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Social Media Flooded With False Claims That BLM, ANTIFA Responsible for Siege of Capitol

Some right-wing figures even claimed that well-known QAnon supporters and white supremacists were, in fact, “Antifa” leftists.

Elias Marat

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In the aftermath of the brief storming of the U.S. Capitol building by pro-Trump militants, right-wing figures have been flooding social networks with allegations unsupported by evidence that anti-fascists (ANTIFA) were the true culprits for the botched insurrection.

In some cases, the claims were demonstrably false, with the individuals accused of being “ANTIFA” activists actually being notorious QAnon figures and outright neo-Nazis.

At about 3 p.m. Pacific Time, California Sen. Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), the GOP state Senate leader, tweeted a link to a conspiracy theory alleging that members of the anti-fascist movement had stormed the Capitol, not rioters and militia members supporting the outgoing president. She later deleted the tweet after it attracted press attention.

“Patriots don’t act like this,” Grove tweeted, linking to a post by pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood. “This was Antifa.” Grove later posted a revised version that read: “This behavior is unacceptable and un-American.”

Republican U.S. Congressmen Louie Gohmert and Mo Brooks also spread the conspiracy theory on Twitter. Late Wednesday, Congressman Matt Goetz pushed the false claims on the House floor.

Disgraced former NYPD Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, whom Trump pardoned last year for his 2010 conviction on eight felonies, also went viral after posting a so-called “ANTIFA ALERT” that falsely claimed two of the men who appeared in a number of news agency photos from the siege on the Capitol were Black Lives Matter supporters.

In fact, the two are well-known neo-Nazi leaders — and neither was even in attendance at the D.C. rally, it turned out.

The man on the right whom he accused of being a left-wing activist was Matthew Heimbach, a notorious white supremacist Trump supporter and former head of the defunct Traditionalist Workers Party. Heimbach earned national notoriety after being caught on video assaulting a young Black woman protesting at a 2016 Trump campaign rally. Heimbach also helped promote the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that ended in violence and death.

The other person misidentified in the photo is “Jason Tankersley,” the founder of the neo-Nazi Maryland Skinheads. However, the man in the yellow hoodie turned out not to be Tankersley.

I am not now nor have I ever been a member of antifa and I was not in DC today,” Tankersley posted on his Facebook page shortly after the Capitol riots. 

Heimbach also emphatically denied being anywhere close to Washington on Wednesday, saying that he was instead with his step-daughter 600 miles away at his home in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the time.

The two weren’t the only prominent hard-rightists that social media conspiracists accused of being left-wing rabble-rousers.

Among the more memorable images from the storming of the U.S. Capitol were images of Jake Angeli, a pro-Trump activist wearing Viking-themed tattoos, a strange fur outfit, horned hat, and painted face. Since 2019, Angeli has stationed himself on the sidewalk outside the Arizona State Capitol preaching fringe conspiracy theories espoused by QAnon.  

According to Arizona Central, the self-styled “QAnon Shaman” would shout, “You all know who Q is?” while explaining to passersby that Q “was a government agent who wanted to ‘take the country back’ from pedophiles and globalists.”

Other social media users identified Angeli as a “familiar face at pro-Trump rallies” and posted images of the activist posing with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

However, viral social media posts from pro-Trump accounts made the demonstrably false claim that Angeli is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter and anti-fascist movements. Another Facebook user groundlessly alleged that because Angeli has an account on audition website Backstage.com, he must be a “BLM/Antifa PAID ‘Actor.’” The post is quickly making the rounds on the social media platform.

The photo of the “Q Shaman” at a BLM protest is real, no doubt. Yet the photo has been manipulated to crop out his QAnon sign. As it turns out, Angeli was present at the BLM protest as a pro-Trump counter-protestor.

Meanwhile, conservative newspaper The Washington Times posted a bizarre story that claimed, with zero evidence, that “Trump supporters say that antifa members disguised as one of them infiltrated” the mob that stormed the Capitol building. The article was cited by Rep. Matt Goetz in his widely-derided Wednesday night speech.

