A local member of the Oregon National Guard is under federal investigation for allegedly making online threats and participating in far-right organizing around Lane County.
Brandon Lee Kitcher of Cottage Grove was first identified by Chudtrackers, an anonymous group that works to identify local fascists and related members of the far-right, as an organizer and affiliate of local so-called “patriot groups” who regularly made online threats.
In a thread that has since been deleted by Twitter, the group revealed Facebook posts written by Kitcher threatening violence against Black Lives Matter protesters. Kitcher also helped expose and harass a woman who took photos of an anti-lockdown rally at a Springfield restaurant.
On Jan. 5, one day before the storming of the U.S. Capitol, Kitcher posted on Facebook that “the Civil War starts tomorrow.”
On Jan. 14, journalists with Oregon Public Broadcasting were able to confirm that Kitcher was under investigation by the FBI and barred from participating in protest security at the Oregon Capitol ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration.
According to Major Stephen Bomar, a spokesman for the Oregon Guard, Kitcher says his Facebook was “hacked” and denies making the posts. It has since been taken down.
Kitcher, who serves in the 2-218th Field Artillery Regiment garrisoned in Forest Grove, helped organize the “Stand Against Socialism” rally in Eugene on Jan. 9. The event quickly turned violent when members of the Proud Boys street gang arrived and began fighting with antifascist counter-protesters.
The soldier is also staunchly opposed to Oregon’s COVID-19 restrictions. Kitcher has been spotted attending at least two anti-lockdown protests, including one in Salem on New Year’s Day that had to be broken up by police.
Kitcher participated in many of those events alongside local far-right and fascist organizers such as Geena Shipman (Hager), her partner Rob Davis, and Janira Brannigan.
Major Bomar did not respond to request for comment, nor did any officer from Kitcher’s unit.
Kitcher’s involvement in far-right organizing in Lane County is the latest chapter in the infiltration of military and law enforcement units by right-wing extremists.
Dozens of law enforcement officers are under investigation for attending or otherwise abetting the U.S. Capitol riots. On Jan. 18, a US Army Reservist and “avowed white supremacist” was charged with five felonies following his role in the Capitol riots. And earlier this week, representatives from the Army said they would “vet” the upwards of 15,000 troops deployed to Washington ahead of the inauguration, fearing that some of their own might attack the proceedings.Twelve soldiers were eventually removed from duty.
These are just examples from the past few weeks.
Independent analysis shows that police departments across the country have been thoroughly infiltrated by white supremacists for at least 20 years, while researchers at Yale found that white supremacist groups frequently target ex-military members for recruitment–especially in the wake of troop reductions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And this infiltration is beginning to manifest in increasingly ugly ways. Chat logs released by Unicorn Riot in 2019 helped lead to the discovery of at least seven members of a now-defunct white supremacist group in various branches of the military. That same year, a neo-Nazi serving in the US Coast Guard was arrested for plotting to kill Democratic lawmakers and journalists.
In Oregon, this infiltration looks like Brandon Kitcher.
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