EXCLUSIVE! FOIA Records & Latest News Show Oathkeepers Not What You Think...

EXCLUSIVE! FOIA Records & Latest News Show Oathkeepers Not What You Think…

April 27, 2021 – In the months leading up to the storming of the U.S Capitol there were certain groups involved that were behaving in a very suspicious manner. The Patriots’ Soapbox response to those disturbing events was to file several FOIA requests for information about their background activities leading up to that day.

The mainstream media (MSM) has been covering this event in a very one-sided biased way, not actually investigating to find the truth of the matter. Demonizing and dehumanizing 73 million people is dishonest, despicable and abusive, amounting to psychological and narcissistic abuse being perpetrated by powerful media conglomerates abusing their position of power to hurt, defame and stigmatize half the nation. This is an extreme abuse of power by “journalists” who have a robust, well connected billion-dollar empire including a legal team, targeting powerless citizens who lack the resources as well as the national platform to fight back on even terms.

To try to bring more transparency to the media and this narrative of the events of January 6, 2021, I filed FOIA requests on Stop the Steal, Oathkeepers and the Proud Boys, at least three of the groups involved in the melee that took place. My effort is to uncover responsibility of these particular groups in inciting the events that took place. Specifically, I am seeking to discover if these groups had been infiltrated and/or were in fact created by federal informants. Since we now know that two main leaders of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio and Joe Biggs, both were FBI informants in some capacity, similar suspicions are immediately aroused about the other two groups.

Yesterday, the FBI completed my FOIA request on Oathkeepers, but withheld any information currently on January 6, 2021 because of ongoing investigations and criminal cases. This makes sense and would be standard procedure. However, they were responsive to the request with some information, 37 pages of documents (some heavily redacted) that paint a picture of the Oathkeepers as an organization. The FOIA request number for this filing is #1494784-000, subject: THE OATHKEEPERS MILITIA.

The above image is my initial FOIA request, asking for any “information, memoranda, internal reports, draft reports, incident reports, or any other information concerning the militia group known as the Oathkeepers organization and/or Stewart Rhodes the so-called founder of the group.” 

I received this response from the FBI attaching the 37 pages they provided. Here is a link to the FOIA request filed through Muckrock with a link to the PDF documents. If you click on that link, you can download each page and save them. I am going to cover some of the most pertinent information I found after a preliminary review of the file.

This above page is in reference to an FBI report filed by a member of the Oathkeepers after receiving a death threat via their website. Interestingly at the top of the page, near case ID it says “Drug Trafficking Organization.” The person who made the death threat appears to be mentally ill and living in a homeless shelter so I doubt this is referring to him.

This page shows that the Oathkeepers have an “Information Technology (IT)” person and they appeared to be working with law enforcement and were able to find a lot of personal information about the mentally ill man who threatened them on their website, including his social security number.

Oathkeepers working with sheriffs and cops — everyone should find suspect.

This above document shows that the FBI began investigating the Oathkeepers as early as 2007. They have this classified as “Domestic Terrorism,” filed under Counter Terrorism and the report is dated 2013, indicating on-going investigative activity with regard to the group.

This page shows that Oathkeepers were associated with other extremist militias, like the Modern Militia Movement (MMM) as well as “sovereign citizens” groups. They set up local groups attached to the main organization. Then they started making blog posts seemingly designed to incite their followers into criminal activity while also discrediting and undermining legitimate militia activity. Some of the inflammatory posts bore titles like “Is it time to organize the revolution?” and “Do we sit by and watch or do we show up and fight”? and “Sign the NEW Declaration of Independence.” If you’re creating and signing a NEW Declaration of Independence, these are not the topics that foster the adherence to and protection of their Oath to the Constitution.

Obviously this kind of activity would be concerning to counter-terror investigators as it fosters an attempt to create a separate branch of the armed forces apparently for the purpose of taking over government operations in the event of civil unrest of some kind. As one FBI member noted, this is essentially creating an authoritarian fifth column within the U.S. — one neither voted upon nor elected.

A 2014 FBI record is heavily redacted, categorized as “domestic terrorism” and “sovereign citizen extremism,” and discusses local chapters of the Oathkeepers attempting to recruit current and active members of law enforcement for whom such participation obviously is a conflict of interest. Who would you really be working for, the police or the organization or the community?

This member of the Oathkeepers claimed they had active duty sheriffs and police as well as firefighters working for them. When they get to discussing Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the group things get more interesting. There are massive sections on him, totally redacted, which makes me to surmise he is a potential informant that the FBI is seeking to protect.

