Saturday, March 11, 2017

JFK fired CIA chief Allen Dulles, a holdover from Eisenhower. Being a Deep State guy, Dulles set up an anti-Kennedy shadow government at his Georgetown home. Two years later JFK was dead. NY Times, Washington Post, CBS, Newsweek were all under thumb of Allen Dulles. 2015 book, "The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government"-Democracy Now, 10/19/2015

.
Oct. 19, 2015, "A CIA Tie to JFK Assassination? Book on Ex-Director Allen Dulles Questions Agency's Role," DemocracyNow.org

"David Talbot, author of "The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government," re-examines what happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963, and looks at John F. Kennedy’s relationship with his former CIA director. "The weekend of Kennedy’s assassination, Allen Dulles is not at home watching television like the rest of America," Talbot said. "He’s at a remote CIA facility, two years after being pushed out of the agency by Kennedy, called The Farm, in northern Virginia, that he used when he was director of the CIA as a kind of an alternate command post." Talbot also asks why the agency has refused to publicly release travel documents of CIA officials who have been identified for having a possible role in Kennedy’s death." 

"Transcript"

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report, as we continue Part 2 of our conversation with David Talbot on his new book, "The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government." I asked him why he waswhy Allen Dulles was fired by JFK.
DAVID TALBOT: Well, he was fired after the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy realized he shouldn’t have kept Dulles on from the Eisenhower years. They were philosophically too different. And the Bay of Pigs was the final straw for him. So he was pushed out after that.
And—but Dulles, as I say, continued to sort of set up an anti-Kennedy government in exile in his home in Georgetown. Many of the people he was meeting with, several of the people, including Howard Hunt and others, later became figures of suspicion during the House Select Committee on Assassination hearings in Washington in the 1970s. You know, most Americans don’t know that that was the last official statement, the last official report, on the Kennedy assassination, not the Warren Report back in 1964. But the Congress reopened the investigation into John Kennedy’s assassination, and they did determine he was killed as the result of a conspiracy.
So a number of the people who came up during this investigation by Congress were figures of interest who were meeting with Allen Dulles. They had no, you know, obvious reason to be meeting with a "retired" CIA official. The weekend of Kennedy’s assassination, Allen Dulles is not at home watching television like the rest of America. He’s at a remote CIA facility, two years after being pushed out of the agency by Kennedy, called The Farm, in northern Virginia, that he used when he was director of the CIA as a kind of an alternate command post. Well, he’s there while Kennedy is killed, after Kennedy is killed, when Jack Ruby then kills Lee Harvey Oswald. That whole fateful weekend, he’s hunkered down in a CIA command post. So, there are many odd circumstances like this.
I also found out from interviewing the children of another former CIA official that one of the key figures of interest in the Kennedy assassination, a guy named William Harvey, who was head of the CIA-Mafia plot against Castro and hated the Kennedys, thought that they were weak
and so on, he was seen leaving his Rome station and flying to Dallas, by his own deputy, on an airplane early in November 1963. This is a remarkable sighting, because to place someone like William Harvey, the head of the CIA’s assassination unit, put there by Allen Dulles, in Dallas in November of '63 before the assassination is a very important fact. The CIA, by the way, refuses, even at this late date, to release the travel vouchers for people like William Harvey. Under the JFK Records Act, that was passed back in the 1990s, they are compelled by federal law to release all documents related to the Kennedy assassination, but they're still withholding over 1,100 of these documents, including—and I used the Freedom of Information Act to try and get the travel vouchers for William Harvey. They’re still holding onto them.
AMY GOODMAN: How many calls are you getting in the mainstream media to do interviews?
DAVID TALBOT: Well, thank God, I was saying earlier, for alternative media, like this, Amy, because there is resistance to this book. First of all, I call out the mainstream media. I say that New York Times, CBS, Washington Post, Newsweek, they were all under his thumb. They did his bidding.
AMY GOODMAN: Whose thumb? 

DAVID TALBOT: Allen Dulles’s thumb. So, when the Warren Report came out [Dulles was on the Warren Commission], I was saying that one of the editors, top editors, at Newsweek wrote to him and said, "Thank you so much, Mr. Dulles, for helping shape our coverage of the Warren Report." Well, of course, Allen Dulles was on the Warren Commission. In fact, some people thought it should have been called the Dulles Commission, because he dominated it so much. So, you know, it’s way too cozy, the relationship between Washington power and the media. And—
AMY GOODMAN: What was the relationship between Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times, and Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA?

