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Rioters at the US Capitol included trained ex-military and police: AP | News from the United States and Canada

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As supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside the United States Capitol last week and sang the national anthem, a line of men wearing drab olive helmets and bulletproof vests deliberately climbed the marble stairs. in a single line, each man holding the collar of the jacket of the one to come.

The training, known as the “Ranger File”, is standard operating procedure for a combat team that “stacks up” to pierce a building – instantly recognizable to any US or Navy soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was a frightening sign that many at the forefront of the mob that stormed the seat of American Democracy had military training or were being trained by those who did.

A review by the Associated Press news agency of public records, social media posts and videos shows that at least 21 current or former members of the U.S. military or law enforcement have been identified as se found at or near the United States Capitol at the time of the riot, with over a dozen others under investigation, but not yet named.

In many cases, those who stormed the Capitol appeared to be using tactics, bulletproof vests, and technology such as two-way radio headsets similar to those of the very police they were faced with.

Local extremism pundits have for years warned of efforts by far-right and white supremacist groups to radicalize and recruit people with military and police training, and they say the insurgency January 6, which left five people dead, saw some of their worst fears come true. .

“ISIS [ISIL] and al-Qaeda drool to have someone with the training and experience of a US military officer, ”said Michael German, former FBI agent and member of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

“These people have training and capabilities that far exceed what any foreign terrorist group can do. Foreign terrorist groups have no members who wear badges. “

Texas veteran

Among the most important to emerge is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and decorated combat veteran from Texas who was arrested after being photographed wearing a helmet and body armor on the ground. of the Senate, holding a pair of zippered handcuffs.

Retired Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr of Texas was released into house arrest Thursday after a prosecutor alleged the former fighter pilot was planning to take hostages.

Brock was pictured wearing a helmet and body armor on the Senate floor [Grapevine, Texas Police Department via AP]

Adam Newbold, a retired Navy SEAL from Lisbon, Ohio, whose more than 20-year military career includes several combat-for-bravery awards, said in a January 5 Facebook video: “We’re just very prepared patriots, very capable and very skilled ready for a fight. “

He then posted a follow-up video deleted since the riot saying he was “proud” of the assault.

Two police officers from a small town in Virginia, both former infantrymen, were arrested by the FBI after posting a selfie of themselves inside the Capitol, one blinking his middle finger in front of the camera .

No comment from the Pentagon

While the Pentagon has declined to provide an estimate of how many other active-duty military personnel are under investigation, senior military officials are concerned enough ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration that they issued a very unusual warning to all military personnel this week. that the right to freedom of expression does not give anyone the right to commit violence.

The U.S. Capitol Police Chief was forced to resign over the violation and “several” officers were suspended pending the outcome of investigations into their conduct, including one who posed for a selfie with a rioter and another seen wearing one of Trump’s reds. “Make America Great Again” caps.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Forced To Resign Over Breach [File: Leah Millis/Reuters]

Close examination of the group that climbed the steps to help clear the Capitol shows that they wore military-style crests bearing the inscriptions “MILITIA” and “OATHKEEPER”.

The Oath Keepers, who claim to number thousands of former and current law enforcement officials and veterans among their membership, have become staples in protests and counter protests across the country, often heavily armed with semi-automatic rifles and tactical shotguns.

Stewart Rhodes, a military veteran who founded the Oath Keepers in 2009 in reaction to Barack Obama’s presidency, had said weeks before the Capitol riot that his group was preparing for a civil war and was “armed. , ready to enter if the president calls us ”.

Dozens of arrests

So far, more than 110 people have been arrested on charges related to the Capitol Riot, ranging from curfew violations to serious federal crimes related to theft and possession of weapons.

The FBI warns of the potential for more bloodshed. In an internal bulletin released on Sunday, the office warned of plans for armed protests in all 50 state capitals and Washington, DC in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, police departments in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston and Philadelphia have announced that they are investigating whether members of their agencies were involved in the Capitol Riot.

The Philadelphia area transportation company is also investigating whether seven of its police officers who attended Trump’s rally in Washington, DC, broke any laws.


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