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The Center for Disease Control has issued a new coronavirus order requiring DOUBLE masks to be worn for all forms of public transportation in the United States.

From CNN:

The CDC announced an order late Friday that will require people to wear a face mask while using any form of public transportation, including buses, trains, taxis, airplanes, boats, subways or ride-share vehicles while traveling into, within and out of the US.

The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday.

Masks must be worn while waiting, boarding, traveling and disembarking, it said. The coverings need to be at least two or more layers of breathable fabric secured to the head with ties, ear loops or elastic bands — and scarves and bandanas do not count, the order says.

The CDC said it reserves the right to enforce the order through criminal penalties, but it “strongly encourages and anticipates widespread voluntary compliance” and expects support from other federal agencies to implement the order.

The tyrannical order comes after Joe Biden signed an executive order last week requiring all travelers to wear mask on federal property.

The establishment has been recently pushing double masks despite the ongoing rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines and decline in coronavirus deaths.

White House coronavirus task force leader Dr. Anthony Fauci is now promoting “double masking”, despite saying in March of last year that wearing ANY masks wouldn’t prevent the spread of COVID.

“So, if you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective and that’s the reason why you see people either double masking or doing a version of an N95,” Fauci said this week.

“Inside Edition” also lauded Biden, Mitt Romney, and Tom Cruise for double masking recently.

And the New York Times called for Americans to wear a second mask layer earlier this month in an op-ed titled, “One Mask Is Good. Would Two Be Better?“

With “double masking” now being openly pushed, a new slippery slope of mask wearing has been introduced, with some articles beginning to promote TRIPLE masking to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) pushed back against the mask insanity earlier this month, urging Americans, “if you’ve had the disease or you’ve been vaccinated and you’re several weeks out from the second dose, throw your mask away.”

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: Medical Tyranny: CDC Announces All Travelers Must Wear Two Masks, Threatens Arrest

While US officials claim that ‘far-right extremism’ is one of the largest threats facing America, the leader of the group most commonly singled out as an example – the Proud Boys – was a ‘prolific’ informant for federal and local law enforcement, according to Reuters, citing a 2014 federal court proceeding.

Enrique Tarrio repeatedly worked undercover for investigators following a 2012 arrest, court documents reveal.

Curiously, Tarrio was ordered to stay away from Washington D.C. one day before the January 6 Capitol riot after he was arrested on vandalism and weapons charges – upon a request by government prosecutors that he be prohibited from attending. At least five Proud Boys members were charged as part of the riot.

In the 2014 hearing, a federal prosecutor, an FBI agent and Tarrio’s attorney describe his undercover work – noting that the Proud Boys leader helped authorities prosecute over a dozen people in various cases involving drugs, gambling and human smuggling, accoding to Reuters.

In a Tuesday interview with Reuters, Tarrio denied working undercover or cooperating in cases.

“I don’t know any of this,” he said, adding “I don’t recall any of this.”

Law-enforcement officials and the court transcript contradict Tarrio’s denial. In a statement to Reuters, the former federal prosecutor in Tarrio’s case, Vanessa Singh Johannes, confirmed that “he cooperated with local and federal law enforcement, to aid in the prosecution of those running other, separate criminal enterprises, ranging from running marijuana grow houses in Miami to operating pharmaceutical fraud schemes.”

Tarrio, 36, is a high-profile figure who organizes and leads the right-wing Proud Boys in their confrontations with those they believe to be Antifa, short for “anti-fascism,” an amorphous and often violent leftist movement. The Proud Boys were involved in the deadly insurrection at the Capitol January 6.

The records uncovered by Reuters are startling because they show that a leader of a far-right group now under intense scrutiny by law enforcement was previously an active collaborator with criminal investigators. -Reuters

During Tarrio’s 2014 hearing, both the prosecutor and Tarrio’s defense attorney asked for a reduced prison sentence after pleading guilty in a fraud case related to the relabeling and sale of stolen diabetes test kits. In requesting leniency for Tarrio and two co-defendants, the prosecutor noted that Tarrio’s information had resulted in the prosecution of 13 people on federal charges in two separate cases, and helped local authorities investigate a gambling ring.

