The Capital Riot: Tourists, Terrorists, or Iranians-in-Disguise, Perhaps?

What happened most recently in the broad daylight of modern times in the case of the French Revolution…[was] that the text finally disappeared under the interpretation.

— Friedrich Nietzsche, from Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 38, 1886, the Walter Kaufmann translation

The January 6 events at the U.S. Capitol are open to a variety of interpretations, but you wouldn’t know that from the Corporate Mainstream Media, which quickly made up its narrative mind and labeled the incident an “insurrection”– or an act of “domestic terrorism,” even.  My goodness, but all of this hoopla at the Capitol caused CNN to call in the “Thesaurus!”

Naturally, the Total Propaganda Network is in the business of making up their viewers’ minds for them, emphasizing linear, talking-point simplicity over nuance and unruly perspective.  Clearly, the crowd that day (January 6) was composed of many elements with as many agendas.  The most basic takeaway from the flag-crazy scenes of that chaotic event is obvious:  a lot of Americans — and not just the “White” ones, as we know from last summer’s protest/riots — are not happy with their government, and isn’t that the reason a charlatan like Trump got “elected” in the first place?

Of course, this is not to excuse the sometimes bad, but mostly confused, behavior of the pitchfork crowd on January 6.  The “Storming of the Capitol!” can also be seen as a partly violent parody of the storming of the Bastille in 1789, an authentically insurrectionary event that triggered the French Revolution. There is an irony — if not several — in this historical comparison.  Far from accomplishing the “Stop the Steal!” crowd’s presumed aim, overturning Trump’s weird non-re-election, these tourist-hooligans actually managed to strengthen the hand of our contemporary ancien regime, of which the elderly Joe Biden, America’s second Catholic president, is an obvious exemplar.

Another member of the ancien regime, modern American-style, is longtime Republican Senator from Maine, Susan Collins.  Collins’ initial take on what was happening at the Capitol was notably unusual:  “My first thought was that the Iranians had followed through on their threat to strike the Capitol…” (Bangor Daily News, January 11).  Sounds outlandish, at first glance, but perhaps the Senator was referring to that ferocious flotilla of Iranian speed boats violently skimming Atlantic Ocean waves to harass the “sacred” Citadel of our “Demo-crashy” in retaliation for last January’s assassination of Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani?

In reality, Senator Collins was even further off-base, but entirely on-brand, in her “immediate” reactionary thought.  On the morning of January 6, a Wednesday, CBS News broke an “exclusive” story that on January 4, a Monday, several New York City air traffic controllers had heard a “digitized voice recording” claiming that Iran, presumably, would be flying a plane into the Capitol building on Wednesday, January 6, the precise day when president-elect Joe Biden’s election would be officially certified by the Congress, as revenge for the murder of Soleimani.  CBS also reported that U.S. intelligence agencies — not named — did not find this threat “credible.”  One can only assume that Senator Collins knew all of this, but still used the opportunity of the “Capitol Riot” to take a rhetorical stab at Iran anyway.  Why not?

Why not, indeed?  Nevertheless, the good Maine Senator’s initial cognitive response is also doubly illogical.  Donald Trump took — or was assigned — credit for Soliemani’s assassination; logically, you would think that the White House, and not the Capitol, would have been the imaginary Iranian plane’s target, at least according to the “digitized voice recording” referred to above.  After all, the Trump administration took a particularly hard-line against Iran, culminating in the Soleimani hit-job.  For its part, CBS re-reported it’s “not credible” morning story on its Evening newscast, after the Capitol melee, as if to say:  “Never forget those zany Iranians!”

It seems not unreasonable to suspect that the “digitized voice recording” reported by CBS News, and known to Senator Collins based on her self-reported immediate reaction, was a “false flag” operation.  Moreover, the CBS story indicates that U.S. intelligence agencies were aware that a “kinetic” event would be staged at the Capitol on January 6, yet did nothing to prevent it.  The CBS non-story also fails to account for who may have produced and transmitted the “digitized” Iranian threat message to NYC air traffic controllers, which presupposes some degree of sophistication, as well as concern that a nefarious actor could penetrate what should be a secure airport communication system; indeed, that should be the actual story here, or:  “9-1-1, we have another problem!”

Perhaps the “Iranian” thread spun by CBS was too thin to weave into the “insurrection” narrative being broadly brushed by the Corporate Media.  One piece of footage that was generally overlooked was video of Capitol Hill police ushering in, quite calmly, a long line of “rioters” through a side door as if they all had tickets to the Event.  Once inside, many of the “domestic terrorists” turned their visit into selfie-city, just like the tourists most of them were; “Stop the Steal!” in many instances had become “Take the Selfie!”

Indeed, it was a quite comfortably clad crowd milling in and around the Capitol on January 6.  It is also worth noting that the tourist-terrorists shuffled out of the Capitol after a few hours without further incident.  One wonders:  What kind of “insurrection” is that?

One could also say that Tragedy met “Farsi” during the Capitol hootenanny, due to the actual violence that occurred.  However, it is remarkable that the police’s rationale for not cracking down harshly on the Capitol stormers — or shufflers-in, in many cases — is inconsistent.  In fact, one of the “rioters” was shot to death by police inside the building, but this shooting did not result in a gun fight at the OK Corral.  How is that possible?  The police claimed that taking a militant response — besides taking “selfies” with some of the intruders — would have only incited them further.  Yet, the one known shooting during the “Capitol Storming Riot” provoked nothing of the kind.  If one insists upon the “insurrection” narrative, then this event will go down as the most lightly attempted coup in history.

Order has been restored since, and even more than restored, as reportedly 6,000 troops will be deployed indefinitely in Washington, DC.  Looks like Senator Tom Cotton got his wish after all.  Moreover, calls for increased censorship are pinging around Corporate Media echo chambers everywhere, while former CIA Heads-turned-Cable-News-consultants are warning of ISIS-like formations among the American citizenry or — who knows? — maybe they’re all just Iranians-in-disguise?

One last note about the ostensible cause of the craziness at the Capitol, the 2020 presidential election.  I have no knowledge of the technical objections Team Trump put forward, nor have I sought them out.  However, one election statistic raises an eyebrow, or two.  According to the official tally, 26 million more Americans voted in 2020 than 2016.  Holy smokes, that’s a truly astounding figure!  Shouldn’t that be the Big Story of this most recent election, that so many people voted?  Where have those “voters” been all these years?  If Trump as “existential threat to Democracy” is seen as the catalyst for such a historically high voter turnout, then how did he manage to wrangle 10 million more ballots than he did in 2016?  Was Donald Trump Democracy’s secret weapon all along, provoking the masses to participate in the vote like no one else ever before?  How to interpret this historical storming of the American ballot box, given that Trump more resembled Louis XVI than a truly Revolutionary figure..?

Todd Smith lives, writes, and observes the Brave New World Order in St. Louis. He can be reached at Read other articles by Todd.