Capitol Hill Riot: DOJ Arrest Reports Focus On Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Barely Mention Parler
While the media and Democrats demonize Parler, and it was deplatformed by Google, Apple, and Amazon, it’s clear that leftist social media giants were a hub for alleged criminal behavior
The takedown of Parler was purportedly based on its unique role in fomenting hate online relating to its alleged outsize role in the events at the Capitol on January 6th. Having spent a couple days weeding through the DOJ’s published arrest reports, I found little mention of Parler, but plenty of alleged criminal conduct referencing Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, in the charging document.
Of the 19 DOJ press releases published to date, including the attached affidavits and other documents where applicable, regarding the persons charged for involvement in the Capitol Hill riots, there are multiple and lengthy references to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. This is not an exhaustive listing of the reported 170+ arrests made thus far; this post reflects only those materials the DOJ has made available at the time of this writing.
Parler is mentioned in only two, with Facebook references far dwarfing the Parler references in one and the other being an unprofessional, ideological rant against Parler. Five do not mention any of these sites (see here, here, here, here, and here).
Parler vs. the Big Tech Goliath
Parler’s success rattled the left, Big Tech, and the activist media. For years, they dismissed conservatives’ concerns about shadowbanning and other methods of ensuring the right’s reach was minimized.
Repeatedly told, “if you don’t like it, start your own,” conservatives did just that with Parler and other center-right and right-leaning sites. Parler was by far the most successful, so it became a regular target of the left, as we documented here at LI.
- Parler Is Over The Target – Catching Flak From Mainstream Media And Twitter Trolls
- Democrats held Facebook “Troll Party” to harass conservatives on Parler
- Liberal Media Sure Are Obsessed With Villifying #Parler As Alternative To Twitter
The vilification of Parler culminated with Apple and Google pulling the Parler app from their stores, with the coup de grâce delivered by Amazon who kicked Parler off their hosting service.
Once down, Parler was hacked, and a database of all Parler data regarding the Capitol riot was set up. This was then used by the left to claim that Parler was responsible. This was ridiculous on its face given that a similar analysis of every Capitol riot-related tweet/video/etc. posted to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter was not provided for comparison. Yes, questionable content was posted to Parler, but how much was also posted to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter?
It would seem from the arrest reports released by the DOJ to date that they are relying on these three far more than on Parler, the supposed hub of the Capitol riot.
DOJ Reports Mentioning Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter
Some of the DOJ press releases included no attached affidavit, indictment, or other such document. I have searched these releases for the following: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Parler.
In the DOJ press release entitled, “Three Charged in Federal Court for Assaulting and Impeding Local and Federal Officers during U.S. Capitol Breach,” there is explicit mention of one of those charged posting a video to Facebook. There is no mention of Parler.
The affidavit also alleges that in a video post to his Facebook account, Fairlamb, carrying a collapsible baton like the one depicted in video in which he appears at the Capitol, remarks, “What Patriots do? We [expletive] disarm them and then we storm [expletive] the Capitol.”
In the DOJ press release entitled, “Two Massachusetts Residents Charged in Connection with Capitol Breach,” there is explicit mention of one of those charged posting to Twitter. There is no mention of Parler.
Photos posted on a Twitter account connected to Super Happy Fun America show Sahady on a bus with other individuals with the caption, “Bus 1 of 11 coming to Washington DC. See you there!”
According to the criminal complaint, Ianni is also involved with “Super Happy Fun America.” The complaint alleges that Ianni organized buses for Super Fun Happy America to transport individuals to Washington D.C. for the January 6, 2021 event. Ianni is pictured alongside Sahady in the bus photo on Twitter.
Documents Referencing Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter
Most of the DOJ press releases include attached affidavits, statements of fact, or indictments; where there are such attachments, I have searched these documents as well for the following: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Parler.
In the DOJ press release entitled, “New Mexico County Commissioner Charged for Breaching U.S. Capitol,” there is explicit mention of Facebook. There is no mention of Parler.
As alleged in the charging documents, on Jan. 9, 2021, law enforcement received a tip that Griffin, an Otero County, New Mexico, Commissioner was present at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and had posted videos to his Facebook page indicating that he intended to return to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 2021, and “plant our flag” on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk.