DAVID TALBOT: Well, they were social friends, not just him, but other members of the Sulzberger family. I found, you know, cozy correspondence between them, congratulating him when he was inaugurated, Dulles, as CIA director. They called him "Ally," one of the Sulzberger families, in one letter. They would get together, you know, every year. Dulles would hold these media sort of drink fests for New Year’s. And these were, you know, top reporters, top editors, would get together with the CIA guys and rub elbows
and get a little drunk. And, you know, when Allen Dulles didn’t want a reporter, because he felt he was being overly aggressive, covering, say, Guatemala—Sydney Gruson, the reporter—in the run-up to the coup there in 1954, he hadhe made a call to The New York Times and had him removed. That was because of his relationship with Sulzberger, the publisher. So, that was the kind of pull that Allen Dulles had. 

AMY GOODMAN: How did that work? 

DAVID TALBOT: Well, they just took him out. They removed Gruson. They transferred him, I think to Mexico, at that point. 

AMY GOODMAN: David Talbot on his new book, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government. To see Parts 1 and 3, you can go to democracynow.org."

.................................

Added:

Author David Talbot is a founder of Salon.
.................................

Added: Allen Dulles and older brother John Foster Dulles drove America's deadly interventionist foreign policy. They're two reasons why the US is hated in much of the world:

11/8/2013, "Overt and Covert: ‘The Brothers,’ by Stephen Kinzer," NY Times, Adam Lebor 

"Anyone wanting to know why the United States is hated across much of the world need look no farther than this book. “The Brothers” is a riveting chronicle of government-sanctioned murder, casual elimination of “inconvenient” regimes, relentless prioritization of American corporate interests and cynical arrogance on the part of two men who were once among the most powerful in the world.

John Foster Dulles and his brother, Allen, were scions of the American establishment. Their grandfather John Watson Foster served as secretary of state, as had their uncle Robert Lansing. Both brothers were lawyers, partners in the immensely powerful firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, whose New York offices were for decades and important link between big business and American policy making.

John Foster Dulles served as secretary of state from 1953 to 1959; his brother ran the C.I.A. from 1953 to 1961. But their influence was felt long before these official appointments. In his detailed, well-­constructed and highly readable book, Stephen Kinzer, formerly a foreign correspondent for The New York Times and now a columnist for The Guardian, shows how the brothers drove America’s interventionist foreign policy."...

.......................................

More on 2015 book about Allen Dulles and rise of the CIA which depends on US taxpayer dollars but is completely unaccountable to US taxpayers or anyone else:

11/2/2015, "A New Biography Traces the Pathology of Allen Dulles and His Appalling Cabal," The Intercept, Jon Schwarz 

"As I read The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, a new book by Salon founder David Talbot, I couldn’t help thinking of an obscure corner of 1970s history: the Safari Club.

Dulles-the Princeton man and white shoe corporate lawyer who served as CIA director from 1953 to 1961, still the longest tenure in agency history — died in 1969 before the Safari Club was conceived....But to understand the Safari Club is to understand Allen Dulles and his milieu....

Because what the Safari Club demonstrates is that Dulles’ entire spooky world is beyond the reach of American democracy. Even the most energetic post-World War II attempt to rein it in was in the end as effective as trying to lasso mist. And today we’ve largely returned to the balance of power Dulles set up in the 1950s. As Jay Rockefeller said in 2007 when he was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, “Don’t you understand the way intelligence works? Do you think that because I’m chairman of the Intelligence Committee that I just say ‘I want it, give it to me’? They control it. All of it. All of it. All the time.”"...

[4/24/2007: "Amazing Statement Of Congressional Impotence By Senate Intelligence Chairman Jay Rockefeller," tinyrevolution.com 

"Charles Davis, a freelance reporter, briefly interviewed Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) last Wednesday. Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, made this startling statement about how the U.S. government really functions:

ROCKEFELLER: Don't you understand the way Intelligence works? Do you think that because I'm Chairman of the Intelligence Committee that I just say I want it, and they give it to me? They control it. All of it. All of it. All the time. I only get, and my committee only gets, what they want to give me."" mp3]
(continuing): "As [author] Talbot points out, Dulles stated his worldview publicly and explicitly in 1938 during his only run for political office: “Democracy only works if the so-called intelligent people make it work. You can’t sit back and let democracy run itself.” Unsurprisingly, homilies like this did not carry him to victory. But so what? He went on to wield far greater power than most elected officials ever have. And while Dulles is the star of The Devil’s Chessboard, he’s surrounded by an enormous supporting cast.

