Truth Leaks Out; Lies Gush

Yes, another political post.  You can skip and my feelings won’t be hurt.

Reviewing January 6:   Consider an imaginary President Good.  What would a non-traitorous President and staff have done in face of a threatened attack on the Capitol?   A non-complicit Secretary of Defense, a non-complicit Chief of Staff of the Army?  How have such threats been handled in the past?   Here’s how.   Let’s suppose President Good lost an election in a three-candidate race and conceded.  But the *other* loser (Candidate Traitor) hates the winner and wants to invalidate the election, and has a strong following of the same kind of people as DJT.   A threat of violent attack on the building and Congress would’ve been noticed early on via surveillance of internet traffic, hotel reservations, travel reservations, and unregulated chat by amateurs  months before Jan 6.  President Good would be informed, and approve preparing ahead of an attack.   He or she  would authorize the Secretary of Defense to contact appropriate units and have them make the necessary plans.  They would discuss priorities.  SecDef would contact the DC National Guard to find out their current capability and tell their commander to prepare and overtime ensure that there was coordination between planning units.  SecDef would also contact the Army (Army Chief of Staff or Ass’t COS)  with current info, and state possible need for larger force, one of the rapid response forces that, in fact, we have.   In my day, that would’ve been the 82nd Airborne.   For more National Guard support than the DC NG has,  he’d ask the Governor of Maryland, about the Maryland National Guard’s current status and ability to help if necessary.  Within a few days, a plan would start to form, and planning would continue over several months, as more info was found an evaluated.   How big the threat was, what known troublemakers were involved, etc.   They would inform Congressional leaders of both parties.  They would require from those leaders lists of persons who might need extra assistance in case of an assault  break-in and ensure that each such person had adequate assigned help.

2. Defending a fixed location, like the Capitol and Senate and House Office Buildings, plus the lower levels of the Library of Congress (connected to the Capitol underground)  requires having your defense in place before the attack.  Thus the necessary personnel and supplies would be in place before the day of the expected attack, in sufficient numbers to secure the tunnels, basements, corridors, windows, and doors, as well as access from the roof.  This would undoubtedly require many more troops than the DC NG could provide.  Air cover would include drones,  armed helicopters, and an AWACS plane to coordinate communications, command, and control.  In previous potentially violent mass demonstrations (during ‘Nam, for instance) armed troops were openly displayed on the steps of the Capitol; this has a deterrent effect for true civilians; less so for those with military training.  There are knotty and difficult issues figuring out who can do what, legally, in the defense, but in war, including civil war, the final imperative is complete the mission–get the job done.   Protect the buildings in order to protect Congress which is supposed to do a certain job on that day.   The exact planning for an effective defense of the Capitol and its associated Congressional office buildings would rest on details of architecture I don’t know (how big are the tunnels, how are they ventilated, what vulnerabilities exist for chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons use…as just one example) and planning would involve responses to various scenarios, worked out in advance, with branches for each possibility.  So maybe there’d be that familiar visual display of troops lining the Capitol steps and maybe not–maybe they’d have superior barriers in place, maybe they’d be concealed.    President Good might have declared martial law–or not.  The details matter.

3. When Candidate Traitor and his various supporters made their speeches,  all the whipping the crowd into a frenzy and then aiming them at the Capitol stuff, and the crowd went on the move, President Good would get input from his advisors and his SecDef: who, by the way, would be in the situation room with him, not over in the Pentagon across the river. Communications with the military would be excellent because it was set up to be, and likewise other communications.  President Good would have met or talked to every senior commander in the bunch and know exactly what the plans were.  Being prepared, and in place, in sufficient numbers with sufficient materiel, with sufficient intel because of the air superiority and the embedded observers, the attackers would’ve had a much harder time.

