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CBS News Slammed For ‘Complicit’ Interview With QAnon Rioter

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Should Americans hear from an individual in jail facing felony charges related to their alleged participation in the January 6 insurrection, especially on the day terrorism experts say the QAnon cult might again engage in violence so dangerous the House has postponed business for the day?

Some are saying no, and blasting CBS News for promoting its jailhouse interview today with one of the most recognizable faces from the insurrection, Jacob Chansley, better known as the "QAnon Shaman."

Responding to a clip from its "60 Minutes +" interview with correspondent Laurie Segall that CBS News posted to Twitter, attorney Max Kennerly blasted the network:

He was far from the only one.

In an associated CBS News article the subhead reads: "Jacob Chansley, the man seen wearing face paint and a fur helmet with horns during the January 6 insurrection, tells 60 Minutes+ he was trying 'to bring God back to the Senate.'"

That article quotes Chansley extensively, in part saying, "My actions were not an attack on this country," and, "I sang a song. And that's a part of shamanism… I also stopped people from stealing and vandalizing that sacred space, the Senate. Okay? I actually stopped somebody from stealing muffins out of the– out of the break room."

Others tweeted out the CBS video, with some saying: "giving this man a platform to whine about being a victim seems irresponsible," "Maybe you should be interviewing some of the researchers who have been following QAnon for a long time and warning about the dangers of it. But you'd rather interview Qbacca, because putting freaks on the air is good for ratings," "Why do we care about his story? WHY?! This man is a traitor and insurrection leader. WHY?!!," "What have you contributed to journalism's advancement today…nada," "Christ we love handing extremists microphones in this country," and "WHY ARE YOU ALLOWING DOMESTIC TERRORISTS AIRTIME," among many others.

The article quotes Chansley extensively, and ends with this paragraph, which reads more like a press release than a news article: "Segall's report, including her remote interview with Chansley, can be seen on 60 Minutes+, a new show available on ViacomCBS' new streaming platform, Paramount+."

New Photos Indicate Oath Keepers Prepared To Enter Capitol With Weapons

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

A local Virginia news outlet is publishing previously unseen photos taken by staff in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6. The images reportedly show a group of men "loitering near the Marine Corps War Memorial," with a view of the Capitol building. According to the report, the men stood around a small parking area, their SUVs and out-of-state plates conspicuous enough that Arlington County police were notified by passersby of their presence. According to ARLnow.com, which published the images, one of the pickup trucks in the parking area where the men loitered was left running with a "large toolbox in the back."

According to the Arlington County police, an officer was sent to look into the reports of "9-10 males acting suspiciously and looking around on the Iwo Jima War Memorial property" at 4 pm that day. According to a spokesperson for the police department, "nothing was located and the call was cleared." ARLnow points to far-right militia groups and prosecutors' filings against various Oath Keeper suspects who have been arrested and charged in the Capitol insurgency. Specifically highlighted is a memo against Oath Keeper leader Edward Caldwell that details an elaborate "quick reaction force" (QRF) of militia men who were to stay outside awaiting orders and could bring "the tools if something goes to hell"inside the Capitol, "that way the boys don't have to try to schelp [sic] weps on the bus." According to the prosecutors' filings, these individuals were potentially waiting outside, ready with weapons to bring into the Capitol.

On Friday, Washington Post reporter Rachel Weiner, who is covering legal cases in Alexandria, reported on Oath Keeper leader Jessica Watkins of Woodstock, Ohio, and other militia member cases:

Judge is now asking whether there really was a "quick reaction force" stationed outside D.C. with weapons for militia members' use on Jan. 6. Prosecutor: "That is our understanding." And after that tantalizing detail, they are moving off the record.

This comes after Proud Boy members tried out the legal defense of, "Whoops, we didn't know we were breaking the law," or, "Whoops, we thought Donald Trump was telling us the truth," or, "Whoops, we didn't think we could get arrested for breaking the law." Watkins in particular tried to renounce her involvement in the Oath Keepers and say she was finished playing seditionist, so could she go home and pretend none of this happened? U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta was not having any of that. Maybe this selection from the prosecutors' court filings is why:

The next day, Watkins exchanged text messages with Co-defendant Thomas Caldwell about the operational plans for January 6, 2021. This included coordinating about where and when to meet and where to stay. Operational plans also contemplated the possession and use of weapons in D.C. before and on January 6. Caldwell referenced "a quick reaction force [QRF] [that would be]bringing the tools if something goes to hell. That way the boys don't have to try to schelp weps on the bus." Watkins previously stated that the QRF provided ready access to guns during operations. As she explained to a contact when preparing to attend a November election fraud rally in Washington D.C., QRF was designed so that "If it gets bad, they QRF to us with weapons for us," but that, otherwise, "[w]e can have mace, tasers, or night sticks. QRF staged, armed, with our weapons, outside the city" and advised "to be prepared to fight hand to hand" while "guys outside DC with guns, await orders to enter DC under permission from Trump, not a minute sooner." Watkins's own operational role extended well beyond providing medical aid. As she explained to a recruit, "I'm no doctor. I'm a soldier. A medic with a rifle, maybe, but a solider. I will hurt/kill those who try to hurt/kill me or others."

