Active Duty Marine Who Posted Racist Slurs on Neo-Nazi Website Is Identified: 'Anybody Else With Our Views?'

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A photograph of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Liam J. Collins, 20, a rifleman with 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, an infantry unit out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Facebook

Embedded among the chat logs from a now-defunct neo-Nazi and white supremacist message board are anti-Semitic and racist remarks directed at multiple ethnic groups—written by an active-duty U.S. Marine Corps infantryman.

Vice reported that at least three members of the U.S. military were posters on the message boards of Iron March, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as an "influential online gathering place for young neo-Nazis and neo-fascists."

Vice did not identify the posters, but Newsweek has identified one of them as U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Liam J. Collins, 20, a rifleman with 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, an infantry unit out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Collins, as user 13110, posted at least 21 times on the message boards of Iron March.

Newsweek attempted to reach Collins multiple times on Thursday and Friday, using a phone number associated with him and via email and through social media. Just before publication of this story, Collins deactivated his Facebook account.

In a statement to Newsweek, the Marine Corps said 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 anonymous user going by the name of "antifa-data" appears to have uploaded files containing volumes of messages from Iron March participants, many of whom claim an affiliation with the U.S. military.

The independent investigative news site Bellingcat noted the data dump, which contains not only the contents of individual messages but IP addresses and unique user IDs associated with each message.

A former U.S. Army infantry officer contacted Newsweek Wednesday with information about an active-duty U.S. Marine within the database. The former soldier, who has no relationship with or ties to Collins, requested anonymity due to fear of retaliation from neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.

A spreadsheet containing over 100 posts from the database and accompanying metadata was provided to Newsweek. In a message to another participant, the user Newsweek identified as Collins posted a link to Collins' Facebook profile, saying "Add me."

Further confirmation came through statements made by that user in the chat room. The authenticity of the database has not been independently verified by Newsweek but is believed to contain raw data from the Iron March message boards, according to the U.S. Army source and researchers.

Newsweek reporters found that the IP address associated with user 13110 traced back to New Providence, New Jersey. Voter registration information and U.S. military records reviewed by Newsweek show that Collins' home address is in New Providence.

The Iron March forum is believed to be founded by Alexander Mukhitdinov. While Iron March was active, Brandon Russell—a co-founder of the notorious neo-Nazi group Attomwaffen Division which participated in the Charlottesville, Virginia, violence in 2017—posted a document containing information about "paramilitary tactics" to the Iron March forums in mid-May 2017, according to SPLC.

The Iron March website is linked to several acts of violence and terrorism, according to SPLC and a report in Vice News. Comments posted to the message board from the individual believed to be Collins seem to have occurred before he underwent Marine boot camp but while under a Marine infantry contract, known as the Delayed Entry Program, with the U.S. military.

In a statement to Newsweek on Thursday, Marine spokesman 1st Lieutenant Joe Wright said, "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 said a revised order signed by former Marine Commandant General Robert Neller in March 2018, updated and aligned existing Marine Corps policy with Defense Department instructions 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 said the order reaffirms the service's commitment 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, under an infantry contract, according to a copy of his personnel file Newsweek reviewed.

The Iron March spreadsheet did not include dates and timestamps, although statements on the messageboard posted by Iron March user 13110, identified by Newsweek as Collins, indicate they were made in or around the spring of 2017.

"Have you been keeping up with Trump?" he asked another user. "Him and Maddog are lashing out at Iran."

The reference to former Defense Secretary James "Mad Dog" Mattis suggests the comments came during Mattis's tenure in the Trump administration. Because Iron March was deactivated in November 2017, the posts were likely made earlier that year.

A CNN article from February 2017 corroborates this timeline, noting Mattis's fiery statements against Iran and describing them as "his first comments on the country."

The comments were made before Collins underwent Marine boot camp training but after he had signed up to 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 user 13110 posted.

