Cynthia Miller, Donald Trump, Megan Squire discussed on On the Media


Throwing grenades. They're freaking shooting people with paintballs, But we're in here. Be safe. God Blessing God speed and keep going. Get it, Jess. Do your this is what we've lived up for. Everything we've been trained for. Following our report on these communications In January, the Department of Justice began quoting these Elo chats in indictments, along with quite a bit of information about Watkins, alleged plans and motivations. This is a woman who had served honorably in Afghanistan and was from place in Ohio, where there really wasn't much going on. Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist who publishes on her site, Empty wheel dot net, has been poring over all of the reporting and court records related to the sixth. She was, I think, given an identity in the oath keepers that Probably replaced what she had in the military. It was it was structure. It was considered honorable. They could go out and feel like they were protectors of America. As the inauguration grew nearer, Jessica Watkins indicated that she was awaiting direction from President Trump. Specifically, They say she sent a text on November 9th saying. If Trump asked me to come, I will. According to her boyfriend, Watkins had started her own militia, the Ohio State regulars as a storm relief group a year earlier. But after Trump lost the election, she ramped up her involvement with the oath keepers by recruiting militia men to come to D. C to act as private security for Roger Stone. A video uncovered by ABC News shows that at least three oath keepers did end up spending time with him in D. C. So I haven't seen anything to prove that he and Jessica Watkins interacted under stone doesn't need these people to defend them. I think that that was the lure to get her to get people that function of saying, Okay, you're going to be security for these VIPs who are one degree from the president of the United States that's like glamour. Ultimately, Watkins was able to rope in enough people from Ohio that she was rewarded with an invite to the oath Keepers Leadership chat room on signal and encrypted messaging app in December. Which put her in touch with oath keepers who had travelled from Florida and Alabama, along with the founder of the oath keepers. Stewart Rhodes, who was in D. C on January 6th but hasn't been indicted yet. So these are these signal chats, which will form the backbone of the actual conspiracy case. In fact, the government has those chat logs because they were still on her phone when she was arrested on January 18th. I got to weapons before she deleted anything, and she, you know, didn't want to perjure herself. She knew enough not to do that. But other people did delete stuff. People in that chat room make up a large chunk of the 16 person conspiracy case. But remember, Watkins said, We have a good group We got about 30 40 of us. We're sticking together and sticking to the plan. What do we know about the 30 to 40? Right? I'm waiting for those other 15 people. There's a group from North Carolina. We haven't seen arrested yet. Some of them stayed in Virginia, staying at the Comfort Inn in Boston, guarding the weapons that everyone had stashed there. The government claims the oath keepers stored a cachet of weapons for a Q, R F or quick reaction force that would respond to the capital armed if President Trump were to quote, declare an insurrection and to call us up as the militia. This brings us to the plan. Or as Marcy Wheeler says, one of the possible plans. They were basically talking about preventing the democratic transfer of power, either by doing something so outrageous in Congress that the expected Biden supporters would rise up as well. Or they're just presumptive notion that enough quote unquote antifa would show up in the streets. And they could perform being victims again. And so enough violence to give trump the excuse to call in the National Guard and then by calling in the National Guard, then you say you can't transfer power. We're in the middle of an insurrection. You can't transfer power. We're at war You can't transfer Power, DC, has been locked down under the National Guard to protect them from those evil anti FAS. Week after January, 6th Hampton and I sent an email to Zell. Oh, detailing this evidence that its APP had been used by insurrectionists, along with an updated list of over 800 far right channels. Then we reported those findings in the Guardian. And then a couple hours later, I'm Selo released a statement on their site saying that they were appalled by the organizing that was happening on their app and that they were banning 2000 channels. Maybe a third or so came from the list of 800 plus channels. We sent them. Oh, yeah, For sure. Of the 800. Plus the majority of them are now offline, either deleted by the users or removed by seller itself. Many of the groups that we were tracking on Zillow relied on that APP and its network, and now that network in most cases is gone. Is it fair to say that a lot of these groups are sort of in shambles after January? 6th. I think a lot of them are struggling to find their footing for sure. Some of the channels I heard people say. Pretty explicitly. That's Ella would never banned them that it was. The one thing that they could always depend them on. Militias are just like one piece of the broader puzzle. And I think militias themselves are maybe a little bit quiet right now, because if they're smart, they're probably on the lookout for what the FBI is up to. The groups don't really disappear and the ideas that they espouse certainly don't disappear. They just might change focus. They might change platform, They might change the volume that there may be quieter at the moment. Megan Squire, a professor of computer science at Elon University. As the people start feeling more emboldened as they feel stronger, they'll re coalesce into groups again. I'd like to think of a jar of marbles. You drop it on the floor. It shatters everywhere in the marbles are rolling all around, right? Well, eventually they find the little dips in the circles in the floor, and they kind of collect back up. I'm personally convinced that part of what motivated militias to break into the capital. The belief that they need to protect a mythical vision of America at all costs is here to stay. But it's also possible that the role of national far right groups will diminish even as violence continues. January, 6th and its aftermath has crystallized an idea that had been percolating among researchers that the far right in America has entered what's called post organizational or post group paradigm. Both terms really capture what we're seeing in the modern, far right. Cynthia Miller address is the director of the polarization and extremism Research Innovation Lab at American University. Perps do still matter. I don't mean to say that they don't There are a lot of groups that exist, but the vast majority of people who radicalize into these kinds of movements are encountering the propaganda and the information online. But may never actually formally joined a group. While the oath keepers and proud boys contributed significantly to the violence and planning on January 6th about 85% of those arrested after the insurrection, had no prior involvement in a formal thyroid organization. One of my biggest concerns is that As a country that we look at January six as the end of something as the culmination of something we even hear that language a lot. January six was really the culmination of a months long coordinated effort by Donald What happened on January 6th. Was, in many ways the culmination of all of these forces. It was the last day of the trump era, and it ended in chaos and, frankly, disgrace. I think we should be more open to the possibility that it was a continuation or even the beginning of something in terms of mobilization..

Coming up next