Tarrio’s former attorney, Jeffrey Feiler, noted that his client worked undercover several times – one involving “wholesale prescription narcotics,” another involving the sale of anabolic steroids, and a third involving human smuggling. Tarrio also helped police uncover three marijuana grow houses, and was a “prolific” cooperator, according to the report.

In the smuggling case, Tarrio, “at his own risk, in an undercover role met and negotiated to pay $11,000 to members of that ring to bring in fictitious family members of his from another country,” the lawyer said in court.

In an interview, Feiler said he did not recall details about the case but added, “The information I provided to the court was based on information provided to me by law enforcement and the prosecutor.”

An FBI agent at the hearing called Tarrio a “key component” in local police investigations involving marijuana, cocaine and MDMA, or ecstasy. The Miami FBI office declined comment. –Reuters

Reuters notes that there is no evidence Tarrio has cooperated with authorities since his previous involvement, however he admitted to notifying local law enforcement prior to Proud Boys rallies in various cities – letting police know of the group’s plans. Tarrio said he stopped this coordination after December 12 due to the DC police cracking down on the group.

Tarrio’s involvement with law enforcement will no doubt fuel speculation over just how ‘organic’ the threat of ‘far-right extremism’ is, particularly when the vast majority of violence observed over 2020 was committed by far-left groups rioting in the name of racial justice.

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: Proud Boys Leader Was ‘Prolific’ FBI Snitch: Court Docs

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (KY) has relented on a key demand that Democrats preserve the filibuster, after two Democratic senators – Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) – said they were against tossing out the policy which allows the minority party to block legislation by requiring 60 votes to advance most measures.

McConnell’s refusal to ditch the filibuster had left the power-sharing agreement in a stalemate, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had rebuffed the idea of a guarantee, according to Bloomberg.

While both sides claimed victory, McConnell’s position was becoming untenable and risked provoking the Democrats into doing the opposite of what he wanted and eroding the filibuster out of the gate. There’s also potential risk down the line if Republicans engage in maximum obstruction and anger Manchin and Sinema.

So far, on cabinet nominees and on scheduling the impeachment trial, the two sides have managed to avoid a partisan impasse. For instance, Antony Blinken, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be secretary of state, is to be confirmed by the Senate at noon on Tuesday. –Bloomberg

“The legislative filibuster was a key part of the foundation beneath the Senate’s last 50-50 power-sharing agreement in 2001,” wrote McConnell in a statement. “With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent.”

Schumer’s team wasn’t quite so cordial – saying in a statement: “We’re glad Senator McConnell threw in the towel and gave up on his ridiculous demand. We look forward to organizing the Senate under Democratic control and start getting big, bold things done for the American people.”

Manchin and Sinema signaling that they won’t vote to kill the filibuster essentially allowed McConnell to save face.

On Monday, Manchin told reporters that he “does not support throwing away the filibuster under any condition,” while a spokesman for Sinema said she was also against getting rid of the rule.

As Bloomberg notes, Manchin’s and Sienma’s opposition to killing the filibuster indicates just how tenuous the Democrats’ control of the chamber is – as they need all 50 Democrats in lockstep to overcome the 50-50 split (with Vice President Kamala Harris being the tie-breaker). Now, Democrats will need 10 Senate Republicans to join them on most bills unless a simple majority is needed.

Under the agreement in place in 2001, the last time the Senate was evenly split, both parties had an equal number of committee seats equal budgets for committee Republicans and Democrats, and the ability of both leaders to advance legislation out of committees that are deadlocked. But Democrats will hold the chairmanships and Schumer will set the agenda for the floor.

