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FOCUS: Oath Keepers Announce National 'Spartan' Training Program Aimed at 'Violent Left'
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=48976"><span class="small">David Neiwert, Southern Poverty Law Center</span></a>   
Saturday, 25 August 2018 11:16

Excerpt: "A far-right strategy takes shape as militiamen organize to use 'lethal force' for violence-prone events in liberal urban centers."

Oath Keepers in Ferguson, Missouri. (photo: KSFR)
Oath Keepers in Ferguson, Missouri. (photo: KSFR)

Oath Keepers Announce National 'Spartan' Training Program Aimed at 'Violent Left'

By David Neiwert, Southern Poverty Law Center

25 August 18

A far-right strategy takes shape as militiamen organize to use ‘lethal force’ for violence-prone events in liberal urban centers.

laiming that the “violent left” is preparing an insurrection designed to grab “illegitimate power,” the Oath Keepers’ president and founder Stewart Rhodes this week announced on their website that his group is organizing training sessions around the United States aimed at helping militiamen and “Patriots” prepare for “lethal force” at far-right events in cities targeted for right-wing protests.

Appearing on Infowars with host Owen Shroyer on Monday, Rhodes explained that Oath Keepers is organizing “Spartan Training Groups” in every state with the aim of bolstering efforts to combat “antifa and the far left.” He spun the effort as part of a larger vision of becoming a national militia that could be called into action by President Trump:

We’re going to have our most experienced law enforcement and military veterans, as well as firefighters, EMTs, Search and Rescue — guys that we’ve vetted that are qualified to teach, to go and train average Americans in how to organize their own neighborhood watch, their own security teams, their own event security, and walk them up the ladder in proficiency, so that they are available for the sheriff as a posse, under a Constitutional governor to be a state militia, or if it was called out by the President of the United States to serve as a militia of the United States to secure the schools, protect our borders, or whatever else he asks them to do to execute our laws, repel invasions, and to suppress insurrections, which we’re seeing from the left right now.

So we want to see a militia, basically, reestablished in this country and trained up. So we’re calling them training groups, we’re not calling them militia, because we believe that we want them to be a pool of people that can be utilized by the governor, by the sheriff, or by the president of the United States.

Although Rhodes has deployed paramilitary “Community Preparedness Teams” before, his latest announcement meshes neatly with a broadly emerging strategy on the radical right — namely, to create confrontations in liberal urban centers with heavily armed gangs of men from rural and suburban areas, mostly under the guise of “free speech” events at which right-wing extremists spew hateful rhetoric against immigrants, Muslims and “the left.”

Oath Keepers has been mostly a minor presence at most such events held so far, including events organized by Patriot Prayer, the Vancouver, Washington-based  antigovernment group, in Portland, Oregon, San Francisco and Berkeley, California, and Seattle and Olympia, Washington. However, a variety of “Patriot” militiamen, most of them affiliated with the III% movement, have played central roles at them by engaging in physical confrontations with counter-protesters.

Their presence would bolster an already aggressive bloc of far-right activists at these events. In the past six months, far-right Proud Boys have become the largest and most violent of these, culminating in Patriot Prayer rallies in downtown Portland on June 30 and August 4 that featured a number of brawls and injured participants, as well as arrests.

At the most recent event, last Saturday in Seattle, the Patriot Prayer contingent arrived heavily armed and shouting threats at counter-protesters, though little actual violence erupted.

The aggressive street tactics featuring threats and violence are consonant with the rhetoric used by Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys. They’ve also spoken of a broader vision of more such groups deliberately invading urban areas where far-left antifascists and anarchists have an established presence, with the clear intent of provoking a violent response that they see as permission for their own violence.

Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson told his followers in a Facebook video in early August, talking about the upcoming Portland event: “We will go in there, we will protect ourselves, and we will make sure the entire country sees what is happening in Portland, in Seattle, in Berkeley, in San Francisco, because the rest of the country, if they don’t wake up and begin to make change, begin to stand now, they’re going to wind up just like Portland.”

Gibson continued:

Of course, we all know Portland is the laughingstock of the country. Everyone knows that except for people within Portland itself. Even Oregon itself absolutely hates its own city of Portland. It is disgusting. … This is why it is so important that we go into Portland with freedom-loving Americans, people who love this country, people who love freedom, people who respect God, and to go into these dark cities.

