Stewart Rhodes AP images
Oath Keepers J6 Convictions Expose Deep State’s War on America and the Rule of Law
Team Biden is systematically destroying due process and shredding the rule of law. They are methodically demolishing the constitutional guardrails that were crafted to protect all Americans from the tyranny of omnipotent government. The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security and the FBI have been thoroughly corrupted (at least at the higher levels) and transformed into instruments of terror to be unleashed against the regime’s political opponents. That means you, me, and millions of liberty-minded fellow citizens.
The riotous melee at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 that followed President Trump’s Stop the Steal rally has been turned into a pretext to demonize and criminalize “MAGA Republicans,” which means anyone who resists genuflecting before the baby-killing/pervert-grooming/tranny-mutilating/CRT-indoctrinating/gun-grabbing/border-destroying altar. You know, the altar at which the Biden/Pelosi/Schumer Democrats and their enablers at the Washington Post/New York Times/CNN/NBC (and the entire MSM media mob) worship.
Thus, the Biden DOJ has sent forth swarms of militarized FBI SWAT teams to descend upon communities across the country and arrest hundreds of our fellow citizens who attended President Trump’s rally, even though most of them did not engage in any violence or destruction, and many never even entered the Capitol. Unlike the Antifa/BLM mobs that rained death and destruction on dozens of our cities, most of the January 6 “criminals” have no previous criminal records and appear to be law-abiding, patriotic citizens, their only “crime” being to attend President Trump’s rally.
As The New American and other independent media outlets have reported, many of these “J6 criminals” have been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, including torture, beatings, sexual abuse, solitary confinement, filthy conditions, and denial of medical care while in lengthy pretrial detention (see here, here, here, and here) for trespassing and protesting — while the BLM thugs are showered with millions of dollars and Attorney General Merrick Garland’s DOJ considers them untouchable.
On November 29, federal prosecutors succeeded in getting a guilty verdict of seditious conspiracy against Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of Oath Keepers, and Kelly Meggs, the leader of the Florida chapter of the organization, for their actions related to the January 6 Capitol breach. They could face up to 20 years in prison for that charge alone and face additional prison time for lesser crimes of which they were convicted. Their defense attorneys say they will appeal the decision. Three additional defendants — Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins, and Thomas Caldwell — were also convicted, but the jury rejected the prosecutors’ most serious charges of seditious conspiracy. All three were found guilty of lesser felony charges.
The convictions were roundly celebrated by Merrick Garland and DOJ officials, along with the members of the Pelosi-Cheney January 6 star chamber and its media cheerleaders. “Attorney General Merrick Garland took something of a victory lap on Wednesday, a day after the Department of Justice secured convictions in one of the Jan. 6 investigation’s highest profile prosecutions,” ABC News reported on November 30.
“Our work yesterday marked significant successes,” Garland said. “Today the jury returned a verdict convicting all defendants of criminal conduct, including two Oath Keepers leaders for seditious conspiracy against the United States,” Garland remarked. “The Justice Department is committed to holding accountable those criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy on January 6, 2021. The prosecutors and agents on this case worked tirelessly, with extraordinary skill, and in the best traditions of the Department of Justice.”
A Conspiracy Theory Desperate for Credibility
Biden, Garland and the DOJ desperately needed these convictions. After nearly two years of “investigation,” the DOJ/FBI and the farce known as the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol had come up with zero evidence to support their conspiracy theory that President Trump and members of his staff had conspired with Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, Republican members of Congress, and other “white nationalists” to engage in “insurrection.” From Joe Biden on down to members of Congress and members of the media, the charge of insurrection and seditious conspiracy had been leveled again and again not only at those who engaged in violence and vandalism on January 6, but at President Trump and even those peacefully attending the rally that day. The Pelosi-run House of Representatives, remember, voted (with the connivance of ten “Republicans”) to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”
However, even though the massive saturation propaganda may have convinced many members of the public that the J6 defendants truly were involved in seditious conspiracy and insurrection, when it came time to charge the defendants, those serious charges were not in the charging documents. There were plenty of defendants who, like Eduardo Alvear Gonzalez, were charged with “Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds; Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds; Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building; Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building.”
