Author's note: 'Go There Ready for War'—Militia Organizing in North Carolina in the Context of the Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol is a new undertaking by a set of veteran activists with BluePrintNC, NARAL ProChoice NC, and Bend the Arc.1 Having recently returned to North Carolina, I joined them after the election in their Thursday afternoon meetings. As our discussions unfolded, I agreed to write up what we were finding out about North Carolina in light of the events of the U.S. Capitol, whose key Oath Keeper insurrectionists today remain oddly unnamed and unindicted. The report is the first effort of our North Carolina Anti-Racist Research Collaborative, and we anticipate future stories on key topics by diverse authors in multiple formats. Thanks to Scalawag for posting online for us. You can read my introductory essay here.

As the Charlotte Observer has reported, "North Carolina was in the middle of a multi-state conspiracy to recruit, train, and arm potentially violent militia members to storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6."2 New federal indictments paint a still-unfolding picture of the far-right conspiracy behind the events of that day, as well as their North Carolina connections. North Carolinians were indeed in the middle of the jaw-dropping story of a national insurrection inspired by a sitting U.S. President to storm the national Capitol and stop the peaceful transfer of Presidential power—a narrative unfolding on multiple fronts across the states and into the highest reaches of government.

Federal indictments since January 19, 2021, make it clear that the vanguard of January 6, 2021, Capitol Insurrection were white supremacist and anti-government militias, especially leaders of two prominent alt-right groups. Court documents indicate that named and yet-to-be-named North Carolina members of the Oath Keepers—an extremist group that has been recruiting active and retired members of the military, the police, and first responders since its founding in 2009—were key participants in the Insurrection. Better known in the days since the riots are the Proud Boys, founded in 2016 as a far-right, white nationalist, male-only group that engages in political street violence. Both have deep ties to North Carolina.

This report, its title taken from one of the many battle cries of Insurrectionists, identifies the connections between the Capitol attack and far-right activity in North Carolina over the last several years. We set out to begin to connect the dots of the clear and present danger of these groups in North Carolina and the United States.3 "Go There Ready for War" traces the events leading up to January 6 in order to determine both what is now known and what is still yet to be known about participation from North Carolinians. We examined militia and other far-right activities across the state to determine what illegalities and dangers they represent.4 In tracing the insurrection back to one state to see its roots and its fruits, we want to give democratic forces in North Carolina information they/we need in this very old and very new terrain, a model that other states might follow. This report is by its nature incomplete, and we hope you will help us track the story as it unfolds from your community.

Locked and Loaded, and Ready for Trump

What we do know is that these and other far-right groups were "locked and loaded" leading up to the riots, ready for a leader like Donald Trump to pull the trigger of attempted Insurrection. At the noon "Save America Rally" on January 6, 2021, the then-President fired up the crowd he had summoned to keep him in power and ordered them down to the Capitol.

"You'll never take back our country with weakness," he instructed, having invited the groups to the event promising a "wild time"—one that ended up killing five people and drove two policemen to suicide, in addition to the near-kidnapping or killing of Congresspeople and Vice President Mike Pence. A week later, Donald Trump was impeached by the House, and subsequently, 57 Senators (short of the 67 needed) voted to convict former president for "incitement of insurrection." The event is now considered the most serious threat to U.S. security since 9/11.

The House of Representatives impeachment managers provided visceral evidence of the violence that erupted on January 6 in a 13-minute video clip of events leading to January 6 and the Insurrection itself.5 Because the impeachment managers kept a narrow focus on the actions of Trump himself, what the nation did not see was the mounting evidence in a series of federal indictments that began on January 19, documenting advanced planning by the paramilitaries that formed the cadres of the assault—with links across the government and up its hierarchy.

Federal prosecutor Michael R. Sherwin told "60 Minutes" that the Justice Department inquiry most likely had evidence to prove the charge of trying to overthrow the government, the crime of sedition. As of now, over 400 people have been charged in the Capitol attack, more than 100 of those accused of assaulting officers, and 10 percent of cases involving conspiracies planned and executed by extremist groups—especially by members of the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and the Three Percenters. 6, 7, 8 Subsequent investigations show that one in five of those arrested by January 21 had a history of serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, exactly the Oath Keepers' mission to bring them in. 9 

Tar Heels in the 'Stack' or 'Schlepping the weps' 

In the affidavit filed in a D.C. federal district court, the first three named defendants—Thomas Caldwell, Donovan Crowl, and Jessica Watkins—were identified as leaders of the Oath Keepers and charged with conspiracy "to forcibly storm the U.S. Capitol… [and] communicate with one another in advance of the incursion and planned the attack." (None of these key leaders were from North Carolina.)

On January 6, Crowl and Watkins were a part of "eight to ten individuals in paramilitary equipment aggressively approaching an [eastern] entrance to the Capitol building… moving in organized and practiced fashion and forcing their way to the front of the crowd." This formation is now familiar from videos that day; a line of men and women in paramilitary garb, their hands on the shoulders of the person ahead, cutting deliberately through the crowd. It was this contingent that "pushed into the Capitol and headed towards the Rotunda." Communications among these three make clear that Caldwell was considered "the commander" of their unit. 

One in the group exhorted another that this was "everything we f*cking trained for."

In the Oath Keepers stack was Laura Lee Steele, 52, of Thomasville, a former High Point police officer whose husband Kevin Steele served as the Assistant Police Chief in High Point at the same time. According to the February 19 indictment, Steele's brother, Graydon Young, 54, a Florida Oath Keeper from Englewood, Florida, joined the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers on December 3, 2020. A few weeks later on December 26, he emailed an unnamed Florida company that "conducts training on firearms and combat," asking if the company would "train four Oath Keepers" on "your UTM (Ultimate Training Munitions) rifle class." Ultimate Training Munitions are non-lethal cartridges that can be loaded in real automatic weapons and safely used for training indoors, without necessitating an outdoor range.10 

On January 3, 2021, Young's sister Steele emailed her own membership application to the Florida Oath Keepers, stating she was doing so as directed by her brother. On her application to the Florida Oath Keepers' chapter, as the radio station WFMY reported, Steele listed her 13 years of law enforcement in North Carolina, including her work as a K-9 officer and SWAT team member, and stated that she currently worked as "Private Armed Security" with a company whose name was redacted from the indictment. The Greensboro News and Record reported that Laura Steele was once "cleared by the police department for two incidents in which she pepper-sprayed students while working as a school resource officer with the High Point Police Department." The students were 16 and 11 years old at the time.11 

The next day, Young flew up to join his sister in North Carolina, and they departed for D.C. "with others known and unknown." There, they met up with the Ohio and Florida contingents on January 6, and "donned reinforced vests, helmets and goggles" and communications devices to join the "stack" that stormed the eastern front of the Capitol. 

Once inside the Capitol, Oath Keeper member Jessica Watkins reported via a Zello App channel that she was with a "good group" of "30-40 of us" who were "sticking to the plan." The insurrectionists were there to "execut[e] citizen's arrests… for acts of treason, election fraud," the January 19 indictment quoted. One in the group exhorted another that this was "everything we f*cking trained for." 

Investigations show the level of "detailed coordination of [the] assault," accompanied by "warlike talk" online as caravans from across the country drove to Washington, D.C. on January 5. A map posted online shows "tunnels connecting different parts of the [U.S. Capitol] complex." One post reads: "Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in." Another: "Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die." 

The Capitol Police Chief and Congressional leaders made urgent calls to the Sergeants at Arms and the Army command for National Guard reinforcements. Those calls were refused or delayed for hours.