An investigation into Griffin revealed that he is the founder of an organization called “Cowboys for Trump,” and that following the incident at the U.S. Capitol, Griffin posted a video to the Cowboys for Trump Facebook page in which he stated that he “climbed up on the top of the Capitol building and . . . had a first row seat.”
Following are excerpts from the affidavit (link to download pdf) mentioning social media, specifically Facebook:
In the DOJ press release entitled, “Kentucky Man Arrested and Charged in Federal Court for Actions at the U.S. Capitol,” there is no direct mention of any particular social media platform; however, the attached “statement of fact” (link to download pdf) explicitly mentions posts to both YouTube and Facebook. There is no mention of Parler.
In the DOJ press release entitled, “Connecticut Man Charged with Assaulting an Officer During U.S. Capitol Breach,” YouTube is mentioned. There is no mention of Parler.
As alleged in the charging documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, a video posted to YouTube captured a large group of rioters attempting to break through the line of uniformed law enforcement officers who were in place to prevent rioters from entering the lower west terrace door of the United States Capitol. In the front line of rioters, an individual, who has subsequently been identified as McCaughey can be seen using a clear police riot shield to physically push against the left side of an officer’s body.
In the attached affidavit, Twitter is mentioned in addition to YouTube. There is no mention of Parler.
The section entitled, “Detailed Timeline of Key Events” (pp. 12-20), lives up to its name and is a meticulously prepared timeline that references YouTube in every paragraph because it goes through a particular video (referred to as YouTube Video 1).
In the DOJ press release entitled, “Utah Man Charged in Federal Court Following Events at the United States Capitol,” there is no mention of any social media site; however, in the attached affidavit (link to download pdf), YouTube is mentioned and other, unnamed social media accounts referenced. There is no mention of Parler.
This is the report on John Earle Sullivan, who has “a history of organizing violent antifa/BLM protests” and is known to have used both Twitter and Instagram for his activities.
In the DOJ press release entitled, “Two Delaware Men Charged in Federal Court Following Events at the United States Capitol,” there is no mention of social media; however, the attached “statement of fact” (link to download pdf) explicitly mentions posts to Twitter. There is no mention of Parler.
In the DOJ press release entitled, “Three Men Charged in Connection with Events at U.S. Capitol,” Facebook is mentioned.
It is alleged that on Jan. 6, 2021, Evans, a recently elected member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, streamed live to his Facebook page a video of himself joining and encouraging a crowd unlawfully entering the U.S. Capitol. In the video, Evans is allegedly seen crossing the threshold of the doorway into the U.S. Capitol and shouting, “We’re in, we’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”
In the attached documents, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are mentioned. There is no mention of Parler.
From the Evans affidavit (link to download pdf):
Facebook is then repeatedly referenced, with posts quoted at length. This section goes on for several pages.
In the attached Chansley statement of fact (link to download pdf), Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all mentioned. There is no mention of Parler.
In the DOJ press release entitled, “Two Men Charged in Connection with Events at U.S. Capitol,” there is no mention of any social media outlet; however, in the Munchel affidavit, Facebook is mentioned. There is no mention of Parler.
In the DOJ press release entitled, “Two Off-Duty Virginia Police Officers Charged in Federal Court Following Events at the U.S. Capitol,” Facebook is mentioned. There is no mention of Parler.
On social media, Robertson is quoted as saying, “CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business … The right IN ONE DAY took the f***** U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” He also stated that he was “proud” of the photo on an Instagram post that was shared to Facebook, because he was “willing to put skin in the game.” On Facebook, Fracker posted a comment that read, “Lol to anyone who’s possibly concerned about the picture of me going around… Sorry I hate freedom? …Not like I did anything illegal…y’all do what you feel you need to.” The post has since been deleted.
And in the attached statement of facts, Facebook is again mentioned repeatedly (link to download pdf). There is no mention of Parler.
In the DOJ press release entitled, “Seven Charged in Federal Court Following Events At the United Capitol,” there is no mention of social media; however, in two of the attached documents, there are mentions of Twitter and Facebook. There is no mention of Parler.
