Report from Washington: DC Gulag Vigil for January 6 Political Prisoners, by Cat McGuire
While in Washington for the Rage Against the War Machine rally on Sunday, February 19, I took time out on Friday and Saturday to check out the nightly DC Gulag vigil outside the DC Central Detention Facility. Across the street from the jail in a blocked-off area dubbed the “Freedom Corner,” some serious patriots are holding the space not just for January 6 political prisoners, but for American democracy as well.
The largest manhunt in U.S. history continues apace as Americans connected to January 6 are being silently hunted down and persecuted. The Feds are rounding up people at an average rate of about one a day now, according to Randy Ireland, founder of Americans for Justice and a prominent activist for J6 inmates. While Julian Assange and Guantanamo prisoners rightfully receive worldwide attention, very few people realize that right here in the U.S.A. there are now about 1,000 American citizens who have been caught up in this domestic, politically fueled dragnet . . . with more coming.
The DC Gulag vigil was started August 1, 2022, by Micki Witthoeft (Ashley Babbitt’s mother) and Randy Ireland. It followed a 34-day encampment in DC from July 6 to August 3 by the 1776 Restoration Movement to speak with Congress about the plight of the J6 political prisoners. Many J6ers are facing bogus charges such as parading or being in a restricted area, with most carrying unfair, excessive sentences. Not a single official came to talk with the activists or learn more.
For the past two years, unlike other jail inmates, the January 6 inmates have been allowed no family visits, religious services, or medical treatment. With the instrumental help of Texas Republican congressman Troy Nehls, finally on January 23, the J6 inmates were able to have one-hour weekly visits and religious services.
At the vigil I spoke with an elderly woman who had driven over 1,100 miles from Kansas to visit her son, Billy Chrestman, whom she hasn’t seen in two years. She got to see him on Friday for one hour. That’s it. She doesn’t know when she’ll get to see him again.
I was surprised to meet Nicole Reffitt whose husband, Guy Reffitt, was famously the first January 6 protester to be convicted. Their son, Jackson, had been wired by the FBI to rat on his father. Besides the FBI, Nicole explained that her son had also been highly manipulated by his school as well as social pressure from his friends to testify against his father.
Jackson earned thousands of dollars from a GoFundMe he set up after turning his father in. Nicole is from Texas, but is at the vigil every night because she understands this issue is bigger than her husband’s imprisonment. I got goosebumps hearing her family’s ongoing Shakespearean saga. It was truly chilling.
I met Tommy Tatum who was at the January 6 event and was a key eyewitness to the murder of Rosanne Boyland. The government claimed she died of a drug overdose. The reality is that she was killed by a Black Metro policewoman who beat Rosanne over the head with a baton. Tommy said he was holding Rosanne’s hand while they were stuck in a crush of bodies near the West Capitol steps.
Tommy claims the reason he is free and that the Feds won’t touch him is because he was a direct eyewitness to the murder of Rosanne Boyland. Under no circumstances do they want to let the true Boyland story go viral because her murder contradicts the official narrative. So they’ve invisibilized Tommy and his testimony. In the eyes of the law, he does not exist.
There are quite a few military veterans in the J6 community who either have no J6 relatives or friends in jail and/or were not at the January 6 event themselves. One ex-combat veteran who fits that description is Sherri Hafner from Ohio who, like others, has temporarily relocated to Washington to support the vigil. She told me she took an oath when she was 17 to defend her country from enemies foreign and domestic, and now sees a pressing domestic need to stand up for freedom.
There were several Chinese present who I learned likewise have no relatives or friends who are J6-incarcerated nor attended the January 6 event, but diligently attend the vigils along with other Chinese. I spoke with Lily, a native of China, who shared with me her distain for life under communist rule in China, and how she and others in her church community recognize a very similar heavy hand with the January 6 persecutions.
By strange coincidence, my uber driver to the jail was a Nigerian. He told me he has friends who work inside the DC Jail. I knew exactly what that was about because I’ve read that some of most cruel Correctional Officers against the J6 inmates are Africans. It is particularly demeaning for these highly patriotic inmates to be lorded over by foreigners.
Earlier on Friday I had gone to the Victims of Communism museum. It was like a sad, scary, heartfelt bookend to be at a vigil later that evening for dozens of American political prisoners. The dedicated patriots manning the vigil believe our country depends on them keeping watch. They explained that all manner of dangerous legal precedents are being pushed through as part of the J6 trials, saying these precedents are going to affect our country for years to come. And hardly anyone is paying attention.
For example, the city of Washington, DC has been named as a victim in some of the lawsuits. When has an entire city ever been deemed a victim? How could a jury of DC residents possibly be unbiased? One would think a change of venue would be allowed, especially since most of the J6 protesters are from all over the country. Yet, change of venue motions are consistently denied for J6ers by DC judges.
As part of the J6 vigil program, cell phone calls with inmates are broadcast on a local PA system for everyone to listen in on the call and shout back words of encouragement. There is also a regular roll call of the 115 or so inmates in the surrounding DC jails and federal prisons across America. After each name is read, vigil attendees shout “Hero!”
Every night at the 9:00pm closing, the supporters sing the Star-Spangled Banner in unison with the J6ers in the DC Jail who began the tradition among themselves in May 2021 as a way to maintain solidarity. While everyone both inside and outside are singing, those inmates whose thin rectangular windows face the street where the vigil is located repeatedly flash their lights on and off in a sort of Morse code of unity.
During the singing, I started crying knowing how today’s “Bolsheviks” are doing all they can to destroy us, how we are in extremely dangerous times as, besides the experimental vaccines, we are now being poisoned by yet other bioweapon such as the toxic derailment in East Palestine, and how this scraggly band of patriots is at the raw edge of loyalty to our country.
This is what I wrote in the #freedomcorner “guest book”:
My friend, Cara Castronuova, has been reporting on J6 from the beginning. She helped me connect with the vigil and sent me this text once I was there: It is very possible to find incredible beauty & joy in even the most evil places & terrible circumstances. In the end God wins!
Here’s some superb recent coverage:
For more information about the January 6 political prisoners, see:
Cat McGuire is a freedom activist in New York City with a focus on opposing vaccine mandates, ID passports, and the New World Order Great Reset.