Letter to James Buchal, Multnomah County Republican Party Chairman

The Oath Keepers and Three Percenters are not benign security forces. They are dangerous extremists.

Dear Mr. Buchal,

We are writing to you from the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks and monitors extremist groups nationally and internationally.

In a May 29, 2017, interview with The Guardian (US) newspaper, you said that recent protests have prompted members of the Portland GOP to consider security alternatives, including militia groups like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters.

“I am sort of evolving to the point where I think that it is appropriate for Republicans to continue to go out there. And if they need to have a security force protecting them, that’s an appropriate thing too.”

“…. There are these people arising, like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters. We’re thinking about that. Because there are now belligerent, unstable people who are convinced that Republicans are like Nazis.”

We think it is important for you to know that the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters are not benign “security forces.” They are, in our judgment, militia-style, anti-government extremist groups. 

The Oath Keepers are conspiracy theorists who focus their recruiting and propaganda efforts on members of the military and police, reminding them that they swore an oath to defend the Constitution “from all enemies, foreign and domestic” and asking them to pledge to disobey unconstitutional orders they might get from superiors — orders that explicitly or implicitly refer to various militia‐related conspiracy theories, such as imminent mass gun confiscation or the impending incarceration of Americans in concentration camps. Each theory is tied to the idea that the United States government is falling under global governance and will at some point use police and military members to enforce the New World Order’s dominance. The federal government, therefore, is a force to be resisted. 

A number of Oath Keepers have been arrested on criminal -- primarily weapons -- charges. 

We’ve written extensively about the Oath Keepers' philosophies and practices, and we've included links to a couple of our stories/reports about militia groups here.

https://www.adl.org/education/resources/profiles/the-oath-keepers

https://www.adl.org/education/resources/backgrounders/oath-keepers-and-three-ers-part-of-growing-anti-government

In recent years, some anti-government militia groups – including the Oath Keepers --  have become increasingly savvy about presenting themselves as mainstream “patriots,” which makes it even more important to identify them as what they actually are: dangerous extremists.

The ADL is a great resource for extremist-related information. We hope you will reach out to our national office or our Pacific Northwest office for additional background on these alarming groups.

More immediately, we strongly urge you to reconsider any plans to use these extremist groups to provide security services. 

Sincerely,

The Center on Extremism

Anti-Defamation League