Eduardo Nicolas Alvear Gonzalez (the man wearing American flag pants) was arrested a month later for four misdemeanors. He eventually pleaded guilty only to the one-count of parading or demonstrating in the Capitol.
Gonzalez was subject to the usual legal consequences for his participation in the Capitol Riot. Over 700 Donald Trump supporters have been arrested by FBI. This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Riot. The New York TimesAccording to reports, “a little more than 300” have been charged for minor crimes like trespassing/disorderly conduct and that “more than 225” were accused of “attacking or interfering” with police. Additionally, “around 275” were accused with obstruction of the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral election.
Last week’s indictment against 11 Oath Keepers is a stark contrast to this background. It was the first time that any of the rioters had been charged with sedition—specifically, using force to “prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.” This conspiracy is significantly different to the heat-of the-moment, spontaneous crimes that were committed by the majority of those who stormed Capitol. The Oath Keepers’ “operation”, which was organized well ahead of the actual riot, looked less like an impending coup than a temper tantrum. Although this was the closest we’ve seen to an “insurrection”, the term Democrats often use to describe the riot, it still proved to be half-baked. It also failed to produce any results.
The indictment states that the plot began just two days following the election. Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes stated that he wouldn’t accept the results of the race without fighting. Rhodes declared in Signal group chat, “We won’t get through this without a civil conflict.” It’s too late. Get ready to prepare your body, mind and spirit.
FBI describes Oath Keepers as “a large but unorganized collection of militia members who feel that the federal Government has been coopted” by a dark conspiracy to take away American citizens’ rights. This group is made up mainly of former officers and military veterans. It claims to be dedicated to the defense of the Constitution. Rhodes saw the violent opposition to Biden’s victory as being in tune with this mission. He compared Trump’s attempt to retain power to the American Revolution, and to the mass protests which brought down Slobodan Miloevic.
Preparations for January 6 included paramilitary training, Oath Keepers gathering from across the country, multiple gun purchases, reconnaissance of the Capitol, numerous firearm accessory purchases, several weapons and ammunition storefronts at Arlington hotels. A “quick response force (QRF), which waited at the hotel and was ready to respond “if SHTF”. Indictment states that QRF teams prepared to quickly transport firearms and weapons to Washington, D.C. to support operations to prevent the lawful transfer presidential power.
We are not sure how well-prepared they really were. The Oath Keepers tried to work out what they would do in the event that the Potomac River bridges were shut down four days prior to the riot. Kelly Meggs (head of Florida’s Oath Keepers chapter) asked the question during a Signal chat. The indictment states that “the North Carolina QRF leader” wrote: “My sources DC working to procure Boat transport as we speak.” Thomas Caldwell (a Virginia Oath Keeper) sent the following message to his contacts:
This is a great idea!
The Republic’s supporters are supportive and have donated a boat to a trailer. [could]How do you handle a Potomac crossing It would be great if someone was available at a dock ramp, near the Pentagon. We can have the Quick Response Team and heavy weapons ready to quickly load and transfer them across the river.
Indictment doesn’t say anything about the plan. The “QRF” teams remained in Ballston at the Comfort Inn. Evidently, the Oath Keepers, who traveled to Capitol Hill on January 6, did not carry firearms. However, they had “hard-knuckle tactical goggles and tactical vests,” a paracord attachment (feet, gloves, scissors, a large stick”, as well as a German Shepherd called Warrior.
Khaki pants or tan trousers were required for Oath Keepers. An unnamed conspirator told Jessica Watkins, Ohio Oath Keeper, that “we don’t own any khakis.” We have jeans, our b.d.u’s. [battle dress uniforms].” Indictment states that many Oath Keepers joined the riot wearing paramilitary clothing as well as patches with Oath Keepers logo and insignia.
The Oath Keepers, which allegedly included several defendants, set up two “stacks” at the Capitol to join the mob who had broken into the building. The indictment states that “crowd members” forced entry to the Capitol. They broke windows, kicked open doors and assaulted Capitol Police and other officers. Half an hour later, one group of Oath Keepers “marched in a ‘stack’ formation…up the east steps of the Capitol” and “stormed into the Capitol alongside the mob.”
Half of Oath Keepers from “Stack One” were repelled by police. They “regrouped at the Rotunda, and then fled the building.” “The rest of Stack One went to the House of Representatives looking for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of House.” They didn’t find Speaker Pelosi, and they eventually left the building.
