The Enduring Media Lies Surrounding January 6, Two Years Later
Video transcript: We dissect the mythology that has arisen around the events of January 6
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January 6 has become a high holy day for most of liberal America. From the start, they refuse to describe it as what it was: a protest-turned-riot that was predictably subdued in 3 hours by the most powerful and militarized government in human history. Instead, they needed it to be something far more dramatic and terrifying, something that would empower the incoming Biden administration with virtually limitless power to act against their political enemies.
They turned this riot into an insurrection -- an attempted Coup -- and they did so by ratifying one blatant lie and fabrication after the next, ones they continue through this very day -- the two-year anniversary of this sacred moment to assert. When you go back and document and review all the lies they told, how they told them, and how they keep telling them, it becomes very clear that the greatest danger from that day is not the 1,000 or so Facebook warriors who got off their couch for the first time in months to go protest, but instead, the union of powerful institutions, led by the nation's largest media corporations, who demonstrated yet again that there is literally no limit to their willingness to lie, fabricate and invent stories when doing so advances their deeply ideological and partisan interests. We're about to review that, and we invite you to join us as we do so.
Exactly two years ago today, on January 6, 2021, a pro-Trump protest at the Capitol erupted into a three-hour riot.
It was largely organized on Facebook and attracted roughly 1,000 pro-Trump Facebook supporters, as well as groups the FBI has long acknowledged it has deeply infiltrated, including the Proud Boys, Three Percenters, and Oath Keepers. As one would expect, given that the U.S. government is the most militarized and powerful in the history of the world, and all of this took place within the country's mightiest police, intelligence, and military agencies within a one-mile radius -- the riot was very quickly and easily subdued.
But calling it what it was, a protest-turned-riot featuring some not-very-physically-impressive Facebook users was far too tame and undramatic for our establishment media outlets and Democratic Party officials whom they serve. This, they insisted from the start, was no mere riot -- such as, say, the kind that consumed the nation for more than three months in the summer of 2020, after the death of George Floyd, just six months earlier. Those riots, by the way, were never even called riots -- only a “racial reckoning” or, at most, “largely peaceful fiery nationwide protests”, the phrase notoriously used by CNN, even as fires started by the largely peaceful protesters raged in the background. It was fiery in the literal sense, but also somehow largely peaceful.
For this episode at the Capitol, it became instantly imperative for January 6 to be elevated into something far, far more than a mere riot of the kind the nation has seen countless times throughout its history, including in multiple major cities the summer before…
…What was needed was a way to turn this three-hour ruckus into something world-historic and, more importantly, into a justification for branding not only the participants of the riot but also the entire ideological movement associated with it, namely all Trump supporters, as a criminal insurrectionary movement. And, thus, did the corporate media instantly invoke one of the most alarming and serious words in American law, language, and history – “Insurrection” -- and apply it to the events of January 6.
This choice of words was consequential indeed. When the U.S. government faces an actual insurrection, “its powers become virtually unlimited when acting against the insurrectionists -- meaning not just the rioters themselves but, going forward, the entire movement that is acting against the rule of the federal government, defined by them as anyone who harbors doubts about the integrity of the 2020 election, and or supported Donald Trump. Given its constitutional and legal consequences, applying this word often provokes fear and rage among the population.
Six months prior to the riot at the Capitol, we saw how intense the reaction is when this word is used. You may recall that in June 2020 -- in the midst of the riots following George Floyd's killing -- the editor of The New York Times op-ed page was forced to resign, fired for the crime of publishing an op-ed by a sitting Republican senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton, who urged then-President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military and the U.S. National Guard to restore order on American streets. At the time, invoking the word “insurrection”, as he did, was deemed deeply irresponsible to the point that The New York Times fired one of its top editors over it. The liberal Prof. Steve Vladeck, explained in the Washington Post when warning of how dangerous Cotton’s proposal was:
In early June, President Trump threatened to ‘deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem’. A day later, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in a New York Times op-ed, suggested that the federal government invoke an old and obscure law -- the Insurrection Act -- to use the military to ‘restore order’ in those cities in which the protests arising from the killing of George Floyd had turned violent (The Washington Post. June 19, 2020).
Professor Vladeck, in that op-ed, referenced the fact that an insurrection is indeed one of the only circumstances that give the U.S. president the right to suspend all rights under the Constitution. As the National Constitutional Center explained:
The suspension clause of the Constitution protects liberty by protecting the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. It provides that the federal government may not suspend this privilege except in extraordinary circumstances: when a rebellion or invasion occurs and public safety requires it.
And just in general, when some grave crisis is declared that is threatening the safety of the United States -- the alleged need to enter World War I, the threat posed by Japanese Americans after the attack of Pearl Harbor, the 9/11 attack, the COVID pandemic -- the first target for attack are the civil liberties of American citizens, which -- we are always told -- must be severely abridged in order to combat the grave danger posed to our homeland. It's long been forgotten but we must remember that well before January 6, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had already declared that the greatest threat to the US homeland was not ISIS or al-Qaida or some foreign nation, but instead domestic extremists -- far-right extremists, to be exact -- and top Biden advisors, before his inauguration, told The Wall Street Journal that enacting a new domestic War on Terror proposed by then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Adam Schiff, was one of their top priorities.
The declaration that the U.S. faced an “insurrection” due to January 6 was one of the most serious -- and one of the most dangerous -- claims that could be advanced. It is one of the few circumstances that strip all Americans of the most basic protections, such as the right of habeas corpus, a rather important right since it guarantees you the absolute right to petition a federal court to argue that you have been illegally and unconstitutionally imprisoned by the government -- and it further empowers the Federal Government, which at that point, was less than just two weeks away from being taken over by Joe Biden and the Democrats, with virtually unlimited power to spy on, infiltrate, detain, and even imprison anyone deemed to be part of this insurrection. So, the word “insurrection” became of utmost importance to the corporate media.
But the attempt to call this riot an “insurrection” immediately ran into some rather significant problems. To begin with, not a single person who entered the Capitol two years ago brandished a firearm -- rather unusual behavior for a group that was allegedly planning to stage a coup and overthrow the most powerful government in the history of humanity.
