Gaius Publius: Deep State — Is the Upper Echelon of the Intelligence Community Running America?

Yves here. As you may have noticed, I’m taking a bit of a break (I’m currently in Maine). I had hoped that this would be a quiet period, but the ugly Syrian war-mongering has no respect for calendars (particularly since Obama might hope that acting during a Congressional recess would reduce their ability to squawk). Nevertheless, it is a welcome surprise to see the Administration’s plan to rush into Syria with the British and French go a bit pear-shaped, thanks to the UK parliament showing an unexpected bit of spine. It seems that after Iraq, the public and legislatures aren’t accepting WMD scare stories on executive say-sos. Quelle surprise!

The effort to take action before UN inspectors could complete their review was highly sus, as have been the shifting claims by the Administration as to what precisely the attacks consisted of and why the officialdom is so certain Assad is the perp (for instance, early pronouncements that the toxic agent was a nerve gas or otherwise “military grade” have been questioned by experts who have studied the footage closely).

This setback would seem to disprove the argument of Gaius’ post below, that the power of the military-industrial complex has reached the democracy-threatenign scale that President Eisenhower warned against when he left office over 50 years ago. Edward Snowden’s document releases are becoming a horror film version of the Wizard of Oz. In both the book and the Hollywood version, the scary sorcerer was revealed to be a harmless fake. Here, even though the public knew there was a lot going on behind those curtains that was likely not on the up and up, few imagined that the Big Brother project was so far advanced. So it isn’t surprising that some observers are seeing the plan for the US to intervene in Syria as a way to defend the surveillance state project: raising the specter of bad guys in the Middle East who have WMD, the claims that US snooping provided the “proof” that Assad was indeed behind the apparent attack (oh, and a twofer, using nerve gas!), or just what I call airplane effect (“Look, over there, an airplane!”) as in a major news story that would pull public attention away from the Snowden disclosures.

Gaius focuses on the question of the degree to which the military-surveillance complex is already calling the shots in the US. While he uses the current sanitized formulation, “deep state,” I wish he and others in the opposition would use a more accurate, if perhaps less tidy, turn of phrase, like “slow motion military coup.”

By Gaius Pubius, a professional writer living on the West Coast. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius. Cross posted from AmericaBlog

Is the upper echelon of the American intelligence community running the country? I know that’s an explosive idea, and easily dismissed as being so far out of the mainstream that it’s got no stream at all.

But if you’re willing to ask the question, and then consider it along with what we know so far, it may not be too off the mark.

Obviously I don’t know the answer (though I do have a guess). Everything we know, however, says that this could be true if the generals in charge of the NSA want it to be true. After all, J. Edgar Hoover got quite far down that road with far fewer tools. It’s not like it can’t be done.

NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander (Image from Flickr photostream of Georgia Tech)

NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander (Image from Flickr photostream of Georgia Tech)

As an aid to your reflection, consider the extent of the spying as described in the following interview with Russell Tice, the original NSA whistle-blower.

Tice offers first-hand knowledge of eavesdropping on the phone calls, for example, of people like Barack Obama and Samuel Alito, plus their families and friends, prior to 2006, as well as on generals, media figures and a number of well-placed others, including at the State Dept.

In a separate interview, Tice adds that “they went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the–and judicial [committees].”

He says he personally had papers ordering these surveillances in his hand.

Who is Russell Tice? In 2005, information from Tice formed the basis of the first big reporting on the NSA. Wikipedia (my emphasis and some reparagraphing):

Russell D. Tice (born 1961) is a former intelligence analyst for the U.S. Air Force, Office of Naval Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and National Security Agency (NSA). During his nearly 20 year career with various United States government agencies, he conducted intelligence missions related to the Kosovo War, Afghanistan, the USS Cole bombing in Yemen, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In December, 2005, Tice helped spark a national controversy over claims that the NSA and the DIA were engaged in unlawful and unconstitutional wiretaps on American citizens. He later admitted that he was one of the sources that were used in The New York Times reporting on the wiretap activity in December 2005.

After speaking publicly about the need for legislation to protect whistleblowers, Tice received national attention as the first NSA-whistleblower in May 2005 before William Binney, Thomas Andrews Drake, Mark Klein, Thomas Tamm and Edward Snowden came forward.

As Tice says in the interview below, the only difference between himself and Edward Snowden is that Snowden has the “tangible evidence,” the “proof of what I’ve said in the past.”

The language of my first sentence is Tice’s; I added nothing. And while he doesn’t offer proof of the suggested conclusion, he does offer educated guesses and labels them as such.

Keep in mind also that Tice is career military, a self-identified conservative, and a lifelong Republican — and as you’ll hear below, he’s both intelligent and careful in his wording. Again, just listen and consider.

The Interview

Is the upper echelon of the intelligence community running the show? They’re in position to be doing it if they want to, according to Russell Tice.

I’ll let the interview speak for itself, with just a few notes below it. The interviewer is Abby Martin. Tice has given a number of interviews like this, by the way; just is just one of them. Please listen if the NSA story interests you; it’s not that long:

A few notes:

▪ At 1:42 and following he details the scale of the effort:

[NSA was] targetting news organizations … U.S. companies doing international business … financial companies … but they were also going after the State Department … high-ranking military generals … law firms and lawyers … [members of] the Supreme Court [including] Justice Alito … wannabe Senator Barack Obama.

▪ At 4:54 he’s asked, “Who is administering the [Bush-era] surveillance?” His answer:

… I don’t know … it looked like it was being done in the evenings … on the sly. … A high-level person at NSA told me it was being done from the Vice President’s office [Cheney]. I don’t know that for sure, but I was told that by a very senior person at NSA.

▪ At 5:30 and following, Martin and Tice discuss the reason for all the data-gathering on political figures, media figures and the like. Their speculative answer — and mine — is blackmail:

[Martin:] Why was it being done? The first thing that comes to my mind is blackmail.

[Tice:] I don’t know the answer to that … [but] I think you hit the word. … That would be a means of control … if you were to listen in on everyone’s conversations for years on end …

▪ And the kicker, the headline speculation, comes at 6:24. Martin and Tice consider who’s actually running “the show,” meaning the country:

[Tice:] … Is there some kind of leverage that’s being placed on our three branches of government to make sure the intelligence community gets what they want? In other words, is the intelligence community running this country, not our [elected] government?

[Martin:] Is there some sort of shadow government at play? … Who’s running the show here?

[Tice:] I don’t know for sure … but if I had to guess, I would say that it’s the upper echelon of the intelligence community running the show.

Remember, the NSA, according to this same interview, is spying on generals and admirals, starting at about three stars and above, including Gen. Patreus, who is named in the interview. That may well be why Tice says the “upper echelon of the intelligence community” and not the “upper echelon of the Pentagon” are running things. The intelligence community is run by a fairly small group.

▪ Finally, I want to point to this, about what’s so wrong with this spying. At 7:30, when Martin asks, “Politicians have been spying on each other for decades, so how is this different now?” Tice answers:

What’s different about this is … the Orwellian scale. This is the “everything scale” … everybody and everything. Content, not just the metadata. And when the’re say (the spying is) not that far, they are lying.

What’s different is “Orwellian scale, the everything scale.” All Data, in other words. There’s also a megalomaniac scale, which leads to this man.

Who is the “Upper Echelon of the Intelligence Community”?

The top dog of “intelligence community” is clearly this man — Gen. Keith Alexander. His picture is at the start of this piece, in case you pass him on the street.

And here’s what digby says about him, in a piece entitled “Dinner with Alexander the Great“:

Everything I read about this guy [Keith Alexander] makes me think he’s a megalomaniac and dramatically unsuited to the role he’s in. He’s in love with his technology and himself. And there is no limit to the amount of power he thinks he needs to “do his job” — which in his mind, is to save the world.

There are others in this upper echelon — confessed liar-before-Congress James Clapper is another — but I suspect Alexander’s in charge if anyone is. The group would have to be small, 10 to 15 people perhaps, but with wide support within the military (all that spying on generals and admirals probably doesn’t hurt).

The project looks doable to me — especially if they kept their fingers out of every pie that didn’t concern them; if they let the political process, in other words, look like the whole process. So far, though, it’s still speculation.

My Own Best Guess

The “deep state” is the part that can’t be touched by the political process. Does Gen. Alexander help run it? If I had to give my own best guess, I’d say — add the “upper echelon billionaires”  to the intel guys, and you’ve probably listed everyone who counts as someone with a say in what happens when.

Do we go into Syria? That’s probably a fairly open conversation, with lots of voices, including Obama’s, having a say (though none of those voices are yours). Do we send every cop in an Occupy city to join the spook state in a national one-day takedown? With a Yes from every full-blown billionaire and each junior-mint Keith Alexander, Obama couldn’t stop it if he wanted to.

Could you therefore describe modern America as a joint operation between the billionaires and the intelligence community (national spook apparatus), with the political operation serving either or both? Occam’s switchblade has a very sharp edge; yes, you could.

That’s it for now; I’ll come back to Tice’s theory as more develops. Proof of blackmail by the intel folks may well emerge, lending credence to Tice’s speculation.

Of course, proof may not emerge; after all, no one wants to be the next stain on the pavement, do they. Some of these folks may have a taste for vengeance that would wipe that smile off anyone’s face.

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  1. Richard Kline

    Is the US intelligence [sic] upper echelon running the state? They’re not that smart. And they don’t really care about domestic ditties. What Deep Intel is about is: itself. Deep Intel has been substantially in place since 1941 or so. They are completely insulated from the budgetary process (or were until likely temporary Congressional push back after Snowden’s Spillage). They re really about more toys, more boys, more missions, and more dollars for the same. Oh, they believe that the world is safer with them in the skies. And their real mission is ‘No more Pearl Harbors.’ Although, of course, the US knew that one was coming and let the hammer fall for policy reasons. (If you don’t know this last, you haven’t done your homework).

    It’s arguable that Deep Intel has never solved a single Big Thing in its entire history, but since they keep everything ultra secret we’ll never know, will we? Pretty good racket. What Big Intel is about is preserving the utter absence of any accountability for its members whatsoever while increasing their appropriations every biennium. Deep Intel doesn’t have to run anything, under those circumstances. Of course, only those with the mindset to ‘spy all, all the time’ ever make it up that hierarchy, so of course they do.

    Deep Intel isn’t doing anything domestically that J. Edgar didn’t do from the 30s to the 60s, just doing it with more bits in motion. Same paranoid, corrupt mindset, accountable to none, with the goods on anyone who might terminate their meal ticket. A colossal parasitic organism on the body politic in other words. My view . . . .

    1. peace

      I agree with you, Kline; though I appreciate GP’s highlighting this issue.

      Cheney, Rove, and Rumsfeld weren’t Intel and they initiated and pushed through many decisions during W’s years (i.e., they “ran” things on some issues but probably not all). Insiders’ accounts of the Obama White House (e.g., Bernstein, Romer) indicate a machismo oriented group (Summers, Emanuel, Obama) “ran” things for much of Obama’s first term.

      I admit that domestic and omnipresent spying puts a chill over society by inhibiting creativity, irreverence, and any form of dialectical change (if you squelch the antithesis there likely won’t be a synthesis). However, the brouhaha over big data is mainly bs because it’s too much to digest (the metaphor of drinking from a fire hose is apt). Nevertheless, we will need to implement novel and strong guards against digital spying if we want to encourage creative change. Otherwise I’d wager that society will progress less quickly and efficiently; while creative individuals will just seek safer more trustworthy shores.

      Spying involves corruption in the form of lying, cheating and stealing. However, I will admit that I am a bit inured to the corrupt nature of this profession by romanticizing spy thrillers. Spying is a means that is supposedly justified by the ends of fighting an enemy during war – of course Communism and now terrorism are perpetual wars.