From the Packer affidavit (link to download pdf):
From the Mostofsky statement of fact (link to download pdf):
Documents Referencing Parler
Following are the DOJ press releases and, where applicable, relevant screenshots from the attached documents.
In the DOJ press release entitled, “Three Individuals Affiliated with the Oath Keepers Indicted in Federal Court for Conspiracy to Obstruct Congress on Jan. 6, 2021,” Facebook and Parler are mentioned.
The press release mentions that a criminal complaint (filed Jan. 19) alleges that planning took place on both Facebook and Parler, including a photo taken inside the Capitol posted to Parler, so there may be further evidence found on Parler that was not included in the indictment (filed Jan. 27) for whatever reason.
According to the criminal complaint filed on Jan. 19, on Jan. 6, the three documented their participation and whereabouts in or around the U.S. Capitol on social media. Caldwell posted messages on Facebook such as, “We are surging forward. Doors breached[.]” and at 3:05 p.m. posted just, “Inside.” Watkins posted photos of herself, and with Crowl, on her Parler account and captioned a photo by stating, “Me before forcing entry into the Capitol Building. #stopthesteal2 #stormthecapitol #oathkeepers #ohiomilitia.” Subsequently, she posted a video of herself inside the Capitol captioned, “Yeah. We stormed the Capitol today. Teargassed, the whole, 9. Pushed our way into the Rotunda. Made it into the Senate even. The news is lying (even Fox) about the Historical Events we created today.”
In the attached indictment, Facebook is mentioned frequently, and Parler is mentioned once in order to provide an individual’s profile description. Following are screenshots from the indictment (link to download pdf).
In the DOJ press release entitled, “Texas Man Arrested and Charged With Making Threats Regarding Events at the U.S. Capitol,” Parler is the only social media site mentioned by name.
The affidavit in support of criminal complaint alleges that Smocks traveled to the Washington, D.C., area on January 5, 2021, the day before the illegal rioting. Smocks used a Parler social media account under the name “ColonelTPerez” or “@Colonel007,” to post threats on January 6 and 7 regarding the riots. The threats included that he and others would return to the U.S. Capitol on January 19, 2021, carrying weapons and massing in numbers so large that no army could match them. Smocks threatened that he and others would “hunt these cowards down like the Traitors that each of them are,” specifically threatening “RINOS, Dems, and Tech Execs.” The threats issued by Smocks were viewed by other social media users tens of thousands of times.
The attached affidavit (link to download pdf) makes one mention of YouTube and contains a diatribe against Parler that is notable for its lack of professionalism. It’s author, Jeff Janczyk is, according to the affidavit, a Detective Sergeant with the Metropolitan Police in DC, rather than with the FBI/DOJ.
Interestingly, the affidavit then generically references “another social media and electronic communication site.”
Note that no other press release or document rails against Parler or any of the other social media platforms used by the defendants.
Document Generically Referencing Social Media
One DOJ press release failed to name the social media or other source/s for evidence used in the charging documents.
In the DOJ press release entitled, “Rochester, New York Man Arrested and Charged with Destroying Property and Obstruction of Congressional Proceedings,” there is no mention of social media.
The attached affidavit (link to download pdf) fails to mention any social media source by name. The references are to “publicly available photographs and video” and later refers to the sites to which these were posted as “open source.”
Still a third reference is to a “video posted on social media.’
Many people might read this affidavit (and do click over and read it in full) and cringe at its lack of specifics regarding the precise social media sources for the evidence provided, and these people might conclude that Special Agent Melissa Ammons—who (presumably) wrote and most definitely signed this affidavit—is, at best, incompetent.
Those people may not be wrong, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t the wave of the future. Expect Janczyk’s nonspecific “social media” and Ammons’ “open source” waffling to become the default reference to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube as we move into our brave new Orwellian world in which relatively small, but promising, competition to the big three are shut down ostensibly for providing a platform for the Capitol rioters to plan and post their activities.