A subsequent motion further outlines the extent of Caldwell's plans. In the prosecution's reasons for denying the request for his release, it's revealed that Caldwell organized the Oath Keepers' response to Trump's instructions to "Stop the Steal" immediately after the November 3 election results. He first met with the Oath Keepers on November 14, 2020, at the Million MAGA March, for which Caldwell opened his Virginia residence as a rendezvous point. Crowl thanked him two days later, writing: "War is on the Horizon. Until We go to ground… Semper Fidelis," to which Caldwell responded: "I think there will be real violence for all of us next time." 

The denial of release motion goes on to state that, at another Million MAGA rally on December 12, Caldwell messaged: "I believe we will have to get violent to stop this… Stay sharp and we will meet again." He suggested the following chillingly specific tactical formation: "3 four man teams with a 2 man quick reaction force and 2 drivers/extractors to double as snipers/stallers."

By December 23, his preparations included this "bunch of the OathKeepers from North Carolina who we hosted here on the farm," people as yet unnamed. 

By December, Caldwell had a plan for when, as he put it, "it begins for real" on January 6. "This kettle is set to boil… We must smite them now." Logistics for the rally included staying at the Comfort Inn Ballston/Arlington, in Arlington, Virginia—which he stated was "within striking distance of the city." Caldwell began to shape a "quick response team" that would operate by boat across the Potomac from the Capitol "with the heavy weapons standing by [to] quickly load them and ferry them across the river to our waiting arms."12 

The January 19 affidavit also alleged that defendant Crowl trained in December at a still undisclosed North Carolina location. By January 5, references to possible criminal North Carolina participation began to pepper the indictments. Notably, the January 19 affidavit references possibly criminal North Carolina participation citing a January 5 Facebook message from Caldwell to Crowl:

"Maybe can do some night hunting [of antifa activists]. Oathkeeper friends from North Carolina are taking commercial buses up early in the morning on the 6th and back same night. Paul will have the goodies in case things go bad and we need to get heavy."

Caldwell also messaged Watkins that he anticipated the arrival of a bus with 40 additional people from North Carolina to arrive with "Paul," as well as a contingent "committed to being the quick reaction force [and] bringing the tools if something goes to hell. That way the boys don't have to try to schlep weps on the bus." This person, presumably "Paul" but referred to in indictments as "Person 3," arrived on January 1 by truck to D.C., supposedly "with weps" and an unidentified companion. Neither Person 3 nor his companion have yet been identified.

So far, the only named North Carolina Oath Keeper links to the conspiracy have been found to include Laura Steele and Lewis Easton Caldwell, 35, of Sylva.

Approaching the Capitol January 6 from a different direction was another North Carolinian, Charles Donohoe, a 33-year old resident of Kernersville who was president of the local Proud Boys Chapter. Donohoe is one of four Proud Boys, along with Ethan Nordean (Auburn, Washington), Joseph Biggs (Ormond Beach, Florida), and Zachery Rehl (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), indicted on March 10 by the D.C. Grand Jury.13 At 12:45 p.m. Donohoe joined the large crowd gathering outside the Capitol perimeter on First Street, Northwest. In less than 10 minutes the crowd had breached the barrier, and Donohoe and his crew joined the charge past the trampled barriers at about the same time that the Joint Session to certify the Electoral College vote convened. By 2:13 p.m. the crowd had forced its entry. Donohoe assisted in the crowd's final push up the Capitol stairs. 

The Capitol Police Chief and Congressional leaders made urgent calls to the Sergeants at Arms and the Army command for National Guard reinforcements. Those calls were refused or delayed for hours.14 In that time, the mob assembled a gallows outside the building and came within feet and minutes of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Vice-President Mike Pence, and other Congresspeople to whom many of the invaders threatened harm.

Federal prosecutors argued against Caldwell's release on bail, naming him "as a key figure who put into motion the violence that overwhelmed the Capitol. Had all of Caldwell's plans come to life, he appeared ready and willing to wreak even more havoc." They pointed out his previous military and law enforcement experience as evidence of the threat he posed, writing that Caldwell "has proven he is willing to do what it takes to go dark… [He] has previously served … [and] was likely familiar with the art of operational tactics and used that skillset to the detriment of the citizens he at one time swore to serve." 

On March 12, 2021, Politico reported that federal Judge Amit Mehta eventually did release Caldwell to his home following the motion, citing that the government's case was weakened by the fact that Caldwell did not actually go into the Capitol with the aforementioned "stack." The claims do not, however, deny that he was recognized as "commander" and "organizer" among the group, nor do they speak to the fact that the same age and health conditions which stirred Mehta's sympathy also kept Caldwell out of the fray with his younger recruits. Mehta also acknowledged that Caldwell clearly had been involved in "preparation for an Armageddon-type solution to defend the president of the United States, who was claiming the election had been stolen from him."15

The good news is that the North Carolina Oath Keepers did not provide key leadership for the conspiracy and the insurrection. But until indictments fill in names and places we will not know the full story. 

Other North Carolina Arrests in Connection with January 6

Arrests by D.C. Metropolitan Police also identify other North Carolina players who allegedly participated in the Capitol events but who have not yet been named in federal conspiracy charges. On January 5, Metropolitan Police arrested two Asheville men in DC. Thomas Gronek, 46, and Timothy Keller, 34, were respectively the owner and driver of a Trump "hippy van" that was found containing a Springfield 9mm handgun, four magazines for the handgun with 31 live rounds, a Ruger .22 long rifle, 275 live rounds for the rifle, a drum magazine capable of holding 110 rounds, and an illegal firework. Both firearms were unregistered in the District of Columbia. Gronek was charged with "carrying a pistol without a license, possession of large-capacity ammunition-feeding devices, and possession of unregistered ammunition." Keller was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Both federal and D.C. laws prohibit carrying of firearms in locations within the District of Columbia, including the Capitol building and grounds. A number of January 6 insurrectionists have been charged with weapons violations.

After the Insurrection, state newspapers reported that seven North Carolina residents were charged with curfew violations and/or unlawful entry at the Capitol: Earl Glosser, 40, of Matthews; Lance Grames, 42, of Sanford; Jere Brower, 45, of Sanford; Tim Scarboro, 33, of Monroe; James Smalley, 27, of Charlotte; Jay Thaxton, 46, of Concord; Michael Jones, 23, home city unknown. Additionally, Ryan Barry, 26, of Clayton, was arrested for simple assault.16 Of these eight, Barry and Thaxton—a former Marine living in Cherry Point and Newport—are known to be members of the Proud Boys.17

Many of the North Carolina residents arrested for publicizing their participation in and support of the Capitol Insurrection have ties to neo-Confederate actions in recent years in support of Confederate monuments, as well as actions against anti-racist protests across the state.

In early February, the FBI arrested Christopher Raphael Spencer of Pilot Mountain on federal charges that included violent entry and obstruction of justice.18 He participated in the effort to break open the door to the House of Representatives chamber. His wife, Virginia Marie Spencer (Jenny)19 was also indicted on similar charges to her husband. Stephen Maury Baker, 32, from Garner ("Stephen Ignoramus" on YouTube) was arrested on February 1 for unlawfully entering a restricted building, violent entry, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.20 

US Representative Madison Cawthorn's Link to the Insurrection 

North Carolina links to the Capitol Insurrection also involve the state's newest and youngest Republican Congressperson Madison Cawthorn. The Campaign for Accountability, a government watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics on January 22 as to whether Cawthorn and two Arizona Congresspeople "violated federal law in regard to their actions on January 6."21 Its press released explained:

Representative Cawthorn spoke at the January 6 march and urged listeners to tell members of Congress: "You know what? If you don't start supporting election integrity, I'm coming after you, Madison Cawthorn is coming after you. Everybody is coming after you." At an event in December, then Representative-elect Cawthorn had told a crowd to "fight" and that it was fine to "lightly threaten" their representatives. In addition, Representative Cawthorn has stated that he was "armed" while on the House floor on January 6.

