Blog Archives

The Internal War in the Deep State Claims Its High Profile Casualty: Jeffrey Epstein

I’ve been writing about the fracturing Deep State for the past five years:

Is the Deep State Fracturing into Disunity? (March 14, 2014)

Is the Deep State at War–With Itself? (December 14, 2016)

Epstein and the Explosive Crisis of the Deep State (July 15, 2019)

The conflict has now reached the hot-war stage where bodies are turning up, explained away by the usual laughable covers: “suicide,” “accident” and “heart attack.” That Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a secure cell is being labeled “suicide” tells us quite a lot about the desperation of the faction trying to protect the self-serving predators that have wormed their way into control of many Deep State nodes of power.

Here’s the basic structure of the Deep State conflict as I see it. 

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Epstein and the Explosive Crisis of the Deep State

Speculations by outsiders must give Deep State insiders many opportunities to chuckle, “if only they knew.” We don’t know, of course, and public leaks are engineered to misdirect our attention from what’s actually going on or “frame” our understanding in a positive way.

Decades later, history reveals a very ordinary mix of great successes and horrific failure in secret operations, caused by errors of judgment, faulty intelligence, poor planning and so on. In other words, life isn’t tidy, either inside or outside the Deep State.

Nonetheless we can postulate a few things with some certainty. One is that the Deep State– the unelected, permanent government which includes not just the intelligence community but a vast array of agencies and institutions as well as the top-level structures of diplomacy, finance and geopolitics–is not monolithic. There are different views and competing camps, but the disagreements and bureaucratic wars are kept out of sight.

Two, we know that at critical junctures of history one camp wins the narrative battle and establishes the over-riding direction of state policy. Put another way, one camp’s understanding of the era’s most pressing problems becomes the consensus, and from then on disagreements are within the broad outlines of the dominant ideology.

The end of World War II was a critical juncture. The proper role of the U.S. in the postwar era was up for grabs, and over the course of a few years, the CIA and other intelligence agencies were established and the doctrine of containment of the Soviet Union became the dominant narrative, a narrative that held with remarkable consistency for four decades until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

This collapse was another critical juncture, and debates over America’s role in this “unipolar era” were finally settled in favor of the geopolitical-activist ideology of neoconservatism (Neocons).

This globalist ideology led to a variety of policy disasters and is now discredited in many circles, and has been under attack within the Deep State for some time. This is the divided Deep State I’ve written about for the past five years.

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The Divided Deep State is a Symptom, Not the Disease

I’ve been writing about the divided Deep State for a number of years, most recently in The Conflict within the Deep State Just Broke into Open Warfare. The topic appears to be one of widespread interest, as this essay drew over 300,000 views.

It’s impossible to understand the divided Deep State unless we situate it in the larger context of profound political disunity, a concept I learned from historian Michael Grant, whose slim but insightful volume The Fall of the Roman Empire I have been recommending since 2009.

As I noted in my 2009 book Survival+, this was a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse. The shared values and consensus which had held the Empire’s core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained.

A funny thing happens when a nation allows itself to be ruled by Imperial kleptocrats: such rule is intrinsically destabilizing, as there is no longer any moral or political center to bind the nation together. The public sees the value system at the top is maximize my personal profit by whatever means are available, i.e. complicity, corruption, monopoly and rentier rackets, and they follow suit by pursuing whatever petty frauds and rackets are within reach: tax avoidance, cheating on entrance exams, gaming the disability system, lying on mortgage and job applications, and so on.

But the scope of the rentier rackets is so large, the bottom 95% cannot possibly keep up with the expanding wealth and income of the top .1% and their army of technocrats and enablers, so a rising sense of injustice widens the already yawning fissures in the body politic.

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The Conflict within the Deep State Just Broke into Open Warfare

When do the unlimited powers of the Intelligence/Security agencies threaten America’s domestic and global national interests? The CIA and its political enablers claim the agency’s essentially unlimited powers, partially revealed by Wikileak’s Vault 7, pose no threat to America’s interests, since they are intended to “defend” American interests.

This is the rationale presented by neocon CIA allies in both political parties: the CIA can’t possibly threaten America’s interests because the CIA defines America’s interests.

This is the wormhole down which civil liberties and democracy have drained. It is an extraordinarily defining moment in American history when the director of the FBI publicly declares that there is no such thing as “absolute privacy” in the U.S.

In effect, privacy is now contingent on the level of interest the Security State has in the private conversation/data. If we read the U.S. Constitution, we do not find such contingencies: civil liberties are absolute. Post-1790 presidents have temporarily mooted civil liberties in time of war, and the CIA-led camp of the Deep State has justified its unlimited powers by effectively declared “a state of war is now permanent and enduring.”

So what’s left to defend if America has become the enemy of civil liberties and democracy, i.e. become a totalitarian state ruled by Security Services and their political henchmen and apologists?

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Does a Rogue Deep State Have Trump’s Back?

Suddenly everybody is referring to the Deep State, typically without offering much of a definition.

