Where Was The Guard On January 6th?

What follows is the annotated testimony to Congress by the Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard regarding the events of January 6th at the U.S. Capitol and his explanation of the Guard’s delay in responding.  It is lengthy, but I think you’ll find it interesting and worth the few minutes spent to read it.  Thanks to Seth Abramson at Proof for providing both the transcript and annotations.


Annotated Testimony of William J. Walker, Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard, Before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Senate Rules and Administration Committees

Proper names and substantive highlights of this critical March 3, 2021 opening statement—focused on the January 6 insurrection—are bolded in the text below.

William-J-Walker

“Good morning, Chairman [Michigan senator Gary] Peters and Chairwoman [Minnesota senator Amy] Klobuchar, Ranking Members [Ohio senator Rob] Portman and [Missouri senator Roy] Blunt, and members of the Committees. I am Major General William J. Walker and I serve as the Commanding General for the District of Columbia National Guard, affectionately known as the Capital Guardians. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the events of January 6—a dark chapter in our nation’s history.

I was sickened by the violence and destruction I witnessed that fateful day and the physical and mental harm that came to the U.S. Capitol Police officers and MPD [the Metropolitan Police Department of D.C.], some of whom I met with later that evening and I could see the injuries they sustained. It is my hope that my recollection of events and presentation of the facts as I know them will help your Committees in its investigation and prevent such tragic events from ever occurring again.

First, I think it is critical to understand what the D.C. National Guard’s mission was on January 6, to include what civilian agency we were supporting and how requests for support of other civilian authorities were handled.

On December 31, 2020, the D.C. National Guard [PROOF annotation: later “DCNG”] received written requests from District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and her Director of D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Dr. Christopher Rodriguez. The requests sought D.C. National Guard support for traffic control and crowd management for planned demonstrations in DC from January 5 through [January] 6.

After conducting mission analysis to support the District request, I sent a letter to then Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, dated January 1, requesting approval. I received approval in a letter dated January 5 from Secretary McCarthy granting support of the MPD with 340 total personnel to include 40 personnel assigned to a Quick Reaction Force.

{PROOF annotation: Note that it took four days before Trump’s Pentagon responded to the Democratic leadership of D.C., meaning that the District got “approval” for National Guard assistance on one of the very two days it had urgently asked for help on—January 5. Not only did this approval come too late for January 5 aid, it left under 24 hours for aid for January 6 to be readied.}

The DCNG provides support to MPD, the U.S. Park Police, U.S. Secret Service and other District and federal law enforcement agencies in response to planned rallies, marches, protests and other large scale first amendment activity on a routine basis.

{PROOF annotation: As previously noted at PROOF, in a January 7 video Stop the Steal organizer Alex Jones claimed that he was in contact with the U.S. Secret Service prior to January 6 about leading the march to the Capitol after Trump’s speech at the White House Ellipse, with the explanation by Jones that then-president Donald Trump himself—as Trump would ultimately declare publicly during his speech at the Ellipse—would be speaking at the event Jones and his “movement” had orchestrated for midday at the Capitol steps. Per Jones, the Secret Service therefore needed to coordinate the logistics of the event. Mysteriously, there is no evidence as yet of the Secret Service at any point contacting other law enforcement agencies to alert them to Trump’s likely presence at the Capitol and the security implications thereof. And yet, beyond Trump’s own public statement on January 6 there is ample evidence that events did indeed unfold as Jones now claims. Jones says he was put in the VIP section of Trump’s audience to more easily be moved to the head of the post-speech march, and so he was; Jones is on video on January 6 repeatedly telling Trump voters that Trump is headed to the Capitol; Jones’ Stop the Steal co-organizer Ali Alexander, who has since repeatedly said he was coordinating with Trump allies in Congress—including Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, and Mo Brooks, as well as Trump adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle—appears on video on January 6 having the same belief as Jones that the Secret Service would be bringing Trump to the Capitol. Congress now desperately needs to speak to the Secret Service about these odd discrepancies.}

A standard component of such support is the stand up of an offsite Quick Reaction Force (QRF), an element of guardsmen held in reserve equipped with civil disturbance response equipment (helmets, shields, batons, etc.) and postured to quickly respond to an urgent and immediate need for assistance by civilian authorities. The Secretary of the Army’s January 5 letter withheld authority for me to employ the Quick Reaction Force.