Still worse, from the perspective of media hysterics, was that the only people who died that day -- four of them -- were all Trump supporters. Trump supporters killed nobody on January 6. It was a bit difficult to convince the nation to view this event as some uniquely threatening coup carried out by savage and violent insurrectionists if they did not even manage to kill a single person but, instead, four of them died without ever killing anyone or even pulling a gun.
I'll pose a very easy question: when the American corporate media wants to propagate a narrative that's important to them, but they have no facts to support it, what did they do? By now, the answer is as obvious as it is corrupt: they just invent facts to suit their narrative -- which is a nice way of saying they lie on purpose -- such as when they wanted to suppress the incriminating reporting by The New York Post about Joe Biden right before the 2020 election, and so decided to just falsely brand the evidence on which that reporting was based “Russian disinformation”.
What was known was that four pro-Trump protesters were killed that day; we knew their names and how they died. Two of them, 50-year-old Benjamin Phillips and 55-year-old Kevin Greeson, died of heart attacks. Remember, it was just a year into the isolation brought about by the COVID pandemic. And Gen-X and Boomer Facebook users weren't exactly renowned for their physical prowess.
A third -- 34-year-old Roseanne Boylan -- was claimed originally by The New York Times, eager to blame deaths on the violent crowd, to have died that day because she, in the words of that paper, “appears to have been killed in a crush of fellow rioters during their attempt to fight through a police line, according to videos reviewed by The Times.” -- but instead, that was also totally false. It turned out that she died of an amphetamine overdose.
The fourth and final person to die on January 6 was the 35-year-old Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who, despite having assaulted nobody and brandishing no weapon, was shot point blank in the neck by the Capitol Police and died on the spot.
But those inconvenient facts -- that the only people who died that day were pro-Trump supporters and that they had killed nobody -- were no match for the media's willingness to brazenly lie to their audience and to the nation. And that's exactly what they proceeded to do, inventing the most gruesome yet totally fabricated tale that their rotted and lying minds could conjure of a young, heroic Capitol Police officer who was murdered in the most savage and barbaric way by these insurrectionists.
That lie began, as so many lies do, with The New York Times claiming that they were secretly told the things by anonymous officials. In an article that is no longer online -- but still available through the Wayback Machine, The Paper of Record published this headline: “Capitol Police Officer Died From Injuries in Pro-Trump Rampage. The death of the officer, Brian de Sicknick, appeared likely to lead to calls for profound changes to Capitol Police, a centuries-old force”. In that article, The Times completely invented a fifth fatality, the first who wasn't a Trump supporter. That's why it became so important. In order to do that, they wrote the following:
A United States Capitol Police officer died on Thursday night from injuries sustained “while physically engaging” with pro-Trump rioters who descended on the U.S. Capitol the day before, the fifth fatality linked to the chaos that engulfed the nation’s capital on Wednesday, according to the authorities (The New York Times. Jan. 8, 2021)
According to whom? To the authorities.
The officer, Brian de Sicknick, was only the fourth member of the force to be killed in the line of duty since its founding two centuries ago. After the bedlam of Wednesday's siege and the recriminations that filled the airwaves the next day, a silence descended over the Capitol grounds late Thursday, as hundreds of law enforcement officers from scores of agencies lined the streets to pay tribute to their fallen comrade. The circumstances surrounding Mr. Sicknick's death were not immediately clear.
You can say that again.
And the Capitol Police only said that he had, “passed away due to injuries sustained while on duty”. At some point in the chaos, with the mob rampaging through the halls of Congress while lawmakers were forced to hide under their desks -- he was struck with a fire extinguisher, according to two law enforcement officials.
He was struck with a fire extinguisher, according to whom? Two law enforcement officials
He returned to his division office and collapsed”, the Capitol Police said in the statement. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries (The New York Times. Jan. 8, 2021).
From there, the media was up and running. They had what they needed. A fifth dead body, one that wasn't a Trump supporter, but something much, much better: a highly sympathetic young Capitol Police officer who -- even though this wasn't really so explicitly stated in The New York Times article -- instantly became someone who had his skull savagely bashed in by the animalistic Trump insurrectionists. Look how, in the media’s hands, they took this third-hand anonymous, unverified report and turned it into central gospel, into absolute, unquestioned melodramatized truth.
Montage of Newsmedia: CNN:Officer Brian Sicknick died after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during the hours-long attack.
MSNBC: They beat a Capitol police officer to death with a fire extinguisher.
CNN: Officer Brian Sicknick died after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during the fight.
MSNBC: He died at the age of 42 after he was bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher.
It wasn't just the words they used. It was the tone they invoked in order to convey them deliberately designed to pull on the heartstrings of every American and make you enraged. And indeed, with that obviously jarring story in place, the riot easily turned into an insurrection and, even better, the insurrectionists were turned into a violent, brutal, murderous mob. Who, other than the most monstrous psychopath, smashes the skull of a young police officer with a fire extinguisher until he ends up as a bloody and lifeless pulp on the floor. Predictably, by design, our noble guardians of truth, our warriors who must censor the Internet to protect you and me and all of us from disinformation -- jumped into action without giving it a moment's thought and began spreading this fairy tale with as much aggression and emotional effect as they could muster.
Here first from the Associated Press says, Brian Sicknick “was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during the riot”.
From The New York Times longtime columnist Nicholas Kristof, “Sicknick was clubbed to death with a fire extinguisher by Trump's mob. Richard Engle of the NBC News: “Officer Sicknick clubbed to death with a fire extinguisher by a pro-Trump mob.”
Here’s, Fred Wellman in one of the founders of the highly noble and honorable Lincoln Project: “A member of the mob encouraged by [Josh Jawley] killed [Brian Sicknick] with a fire extinguisher”.
From Congressman Tim Ryan, the Democrat of Ohio: “My heart breaks over the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was injured in the violent assault on the Capitol. My prayers are with his family and colleagues on the force. This tragic loss is a reminder of the bravery of the law enforcement who protect us every day.”