Collins' military personnel file reviewed by Newsweek shows that he entered the U.S. Marines under a UH contract and was trained as a 0311—a Marine infantry rifleman—which falls under the 0300 designation.

This particular message was one of two that was not associated with the New Providence IP address but an IP address based in neighboring New York. However, the messages are linked by the same unique author ID.

The user asks other military veterans in the chat room for advice on how to best navigate Marine Corps boot camp and the ruck marches at the School of Infantry, located at Camp Geiger in North Carolina, where Collins would undergo Marine infantry training.

At one point, he writes to another 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 post spelled out the racist slur in full.)

Another post from user 13110 indicates that he will undergo Marine boot camp in the summer of 2017. This statement aligns with when Collins began basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina, in August 2017, some three months before the Iron March chat board would 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 user 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 in the chat board, he begins to correspond with another Iron March poster. 13110 asks, "What's going on brother? What borough of Jew York do you live in?" A user with the ID 13861 writes back, saying they live in North Jersey.

"Where at in North Jersey? I live near Summit," user 13110 replies.

The City of Summit is only a few miles from New Providence, where Collins resides.

Each Iron March message is associated with a user's unique Internet Protocol address, known as an IP address. The sequence of numbers is similar to an individual's home address and can show where an individual user's geographical location is at the time they posted to the Internet.

User 13110 describes New Providence as the "most Kosher part of the United States so it makes it hard to find fellow Fascists." He asks user 13861 if they're into paramilitary units.

"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," user 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 old, soon to turn 21. Two years ago, when the Iron March comments were made, Collins would have been 18 years old, about to turn 19. That is consistent with an individual in their last year of high school.

User 13110 later invites the other poster to a small Facebook group chat he has set up with three other men from New York and Pennsylvania, who are also 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 page, Collins appears to have Polish heritage. His mother has a Polish surname and he associated with multiple Polish-language accounts.

User 13110 then provides Collins' Facebook URL address so the new user can join his small Facebook chat room. On his Facebook, Collins can be seen wearing his Marine Corps uniform. He's a Boston Bruins and a Boston Red Sox fan. He previously lived in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

At one point in a conversation with another user, 13110 reveals that, after his service, he plans on working as a private military 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 in the chat room also employed racist slurs during their conversation. One user he was chatting with said that "killing some sand n****rs" contributes to the red-pilling of U.S. service members, an allusion to a popular extremist meme connoting learning the true nature of reality.

An acquaintance of Collins, contacted by Newsweek, described the U.S. Marine as "sweet, but he has used some of the same terminology" employed in the Iron March message boards.

Newsweek granted anonymity to the acquaintance because they feared retaliation. The source said Collins would mainly use the term "Polaks" when describing his friends.

The acquaintance also heard Collins use the phrase "Jew York," an anti-Semitic term also employed by user 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 year, alleged neo-Nazi and U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Vasillios Pistolis was convicted at a summary court martial hearing on charges of disobeying orders and making false statements. Pistolis had been identified by ProPublica and was the subject of a joint Frontline-ProPublica documentary as affiliated with the white supremacist groups Atomwaffen Division and the Traditionalist Worker Party. He also appeared to confess to participating in violent assaults at the infamous 2017 Charlottesville rally.

Defense Department rules prohibit troops from having any gang affiliation or espousing extremist ideologies. Lawmakers have in recent months pressed military leaders to do more to proactively combat currents of extremism in the armed forces.

New appropriations language inserted into a proposed Pentagon budget for 2020 would require the military to submit a report to Congress documenting violations of its policies against extremism.

In a September 2018 poll conducted by The Military Times, around 22 percent of troops reported seeing examples of white nationalism or racism among their peers. More than a third of respondents said white nationalism posed a bigger threat to the United States than immigration issues 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," said 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," said 1st Lieutenant Wright.

This article has been updated to correct a quote in the headline.

Active Duty Marine Who Posted Racist Slurs on Neo-Nazi Website Is Identified: 'Anybody Else With Our Views?' | U.S.