Hatewatch. The descriptions included the couple’s backyard, which features an expansive deck and a six-sided, above-ground veranda. The backyard was visible to Hatewatch from a shaded public walking path next to the property.
The source who spent the night at Gebert’s home provided emails and screenshots of text messages to Hatewatch that corroborate their story.
The same source said they also attended a clandestine dinner at a hotel with Gebert, his wife and Holocaust-denying author David Irving on June 17, 2017. The source provided emails and text messages to corroborate the story of the dinner. The source also sent a picture of Irving, which they said was taken at the dinner.
A third source told Hatewatch they also attended the event with Irving and the Geberts. Both sources who said they attended the Irving dinner recalled it being held in a private room in a hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. An email provided by one of the sources shows it was held at the Nage Bistro at the Courtyard Marriott, and started at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 17, 2017. Gebert introduced himself as a state department official at that dinner, according to both sources who attended it.
State Department employees are restricted from engaging in some outside political activities while working for the federal government, according to the Hatch Act. Some of those restrictions include engaging “in political activity in an official capacity” and engaging in “political activity while on duty or in the workplace.” Hatewatch was unable to determine if Gebert was on duty during the Irving dinner or if the gathering involved political activity.
Four separate sources named Gebert’s wife, Anna Vuckovic, as “Wolfie James,” a blogger and Twitter personality who also is connected to the white nationalist movement. In addition to the three aforementioned sources, a fourth source told Hatewatch they knew Vuckovic by her name and identified her in the movement as “Wolfie James.” The fourth source said they had heard Vuckovic’s husband had “a serious job,” and that the couple lived in the Washington, D.C. area.
Digital footprint leads to Gebert and Vuckovic
Gebert, as “Coach Finstock,” and Vuckovic, as “Wolfie James,” left behind a substantial trail of archived Twitter posts under their pseudonyms, Hatewatch determined. These archives revealed clues about their identities.
Gebert, for example, operated multiple Twitter handles as “Coach Finstock” from 2015 until the spring of 2019, according to two of the sources who spoke to Hatewatch.
At least one of these “Coach Finstock” accounts, @TotalWarCoach, led Hatewatch to expired handles that use elements of Gebert’s real name.
Twitter preserves old handles in conversations on that platform even after users change them. An open-source intelligence technique involves combing through conversations until older handles appear.
A review of conversations by @TotalWarCoach indicates that the same account previously employed handles like @MQGeb, which uses Gebert’s initials and part of his last name, and also @MQGebert, which includes his first two initials and his full last name.
Gebert left other breadcrumbs as “Coach Finstock” on Twitter. For example, the “Coach Finstock”-linked handle @WeWonFam posted what appears to be a personal photograph of the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial facing the Washington Monument on Nov. 17, 2016, a week after President Trump’s election into office. That post suggests the author’s location is in Washington, D.C. @WeWonFam listed Washington, D.C., as its location in the account’s Twitter bio.
“It’s much more beautiful now,” @WeWonFam commented.
@WeWonFam also posted about attending an event that weekend linked to Richard Spencer’s group National Policy Institute, referring to it as the “Shitlord hajj.” Richard Spencer is arguably America’s most infamous white nationalist, and National Policy Institute is a think tank he oversees. The event to which @WeWonFam referred appears to be one staged in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 19, two days later. Attendees at that gathering gave Hitler-salutes and shouted “Hail Trump!” according to video footage published by The Atlantic.
The “Wolfie James”-linked handle @WolffieJames (with two F’s) named her general location once, too. @WolffieJames posted to Twitter on May 13, 2017, “Still justifying that you live in a neighborhood bc it’s ‘safe’ or there are ‘good schools’? Admit it: you want to live near #WhitePeople.”
@WolffieJames then engaged in a conversation in the replies of that tweet with a user going by the handle @Basedmishmosh, who asked “Wolfie James” where she lived.
“Proximal to DC,” @WolffieJames replied. “It’s a cesspool.”
Gebert and Vuckovic’s home in Leesburg is roughly 40 miles northwest of Washington, D.C.
