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Federal Protection of “Oath Keepers” Kingpin Stewart Rhodes Breaks The Entire Capitol “Insurrection” Lie Wide Open

Hey Republicans, you can crack open the entire story of January 6, 2021 (“1/6”) with one simple, relentless question: what is the FBI and Army Counterintelligence’s relationship with Stewart Rhodes?

Stewart Rhodes is the founder, boss and kingpin of the Oath Keepers.

The Oath Keepers, we are told, are America’s largest militia, the most prominent antigovernment group in the United States, and the preeminent right-wing domestic extremist insider threat to the entire U.S. military.

Whatever the truth of these hyperbolic claims, the fact remains: the Oath Keepers are the most extensively prosecuted paramilitary group alleged to be involved in 1/6. Indeed, it was the alleged “pre-planned assault” on the Capitol by Stewart Rhodes’s alleged Oath Keepers lieutenants that was used as the key talking point to try to convert the day’s events from a protest into an “insurrection.”

But Stewart Rhodes is not simply a key figure in the Oath Keepers. Stewart Rhodes is the Oath Keepers, according to Oath Keepers board member Richard Mack.

Elmer Stewart Rhodes III — a one-time Army paratrooper, disbarred Yale lawyer, constitutionalist, gun enthusiast, and far-right media star — founded the group called the Oath Keepers in 2009. Since then, he has ridden crosscurrents of American anger and strife that ran from scrubby Western deserts to angry urban protests right into the Capitol rotunda.

Mack said he and others also raised concerns about the Oath Keepers’ participation in violent protests…

He said it had become clear that the board had no real power. “[Stewart Rhodes] is the Oath Keepers. It’s hard to separate the two,” Mack said. “It’s his organization, and he can do what he wants to do.”

Other dissenting voices found that they were no longer welcome. Jim Arroyo, the vice president of the Arizona chapter, said relations began to fray over Rhodes’ insistence on total control… [Buzzfeed]

A mere indictment of Stewart Rhodes, today, for the same conspiracy charges alleged against his underlings, would collapse the entire “threat” of the Oath Keepers that the country has heard so much about. From NPR:

Rhodes is the central figure of the organization. He is the founder, leader and center of gravity for the group. In theory, then, an indictment against Rhodes could lead to the group’s collapse.

The Justice Department argues that Stewart Rhodes both substantially organized and activated an imputed plan to use violence, on 1/6, in real-time, through a series of encrypted Signal messages beginning at 1:38 p.m., as Trump concluded his rally speech on the National Mall, and 62 minutes before Oath Keepers lieutenants allegedly formed a “military stack” to rush the Capitol doors.

These facts alone, as alleged, are more than legally sufficient to secure an indictment of Stewart Rhodes. We will walk you through the mountains of direct and circumstantial evidence built on top of these allegations, but readers must understand this: the only reason Stewart Rhodes is not in jail *right now* is because of a deliberate decision by the Justice Department to protect him.

Indeed, it is unclear whether the FBI has even sought to search Stewart Rhodes’s residence, personal belongings, or electronic devices, other than a single iPhone allegedly seized on the streets from agents in unmarked FBI vehicles in late April (since returned). For reasons discussed below, there is good reason to suspect the FBI will pursue a tightly controlled and very limited scope of investigation into Stewart Rhodes,. Beyond that narrow scope, they may not want the information they are likely to find.

Why doesn’t anyone at the FBI or DOJ want him?

If 1/6 was an “insurrection,” why protect the one man who, more than any other individual referenced in the charging documents of the 530+ open criminal cases, comes closest to the media’s ravenous description of a “lead insurrectionist?”

Is it possible that the Oath Keepers, the most prominent antigovernment group in the United States, has been run, in effect, by the United States government itself — and nobody has mentioned it until now?

Revolver News generated tremendous discussion and controversy with our previous piece exploring the possibility that some of the unindicted individuals referred to in the 1/6 charging documents may be undercover agents or informants.

With this piece, we intend to focus this discussion on a single individual, Person One; i.e., Stewart Rhodes — the leader of the Oath Keepers.

If it turns out that Stewart Rhodes has had a relationship with the federal government, the implications would be nothing short of staggering.

For Stewart Rhodes is not just a senior member of the Oath Keepers, he is the Oath Keepers.  Given the fact that the Oath Keepers are the major paramilitary organization imputed (by government and media alike) to be responsible for the most serious and egregious elements of the so-called 1/6 insurrection, it follows that it would not only be fair, but necessary to conclude that in an essential respect the 1/6 event was planned and orchestrated by elements of the government itself.