Some issues can be passed with a simple majority via a balky process known as budget reconciliation, but that method has limits on what can be included and when. Already, Democrats are weighing whether to use the process to bypass Republicans on a major virus relief package Schumer wants to send to the White House by mid-March, with a follow-on package later in the year. –Bloomberg

Of note, the Senate has only been evenly divided three times in US history; 1881, 1953 and 2001.

Democrats hoping to use the budget reconciliation process to bypass Republicans on the virus relief package may run into trouble without Manchin and Sinema – who are trying to cobble together a bipartisan package which would be smaller than Biden’s proposed $1.9 billion deal. If nothing materializes before the Feb. 8 start of former President Trump’s impeachment trial, Democrats could decide to go it alone.

The package continues to shrink, according to Goldman and JPMorgan anyway. As we noted on Monday, Goldman recently slashed its estimate of the final size of the realistic Biden stimulus to just $1.1 trillion from $1.9 trillion, while JPMorgan has gone even further and now expects a mere $900 billion to pass, or a carbon copy of the bipartisan December stimulus (and it will be quite delayed at that as well).

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: McConnell Caves On Preserving Filibuster After Two Democrats Signal ‘No’ On Eliminating

Just two days after unleashing his latest immigration Executive Order, easing border restrictions and removing President Trump’s travel ban from so-called “majority Muslim” countries, President Biden will impose a ban on most non-U.S. citizens entering the country who have recently been in South Africa starting Saturday in a bid to contain the spread of a new variant of COVID-19, U.S. public health officials told Reuters.

Given that 80% of South Africans are black, the natural question is – is this ban racist?

Or was Trump’s travel ban just good science?

Additionally, Biden on Monday is also reimposing an entry ban on nearly all non-U.S. travelers who have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe that allow travel across open borders, said the sources, who requested anonymity because the plans have not yet been made public.

Notably, Reuters points out that the South African variant, also known as the 501Y.V2 variant, is 50% more infectious and has been detected in at least 20 countries. CDC officials said they would be open to adding additional countries to the list if needed.

The South African variant has not yet been found in the United States but at least 20 U.S. states have detected a UK variant known as B.1.1.7.

Current vaccines appear effective against the UK mutations.

And Dr.Fauci has once again flip-flopped on that variant, now claiming that the new, more virulent strain of the coronavirus is also more deadly.

As The Hill reports, asked by CBS’s Margaret Brennan about his earlier claims that the strain, while more infectious, was apparently no deadlier, Fauci said:

“The data that came out was after they had been saying all along that it did not appear to be more deadly. So that’s where we got that information.”

“When the British investigators looked more closely at the death rate of a certain age group, and they found that it was one per thousand… and then it went up to 1.3 per thousand in a certain group,” Fauci added.

“That’s a significant increase. So the most recent data is in accord with what the Brits are saying. We want to look at the data ourselves, but we have every reason to believe them. They’re a very competent group.”

Fauci went on to say Americans “need to assume now that what has been circulating dominantly in the U.K. does have a certain increase in what we call virulence, namely the power of the virus to cause more damage, including death.”

And worse still, Fauci warned separately that “in some cases [the South Africa strain] diminishes the efficacy of the vaccine” but the vaccine was still generally effective.

Has he been ‘liberated’ to give us this advice? Or is this making up for his awful admission last week that the Biden administration is NOT “starting from scratch” and that the Trump administration (of whose COVID Task Force he was a major part) actually did something.

Either way, as hospitalization rates, case increments and deaths slow dramatically – despite Biden’s “worst is yet to come” comments – there is always room for more fear, just as the indoor dining bans are lifted across various blue states…

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: Biden To Ban Travelers From South Africa After Fauci Flip-Flops On ‘Deadliness’ Of New Strains

Part of the main duty of OffGuardian is to troll through the masses of media output and try and pick up patterns. Sometimes the patterns are subtle, a gentle urging behind the paragraphs. Sometimes they’re more like a sledgehammer to the face.

This has been face-hammer week. In fact, it’s been a face-hammer year.

