National Commentary

The Origins of the January 6 Sacking

As Nancy Pelosi assembles her special committee to examine what was behind the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, my recent 10-part series here, “The January 6 Capitol Sacking: Putin’s Role,” has been rushed into publication as a small book by the same title. It is now, or very soon to be, available on Amazon for $10.

I brought a unique perspective to the series, drawing from my personal experience having been embedded in the 1970s counterculture, which was a playground for covert operations against the U.S. by hostile foreign intelligence services.

My resources in those days included my academic achievements (M.Div. graduate with honors from the Pacific School of Religion), social activism (co-founder of the Berkeley, California, Gay Liberation Front) and a keen journalist’s eye (editor of my high school and college newspapers and the principal writer for the queen of burgeoning “alternative” newspapers, The Berkeley Barb, and the first gay newspaper, Gay Sunshine).

During the early 1970s “detente” between Nixon and Breshnev thousands of Soviet/Russian emigres were permitted to flood into the U.S., many entering under false pretences being among the most brutal Russian organized criminal elements.

These became treacherous figures of the infamous “Russian Mafia” that worked as Soviet/Russian hatchet men. This pleased Nixon and the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover because they roughed up the Italian Mafia, elements of organized labor and the remnants of the 1960s anti-war and civil rights movements. They were clueless about the sinister Soviet/Russian objectives behind all this.

(Village Voice investigative reporter Robert Friedman documented this extensively in his book, “Russian Mafya,” that resulted in a Russian Mafia kingpin calling for a hit on him. He died two years later).

Meanwhile in Russia, a young Vladimir Putin was soon to begin his steady rise to the top rungs of the KGB, the clandestine Soviet organization that carried out covert operations in the U.S. and elsewhere, The KGB, the Soviet/Russian Secret Police, was and is aligned with old school Russian oligarchs and other thugs who’ve remained loyal to the cause of Soviet/Russian world domination that included crushing democratic institutions worldwide.

The KGB deployed its thugs in the U.S. for a systematic assault on former pro-Soviet leftist organizations like the Communist Party U.S.A., the Socialist Workers Party and others. One group, the National Caucus of Labor Committees, carried out systematic physical assaults on such groups under the name, “Operation Mop Up.” They showed up at leftist meetings wielding nunchucks.

Over time, this led to a fundamental paradigm shift of fringe groups away from leftist, antiwar and pro-civil rights causes and toward authoritarian cult, right wing and religious fundamentalist entities. Carried out over the course of the 1970s, it contributed to the election of right wing maverick Ronald Reagan in 1980. In his eight-year presidency, the floodgates opened for a huge influx of right wing institutions and individuals into the corridors of power in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, a fellow traveler of the U.S. Mafia and right wing causes in New York, began cavorting with various Soviet/Russian “honey traps” and offering his services to the advancement of the Russian causes in the U.S. Following a trip to Moscow in 1987, it came out of Russia that henceforth he would be their favorite to become president of the U.S.

The ascendancy of authoritarian right wing cults and anti-science religious fundamentalist groups continued in the U.S., growing into the Tea Party upon the election of Obama in 2009 and subsequently groups backing Trump’s political ascendancy.

This resulted not only in Trump’s 2016 election, but an enormous boost to the growth of right wing and fundamentalist cults during his term.

When a massive popular anti-Trump mobilizatoin led to his failure to win a second term in 2020, these groups, 50 years in the making in the U.S., were activated for the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

Active in support of Trump to this day was the remnant of the National Caucus of Labor Committees, the tiny fringe group that helped launch this era with its physical attacks on the Left margins in 1973.

Nicholas Benton may be emailed at