{PROOF annotation: So not only did Trump’s Pentagon take four days to respond to the Democratic officials running D.C.—making it impossible for that response to address the security situation in the Capitol on January 5 and virtually impossible for it to address the security situation on January 6—but it also, when it finally responded, denied the chief request the District’s Democratic leadership had made.}

In addition, the Secretary of the Army’s memorandum to me required that a “concept of operation” (CONOP) be submitted to him before any employment of the QRF. I found that requirement to be unusual as was the requirement to seek approval to move Guardsmen supporting MPD to move from one traffic control point to another.

{PROOF annotation: The actions of Trump’s Pentagon were irregular, and consistently irregular in the same direction: making it harder for any assets under the control of the Trump administration to be used to defend the Capitol from a Trumpist assault on either January 5 or January 6.}

Beginning at 1:30PM [on January 6, 2021], we watched as MPD began to deploy all available resources in support of the Capitol Police. In doing so, the officers began to withdraw from the traffic control points that were jointly manned with D.C. Guardsmen.

At 1:49PM [on January 6, 2021] I received a frantic call from then Chief of U.S. Capitol Police, Steven Sund, where he informed me that the security perimeter at the Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters. Chief Sund, his voice cracking with emotion, indicated that there was a dire emergency on Capitol Hill and requested the immediate assistance of as many Guardsmen as I could muster.

{PROOF annotation: It is now clear that when Capitol Police issued an urgent request for help on January 6, there was absolutely no chance help would be forthcoming in any timely fashion—not because of delays on January 6, though there were many—but primarily because of the actions Trump’s Pentagon had taken prior to January 6 in taking so long to respond to Democratic officials in the District and then denying them the sort of aid those officials had every reason to expect. Media’s exclusive focus on January 6 itself continues to be misplaced; so much of what happened on January 6 was inevitable based on what had happened prior to January 6. In particular, the fact that Trump had installed loyalists Kash Patel and Ezra-Cohen Watnick immediately after learning he’d lost the November 2020 election, and that these two men were essentially controlling Trump defense secretary Chris Miller in the days before the insurrection according to Vanity Fair, have produced a significant concern that Trump and his agents coordinated the Pentagon’s refusal of Democratic officials’ urgent pleas both before and during the insurrection.}

Immediately after the 1:49PM call with Chief [Steven] Sund, I alerted the Army Senior Leadership of the request. The approval for Chief Sund’s request would eventually come from the Acting Secretary of Defense and be relayed to me by Army Senior Leaders at 5:08PM—3 hours and 19 minutes later. We already had Guardsmen on buses ready to move to the Capitol. Consequently, at 5:20PM—in under 20 minutes—the District of Columbia National Guard arrived at the Capitol. We helped to re-establish the security perimeter at the east side of the Capitol to facilitate the resumption of the Joint Session of Congress.

{PROOF annotation: This is stunning. Commander Walker is saying that had he received approval from the Pentagon at 1:49PM on January 6, he could have had Guardsmen at the Capitol by somewhere between 2:05PM and 2:08PM—in time to quell the worst of the insurrection—but instead he heard nothing from Miller, Patel, and Cohen-Watnick, the Trump Pentagon power center, until 5:08PM. Meanwhile, the boss of Mssrs. Miller, Patel, and Cohen-Watnick, was gleefully watching events from the White House and refusing to contact his men at the Pentagon. There is no chance that Miller, Patel, and Cohen-Watnick would have missed the clear signal from (at the very least) Trump’s silence, if not some White House communication we don’t yet know about: don’t do anything until I tell you. By the time the Pentagon acted, Trump had issued public statements about wanting the insurrectionists to leave the Capitol grounds. It was only then that his men at the Pentagon responded to the urgent pleas for aid from the Capitol.}

In conclusion, I am grateful for the Guardsmen from the 53 states and territories who supported [the] D.C. National Guard’s OPERATION CAPITOL RESPONSE {PROOF annotation: all-caps in original} and ensured a peaceful transition of power on January 20, [2021]. In particular, I am grateful for the timely assistance of our close neighbors from the Virginia [National Guard], Delaware [National Guard], and Maryland National Guard who augmented our D.C. National Guard forces in establishing a security perimeter.

