Of course, I have thoughts about today. In no particular order, with no particular organization, they are as follows.

Item 1: The Law

18 U.S.C. § 2384 – U.S. Code – Title 18. Crimes and Criminal Procedure § 2384. Seditious conspiracy

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

§2383. Rebellion or insurrection

Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States. [emphasis mine]

There are lots of photos going around of republicans associating in a friendly manner with the insurgents, right before they began their attack. And, of course, Trump was egging them on. It’s not going to happen, but there are a lot of government officials, today, who disqualified themselves from holding any further office. I know the democrats are generally also part of the oligarchy party, and won’t actually go on the attack, but all the talk of impeachment is nonsense. Go straight for the throat.

They were even carrying their rebel battle flag. Treason is probably a bit much, but Insurrection charges could be made to stick.

No republican congressperson who supported today’s events should be allowed to stand up to speak without someone shouting “Insurrection! Rebel! Traitor!” any time, for the rest of their career.

Item 2: A bet

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the woman who was shot and killed was the victim of an accidental discharge from one of her compatriots. Those idiots have no sense of firearm safety and it definitely wasn’t one of the capitol police, who appear to have forgotten how to shoot people, entirely.

Based on nothing more than my contempt for these stupid chucklefucks, I’m making that prediction.

Item 3: A Note About Computer Security

Apparently when congress and staffers skedaddled, several of them left laptops and desktops logged in and turned on, with email, schedules, etc., all sitting right there.

Doubtless, they were told “hit the deck and get out of here” by frantic, thoughtless cops, who need to be taught to tell people “log out of your computer and grab any sensitive materials you may have and get out of here.” It was a mob, not a nuclear weapon – they had time.

When I play computer games, I always laugh at how you can be sure that whenever you access an ’email terminal’ there are secrets and PINs and keys to unlock the vault; those plot devices are stupid and obvious because they are stupid and obvious. If you’re dealing with important information, your computer is your responsibility.

Item 4: Planning Ahead

I can forgive the Architect Of The Capitol’s office for not thinking they might come under attack, but having a scaffolding that gives access to the second story of a secured building is also exactly the kind of dumb trope we make fun of when we’re playing stealth action video games. While I was playing Ghost of Tsushima one thing that annoyed me was the knowledge that every Mongol camp was going to have at least one flaw in its defenses – a log up against a palisade, a big boulder and some tall grass creating a visual shadow near the gate, etc. It’s sad to see that’s how the real world is.

By the way, the Architect Of The Capitol is a real office; they’re responsible for the plans and floor plans and security systems design and layout for the entire capitol complex. I did some consulting for them back in 1995, when they were establishing a fiberoptic ring connecting all the buildings in the area, and I was trying to explain that having the Library of Congress’ open access systems on the same network as the access to congressional email was a bad design. I wonder how that played itself out? Never mind, I’m sure it’s stupid.

Item 5: 13

Maybe this will change, but it appears from the news reports I have seen, that capitol police only arrested 13 insurrectionists, and seized 4 guns. That’s amazing, given that there were hundreds of people who broke through the police line. When the protests erupted after Trump’s 2016 electoral college victory, DC police were sweeping up large groups of people – and charging them as a group, too.

Overt hypocrisy, or, as the joke about sharks refusing to eat lawyers goes, “professional courtesy”? Maybe they didn’t want to arrest friends and family because it would make for awkward holiday get togethers.

Also: guns are illegal in DC. Someone, somewhere, would have had to have directed officers to ignore gun-carrying loonies unless they were shooting people, or something. There’s got to be a pretty interesting audit trail surrounding that order. FOIA, anyone?

But that’s hardly the beginning of it. There are videos of officers negotiating with the insurrectionists, then opening the barriers and letting them through. Wow, DC/Capitol police, it’s a good thing you weren’t responsible for defending Rorke’s Drift or anything much less significant than the US Capitol and congress. I generally lack respect for cops, but you guys have achieved a new low in my eyes.