Here is where things take a decidedly dark turn. As you can see, the group is associated with criminal activity and members of the group have engaged in extreme and dangerous behaviors. One member Charles Dyer was in possession of a stolen grenade launcher while another member Darren Huff was arrested with an assault rifle on his way to perform a so-called armed “citizen’s arrest” of 24 government officials!

The last three pages of this report are completely redacted. This again raises the suspicion that the Oathkeepers is run by a federal informant. Any other militia group whose members have been caught with stolen weapons like grenade launchers or who attempted to make an armed citizen’s arrest, at the very least would have been shut down. Please read the rest of the FOIA documents yourself, provided here.

Now let’s review some of the information regarding the Oathkeepers activity with regard to the January 6 Capitol Hill event. Shortly after the November 3rd election, Stewart Rhodes the leader of the group was a guest on the November 12, 2020 InfoWars program with fellow Provocateur Alex Jones. Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes says he has men stationed outside of D.C. ready to engage in violence on Trump’s order Media Matters reported:

Oath Keepers militia leader Stewart Rhodes said that he has armed men on standby outside of Washington, D.C., to supposedly prevent the 2020 presidential election from being stolen from President Donald Trump. Echoing elements of the QAnon conspiracy theory during an appearance on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ program, Rhodes said the only way to prevent his men from engaging in a ‘bloody fight’ would be Trump declassifying information to supposedly expose pedophiles in the ‘deep state’ and allow the president to stay in power.

Rhodes also indicated his militia will be involved in a rally to support Trump planned for this weekend in the nation’s capital.

Rhodes’ Oath Keepers militia, which comprises ‘former law enforcement officials and military veterans,’ is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as ‘one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today.’ But, as Rhodes recent public comments have made clear, the organization’s purpose has shifted from opposing the government to instead act as a pro-Trump vigilante group that is willing to violently support Trump’s unjust attempts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election.

Rhodes joined Jones and Infowars host Owen Shroyer during the November 10 broadcast of The Alex Jones Show. Rhodes claimed that, in order to stop the election from being stolen from him, Trump needs to declassify information exposing members of the ‘deep state’ so that Americans will ‘all know exactly who the pedophiles are.’ According to Rhodes, judges — including Supreme Court Justice John Roberts — politicians, and members of the legal community, academia, and media are all part of the ‘deep state.’ These comments echoed a central tenet of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims that Trump is engaged in a battle with a cabal of pedophile elites.

Rhodes said Trump should task special forces leaders in the military to gather and process the information because ‘he cannot trust the normal military intelligence services.’ Noting that he has previously been opposed to U.S. military intervention in domestic matters, Rhodes said that in this case Trump should invoke The Insurrection Act to accomplish this goal. 

Rhodes then said that, in support of Trump, ‘we have men already stationed outside D.C. as a nuclear option in case they attempt to remove the president illegally, we will step in and stop it’ and emphasized that these men are ‘armed’ and ‘prepared to go in, if the president calls us up.’ In addition to activity outside of the capital, Rhodes said he will have Oath Keepers inside the city this coming weekend to support a caravan of Infowars supporters being led by Shroyer who say they will hold an event on November 14. The Infowars contingent is one of several far-right groups that say that they will rally in the city to support Trump. Stewart added that his group has been doing ‘recon’ for the past week in the Washington, D.C., area. 

Rhodes called on supporters of Trump to converge on the capital in the same manner as far-right militia members gathered at a Nevada ranch in 2014 to threaten federal law enforcement officers who were attempting to enforce a court order against rancher Cliven Bundy. He also made it clear during his appearance that the only alternative to Trump staying in power would be violence, saying, ‘It’s either President Trump is encouraged, and bolstered, [and] strengthened to do what he must do or we wind up in a bloody fight. We all know that. The fight’s coming.’

Rhodes previously claimed during an appearance on Jones’ show to have Oath Keepers stationed outside of Washington, D.C., for Election Day, to prevent an unhinged scenario he predicted in which opponents of Trump, aided by foreign terrorists, would storm the White House, and the Secret Service would run out of bullets, necessitating backup from members of his militia. While making those comments, Rhodes hyped the prospect of his Oath Keepers members engaging in widespread violence against the left in a civil war scenario. – Media Matters

It’s interesting that in early November 2020, Rhodes was claiming he was stationing his men in D.C., having them do “recon” and claiming “armed men” where “prepared to go in if necessary.” The statement begs the question — Could he have had advanced knowledge about the “storming of the Capitol.”

