Federal Protection of “Oath Keepers” Kingpin Stewart Rhodes Breaks The Entire Capitol “Insurrection” Lie Wide Open
June 30, 2021 (5mo ago)

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

Yale Law School ‘04 graduate Elmer “Stewart” Rhodes, III.

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?

Stewart Rhodes and the “Shock and Awe” Standard

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.

READ MORE: Assault Charges Spell Problems for DOJ, FBI in Officer Sicknick Case

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.

READ MORE: MAGA Blood Libel: Why Are They Hiding the Medical Report?

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 acts. Law 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...

It is remarkable to read the above statements in light of the government’s own stated position that:

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.

And yet if this is the case, how on earth does one explain Caldwell’s indictment and Oath Keepers founder and kingpin Stewart Rhodes’ lack thereof?

The Caldwell prosecution’s opposition to bail motion continues:

The Signal chat referenced above shows that the group—which included at least two individuals alleged to have conspired with Caldwell—was activating a plan to use force on January 6.  At approximately 1:38 p.m., Person One wrote, “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.”  At 2:14 p.m., an individual leading the coordination of the security details run by the Oath Keepers on January 5-6 stated, “The have taken ground at the capital[.]  We need to regroup any members who are not on mission.”  Person One then reposted that message and instructed the group: “Come to South Side of Capitol on steps” and then sent a photograph showing the southeast side of the Capitol.  At 2:41 p.m., Person One posted another photograph showing the southeast side of the Capitol with the caption, “South side of US Capitol.  Patriots pounding on doors[.]”  At approximately 2:40 p.m., the individuals in the “stack,” to include co-defendants Kelly and Connnie Meggs, Jessica Watkins, Graydon Young, Laura Steele, Donovan Crowl, and Sandra Parker, forcibly entered the Capitol through the Rotunda door in the center of the east side of the building.

The above passage begins with government reference to the Signal group “activating a plan to use force” on January 6th. Stewart Rhodes was not only a member of the Signal group “activating a plan to use force”: the document goes on to directly quote Rhodes, multiple times, to support its claim of such activation.

U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin, who propounded the “Shock and Awe” standard of prosecution, made a very big deal about this 2:40 p.m. moment when the Oath Keepers formed a “military stack” and went into the U.S. Capitol. Meanwhile, we have seen that Sherwin’s own Justice Department argues in public filings that the whole thing was activated, at least in part, by the still-unindicted Stewart Rhodes. 

The passage below, which immediately follows the passage excerpted above and concludes the DOJ’s argument for “The Evidence of the Conspiracy” section, again reads like the entire DOJ case is against Stewart Rhodes, not his indicted alleged Oath Keepers underling Thomas Caldwell:

Kelly Meggs has denied that any one in particular made the decision or gave the command for the group to enter the building.  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.

And so we see that the government seems to assign culpability to “one additional charged member” on the basis of possibly knowing that Person One (Rhodes) was on the Capitol grounds on 1/6. And the government further goes on to stipulate that many of the co-defendants all gathered around to meet Person One (Rhodes) after exiting the Capitol, clearly suggesting Rhodes as the leader and organizer. And indeed, he’s the founder and head of the organization to which these co-defendants allegedly belong.

The government has, in effect, built its case against the 16 Oath Keepers in large part by saying “We know you’re guilty of conspiracy because we definitely know your leader Stewart Rhodes is guilty of conspiracy, and it looks like you were following your leader.”

But Stewart Rhodes is not even charged. He is still just “Person One.”

Almost as strange as Rhodes’ apparent protection from indictment is the complete lack of curiosity or skepticism as to why. Indeed, even as Revolver’s previous investigative report gained nationwide attention for suggesting that some of the unindicted persons named in charging documents were federal operatives, no media source to our knowledge has directed its suspicions at Oath Keepers founder and kingpin, Stewart Rhodes.

In early March, there was a barrage of headlines indicating Stewart Rhodes’s days were numbered.

On March 9, we had “Oath Keepers Leader Stewart Rhodes Directed Followers During Capitol Riot, Prosecutors Allege.

No one in broadcast or print media found it odd that: (1) this a conspiracy case; (2) federal prosecutors have pinpointed (in Caldwell’s bail motion document) Rhodes as a person who directed the conspiracy, in real-time; and (3) a key alleged director of the entire conspiracy is not actually indicted in the conspiracy.

On March 10, ABC News came in strong with “Federal prosecutors appear to home in on Oath Keepers founder for alleged role in Capitol attack”.

On March 25, Daily Beast bolted in, frothing at the mouth: “Violence on Jan 6. Wasn’t Enough for Oath Keepers Leader: New Docs”.