      Re: Cabals exist but most organizations and states are run by like-minded individuals with shifting allegiances. Yes, the intel apparatus is unwieldy, oversized, virtually unmonitored, non-transparent by definition, and seemingly inept; but it is just one part of our best-attempt-at-democracic-bureaucracy. Note, I say “our” because I feel we are responsible just as we are responsible for our media. We cannot reasonably spend 24/7 protesting in DC but it’s ours and I refuse to cede my nominal rights of ownership and control over my government.

      1. Richard Kline

        I don’t romanticize spy guys at all, myself. Real spies look like Yevno Azef, Richard Ames, Victoria Pflame, Yosif Grigulevich, Bob Barr, and James Jesus Angleton. It’s a mixed bag that doesn’t add up to a pretty picture. It’s weird to say that Gen. Keith Alexander is about the _best_ you get. *Yeesh*

        I don’t know that big data is the biggest of deals, either. What worries me is ‘small specifics.’ It’s patent the Deep Intel can spy on anyone at, at any time, for any whim, without supervision or check, and plant any kind of ‘evidence’ they might choose, while lying about what they find (or not) to their reporting authorities to further their personal ends. The fact that we have so _few_ evident gross frame-ups of dissidents et. al. (there have been some, specifically very objectionable frame-ups of activist Muslims, but it’s nothing like even in the bad, old Red Scare days as far as can be readily discerned) is symptomatic of the limited ambitions an megalomania in preference to malefication of those with the control codes at present. —But who holds those codes tomorrow or in a time of more active dissent may have quite different agendas. We are looking under the hem of the veil at a potential social catastrophe; the rig just hasn’t been run completely off the rails at the moment. But given human nature, it will be so directed if not largely scrapped. That’s my short-form view.

        1. okie farmer

          Richard, I think you and GP may both being a little naïve. The “intelligence” agencies are hired hands of the deep state, much like Obama, and most of Congress, even the Supreme Court. They work for decent pay and serve their masters quite willingly, knowing they will go on soon to becoming part of the 1%, or at least working for much better pay from the 1%.

          The deep state is a deeply fascist consortium of corporate interests who wish to gain economic/financial hegemony over the entire world. Right now they’re on a roll. If Syria goes down, Iran will be next, which will consolidate hegemony over the entire ME and north Africa. As PNAC’s outline made clear, the ultimate goal is to bring China and Russia to heel. And if/when Syria/Iran is brought to heel, the “pivot to Asia” will proceed accordingly.

          ‘Globalization’, is a term that has a nice ring, like ‘humanitarian intervention’, but both are terms of deceit to hide the fascist project that is going on in plain site.

          1. peace

            Some individuals may think this way, but I think it is more likely they simply beleive they are fighting for a future that matches their values or their perception of progress. I prefer not to label things as larger than they may be; we should keep trying to organize resistance through legislators and activist groups and other peaceful resistance. It is important to keep fighting for a future that matches our non-elitist values (i.e., democratic equal opportunity) because if we become cynical or pessimistic we lose motivation and momentum. (re: cynicism: I appreciate Chris Hedges and Chomsky but I believe their cynicism may partially undermine or neutralize their calls for social activism)

            1. from Mexico

              @ peace

              Realism is not the same as cynicism.

              In terms of realism a sophisticated pessimism is preferable to the naive optimism of the moderns and modern liberal Protestants, who were probably even more sentimental in their appraisal of the moral realities in our political life than the secular idealists.

              David Novak explains the difference between a hopeful realist and a cynic:

              Unlike a cynic, who usually denies the possibility of anything to relieve his or her cynicism, a questioner is open to the possibility of something better. In other words, even a hypothetical affirmation of justice – and hope is always hypothetical – can give one a reason to revolt against what is real injustice. Hope is always hypothetical. It is faith that is certain (see B. Berakhot 4a). And one can have hope even as one questions whether what one hopes for actually exists. But, without that hopeful hypothesis, one’s moral revulsion against injustice is but impotent rage against what one thinks can never be changed.


              1. okie farmer

                Thank you, Mexico. I’m an eternal optimist who sees clearly what is transpiring in a frankly realistic way about the Project that is underway in US, and sadly in the EU. As Huntington outlined in the ‘Crisis of Democracy’, the crisis was that real democracy would threaten rule by the elites if it gained real traction, particularly in US, but anywhere really. His book was commissioned by David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission, and prescribed precisely how to thwart democracy – make election so expensive that ordinary people couldn’t participate, and pick well vetted candidates to insure the ‘right’ people were assured in elective office. The book also promoted Rockefeller’s thesis that ‘bankers can do a better job of running the world than govts’. The Project for a New American Century’s thesis is only an extension of Huntington’s book.

                As best I can tell, the US is the most fascist state since the 15th century. NOW! Without organizing against this corporate takeover, we will suffer in the future more than we’re suffering now. If the TPP is ratified, Katy bar the door!

              2. peace

                Yes! I agree and without attempting to flatter you and will say that I am fond of your comments, Mexico.

                I am trying to distinguish the detrimental demoralizing effects of cynicism from the benefits of realists’ revelations and indignant calls to action. I personally attempt to be open-minded, skeptical and broadly seek diverse perspectives and sources of evidence (realism). I agree with Niebuhr’s anti-idolotry and anti-cult of personality theories (thanks for that link).

                However, I find Chomsky’s and Hedge’s commentaries overly peppered with exasperation and blatant, outright hopelessness (I partially forgive their self-righteousness when tied to activating indignation). They both persevere and act (Kudos! to Hedges for being a major force behind the NDAA lawsuit and to Chomsky for his lifetime of activism). I just find their rhetoric disheartening to people I speak to after their talks – people remember the negative examples instead of the prescriptions for action. They focus on examples of malfeasance instead of their suggested courses of action. As a result, their overarching (or underlying?) narrative comes across as: “I’m smart and you in my audience are smart by association but the public at large is ignorantly beguiled by TV and major media outlets that are beholden to their owners and advertisers/sponsors. There’s no hope because we’re outnumbered, outgunned and underfunded – but thanks for coming to hear me talk.” Am I cynical or am I suggesting a different rhetorical method; I hope the latter.

                I don’t want to undermine them or slow them down; I just must state that I believe the tone of a talk in itself can be demotivating. I may sound Pollyannaish but I am aware of and personally have experienced the hypocritical machinations of individuals and groups who believe in elitism, Social Darwinism, racism, macho-bullying, and ends-justify-the-means warmongers). Hedge’s lawsuit and Newark prison education work are excellent examples that I am glad he mentions and I wish more of us had the heart, time and money to implement. I hope they continue to speak for justice but I encourage them to focus more on specific courses of action.

                I loved when Amy Goodman used to always end interviews by asking guests “And what can viewers do?”

                1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

                  Yes, peace. The native Americans have shamans, some sort of faith-healer mixed with herbs to fight scurvy. But, an optimistic doctor/shaman, or a positive be-witching shaman can make you feel better, just like buying a lottery ticket in materiaslistic North America … I sense u understand vibes and tone of speeches, etc. etc.

                2. from Mexico

                  @ peace

                  Robert Hughes, in his devastating critique of the New Left, came to similar conclusions:

                  For these theorists, all human life was ruled by repressive mechanisms embedded, not in manifest politics, but in language, education, entertainment — the whole structure of social communication….

                  The intellectual, under these conditions, is thought to be as helpless against power and control as a salmon in a polluted stream, the only difference being that we, unlike the fish, know the water is poisoned.

                  Thus, by the theory, we are not in control of our own history and never can be….. It would be difficult to find a worse — or more authoritarian — dead end than this. John Diggins, in The Rise of the American Left, puts it in a nutshell: “Today the intellectual’s challenge is not the Enlightenment one of furthering knowledge to advance freedom: the challenge now is to spread suspicion. The influence French post-structuralism enjoys in American academic life…answers a deep need, if only the need to rationalize failure.”

                3. jrs

                  I find Hedges writing sometimes incredibly powerful, people might find that kind of stuff alarmist, I find it’s the necessarily alarm to wake people the @#$# up while the whole building burns down. So I think that’s the hoped for response – stop sleeping.

                  But as for prescriptions noone knows what the heck to do. I mean really are we getting a lot of systematic thinking about how to stop all the horrible stuff? We should have long essays and debates on it everyday (but not necessarily on this blog, it has other points to make). Should we primary, should we boycott, what?

                  All I have personally seen attempted: work where you actually have some power – non-government (mutual aid etc.), city government, you may have a little say in state government or your Rep if you can meet with them. Because power at any higher levels than that isn’t listening. And then it’s a long slow process to get any of these to pay you any mind and I very much mean even city hall. And by you I mean a group of you if your policies are sensible, incremental, and kind of something they think is a good idea anyway (let’s talk privacy violations: an example removing traffic cameras, hey you might even be able to get the city to remove local *surveilence* cameras. This is doable versus taking on the deep state directly and eliminating the NSA – because while I support that, I am skeptical it can be done at this point – we can only thwart them). But that process is too small and slow to possibly deal with the level of crisis faced, the whole systematic thing, and multiple crisises in multiple areas going on? That’s why Hedges says take to the streets I guess. Does even he know that that would work? I doubt it. It’s just a cry – maybe it will be enough if everyone thronged the streets. Maybe it’s all he can think of. Plenty smart guy, but maybe it’s because he’s too cynical (or in some way too optimistic?), ok very well is our thinking any better?

        2. okie farmer

          Richard, I think you and GP may both being a little naïve. The “intelligence” agencies are hired hands of the deep state, much like Obama, and most of Congress, even the Supreme Court. They work for decent pay and serve their masters quite willingly, knowing they will go on soon to becoming part of the 1%, or at least working for much better pay from the 1%.

          The deep state is a deeply fascist consortium of corporate interests who wish to gain economic/financial hegemony over the entire world. Right now they’re on a roll. If Syria goes down, Iran will be next, which will consolidate hegemony over the entire ME and north Africa. As PNAC’s outline made clear, the ultimate goal is to bring China and Russia to heel. And if/when Syria/Iran is brought to heel, the “pivot to Asia” will proceed accordingly.

          ‘Globalization’, is a term that has a nice ring, like ‘humanitarian intervention’, but both are terms of deceit to hide the fascist project that is going on in plain site.

            1. sierra7

              Okie Farmer:

              You’re revealing state secrets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            2. Jess

              Obviously, I don’t run this site but I hope I speak for all the other readers and commenters when I say that given your medical condition we all appreciate the effort it takes for you to post and are not in the least bit troubled by any inadvertent double posting.

              Truly sad about your condition and hoping you have as many good days as possible.

        3. peace

          I didn’t intend to imply that I don’t care about them spying to collect everything in a big data way. I believe the fundamental idea is to collect everything on everyone so people are scared to whisleblow etc. “because we have everything you’ve ever done online and we could twist something in there into a narrative that would harm you in court or if we leaked it to the press.”

      2. Banger

        Why do you imagine Cheney et. al. are not connected to the deep state? If you have a part of government in a democracy that can operate in secret for over 60 years or more without real oversight (until the Church Committee showed a tip of the iceberg) then what do you suppose will happen? I ask this as someone who is familiar with systems analysis and game theory.

        1. peace

          I believe they share values and methods but not allegiance to a specific, agreed upon set of policies. I agree in general but I am questioning the value of stating they are part of an ambiguous, undefined “deep state.”

          1. Banger

            The deep state is ambiguous–it is an “emergent” sort of structure a series of arrangements between quite a few power-centers in Washington and New York and a few other places. It is not a huge top-down organization except at the lower levels. It is a network of networks and it is robust precisely because of that. Who knows, maybe there’s is some shadowy uber-boss out there but the deep state shows itself in a network form. Cheney and those around him are part of it so is someone like Larry Summers.