Brian Hill, Alex Jones and Stewart Rhodes

Hardly a fan of Media Matters, nevertheless I recommend everyone go watch it and listen to Rhodes and Jones for yourself. To draw a sensible conclusion, the context of Rhodes’ statement is critical, and is demonstrated within the video included in the article.

The Daily Beast has reported on the Oathkeepers involvement in the January 6 Capitol Hill event, Oath Keepers Planned to Deploy Armed Force to Capitol Riot: Docs citing Court documents:

Oath Keeper Jessica Watkins wasn’t planning to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6 with her mace, taser, and nightstick only.

After more than two months of preparation and training, the Army veteran was prepared to ‘fight hand to hand’ to take over the Capitol. Then, there was the ‘quick reaction force’ she helped set up—an armed group that would be lingering outside D.C., ready to bring guns to Watkins and other Oath Keepers ‘if it gets bad’ or if Trump somehow ordered them to storm the city.

‘I’m no doctor. I’m a soldier. A medic with a rifle, maybe, but a solider [sic]. I will hurt/kill those who try to hurt/kill me or others,’ Watkins said in one text message, according to a detention memo filed Thursday.

Watkins, 38, is one of three members of the far-right paramilitary group to be charged with conspiring and recruiting others to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Thomas Edward Caldwell, the 65-year-old apparent leader of the Oath Keepers, and Donovan Crowl, a 50-year-old former U.S. Marine, have also been charged. All three are currently in custody.

‘Clad in camouflaged battle fatigues, a tactical vest emblazoned with an Oath Keepers patch, combat boots, military-grade helmet, and radio equipment, Watkins and her fellow Oath Keepers militia members were among those hundreds of insurgents who stormed the Capitol,’ the 21-page memo requesting detention pending trial states.

‘But unlike the vast majority, Watkins had trained and plotted for a moment like this… For Watkins, this was a moment to relish in the swirling violence in the air,’ the memo adds.

The memo details the chilling lengths the trio went to in coordinating election-related attacks, including training recruits to get them in ‘fighting shape’ for another attack at the inauguration and vetting people interested in the Jan. 6 attack to ‘ensure the right people’ were affiliated with the Oath Keepers.

In the lead up to Jan. 6, Watkins’ believed she was ‘awaiting direction from President Trump’ himself, prosecutors allege in a stark memo that seemingly draws a direct link between Trump and the most militant, coordinated aspects of the insurrection. It comes as Trump faces his second impeachment trial for allegedly inciting the riot over months. – The Daily Beast

Based on the documents we received from our FOIA request, the Oathkeepers have been doing this kind of training since at least 2014. They reference the creation of a fifth column that is designed to mirror Special Forces “A Team.” Most of the people who showed up on January 6 had no idea that this was going to happen, hadn’t been planning for it and made the mistake of entering the Capitol with the crowd. The Oathkeepers seem to have been the ones inciting this breach and planning for it. Jessica Watkins Pre-Trial Detention Memo can be read here and it seems to confirm my suspicions about the group.

Another Daily Beast article on a different member of the group Oath Keeper Charged in Capitol Riots Was ‘Preparing for Literal War,’ Feds Say records similar activities alleged in the FBI documents received via our FOIA request, regarding members trying to make armed “citizen’s arrests” of government officials:

A member of the far-right paramilitary group the Oath Keepers who’s been charged with conspiring to storm the Capitol was ready ‘for violence’ during the deadly riot and had plans for a ‘further insurrection,’ federal prosecutors said Friday.

‘The plan was never for peaceful protest,’ a Virginia prosecutor said during a detention hearing for Donovan Crowl, a former U.S. Marine. ‘The Oath Keepers arrived in D.C. prepared for violence.’

Crowl, 50, is one of three members of the right-wing group who’ve been charged with conspiring to disrupt the congressional session to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Thomas Edward Caldwell, 65, an apparent leader of the Oath Keepers, and Jessica Watkins, a 38-year-old Army veteran, have also been charged with conspiracy. All three have since been ordered held without bail.

‘I note that the charges against the defendant are very serious,’ Magistrate Judge Sharon L. Ovington said Friday. ‘The government alleges that [Crowl] conspired with others in advance to forcibly storm the United States Capitol to impede or injure officers in order to obstruct an official proceeding. [He was] seen on video stating, ‘We overran the Capitol.’ His criminal history includes alcohol and violence-related offenses. He also has demonstrated non-compliance with court order supervision.’

