What is My Militia? Far-right online forum preparing for 'Civil War' with President-elect Joe Biden's win
'This country will never be the same, bad s*** on the horizons here folks,' warned a user
Hundreds of far-right groups have reportedly sprung up across the US and are ramping up recruitment following the defeat of President Donald Trump in the recently-held election. According to a report in The Sun, many of the self-appointed militiamen say that they are preparing for an upcoming "Civil War". As per the report, an online forum called My Militia, which brands itself as an “American Patriot Network”, has more than 20,000 users and has seen a flurry of activity in recent weeks. Reportedly, the forum claims that there are 544 militias currently active in the US, while also providing instructions on how to make explosives and improvised weapons. The forum also contains threads dedicated to conspiracy theories and lists of names of members of "Antifa".
According to a report in Vice, My Militia is owned by Josh Ellis, who also owns a water repair and mold removal business in Naperville, Illinois, and was involved in organizing anti-lockdown protests last spring. "This country will never be the same. Bad s*** on the horizons here folks. Be Ready," warned a user on the forum. “Fellow Patriots, Communist Dictator Biden and His San Francisco W***e have stolen the election with the help of the Communist Movement. We must resist and resist more than the Communist the last 4 years,” another post reads, adding, “we must make a show in the street the world has never seen.”
Several people have reportedly shared pictures showing off weapons such as assault rifles and bear mace. In the forum’s "resources" section reportedly there are sections such as "intelligence", "tactics" and "munitions". In the "tactics" section, one user reportedly shared a video on how to use legal parts to create a homemade silencer and how to convert a rifle into a machine gun. Under "munitions" there are links to documents such as the ‘Anarchist Cookbook’, a manual that continues instructions on how to make bombs.
One user reportedly posted on the forum asking his fellow users "get ready for Civil War II" with a screenshot of a tweet by Biden pledging to tackle gun violence. They wrote, "All my assault rifles self-identify as muskets. Y'all this is the call to be at the ready. If I ain't never felt it before, I feel it now." Another wrote, "If Biden succeeds in stealing the vote, our country will cease to exist. Now is the time to fight for our country."
Despite the absence of evidence in the several post-election lawsuits by Trump and his allies, many Republican voters believe that Trump rightfully won the election but had it stolen from him in systemic fraud favoring President-elect Joe Biden. Dr Rakid Ehsan, a research fellow from the Henry Jackson Society, told The Sun that the rise of these groups is "deeply concerning" and that these organizations clashing with left-wing groups could turn the US into a "powder-keg".
"The US is a fairly young country, and they have a very big decade coming up," Dr Ehsan said. "We have organizations of this nature in the United States for decades, but what I sense is there has been an acceleration of their growth and their rank and file memberships." Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, California State University San Bernardino, referred to the website as “almost like Tinder for militia folks,” telling Rolling Stone magazine, “I don’t want to suggest everyone on there is a bomb-throwing lunatic. But if I were a bomb-throwing lunatic, that’d be a place I’d want to check out.”
Levin said that it’s not surprising that activity on My Militia would increase in the wake of crackdowns by Facebook and Twitter. “When larger commercial platforms step up their game, that elevates the importance of these affinity-based platforms like My Militia where people now know to gather,” he said. My Militia has already been linked with violence. Brian Maoirana, a man from Staten Island, New York, was recently arrested. He was charged with making threatening interstate communications. In court documents, prosecutors alleged that Maiorana used social media to make violent threats against protesters and politicians. “The Turner Diaries must come to life,” Maiorana allegedly wrote. “We blow up the FBI building for real. All the alphabet agencies' assassination will become the new normal now… that the electoral process is finished.” Maiorana had a profile on My Militia.
In 2017, one of the site’s users, Michael Hari, allegedly bombed a Bloomington, Indiana mosque with other members of his Illinois-based militia, the White Rabbits. Days before his arrest, he reportedly posted a call to My Militia and other groups across the country to bear arms and join him for a protest against “the FBI and local law enforcement abuse” of the citizens of his hometown.