Parler has been demonized and deplatformed. Yet as we can see from these DOJ press releases and associated documents, those individuals charged so far relied far more heavily on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter than they did on Parler. As Professor Jacobson succinctly noted, “The claim that Parler represents some unique risk to public safety is a lie driven by politics,” and these DOJ reports released so far bear that out.
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The left knows, without doubt, you will play by the old rules so they have nothing to worry about when they shut down your right to speak. The right doesn’t have a Soros paying for insurrection and incitement. the left knows your going to grumble and go to work to pay the outrageous taxes for their give-aways. Not that your all incensed and ready to give me a thumbs down PROVE IM WRONG.
Isnt one of the key issues how the platforms respond to the content created? Its known that Facebook, Twitter etc have attempted to moderate its content in a reactive way and that this is problematic. Im not clear on whether Parler was moderating its content at all (beyond reports that it too was banning left wing voices on its platform). Is their more detail on this issue?
If that was the actual case then you would have a far better case against Facebook and twitter than you would ever have against parlor.
That doesn’t seem logical? If twitter and Facebook are attempting to at least constrain the ‘worst’ elements of the chatter on there networks that’s at least the start of a defensive position whereas allegedly Parler well hasn’t at all. It’s one of the reasons the Amazon lawsuit is likely to go no where. The pubically available information is that Amazon has been warning them about the content for months and Parler simply hasn’t responded.
This is nothing but narrative/theater. If they were determined, the fbi/DC/federal law enforcement agencies (LEA’s) could have collected evidence pre-event and prevented this entire debacle. The joke of it is, they DID collect everything, monitor everything and KNEW what was being planned and by who. Most if not all the bad actors (professional agitators) were known and had priors, so obtaining ongoing law enforcement surveillance would have been (and was) easy. Many people either don’t realize that their electronic communications can be monitored/captured in real time, or are complacent in thinking: “LEA’s wouldn’t bother with a small fish like me.” Well it wouldn’t be a criminal conspiracy without the small fish foot soldiers going out to commit the actual crimes. The LEA’s could likewise have shut it down day of, just prior to the event. But they did not. Why? And who ordered the LEA’s to take a hands off approach pre-event/day of? All of it is off, and off by a lot. I could go on all day with these issues and also bring up specific LEA capabilities to bolster my points, but that’s really not the issue here. I have my suspicions, but I guess we will just have to wait and see.
The take-down of Parlor was about money. Period.
Money, for sure. Especially for Twitter and Facebook, but Amazon$$??. Of course all these Left players fornicate together in the same bed and Amazon would willingly cancel a small account for it’s better endowed friends. BUT, the hoary face of ideology looms equally large ( I think greater).
WE ARE In DEEP SHIT!!
According to Amazon, their employees spearheaded the takedown. So, expect AWS to deplatform gun makers and seller and anyone in the business of turning coal into energy.
Money, yes….and power.
The purported Party of the Little Guy is, in fact, quite descriptively accurate and supported by deep-pocket BIG GUYS.
These BIG GUYS are totally committed to making sure everyone else is kept at the Little Guy Level so they don’t threaten the BIG GUYS’ sacred cash-cows.
What big tech people don’t realize is that this is causing a lot of people to turn to the dark web and to the “dim web”. Specifically Mastodon and the Fediverse.
But Trump and his insurrectionist gang of white supremacists ‘might’ have fled to Parler after Facebook and Twitter banned them.
And our Big Tech Big Brothers could not allow that to happen. Our Big Tech Big Brothers care about us and are protecting us from the evil Trump and his followers.
The FBI will be following up on this. Now that they have been unleashed they have a big backlog to work through. They recently arrested a Trump supporter, at 7 AM, for posting anti-Hillary memes on Facebook back in 2016.
They’ll probably eventually arrest Trump for something.
America is no longer a free country.
If TOR browser isn’t yet on your computer, you need to download it and install it. You may not be inclined to use it right now but it’s one of those examples of having it if you need it.
Good browser but it’s only one aspect of it. It wouldn’t have prevented the release of the information on Parler as that data was in there domain and care.
Y’all do realize that someone from the Ministry of State Security is going to be punished for allowing mention of the roles of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter into official documents. Reality is what they say it is.