THE assault on the Capitol in the US on January 6 is in many respects like 9/11. It was an armed terrorist attack, incited by a recognised figure – in this case the sitting President – supposed to be a guardian of the people, which led to deaths, injuries and destruction of property. This domestic terrorist attack had elected US lawmakers in the mob who tweeted selfies of their actions.

Michael Chertoff, the former homeland security secretary under George W Bush, put succinctly: “Unlike dealing with foreign terrorists who you can exclude from the country, in this case you don’t know whether your next-door neighbour might be a threat.”

After 9/11 the US took drastic action. Terrorists were rounded up worldwide, draped in orange suits, blindfolded, put in leg irons and flown to Guantanamo Bay. Later, the man behind the action, Bin Laden was found and subject to an attack.

When one realises that Donald Trump was the instigator of this 6/1, one can see the similarities between Bin Laden and Trump.

Michael Chertoff looks ahead when he adds: “There is going to be a persistent challenge over the next months, depending on how active Donald Trump is when he’s out of office, in terms of domestic terrorism inspired by him directly or by right-wing extremist and conspiracy groups. This is going to be the security challenge for the foreseeable future.”

It is already happening. Trump has been permanently banned from Twitter due to the risk of further incitement to violence. Apple and Microsoft have removed the Parler social media app from their sites to thwart others from using it as a means to incite and plan other terrorist actions.

The ramifications arising from 6/1 within the US will be ongoing. Above all, how and when will Donald Trump be brought to account for his actions? He cannot simply be allowed to slip away or flee the country! He has been identified as a serious threat to the state.

Without sounding alarmist, will he be “droned” down like other terrorists or face judicial arrest and trial?

Serious times for the US in its front yard!

John Edgar

THE idea of an American four-star general acting illegally would normally make me nervous, until this week, that is. Although an anti-nuclear activist I’m not at arms control wonk level. On the other hand I do subscribe to an American podcast of that name.

As I suspected the producers of the Arms Control Wonk Podcast, arms control professionals both, did indeed, this week, produce a special episode.

Contrary to what Speaker Pelosi has implied about her conversation with General Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they explain that there really are no legal safeguards to keep he who is still the president away from the non-existent nuclear codes.

Any reassurances discussed in that conversation were probably not really for the American public rather they will have been for General Milley himself. It’s likely that Pelosi will have been given the general assurances that if he does have to say “no Mr President, you will not be furnished with the menu of prearranged potential nuclear targets”, he will not be prosecuted for what would amount to an act of mutiny.

Such is the nature of the so-called command and so-called control of America’s nuclear weapons that the only real fail-safe is for the military to mutiny. Of course that’s precisely what Soviet Air Force Lt Col Stanislav Petrov had to do in 1983. When he had a decision to make when faced with evidence, that was erroneous, of incoming American missiles. Over the next few days we have to hope that General Mark Milley, if shove comes to push, does the same.

Clearly then there is a nuclear dimension to the impeachment process of a United States president who is also commander in chief. Relying on mutiny is hardly a reliable framework, indeed it is no framework at all.

Bill Ramsay,
Convener, SNP CND