Gebert, as “Coach Finstock,” also periodically appeared on white nationalist podcasts, such as “The Fatherland” and an untitled production hosted by internet personality “Ricky Vaughn.” Hatewatch played those podcast appearances to two of Gebert’s neighbors. Both neighbors told Hatewatch that “Coach Finstock” sounded like Gebert.
“I wanted to tell you really badly that it wasn’t him, but I can’t tell you it’s not him. Because, boy, that sure sounds like him,” one of the neighbors said of the voice.
“Coach Finstock” identifies the ages of his children at different points on at least two episodes of “The Fatherland.” The second of the two neighbors told Hatewatch that the ages mentioned by “Coach Finstock” matched the approximate ages of Gebert’s children, relative to the time the podcasts were recorded.
“I consider myself a white nationalist,” Gebert says as “Coach Finstock” on the “Ricky Vaughn” podcast, which was published in February 2018.
'Finstock,' 'Wolfie' and 'D.C. Helicopter Pilots'
Gebert, as “Coach Finstock,” helped lead a Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia-based organizing chapter of Michael Peinovich’s The Right Stuff network called “D.C. Helicopter Pilots,” according to three sources who spent time with those two men and their associates between 2016 and 2018.
Peinovich is among the most influential and significant figures of the contemporary racist right. He has produced thousands of hours of podcasts that helped shape the white nationalist “alt-right” movement and buoy the candidacy of President Donald Trump. Peinovich has used his popularity as a podcaster to build an on-the-ground movement of white nationalists that stretches across North America.
The “helicopter” in “D.C. Helicopter Pilots” likely refers to a meme on the far right inspired by late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Under Pinochet’s orders, loyalists to his regime threw political opponents out of helicopters as a form of extrajudicial killing.
Southern Poverty Law Center lists Peinovich's network The Right Stuff, of which "D.C. Helicopter Pilots" is a chapter, under the white nationalist category on our Hate Map.
Gebert appeared on a forum devoted to The Right Stuff network as “Finstock,” based on a review of his posts. TRS took its forum down in May 2018, following users voicing concerns that their private information could be exposed. But Hatewatch preserved elements of the website.
A March 25, 2018, post appears to show Gebert, as “Finstock,” recruiting people to his local chapter, or “pool party.” “Pool parties” is a euphemism for recruiting chapters connected to Peinovich and his podcast network.
“Hello future comrades. Drop me a [direct message] if you are interested in getting involved. Not playing too cool for school, but getting added to the [D.C. Helicopter Pilots] group here ‘comes later,’” Gebert wrote as “Finstock” in the forum in a post titled “Washington D.C. + Northern Virginia (D.C. Pilots).”
The sources who spent time in Gebert and Vuckovic’s home told Hatewatch the person doing that recruitment work as “Finstock” was Gebert. The source who was only able to name Vuckovic as “Wolfie James” also noted that Vuckovic’s husband ran “D.C. Helicopter Pilots.” The same source described “D.C. Helicopter Pilots” as a local chapter of Peinovich’s The Right Stuff network.
Hatewatch spoke to Vuckovic at the front door of their home on June 24, 2019, at approximately 8:30 p.m. EST. Vuckovic denied the allegations made by four sources to Hatewatch about her role in the white nationalist movement as “Wolfie James.”
Hatewatch gave a business card to Vuckovic for Gebert and requested that he contact the reporter and respond to queries for this story. He did not do so.
Despite Vuckovic’s denial, the source who spent the night at Gebert’s home forwarded email conversations they had with Peinovich in 2017, which support the couple’s involvement in The Right Stuff.
Timestamps on the emails shared with Hatewatch show the exchanges occurred between March 11 and March 16, 2017. The correspondence involves an account Peinovich uses as his personal email address. Hatewatch’s previous interactions with Peinovich confirm the authenticity of his email address.