In other words, 1/6 was not the result of an intelligence failure as FBI Director Christopher Wray, the US Senate, and the media tells us. Rather, 1/6 was the result of an intelligence set-up.

The following questions should be shouted from every megaphone, every street corner, and every Congressional lectern until the American people get full and complete answers:

  • Does the FBI now, or has it ever, maintained a formal or informal relationship or point of contact with Stewart Rhodes, whether directly or indirectly, including through intermediaries?
  • Do any other Federal counterintelligence equities, whether in military, intelligence or law enforcement, including but not limited to Army Counterintelligence, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), or otherwise, maintain or have they ever maintained a formal or informal relationship with Stewart Rhodes, whether directly or indirectly, including through intermediaries?
  • If such a confidential relationship did exist between Stewart Rhodes and one or more U.S. counterintelligence equities, how do the FBI and other responsible agencies reconcile the enormous gravity of this omission from their previous deflections, non-answers, and boilerplate that they had “no actionable intelligence” before 1/6?
  • If such a confidential relationship did exist between Stewart Rhodes and one or more U.S. counterintelligence equities, does this explain the FBI and Justice Department’s failure to pursue criminal actions against Stewart Rhodes in similarly high-profile “right-wing conspiracy plots” in which Rhodes appears to have played a similarly driving role?
  • More specifically, did the FBI or any other U.S. counterintelligence equities maintain a discrete or confidential relationship with Stewart Rhodes during the 2014 Bundy Ranch standoff? Was this fact dispositive in the Justice Department’s decision to charge 19 defendants — including certain of Stewart Rhodes’s alleged Oath Keepers underlings — for conspiracy to obstruct a legal proceeding, and to spare Rhodes of similar charges?
  • Has the FBI even procured a search warrant for Stewart Rhodes’s personal residence and home electronics? If so, on what dates and what specific categories of evidence were sought?
  • If Stewart Rhodes is subsequently arrested after the date of this report (given the pressure these revelations are likely to generate), how does the Justice Department explain its failure to indict Stewart Rhodes on conspiracy charges for nearly six months, when its declared purpose for seeking bail denial for simple trespassers was the DOJ’s stated need to prevent “the immediate danger to the community” defendants allegedly posed? Given that multiple Oath Keepers were charged before the January 20th inauguration citing the need to stop their “immediate danger,” why did the DOJ not file immediate charges against Rhodes, and then make a superseding indictment later in time, as is their routine practice in 1/6 cases?

Before we turn to Stewart Rhodes’ statements and behavior leading up to and during 1/6, it is important to keep in mind the so-called “shock and awe” standard of prosecution applied to those actually indicted for 1/6 related crimes.

Lead 1/6 prosecutor Michael Sherwin explains this “Shock and Awe” standard in his own words:

Here is a partial transcript of Shwerin’s interview above:

Sherwin: I wanted to ensure, and our office wanted to ensure, that there was shock and awe. That we could charge as many people as possible before [January] 20th. And it worked because we saw through media posts that people were afraid to come back to D.C., because they were like, ‘If we go there, we’re going to get charged.’

We wanted to take out those individuals who were thumbing their noses at the public for what they did…

Narrator: Sherwin told us that the most serious cases so far focus on about two dozen members of far right militias.

In this article we focus our scrutiny and our suspicion on one individual, Person One, otherwise known as Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the paramilitary Oath Keepers group. In keeping with the structure of our previous report, we will examine the as-of-yet unindicted Mr. Rhodes’ actions and statements in light of the Shock and Awe standard of prosecution described above.

But we emphasize a caveat from our previous report:

It is essential here to make an important note of clarification. The purpose of this analysis here is not to aid in the prosecution of any of these unindicted co-conspirators. Rather, our aim is to point out that, given the standards of indictment applied to those actually indicted, it is very strange and indeed suspicious that certain unindicted co-conspirators have managed to avoid indictment. This does not necessarily mean that we approve of the standard of indictment itself. Quite the contrary, the aggressive standard of indictment and prosecution, through an unimaginably broad application of “conspiracy” charges, is immoral, unjust, and absurd.

The same applies to this piece, and to Mr. Rhodes himself. Revolver harbors no ill-will toward Mr. Rhodes and we are not interested in calling for his indictment. Our interest in Mr. Rhodes is limited solely to our interest in the question of Federal foreknowledge of and possible involvement in the events of 1/6.

Finally, to get a more concrete sense of what the Shock and Awe prosecutorial standard looks like in practice, we once more offer the case of George Tanios. Though in truth we could just as easily have picked one of the several hundreds of political prisoners being detained and subjected to third-world level abuse in prison.

