The More We Learn, the Worse It Looks

Wednesday could have been even worse. From The Guardian:

Two men who were seen carrying plastic “zip tie” handcuffs during the deadly riot at the US Capitol, suggesting plans to kidnap lawmakers in an attempt to overturn Txxxx’s election defeat, were arrested on Sunday. . . .

The news came as more graphic details of violence and brutality emerged. Before the arrests announced on Sunday, prosecutors had filed 17 cases in federal district court and 40 in District of Columbia superior court for offenses ranging from assaulting police officers to entering restricted areas, stealing federal property and threatening lawmakers.

Alarming footage of the riot continued to emerge. Some captured a bloodied officer crushed in a doorway and screaming. Other officers were reportedly beaten with pipes; one was seen tumbling over a railing into a crowd below. The officer had been body-slammed from behind.

Brian Sicknick, 42 and a 12-year veteran, died after he was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher while “physically engaging” the rioters, according to a statement from Capitol police. . . . 

Police arrested one man alleged to have brought guns and explosives to Washington; another was heavily armed and allegedly threatened to kill House speaker Nancy Pelosi. Chants of “Hang Mike Pence”, the vice-president, were heard during the riot. . . . 

Prosecutors said additional cases remained under seal and dozens were sought by federal agents. The US attorney in Washington vowed that “all options were on the table” for charges, including possibly sedition.

According to the Secretary of the Army, domestic terrorism cases are being opened. Among the items recovered on Wednesday were long guns, Molotov cocktails and other explosive devices.

The Washington Post reported that confrontations between the mob and members of Congress and Capitol staff were imminent:

A mob nearly breached the Speaker’s Lobby with access to the House Chamber while [representatives] and staff were sheltering inside;

There was a similar moment when a right turn instead of left would have taken another mob straight to the Senate chamber; 

Eight staffers huddled together under a table in a conference room, one door away from the terrorists rummaging through Nancy Pelosi’s office;

Behind another door, Senate aides heard a woman praying loudly for “the evil of Congress to be brought to an end”.

Maybe the mob simply wanted to discuss election security with their elected representatives.

A member of the Capitol Police told BuzzFeed that he heard about the coming assault in a message from a friend:

“I found out what they were planning when a friend of mine screenshot me an Instagram story from the Proud Boys saying, ‘We’re breaching the Capitol today, guys. I hope y’all ready.’”

That was a heavily trained group of militia terrorists that attacked us,” said the officer, who has been with the department for more than a decade. “They had radios, we found them, they had two-way communicators and earpieces. They had bear spray. They had flash bangs … They were prepared.

Tonight, CNN has a new video. Someone who’s watched it says it shows “a MAGA rioter (in white hat and backpack) grab a DC Metro officer and pull him down Capitol steps, where he is stomped and beaten with an American flag pole”. These are the “patriots” the president “loves”.

The story that’s slowly being told is that nobody who works for the federal government or the District of Columbia anticipated an attack on the Capitol. They supposedly thought there would be another demonstration, similar to the one on December 12th, during which nothing much happened until after dark, when a few roving bands of the president’s supporters turned violent. That would imply that no government departments were monitoring the discussions on social media and right-wing messages boards that featured detailed discussions of the impending attack (see this article from Pro Publica).Or that whoever is supposed to keep track of domestic terrorism didn’t take the threats seriously. Or that they purposefully kept information about the threat to themselves. The issue will be investigated and at least some of the truth will be revealed.

Meanwhile, Business Insider reports that there are foreign observers who think the lack of security on Wednesday indicates that this was an actual attempted coup by elements in the government:

Insider spoke with three [European] officials on Thursday morning: a French police official responsible for public security in . . . central Paris, and two intelligence officials from NATO countries who directly work in counterterrorism and counterintelligence operations . . . 

They said the circumstantial evidence available pointed to what would be openly called a coup attempt in any other nation. None were willing to speak on the record because of the dire nature of the subject.

While they did not furnish evidence that federal agency officials facilitated the chaos, . . .  America’s international military and security allies are now willing to give serious credence to the idea that [the president] deliberately tried to violently overturn an election and that some federal law-enforcement agents — by omission or otherwise — facilitated the attempt. . . .

“These are not subtle principles” for managing demonstrations, “and they transfer to every situation,” the [French] official said. “This is why we train alongside US federal law enforcement to handle these very matters, and it’s obvious that large parts of any successful plan were just ignored.”