A group of far-right media figures is using social media to recruit for its newly formed militia

The group is recruiting on Instagram, despite Meta’s previous crackdowns on militias

NAPALM members

Citation Molly Butler / Media Matters

Update (6/11/24): After the publication of this article, the militia’s Instagram account was removed from the platform.

A group of far-right media figures has announced the formation of a militia group that is dedicated to “mobiliz[ing] to DEFEND this Republic from any enemy.” The newly formed group includes Rumble streamers Pete Santilli and Stew Peters, who have both called for political opponents to be killed. The militia has established several social media accounts with the apparent aim of recruiting members, including an account on Instagram.

On June 3, podcaster and alleged January 6 participant Jake Lang announced a “NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONAL MILITIA” called the “North American Patriot and Liberty Militia,” or “NAPALM” for short. Lang claimed that NAPALM was “organized and ready to mobilize to DEFEND this Republic from any enemy. Forgien or Domestic.” Lang — who wrote that he would serve as “national chairman” of the militia group — “faces multiple charges of assaulting law enforcement officers” and has been held in jail ahead of his September trial for his alleged crimes and what a judge called “a continued willingness to engage in violence.”

The militia’s site, which was linked in the announcement post, claims that the militia already has “over 20,000+ members across all 50 states,” including “active Sheriffs, military, veterans, emergency responders, doctors, farmers, entrepreneurs, and blue collar Americans.”

Besides Lang, the site claims that several far-right figures are allegedly involved with the militia:

  • Ann Vandersteel, the apparent “national vice chairman” of the militia, is a QAnon-supporting podcast host who has promoted sovereign citizen ideology — a movement which the FBI has labeled a domestic terror threat.
  • Pete Santilli, the apparent “strategic operations director” and self-described “legal liaison” for the militia, is a right-wing radio host who has repeatedly threatened public officials with violence. Santilli wrote that the militia was “prepared to … lay our lives on the line if necessary” against “tyrants.” He has previously called for the entire Bush family and former President Barack Obama to be “tried, convicted and shot” for “treason,” declared that he wanted to shoot former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and called for violence if a trucker protest failed. Santilli also urged his listeners to flock to Cliven Bundy’s ranch during a standoff with federal officials, urging them to “fight to the death,” and he has called for “100 million people to take up arms to defend our nation.” Santilli has also lauded the QAnon community, admitting that he “used to actually pull from the Q boards.” 
  • Stew Peters, the apparent “national communications director” for the militia, is a white nationalist podcast host who has repeatedly pushed conspiracy theories, including those related to QAnon. Peters has repeatedly called for violence, demanding “potential punishments” including death sentences for “these traitors that have stolen our country,” and telling viewers that “guns are going to have to be used to save our country” against the government. His calls for violence have included calling for Anthony Fauci to “hang from a length of thick rope,” calling for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Taylor Swift, NFL player Travis Kelce, journalists who promoted COVID-19 vaccines, and FBI agents who supposedly targeted former President Donald Trump to be “indicted, tried and fried,” and calling for violence against Catholic Charities workers.
  • Couy Griffin, the apparent “New Mexico state commander” for the militia, was removed as county commissioner for Otero County, New Mexico, after a judge barred him from holding public office for participating in the January 6 insurrection. He has said that “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat” and addressed certain Democratic governors by saying, “Either go before a firing squad, or you get the end of the rope.” Griffin has also promoted QAnon.
  • Rochelle Richardson (commonly known as “Silk” of “Diamond and Silk”), the apparent “national recruiting coordinator” for the militia, is a right-wing commentator and former Fox Nation host.
  • Maureen Steele, the apparent “national secretary” for the militia, previously served as an organizer for the anti-vaccine People’s Convoy trucker protest.

The militia’s site also mentions the involvement of Richard Mack, a former Oath Keepers board member and founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Police Officers Association (CSPOA), which falsely claims that sheriffs are the highest law of the land, superseding any federal or state authority. Santilli has suggested that CSPOA will be working “in collaboration with” the militia.

In addition to those featured on the site, Lang also claimed that several other right-wing figures are involved, including:

  • Mindy Robinson, the militia’s apparent “Nevada state lieutenant commander,” who is a former QAnon-supporting congressional candidate
  • Anthony Sabatini, the militia’s apparent “national legal counsel,” who is a former QAnon-promoting Florida state representative 
  • James Brett, an alleged January 6 participant
  • Jeff Crouere, a Louisiana-based right-wing radio host and Real America’s Voice host
  • Jim Price, a Kansas-based right-wing radio host
  • Jeff Wagner, a former right-wing radio host from Wisconsin

To promote and recruit for the militia, the group established public, state-specific Telegram groups for people to join and then be vetted for more private chats. The militia urges people to “make your Telegram account anonymous before joining,” and a message in the public groups details next steps “to get you placed in your Vetted County Militia chat where you can message back and forth with other members & the Leadership.”

A subsequent message from a group administrator further details the vetting process, noting that “after everything checks out” people will get an “orientation” on “expectations, emergency protocols, and order of operations” for the militia. The message also promised to “ensure tyranny never takes a foothold in this AMAZING COUNTRY OF OURS” and to “Make Militias Great Again.”


Citation A message from an administrator in one of NAPALM's state Telegram groups

The militia also has an Instagram account — despite Meta previously banning certain militia groups from its platforms — that encourages people to join the militia and shared how to join its Telegram groups.

NAPALM Instagram