We cannot continue to just hide in our houses or just go into the safety of a conservative city, or a city where the police are doing their job. We need to go straight into hell with our brothers, with our sisters, having each others’ backs, putting out the fires and bringing light, bringing light into these cities.

That strategy has been adopted by even more extreme elements of the radical right, including the openly fascist Patriot Front group that attacked an Occupy ICE encampment in San Antonio last month.

Rhodes was clear that his “Spartan Training Groups” are intended to make the militiamen’s violence even more effective. “You’ve got Patriot Prayer, you’ve got the Proud Boys, a lot of groups are doing excellent work already,” he told Shroyer. “We just want to make sure we raise the bar of professionalism and skill, because our concern is that antifa will eventually go kinetic, whether it’s through use of bombs or firearms, and we want to make sure the Patriot population of this country is prepared to handle it.”

The intent, he said, is to “put down insurrections, which is what we’re seeing from the left right now.”

Shroyer was almost hysterical about this. “So radical leftists in the United States of America have become so violent, so unhinged,” he said, “that Patriot groups like the Oath Keepers now have to form strategic protection plans, and train fellow Americans on how to protect themselves from these violent actors being drummed up and incited by CNN, by the likes of Brian Stelter, by the likes of the mayor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, by the likes of the Democrat Party, Nancy Pelosi, and Maxine Waters.”

“So the left in America,” he continued, “the Democrat Party and the radical left in America is trying to incite violence, and on multiple occasions have tried to kill Trump supporters and Republicans. Kill. Kill! Threatened to kill — Trump and conservatives! So now Patriots have to respond by protecting themselves.”

Considering the actual record of violence, Shroyer’s hyperbolic fear may just be old-fashioned projection. In fact, there is no record of any antifascist shooting or killing anyone in the past several decades. In contrast, the racist “alt-right” has been involved in murdering 43 people and injuring 67 over the past four years alone. In Seattle on January 20, 2017, an alt-right couple allegedly shot and severely injured an antifascist protester outside a Milo Yiannopoulos event.

Rhodes, however, made clear that the strategy of attacking “the far left” in urban centers was about much more than just “free speech” — rather, he sees it as the newest front in America’s culture wars, with a classic “Patriot” pro-Trump conspiracist twist revolving around immigration.

“Our concern is that the Deep State is going to run the clock out on Trump, and nothing will change on the border,” he said. “And we know that’s the endgame for the Democratic Party, it’s what they want, which is to bring in more voters that they think will vote Democrat. That’s the whole point. And so we have to stop that. It’s an existential threat to the survival of our nation.”

He continued: “It’s not about race, it’s about the ability to bring in people who can assimilate, or those who want to assimilate, and come here legally. So that’s what it’s about. We have to stop the illegal flow from the South, it’s the endgame for the left, it’s why the antifa were chanting in the streets of D.C., you know, ‘No border, no wall, no America at all,’ because they know that will be their way to victory and a permanent lock on illegitimate power. We’ve got to stop it.” your social media marketing partner
Last Updated on Saturday, 25 August 2018 11:19


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-47 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-25 12:51
I wonder if the DNC/Soros/Clint on funded Resistance Summer and Summer of Rage anticipated this pushback from a group like the Oath Keepers? Probably Soros did. He's a color revolution specialist and this sort of factional violence is right at the heart of color revolutions and regime change campaigns.