However, “Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing” doesn’t quite have the ring of gravitas needed to justify the highly publicized hyperventilating about “violent insurrection,” “treason,” “attempted coup,” and “seditious conspiracy” by the politicos and media talking heads. CNN, the all-in-for-Biden failing Fake News network, attempted to explain this curious anomaly in a June 24, 2021 report titled “Why Garland and DOJ haven’t charged anyone with sedition for the US Capitol riots.” After noting the difficulty of obtaining “seditious conspiracy” convictions based on speech and peaceful assembly protected by the First Amendment (which covers the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands at the January 6 rally) versus the violent acts of the few, CNN’s Evan Perez reported that, “Nearly six months into one of the most sprawling federal criminal investigations, with a manhunt for suspects in states from coast to coast, the FBI says it is still pursuing hundreds of leads and seeking dozens of people.”
To be sure, some J6 participants committed crimes of violence and property destruction, and they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But, curiously, some of the most notorious perpetrators, agitators, and leaders of the violence and destruction have been given a pass by the FBI/DOJ J6 hunters, leading to well-founded suspicions that they are federal agents provocateurs. In the minds of many, Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes falls into the provocateur category (a matter that we consider further on in this article).
There is no question that the DOJ and FBI were under pressure to find the crimes to fit the narrative that America is under siege from domestic extremists, domestic terrorists, insurrectionists, racists, and white nationalists wearing red MAGA caps and following orders from Donald Trump. After all, we were told repeatedly that the J6 “insurrection” was comparable to (or worse than) the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Pearl Harbor attack, or the 9/11 attacks. However, poll after poll showed that few Americans saw the J6 “threat” as a serious concern, and the J6 Committee hearings, despite heavy media promotion, turned out to be an embarrassing bust that no one was watching. Even liberal Democrats were having a difficult time seeing the “there” there. As The New American reported earlier this year, a trio of scholars from Harvard’s liberal Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy published an extensive study of the charging and sentencing documents for 417 defendants and were hard-pressed to find the seething insurrectionist motivations attributed to the defendants by the Biden-Garland-Pelosi-Cheney mob. “We find that the largest fraction of defendants were motivated to come to Washington DC on January 6 by either their desire to support President Trump, their concerns about the integrity of the 2020 election, or some combination of both,” they wrote.
Pulling Out the Stops
Merrick Garland and FBI chief Christopher Wray had to deliver serious drama and serious convictions or face total discrediting. This reporter noted on January 17, 2022, shortly after the Oath Keepers arrests, that Garland was responding to pressure from the left-wing political and chattering classes to find something to support their J6 “existential threat” thesis — thus, the arrests of Stewart Rhodes and 10 other members of Oath Keepers and their subsequent charging with seditious conspiracy. Seditious conspiracy is defined in 18 U.S. Code 2384 as “two or more persons” who “conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.…” It is a charge that is rarely employed, the last time being the 2010 case against nine members of the Hutaree militia of Michigan. All of the Hutaree defendants were acquitted at trial.
Merrick Garland is not about to let a repeat of the Hutaree fiasco happen with regard to the J6 witch hunt. He made sure that the trials would take place in Washington, D.C., which boasts the most liberal-Left jury pool in the nation, and under DOJ-compliant judges. Julie Kelly, who writes for American Greatness and The Federalist and has provided some of the best coverage of the J6 ongoing saga, wrote on September 24 of this year: “It is clear, after six months of jury trials for Capitol protesters, i.e., Donald Trump supporters, that no one charged in this sprawling criminal investigation can get a fair trial.” “Judges on the D.C. District Court have denied every change of venue motion, absurdly insisting residents of a city that voted 93 percent for Joe Biden in 2020 can be fair and impartial,” she continued. “Further, judges claim nonstop news coverage in addition to the televised performances of the January 6 select committee do not further taint a demonstrably tainted jury pool.”