Peinovich also shared his cell phone number in one of the emails. The phone number he shared in the emails matches a phone number the white nationalist podcaster used to correspond with Hatewatch before sending a cease-and-desist letter to Southern Poverty Law Center’s Montgomery, Alabama, office on Feb. 24, 2019.
Peinovich, March 11, 2017, 9:08 a.m. EST: “I’m gonna get in touch with Coach and see if I can work out a place to stay. If I come it will probably be Friday. We have two shows to do Monday and Thursday and I have a part time wagec--- gig that I need to do. Hopefully you don’t have to leave too early in the morning Saturday.”
Source, March 11, 2017, 10:47 a.m. EST: “Ok, fantastic. There are a bunch of cheap rooms (less than $39 a night) on AirBnB if you have some cash and don’t mind the pozzed company. Hope you can come down on Friday!”
Peinovich, March 11, 2017, 12:48 p.m. EST: “Cool. I am gonna try to get Coach to put me up with one of the DC pool party goys so hopefully won’t have to pay for a room. I’ll let [you] know when my plans are firmed up.”
“Wagec---” is a slang word which implies doing something unrelated to the white nationalist cause for money. “Pozzed” is a homophobic “alt-right” slang word that stems from someone being HIV positive. “Pozzed” generally connotes the influence of cultural diversity in a broader sense and has nothing to do with the virus.
Peinovich approached the source later that afternoon with a more solidified plan to attend a house party for The Right Stuff in Leesburg, Virginia, where Gebert and Vuckovic live, the emails show. A person named as “Coach” is described in the emails as arranging travel to and from the location of the party in Leesburg.
Peinovich, March 11, 2017, 4:53 p.m. EST: “Would you be interested in coming to a house party with [The Right Stuff] people in Leesburg Friday night? It will be St. Patty’s so hanging out in the district will be a shitshow. This would be both less money and less hassle and better conversation.”
Source, March 11, 2017, 6:10 p.m. EST: “Yes but I would need a ride there and back. My flight on Saturday leaves at 3 pm.”
Peinovich, March 11, 2017, 6:14 p.m. EST: “That can be arranged. I’m gonna need a ride out there too, so you can come with. I’ll talk to Coach, he's happy to pick us up. If you need to stay over to avoid anyone drunk driving that can be arranged as well. This should be a lot of fun.”
Source, March 11, 2017, 6:18 p.m. EST: “Ok great. If someone could be a designated driver that evening so I can get back to my airbnb before flying out the next day, that would be great. I would drive myself but I don’t have a license yet.”
Peinovich, March 11, 2017, 6:19 p.m. EST: “Ok, I will talk to Coach about it. He can get a volunteer.”
The email conversation resumed March 16, 2017, the day before the gathering took place at Gebert’s home, according to the source.
Peinovich, March 16, 2017, 11:21 a.m. EST: “What time do you get off work? We'll be arriving at Union Station at 6:05. Coach will pick us up to take us to his house for the party. Can you be there around then?”
Source, March 16, 2017, 11:22 a.m. EST: “Great. I’ll get to Union Station a little early and meet you guys there.”
Peinovich, March 16, 2017, 11:24 a.m. EST: “Awesome. Looking forward to it. I have your number. Mine is [redacted]. See you then.”
The source also forwarded the screenshot of a text message from a person marked on the phone as “Coach Finstock.”
“Coach Finstock,” March 17, 2017, 6:19 p.m. EST: “Hi [Redacted] – I’m here and I assume you’re hanging in Union Station. Black CRV with Illinois plates or see you shortly when Mike arrives.”
Source, March 17, 2017, 6:19 p.m. EST: “Great.”
White nationalist propaganda and 'Unite the Right'
In addition to hosting meet-ups and publishing calls for recruitment, Gebert contributed to a podcast hosted on Peinovich’s network called “The Fatherland,” speaking under the name “Coach Finstock.”
“Coach Finstock” talked on “The Fatherland” about attending the deadly “Unite the Right” rally Aug. 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia. He described himself as wearing a hat and sunglasses that day to avoid being identified.
