Friday, January 14, 2022

Seditious Conspiracy


Virginian Oath Keeper Thomas Caldwell, 67, has denied he was in the building, but the FBI seems to know better.

This is really great news for those who have been worried about the Justice Department approach to 6 January investigations and the apparent focus over the whole past year in its 725 arrests on the misbehavior inside the Capitol on the day itself, and seeming failure to see the conspiratorial context, stretching back to the 2020 election and the existence of a leadership, going very high up, in the neighborhood of Donald J. Trump himself. I mostly felt pretty confident Attorney General Garland was conducting it on the classic model of a mob investigation, doing an exhaustive job on the soldiers and pressing as many of them as possible into cooperation agreements before moving upwards to the leadership and the plan. With the long-awaited arrest of Stewart Rhodes and the charge of seditious conspiracy

on Rhodes and ten of his Oath Keeper colleagues (all but one of whom are already charged with lesser crimes), we are starting to move into that phase at last, and it's going to be getting a lot more interesting.

It looks as if I can't sustain my Reichstag hypothesis at least as far as the Oath Keepers go, by the way. From the beginning, they never mention "antifa" or Black Lives Matter the "left" as enemies they intend to engage with; any fighting they intend to do, somehow inspired by the peaceful popular uprising against Slobodan Milošević in Serbia in 2000 but with guns, is against the government, whether on Trump's behalf or against Biden:

If the Oath Keepers thought Trump was going to invoke the Insurrection Act (and apparently some of them thought he had done it, in secret, after 6 January), they didn't have a very clear idea what his excuse was going to be, other than the claim that Biden hadn't been legally elected and his assumption of the office should be counted as "the real coup". 

And certainly by the 6th the plan was for the violence to be committed basically by the more or less innocent members who made up most of the mob, the simple folk the Proud Boys referred to as "normiecons" in this exchange cited by Emptywheel:

UCC-1: The state is the enemy of the people

Person-2: We are the people

UCC-1: Fuck yea

Person-3: God let it happen . . . I will settle with seeing them smash some pigs to dust

Person-2: Fuck these commie traitors

Person-3 It’s going to happen. These normiecons have no adrenaline control . . . They are like a pack of wild dogs

I mean the tour group(s) Rep. Mikie Sherrill claimed to have seen in the building on the 5th. It's worth noting that while the rest of the Oath Keeper leadership entered in Stacks One and Two from the eastern side, Caldwell with unnamed others went in on the west, and did seem to have some special knowledge of the interior:

You  really need to listen to it, with Afghanistan veteran Jessica Watkins bulldozing her way through the crowd with murder on her mind.

I'd completely forgotten about this—always associating Stone with the Proud Boys—but Dr. Google remembers pretty much everything. I have a feeling Trump, who was clearly not informed in any kind of detail about any of the plans, will escape indictment in the January insurrection himself (he's still showing his very weak comprehension of what happened when he brags, helplessly, about what a big crowd it was); it's only in New York or Georgia that he faces any kind of threat of criminal conviction—but a lot of his cronies, Stone being my personal favorite, are in real trouble.

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