Readers may recall from an earlier Revolver report that George Tanios and his companion Julian Khater have been charged with nine criminal counts for actions taken on 1/6 just outside the steps of the U.S. Capitol building.

The most serious charge was assault on an officer with a dangerous weapon, arising from Khater’s alleged use of Tanios’s chemical spray to tag Officer Sicknick and two other officers in the face.

There, Tanios: (1) did not go in the Capitol; (2) did not use any bear spray himself; (3) had bear spray in his backpack and when his buddy Khater reached in to take it out, Tanios actively tried to stop him; and (4) in the end, it turns out, as prosecutors now acknowledge, his buddy never even used the bear spray.

And still, the DOJ has slapped this 39-year-old sandwich shop owner, George Tanios, with 60 years worth of stacking “conspiracy” charges because he said, “Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet.”

As we proceed to consider the case of still unindicted Stewart Rhodes, keep in mind this George Tanios “Shock and Awe” standard of prosecution.

Stewart Rhodes’s Alleged Overt Acts

We will now chronicle Stewart Rhodes’s path from Election Day to so-called “Insurrection Day,” as alleged by the Justice Department.

The first cited event comes from a November 9th video conference on the platform GoToMeeting. According to the Oath Keepers indictment, Rhodes (Person One) said the following to his Oath Keeper followers in the meeting:

We’re going to defend the president, the duly elected president, and we call on him to do what needs to be done to save our country. Because if you don’t guys, you’re going to be in a bloody, bloody civil war, and a bloody – you can call it an insurrection or you can call it a war or fight.

The DOJ alleges that Rhodes (Person One) “called upon his followers to go to Washington D.C,” in order to let the President know “the people are behind him” and to prepare for, among other things, fights against Antifa:

PERSON  ONE  told  his  followers  they  needed  to  be  prepared to fight Antifa, which he characterized as a group of individuals with whom “if the fight comes, let the fight come.  Let Antifa – if they go kinetic on us, then we’ll go kinetic back on them.  I’m willing to sacrifice myself for that.  Let the fight start there.  That will give President Trump what he needs, frankly.  If things go kinetic, good.  If they throw bombs at us and shoot us, great, because that brings the  president  his  reason  and  rationale  for  dropping  the Insurrection  Act.

Talk of the “Insurrection Act” is commonplace in Rhodes’ communications with his Oath Keepers followers. What he seemed to convey is that the Oath Keepers should be primed for an insurrection and to stand-by armed, just in case Trump offered some (undefined) signal. This of course is an effective technique (common to agents provocateurs and other informants) to keep followers psychologically primed for violent action without making any explicit and direct command to do so. From the DOJ:

PERSON ONE continued, “I do want some Oath Keepers to stay on the outside, and to stay fully armed and prepared to go in armed, if they have to . . . .  So our posture’s gonna be that we’re posted outside of DC, um, awaiting the President’s orders.  . . . We hope he will give us the orders.  We want him to declare an insurrection, and to call us up as the militia.

One week after Election Day, in a November 10 public post on OathKeepers.org, Rhodes told his followers to ignore “D.C.’s ridiculous anti-gun laws” should they perceive a signal that President Trump has called them up as a militia:

Our men will be standing by, awaiting the President’s orders to call us up as the militia, which would override D.C.’s ridiculous anti-gun laws (by federal statute, all Americans from age 17-45 are subject to being called up as the militia by the President, and all military veterans are subject to being called up until age 65 because of our training and experience).  – Stay tuned for further details.

Rhodes further primed his followers for the possibility of major conflict, assuring them that “skilled special warfare veterans” will be “standing by armed, just outside D.C., as an emergency QRF” to step in with heavy weaponry, if necessary:

Oath Keepers will also have some of our most skilled special warfare veterans standing by armed, just outside D.C., as an emergency QRF in the event of a worst case scenario in D.C…

Reading this, one sees how Stewart Rhodes’ actions and behavior feed into the very worst narratives about 1/6 — narratives used to smear all patriots who participated in the event, and even all Trump supporters more broadly.

The situation looks even worse once one understands what exactly a “QRF” or “Quick Reaction Force” does.

In its proper military context, a Quick Reaction Force refers to a military unit that carries bombs, explosives and firearms around in cars, trucks or mobile units to enter violent situations with heavy weaponry:

Rhodes does not explicitly talk about his planned QRF comprised of “skilled special warfare veterans standing by armed” also having explosives. But explosives are both a common feature of QRFs in a military sense, and in fact Rhodes’s alleged Ohio Oath Keeper underling, the bar owner Jessica Watkins, was said to have had bomb-making instructions somewhere, whether physical or on a computer, when police arrested her.