Citing an unnamed “retired military officer” the newspaper said that the facial recognition firm XRVision was able to match two of the participants in the Wednesday invasion of the Senate floor to “two Philadelphia antifa members.”

As it turns out, the facial recognition software mismatched the image of the two individuals to a page on PhillyAntifa.org outing Heimbach and Tankersley as neo-Nazis.

Rep. Gohmert and various social media users also claimed that the man in the yellow hoodie had a hammer and sickle tattoo, with one widely-shared tweet even leaping to the wild conclusion that this was somehow evidence of a Communist Party of China (CPC) hand in Wednesday’s unrest. In truth, as many social media users point out, the tattoo is a logo from a video game.

XRVision later successfully forced the Washington Times to retract the claim, as well as the entire article from their website.

The Times also repeated the dubious claim that a so-called Antifa chapter sent out a message calling on members to “to disguise themselves as Trump supporters by wearing the distinctive red Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat.”

It wouldn’t be the first time that right-wing social media users and white supremacist groups have used fabricated social media posts and sock puppet accounts to frame Antifa for planning violent incidents. Groups such as neo-Nazi organization Identity Evropa have long been exposed for generating fake messages from non-existent “Antifa” national organizations.

Facebook executives have said that the goal of circulating such content is to plant a single false flag that can then be used to sow distrust about the target group.

Following last year’s outbreak of protests against police brutality and systemic racism, Trump and his supporters began attempting to brand Antifa a domestic terrorist organization that was responsible for the unrest resulting from the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

However, the term Antifa originates in the 1930s when left-wing activists opposed to far-right authoritarianism emerged as a global movement. In recent history, the phrase has come back as a political orientation opposed to ultranationalism and fascism in the U.S., Latin America and Europe.

Those who identify with the term typically favor direct action and autonomous mutual aid over policy reform. While many right-wing politicians such as Trump have tried to brand antifa as an organization, the group is not a formal organization.

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Get Ready for This Week’s Full “Strawberry Moon” – The Last Supermoon of 2021

Elias Marat

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Whether it’s rare conjunctions, supermoons or the dazzling ring of fire solar eclipse earlier this month, 2021 has been a year absolutely filled with brilliant lunar events.

However, this month will see the year’s last supermoon– with a full “strawberry moon” gracing our night skies in the latter half of this week.

A “supermoon” takes place when a new or full moon is at its closest approach to Earth in its orbit. As a result, the moon will appear to be significantly larger and brighter than the usual full moons taking place throughout the year. Researchers remain split on whether the upcoming June moon is, indeed, a supermoon.

Much of this has to do with the different criteria used by various publications over which full moons actually qualify as supermoons, according to NASA.

“For 2021, some publications consider the four full Moons from March to June, some the three full Moons from April to June, and some only the two full Moons in April and May as supermoons,” said the space agency’s Gordon Johnston.

And while the expectation of a dazzling red- or pink-hued moon would make sense given the June moon’s title as a “strawberry moon,” the moon will be its typical golden hue.

The strawberry moon name instead reflects the time of year when Native American peoples harvested the fruit in parts of North America, notes the Farmer’s Almanac.  

The strawberry moon marks the final full moon of spring or the first of the summer season. It has also gone by a number of other names, according to The Farmer’s Almanac. These names include the birth moon, blooming moon, egg laying moon, green corn moon, hoer moon, hatching moon, honey moon and mead moon.

The full moon will be at its brightest on Thursday, June 24, at 2:40 p.m. ET, but won’t be fully visible until later that evening when it ascends past the horizon. The moon will then appear full for roughly three days, from about Wednesday morning through Saturday morning.

The precise time of the moonrise and moonset in your location can be found at timeanddate.com.  

And don’t worry if weather conditions won’t allow you to view this rare lunar event – you can also view it live from the comfort of your home using the Virtual Telescope Project’s livestream of the moon over Rome, Italy, which begins on June 24 at 3 p.m. ET.