            1. jrs

              The argument here though was very specific -> spooks are runing the show. If all one is arguing for is a set of people controlling most of the major institutions including govt. (Power Elite etc.) – yes without a doubt all quite wealthy people, then I don’t know it doesn’t seem to making nearly so controversial a case.

              1. Banger

                The spooks do play, however, a critical role but don’t really “run” things per se as far as I’m concerned. They are sort of the “hit men” of a larger operation.

                1. Banger

                  I would say that the CIA of the Dulles era did, in fact, play a greater and more prominent role in actual leadership than they do now. The Church Committee forced the CIA to put more focus on the contractor community.

            2. participant-observer

              ‘Not necessarily tight knit at the top”

              unless we count Rubin, Summers, Blankfein, Geithner, et. al.

              and by the looks of the current DC shilling, it appears the Saudi princes have enough dogs in the game to get the white house to bark for them too!

        2. darms

          Cheney took home a ridiculous number of $$$$$, thanks to his nice friends at Halliburton and all of their fat gummint’ contracts directly due to his administration’s priorities, both before as their leader & after in stocks, consulting fees, et al. Sounds like a benefit to me…

    2. Patricia

      I don’t buy the shtick that the US Intelligence is a bunch of foolish boys with toys, same as Curtis’ pastiche on MI5-6.

      If I were Intelligence, it’s a meme I’d spread after the plebs discovered me.

      And commenters further into this thread who offer other versions of “meh” are attempting a similar de-fanging.
      Maybe we do it because it’s unpalatable. Well, ok, but the spoonsful of sugar don’t cut the NSA down to manageable size; they only neutralize us.

      1. from Mexico

        I’m with you Patricia.

        Richard Kline’s little narrative there looks entirely too much like “Nothing to see here guys. Move along.”

        I wish Kline would try telling that to the millions of people who have died since the 1950s in the various military coups, dirty wars, assasinations and genocides orchestrated by the US deep state.

        How many overthrows of democratically elected governments, both “friend” and foe, has the US deep state orchestrated? It certainly is in the double digits, if not in the triple digits.

        1. from Mexico

          There’s a great new documentary out which documents the sordid history of the deep state, Counter Intelligence. It’s for those who want something more than a sanitized, exculpatory, self-serving version of the deep state’s criminal past:

          “An extraordinary work by a gifted filmmaker, “Counter-Intelligence” shines sunlight into the darkest crevices of empire run amok. The film vividly exposes a monstrous and unconstitutional “deep state” in which multiple competing chains of command — all but one illegal — hijack government capabilities and taxpayer funds to commit crimes against humanity in our name. Anyone who cares about democracy, good government, and the future will want to watch all five segments of this remarkable film.”

        2. peace

          I agree that there is malfeasance in our government but I prefer to be as specific as possible about the individuals, departments, directives, and organizational cultures that perpetuate malfeasance. I feel that overarching labels diminish individuals’ sense of agency to counteract malfeasance.

          Fundamentally, I believe that conflicting values, mores and worldviews regarding progress and justice underlie social reality. Some groups prefer loyalty and honor; others prefer equality and fair treatment towards every human. These different sets of values justify and legitimate different actions by each party. We should fight the egregious lying and hypocrisy and not be liars ourselves. (that’s my 2 cents).

          1. from Mexico

            peace said:

            Fundamentally, I believe that conflicting values, mores and worldviews regarding progress and justice underlie social reality. Some groups prefer loyalty and honor; others prefer equality and fair treatment towards every human. These different sets of values justify and legitimate different actions by each party.


            And some groups are made up of an assorted lot of kleptocrats, psychopaths, sociopaths and other characteropaths of varying degrees, or to put in layman’s terms, just plain old cheats, murderers, torturers and free-riders.

            You and Richard Kline may try to goo over this reality in your holier-than-thou, hear-no-evil-see-no-evil world of denialism, but I think a lot of people are slowly waking up to the harsh reality of what America is incrementally becoming.

            The presentaton of dubious and cranky interpretations and analyses as self-evident, indisputable truths; and the operation not through the ususal means of civil discourse and persuasion, but via intimidation and intellecutal and moral decree, may work for a while. But I think it’s expiration date is rapidly approaching.

            1. from Mexico

              Or as Andrew M. Lobaczewski explains in Political Ponerology:

              It is a common phenomenon for a ponerogenic association or group [an association or group of psychopaths, sociopaths and other lesser characteropaths] to contain a particular ideology which always justifies its activities and furnishes motivational propaganda. Even a small-time gang of hoodlums has its own melodramatic ideology and pathological romanticism. Human nature demands that vile matters be haloed by an over-compensatory mystique in order to silence one’s conscience and to deceive consciousness and critical faculties, whether one’s own or those of others.

              If such a ponerogenic union could be stripped of its ideology, nothing would remain except psychological and moral pathology, naked and unattractive.

            2. peace

              I’m just asking for specific courses of action to unveil, confront and defeat exactly the type of malfeasant individuals that you mention. Am I undermining your similar intentions and efforts? I hope not.

              and regarding cabals: I am aware they exist and weed out non-players. I know someone who was fired in the ’60s because he wouldn’t join the Masons as a requirement of joining the top management team. Loyalty is a dangerous end in and of itself but like most people I also try to work with others who hold similar values – and you seem to share similar values and beliefs as my own, Mexico. I am not sure I need persuading. I hope my asking for clarification is not undermining. Cheers and peace

              1. from Mexico

                So what do you think about this analysis from Michael Parenti:

                So, I can say to you that school teachers are concerned about their salaries and they’re organizing and they’re threatening a strike and they’re pressuring. I can say to you that farmers are doing this and looking for subsidies and facing certain policies. But the minute I say to you that the very people at the top, the plutocracy, the very rich and powerful, the ones who own most of America, they are consciously pursuing power and wealth, someone will come along and say: “What do you have, a conspiracy theory?” Or they’ll say you’re cynical and paranoid. They’re view is that stuff just happens. Things just happen due to unintended consequences or our leaders are just stupid, and they’re jerks, or they’re confused and they don’t know any better… People who operate in this world operate with intent. There’s no such thing as imperialism without imperialists. There’s no such thing as capitalism without capitalists. There’s no such thing as rulers who are somnambulant who walk around in their sleep.


                Or this?

                And then there were a whole crop of liberal publications… And the charge was to criticize the empire, but never criticize it in the way it was really happening. Criticize the empire because the people who are building this empire, the people who own most of the world, the people who destroyed whole countries and walked away fabulously rich, the people who developed new means of undermining any kind of independence anywhere in the world, these people were stupid. They’re not as smart as those of us stuck away at various universities who are writing these little books, like Chalmers Johnson.

                And so we got critical analyses of American policy, but the criticism was always about how confused our policymakers were. The liberal critics are never happier than when they can rock back on their heels and say: “How confused these leaders are.”…

                And I did a little gathering of the adjectives they used from these various books I mention… Their critiques of US empire characterize US interventionist polices as, quote…”reckless, misguided, inept, bumbling, insensitive, overreaching, self-deceptive, deluded, driven by false assumptions, and presuming a mandate from God.” This policy “was laden with tragic mistakes, and imperial hubris”… They saw this as “a mindless proclivity embedded in the American psyche or culture.”

                Well, I want to argue, and I did argue in this book, and I think I showed it, that empire is not something that is done just because people are overambitious or misguided or inept, or they don’t have your guidance…because you’re so much smarter than all those guys are… It’s imperialism. The empire does imperialism. That’s the process of empire… There are real material interests at stake. There are fortunes to be made many times over. Behind Colonel Blimp there stood the East India Company and the Bank of England. Behind Teddy Roosevelt and the US Marines there stood the United Fruit Company and Wall Street. The intervention is intended to enrich the investors and keep the world safe for their system, for their system of investment, for their system of expropriation, their system of trade, their system of misusing labor and the like.


      2. Brooklin Bridge

        If I were Intelligence, it’s a meme I’d spread after the plebs discovered me.

        My first thoughts too. Note also, Mexico had a curiously similar (calling him out) discussion with him yesterday. And note the trouble Kline went to of being the first to comment. As Yves has noted elsewhere, that first comment tends to color the rest though in this case, not so much.

        1. charles sereno

          I’m lost. What’s GP? Misplaced my Acronymary. I got a lot of good information though. Can’t put it into exact words, but the comments were like rays of sunshine. Reinforced my belief in the “goodness of man” (horrible phrase).

            1. Brooklin Bridge

              I’m usually the first to shrink down to confusion at acronyms around here so welcome.

              1. charles sereno

                I ask forgiveness. I think acronyms are a spontaneous, and somewhat successful, attempt at language reform. Written language, after all, is a domain virtually untouched by scientific improvement (except for writing implements and materials) since its inception 5,000 thousand years ago. The 15th century Korean Hangul experiment and, importantly, the successful Chinese introduction of Pinyin have offered a glimmer of possibilities for the future. More to the topic of the thread, the “Deep State,” linguistics may also throw some light on this subject. Gradable adjectives are often ordered by polar opposites, eg, “deep” vs “shallow.” Usually, one of these is ‘dominant’ (linguists call them ‘unmarked’). For example, it would be odd (marked) to ask — How SHALLOW is your swimming pool? Or, How SHORT is he? One can play fun games with How Questions like these to explore the idiosyncracies of one’s culture. Mercifully, to get back to the “Deep State,” I just thought it could more appropriately called the “Shallow State” because I don’t think it’s going to last.

                1. Brooklin Bridge

                  Traditional blackmail is messy. It creates acute animosity between the “or” and the “ee”. It definitely doesn’t scale well. Think of trying to keep thousands of “blackmail accounts” running smoothly. Even Tice had a hard time with plausibility as he tried to get the term out of his mouth.

                  The idea of intel running things – at least partially – is somewhat plausible, but the way our politicians run around so actively, creatively, and happily engaged in the cause suggests some other incentive than blackmail.

                  1. Brooklin Bridge

                    I put the above comment there by mistake and have moved it (re-pasted) below as a stand-alone.

    3. Banger

      I think you are somewhat delusional. You think they aren’t “smart enought” that they haven’t sovlved any “Big Thing” and so on. What are you talking about?

      The goal of people who are attracted to power in any system is, now give this some thought, power. If you have an opportunity to collect information on people, if you have the opportunity to intimidate, coerce and kill people, overthrow governments, interfere with markets, get involved in partnerships with organized crime (clearly documented) then aren’t you going to use that power to get power, money, women, whatever it is you want? To say that these people are “incompetent” is a pathetic misunderstanding of what goes on in Washington–I can assure you that that world is filled with idiots, to be sure, but also with the excellent and ruthless men and women who exist in every society.

      You cannot understand the political realities of post-WWII America without understanding the deep state and its mission. It does not micro-manange but keeps its hand in. It changes, personalities clash, alliances shift but fundamentally that is where the balance of political power is hence the consistency of policy since Truman and the beginning of that state. Anyone who threatens it is old news and that to can be proven. Somebody is pulling the strings or past policies and the bizarre gyrations of politicians don’t make sense.

  2. CUnknown

    Sure, they can blackmail people if they need to. But how often would that be necessary? With the way money runs our politics, the process of getting any kind of power at all filters out the less corrupt pretty well just by itself.

    I don’t think blackmail of our judges and politicians is the major way that democracy is subverted in this country. But yes I agree that it is a concern.

    Definitely those running the show are the banks, the ultra-rich, the spy and military-industrial complexes. I still vote but I don’t pretend this is a still a democracy.

  3. illuminatiops

    The absolute freedom in the nothing to lose philosophy liberates entirely beyond the illusory cons of men.

