Years of white supremacy threats culminated in Capitol riots; Insurrectionists included highly trained ex-military and cops




Media  – Both inside and outside the walls of the U.S. Capitol, along with the American flags and Trump 2020 posters, banners and symbols of white supremacy and anti-government extremism were on display as an insurrectionist mob swarmed Congress last week.


But the hate-filled symbolism was not new: It was the culmination of a series of earlier displays of white supremacy during the Trump administration, Christine Fernando and  Noreen Nasir report.


As the riots gathered a number of extremist factions under one banner, observers say it echoed the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right Rally” in Charlottesville, Virginia, which brought neo-Nazi, white supremacist and other extremist groups together.


Extremist groups, including the pro-Trump, far-right, anti-government Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters, a loose anti-government network that’s part of the militia movement, were among those descending on the halls of power on Jan. 6.


The hateful imagery included an anti-Semitic “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt created years ago by white supremacists, who sold them on the now-defunct website Aryanwear.


There are fears it could happen again in the days before Joe Biden’s inauguration.


The FBI is tracking an “extensive amount of concerning online chatter,” including calls for armed protests leading up to next week’s presidential inauguration. That’s according to FBI Director Chris Wray, who participated in a law enforcement and military briefing for Vice President Mike Pence, reports Eric Tucker.


Military & Police Involvement: At least 21 current or former members of the U.S. military or law enforcement have been identified as being at or near last week’s Capitol riot, with more than a dozen others under investigation. That’s what an AP review of public records and social media found. In many cases, those who stormed the Capitol appeared to employ tactics, body armor and radio headsets that were similar to those of the police they were confronting. Experts have long warned about extremists recruiting people with military and law enforcement training, and they say the Jan. 6 insurrection saw some of their worst fears realized, Michael Biesecker, Jake Bleiberg and James Laporta report.


Social Media Extremism: Online supporters of Trump are scattering to smaller and more secretive social media platforms. They’re fleeing what they say is unfair treatment by Facebook, Twitter and other big tech firms who have tried to squelch violent threats and misinformation after the deadly siege. Experts say those efforts could send some of Trump’s fiercest supporters to the internet’s dark spaces where conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric run rampant, David Klepper and Amanda Seitz report.


Lone Officer: Amid all the noise since a mob laid siege, an officer hailed as a hero for confronting the insurrectionists and leading them away from Senate chambers has remained silent. But the video speaks volumes. Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman, a Black man facing an overwhelmingly white mob, is the only officer seen for a full minute of the footage. He retreated upstairs and led them away from Senate chambers where senators were still meeting at the time.


Some believe he saved their lives. Goodman hasn’t publicly discussed his actions and he’s asked those who know him to help him maintain privacy. A House bill introduced would give him the Congressional Gold Medal, Jeffrey Collins reports.


Racism Protests: Black activists have denounced a growing narrative among conservatives that equates the deadly siege with last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. Republican lawmakers defending Donald Trump made the comparison again while building their case against impeachment. The two events were fundamentally different. One was an intentional, direct attack on a democratic institution, with the goal of overturning a fair and free election. The other was a nationwide protest movement focused on racial injustice that occasionally, but not frequently, turned violent, Julie Watson reports.


Sedition: A little-used Civil War-era statute that outlaws waging war against the United States is getting a fresh look after the attacks on the Capitol. The last successful prosecution for seditious conspiracy in the U.S. was in 1995 in a case involving Islamic militants who plotted to bomb New York City landmarks. An Egyptian sheikh who died in prison in 2017 and nine of his followers were convicted, Larry Neumeister reports.

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