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.”
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.
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.”
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 .
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.
Cliffhanger: Mountain Biker Saved From “Imminent Death” After Falling Into Canyon
A Southern California mountain biker is likely counting his blessings after he was rescued from what authorities describe as “imminent death”” after falling from the side of a cliff in the Angeles National Forest.
The mountain biker, described as an older man, fell into the canyon at Mt. Wilson on Thursday morning and was dangling hundreds of feet above the ground before his fellow bikers, and eventually a special team from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, rescued him.
For some time the man dangled by a thin cord around his ankle that was tied to his bicycle while hanging on for dear life “like a cat,” Capt. Tom Giandomenico of the LASD special enforcement bureau told the Los Angeles Times.
“He knew he was in such a precarious situation. He was just scared to even rotate his head to look at us. He just didn’t want to move a muscle,” LASD Deputy Richard Thomsen told CBSLA.
Additionally, when the helicopter team arrived it wasn’t just a matter of simply hoisting the man to safety, as the air generated by the helicopter’s rotor would have sent the man plummeting to “imminent death,” Giandomenico added.
“Because he was head-down on the rock face there, that dropped probably a good 40 feet before it hit some soft dirt and a boulder,” Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Helbring said. “And beyond that was hundreds of feet down to the bottom of the canyon.”
Instead, one of the members of the special enforcement team composed of former SWAT officers devised a plan to rappel down to the man and move him to a ledge below, from which the two could be airlifted to safety.
However, due to a lack of boulders or trees, there was nothing to tie a rope to – and thus no way to rappel down to anything.
So instead, the special enforcement team used the man’s brother and another friend to be their anchor, a plan that ultimately succeeded.
Giandomenico called the rescue “one of the more significant, courageous maneuvers I’ve seen.”
“Heroic, in my opinion,” he added.
Scientists Create First-Ever Embryos With Monkey and Human Cells
For the first time, scientists have created embryos in a lab that contain the cells of both humans and monkeys.
Scientists hope that by creating chimeric embryos – embryos containing cells from two distinct species – they might be able to create organs for people who desperately need transplants.
Over 100,000 people in the United States lone are currently on a waiting list for organ transplants crucial to saving their lives, but the supply of donor organs has dropped significantly since the pandemic began unfolding.
Researchers have attempted to inject human stem cells into the embryos of pigs and sheep in recent years in hopes of growing organs for transplants, but this hasn’t yielded positive results. Scientists are hoping that by turning to macaque monkeys, which share a greater genetic similarity to humans, they may have more success.
In a study published Thursday in the journal Cell, researchers in the U.S. and China injected 25 pluripotent stem cells from humans into embryos from macaque monkeys.
After one day, the researchers detected human cells beginning to grow in 132 of the embryos. They embryos ultimately survived for 19 days.
However, bioethicists have raised concerns about the potential for abusing medical regulations that currently govern the treatment of animal and human subjects, as well as the possibility that a rogue scientists might potentially spike living creatures with human cells.
“My first question is: Why?” Kirstin Matthews, a science and technology fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, told NPR. “I think the public is going to be concerned, and I am as well, that we’re just kind of pushing forward with science without having a proper conversation about what we should or should not do.”
Researchers insist that the study serves purely humanitarian goals that could save countless lives in the future.
“This work is an important step that provides very compelling evidence that someday when we understand fully what the process is we could make them develop into a heart or a kidney or lungs,” said University of Michigan professor Jeffrey Platt, who was not involved in the study.
US Cop Shares Tiktok Video Showing How It’s Impossible To Confuse Taser for a Gun
In recent years, policing in the United States has received a much-needed reexamination, with many demanding changes to law enforcement or even its defunding and dismantling in light of high-profile killings committed by police officers.
However, one U.S. police officer has shared a video where he points out that in at least some fatal police encounters, simple common sense can save lives.
In a video shared to TikTok by user @brianb1504, the officer points out the differences between a pistol and a Taser. The video is a seeming response to the recent slaying of 20-year-old Daunte Wright by Minnesota police officer Kim Potter.
In the video, Officer Brian can be seen loading his belt with the firearm and less-lethal weapon, noting that his pistol is “dominant” while the bright yellow plastic taser is “not so dominant.”
“Huge weight difference, guys – I don’t understand how we can mistake a taser for a gun or a gun for a taser,” Brian continues.
“If you’re in the heat of the moment and you do something like that, you shouldn’t be doing this job,” he adds.
Continuing, Brian notes that he is sick and tired of the lousy state of police-community relations resulting from the actions of killer cops.
“I’m not going to put my life on the line to try and fix your stupidity and deal with restoring the peace with my public that I serve just because of your stupid actions,” Brian said.
“It makes no sense. 99 percent of our job is communication. You don’t have to be quick to pull out a gun or a taser on somebody and think everybody’s a threat,” he said. “Not everybody’s a threat. Try talking to them, get to know these people.”
While the account seems to have disappeared, it received upwards of 6 million views along with over 1.5 million likes and thousands of comments across the platform.
The video comes as the United States braces itself for more protests following the police killing of Daunte Wright by Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Police Chief Tim Gannon claims that Potter was trying to tase Wright but he died as a result of an “accidental discharge.”
Potter has since been charged with second-degree manslaughter. If convicted, she could face up to 10 years behind bars and/or a $20,000 fine.
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