As Talbot explains, What I was really trying to do was a biography on the American power elite from World War II up to the 60s. It’s a huge, sprawling book, and an amalgam of all the appalling things Dulles and his cohort definitely did, things the evidence suggests they probably did, and speculation about things they might plausibly have done. More than a biography, it’s a exploration of well-organized pathology.

It includes detailed reexaminations of Dulles’s most notorious failures, such as the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and the nightmarish mind control program MK-ULTRA, as well as his most notorious “successes,” the CIA’s overthrow of democratic governments in Iran in 1953 and in Guatemala in 1954. Talbot notes that an internal CIA account of the Iran coup fairly glowed with joy: “It was a day that never should have ended. For it carried with it such a sense of excitement, of satisfaction and of jubilation that it is doubtful whether any other can come up to it.” According to a participant in an Oval Office briefing for President Eisenhower, Dulles’s brother John Foster, then secretary of state, “seemed to be purring like a giant cat.”

But by this point these events are fairly well-known. Perhaps most compelling is Talbot’s in-depth look at Dulles’s lesser-known yet still extraordinarily sordid projects. As the Swiss director of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, Dulles — whose law firm had represented German corporations and many U.S. corporations with German interests — quietly attempted to undermine Franklin D. Roosevelt’s demand that Germany surrender unconditionally, going so far as to order the rescue of an SS general surrounded by Italian partisans. Dulles also led the push to save Reinhard Gehlen, Nazi head of intelligence on the Eastern Front and a genuine monster, from any post-war justice. Dulles then made certain Gehlen and his spies received a cozy embrace from the CIA, and helped push him to the top of West Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service.

Also gruesome is the lurid story of how Jesus de Galindez, a lecturer at Columbia University, was kidnapped in Manhattan by U.S. government cutouts and delivered to Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo. Trujillo then had Galindez, whose exposés of corruption Trujillo feared, boiled alive and fed to sharks, and ordered the murder of the American pilot who’d flown Galindez there. All under the beneficent gaze of CIA Director Allen Dulles.

In a sense, however, all of The Devil’s Chessboard seems to exist to set the stage for the final chapters about the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. In the first 500 pages you are convinced that Dulles would have had no moral qualms about killing any politician, including Americans. You learn Dulles had a lifetime of experience in arranging assassinations, and apparent ties to attempts to overthrow or murder French president Charles de Gaulle. And you discover the depth of his grudge against John F. Kennedy, who dismissed him and several of his key underlings after the Bay of Pigs
.
But were JFK and possibly Robert Kennedy killed by conspiracies involving Dulles? That’s the conjecture of The Devil’s ChessboardThere’s no question Talbot has pulled together a lot of suggestive old information, and uncovered some that’s new. Furthermore, he certainly proves there was a great deal of reluctance on the part of journalists and politicians at the time to pull on even the most obvious threads. But 50 years later, I don’t think there’s any way to say much for sure on this subject, except that it’s pretty interesting....

In the end, whatever the reality of Talbot’s most sensational claims, he unquestionably makes the case that...your darkest suspicions about how the world operates are likely an underestimate. Yes, there is an amorphous group of unelected corporate lawyers, bankers, and intelligence and military officials who form an American “deep state,” setting real limits on the rare politicians who ever try to get out of line

They do collaborate with and nurture their deep state counterparts in other countries, to whom they feel far more loyalty than their fellow citizens. The minions of the deep state hate and fear even the mildest moves towards democracy, and fight against it by any means available to them. They’re not all-powerful and don’t get exactly what they want, but on the issues that matter most they almost always win in the end. And while all this is mostly right there in the open, discernible by anyone who’s curious and has a library card, if you don’t go looking you will never hear a single word about it.

Moreover, it’s still right there in front of us today. Talbot recently argued, “The surveillance state that Snowden and others have exposed is very much a legacy of the Dulles past. I think Dulles would have been delighted by how technology and other developments have allowed the American security state to go much further than he went.”

