I will fight for the right to be right
I will kill for the good of the fight for the right to be right
And I open my eyes to look around
And I see a child laid slain on the ground
As a love machine lumbers through desolation rows
Plowing down man, woman, listening to its command
But not hearing anymore, not hearing anymore
Just the shrieks from the old rich
Laurent Bachelier, AKA Pankkake, was an early adopter of Bitcoin, often rubbing shoulders with figures like Monero developer Riccardo Spagni in IRC chatrooms in 2013.
Citing the downfall of Western civilization, Pankkake allegedly sent white nationalists in the U.S. $500,000, including almost $250,000 in BTC, to “white majoritarian” Nick Fuentes.
Bachelier suffered from a serious illness and posted a suicide note on his blog the day after the donation.
Supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Washington D.C. Capitol Building last week in protest of Trump’s election defeat, killing five people, including two police officers. Reports later revealed that many involved had been funded with Bitcoin.
Many alt-right and white nationalist figures were present at the riots, including self-described “white majoritarian” Nick Fuentes, outspoken neo-nazi Baked Alaska, and various other high-profile white supremacists.
The riot was planned via the social media site Parler starting Jan. 6, with Wild Protest movement leader Ali Alexander stating, “If DC escalates… so do we.”
Bitcoin Funds Capital Riots
On Dec. 8, a single donor sent over 28.15 BTC worth over $520,000 at the time to multiple alt-right figures and organizations, including figures directly involved in the Capitol Hill unrest.
Cybersecurity firm Chainalysis identified the transactions and tracked them, building a paper trail.
Through the Namecoin blockchain, Chainalysis identified the donor as “Pankkake.” According to Chainalysis, domestic extremists in the U.S. have been receiving foreign funding traceable on the Bitcoin blockchain since at least 2016.
Nick Fuentes, a self-described “white majoritarian” and anti-LGBT speaker banned from YouTube for denying the Holocaust, received 45% of the Dec. 8 funds. That sum amounted to 13.5 BTC or approximately $250,000 at the time.
White supremacist and Trump apologist Nick Fuentes encourages his viewers to kill legislators in his stream last night on DLive, earning $2800 for his effort. Dlive should be held to account for promoting and monetizing this violent rhetoric. pic.twitter.com/Efbq9ly1Bo
— megan squire (@MeganSquire0) January 5, 2021
Chainalysis reports that Pankkake donated funds to the Daily Stormer, a neo-nazi media outlet, as well as alt-right podcaster Ethan Ralph, and the U.S. white supremacist group VDARE.
While most of the recipients were from the U.S., Pankkake also allegedly donated $26,000 to French neo-nazi and Holocaust denier Vincent Reynourard.
The cybersecurity firm stated its belief that Pankkake may have been an early adopter of Bitcoin who was active in crypto since 2013 and accumulated wealth as BTC gained in value.
Tracing The Mystery Donor’s Identity
Crypto Briefing traced the Pankakke NameCoin handle to Freenode chat logs archived on BTCbase.org where a user identifying themselves as “Pankkake,” a French programmer interested in Namecoin, had been a regular poster.
Pankkake’s early political leanings can be seen in various racist, anti-semitic, and transphobic comments, stating “blacks are born to be slaves anyway” in 2013.
Pankkake was often in contact with Monero creator Riccardo Spagni, AKA Fluffy Pony, during that time. Their discussion focused on cryptocurrency and blogging, and Spagni informed Crypto Briefing that they never spoke in private.
Spagni privately shared with the author his rating for Pankkake on Bitcointalk, where he called Pankkake the “The Trolliest Troll of Trollsville.”
Quote:Hey – I knew him as someone on the #bitcoin-assets on Freenode, I don't think I ever even had a private conversation with him, so sadly not much I can comment on. I knew he was French-speaking.
— Riccardo Spagni (@fluffypony) January 15, 2021
Pankkake discussed blogging with other users, including Mirceau Popescu, Romanian entrepreneur and founder of the now-defunct BitBet US site. Popescu was banned from Twitter in 2014 for threatening to kill Andreas Antonopoulos.
In the 2013 chat logs, a Freenode user linked a racist blog post that Popescu wrote on his personal site. Pankkake’s comments on that blog led Crypto Briefing to Pankkake’s own blog, called Headfucking, which contained various projects and files, including adult content and a fan site for a metal goregrind band.
