The American Deep State

The expression “Deep State” originated in Turkey, and it designates “a group of influential anti-democratic coalitions within the Turkish political system, composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services (domestic and foreign), Turkish military, security, judiciary, and mafia”, that compose a state within the state. The turkish Deep State appeared with the Kemal Ataturk revolution of 1923.

“Deep State” is an increasingly popular expression used to describe the powers behind the state, the set of forces that exercise power beyond and above a country’s government and constitution, in this case the American Constitution.

In this interview with Bill Moyers, Mike Lofgren, a congressional staff member for 28 years, talks about what he calls Washington’s “Deep State,” in which elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. “It is how we had deregulation, financialization of the economy, the Wall Street bust, the erosion or our civil liberties and perpetual war,”

As one of the commentaries on the interview says: “Mike Lofgren manages to say what conspiracy theorists have been saying for years…without sounding like a conspiracy theorist.”

Lofgren also tackles the same issue in the essay, Anatomy of the Deep State. After describing in detail its components and operational methods, he ends his article with an optimist note, as if there was still time (and means) to dismantle it. Unfortunately, we do not share his optimism. We fear that the Deep State and its owners are here to stay. Nevertheless, having been a partial insider, Mike Lofgren makes a good service by offering this apt description of the american Deep State, the true operational power of America.

Some excerpts:

“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, starting 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….As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.””

“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.”

“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]

“…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.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.””

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 impliedquid pro quo.”

“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 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.”

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TYReads about Cognitive Infiltration

It seems we’ll have to get used to a new neologism, “Cognitive Infiltration”, after the Obama administration is proposing to pick Cass Sunstein to serve on the NSA Oversight Panel, the body responsible for reviewing allegations of NSA privacy abuses.

As The Washington Post reports in Obama pick for NSA review panel wanted paid, pro-government shills in chat rooms, “while at Harvard in 2008, Sunstein co-authored a working paper that suggests government agents or their allies “cognitively infiltrate” conspiracy theorist groups by joining ”chat rooms, online social networks or even real-space groups” and influencing the conversation.”

“Sunstein’s paper defined a conspiracy theory as “an effort to explain some event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role,” and acknowledges that some conspiracy theories have turned out to be true. It also specifically notes that his plan of “cognitive infiltration” should only be used against false conspiracy theories that could be harmful to the government or society.”

“But even the suggestion that the government should infiltrate groups that are not actively participating in criminal acts is troubling. ”

“The paper also suggests that the government “formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech.”

“A man with such a credulous view of government power might not be the best choice to review allegations of NSA privacy abuses.”

The man in his full glory trying to avoid uncomfortable questions:

TYReads “Snowden’s future”

Snowden’s future @ Financial Times

With this article brimming with doublespeak, the Financial Times tries to convince the western and the global public opinion, shocked by the realization that the old USA is no longer a democracy but “something else”, into believing that Edward Snowden is a criminal and not what a growing body of public opinion thinks he is: a smart and articulate idealistic man, that to the best of his ability has tried to warn the world of what the USA is doing and of what that country has turned into.

The article subliminally addresses the floating and growing meme that America no longer stands for goodness and the Rule of Law, but for something darker, and tries to blur, dilute and deactivate this growing and well founded suspicion.

FT starts by declaring that Edward Snowden deserves being prosecuted:

“Whether Edward Snowden finds refuge in Ecuador, or elsewhere, the US government has no choice but to seek his extradition. Having violated his secrecy contracts, Mr Snowden has broken serious laws and should face the music. What he disclosed to The Guardian and Washington Post highlights the breadth of the US National Security Agency’s eavesdropping operation. But he did not uncover any breach of US law.”

This is highly debatable. He did not uncover any breach of US law? What about the US Constitution’s First and Fourth Amendments? Read this and make up your mind:

27 Edward Snowden Quotes About U.S. Government Spying That Should Send A Chill Up Your Spine @ Zerohedge

Pentagon Papers’ Ellsberg Says Snowden Saves Us From The “United Stasi Of America” @ Zerohedge

Snowden’ Second Interview To Hong Kong Paper: “I Am Not Here To Hide From Justice; I Am Here To Reveal Criminality” @ Zerohedge

Who Are The Real Traitors? @ The Burning Platform

Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts @ NYT

FT continues: “Comparisons to Daniel Ellsberg, the celebrated leaker of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, are particularly inapt.”

As you probably know, Daniel Elsberg is a former United States military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers.

Can Edward Snowden be compared with Daniel Elsberg? We believe he can. They have both risked their careers and well-being in order to warn public opinion about facts that the american government did try to hide. In Mr. Snowden’s case, his revelations uncover practices that conflict with the American Constitution. Mr. Snowden has not revealed any national security secrets beyond airing the fact that the NSA is listening to and reading everything about everybody…in the world.

FT concludes: “But before we treat Mr Snowden as a heroic whistleblower, it is worth remembering that he has reached out to governments that care little for the rights of their own people.” Unfortunately, his own government, that of the USA, is one of them.

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TYR reads “those who care, have known about this for a long, long time.”

Government Is Tracking Verizon Customers’ Records @ The Wall Street Journal. Some excerpts:

“The National Security Agency is obtaining a complete set of phone records from  all Verizon U.S. customers under a secret court order, according to a published account and former officials.”

“Verizon is required to provide NSA with “all call detail records” of customers, including all local and long-distance calls within the U.S., as well as calls between the U.S. and overseas…”

“Mr. Drake said call records are just a fraction of the data NSA is collecting, which also includes data about emails and data on any type of electronic communication, which includes iPads, Kindles and other mobile devices. All can be used to track the owner’s location. “It’s a total violation of the Fourth Amendment,” he said.”

“The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

“Congress voted last December to extend the expanded FISA surveillance law for another five years.”

White House Defends Its Wiretapping Of Millions Of US Citizens @ Zerohedge. One excerpt is enough:

“those who care, have known about this for a long, long time.”

TYR 30 November 2012 reads

‘Revolutionary’ eavesdropping technology patent to help governments monitor Internet chats @ Kurzweilai.net …assuming it ever was, VOIP privacy is now gone.

Rice unveils super-efficient solar-energy technology @ Kurzweilai.net Rice University “scientists have unveiled a revolutionary new technology that uses silicon dioxide/gold nanoshells and N115 carbon nanoparticles to convert solar energy directly into steam. The technology has an overall energy efficiency of 24 percent. Photovoltaic solar panels, by comparison, typically have an overall energy efficiency around 15 percent.” Among renewable energies, solar is the one with the most potential for improvement and provide some sort of “bridge” to overcome the coming “Peak Oil” crisis. Most likely it will not be enough though.