Not content to have this spread all over the Western world, the originator of this lie -- The New York Times -- went back to try to squeeze even more melodrama and emotional rage and horror out of this tale that they had invented. On January 8, they purported to profile Sicknick's life and the dreams and aspirations beaten out of him by the fire-extinguishing, wielding murderers and insurrectionists with this now-deleted headline: “He Dreamed of Being a Police Officer”. The story they told of a life cut short by an insurrection and a fire extinguisher was moving and inspiring:
Brian Sicknick followed his Air National Guard unit to Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan, and a military base in his home state of New Jersey, all in the hopes of one day wearing a police uniform. It was a wish fulfilled more than ten years ago when he joined the police department tasked with protecting the United States Capitol. Then, on Wednesday, pro-Trump rioters attacked that citadel of democracy and overpowered Mr. Sicknick, 42, according to law enforcement officials. With a bloody gash in his head, Mr. Sicknick was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support. He died on Thursday evening (The New York Times. Jan.8, 2021).
On January 11, three days later, The Times returned with another story that -- in its headline -- made its intent indisputably clear: “These Are the Five People Who Died in the Capitol Riot”. “A police officer was beaten, a rioter was shot, and three others died during the rampage.”
And just like that – presto! -- there were now five people who died on January 6, not four. And the first and most important of the victims: “A police officer was beaten”. The article, five full days after the riot, included this now gospel passage about the fifth person to die on January 6, Brian Sicknick:
One had dreamed of becoming a police officer and was injured in a clash with rioters. One was an Air Force veteran and a fervent supporter of President Trump who was shot by the police. Three others were Trump loyalists, including one who sold kangaroos dressed like the president, and who suffered what the authorities called, “medical emergencies”. These five people from disparate backgrounds in different corners of the country now share one fate: their lives all ended last week as a mob incited by Mr. Trump, stormed the Capitol (The New York Times, Jan. 11, 2021).
And about Brian Sicknick specifically, the paper said, “Law enforcement officials said he had been ‘physically engaging with protesters’ and was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher”.
From the start, there were all kinds of reasons to doubt that any of this was true. To begin with, there was no evidence to ever suggest that it was true. All of those events that we just went through, all those emotions that were deliberately trifled with and manipulated and provoked were never based on anything other than a claim, a passing claim in The New York Times that a couple of authorities mentioned to them that they thought that perhaps Brian Sicknick might have been hit in the head with a fire extinguisher. And from there we were subjected to days and days and days of highly melodramatized claims that focused almost entirely on him and not on the Trump supporters who died because the claim was that he died and didn't just die in the line of duty but died in the most horrific way possible.
Images of him being bashed in the head and his skull being crushed in with a fire extinguisher were played over and over and over, first in the United States and then all over the rest of the world. Something that was completely and totally untrue. And yet, if to this very day, you mention that Brian Sicknick was not, in fact, killed on January 6, that the only people who died on January six or due to violence on January 6, were four protesters who were there to protest in favor of Trump, people will assume that you're some kind of a propagandist and that you yourself are lying because they heard this lie over and over and over. And as we know, lies that get repeated over and over and over eventually at some point become true.
And what's so offensive about that part of it and, as we're about to show you, there were so many lies beyond this one, is that the media's job, especially in the most important moments in the country's history, is to be extra scrupulous with the facts, precisely because events like this put people on emotional edge and they're ready to believe anything, and that lie stays imprinted on their head. And it wasn't as though there was a mound of evidence that allowed them to believe this was true or led them to believe this is true only for them to then make a mistake and say it's true and then realize later that it wasn't. There was never any evidence to justify it. There was never any evidence to suggest that it was true at all. They needed it to be true. They wanted it to be true because it was the only way they can advance their political agenda and, therefore, they simply proclaimed it to be true, notwithstanding the fact that there was no evidence.
This is something that we have seen over and over and over again and it's what proves, more than anything, that we don't really have a national journalistic media. The media that we have, the corporate media, the large corporate media, the large media corporations that serve these people, really have no journalistic function at all. If they did, this is what they would have been doing on that day, not having me do two years later dissecting what it is that was known. The problem, of course, was that they wanted it to be true, and so they claimed it was true. As I said, it isn't just that there was no evidence to believe it was true -- even though it made it into The New York Times -- it was that there was a mountain of evidence to suggest that it wasn't true.
Here, for example, is an article in ProPublica, on January 8, just two days after the riot at the Capitol, that called into question that entire story -- just two days later, not two years later, not a year later, two days later -- the headline was “The Political Climate Got My Brother Killed: Officer Brian Sicknick died. Defending the Capitol. His family waits for answers”. ProPublica went and interviewed the relatives, the close relatives of Brian Sicknick and they said things that made clear that what The New York Times had told the Nation and convinced everyone and the media to go around ratifying was actually not true.
Brian David Sicknick, 42, died Thursday with injuries sustained while trying to protect the Capitol from a mob of violent rioters supporting President Donald Trump, who rushed the building to disrupt the certification of the presidential election. Last they heard, Sicknick was in critical condition on a ventilator, according to family members who spoke to ProPublica. While some news reports have said that an unnamed officer was in critical condition after being bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher, family members did not have details of his injury. They said Sicknick had texted them Wednesday night, [had texted them Wednesday night] to say that he had been pepper-sprayed and that he was in good spirits. The text arrived hours after a mob's assault on Capitol Hill left more than 50 officers injured and five people dead (ProPublica. Jan 8, 2021).
How is it possible that Brian Sicknick had his skull bashed in, to the point where he was left for dead, was he able to text his parents and brother that night and say he thought he might have breathed in some pepper spray but was in good spirits?
The evidence that what they were saying and doing and dramatizing was false was right here in a newspaper. They all regard as perfectly credible, ProPublica. And this just got ignored because it interfered with what they were trying to accomplish. It concludes
Still in shock, one family member who agreed to talk but asked not to be named, said Sicknick had sometimes expressed frustrations with his job. ‘Occasionally, he would mention that they were very understaffed and they worked a lot of hours’, the family member said, and ‘morale could be low’ (ProPublica. Jan. 8, 2021).