“I came back in one piece. Un-doxxed. Knock on wood,” Gebert said as “Coach Finstock,” referring to the fact that he managed to avoid being identified in the crowd. “Un-arrested. Just with some mild war wounds that frankly I’m kind of proud of.”
James Alex Fields, a man who marched with the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America that day, drove his car into a crowd of antiracist demonstrators, killing a woman named Heather Heyer. Fields was sentenced to life in prison in June for his role in murdering Heyer. Gebert, speaking as “Coach Finstock,” blamed the violence and chaos at the doomed event on the city of Charlottesville and expressed no apparent regret about what transpired.
“Dude, we smacked the hornet’s nest with a big f------ stick,” Gebert said as “Coach Finstock,” sounding as if he chuckled. “And the only question is whether this is valuable accelerationism or whether we just provoked the red guards, like, a year before we had enough time to spare.”
The word “accelerationism” refers to a phrase used by white nationalists and neo-Nazis which implies that Western civilization must collapse before they can achieve their goal of building an all-white country for non-Jews. Gebert also blamed the police and the city for not providing enough support to white nationalists.
“We gotta red pill police and military,” Gebert said on the same podcast, referring to a slang term connoting radicalization, particularly along lines of convincing people to embrace fascism as their political ideology. “I think those are our two biggest priorities.”
Gebert appeared on another episode of “The Fatherland” as “Coach Finstock” in May 2018 and espoused racist views about black people.
“Well, think about it, we’re suckers for … court jesters – are in our DNA,” Gebert said as “Finstock,” referring to black people. “We like to have a charismatic joker, at least, around us sometimes.”
He continued on the same subject roughly a minute later into the episode, explaining why he believed white people were generally kind to black people.
“I think it reflects the better angels of our white nature that we – despite all of the evidence we have from the criminality to whatnot that we still have a soft spot in our heart for Red Foxx and ‘Sandford and Son,’” he said, referring to a black comedian and his television show. “Or Chris Rock. Against our better judgment, we still give them the benefit of the doubt.”
He added that he wanted black people in the U.S. separated from white people permanently.
“Do not misinterpret me. I am not c------. They do not belong around us for an ocean at least,” he said.
Gebert, as “Coach Finstock,” also talked about having his third child at least in part to aid in a fight against declining white birth rates.
“What else can you do but spit into the face of the madhouse that we are forced to live in and say, ‘no, we will carry on, we will have more kids and we are going to fight and not go quiet into the night,’” he said of his third child.
Hatewatch also obtained a copy of a since-deleted podcast hosted by “Ricky Vaughn,” a personality from the alt-right movement whose real name is Douglass Mackey, according to a report by Huffpost. The short-lived podcast produced by “Ricky Vaughn” was not published on Peinovich’s website, but the host did appear on podcasts alongside Peinovich, before appearing to quit the movement.
Gebert, as “Coach Finstock,” debated the state of far-right politics with “Ricky Vaughn” on that episode, which archives show was recorded in February 2018. He debates “Ricky Vaughn,” taking the more radical far-right political viewpoint of the two speakers.
On that podcast, “Coach Finstock” endorses “[naming] the Jew.” “Naming the Jew” is an expression that suggests singling out the names of Jewish people who white antisemites believe have done harm to the white race. He also endorses the so-called “14 Words.” The “14 Words” is a popular saying with neo-Nazis and white nationalists and goes, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
Wolfie James’ blog posts focused on white nationalist women
For her part, Vuckovic, as “Wolfie James,” wrote blog posts focused on dating tips for white nationalist women and parenting advice for white nationalist moms. She wrote these for Peinovich’s The Right Stuff and at least one other white nationalist website. Someone appears to have deleted some of the “Wolfie James” posts, but Hatewatch was able to unearth them through internet archives.
For example, while operating as “Wolfie James,” Vuckovic published a post called “7 Reasons Why Alt-Right Men Are the Hottest” for AltRight.com and “How to Red Pill Your Woman” for The Right Stuff.