Note that Jessica did not allegedly possess bomb-making materials, but bomb-making instructions. It could have been something she looked up because Stewart Rhodes was telling the group to form QRFs. We may never know. More than five months later, other than those recovered from a single phone, Rhodes’s personal communications from his own electronic devices still apparently haven’t been recovered.

What we know is this: Jessica Watkins was arrested on January 19. Stewart Rhodes is still a free man.

In that same November 10 public post referenced above, Stewart Rhodes concluded his message to his followers with a note from a “friend from Serbia” indicating “WHAT WE THE PEOPLE MUST DO.” This message, among other things, included calls to “gather in the capital,” “storm the Parliament” and engage in “complete disobedience” even though “I know, not nice, but it must be done.” And in so proceeding, the message assures, “no barricades will be strong enough to stop them, nor the police determined enough to stop them.”

On December 6, 2020, less than a month before 1/6, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes said the following:

Show the world who the traitors are, and then use the Insurrection Act to drop the hammer on them. And all of us veterans who swore that oath–until you’re age 65, you can be called up as the militia to support and defend the Constitution. He [President Trump] needs to know from you that you are with him, [and] that if [Trump] does not do it now while he is commander in chief, we’re going to have to do it ourselves later, in a much more desperate, much more bloody war. Let’s get it on now–while he is still the commander in chief.

On December 14, 2020, three weeks before 1/6, Rhodes continued to prime his membership of military veterans with the understanding that patriots would have to fight a “bloody civil war” after Trump conceded if Trump did not begin the “bloody civil war” before he left office:

Strike now. If you [President Trump] fail to act while you are still in office, we the people will have to fight a bloody civil war and revolution against these two illegitimate Communist China puppets, and their illegitimate regime, with all of the powers of the deep state behind them, with nominal command of all the might of our armed forces (though we fully expect many units or entire branches to refuse their orders and to fight against them)…

And later in the same post:

If you [President Trump] fail to do so, we the people will have to fight a bloody revolution/civil war…

In case any of his followers may have missed it, on December 23, 2020, Rhodes continued yet again with “Act Now! Do NOT Wait for Jan 6”:

If you fail to do your duty, you will leave We the People no choice but to walk in the Founders footsteps, by declaring the regime illegitimate, incapable of representing us, destructive of the just ends of government…  And, like the Founding generation, we will take to arms…, we will declare our independence from that puppet regime…

There are millions of American patriots standing ready.  Do not forsake them.  Do not leave them to have to do it all themselves.

The FBI and DOJ are well aware of all these data points, and have been since at least the middle of January 2021.

As early as one week before 1/6, Rhodes gathered all of his top lieutenants together in Signal chat group “DC OP: Jan 6 21”:

55. At  least  as  early  as  December  31,  2020,  WATKINS,  KELLY  MEGGS,  JAMES,  MINUTA, PERSON ONE, PERSON THREE,  PERSON TEN, and others known and unknown joined an invitation-only encrypted Signal group message titled “DC OP: Jan 6 21” (hereinafter the “Leadership Signal Chat”).

By January 2, 2021, Rhodes was getting regular updates  on the vaunted “ferry plot” that the media made so much hoopla about as a domestic terror threat. From Law & Crime:

Hours before Senate Republicans killed an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6th siege, federal prosecutors disclosed communications about how Oath Keepers allegedly plotted to storm Washington, D.C. with guns by boat by way of the Potomac River.

Rhodes’s own alleged Oath Keeper lieutenant was giving him constant updates on the so-called “ferry plot’s” status, right there in the Leadership Signal Chat:

68. On the evening of January 2, 2021, at about 5:43 p.m., KELLY MEGGS posted a map of Washington, D.C ., in the Leadership Signal Chat, along with the message, “1 if by land[,] North side of Lincoln Memorial[,] 2 if by sea[,] Corner of west basin and Ohio is a water transport landing !!”  KELLY MEGGS continued, “QRF rally points[.]  Water of the bridges get closed.”

The DOJ even references a Stewart Rhodes’s January 4, 2021 OathKeepers.org article as evidence of the Call To Action that alleged Oath Keepers 1/6  conspirators responded to in coming to the Capitol:

12. On January 4, 2021, PERSON ONE posted an article to the Oath Keepers website encouraging  Oath  Keeper  members  and  affiliates  to  go  to  Washington,  D.C.,  for  the  events  of  January 5-6, 2021, stating: “It is CRITICAL that all patriots who can be in DC get to DC to stand tall  in  support  of  President  Trump’s  fight  to  defeat  the  enemies  foreign  and  domestic  who  are  attempting a coup, through the massive vote fraud and related attacks on our Republic.  We Oath Keepers are both honor-bound and eager to be there in strength to do our part.”