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Animals

Police Rescue Dogs Trapped In Car on Sizzling Hot Day, Owners Complain About Broken Window

Elias Marat

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Police in the UK acted quickly to save a two dogs locked inside a car in sizzling hot temperatures by smashing open a window, upsetting the car’s owner over the damage.

Officers responded Sunday to reports that a beagle and another dog were trapped in a car parked in the seaside British city of Brighton on a day of boiling heat.

In video captured of the incident, an officer can be seen jamming his baton through a rear window before finally shattering it to free the pooches.

This prompts the car alarm to go off as the car’s owners can be seen rushing toward it, upset over the police intervention.

A woman, standing with her shocked family, says: “You broke my window out!”

One of the officer responded: “It’s a hot day. You shouldn’t be leaving the dog in the car in this weather.”

The incident happened on a day when people across the region flock to the seaside resort city to dip into the beaches amid surging hot temperatures.

The onlooker who filmed the incident noted that the owners seemed unaware of the dangers posed to their pets by weather conditions.

“Where they had parked there is just no shade,” they told The Sun. “It’s directly on the seafront in 25°C (77°F) weather outside – I’ve got no idea what it was inside the car.”

The family was indignant over what they claim was an overreaction by the police.

“At first it was ‘what the f*** are you doing, why did you break my car window? I was only gone for 10 minutes,’” another witness explained.

“The bloke obviously thought he was completely in the right,” they added. “He didn’t really seem to have much empathy.”

According to UK animal welfare group RSPCA, outside temperatures of 22°C (71°F) can reach a brutal 47°C (116.6°F) inside a car within an hour.

“Police officers attended and tried to get a contact number for the owners of the car but were unable,” a Sussex Police spokesperson said. “Officers had no choice but to smash the side window to gain access and a kind member of the public donated a bottle of water.”

Authorities added that the officers let the pet owners off with a stern warning, without ticketing the family or separating their dogs from them.

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Scientists Prove What Causes Aurora Borealis for the First Time

Elias Marat

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Since the dawn of time, humans have been mystified by what causes the aurora borealis or northern lights. However, a group of scientists have finally uncovered what causes the dazzling lightshow that has captivated people for so long.

Researchers at the University of Iowa have proven that the shimmering auroras are the result of powerful electromagnetic waves during geomagnetic storms, according to a newly published study.

According to the study, phenomena known as Alfven waves propel electrons toward Earth and cause the particles to produce the brilliant display of northern lights seen in the higher latitudes of our planet,

“Measurements revealed this small population of electrons undergoes ‘resonant acceleration’ by the Alfven wave’s electric field, similar to a surfer catching a wave and being continually accelerated as the surfer moves along with the wave,” Prof. Greg Howes, a co-author of the study, told CNN.

Scientists have long understood that the aurora was the likely result of electrons surfing across the electric field, at least since the theory was introduced in 1946 by Soviet scientist Lev Landau.

However, the University of Iowa professors were able to finally put the theory to the test through a simulation at a lab at the Large Plasma Device (LPD) in the Basic Plasma Science Facility of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Using a 20-meter-long chamber to simulate the magnetic field of the Earth through state-of-the-art magnetic field coils, scientists were able to generate plasma similar to that which exists in spac.

“Using a specially designed antenna, we launched Alfven waves down the machine, much like shaking a garden hose up and down quickly, and watching the wave travel along the hose,” said Howes.

While this didn’t result in the type of auroras we might see in the sky, “our measurements in the laboratory clearly agreed with predictions from computer simulations and mathematical calculations, proving that electrons surfing on Alfven waves can accelerate the electrons (up to speeds of 45 million mph) that cause the aurora,” Howes noted.

Scientists across the country were elated by the results of the experiment.

“I was tremendously excited! It is a very rare thing to see a laboratory experiment that validates a theory or model concerning the space environment,” said Patrick Koehn, a scientist in the Heliophysics Division of NASA.

“Space is simply too big to easily simulate in the lab,” he added.

Researchers are hopeful that a greater understanding will allow forecasters to better understand weather conditions in space.

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