I am honored to lead these citizen Soldiers and Airmen—your constituents—many of whom have left behind their families, careers, education and businesses, to ensure the protection and safety of the U.S. Capitol and those who serve in it.

Thank you again for the opportunity to brief you today. I look forward to any questions you may have.”

{PROOF annotation: Commander Walker’s subsequent testimony before these two Senate committees—meeting in an unusual joint session—is equally damning. Most notably, Walker says that the process to get troop deployments approved and troops in place took “minutes” during the Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020, but hours when Trump voters were storming the U.S. Capitol. This disparity is further evidence of misconduct inside Trump’s Pentagon, as was the fact that the Pentagon brought former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn’s brother Charles Flynn into the chain of command on that day despite him not being in the regular chain of command—and then lied about it publicly. It remains unclear what role Patel, Cohen-Watnick, or Flynn played in creating a massive delay in responding to violence at the Capitol that they had reason to know their boss, Donald Trump, was overjoyed to see.}

Nothing To Celebrate

The Pentagon is reported to be “weighing a request from the White House to support a July Fourth celebration on the National Mall that may include military aircraft flyovers, band performances and other displays.” 

I may be a minority of one here, but I think such a display would be in very poor taste.  We have had two black men murdered in the past month, simply for being black.  One of those men was murdered by the police, the very people we are supposed to trust with our lives.  We have more than a thousand people dying of a global pandemic every day, in large part because our nation was slow to respond and has put corporate profit over people’s lives.  We are more divided than we have ever been in our history, with political parties threatening to kill one another, religions attempting to force their views on others, a Congress that has become dysfunctional, Supreme Court Justices who have traded their integrity for a pat on the back from Donald Trump, and the list goes on.

This summer is almost certain to be a violent one, with a race war in the making and Donald Trump pouring fuel on the fire with his ignominious tweets.  The United States has failed miserably in its global role, leaving our allies hanging, trying to patch together agreements to make the world a safer place.  The United States is led by a cruel, evil dictator who would sooner see every one of us dead than to ever act on the behalf of the people who pay his salary.  The United States has denigrated many of those who live within its borders, given them reasons to fear for their very lives.  Immigrant children have been separated from their parents, some likely forever, simply because of their ethnicity.

Now, you tell me what there is to celebrate?  As today the ‘man’ in the Oval Office is threatening to fan the flames of the race war brewing in this country by threatening to send the National Guard to shoot protesters; as today the ‘man’ in the Oval Office and many of our elected legislators refuse to implement policies to protect the environment, to protect We the People. No, I don’t see a damn thing worth celebrating in this nation.

The sort of festivities Trump is asking of the Pentagon would be a slap in the face to most of us living here.  It would ignore the grief and horrors we are enduring, in favour of honouring a person who has no honour, of honouring a country that is being destroyed from within.  It would also have a hefty price tag.  The United States government is bankrupt, with more than $25 trillion in debt and very little revenue at this time.  HOW THE SAM HELL can we afford to spend millions on a damn circus show that benefits no one???  What about those who have been out of work for three months?  What about those who are about to lose their homes, or those who cannot afford food or medicine?  Would not that money, those millions of dollars, be better spent helping We the People survive the crisis that is happening in this country?