From “flatten the curve” to “the new normal” to “the great reset”, it’s not been hard to spot the messaging going on since the start of the “pandemic”. And that distinct lack of disguise has carried over into other topics, too.

We pointed out, a few days ago, the sudden over-use of the phrase “domestic terrorism” preparing us for what is, almost certainly, going to be a truly horrendous piece of new legislation once Biden is in office.

Well, the buzz-phrase doing the rounds in the wake of Donald Trump being banned from the internet is “the new definition of free speech”…and variations on that theme.

Firstly, and papers on both sides of the Atlantic want to be very clear about this, Donald Trump being banned simultaneously from every major social network is not in any way inhibiting his free speech.

Indeed none of the tens of thousands of people banned from twitter et al. have had their free speech infringed either. Neither have any of the proprietors – or users – of the Parler app which the tech giants bullied out of existence.

Free Speech is totally intact no matter how many people are banned or deplatformed, the media all agree on that (even the allegedly pro-free speech think tanks).

They also agree that maybe…it shouldn’t be. Maybe “free speech” is too dangerous in our modern era, and needs a “new definition”.

That’s what Ian Dunt writing in Politics.co.uk thinks, anyway, arguing it’s time to have a “grown-up debate” about free speech.

The Financial Times agrees, asking about the “limits of free-speech in the internet era”.

Thomas Edsall, in the New York Times, wonders aloud if Trump’s “lies” have made free speech a “threat to democracy”.

The Conversation, a UK-based journal often at the cutting edge of the truly terrifying ideas, has three different articles about redefining or limiting free speech, all published within 4 days of each other.

There’s Free speech is not guaranteed if it harms others, a drab piece of dishonest apologia which argues Trump wasn’t silenced, because he could make a speech which the media would cover…without also mentioning that the media has, en masse, literally refused to broadcast several of Trump’s speeches in the last couple of months.

The conclusion could have been written by an algorithm analysing The Guardian’s twitter feed:

the suggestion Trump has been censored is simply wrong. It misleads the public into believing all “free speech” claims have equal merit. They do not. We must work to ensure harmful speech is regulated in order to ensure broad participation in the public discourse that is essential to our lives — and to our democracy.

Then there’s Free speech in America: is the US approach fit for purpose in the age of social media?, a virtual carbon copy of the first, which states:

The attack on the Capitol exposed, in stark terms, the dangers of disinformation in the digital age. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the extent to which certain elements of America’s free speech tradition may no longer be fit for purpose.

And finally, my personal favourite, Why ‘free speech’ needs a new definition in the age of the internet and Trump tweets in which author Peter Ives warns of the “weaponising of free speech” and concludes:

Trump’s angry mob was not just incited by his single speech on Jan. 6, but had been fomenting for a long time online. The faith in reason held by Mill and Kant was premised on the printing press; free speech should be re-examined in the context of the internet and social media.

Ives clearly thinks he’s enlightened and liberal and educated, after all he drops references to Kant AND Mills (that’s right TWO famous philosophers), but he’s really not. He’s just an elitist arguing working class people are too dumb to be allowed to speak, or even hear ideas that might get them all riled-up and distract them from their menial labour.

To season these stale ideas with a sprinkling of fear-porn, NBC News is reporting that the FBI didn’t report their “concerns” over possible violence at the Capitol, because they were worried about free speech. (See, if the FBI hadn’t been protecting people’s free speech, that riot may not have happened!)

And on top of all of that, there’s the emotional manipulation angle, where authors pretend to be sad or exasperated or any of the emotions they used to have.

In the Irish Independent, Emma Kelly says that “free speech” doesn’t include “hate speech” (she’s never exactly clear what part of “go home in peace love” was hate speech though).

In The Hill, Joe Ferullo is almost in tears that the first amendment has been ruined by the right-wing press continuously “shouting fire in a crowded theatre”, citing the famous Oliver Wendell Holmes quote, which so many use to “qualify” the idea of free speech, without realising it hands over power to destroy it completely.