Instead of a thin line of Capitol Police behind a weak barrier of movable panels, they’d face multiple lines of defense and a clearly superior force in full battle gear with live weapons.  And then discover that they were caught in the rear by more trained and well-equipped troops.  The trained troops among the mob would certainly make a stab at driving them back, perhaps sure they wouldn’t actually shoot white men or women, but the cannon fodder of eager untrained screamers and posturers wouldn’t stick long.  The untrained can certainly be dangerous, and beat someone to death with sticks and clubs, knock them back with tasers, but on the whole they don’t stand up to live fire when they see someone beside them fall.  With sufficient troops and the right rules of engagement, the attack would fail (assuming exactly the same conditions otherwise as on Jan 6.  Results change with the weapons available, but with small arms, the damage ratio would shift against the attackers.)

Most of the attackers would be captured, rapidly identified, and processed into detention awaiting trial, their danger to the public if left loose made evident by their attack on the Capitol.  Those who escaped would find it impossible to escape the city:  traffic blocked, bridges guarded, all public transportation (subway, bus, train, air) halted and everyone leaving the city examined.  AWACs would probably have detected communication to the attackers’ remote command center, located it, and have sent troops to capture it.  Meanwhile, those GOP politicians in Congress who were enabling the attackers–would be found out faster, and be removed from the others and confined under guard–without their cellphones, their tablets, etc.  Their computers would be confiscated *by the government forces* for examination later.  When danger was past and the mopping up began, those in custody as traitors would be moved to more permanent confinement, under arrest while evidence was gathered from their electronics, from surveillance footage, from those trying to talk their way out of trouble.

Now for recent history: Here’s what we know about what happened on the run-up to January 6 with a traitor in the White House, both president and candidate for election.  As president he had power to appoint and remove federal employees; he had power to control how government buildings communicated (for instance, by ordering that only FoxNews channel could be used in those buildings) and he had military power as Commander in Chief.  His mishandling of the response to the COVID pandemic, very evident by early June with rapidly rising death tolls, caused an obvious sag in his popularity–prior to that he had been certain he’d win re-election and so had his party.   In July, Trump attacked a BLM protest near the White House with a huge violent response that included invading church property across the street from Lafayette Park and throwing the clergy out of their own church.  I personally believe the violence of hte response was intended to provoke (as it did) loud protests, including from DC’s mayor, about the abuse, setting up a “reason” for his directive to his new “acting” Secretary of Defense that he “didn’t want to see armed troops in the streets.”  July 1 was the first obvious precursor event, and it’s the right time frame for planning an attack from inside an Administration.   It also created a breach with existing Secretary of Defense, the existing Secretary of the Army, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, because Trump had wanted armed military personnel to take part in his attack on BLM protesters, and they had not agreed.

Trump made frequent charges that the election was rigged (before it occurred), that mail in ballots were rigged, and did his best to discredit the election process before the election, giving himself “reasons” not to concede if he lost.  He said that “millions” of illegal votes had been made in previous elections (a flagrant lie) and he thought more would occur, that if he lost, it would be through fraud.  In the meantime he prepared to remove and replace certain vital positions within DOD.   He began to indicate to his followers that–if defeated–he would NOT concede and would NOT ensure a peaceful transition of power.  His public statements–on Twitter, to the press, on FoxNews–emphasized a conspiracy of “antifa” against him, the corruption of Democrats at all levels, and the need for violence to protect himself and the country.  It was clear to the general public (his supporters and those who weren’t) that he was working up to an attempt to prevent or invalidate the election. When he lost, he made no attempt to cooperate in the transition period, instructing government entities NOT to cooperate with the incoming Administration  and quickly moving to change what he felt would assist him in overturning the election.  He or his backers had already identified every delaying point, every intervention that might change the election, but attempt after attempt failed, including trying to bully the state officials to “find 11,000 votes” or decertify Electoral College votes that were putting  Biden over the margin of victory.