Wait, as one famous British officer fitness report said, “He has struck rock bottom – and begun to dig” – the DC/Capitol police also posed for selfies with insurrectionists.

I know, it’s inappropriate to say “heads must roll!” in the police, because for fuck’s sake, they already should be rolling like golf balls because of all of the innocent, unarmed black people cops have been shooting.

My “fuck you” tank just ran dry – that’s what that sucking sound is.

Item 6: Gas Masks

It appears from video that the DC/Capitol police did not have gas masks, so when they started pepper-spraying insurrectionists, the insurrectionists pepper-sprayed the cops right back. As much as I think that’s funny, it’s such a high level of clueless incompetence that it actually hurts to contemplate.

When that is how you prepare to receive Black Lives Matter protesters, you should not have idiots without gas masks squared off against Proud Boys who openly claimed they were coming to DC spoiling for a fight. Fuck me sideways, the cops weren’t even trying to pretend.

Otherwise, see my previous remark about “heads must roll!”

Item 7: Indictment

I understand that it is not customary to indict sitting presidents. You know what? It’s time to break custom. Breaking customs is what bad leaders and great leaders do.


  1. says

    Are the selfie cops under the mayor of DC? I seem to recall she was the kind of person that might be willing to send a whole precinct packing. I’d love to see that start to happen in this country. I’ve been in private security and subject to mass layoff for unionizing twice. I’d like to see the cops get a taste.

  2. springa73 says

    I don’t think that the US Capitol Police are part of the DC police department, so I don’t think the mayor of DC could fire them. The Capitol Police are under congressional jurisdiction, though, so there might be action on the issue if lots of people in Congress think that the whole thing was handled incompetently.

    It certainly does seem that this assault was handled with kid gloves relative to far more peaceful demonstrations in DC and Portland and various other places around the country.

  3. John Morales says

    re the first item, this video by LegalEagle is informed and informative:
    Illegal Georgia Election Phone Call By President Trump?

  4. says

    About indictment:

    The 25thA requires all of 20 minutes to invoke, You just have to get all the appropriate people on the phone, make it clear to everyone what action you’re taking, & vote.

    An indictment ALWAYS takes longer than 20 minutes to draw up & get before a judge – to say nothing of the fact that the person being indicted must be present (in nearly all circumstances).

    There is no reason not to progress towards indictment as fast as possible since you could remove him from office after the document is drawn up just in the time while he’s in the car on the way to court to get indicted.

    This is an emergency. Proceed simultaneously with indictment & removal.

  5. StonedRanger says

    And they carried the flag of traitors with them. No one can ever say the confederate flag is about anything else anymore. I did not think I could be more ashamed of the people in this country after the election, and they keep proving me wrong.

  6. says

    When the bomb went off and there was no immediate mass use of force to clear out the place, the cops proved to me what I had asserted for weeks: they would willingly partake in the overthrow of government.

    I doubt there will be a second day of this because the military would be justified in taking over the capitol. But they should do it anyway. Just as “back the blue” turned out to be a fraud, so is “support the troops” if the military needs to use force on Thursday.

  7. Reginald Selkirk says

    Woman Fatally Shot Inside US Capitol Was From San Diego

    A rioter who was fatally shot Wednesday by U.S. Capitol Police when a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol has been identified as a San Diego woman…
    Jackson (her brother-in-law) said he has been in contact with Washington, D.C., Metro Police Department, but said they didn’t tell him exactly what happened and said he doesn’t know what would have warranted the shooting.

    Participating in an armed assault on the Capitol isn’t warrant enough?

    A woman believed to be Babbitt was seen in a viral video attempting to climb through a shattered window of the Capitol building when shots were fired.

    I heard on NPR that there were 3 other deaths at the event due to “medical emergencies.” I don’t know what that means. Maybe someone’s electric scoot battery died, and they had a heart attack trying to walk.

  8. Allison says

    I seem to recall a number of people at FTB (I think even this blogger) in the past calling for “revolution” because the current power structure was so corrupt and evil.