So, there were reasons to think that he was already troubled. There were reasons to believe that the story was false, namely that he texted his family that night. And yet I just showed you that four days after this ProPublica report, they continued to spread this lie without even mentioning the possibility that it may not be true.
Here is CNN, on February 2, with some added questions and doubts raised about what actually happened here, because people started saying, you keep claiming that Brian Sicknick had his skull bashed in with a fire extinguisher and yet we've not seen any evidence. So here you see a CNN report because people are rightly wondering why isn’t the guy, or the guys, who bashed Brian Sicknick scull in fatally, why haven't they been arrested? You have all this surveillance footage. It's one of the most surveilled buildings on the planet. How did you not get these guys who murdered a police officer? So, here's CNN: “Investigators struggle to build murder case and death of U.S. Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick”. Why would they be struggling if someone bashed him with a fire extinguisher?
Investigators are struggling to build a federal murder case regarding the U.S. Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, vexed by a lack of evidence that could prove someone caused his death as he defended the Capitol during last month's insurrection. Authorities have reviewed video and photographs that show Sicknick engaging with rioters amid the siege but have yet to identify a moment in which he suffered his fatal injuries […] In Sicknick's case, it's still not known publicly what caused him to collapse the night of the insurrection. Findings from a medical examiner's review have not yet been released and authorities have not made announcements about that ongoing process (CNN, Feb. 2, 2021).
This is the way the media starts to know they've been caught and needs to walk back the lies they told, and, instead of admitting they got the story wrong, they start pulling enough out of the ether to act as though they're still on the story and that now something has changed -- namely, there's no evidence that any of that happened.
There was never any evidence of it from the beginning. The problem was you can't sustain this lie because there was no video showing that it happened and no one had been arrested for it. This lie, though, continues to spread and proliferate after the ProPublica story that should have gutted it right away, after the CNN report admitting that prosecutors had no way of knowing what happened.
Here is the brief from the prosecutors in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. The New York Times is encouraging you to read the brief from the impeachment managers. This lie made it into the formal congressional case to try and remove the sitting president of the United States. Here from the prosecutors’ brief: “The insurrectionists killed a Capitol police officer by striking him in the head with a fire extinguisher”.
It also made it to the White House. Here is a statement by Joe Biden on the Senate vote in the trial of Donald Trump, after they acquitted him, when he said, “It was nearly two weeks ago that Jill and I paid our respects to Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who laid in honor in the Rotunda, after losing his life protecting the Capitol from a riotous, violent mob on January 6, 2021”. This is February 13, when this came out of the president's mouth, after the ProPublica story, after CNN admitted there was no evidence that any of this was true.
Here is The New York Times that decided, finally, to go back and admit that their original story was false, but they weren't ready yet to give up on the crucial staple of the insurrection narrative, namely that insurrectionists had murdered Brian Sicknick. But now c decided to completely change its story about how they murdered him. No longer was there a fire extinguisher involved, and no longer was there a bastion’s fall. Instead, what we had now is the following from the Paper of Record:
A little more than a month after the Capitol siege, a fuller picture of the injuries sustained by the police has emerged from court documents, footage revealed at former President Donald J. Trump's impeachment trial, accounts provided by officers and interviews with law enforcement officials and experts. The Capitol assault resulted in one of the worst days of injuries for law enforcement in the United States since September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. About 140 officers [73 from the Capitol Police and 65 from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington] were injured, [the departments have said]. They ranged from bruises and lacerations to more serious damage, such as concussions, rib fractures, burns, and even a mild heart attack. One Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, was killed and investigators are increasingly focused on whether chemical irritants, were a factor in his death… (The New York Times. Feb 11, 2021)
According to whom? ‘A senior law enforcement official’. "The Capitol Police said in a statement that officer Sicknick died from injuries sustained ‘while physically engaging with protesters’. Two officers involved in the response have died by suicide, though local police have said” (The New York Times. Feb 11, 2021).
And yet what you're starting now to notice is that on every single New York Times story that had ever been printed about Brian Sicknick, for the entire first month after the Capitol riot, going all the way back to the first story on January 6, you see this update, “Update: New information has emerged regarding the death of the Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick that questions the initial cause of his death provided by officials close to the Capitol Police” (Feb. 12, 2021).
The New York Times was forced to append not one story, but multiple ones where they repeated this lie over and over the fact that there was actually no proof.
Now, let's just think about what's going on here. Within a very short span of time, an extremely alarming and disturbing story was manufactured out of whole cloth that the entire media decided to buy into. It all came originally from The New York Times. The New York Times didn't just spread this lie once: they went back to the well over and over and over and over, to draw as much emotional power out of it as possible. It really was the staple for the entire insurrection narrative and made it in the impeachment case against Donald Trump and made it out of Joe Biden's mouth and made it out of the mouth, as we showed you, of every major media outlet practically in the country. And now, quietly, with no retraction, no editors, no nothing, The Times just goes and quietly appends to every single article on this issue this little note saying “new information has emerged that questions the initial cause of his death”. -- It didn't question it: it negated it, and proved it was untrue, and instead of abandoning that lie, they simply switched to a new one that these insurrectionists had sprayed him with some kind of bear spray that actually ended up killing him.
Here is The Times, in March: “Officer Brian Sicknick Died After the Capitol Riot. New Videos Show How He Was Attacked”. So, this is now the story that for six weeks they're clinging to -- we got it right: insurrectionists did murder him, but not with a fire extinguisher, but with bear spray.
New videos obtained by the New York Times show publicly for the first time how the U.S. Capitol Police officer who died after facing off with rioters on January 6 was attacked with chemical spray. The officer, Brian Sicknick, who had been guarding the west side of the Capitol, collapsed later that day and died the next night. Little had been known about what happened to Officer Sicknick during the assault”... ( The New York Times. March 24, 2021)
Really? Little had been known? You published at least four articles stating what you knew, stating how it happened, causing every media outlet in the world, outside of the United States and within, to say it, and then you get caught lying, you say ‘little had been known’ -- that it was not your fault because nothing was known until now that you're about to reveal the truth. A completely different story from the one that you told for the last six weeks. Little had been known about what happened, and
…the previously unpublished videos provide new details about when, where and how he was attacked, as well as about the events leading up to the encounter. Two rioters, Julian Elie Khater and George Peter Tanios were arrested on March 14 and charged with assaulting Officer Sicknick and two other officers with chemical spray. The investigation is continuing and federal prosecutors haven't ruled out pursuing murder charges (The New York Times. March 24, 2021).
