The Last Shot at President Trump

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As I noted recently on examining the circumstances around the execution of Ashli Babbitt in the US Capitol invasion, the special interest shown in her history by “Bellingcat” immediately rang alarm bells over the authenticity of reports on the event, with the suspicion that her shooting was pre-arranged to suit a covert and malign agenda. Three week’s later this suspicion has been confirmed, not only in Washington and the US congress but by events in Europe and Russia. And Bellingcat – or the Atlantic Council – has made the connection for us, as well as confirming the reinvigorated anti-Russian agenda of the new US administration and its partners.

This malign intent was nicely crystalised in a reported discussion on Putin’s role in the Capitol protests between Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, whose resemblance to a couple of old witches is now rather startling. One imagines them black-masked and huddled over a cauldron of boiling swamp water, poking at a rosy-faced Trump doll who is kept afloat by a spluttering Putin, and incanting “we came, we saw, they died!” But not so fast ladies – your witches brew may yet poison you!

The “Democrat’s” scheme to get Russia, so many years in the making, is suddenly laid bare, and even set out for our convenience on the very first day following the inauguration by the new-old press spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who linked several pieces of false information together which we may not have realized were related – Russia was behind the Solar Winds hacking attack, Russia had been paying bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan, and Russia had “used Chemical Weapons against an Opposition Leader” – and was about to imprison him. There was also the old “election interference” furphy – but perhaps not stressed too hard given the outcome of the Mueller enquiry and the Democrats’ apparent interference in their own election.

One might have thought that Psaki mentioned the alleged poisoning of Navalny because he had just arrived back in Russia – and was a good friend of Joe Biden’s Ukrainian pals. And as he’d done something so brave as to return to Toxic Moscow with only Facebook to protect him, he obviously needed our support. Never mind that he “nearly died” from the most toxic non-lethal nerve agent ever imagined, and could have stayed safely in Europe, like Sergei Skripal.

But now the explanation of Navalny’s sudden and unexpected decision to return to the scene of the crime has become clear, and even before his physical disappearance into “Moscow’s notorious prison”. (like Belmarsh perhaps) Astonishingly he was able to broadcast live to the world while sitting in a police station before being led away on remand, where he then reverted to the virtual Navalny – advertising some luxury real-estate on the Black Sea, allegedly once owned, part-owned or just viewed by Vladimir Putin. (well none of those actually – “nitchevo” in a useful Russian word)

For those Russians – hopefully the vast majority – this charade revealed Navalny and his “team” to be following the path laid out for them in Whitehall and Washington, and beautifully timed to mesh with the inauguration and the White Witches’ agenda. To our surprise – though clearly not theirs – when protest rallies erupted across Russia the following weekend, previously unknown Moscow correspondents appeared on Western media channels that hadn’t had one for years, and provided first-hand commentary on the “massive protests” and the “violent crackdown”. Viewers had already forgotten the truly massive and entirely legitimate protest rally in Washington, and the violent crackdown that followed, including the shooting dead of an innocent protestor.

The comparison between the two may be misleading, and hard to judge as in both cases it relies on information from partial sources which is conflicting. But there is also a striking similarity in the reporting of these two very different events, in that the alternative and anti-Government narrative came from foreign media and from local dissidents on alternative media in both cases.

In Moscow the “alternative” perspective came from Russian Navalny supporters on social media, and foreign agencies like RFERL – the new Voice of America – and the BBC, while the pointed comments of Dmitry Peskov and Sergei Lavrov were muffled behind images of black helmeted police and shrieking protestors. In Washington the alternative view was provided by some foreign-language media with correspondents on the ground, like Russia’s NTV, and by a couple of independent observers who joined the protestors in their explorations of the Capitol labyrinth and provided supportive or advisory commentary. All the US and European media focused on the activity outside the Capitol – though ignoring Donald Trump’s massive rally, and mostly limited their coverage of events inside the building to views in the senate chamber and any scenes of unruly behaviour.

However, unlike the verifiably false claims made by Navalny’s supporters, it is the two American independent observers and their full-length video reportage that tell us exactly what did go on during the popular incursion into the Capitol, and almost incidentally reveals just who was responsible for “inciting a riot”. With this accusation against Donald Trump now leading irrevocably to his impeachment and trial – as clearly intended – and the subsequent delegitimisation of his popular entourage, revealing the truth about the “storming” of the Capitol is both vital and urgent.

It is also profoundly shocking – or should be – to discover that Ashli Babbitt’s execution by a concealed marksman was cleverly engineered and coordinated, using several covert actors in the crowd and carefully timed intervention by police and riot squad members. And it is only after lengthy and careful observation of the various video recordings, and the analysis by Bellingcat and the Grayzone that I can come to such a conclusion with confidence.

Although Bellingcat provides useful links to the InfoWars “Resistance” video and other TV network material, as well as maps charting the progress of the “mob” through the Capitol building, their focus is framed by their political objectives and alignment, and intent to portray Trump supporters as victims of far-right extremists and QAnon conspiracy theories. A similar bias unfortunately afflicts Max Blumenthal, who focuses on the dubious political alignment of John Sullivan aka Jayden X, rather than on the crucial evidence provided by his video of the whole invasion of the Capitol.