How tainted is the D.C. jury pool? Supertainted, by all responsible accounts. Multiple independent surveys, including one by the Federal Public Defender’s Office, show that the D.C. area is so biased that it would be impossible for J6 defendants to get a fair verdict from “an impartial jury,” as guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment of the Bill of Rights. A study by Inlux Research and Analytics found, for instance:
“The DC Community is saturated with potential jurors who harbor actual bias against Defendants. In total, 91% of DC Community respondents who answered all of the prejudgment test questions admit making at least one prejudicial prejudgment on issues related to the case(s), while the other Test Areas admit doing so at rates from 49% to 63%. This bias is not only more prevalent in the DC Community, but it is also more intense. The DC Community also admits making more than one prejudicial prejudgment at a much higher rate than respondents from the other Test Areas. In fact, 30% of DC Community respondents admit that they have already made every prejudicial prejudgment tested for in the survey — double the rate of the next highest Test Area.”
However, Chief Justice Beryl A. Howell of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (an Obama appointee) could not allow herself to be bothered by the D.C.’s obvious supercharged jury bias for the trial of J6 defendant Matthew Bledsoe. According to The Gateway Pundit’s Gabriel Garcia, a court observer at the Bledsoe trial, “The final 12 jurors and 2 alternates got sworn in yesterday in the late afternoon. It seemed like I was looking at a panel that would sit around the table at MSNBC along with some ANTIFA personalities.” “The most shocking thing I noticed,” he continued, “was how Chief Justice Beryl Howell kept pushing forward potential jurors that clearly answered that they cannot remain impartial to ‘put their feelings aside’ and ‘make a decision based on the evidence clearly presented by the government.’”
According to Garcia, Howell pressured the potential jurors who openly admitted their blatant prejudices to agree that they were capable of “ignoring their biases” until they finally agreed under the pressure, so the “trial” could proceed. For Howell and the DOJ, this “rehabilitating jurors” sham substitutes for a change of venue to a less biased location. If you’re hell-bent on a conviction rather than a fair trial, it makes more sense than granting a change of venue. But justice, as well as the defendant, is the victim.
Stewart Rhodes: Fed Agent Provocateur and Fed Victim?
Judge Howell is far from being the lone radical on the D.C. District Court. Of the court’s 15 judges, 11 were appointed by Presidents Clinton, Obama, and Biden. One of the most important judges on that bench is Obama appointee Amit Mehta, who is also one of the most activist judges when it comes to opposing Trump and siding with Trump’s political opponents. He also is known for his scathing verbal attacks on J6 defendants and for retailing the talking points of Joe Biden and the J6 Committee regarding the January 6 events. The die was already cast for a guilty verdict in the Oath Keepers trial when Judge Mehta was chosen to preside. Stewart Rhodes and his confederates had the deck stacked against them; there was no way they were going to get a fair trial. Nevertheless, not everyone in the “J6 community” or the “MAGA community” was in Rhodes’ corner. Next to the infamous Ray Epps (see here, here, and here), Stewart Rhodes has been one of the most controversial figures in the events surrounding the January 6 Capitol breach.
Epps, remember, is the tall, commanding figure in a red cap caught on video urging rally attendees on January 5 that “Tomorrow we go into the Capitol, into the Capitol.” He was so suspiciously emphatic about getting people to go into the Capitol that rally-goers shouted “NO” and began pointing at him and chanting “Fed! Fed! Fed!” The following day, January 6, Epps was in the front of the crowd at the steps of the Capitol, directing the first breach of the barricades.