This included four particular personnel decisions that made changes in both the civilian leadership in DOD and the military chain of command; these reassignments were made shortly after the results of the election were first certified, and reported on November 11.   1) Firing Secretary of Defense Esper and appointing an Acting SecDef, Christopher Miller, without seeking Senate confirmation. Embedding to former anti-terrorism/security appointees,  Kashvak Patel and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, to work with Miller (or, some said, ensure he stayed in the lane Trump assigned.)  Those three became the first block below the president in preventing effective defense of the Capitol and Congress.  2) Promoting General Charles Flynn (younger brother of Michael Flynn, discredited former general but still active Trump advisor)  to four star rank, also in November.   Senate confirmation did not come at once, but through the rest of November and early December challenge after challenge to the election’s validity failed.   General Charles Flynn’s promotion to 4-star on December 31, and his appointment as assistant Chief of Staff of the Army, in charge of “readiness” put him in a position to block communication from civilians and national guard commanders: his assignment was the normal access point for national guard and regular military response.   These changes were initially understood as involving Trump’s desire to initiate active military response to Iran, as he withdrew troops (as he said he wanted to do) from Afghanistan and Syria, but in fact those assignments were crucial to the early success of the attack on the Capitol.  That meant that Congress’s certification of the Electoral College results on January 6 was critical.

From at least the election on, it was clear that Trump enthusiasts were being encouraged to consider violent action if the election went through, and the Electoral College response was a focus for their fears and anger.    By the second week in December, they were talking online about going to Washington to “convince” Congress to overturn the Electoral College and give the election to Trump, and some Republican politicians were encouraging this.   Although some of the planning for attack was carried out in the dark web areas, enough leaked out that people with no access there (like me) were well aware by Dec 15 that something violent was in the planning.  The usual suspects were talking about bringing their guns and killing certain Democrat politicians.  The Congressional certification of the Electoral College votes was the obvious target date–both houses would be there.   On December 31, the Senate approved Flynn’s promotion, and the fix was in, the attack “locked and loaded.”  Transport had been booked, hotel rooms had been booked, the assault groups (trained militias, military, merc) had been given all the help they needed, and were able to bring in equipment and munitions in privately owned or rented vehicles.  Trump’s loudest political supporters (including Senators Hawley and Cruz) spend the preceding weekend encouraging those planning to go to D.C. or already there…lots of talk about the blood that must be shed to defend freedom.   Michael Flynn, Gen. C. Flynn’s older brother, was calling for Trump to declare martial law to prevent certification of the election and force Trump’s return to office.

On January 4, Monday, Chris Miller and his watchdogs met with Trump at the White House.  Trump had already told Miller he didn’t want to see “troops in the streets” but expected it would take ten thousand troops to stop what was coming.   Miller composed and sent to the District of Columbia National Guard commander, and to the DC Police, a memo outlining the rules pertaining to the coming demonstration.  These included that no response could occur without his personal permission, and any forces sent to the site could not be armed, could not wear riot gear (e.g. had to be unprotected, without helmets, body protectors, etc.), could not coordinate with another other groups (either to share information or work together), could not call on any air support, should not engage physically with any in the mob unless physically threatened.   They would be outnumbered (DC National Guard has about 2700 soldiers and airmen–so fewer than that ground troops), under-equipped to defend themselves, let alone Congress, and without adequate intel from air surveillance.

In this climate, and inspired by Trump’s unequivocal support for those who would attack the Capitol–as given in his speech the morning of January 6, the mob moved to the Capitol itself, where some portable pipe barriers had been erected by the Capitol Police in the belief that the crowd would respect them.   Crowd breached the barriers and began the assault on the Capitol buildings.  Some assigned units (not yet IDed publicly) used grapples and lines to zoom up to roof level and thus invade from above.  Some amateurs tried to climb up (some with help) and some couldn’t make it and fell off.  Others attempted to break windows to enter, using hammers, crowbars, poles and other improvised weapons.  A determined, organized group went up the Capitol steps and breached the front doors, holding them open while more and more entered.  The trained groups knew where things were (House and Senate chambers, important offices) and did their best to break into those while Capitol Police tried to evacuate members of Congress to a room they could secure.  The threat to human life was real, as the videos shown during the impeachment trial show.  Unfortunately, due to COVID rules, House members were not all seated on the House floor, but some dispersed at distances in the gallery normally used by visitors; the gallery is divided by handrails that mean people seated in each section can only exit but climbing back up to an open passageway near the gallery doors to a wide hall…and soon enough attackers were in that hall, trying to get into the gallery.  Congress members there were exposed to view (and to gunfire had the attackers chosen) and trapped in place.  Many were also posting selfies–both still and video images–of what they were doing and people around them were doing, on Twitter and Facebook.