Up until you can show me the hard-and-fast legal definitions of “shout”, “fire”, “crowded” and “theatre”, this open-ended qualification is nothing but a blank canvas, free to be interpreted as loosely – or stringently – as any lawmaker or judiciary feels is necessary.

As an example:

Twitter is certainly bigger and more populated than a theatre, and spreading anti-vaccination/anti-war/pro-Russia/”Covid denial” news [delete as appropriate] is certainly going to cause more panic than one single building being on fire. Isn’t it?

It’s this potential abuse of incredibly loose terminologies which will be used to “redefine” free speech.

“Offensive”, “misinformation”, “hate speech” and others will be repeated. A lot.

Expressions which have no solid definition under law, and are already being shown to mean nothing to the media talking heads who repeat them ad nauseum.

If “go home in peace and love”, can become “inciting violence”, absolutely everything can be made to mean absolutely anything.

The more they “redefine” words, the further we move into an Orwellian world where all meaning is entirely lost.

And what would our newly defined “free speech” really mean in such a world?

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: MSM Calls For “New Definition Of Free Speech”

Even before President Biden was officially sworn in, corporate American was already rearing to have his back. Earlier this week, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told the press that his company was on track to produce 100MM COVID vaccine doses by the end of Biden’s first 100 days, as expected, while a top Amazon exec sent Biden a letter asking if there was anything Amazon could do to help with the vaccine rollout (meanwhile, a “logistical hiccup” by McKesson forced the rescheduling of 23K injections).

Now, after Wall Street already declared “the beginning of the end” of the COVID pandemic, Bloomberg News is pitching in with a little CYA, publishing a report claiming Biden’s Dr. Fauci led White House COVID team is now seeing that the outlook for the US pandemic is worse than they had believed…presumably because the Trump COVID team (also led by Dr. Fauci) kept them in the dark.

The Biden team, Bloomberg says, is “increasingly worried the coronavirus pandemic is spiraling out of control – imperiling his promise to contain the outbreak – as cases and deaths mount, vaccinations lag and a more-transmissible strain emerges in the US.”

The way the editors framed the issue, they made it sound as if any potential surge in cases later in the year – for whatever reason, even something totally unforeseen like more viral mutations (the other day, brazilian media warned of a new hyper-infectious strain emerging in the Amazon) – would be President Trump’s fault, not Biden’s and the Democrats.

As they learned more about the federal response to the pandemic, Biden’s transition team grew alarmed at a lack of coordination with states, the people said. Biden himself has warned of a “dark winter” and has flatly said the pandemic will worsen before it improves.

The stakes are escalating. U.S. hospitalizations are at near-record levels, and daily cases and deaths have doubled since Election Day on Nov. 3. While blame has fallen on the Trump administration for its failure to develop a national testing or vaccination strategy or encourage widespread mask-wearing, Biden’s team – which keeps adding new experts – now inherits the job of containing the pandemic.

On Thursday, Biden will sign executive actions to “move aggressively to change the course of the Covid-19 crisis and safely re-open schools and businesses, including by taking action to mitigate spread through expanding testing, protecting workers, and establishing clear public health standards,” according to a memo by Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff. After taking office on Wednesday, one of Biden’s first acts was expected to be an order requiring face masks on federal property.

But why does Bloomberg feel the need to engage in this type of defensive cover? Well, presumably because some of the “experts” (who perhaps have been afraid to speak up and question the official narrative on masks, lockdowns and vaccines) truly are concerned that none of the palliatives actually work – though they probably wouldn’t tell you that if you asked them

But the risk of explosive new strains, including a UK variant known as B.1.1.7, threatens to upend it all and leave Biden at the end of his first 100 days with a pandemic that has worsened, instead of improved. There’s concern among his team that the scope of the problem he’s inherited is far worse than anticipated, posing a political risk to Biden’s White House.