They accuse these two protesters, they named them, of having murdered Brian Sicknick with some kind of unknown chemical spray, to the point they claim were federal prosecutors who are pursuing murder charges against these two people they decided to name.
CNN did the same thing yet again, picked up on The New York Times News story, here from February: “New video helping investigators in search for suspects in U.S. Capitol Police officer’s death” -- because – remember -- everyone thinks that Brian Sicknick was murdered by insurrectionists, but no one has been able to identify who murdered him, let alone how. No one showed any proof of that, even though to this day, millions believe he was beaten with a fire extinguisher. So now CNN is trying to explain this and they're saying, ‘new video emerged helping us search for who really killed Brian Sicknick’.
Federal authorities have narrowed to a handful the number of suspects in the death of U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, a U.S. official briefed on the probe said Wednesday, raising hopes that investigators can bring charges in the case. New video evidence from the U.S. Capitol on January 6 has aided the work of the FBI and prosecutors and the U.S. Attorney's office in Washington, D.C., in what the official says investigators continue to view as a complicated and difficult case (CNN. Feb. 10, 2021).
It wasn't complicated or difficult four weeks earlier when they needed a fifth victim and they needed to convince Americans that these were not protesters, nonviolent protesters, but a murderous, monstrous mob. There was nothing complicated or difficult then, but then they got caught lying and they had to come up with a new story. And here it is: “One leading theory that investigators are considering is that the suspect sprayed an irritant, perhaps bear spray, that caused Sicknick to suffer a fatal reaction, the official said, and CNN had previously reported”.
So now the story has completely shifted to a new murder theory, one that, again, has absolutely no evidence behind it.
CNN had to go back in April, two months later, and admit that this too was fabricated: “U.S. Capitol rioters charged in Sicknick case were armed with bear spray but only used pepper spray, prosecutors say”. Obviously, pepper spray is something that is used constantly in protest and in riots; it does not cause young police officers to drop dead. Neither does bear spray, actually. But the theory was that perhaps it was a heightened weaponized form of bear spray. But now they had to admit, no, there was actually no bear spray at all: it was just pepper spray, which created a big problem.
CNN explained that the Justice Department on Tuesday abandoned the idea that pro-Trump rioters had used bear spray against Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick during the January 6 riot, a major change after implying for weeks that bear spray, not pepper spray, had been deployed.
[…] Prosecutors addressed the seemingly small but significant difference at a detention hearing for the two men charged in connection with the chemical attack. All sides now acknowledge that the defendants, Julian Kather and George Tanios” -- remember the two men the New York Times suggested were guilty of murdering Brian Sicknick – “brought bear repellent to the Capitol, and that Kather asked for it just moments before the attack but ended up using pepper spray instead. The clarification came a week after Washington's chief medical examiner ruled that Sicknick had suffered strokes and died of natural causes the day after the attack. The finding undercut theories that an allergic reaction to the chemical spray may have led to his death (CNN. April 27, 2021).
They’re now on allergies, perhaps get some weird allergic reaction to some very common spray that rarely ever kills anyone. It's a very, very, very long way away from all that drama and lying about the skull being bastioned with a fire extinguisher.
“The medical examiner's recent ruling about the manner of death makes it a virtual certainty that prosecutors won't be able to go much further than existing assault case, legal experts said. This, in fact, all but assures prosecutors won't charge anyone with homicide related to Officer Sicknick's death, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told CNN. ‘The report appears conclusive that he died of natural causes and it could look like overcharging if prosecutors went that route (CNN. April 27, 2021).
Brian Sicknick was not killed by anyone. He was not murdered by anyone. He died of natural causes. To this very day, no one's been charged with his murder. Because he wasn't murdered, neither with a fire extinguisher nor bear spraying nor pepper spray. All of this is a complete and total lie imprinted on people's brains, for very specific and deliberative reasons. They need to convince people that the ones who died on January 6 were not just not Trump supporters, but people the Trump supporters murdered. Something that to this day is an absolute lie.
Here, finally, the truth emerges, on April 19, from NPR: “Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick Died of Natural Causes, Medical Examiner Rules”. It took two months or three months for the medical examiner to finally release the autopsy, answering the question of how this person -- the fifth person, we were told, died on January 6, the only one that wasn't a pro-Trump supporter -- actually died. And the answer? Natural causes. Natural causes, not murder, not skulls being bashed in, not brute force, not an allergic reaction to pepper spray or bear spray -- natural causes.
Now, let's go to some incredible footage about how they're continuing to lie, not for the next year, but up until this very day. Let me first show you something that Hakeem Jeffries said today.
Hakeem Jeffries: As a result of events on January six, the lives of five heroic officers were lost.
He's claiming, the new House Democratic leader, Hakeem Jeffries, that as the result of January 6, not even one now, but five Capitol Police officers had their lives lost.
Let's take a look at what he actually means by that.
We're going to look at the evidence about whether or not, in fact, how you can possibly claim that five police officers died that day. It has to do with the claim that because four of them committed suicide, you can go ahead and blame the insurrectionists as the people who actually murdered them -- because what ended up happening was you had Brian Sicknick and then four other suicides that took place in the days, weeks and even months after Capitol after the January 6 riot -- and then they decided now to say that this means that there were at least five police officers who died as a result of January 6.
Here's the report in The Washington Post. This is from November 21, 2022. This is one officer of those five whose death has actually ruled a line of duty death, even though he committed suicide far away from the Capitol and many days after “A Justice Department official has ruled that Capitol Police Officer Howard Livengood, who killed himself days after encountering rioters during the January 6, 2021, insurrection, died in the line of duty, according to his family and authorities.
