Weekly: 15 Feb 2021

Another weekly update covering the past week or so in the news. This week, the update features stories about the following:

  • Roger Stone’s OK security detail as a common feature at far-right gatherings
  • More FBI/US military/local police connections to militia movements
  • Boogaloo adherents arrested, Rittenhouse not re-arrested

J6 Capitol updates:

A major feature in this past week regarding J6 was the impeachment trial. Trump’s ‘direction’ in inciting this insurrection was a hot topic of the hearings.

An Oath Keepers/VIP protection guy has been spotted providing security for multiple far-right events in the last 9 months, speaking to the interconnectivity of “Re-Open” protests to “Stop the Steal” to the J6 riot.

An NYPD officer was pictured alongside Roger Stone and Oath Keepers at a DC hotel the morning of the riot, another data point alongside the substantial amount of police officers (current or former) identified as taking part in the activities of the day.

An Oath Keeper present at the J6 storming worked for the FBI and claims to hold a security clearance. This is obviously troubling for a few reasons. One of these is the dangers it presents to the ‘enemies’ of the Oath Keepers, such as the “News Media” that an Oath Keepers group chat said should be “[Killed]… live on air”. Another is how it complicates the FBI and other security apparatuses in seeking to ‘investigate their own‘. This leads us to:

Pentagon looking for internal reviews

This past week, the Pentagon has asked for troops to help in countering extremism among the ranks of the US armed forces. The Air Force also launched an extremism review among their ranks during the past week, too. An Army special operations medical course also dropped a Roman numeral III from a logo the course used, given the popularity of the “III” among III% groups.

This type of involvement (of far-right activists among the US armed forces) is well-documented by journalists and researchers. It also, however, goes beyond the Pentagon. For example:

More police documented as being cozy with far-right militia movements

A Hamilton County, Ohio sheriff’s deputy posted a III% flag on his Facebook page. He is now under investigation.

The brother of Jurassic World star Chris Pratt, Sargeant Cully Pratt, is a California police officer who makes woodworking wall art. He’s very friendly with militia movements and other police officers who appear to have a tendency for ordering III% art from him. According to research covered in an article in Open Vallejo, the officers of the Solano Sheriff’s Department have a substantial problem with support for or implied membership in III% movements. This is also not a new dynamic or one confined to this department. Here are some other stories about this from years past:

But pro-militia sentiment isn’t just confined to the US military or US police. As with previous weeks of MW weekly updates, GOP politicians and political groups are once again documented in the press for their connections to these movements:

Michigan GOP cozy with militant groups

The New York Times put out a lengthy review of Michigan GOP coziness with Michigan-based militia groups. The Constitutional Sheriffs movement also asked the police of Michigan to stand against both Biden’s policies and any COVID-19 public health measures. Time will tell how much they listen or disregard this ask.

The Michigan Democrats are now calling on State Senate Majority leader Mike Shirkey to resign his post after more information comes out about him meeting with Michigan-based militia groups.

In a recent poll, 60% of Michigan residents surveyed said they viewed J6 as a ‘threat to democracy’ and, perhaps as notably, 16% of those surveyed said they had a favorable view of the Michigan Militia.

Arrests / legal updates:

Feds arrest Boogaloo adherents in Louisville

Two adherents to the Boogaloo ‘movement’ were nabbed by Federal agents this past week for their involvement in threatened or real violence. These men were members of the “United Pharaoh’s Guard” a “Boogaloo” cell fashioned as a local militia that is noted for its public presentation as a social justice movement that is willing to visibly coordinate with known III% actors. A third Boogaloo adherent was charged a few days later.

Kyle Rittenhouse prosecutors denied new arrest warrant

Teenage shooter Kyle Rittenhouse did not see his bail terms renegotiated again following his failure to update his address with the courts. This lapse in communication led to speculation that Rittenhouse might have become a fugitive but may have been a mistake on the teen’s part.

Further reading:

  • On guns being used to recruit for militia groups (The Trace)
  • On the ‘twisted patriotism’ of the far-right (New Republic)
  • On Ammon Bundy’s movement growth under COVID-19 backlash (Spokesman)