Or as a staff member of the 1970s congressional investigation of Kennedy’s murder said in an interview with Talbot: “One CIA official told me, ‘So you’re from Congress — what the hell is that to us? You’ll be packed up and gone in a couple of years, and we’ll still be here.’”"...
 
...................................


Added: More about Deep State, linked in above Intercept article:

2/21/2014, "Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State," by Mike Lofgren, BillMoyers.com ("Mike Lofgren is a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees. His book about Congress, The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted, appeared in paperback on August 27, 2013.")

"The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy,
the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction.... 

Its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude. [2]...It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies, if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice...After Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent and depth of surveillance by the National Security Agency, it has become publicly evident that Silicon Valley is a vital node of the Deep State as well....Deep State has been extracting value from the American people in vampire-like fashion.... Will the Deep State ride on the back of the American people from failure to failure until the country itself, despite its huge reserves of human and material capital, is slowly exhausted?"...

"In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude. [2]
 
How did I come to write an analysis of the Deep State, and why am I equipped to write it? As a congressional staff member for 28 years specializing in national security and possessing a top secret security clearance, I was at least on the fringes of the world I am describing, if neither totally in it by virtue of full membership nor of it by psychological disposition. But, like virtually every employed person, I became, to some extent, assimilated into the culture of the institution I worked for, and only by slow degrees, sarting before the invasion of Iraq, did I begin fundamentally to question the reasons of state that motivate the people who are, to quote George W. Bush, “the deciders.”

Cultural assimilation is partly a matter of what psychologist Irving L. Janis called “groupthink,” the chameleon-like ability of people to adopt the views of their superiors and peers. This syndrome is endemic to Washington: The town is characterized by sudden fads, be it negotiating biennial budgeting, making grand bargains or invading countries. Then, after a while, all the town’s cool kids drop those ideas as if they were radioactive. As in the military, everybody has to get on board with the mission, and questioning it is not a career-enhancing move. The universe of people who will critically examine the goings-on at the institutions they work for is always going to be a small one....

After a while, a functionary of the state begins to hear things that, in another context, would be quite remarkable, or at least noteworthy....“You mean the number of terrorist groups we are fighting is classified?” No wonder so few people are whistle-blowers, quite apart from the vicious retaliation whistle-blowing often provokes....

The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street. All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council. Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan, where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted. The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of the congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. The rest of Congress, normally so fractious and partisan, is mostly only intermittently aware of the Deep State and when required usually submits to a few well-chosen words from the State’s emissaries.

I saw this submissiveness on many occasions. One memorable incident was passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008. This legislation retroactively legalized the Bush administration’s illegal and unconstitutional surveillance first revealed by The New York Times in 2005 and indemnified the telecommunications companies for their cooperation in these acts. The bill passed easily: All that was required was the invocation of the word “terrorism” and most members of Congress responded like iron filings obeying a magnet. One who responded in that fashion was Senator Barack Obama, soon to be coronated as the presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. He had already won the most delegates by campaigning to the left of his main opponent, Hillary Clinton, on the excesses of the global war on terror and the erosion of constitutional liberties.

As the indemnification vote showed, the Deep State does not consist only of government agencies. What is euphemistically called “private enterprise” is an integral part of its operations. In a special series in The Washington Post called “Top Secret America,” Dana Priest and William K. Arkin described the scope of the privatized Deep State and the degree to which it has metastasized after the September 11 attacks. There are now 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances — a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government. While they work throughout the country and the world, their heavy concentration in and around the Washington suburbs is unmistakable: Since 9/11, 33 facilities for top-secret intelligence have been built or are under construction. Combined, they occupy the floor space of almost three Pentagons — about 17 million square feet. Seventy percent of the intelligence community’s budget goes to paying contracts. 

And the membrane between government and industry is highly permeable: The Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, is a former executive of Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the government’s largest intelligence contractors. His predecessor as director, Admiral Mike McConnell, is the current vice chairman of the same company; Booz Allen is 99 percent dependent on government business. These contractors now set the political and social tone of Washington, just as they are increasingly setting the direction of the country, but they are doing it quietly, their doings unrecorded in the Congressional Record or the Federal Register, and are rarely subject to congressional hearings.