Generally, the police will not regard suicide as a death in the line of duty for obvious reasons: that death is at the hand of the police officer, him or herself, and not anybody else. But so much pressure -- political pressure -- was put on the Justice Department to call this a line of duty death and order to blame the insurrectionists since they couldn't blame them for Brian Sicknick’s death, that they ended up basically requiring this to happen. “In August, President Biden signed the Public Safety Officer Support Act…” -- a bill specifically designed to allow Democrats on this day to claim that insurrectionists killed police officers –
…that made it easier for families of officers who die by suicide to access death benefits. The president of the National Fraternal Order of Police said the claim filed by Livengood is the first under the new law. Livengood patrolled the grounds outside Senate office buildings on the day of the assault around-the-clock in the days that followed, his family has said. He encountered rioters but did not battle them physically. He died by suicide three days later. […] Police agencies historically have been reluctant to honor officers who die by suicide. D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee III, who has mentioned Smith while speaking publicly about the cost police bore from responding to the insurrection, has raised questions about the connections between the riot and the officers’ death. Contee and department lawyers wrote in a letter to the D.C. Retirement Board that it would be ‘pure speculation’ to link Smith's suicide to the attack, saying there is no direct evidence of Officer Smith's mindset at the time of his death.
Even the Capitol Hill and D.C. Police were saying that there was no evidence to link this death to the January 6 rioters, but they put so much pressure on them that they finally called one -- not five, as Hakeem Jeffries said, but one of these deaths – a line of duty death: “Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died a day after his collapse during the riot, the medical examiner ruled that his death was from natural causes”.
Let's look at another video and see what was said today about January 6. It comes not from Hakeem Jeffries, but from Joe Biden. Let's take a look at what Joe Biden said.
It's taking a little time. It's really remarkable what Biden said. So, I'm eager for it to load. We're going to just get this up another way. But I really need you to hear what Joe Biden said today. So, let's listen to the video.
President Joe Biden: It's long overdue. Today is a ceremony to honor heroes of January 6th. We also recognize the late U.S. Capitol Police officer, Billy Evans. His family is with us today. Three months after January 6th while they're still cordoning off the capital because threats by these sick insurrectionists continue to be propagated on the Internet. Again, all America saw what happened when Officer Evans was killed defending a checkpoint he'd had to go through to get up to the Capitol because of these God awful sick threats. And the whole world saw it. It's just hard to believe. It's hard to believe it could happen here in America.
Basically, Biden was saying that the attack on the Capitol that came three months after January 6 in which a police officer died was because of what he called ‘sick insurrectionists’. What Biden is actually talking about there is a police officer who was actually killed in the line of duty, he was guarding the Capitol, but he wasn't actually killed by any kind of insurrectionists -- or sick insurrectionists -- at all. He was killed instead by somebody who was a follower of Louis Farrakhan, somebody who had nothing whatsoever to do with the Trump movement here, even to The New York Times: “The Suspect in Capitol Attack Appears to Have Been a Follower of Louis Farrakhan. […] The suspect in the death of a Capitol police officer described himself on Facebook as a follower of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, who has repeatedly promoted anti-Semitism. […] The suspect, Noah Green, 25, was identified by two law enforcement officials and a congressional official. He was from Indiana and died after being shot by the Capitol Police.
On Facebook. Mr. Green had posted speeches and articles written by Mr. Farrakhan and Elijah Muhammad, who led the Nation of Islam from 1934 to 1975, that discussed the decline of America. Two law enforcement officials confirmed that the Facebook page, which was taken down on Friday, had belonged to Mr. Green. He also spoke on Facebook about the “end times” and the Antichrist. On March 17th, he posted a photo of a donation he made to the Norfolk, Va., chapter of the Nation of Islam, along with a video of a Farrakhan speech titled “The Divine Destruction of America”. Later that day, he encouraged his friends to join him in studying the teachings of Mr. Farrakhan and Mr. Muhammad (The New York Times, April 2, 2021).
And there you see a picture of him, Noah Green, the person who today Joe Biden claimed was part of the sick insurrectionist who not only killed five police officers but apparently also this other Capitol Hill police officer three months after the FBI.
Now, it's amazing to watch these people just like this became the talking point of Democratic Party politics today. There was a senator from Nevada, another one from New Hampshire, both of whom said that today we honor the five Capitol Hill police officers who lost their lives on January 6. One of those continues to be Brian Sicknick, despite everything that I just showed you. The other four are all people who committed suicide. It is disgraceful, disgraceful of them to pretend that they know why these Capitol Hill police officers committed suicide. Suicide is an incredibly complex thing. You cannot diagnose that from a distance.
It's very difficult to diagnose it even up close, but they don't care at all. They're exploiting these people in order to continue to maintain this narrative that they need to maintain that insurrectionists murdered a police officer on that day, even though they know it's a lie to the point of continuing to use Brian Sicknick continuing to use four police officers who committed suicide, only one of whom, after huge amounts of political pressure and a new law was declared to be a line of duty death. And even this person who very patently has nothing to do with Donald Trump or the insurrection, but instead was a follower of black nationalism and the Nation of Islam, but Joe Biden also blamed this police death on the insurrectionists.
Now, one of the other stories that you might recall is that many members of the insurrection on January 6 intended to murder members of Congress, not just Mike Pence, but AOC, whom you might recall, told Ted Cruz when he tried to reach out and work with her on the question of whether Robinhood, the app, was cheating against people who had purchased all sorts of stocks and were outsmarting venture capitalist and hedge funds. And she said I'd rather work with people who don't try and have me murdered.
The idea that they were trying to murder various members of Congress was started over and over by the media. And one of the ways they tried to claim that was through this photo published in The New York Times, on January 10th, 2020, of a person who was carrying a kind of plastic restraint. The New York Times said: “The FBI arrested two men who had carried plastic restraints into the Capitol”, and this was used as proof that they had gone there with the intention of murdering members of Congress, first, tying them up and then killing them. And then this caused all sorts of hysteria.
Here is Kyle Cheney, a CNN reporter: “Just in: Remember the zip-tie guy in the Senate, Eric Munchel? The FBI just arrested his mom, Lisa Eisenhart, who accompanied him”.
