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Weekly: 19 April 21


Another Monday, another weekly update. Here’s a glimpse at what’s covered in this brief piece:

  • An OK founder pleads guilty; the QRF looks more material
  • III% adherents assault interracial couples for second time in three weeks in SC
  • Wolverine Watchmen brothers removed from house arrest

Oath Keepers court updates

New court documents detail some of the specifics of the Oath Keepers’ ‘Quick Reaction Force’ (QRF) staged for the storming of the US Capitol Building on J6. This includes details about the group’s quartermaster’s stay at a Comfort Inn across the Potomac River in Virginia (where firearms are legal, versus a weapons ban in DC). Multiple defendants in ongoing conspiracy cases have also had their discussions about the QRF in Signal chats included as evidence, which perhaps seems to indicate that this aspect was more serious than defendants have pushed in the press since the storming itself.

On top of that, though, one of the co-founders of the Oath Keepers who was present at the storming is the first Oath Keeper to plead guilty and agree to turn over all information he has on the group and J6 organizers. Jon Schaffer, this Oath Keepers member, is also the guitarist and frontman of a metal band.

In semi-related news, a new report indicates that Capitol police were directed to exercise restraint against those storming the grounds.


Other updates:

Another III%-linked armed assault against interracial couples in Columbia, South Carolina was reported this past week. This is the second time in 3 weeks that this has happened in the SC capital city.

Sons of Confederate Veterans were denied a permit for their ‘Confederate Memorial Day’ event at Stone Mountain for the first time in its 20 year tradition. The park said that holding such an event would present them with a “clear and present danger to public safety”. Instead of hosting an event in the park on the 26 April, the SCV’s “mechanized cavalry” rode motorcycles around the park this Saturday the 17th. Some came armed and the group received a police escort. Last August, the park denied a permit to a collection of militia groups who ended up showing in the nearby town of Stone Mountain anyway, where they clashed with anti-racists who showed in opposition. More on that can be read here:

A nationwide call for a “White Lives Matter” day of action on Sunday 11 April mostly fizzled out last week as WLM telegram channels cancelled events or turned out to be honeypots set up by anti-fascists. In Huntington Beach, California, several neo-Nazis and a KKK leader were involved in planning and showed up, and a man with a swastika tattoo punched an Asian man who showed as part of a counter-demonstration. In Fort Worth, Texas, a small cohort of right-wing demonstrators showed but were outnumbered 5-to-1. A man in a Hawaiian shirt circled the counter-demonstration on a motorcycle, making a cutthroat sign with his finger as he rode past.

The Solano County Sheriff now says that the FBI found no evidence to indicate his deputies were members of “extremist organizations” after an investigative report by Open Vallejo indicated that many very much were. The response is laughably bad and seems to completely avoid the majority of the content from the original investigation. It is being called out as such already. Chris Pratt has still not given word about his police officer brother making III% woodworking products being a central point of the piece.

The Null brothers, of Wolverine Watchmen notoriety, were released from house arrest and relieved of their curfew this past week. The men will still be monitored via GPS as part of their bond.

A sovereign citizen movement in Arkansas was rebuked by a local court on a 6-5 decision against their hope to adopt a “Bill of Rights sanctuary ordinance” for their locality.

Once more demonstrating their coziness with law enforcement, a Virginia county militia donated medical bags with $500 of medical supplies to the Appomattox County Sheriff’s Office.


Further reading:

  • An opinion on how the GOP bears responsibility for far-right violence (WaPo)
  • On the continued tension over a ‘non-profit’ militia-style organization and their shooting grounds near San Diego (Escondido Grapevine)

Also be sure to read our newest piece, here:

(MilitiaWatch was also briefly mentioned on 60 Minutes yesterday. You can watch the full segment on the Oath Keepers here.)


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Zello, Operator II: Severed networks and those that remain


This article follows up a previous MilitiaWatch article on the use of Zello, a free walkie-talkie app, by the US-based armed far-right, including aggressive activists working in support of former president Donald Trump. That article with visualizations is available here:

Since that article, further investigation of right-wing militant groups’ use of Zello resulted in the direct recording of it being used at the 6 January storming of the US Capitol Building. This was then published in The Guardian. As references in that article, a list of over 800 channels was sent to Zello with a request for comment. Zello subsequently announced that they had banned 2000 militia-related channels, though they described groups’ use of the platform as “social media vanity messaging”. An On the media podcast covering this can be listened to at this link.

