Palestinian Authority state police on the lookout for the January 6 anniversary of the insurgency
PENNSYLVANIA – Federal law enforcement officials are warning authorities in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the country that “threat actors” could exploit Thursday’s first anniversary of the Jan.6, 2021 U.S. Capitol uprising by followers of Donald Trump who wanted to stop the certification of the election of Joe Biden to the presidency.
The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Capitol Police and other police departments last week told state officials and local authorities in an intelligence assessment that the conspiracy stories Persistent electoral fraud among domestic violent extremists could prompt some to “promote or possibly commit violence”.
Thursday’s bulletin, first reported by CNN, advised state and local government officials to keep their eyes peeled for the anniversary of the insurgency, but did not cite a specific or current credible threat.
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Instead, authorities have warned that “isolated offenders”, rather than organized groups, are more likely to exploit the anniversary of the insurgency with actions against lawmakers or national and state capitals.
Pennsylvania State Police said in a statement they plan to closely monitor the situation, particularly in the state capital of Harrisburg. Federal, state and local law enforcement authorities coordinate through the Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center to provide a real-time response to all situations as they arise.
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For his part, Trump canceled a press conference scheduled for Thursday at his Mar-a-Lago golf club in Palm Beach, Florida. He reportedly planned to defend the rioters whose attack was the largest attack on the Capitol since its destruction by the British military in the War of 1812.
Four people died in the attack – a rioter shot dead by a Capitol Hill police officer as she tried to force open a House bedroom door, two from natural causes and a fourth from amphetamine poisoning, according to the Washington, DC medical examiner.
In a statement Tuesday, Trump said he was canceling the event “in light of the total bias and dishonesty” of the House special committee investigating the attack on Capitol Hill and the role the former president could have played it. Reiterating the baseless claim of electoral fraud, Trump said he would address “a lot of these important topics” at a rally on Jan.15 in Arizona.
The warning from federal law enforcement authorities comes as the United States remains at war with itself, with Americans angrily taking sides on issues ranging from the 2020 election to responding to the coronavirus pandemic to racial justice. America has not been so divided since the politically charged 1960s.
And it comes amid a disturbing trend with polls showing American support for political violence against the government appears to be on the rise. A new poll from the Washington Post-University of Maryland released on Saturday shows that about 1 in 3 Americans believe violence like that displayed in the insurgency is justified in certain situations.
This is the highest percentage of American adults saying that violence is sometimes necessary to achieve political goals since various polls began asking the question more than a decade ago.
In 2010, just 16% of Americans said they believed political violence was sometimes necessary, and 23% of Americans supported it in 2015, according to New York Times and CBS News polls.
Another poll shows less than half of Republicans believe the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol was violent or very violent – despite its place in history as one of the worst days of violence against police officers since the United States. terrorist attacks of September 11.
A Capitol Police officer who suffered stroke after rioters sprayed him with a chemical died of natural causes the next day. Approximately 140 officers from the Capitol Police and the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department were injured, some beaten with their own weapons in an attack that one officer described as “medieval” and another called “Journey to hell”.
Their injuries ranged from minor cuts, scrapes and bruises to concussions, rib fractures and burns. A policeman has lost the tip of his finger. Another suffered a mild heart attack. In the months following the attacks, four police officers who defended the Capitol committed suicide, according to reports.
The 6 in 10 Republicans who doubted the severity of the violence are a distinct minority, according to the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Tuesday.
Overall, two-thirds of Americans described the siege on Capitol Hill as very or extremely violent.
The special House committee to investigate the insurgency plans to make more of its findings public in the coming months, as the former president’s allies have consistently dismissed the idea that he helped spark the insurgency. attack. Recent polls show the difficulty of the Select Committee’s task – convincing the American public of the seriousness of the attack and that its conclusions are factual and credible.
So far, 705 people have been arrested. Among them:
- More than 225 defendants have been charged with assaulting, resisting or preventing officers or employees, including more than 75 people who have been charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious injury to a agent.