[…]

The most alarming developments have come over the past month. Some Biden advisers, who asked not to be identified discussing internal conversations, said it isn’t vaccine logistics that worry them most, but the new strain of the virus, which is more contagious. The US already has a perilously high baseline caseload – about 230,000 new infections a day, of late – that could quickly become unmanageable as the mutant strain takes hold.

“This administration is inheriting such a horrible problem, not of their making,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and a member of the coronavirus advisory board for Biden’s transition. “This is a perfect storm.

Some twitter users apparently saw through Bloomberg’s CYA operation on behalf of the new administration, and mocked it accordingly.

Meanwhile, earlier today, a top Israeli health official announced that the Pfizer vaccine, which the country has used to carry out one of the most comprehensive vaccination programs in the world, is only 50% effective, roughly half the 95% that the “Phase 3 trial data” suggested.

Even with Israel apparently well on its way to herd immunity (or so they say) the country has moved to extend its lockdown once again, this time until the end of the month. Like the Biden White House scientists reportedly told Bloomberg, their biggest fear is that the mutations – which these same experts said just months ago showed no evidence of being a problem – will make the virus more deadly, more infectious, or more difficult to contain with the vaccines, as we continue to head into a future full of unknowns.

But just remember…whatever happens over the next year…it’s still Donald Trump’s fault.

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: “Perfect Storm…Not Of Our Doing” – Fauci-Led Biden Team Suddenly Stunned By Virus Surge Created By Fauci-Led Trump Team

Despite being impeached, defamed, canceled, censored, blocked, and banned, a new Ipsos/Axios poll finds that 64% of Republicans still support President Trump’s recent actions.

The details shows that 43% of Republicans who ‘strongly’ approve of Trump’s actions, along with another and 20% ‘approve’ of his agenda.

While 34% of Republicans disapproved of Trump’s recent behavior, across the aisle, 80% of Democrats believe this was “a coup,” and 94% of Dems believe Trump should be “immediately removed from office.”

Vice President Mike Pence gets even higher overall approval in the same poll. A third of voters ‘strongly approve’ of his recent behavior, with 41 per cent somewhat approving. What makes up the difference is 33% approval among Democrats – after Pence upheld his ceremonial role and presided over a Joint Session when Congress counted the votes of the Electoral College.

Finally, while the President is reportedly going out with a record low exiting approval rating…

Ahead of the Senate’s decisions on impeachment, with various politicians reportedly looking to scrub Trumpism from the Republican playbook, a perhaps shocking to some 66% of Republicans (42% strongly agreeing) that the party is better with Donald Trump in it (and 57% believe he should be the candidate in 2024).

62% of republicans in the same poll said they disapproved of Senator Mitt Romney’s behavior, after he called out Trump publicly and voted to count the electoral votes of both Pennsylvania and Arizona. Ted Cruz was firmly in the “approve” camp, with 61% of Republicans voting in favor of the constitutionally minded Senator.

Finally, on a note of optimism and bi-partisan agreement, 79% of those surveyed across party lines said they believed “America is falling apart”.

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: Trump Retains Overwhelming Support Among Republicans After Last Week’s Chaos

The Black Lives Matter activist who was seen storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was arrested and charged, the Department of Justice said Thursday.

A newly released court filing says John Earle Sullivan, 26, told FBI agents last week that he was at the Capitol when the breach happened. He said he entered through a window that had been broken out. He also said he was present when Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, was shot dead by a U.S. Capitol Police officer as she tried to climb into the House Speaker’s Lobby through a window.

Sullivan showed agents some of the footage he captured inside the building, which he and others entered illegally.

Videos showed Sullivan and others breaking through a barricade, with the Utah man shouting:

“There are so many people. Let’s go. This [Expletive] is ours! [Expletive] yeah. We accomplished this [expletive]. We did this together. [Expletive] yeah! We are all a part of this history. Let’s burn this [Expletive] down.”

h/t @Cernovich

He was later heard encouraging protesters to climb a wall to get to an entrance to the Capitol and was seen entering the building.

During one conversation with others while inside, Sullivan said, “We gotta get this [expletive] burned.” At other times, he said, among other things, “it’s our house [expletive]” and “we are getting this [expletive].