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Updates

Weekly: 29 Mar 21


Chag sameach to those observing and happy Holi to those celebrating! Here’s a weekly round-up that’s a bit shorter than the last few weeks. This one covers the following:

  • SC Senators aim to make all Palmetto State residents militia members
  • Court docs indicate attempted “alliance” between Oath Keepers, III%, and Proud Boys
  • Virginia sheriff’s office and county militia hold joint gun raffle

Categories
Updates

Weekly: 22 Mar 21


MilitiaWatch would like to extend our deepest condolences to the friends, family, and communities impacted by the brutal attacks on Atlanta-area spas this past week. It’s an absolute tragedy and our hearts ache for those impacted.

This week, the update features the following and more:

  • Ammon Bundy spends night in jail for missing court date due to refusal to don mask
  • Texas III% member arrested in connection to J6 planned to use LLC to purchase weapons for militia group
  • Michigan militia was prepared to engage police or feds in combat, informant details
  • ODNI releases ridiculous ‘terror’ risk report

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Updates

Weekly: 1 Feb 2021


This week, more developments covered in the update, including:

  • Updates on Capitol Police response to J6, regarding both preparation and individual response
  • III% caught with pipe bombs, texting friend planning to use them against “Twitter or the democrats”
  • Wolverine Watchmen member plans to cooperate with Feds
  • Kansas III% members lose appeal in bomb plot
  • GOP member links to militias continue to be unearthed
  • DHS bulletin indicative of new trajectory?

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Updates

Weekly: 11 Jan 2021


The last week has been a big one, to say the least! Here’s a weekly update covering some of the following, in very broad strokes:

  • The storming of the US Capitol Building
  • Militias and other militant far-right groups show at multiple state capitol buildings
  • Social media platform revolt

You’ve likely already read a lot of this, given how high up in the news it’s been this past week, so this one is going to be mainly for record-keeping.


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Updates

Weekly Update: 4 January 2021


After a brief hiatus to celebrate the holidays away from keeping up with all of this so directly, the weekly update returns with some quick review of the past little bit of time.

Since around 20 December, a lot has happened:

  • Updates on the Rittenhouse trial
  • Charges against a former III% leader
  • III% group indicates they potentially plan to storm capitol building
  • CA police officer under scrutiny over right-wing bumper stickers
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Georgia on My Mind: Martyrs, Q Anon, and Networked Candidates


Georgia, like many other US states, is awash with militia groups. This can be measured by the presence of those who represent larger coalitions nationwide like the Georgia Security Force III%, the regional or nationwide calls-to-action around armed right-wing activism such as the 15 August Stone Mountain event, as well as a continuing comradery between right-wing politicians and our sizeable militia field here. In this piece, we explore relationships between a candidate for higher office and local right-wing movements and militia groups.

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Zello, Operator: Recruitment, right-wing ecosystems, and semi-clandestine organization


This piece is intended as a piece to go alongside Micah Loewinger’s co-created On the Media/MilitiaWatch radio piece covering Zello. In the radio piece, you will hear in their own voices some of the militia groups referenced in this visual article intended to accompany and expand upon that piece. You will also hear some discussion about the app’s leadership and PR response to our investigation.

Next, it is important to note that this visual accompaniment is intended only as a first look into these networks on Zello. More data work is being completed to follow this article and the audio piece it accompanies.

Micah Loewinger has experience with Zello and militia organizing directly, as he reported from a ‘command station’ for Virginia’s 20 January anti-gun regulation rally. This station, as Micah reports in the piece here, was manned by AJ Andrews of the National Patriots Coalition III% (NPC III%), a country-wide movement. 


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Percent of a Percent: Assessing the transformation of a fractured III%


MilitiaWatch has been covering the Three Percent movement for nearly 4 years now. In that time, splinter, disintegration, and reintegration events have been plentiful as a field of highly competitive and extremely opinionated armed folks vie for influence and authority in outbursts that punctuate the seasons’ passing. A new shattering of the III% movement has led to new realignments amidst a season of great turmoil and action.