Here is Talia Lavin, who got fired from The New Yorker for falsely accusing people of being white supremacists: “I can't stop thinking about the zip-tie guys”.
The next one is from Jon Cooper, a Democratic Party activist, “A retired Air Force officer who stormed the Capitol, carried zip tie handcuffs because he intended to ‘take hostages’, the prosecutor said. ‘He means to take hostages. He means to kidnap, restrain, perhaps tie, perhaps execute members of the US government’”.
This is all part of the fear mongering.
Here from Slate: “They were out for blood. The men who carried zip-ties as they stormed the Capitol weren't clowning around”. The article said,
They went into the Capitol, as Congress was counting electoral votes, equipped to take hostages, to physically seize officials, and presumably to take lives. The prospect is terrifying. But just because it seems unthinkable doesn't mean we shouldn't think hard about what almost happened. Don't dismiss the zip-tie guys as ‘LARPers’ or ‘weekend warriors’. First of all, given the well-documented overlap between ex-military, law enforcement, and right-wing militias, it's entirely possible...”
Do you see their journalistic standards? It may have happened.
It's entirely possible these guys were weekday warriors using their training and service of extracurricular interest. (One of the Twitter sleuths who are now trying to track them down seems to think they're ex-military)”. A Twitter sleuth. “More importantly, the long, awful course of history reminds us how slippery the slope is from playacting as a strike force to actually believing in behaving as a strike force. Once the zip ties go on, it doesn't matter whether you're a “real” terrorist or not (Slate. Jan 8, 2021).
Here, Nicholas Kristof -- he pointed out that just like the claim about Brian Sicknick being beaten to death with a fire extinguisher, this claim also made it into the prosecutor's brief against Trump. This is the government’s legal brief against the QAnon Shaman, Jacob Chansley, who they claimed was part of a plot to assassinate and murder members of Congress.
Here's Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times: “The government legal brief about the rioter who wore horns is chilling: ‘The intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government’, and ‘the insurrection is still in progress’”.
These maximalist claims are designed to make you fear these insurrectionists as monstrous murderers out to kill members of Congress. Laurence Tribe, the formerly respected Harvard Law professor: ”Some of the individuals who breached the Capitol intended to ‘capture and assassinate elected officials, federal prosecutors wrote in this new court filing’. They just assume that prosecutorial claims are truth and that they were there to murder all kinds of political officials. And yet, all of that turned out to be false as well.
Here, from Reuters spreading the same thing, “U.S. says Capitol rioters meant to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials, according to filing.
But now let's look at the actual truth of what happened. Here is the Reuters report:
“Federal prosecutors offered an ominous new assessment of last week's siege of the Capitol by President Trump's supporters, saying […] that rioters intended to ‘capture and assassinate elected officials. Prosecutors offered that view in a filing asking a judge to detain Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man, and QAnon on conspiracy theories who was famously photographed wearing horns as he stood at the desk of Vice President Mike Pence and the Chamber of the U..S Senate. The detention memo, written by Justice Department lawyers in Arizona goes into greater detail about the FBI's investigation into Chansley, revealing that he left a note for Pence, warning that it's only a matter of time, justice is coming. ‘Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government’, prosecutors wrote.
So, their story was that protesters arrived a clip with zip ties that they intended to use to kidnap, tie up, and murder members of Congress, and that one of the people who intended to do that and who was part of that conspiracy to murder members of Congress was Jacob Chansley, also known as the Q Shaman, who became the face of the protest because of the mask and the makeup that he wore.
All of that fell apart very quickly upon scrutiny.
Here, from The Insider: “On February 2, the Capitol’s riot, ‘zip-tie guy’ appeared to take the plastic handcuffs from Capitol Police, prosecutors say”. He didn't arrive there at all with that stuff.
Eric Munchel, a pro-Trump rioter who stormed the Capitol building while holding plastic handcuffs, took the restraints from a table inside the Capitol building, prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday. Munchel, who broke into the building with his mom, was labeled “zip-tie guy”, after he was photographed barreling down the Senate chamber holding the restraints. His appearance raised questions about whether the insurrectionists who sought to stop Congress from counting Electoral College votes on January 6, also intended to take lawmakers hostage. But according to the new [prosecutorial] filing, Munchel and his mother took the handcuffs from within the Capitol building -- apparently to ensure the Capitol Police couldn't use them on the insurrectionists rather than bring them in when they initially breached the building (Insider. Jan. 21, 2021).
Do you see how this whole story fell apart? Also, part of the scary part was that they were there to murder AOC and Nancy Pelosi and whoever else they could get their hands on using zip-ties. And yet none of it was true. They found the zip-ties on a table and picked them up, not to use them, but to prevent the Capitol Police from using the zip-ties against them. And then we had the actual trial or guilty plea of the QAnon shaman, Jacob Chansley. He was sentenced to 41 months in prison. As you add to that, the months that he spent in pretrial prison with no conviction, in solitary confinement, that amounts to more than four years in prison.
You must assume that someone who goes to jail for more than four years in prison engaged in violence, and they found evidence he intended to murder members of Congress. But you would be wrong. As Politico acknowledges,
Jacob Chansley, whose shirtless image on the Senate rostrum and menacing notes of Vice President Mike Pence, came to symbolize the January 6 assault on the Capitol, was sentenced on Wednesday to almost three and a half years in prison, matching the harsher sentence handed down yet […] Lamberth acknowledged that Chansley had not engaged in physical violence on January 6 but said his role as a leader among those who went into the Senate chamber and disrupted the electoral vote tally compelled a serious prison sentence. ‘What you did was terrible’, the judge said.’ You made yourself the epitome of the riot. [...] You didn't slug anybody but what you did here was actually obstruct the functioning of the whole government. It's a serious crime’” (Politico. Nov. 17, 2021).