13. In his January 4 post, PERSON ONE also observed: “As we have done on all recent DC Ops, we will also have well armed and equipped QRF teams on standby, outside DC, in the event of a worst case scenario, where the President calls us up as part of the militia to to assist him inside DC.  We don’t expect a need for him to call on us for that at this time, but we stand ready if he does (and we also stand ready to answer the call to serve as militia anytime in the future, and anywhere in our nation, if he does invoke the Insurrection Act).”

14. PERSON ONE named PERSON TEN to be the leader of his group’s operations in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021.

On January 4, Stewart Rhodes’s operations commander, “Person 10,” checks into the “QRF hotel.” Recall that QRF (Quick Reaction Force) is a military term that Rhodes evidently employs to refer to Oath Keepers’ stash of weapons to be used if/when called upon.

Person 10’s room  in the “QRF hotel” was reserved and paid for by — Stewart Rhodes:

82. On January 4, 2021, PERSON TEN checked into the Hilton Garden Inn in Vienna, Virginia.  The room was reserved and paid for using a credit card in PERSON ONE’s name.

The day before 1/6, Stewart Rhodes himself checked in to the “QRF hotel” where his lieutenants all set up the day before.

85. On  January  5,  2021,  PERSON  ONE  and  MINUTA  separately  traveled  to  the  Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and checked into the Hilton Garden Inn in Vienna, Virginia.

So much for the highlights regarding Rhodes’ activities leading up to 1/6.

The following presents a sample of Stewart Rhodes’ activity and communications on the day of 1/6. All of the following excerpts are from the indictment linked above.

105. At 1:25 p.m., PERSON ONE messaged the Leadership Signal Chat, “Pence is doing nothing.  As  I  predicted.”   About  15  minutes  later,  he  sent  another  message,  stating,  “All  I see Trump doing is complaining.  I see no intent by him to do anything.  So the patriots are taking it into their own hands.  They’ve had enough.”

106. At  1:48  p.m.,  PERSON  ONE  sent  a  message  to  the  Leadership  Signal  Chat  informing the group that he was on his way to the Capitol.

Note how the specificity suddenly drops off in paragraph 106. Every other text in this indictment is a direct quote. And then suddenly, for no reason, the specific words of the text are not quoted. Instead, we just get the paragraph “informing the group that he was on his way.” Well, what exactly did he say? How did he say it? Was it just “On my way”? Was it enthusiastic encouragement? Were there direct orders or stronger suggestions?

114. At 2:03 p.m., the administrator of the “Stop the Steal J6” Zello channel directed the group, “You are executing citizen’s arrest.  Arrest this assembly, we have probable cause for acts of treason, election fraud . . . .”

115. At 2:06 p.m., PERSON ONE sent another message to the Leadership Signal Chat asking for PERSON TEN’s location before stating, “I’m trying to get to you.” 

119. At 2:14 p.m., PERSON TEN wrote to the Leadership Signal Chat, “The have taken ground at the capital[.]  We need to regroup any members who are not on mission.”

120. At 2:15 p.m., PERSON ONE placed a phone call to KELLY MEGGS, which lasted approximately 15 seconds

123. At 2:24 p.m., KELLY MEGGS placed a phone call to PERSON ONE, which lasted approximately 2 seconds.

124. At  2:25  p.m.,  PERSON  ONE  forwarded  PERSON  TEN’s  message  (“The  have  taken ground at the capital[.]  We need to regroup any members who are not on mission.”) to the Leadership Signal Chat and instructed: “Come to South Side of Capitol on steps” and then sent a photograph showing the southeast side of the Capitol.

Kelly Meggs, one should recall, is among those Oath Keepers indicted on February 19.

At 2:35 p.m., Meggs along with several others joined together to form the so-called “military stack” formation that we hear so much about in the press. Prosecutor Michael Sherwin makes a huge deal of the so-called stack in the “Shock and Awe” interview we addressed above.

The following gives a sense of Rhodes’ activity leading up to the stack formation at 2:35 p.m. (again from the indictment):

126. 2:31 p.m., PERSON TEN placed a phone call to PERSON ONE, which lasted approximately 5 minutes and 25 seconds.