On March 26, Voice of America compensated for the lack of explanation for Rhodes’s total prosecutorial freedom by upping the ante: maybe they are weighing sedition charges! See e.g., “Prosecutors Shift Focus to Possible Seditious Conspiracy in Capitol Insurrection Probe”.

By late April, regime media seemed dejected, almost resigned to what an insurmountable challenge it was for prosecutors to indict Stewart Rhodes.

On April 20, the LATimes bemoaned “Prosecutors’ challenge in Capitol riot probe: The Oath Keeper who didn’t go inside”.

Although the Regime Media has not bothered to register any suspicion at Rhodes’ seeming protection, the collection of headlines above implicitly suggests the media is resting on two possible innocent explanations — both of which can be easily dismissed.

The first possible objection is that the government is just having a difficult time indicting Stewart Rhodes because he did not technically go inside the Capitol. As we have shown previously in this section, this possible objection is destroyed by the prosecutors’ own arguments. Indeed, the main indictment against the Oath Keepers is not storming the capitol or trespassing, but rather conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding (Senate certification). This does not require entering the Capitol.

Thomas Caldwell is not alleged to have gone inside the Capitol, and was indicted in the alleged conspiracy anyway. Furthermore, as we have seen above in this section, the prosecutors repeatedly refer to Stewart Rhodes’ communications, statements and actions to establish the basis for the very conspiracy for which they charged his underling Thomas Caldwell.

Not only did Thomas Caldwell not go in the U.S. Capitol, the prosecutors argue that Stewart Rhodes’ actions — and Thomas Caldwell’s proximity to those actions — are sufficient to pursue bail denial for Thomas Caldwell.

The second possible objection is that Rhodes has not been charged because the government is upping the ante and going for a full blown sedition conspiracy. But this doesn’t explain why Rhodes wouldn’t be indicted on lesser conspiracy charges right away, along with the 16 others. The DOJ could simply file a superseding indictment, and tack on additional charges later, while Rhodes is already arrested. 

This is not a RICO case. You don’t need any more evidence than you already have to indict Stewart Rhodes. All you need is agreement to the conspiracy and an overt act. You have his “agreement” a thousand ways from Sunday, all stipulated above. 

Need some overt acts? In the indictment alone, here’s a quick review based on material already presented in this article:

Overt acts by Stewart Rhodes in paragraphs 35, 55, 85, are all before January 6, and barely include the full range referenced. Then, in the “Overt Acts” specifically on the day of 1/6, the prosecutors allege (in the Caldwell bail document) Stewart Rhodes committed Overt Acts in furtherance of the conspiracy occurred in the section “Overt Acts: The January 6 Operation” section in paragraphs 100, 104, 105, 106, 112, 113, 115, 120, 124, 126, 127, 163, 164 and 165. 

In the present political and legal environment the Stewart Rhodes conspiracy charge is perhaps the single easiest indictment to bring in all of modern American history. We invite legal experts from CNN, New York Times etc. to try their best to read the Oath Keepers court docket and explain, formally, how there are not facts alleged sufficient to bring an indictment against Stewart Rhodes.

For the cherry on top, consider the following headline from March 10: Defense Secretary announces 2,300 National Guard troops will stay in DC for TWO more months as it’s revealed Oath Keepers leader ‘planned to use force and violence to storm the US Capitol’.

That was the headline everywhere. The Justice Department’s arch-nemesis, Stewart Rhodes, summoned like a Great Phantom Menace, wreaking havoc on downtown Washington from his cave in Afghanistan. From the Daily Mail:

Defense Secretary announces 2,300 National Guard troops will stay in DC for TWO more months as it’s revealed Oath Keepers leader ‘planned to use force and violence to storm the US Capitol’

  • U.S. prosecutors on Monday revealed they have new evidence tying the Oath Keepers to plans to use ‘force and violence’ during the Capitol riots
    It includes texts from the far-right militia’s leader Stewart Rhodes
  • They were found in texting app Signal in a chat named ‘DC OP: Jan 6 21’
  • ‘All I see Trump doing is complaining. I see no intent by him to do anything,’ Rhodes allegedly said in one text
  • He has not been publicly charged in connection with the breach of the Capitol
  • It comes as D.C. law enforcement says the threat to the Capitol remains
  • On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin formally approved an extension of the National Guard deployment for another two months
  • Close to 2,300 troops will continue to provide security in D.C. until May 23

If the DOJ wanted to go for sedition charges, it would have been far more advantageous to indict Rhodes five months ago, because Rhodes would be in a much weaker legal and financial position. He’d be fighting sedition charges while he’s already breaking down under the weight of conspiracy charges.