The general definition is the unelected government that continues making and implementing policy regardless of who is in elected office.

I have been writing about this structure for 10 years and studying it from the outside for 40 years. Back in 2007, I called it the Elite Maintaining and Extending Global Dominance, which is a more concise description of the structure than Deep State. Going to War with the Political Elite You Have (May 14, 2007).

I’ve used this simplified chart to explain the basic structure of the Deep State, which is the complex network of state-funded and/or controlled institutions, agencies, foundations, university research projects, media ties, etc.

The key point here is you can’t separate these network nodes:

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Trump Aims to Cut the Neocon Deep State Off at the Knees

I have long held that America’s Deep State–the unelected National Security State often referred to as the Shadow Government–is not a unified monolith but a deeply divided ecosystem in which the dominant Neocon-Neoliberal Oligarchy is being challenged by elements which view the Neocon-Neoliberal agenda as a threat to national security and the interests of the United States.

I call these anti-Neocon-Neoliberal elements the progressive Deep State.

If you want a working definition of the Neocon-Neoliberal Deep State, Hillary Clinton’s quip–we came, we saw, he died–is a good summary: a bullying, arrogance-soaked state-within-a-state pursuing an agenda of ceaseless intervention while operating a global Murder, Inc., supremely confident that no one in the elected government can touch them.

Until Trump unexpectedly wrenched the presidency from the Neocon’s candidate. The Neocon Deep State’s response was to manufacture a mass-media hysteria that Russia had wrongfully deprived the Neocon’s candidate (Hillary Clinton) of what was rightfully hers: the presidency. (The Neocons operate their own version of the divine right of Political Nobility.)

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The Age of Disintegration: Political Disunity and Elites At War

Historian Michael Grant identified profound political disunity in the ruling elite as a key cause of the dissolution of the Roman Empire. Grant described this dynamic in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire.

The chapter titles of the book illuminate the complex causes of profound political disunity in the ruling elite:

The Gulfs Between the Classes: a.k.a. soaring income/wealth inequality: check.

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These Blast Points on Hillary’s Campaign… Only The Deep State Is So Precise

Back in August, I asked Could the Deep State Be Sabotaging Hillary? I think we now have a definitive answer: “These blast points on Hillary’s campaign… too accurate for the Mainstream Media. Only the forces of the Imperial Deep State are so precise.”

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USA 2017-2020: An Ungovernable Nation?

Regardless of who wins the presidency, a much larger question looms: will the U.S. be ungovernable 2017-2020? There are multiple sources of the question.

One is of course the remarkable unpopularity of the two candidates for the presidency. For all the reasons that are tiresomely familiar, whomever wins the presidency will remain deeply unpopular with roughly 40% of the adult populace.

Though we can’t say “never,” let’s say it’s “extremely unlikely” that fans of Hillary Clinton will cotton to Donald Trump, or vice versa: both candidates have been public figures for decades, and it is highly unlikely that the usual “I will serve all the people” speech given by the new president will change many minds.

It’s not too difficult to foresee not just gridlock, but angry gridlock. Neither candidate can count on even the slightest shreds of goodwill from the other party, and with bi-partisanship already dead on arrival, precisely how much governance can any deeply reviled president offer the nation?

Whether pundits like it or not, one issue that will not go away after the election is the dominance of the nation’s financial and political elite: the top .01%.

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Why the Deep State Is Dumping Hillary

Are you open to a somewhat unconventional perspective on this election? If so, read on. If you’re absolutely confident you know all there is know about this election (good vs evil, Democrat vs. Republican, etc.), well then let’s compare notes in five years and see which context provided more insight into the future.

In the context presented here, the personalities of the two candidates matter less than their perceived role in the changing of the Imperial Order. Let’s start with a quick overview of the relationships between each political party and the Deep State–the unelected power centers of the central government that continue on regardless of which person or party is in elected office.

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The Deep State’s Catch-22

Catch-22 (from the 1961 novel set in World War II Catch-22) has several shades of meaning (bureaucratic absurdity, for example), but at heart it is a self-referential paradox: you must be insane to be excused from flying your mission, but requesting to be excused by reason of insanity proves you’re sane.

The Deep State in virtually every major nation-state is facing a form of Catch-22: the Deep State needs the nation-state to feed on and support its power, and the nation-state requires stability above all else to survive the vagaries of history.

The only possible output of extreme wealth inequality is social and economic instability.

The financial elites of the Deep State (and of the nation-state that the Deep State rules) generate wealth inequality and thus instability by their very existence, i.e. the very concentration of wealth and power that defines the elite.

So the only way to insure stability is to dissipate the concentrated wealth and power of the financial Deep State. This is the Deep State’s Catch-22.

What happens when extremes of wealth/power inequality have been reached? Depressions, revolutions, wars and the dissolution of empires. Extremes of wealth/power inequality generate political, social and economic instability which then destabilize the regime.

Ironically, elites try to solve this dilemma by becoming more autocratic and repressing whatever factions they see as the source of instability.

The irony is they themselves are the source of instability.