Along with Arizona Representatives Biggs and Gosar, Cawthorn's incendiary language and support of the "Save America Rally" may have violated laws prohibiting seditious conspiracy and Insurrection, as well as the House's own ethics rule that prohibits members from engaging in conduct that discredits the House. 

Cawthorn also appears to have violated federal and state laws prohibiting the carrying of weapons in the U.S. Capitol. As Michelle Kuppersmith, Executive Director of the Campaign for Accountability, observed: "Government officials are not above the law. If the people Representative Cawthorn encouraged to illegally enter the Capitol can be prosecuted for carrying a firearm, so can the congressman." 

Since the Insurrection, over 85,000 people have petitioned22 that Cawthorn should step down or be removed. Former Sheriff George Erwin of Henderson County indicated his refusal to work for Cawthorn as planned and announced that he was withdrawing the support he had offered during the campaign.23 Cawthorn's Democratic opponent retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Moe Davis24 and local Republican activist Eddie Harwood have both publicly criticized Cawthorn, who is the youngest person currently elected to the U.S. Congress and had been considered by many to be a "rising Republican star."25 Moe Davis explained on his Twitter account: "I was chief prosecutor at Guantanamo for 2 years, and there's far more evidence of Congressman Cawthorn's guilt that there was of guilt for 95+ percent of the detainees." 

North Carolina Neo-Confederate Links to Insurrectionist Proud Boys, and the Sad State of Silent Sam

Republican Senators' refusal to convict Donald Trump of "high crimes and misdemeanors" makes them the official Party of Insurrection, and bodes ill for future violent attacks on seats of the U.S. government. That was the import of the Insurrectionist who carried the Confederate battle flag into the Capitol rotunda—the Insurrection was the first time in history that the banner had breached the U.S. Capitol, something Confederate generals were never able to muster. Minutes before the Capitol was breached, Senator Ted Cruz cited the Compromise of 1876 as a solution for the crisis of the "stolen" election. That suggestion additionally illuminates these Senators' allegiances, given that the 1876 deal pulled Union troops out of the South, opening the way for the violent white rule already made possible by Ku Klux Klan terror. 

Many of the North Carolina residents arrested for publicizing their participation in and support of the Capitol Insurrection have ties to neo-Confederate actions in recent years in support of Confederate monuments, as well as actions against anti-racist protests across the state. Journalist Jordan Green, who has done extensive reporting on neo-Confederate and far-right organizing in North Carolina, writes that an "illiberal amalgam of Confederate sympathy, QAnon conspiracy, hardline anti-communism and pro-Trump fanaticism… united the various groups that stormed the Capitol."

The mashup of ideologies in these newer, "alt-right" formations that drove North Carolinian participation in the events of January 6 overlay older forms of "hate groups" in North Carolina that reach back to the Wilmington Coup of 1898 and the Reconstruction Era. In 2019, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that there were at least 20 militia and anti-government groups in North Carolina, among a cohort in the United States "well into the hundreds"—a number on the rise in the past two years.26 

In 2020, the Proud Boys of North Carolina raised both individual and organizational profiles, and hardened their positions "from aggressive trolling to an increasingly revolutionary posture," Green writes. In North Carolina, these activities included joining forces with neo-Confederates over the removal of Confederate monuments around the state—especially that of "Silent Sam" at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. After Sam's fall, the Proud Boys rallied in defense of the Chatham County Confederate monument in Pittsboro. According to Green, after the November 2020 election the Proud Boys provided security for a QAnon-aligned "Save Our Children" rally in Fayetteville, as well as an OPEN NC protest at the Governor's Mansion in Raleigh against COVID-19 restrictions.

The machinations of a group of five members of the UNC Systems Board of Governors to grant the far-right group Sons Confederate Veterans (SCV) $2.5 million dollars in order to "preserve" the Silent Sam statue also place those Board of Governors members on this grid of far-right sympathizers. The public knows the extent of the illegality of these neo-Confederate dealings thanks to the stalwart reporting of the UNC-CH newspaper The Daily Tarheel (owned, incidentally, by a private company).27 The move required that the SCV purchase Silent Sam from the North Carolina United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). Then, with a handful of lawyers representing the Board of Governors, the SVC could strike the $2.5 million deal. The agreement never went before the full UNC Board of Governors for approval. UDC apparently got stiffed in this process, having sold Silent Sam away to their Confederate brothers, who would get millions (temporarily). The Daily Tar Heel's reporting resulted in a February 2020 judge's ruling that the SVC had no legal claim to the statue, and therefore required that they give UNC back its $2.5 million. So far, the additional $74,000 of taxpayer and UNC-system money has not been returned.

Also aligned with the Neo-Confederate movement in North Carolina are Jay Thaxton and Ryan Berry, both arrested for violating D.C. curfew. Both are members of North Carolina's Proud Boys chapter. Thaxton showed up in Pittsboro, Graham, Lexington, and Statesville during confrontations with anti-racists, at times live-streaming disparagements of Black Lives Matter protestors. Jessica Reavis, of League of the South—a recognized hate group that advocates for a white ethnostate—was also present at these events in Graham. In January 2020, Thaxton attended the Second Amendment rally in Richmond, Virginia, with a Proud Boys contingent, where Alex Jones of InfoWars made an appearance.

Days before the Insurrection, North Carolina Proud Boys Jeremy Bertino and Bill Whicker III of Hillsborough joined a YouTube chat with British far-right activists. After January 6, Bertino fumed on the Rumble platform that the real "tyrant" the group faces today comes in the form of "an elected bunch of f*cking snakes," no matter the party. "Since when has peace ever brought on f*cking change? Violence is the only thing that gives you freedom." (All of this as reported by Jordan Green, cited above.)

Exploring Connections at the County Level

With so much information still yet to be revealed, there are likely many more still unknown hubs of insurrection-affiliated activity in North Carolina. While this report does not attempt to identify all of them, in our research thus far, two North Carolina counties stood out as having strong ties to the Oath Keepers and the events of January 6—Columbus and Moore counties.

Columbus County—Oath Keepers, a Sheriff's Arsenal, and Harvested Ballots? 

One prominent source for the possible origin of the "commercial buses" from North Carolina chartered by Insurrectionists in the cited federal affidavits is Columbus County, in the southeastern corner of the state. Jordan Green reported for the Triad City Beat: "Since the Spring of 2020, the focal point of Oath Keeper organizing in North Carolina has been Columbus County." The Whiteville News Reporter also named Army veteran Doug Smith as "state coordinator" with Steve Kwiatkowski, of Bladen County, as another member of state Oath Keeper leadership. In September 2020, The News Reporter headlined: "Local, national Oath Keepers members working to expand in Columbus County," activities that included "working to recruit current and former law enforcement and military." Smith explained, "We've always had Oath Keepers in the county; I would say April is when we organized more tighter."

Smith confirmed that 25 or so North Carolina Oath Keepers chartered a bus for the January 6 rally and traveled together to Washington D.C. from Columbus County. These buses were part of the so-far innumerable buses chartered to carry North Carolinians to Capitol protests, many of their intentions to demonstrate and then come home. Thus far, there have been no Insurrection-related arrests from Columbus County. 