It is pretty amazing that it is happening here. But what else should we expect as the US devolves into a 3rd world nation?
+17 # elizabethblock 2018-08-26 11:56
Excuse me, but this is nothing new. It's been going on for decades. But most of us, including the press, politicians, and law enforcement, treat it as sporadic acts by lone madmen. See "Bring the War Home," by Kathleen Belew. A compelling read.
+12 # chrisconno 2018-08-26 20:36
Couldn't we think of these are our very own sleeper cells that are just waiting for Trumplstiltskin to spew the order so they can go on killing and pillaging sprees. Great cover, chaos, for all the pillaging he wants to do at the treasury and beyond.
-5 # Porfiry 2018-08-27 08:47
What loony fantasies you all engage in!
+11 # BetaTheta 2018-08-25 14:06
+24 # Farafalla 2018-08-25 17:12
Brown shirts.
+26 # Jaax88 2018-08-25 17:45
Storm troopers in the making. Shades of Hitler and Mussolini.
+20 # Michaeljohn 2018-08-25 17:45
There will be bloodshed, because that's what these groups are hoping for; the great race war. Will Governors call out their National Guards to put down the insurrection?
+37 # FarMor 2018-08-25 17:57
I raised 3 sons in a rural/suburban area. My house was the one where all my sons' friends congregated. The boys frequently played war games with all the yelling and insults that pre-adolescent boys use. The people in groups like the Oath Keepers remind me of those little boys. Trying to act like big, important, powerful warriors. The comparison is striking. I guess some people get stuck in their development.
+29 # moreover 2018-08-25 18:04
Sadly, it's well documented that police and military have a number of radical right wingers among them. That number can't be known but it's likely to be substantial.
Local politicians should demand from police in their cities a pledge of allegiance to protect all people and face dismissal if anti-democratic elements are identified in their ranks.
Let's put police on notice that we will not tolerate a right wing coup.
+24 # angryspittle 2018-08-25 18:20
These bastards are certifiably insane.
+28 # ddd-rrr 2018-08-25 18:45
This sort of right-wing crap, initiated and spewed by the idiotic nut-case websites
such as infowars (and too many others), is what is going to destroy our democracy.
It looks like the "brownshirts" are gathering to support our "führer", already in
place in the guise of the Orange Scourge posing as "president" of the USA.

Do you not yet hear the jackboots of the brown shirts marching in our streets?

Perhaps the civil war between "the brights" and "the stupids" has just begun?

I do hope that we (and our country) can survive this festering trumpian evil!
+18 # tedcloak 2018-08-25 19:17
Careful, fellas! Remember what happened to the Brown Shirts?
+24 # Jim Young 2018-08-25 19:37
Perhaps Martin Luther King knew of the opposing groups in post WWI Germany, people who thought the then new communism was the answer vs what seemed a smaller number (in late 20s) that thought fascism was the answer. Both sides were ready for fights, especially against outsiders, agitators, and provocateurs, but the Nazis were coldest, most calculating agitators, and provocateurs, playing on the predictable responses of their chosen targets.

The Nazi party was pretty tiny in 1920s Berlin, but they staged a march to provoke the Red Wedding, predominately one of the "communist" neighborhoods so they could claim to be the victims instead of the aggressors. See

Goebbels was able to portray the Nazis as more like aggrieved victims.

I keep antifa types away from our peaceful rallies, not because they don't have a right to defend themselves, but because they put our cause at risk by taking away the higher moral ground that comes from not answering violence with violence.

50 years ago Martin Luther King died, trying to lead a non-violent protest to make up for an earlier one that succumbed to "fighting back." He would have been at Williston High School in Wilmington, NC on April 4, 1968 if the first march had been non-violent, and not been shot in Memphis.

The non-violent Civil Rights marches have to be the clear example of how to win in the end.
+20 # Working Class 2018-08-25 20:21
These self appointed, self defined patriots are nothing more than self appointed vigilantes. Whereas, I don't support the antics of the extreme left or anarchists the answer is not to have extreme rightwing, armed resistance in the streets.
In Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution you find what the Founders had in mind for militia:
"To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress"
What these wing-nuts are calling for is exactly what the Founders thought we needed a militia to protect us from.
+20 # ywsf 2018-08-25 21:32
Ignorance and hate is running rampant thanks to Trump and Fox news, founded by an immigrant I might add, and they dare use the word prayer in the same sentence as all this hate? We have to spread the word that these violent, crazy, racists who have never read the constitution are mentally ill and have to be dealt with because no one says the kinds of things they say who is a balanced and stable person. They are angry crackpots. `. Are we heading to civil war? Sure feels like it. Time for the Satan worshipers claiming to be Christians to be put in their place.
+17 # janie1893 2018-08-26 00:35
I wonder if the NRA will volunteer to provide free training ammo?
+19 # suzyskier 2018-08-26 01:25
God save us from these so called savers! All but brown shirts in name only. Hysterical nut jobs!
+8 # elkingo 2018-08-26 02:34
And so it begins. Emerging Naze Amerika for real. Trained, armed factional civilian street fighting. We gotta do as these assholes are doing, and defeat them.
-15 # Cowboy 45 2018-08-26 04:09
Thank You for the information. Sign me up.
+10 # Maturus 2018-08-26 06:40
Have they decided on a shirt colour yet?
+23 # draypoker 2018-08-26 06:55
Viewed from outside, the United States seems insane at present. What is the cause? As a teacher from Britain I am inclined to think the education systems are deficient by failing to teach students sensible knowledge about how modern states work. The result is far too many people have daft ideas. Maybe too the deficiencies of the famous Constitution are becoming obvious. How many competent presidents have there been? Far too few. The present one is probably the most useless and ignorant there has ever been. In any country with a prime ministerial system a person as bad as Trump - and many other of your presidents - could not have achieved office.
+14 # economagic 2018-08-26 20:53
"As a teacher from Britain I am inclined to think the education systems are deficient by failing to teach students sensible knowledge about how modern states work."

