The Elephant in the Room

Update: Representative James Clyburn is now asking the same question I asked. Whether there was cooperation between Capitol Police and the insurrectionists, this is live on CNN.

Then there is this on Talking Points Memo:

“I do believe that something was going on,” Clyburn told CBSN’s Lana Zak in an interview on Friday. “They knew where to go.”

Clyburn told the network that he had heard from others in Congress that their staff reported seeing members of the violent mob being let into the building “through side doors.”

“Somebody on the inside of those buildings were complicit in this,” the South Carolina lawmaker asserted.

When the early images came from the insurrection at the Capitol I was willing to give officers somewhat of a pass. Why? They looked unprepared as hell, and let’s be honest, they want to go home Some officers were injured, one has died. So in that context, I went, they were ready for the usual raucous demonstration around the Capitol, and did not want to look like the militarized police we are used to when anybody else shows up.

Since we have had a few things happen. First, we have seen the video of officers all but inviting the mob in. They literally removed the barriers to let these people in, and there was not even a figment of resistance. Worst, officers turned their backs to the crowd, a basic no-no in officer safety. So did they know them? Most glaringly, one of these officers took selfies with these guys, and let’s be clear, this was mostly a white and male crowd.

Then we heard a few other things that should sound alarms, not just across the political class, who were put in danger by this. But for the rest of us who pay a lot of money for federal, state, and local intelligence units. It seems if you are white, the intern is assigned to monitoring social media, or worst, they don’t do it. Those of us in the self-assigned hate beat knew that the sixth was not going to be a mere demonstration. We knew there was going to be violence. Granted, this was a tad more than I expected, but only because the police looked and were unprepared as hell.

On the bright side, we also saw officers able to de-escalate things without fully going to town after these guys took over the Capitol, They escorted them out, and were mostly nice. The early arrests, mostly, came after the fact for curfew violations. We did not see people on the ground, waiting for transport, in cuffs. We should have, It would have sent a critical signal to the organizers of the million militia march on the 20th. This is a public service announcement to federal, state, and local police forces, We expect a march to try to prevent the inauguration, and the usual places are worst than they were before the sixth. So I recommend your crack intelligence people, not the interns, start following GAB, 4Chan, Parler, or Twitter, what about all? There are a few other places if you should need help. I know, I know, these are mostly white spaces, so this is why the coffee intern is assigned.

This is the elephant in the room. Having covered courts, I KNOW that my local cops are quite capable of navigating social media and deriving intent from posts if the poster is black or brown. Evidence gathered from social media is inserted as evidence regularly. Some of these posts have nothing to do with the case, and judges ask why? But they are. Apparently, this is not the case right now if you are a white supremacist. I am quite positive that the FBI does the same in federal cases since this digital treasure trove is essential for building cases. Hell, they have used phone taps for decades in RICO cases, as well as other white-collar crimes.

Yet, they told us that they had no idea that the sixth was going to be this interesting. Well, here is a single post, that was posted on social media back in December. Trust me when I say this, it was not a single needle in a huge haystack. The noise was there, and if you read any of the places, they were talking of the storm and the sixth. They were convinced that there was a plan to stop the take over of the country by socialists, and communists, and cultural Marxists. These are all code for the multicultural nation, with the last for Jews.

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This is an example of what was posted on social media, pointing to the fact that this was going to happen. Then there is the account of Dan Scavino on Twitter that was quite open about this being ahem, a raucous event, to put it mildly. Since he has cleaned up his account from all the material he posted encouraging precisely what happened on the sixth. He is a close ally of Donald Trump.

Just in case law enforcement wants to hide their head about the 20th, and how they did not know, let me offer to them an invitation for a million militia march and the intent. Consider this a public service announcement because there is a limit to how many times they can pretend to be surprised when this was plainly obvious to many of us in the working media.

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Why is law enforcement hiding its head in the sand? This is not just Trump, or Trumpism, or a few bad apples in leadership positions. Though this does not help. We have a history of this going back to the late 19th century, the civil rights movement, and other less known events. We also know that it is not just a few bad apples. Law enforcement is not neutral in these events, because it’s been penetrated by the far right. We know this because the FBI has told us this over the years.