And come to think of it, is the government not worried that this allegedly dangerous leader of the “nation’s largest militia” might pose a flight risk post 1/6?

How about a security risk?

Was the DOJ not worried that Stewart Rhodes’s hyped up so-called radicalized paramilitary organization would plan “another” domestic terror attack? Rhodes texted to all of his lower-level lieutenants that 1/6 was “NOTHING compared to what’s coming.” The Justice Department ruthlessly indicted and moved to deny bail those who received that text — why is Rhodes being protected?

For a fuller answer to this disturbing question, we conclude our exhaustive analysis of Rhodes’s relationship with 1/6, and go back further in his biography.

The federal protection he seems to enjoy in relation to 1/6 indictment is nothing new, and in fact reflects a curious pattern in Rhodes’s life spanning decades.

Who is Elmer “Stewart” Rhodes III?

The November 2020 issue of The Atlantic contained a strangely prescient biography of Stewart Rhodes: “A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans: An Atlantic investigation reveals who they are and what they might do on Election Day.”

The piece, published two months before 1/6, described Rhodes as a ticking time tomb of a latent national security threat to the 2020 U.S. election. According to The Atlantic biography, after a long stint in the Army’s 72nd Airborne unit, Rhodes was allegedly discharged from service with a fractured spine, and found himself a 28 year-old car valet with no college education. In 1993, down and out, Rhodes then allegedly accidentally shot himself in the face with a loaded handgun, going blind in one eye. Through a still little-understood sequence of events, Stewart Rhodes went from down and out, to community college, to Yale Law School, arguably the most selective academic institution in the country. From the Atlantic:

Rhodes was a little-known libertarian blogger when he launched the Oath Keepers in early 2009… Rhodes had joined the military just out of high school, hoping to become a Green Beret, but his career was cut short when he fractured his spine during a parachute training jump. After his discharge, he worked as a firearms instructor and parked cars as a valet. In 1993, he dropped a loaded handgun and it shot him in the face, blinding him in his left eye. The brush with death inspired him, at 28, to enroll in community college. He went on to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, where he graduated summa cum laude, and then to Yale Law School.

Almost none of these details have actually been corroborated, according to Buzzfeed:

An Army spokesperson said they could not verify Rhodes’ service because it would have taken place too long ago; the National Archives said it is not processing service records requests during the pandemic.

Even the FBI has appeared skeptical of Stewart Rhodes’s ascension from 28-year old car valet with one eye and no college education to a prize-winning Yale School Law graduate turned founder of America’s largest militia. A January 9, 2014 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) document refers to Stewart Rhodes’s background from paratrooping to Yale with only the words “allegedly,” along with redacting every other detail that could prove useful to corroborating such history:

This is a frequent pattern. The FOIA has four consecutive pages of wholly redacted blocks. Not a single detail, apparently, is suitable for public consumption.

What little is unredacted from the FBI records on the Oath Keepers and Stewart Rhodes is replete with references to undercover informants and FBI surveillance absolutely swarming the group since its early years. Recall that “CHS” refers to Confidential Human Source:

The academic world’s apparent top expert on the Oath Keepers, Sam Jackson, also appears to have fallen short of independently confirming the official timeline of Rhodes’s mythical ascent from Army paratrooper to 28 year-old car valet in Montana with zero college education, to Yale Law School, then [Insert 4-Year Black Hole], then voila, the most prominent antigovernment group in the country. From YouTube:

“It’s not entirely clear what his background was immediately before starting the group,” Sam Jackson concludes. “He talked a little bit about why he formed the group. But one thing worth noting is, all of my research focuses on all of the communications that the group puts out. So it’s all things that they could strategically decide to reveal and it isn’t necessarily indicative of what really happened, if you want to make that distinction.

The blog from which the Oath Keepers sprouted was filled with the kind of fire and venom commonly associated with what is now known as “Fedposting” — outrageous, incendiary rhetoric that is technically lawful, but is also prone to generating leads for the FBI to pursue when the informant’s loyal followers amplify the rhetoric or formulate plans to take such rhetoric seriously.

For example, in a May 2009 Oath Keepers blog post, Rhodes responded to an alleged “delicate metro-sexual male student” who said he would follow immoral orders by military superiors by saying: “At that moment, I understood what H. L. Mencken meant when he said ‘every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.’”

Now, there is no bigger critic of social justice warrior poseurs taking the form of “delicate metro-sexual males” than Revolver. However, the issue here is that Rhodes’ behavior and context eerily and overwhelmingly appears to fit the pattern of a government informant or agent, dating back many years before the events of 1/6.

Typically, informants will put out such rhetoric as a honeytrap, and then report their own overzealous followers and adherents to Federal law enforcement. They collect checks for jailing their own well-intentioned patriot “comrades” whose lapses in judgment, intelligence, or self-control lead them one step too far down the path of escalating keyboard warrior rhetoric.

