Was Jan 6th Worse Than 9/11?

Politicians, corporations and billionaires who funded Trumpism and continue to support GOP efforts at outright sedition should face serious consequences, including expulsion from office and prison.

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Are Trump-humping Republicans doing more damage to American democracy than bin Laden did on 9/11?

A 250 GB leak of memos from within the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI show they were tracking “Popcorn Day.”

This was, according to these documents, a plot by several of the many post-Klan white supremacist groups to rain hell down on America on January 19th — the day before Biden would have been inaugurated — if the GOP’s attempted overthrow of the US Government had not succeeded on January 6th.

As Jacob Shamsian writes at insider.com:

The plans, called "Operation Stormbreaker," involved targeting landmarks, government buildings, power plants, and other civic institutions in DC on January 19, the memos show.

All across America, if Operation Stormbreaker were pulled off by these white supremacist terrorists, gunfire and explosions would be going off like popcorn.

The goal was to reduce American citizens to such a level of terror that we’d beg for “strong man Trump” to stay in office beyond inaugural day on January 20th to deal with the crisis, cementing into place the end of our republic and the beginning of a strongman authoritarian fascistic oligarchy.

And if that didn’t work, they had a Plan C to blow up the Capitol during Biden’s State of the Union Address. As Jason Wilson notes for The Guardian:

Almost a month later, a bulletin reported that “an identified militia group member” in Texas was claiming that if their “operation failed at the US Capitol” there was a “back-up plan” involving the group “detonating bombs at the US Capitol during the State of the Union.”

Funded and supported by billionaire oligarchs in the US and abroad, this movement to turn America from a democratic republic into a white-supremacist ethnostate oligarchy fronted by the GOP has deep roots and a broad reach.

  • For centuries white cops have routinely gotten away with murdering unarmed Black people and other minorities. After 15 million people went into the streets to protest the murder of George Floyd, white supremacist authoritarians within the GOP made common cause with murderous cops instead of working to clean up a corrupt system.

  • White male supremacists in Michigan nearly succeeded in kidnapping Governor Gretchen Whitmer so she could face a show trial and public execution.

  • They invaded and seized control of numerous state capitols as well as the US Capitol while police and National Guard forces were held in abeyance.

  • They’ve turned Facebook and other social media into recruiting tools for violent white supremacist activity, and are now reaching out to bring young people into their movement.

  • They’re spreading lies and doubts about Covid vaccine to prevent the Biden administration from getting the pandemic — and, thus, the economy — back under control. They’re even threatening businesses that are requiring masks to protect their employees.

  • As the Capitol Police report, members of Congress are wary of even returning to their districts during the upcoming break because of the intensity of the death threats: “This year alone, there has been a 107% increase in threats against Members compared to 2020.” And 2020 was no picnic, with Trump doing his best to stir up political violence leading to the election.

  • They’re passing laws in state after state to forbid the teaching of the actual history of what white supremacists did to Black people in this country over the past 400 years.

  • Almost the entire GOP is publicly lying about the events of January 6th and what led up to them, and promoting Trump’s Big Lie that Biden didn’t really win the election by 7 million votes.

  • They’re using that Big Lie to actively rig the 2024 election, passing laws in state after state to give the power to decide which votes get counted and which don’t to Republican officials and their shills instead of election professionals.

  • They’re actively closing polling places in communities of color.

  • If citizens in states don’t like any of this, Republican state legislatures have introduced 144 laws in 32 states to make it almost impossible to get a measure on a ballot that may overturn their voter suppression and election-rigging. These laws have already passed in Florida, Idaho and South Dakota.

  • They’ve packed the Supreme Court, using underhanded and antidemocratic practices including actual treason during time of war, and that Court now is both indebted to and supports the billionaire ownership of the GOP, as I document in detail in The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America.

  • If they succeed in these efforts and Trump or a Trump-wannabee like Rick Scott, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz or Tom Cotton become president in 2024 (whether they win the election or not), it will almost certainly be the end of the American experiment, as I document in detail in The Hidden History of American Oligarchy.

This is an actual plot by a group of billionaires and a major political party to destroy a pluralistic and democratic America that we’re watching play out in front of us in real time.

Which raises the question: What should be done?

Worse - far worse - than 9/11

This goes way beyond what Bin Laden and his boys had in mind for us on 9/11 and in the months afterward: as Bin Laden himself frequently proclaimed, they just wanted us to pull the US military out of Saudi Arabia and pay more for Saudi oil.

Back when President George HW Bush was looking for a strategy in 1991 to kick off his re-election the following year, he decided to follow in Reagan’s Grenada footsteps (which followed in Margaret Thatcher’s Falklands footsteps) and have a “small war, quickly won” to boost his popularity.

Iraq was an easy target, as Saddam was largely isolated from his neighbors politically (he was busy writing a series of romance novels), so after Bush gave Saddam the green light to invade Kuwait (which had once been part of Iraq and was stealing Iraqi oil by drilling slant-wells from Kuwaiti land into oil deposits under Iraq). Saddam took the bait, Bush got his 3-day war, and because our sanctions included blocking chlorine to purify public water supplies, over the next decade a half-million Iraqi children died from dysentery.

This backstory is the foundation of 9/11. To stage the bombing of Iraq, Bush needed a nearby air base and the Saudi’s loaned him قاعدة الأمير سلطان الجوية‎, also known as the Prince Sultan Air Base near the town of Al Kharj in the Saudi high desert.

