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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 3/5/21

"Bipartisan Commissions:" 9-11 and the Capitol Riot

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"Either this nation will kill racism, or racism will kill this nation." (S. Jonas, August, 2018)

US Capitol 1814c.
US Capitol 1814c.
(Image by Wikipedia (, Author: Munger, George, 1781-1825, artist.)
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The Capitol at the time it was last stormed, by British troops in 1814, during the War of 1812.


There is much talk about establishing a "bi-partisan commission" to investigate the Capitol Riot of 1/6/21 (otherwise known as "The Trumpsurrection2021Â "), along the lines of the commission that investigated the 9-11 Disaster, the latter often being referred to as "successful." There are two issues here. The first is how can one possibly establish a bi-partisan commission, that is one presumably consisting of Republicans and Democrats in equal numbers, with a bi-partisan chairmanship, presumably consisting of a Republican and a Democrat, when the riot was carried out on behalf of the Republican candidate for the Presidency in the Election of 2020?

How do we know that the latter was the case? Well for one thing the large signs and flags prominently displayed in large numbers had the name of one of the candidates prominently displayed on them. (One has to wonder where all those signs and banners, which also appeared in large numbers in Trumpist demos. during and after the Presidential campaign, were/are made, and who funds the operation. Among other things, it would appear to be a very profitable business. But that is another matter.) For another thing, the caps worn by large numbers of the rioters displayed a particular Trumpist slogan, usually abbreviated, MAGA. Then the rioters frequently shouted the name of one of the candidates, but not the name of the other. So it's pretty clear on whose behalf the riot occurred. And then of course, there is the primary question of could the events of the day be characterized as a "riot" when, according to a prominent leader of one of the parties, that is Senator "Ronanon" (the name given to him by Joe Scarborough of MSNBC's "Morning Joe") Johnson of Wisconsin, as he assessed, the crowd consisted largely of peaceful protesters including many mothers with small children as well as elderly and overweight people. So even the question of whether the event(s) can be characterized as a "riot" is not subject to "bi-partisan" agreement.

Further, at the same time consider the following. There is the photo of (Republican --- yes, he is) Sen. (!) Josh Hawley appearing to lead persons (of whom at least some subsequently engaged in violent behavior) towards the Capitol with a raised fist (usually a sign that expresses the intent to commit real or threatened violent behavior). And it was he and Senator Cruz who, leading up to the riot (presumably a name for the events of the day with which, as noted above, at least some Republican members of the Commission would take issue) were floating an idea for a recount (of certain [Black --- shhh!] votes) with a system nowhere to be found either in the Constitution or Federal law.

After the riot Hawley was (and is) still proclaiming that the election was at least likely to have been "stolen." And of course, as of this time of writing, the Republican candidate who lost, at least at the time of the Conservative Political action Conference of February 25-28, 2021, was still claiming that he had won. Since to most observers, even including the then Senate Majority Leader (a Republican), the riot was caused at its source by that candidate, Donald Trump, a Republican, while it is (many) Republicans and Republican voters who, despite what about 60 Courts had to say about the matter, think that Trump won, again one must question how there could possibly a bi-partisan commission to investigate both the events of the day and what led up to them.

(Ah yes, the "Cruz-Hawley" "Stop the Steal" legislative initiative, considered by many to have been a major factor in stimulating the riot --- a consideration of course with which the Republican members of a bi-partisan commission would surely disagree --- might well lead to a major period of partisan U.S. political unrest, characterized in part by intermittent acts of violence on the Right. It might then come to be remembered just as the Smoot-Hawley protective tariff act of 1930 was, as it played a major role in bringing on the Great Depression.)

But then, in this context, there is still talk of the example of the "successful," "bi-partisan" Commission on the 9/11 disaster. I have written on this subject numerous times since the occurrence of that dreadful day (which of course produced fewer deaths than as little as one day of the Trumpidemic2020Â at its height). Oh really? "Successful?" Many would have doubts about applying term "successful" to its work. The text below consists primarily of excerpts from one of my more recent columns on the subject which consider that appellation.

