There seems to be a great deal of controversy over what happened on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6. Many are pointing fingers, saying it was Trump supporters who "stormed" the Capitol, and others say it was Antifa. I was there, and while I didn't see anyone being violent from where I stood, my guess is that it was a mixture of people who entered the building that day. It may be that Antifa was there to agitate—a common tactic used by subversive groups called agitation propaganda or Agitprop. It may well be that Trump supporters took the bait and followed suit. However, one thing I do know from years of experience coupled with video evidence from countless rallies—conservatives and Trump supporters do not typically agitate and break things to communicate their message.
Having said that, there is almost no doubt that Trump supporters were in the building. The remaining question is, who was directly responsible for the damage and violence in the Capitol building? In my experience, it isn't something Trump or his supporters condone.
This article will discuss select media commentary on the events of that day, as well as two first-hand accounts from interviews I conducted over the past week and a half.
The Epoch Times
Joshua Philipp of The Epoch Times interviewed Japanese journalist Masako Ganaha on his show, Crossroads. She walks the viewer through the footage that captured the shooting of Ashli Babbit at the Capitol. Ganaha, who is familiar with agitprop tactics, explains her perception of that event. She explains some of the tactics agitators use and explains how a couple of the men allegedly used those tactics to agitate Trump supporters. She also references men in the crowd who were later positively identified as known Antifa and BLM protesters.
Ganaha talks about a man named John Sullivan (known as Jayden X on social media) who has been identified by journalist Andy Ngo as a known BLM activist. Sullivan is the founder of Insurgence USA, a far-left group known for participating in violent protests. Sullivan says he was there to film the events at the Capitol, but some of his 35-minute video contradicts that narrative. In the video, he can be heard encouraging people to join in as they push their way through police barricades. Sullivan had previously been arrested in June for coordinating violence and intimidation of Provo, Utah drivers.
Twitter Feed Capture/John Sullivan/Jayden X
In her interview, Ganaha also explains actions that seemed uncharacteristic of Trump activists; things like changing clothing, yelling at police, and breaking through doors. It is very difficult to say with absolute certainty who is consistently instigating what in the video.
A First-Person Perspective
Interviews I conducted with two people who did not enter the building tell a different story of the day. Like myself, they recounted tales of people engaging in peaceful, first amendment protected demonstration. The vast majority in the crowd were conversing, singing, and praying. However, each of them also said that they saw evidence of agitators who were trying to gain access or upset people in the crowd. Whitney Warr, a citizen who was there to show her support for President Trump, recalled one person yelling, "Come on! If you don't go in, you don't really care. Why don't you go in?!" In each of the cases where she witnessed what she called "instigators," she said they did not share the appearance of the Trump supporters who were peacefully standing outside. Many were dressed in black, covering their faces with bandanas or ski masks, and some even had gas masks—not in any way typical of how the average conservative dresses to demonstrate.
The most compelling evidence I found of the contrast between agitators and Trump supporters came from the first-hand account of LaVelle Banks. He recounts the events captured on video of a man trying to break into the Capitol building. As the video depicts, people in the crowd begin to realize what the man is doing and begin to shout "Antifa." At one point, some gathered in the front begin to pull him down, which leads to cheers.
Banks, a veteran who said he went to D.C. to protest an unfair election, said he knew he had "to keep his head on a swivel" because of the sheer number of people present that day. He was aware that agitators could be circulating in the crowd. At one point, he asked a few men to stop yelling and fighting. Mr. Banks' Twitter account has since been permanently suspended.
He saw a man "busting out a window," which is also seen in the video. He said that there were some in the crowd who "did not seem like patriots, were wearing helmets and goggles," saying that "isn't our way" and that people in the crowd were trying to stop them from going into the building. He said their "vibe was completely different." Banks also noticed that "at least 15 of the cops standing by the building were just taking video of the people breaking in, filming it and letting it happen."
Banks' account of the events as he arrived closer to the building are as follows:
"As I mentioned in our call, when we approached the Capitol building, men in all black were scaling the walls. We went around to utilize the staircase. When we got to where the doors were, people were busting the windows. Three guys were on the electric scaffolding, but only two of them were causing property damage. One guy was using the flag pole whilst the other had a hammer. The third individual stopped it as Patriots on the ground were yelling, "NO!" Slightly to the left of where I was, another individual in all black with a helmet on was also attempting to bust a window. Patriots brought that to a quick and abrupt halt. Chants of "F Antifa" rang out amongst the crowd. A gentleman in a red MAGA hat pretty much grabbed the guy and put an end to what he was trying to accomplish."
The Truth is Evasive
We may never know exactly who was responsible for the damage that day. It is very difficult to obtain a fair story from the legacy media. With the growing censorship seen over the past few months, the de-platforming of Parler, and President Trump's account being banned from Twitter, it is no wonder many feel marginalized. Much of the video evidence from the 6th is also being scraped from the internet.
Karlyn Borysenko, a former Democrat who is now an Independent and an influencer working with Brandon Straka's #WalkAway movement, wrote a piece for UncoverDC where she explains her perception of the events that day, as well as her take on the widely held sentiments leading up to it:
"For the last five years, ever since President Donald Trump came down that escalator, Trump supporters have been portrayed as the dregs of society in every possible way. They’ve been called deplorable, white trash, racist, Nazis – every name in the book. They’ve been censored, canceled, and fired from their jobs because of their political beliefs. Beliefs, by the way that are not extreme—things like small government, the first amendment, and the belief that America is the greatest country in the world. Trump supporters are kind, generous, decent people who have been in an abusive relationship with every major institution in their country for years."
Trump's speech at the ellipse on Jan. 6 has been broadly mischaracterized as violent and inciteful. In fact, nothing in his speech indicated he wanted Trump supporters to storm the Capitol like an angry mob. He simply asked people to walk down to the Capitol to "give [legislators] the kind of pride and boldness they need to take back our country." His closing remarks, in full, are below:
"Our exciting adventures and boldest endeavors have not yet begun. My fellow Americans, for our movement, for our children, and for our beloved country and I say this, despite all that’s happened, the best is yet to come...So we’re going to, we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol and we’re going to try and give… The Democrats are hopeless. They’re never voting for anything, not even one vote. But we’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I want to thank you all. God bless you and God bless America. Thank you all for being here, this is incredible. Thank you very much. Thank you."
I suppose one can argue that every person there participated in violence just by their mere presence. That seems to be the message the bulk of the media and cowardly politicians are trying to promote. I am not sure what it will take for all people to recognize the damage that has been wrought by censoring Americans with whom you disagree or not allowing an allegedly fraudulent election to be transparently investigated and heard. I think the message needs to be, however, be careful what you wish for.