He was sent to five years in prison for no reason then he became the symbol of this protest. He didn't hurt anybody. He didn't use violence against anybody, much less plan or plot to murder any members of Congress as was continuously said for months by the same media outlets that lied over and over about these police officers. And then, at the end, when it comes time to admit the truth, he gets sent off to prison for five years despite everyone acknowledging that he never engaged in violence. A long staple of liberal politics is you don't send people to prison, let alone for five years for nonviolent crimes. And yet he was sent to prison after first being accused of being the ringleader of a plot to murder members of Congress by a judge who ended up acknowledging he never engaged in violence at all.
Then from CNBC, Federal officials walked back the allegation that the rioters ever intended to ‘capture and assassinate’.
A justice official in charge of the investigation into the Capitol riot said there was no “direct evidence of that intent. A U.S. Department of Justice official on Friday walked back a federal claim that Capitol rioters ‘intended to capture and assassinate U.S. elected officials’. Washington's acting U.S. attorney, Michael Sherwin, said in a telephone briefing, ‘There is no direct evidence at this point of kill-capture teams and assassination (CNBC. Jan. 15, 2021).
So over and over, this is what we heard from that same media that lied about all these police officers being killed, about the fire extinguisher, was that all along these people had come there with zip-ties to murder and assassinate members of Congress. No one was ever charged with that crime because, as the police itself admitted, there was never any evidence for it.
Here you can see the Q shaman yourself. The person that they tried to claim was the mastermind or the head of a violent coup to murder members of Congress. You can watch this video of him when he entered the Senate right here.
Q Amon shaman Jake Angeli: Hey, man. Glad to see you guys. You guys are fucking patriots. Look at this guy. He’s got covered in blood. God bless you. Do you need medical assistance?
Unidentified: I am good, thank you. I got shot in the face with some kind of plastic bullet.
Q Amon shaman Jake Angeli: Any chance I could get you guys to leave the Senate wing?
Security guard: We will. I’m makin’ sure they ain’t disrespectin’ the place. This is like the safest place. I know how to help.
If you believe that this is some kind of violent attack on the Capitol and, of course, there were protesters who engaged in physical violence against police officers and injured them. That's a reasonable argument to make. Those people are being prosecuted as they should be. But of the 800 or 900 or so protesters, I think it's now up to 900 thus far been arrested and are being prosecuted in connection with this political protest. A small minority, not even 20%, I think, 15% now are even accused of having used violence, which means overwhelmingly these people, who were in prison for months and months with no trial in harsh conditions, in solitary confinement, clearly for political ends, were guilty at most of nonviolent crimes.
And that's why I really believe that, as you put all of this together, and there is a compendium here, that when you assemble it, I think is very powerful that what became far more dangerous than this three-hour riot at the Capitol, that was subdued very easily because it was all done right next to the most militarized government in the world.
What is far more dangerous than the people who did that or the event itself, was that it presented, probably, the most visible evidence yet of how willing our largest media institutions are to unite and just fabricate things that never happened, to disseminate and implant as true absolute lies -- either without the slightest concern for whether or not that actually happened or with lots of evidence proving that it didn't happen. I mean, the case of Brian Sicknick is nothing but a monument to the media's willingness to lie, as are the lies about the zip-ties and the claimed assassination. There were claims that people had planted pipe bombs. Where are all these prosecutions?
None of that ever happened. They looked at this riot, they saw it as an opportunity to criminalize the entire Trump movement, to label them insurrectionists. They needed these lies in order to accomplish that. Nobody's going to believe it's an insurrection, let alone a scary one, unless you have dead bodies you can point to. They dragged out these police suicides and exploited them as a toy. They did the same to the life of Brian Sicknick. They did the same to all of this nonviolent protest. They lied about them continuously, accusing them of murder, and trying to assassinate members of Congress when none of them was guilty of anything of the sort.
So, it's fine to believe the January 6 riot was something concerning. I think it's concerning. I think any time a political protest turns into a riot that entails violence against anyone, including police officers, that injures people, that's concerning. Those are crimes. They should be treated as such. But this ends up being way more than that. This was an attempt to politicize a riot into an insurrection that never existed. An attempted coup against the world's most powerful government with a thousand people was laughable and preposterous from the start.
But the idea was to use their powers during the last to spread these lies, to turn everybody against this movement that they hate, and to usher in a new domestic War on Terror, which is basically what has happened under the DHS and the CIA and the NSA and the FBI to justify censorship of the Internet, to justify holding people without due process, to give the police all new powers against domestic terrorism, a crime that has never existed before -- that was a priority of the Biden administration before January 6, just like neo-cons wanted to invade Iraq before 9/11 and use that as a pretext.
What is far more disturbing in all of this to me is how willing every one of these large media outlets is to look at you in the face and to lie, to print absolute lies, either not caring whether they're true or false, or more often than not, knowing that they're lying. And between the little ruckus of January 6 and the fact that we have a media in this country that doesn't do this just once but does this constantly. It's clear to me that the latter is infinitely more dangerous, the one that merits far more of our attention, even on this most sacred day of January 6.
So that concludes our show for this evening. I'm sure many of you are lighting candles and holding vigils and all sorts of things on January 6. It's one of the most solemn days, apparently, in the United States. I saw some people claiming today that it was even worse than Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 attack. One of the Democrats who said that said it wasn't even close.
So, for those of you honoring this day in that way, I understand. But for the rest of you, as always, we are now going to move to Locals where we have our aftershow designed to be interactive with our audience -- take your questions, hear your critiques, and respond to your feedback. For those of you who haven't yet joined our Locals community, you can do so by clicking the join button, the red button in the upper right-hand corner of your page. Not only does it give you access to our show every night, the aftershow, but also, very shortly, my written journalism will be fully migrating from Substack to Locals. So, Locals will be the only place for you to be able to read that. Those who are already Substack subscribers can gain full membership and access to Locals without any additional price. You just sign up using your current email address. For the rest of you, there will be a lot of activity in our Locals community. I hope you'll be a part of it.
For those of you who've been watching our show, we really appreciate it. We're blown away by the audiences we've compiled in just the third full week. Now that we've been on the air, we're really grateful. For those of you who watch, we hope you'll keep watching. We'll be back Monday night and every night after that, 7 p.m. EST, here, exclusively on Rumble.
Have a great night, everybody, and a great weekend.