In no particular order of importance of reservations held about both the work of the Commission and its outcome, consider first a list of "important folks" who "have [or had] doubts" about that outcome. It included: 9/11 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton; 9/11 Commissioner Timothy Roemer (who was very active in urging the release of "The 28 Pages" which had been excised from the Commission's final Report by then President George W. Bush (one wonders what could have been in them -duh!); 9/11 Commissioner Max Cleland (who resigned from the Commission in disgust over its refusal to delve deeper into possible alternative explanations other than the one that seemed to be pre-destined to be arrived at); 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey; Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer); Daniel Ellsberg; 27-year CIA veteran Raymond McGovern (who handled National Intelligence Estimates at the time of the events); 29-year CIA veteran, former National Intelligence Officer (NIO) and former Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis William Bill Christison; CIA Operations Officer Lynne Larkin; decorated 20-year CIA veteran Robert Baer; [former] Division Chief of the CIA's Office of Soviet Affairs Melvin Goodman; Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and former Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham (just nine days older than me, he has hinted that he still has secret, very reveling information about the events and what led up to him that he will not reveal); Senator Patrick Leahy; former Republican Congressman Ron Paul (cut from a somewhat different cloth than his son); former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich; Republican Congressman Jason Chafetz; former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel; former Republican Senator Lincoln Chaffee; former U.S. Democratic Congressman Dan Hamburg; and former U.S. Republican Congressman and senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Curt Weldon. All of the above people have raised serious questions about the official conspiracy theory, as have many other current and former intelligence and law enforcement operatives. Do note that "Republican" meant something different in those days than it does not.

Then consider these other facts (in no particular order of importance) about what did and did not happen in the relation to the 9/11 Commission. Its staff director was one Philp Zelikow, who had been the staff director for the George W. Bush Presidential Transition Team. The Bush Administration fought fiercely against the establishment of the Commission. President Bush did agree to testify himself but, a) he did not testify under oath, b) he was accompanied at his testimony by Vice-President Dick Cheney, and c) no transcript of that interview (since it was not under oath it cannot be described as "testimony") has ever been released. There has never been any kind of investigation of the associated Pentagon disaster, which might start with the question: how could a hollow aluminum tube (that is an airplane) penetrate heavily reinforced concrete, at not one but two levels into the building, killing approximately 240 people along the way) and, by-the-by, leave no wreckage? (I am afraid that this concern places me in the company of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but then stopped clocks are right twice a day.)

Then New York City Mayor Rudy"Trial by Combat" Giuliani (remember him?) made sure that all of the wreckage was scooped up and buried in a swamp in New Jersey before any forensics could be run on it. Why was the standing order that would have had the high-jacked plane that flew from Massachusetts to the Towers countermanded? During the three-day no-fly zone that was created over all of the U.S. immediately after the disaster, 18 (if I recall the number correctly) members of Osama bin Laden's family (a very large one, to be sure), who were in the United States at the time, were flown out on a private jet, before the FBI could have access to them for questioning. Why did that happen?

And so on, and so forth. If there are all these questions, and numerous others to be sure, remaining 20 years later from a so-called "successful" commission which at least on the surface was "bi-partisan" even though one of the major actors, the Bush Administration, was thought by some to have at least an indirect role to play in what it did and didn't do both in the run-up to the awful event and on the day it happened, why would one think that there could possibly be a bi-partisan commission formed on events in which one party was directly and openly involved, while leading members of that party still claim that the imaginary event which caused the riot to occur --- that the election was "stolen" from Trump --- was not imaginary --- and of course that list includes Trump himself. And now, even Mike Pence, the one-time target-for-hanging of the rioters, has now come out to say that the election may indeed have been stolen.

And so, "a bi-partisan commission like 9/11?" Fuhgeddaboudit (for the two reasons laid out above). In any case, we already have much evidence of Trump's active or passive complicity collected and vividly shown by the House Impeachment panel. We have the preliminary results of the investigation initiated by Speaker Pelosi, under the leadership of retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honore. Much more will be coming from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. And there are the ongoing Congressional investigations. (Of course, the Repubs., and even the Trumpubs. [ho, ho, ho], could set up their own investigations, giving much work to writers of political fiction, like Tucker Carlson.) The events were clearly partisan, and so will be the investigation(s) (and yes, when the results of the non-partisan FBI/DHS investigations come out, you can be sure that the Trumpublicans will screaming that they are "partisan," because of course then will indict --- figuratively and literally --- Trump and his collaborators). It's the results of those investigations that count, not that they cannot be by their very nature "non-partisan." And indeed, when the time for political reckoning against the instigators comes, let's just hope that those results are counted.


Note: This column is based in part on a previously published column of mine: Commentary No. 38: "9/11 and the '28 Pages' ", The Greanville Post, April 22, 2016,

(Article changed on Mar 05, 2021 at 2:26 PM EST)

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a "Trusted Author, he is a Senior (more...)
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