This was exactly the shtick, incidentally, of another high-profile right-wing “shock jock” patriot leader, Hal Turner, who was revealed to be a self-admitted “deep undercover intelligence operative” for the FBI. Incidentally, Hal Turner’s tenure with the FBI ended within mere months of Stewart Rhodes’s starting of the Oath Keepers:

They called him “Valhalla.”

But it was more than a nickname.

For more than five years, Hal Turner of North Bergen lived a double life.

The public knew him as an ultra-right-wing radio talk show host and Internet blogger with an audience of neo-Nazis and white supremacists attracted to his scorched-earth racism and bare-knuckles bashing of public figures. But to the FBI, and its expanding domestic counter-terror intelligence operations in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Turner was “Valhalla” – his code name as an informant who spied on his own controversial followers.

“I was not some street snitch,” Turner said in one of several lengthy interviews at the Hudson County Jail, where he was kept until the terms of his bail were worked out in October — terms that prevented him from talking to reporters after his release. “I was a deep undercover intelligence operative.” [NorthJersey.com]

A good example of how FBI informants such as Hal Turner repeatedly got loyal followers indicted for amplifying rhetoric coming from the informer is an email from Hal Turner to his handler, FBI Agent Stephen Haug, where he notes: “Once again, my fierce rhetoric has served to flush out a possible crazy”:

I wrote an opinion piece on my site today in which I opine about 46 US Senators who I believe should be removed from office on July 4 for betraying their constituents and this nation.

An anonymous person, posting on the outside, third-party visitor comments area of my web site wrote:

“Im going to kill senator feinfold on July 4th, may thomas paine smile upon me and alexander hamilton bless my cause. praise the lord and pass the ammunition.”

Once again, my fierce rhetoric has served to flush out a possible crazy.

From the very outset of Stewart Rhodes’s founding of the Oath Keepers, to his actions in advance of and on the day of 1/6, Stewart Rhodes’s entire career has been a case study in “fierce rhetoric” wherein Rhodes repeatedly rallies his followers to take action, and everyone gets indicted but him.

Perhaps the most notable example of this is the Rhodes’s involvement in the so-called Bundy Ranch affair in 2014.

In the early years of the Oath Keepers, from 2009-2013, Stewart Rhodes’s provocations were mostly limited to keyboard warrior activities, such as encouraging military veterans to disobey orders from their superiors en masse.  It’s worth noting if his adherents followed Stewart Rhodes’s dictates, they would be arrested or court-martialed. Rhodes’s rhetoric would “serve to flush out a possible crazy,” in Hal Turner’s words.

Then, in October 2013, Stewart Rhodes announced the Oath Keepers would be “operationalized” into special on-the-ground teams modeled after the U.S. Special Forces.

In April 2014, rancher Ammon Bundy set off a nationwide flashpoint for patriots versus the Federal government when his family stood their ground in defying orders by the Bureau of Land Management. In response, Stewart Rhodes put out a call for all Oath Keepers special teams to fly to Nevada’s Bundy Ranch to help the Bundy family in an armed standoff, even if that meant violently resisting unconstitutional orders issued by the Federal government.

Rhodes flew in, made speeches and promises for protection, then caused mass dissension within the Bundy Ranch and panic in the ranks by telling the group an Obama drone strike was imminent:

Media outlets reported on conflict between different factions of Bundy supporters. A “wild, paranoid rumor” that Attorney General Eric Holder was preparing a drone strike against them caused Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to remove his men from the supposed “kill zone.” In a recorded video, other Bundy supporters talked openly of shooting Rhodes for what they viewed as “desertion” and “cowardice.” Rhodes later described one situation as “this close from being a gunfight.” He recounted another situation in which he said a man drew a gun on a member of another militia.

Rhodes was then booted from Bundy Ranch by the unanimous vote of other militiamen on site, who openly described him as a likely FBI informant or federally-sponsored agent provocateur.

An incredible video clipped below shows all the hallmarks of a classic Stewart Rhodes sequence: a call to arms for Oath Keepers to stop a Federal enforcement action; threats of a bloodbath, then throwing other people out in front to be the footsoldiers of any armed or violent resistance.

Note that the entire Bundy family — including father Cliven and son Ammon, as well as friend of the family Ryan Payne who personally got Stewart Rhodes ejected, were all arrested for conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding (a similar charge for 1/6). Even though Stewart Rhodes flew in to help that obstruction, and a number of Rhodes’s fellow Oath Keepers were arrested for their activities, Stewart Rhodes got off scot-free, even though he gave every appearance of acting as a chief organizer and instigator:

In March of that year, federal officials began to round up Bundy’s cattle. One of his sons was arrested and cited for misdemeanors. Word spread, and members of militant groups from across the country poured in to support the Bundys, leading to an armed standoff near the Interstate 15 overpass.