After returning to Columbus County, Smith disclaimed alliance with Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes and participation in the Capitol violence, a typical move once investigations were underway. Smith explained that he had changed the local group's name to North Carolina State Defense Force. Caldwell's chatter, as cited in the federal affidavits, provided a more sinister account of the split: "I don't know if Stewie [Stewart Rhodes] has ever gotten out his call to arms but it's a little frigging late. This one we are doing on our own. We will link up with the North Carolina crew." 

In early April 2017, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes spoke at a private campground near Winston-Salem, as Green reported for Scalawag. The event was hosted by Lane "Gunny" Reynolds, a retired Marine gunnery sergeant. The purpose of his visit, Rhodes explained, was to build up a "warrior class" in North Carolina. Describing itself as "libertarian and constitutionalist," the Oath Keepers' "roving security teams" patrolled Trump's 2016 inauguration and continued close ties to Trump leading up to participation in the Insurrection. 

In 1997, the NDAA made such weaponry available for local police departments for countering drugs and local terrorism.

Jefferson Weaver reported in January 2021 that "Smith said his group, which includes a chapter in Columbus County, trains to be able to assist law enforcement in times of civil disorder or natural disaster.28 Most are former military, law enforcement, or first responders." These claims seem less benign in light of North Carolina Oath Keepers' links to the Capitol Insurrection. They sully the veneration of "First Responders" to 9/11, who in the Insurrection have become the target of terrorist attack rather than saving the people in its violent path—as many of the Capitol Police did on January 6. Smith has denied his Columbus County group's involvement in anything illegal. 

Concurrent with Oath Keeper organizing, on October 26, 2020, some Columbus County residents expressed concern about Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene's "large acquisition of military surplus equipment" total $3.8 million dollars since December 2018 when Greene took office. 

These included "two helicopters, a mine resistant vehicle, nine cargo and utility trucks, boats 300 magazine cartridges and nine riot shields" from the Federal 1033 program.29 This program was added to the National Defense Authorization Act of 1990 and 1991 by George H.W. Bush for the distribution of "obsolete and unneeded" weaponry from around the world for U.S. law enforcement, right before and during the First Iraq War. In 1997, the NDAA made such weaponry available for local police departments for countering drugs and local terrorism. In 2016, it was these armaments that showed up in Fergusson, Missouri, to battle the protestors of the death of Michael Brown at the hands of the Ferguson police. The blowback and federal recycling of U.S. military weaponry from foreign wars landed on U.S. streets, militarizing the street conflicts that began to emerge against Black Lives Matter demonstrators protesting in the face of cellphone-documented brutality at the hands of police.30 In 2018, a $3.8 million arsenal arrived in Columbus County, far bigger than has been received "by any other department in southeastern North Carolina over the decades," Ann McAdams reported, ordered by Jody Greene. But who is Greene?31 

Greene was elected as a first-term Sheriff in 2018 by just 37 votes over the incumbent Black Democratic Sheriff Lewis Hatcher. Ironically, the election results that gave Green the narrowest lead were challenged for numerous voting irregularities32, including the unprecedented delay in the opening of polling sites in Tabor City on election day; whether Greene was actually a resident of Columbus County; and his utilization of the consulting firm Red Dome that promised to "provide them with positive absentee ballot results, which they had not been able to get to that point in their campaign." Responsible for those "positive absentee ballot results" was Leslie McCrae Dowless. In 2018, Dowless's voter fraud efforts became legend in North Carolina in what the New York Times called his "Fly-by-Night Operation to Harvest Ballots."33 It netted him three felony charges of obstruction of justice, two charges of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, and two charges of possession of absentee ballots. The trial was apparently postponed due to COVID-19. 

Sheriff Greene denies any connection to Smith's delegation or the Oath Keepers/North Carolina State Defense Force.

Moore County Stronghold: Captain Rainey's playground and David Hensley's 'severed ears'

The Moore County residence of Captain Emily Rainey, 30, who is still stationed in active duty at Fort Bragg, provides an additional window into how the events of January 6 resonate at the county level in North Carolina. Rainey is a U.S. Army psychological operations officer (PSYOPS) at Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville, to the immediate southwest of Moore County. Captain Rainey is currently under investigation by the Army for organizing buses to the January 6 rally, according to Army spokesperson Maj Dan Lessard.34 

As Rainey told the Associated Press, she "led 100 members of a conservative advocacy group in North Carolina to Washington on Wednesday 'to stand against election fraud.'" Members of Moore County Citizens for Freedom, an organization that Rainey founded), were "doing nothing but demonstrating our First Amendment rights," she said. Pauline Bruno, President of Moore County Republican Women, said that her group organized two busloads for the trip to Washington D.C., and that Rainey was responsible for the safety of the women, mostly in their 60s and 70s. "She divided the cohort into five smaller groups with designated leaders and advised them on areas to avoid should they become separated"—and, Bruno reported, made sure that none of the women were among the rioters. 

Rainey was already known in Moore County for protesting COVID-19 restrictions and was arrested and charged in May 2020 with injury to personal property for tearing off a tape that cordoned a playground in Southern Pines. In the spirit of OPEN NC, Rainey declared dramatically: "Everyone here, you freedom fighters, this is for you." Following her arrest in October 2020, Rainey resigned from her commission. The Army approved an April 2021 separation, meaning that on January 6, she was still on active duty. She once spoke at a Moore County Board of Education meeting in army fatigues. Major Lessard said the Army is "investigating her involvement to determine the exact extent" and that there is no evidence that other service members joined Rainey.

Two days after the Capitol Insurrection, Captain Rainey posted a seven-minute video on her personal Facebook, reported The Southern Pilot.35 "Until you are ready to put everything on the line, just like our founding fathers did then you're not serious about this… Do not be afraid… They hate you with all the same hatred of every genocide that has ever happened… This is an existential activity. You need to start fighting… It's time to make it untenable for progressive elected officials to become elected in this county. Moore County stands for American values, not Communist values. So let's keep it that way. Our county is a stronghold." (Emphasis added.)

Captain Rainey is not the only Moore County resident drawing attention to incendiary beliefs. Elected to the Moore County School Board in November 2020, David Hensley of Pinehurst posted on Facebook on January 5 to a friend headed up to the Trump rally, "Kick some ass and come back with a collection of severed ears." Hensley is a former Marine Corps officer who is founder and CEO of Quantico Tactical, a weapons supplier that has garnered $236 million in defense contracts since 2018.36 The Moore County School Board serves 13,000 students. 

More to Learn about North Carolina Connections to Far-Right Groups

This report attempts to identify the pattern of North Carolina's connection to the Jan 6 Insurrection, but much of the terrain remains mysterious—as we have seen, even as a succession of federal indictments name indicted persons and places. There is still much to uncover.

Who was "Paul"/Person 3, and what happened to the "weps" being "schlepped" to D.C. in a truck the night before the storming of the Capitol? Where did the "weps" come from? Of those indicted, how many are being released, and how many will be tried and convicted? 