After the 1991 war, the US soldiers stayed, which infuriated Saudi fundamentalists who consider the soil of the entire nation sacred. American men were drinking alcohol and watching porn, and American women were showing their elbows and knees and (gasp!) driving vehicles.

Between that and the sweetheart deals Saudi Arabia gave American oil companies on the price of crude, these fundamentalists were furious.

Their most outspoken member was Osama bin Laden, then living in Afghanistan where he had a penny-ante operation Reagan had earlier helped him set up to train Muslim fighters against the Soviets.

He went so far as to warn America that if we didn’t remove our “blasphemous” soldiers from “sacred” Saudi soil, and start paying an honest price for Saudi oil (bin Laden figured around $100/barrel, and it was then about a third of that), he would hit us hard. (To get some Arab street cred, he also demanded Israel withdraw from Palestinian territories, but nobody took that seriously, including his own people.)

As bin Laden himself told the world with his February 23, 1998 Fatwah:

The Arabian Peninsula has never — since God made it flat, created its desert, and encircled it with seas — been stormed by any forces like the crusader armies spreading in it like locusts, eating its riches and wiping out its plantations. … [F]or over seven years [since HW Bush’s Iraq invasion] the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.

But bin Laden wasn’t trying to destroy American democracy on 9/11; he merely wanted US soldiers out of the Prince Sultan Air Base (George W. Bush quietly removed them in April, 2003 around the time he stopped looking for family-friend bin Laden), and he wanted the US to pay more for Saudi oil.

He got both outcomes, as well as Bush letting the bin Laden family fly out of the US with minimal oversight. Bush let bin Laden himself go hide out in Pakistan with his wives and video porn collection. It all worked out well for both of them and their families until Obama came along and killed bin Laden.

“Taking down democracy” instead of “a single act of violence”

Consider our response to 9/11.

  • We spent over a trillion dollars “enhancing” our domestic security and creating new spy and police agencies.

  • We appropriated Hitler’s favorite term, “Homeland,” to describe our new super-police agency that would have oversight over all others, even though the whole idea of America was that we were not an ethnic “homeland” for any particular race, sect or creed but were a democratic republic.

  • We unnecessarily declared war on two nations — none of whose citizens were involved in 9/11 (those were mostly Saudis) — killing over a million human beings in that region while killing and maiming tens of thousands of Americans.

  • We so empowered radical forces in Saudi Arabia and across the region that they funded and created ISIS, producing a living hell for more millions of human beings, and the Saudis felt free to reach out and murder an American-resident Washington Post reporter, Jamal Khashoggi.

  • In the process, Bush and Cheney added over $7 trillion (conservatively) to our national debt just for the war (plus an additional $5.6 trillion in tax cuts for billionaires).

  • We authorized and executed multiple congressional investigations and a Special 9/11 Commission to look into the event.

  • As a nation, we declared “Never again!” — and no politician from either major party would ever argue that 9/11 was just a “bad day” or “tourist event.”

So bin Laden and his Saudi buddies hurt us badly, but didn’t in their wildest dreams think they could turn America from a democratic republic into an autocratic oligarchy like Saudi Arabia or Turkey.

More dangerous threat to America than bin Laden

But the oligarchs who own the GOP don’t like or want anything resembling actual democracy in the United States — they know that if the will of the people is done, their taxes will go up and their companies will have to stop poisoning and ripping us off for profit.

So we’re treated to 147 Republicans voting to overturn the result of the 2020 election and keep Trump in office; to people like Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton saying, “I was there, they were just amazing people;” to members of Congress like Rep. Clyde lying to rewrite history by saying it was like “a normal tourist visit.”

These people do far more damage to America than Osama bin Laden ever dreamed of. They want to end our 240 year long experiment with a democratic republic and replace our government with one run by bullies, autocrats and oligarchs.

America was attacked from overseas, both at Pearl Harbor and on 9/11, and we pulled together as a people and responded with overwhelming commitment and force.

Now, like in 1861, we’re being attacked by traitors within our own nation. And the GOP would prefer that we just, in the words of #3 House Republican Elise Stefanik, “Move on.”

And they’re expanding their damage to democracy in America. Phony “audits” to try to uncount the 2020 election are spreading from Arizona to other states, and with the “audits” they’re doing their best to foster cynicism about American elections.

Their goal is that cynicism about electoral democracy will be so widespread that in 2024, when Democrats complain about GOP theft of the election in the states where they’re pre-rigging the process, few will take it seriously.

But in response to 9/11 we transformed our way of life and our government, spent over $10 trillion, and woke every American up to the dangers of religious radicals willing to use violence to reach their goals.

At the very least, in response to January 6th we should be able to put into place a limp, bipartisan Commission to inform America as to what happened, on whose order, and why.

But America must go way beyond that, because this is so much worse than 9/11; instead of a one-off hit to America, what the GOP is doing now is an attack on the foundation of our republic: the democratic process itself.

White supremacy is a cancer that requires a “whole of society” response including government action. Politicians who use it, explicitly or implicitly, must become political pariahs.

And the politicians, corporations and billionaires who funded Trumpism and continue to support GOP efforts at outright sedition should face serious consequences, including expulsion from office and prison.