    We have courage to know beyond doubt that the greatest stance is to defeat the obsession of dominion with truth.

    Take lives, go on taking lives. Get away with one thousand murders. Threaten, extort, use all the tactics of evil as is and has been done.

    Many more will rise up in courage. The human spirit which is inherently good will conquer the tendency to fall into delusions of ego.

    So let the assholes who have clawed and slaughtered their way there run amok. We are witnessing their crowning, and we will witness the rewards as they reap what they have sown.

    Fear being a spot on the pavement?

    I think not.

    That is for the assholes who hide behind the most archaic effort towards dominion in the face of a rapidly evolving scenario.

    Their directive, lost. Truth be told.

  4. Fiver

    Would like to briefly comment on Yves’ introduction, to note that the “evidence” is now claimed to have come from US intercepts, but virtually the same claim was made and reported previously in Israel. For example, Debkafile had the whole fatuous “scoop” out a couple days ago – it appears the US liked the script and adopted it. Here’s one of many excellent counter-arguments and analyses brought to bear from among dozens of credible, independent sources. Check the links out, too.

    Virtually nobody believes Assad would hang himself out to dry like this. The “intercept” proves precisely nothing, quite apart from it coming as it does from a source with a history for telling the truth that cannot bear scrutiny. The level of argumentation from the Admin, or Cameron, or Hague or Wolf Blitzer is so pathetic it’s evident they all thought the global populous was comatose. Not quite.

    This debacle should not be seen as indicating the Emperor has no clothes. Not one bit. The main objective, which was the destruction of the Syrian polity (like the Iraqi, the Afghani, the Libyan, the Egyptian, the Sudanese, the Somalian….) has already been accomplished. Syria never was a threat – now it’s a corpse. The US/Saudi/Israeli plan for permanent regional dominion will carry on until such time as the American or Israeli people stop it – nobody else can so much as blink without being hammered.

      1. Fiver

        I rather expect it’s being attacked, or even jammed. They’ve been absolutely bang on in their coverage of events from the get-go of the so-called “Arab Spring” – the coordinated effort to follow-up on the destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, the encirclement of Iran with US bases, etc. The “Arab Spring” capitalized on the harsh conditions caused by QE, which rocketed food, fuel and other prices for tens of millions of very poor people, using Westernized “democracy” enthusiasts trained in the US to organize protests calling for unconditional aims,i.e., Mubarak and Assad must go. Unconditional demands virtually always create a much worse situation, as the target has no incentive to negotiate. Roosevelt was heavily criticized at the time and in retrospect for making US war aims unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan, as it ensured at least 2 years of fighting after the war had already been won.

        Check out that site or numerous others by searching “left” or “alternative” or “independent” news sites or some such. Note all are good, but the good ones are readily apparent – very well documented, often from mainstream sources that publish little bits and pieces of a complex story but get their analysis from the people perpetrating the crimes (US and Israeli Governments, largely).

        1. Fiver

          Good of you to locate it. Just goes to show how intense the heat is on independent journalists/analysts post-Snowden.

          This is a pivotal moment for Obama – he is swirling down history’s toilet on this one.

  5. Yonatan

    The US is and always has been a corporatocracy. The NSA is part of it. The CIOA another, The military another. There are good and bad in all of these groups. The key to the system is to infiltrate ke players to block or bypass the good. The placement of key individuals enables multiple groups (those able to ‘pay to play’) to be represented. As others note, the real power of a secret organization comes from being able to force key individuals to comply, probably via blackmail. Perhaps any reluctant high level outsiders get a visit from the equivalent of John Perkin’s jackals (Confessions of an Economic Hitman). “Hey, Mr Hope and Change, here’s a video of the JFK hit we don’t let the public. Nice family you got there. Be good boy and join us.”.

    1. James Levy

      In a country this big, power operates by consensus, has since the elites wrote the Constitution in secret. What I think happens is that if someone doesn’t play ball, their voice simply stops having any impact on the elite consensus. They become “invisible”, the way Robert Reich did under Clinton or Powell eventually did under Bush. For most people, who crave power enough to sacrifice everything in order to get it (see Obama, Barak H.) any hint that they have been put on the shelf will immediately snap them back into line. No death threats are necessary. Troublemakers can be frozen out of the discourse of power and then let go. They keep their mouth’s shut in the hope of getting back in or the fear that they will lose what they have taken with them from while being an insider.

  6. Yonatan

    The US is and always has been a corporatocracy. The NSA is part of it. The CIA another, The military another. There are good and bad in all of these groups. The key to the system is to infiltrate key players to block or bypass the good. The placement of key individuals enables multiple groups (those able to ‘pay to play’) to be represented. As others note, the real power of a secret organization comes from being able to force key individuals to comply, probably via blackmail. Perhaps any reluctant high level outsiders get a visit from the equivalent of John Perkin’s jackals (Confessions of an Economic Hitman). “Hey, Mr Hope and Change, here’s a video of the JFK hit we don’t let the public. Nice family you got there. Be good boy and join us.”.

  7. Paul Tioxon


    Well, it didn’t take long for this worse than Nixon’s little enemy list meme! Is everyone here lying about their age on this site but me and did not live through Watergate. You know, they put a lot of it on TV. They wrote it up in daily papers in great length, put it on the evening news, every single night for years. You may recall that Obama just met with the only team in football history to have a perfect season all the way through the championship, The Miami Dolphins! Nixon never met with them in 1972 as was and is the tradition for presidents. You see, Nixon was so freaked out he couldn’t even deal with football!


    June 5, 1970: Nixon Focuses on Domestic Intelligence Gathering

    President Nixon meets with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, CIA Director Richard Helms, and the heads of the NSA and DIA to discuss a proposed new domestic intelligence system. His presentation is prepared by young White House aide Tom Charles Huston (derisively called “Secret Agent X-5” behind his back by some White House officials). The plan is based on the assumption that, as Nixon says, “hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Americans—mostly under 30—are determined to destroy our society.” Nixon complains that the various US intelligence agencies spend as much time battling with one another over turf and influence as they do working to locate threats to national security both inside and outside of the country. The agencies need to prove the assumed connections between the antiwar demonstrators and Communists. The group in Nixon’s office will now be called the “Interagency Committee on Intelligence,” Nixon orders, with Hoover chairing the new ad hoc group, and demands an immediate “threat assessment” about domestic enemies to his administration. Huston will be the White House liaison. Historian Richard Reeves will later write: “The elevation of Huston, a fourth-level White House aide, into the company of Hoover and Helms was a calculated insult. Nixon was convinced that both the FBI and the CIA had failed to find the links he was sure bound domestic troubles and foreign communism. But bringing them to the White House was also part of a larger Nixon plan. He was determined to exert presidential control over the parts of the government he cared most about—the agencies dealing with foreign policy, military matters, intelligence, law, criminal justice, and general order.”

    July 14, 1970: Nixon Approves ‘Huston Plan’ for Domestic Surveillance
    Edit event

    President Nixon approves the “Huston Plan” for greatly expanding domestic intelligence-gathering by the FBI, CIA and other agencies. Four days later he rescinds his approval. [Washington Post, 2008] Nixon aide Tom Charles Huston comes up with the plan, which involves authorizing the CIA, FBI, NSA, and military intelligence agencies to escalate their electronic surveillance of “domestic security threats” in the face of supposed threats from Communist-led youth agitators and antiwar groups (see June 5, 1970). The plan would also authorize the surreptitious reading of private mail, lift restrictions against surreptitious entries or break-ins to gather information, plant informants on college campuses, and create a new, White House-based “Interagency Group on Domestic Intelligence and Internal Security.” Huston’s Top Secret memo warns that parts of the plan are “clearly illegal.” Nixon approves the plan, but rejects one element—that he personally authorize any break-ins. Nixon orders that all information and operations to be undertaken under the new plan be channeled through his chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman, with Nixon deliberately being left out of the loop. The first operations to be undertaken are using the Internal Revenue Service to harass left-wing think tanks and charitable organizations such as the Brookings Institution and the Ford Foundation. Huston writes that “[m]aking sensitive political inquiries at the IRS is about as safe a procedure as trusting a whore,” since the administration has no “reliable political friends at IRS.” He adds, “We won’t be in control of the government and in a position of effective leverage until such time as we have complete and total control of the top three slots of the IRS.” Huston suggests breaking into the Brookings Institute to find “the classified material which they have stashed over there,” adding: “There are a number of ways we could handle this. There are risks in all of them, of course; but there are also risks in allowing a government-in-exile to grow increasingly arrogant and powerful as each day goes by.” [Reeves, 2001, pp. 235-236] In 2007, author James Reston Jr. will call the Huston plan “arguably the most anti-democratic document in American history… a blueprint to undermine the fundamental right of dissent and free speech in America.” [Reston, 2007.”


    Please people, do yourself a favor, start googling THE HUSTON PLAN. What we are seeing is the culmination of that plan fully activated by the leftovers from Nixon’s Administration: Rumsfeld and Cheney primarily. As you can see, what eventually became the Homeland Security re-organization of intelligence, its consolidation under a Director of National Intelligence to oversee all 17 members of the Intelligence Community, originate at the June 5, 1970 meeting in the White House by the request of Pres Nixon. At the time, there was no Congressional oversight committee or FISA court, this was Nixon trying to consolidate power within his office to go after any and all opposition, not a small enemies list. And he planned on using the CIA, The NSA, The FBI and The DIA and the IRS and the US Post Office, and that was just the start. There is reason that every picky point of useless crap becomes a republican scandal “worse than Watergate”, because Nixon WITH Watergate actually operated a NATIONAL police state apparatus directed against the entire nation and most of its citizens. The reach extended into Native American territories with FBI agents in shoot outs placing Russel Means as one of the victims of the power grab. The stories came out daily like a flood, and now barely commented on.

    Every time you here about a Scandal-GATE, it is because everyone with ears and eyes alive at the time knew for a fact that Nixon was corrupt and thrown out by his own party and the democrats together. The “What did he know and when did he know it?’ crap means nothing without talking about the power grab at the center of what was being covered up. This was a highest level of criminality achievable, and as far as coup’s go, not slow motion at all. The Huston Plan was just one part, but a broadly sweeping plan that forever changed the way the people look at government. There are secret organizations with so much power, that they can reach out into any of lives for any reason, and we won’t even know its happening or why. And if someone is ruined by this accidently or on purpose as a target, it is never discussed except maybe decades later, as if some terrible thing that used to happen long ago before modern times. Well, Watergate was almost 50 years, JFK’s murder is 50 years ago. But when you lived through it, it was not a concept of words and phrases, it was a lived experience.


    The U.S. Intelligence Community is a coalition of 17 agencies and organizations, including the ODNI, within the Executive Branch that work both independently and collaboratively to gather and analyze the intelligence necessary to conduct foreign relations and national security activities. Members of the IC.

    Air Force Intelligence
    Department of the Treasury
    Army Intelligence
    Drug Enforcement Administration
    Central Intelligence Agency
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    Coast Guard Intelligence
    Marine Corps Intelligence
    Defense Intelligence Agency
    National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
    Department of Energy
    National Reconnaissance Office
    Department of Homeland Security
    National Security Agency
    Department of State
    Navy Intelligence


    They have finally achieved Inter-Agency operational status, just as The Huston Plan designed.

    1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

      You seem pretty well-versed in those shenanigans. It often seems at first glance to come straight-out of an imaginative “Twilight Zone” episode (to me, anyway). I remember reading about the story of David Atlee Phillips. He quit the Company around 1970, went to Europe and wrote a book about the Company. He had weird adventures. I forget the name of the book. There’s a profile/biography of David Atlee Philips at this link:

  8. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

    Yves, i came here over 4-5 years ago & on&off. You run the show, and the machines carry the N.C. Banner (say the iconic “Econned” book-cover?). No need for cryptic heraldic symbols 4 now. My 2 cents 4 today.

