The US government and mainstream media are obsessed with January 6, 2021. On that day, roughly 2000 people, out of the tens of thousands who had rallied near the White House to protest what they saw as a stolen election, entered the capitol building in Washington, DC. That protest, which featured a smattering of violence and extreme rhetoric, has been memorialized as the insurrection. More than 1000 people have been charged and over 400 have served, or are still serving, prison sentences.
Everyone has heard of January 6, 2021. The imperial propaganda apparatus has made sure of that. But few remember October 18, 2001. That was the date of a much more important attack on Congress: the anthrax mailings that shut down America’s legislative branch for five days. (The danger wasn’t just theoretical: More than 30 Congressional staff members tested positive for anthrax exposure.)
The January 6 protestors, however misguided, believed they were defending constitutional democracy. Their brief incursion into the Capitol, which most did not realize was illegal, merely shut down Congress for a few hours.
The anthrax attack, by contrast, was part of a carefully orchestrated insider attack on constitutional democracy (and on Muslims and Islam). Not only did it take Congress out of commission for a whole week, but it also ensured that when the senators and representatives reconvened, they were terrorized into passing the so-called Patriot Act, which rolled back the US Constitution in service to the so-called war on terror, in reality a thinly-disguised war on Islam.