- Ten people were arrested on a series of charges relating to assaulting a member of the media or destroying their equipment on January 6.
- Approximately 640 defendants have been charged with entering or remaining in a federal building or land with restricted access, including:
- Over 75 people accused of entering a restricted area with a dangerous or deadly weapon.
- Over 45 people accused of destroying government property and over 30 accused of stealing government property.
- Some 275 people have been charged with obstructing, influencing or obstructing official proceedings by corruption, or attempting to do so.
- About 40 defendants have been charged with conspiracy, either for obstructing congressional proceedings, or for obstructing law enforcement during a civil disorder, or for conspiracy to injure an officer, or for a combination of three.
At least 165 people have pleaded guilty to various federal charges – 145 of them to minor misdemeanors and 20 to felonies, including six people who assaulted police officers.
Seventy-one people were sentenced – 31 to jail, 18 to house arrest and others to probation without jail time.
The FBI is still asking the public for help in identifying 350 people suspected of having committed violence on Capitol Hill grounds, including 250 who allegedly assaulted police officers.
The FBI also said it had 16 videos of wanted suspects in connection with violent assaults on federal agents, and a video of two suspects wanted for assaults on media on Jan.6. Anyone with advice on the identity of these individuals is urged to call 800-225-5324 or visit tips.fbi.gov.
In Pennsylvania, 60 people have been charged in connection with the riots.
Members of the far-right nationalist group the Proud Boys and the militia group the Oath Keepers, accused of plotting to interfere with voter certification, have yet to be tried.
Sixteen members of the Oath Keepers were charged with conspiracy after federal prosecutors said they coordinated and recruited participants on websites and social media sites prior to voter certification, then traveled to Washington, DC, with equipment paramilitaries, including firearms, tactical vests with plates, helmets and radio equipment.
Four members of the Proud Boys have been charged in the same manner. A federal court judge ruled that their conduct on January 6 was not constitutionally protected by the First Amendment, and ordered the trial against them to continue.
In November, the House special committee summoned members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, as well as members of the obscure far-right paramilitary group known as the Praetorian 1st Amendment, or 1AP, to determine whether pro-Trump groups were planning violence that day.
None of the group, largely made up of former Special Forces combatants and former intelligence officials, were arrested, but members of 1AP were among those outside the Capitol on the 6th. January, The New York Times reported.
Greater damage to democracy
The insurgency attempt failed in the sense that Joe Biden was invested as the country’s 46th president on January 20. Yet concerns about the future of democracy persist as states pass laws ostensibly aimed at reducing voter fraud – something credible, non-partisan organizations say without exception simply does not exist at a substantial level – but in practice, it is more difficult for people who have always encountered obstacles at the ballot box to vote.
Nationally, Trump’s preparation and tenure in the White House, and the “big lie” about his claim to have won the 2020 election, has spilled over into unrelated areas, eroding Americans’ confidence in issues. institutions such as the federal Centers for Disease Control. and prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration, pioneers in the fight against COVID-19.
Abroad, faith in America lags under the weight of the January 6 insurgency, both in terms of reputation with allies and potential for exploitation by adversaries.
“January 6 had a big impact on the US perspective of the rest of the world, I think allies and adversaries,” Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan told The Associated Press. “The allies regard him with concern and worry about the future of American democracy. Opponents are looking at it, you know, more like rubbing their hands and thinking, “How are we taking advantage of this one way or another? “”
Former Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Brian Harrell told CNN it was “no surprise that domestic extremists are still fixated on the events of January 6,” but “what should we do? thinking is how adversaries of nation states will use these types of events to create anxiety and fear among the American public. “
“Disinformation continues to be a ‘must-have’ tactic to piss off society,” he said, noting that some news outlets in Russia are promoting content about Trump and the anniversary of the insurgency.
DHS counterterrorism chief John Cohen told an event last month at George Washington University that the agency was “more focused” in its analysis of various actor-related platforms. .
“We are incorporating this understanding into security and law enforcement planning,” he said.