  9. allcoppedout

    UK media immediately heralded Cameron as pathetic, broken-backed and such after Parliament’s vote – I can’t stand the Tories but a lot of them spoke good sense yesterday. There was no democratic triumph, but more of a blip. It seems our MPs know Blair lied on Iraq and subverted politics, which raises the question of why we haven’t prosecuted him and Parliament doesn’t see this as its job.

    Cameron accepted the result in good grace, but behind the scenes now the whips will get into action and our deep politics set will try to get new information to fix blame on Assad and collate new atrocities to show the public and rebel MPs were wrong and the vote cowardly. With this propaganda in place there will be a new, forced (3-line whip) vote.

    Yesterday raised the vile Blair and his lies in public consciousness and shows the Tory coalition in brief democratic light – whether in cock-up or deeper plan. Either way, Cameron can now come back at us with some kind of ‘based on information not available at the time’ analysis along with ‘Britain is not the kind of country that can stand idly by’ guff – next week I guess and lay claim he has consulted us. This will give the rebels and out as they are whipped into line. By then US and French strikes will have taken place, we will know whether the Russians are doing anything and will be able to coat-tail at least risk to ourselves. Simples!

  10. Skeptic

    The mention of J Edgar Hoover is quite appropriate. The books I read had Hoover having all the Dirt there was to have and using it. However, those books did not describe his filing system or how he maintained his Database, so to speak, or who might have maintained it for him.

    Today, we have proof that there is a massive storage of Dirt on most Americans paid for with their tax dollars (or money borrowed from Suckers). There is a also proven massive mining and massaging of that data. We no longer have a Hoover System but one maintained and ACCESSED by thousands (or more) of USSTASI agents. It is decentralized and uncontrolled. Snowden proved this Big Time. So, instead of one Hoover, we have thousands of them and they are proliferating as the system expands and more and more components are added to it. And, as that is done, there is less and less ability to control the system.

    Sort of A Moore’s Law for SPOOXing. Maybe the cop in the squad car with the onboard computer will have as much power as Hoover once did.

  11. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

    Separating the gibberish from the meaningful gets harder as years go by. Since gibberish is meaningless and it’s purpose is to obfuscate, it goes as: “Out with the blue gibberish, in with the purple gibberish.” Then, there’s the meaningful code words, with an actual long linguistic lineage. For example, logo —> Trade Mark —> Hall Mark —> Brands. Originally, a “Brand-Mark”-type logo was, i think, obtained by apposing a very hot piece of steel/iron (with e.g. a number or “design”) onto the hide of a beast one owned … (pretty inhumane).

  12. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

    A worthwhile book, methinks: “Washington Babylon” by Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein.

  13. Maju

    Thanks, very informative, Gaius (and Yves). It is good that the deep state is exposed for what it is.

    As for those above who happily claim that “hey don’t really care about domestic ditties”, that’s so absolutely naive! Ruling an Empire implies controlling the homeland first and foremost, very especially in times of deep crisis like the ones we live through; those are the real “America’s chicken coming home to roost”: did you ever heard of Gladio?, of the mass recruitment of nazis and mafiosi to service The Empire? What’s the difference between the Bolonia false-flag attack and the 9-11 false-flag attack? Just a megalomaniac imagination typical of Hollywood.

    Whoever thinks that what happened to Aldo Moro, Petra Kelly or Olof Palme can’t happen to their North American equivalents is completely blind.

    1. from Mexico

      Maju says:

      As for those above who happily claim that “hey don’t really care about domestic ditties”, that’s so absolutely naive! Ruling an Empire implies controlling the homeland first and foremost…


  14. Hugh

    The intelligence community did not foresee the breakup of the Soviet Union at a time when its whole focus was the USSR. It did not prevent 9/11 although it had enough intel to do so. It took them 10 years to find Osama bin Laden even though he was about where many of us thought he was. And of course, there was the whole fiasco and fairy tales concerning Iraqi WMD.

    The truth is that the intelligence community is abysmal at its ostensible job. But if we look at it as part of the surveillance state and as a servant of kleptocracy, its purpose is not to make us safe. This larger state is dedicated to the destruction of the middle class, the social safety nets, and our privacy. It has never been about safety. It is about control. Kleptocracy is a class phenomenon, and the surveillance state is an instrument of class war.

    It is not one small group to rule them all and in the darkness bind them. Rather it is the classes of the rich and their servant elites, competing and jockeying among themselves but always with their primary focus on looting and disempowering us, who are calling the shots.

    Conspiracy just doesn’t capture the scope of the struggle. It is not some of our elites who are working against us, but all of them. All of our public institutions are being used against us, as represented by the political parties, the Congress, the White House, the judiciary, the regulators, the academics, and the media. The intelligence community is another such institution and like them it too is pressed into the service of the rich and elites. To assert that it is calling the shots is to have the tail wagging the dog. It misses the larger picture.

    1. Patricia

      Hugh wrote: “The truth is that the intelligence community is abysmal at its ostensible job. But if we look at it as part of the surveillance state and as a servant of kleptocracy, its purpose is not to make us safe. This larger state is dedicated to the destruction of the middle class, the social safety nets, and our privacy. It has never been about safety. It is about control.”

      This ^^

      Anyone looks incompetent when being evaluated by the wrong job description. And when they give us that wrong description, then they are lying.

      And to the extent that we insistently believe the lie and continue to evaluate their performance by it, we, not they, are showing incompetency.

      It’s understandable. But we need to get over it.

    2. washunate

      Well said. The breadth of assault on all our institutions seems not fully understood even at this late hour of the class war.

    3. from Mexico

      The chief value of secret policing organizations, Hannah Arendt writes in The Origins of Totalitarianism, “is in their unsurpassed capacity to establish and safeguard the fictitious world through consistent lying.”

      And what is this “ficticious world”? It is the creation of some arch-enemy, or some “ficticious global conspiracy” which poses a grave threat to the life of the nation.

      As Arendt goes on to explain in Eichmann in Jerusalem , during WWII the lie most effective with the whole of the Gemman people was the slogan of “the destiny for the German people” which suggested “that it was a matter of life and death for the Germans, who must annihilate their enemies or be annihilated.”

      “The pathological authorities are convinced that the appropriate pedagogical, indoctrinational, propaganda, and terrorist means can teach a person with a normal instinctive substratum, range of feelings, and basic intelligence to think and feel according to their own different fashion” (Andrew M. Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology).

      The “intellectual elite,” Arendt goes on to explain, become obsessed with “the terrible, demoralizing fascination in the possibility that gigantic lies and monstrous falsehoods can eventually be established as unquestioned facts, that man may be free to change his own past at will, and that the difference between truth and falsehood may cease to be objective and become a mere matter of power and cleverness, of pressure and infinite repetition.”

      1. James Levy

        That’s the conclusion I am being forced into. For most of the people, most of the time, truth is whatever floats their boat. The Enlightenment project of replacing ignorance and superstition with reason and fact was a nice idea, but it hasn’t caught on. Charles Sanders Pierce said over a century ago that people believe what society tells them to believe, that the scientific method was alien to most minds because its answers refused to conform with the emotional and psychological needs of human beings. As long as we don’t see death staring us in the face, we can maintain any illusion we like (and some people can even ignore imminent death to preserve their comforting illusions).

        As an academic, I was trained to think and write using reason and evidence. However, in popular discourse, such an approach appears to me to be an exercise in futility. The idea that we will “expose” the perfidious and unconstitutional actions of the Deep State, and this will energize the people to rise up and demand redress, is just not the case.

        1. Banger

          Amen to that. The deep state has been revealed over and over again with single bits of evidence and patterns of conduct. There is no way a reasonable person cannot come to the conclusion that the deep state exists–just looking at the consistency of U.S. foreign policy despite very different Presidents.

          Having said that, I believe that those attracted to the extra-legal world of intel believe precisely what we both believe–the vast majority of people cannot and will not use reason to evaluate their world and their situation. We are hard-wired to connect with others not come up with our own conclusions based on fact–only outsiders are able to do that. Some outsiders are attracted to the arts others to action. Those recruited for government intel service are attracted to the idea that there are an elite who understand how the world works and can and should act beyond the madness of those who are unable to reason. Their ideology runs directly against democracy and for oligarchy. They know, because they have always been smarter and more insightful than their classmates that they are superior in these areas. Walter Lippman wrote the defining book of what motivates people attracted to power Public Opinion. These Americans were not after the power to just assert personal domination over others (though I think that figures into it eventually) but to preserve our country and our society from the vagaries of public stupidity.

      2. peace

        Hugh and Mexico make valid points. I just think that we must motivate ourselves (___ing hard to do, I can attest to that!) and keep dissent alive. And towards this end I keep harping on keeping the goals specific because a well tested theory of goal setting indicates that goal specificity, difficulty and commitment leads to improved performance (there is high empirical reliability and validity for this theory)(Locke & Latham, 1990, “A Theory of goal setting and task performance”).

    4. charles sereno

      “It is not one small group to rule them all and in the darkness bind them. Rather it is the classes of the rich and their servant elites, competing and jockeying among themselves but always with their primary focus on looting and disempowering us, who are calling the shots.” (Hugh)

      This could be a rough draft of a grievance in a new “Declaration of Independence.” However, an unavoidable tension arises from characterizing the conflict in such stark opposites. Common experience tells us that there are many self-deluded kleptocrats and many more of “us” aspiring to that happy condition. I can sympathize with such people, but not to the extent of condoning in any way their behavior. Your approach is commendable. It may have its greatest effect after catastrophic events.

    5. Banger

      I’ve actually known people in the intelligence and covert ops community, not well but well enough to know that they, generally, do not see themselves as servants of a kleptocracy. To put it crudely they see themselves as the preservers of civilization.

      I do not believe the movers and shakers of the deep state ever wanted quite what we are seeing now–the destruction of the middle-class. I suspect, however, that this deep state has become corrupted by the lures of power, money and who knows what else and now favors more earthy and selfish goals–that is what I suspect being out of touch with the new breed.

      But let’s be clear here–the old guardians of civilization would, as members of an elite Guardian class, not stop at anything to accomplish their mission. Assassination, false-flag, propaganda, lies, character assassination, torture to accomplish their goals and the new class is similarly willing to do the same.

      1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

        Would you like to be commissioned to write the books: “Dynasty II” and while we’re at it, tomes III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XXVII and XXVIII?

        1. Banger

          If the money was right–why not? If you are trying to make fun of me I don’t get it. I’ve been around the world of Washington all my life I’m not some crazy guy in a basement. I can, if commissioned, write a precis on the evidence of this deep state starting around the time of WWI. There is no secret history–it’s all there direct proof, direct testimonies by a myriad of people indicating its formation. BTW, it is not a Dynasty style top-down arrangement but a network of networks.

          1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

            Mister Banger, I offer my heart-felt regrets for any offense I may have caused you. I believe what you say, simply because from my readings, it’s very believable. My attempt at a joke (turned sour) was simply an effort to offer comic relief, since things look grim and sinister. May peace be with you.

            1. Banger

              Hey, no offense taken–I’m used to being attacked about my interest and championing of deep politics–it upsets most people. Sorry for missing some of the fun–always good to have my leg pulled–it’s healthy for me.

      2. Doug Terpstra

        You want the truth? “You can’t handle the truth!”

        Hugh seems to describe a class confederacy rather than a secret conspiracy cabal like Skull & Bones, Illuminati, Masons, or Bilderberg Group. I’d call this kleptocracy class a “neo-confederacy”. And this neo-confederacy is just as dedicated to elitist power and superiority as antebellum slaveholders, claiming the same messianic certainty that they are indispensable to the well being of those they dominate. How wonderful that this new confederacy—no longer race-based but class-based — has a reincarnated neo-Dixiecrat to lead it.