Calls for help went out from the Capitol Police, the mayor,  and individuals inside the Capitol, who were told the National Guard had no authorization to act.  The Governor of Maryland (not sure how he was called, maybe Maryland members of Congress) called the Pentagon repeatedly to ask authorization to send the Maryland NG to help.  He was told the correct person (Army Assistant Chief of Staff…e.g. General Charles Flynn) was “not available.”  D.C. Mayor and police couldn’t get through.   You will notice, in the reference below from Vanity that the statements by Chris Miller on what it was like on the day do not match later comments in other sources or his testimony to Congress (which he changed his story after being challenged by AOC.   What did he know and when did he know it, and when did he receive calls from which persons and when did he authorize the National Guard to move into action?  What was the purpose of another hour+ delay in deployment when he could have instructed the National Guard to have a written plan *ready*?   In the Vanity Fair article he’s quoted as saying: “Then the damn TV pops up and everybody converges on my office: [Joint Chiefs of Staff] chairman [Mark Milley], Secretary of the Army [Ryan] McCarthy, the crew just converges.” And as intelligence started cycling in, things went from watch and see to “a current op.” Miller recalled, “We had already decided we’re going to need to activate the National Guard, and that’s where the fog and friction comes in.”   No times.  He doesn’t say WHEN “the damn TV pops up” or what it’s showing (what channels they saw, when Trump had ordered that no one could watch anything but FoxNews: what was on FoxNews at the time the TV “pops up?”), when and how long the “crew” that converged on his office were there before any decision was made,  at what time the decision “we’re doing to need to activate the National Guard”  was made, or when the calls to the National Guard were made.  Congress pulled *some* of that out of him, but not all…and every bit of that should be documented.  He also claims in the article that he was in constant touch with the president’s chief of staff, but another officer (unnamed) says they couldn’t reach the White House.   Miller is an unreliable witness.  IMO, all the relevant personnel should be questioned by the FBI under oath because I suspect NONE of them are reliable witnesses but looking at all their versions might get closer to reality.

Trump is still claiming the election was stolen and he wants his job back.  His followers still believe his lies.  The mass of attackers were allowed to leave the White House environs without being identified, photographed and the FBI has had to depend on mostly low-quality photos and videos.  While hundreds have been arrested, that’s far below the “thousands” who went there will ill intent, and none of the well-known political leaders who enabled and encouraged this attack have been hauled in, nor expelled or even scolded by their political party.  Republicans apparently approve of violent attacks on the Capitol and Congress as long as the persons targeted aren’t theirs.   I can hope that the current people in charge have been working on Capitol security and how to defend Congress and the Capitol *even when* Congress is full of traitors, but understandably *that* bit isn’t being talked about openly.    Because this time it ain’t over until the fat orange traitor gives up or dies.  (To be VERY clear:  this is not an oblique suggestion that he “should” die, but a statement of fact about his character.)   Unless he decides it’s not worth it to him to keep trying to raise an army to put him back in the WH,  he will remain a source of unrest, sedition, treason, and general nastiness until he croaks.  He’s not that old.  He could last another 20 years.  So we’d better be prepared to deal with him and his deplorable progeny and his main backers for that long.  We now know, for sure, that he will keep trying by any and all means, including  inciting and encouraging violent attacks on persons and places, no matter their importance to the rest of us, and that he has connections to enough money and enough persons eager to take us down, to be a serious threat.

References: This is not a complete list.   (unfortunately this clip does not contain the comments about marching on Washington, but the comment from the crowd makes it clear such comments were welcome.)   (One wishes this reporter had been less naive about Miller.  It didn’t take any great military experience to know something nasty was coming up.  But more importantly, look at the details Miller gave, and did not give.  )   This photocopy of Miller’s memo to the DC National Guard appeared 1/28/21 when the Dems in Congress questioned DC National Guard commander about the response being late.