I do hope cooler heads in the Pentagon will prevail.  I hope that there are those who have the cojones to stand up to Donald Trump and say “No”.  Somehow, I have my doubts.  Friends, Donald Trump is proposing to use our hard-earned tax dollars for an ego trip, for a overblown display to attempt to send a message that all is well in the United States. All is not well in the U.S. today, and in fact nothing … NOTHING is right in this country today.  I, for one, will not be celebrating July 4th, aka Independence Day, this year.  I hope to celebrate our Independence Day on November 4th when Donald Trump has been told to pack his bags and get the heck out … that will be the day we regain our voices and begin to attempt to heal this nation.

Da Snippets, Dey Be Snarky

Puff … puff … I don’t know about you guys … puff … pant … but I’m tired.  Tired of the non-stop ‘breaking news’ updates, about half of which are “pbth … who cares?”, but the other half of which are foot-stomping, growling, jaw-dropping episodes in the ongoing saga of “Fool on the Hill”.  Please … somebody … anybody … rescue me and carry me off to a desert island where nobody has ever heard the name “Trump”!  I’m tired of all the time being snarky!  I’m tired of having my blood pressure go through the ceiling before I’m even out of bed in the morning!  I’m tired of … I’m just tired.  Sigh.  Meanwhile, though, there are more things you guys need to know about, so … Filosofa will now pick herself up from the floor, dry her eyes, and … snark on.snarky-4


Nothing to see here, folks …

You all remember when Mike Pence visited Ireland earlier this month, right?  And, he could have stayed in Dublin, the city where his meetings were to be held, but instead, he traveled (at our expense, lest anyone forget) to Doonbeg, some 180 miles away (one way), in order to stay at Trump International Golf Links & Hotel.  Why?  Because Trump had ‘suggested’ it and because Mike Pence has not the cojones to stand up to Trump.  The price?

Doonbeg is in County Clare on the west coast of Ireland, nearly a four-hour drive from most of Pence’s scheduled meetings in Dublin. According to an analysis by the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Pence’s stay cost taxpayers $599,454.36 in limousine service alone.  I have no idea, and cannot find information about how much the hotel bill for Pence, his wife, and his Secret Service entourage was, but the starting rate there for a single room is $228, so … he and Karen no doubt slept and ate well there.

Ol’ Mikey justified it all, though …

Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution says the president receives a salary while in office but “shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”  Before taking office, Trump promised he would step away from his business while in office. Instead, however, he has kept his stake in his companies. So expenditures of public funds like Pence’s stay at Doonbeg directly line Trump’s pockets.

Not only that, but Pence has made more than 20 such visits to Trump properties since taking office. So has Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, while Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has made 16 visits to Trump properties.  According to Senator Gary Peters, the ranking member of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee …

“Reports now claim that at least 24 of the 32 individuals who have served in the President’s Cabinet have patronized Trump properties, including the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. — another property owned by the President.”

But guess what?  Trump’s republican “guardian angels” are trying to block the investigation by the House Oversight Committee, calling it a “partisan attack”.  According to a letter sent to committee chairman Elijah Cummings by Representatives Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, both members of the ignoble House “Freedom” Caucus …

“Although you coordinated your attack with Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, you failed to consult with any Republican Members before demanding voluminous information from four separate entities – none of which bore responsibility for the lodging and accommodations in Ireland. We can only assume that these letters were the result of a rushed process to capitalize on news reporting about the Ireland travel, rather than responsible and deliberative oversight.”

Yep … nothing to see here, folks … only millions, perhaps billions of your taxpayer dollars being filtered directly into Trump’s coffers … move along now.


But there is some good news …


Somebody in the Pentagon has some sense …

Last month, the Pentagon authorized about 20 miles of fencing, lighting and other border infrastructure along the southern border that would have used $2.5 billion in funds redirected from a counter-drug fund.  But on Monday, the Department of Defense announced that it would not be able to cover the costs of the project after all.  Initially, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that it would likely be able to afford the projects using the counter-drug funds, but the Army Corps ultimately advised the department that the funds would not cover the project, prompting its withdrawal on September 13th.