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Could the Deep State Be Sabotaging Hillary?

Few would dispute that Hillary Clinton is the Establishment’s candidate. It’s widely accepted that the Establishment hews to a neoconservative (neo-con) foreign policy that is fully supported by America’s Deep State, i.e. the centers of state power that don’t change as a result of elections.

As a result, it’s widely accepted that the Deep State fully supports Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency and will move heaven and earth to get her elected. While this is a logical premise, I suspect it’s overly simplistic. I suspect major power centers in the Deep State are actively sabotaging Hillary because they’ve concluded she is a poisoned chalice who would severely damage the interests of the Deep State and the U.S.A.

Poisoned chalice: something that seems very good when it is first received, but in fact does great harm to the person/ institution/ nation that receives it.

I realize this may strike many as ludicrous, but bear with me as we work through the notion that the Deep State would prefer Trump to Hillary.

The consensus view seems to be that the Establishment and the Deep State see Trump as a loose cannon who might upset the neo-con apple cart by refusing to toe the Establishment’s Imperial line.

This view overlooks the possibility that significant segments of the Deep State view the neo-con strategy as an irredeemable failure and would welcome a president who would overthrow the remnants of the failed strategy within the Establishment and Deep State.

To these elements of the Deep State, Hillary is a threat precisely because she embraces the failed strategy and those who cling to it. From this point of view, Hillary as president would be an unmitigated disaster for the elements of the Deep State that have concluded the U.S. must move beyond the neo-con strategic failures to secure the nation’s core interests.

There are other reasons why elements of the Deep State view Hillary as a poisoned chalice.

1. Hillary is an empty vessel. Nobody seriously claims she has any core beliefs that she would make personal sacrifices to support. While at first glance this may seem to be a plus, the Deep State is not devoid of values. Rather, the typical member of the Deep State has strong values and distrusts/ loathes people like Hillary who value nothing other than personal aggrandizement.

Hillary’s sole supreme commitment is the further aggrandizement of wealth and power to her family. This makes her intrinsically untrustworthy to the Deep State, which has bigger fish to fry than the Clinton Project of aggrandizing wealth and personal power.

2. Hillary has exhibited the typical flaw of liberal Democrats: fearful of being accused as being soft on Russia, Syria, Iran, terrorism, etc. or losing whatever war is currently being prosecuted, liberal Democrats over-compensate by pursuing overly aggressive and poorly planned policies.

The forward-thinking elements of the Deep State are not averse to aggressive pursuit of what they perceive as American interests, but they are averse to quagmires and policies that preclude successful maintenance of the Imperial Project.

3. The Deep State requires relatively little of elected officials, even the President. A rubber stamp of existing policies is the primary requirement (see the Obama presidency for an example).

But the Deep State prefers a leader that can successfully sell the Deep State’s agenda to the American public. (President Obama has done a very credible job of supporting the Imperial Project agenda. I think it’s clear the Deep State supported President Obama’s re-election.) A politician who’s primary characteristic is untrustworthiness is poorly equipped to sell anything, especially something as complex and increasingly unpopular as the Imperial Project.

4. Hillary suffers from the delusion that she understands power politics and the Imperial Project. The most dangerous President to the Deep State is one who believes he/she is qualified to set the Imperial agenda and change the course of the Deep State as their personal entitlement.

For these reasons, elements of the Deep State might sabotage Hillary’s campaign as the greater threat to American interests. Trump is as unpopular as Hillary, but his sense of self-aggrandizement and narcissism is of a different order than Hillary’s. Elements of the Deep State may view Trump as more malleable (or more charitably, as more open to much-needed changes in U.S. policies) and a better salesperson than Hillary.

Although it’s difficult to identify specific evidence for this, the Deep State is not as monolithic as the alternative media assumes. An increasingly powerful sector of the Deep State views the neo-con agenda as a disaster for American interests, and is far more focused on the Long Game of energy, food security, economic and military innovation and a productive response to climate change.

Trump is less wedded to the neo-con agenda than Hillary, less concerned with looking weak and more willing to cut new deals to clear the path for U.S. soft power (diplomacy, cultural influence, energy, food security, economic innovation and successful responses to climate change) rather than the neo-con obsession with hard power and the old-style Great Game of geopolitics.

So how could the forward-looking elements of the Deep State sabotage Hillary?I can think of several ways:

1. Engineer a protracted stock market decline that hits American voters in their pocketbooks before the election by gutting the “wealth effect.” A plunging stock market would make a mockery of the claim that the economy is “recovering.”

2. Continue to leak dirty laundry on Hillary, her health, the Clinton foundation scams, etc.

3. Put the word out to the corporatocracy, top-level media, etc., that the Deep State would prefer a Trump presidency, despite the widely held assumption that Clinton is the shoo-in Establishment candidate, and that those who cling to Hillary will pay a price later on as the neo-cons are cashiered or sent to Siberia for their failures.

Maybe Hillary is the Deep State’s shoo-in for president. But I suspect doubts in the Deep State have advanced to active sabotage for the reasons noted above.

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