Like most of the Oath Keepers and other militia members being arrested and charged right now, the defense being employed amounts to, "Hey, we're full of shit, and we thought this would work but it didn't so how about we pretend we didn't do it." Hopefully the photos that ARLnow reporter Jay Westcott took are helpful in bringing more justice against fascists.

Facing Felony Charges, Capitol Insurgents Angrily Turn On Trump

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

It's become self-evident that the members of the mob that raged up the National Mall and into the U.S. Capitol on January 6 believed they were doing so with the blessing of their president, Donald Trump, after he directed them there in his speech that morning at the Ellipse. They really believed Trump's lie that they were saving America from a stolen election — leaving many of them angry and baffled when their fellow MAGA fanatics claim that the insurrection was actually the work of "antifa" leftists.

And now that they are facing real legal consequences for their actions, many of them know who to blame for their misfortune: Trump. Their ex-leader threw them under the bus, and they are eager to return the favor.

Take William "Billy" Chrestman of Olathe, Kansas. A bearded Proud Boy who was mistaken for founder Gavin McInnes when video of the insurrection first appeared on social media, he now faces multiple federal charges related to his behavior that day, including conspiracy, civil disorder, and obstruction of an official proceeding. His attorneys are claiming that Trump invited him and his fellow Proud Boys to engage in the violence.

"It is an astounding thing to imagine storming the United States Capitol with sticks and flags and bear spray, arrayed against armed and highly trained law enforcement," Chrestman's attorneys said in a court filing this week. "Only someone who thought that they had an official endorsement would even attempt such a thing. And a Proud Boy who had been paying attention would very much believe he did."

Chrestman's attorneys claimed in their filing that the rioters were "actively misled" by Trump: "Trump told the assembled rabble what they must do; they followed his instructions. Then, he ratified their actions, cementing his symbiotic relationship with the rioters."

He's hardly alone in that stratagem. A Texas real estate agent who flew to Washington by private jet to attend Trump's rally said she was there because of Trump, and invaded the Capitol on his behalf. "He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there. So I was doing what he asked us to do," she said.

"I think we all deserve a pardon," she said. "I'm facing a prison sentence. I think I do not deserve that and from what I understand, every person is going to be arrested that was there, so I think everyone deserves a pardon, so I would ask the President of the United States to give me a pardon."

She regretted having gone at all: "I bought into a lie, and the lie is the lie, and it's embarrassing," Ryan told The Washington Post. "I regret everything."

A number of other arrestees are making the same claim, mostly for strategic legal reasons. Even though it is unlikely to be enough to establish their innocence, legal experts say, it could be a mitigating factor when it comes to sentencing, especially for those with no prior criminal records.

"Trump didn't get in the car and drive him to D.C., but it's important to understand the context," attorney Clint Broden, who represents Texas defendant Garret Miller, told USA Today.

"You have to understand the cult mentality," said Broden, whose client is charged with entering the Capitol and threatening Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, saying she should be assassinated. "They prey on vulnerable victims and give them a sense of purpose. In this case, Trump convinced his cult followers that they were working to preserve democracy."

Pittsburgh resident Kenneth Grayson had announced his intentions even before the rally on Facebook: "I'm there for the greatest celebration of all time after Pence leads the Senate flip!!" he wrote. "OR IM THERE IF TRUMP TELLS US TO STORM THE (expletive) CAPITAL IMA DO THAT THEN!"

Grayson's attorney, Stanley Greenfield, said his client did not intend violence, and was only responding to Trump's pleas. "He was going because he was asked to be there by the president," Greenfield said. "He walked in with the crowd. But he went there, yes, with the invitation of the president. He just wanted to be a part of it."

One of the insurrection's most recognizable figures, "QAnon Shaman" Jacob Chansley of Arizona, also blames Trump. He even said he would have been happy to testify against Trump in his February impeachment trial.

Chansley's attorney, Al Watkins, told reporters: "Let's roll the tape. Let's roll the months of lies, and misrepresentations and horrific innuendo and hyperbolic speech by our president designed to inflame, enrage, motivate. What's really curious is the reality that our president, as a matter of public record, invited these individuals, as president, to walk down to the Capitol with him."

Watkins said Trump's refusal to issue pardons to the insurrectionists served as a wake-up call for his client.

"He regrets very, very much having not just been duped by the president, but by being in a position where he allowed that duping to put him in a position to make decisions he should not have made," said Watkins.

A 20-year-old Maryland man, Emanuel Jackson, similarly blamed Trump, even though bodycam footage showed him hitting police officers with a baseball bat. "The nature and circumstances of this offense must be viewed through the lens of an event inspired by the President of the United States," Jackson's attorney, Brandi Harden, wrote in court filings.