127. At 2:32 p.m., KELLY MEGGS placed a phone call to PERSON ONE, which lasted approximately 1 minute and 37 seconds.

130. At  2:33  p.m.,  JAMES  placed  a  phone  call  to  PERSON  TEN,  which  lasted approximately 49 seconds.

At around 4 p.m. the Oath Keepers come out of the Capitol and allegedly gathered around Stewart Rhodes:

One additional charged member of the group has denied knowing that Person One was on the Capitol grounds on January 6, 2021.  However, publicly available photographs and video show someone consistent in appearance with Person One on the east side of the Capitol on the afternoon of January 6, 2021.  At one point, around 4:00 p.m.—as many rioters were exiting the Capitol—a large group that included co-defendants Kelly Meggs, Connie Meggs, Graydon Young, Laura Steele, other members of the stack, and other individuals wearing “Oath Keepers” clothing and insignia who also stormed the Capitol gathered around Person One and stood around waiting for at least ten minutes in that location.

Note that at this time, Trump was continually telling protesters to stop and go home. At 4:17 p.m., Trump tweeted: 

This was a fraudulent election but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You’ve seen the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel, but go home, and go home in peace.

Rhodes never made such a tempering statement on 1/6 in any of these filings, despite the fact these Oath Keepers lieutenants were all allegedly recruited to and trained as Rhodes’ militia, under Rhodes’ alleged organizational command.

In fact, that very night of 1/6, as members of his own militia were dejected about the day’s events, Rhodes reassured them that they had done the right thing. At 7:41 p.m., three hours after the last protester left the Capitol, Rhodes texted the Leaders chat:

The founding generation Sons of Liberty stormed the mansion of the corrupt Royal Governor of Massachusetts, and trashed the place. They also jumped on board a ship carrying East India Tea, and dumped it in the harbor. We are actually in a far more deadly situation given the FACT that enemies foreign and domestic have subverted, infiltrated, and taken over near every single office and level of power in this nation. We have one FINAL chance to get Trump to do his job and his duty. Patriots entering their own Capitol to send a message to the traitors is NOTHING compared to what’s coming if Trump doesn’t take decisive action right now. It helped to send that message to HIM. He was the most important audience today. I hope he got the message.

As we conclude this section, it is important to take stock of the material presented so far. Given the above selection of Stewart Rhodes’s actions and words leading up to and on 1/6, and given that Rhodes is the leader of the major militia group associated with 1/6 — why no indictment for Rhodes?

This pressing and decisive question cannot be considered in isolation. Instead, as we have argued throughout this series, it must be considered in light of the maximally severe standard of “Shock and Awe” prosecution applied to those indicted for 1/6 crimes. After having looked at Rhodes’s statements and actions leading up to 1/6, and noting that a sandwich shop owner George Tanios faces 60 years for the utterance “no, no, not yet,” is it not bizarre that Mr. Rhodes hasn’t yet been indicted?

At the time of writing, countless Americans are being held in prison under abusive and unjust conditions for minor if not non-existent offenses related to 1/6. The reason for such severity is the notion that 1/6 was an attempt at an insurrection, an organized and planned attempt to “siege” the Capitol and obstruct the healthy functioning of our democracy. And yet, when we examine the evidence, it appears that the overwhelming share of “insurrectionist” words and actions associated with 1/6 come from the Oath Keepers organization. How then do we explain hundreds of Ordinary Joes rotting in prison and George Tanios facing 60 years in light of the leader and founder of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, being charged with nothing?

Now is the time to emphasize another caveat. While we strenuously disagree with Rhodes’s rhetoric about “bloody civil war” and insurrections, the purpose of this is not to take issue with or criticize all of the Oath Keepers’ beliefs. Some of the Oath Keepers’ stated beliefs seem very reasonable — their stated resistance to totalitarian overreach, skepticism about the 2020 Presidential election, support for the 2nd Amendment and so forth.

Precisely because many patriots will find much of the Oath Keepers’ beliefs reasonable and attractive, we have no doubt that many members of the Oath Keepers organization are good, well-meaning patriots (and many veterans) who simply found the wrong outlet and organization to fight against the corrupt ruling class of our country.

We sympathize with these patriots and the position they’re in. But the reality is that it is very unlikely that any organization or militia with the stated purpose of the Oath Keepers to recruit law enforcement officers and veterans can help but become, in effect, a honeypot trap. And this is what we believe the Oath Keepers is at the highest organizational level, and we believe the overwhelming share of evidence indicates that Stewart Rhodes’s primary purpose is to fulfill this deceptive function on behalf of elements within the government.