“In an open-borders America she should fear the spics, too – they love their people-smuggling, gang-banging, and drunk driving more than most,” she wrote in “How to Red Pill Your Woman.” “Be cautious not to get overly heated when you fear monger, however; the truth will speak for itself.”
Vuckovic, while writing as “Wolfie James,” also ranked PBS Kids shows on a “hate score” for Peinovich’s website in a post published Dec. 30, 2016. “Wolfie James” sought to limit “Jewish influence” on readers’ children in her writing, according to the post.
“George’s owner, the man in the yellow hat, is the typical klutzy, retarded white man always being peddled on the Jewtube,” “Wolfie James” wrote of the show “Curious George.”
Vuckovic, writing as “Wolfie James,” also referred to the “Sesame Street” characters “Bert and Ernie” as “homos.”
A swastika and a 'bowl cut' meme posted to Twitter
Gebert’s production of white nationalist propaganda was not limited to his podcast appearances. He also operated at least 10 Twitter handles from 2015 to 2019, which interacted with known white nationalists on that platform including Peinovich, Richard Spencer and “Spectre,” a man who has engaged in the harassment campaigns of women, reporters and minorities on that site, and whose real name is Trey Garrison.
Hatewatch could not determine whether Gebert, as “Coach Finstock,” operated his menagerie of Twitter accounts during his workday at the Department of State because we could not determine his schedule. The accounts appeared to post content multiple times per day, based on a review of archives.
Some of the handles that posted content using a display name or other indicators linked to Gebert’s “Coach Finstock” persona include @TotalWarCoach, @Cue1933, @WeWonFam, @Q1776, @DissentCoach, @NeverCuck, @RisenCoach, @RevengeCoach, @TerminalAmerica and @UnbowedCoach, Hatewatch determined.
The multiple Twitter accounts linked to Gebert’s “Coach Finstock” persona contain certain similarities. Some of the accounts, for example, but not all, use the bio description “Radicalized by reality.” The accounts also sometimes listed Peinovich’s website in their bios.
Some of the accounts used variations on the same avatar: For example, both @NeverCuck and the handle @DissentCoach used the same avatar image of Viggo Mortensen’s character from the 2007 film “Eastern Promises,” which focuses on the Russian mafia in England. Accounts such as @RevengeCoach and @RisenCoach used an avatar of Tom Hardy’s character from the 2015 action film “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
The D.C. Helicopter Pilots chapter of The Right Stuff also used at least one Twitter account, @DC_Pilots. It’s unclear who operated that account. The @DC_Pilots account also used the phrase “Radicalized by reality” in its bio.
Some of the handles linked to Gebert and his chapter of The Right Stuff appear to have been abandoned by the person operating them, while others have been suspended by Twitter for violating the site’s terms of service.
Hatewatch reached out twice to a Twitter spokesperson for additional information regarding the “Coach Finstock” Twitter accounts but did not receive a response.
The “Coach Finstock” accounts sometimes posted content that appears to condone violence or genocide. For example, the “Coach Finstock”-linked handle @RisenCoach, which was active in autumn 2017, once employed a profile picture of a skull-and-crossbones overlaid with what appears to be Dylann Roof’s bowl-shaped haircut.
So-called “bowl culture” refers to the veneration of Roof, who murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. White nationalists who admire this convicted killer sometimes superimpose images of his hairstyle onto other pictures in the form of memes.
The “Coach Finstock”-linked handle @NeverCuck, which was active from at least autumn 2018 to January 2019, once posted an image of a Nazi-era swastika.
“It’s that time … again,” @NeverCuck wrote, referring to a historical image of German Nazi SS officers forming a human swastika with torches.
“Coach Finstock” handles posted antisemitic political commentary. The account @DissentCoach wrote Jan. 18, 2019, in reply to a doctored picture of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg being greeted by the hooded specter of death, “When the decrepit old witch finally bites the dust, please one of you make a vid with our crabbies [saying] ‘The Supreme Court is now officially 11% less Jewish’ as [a] caption.”
“Crabbies” appears to refer to a meme of animated dancing crabs, which was employed by some white nationalists on social media to mock the death of Arizona Sen. John McCain in August 2018.
