Ferguson, Missouri (TFC) – A major rift has occurred within the Oath Keepers movement, causing many to flee the organization and join, start, or reorganize splinter groups. The defections occurred when the national leadership reportedly pulled support for the armed march in Ferguson. Former defense contractor Sam Andrews, the organizer of the march, doesn’t care about the national leadership’s reservations, and he’s not alone.
Andrews was a member of the Oath Keepers and ran a tactical team called the “YETIs.” He said that after Oath Keepers’ national leadership indicated they were uncomfortable with the appearance of directly confronting law enforcement with an armed march in Ferguson, he withdrew from the organization. When asked if the march would still happen, he responded with one word.
Andrews will organize the march under the banner of the YETIs. He stated that the tactical team was responsible for most of the operations the Oath Keepers were credited with in Ferguson, including protecting reporters recently. Andrews sees the attempt to squash the march by the national leadership as a symptom of a greater disease within the Oath Keepers. He says the new board of directors of the Oath Keepers is almost exclusively made up of former cops. This wasn’t readily confirmed because the Oath Keeper website has removed the page that once featured the biographies of the board. Andrews says that race plays a big role in the decision to leave Ferguson’s citizens at the mercy of law enforcement agencies that have repeatedly stifled Constitutionally-protect rights.
“Almost his whole board of directors are retired cops. This whole board of directors was OK with Oath Keepers at Bundy Ranch pointing rifles at feds, but not OK with a black open carry march.”
“I can’t have my name associated with an organization that doesn’t believe black people can exercise their First and Second Amendment rights at the same time.”
Andrews spoke briefly about the YETIs and the other Oath Keepers that have left over the incident. Most of them are former Special Forces that like to “stay off the radar.” US Army Special Forces are trained to act as “force multipliers” and to teach indigenous troops. They can move into an area and teach local civilians and soldiers the tactics and techniques they need to beat the opposition on the battlefield. Although I gave up trying to get anyone to admit membership in the “Special Forces Underground” months ago, this is yet another example of former Green Berets doing exactly what the legend says the group does.
This group in Ferguson is committed to making sure that if a group of the local population of any color wants to hold an open carry march, they will be supported.
The fallout from the attempt to lessen the effectiveness of the march in Ferguson extended well beyond Missouri. A group of Oath Keepers in Florida that is completely unconnected to Andrews decided to leave the organization as well. James Wise (an alias) said,
“Unwilling to confront the cops. What the hell are we here for then? Who is going to violate the rights of the people? The Boy Scouts? If you plan on keeping your oath, you had better be willing to confront cops. We didn’t join this to hang out with other vets and tell war stories. I could do that at the VFW. I’m done with social groups. We all are. By the time this is said and done, the Oath Keepers will be another version of the Fraternal Order of Police. It’ll be part of the thin blue line. You’re from here, man. You know race isn’t a huge issue here, but I have to believe that an organization that is OK with a bunch of white guys pointing guns at cops in Nevada over grazing rights shouldn’t turn into complete [multiple expletives deleted] [cowards] at the thought of blacks just holding guns in a march protesting people getting beaten and killed by cops. You know there’s something wrong there, Justin. You can’t tell me you don’t think that’s really [expletive deleted] off.”
Wise is a Cuban-American, and coincidentally also a former Green Beret.
Andrews continued to blast the national leadership, pointing out that keeping his oath meant more than just protecting neighborhoods. It meant addressing the reason the riots started to begin with. He said that the goal of the march is to make sure that “every minority child sees that black men can openly carry to protect their rights.”
The Oath Keepers website contains a list of standing orders. You can decide for yourself if the organization is living up to its stated goals by playing nice with police departments like those in question.
1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.
2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people .
3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to military tribunal.
4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state.
5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.
6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.
8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control.”
9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.
10. We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.
It should be noted that Andrews reported that some of his men have had been disarmed by law enforcement in the area and have had their body armor confiscated. These departments have repeatedly suppressed the right to free speech and to peaceably assemble. They are not allowing for a redress of grievances.
Stewart Rhodes, National Director of the Oath Keepers, has agreed to an interview, but was unable to do so in the single day before deadline.
Disclosure notice: Justin King was an early supporter of the armed march in Ferguson. He has also been actively involved in other Oath Keepers operations in the past.