Finally, the Headfucking site led Crypto Briefing to a blog under Pankakke’s real name, where his final post was a suicide note.
Pankkake’s name was Laurent Bachelier, a Parisian programmer with 47 commits on GitHub.
His blog featured his thoughts on Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, among other topics, with no posts from 2015 to late 2020.
Bachelier posted a suicide note on Dec. 9, 2020, one day after the 28 BTC donation was made. He stated that he suffered from Trigeminal neuralgia, a neuropathic disorder, also known as the “suicide disease,” characterized by extreme and chronic nerve pain. Bachelier cites tinnitus and fatigue, among other health problems, as reasons for his suicide.
“If you are reading this, I am deceased. This is a message scheduled to be posted in the future; so there is no chance that i survived.”
Bachelier went on to list more reasons, including his view that “Western civilization is declining,” while also bringing up Holocaust denial and 9/11 conspiracy theories by referencing “wooden doors” and “building 7.”
Laurent Bachelier Pankkake suicide note
As examples of this Western decline, he stated his belief that the COVID-19 virus is not dangerous and that the police did not really kill George Floyd, making the BLM protests against his killing unjustified.
He ended the list lamenting that “to top it off,” the Fast and Furious 9 movie release had been delayed.
On his death, one of his former university classmates commented, describing Bachelier as having, even 15 years ago, “a pure libertarian alt-right tendency that in other circumstances I would have abhorred. He was nevertheless a comrade.”
In his suicide note, Bachelier pointed to his reasons for allegedly donating his money to hate groups and extremists, saying:
“This is one of the things that has radically changed about me in the last few years: what happens after I die interests me. This is why I have decided to bequeath my modest fortune to certain causes and certain people. I think and I hope they will make better use of it than I do.”
The incident proved to be a crucial demonstration of the transparency and immutability of the Bitcoin blockchain, allowing donations aimed at funding civil unrest in the U.S. to be traced to their original source.
You don’t think he was the only one, do you?
We will see a new birth of America.
Texas woman just arrested for vote harvesting and vote fraud.
So, what does it actually mean?
Trump has been busy shredding and destroying documents. Archivists worry there will be a huge hole in the records of this administration.
What a crook.
Immediately after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, all corners of the political spectrum repudiated the mob of President Trump’s supporters. Yet within days, prominent Republicans, party officials, conservative media voices and rank-and-file voters began making a rhetorical shift to try to downplay the group’s violent actions.
In one of the ultimate don’t-believe-your-eyes moments of the Trump era, these Republicans have retreated to the ranks of misinformation, claiming it was Black Lives Matter protesters and far-left groups like Antifa who stormed the Capitol — in spite of the pro-Trump flags and QAnon symbology in the crowd. Others have argued that the attack was no worse than the rioting and looting in cities during the Black Lives Matter movement, often exaggerating the unrest last summer while minimizing a mob’s attempt to overturn an election.
The shift is revealing about how conspiracy theories, deflection and political incentives play off one another in Mr. Trump’s G.O.P. For a brief time, Republican officials seemed perhaps open to grappling with what their party’s leader had wrought — violence in the name of their Electoral College fight. But any window of reflection now seems to be closing as Republicans try to pass blame and to compare last summer’s lawlessness, which was condemned by Democrats, to an attack on Congress, which was inspired by Mr. Trump.
“The violence at the Capitol was shameful,” Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, tweeted at 6:55 a.m. the morning after the attack. “Our movement values respect for law and order and for the police.” But now, in a new video titled “What Really Happened on January 6th?” Mr. Giuliani is among those who are back to emphasizing conspiracy theories.
“The riot was preplanned,” said Mr. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City. “This was an attempt to slander Trump.” He added, “The evidence is coming out.”
For months, Republicans have used last summer’s protests as a political catchall, highlighting isolated instances of property destruction and calls to defund the police to motivate their base in November. The tactic proved somewhat effective on Election Day: Democrats lost ground in the House of Representatives, with Republican challengers hammering a message of liberal lawlessness. About nine of every 10 voters said the protests had been a factor in their voting, according to estimates from A.P. VoteCast, a large voter survey conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. Nearly half of those respondents backed Mr. Trump, with some saying they worried that the unrest could disrupt their communities.