Blumenthal’s extracts from Sullivan’s video are useful however for their time stamps, enabling other events filmed by Sullivan to be fitted into the picture. Two of these extracts are important – the confrontation with police officers in the hallway between the Statuary Hall and the entrance to the House Chamber, timed from 20 minutes in the video, and the two minutes outside the Speakers Lobby before Ashli Babbitt is shot, timed from 33 minutes in the last video extract.

Because of the shocking sight of Babbitt dying and the pandemonium following this, not enough attention has been paid to those preceding events, and how it was that the doors were smashed through. The evidence is all there in the videos from Sullivan and the InfoWars reporter, but most notably missing from both Bellingcat’s and Blumenthal’s accounts. (An hour and a half spent watching both videos in their entirety is illuminating and time very well spent.)

So here’s what happened.

The confrontation with half a dozen police and a Capitol official lasted six or seven minutes from the time John Sullivan walked through the hall of Statues with the vanguard of “protestors”. Having previously spend a while marveling at the inside of the splendid Capitol dome and its walls of paintings, their mood was optimistic but determined. A number of men spoke closely to the guards, including Sullivan, trying to persuade them they would not be violent or destructive, and it appeared they might be allowed through, and towards the diamond paned doors opening into the senate chamber. But then, about 2 minutes after the end of Blumental’s clip, at 24 minutes in, Sullivan’s camera caught something surprising – a man appearing from behind the police lines wearing a fur skin cap and a black and yellow Pirelli T-shirt. As he barged into the group negotiating with police, this man started waving his arms and shouting in an incoherent fashion, and provoked anger from the negotiators, as well as unrest from those at the back of the mob who couldn’t see what was happening. At about this time, Ashli Babbitt arrived at the back of the room – as caught in a live PBS report video.

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Following “Pirelli man’s” outburst the mob quietened down a little, encouraged by a man with a loud hailer asking them to be calm and non-violent. Sullivan seemed to appreciate that this guy was an “agent provocateur” and was heard to say to him “I know you’ve got to do your job man, but we don’t want people to get hurt”. But a minute later the man started creating a fuss again, and shouting obscenities, provoking a struggle with police and increasing unrest in the mob, which then surged forwards towards the senate chamber doors. (this visible in Sullivan’s video around the 26 minute mark, shown in the last frame in the sequence of extracts above)

Contrary to the impression given by Blumental, the protestors – who were now chanting “stop the steal” and waving flags – surged straight ahead into the narrow hallway leading to the chamber, not realizing that there were four security men on the other side of the opaque glass doors pointing their guns at them until some panes were broken. Sullivan remained in the corridor between for some minutes, during which time the InfoWars reporter caught up with the group. Both then followed a new rush along the corridor and round a corner towards the Speakers Lobby entrance.

Quite how Ashli Babbitt came to be at the head of the group isn’t clear, but the Pirelli man with the Maga hat and fur cap was there too. Only this time the police were on their side of the barricaded doors, and evidently unarmed. The corridor ahead appeared mostly empty, so it must have seemed to Babbitt and a couple of others that they just needed to persuade these guys to give in and her journey to the heart of government would be complete. Also there at the entrance was the same Capitol official apparently in charge of police, and seen signalling through the doors as well as talking on a radio.

But Babbitt’s pleading had no effect, until the Pirelli man pushed in and launched into another of his incoherent shouting stunts to the mob. He then removed his hats and took a Kevlar helmet offered by a protestor, as the three police moved out of the way and joined four riot squad men who had belatedly arrived up the stairs. Pirelli man then set about smashing the glass doors with the helmet, finishing with the pane Babbitt was to climb through. At that point Sullivan spotted the gun sticking out and shouted a warning, capturing the moment when the hiding shooter sprang forward and fired.

But it wasn’t the Pirelli man who fell back dead – as he clearly had no intention of going into the line of fire. Along with a small person in a blue jacket who appeared to be just there for show, the three police at the door, the four armed police on the stairs and the Capitol officer, he set the trap that Ashli Babbitt climbed into.

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While Sullivan’s video caught the hidden assassin – who bizarrely appears to have an artificial right arm and was wearing dark grey gloves – the InfoWars reporter witnessed the three policemen heading down the stairs, with Ashli Babbitt watching from behind. The reporter – who was also an activist and supporter of the rally – can be heard countering calls to “break it down” with cautions that “we don’t want anyone to get hurt”. His video, time-stamped just four minutes later than Sullivan’s, gives a better view of Pirelli man’s performance. None of the authentic protestors – including Sullivan – evidently had the slightest idea they were in danger from lethal fire – given the armed police had only just appeared and made no attempt to take control, until after Babbitt’s death.

Contrary to the case made by Blumental that Sullivan was an agitator, it is clear from both videos that he was profoundly shocked by what happened to Babbitt, as we all should be. Given Bellingcat’s mastery of disinformation and diversion, their reporting of the event also needs serious scrutiny, along with their magical delivery of the whole “Journey of Ashli Babbitt” package within 24 hours of her murder. Their involvement in the Navalny poisoning operation and the current disinformation war on Russia that has followed Biden’s inauguration suggests at best knowledge of what really happened in the Capitol on January 6th, at worst active involvement in this last – and fatal – shot at Donald Trump.

The now-established framing of the popular protest rally and invasion of the seat of power as a “deadly riot” by “far-right extremists” has replaced the truth – of four accidental deaths and one intentional murder. And we can hardly over-estimate the significance of this act of domestic terrorism – similar even to the shooting of Arch-duke Ferdinand in 1914. The momentous consequences of that provocation are a warning of what may now lie ahead.