Possibilities emerge in a separate federal indictment from the Eastern District of North Carolina filed on November 18, 2020.37 On December 10, the AP reported the arrest of Jordan Duncan, an ex-Marine formerly based at Camp LeJeune near Jacksonville, North Carolina—where he "joined a group organized by a fellow U.S. Marine who used a neo-Nazi internet forum to recruit members for what he called a 'modern day SS, [Hitler's special forces].'" The indictment listed Duncan, Liam Collins, Paul Kryscuk, and Justin Hermanson for conspiracy to manufacture firearms and ship them interstate. All but Kryscuk were at one time based at Camp LeJeune. The indictment laid out a long-term plan to use the "modern day SS" to "knock down the System… beating it past the point of death," and then form a "guerilla organization and take over local government and industry" in key regions. Their ultimate goal was to "move into the urban areas and clear them out" in a "ground war very reminiscent of Iraq." The FBI found the name of Back Lives Matter co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza on a list in their possession. Beginning as early as 2016, the four communicated on Iron March, an online message board for neo-Nazis and White Supremacy groups with similar programs. The four are also affiliated with AtomWaffen, another neo-Nazi group created by users of the Iron March in 2015 and 2016, and with an affiliate in North Carolina, according to the cited SPLC hate list.38 

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and U.S. Attorneys have stated their intent to investigate participation by North Carolina residents in criminal acts leading up to and on January 6. It may be that the state's silences in federal indictments indicate a continuing grand jury investigation and/or possibilities that one or more of those arrested might turn state's evidence. Nevertheless, the silence from leading state-level law enforcement on these issues is worrisome, especially when January 6 involvement is viewed in light of militia activism in North Carolina, as shown by the website My Militia. 

My Militia Activity in North Carolina 2016-2021

From all indications, the Oath Keeper cadres that conspired and stormed the Capitol rapidly squadded up between the November election and January 6. The website My Militia illustrates that war-trained veterans in the state had organized for years for such an event.

My Militia, a self-described "American Patriot network," offers one tactic to attempt to understand the depth and extent of paramilitary organizing in the state, and thus where those buses mobilized from North Carolina to D.C. for alleged action might have emerged. My Militia is searchable by state for "people actively searching for a militia to join, and also a helpful place to find individuals who want to actively train."39 Their hosted conversation channel for "North Carolina Roll Call & Lounge" opened May 13, 2016, in the midst of the Presidential campaign, and shows discussion threads through 2020 documenting veterans finding one another, joining squads, and training for what they knew would come. None of the posts are specific enough to link the poster to any Insurrection activity or arrest. 

If militia squadded up fast to attack the capital in 2021, protests at abortion clinics had provided an early model for theologically justified violence—and the merger of militias and the Christian right that was indeed evident on January 6.

Initial North Carolina posts feature individuals looking for "like-minded folks and to do some training." My Militia user Redlegs self-describes as "about to retire from active duty… seen a few things and take this seriously," and says they are uninterested in a "Cub Scout troop" or "PX commandos wanting to play army" (Posted: 11/8/2016). A page posted by user Whiskey6 states that they are "not involved in anything illegal" but will "only pass information in secret,… only in face-to-face conversation." User Watson 2141 from Gastonia echoes the sentiment: "Amen Brother, too many coffee-table soldiers out there. They think it's all glory and happy endings. We need to be ready for shit to get real, and probably soon" (Posted: 1/8/2017). James M assesses that the North Carolina Citizens' Militia "has units in about half of NC's counties" (Posted: 2/20/2016). By March, one post expresses frustration that there are "only five hundred or so who have actually made a commitment… to join a unit and start training." But, he adds, "things are looking up," because it "seems we are finally getting the needed prior military members to be able to properly train those who have never served." Others who expressed interest in organizing say they are from Gastonia/Charlotte, Apex, Waynesville, Madison County close to Haywood, Williamston in Martin County, Randolph County, Vale in Catawba County, and Hoke County. They also suggest a "meet and greet in Cumberland County," home of Ft. Bragg. 

On March 22, 2018, LetFreedomRing (A SuperAdministrator user on the site) announced that the Light Foot Militia is recruiting: "Light Foot is the standard."

A post on September 10, 2020, shows the level of military training and ideology that serious recruits bring: "DESERT STORM VET U.S. AIR FORCE. I'm 55 and a Veteran and I will be damned if I'm going to just sit back and let the Communist terrorists take over, I am ready to start whether it is as a member, a leader, a citizen or all of the above." The user urges that readers "start thinking as a group about the election and the chaos" sure to ensue in its aftermath, to adopt "a unit mentality where no one is isolated." He closes with the line Si vis Pacem Para Bellum, "If you want peace, prepare for war." Equally seriously, Dave wrote from Williamston in Martin County that he was possibly starting a new group, identifying himself as "a former CO of two groups and former infantry assault men in the U.S.MC. I have a lot to bring to the table." (Posted: 11/8/2020) When Liberty Fairfield asked on October 9, 2020, "Any Oath Keepers in NC?" Johnston_Co_Lead2_Frederick replied, "Oh yeah, behind every bush, in every shadow." 

By December 27, 2020—less than two weeks before the Insurrection—the North Carolina Light Foot Militia (NCLFM) announced itself for the second time as "now open to new recruits" for "current residents of North Carolina" with "a clean record." Interested parties were encouraged to contact NCLFM "CO Col Mosby." The Light Foot Militia required "mandatory statewide fitness training four times a year, with locally organized fitness training every month," as well as purchase of an individual first aid kit, a meet-up with the nearest LFM "officer or commissioned officer," and reading on militia standards. 

By December 2020, NCLFM announced 13 units: The 1st Bn Light Foot in Graham; 133rd Bn Light Foot, Jacksonville; 183rd Bn Light Foot, Raleigh; 155st Bn Light Foot Lumberton, 81st Bn Light Foot Greensboro; 199th Bn Light Foot Charlotte; 27th Bn Light Foot Lenoir; 990th Bn Light Foot, Sylva; 21st Bn Light Foot, Asheville; 97th Bn Light Foot Fayetteville; 35th Bn Light Foot Newton. There is no indication of how large any of these groups were. There is no research cross-referencing Light Foot organizing and that of Oath Keepers in North Carolina.

If militia squadded up fast to attack the capital in 2021, protests at abortion clinics had provided an early model for theologically justified violence—and the merger of militias and the Christian right that was indeed evident on January 6. Anyone familiar with the anti-abortion movement recognized both people and tactics at the attack on the U.S. Capitol.40 "Among the sea of Trump, Confederate, and white supremacist flags at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 were also signs exclaiming: Defund Planned Parenthood,' 'Women Do Regret Abortions,' and 'Stop Abortion banners,'" explained Tara Romano, Director of NARAL ProChoice NC. She reported that national anti-abortion leaders like anti-abortion extremist Taylor Hansen participated in Trump's "March to Save America" rally and/or the storming of the capitol that day. Hansen spent the 2020 summer of racial justice reckoning spraypainting "Baby Lives Matter" in front of abortion clinics, including at a clinic in Charlotte.41 "I wanted to be here because I feel like the Democrats are slapping our Creator in the face," an evangelical Christian woman who attended Trump's rally outside the White House told the Christian Chronicle. "Also, my Lord wants me here to fight for the unborn."42

Over the years of the Trump presidency, nearly every abortion clinic in the North Carolina saw an increase in the number, frequency, and aggressiveness of anti-aboirtion protesters, with the Charlotte area in particular experiencing consistent, large, and hostile protests.43 In the Spring of 2020, abortion rights advocates—particularly clinic patient escorts—noticed clinic protesters were participating in and sharing information about North Carolina's "OPEN NC" demonstrations, as primarily Trump supporters started challenging the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Descending on state houses across the country, often with armed protesters in attendance and as symbols and language of white supremacy, the pro-re-opening protests can now be seen as a precursor to the January 6th attack, with militant anti-abortion activists in the mix.