Republicans are now using the looting to try to explain away the Capitol attack. The result, for some Republican voters, ranges from doubt to conspiratorial thinking.
Suzanne Doherty, 67, who traveled from Michigan to be in Washington on Jan. 6 to support Mr. Trump, came away feeling confused and depressed over the invasion of the Capitol and not trusting the images of the mob.
“I heard that on Antifa websites, people were invited to go to the rally and dress up like Trump supporters, but I’m not sure what to believe anymore,” she said. “There were people there only to wreak havoc. All I know is that there was a whole gamut of people there, but the rioters were not us. Maybe they were Antifa. Maybe they were B.L.M. Maybe they were extreme right militants.”
The conjecture that the mob was infiltrated by Black Lives Matter and Antifa has been metastasizing from the dark corners of the pro-Trump internet to the floors of Congress and the Republican base, even as law enforcement officials say there is no evidence to support it. Law enforcement officials are now flagging threats of violence and rioting leading up to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration.
That has not stopped Republican lawmakers and some of their constituents from pushing these narratives to defend Mr. Trump.
Interviews with voters this week in Kenosha, the southeast Wisconsin city that was roiled by a high-profile police shooting last summer, captured the yawning split along ideological and racial lines. Democrats pointed to the differences in motivation between the Capitol mob and the mass protests of the Black Lives Matter movement, which was not seeking to overturn an election or being incited by the president. Republicans saw the Capitol attack as the work of outsiders or as justified by the summer’s isolated incidents of looting and property destruction.
“I think the goal was to try to put some final nails in the coffin of Donald Trump,” said Dale Rovik, a 59-year-old who supports Mr. Trump and is a native of Kenosha. “I think it’s pretty clear that they did that to make him look bad and to accuse him and, of course, to try and impeach him again. That certainly is pretty clear to me.”
Joe Pillizzi, a 67-year-old retired salesman in Kenosha who supports Mr. Trump, said he believed last summer’s looting and rioting had “put a seed” in the minds of the mob that attacked the Capitol.
“If the Black Lives Matter didn’t do what they did, I don’t think the Capitol attack would have happened,” he said.
Democrats have also seized on a point of conservative hypocrisy. For all the talk of supporting “law and order,” this month’s attacks pitted a violent mob against Capitol Hill law enforcement personnel, and a police officer was killed.
Dominique Pritchett, a 36-year-old mental health therapist in Kenosha who supports Black Lives Matter, said the events of the summer were being portrayed inaccurately by the right, while the Capitol rioters were treated far more softly by the police than peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters were.
“No, the protests did not turn violent; the looting and rioting started,” she said. “No violence is acceptable; I think we all can agree to that.” Referring to the Capitol rioters, she said: “They are tearing up one of the most protected and prestigious places in the United States because No. 45 lost. Someone lost an election, versus Black and brown people getting gunned down and killed every day.”
The misinformation on the right reflects the mood of Mr. Trump’s most ardent base, the collection of elected officials in deep-red America who have consistently rationalized his behavior in crises. But other signs indicate that some Republicans are exasperated by Mr. Trump and his actions in a way not seen since he entered office.
A new Pew Research poll released Friday showed the president’s disapproval rating dropping sharply among Republicans since he inspired the mob violence, cratering to an all-time low of 60 percent, more than 14 percentage points lower than his previous nadir. Among Americans at large, Mr. Trump’s approval rating was 29 percent, a low since he took office in 2017, and he had a 68 percent disapproval rating — his highest recorded number.
In the House, 10 Republicans voted to impeach Mr. Trump for a second time, making it the most bipartisan effort of any impeachment effort in the country’s history. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has signaled a desire to rid the party of Mr. Trump. And in recent days in Washington, some Republicans spoke out about the misinformation that had spread through the ranks of the party’s base and its elected officials.
Representative Peter Meijer, a Republican freshman who voted to impeach Mr. Trump, said in an interview with “The Daily,” The New York Times audio podcast, that the prevalence of false information among the base had created “two worlds” among congressional Republicans — one that is based in reality and another grounded in conspiracy.
“The world that said this was actually a landslide victory for Donald Trump, but it was all stolen away and changed and votes were flipped and Dominion voting systems,” Mr. Meijer said, describing what he called a “fever swamp of conspiracy theories.