The account @Cue1933 also posted an antisemitic meme about New York Senator Charles Schumer on Oct. 4, 2016, and a meme in support of then-candidate Donald Trump. The handle @Cue1933 likely refers to the year 1933, which is when German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as chancellor.
Hitler’s Nazi party expanded its powers throughout that year. The Nazis opened their first concentration camp in Dachau, Germany, in March 1933.
Evidence to support dinner with David Irving
Debunked historian David Irving is among the most notorious and influential Holocaust deniers in the world, and Gebert’s willingness to attend a private dinner party with him suggests the foreign affairs officer possesses a level of comfort with antisemitic conspiracies.
Irving’s work has repeatedly been discredited by historians for its inaccuracies, and he was labeled “antisemitic and racist” by the British high court when he attempted, and failed, to sue for libel.
Irving, nevertheless, built a cult following for himself, particularly among neo-Nazis, and white nationalists, including Gebert, according to two sources who also attended the dinner in June 2017.
“I’m going to form an association of Auschwitz Survivors, Survivors of the Holocaust and Other Liars — or the ASSHOLs,” Irving said to a Canadian audience in 1991, falsely suggesting that Germans did not commit genocide against European Jews during World War II.
The two sources who attended the dinner with Irving recalled that approximately 12 guests, including Gebert and Vuckovic, sat along a rectangular table with Irving in a private room at a hotel in the Washington, D.C., area. The sources recalled conversation topics that were overtly antisemitic, including the “Jewish question,” which loosely refers to the false belief that Jews secretly control the world through acts of nefarious manipulation.
One of the two sources who attended the dinner with Irving forwarded an email invitation for it to Hatewatch, indicating that it was held at a restaurant called Nage Bistro at the Courtyard Marriott on Rhode Island Avenue in Washington, D.C. Nage Bistro is permanently closed, but Yelp reviews indicate that it was open when the Irving dinner took place on June 17, 2017. “Please keep the above strictly confidential,” Irving writes in the invitation after relaying the date, time and location. The invitation is signed by Irving.
Irving, in an email to Hatewatch, said, “There was one gentleman, whom I will not name, that could have been from State.”
A screenshot of a text message forwarded by one of the two sources to Hatewatch supports the claim that Gebert, as “Coach Finstock,” accepted an invitation to the dinner with Irving.
Source, June 3, 2017, 2:28 p.m. EST: “Hey, Coach. I’m organizing a private dinner with David Irving, who’s back in the U.S. Would you, Ana and the pilots be interested? Trying to get a preliminary headcount – thinking everyone’s kids could be there as well.”
Coach Finstock,” June 3, 2017, 2:28 p.m. EST: “Absolutely. Rough date/time/location?”
The source also forwarded emails from a Protonmail account operated by a user going by the name “Wolfie James.” The emails were sent in response to one sent by the source with the subject “Re: June 17 event in D.C.,” which contained a link to an event page hosted on a website promoting Irving’s work . The Protonmail address of someone going by “Finstock” is copied.
Wolfie James, June 9, 2017, 3:49 p.m. EST: “[Redacted], thanks for this! To be clear, I may give this link to like minded friends? We will certainly attend.”
Three days later, the conversation between “Wolfie James” and the source continued:
Wolfie James, June 12, 2017, 12:53 p.m. EST: “Hey, Not to get all autistic, but this event is advertised as Friday, June 17 but June 17 is on a Saturday. Is it on Friday or Saturday? Buying two tickets now. Thanks friend, WJ”
Source, June 12, 2017, 12:59 p.m. EST: “I mentioned this to Irving and all I got was ‘aaaaargh’ (?). So, we’ll just have to see when they announce the location. Maybe it’s advanced psyops instead of a typo…”
Wolfie James, June 12, 2017, 12:59 p.m. EST: “88 dimensional chess, for sure. Was hoping to arrange a babysitter in time, but if I have to bring them, I will. Thanks!”
