Special to WorldTribune, April 16, 2021
Analysis by R. Clinton Ohlers
An MSNBC documentary that aired earlier this week unwittingly revealed that the establishment narrative of the “violent insurrection at the Capitol” on Jan. 6 is not only false, its perpetuation is part of an organized, professional, political propaganda operation.
A person was more likely to have been killed by fans of The Who as they entered the Riverfront Coliseum on December 3 of 1979 than by Trump supporters entering the Capitol on January 6 of 2021.
The Who fans crushed to death 11 fellow concert goers when they stampeded and forced open the venue’s doors in the cause célèbre of getting seats. Trump supporters, for the cause of protesting what they believed on the basis of compelling evidence was a stolen presidential election, killed no one.
When the Washington, D.C. Chief Medical Examiner’s report came out on April 7 it amounted to a stunning indictment of the false claims the corporate media reiterated incessantly throughout the previous four months. None of the four deaths that the media had breathlessly reported as caused by the protesters proved to be so.
One woman died of a drug overdose and two men died of cardiac events resulting from heart disease. The fourth, the famous and tragic death of officer Brian Sicknick, was not included in the report because Sicknick, also a Trump supporter, died from a stroke several hours later after returning to his office.
The single person whose death that day that can be called a homicide was Ashli Babbitt, shot, at close range from cover, by a Capitol Police officer who fired into a group that included at least two armed officers observing nonchalantly, with several more on the stairs behind them.
Rather than confirming the pre-existing media narrative, the report confirmed eyewitness accounts and video footage showing that, apart from a small number of rioters who appeared to be staging in advance, protestors were:
A largely tourist crowd that was let into the building by police, stayed inside the velvet ropes, seemed at least partly there out of confusion, for social media clout, or just for the memes, and that even The New York Times conceded caused limited property damage.
MSNBC was hard pressed, therefore, to maintain its depiction of Jan. 6 as “the greatest threat to America’s democracy since the Civil War.” (The 1983 bombing of the Capitol apparently notwithstanding.) To salvage this narrative, the documentary resorts to the claim that killing Ashli Babbitt quelled a violent crowd and staved off a greater disaster. In doing so, MSNBC lionized the brutal and reckless killing of Babbitt as a heroic act.
What then follows is counterfactual speculation of the sort real historians avoid like the plague. The evidence for this enormous threat to democracy is not what did happen but what might have happened in the dreadful scenario that, instead of being shot, Babbitt had been non-lethally restrained by the numerous and heavily armed Capitol police immediately behind her.
This re-framing was not the work of MSNBC alone. It was also not the consequence of mere bias. Revolver News’ Darren Beattie reports it was the carefully considered result of the outlet’s openly acknowledged collaboration with a professional third party propaganda organization called Bellingcat.
Dr. Alan McCloud, author of two books on political propaganda published with Routledge, reports that Bellingcat is funded by Western governments, staffed with former military and state intelligence officers, repeats official narratives against enemy states, and serves as a key part in what could be called a “spook to Bellingcat to corporate media propaganda pipeline,” presenting Western government narratives as independent research.
In intelligence terms, Bellingcat is a “cut out,” an organization designed to appear as an unrelated third party but which serves as a trusted intermediary to pass information from intelligence assets.
Beattie describes the group as “front and center in a number of hoaxes . . . including Russiagate.”
McCloud reports that Bellingcat receives funding from the U.S. government’s National Endowment for Democracy, which originated during the Reagan administration as a front organization for the CIA. Bellingcat itself is staffed with a number of former British and American intelligence officers and serves its proteges as a ”pipeline into influential media outlets” like USA Today and The New York Times.
McCloud notes: “Imagine, for one second, the opposite scenario: an ‘independent’ Russian investigative website staffed partially with ex-KGB officials, funded by the Kremlin, with most of their research focused on the nefarious deeds of the U.S., U.K. and NATO. Would anyone take it seriously? And yet Bellingcat is consistently presented in corporate media as a liberatory organization; the Information Age’s gift to the people.
Increasingly, the organization’s targets have been Trump supporters and the MAGA movement.”