In a video news conference Friday, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina also made a direct appeal to Republicans still in doubt. “Biden actually won,” he said. “The election wasn’t rigged.”
Their words, contrasted with Mr. Trump’s own message and that of many supporters, highlight a challenge for the Republican Party. The rioters targeted law enforcement personnel, members of Congress and even Vice President Mike Pence. However, much of the party’s base and many of its leaders at the local and state levels remain loyal to Mr. Trump.
Another Republican who backed impeachment, Representative Tom Rice of South Carolina, acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that he was likely to face a G.O.P. primary challenger in his 2022 re-election effort because of his vote — a threat the other nine Republicans who voted for impeachment will probably face as well.
“FIRST G.O.P. Primary Challenger Announces Run in Michigan Against Freshman Rep. Meijer — One of 10 G.O.P. Turncoats,” read a headline on Gateway Pundit, the right-wing and often conspiratorial news outlet that has amassed influence among Mr. Trump’s base.
Reached by email, the site's founder, Jim Hoft, did not reply to questions but did send along several of his own news articles related to claims of Antifa involvement in the Capitol attack — citing the case of a man named John Sullivan, whom the right-wing media has dubbed an “Antifa leader” in efforts to prove its theory of infiltration. He was the same man cited by Mr. Giuliani in tweets that threatened to “expose and place total blame on John and the 226 members of Antifa that instigated the Capitol ‘riot.’”
Interviews with local and state Republican officials show the long-term effects that the amplification of misinformation has among the party. While few members of Congress have agreed with Mr. Trump’s assertion that his actions were “totally appropriate,” several party officials did. And while many Republicans condemned violence, attacks on law enforcement personnel and the killing of a Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, they did not agree that those things were the work pro-Trump mobs acting in the president’s name, as is the consensus among law enforcement officials.
“I do not believe President Trump should be blamed for what happened in D.C. on Jan. 6 any more than the media should be blamed for the carnage in Minneapolis, Portland, Dallas or Seattle,” said Ed Henry, a former campaign chair for Mr. Trump in Alabama. “The attack on the Capitol has not shaken my confidence in President Trump. I still support him.”
Eileen Grossman, a Republican activist from Rhode Island who worked on Mr. Trump’s campaign, dismissed the violence as the work of outside agitators.
“I know that the violence was caused by bad actors from Antifa and liberal progressives as well as Black Lives Matter,” Ms. Grossman said, without citing any evidence. She added, using an acronym for “Republicans in name only,” that the Republicans who voted for impeachment would face primary challengers. “They are RINOs and traitors.”
Ms. Grossman has recently left Rhode Island because, in her words, she “wanted to live in a red state.” She moved to Georgia, a historically Republican state that in the last three months has voted for Mr. Biden in the presidential election and sent two Democratic candidates to the Senate.
“Obviously I chose poorly,” she said.
The National Security Archive, two historical associations and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington have sued to prevent the Trump White House destroying electronic communications or records sent or received on non-official accounts, such as personal email or WhatsApp. They alleged the White House has already likely destroyed presidential materials.
The court refused to issue a temporary restraining order after government lawyers told the judge they had instructed the White House to notify all employees to preserve all electronic communications in their original format until the suit was settled.
“I believe we will find that there’s going to be a huge hole in the historical record of this president because I think there’s probably been serious noncompliance of the Presidential Records Act,” said Anne Weismann, one of the lawyers representing the groups in their suit.
“I don’t think president Trump cares about his record and what it says. I think he probably cares, though, about what it might say about his criminal culpability.”
Trump faces several legal challenges when he leaves the White House. There are two New York state inquiries into whether he misled tax authorities, banks or business partners. Also, two women alleging he sexually assaulted them are suing him.
Presidential records were considered a president’s personal property until 1978, when Congress passed the Presidential Records Act over worry that Richard Nixon would destroy Watergate-related White House tape recordings that led to his resignation.
After that, presidential records were considered property of the American people – if they are preserved. Lawmakers have introduced legislation to require audits of White House record-keeping and compliance with the law.
“The American public should not have to wait until a president has left office to learn of problems with that president’s record-keeping practices,” Weismann said.
Old testament is still good news.