Sullivan told U.S. Capitol Police officers to stand down so that they wouldn’t get hurt, according to the court filing (pdf). He joined the crowd trying to open doors to another part of the Capitol, telling people “Hey guys, I have a knife” and asking them to let him get to the front. He did not make it to the doors. He later tried to get the officers guarding the Speaker’s Lobby to go home, telling them: “Bro, I’ve seen people out there get hurt.”

A group of protesters enter the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Sullivan spoke to a slew of media outlets after the breach, including CNN and ABC.

h/t @Cernovich

He told The Epoch Times that he took steps to blend in with the crowd so he didn’t “get beat up.” He said he’s known in the activist community as being a member of the far-left, anarcho-communist group Antifa. He denied being a member of the network.

He told The Epoch Times he knew of plans to storm the Capitol and that he saw them on “undergrounds chats and things like that.”

He posted information about the plans on his social media, but didn’t inform the law enforcement. “I’m not a snitch,” he said.

Sullivan has posted in support of Black Lives Matter. He leads a group called Insurgence USA, which says it was founded in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man, in police custody in Minneapolis last year.

“The lack of care for the human life was unacceptable so we set out to end police brutality. We then set out to empower and uplifting black and indigenous voices,” the group’s website states.

Sullivan was charged with rioting and criminal mischief in Provo, Utah, based on his activities around a protest last year in which a person was shot and injured.

Sullivan was charged this week with unlawful entry, disorderly conduct, and attempted obstruction of law enforcement.

h/t @Cernovich

He faces jail time if convicted.

* * *

ZH: Which leaves us with three questions:

1) Does this mean CNN gave a platform to a domestic terrorist?

2) Did Trump incite this man to commit insurrection too?

3) If he was aware of riotous plans “on underground chats” before Trump’s speech, does that mean Trump did not incite “domestic terrorism”?

We won’t hold our breath for the treasonous answers.

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: “Domestic Terrorist?” – Leftist BLM Activist Who Stormed Capitol On Jan. 6 Arrested, Charged

Given everything else going on in a news cycle dominated by last week’s Capitol Hill mayhem and Pelosi’s push to impeach, there’s been little notice given to the perhaps unexpected Trump administration declassification of a highly sensitive national security document that lays out the White House’s strategy for countering China.

It was made public late in the day Tuesday, already generating headlines in Japan, Australia and other regional publications, even while major US media is relatively silent. Previously classified SECRET and not for release to foreign nationals, it details the Trump administration’s strategy for the Indo-Pacific region, including to defend, dominate, and deny Chinese military expansion.

In releasing the full text, minus a few minimal redactions, the document has been made public a full thirty years early (according to standard declassification and public records procedures). National security adviser Robert O’Brien said in a statement announcing its public release that it provides “overarching strategic guidance” for US forces in the region and “demonstrates, with transparency, America’s strategic commitments to the Indo-Pacific and to our allies and partners.”

The ten page document identifies the following as a top national security challenge: “How to maintain U.S. strategic primacy in the Indo-Pacific region and promote a liberal economic order while preventing China from establishing new, illiberal spheres of influence.”

A central means in achieving this is to “devise and implement a defense strategy capable of, but not limited to”:

denying China sustained air and sea dominance inside the ‘first island chain’ in a conflict;
defending the first island chain nations, including Taiwan; and
dominating all domains outside the first island chain.

These are among the most blunt strategic actions spelled out in the document that are sure to provoke the ire of Beijing and PLA military leadership.

Here’s what Rabobank had to say of the newly released Trump strategy:

To say that this will not go down well with China, or that China will not be happy that Australia and Japan helped drive this, is an understatement.

Of course, we now have the Biden administration: will there be a reversal of the parting of the ways? Consider the following Axios story, which certainly shows just how near the two have been up until now: “President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee will refund a donation from former Senator Barbara Boxer after the California Democrat registered as a foreign agent for a Chinese surveillance firm accused of abetting the country’s mass internment of Uighur Muslims.”