Federal authorities have described the Oath Keepers as ‘a large but loosely organized collection of [the] militia who believe that the federal government has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights’ and who heavily recruit former military, law enforcement, and first responders.

During the Friday hearing, prosecutors said Crowl took his organization’s beliefs seriously, as one of his main objectives when he drove halfway across the country to join the riots was to hunt ‘for ANTIFA members.’

‘[Crowl’s] been preparing for literal war because that’s what his organization told him to do,’ the prosecutor added.

A majority of the more than 100 rioters who have been charged in the siege face minor charges. The trio’s conspiracy charges were the first of their kind in the wide-ranging investigation into the insurrection, and imply federal authorities are tracking the rioters’ efforts to coordinate in the days before the storming of the Capitol.

Prosecutors also revealed on Friday that while exercising a search warrant at Watkins’ home, investigators found directions on how to make explosives—suggesting the Oath Keepers intended to do further violence.

The Oath Keepers allegedly began plotting at least five days before the insurrection, according to court papers. In a Jan. 1 Facebook message, Caldwell admitted he was looking for housing for several individuals at a Comfort Inn in Ballston, Virginia.

The hotel, which is eight miles from the Capitol, ‘would allow us to go hunting at night if we wanted to,’ Caldwell said in a Facebook message to Watkins, according to the affidavit. – The Daily Beast

This article explains why the group must be under suspicion; they are recruiting former military and law enforcement and then setting them up to be domestic terrorists. No legal militia group as intended by the Founders would ever go “hunting” for people, nor would they create “explosives.” That is definitely NOT what the Founders expounded upon in their deliberations. See The Federalist Papers among many other sources for clarification on this matter.

The Oathkeepers told these people they needed to prepare for a war. This is the same kind of rhetoric coming from people like Alex Jones who continually rile up their audiences and, typical of their ilk, make money doing so.

So all the peaceful Trump supporters or patriots who were there that day with no intention of doing anything violent are made to appear like a bunch of extremist criminals. And perhaps that was the entire goal of this organization, particularly on that day — to discredit veterans and patriots.

Another member of Oathkeepers, Thomas Caldwell was also involved on January 6.‘I Am Such an Instigator’: Oath Keeper Leader Charged With Conspiracy in Capitol Riots:

An apparent leader of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group, was arrested in Virginia on Tuesday for his alleged role in plotting to attack the Capitol.

Thomas Edward Caldwell, 65, was arrested in Virginia on several federal charges, including conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, after he was allegedly involved in coordinating a plan to disrupt the Jan. 6 congressional session to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory. During the siege, in which thousands of MAGA supporters stormed the Capitol, five people died and dozens more were injured.

According to a criminal complaint first obtained by The Washington Post, prosecutors allege Caldwell helped organize a group of at least eight people, who were seen ‘aggressively approaching an entrance to the Capitol.’ The group was seen wearing military-style gear and helmets as they moved ‘in an organized and practiced fashion and force[d] their way to the ground of the crowd gathered around a door to the U.S. Capitol.’

While hundreds of rioters have been arrested for their roles in the insurrection, the conspiracy charge against Caldwell is a first in the wide-ranging investigation. The charge, which is reserved for obstructing the operation of government, implies federal authorities are beginning to track coordination efforts in the days before the riots.

Prosecutors allege Caldwell began plotting with other Oath Keepers at least five days before the insurrection, citing a Jan. 1 message on Facebook in which he admitted he was looking for housing for several individuals at a Comfort Inn in Ballston, Virginia.

The hotel, which is eight miles from the Capitol, ‘would allow us to go hunting at night if we wanted to,’ Caldwell said in a Facebook message to Oath Keepers member Jessica Watkins, according to the affidavit.

‘I don’t know if Stewie has even gotten out his call to arms, but it’s a little friggin late. This is one we are doing on our own. We will link up with the north carolina [sic] crew,’ Caldwell continues in the Jan. 1 post, apparently referring to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes.

Hours after the riots, the affidavit states Caldwell sent a video on Facebook that appears to be taken from inside the Capitol. ‘Us storming the castle. Please share. Sharon was right with me! I am such an instigator! She was ready for it man! Didn’t even mind the tear gas,’ he wrote on the video.

‘Proud boys scuffled with cops and drove them inside to hide. Breached the doors. One guy made it all the way to the house floor, another to Pelosi’s office. A good time,’ Caldwell said, according to the affidavit. Less than a minute later, Caldwell added, ‘We need to do this at the local level. Lets [sic] storm the capitol in Ohio. Tell me when!’