    What we saw yesterday is a tiny taste of what revolution looks like. However we might imagine, it always ends up being driven by those most willing and able to use violence and usually ends up being more oppressive and unfair than whatever went before. Would anyone like to imagine what things would look like today if the forces of law enforcement had proven unable or unwilling to suppress the “protesters”?

    We can see in Somalia and Eritrea and Syria and Iraq (and a decade or so ago, in the former Yugoslavia) what it’s like when the power structure is destroyed.

  9. says

    I seem to recall a number of people at FTB (I think even this blogger) in the past calling for “revolution” because the current power structure was so corrupt and evil.

    It would be a revolution if the established power structure was changed radically enough to take power from it, the way it is. As we have seen – it resists change, violently, when threatened.

    We can see in Somalia and Eritrea and Syria and Iraq (and a decade or so ago, in the former Yugoslavia) what it’s like when the power structure is destroyed.

    Did you deliberately choose to list places where the US has destroyed an established power structure? Because those places are not “revolutions” they are US-backed insurgencies.

    That said, I have also written about what happens when the power structure is destroyed and the people who rush in to fill the vacuum don’t stand for anything but opposition. I’m certainly not in favor of that.

    So, are you arguing for the status quo, or moderation? Either of those results in the establishment remaining in place without having to change significantly.

  10. bmiller says

    I guess at this point I am old enough and conservative enough and cynical enough to think that muddling along with the current establishment is better than ANYTHING that could come out of the most likely revolutions that could occur at this point in these United States? Although I think you rightly correct Allison, I also think she is right on her core arguments. It took what, 50 years for France to sort itself out? I am terrified of the psychotic billionaires who dominate us, but give me a Koch Brother over Pol Pot or a Franco-enamored Proud Boy or a fully empowered religious nut???

    I don’t know at this point.

  11. bmiller says

    I would also opine that all power structures are by definition at least somewhat corrupt and evil. Having a “revolutionary vanguard” in charge wouldn’t change that. Read the history of revolutionary utopian communities, including the hippie communes of the 1960s. Not very encouraging. :(

  12. bmiller says

    One more thing: Even the “mainstream conservatives” at an institution like National Pablum Radio were scared by this little event. I don’t know if they archive their shows, but they had a security consultant on today who was furious about the incompetence in Washington this week. BUT…he went further and stated rather baldly that the cops cooperated with the fascists and the reason for the successful foray is that Trump refused to call out the troops. He called for the entire command structure to be sacked and a deep investigation of the line officers to be conducted to root out the outright fascists on the force. And the host did not blanche at all…he agreed with the rather furious pronouncements of the guest “expert”.

  13. kurt1 says

    Speaking of IT safety, if one of those fuckers is IT savvy (or has friends who are) he could have brought USB sticks with malware or other hardware. Don’t need to know much to compromise a system you have physical access to.

  14. John Morales says

    kurt1, you mean PCs and laptops?

    The Big Iron (well, server farms these days) is well-protected, I’m pretty sure.

  15. Reginald Selkirk says

    Speaking of tactical, it was on full display during the attempted coup the other day. There seems to be a subset of participants who were not random Trump cheerleaders, but came with a purpose. Here is one of the clearest examples: zip tie guy. Camo, body armor including gloves, lots of pockets, a sidearm, and… zip ties. Why would a peaceful protester who got swept into the Capitol by the crowd be carrying zip ties? There can be only one explanation: cable management.
    Well, there could be a second: hostage-taking.

    Note that other than the slightest fraying on the knees, there is no wear and tear evident on his gear. It may have been his Christmas present to himself.
    Attempts to identify this and other participants can be found here

  16. says

    Reginald Selkirk@#18:
    Senator Says Computer Stolen From Capitol Office During Coup Attempt by Trump Loyalists

    Any FSB intelligence officer who didn’t have a couple of plants in the “rioters” would be fired for incompetence, with extreme prejudice.