So was the officer taking selfies with insurrectionists in agreement with them? Or was he intending to go back home? This is a matter for internal affairs, but also for Congressional hearings at this point. I do not think we can trust an internal affairs investigation to be quite brutally honest. Did the officers allow insurrectionist to do so because they wanted to go home, or because they were fellow travelers? These are not minor questions, If the officers were afraid for their lives, they did not have enough ammo to stop them, A letter of reprimand is adequate at that point, But, if they were in agreement with the insurrection, and apparently there were off duty officers and military personnel among them, then they have to be fired, never to be employed in law enforcement.

I am willing to consider the “I wanted to go home to my family” since fifteen of their colleagues went to the hospital and one has since died. To be brutally clear, if these officers were afraid for their lives, they were betrayed by leadership that did not properly prepare for this. But we must ask if there was a coordinated effort that included leadership at the highest levels.

Before you say it, this is not a conspiracy, in the sense, the QAnon people use the term. However, it could fit the Federal Statue. First off, let’s look at some facts. Trump replaced the Secretary of Defense and leadership with loyalists last month. The Mayor of Washington DC requested the mobilization of the DC Guard on January 5th, and we know that this was refused. This is the statement from the DC Council:

WASHINGTON, DC — The District of Columbia Council issued the following statement today:

Today, the Department of Defense denied a request by Mayor Muriel Bowser to expand the responsibilities of the District of Columbia National Guard so that they would be authorized to protect and restore order at the Capitol Building. That request was denied.

The Council is in full support of the Mayor’s request. We are appalled that this fundamental request was denied. We urge the Department of Defense to reconsider their decision, and to allow the National Guard to restore safety and sanctity to the Capitol, the cornerstone of our Democracy.

So we knew this happened. We must ask why DoD refused a pretty standard request but had no problem in the summer. Even during the middle of the fracas, DoD was still slow-walking this until apparently, the Vice-President intervened.

Then we heard the classic line how could we know? If you remember that far back, this is exactly what we heard from federal authorities after 911. Then we learned of the August 6 PTB, which warned that Osama Bin Ladin was determined to strike the homeland. We are in a similar situation. People who should have known, and chose not to, are now running for cover. The coup failed, there is no other way to put this. Trump has been threatening this for months, if not years.

The Other Lesson

There is a bright side here, even if mild. Police proved that when they are dealing with white supremacists, they are capable of not going to eleven in their response to civil unrest, They treated these people with kid gloves. So the line that they always need to take it to eleven is now a dead letter. If they can do this for people committing sedition, they should be able to tone down their response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations and those from liberal groups.

If anything it confirmed what we already knew about law enforcement and how we have a problem. This is part of the culture of policing. It is obvious that their inability to see a man with a cellphone as carrying a cell phone who is black is racism. I am not even going to call it implicit at this point. It is quite stark and in the open. Incidentally, one of the people charging the chamber was killed, In police parlance, it was a good shooting. But the far right is not only treating this person as a hero but already co-opting the #sayhername hashtag. This is part of the pattern as well.

The chief of Capitol Police (appointed by Trump) has since resigned, but they will try to limit the damage to law enforcement to this resignation. Perhaps it will spread to a few more in leadership at Capitol Police and the Master at Arms in the House who has also resigned.

So we must ask…is there a conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States? This is not over, why I am using the present tense. I think we have enough evidence for a very serious investigation, and at this point, it starts with Donald J Trump. I have pointed out the fact that this felt like a self-coup, and while some have used the word putsch, it is not, because there was no secrecy about this. The intent was clear, since at least the November election, if not earlier.

We do have a valuable lesson though. We can proceed, safely, with demilitarizing the police. They proved that they can do that. So to the incoming administration, don’t lose this chance. For starters, remove the police from the Department of Defense 1033 program. I know this happened after Fergusson. Trump restored it. And to be clear, I can see the transfer of desks, cameras, coffee makers, and perhaps socks. After that, not really.

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Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game.

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