Rhodes implored members and other supporters to come to Nevada or at least to make donations to the cause. “Whatever you can send will be a blessing for the Patriots out there in the Nevada landscape,” read a notice on the Oath Keepers’ website. “Just as in any military combat operation, the supply lines are extremely important for victory.”

Heavily armed Oath Keepers from around the country heeded the call.

Rhodes made the most of what had quickly become a media circus, holding multiple press conferences and appearing regularly on cable news networks wearing the group’s merchandise and displaying its Oath Keepers flag. The government, eager to avoid bloodshed, released the cattle, handing a huge victory to the protesters. But almost immediately afterward, Bundy started making racist comments, and conservative media dropped his cause. Within days, Rhodes pulled the Oath Keepers out, claiming he was concerned about the possibility of a government drone strike.

According to three former group members, the Bundy standoff had been a bonanza for the organization. Membership soared, two of them said, and donations poured into the group’s PayPal account. But despite pledges to support other militant groups involved in the standoff, little if any money ever reached them, according to Gary Hunt, who helped to lead a coalition of those groups.

“It was bullshit,” said Hunt, who characterized the Oath Keepers as deserters. Local militant groups banned them from returning, telling them “You’re lucky that you’re not getting shot in the back.”

Retired Marine sergeant and tea party activist Jerry DeLemus was one of many from around the country who had answered Rhodes’s call to action, driving nearly 3,000 miles from New Hampshire to Nevada, where he was made head of security, according to blog posts on the Oath Keepers’ site.

Two years later, DeLemus was arrested by the FBI on a variety of charges related to the standoff.

His wife, Sue DeLemus, a Republican member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, remembers the phone ringing a few days later. “Rhodes had one of his men call me and say, ‘Sue, it’s so sad. We want to help you. You can call us any time,’” she said. “What a joke. They never provided any help at all.”

Jerry, who eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy and interstate travel in aid of extortion, is still serving out a seven-year sentence.

“How come Stewart isn’t in prison?” Sue asked. “He was there. He told everyone to come.” [Buzzfeed]

Rhodes would repeat this shtick in various permutations from 2015 and 2016 with similar outings, like the Kim Davis affair and the Malheur National Wildlife Reserve stand-off. To fully go into these events would fall outside the scope of this study.

What is especially interesting to note, however, is the frequency with which Stewart Rhodes justifies his involvement in events with the pretext of providing bodyguard services, or “personal security” services. This was the same justification he gave to Sheriff Arpaio, who would later be probed by the FBI and indicted, and the same excuse Rhodes would later give to get close to Roger Stone, who the FBI has been eagerly pursuing for another round of indictments, as well as Alex Jones, Michael Flynn, and other VIPs at the November-December 2020 “Stop The Steal” events.

For what it’s worth, providing “security support”, free of charge, to leaders of “extremist groups” is by far the most popular cover story used by undercover FBI and Army counterintelligence operatives to gain personal access to VIP leaders of a network being spied on by government agencies. There is certain intel you only get by being up close, all day. For example:

-Tupac Shakur’s personal bodyguard was an FBI informant.
-Fred Hampton’s personal bodyguard was an FBI informant.
-Malcolm X’s personal bodyguard was an FBI informant.
-The personal bodyguard of the Aryan Nations key leader Richard Butler was an FBI informant.
-Even the chief of security for JFK investigator Jim Garrison was an FBI informant.

Put simply, dissident organizations can expect a lot of free offers for volunteer bodyguard services right before something very bad happens. And volunteering bodyguard services is precisely what Stewart Rhodes claimed he was doing to explain his presence around D.C. during the November-December “Stop the Steal” events.

The Bind 

Revolver’s previous investigative report generated tremendous attention and created a national conversation about the possibility of federal infiltration, incitement, and foreknowledge in relation to the events of 1/6.

If our first piece helped to focus the conversation about 1/6 on the possibility of federal infiltration and incitement, we hope this piece will focus the question of possible federal infiltration and incitement on Oath Keepers founder and boss Stewart Rhodes.

Perhaps there are innocent explanations to the facts and arguments supplied throughout this piece. If Stewart Rhodes has such answers, we are happy to entertain them in good faith. Again, this isn’t ultimately about Stewart Rhodes, this is about the United States Government — and the possibility that key and senior militia figures involved in the 1/6 event are in fact operatives of some (perhaps rogue) element of the national security state. After all, the national security state, with a compliant regime media, is using 1/6 to justify its domestic war on terror against patriotic American citizens. The stakes are high and the public deserves to know the truth, no matter how embarrassing or how dirty.