Washington is the most important node of the Deep State that has taken over America, but it is not the only one. Invisible threads of money and ambition connect the town to other nodes. One is Wall Street, which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary marionette theater. Should the politicians forget their lines and threaten the status quo, Wall Street floods the town with cash and lawyers to help the hired hands remember their own best interests. The executives of the financial giants even have de facto criminal immunity. On March 6, 2013, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder stated the following: “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.” This, from the chief law enforcement officer of a justice system that has practically abolished the constitutional right to trial for poorer defendants charged with certain crimes. It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies, if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice — certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee. [3]
 
The corridor between Manhattan and Washington is a well trodden highway for the personalities we have all gotten to know in the period since the massive deregulation of Wall Street: Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner and many others. Not all the traffic involves persons connected with the purely financial operations of the government: In 2013, General David Petraeus joined KKR (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) of 9 West 57th Street, New York, a private equity firm with $62.3 billion in assets. KKR specializes in management buyouts and leveraged finance. General Petraeus’ expertise in these areas is unclear. His ability to peddle influence, however, is a known and valued commodity. Unlike Cincinnatus, the military commanders of the Deep State do not take up the plow once they lay down the sword. Petraeus also obtained a sinecure as a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The Ivy League is, of course, the preferred bleaching tub and charm school of the American oligarchy. [4]

Petraeus and most of the avatars of the Deep State — the White House advisers who urged Obama not to impose compensation limits on Wall Street CEOs, the contractor-connected think tank experts who besought us to “stay the course” in Iraq, the economic gurus who perpetually demonstrate that globalization and deregulation are a blessing that makes us all better off in the long run are careful to pretend that they have no ideology. Their preferred pose is that of the politically neutral technocrat offering well considered advice based on profound expertise. That is nonsense. They are deeply dyed in the hue of the official ideology of the governing class, an ideology that is neither specifically Democrat nor Republican. Domestically, whatever they might privately believe about essentially diversionary social issues such as abortion or gay marriage, they almost invariably believe in the “Washington Consensus”: financialization, outsourcing, privatization, deregulation and the commodifying of labor. Internationally, they espouse 21st-century “American Exceptionalism”: the right and duty of the United States to meddle in every region of the world with coercive diplomacy and boots on the ground and to ignore painfully won international norms of civilized behavior. To paraphrase what Sir John Harrington said more than 400 years ago about treason, now that the ideology of the Deep State has prospered, none dare call it ideology. [5] That is why describing torture with the word “torture” on broadcast television is treated less as political heresy than as an inexcusable lapse of Washington etiquette: Like smoking a cigarette on camera, these days it is simply “not done.” 

After Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent and depth of surveillance by the National Security Agency, it has become publicly evident that Silicon Valley is a vital node of the Deep State as well. Unlike military and intelligence contractors, Silicon Valley overwhelmingly sells to the private market, but its business is so important to the government that a strange relationship has emerged. While the government could simply dragoon the high technology companies to do the NSA’s bidding, it would prefer cooperation with so important an engine of the nation’s economy, perhaps with an implied quid pro quo. Perhaps this explains the extraordinary indulgence the government shows the Valley in intellectual property matters. If an American “jailbreaks” his smartphone (i.e., modifies it so that it can use a service provider other than the one dictated by the manufacturer), he could receive a fine of up to $500,000 and several years in prison; so much for a citizen’s vaunted property rights to what he purchases. The libertarian pose of the Silicon Valley moguls, so carefully cultivated in their public relations, has always been a sham. Silicon Valley has long been tracking for commercial purposes the activities of every person who uses an electronic device, so it is hardly surprising that the Deep State should emulate the Valley and do the same for its own purposes. Nor is it surprising that it should conscript the Valley’s assistance.
Still, despite the essential roles of lower Manhattan and Silicon Valley, the center of gravity of the Deep State is firmly situated in and around the Beltway. The Deep State’s physical expansion and consolidation around the Beltway would seem to make a mockery of the frequent pronouncement that governance in Washington is dysfunctional and broken. That the secret and unaccountable Deep State floats freely above the gridlock between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue is the paradox of American government in the 21st century: drone strikes, data mining, secret prisons and Panopticon-like control on the one hand; and on the other, the ordinary, visible parliamentary institutions of self-government declining to the status of a banana republic amid the gradual collapse of public infrastructure. 