Initially, he was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for J6 suspects. However, the DOJ and FBI quickly lost interest in him, and the J6 Committee welcomed him almost as a hero and a poor victim of unwarranted suspicion. Republican members of the Senate and House — including Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley, and Representatives Thomas Massie, Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Matt Gaetz — have grilled Attorney General Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and other DOJ/FBI officials regarding Epps. They have demanded to know whether the FBI and/or other federal agencies had agents/informants embedded in the J6 demonstrations and, if so, whether these federal operatives initiated, led, or participated in any of the criminal activities of January 6. In response to these crucially important questions, Garland, Wray and their underlings offered evasive responses, refused to answer, or claimed not to have knowledge. It’s called stonewalling, evasion, or outright lying. (See the videos below.)
The concerns about Ray Epps and other J6 actors being federal agents provocateurs are not wild, partisan speculations, particularly in light of revelations concerning the FBI’s central role in planning, orchestrating, and financing the highly publicized “kidnapping plot” of Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a plot that also included a planned takeover of the Michigan State Capitol and bears an eerie similarity to what occurred at the nation’s Capitol less than two months later. It turns out the FBI had at least a dozen paid “informants” inside the Michigan plot who, at the direction of FBI agents, recruited and coaxed reluctant (and not too bright) “militia” potheads to be pawns in an FBI/DOJ theatrical production. Put simply, the faux Whitmer kidnapping was an FBI political stunt created to smear President Trump weeks before the 2020 presidential election and advance the propaganda narrative that America is awash in MAGA extremism. The Michigan FBI official in charge of that criminal operation, Steven D’Antuono, was not prosecuted or punished. Instead, he was promoted to head the FBI’s D.C. office — just in time to oversee the events of January 6.
Whistleblowers and Exposés
Was the Whitmer “fednapping” plot an FBI/DOJ dress rehearsal for the J6 drama, as abundant evidence indicates? If so, then the scale of the J6 production would point to dozens of federal agents and operatives actively participating in (and leading) the criminal actions on January 6 that the Democrats and their bubblehead media herd have relentlessly flogged. We have previously pointed out that there are dozens of key J6 players (both identified and unidentified) whom the FBI/DOJ seem curiously uninterested in arresting and prosecuting. Are they federal operatives? Is Ray Epps one of them? What about Stewart Rhodes? Darren Beattie and the reporters at Revolver News have amassed a substantial dossier on Rhodes that persuasively argues he is a federal asset (see here and here).
Revolver’s articles focus not only on Rhodes’ role on January 6, but also his very troubling roles in the 2014 Bundy Ranch standoff and the 2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff in Oregon. Participants in these and other events point out that Rhodes has a record of inserting himself into these situations, taking command as a leading agitator, acting as the protesters’ liaison with the FBI, urging others to take aggressive action (for which they are later prosecuted), and then escaping prosecution himself. But, doesn’t Rhodes’ belated arrest and his subsequent prosecution and conviction for J6 lay the federal-asset suspicion to rest? Not at all; he wouldn’t be the first informant/asset to be burned when it became politically expedient to do so. And the stakes are very high in the Deep State’s J6 gambit, so sacrificing a useful operative is a trifling matter.
The FBI and DOJ have a long history of using agents provocateurs to “discredit from within” and to set up unwary patriots for prosecution (see here, here, and here). They now have a virtually unlimited arsenal of carrots and sticks to use for enticing or strong-arming recruits into their army of provocateurs. And they have plenty of strategically placed corrupt judges to rubberstamp their illegal, unconstitutional, and immoral actions. In addition, as we suspected and as FBI whistleblowers have revealed to members of Congress, FBI officials have been padding the statistics of “domestic violent extremists” (DVEs) in a desperate effort to sell their false narrative of an existential threat from “white nationalism.”
America has descended to a very dark and dangerous place, and it will require the supreme effort of every American of good will to rescue our nation — while there is still time and opportunity to do so.
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Senior editor William F. Jasper is an author/journalist/commentator/documentary producer with a well-earned reputation as one of America’s top investigative reporters, most renowned for his in-depth, years-long investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing and its aftermath. For more than three decades he served as an accredited correspondent at the United Nations in New York and UN summits around the world.
Published with permission of thenewamerican.com