Caldwell is one of several rioters who were charged by the feds on Tuesday. Hundreds have been arrested since Jan. 6, including a Texas real estate agent who flew to the nation’s capital in a private jet, and Dominic “Spazzo” Pezzola, a Proud Boys member who allegedly smashed a window at the Capitol with a police shield. – The Daily Beast

This again is unsurprising given what we read with regard to the FOIA documents. The Oathkeepers had been writing about “starting a revolution” and “going out and fighting” so this seems to be simply the outcome of these things being promoted within the group.

Former members of the organization have spoken out against Rhodes, claiming he had betrayed the group and the members, according to a Buzzfeed article:

In a recent indictment of nine people who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, federal prosecutors went to great lengths to describe the magnitude of the day’s events, the alarming threat to democracy their actions posed, and the powerful influence that one charismatic leader had in shaping their beliefs.

They took care, however, not to refer to that man by name. Instead, they refer to him as ‘Person One.’

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.

The Jan. 6 insurgency was by far the most incendiary that the Oath Keepers have been involved in, and brought the group more attention, welcome and unwelcome, than it had ever before received. But an examination by BuzzFeed News of the group’s activities over its twelve years of existence reveals an unmistakable pattern.

Rhodes summons his heavily armed followers into the heart of a roiling crisis. Sometimes, as in the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey in Houston or Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the Oath Keepers provide much-needed aid. On other occasions, as at the Bundy ranch in southern Nevada or the Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson, Missouri, the group’s presence amplifies the conflict.

As a lawyer, Rhodes abandoned multiple clients and lost his license. Numerous people who heeded his calls to action as the leader of the Oath Keepers say he abandoned them as well, summoning them to dangerous confrontations and leaving them to suffer the criminal consequences.

But though Rhodes received tremendous publicity from these events, he has so far managed to avoid any consequences himself.

That pattern has cost him some of his earliest and most devoted adherents. Several former members of the group’s board and leaders of local chapters told BuzzFeed News that Rhodes’ attraction to conflict drove them away from the organization whose ideals they once shared. But that attraction, many said, is key to the Oath Keepers’ business model: More conflict brings more publicity, which in turn brings more revenue from donations, merchandise sales, and $50-a-year membership dues.

‘Like a moth to the flame,’ said Joseph Rice, who led an Oath Keeper chapter in southern Oregon before breaking from the group several years ago. ‘He flies in, throws up a PayPal, and then disappears.’

Rhodes, who is 55 and goes by Stewart or ‘Stewie,’ can most easily be found these days streaming on Infowars, where he gives interviews to Alex Jones from behind the wheel of a pickup, pulled over in a location he does not disclose. Rhodes has said that the Oath Keepers — with a membership that the group claims has at times exceeded 35,000 — are simply patriots, ‘a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police and first responders who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to defend the Constitution.’

The Department of Justice, which alleges that members of the Oath Keepers played a key role in the insurrection, sees things differently. It calls the group ‘a large but loosely organized collection of militia who believe that the federal government has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights.’ Rhodes did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this article. – BuzzfeedNews

Former members claim that the organization started as a non-partisan group seeking to refocus American patriots on supporting the Constitution. Some say that changed as Rhodes sought fame, notoriety and money. They argue he swoops in, riles people up to fight, drops his PayPal asking for donations, while also collecting membership fees from members and then leaves them to handle the fallout alone.

It’s likely Rhodes was never sincere. The articles go on to detail that along with the genuine patriots, it appears the Oathkeepers sought some extremely bad people — from a man who posted online he wanted to kill police officers, to a man convicted of raping a child. Infowars played an pivotal role in promoting the group when they were first created, yet another red flag that this was always a sort of honeypot operation. We cannot be sure until the government releases more information about their role in the January 6 Capitol Hill event, but it is not looking good.

If you are a member of this group, or you thought they were just regular Constitution loving patriots, you would be wrong. I believe that most of the lower level members are sincere patriots, but the higher level people clearly are not well intentioned, and they attempted to radicalize them. What starts out as a good organization seeking to protect the rights of Americans can be co-opted and turned into a group designed to discrediting those very people. As always, “Be careful who you are following.”

1. ) See definition of Agent Provocateur here.

*If you have a tip about the Oathkeepers, please reach out to us via our secure whistleblowing area for a safe, anonymous way to blow the whistle!

This story is still developing, please check back for updates. 

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