Since its founding, the antigovernment group Oath Keepers has steeped itself in conspiracy theories and trained for a revolution against the state. Members’ involvement in the Capitol insurrection was the latest example in a long history of the group bucking government authority. The Oath Keepers, who derive their name from the Constitution, vowing to protect the U.S. from all enemies foreign and domestic, took part in an insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Motivated by Trump’s rhetoric and buoyed by the QAnon conspiracy theory, the group parroted false claims that Democrats stole the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump. In D.C., they collaborated with a violent mob who broke into the Capitol building, intent on stopping the certification of the election. Five people died as a result of the attack. Members of the Oath Keepers militia group including Jessica Marie Watkins (far left), who has since been indicted by federal authorities for her role in the siege on the Capitol, stand among supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump occupying the east front steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. Photo by Reuters/Jim Bourg
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, in tandem with Alex Jones and Owen Shroyer of Infowars, called on Americans to go to D.C. to “stand up against election theft.” On Nov. 10, Rhodes made an appearance on Infowars, where he is a regular guest, and declared that Americans should converge on D.C. the way they stormed up to the Bundy Ranch in Nevada.
The FBI later charged three individuals associated with Oath Keepers for their role in the insurrection: Jessica Marie Watkins and Donovan Ray Crowl of Champaign County, Ohio, and Thomas Caldwell of Clarke County, Virginia. Watkins and Crowl belonged to the Ohio State Regular Militia, a subset of Oath Keepers that paid dues to the organization, according to the FBI. Caldwell, Crowl and Watkins were indicted on charges of conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, destruction of government property and unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds. According to a government’s memorandum filed Feb. 11 that recommended Watkins face pre-trial detention, “Watkins joined a violent mob that overwhelmed law enforcement and destroyed government property, re-creating in modern times events not seen in this nation since the War of 1812. In this backdrop, Watkins and her co-conspirators formed a subset of the most extreme insurgents that plotted then tried to execute a sophisticated plan to forcibly stop the results of a Presidential Election from taking effect. And she did this in coordination and in concert with a virulently antigovernment militia members.” Additional individuals wearing Oath Keepers attire were seen inside the Capitol building. Oath Keepers directed other members to wear plain clothes according to the organization’s website: “As always, while conducting security operations, we will have some of our men out in ‘grey man’ mode, without identifiable Oath Keepers gear.” Members of the group were also spotted providing security for Roger Stone at a “Stop the Steal” protest in Washington on Jan. 5, the evening before the attack on the Capitol.

via splcenter: Well Before The Jan. 6 Insurrection, Oath Keepers Trafficked in Violence and Conspiracy Theories