At 3:15 p.m. another group of Oath Keepers (Stack Two) approached Capitol. The indictment states that Joshua James, Alabama Oathkeeper, and Roberto Minuta from New Jersey Oath keeper, “forced their ways past law enforcement officers trying guard the Rotunda,” which was “briefly violated.” James was expelled at the least by one officer for using chemical spray to target him directly. [him]Multiple officers pushed him from the side. According to the indictment, Minuta “yelled” at an officer while exiting Capitol via the east side Rotunda Doors. Two minutes later Georgia Oath Keeper Brian Ulrich, along with other members from Stack Two, “entered” the east side Rotunda Doors.
An interview with The New York TimesRhodes complained in July last year that OathKeepers had entered Capitol without his permission. Rhodes stated that he had received no instructions or guidance from the leadership for him to perform this task.
However, the indictment says that Rhodes and OathKeepers helped to celebrate the riot, and then discussed how they would continue resisting it. Rhodes spoke that evening in Signal group chat, “Thousands of tired patriots marched spontaneously on the Capitol.” “You haven’t yet seen everything.” According to the indictment, Rhodes spent $18,000 between January 10th and January 14 on ammunition, firearm parts and accessories. Regardless of what Rhodes may have planned, it seems nothing happened. His arrest occurred last Thursday, over a year since the indictment described Rhodes’ spending spree.
The indictment states that Ulrich told James, four days following the riot, to keep him and Rhodes “below radar.” Given the Oath Keepers’ conspicuous involvement in the riot, and Rhodes’ endorsement of violence against the election results, it was evident that this advice came too late. The indictment mentions encrypted communications between Rhodes, his followers and messages he left on the Oath Keepers site before the riot.
Rhodes advised Oath Keepers on Election Day to stock up on ammunition and be ready for “full-on warfare in the streets” should Biden win. Rhodes issued a “call-to-action” a week later with the title “WHAT YOU, THE PEOPLE MUST DO” This described elements of Milosevic’s rebellion, which consisted not only peaceful protests and civil disobedience but also “swarm.”[ing]Streets,” “confronting the opposition,” “storm[ing]The Parliament,” and[ing]Fake state television is down
Rhodes stated that “tens and thousands of patriotic Americans (veterans and not-veterans) will be already in Washington D.C. and many will have their mission-critical gear stored nearby outside D.C.” However, he warned that others might also have to defend God-given liberty and “take to the arms to defend it.”
It’s not easy to stay below radar. His only issue was his lack of discretion. His exact plan to keep Trump at the helm is still unclear.
Rhodes stated in a Signal chat that if Biden was elected, it would be “a bloody, desperate battle.” There will be a fight. This cannot be avoided!”
Two weeks later in a Signal chat, Meggs stated that “we must make senators uncomfortable about all of us being only a few hundred yards away”. Rhodes said: “I think Congress is screwing.” [Trump] over. We/he only have one chance to make them do right by us. They won’t listen, I think.
It was evident that the goal of the Oath Keepers was to “scare and spit” Congress, using force to convince legislators to refuse electoral votes to Biden. In the end the OathKeepers only joined the already ongoing riot, which was a mere interruption to the process of ratifying Biden’s victory.
Of course, it could have gone much worse. It could have ended in bloodshed if Oath Keepers showed up at Capitol Armed with Guns, but that would have not compelled Congress into doing what Rhodes desired.
It is not necessary that defendants have any chance of success in sedition cases. If the allegations are true Rhodes and co. Assuming the allegations are true Rhodes and al. used force to “prevent or hinder” Congress’ constitutional and statutary obligations to certify the election results. In addition to sedition, which can result in up to 20 years imprisonment, there are other charges against the defendants, such as assault, destruction or interference with law enforcement and tampering (mainly through the erasure of incriminating information on their phones).
In connection to the Capitol riot, it is estimated that up to 2,500 persons could be charged by the Justice Department. Many of these people will look more like Gonzalez the “Capitol Doobie Smoker” than Rhodes and those who followed him. Their ambitious plans were ultimately futile and they had to be a part of a larger, more extensive spasm that included vandalism and violence. Former President Jimmy Carter says the attack on Capitol “almost prevented the democratic transfer to power.” He is giving Rhodes and his followers too much credit.