Concerning key US regional partners the document calls for the US to “accelerate India’s rise and capacity to serve as a net provider of security”, implement “a quadrilateral security framework with India, Japan, Australia, and the United States” and further deepen “trilateral co-operation with Japan and Australia”.

While pushing to keep US “diplomatic, economic, and military preeminence” in the region, it calls for the US to “align our Indo-Pacific strategy with those of Australia, India and Japan” as well as “a strengthened Association of Southeast Asian Nations” to counter Chinese influence.

It’s being met with mixed reactions among China watchers and geopolitical analysts. One critic who cites the good and bad for America’s regional allies – particularly Australia – is Rory Medcalf, the head of the National Security College at the Australian National University:

“This means steady support for allies and partners, rather than the pursuit of some shaky all-round U.S. primacy,” he said.

Some, however, said they saw little new in the document or how it would reassure American allies. Skeptics said that the decision to declassify now is an obvious push for policy continuity amid concerns that a Biden administration may not yet be committed to challenging China’s bid for dominance as strongly as Trump.

“It would be one thing if there was a secret unified field theory that explained the caprice of Trump’s Asia policy, but this is just a bunch of banal, bureaucratic buzzwords,” said Van Jackson, a senior lecturer in international relations at Victoria University of Wellington. “The generous interpretation is that the administration is trying to tie Biden’s hands by releasing this now, but it seems like a poor strategy because there’s nothing in it that would constrain Biden.”

But Medcalf said the declassified framework would have enduring value as the beginning of a whole-of-government blueprint for handling the U.S. strategic rivalry with China.

Medcalf noted further that “It’s surely no bad thing to salvage the few achievements of an otherwise grim era in American foreign policy, while laying down some markers for the incoming administration,” according to The Japan Times.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden has previously vowed that his administration would “get tough” on China, likely also through shoring up regional alliances akin to what’s emphasized in the document. Trump has up to now tried to box the new administration in on China. No doubt the release of this strategy document is in part another significant step in piling on the pressure both in regards Biden’s foreign policy team and Beijing.

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: Trump Declassifies Sensitive Document On Strategy To ‘Defend, Dominate, Deny’ Indo-Pacific From China

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times,

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Friday warned that the suspension of President Donald Trump’s social media accounts wielded “unchecked power” by large tech companies.

Kate Ruane, a senior legislative counsel at the ACLU, said in a statement that Twitter’s decision to suspend Trump from social media sets a precedent for tech companies to silence voices.

The group first took issue with Trump’s usage of social media outlets to question the results of the Nov. 3 election and his allegations of voter fraud.

“We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now, but it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions – especially when political realities make those decisions easier,” the ACLU statement read.

Ruane said that transparency is needed from Big Tech companies, noting that activists who don’t have alternative ways to communicate will suffer.

“President Trump can turn his press team or Fox News to communicate with the public, but others … who have been censored by social media companies—will not have that luxury. It is our hope that these companies will apply their rules transparently to everyone,” according to the statement.

Twitter, which suspended Trump’s account on Friday indefinitely suspended the president’s access. Instagram, Twitch, Facebook, and others have done the same.

Other concerns have been expressed about civil liberties after Apple and Google moved to remove social media app Parler—a social media website used primarily by conservatives—from their respective app downloading stores, saying it has not implemented adequate moderation policies.

“Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues,” said Apple in a statement on Saturday.

Amazon told Parler that it was suspending its Amazon Web Services (AWS) because it wasn’t acting quickly enough against violent content.

“We’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms of service,” the letter stated.

But Parler CEO John Matze said in a statement that big tech companies are working to squash a competitor.

“There is the possibility Parler will be unavailable on internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch,” he said in a post on Parler. “This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place … You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don’t count us out.”

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: ACLU Warns Of “Unchecked Power” After Facebook, Twitter Suspend Trump

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