The Road to Jan 6 Final

'Tyrants and Traitors Need to Be Executed,' Said the Army-Vet-Conspiracy-Theorist

In this daily series, Newsweek explores the steps that led to the January 6 Capitol Riot.

On November 27, San Clemente, California, yoga practitioner, wellness and New Age leader Alan Hostetter, 56, who would later be indicted for his role in the riot at the U.S. Capitol, posted a video of himself on his own American Phoenix Project YouTube channel talking about his attendance at the November 14 "Million MAGA" March in Washington.

"People at the highest levels need to be made an example of with an execution or two or three," Hostetter said. "Because when you commit treason against this country and you disenfranchise the voters of this country and you take away their ability to make decisions for themselves, you strip them of their Constitution rights. That's not hyperbole when we call it tyranny, that's fucking tyranny. And tyrants and traitors need to be executed as an example ..."

Hostetter, who had previously served with law enforcement for more than a decade, rising to be Chief of Police for La Habra, California, had turned to the southern California spiritual side, proselytizing peace and tranquility before 2020, when COVID lockdown seems to have radicalized him. He started to embrace conspiracy theories, speaking at a QAnon conference.

Soon he started saying that California Gov. Gavin Newsom should be hanged and that traitors to the country "need to be executed as an example."

Stop the Steal 2020 presidential election
One Donald Trump supporter called for "an execution or two or three." Here, a "Stop the Steal" rally in front of the State Capitol on November 7, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. Mario Tama/Getty Images

In a sworn Grand Jury statement, the FBI later said that Hostetter "used the American Phoenix Project as a platform to advocate violence against certain groups and individuals that supported the 2020 presidential election results." He argued on YouTube that votes for Donald Trump had been "switched" to Joe Biden and otherwise "stolen"; he appeared as a speaker at "Stop the Steal" protests. He was highly regarded by the right-wing movement as an Army veteran with a long career in law enforcement.

Upcoming protests, he said in November, were going "to be a shot across the bow of the deep state when they see a million Patriots surrounding that shit hole of a city—the swamp." The Patriots, he threatened, were going to surround the city if the election wasn't resolved "peacefully and soon ..."

At one point, according to NPR, Hostetter and others gathered outside the house of Democratic Mayor Katrina Foley of Costa Mesa, California, to protest what Hostetter called a "dictatorship" and an "unlawful, unscientific, ineffective and dangerous mask mandate."

After the election, according to prosecutors, Hostetter spoke about a stolen election and became involved with the Three Percenters (%ers, III%ers, and Threepers). A 2014 NYPD intelligence division report says the Three Percenters are a modern counterpart to a mythical three percent of American Revolutionary-era patriots who fought and are also the alleged percent of the population of American gun owners who will not disarm. A New Jersey 2015 report says the anti-government group, which justifies the use of violence to counter perceived threats to the Constitution, was one of the leaders of the militia movement.

In August 2017, Jerry Drake Varnell, 23, was caught in an FBI sting while attempting to bomb a BancFirst building in Oklahoma City. Varnell, who subscribed to the Three Percenter ideology, planned the attack for months, watched as a 1,000-pound bomb was assembled, drove it in a van to an alley next to the BancFirst building, and then twice dialed a cell-phone number in order to detonate it before being arrested. "'Three Percenters,' who were counted among attendees at the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville ... believe that, as patriots, they must protect against a tyrannical government, particularly regarding infringement on Second Amendment rights," the NYPD said in a 2017 report.

On December 19, when President Trump tweeted that the upcoming protest in Washington, D.C., would be "wild," Hostetter posted on his American Phoenix Project Instagram account: "I will be there, bullhorns on fire, to let the swamp dwellers know we will not let them steal our country from us. I hope you can join me!"

Before January 6, Hostetter replied to a message from other group members who were planning to go to Washington as whether he was "brining firearms" to the capital. According to prosecutors, he replied: "NO NEVER (Instagram now monitors all text messages ... this has been a public service announcement)" and three added three crying/laughing emoji.

On January 5, Hostetter spoke at the Rally To Save America in front of the Supreme Court, wearing his patent fedora with an American flag bandana around the base. "We are at war in this country, we are at war tomorrow," Hostetter told the crowd.

During the protests on January 6, Hostetter posted a video from the Capitol steps, saying: "The people have taken back their house! I don't think I've ever seen such a beautiful sight in my whole life."

Hostetter was arrested by the FBI on June 10, 2021. His Grand Jury indictment says he conspired "to obstruct, influence, and impede" the January 6 joint session of Congress. He plead not guilty to four charges, including conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. His attorney at the time, Bilal Essayli, pointed out that Hostetter was not charged with entering the Capitol, nor did the FBI claim that he engaged in any acts of violence or possessed any weapon. "He was there to protest and exercise his First Amendment Right," Essayli said. "He was charged with multiple felony counts and I think it's just very troubling as an American citizen."

At a public town hall event held on Zoom after January 6, Hostetter said prosecutors "connected me to Three Percenters in the indictment that I don't believe I've ever even met or had any contact with whatsoever." Hostetter announced last month that he was going to represent himself at trial. When the judge insisted that he at least accept a legal advisor to assist, Hostetter, according WUSA9 television in Washington DC, he said he wanted a legal advisor with no association with Skull & Bones, Free Masonry "or any other organizations that require oaths or vows of secrecy."

"Secret Societies (Freemasonry/Yale's Skull and Bones/Kabbalah, etc) are Luciferian death cults corrupting every aspect of our lives," Hostetter says on LinkedIn. "They must be destroyed so humanity might be saved. Grateful to God for my awakening."

When contacted last month, Hostetter declined to be interviewed by Newsweek, calling it "fake news."