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Australian Lawmakers Reprimanded For Sharing Unsubstantiated Claims About US Capitol Mob

On Jan 7, Kelly and Christensen had shared an article from the Washington Times stating that facial recognition had identified far-left protesters in the mob


Australian lawmakers Craig Kelly and George Christensen have spread misinformation that members of the Antifa group may have been present in the US Capitol mob, even though the article on which their claims were based has been corrected. On January 7, Kelly and Christensen had shared an article from the Washington Times stating that facial recognition had identified far-left protesters in the mob. However, the claim was rejected by XRVision and even proved false by independent fact-checker the Dispatch. But the two Australian MPs stood by their unsubstantiated claims and said videos on social media shows people shouting "Antifa Antifa". 

Christensen shared the article, which claimed to have identified a Stalinist sympathiser in the crowd based on a tattoo. But XRVision, the technology company which was cited as a source, said that the article was "outright false, misleading and defamatory". Facebook had also labelled the post as false. 

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However, according to The Guardian, Christensen responded by saying, "Another fake Facebook fact check is polluting my page." He even attempted to rebut the fact check by Lead Story and further argued that it had only debunked claims about the prominent figure pictured in the US Capitol wearing horns. 

Craig Kelly’s post, on the other hand, suggested that the US Capitol mob may have been the result of the "neo-fascists and Marxists engaged in a highly co-ordinated ‘false flag’ operation, by infiltrating the protest and invading the parliament so the world’s media would falsely blame and discredit Trump supporters." After Washington Times corrected their article, Kelly noted the correction. But he also drew attention to the "other evidence", including the unnamed law enforcement source. 

READ: Donald Trump Says 'Won't Attend Inauguration On 20 Jan', A Day After Capitol Seige

Kelly, Christensen criticise Facebook 

While speaking to The Guardian, Kelly noted the correction about facial recognition, however, he did not retract the Antifa claim because there was "other evidence". He said that it hasn’t been disproven that members of the Antifa group weren’t there. Both the Australian leaders referred to a video on Twitter in which Trump supporters appear to blame Antifa for the actions of one of the crowds attempting to break a window. 

Further, both Australian MPs slammed Facebook for applying a warning label to Trump’s video in which he falsely claimed the November election was fraudulent and the insurrectionist mob was "very nice people". Meanwhile, Australian PM Scott Morrison has declined to repudiate misinformation about the US election from within his government. Labour leader, Anthony Albanese has even called for Morrison to now "cut Kelly lose". 

READ: State Lawmakers Joined, Observed Capitol Turmoil

READ: Police Officer's Death Intensifies Capitol Siege Questions


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