        In truth, I think it’s both: a transparent neo-confederacy as well as secret, murderous, semi-autonomous cabals in dark tunnels working to enslave us all and in their darkness bind us. There is almost certainly a cabal as GP implies within the Stazi apparatus, which operates independently to fulfill the kleptocracy’s goals—total control and the destruction of democracy. The kleptocracy relies on men like Keith Alexander (Colonel Jessup, A Few good men)—yes, a cabal—within the NSA to get things done, in the dark like Cheney, with barely plausible deniability.

        The cabal is not at the pinnacle of absolute power; it’s just beneath it, but it’s there, and it’s evil. After Snowden, Tice, and Assange, we can’t deny it any longer.

        1. Dr. Noschidt

          DT, it is the “perfected” (perfectly efficient) 1000-yr. Reich. See “Babylon’s Banksters” for the third third.

      3. Hugh

        “I’ve actually known people in the intelligence and covert ops community, not well but well enough to know that they, generally, do not see themselves as servants of a kleptocracy. To put it crudely they see themselves as the preservers of civilization.”

        And yet as you later note in the service of preserving “civilization”, they grant themselves license to commit any and every barbarity. Villains seldom consider what they are doing villainy. They do not ask themselves what villainy they can accomplish today. They dress it up with high sounding phrases which they often believe themselves. Lloyd Blankfein thinks he is doing “God’s work”. Geithner, Bernanke, and Obama, all believe they saved the financial world, and that that world was good and worth saving. As I have pointed out in the past, believing something does not absolve someone from acting in bad faith. The SS officer is no less guilty, no less responsible for the deaths of those he murdered because he was a true believer in nazism and its doctrines of racial purity. The rich and elites, precisely because of their wealth and position which comes from society, have the duty to walk that extra mile, to question whether they are serving primarily society or themselves.

        That we are living in a late stage kleptocracy means they are by definition not acting in good faith. If they were, they would be using their power and resources to rebel against it, and their class. But we do not see this rebellion against their class, even among so-called liberal critics. Liberal pundits will pooh pooh certain abuses but they continue to embrace the surveillance state and their class. A Krugman or a Stiglitz conduct the same pantomime in economics. They remain true to their class, and in doing so, they operate in bad faith. They militate for the continuation of the kleptocratic state even as they criticize aspects of it. They and your “preservers of civilization” can not duck responsibility by denying knowledge of the kleptocratic nature of the state. They are tasked with knowing these things. Their positions, prestige, and wealth flow from their supposed expert knowledge of them. So either they are quacks or criminals. I give them credit for being intelligent and so I incline to the latter.

  15. allcoppedout

    Richard has the spooks right – weird collection. They must be sitting on a wad of information on the financial world and all kinds of dodgy dealings. There is a revolving door to banking for them too, raising questions on how much intelligence gathering is available to varieties of high finance. One possibility is that banks were actually asked to do money-laundering in a deal leaving them with the profits and the spooks with the information.

    The trouble with spook information is that it can be totally fictional and the means to gather it is blown if you have to declare it. No CHIS (covert human intelligence source) is likely to be any further use once exposed and the same is true of even simple-level electronics like mobile phones. The reluctance to expose surveillance methods makes the excuse of protecting them elide into giving false information that makes the required points and protects the real source – it’s not much of a leap after that just to write-up false information. Warrants obtained to make evidence admissible in court often act as a block to questions on where the information is really coming from – one might, for instance, take out a wire tap warrant to protect the man ashore you have in the target organisation.

    It is very difficult to understand how and why we have infiltrated human and animal rights organisations to the extent of cops having affairs with participants, and yet not got inside the banksters knickers. When you look at Cyprus, Ireland and Greece it looks as though any financial spooks they have were caught with their pants down – and typical cycles of hot money effects on developing countries suggest they have not developed counter-financial-espionage.

    One of the criteria spooks are supposed to take into account is the nation’s financial security. Thus you’d expect a first minister to ask questions on whether financial activity poses a threat such as the recent bail-out-ins and QE. It seems any answer was the bureaucratic equivalent of ‘no clue boss’. It could be, of course, that any minister asking such questions would soon be investigated out of office – if the shadow rule is really in place.

    I only dealt with low-level bent cops and they had often sold out for very grubby reasons, often starting in informer situations. Quite what the ‘trust’ mechanisms of the current kleptocracy might be is almost to scary to think about against the low level squalor. That our secret services seem to have been impotent against trillion dollar scams effectively with public money is pretty bad, though in speculation we might think there is a bigger game and they are players in it.

    1. Banger

      I’m glad you brought up low-level cop corruption which is as you describe it. It’s actually a life-style that life on the edge of legality and is done simply because guys (usually guys) find themselves in that edge-world where they have considerable scope to influence events in other people’s lives and they just get off on it regardless of the money.

      On the deeper level it’s not much different in the world of covert-operations and intel. People are into it, it’s fun, power expands and that’s more fun–there’s interesting stuff to do and you discover a world where all the normal rules don’t apply–very heady stuff.

    1. Doug Terpstra is currently offline…hmmm…high traffic or NSA hacking?

      The manifestly false Syrian scenario is generating a lot of intrigue—in two meanings: deception and fascination. Here’s more credible reporting on the Saudi connection:

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Curiously, now my own link fails…hmmm. The linked article from MintPress suggests that the Kingdom of SA supplied the weapons but that the deployment in that area was accidental:

      The U.S., Britain, and France as well as the Arab League have accused the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for carrying out the chemical weapons attack, which mainly targeted civilians. […]

      However, from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.

      “My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.

      Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”

      Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels.

      Abdel-Moneim said his son and the others died during the chemical weapons attack. That same day, the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaida, announced that it would similarly attack civilians in the Assad regime’s heartland of Latakia on Syria’s western coast, in purported retaliation.

      “They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K.’ “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”

      “When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.
      A well-known rebel leader in Ghouta named ‘J’ agreed.[…]

      “We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” ‘J’ said.

      More than a dozen rebels interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government.

      In a recent article for Business Insider, reporter Geoffrey Ingersoll highlighted Saudi Prince Bandar’s role in the two-and-a-half year Syrian civil war. Many observers believe Bandar, with his close ties to Washington, has been at the very heart of the push for war by the U.S. against Assad.
      Ingersoll referred to an article in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph about secret Russian-Saudi talks alleging that Bandar offered Russian President Vladimir Putin cheap oil in exchange for dumping Assad.

      The Saudi connection (with CIA consent) makes the most sense, given proven evidence from prior gas attacks by the rebels.

      1. Dr. Noschidt

        DT, recall Bandar Bush w/ GHWBush for Carlyle A.M of 9/11. “Five countries in seven years” said the Boss of Us. (better late than never)

  16. washunate

    That this conversation is worth having is fantastic.

    For my two cents, I’d say no. It appears to me that the national security state is mostly about itself (more money/men/missions/etc.). I think it is more used by others with an agenda than being the central driving force.

    If anything, Hoover shows the limits of spying/intimidation. MLK and the civil rights movement won. Generations born after the 1960s are far more anti-racist, anti-war, and anti-inequality than the previous generations. And with massive population and communications growth, it has become that much harder for a small group of people to control things in this way – just too many moving parts.

    One final thought: no doubt intelligence is being collected against government officials. But the notion that Obama, for example, is being actively blackmailed against his will is way too convenient. Obama is doing what he is doing because this is what he came into office to do.

    1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

      From history, a dozen martyrs and a fortiori 500 martyrs (public killings, that is, in plain sight) will send the Great Ship of State spinning, wobbling and whizzing around …

  17. Hnadgrip

    Wheat or Tares? It’s A Daily Choice

    “The Lord is always sowing wheat into our lives, planting for a bountiful crop. Satan is busy too, in this fallen world, sowing tares however, wherever and whenever he thinks they will take root.” Mattew 13:25


  18. we're back in the 1950's

    Is Obama’s attack, coming today possibly, just a week before the G20 meeting in Russia, part of a plan to wreck relations with the Russians, by way of a major Obama FU to Putin (and the world)? The timing is perfect if one were trying to reignite the Cold War. If so, maybe it’s time to dust off the bomb shelter plans. Duck and cover everyone!

    1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

      May i suggest “Gold Warriors” , a book, by Sterling&Peggy Seagrave. Of course it’s very weird, but by now i’ve read about so many true&weird, depraved, despotic things that it seems completely normal.

    2. Banger

      Goes back further than 50 years. Some Wall Street banks operated their own international intel services from the beginning of Wall Street–those services became the prime recruitment ground for the many intel services which were sort of centralized with the CIA under Truman. The CIA recruited, btw, the best and the brightest from universities at that time and installed them in businesses but focused, rightly, on the media which to this day has multiple intel assets some who are very obvious.

      1. nobody

        “The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson.”

        — FDR to Colonel House, November 21, 1932

  19. TC

    Yves, I don’t think “slow motion military coup” is at all accurate, not when the so called “deep state” has been chugging along in its current form since the days of Averill Harriman and Prescott Bush in the early 20th century, representing a “public-private partnership” of sorts, but more so demonstrating the intimate connection between seditious, Anglophile scoundrels and private finance (read: the New Venetian Party). We should recall the [not inconsequential] financial backers of one A. Hitler were from Brown Brothers Harriman whose ties to the so-called “military-industrial complex” were, and likely still are, “deep.” As such, there should be no mistaking a woefully insolvent and vulnerable private finance haling from the London-New York Axis of Fraud pretty much is calling all the shots here. Ever since the al Qaeda stacked and NATO backed “Syrian rebels” started getting their asses handed to them in Qusayr, the New Venetians have been on a psy-op terror.

    As an aside, it might be useful to recognize Skull & Bones is a bi-partisan warmongering unit (all the Bushes are alumni) whose current manifestation is Sec. of State Kerry. I would also contemptuously note the only thing this guy has going for him is a nation chock full of suckers–Eskimos to whom you could sell snow cones in December.

    “…[F]ew imagined that the Big Brother project was so far advanced”? I’m trying to think of a Secretary of State in the past, oh, say, 15-20 years who hasn’t at some point in their tenure brought a reaction from yours truly in the form of a click of the heals and a Nazi salute. The U.S. State Department is a cesspool, and I would contend the place where the “chicken or egg” issue is settled.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, this time it actually is different.

      Local policing has been a critically important check on the reach of the defense/intel apparatus into ordinary people’s lives. As readers have observed on other NC threads, most effective detective work relies on gumshoe work, not fancy data-driven searches (although once a suspect is under scrutiny, it can provide useful corroboration and background and fill in gaps).

      We now have the defense apparatus infiltrating local police, via increased hiring of ex soldiers as cops and paramilitary approaches to policing which rely on Federal funding for equipment and one assumes related training.

      1. Dr. Noschidt

        YS, also ex-military in State gov’t, public-private party, education spots. They know the drill, and their obedience to “higher authority” command is ensured. Ex-military or contract mercenary is the prime pick in M-I States.

      2. Kb

        I think there are many parallels to the rise of the security state to power in the Japanese Empire in the 1930s–the anthrax letters being the single most obvious. It was a situation where democratic institutions seemed to continue on functioning but in reality had been reduced to a figurehead role with the security establishment calling the shots behind the scenes.

        I found it fascinating when someone managed to drag out the poor long-retired author of Embracing Defeat (a well-regarded history of post-war Japan) to write up a “definitive” book of parallels between the IJE and the current USA that managed to systematically miss all the blaringly obvious ones.