The results of this contradiction are not abstract, as a tour of the rotting, decaying, bankrupt cities of the American Midwest will attest. It is not even confined to those parts of the country left behind by a Washington Consensus that decreed the financialization and deindustrialization of the economy in the interests of efficiency and shareholder value. This paradox is evident even within the Beltway itself, the richest metropolitan area in the nation. Although demographers and urban researchers invariably count Washington as a “world city,” that is not always evident to those who live there. Virtually every time there is a severe summer thunderstorm, tens — or even hundreds — of thousands of residents lose power, often for many days. There are occasional water restrictions over wide areas because water mains, poorly constructed and inadequately maintained, have burst. [6] The Washington metropolitan area considers it a Herculean task just to build a rail link to its international airport — with luck it may be completed by 2018.

It is as if Hadrian’s Wall was still fully manned and the fortifications along the border with Germania were never stronger, even as the city of Rome disintegrates from within and the life-sustaining aqueducts leading down from the hills begin to crumble. The governing classes of the Deep State may continue to deceive themselves with their dreams of Zeus-like omnipotence, but others do not....

The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction. Washington is the headquarters of the Deep State, and its time in the sun as a rival to Rome, Constantinople or London may be term-limited by its overweening sense of self-importance and its habit, as Winwood Reade said of Rome, to “live upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face.” “Living upon its principal,” in this case, means that the Deep State has been extracting value from the American people in vampire-like fashion.

We are faced with two disagreeable implications. First, that the Deep State is so heavily entrenched, so well protected by surveillance, firepower, money and its ability to co-opt resistance that it is almost impervious to change. Second, that just as in so many previous empires, the Deep State is populated with those whose instinctive reaction to the failure of their policies is to double down on those very policies in the future. Iraq was a failure briefly camouflaged by the wholly propagandistic success of the so-called surge; this legerdemain allowed for the surge in Afghanistan, which equally came to naught. Undeterred by that failure, the functionaries of the Deep State plunged into Libya; the smoking rubble of the Benghazi consulate, rather than discouraging further misadventure, seemed merely to incite the itch to bomb Syria. Will the Deep State ride on the back of the American people from failure to failure until the country itself, despite its huge reserves of human and material capital, is slowly exhausted? The dusty road of empire is strewn with the bones of former great powers that exhausted themselves in like manner.

But, there are signs of resistance to the Deep State and its demands. In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, the House narrowly failed to pass an amendment that would have defunded the NSA’s warrantless collection of data from US persons. Shortly thereafter, the president, advocating yet another military intervention in the Middle East, this time in Syria, met with such overwhelming congressional skepticism that he changed the subject by grasping at a diplomatic lifeline thrown to him by Vladimir Putin. [7]

Has the visible, constitutional state, the one envisaged by Madison and the other Founders, finally begun to reassert itself against the claims and usurpations of the Deep State? To some extent, perhaps. The unfolding revelations of the scope of the NSA’s warrantless surveillance have become so egregious that even institutional apologists such as Senator Dianne Feinstein have begun to backpedal — if only rhetorically — from their knee-jerk defense of the agency. As more people begin to waken from the fearful and suggestible state that 9/11 created in their minds, it is possible that the Deep State’s decade-old tactic of crying “terrorism!” every time it faces resistance is no longer eliciting the same Pavlovian response of meek obedience. And the American people, possibly even their legislators, are growing tired of endless quagmires in the Middle East.

But there is another more structural reason the Deep State may have peaked in the extent of its dominance. While it seems to float above the constitutional state, its essentially parasitic, extractive nature means that it is still tethered to the formal proceedings of governance.

The Deep State thrives when there is tolerable functionality in the day-to-day operations of the federal government. As long as appropriations bills get passed on time, promotion lists get confirmed, black (i.e., secret) budgets get rubber-stamped, special tax subsidies for certain corporations are approved without controversy, as long as too many awkward questions are not asked, the gears of the hybrid state will mesh noiselessly. But when one house of Congress is taken over by tea party Wahhabites, life for the ruling class becomes more trying. 

If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent, uninterrupted cash flow and the confidence that things will go on as they have in the past....

