Stewart Rhodes spewed anti-government hate for more than a decade. Alex Jones gave him the audience

Jones, who built an astonishing website around the Infowars empire, gave Rhodes a platform to reach a wider audience—from the day Rhodes delivered the first public meeting of the Oath Keepers to the weeks surrounding the conquest of the U.S. Capitol.

At the same time, Rhodes’s department guards protected Jones at several “Stop the Steal” assemblies. The powerful combination of reach and influence reached a boil on January 6, 2021, as Oath Keepers were tasked with providing personal security details to Jones and Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander before capping the pro-Trump rally with deadly riots at the Capitol.

Jones’ attorney did not respond to CNN’s questions. Alexander’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

Since founding his organization, Rhodes has appeared dozens of times on Jones’s Infowars platform, which started in the 1990s as a small operation in Austin, Texas, and has grown into an international publisher of conspiracy theories that now receives about 10 million visits a month on his website, according to data from a similar site.

A gullible audience for Rhodes’s vociferous conspiratorial responses

In 2012, Rhodes appeared on Jones’ Show and made a comparison to the American Revolution during a conversation about the government’s alleged abuse of power. “Just as the Founders did, they exhausted all their peaceful means, but also mobilized more people for the cause, won more people, stressed them, stressed them, made them ready for confrontation. That is what we must do,” Rhodes said.

In the same clip, Jones said the current government is “totally illegal, and has been caught committing so many crimes that it’s mind-blowing.”

The following year, Rhodes appeared on Infowars in a segment about the widespread ban on firearms. “Every gun owner I’ve spoken to is very concerned that this is all about glass balls as we head toward civil war,” Rhodes said.

Jones agreed with Rhodes, “The line was drawn in the sand like the Alamo.” “These tyrants don’t understand, do they?” Jones asked Rhodes at the end of the clip. “No, they don’t, unless they really want a civil war.”

Mark Betcavage, a historian and researcher on extremism with the Anti-Defamation League, said Jones and Rhodes’ shared belief in the so-called “New World Order” that seeks to disarm and enslave Americans enabled them to benefit one another.

Betcavage said Jones presented Rhodes with a gullible audience, while Rhodes provided him with loud, conspiratorial phrases to fill his shows. But he said the danger of their ideology manifested itself on January 6, describing it as a “logical path that does not contradict their previous views.”

In 2016, Rhodes told Jones that he believed the Democratic and Republican parties were the same and that they would rig elections against candidates such as Senators Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Jones said Rhodes “proved correct” in his predictions of impending tyranny. “I mean really, seriously,” Jones said, “You need to prepare for the full occupation, the people who are coming to get you out of your place and the full war.”

As Trump ramped up his re-election bid, Rhodes began fanning the flames of what would happen if he lost, making frequent references to “civil war.” In July 2019, Rhodes told Jones on Infowars that if Trump is not re-elected, “we will not accept the results” and we will have “no choice but to fight.”

He boasted that his group had well-trained veterans. “If this civil war breaks out, a bloody war, they will immediately go to work and take it to the left,” he said.

Oath Keepers act as Jones’ personal security detail

While Jones gave Rhodes a platform for his extremist message, Rhodes Department guards in turn provided security for Jones at the Stop the Steal gatherings.

On November 10, 2020, Rhodes said on Infowars that he would protect Team Jones who were coming to a protest in Washington this weekend. Roberto Minotta, another department guard who was indicted in the indictment with Rhodes, was pictured alongside Jones on the day of that protest.

Jonathan Moseley, Rhodes’ attorney, told CNN that the Oath Keepers mission was to provide security for a group of “VIPs,” including Jones, at the January 5 and 6 Stop the Steal rallies, but this week’s indictment paints a big picture. different.

Court documents state that Rhodes and his associates “planned to halt the legal transfer of presidential power by January 20, 2021, which included multiple methods of deploying power.”

“They coordinated cross-country travel to enter Washington, D.C., armed themselves with a variety of weapons, put on combat and tactical equipment, and were prepared to answer Rhodes’ call to arms in the direction of Rhodes.”

Rhodes had posted an alert to all the department’s guards on January 6 that read: “All Patriots who have access to the capital must be in the capital!” “Stand up now, or kneel forever.”

And they came from all over the country – armed, in combat fatigues and with radios for communication.

In the days leading up to January 6, Rhodes and his co-conspirators also amassed an impressive arsenal of weapons and tactical equipment, according to prosecutors, who said the Oath Keepers commander spent thousands of dollars on firearms and related equipment prior to the operation. .

On the same January 6, the Oath Keepers climbed the steps of the Capitol in military piles, entered the building and celebrated once inside.

Rhodes denies entering the Capitol. However, prosecutors say he “entered the restricted area of ​​the Capitol and ordered his followers to meet him at the Capitol.”

In March, two months after the riots, Rhodes appeared on Infowars again and described the idea that the Oath Keepers were involved in a plot to assault the Capitol as a “full bed.” Then he gave another sermon in which he said he hoped the government would ban assault weapons: “This is how the Americans will finally rise up.”

Rhodes first appeared in court on Friday on charges of sedition. He has previously denied any wrongdoing.


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