      3. Kb

        I think there are many parallels to the rise of the security state to power in the Japanese Empire in the 1930s–the anthrax letters being the single most obvious. It was a situation where democratic institutions seemed to continue on functioning but in reality had been reduced to a figurehead role with the security establishment calling the shits behind the scenes.

        I found it fascinating when someone managed to drag out the poor long-retired author of Embracing Defeat (a well-regarded history of post-war Japan) to write up a “definitive” book of parallels between the IJE and the current USA that managed to systematically miss all the blaringly obvious ones.

      4. Glenn Condell

        ‘We now have the defense apparatus infiltrating local police’

        And no doubt reading their emails and texts, perusing their web activity, listening to calls, etc…

    2. Glenn Condell

      ‘As an aside, it might be useful to recognize Skull & Bones is a bi-partisan warmongering unit (all the Bushes are alumni) whose current manifestation is Sec. of State Kerry’

      Bush bad cop, Kerry good cop, both S and B cops. They must have a good laugh when they have their secret get-togethers, marvelling over our endless capacity to be hoodwinked. I wonder if he himself had a hand in the Swift Boating. Watching him drone away half asleep in the service of another war of empire provided a contrast to that young thruster Blair of Iraq, who was full of such gimlet-eyed passion for the bullshit he almost believed it himself. But then Blair was auditioning for 1%er membership, Kerry’s forebears got there long ago.

      Circulation of the elites, eh? It says something when your last two pre-Obama progressive wing Preznit candidates are Kerry and Gore.

  20. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

    Another example: Captain Morgan, the pirate, was also a privateer. He was a cruel man. But, he was the English’s pirate, raiding stuff off the Spanish New-World Territories. So, the Brits. turned a blind eye to Morgan’s criminal activities. I think that’s true . (?)

  21. Sleeper

    Look folks the interception of correspondence by state agencies and state actors is long established. The Greeks, the Romans, the Elizabethians, and many other state actors used and abused the power to intercept and decipher correspondence.

    So stop worrying and learn to love a state that protects and watches over us with all seeing eyes.

    There are some questions though which NSA ought to be asked since assuredly they have both the metadata and the substance to answer these burning questions.

    1) Were the 2012 election results from Ohio tampered with ?

    2) What role did the IT shop in Nashville play ?

    3) Who coordinated the assualt on Occupy – This was after all a assualt on our Constitutnal first ammendment rights which by the way all federal employees are bound by oath to defend.

    4) Who coordinates the importation of illicit drugs ?

    1. zygmuntFRAUDbernier

      While it’s true that spying on the commons, the lords, or just about anyone intra-nation is perfectly normal, it’s the MASSIVE scale of it today that freaks me out.

    2. Glenn Condell

      (5) Are Jamie Dimon and Jon Corzine telling the truth about what they knew and when they knew it, re the London Whale and MF Global fiascos respectively?

      (6) Where is the iPhone I lost last month?

  22. Jeremy Grimm

    Didn’t Stalin and later Putin rise to power through the Secret Police? It seems to me that whether someone is pulling the strings from a backroom or not makes the assumption that everything is in place to make such control possible. That assumption alone should be sufficient cause for grave concern.

    Is it wrong to ask why we need the Patriot Act, a Department of Homeland Security, the NSA and the CIA? A state requires some spy-craft but our state seems to have a good deal more spy-craft than necessary.

  23. susan the other

    If GP is talking abut the billionaires who become rich because of their prior connections to our shadow government, then it is possible that some of them help to pull the strings. The oil patch comes to mind; silicon valley; military hardware. But as a broad category of villains, most other billionaires are pretty focused on their earnings, not the next war (unless they were MIC to begin with). We shouldn’t stereotype them too much. I’m pretty sure a majority of them are happy to be rich enough to sail off and capsize their high tech catamarans, probably out of sheer boredom..

    1. Gaius Publius

      Thanks, Susan the other. I’m really taking this as a work-in-progress, trying to suss out the players and their structural interactions.

      I do think the Kochs and the Rubins have a role, that this is at least a three-handed game: top billionaires (those who get most of the rewards and who totally control the front-end political process by vetting and funding candidates, et al); the military, who at this point I think are controlled by the Intel core; the top political actors, party leadership, who are junior players but play a major role (they’re the public face), so their preferences have to be considered, depending on the issue at stake.

      Once you add the billionaires to the structural deep state concept, and you see a power triangle, you start looking at how the two most powerful elements interact directly.

      IOW, what kind of direct contact is there between the Rubins et al and the military/intel guys? Or is it just that each has a separate goal and mutually reinforcing behavior and each keeps to its own sphere?

      I don’t have that answer, but I want to model this state structure accurately, so I’m working on the possibilities. Also, I don’t want to go off half-cocked; fully cocked is my preference.

      A preliminary thought; the masters of Raytheon, for example, have feet in both groups. What’s their role?

      I guess this almost has to be done in terms of literary analysis — start with what each character wants and proceed from there to how they try to get it.

      All of which means, thanks, susan. And stay tuned.


        1. Dr. Noschidt

          Let them get serious: connections by DNA haplotype, by Milner Round Table and the Commonwealth of Nations connection, by Rhodes Scholarship connection, by UN position, by CIA connection.

      1. James Levy

        I’m not being snarky here, but how is this different from what C. Wright Mills wrote in 1956? If you read The Power Elite from cover to cover, I think you see he nailed this a long time ago.

        1. Gaius Publius

          CAT hat: Thanks for the link. I’ve already found some new data. This helps. Will check.

          James Levy: No problem. What’s wrong with several of us being right? I don’t claim to be original, just working at the present time. Thanks for the thought.


        2. Jeremy Grimm

          Domhoff — author of ‘Who Rules America’, the books, and website does indeed pay homage to C. Wright Mills. I believe that Domhoff argues (I can’t recall all the details of his argument) that his work extends, elaborates and makes more precise the analysis that C. Wright Mills made in his books and essays.

      2. Emma

        Aren’t Alexander, Rubin, Peterson etc. all regular Bilderberg Conference participants? In addition, haven’t they all been involved in various “Independent” Task Force Reporting via the Council on Foreign Relations?

      3. Glenn Condell

        ‘Once you add the billionaires to the structural deep state concept, and you see a power triangle, you start looking at how the two most powerful elements interact directly… IOW, what kind of direct contact is there between the Rubins et al and the military/intel guys?’

        You can’t leave Israel and its Lobby (not necessarily in that order) out of calculations and connections like these.

        Big Media, Big Intel, Big Banks, Big Oil, Big MI complex/contractors, – they are the fortresses and power bases of the 1% and the Lobby has fellow-travellers manning the ramparts of all of them.

        ‘Or is it just that each has a separate goal and mutually reinforcing behavior and each keeps to its own sphere?’

        Some separate goals no doubt (which don’t appear to conflict, at least not publicly), but lots of shared goals. See Iraq; would not have occurred if the interests of Big Oil, the MI complex and contractor community, and crucially Israel, were not in agreement. The banks and the spooks probably weren’t as keen, but not unhappy with the idea, and happy enough to have skin in The Game once it had begun.

  24. susan the other

    But on our surveillance state and this 2005 clip. I agree with Richard that nothing is new here. The first person I read, back in the early 90s, on the subject of the “deep state” was Peter Dale Scott. And he was saying the same stuff. I’m of the opinion that we have always been devious; that our goal has been to control world markets by controlling strategic resources. But this new war in the Middle East is the most sinister and relentless example I can remember. If we (us, the Saudis, the Israelis, or whoever) actually used the sarin gas on those Syrians, it is an unacceptable use of power and it destroys the power to do false flag ops because it is simply over the top. I really do not think we want to go in to Syria to remove Assad. We want to use turmoil in Syria to go in all the way to Dagestan and appropriate the southern Caspian to control oil. But what do I know? It is a pretty awful tactic, gassing civilians, and everyone on TV like Ambassador Ginsburg and Jamie Rubin, and all the old suspects are sickening. Now we can toss John Kerry on that stinking pile.

    1. darms

      There’s technology and tools today that were science fiction back in 1995. Remember floppy disks?

  25. Banger

    Without going into specifics–and there are many, political life in all large countries has been dominated by those who seek power. If you seek power you are attracted to begin by moving into organizations that have power and where the normal rules of society do not apply. In democratic societies conventional political careers offer one way into power but most politicians are vulnerable to scandal, blackmail, even assassination if they make the wrong turn and offend the wrong people. But someone who is in the police whether local, federal or international has certain advantages–they are, in effect, the law and generally above the law. These organizations have a strong sense of cohesion as human beings are deeply tribal.

    I suggest to you that once you enter into the world of covert operations you enter into a tribe of operatives that need not be, legally, “employees” of the government. They can be contractors, journalists, politicians or whatever but they operate under the rule of a tightly-knit group of (usually) men who see themselves as guardians of the country and, indeed (as many of the early CIA guys believed) of civilization itself. These people can and do operate above and beyond the law–they ally themselves with every sort of organization from corporations to organized crime.

    In many ways what keeps these people in power are two things: 1) the myth of American Exceptionalism that seems to be the dominant ideology in America shared, in different ways, by both the left and the right that says that conspiracy and corruption may well be the fact of most civilization and all those other country but as far as the world of government is concerned everyone means well but a few bad apples are tempted to sin but the system is solid and keeps abuses from happening; and 2) the naive idea that the mainstream media is a “free” press so that if serious abuses do occur they don’t get very far because someone in the press will report it–this is simply and demonstrably false–the American mainstream-media is a controlled press with far more latitude than the old Soviet press but not all that much (I used to read the Soviet press). I give two very obvious example here–the lead up to the Iraq War–the press airbrushed out of history one Scott Ritter the man who knew more about Saddam’s “WMDs” than most other Americans combined because his testimony ran directly counter the the governments manufactured “facts.” “Facts” the the press reported on without bothering to investigate them because, frankly, they were told not to. Another was when the intel assets in the media told editors to recall their reporters in El Salvador reporting on death-squad activities that there was no story there (Jedi mind-trick?) and every major news organization recalled their reporters. One of them, a friend of mine, resigned rather than report for an organization that no longer respected the truth–he was a veteran of several wars not some gung-ho junior guy.

    I submit to you that we have a multi-tiered political system ruled by a loose committee of powerful leaders who act in concert most of the time and sometimes in opposition with intelligence operatives acting as the senior people–these intel guys could just as easily be corporate officers as members of the bureaucracy–in my opinion, I believe these leaders run private consulting firms with secret clearances but I’m not completely certain of that just that I’ve seen that the great consulting firms is where power flowed to after the Church Committee hearings. I believe politicians like Obama are junior members of the leadership class and have no power that is not granted them directly by these leaders. One can see that Obama is very reluctant to endorse action in Syria–despite the fact that all the usual intel assets are screaming for war. Watch the publications that are always on the forefront of war for where those assets probably are.

    Also, don’t think that these guys are “conservatives” in fact, many of them are liberals who follow the philosophy of Walter Lippman. Most of these guys favor gay rights, follow the arts, listen to rock and so on–these aren’t dark figures in hooded cloaks–just what I call “players” in the only game that counts in Washington and New York–power.

  26. William Wilson

    I would like to learn why the DoJ refused to permit settlement of Senior Lawyer of the World Bank, Karen Hudes, law suite?

    World Bank: Money Laundering Criminals | Interview with Whistleblower Karen Hudes

    If one could document the charges by Karen, I think that Yves’ reservations should be reconsidered; the US Congress seems to have no real power when it comes to dealing with the bankster misbehaviors.

    1. Banger

      Nor anything else that steps on the toes of people with power. Congress is, frankly, so over when it comes to large issues. Congresspeople are so vulnerable so open to threats, bribes, and so on they have no real power.