The admixture of Christian ardor with militia violence proves confusing to Evangelicals for whom the Gospel is the central tenant of their faith. This fusion tracks to the 1990s, when for a sector of Evangelical Christians, revivalism—actual evangelism—was abandoned to a policy of "authoritatively enforc[ing] behavior guidelines through elected and unelected officials." Davidson College Professor Gerardo Marti explained this shift as one to "not piety, but policy." Policy then meant power, and the multitudinously sinful Donald Trump brought them that. So the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys served for them as a way to "bring God's enemies [who confirmed Biden's electoral college victory] low."44

This White Christian Nationalism requires and incorporates antisemitism as well. Dove Kent of Bend the Arc explains: "In Europe and the United States, it has functioned to protect the prevailing economic system and those who hold power within it by diverting blame for hardship onto Jews." White nationalists also believe that "the great replacement" of white people by what they consider the "demographic time bomb" of a nation with no one racial majority is a part of what they consider a "Jewish conspiracy." (Remember the chants by neo-Nazis in their march through Charlottesville, "Jew will not replace us.")

Antisemitism and violence at abortion clinics over years paved the way for the militia eruption on January 6. Future work by the NC Anti-Racist Research Collaborative will explore issues of gender, sexuality, and antisemitism.

Private companies available for paramilitary training 

Such online organizing on My Militia points to how the Oath Keepers could have come together in and across states between the November election and the January 6 count of electoral votes, with private security companies available for on the spot training for the national action. 

In a My Militia post from one such security company on February 9, 2019, a user by the name of Fallen (who stated they recently moved to Stanly County, North Carolina from South Carolina) offered free training from his security contracting company TAC SOUTH:

"Please go [to] and look around, and that will get you up to speed on what I know and what I do. This is not a solicitation for paying classes. This is a 'free' open invitation for anyone that truly wishes to attend some training and move your skillset to the next level. I am looking to put together a new team of instructors in this area, and if you have the skills, you may be asked to join the team. Either way, this is your chance to get advanced training that is generally only available to Military and LEO personnel. Did I mention for free? If you are too far from me but have a group of people that would like to train, I will come to you."

We have no evidence of who did or did not take Fallen up on this offer, but the TAC SOUTH website shows the porous nature of their offerings to "law enforcement, military units, private companies, and civilians," where Oath Keepers groups looking for trained recruits might find a ready supply. As the Tac South Defensive Solutions website explains, clients would have access to "experienced operators from the U.S. military, SWAT, emergency services, and vetted professionals" to learn "the best training methodologies, information, and human technologies …[from] decades of combined real world experience."45 

In the 1980s, a White Patriot Party cadre including veterans from Ft. Bragg practiced at Glenn Miller's farm near Angier—a far cry from such sophisticated combat training available today.

The indictments show how  militia members turned to such commercial training centers when they needed to brush up on particular areas of combat. As late as December 26, 2020, Laura Steele's brother Graydon Young emailed a Florida company that "conducts training on firearms and combat" to ask if the company would train four Oath Keepers, specifically "your UTM4 (Ultimate Training Munitions) rifle class." Former policewoman Laura Steele worked for a private security company after working as SWAT and K-9 in the High Point Police Department.

Quantico Tactical, run by Marine vet and Moore County School Board member David Hensley—the person who asked a buddy to bring "severed ears" back from the Insurrection—garnered $236 million in military weapons contracts over two to three years. Privately owned shooting ranges and police and military training schools have cropped up in rural North Carolina counties' backyards. In Yadkin and Davie counties, Recoil Management Academy CEOs Kirk and Christina Peavy attempted to establish a paramilitary training center. In Yadkin, they were vigorously opposed by county residents and rejected unanimously by the Yadkin County Commission. They then went to Davie County with plans for a 40-acre site that would include a long-distance shooting range with elevated towers, classroom space, and a helicopter pad on the property. "The official plan submitted to local authorities has emphasized family-friendly sport shooting geared toward education and safety. Online, however, Recoil Management Group projected a larger, more ambitious image: a big-time training facility for law enforcement, military groups, and executive personal protection." Local small business owner Jody Blackwelder explained to the Winston Salem Journal, "I'm for the stuff he's trying to do. I own an AR-15. Just not here, not near a neighborhood. This is a fast-growing area."46 The Davie County Commissioners also turned Recoil down unanimously. 

Paramilitary activity is illegal in North Carolina 

Readers concerned by this level of far-right paramilitary organizing might be relieved to learn that such activity is against the law in North Carolina—if only a misdemeanor. "The idea of private citizens banding together to create their own military unit may work in the movies, but it is not permitted under North Carolina law," explained Jonathan Holbrook, the first "Prosecutor Educator" hired for the UNC School of Government, in a September 1, 2020 blog post. Holbrook, who served for 10 years in the Wake County District Attorney's office and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, concluded, "A brief primer seems overdue."47

Militia statues found in GS Chapter 127A of North Carolina law provide for organized and unorganized state militias.48 These organized militias are primarily the state's National Guard—both Army and Air—along with a naval militia. "You may be surprised to learn that… you are probably already a member of [North Carolina's unorganized militia]," Holbrook writes.49 This section "strictly limits the formation and operation of such groups… to self-mobilize or engage in the type of activities typically performed by law enforcement agencies and military units," he explains. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to "organize a military company, or drill or parade underarms as a military body… or exercise or attempt to exercise power or authority of a military officer in this State, without holding a commission from the Governor. (GS 127A-151) Such illegal activity could involve self-identification as a militia, wearing uniforms or insignia, parading underarms, establishing a chain of command, and/or attempting to exercise military authority." 

Descriptions in My Militia show that the militia operating in North Carolina are in violation of GS 127-A. They do not claim to be under the command of the Governor, but draw their authority from the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Professor/Prosecutor Holbrook explains that "the available precedent strongly suggests that neither [First or Second] amendments protect organizing or acting as a private militia." It is also a Class H felony in North Carolina to "teach or demonstrate the use, application, or making of firearms or explosives knowing the techniques will be employed in furtherance of civil disorder, or to assembly with one or more other person for the purpose of practicing or training in those techniques." (GS 14-288.2) 

It was North Carolina's misdemeanor paramilitary laws that Klanwatch and the Southern Poverty Law Center used to enjoin White Patriot Party leader Glenn Miller in the 1980s against organizing a private army and harassing African Americans. Miller disobeyed the injunction, lied under oath, and went underground before he was captured and ended up in jail, after which the White Patriot Party was disbanded.50 Miller is now on death row in Kansas City, Missouri, for murdering three people at a Jewish Community Center.

The Trump Justice Department's Intentional Failures

The "accelerator" for the white supremacist and anti-government movements across the United States leading up to the January 6 assault on the U.S. capitol was provocation from the U.S. President himself. Reporting on alliances within his administration suggests answers to additional questions about how the Insurrection unfolded. 

As the mob surged through the Capitol and approached the Chambers, why did the Army command wait so long to respond to urgent calls from Congressional leadership and the Capitol and Metropolitan Police to send in more National Guard units? Why was there not better intelligence prior to the event?