    US Congress being stupid, it’s a virtual certainty that none of the systems have tracking or remote wipe enabled.

  17. Reginald Selkirk says

    Comments on Mr. Tactical

    Despite all of the man’s tactical gear and emblems, Nance said the man’s appearance does not convey military experience to him, as he says the body armor and other gear documented in the photograph is not what a veteran with combat experience would be likely to select.
    “He’s got all the cool guy stuff. But he’s not real,” Nance said.

  18. Reginald Selkirk says

    Someone at that twitter link has found video with sound of Mr. zip tie guy. I feel reasonably confident he will be identified.

  19. says

    So, Marcus: If you’re up for it at some point, I’d love to read anything you have to say about the consequences of both physical access and physical theft for infosec at congress. We know laptops with access to supposedly-secure networks were stolen. If there’s a piece of proprietary hardware necessary for that access, it’s now out in the wild.

    Anyway, my take is obviously naive & uninformed compared to what you would have to say, but even I can spot potentially serious problems here, so I’m very curious what you might think about all that.

  20. says

    Crip Dyke@#22:
    So, Marcus: If you’re up for it at some point, I’d love to read anything you have to say about the consequences of both physical access and physical theft for infosec at congress. We know laptops with access to supposedly-secure networks were stolen. If there’s a piece of proprietary hardware necessary for that access, it’s now out in the wild.

    It’s bad, but it’s not a great disaster. The credentials on a PC are pretty easy to extract from it, and there will be cached emails, browser histories, twitter credentials, Wifi credentials, etc., all exposed. I am going to assume that the security people for congress are going to do some sweep-downs and search every machine for basic hardware keyloggers installed, etc. That’s the basic stuff.

    The less basic stuff is that we can imagine an FSB or PLA intelligence officer was watching the whole thing go down, including the “protesters” widely-discussed plans for getting inside the building, and would have sent along a quiet person with a bunch of drop bugs and penetration aids. The high end stuff governments have available are a lot harder to detect and weed out, because their mechanism of operation is unknown. If someone had 20 minutes to wander around the building and pick a few locks they could have primed the building for years of successful penetrations “out of the blue” – but given how crappy US government security generally is, it’d mostly be emergency backdoors that would re-allow ingress if the basic stuff failed. I no longer know where Congress’ email, etc., is stored but I’d bet a dollar to a donut that now in the Age of Stupid it’s on some “cloud” server somewhere, which is already backdoored to hellangone. It’d be easier to read Pelosi’s email off of that, like the CIA does, than to have to go for a direct penetration of a system, with all the technical legerdemain that requires.

    So – it’s a big deal but not a huge deal. I’ll also note that a whole lot of people go into and out of the building all the time, and I suspect a competent intelligence officer would have a small stable of congressional aides and interns who were available to drop penetration aids on targeted individuals as necessary. That’d be the stuff that would really pay off and that’d be the huge deal. Naturally, none of the stuff that the US cybersecurity establishment does offers any protection against trained insider threats – they’re too concerned with offensive warfare of their own.

  21. Reginald Selkirk says

    The Sparrow Project

    In summary the irony is not lost on the fact that it was Eric Munchel’s expensive-ass camouflage and tactical larp-flare that helped identify him in the crowd.

    His next cos-play may involve an orange jumpsuit.

  22. xohjoh2n says

    Hacker: You just said that the Foreign Office was keeping something from me! How do you know if you don’t know?
    Bernard: I don’t know specifically what, Prime Minister, but I do know that the Foreign Office always keep everything from everybody. It’s normal practice.
    Hacker: Who does know?
    Bernard: May I just clarify the question? You are asking who would know what it is that I don’t know and you don’t know but the Foreign Office know that they know that they are keeping from you so that you don’t know but they do know and all we know there is something we don’t know and we want to know but we don’t know what because we don’t know! Is that it?
    Hacker: May I clarify the question: Who knows Foreign Office secrets, apart from the Foreign Office?
    Bernard: Oh, that’s easy: only the Kremlin.


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