Imaginary Martyrs: An Excerpt From Jack Cashill’s New Book ‘ASHLI: The Untold Story of the Women of January 6

Guest post by Jack Cashill
An excerpt from ASHLI: The Untold Story of the Women of January 6

Although the “Reichstag fire” metaphor is often abused, in the case of January 6, it hits pretty close to the mark. In February 1933, the German parliament building—the Reichstag—went up in flames. “The Nazi leadership and its coalition partners used the fire to claim that Communists were planning a violent uprising,” the Holocaust Encyclopedia reports. “They claimed that emergency legislation was needed to prevent this. The resulting act, commonly known as the Reichstag Fire Decree, abolished a number of constitutional protections and paved the way for Nazi dictatorship.”

This is one of those rare occasions where a Hitler comparison makes sense. In fact, the response of the Biden administration to January 6 differs little from Hitler’s response to the Reichstag fire. “On the basis of a wholly created myth about what happened that day,” said Tucker Carlson accurately, “the Biden Pentagon conducted an unprecedented political purge of the entire U.S. military. The FBI and various intel agencies increased their control over the American media and most obviously, the DOJ has been allowed to prosecute and jail hundreds of nonviolent political protesters whose crime was having the wrong opinions.”

In both Hitler’s Berlin and Biden’s Washington, it was necessary to maintain the illusion of government as victim. To pull this off, the storytellers had to reaffirm the heroic role of the Capitol Police in the insurrection drama. They had, however, one major plot problem to overcome: the only person who fired a gun on January 6—in Micki Witthoeft’s words—was “the son of a bitch who murdered my daughter.” It wasn’t enough to undermine Ashli Babbitt. The Jacobins had to create a martyr of their own. How they accomplished this was disgraceful even by their own abysmal standards.

Former NYPD officer Sara Carpenter opened a window on this unseemly plot. After leaving Washington late on the afternoon of January 6, Sara headed back to New York City. On the way home, she called an old friend from grade school who lived not far from I-95 in Maryland. When Sara mentioned she had been at the Capitol, her friend started screaming at Sara “like a rabid dog.” She had never spoken to Sara like that before. “You killed somebody,” the friend yelled, the “you” referring to the protestors. “You killed a Capitol Police officer with a fire extinguisher.”

The woman’s husband had once been a Capitol Police officer. Sara presumed he had inside information. She had no reason to doubt him or his wife. “It sent me reeling,” said Sara. By the time she got back to New York City, her Maryland friend had posted news of Sara’s presence at the Capitol on Facebook. The next day, said Sara, “I never felt so sick in my life.”

The conspirators caught a break on January 7 when Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died after suffering what would prove to be a pair of strokes. Someone in authority—the New York Times would cite “two law enforcement officials”—made the conscious decision to wed Sicknick’s death to the rumored death of an officer by fire extinguisher. On January 8, the New York Times told its readers that “pro-Trump rioters” were the ones who struck Sicknick with a fire extinguisher. The Times added this chillingly fraudulent detail: “With a bloody gash in his head, Mr. Sicknick was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support.”

Glenn Greenwald, an independent journalist, made a screen shot of the Times story before it could be revised. “This horrifying story about a pro-Trump mob beating a police officer to death was repeated over and over, by multiple journalists on television, in print, and on social media,” said Greenwald. He called this counterfeit murder “the single most-emphasized and known story of the event.”

When Sara heard on January 6 about an officer being killed, Sicknick was very much alive. Video released later would show him matter-of-factly performing his duties at the Capitol after the time of his supposed murder. To secure Sicknick’s status as hero before the video surfaced or the medical examiner completed his report, the Jacobins got to work. Their operatives in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives honored Sicknick with a public memorial service in the Rotunda of the Capitol. The previous American so honored was Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and, before her, civil rights hero John Lewis.

“The circumstances of his death do matter to the public,” observed Naomi Wolf, “as without his death having been caused by the events of Jan 6, the breach of the capitol, serious though it was, cannot be described as a ‘deadly insurrection.’” Sicknick bore no responsibility for this civic blasphemy—he was rumored to be a Trump supporter and served six years in the Air National Guard—but the record remains uncorrected. “He succumbed to his injuries on January 7, 2021,” reads the official Capitol memorial. From the Rotunda, Sicknick’s ashes were moved to Arlington National Cemetery where they were buried with full military honors.

Not content with misrepresenting Sicknick’s death, the Biden White House launched into a grotesque inflation of the day’s body count. On the first anniversary of the protest, Attorney General Merrick Garland named five men “who demonstrated what true courage looks like” and “have since lost their lives.” On the second anniversary, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries made the lie more specific, saying, “As a result of the events on January 6, the lives of five heroic officers were lost.” In the trials of the J6ers, judges or prosecutors would routinely repeat the saga of the five martyrs to provoke the jurors. In reality, of the five, one died of a stroke, and four committed suicide within two hundred days of January 6.

It was unfortunate that the men died, but it was opportunistic in the extreme to exalt the men as martyrs. The ample video footage shows that, with only a few exceptions, most of the officers faced less peril that day than did the thousands of urban police officers injured in the George Floyd riots by Molotov cocktails, bricks, guns, and frozen water bottles. “We will not only remember them,” Garland concluded, “we will do everything we can to honor them.”

Despite her fourteen years of service and multiple deployments to military hot spots, Ashli got nothing. According to Micki, the Air Force denied Ashli a military funeral because of her participation in the “insurrection.” Said Micki, “It’s just an outrage. It’s an outrage. Like so many other things.”


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