On January 20, the Washington Post reported that Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Charles Flynn was "in the room" on the afternoon of January 6 during the delay of the decision to send in more National Guard.51 Charles Flynn is the brother of Michael Flynn, a retired three-star general who briefly served in the Trump administration, until he was convicted of lying to the FBI during the first impeachment trials. In November 2020, following his presidential pardon, Mike Flynn was released from prison. In December, Mike Flynn urged then-President Trump to invoke martial law and use the U.S. military to force a new election. Mike Flynn was also in attendance at the "Save America Rally" that day, prior to the assault on the Capitol. Until it was revealed by other sources, the Army denied Charles Flynn's presence "in the room" of Army officials that delayed the desperately-needed help that afternoon as rioters swarmed the Capitol building. There is no record of Charles Flynn's contributions to the discussions that afternoon. The promotion of Charles Flynn to command the U.S. Army Pacific out of Hawaii was announced by Army Times on January 26, 2021. He had previously held command over Army operations, plans, and training.52 

Another Trump ally close to the action was Roger Stone. A longtime Trump ally and another convicted felon, Stone was guarded by six Oath Keepers as he traveled around D.C. to speak at pre-Insurrection rallies, as The New York Times reported.53 When the action at the Capitol started, the Oath Keepers relocated and participated in the storming of the building. Roger Stone is a self-described "trickster" who was convicted in federal court on seven counts of obstructing justice in investigations of Trump's ties with Russia, and sentenced to 40 months in prison. Trump commuted his sentence on July 20, 2020. Stone had direct access to both Trump and members of the Oath Keepers over January 5 and 6.54

The shocking lack of intelligence and preparation by law enforcement for the possibility of a violent attack is further illuminated by recent reporting. In 2016, the FBI reported that white supremacist movements presented a "'persistent threat of lethal violence' that produced more fatalities than any other category of domestic terrorists since 2000," warning of the kind of "active links to law enforcement officials" documented in this report's research.

Over the summer and fall of 2020, national and global protests burgeoned after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. FBI officials expressed increasing concerns about the threat of violent white supremacists, whom they had long considered the number one domestic terrorism threat—including groups allied with the President. But as The New York Times reported, Trump suppressed the term "domestic terrorism" in the bureau's internal discussions, and top Homeland Security officials refused extra funding to follow social media posts in spite of their violent escalation.55

Years of national attention on the non-existent threat from Muslims Americans after 9/11 and Trump's proposed border wall redirected attention and resources away from far-right groups in the United States. By September 2020, under mounting pressure Homeland Security changed its tune: 

"We judge that ideologically motivated lone offenders and small groups will pose the greatest terrorist threat to the homeland through 2021, with white supremacist extremists presenting the most lethal threat."

U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, September 2020.

It would prove far too late to stem the dangerous rising tide of far-right domestic terrorists incited and shielded by Trump, as Capitol and Metropolitan Police were outnumbered and outgunned by the swarms of white supremacist insurgents.

Clear and present dangers

These private security companies and the private militias formed out of the control of the North Carolina governor present grave future dangers that the violent January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol could portend. Miller's self-published online autobiography, A White Man Speaks Out, left a vision for what could come in the years since it was published in the 1990's.56 In 1984, Miller met with Aryan Nations militant Robert Matthews in a little motel at the intersections of Interstates 40 and 95 near Benson, North Carolina, where Matthews passed over $200,000 from armed heists by Aryan Nations men in the Pacific Northwest to fund Miller's work. Inspired by Matthews' revolutionary militance, Miller envisioned "growing formations of awakened White people in every community, town and city [whose] fanaticism would create… social upheavals that overcome [the White masses] fears and brainwashing." 

People in counties across North Carolina are protesting such activity—from the 85,000 people who signed the petition against Representative Cawthorn, to those objecting to military-grade armaments being stockpiled by the Columbus County Sheriff, and citizens in Davie and Yadkin Counties who pressured their governing bodies to refuse a Rapid Recoil training camp in their backyard, or voters in Moore County concerned about a Board of Education member who admires "severed ears." Journalists like Jordan Green at the Triad City Beat and Greg Huffman at the Institute for Southern Studies' Facing South, and papers like The Southern Pilot, the Whiteville News Reporter, The Daily Tar Heel at UNC, and Scalawag are raising these issues in their counties and across the state. 

This report aims to "accelerate" such peaceful and pro-democratic actions, as well as to alert people across the state that there are indeed many well-trained men and women among us whose goal is to fight an "Iraq-type" civil war in North Carolina—and that they are urging others to join them.

Whatever our political differences might be, surely the intent to organize tight units that can do extreme damage to public officials and our state's residents should concern the vast majority of North Carolinians and Americans. The Capitol Insurrection gave us the warning that such things can happen here. As Southerners, we know the long-term death and destruction that a Civil War can cause—800,000 lives, for example, from 1861 to 1865.

There will be more dots to be connected in this ongoing saga of right-wing organizing. We issue this report in hopes that alarmed readers can find one another and shape strategies at the local and state levels. We should take the events of January 6, 2021, with deadly seriousness and an insistence that our communities, elected officials, journalists, religious organizations, and educators act to be sure that these violent "accelerators" in our midst do not indeed provoke the new Civil War they aim to achieve.


1 Thanks to all the people who participated in the Thursday calls on researching the far-right during and after the 2020 elections.  This report crystallized out of those discussions and is informed by the insight and experiences of these NC organizers.  Thanks especially to Isela Gutierrez for that input and for taking on the editing of a sprawling document that contains so much disturbing material.  Her insights into what worked and what should be cut were invaluable as were the edits on sentences and structure throughout.  Thanks as well to Jazmynne Williams, who provided invaluable assistance with the range of research and formatting issues that this research throws up, with a quick turn-around time that kept me moving forward. And to Lovey Cooper of Scalawag for scrupulous final editing of this report. 

2 Michael Gordon, "New indictment lists numerous North Carolina links to violent assault on U.S. Capitol", Charlotte Observer, accessed February 2021,

3 Such post-Insurrection assessments at the state and local levels as this report are urgently needed in every state to prepare us to respond to the war cries being issued by a new amalgam of the most repressive forces in North Carolina and United States history.  Many of the monitoring and response organizations from the 1980s and 1990s, such as the Center for Democratic Renewal and the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, ceased operations by the early 21st century. Ongoing monitoring and response work by Political Research Associates, the Western States Center, and the Southern Poverty Law Center grounds this work nationally. Go There Ready For War is intended to give more on the ground texture to those valuable efforts and to statewide progressive organizing. 

4 The format is based on the kind of documentation that North Carolinians Against Racist and Religious Violence (NCARRV) used in the 1980s when the state had some of the most serious far-right organizing in the United States. NCARRV produced Annual Reports from 1985 into the 1990s with a chronology of hate violence and far-right organizing, an analysis of the year's trends and recommendations for counter-organizing.  By 1990 two of the three major organizations had been disbanded by arrests and federal court orders.  These were the White Knights of Liberty, an old-style Klan group, and the White Patriot Party, a fusion Klan/neo-Nazi group working in concert with the Aryan Nations.  Copies of these reports are in the Mab Segrest papers in the Rubin Center Library at Duke University.

5 "Impeachment: 13 minute video shown at impeachment trial of Donald Trump", YouTube, accessed February 2021,

6 Katie Benner, "Evidence in Capitol Attack most Likely Supports Sedition Charges, Prosecutor Says," The New York Times, March 22, 2021.   

7 SPLC notes "Established in the midst of the 2016 presidential election by VICE Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, the Proud Boys are self-described "Western chauvinists" who adamantly deny any connection to the racist "alt-right." They insist they are simply a fraternal group spreading an "anti-political correctness" and "anti-white guilt" agenda."

8 SPLC notes "The Oath Keepers, which claims tens of thousands of present and former law enforcement officials and military veterans as members, is one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today. While it claims only to be defending the Constitution, the entire organization is based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government working to destroy the liberties of Americans."