A profile of the people charged so far in the insurrection compiled by the Anti-Defamation League found that one-quarter of them have connections to right-wing extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

Of the 212 individuals identified by COE, 52 (or 25 percent) have ties to known right-wing extremist groups, including Oath Keepers (six people), Proud Boys (17), Groypers and other white supremacists (10) and the QAnon conspiracy theory (14). A number of Proud Boys members and Oath Keepers have been charged with conspiracy in connection with the January 6 insurrection. A conspiracy charge means the government believes these individuals agreed to engage in criminal activity that day.
The remaining 75 percent are considered part of the new pro-Trump extremist movement, a decentralized but enthusiastic faction made up of self-described "patriots" who continue to pledge their fidelity to the former President.

The movement's true believers who participated in the January 6 Capitol siege and are now facing federal charges are similarly perplexed and outraged by the large numbers of fellow MAGA "patriots" who are now claiming that the insurrection actually was the work of violent "antifa" leftists. This fraudulent claim — promulgated not just by conspiracy theorists and fringe partisans, but by elected Republican officials, including members of Congress — has spread so widely that one poll found that a full half of all Republicans believe it.

This infuriates the people who participated and now face charges, because they all are ardent Trump supporters who believed then that they were participating in a nation-saving act of patriotism — and many still believe it now. They can't fathom how quickly their fellow "patriots" have thrown them under the bus and are now depicting them as actually acting on behalf of their hated enemies.

"Don't you dare try to tell me that people are blaming this on antifa and [Black Lives Matter]," wrote insurgent Jonathan Mellis on Facebook days after the event., prior to being charged with multiple crimes. "We proudly take responsibility for storming the Castle. Antifa and BLM or [sic] too pussy … We are fighting for election integrity. They heard us."

"It was not Antifa at the Capitol," wrote "Stop the Steal" organizer Brandon Straka, who has ties to Trump. "It was freedom loving Patriots who were DESPERATE to fight for the final hope of our Republic because literally nobody cares about them. Everyone else can denounce them. I will not."

Insurrectionists And White Nationalists Gather On Chinese-Owned Trovo Site

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Multiple far-right and white nationalist figures -- including some involved with the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol -- have shifted to the gaming-streaming platform Trovo, including using it to monetize their content. Some have used the platform to specifically defend the insurrection; one such person appears to be part of a special Trovo program that can help them raise additional money. Trovo's policies seemingly prohibit white nationalist content and content not related to video games.

Following the insurrection, streaming platform DLive, known for hosting many far-right figures -- some of whom used the platform to livestream the riot -- announced that it would ban several of those accounts. It also announced it would demonetize content that is "deemed to only be appropriate for mature audiences," which it says covers "virtually all non-gaming content."

Since then, multiple far-right figures have started migrating to Trovo, a streaming platform from Tencent still in beta testing. (Tencent is China's largest company and the operator of WeChat.) Trovo's terms of service prohibit content that is "overly violent or promotes or depicts events involving self-harm, harm to another person or harm to animals" and content that is "threatening, abusive, libelous, slanderous, fraudulent, defamatory, deceptive, or otherwise offensive or objectionable." The platform's content guidelines also allow only content that is "relevant to video games and pop culture," and they prohibit "overtly political or religious content that imposes upon others."

Despite those rules, multiple far-right figures have used the platform, often uploading content that is not related to those specifically allowed topics. They've also sometimes used the platform to monetize their content indirectly -- or possibly directly, as the platform provides an avenue for creators to monetize via its digital currencies. Some of these figures have been directly tied to the insurrection.

Vincent James Foxx, a white nationalist who attended the January 6 rally and who is banned from YouTube and DLive, joined Trovo in January. From the platform, James has earned "subs" and "spells," part of the platform's digital currencies which potentially can be converted into actual money. His channel also promotes a link to his Entropy page, a platform from which people can pay creators. On Trovo, James has criticized former President Donald Trump for not "back[ing] his supporters during the Capitol siege" and for not pardoning them after.

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MurderTheMedia, a channel affiliated with the far-right gang Proud Boys and which was banned by DLive following the insurrection, joined Trovo in January. Two members of the channel, Nicholas DeCarlo (also known as "Dick NeCarlo") and Nick Ochs (the head of the Proud Boys' Hawaii chapter), were charged by authorities for being part of the insurrection and were photographed giving thumbs up next to the scrawled words "Murder the Media" at the Capitol during the siege. One of them was also wearing a shirt with the "Murder The Media" logo at the time. On Trovo, MurderTheMedia has earned "spells" that can potentially be converted into actual money. The account has also aired a stream featuring NeCarlo trying to raise funds for his legal case and saying he would "fight" authorities and "punch a motherfucker in the face in the courtroom."

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Ali Alexander is a far-right figure who was a key organizer of the "Stop the Steal" efforts that culminated in the January 6 rally leading to the insurrection. Alexander, who has since been banned from multiple platforms, joined Trovo in February. Since then, he has used the platform to call for the free press "to be abolished" and has threatened to meet authorities on the "battlefield" if they attempt to arrest him.

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Some white nationalist "Groypers" who attended the insurrection have joined Trovo as well.

Other white nationalist and far-right figures have also made a home on Trovo since the insurrection.

  • Trovo.
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