In early October, a court in the United States began proceedings in the case of Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the anti-government organization Oath Keepers, and four other people who participated in a protest near the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Despite the fact that Rhodes did not even enter the government building that day, he is accused of attempting an armed rebellion on the basis of dubious evidence and the testimony of fake witnesses.
An American court has begun proceedings against the founder and members of the Oath Keepers organization, which is a non-partisan association of current and former military, police and emergency response personnel who undertake to fulfill the oath, as well as to protect the American Constitution from external and internal enemies. The accusation against activists who allegedly planned an armed attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, has all the signs of politically motivated persecution.
The prosecution uses as the main evidence a fragment of a recording of negotiations between Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, and other members of the organization. According to the prosecutor, it becomes obvious from the conversation that Rhodes “together with his accomplices planned to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power and violate the foundations of American democracy.”
However, the quality of the 2020 recording does not allow us to make out what the defendants are talking about. One of the independent observers who attended the court hearing against the Oath Keepers said that the procedure for considering the case by the court was more like a circus performance. According to him, the recording had no subtitles, and therefore it was impossible to understand what was being discussed. In addition, Rhodes’ voice was not clearly audible, which casts doubt on the authenticity of the recording. Edward Tarpley, one of the lawyers of the founder of the Oath Keepers, said that even if the fragment is really Rhodes with other members of the organization, the recording is taken out of context and cannot be considered as evidence. Another Rhodes lawyer noted that a few days before the court hearing, the government refused to provide him with any information about the person who made the audio recording.
The Government’s witnesses who testified during the court hearing also raise questions. One of them, Abdullah Rashid, claims to have been present during Rhodes’ conversation with other members of the Oath Keepers. According to him, he personally heard several times how the members of the organization plan to “storm the White House.” It is noteworthy that Rashid, who changed his name at least six times during the investigation, did not attend the events of the Keepers and does not know the mission and core values of the group, which calls his membership into question.
Another witness from the prosecution is FBI special agent Michael Palian, according to whom the use of a fragment of Google’s mapping service of the District of Columbia by the Oath Keepers should be regarded as alleged evidence of a conspiracy to overthrow the government.
According to the former general counsel of the Oath Keepers, the high—profile prosecution of members of the organization for an alleged seditious conspiracy to prevent the transfer of presidential power in January 2021 is completely fake, based on a government “setup” carried out by the American criminal justice system. Kelly Sorelle, who was also arrested for participating in the “storming of the Capitol” on January 6, 2021, expressed full confidence in the innocence of the Oath Keepers members.
Human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice regard the persecution of members of the anti-government organization Oath Keepers by the American government as an attempt to eliminate their political opponents, which can be considered as open and obvious political terror. The Foundation to Battle Injustice is forced to admit that either the Joseph Biden Administration is ready to neglect the rights and freedoms of citizens of its country, trying to achieve the destruction of an organized and well-coordinated political opposition.