9 Tom Dreisbach and Meg Anderson, "Nearly 1 in 5 defendants in Capitol riot cases served in the military," All Things Considered, NPR, January 21, 2021.

10 "About UTM," Accessed March 2021,,most%20technologically%20advanced,%20non-lethal%20training%20ammunition%20in%20existence.

11 Paul Garber, "Officer Cleared in Second Use of Pepper Spray/Laura Steele was Justified in Her Use of Force Against a Sixteen Year Old Student, Police Officials Say," Greensboro News and Record, March 6m 2001, updated January 25, 2015. 

12 Alanna Durkin Richer, "Feds: Man charged in riot suggested bringing weapons by boat,"  AP News, February 11, 2021,

13 United States of America v Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Charles Donohoe, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, March 10,2021,

14 Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio, "Capitol security officials in charge on Jan. 6 blame Pentagon, intel failures", Politico, February 23, 2021,

15 Multi-Case Defendant, "United States v. Caldwell, Crowl, Watkins, Parker, Parker, Young, Steele, Meggs, Meggs," Department of Justice, February 19, 2021,

16 Brian Gordon and Gareth McGrath, "NC prosecutors plan action as at least 7 state residents arrested in storming of US Capitol" Fayetteville Observer, January 8, 2021,

17 Jordan Green, "North Carolina Extremists Pledge to Escalate Beyond DC Insurrection," Triad City Beat, January 9, 2021,

18 JHinton, "FBI arrests Pilot Mountain man for alleged role in storming U.S. Capitol," Greensboro News / Record, February 8, 2021,

19 Jerry Lambe, "Married Couple Who Traveled to Capitol Siege in Twitter Personality's 'Caravan' Faces Charges, " February 6, 2021,

20 "Man who live streamed his own role in US Capitol riot arrested in Garner, " February 1, 2021, ABC11,

21  "Watchdog Calls for Investigation into Reps. Gosar, Biggs, and Cawthorn for Role in Jan. 6th Insurrection, " Campaign for Accountability,  January 22, 2021,

22 Change. Org, "Madison Cawthorn Must Resign," Accessed March 2021,

23 NCDP, "ICYMI: Cawthorn Loses Support, Facing Calls To Resign & Backlash After Inciting Insurrection At The Capitol,", January 14, 2021,

24 Twitter, January 18, 2021,

25 Peter H. Lewis, "Cawthorn Falsely Accuses Democrats of Paying Capitol Rioters," Asheville News,  January 19, 2021,

26 The current SPLC list of active hate groups identified the following NC hate groups, generally sorted into KKK-affiliates (American Christian Dixie Knights, Loyal White Knights of the KKK in Pelham, NC), Neo-Confederate groups (Heirs to the Confederacy in Asheboro, Identity Dixie, Southern Revivalism, Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County or ACTBAC, other county "Taking Back" groups, and NCTBAC), White Nationalist groups (American Identity Movement, Patriot Front, The Right Stuff), racist skinheads (Blood and Honor Social Club, Blood and Honor USA, Crew 3, Confederate Hammerskins), anti-immigrant (Americans for Legal Immigration in Raleigh), Neo-Volkisch (Asatru Folk Assembly), and "general hate," which includes The Proud Boys. All but three of these organizations are "statewide," and SPLC does not indicate how extensive their presence in the state is. 

27 Kate Murphy, "Secrecy and misleading communications marred UNC's Silent Sam deals, settlement shows," News & Observer, February 3, 2021,

28 Jefferson Weaver, "State organization breaks ties with Oath Keepers," Columbus County News, January 22, 2021,

29 Defense Logistic Agency, "1033 Program FAQs," Accessed March 2021,

30 Brian Barrett, "The Pentagon's Hand-Me-Downs Helped Militarize Police. Here's How," Wired,  June, 2, 2020,

31 Ann McAdams, "Some residents concerned about sheriff's large acquisition of military surplus equipment," WECT, October, 26, 2020,

32 "Republican's Narrow Victory Stands In Columbus County Sheriff Race," WUNC, May 9, 2019,

33 Alan Blinder, "Inside a Fly-by-Night Operation to Harvest Ballots in North Carolina," New York Times, February 20, 2019,

34 Tim Fitzsimons, "Army investigating officer for attending pro-Trump rally in D.C.," NBC News, January 11, 2021,

35  "Southern Pines Army Officer Facing Review Over Role in D.C. Protests," The Pilot, January 11, 2021,

36 Trevin Smith, "School official stands by comments before Capitol riot," Raleigh News and Observer, Jan 12, 2021.   

37 United States V. Collins, Accessed March 2021,

38 For more on Atomwaffen and the "accelerationist" agenda of the Far Right, see Greg Huffman, "Far right accelerationists hope to spark the next U.S. civil war," Facing South/Institute for Southern Studies, Feb 3, 2021

39 My Militia, Accessed March 2021,

40 Vásquez, T. (2021, March 19). How the anti-abortion movement fed the capitol insurrection. Retrieved March 29, 2021, from

41 Foley, R. (2020, July 28). Pro-lifer on mission to paint Baby Lives matter in front of Planned Parenthood clinics across US. Retrieved March 29, 2021, from

42 Column: Why we might soon see a surge in antiabortion violence. (2021, January 31). Retrieved March 29, 2021, from

43 Hatch, J. (2018, January 18). Outside a clinic in CHARLOTTE, 600 protestors claim abortion is 'A Man's Issue'. Retrieved March 29, 2021, from

44  Thomas B. Edsall, "The Capitol Insurrection Was as Christian Nationalist as It Gets," The New York Times, Jan 28, 2021.

45 Tac South, Accessed March 2021,

46  Scott Sexton, "Residents prepared to battle proposed paramilitary training center," Winston-Salem Journal, September, 14, 2020,

47 Johnathan Holbrook, "Militias in North Carolina," UNC School of Government Blog, September 1, 2020,

48 Chapter 127A, Accessed March 2021,

49  G.S. 127A-7 explains the unorganized militia as "all other able-bodied citizens [who are not in the organized militia [eg the National Guard] of the State and of the United States who have or shall declare their intention to become citizens of the United States, who shall be at least 17 years of age, except those who have been convicted of a felony" or received a dishonorable discharge."  

50 See Chapters 6 and 10, Mab Segrest, Memoir of a Race Traitor: Fighting Racism in the American South (New York: The New Press, 2019). 

51 Dan Lamothe, Paul Sonne, Carol D. Leonnig, Aaron C. Davis, "Army falsely denied Flynn's brother was involved in key part of military response to Capitol riot," Washington Post, January 20, 2021,

52 Kyle Rempfer, "Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn slated to command US Army Pacific, and 14 other promotions," Army Times, January 26, 2021,

53 Christiaan Triebert, Ben Decker, Derek Watkins, Arielle Ray, Stella Cooper, "First They Guarded Roger Stone. Then They Joined the Capitol Attack," New York Times, February 14, 2021,

54 Eliza Relman, Grace Panetta, "Meet Roger Stone: One of Trump's most loyal supporters whose 40-month prison sentence was just commuted," Business Insider, July 10, 2020,

55 Adam Goldman, Katie Benner and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, "How Trump's Focus on Antifa Distracted Attention From the Far-Right Threat," New York Times, February 1, 2021,

56 Glenn Miller, "A White Man Speaks Out," Accessed March 2021,

Mab Segrest is a writer, teacher, and organizer living in North Carolina. Her most recent book is "Administrations of Lunacy: Racism and the Haunting of American Psychiatry." The New Press released a new edition of her 1994 book "Memoirs of a Race Traitor" in 2019.