Notable from the tenor and direction of the House of Representatives Select Committee on January 6th’s most recent subpoenas for witness testimony and documents from Infowars’ Alex Jones and longtime Republican political dirty tricks operative Roger Stone is a clear indication that the committee’s investigators are on a trail that could ultimately point to Donald Trump being aware of the plans by insurrectionists to march on the U.S. Capitol. Those Oval Office plans could also include the physical occupation of the Capitol, as well.
Jones, like Steve Bannon, called for such action against the Capitol in broadcasts prior to January 6 certification by Congress of Joe Biden’s election win. Directly linking Trump, his chief of staff, Mark Meadows; and other key administration officials to the planning of the violent attack on the Capitol should result in criminal conspiracy to carry out sedition charges against the insurrection plot’s principals, including Trump. The U.S. Criminal Code specifies seditious conspiracy against the United States as crime:
“If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”
If the plans to occupy the Capitol included placing the vice president, speaker of the House, vice president-elect, and other key senators and representatives in physical harm’s way, the criminal charges could be increased to conspiracy to commit murder of an elected federal official.
History instructs us that some coup plans involve the storming of the national legislature. For example, the August 19, 1991 Soviet coup against President Mikhail Gorbachev also involved plans by the coup leaders’ State Emergency Committee to storm the Russian Parliament building in Moscow [left] on the night of August 20-21, 1991. Had it not been for Russian President Boris Yeltsin and thousands of his supporters encircling the Parliament building to protect it from pro-coup Soviet military and KGB personnel — a force that never materialized — the Parliament would have been stormed and the Russian democracy movement would have been stopped in its tracks.
In the end, the eleven coup leaders, including Vice President Gennady Yanayev, KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov, Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov, and Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov, were placed on trial before the Military Chamber of the Russian Supreme Court on April 14, 1993. One of the coup leaders, Interior Minister Boris Pugo, committed suicide after the coup collapsed. The coup leaders were charged with criminal conspiracy to commit treason and illegally gain power. In 1994, the coup plotters accepted a Russian State Duma amnesty deal, except for Deputy Defense Minister General Valentin Varennikov, who was later acquitted by the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, how could the United States do any less than the Soviet Union in, at a minimum, criminally charging those who plotted the overthrow of America’s constitutional republic? If the coup plot and the siege of Congress does involve Trump, then he should face the most extreme punishment if found guilty.
Almost a decade prior to the Soviet coup, Spanish military and Civil Guard officers, led by Lieut. Col. Antonio Tejero, invaded the Spanish Parliament and proclaimed a coup against the democratic government of Spain. [right] What transpired after the coup was put down, ostensibly by King Juan Carlos I in a television appearance, was a trial for 32 military officers and one civilian for plotting to overthrow the government. What became very clear were charges that the King only spoke out against the coup after it began to falter. One of the coup leaders, Lieut. Gen. Jaime Milans del Bosch, the ex-military commander of Valencia and a veteran of General Francisco Franco’s Blue Legion forces dispatched to the Soviet front during World War II to fight alongside Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht and Waffen SS troops, ordered tanks into the streets of Valencia in support of the coup.
Bosch claimed that it was “an article of faith” that the King was fully aware of the February 23, 1981 plot and supported it to curb what he believed were threats to the throne by the five-year old post-Franco democratic government. Bosch testified at his trial that Gen. Alfonso Armada Comyn, the Marquis of Santa Cruz de Rivadulla, adviser to the King, and influential member of the Roman Catholic fascist Opus Dei order, met with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia at a ski lodge in the Pyrenees and was given royal assent for the coup. The only difference between the king and queen was that Juan Carlos favored a post-coup civilian government and the queen wanted a military junta to run the country. Bosch claimed that the Queen’s proposed military prime minister was to have been General Armada.
Juan Carlos abdicated the throne amid multiple royal family scandals in 2014. Later discovered to have avoided paying taxes and sheltering money in offshore accounts, Juan Carlos fled Spain for Abu Dhabi, where he currently lives in exile, far away from the arm of Spanish justice. Queen Sofia, the sister of deposed King of Greece Constantine II, who had his own fingerprints on the lead-up to the 1967 Greek fascist military coup, has become an outspoken supporter of the far-right policies of Opus Dei. Juan Carlos’s criminality has resulted in his role behind the 1981 attempted coup and the storming of Parliament appearing in a new light.
The lessons of the Russian and Spanish coup attempts should not be lost on the House January 6th committee. Trump’s involvement in the first actual American coup d’état should be met with a criminal indictment and trial. To do less only cheapens America’s constitution and rule of law.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and nationally-distributed columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).