The virtual absence of real investigative journalism is part of the reason our national security state has gotten away with taking away so many of our liberties, and so fast. Revolver is happy to fill in this gap and operate on the cutting edge.

It is astonishing to us that no one had thought to bring up the Michigan kidnapping plot in light of 1/6. The Michigan plot involved the same action (storming of the state capitol) and one of the same major militia groups (Three Percenters). Not only was that plot heavily infiltrated (at least 5 of the 18 plotters turned out to be fed operatives), but the FBI agent who oversaw that infiltration operation got promoted to the DC office where he went on to oversee the 1/6 investigation. The parallels were remarkable, and it is still more remarkable that no journalist thought to ask whether there could have been similar infiltration in 1/6 — specially in the key militia groups implicated in the most egregious and spectacular elements of 1/6.

Similarly, no one in the national security state or in the Regime media expected some scrappy investigative news outlet to shine the spotlight on Stewart Rhodes in the way that we have. But, unfortunately for them, we have done just that. And now, the very fact that there will be increased attention on Stewart Rhodes’s case in light of this context creates a strategic dilemma for both the DOJ/FBI (and whatever agency Rhodes might be associated with) and the regime media alike. We call this strategic dilemma “The Bind.”

“The Bind” is as follows:

On the one hand, by the Biden Administration’s own logic, there is perhaps the greatest prerogative in all of modern American history to arrest and indict Stewart Rhodes right now. All of the key answers to the alleged Oath Keepers conspiracy — and by extension the so-called pre-planned assaults on the “Temple of Democracy” — are likely to be found in his records, on his electronic devices, and in the process of his prosecution.

Further, the apparent national imperative to arrest and indict Stewart Rhodes intensifies with each passing day. The Pentagon has identified the Oath Keepers — which is little more than a vessel for one man, Stewart Rhodes — as the only right-wing extremist group featured twice on its “symbols of extremism” chart. The Oath Keepers are also front and center, right next to the ISIS flag.

In essence, if 1/6 were truly like 9/11 (laughable, but that’s how the government is treating it), then the Pentagon itself is by implication positioning Stewart Rhodes almost as its Osama Bin Laden figure:

Any junior U.S. Attorney could simply pick out one of the sixteen already filed criminal complaints alleging conspiracy (18 U.S.C. 371) against Stewart Rhodes’s underlings, simply swap out “Person 1” with “Stewart Rhodes,” and secure the single easiest indictment in modern American history.

One would think there should be a phalanx of angry U.S. Attorneys all pining for the career prize of being the one who took down Stewart Rhodes.

But therein lies the bind: if Stewart Rhodes (as we strongly suspect) is a federal operative, or was in communication with federal operatives, or was under the surveillance of Feds, the entire artifice of 1/6 lies comes crumbling down.

They need Stewart Rhodes’s communications if they really want to figure out what happened on 1/6, but if those communications become part of the Discovery Production of the trial case, and Stewart Rhodes was in communications with Federal assets, then it’s game over for the Justice Department.

They look ridiculous if they don’t prosecute Stewart Rhodes, but if they do, and he’s a Fed, then he has leverage to squeal on them.

All of this was fine before this Revolver report, when Stewart Rhodes was just Person One, and the media left him alone. But now the cat is out of the bag and the spotlight is on Mr. Rhodes and the government’s seeming protection of him.

So what are they to do? They could hope that this piece gets censored or simply doesn’t pick up traction. Perhaps they could get disinformation agents of various kinds to muddy the water and shift the narrative away from Rhodes himself. The national security state can certainly expect help from the (heavily infiltrated?) regime media.

But what if this isn’t enough? If this report generates sufficient attention, there will be real pressure for answers regarding why Stewart Rhodes hasn’t been prosecuted.

If Rhodes has government handlers in the FBI or some other agency, very difficult questions could arise (and possibly are arising at this very moment). The handler’s job would be to get Rhodes to accept some charges, to assuage an increasingly skeptical public, but assure Rhodes that while they might sound serious, they won’t amount to much. Once the public pressure and scrutiny subsides, they can reduce the charges over time and it won’t be a big deal.

The key point is this: the government would have to hit Rhodes with an indictment sufficient to assuage the public but also do so in a manner that Rhodes doesn’t expose his possible relationship with the FBI or other agencies, thereby blowing open the whole plot.

It’s a delicate bind and requires finesse.