Neither do we teach how states have worked in the past. In fact, we teach virtually NOTHING about the past, recent or distant, by statute in some states.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
– George Santayana, The Life of Reason (1905-1906), vol I, Reason in Common Sense

"Who so neglects learning in his youth,
Loses the past and is dead for the future."
– Euripides, c, 485-406 BCE, Phrixus, fragment 830
+11 # ericlipps 2018-08-26 07:37
Groan. The "Deep State" again. Why not just say "international Jewish bankers' conspiracy" and be done with it?

Actually that's not quite fair. The "Deep State" isn't limited to Jews and/or bankers; it's a grab-bag conspiracy fantasy which can lump together whatever enemies a particular fantasist chooses.
+12 # MD426 2018-08-26 07:47
AKA Stormtroopers

Germany 1933 revisited.
+20 # Kootenay Coyote 2018-08-26 08:13
All America needs: more demented brownshirts with guns braying lies & craving violence. Remember Germany in 1933: you’re headed directly that way & gaining speed every day.
+16 # Jim Rocket 2018-08-26 08:47
The Black Bloc ego trippers should have figured this would come. It's great fun wearing a costume and thinking you're some kind of hero smashing windows and throwing punches for truth and justice but they've let themselves become a dangerous meme. 20/30 years ago you could fight Nazi punks in the street without much repercussion because the authorities had no use for Nazis. Now the authorities are Nazis.

These Oathkeeper dolts have to decide whether they support the Constitution or whether they support Trump. They can't support both but from the sounds of this they're pretty damn brainwashed already.
+8 # MikeAF48 2018-08-26 10:19
Why don't you guys just get jobs and raise your kids take of your wives like all good Americans do. Your spending all your money playing games be responsible will ya and get back to work. geeeeeeee wizzzzzzzz.
+15 # No Go 2018-08-26 15:56
Trump's campaign to be Führer of the USA telegraphed, to all who were paying attention, this resurgent right-wing extremist wackiness.
At his rallies. Trump would openly call upon his supporters to beat up protestors in their midst.
Trump's adulation of Putin, Kim Jong-un, Duterte, and other extreme authoritarian heads of state, goes hand in hand with his ridiculous sense of grossly inflated self-regard, for which he has a well-establishe d track record.
His only prior successes have been as a conman and as a reality television personality.
He has employed all he learned in those two past successes to try to function as a head of state, but is clearly horribly out of his depth, in that regard.
Now. he is intentionally unleashing these right-wing violent whack jobs to keep his base of "deplorables" fired up, or it is an unintentional side effect of his careless inflammatory language, which masks his vacuous narcissistic incompetent attempt at leadership.
In any case, His Make America Hate Again campaign is still showing some signs of life, but will hopefully be overwhelmed in time by a coalition of the saner elements of our society.
+6 # dotlady 2018-08-26 21:13
These guys want to fight so bad, send them to Erik Prince's mercenary force that wants a contract to run the war in Afghanistan.
-18 # Cowboy 45 2018-08-27 04:12
This is exactly what is needed in today's environment where conservatives can't even speak on campus because of the violent nut job left.
+5 # economagic 2018-08-27 16:10
Pretty much the reverse of the reality. Are you a troll or merely ignorant?
+7 # Jim Rocket 2018-08-28 09:08
Did the big bad hippie take your lunch money again?
+10 # David Starr 2018-08-27 08:49
These Oath Keepers not only sound similar to Brown Shirts. They are reactionaries, grossly exaggerating the "threat" from the Left.
+8 # elkingo 2018-08-28 00:03
We gotta take this seriously. These assholes are arming, organizing and training.And they think they represent traditional American values and are prepared to "defend" them. Their's is a paranoid persecution complex. But these people put Trump in office in the first place. We indeed must prepare for a Germany of 1933. The writing is on the wall.