The projects were a part of Trump’s plan to divert Pentagon funds to build the wall he so needs to appease his base, even though said wall would do absolutely nothing to resolve the problem of immigration, would cause irreparable damage to the land and wildlife, and deprive people of their land.  It is merely an ego trip for Trump.  No word, that I can find, of Trump’s reaction to this news.


No more AR-15s?  Er … not quite

U.S. firearms manufacturer Colt announced yesterday that it will stop production of rifles for the civilian market — including the AR-15, a weapon infamous for its popularity among the country’s mass shooters.  Their stated reason?  That the market is saturated, that there are already more of their rifles on the market than people can buy.

Why is Filosofa such an untrusting soul?  Why do I not for a single minute believe them?  Because it is Colt, because they are the makers of firearms, their livelihood is dependent on people wanting to kill other people, and that hasn’t slowed down one whit in recent years.  So, what do I think (just in case anybody cares)?

I think that in light of the fact that the AR-15s have been receiving much publicity, having been used in several mass shootings recently, including Newtown, Orlando, Parkland, Aurora, Las Vegas, and Dayton, they are getting out before they get hit with lawsuits.

A bit of background here. In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which provides immunity in both state and federal court from civil liability for licensed manufacturers, distributors, and dealers of firearms, as well as their trade associations, in most negligence and product liability actions.  So, gun manufacturers and sellers have had free reign with no possibility of being held accountable for damage caused by their product.  But this year, democrats in both the House and Senate have introduced the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, which would allow civil cases to go forward against irresponsible actors in state and federal courts, just as they would if they involved any other product.

Now, we all know that the bill might pass in the House, but not likely in the Senate, and even if by some rare alignment of the stars it passes in the Senate, the Idiot-in-Chief would veto it.  However, there is a good possibility that in 16 months, there will be a democratic majority in the Senate, and a democrat sitting in the Oval Office, under which circumstances, it is probable that this bill, or a similar one will pass into law.  It is my belief that Colt sees the handwriting on the wall and is getting out while they can.  I could be wrong, and likely we will never know for sure if that is their reason.

So, is this good news?  Meh … yes and no.  Other arms manufacturers continue to produce the AR-15 and other assault rifles, including Palmetto State Armory and Smith and Wesson.  The better news is that companies like Wal-Mart and Dick’s Sporting Goods have discontinued sales of these killing machines and their ammunition.  The even better news will be when and if the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act passes into law.  And the best news yet would be a total and permanent ban on all assault-style weapons outside the military and law enforcement.  Some say it’ll never happen … I think it might, but it will take time.


And now, I return you to seek cheerier blogs than mine!

Number Of US Military Soldiers Being Sent To Puerto Rico Is Woefully Inadequate

Finally, after 8 long days, the Trump administration has waived the Jones Act and is sending troops and aid to Puerto Rico, where people are still living without the essentials: food, water, shelter, medicine. But the aid we are sending is woefully inadequate … a case of too little, too late. Trump will no doubt be patting himself on the back, but he should receive no kudos, for he wasted more than a week waging a war with the NFL players and mocking John McCain, rather than helping the people of Puerto Rico. Blogger-friend Gronda’s post explains what the needs are, what we are doing, and what we SHOULD be doing. Please take a few minutes to read this very informative post. Thank you, Gronda, for keeping us informed and for allowing me to share!

Gronda Morin

CARTER

On September 27, 2017, NPR’s Robert Siegel posted the below report of an interview which included himself, another host Ailsa Chang and the guests Phillip Carter, director of the Military, Veterans and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security and Edwin Rivera who lives in Puerto Rico, about aid the U.S. military could provide to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Mr. Carter is stating that at least 50,000 military service members are required to adequately address the crisis in Puerto Rico after it was razed by Hurricane Maria around September 20, 2017. But according to a Stars & Stripes report, only 7,500 military personnel will be heading to Puerto Rico where the infrastructure has been decimated and where a humanitarian crisis exists.

With the recent rhetoric from the republican President Donald Trump’s administrating announcing the deployment of military troops to Puerto Rico and its…

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