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Simpich writes: "Want to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th? Make every agency cough up every document they wrote in the weeks before and after. Follow up with a few well-placed interviews. Then you'll have your answer."

Rioters built a gallows outside the Capitol on January 6th. (photo: Getty)
Rioters built a gallows outside the Capitol on January 6th. (photo: Getty)

How About a January 6th Records Review Board? (Why Trust a Commission?)

By Bill Simpich, Reader Supported News

18 February 21


ant to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th?

Make every agency cough up every document they wrote in the weeks before and after.

Follow up with a few well-placed interviews.

Then you’ll have your answer.

Do not do what Nancy Pelosi wants to do. Do not form another blue-ribbon commission that will get to the “bottom.” They’ll get to the bottom, all right, and stay there. They spend most of their time unobserved in the dark.

Let me offer three exhibits to prove my case.

Exhibit A: Phillip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 Commission and one of the architects of the 9/11 Report. With its engaging prose that “reads like a novel,” Zelikow’s report was named as a finalist for the National Book Award.

But Zelikow and his staff told us very little about the terrorists, who sent them, or their motivations. The report found that many of the agencies dropped the ball, but no one was to blame. Their recommendations led to an enormous increase in the size of the national security state. Our country changed forever.

Zelikow was touted as being independent – but he was on George W. Bush’s transition team. Zelikow was also deeply embedded in the world of spooks. From 1991 to 1998, he was the co-director of Harvard's Intelligence and Policy Program, at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. (He later wound up on Obama’s intelligence advisory board.) Zelikow and friends molded the new infrastructure that took over in the wake of 9/11. As William Arkin writes in Top Secret America, almost a million American citizens now have top secret security clearances.

What was the purpose of writing this report? The 9/11 Report was the cherry on top of a Full Employment Act for the security and intelligence agencies – most of them had lost their reason to exist after the end of the Cold War – all they had to do was drop the ball just once – zillions of dollars came their way.

Exhibit B: Earl Warren, US chief justice and chairman of the Warren Commission. People forget that Warren was a former Alameda County district attorney and the running mate of 1948 Republican presidential candidate Tom Dewey. He was a conservative man who knew how to follow orders. LBJ was insistent that Warren chair the investigation into the shooting of JFK and prevent the possibility of “a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour.”

Many of us consider the Kennedy shooting a coup d’état. Take a long look at the Secret Service driver and his colleague taking no evasive action during the long, lingering seven seconds of shooting – culminating with a bullet in Jack Kennedy’s head. Why was the Zapruder film hidden from public view until 1975?

Warren made a bad situation even worse by announcing his intention to bottle up most of the evidence in the JFK shooting for 75 years. But when Oliver Stone’s film JFK was released in 1991, public outrage was so great that an amazing thing happened – Congress passed a bill creating an Assassination Records Review Board to review the assembled documents and to order the agencies to provide all “assassination-related” documents to this new board. Congress knew better than to try to review it again. They knew they couldn’t do the job.

The Assassination Records Review Board, also known as the ARRB, focused on collecting documents & interviews on JFK’s death pursuant to what is known as the JFK Act (44 USC 2107).

The ARRB had a unique structure that is now being used in the recently-passed Cold Case Act to obtain documents in the lynching cases. Rather than reach conclusions, the ARRB focused on releasing records and interviewing many of the last surviving witnesses so the public could draw its own conclusions. The ARRB proved to be the most powerful vehicle for releasing information on the JFK case – trusted by all sides examining the issues.

Pursuant to the JFK Act, four of the five members of the ARRB were chosen by the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Society of American Archivists, and the American Bar Association. The American Bar Association also chose a United States District Court Judge to be the leader of the ARRB.

The JFK Act states that the last of the documents would be released by 2017. Trump bragged that he would be the one to do it – right up to the last minute. Then Trump got told. He backed off, found a loophole, and kicked the decision to October 2021. Many of us are working hard to make sure they finally get released – 58 years later.

All staff members were chosen on the basis that they were not government employees and had no previous experience with any prior official investigations of the JFK case.

The Cold Case Act was signed into law in January 2019 by President Trump, who figured it would look bad if he vetoed it. Is it a surprise that Trump never chose any members, and never funded it?

Exhibit C: In the aftermath of January 6th, we obviously have to focus on Trump and his enablers – Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Howley, Mo Brooks (who spoke at the January 6th rally at the Ellipse) and Ron Johnson (“This didn't seem like an armed insurrection”), among others.

Let’s not rely on the same security and intelligence agencies that threw the Capitol open to the rioters. Make the documents and interviews public. Let the public conduct its own investigation. Much of it is already right in front of us. We don’t need any blue-ribbon intermediaries.

More than 30 Congressional members wrote a letter to the Capitol police about reports that other Congressional members provided tours of the Capitol on January 5th. Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has been named as a suspect by two Democratic lawmakers.

Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander claimed in a video that he schemed with Brooks, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) to “put maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that ... we could change the hearts and minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud war from outside.”

As the Park Service stated days before January 6th in granting a permit for the rally at the Ellipse: “This permit does not authorize a march from the Ellipse.” See page 4 of the permit here.

History should note that the permit application warns that there might be disruptions by “anyone who opposes election integrity, conservatives, Trump supporters, or Republicans.”

Greg Palast reports from an insider that “sponsor Women for America First was stunned by Trump's seemingly spontaneous call for a march in violation of the permit.”

When the National Guard was contacted to intervene later that afternoon, they were contacted by Mike Pence and other government officialsnot Donald Trump.

The heart of the problem leading up to January 6th is just like the problems of September 11th and November 22nd. Many of the security and intelligence officers simply didn’t do their job. The question is who told them to stand down.

Let’s focus on getting the documents out of their hands.

We don’t need another coverup.

Even if it reads like a novel.

I rest my case.

Let’s first review the records – and then let the best story win.

Bill Simpich is an Oakland attorney who knows that it doesn’t have to be like this. He was part of the legal team chosen by Public Justice as Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2003 for winning a jury verdict of 4.4 million dollars in the lawsuit brought by Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney against the FBI and the Oakland police. 80% of the sum was for violation of their First Amendment rights by being falsely arrested after being bombed by unknown terrorists in an effort to chill their ability to politically organize.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner
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