14 thoughts on “Truth Leaks Out; Lies Gush

  1. Thanks for developing a really good agenda for the Congressional Commission. I do hope you will send it to the Head(s) of the Commission when they have been chosen.

    1. GOPoliticians won’t play. Obstruction is their aim, forcing us to “get over it” their game. I won’t forget, I won’t move past, their side tried to overturn the whole government as well as the election and I am beyond annoyed. Well into the region of POed.

  2. Very well written. Of course, one political party is already denying that this is what occurred. How dare you to impugn the integrity of these peaceful citizens just wanting to stroll through the capital? It was no insurrection. While there can be no doubt as to what happened, as long as Saruman continues to spout his big lie and his GOP rear end kissers continue to buy in to this big lie, this republican base will continue to fret. And please do not forget that the state level, the GOP is doing everything it can to ensure that their Loser in Chief will win next time. The assault on our democracy continues.

    Please stay safe and sane

  3. Thank you for setting it out in such a clear fashion. I had known some of it but had missed parts (like Flynn) and the lack of response with regards to the National Guard makes a whole lot more sense now.

    1. Did you see the image online of that Clyde fellow from Georgia during the assault? There’s one of him in the Chamber, looking shocked and horrified. Um…maybe I should add it to the post. It’s hilarious in light of what he said. I wouldn’t sneer at anyone for being afraid when a murderous mob was pounding on the doors and shouting the intent to harm. But after what he said, that picture of him showing up was…yeah. Explain THIS, buzzard bait.

  4. Thank you for your analysis, it was clear to me that this was an organised attempt, and that the response of the relevant authorities was suspiciously slow, but I hadn’t known about the effect of the various changes in Government personnel nor about the orders that made the reponse time so slow.

    1. I had researched some things, in anticipation of trouble (though I had not–nor had national media–connected Trump’s changes in DOD personnel to the attack until right after.

      What was obvious to me on Jan 6, watching both videos of hte event, and people in Twitter streaming their own vids and shots, was that this had to be a long-planned, layered, professionally done assault. Much of the crowd, however bad they acted, was cover for the planners and the professional quality groups orchestrating the assault. Watching amateurs trying to get up walls, and the pros doing it like they do in hostage rescue situations made that clear.

      The pro groups had communications with each other and an offsite command center; they had intel ahead of time to know where to do which action, etc. You cannot pull something like that together overnight or between Christmas and the first week in January. Command, control, communications, coordination…it was deeply, meticulously planned, but many of those there didn’t know that, thought of it as more spontaneous–they were duped. Guilty as hell of what they actually did, but used as cover and cannon fodder by the others.

      I have the advantage of being a veteran who was stationed at HQMC during ‘Nam, and watched and heard about how demonstrations were planned for at that time. So it was also clear that there had to be “blocks” set to prevent the kind of response I and others expected–like that to the demo near the White House in July. I went looking for the blocks…the places where someone could interdict response…and in every one there was a change in personnel between the election and the attack.

      Though I am no longer in the military, it’s been a serious interest of mine since childhood; I’ve watched a lot of video (not movies, live stuff) and read a lot of books, so I notice things differently.

  5. Thank you for the thoughtful analysis. I don’t have the background, and wasn’t paying close enough attention.

    May I share a link to your piece with friends? With authors of a political blog? (Two distinct questions.)

    A commentator on one of those blogs came up with this:
    Remember and be wary
    The sixth of January
    A seditionist, treasonous plot.
    I know of no reason
    That sedition and treason
    Should ever be forgot!

  6. Well of course my favorite fantasy writer would deliver a well constructed reality based take down of our current GOParty who live in a fantasy land of their own making.
    I have often wondered how an entire country could fall under sway of a cult leader. I still don’t understand how it can happen even as I live through the possible beginning of such an event.
    I imagine the Germans must have felt like this almost a century ago.

  7. I note that the President was neither in the Oval Office nor in the Situation Room. He was in the Residence watching TV. If the Capitol was under attack by forces the President did not control, the President would have been in the Situation Room or an equivalent place even more secure. The White House would have been locked down and possibly key personnel (especially the President and his family) removed to somewhere secure.

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