FILE PHOTO: Police release tear gas into a crowd of pro-Trump protesters during clashes at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

The rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 came prepared for war, said the chief of Capitol police who resigned over the riot. During Tuesday’s congressional hearing more than a month after the violence, he came prepared to point fingers. 

Steven Sund and other officials blamed faulty intelligence from federal agencies and each other for failing to quell the protestors who swarmed officers. He and others were expecting a feisty rally similar to two Trump events in late 2020, not the all-out attack that left five dead and dozens of lawmakers scrambling for their lives. Sund, who also said he regrets resigning, hadn’t seen anything like it in 30 years, and he said his police force was unequipped, let alone trained, to repel an insurrection of armed mobsters intent on breaking into the Capitol.

The actions of the group, Sund said, didn’t match the intelligence they received before the rally. Officers were beaten with pipes, sticks and other weapons. Rioters burned Capt. Carneysha Mendoza’s face with chemicals and nearly broke her arm, she testified Tuesday. Officers were also called ugly and racist names, officers said in their testimony. A former NYPD officer was charged in federal court with using a pipe to attack officers, although his attorney said he was attending the rally but was not part of a coordinated attack. 

“When the group arrived at the perimeter, they did not act like any group of protestors I had ever seen,” Sund said.

Sund’s testimony contradicted House impeachment managers’ arguments during former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial that the attack had been expected because of Trump’s urging. Former House Sergeant of Arms Paul Irving also contradicted Sund many times during his own testimony. Sund said he requested National Guard troops two days before the attack but Irving shot him down. But Irving said Sund never made that request. Sund also said he called Irving early on to request more help, but Irving said he has no memory of the call, even after reviewing his phone records. They also deflected blame onto the Pentagon for the lackadaisical effort to get the National Guard after the attack started. That revelation prompted senators to request Pentagon officials take questions next week. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Expansion of domestic terrorism laws profoundly threatens democracy – The Sara Carter Show – 2/23/2021
Someone I know recently described a strange and shocking situation they had with a neighbor they barely know. The neighbor tentatively came over to ask if they were in any way going to cause trouble with her because she voted for President Joe Biden and she believed based on the free speech bumper stickers on their car that they were Trump supporters.

How the CNP, a Republican Powerhouse, Helped Spawn Trumpism, Disrupted the Transfer of Power, and Stoked the Assault on the Capitol – Washington Spectator – 2/22/2021
On January 6, 2021, a stunned nation watched as protesters stormed the Capitol to prevent the certification of the electoral votes from the November election. The effort failed, but not without shining a harsh light on the fault lines of American democracy.

Trump supporters, conspiracists shift to new social media sites – Al Jazeera – 2/23/2021
Banned from mainstream platforms, U.S. conspiracy and supremacist movements, many of which support Donald Trump, have shifted to networks that are more confidential and harder to regulate.

Democrats’ ‘chilling’ letter demands cable providers account for ‘misinformation’ and ‘lies’ from ‘right-wing media outlets’ they carry – Conservative Review – 2/23/2021
Two Democratic members of Congress penned letters Monday to a dozen cable providers demanding they account for “misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and lies” from “right-wing media outlets” they carry — and the networks specifically named were Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News Network.

Can We Ever Stop The Online Conspiracy Theories Hurting Us? – Forbes – 2/23/2021
Since the seditious riot on the US Capitol on January 6th, interest in conspiracy theories has become mainstream. There is growing interest in interrogating how that event could have happened, how everyday people tumble down rabbit holes and attempts to figure out the reasons family members could find themselves isolated from their relatives. These culminating events often result in disastrous outcomes.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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