Finally, we re-emphasize our earlier caveat. The purpose of this expose is not to target Mr. Rhodes personally nor are we interested in him being indicted. Our interest is in the federal infiltration, involvement and foreknowledge of 1/6.

In the following section, we will draw upon the information above among other important details and observations to make a more focused legal case for conspiracy that could be the basis of the indictment of Mr. Rhodes. The notion that it would be difficult to put together such an indictment is simply not sustainable. Again, the purpose here is not to encourage Rhodes’ indictment per se but to draw careful attention to the by now unavoidable conclusion that he’s being protected. The following section is especially important  for the army of regime media “fact checkers” who inevitably will descend like hyenas upon this groundbreaking, dangerous, and yet vitally important investigative piece.

Understanding the Prosecution (or lack thereof)

The first Oath Keepers arrests were made on January 19, the day before President Joe Biden’s inauguration. These high-profile Oath Keepers arrests generated Inauguration Day proof, it seemed, that at least a handful of the 1/6 participants engaged in activities that might be described as “insurrectionist.”

Three self-styled militia members charged in the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol began soliciting recruits for potential violence within days of the 2020 presidential election, later training in Ohio and North Carolina and organizing travel to Washington with a busload of comrades and a truck of weapons, U.S. authorities alleged Wednesday.

The arrests this weekend of several people with alleged ties to far-right extremist groups, including the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters, suggest that the riot was not an entirely impulsive outburst of violence but an event instigated or exploited by organized groups. Hours of video posted on social media and pored over by investigators have focused on individuals in military-style gear moving together.

The indictments come one day after Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin said that investigators are turning their focus to whether militia groups and individuals in several states may have coordinated or planned ahead of time to commit criminal actsLaw enforcement officials have focused on the Oath Keepers, the nativist Proud Boys, and Three Percenters, another anti-government group that takes its name from the bogus claim that only 3 percent of the colonists supported the American Revolution against the British.

From those January 19 arrests until the present day, Stewart Rhodes features prominently as the star of every Oath Keepers indictment. That includes four superseding indictments to add new defendants and new charges.

It is important to recall that the specific charge against the indicted Oath Keepers on 1/6 is not simply or even primarily, as is widely assumed, “storming of the Capitol.” Rather, the indicted Oath Keepers mentioned above first and foremost face charges of conspiracy to obstruct Congress:

Three individuals associated with the Oath Keepers, a paramilitary organization focused on recruitment of current and former military, law enforcement, and first responder personnel, were indicted today in federal court in the District of Columbia for conspiring to obstruct Congress, among other charges.

Jessica Marie Watkins, 38, and Donovan Ray Crowl, 50, both of Champaign County, Ohio; and Thomas Caldwell, 65, of Clarke County, Virginia, were indicted today in federal court in the District of Columbia on charges of conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, destruction of government property, and unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 1512, 1361, and 1752. Watkins and Crowl were arrested on Jan. 18; Caldwell was arrested on Jan. 19. All three individuals originally were charged by criminal complaint. The maximum penalty for Obstructing an Official Proceeding is a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The reason this is relevant is that one not need to have entered the Capitol for the conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding to apply. All that needs to be shown for an indictment is that an individual entered into the criminal conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and took a so-called “overt action” in furtherance of that conspiracy.

It is especially interesting, then, to compare the government’s descriptions of the words and actions of Stewart Rhodes with its descriptions of other indicted Oath Keepers whose actions constitute “overt actions” required in the government’s minds to indict for this particular alleged criminal conspiracy — that is, obstructing the Senate proceeding. To start with, we encourage the reader to review the previous section chronicling Rhodes’s actions and behavior leading up to and on 1/6 in some depth.

For now, we turn our attention to a remarkable government document expressing opposition to indicted Oath Keeper Thomas Caldwell’s motion for bail.

Pay particular attention to the government’s understanding of the conspiracy for which Caldwell is indicted, as well as the language the government uses to describe Oath Keepers founder and leader Stewart Rhodes:

Evidence that the government will disclose to the defense this week—a Signal chat called “DC OP: Jan 6 21”—shows that individuals, including those alleged to have conspired with the defendant, were actively planning to use force and violence.  The participants in this chat include:  Person One, Kelly Meggs, Jessica Watkins, and regional Oath Keeper leaders from multiple states across the country…

So here the government references Stewart Rhodes (Person One) as a participant in a Signal chat “DC OP” (and boy was it ever) whose participants, again, according to the government, were “actively planning to use force and violence.” The especially remarkable thing is that Caldwell, the subject of the indictment itself, is not even a member of the Signal chat, whereas the unindicted Stewart Rhodes is.