The final factor is Silicon Valley. Owing to secrecy and obfuscation, it is hard to know how much of the NSA’s relationship with the Valley is based on voluntary cooperation, how much is legal compulsion through FISA warrants and how much is a matter of the NSA surreptitiously breaking into technology companies’ systems. Given the Valley’s public relations requirement to mollify its customers who have privacy concerns, it is difficult to take the tech firms’ libertarian protestations about government compromise of their systems at face value, especially since they engage in similar activity against their own customers for commercial purposes. That said, evidence is accumulating that Silicon Valley is losing billions in overseas business from companies, individuals and governments that want to maintain privacy. For high tech entrepreneurs, the cash nexus is ultimately more compelling than the Deep State’s demand for patriotic cooperation. Even legal compulsion can be combatted: Unlike the individual citizen, tech firms have deep pockets and batteries of lawyers with which to fight government diktat.

This pushback has gone so far that on January 17, President Obama announced revisions to the NSA’s data collection programs, including withdrawing the agency’s custody of a domestic telephone record database, expanding requirements for judicial warrants and ceasing to spy on (undefined) “friendly foreign leaders.” Critics have denounced the changes as a cosmetic public relations move, but they are still significant in that the clamor has gotten so loud that the president feels the political need to address it.

When the contradictions within a ruling ideology are pushed too far, factionalism appears and that ideology begins slowly to crumble. Corporate oligarchs such as the Koch brothers are no longer entirely happy with the faux-populist political front group they helped fund and groom. Silicon Valley, for all the Ayn Rand-like tendencies of its major players, its offshoring strategies and its further exacerbation of income inequality, is now lobbying Congress to restrain the NSA, a core component of the Deep State. Some tech firms are moving to encrypt their data. High tech corporations and governments alike seek dominance over people though collection of personal data, but the corporations are jumping ship now that adverse public reaction to the NSA scandals threatens their profits.

The outcome of all these developments is uncertain. The Deep State, based on the twin pillars of national security imperative and corporate hegemony, has until recently seemed unshakable and the latest events may only be a temporary perturbation in its trajectory. But history has a way of toppling the altars of the mighty. While the two great materialist and determinist ideologies of the twentieth century, Marxism and the Washington Consensus, successively decreed that the dictatorship of the proletariat and the dictatorship of the market were inevitable, the future is actually indeterminate. It may be that deep economic and social currents create the framework of history, but those currents can be channeled, eddied, or even reversed by circumstance, chance and human agency. We have only to reflect upon defunct glacial despotisms such as the USSR or East Germany to realize that nothing is forever.

Throughout history, state systems with outsized pretensions to power have reacted to their environments in two ways. The first strategy, reflecting the ossification of its ruling elites, consists of repeating that nothing is wrong, that the status quo reflects the nation’s unique good fortune in being favored by God and that those calling for change are merely subversive troublemakers. As the French ancien régime, the Romanov dynasty and the Habsburg emperors discovered, the strategy works splendidly for a while, particularly if one has a talent for dismissing unpleasant facts. The final results, however, are likely to be thoroughly disappointing....

The Snowden revelations (the impact of which have been surprisingly strong), the derailed drive for military intervention in Syria and a fractious Congress, whose dysfunction has begun to be a serious inconvenience to the Deep State, show that there is now a deep but as yet inchoate hunger for change. What America lacks is a figure with the serene self-confidence
to tell us that the twin idols of national security and corporate power are outworn dogmas that have nothing more to offer us. Thus disenthralled, the people themselves will unravel the Deep State with surprising speed."

Also from above article:

"President Obama can liquidate American citizens without due processes, detain prisoners indefinitely without charge, conduct dragnet surveillance on the American people without judicial warrant and engage in unprecedented at least since the McCarthy era — witch hunts against federal employees (the so-called “Insider Threat Program”). Within the United States, this power is characterized by massive displays of intimidating force by militarized federal, state and local law enforcement

Abroad, President Obama can start wars at will and engage in virtually any other activity whatsoever without so much as a by-your-leave from Congress, such as arranging the forced landing of a plane carrying a sovereign head of state over foreign territory. Despite the habitual cant of congressional Republicans about executive overreach by Obama, the would-be dictator, we have until recently heard very little from them about these actions — with the minor exception of comments from gadfly Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Democrats, save a few mavericks such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, are not unduly troubled, either — even to the extent of permitting seemingly perjured congressional testimony under oath by executive branch officials [James Clapper] on the subject of illegal surveillance.

These are not isolated instances of a contradiction; they have been so pervasive that they tend to be disregarded as background noise."... 

"Mike Lofgren is a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees. His book about Congress, The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted, appeared in paperback on August 27, 2013."




...................

No comments: