Embedded among the many chat logs from a now-defunct neo-Nazi and white supremacist message board are anti-Semitic and racist remarks directed at a number of ethnic teams—written by an active-duty U.S. Marine Corps infantryman.
Vice reported that not less than three members of the U.S. military had been posters on the message boards of Iron March, which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes as an “influential online gathering place for young neo-Nazis and neo-fascists.”
Vice didn’t determine the posters, however Newsweek has recognized one in every of them as U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Liam J. Collins, 20, a rifleman with 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, an infantry unit out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Collins, as consumer 13110, posted not less than 21 occasions on the message boards of Iron March.
Newsweek tried to achieve Collins a number of occasions on Thursday and Friday, utilizing a cellphone quantity related to him and through e-mail and thru social media. Just earlier than publication of this story, Collins deactivated his Facebook account.
In a press release to Newsweek, the Marine Corps stated it intends to “fully investigate this allegation. If substantiated, the subject Marine will be held fully accountable.”
A central Iron March database was leaked on Wednesday. An nameless consumer going by the title of “antifa-data” seems to have uploaded information containing volumes of messages from Iron March individuals, lots of whom declare an affiliation with the U.S. army.
The impartial investigative information website Bellingcat noted the information dump, which comprises not solely the contents of particular person messages however IP addresses and distinctive consumer IDs related to every message.
A former U.S. Army infantry officer contacted Newsweek Wednesday with details about an active-duty U.S. Marine inside the database. The former soldier, who has no relationship with or ties to Collins, requested anonymity on account of concern of retaliation from neo-Nazi and white supremacist teams.
A spreadsheet containing over 100 posts from the database and accompanying metadata was supplied to Newsweek. In a message to a different participant, the consumer Newsweek recognized as Collins posted a hyperlink to Collins’ Facebook profile, saying “Add me.”
Further affirmation got here via statements made by that consumer within the chat room. The authenticity of the database has not been independently verified by Newsweek however is believed to comprise uncooked knowledge from the Iron March message boards, in accordance with the U.S. Army supply and researchers.
Newsweek reporters discovered that the IP tackle related to consumer 13110 traced again to New Providence, New Jersey. Voter registration data and U.S. army data reviewed by Newsweek present that Collins’ residence tackle is in New Providence.
The Iron March discussion board is believed to be founded by Alexander Mukhitdinov. While Iron March was energetic, Brandon Russell—a co-founder of the infamous neo-Nazi group Attomwaffen Division which participated within the Charlottesville, Virginia, violence in 2017—posted a document containing details about “paramilitary tactics” to the Iron March boards in mid-May 2017, in accordance with SPLC.
The Iron March web site is linked to a number of acts of violence and terrorism, in accordance with SPLC and a report in Vice News. Comments posted to the message board from the person believed to be Collins appear to have occurred earlier than he underwent Marine boot camp however whereas beneath a Marine infantry contract, generally known as the Delayed Entry Program, with the U.S. army.
In a press release to Newsweek on Thursday, Marine spokesman 1st Lieutenant Joe Wright stated, “The Marine Corps, and by association, the Second Marine Division is clear on this: There is no place for racial hatred or extremism in the Marine Corps. Bigotry and racial extremism run contrary to our core values.”
Wright stated a revised order signed by former Marine Commandant General Robert Neller in March 2018, up to date and aligned present Marine Corps coverage with Defense Department directions to outlaw “harassment, unlawful discrimination, any type of abuse: hazing, bullying, ostracism, retaliation, wrongful distribution or broadcasting of intimate images, and certain dissident and protest activity (to include supremacist activity).”
The Marine Corps stated the order reaffirms the service’s dedication to “maintaining a culture of dignity, respect, and trust in which all members of the organization are afforded equal opportunity,” and that “violation of the order may result in punitive action.”
Collins first joined the U.S. Marines on August 21, 2017, beneath an infantry contract, in accordance with a duplicate of his personnel file Newsweek reviewed.
The Iron March spreadsheet didn’t embrace dates and timestamps, though statements on the messageboard posted by Iron March consumer 13110, recognized by Newsweek as Collins, point out they had been made in or across the spring of 2017.
“Have you been keeping up with Trump?” he requested one other consumer. “Him and Maddog are lashing out at Iran.”
The reference to former Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis suggests the feedback got here throughout Mattis’s tenure within the Trump administration. Because Iron March was deactivated in November 2017, the posts had been seemingly made earlier that yr.
A CNN article from February 2017 corroborates this timeline, noting Mattis’s fiery statements in opposition to Iran and describing them as “his first comments on the country.”
The feedback had been made earlier than Collins underwent Marine boot camp coaching however after he had signed as much as enter the U.S. Marine Corps.
“What’s up Devil. I got my UH Contract so now I have that guaranteed 0300 slot. Hopefully, I’ll be in Lejeune by next year after ITB [Infantry Training Battalion]. Stick around so I can have some Fascist friends on base haha,” Iron March consumer 13110 posted.
Collins’ army personnel file reviewed by Newsweek exhibits that he entered the U.S. Marines beneath a UH contract and was educated as a 0311—a Marine infantry rifleman—which falls beneath the 0300 designation.
This explicit message was one in every of two that was not related to the New Providence IP tackle however an IP tackle based mostly in neighboring New York. However, the messages are linked by the identical distinctive writer ID.
The consumer asks different army veterans within the chat room for recommendation on finest navigate Marine Corps boot camp and the ruck marches on the School of Infantry, situated at Camp Geiger in North Carolina, the place Collins would bear Marine infantry coaching.
At one level, he writes to a different Iron March poster, saying, “I have a lot of Fascist friends in the Army. They say there are a lot of “Red-pilled” Soldiers due to the fact that major bases like Fort Bragg are infested with N****rs. Also what unit are you attached to?” (The put up spelled out the racist slur in full.)
Another put up from consumer 13110 signifies that he’ll bear Marine boot camp in the summertime of 2017. This assertion aligns with when Collins started primary coaching at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina, in August 2017, some three months earlier than the Iron March chat board can be shutdown.
“I’m actually enlisted in the Marine Corps myself. I ship out in the summer. I honestly think now is the best time to join before it gets really shitty,” the consumer writes. “It’s still the whitest branch, and trains men thoroughly unlike the other branches. I doubt we’re gonna see another ground war within the next 5-10 years, but I could be wrong. Only 3% of the fleet is currently deployed.”
Later within the chat board, he begins to correspond with one other Iron March poster. 13110 asks, “What’s going on brother? What borough of Jew York do you live in?” A consumer with the ID 13861 writes again, saying they stay in North Jersey.
“Where at in North Jersey? I live near Summit,” consumer 13110 replies.
The City of Summit is just a few miles from New Providence, the place Collins resides.
Each Iron March message is related to a consumer’s distinctive Internet Protocol tackle, generally known as an IP tackle. The sequence of numbers is just like a person’s residence tackle and might present the place a person consumer’s geographical location is on the time they posted to the Internet.
User 13110 describes New Providence because the “most Kosher part of the United States so it makes it hard to find fellow Fascists.” He asks consumer 13861 in the event that they’re into paramilitary models.
“Would you ever be interested in meeting up? I know you’re brand new to the forum, but if you’re serious about your ideology, I’m trying to extend a liaison for Ethnic Europeans and meet up with some guys,” consumer 13110 writes. “I’m in my last year of High School and I’m enlisted in the Marine Corps, so I’ve been looking to make some local connections before I ship out.”
Collins is presently 20 years previous, quickly to show 21. Two years in the past, when the Iron March feedback had been made, Collins would have been 18 years previous, about to show 19. That is in line with a person of their final yr of highschool.
User 13110 later invitations the opposite poster to a small Facebook group chat he has arrange with three different males from New York and Pennsylvania, who’re additionally fascists he met on the Iron March chat board.
“I have a feeling you’re not a Mossad agent, so would you like to join our chat? It was originally for Polaks only but I think we can make an exception for some Vlachs lol,” he writes.
According to his now-deactivated Facebook web page, Collins seems to have Polish heritage. His mom has a Polish surname and he related to a number of Polish-language accounts.
User 13110 then supplies Collins’ Facebook URL tackle so the brand new consumer can be part of his small Facebook chat room. On his Facebook, Collins could be seen sporting his Marine Corps uniform. He’s a Boston Bruins and a Boston Red Sox fan. He beforehand lived in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
At one level in a dialog with one other consumer, 13110 reveals that, after his service, he plans on working as a personal army contractor or “creating a Paramilitary.”
“Have you considered Academi (Blackwater)?” he says. “I’m not too sure what they’re up to these days but that’s typically what most guys go for. Honestly the volatile conflicts these days seem too boring for me.”
User 13110’s interlocutor within the chat room additionally employed racist slurs throughout their dialog. One consumer he was chatting with stated that “killing some sand n****rs” contributes to the red-pilling of U.S. service members, an allusion to a well-liked extremist meme connoting studying the true nature of actuality.
An acquaintance of Collins, contacted by Newsweek, described the U.S. Marine as “sweet, but he has used some of the same terminology” employed within the Iron March message boards.
Newsweek granted anonymity to the acquaintance as a result of they feared retaliation. The supply stated Collins would primarily use the time period “Polaks” when describing his buddies.
The acquaintance additionally heard Collins use the phrase “Jew York,” an anti-Semitic time period additionally employed by consumer 13110.
“I just didn’t understand some of the phrases he said, mainly because he has family that’s Polish and he is from the Boston area,” the acquaintance recalled.
Last yr, alleged neo-Nazi and U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Vasillios Pistolis was convicted at a abstract court docket martial listening to on costs of disobeying orders and making false statements. Pistolis had been recognized by ProPublica and was the topic of a joint Frontline-ProPublica documentary as affiliated with the white supremacist teams Atomwaffen Division and the Traditionalist Worker Party. He additionally appeared to admit to collaborating in violent assaults on the notorious 2017 Charlottesville rally.
Defense Department guidelines prohibit troops from having any gang affiliation or espousing extremist ideologies. Lawmakers have in current months pressed army leaders to do extra to proactively fight currents of extremism within the armed forces.
New appropriations language inserted right into a proposed Pentagon finances for 2020 would require the army to submit a report back to Congress documenting violations of its insurance policies in opposition to extremism.
In a September 2018 poll carried out by The Military Times, round 22 p.c of troops reported seeing examples of white nationalism or racism amongst their friends. More than a 3rd of respondents stated white nationalism posed an even bigger menace to the United States than immigration points or the conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan.
“Association or participation with hate or extremist groups of any kind is directly contradictory to the core values of honor, courage, and commitment that we stand for as Marines, and isn’t tolerated by the Marine Corps,” stated 1st Lieutenant Wright.
“We are proud of the fact that Marines come from every race, creed, cultural background and walk of life. We expect every Marine to treat their fellow Marines with dignity and respect. Those who can’t value the contributions of others, regardless of background, are destructive to our culture, our warfighting ability, and have no place in our ranks,” stated 1st Lieutenant Wright.