On first glance, the reader might think we have set up something of an unfalsifiable thesis. After all, if we’re arguing that the fact Rhodes hasn’t been prosecuted points to the likelihood he is a federal operative, we can’t have it both ways. If he remains unindicted we can cite this as evidence for our thesis; and yet, we are now saying that the publication of this very piece might change the strategic dynamic such that he ends up indicted.

This objection misses the point. Irrespective of what happens going forward in terms of indictments, we believe that the evidence provided in this article overwhelmingly suggests Rhodes is a federal operative of some kind. The fact that he hasn’t been indicted as of June 30, 2021, in light of additional context provided above, is the argument.

We at Revolver realize that this is an evolving story set in motion, and have an interest in understanding and gaming out possible threads of development in any case.

In the immortal words of President Trump, “we’ll see what happens.” And Revolver will be on top of it every step of the way.

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5 months ago

A-Z analysis. Well done.

5 months ago

Yale is the Rothschild toilet bowl that State department warmongers are groomed in.
Looks like the Yale leadership is grooming something else these days.

5 months ago

Elmer Rhodes III is the Alex Jones of David Hoggs.
There hasn't been a genuine terror attack in or on America since the 1820s.

5 months ago

Except the bombings by the Communists during the 70's.
I remember the one in Cleveland when i lived there as a kid.

5 months ago

Look back at the history of American Marxism and their terrorists.
The Rothschilds were grooming them then too as now

5 months ago

The Marxist European And New York City bankers had quite active terrorists attacking America in the Early 1900s.
And those banker descendants’ still are up to it and grooming their puppets through places like Yale now

5 months ago

Did you forget about the Puerto Ricans shooting up Congress- of them attacking the buses of US military on island?? You need a refresher course.

5 months ago

The FBI can no longer be trusted or considered a ethical law enforcement agency any more. They haven't been since Obama weaponized them. I suspect they are all over behind this 1/6 event and now all over the persecution. We will see much more evil from the FBI as time moves on, they are the new Gestapo for the Democrats. This was prophesied in the end times to happen, so it should not surprise any Christian what is happening. They all will stand before the Lord someday and explain to Him what they did.

1 month ago
Reply to  Guest

I would say the George Bush “patriot act ” was responsible for weaponizing them, Obama just utilized what Republican RINOS enacted.

5 months ago

Peter Parker said it best: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.

The FBI has been found Unworthy.

5 months ago

This. Unworthy.

5 months ago

Tolkein said it better. The proper solution to the problem that the One Ring was way too powerful and dangerous was not to give it to " a king we can trust," but to destroy it outright so that no one could own it.

5 months ago

If you look up the history of the FBI it has never been about ethical law enforcement.

5 months ago

Do you know the history of Marxists in Europe and America?
The same Marxist bankers like the Rothschilds supported terror then and do now
Only they own the system now

5 months ago

It's been much longer than that.
My Great Uncle was recruited during WWII to be a part of the OSS and he later joined the FBI. He was recruited because he spoke fluent German and was born in North Dakota. He told my grandfather just how evil the US Government and the FBI was back in the 1950s-1960s.

Will Hunt
5 months ago

in hindsight these intelligence agencies run amok is completely predictable. They were created to gather intelligence on US enemies. But self-preservation naturally emerges in all organizations so they gathered information on their creators and controllers to prevent them from controlling them or abolishing them.

5 months ago

NaziChop talking to himself again.

5 months ago

Jewy jew Nazi ZioNazi trolling again.

Chris Jones
5 months ago

Seems like the Rhodes cell phone seized by the FBI would provide evidence that he was a hired agent provocateur for the FBI or other agencies. I am surprised members of the Oath Keepers did not check the veracity of Mr. Rhodes claims before committing themselves. He acts like a wannabe hero.

5 months ago

It sounds like perhaps the prosecutor Michael Sherwin was Working with Rhodes and setting this whole thing up?

5 months ago

NaziChop talking to himself again.

4 months ago

Most conservatives are naturally gullible and place total faith in leaders. It's going be hard and take many years to change this psychology.

5 months ago

But if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! – Matthew 6:23 For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret – Ephesians 5:12 Wow. How deep their darkness is. How shameful are their secrets. I wouldn’t want to be them and I will never follow them to hell.

5 months ago

You will if you don't get saved by grace through faith in Jewish Jesus, NaziChop. 🙂 Ephesians 2:8,9. "Not of works, lest any man should boast." Stop boasting, NaziChop, and stop lying. Both are sins.

5 months ago

And people wonder why conservatives are always in-fighting. We have TRUST issues for a good reason

5 months ago

How does a middle class(not wealthy) person, go to Yale Law School without having connections and/or Black/Hispanic background for Affirmative Action to pay?