The number 88 holds a special place in the language of white nationalists and neo-Nazis and is often used in inside jokes. “H” is the eighth letter of the alphabet, so pictured side-by-side, the number 88 translates to “HH” or “Heil Hitler.”
Gebert and Vuckovic found a babysitter and attended the dinner without their children, the source recalled.
Donation to 'Uncle Paul'
Gebert, under his real name, donated $200 to white supremacist and former Republican candidate for Congress Paul Nehlen on Jan. 15, 2018.
Sludge, an online publication focused on money in politics, first discovered the donation in July 2018. The Department of State mentioned the Hatch Act in its comment to Sludge, but it is unclear if the agency took any disciplinary action against Gebert.
Gebert owned a home in Leesburg, Virginia, when he made the donation, according to Loudoun County property records. Gebert’s Virginia home is a 750-mile drive from the district in Wisconsin where Nehlen ran for Congress.
Nehlen appeared on a podcast hosted by The Right Stuff called “Fash the Nation” in December 2017. He was receiving widespread public criticism for voicing antisemitic views on Twitter when Gebert gave $200 to his campaign.
Nehlen today goes by the nickname “Uncle Paul” and praises acts of terrorism done in the name of white nationalism, Hatewatch reported in June.
'The Right Stuff' exposed
Peinovich and those connected to “The Right Stuff” are known for operating in secret, and often go to great lengths to protect their identities from public exposure.
Gebert’s “Coach Finstock” moniker, for example, appears to be taken from the 1985 film “Teen Wolf.” It’s unclear where Vuckovic found her pseudonym, “Wolfie James,” unless “wolf” also refers to the same film.
Both Gebert and Vuckovic appear also to have gone to great lengths to keep their faces off the internet. Hatewatch was able to find one photograph of Vuckovic but found none of Gebert. He did not appear in yearbook photographs published by American University, where he graduated in 2003, according to the school. He did not appear in photographs published by George Washington University, where he graduated with a master’s degree from the Elliott School of International Affairs, according to a directory published by that school.
One of the sources who attended a gathering with other white nationalists at Gebert’s Leesburg home recalled the host putting in place a rule limiting photography there. The source said Gebert pushed this rule among other white nationalists to keep from having his identity exposed.
Ultimately, “Coach Finstock” and “Wolfie James” are the third and fourth pseudonymous characters connected to The Right Stuff named by Hatewatch in 2019. In January, Hatewatch published an investigation naming “Spectre” as Trey Garrison of Dallas, Texas. In May, Hatewatch published an investigation naming “Eric Striker” as Joseph Jordan of Queens, New York.
“It would be good to have higher status white people coming on board to this movement,” Peinovich said on a podcast called “The Public Square” in February 2019, referring to his desire to recruit educated people of means to white nationalism. “It represents a sort of loss of status in the so-called normal world to be associated with this [movement]. … My thing is at some point, people have to be willing to do that.”
Peinovich continued, calling people who find success outside of the white nationalist movement “suspect.”
“What does status [outside the movement] mean anyway?” he asked. “I would not want to have status in that world. … If you have status in that world, you’re suspect actually.”
Two of the sources who spoke to Hatewatch about Gebert and Vuckovic’s involvement with Peinovich compared The Right Stuff network to a cult.
Due to the cease-and-desist letter, Hatewatch reached out to Peinovich’s lawyer for a comment on this story. Peinovich’s lawyer replied to our inquiry by leaving a voicemail on his client’s behalf.
“You had called me regarding Mike Peinovich and wanted his comments on the forthcoming so-called article,” the lawyer said on the voice message. “Mr. Peinovich stands by his prior statements and indicates he wants no contact with the SPLC. Thank you very much.”
State Department response and requests for comment
Hatewatch presented a brief summary of the information contained in this investigation to the State Department by email.
A State Department spokesperson replied to Hatewatch saying the department is “committed to providing a workplace that is free from discriminatory harassment and investigates alleged violations of laws, regulations, or Department policies, taking disciplinary action when appropriate.”
Photo illustration by SPLC