The government document continues:

The chat discusses members and affiliates of the Oath Keepers coming to Washington, D.C., for the events of January 5-6, 2021, to provide security to speakers and VIPs at the events.  There is no discussion of forcibly entering the Capitol until January 6, 2021.  However, there is talk about being prepared for violence…”

Person One also says, “Highly recommend a C or D cell flashlight if you have one. Collapsible Batons are a grey area in the law. I bring one. But I’m willing to take that risk because I love em…”

These messages echo the words of Person One in the call for action he posted to the Oath Keepers website on January 4, 2021, in which he stated: “It is CRITICAL that all patriots who can be in DC get to DC to stand tall in support of President Trump’s fight to defeat the enemies foreign and domestic who are attempting a coup, through the massive vote fraud and related attacks on our Republic.  We Oath Keepers are both honor-bound and eager to be there in strength to do our part,” including “prepar[ing] to do whatever must be done to honor our oaths[.]”  (ECF No. 18 at 2.)  These statements and messages all show that the co-conspirators joined together to stop Congress’s certification of the Electoral College vote, and they were prepared to use violence, if necessary, to effect this purpose.

The prosecution concedes that there is no explicit discussion of forcibly entering the Capitol, but then notes that there is talk of being prepared for violence. Rather than reference anything that Caldwell (the defendant) said, the government cites Stewart Rhodes’s talk about coming prepared for violence with collapsible batons. And then the government uses the specific phrase “call to action” to describe Rhodes’s call to patriots to go to DC. The government concludes by saying that the aforementioned statements and messages all demonstrate a conspiracy to stop congressional certification.

We leave aside whether the government’s claim that such statements and actions establish a conspiracy in their own right. That is not the central issue here. The issue is that the government essentially claims Caldwell is part of a conspiracy and yet overwhelmingly cites not Caldwell’s but Caldwell’s Oath Keeper commander Stewart Rhodes’ communications and “calls to action” as establishing said conspiracy. At this juncture we are not saying that either Caldwell or Rhodes is justly guilty of conspiracy. Rather, we are pointing out the glaring discrepancy in the fact that Caldwell is indicted and Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers whose communications and actions are said to establish the conspiracy, remains free and unindicted.

Again, why is the government protecting Rhodes?

It gets even worse. Federal prosecutors continue:

It does not matter whether they planned to use this violence to support the president when he invoked the insurrection act or to attack the Capitol if the vice president allowed the certification to go forward—under either scenario, they were plotting to use violence to support the unlawful obstruction of a Congressional proceeding.

Again, this is a remarkable position for the government to have given the repeated and numerous instances in which Rhodes would psychologically prime his followers for bloody violence just in case President Trump gave some unspecified signal activating the Insurrection Act. A more comprehensive list can be found in the previous section. For convenience, here are a few selected from the previous section:

We’re going to defend the president, the duly elected president, and we call on him to do what needs to be done to save our country. Because if you don’t guys, you’re going to be in a bloody, bloody civil war, and a bloody – you can call it an insurrection or you can call it a war or fight.

PERSON  ONE  told  his  followers  they  needed  to  be  prepared to fight Antifa, which he characterized as a group of individuals with whom “if the fight comes, let the fight come.  Let Antifa – if they go kinetic on us, then we’ll go kinetic back on them.  I’m willing to sacrifice myself for that.  Let the fight start there.  That will give President Trump what he needs, frankly.  If things go kinetic, good.  If they throw bombs at us and shoot us, great, because that brings the  president  his  reason  and  rationale  for  dropping  the Insurrection  Act.

PERSON ONE continued, “I do want some Oath Keepers to stay on the outside, and to stay fully armed and prepared to go in armed, if they have to . . . .  So our posture’s gonna be that we’re posted outside of DC, um, awaiting the President’s orders.  . . . We hope he will give us the orders.  We want him to declare an insurrection, and to call us up as the militia.

[Person 1] Our men will be standing by, awaiting the President’s orders to call us up as the militia, which would override D.C.’s ridiculous anti-gun laws (by federal statute, all Americans from age 17-45 are subject to being called up as the militia by the President, and all military veterans are subject to being called up until age 65 because of our training and experience).  – Stay tuned for further details.

Rhodes further primed his followers for the possibility of major conflict, assuring them that “skilled special warfare veterans” will be “standing by armed, just outside D.C., as an emergency QRF” to step in with heavy weaponry, if necessary:

Oath Keepers will also have some of our most skilled special warfare veterans standing by armed, just outside D.C., as an emergency QRF in the event of a worst case scenario in D.C...