5 months ago

Yale is a grooming school for Marxist state department warmongers and other terrorists owned and operated by bankers like the Rothschilds.
The Marxist crooks took over the system for their needs

5 months ago

As the article states, much of his bio is unverifiable. Meaning, it is very likely all bogus! He most likely never went to Yale and is probably not even a lawyer! All a cover to allow him to create the Oath Keepers and a government honey pot!

Will Hunt
5 months ago

That's my conclusion as well. This subversive plot was hatched long ago. Until someone from his class corroborates his attendance/graduation I'm not buying it.

Stanley Roper
5 months ago

"He is… The Most Interesting Yale Law Alum In The World"

5 months ago

NaziChop talking to himself again.

5 months ago

Do Palestinians deserve to have there houses stolen? I don't think so but I know full well that some do.

5 months ago

@Sabina the word o designation '" HISPANIC " IS A RUSE , Cuban-American are one of the most ardent Trump supporters and the reason is cause we know what communism is we had suffered in our flesh and we don't wanna for the country the saved our life , There is no such " UNITY " OR COHITION among so call " HISPANIC " CAUSE WE ARE NOT A TRIVE , That " Hispanic " thing was invented in the U.S.A , The only thing I Assure you most Cuban-American agree is being ANTI-COMMUNISTS , pro-TRUMP and steak there is nothing else , we do not check our identity .. the HISPANIC THING IS USED BY THE MEDIA AS A WEDGE ..

Will Hunt
5 months ago

Everyone knows that the overwhelming majority of AMERICANS all want the same things – peace, a job, prosperity and to be LEFT ALONE from government interference in their lives.

4 months ago

Yale has been the center of CIA recruiting since the CIA was founded. That's well known.

5 months ago

Can you get rid of your auto playing self promo ad video on the the page? It stops all audio on my device every time I visit. Also, Beattie has a face for radio, so stop showing videos

5 months ago

Are you blind? He’s stunningly handsome.

5 months ago

NaziChop talking to himself again. 🙂

5 months ago

It's called finding the right browser, numbskull.

5 months ago

Thanks Revolver staff 👍🇺🇲

5 months ago

Every person at both the FBI and DOJ needs to be fired and replaced. I'm not even convinced we should "replace", maybe permanently disband, particularly the FBI. These institutions are an embarrassment to this country.

5 months ago

It is oligarchs like the Marxist Rothschilds using the Anerican system for their dictatorship needs.
Until America holds the Marxist gangster bankers accountable for their crimes and take them to court for them, and demands reparations , they will keep buying the system

5 months ago

Yes…follow the money and it will lead to power and the House of Rothschild also know as the Khazarian Mafia.
“Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.” ― Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom

5 months ago

Part I
I am compelled to respond to Posterity and wdg. I want to make it clear that I am an observant Jewish man (non-Zionist).
The natural
right of freedom is for every human being on this planet. There are bad people
and good people from every religion, race, and nationality. Generalizing and
lumping one group just leads to dissention and fraction of a liberty movement
that is so desperately needed if there is any chance of regaining our lost
freedoms and stopping this dystopian nightmare from fully coming to fruition.
It is true
that certain elements of the of the New World Order are from Jewish roots like
the Rothschilds and they are bad actors. There are many other non-Jewish
groups/persons like the Rockefellers, Bill Gates, and Klaus Schwab (World
Economic Forum) just to name a few and they are just as bad. The Rothschilds
today believe in G-d no more than any other atheist or agnostic whether from
Jewish or from Christian birth.  If a person
is to partake in planning out global government, all persons must reject G-d as
they believe they can perfect man on earth. 
No orthodox Jew believes that this can be done.   In
fact, by Jewish law it would be blasphemy to participate or believe in this
plan.  Please note that Jews are
obligated by Jewish law to strive to be better and make things better but we
cannot try to perfect man in this world. 
Only the arrival of Messiah can perform this wonder through G-d.

5 months ago

Stop murdering Palestinian children and walk into an oven. The Talmud is the original Mein Kampf. Judah-ism is a Racist inbred hate cult.

5 months ago

They control everything!
Rabbi Steven Wise said…. "You call it Communism, but I call it Judaism."

5 months ago

Shut up NaziChop.

5 months ago

Go jump in an oven ZioNazi jew PIG.

4 months ago

I think that will come. The Khazarians have been operating for nearly 2000 years, and in the grand scheme of things, it will be amazing how quickly they were able to unravel it all.

Will Hunt
5 months ago

Really not an embarrassment they are a clear and present danger to our country. All of these government agencies are unconstrained act as an unelected, uncontrolled fourth branch of goverment. They must be disbanded NOW!

5 months ago

NaziChop talking to himself again through all his fake identities. Pathetic clown.

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