Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Oath Keepers leader fueled anti-government hatred for more than a decade. alex jones gave him the audience

Jones, who has built a staggering online build around his Infowars empire, has given Rhodes a platform to reach a wider audience — the day Rhodes made the first public appearance of Oath Keepers in the weeks surrounding the invasion of the US Capitol. The meeting had started.

At the same time, Rhodes’ Oath Keepers defended Jones at several “Stop the Steel” rallies. The dominant mix of reach and influence came to a boil on January 6, 2021, with the Oath Keepers providing a personal security detail for Jones and deadly riots to stop the burglary organizer Ali Alexander before the conclusion of a pro-Trump rally. Work done. Capital.

A lawyer for Jones did not respond to CNN’s questions. A lawyer for Sikandar did not respond to a request for comment.

Since the founding of his organization, Rhodes has appeared dozens of times on Jones’ Infowars platform, which began as a small-time operation in Austin, Texas, in the 1990s, and as an international broadcaster of conspiracy theories. which now receives about 10 million visits. Month on its website, according to data from SimilarWeb.

A credible audience for the conspirators of Rhodes

In 2012, Rhodes appeared on Jones’ show and drew comparisons to the American Revolution during a conversation about alleged government abuses of power. “Just as the founders did, they exhausted all their peaceful means, but they added more people to the cause, conquered more people and strengthened and hardened them, prepared them for confrontation That’s what we have to do,” Rhodes said.

In the same section, Jones said that the current government was “totally illegitimate and has been caught committing so many crimes that it is dizzying.”

The following year, Rhodes appeared in a segment on Infowars about the widespread firearms ban. “The gun owner I spoke to is very concerned that it’s all about the marbles and we’re headed for civil war,” Rhodes said.

Jones agreed with Rhodes, saying “the line is drawn in the sand like the Alamo.” “These tyrants don’t get it, do they?” Jones asked Rhodes at the end of the segment. “No, they don’t, unless they really want civil war.”

Anti-Defamation League historian and extremist researcher Mark Pitkeweg said Jones and Rhodes shared a shared belief in the so-called “New World Order,” which seeks to disarm and enslave Americans.

Pitcage states that Jones has provided Rhodes with a credible audience, while Rhodes has supplied him with conspiratorial rants to fill his shows. But, he said, the danger of his ideology was displayed on January 6, in what he described as “a logical path that is not inconsistent with his previous approaches.”

In 2016, Rhodes told Jones that he thought the Democratic and Republican parties were one and the same and that he would rig the election against candidates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Jones said that Rhodes had been “proved correct” in his predictions about the impending torture. “I mean, really, seriously, you need to be ready for full occupation, people are coming to dig you out and do a whole lot of war,” Jones said.

As Trump ramped up his bid for re-election, Rhodes began fanning the flames of what could happen if he lost, repeatedly referring to the “civil war.” In July 2019, Rhodes told Jones at Infowars that “we will not accept the consequences” if Trump is not re-elected and “will have no choice but to fight.”

He claimed that there were veterans in his group who were well trained. “If it starts in a civil war, a bloody one, they will immediately go to work and take it to the left,” he said.

Oaths act as keeper Jones’ personal security details

While Jones gave Rhodes a platform for his extremist message, Rhodes Oath Keepers in turn provided security for Jones at the Stop the Steel rallies.

On November 10, 2020, Rhodes said on Infowars that he would defend Jones’ team that was coming to Washington to protest that weekend. Rhodes, along with Roberto Minuta, another sworn defender charged in the indictment, was photographed next to Jones on the day of that protest.

Jonathan Moseley, an attorney for Rhodes, told CNN that Oath Keepers were tasked with providing security for a group of “VIPs” including Jones on January 5 and 6, stop the theft rallies, but filed this week The indictment paints a dramatically different picture.

Rhodes and his fellow Oath Keepers plan to “prevent the legitimate transfer of the presidency until January 20, 2021, including multiple ways of deploying force,” court documents say.

“He coordinated travel across the country to enter Washington, D.C., armed himself with a variety of weapons, donned combat and tactical gear, and responded to Rhodes’ call to take up arms at the direction of Rhodes. were ready for.”

Rhodes posted an alert bulletin for January 6 to all Oath Keepers saying: “All Patriots who can reach DC must be in DC!” “Stand now, or kneel forever.”

And from all over the country they came – armed, in war dress and to communicate with the radio.

According to prosecutors, in the days leading up to January 6, Rhodes and his co-conspirators also amassed an impressive arsenal of weapons and tactical gear that the Oath Keepers leader says spent thousands of dollars on firearms and related equipment prior to the operation. Did it ,

Only on January 6, Oath Keepers climbed the capitol stairs to the military shack, entered the building and celebrated once inside.

Rhodes denied ever entering the Capitol building. Still, prosecutors say he “entered a restricted area of ​​the Capitol grounds and instructed his followers to meet him at the Capitol.”

In March, two months after the riots, Rhodes appeared again on Infowars and called the notion that the Oath Keepers were involved in a plot to attack the Capitol “full bunk”. Then he launched another scathing attack in which he said he expected the government to ban assault weapons altogether: “This is how Americans will eventually rise.”

Rhodes made his first appearance in court on Friday on charges of conspiracy to commit treason. He has denied wrongdoing before.

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