  27. kevinearick

    Automating Death Spirals

    Labor must be mobilized to stop this death spiral, and at a labor/rent ratio of 0.5, labor has no interest in fiat, gold or anything else coming out of the empire. And the lower the ratio, the greater the necessary mobilization, the greater the number of landlords that must accept the 4.0 ratio, hence capital’s ccatch-22 death spiral.

    Labor views the empire as a system, not the balkanized nation/state, divide and conquer ponzi development as presented to the middle class, and because the middle class assumes government can simply print to infinity, bank supremacy, as it was bred, it always blows up, once the bank starts printing on a string. While everyone else chases money by the tail, labor is busy positioning itself to weather war, currency collapse and the ensuing planetary variability, certain outcomes. Empire history rhymes.

    Now, we watch as lots and lots of people die, subject to the automated machine of their own design. Labor cannot concern itself with which part of capital and middle class survives. Kidnapping labor’s children for the purpose of extorting its participation in empire operations, under Family Law, is counterproductive, but is nevertheless always the path of empire, for reasons previously discussed; ignorance is bliss, until it’s tyranny.

    No; taxes are not inevitable, and government’s ability to print is not unlimited. Yes; death is inevitable. Ignorant landlords and ignorant tenants deserve each other, in a positive feedback loop. Keep flipping; Californication lives and dies by variability, not by value but by private profit at public cost, until sooner or later private and public are one and the same, within the empire.

    Labor breeds children. Capital breeds robots, to grow its money supply, always in a self-destructive circle. Within the empire, the point of busy-work is to do nothing. Break some more windows, tax yourself, buy more windows, and expect not to go morally bankrupt. Brilliant.

  28. Doug Terpstra

    Yves writes:

    This setback [UK showing spine] would seem to disprove the argument of Gaius’ post below, that the power of the military-industrial complex has reached the democracy-threatening scale that President Eisenhower warned against when he left office over 50 years ago. Edward Snowden’s document releases are becoming a horror film version of the Wizard of Oz.

    Commendable optimism, but I’m certain Mr. Publius’ argument will be proved by coming events. This little act of Democracy Theater is only a temporary setback for the NSA. As with the Wall Street bailouts, there will be as many votes as needed, with martial law threats and more false-flag attacks, until they get it right. Or, with a bit more perception management, Obama may also just go ahead anyway with an up-yours to the American public.

    As Jimmy Carter said we no longer have a functioning democracy, nor does the UK. This war is a done deal, unless people wake up and rise up. I don’t think we’re there…yet, but that time is coming.

  29. Chmee

    “Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class — whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy.”

    – Frank Herbert

  30. May
    A CIA Hand in an American ‘Coup’?
    Mathias Broeckers, born 1954, is a German investigative journalist and the author of more than ten books, most of them related to the topics of drugs, terrorism and deep politics. He works for the daily German newspaper TAZ and the webzine Telepolis. His latest book, “JFK: Staatsstreich in Amerika” (“JFK: Coup d’Etat in America“), was published this August at Westend Verlag in Frankfurt, Germany.
    The JFK Assassination Marked the End of the American Republic
    Interview with Martin Broeckers, author of JFK: Coup d’Etat in America“

  31. OdM

    The Key-Boards of State & the Buttons of State send-out some majorly voodoo & obstructing jammer vibes

  32. Beppo

    When it comes to American intel agencies releasing evidence of dire threats to whatever, most people seem to have taken this Drake line to heart:

    We hear you talkin, boo
    but we just don’t believe you

  33. Walter Map

    Good discussion. And yet, many of the comments and quotations offered here feel mostly like commentary on Carroll Quigley, still, I believe, the authority on the origins of the imminent fascist superstate. It is hardly a recent phenomenon, as the banksters have been busy for the last couple of hundred years or so, and were apparently a terror even in Jefferson’s and Napolean’s time.

    It would seem that the world’s bankster class has been responsible, directly or indirectly, for every major human horror since the end of the 19th century – world wars, depressions, genocide, fascism and communism alike – no doubt as a prelude to vastly greater horrors yet to come.

    From James Chadwick’s preface:

    “…[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. this system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations….

    “It must not be felt that these heads of the world’s chief central banks were themselves substantive powers in world finance. They were not. Rather, they were the technicians and agents of the dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who had raised them up and were perfectly capable of throwing them down. The substantive financial powers of the world were in the hands of these investment bankers (also called ‘international’ or ‘merchant’ bankers) who remained largely behind the scenes in their own unincorporated private banks. These formed a system of international cooperation and national dominance which was more private, more powerful, and more secret than that of their agents in the central banks. this dominance of investment bankers was based on their control over the flows of credit and investment funds in their own countries and throughout the world. They could dominate the financial and industrial systems of their own countries by their influence over the flow of current funds though bank loans, the discount rate, and the re-discounting of commercial debts; they could dominate governments by their own control over current government loans and the play of the international exchanges. Almost all of this power was exercised by the personal influence and prestige of men who had demonstrated their ability in the past to bring off successful financial coupes, to keep their word, to remain cool in a crisis, and to share their winning opportunities with their associates.”

    I could hardly believe what I was reading. I sat in the bookstore and read until closing time. I then bought the book and went home where I read almost all night. For the next twenty-five years I traveled throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East following one lead after another to determine if the incredible words of the professor were really true. While serving as the Editor of a scholarly journal on international affairs, Director of the Center for Global Studies and foreign policy advisor for a key U. S. Senator in Washington, D. C., I conducted over 1000 interviews with influential world leaders, government officials, military generals, intelligence officers, scholars and businessmen, including corporate CEOs and prominent international bankers and investment bankers. I went through over 25,000 books and over 50,000 documents. I learned for myself that the professor was telling the truth.

    There really is a “world system of financial control in private hands” that is “able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world.” I call this system the World Trade Federation. It is an ultra-secret group of the most powerful men on the earth. They now control every major international institution, every major multinational and transnational corporation both public and private, every major domestic and international banking institution, every central bank, every nation-state on earth, the natural resources on every continent and the people around the world through complicated inter-locking networks that resemble giant spider webs. This group is comprised of the leading family dynasties of the Canada, United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and China. This self-perpetuating group has developed an elaborate system of control that enables them to manipulate government leaders, consumers and people throughout the world. They are in the last stages of developing a World Empire that will rival the ancient Roman Empire. However, this new Empire will rule the entire world, not just a goodly portion of it as Rome did long ago, from its ultra-secret world headquarters in Germany. This group is responsible for the death and suffering of over 180 million men, women and children. They were responsible for World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam, etc. They have created periods of inflation and deflation in order to confiscate and consolidate the wealth of the world. They were responsible for the enslavement of over two billion people in all communist nations—Russia, China, Eastern Europe, etc., inasmuch as they were directly responsible for the creation of communism in these nations. They built up and sustain these evil totalitarian systems for private gain. They brought Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Roosevelt to power and guided their governments from behind the scenes to achieve a state of plunder unparalleled in world history. They make Attila the Hun look like a kindergarten child compared to their accomplishments. Six million Jews were tortured and killed in order to confiscate billions of dollars in assets, gold, silver, currency, diamonds and art work from the Tribe of Judah–a special group of people. The people in Eastern Europe suffered a similar fate as the armies of Hitler overran these countries, murdered, enslaved, robbed and plundered the unique people who resided there. For the last two and one half centuries wealth and power have been concentrating in the hands of fewer and fewer men and women. This wealth is now being used to construct and maintain the World Empire that is in the last stages of development. The World Empire is partly visible and partly invisible today.

    The chief architects of this new World Empire are planning another war—World War III—to eliminate any vestiges of political, economic or religious freedom from the face of the earth. They will then completely control the earth and its natural resources. The people will be completely enslaved just as the people were in the ancient Roman Empire. While the above may sound like fiction, I can assure you that it is true. I wish it was fiction, but it is not, it is reality.

    Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time New York: The Macmillan Company. 1966

    It hasn’t even gotten ugly yet, much less weird ugly. That’s still to come.

    1. Walter Map

      FWIW, it seems reasonable to suspect that the focus on the greed of certain billionaires is overwrought, and that the real PTB are not the billionaires per se, but the rarely-named or unknown family dynasties that control trillions.

    2. Dr. Noschidt

      WM. “It is accomplished.” That’s why the facts are “leaking” out. TINA. Done. “Babylon’s Banksters” and “Tragedy and Hope” tell all.

  34. Jim

    Gaius Publius said:

    “I want to model the state structure adequately so I’m working on the possibilities.”

    In my opinion this is an extremely worthwhile project but I’m sure you realize that you will probably end up challenging one of the key erroneous assumptions of the traditional/progressive left—that the State is simply an instrument of great wealth.

    Meanwhile much of the traditional/progressive left (once they were hypothetically in charge) has viewed the State not only as an instrument of liberation but also as a potential career path for themselves.

    In addition many traditional socialists/Marxists/communists believed that the State was simply a transitional entity which would sooner or later disappear and never took the time to try to develop a theory of the State.

    As a consequence– today the traditional/progressive left finds itself in as big a crisis as neo-liberalism.

    Will the left ever be capable of taking a serious look at the State political apparatus in order to understand the type of political obligation/loyalty/obedience/domination and interests (separate from private sector wealth) which seems to also at its foundation?

    Will the left ever be able to move beyond the spirit of class resentment and the illusion of class cohesion?

    Will the left ever be able to articulate a political vision which does not depend solely on collective anger/rage and hatred?

    Will the left ever be capable of articulating a vision that reforms our souls as well as the State?

    1. Walter Map

      Or identity theft, including disappearance of assets and disappearance of the owner of those assets – with no way to challenge or even investigate.

      Magic is loose in the world and anything is possible. The Bird is Cruel!

  35. robnume

    Since we all now know that J. Edgar Hoover kept his job through blackmail, I see no reason to believe otherwise of anyone connected with the intelligence community. A must see telemovie is the U.K.’s (BBC)version of Michael Dobb’s best selling novels, a trilogy, released under the title of the first book, “House of Cards”, starring the inimitable Ian Richardson in the main character role of parliamentary “whip” Francis Urquhart. Blackmail of gov. officials in the rise to power is the theme here and, although it’s supposed to be satirical, it rings too true of the inner workings of power wannabe’s. I especially love that the character’s initials are F.U. It’s an edifying look at how things are REALLY run in power politics.

  36. Brooklin Bridge

    Traditional blackmail is messy. It creates acute animosity between the “or” and the “ee”. It definitely doesn’t scale well. Think of trying to keep thousands of “blackmail accounts” running smoothly. Even Tice had a hard time with plausibility as he tried to get the term out of his mouth.

    The idea of intel running things – at least partially – is somewhat plausible, but the way our politicians run around so actively, creatively, and happily engaged in the cause suggests some other incentive than blackmail.

  37. wes

    my understanding is that the phrase “deep state” originates in turkish research/speculation on the peculiar form of their recurrent coups–often associated with the postwar anticommunist staybehind cells of eg operation gladio in italy (incidentally, theres an interesting documentary on gladio floating around which includes the wonderful experience of hearing that italians pronounce “CIA” as a word rather than as letters). so although contemporary american usage sometimes falls short of a full comprehension of the implications of the term, properly understood it should indeed be something close to a synonym for “slow motion military coup”.

    now, the deep state/gladio/staybehind rabbit hole goes as deep as one cares to follow it, with such tantalizing morsels as rogue unlicensed masonic lodges including members such as berlusconi, etc. however, i tend to agree that real-world complications inevitably mess up even the best conspiracies and contingency plans. after the war our government was desperate to enlist the help of anyone they could in organizing the skeleton of a european anticommunist guerilla force asap, and as it turns out fascist thugs and criminals aren’t exactly the most reliable people in the world…

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