America’s next president will inherit more than a bitterly divided nation teetering on the brink of financial catastrophe when he or she assumes office. He will also inherit a shadow government, one that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country.
To be precise, however, the future president will actually inherit not one but two shadow governments.
The first shadow government, referred to as COG or continuity of government, is made up of unelected individuals who have been appointed to run the government in the event of a “catastrophe.”
The second shadow government, referred to as the Deep State, is comprised of unelected government bureaucrats, corporations, contractors, paper-pushers, and button-pushers who are actually calling the shots behind the scenes right now.
The skyline of Washington, DC, including the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, US Capitol and National Mall, is seen from the air at sunset in this photograph taken on June 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
The first shadow government, COG, is a phantom menace waiting for the right circumstances—a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, an economic meltdown—to bring it out of the shadows, where it operates even now. When and if COG takes over, the police state will transition to martial law.
Yet as I point out in my book "Battlefield America: The War on the American People," it is the second shadow government, the Deep State, which poses the greater threat to our freedoms. This permanent, corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy is unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and beyond the reach of the law.
As the following makes clear, these shadow governments, which operate beyond the reach of the Constitution and with no real accountability to the citizenry, are the reason why “we the people” have no control over our government.
The COG shadow government, originally devised during the Cold War as a means of ensuring that a nuclear strike didn’t paralyze the federal government, has taken on a power—and a budget—of its own in the years since 9/11, placing the nation in a constant state of near-emergency and acclimating us to the sight of militarized police, military drills on American soil, privatized prisons, the specter of internment camps, and the erosion of constitutional rights, especially as they pertain to so-called “extremists,” domestic or otherwise.
Under the Obama administration, the plans for a full-time, permanent shadow government, stationed outside the capital, and run by permanently appointed (not elected) executive officials have expanded and grown far more elaborate and costly than many realize.
Study the COG plans carefully, however, and you’ll find that the concern isn’t so much about protecting our government as it is about protecting the nation’s governmental elite, ensuring, in Arkin’s words, that “Washington can defend itself, take care of its own, and survive no matter what.”
To this end, the government has invested heavily in the “architecture of fear”: massive underground bunkers—the size of small cities—which are sprinkled throughout the country for the government elite to escape to “in case of an imminent nuclear strike so that they can set up a kind of Administration-in-exile, directing every order of business from retaliation to recovery.”
These self-contained bunkers, staffed 24/7 and strategically located around the nation’s capital and in key states, represent a who’s who on the shadow government’s payroll, with every department and agency represented, from the Department of Education and the Trademark Office to the Small Business Administration and the National Archives. No sector has been overlooked. They even have contingency plans to save priceless works of art.
However, you know who’s not on the list of key-individuals-to-be-saved-in-the-eventuality-of-a-disaster? You and me and every other American citizen who is viewed as a mere economic unit to be tallied, bought and sold by those in power.
Not to worry, however. The government hasn’t completely forgotten about us.
In the event of a loosely defined “national emergency,” the Constitution will effectively be suspended, thereby ushering in martial law.
At that time, writes Christopher Ketcham in Radar magazine, the government will likely round up any “potentially suspect” Americans and place them in one of the many internment camps or private prisons built for just such an eventuality.
Conveniently, the Department of Homeland Security has been building a database of Americans who might be considered potential threats in the event of a national emergency. Referred to by the code name Main Core, this database reportedly contains the names of millions of Americans who, “often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.”
Sounds unnervingly like the objectives of the government’s new Domestic Terrorism Czar and the Strong Cities network, which will be working to identify and target potential extremists, doesn’t it?
For all intents and purposes, the nation is one national “emergency” away from having a full-fledged, unelected, authoritarian state emerge from the shadows. All it will take is the right event—another terrorist attack, perhaps, or a natural disaster—for such a regime to emerge from the shadows.
As unnerving as that prospect may be, however, it is the second shadow government, what former congressional staffer Mike Lofgren refers to as “the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power,” that poses the greater threat right now.
Consider this: how is it that partisan gridlock has seemingly jammed up the gears (and funding sources) in Washington, yet the government has been unhindered in its ability to wage endless wars abroad, in the process turning America into a battlefield and its citizens into enemy combatants?
The credit for such relentless, entrenched, profit-driven governance, according to Lofgren, goes to “another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose.”
This state within a state, coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council, 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.” Also included are the Department of the Treasury, certain key areas of the judiciary such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and a handful of vital federal trial courts, and select members of the defense and intelligence committees.
Finally, as the Washington Post reveals, there is the private side of this shadow government, which is made up of Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances, “a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government.”
“These contractors now set the political and social tone of Washington,” says Lofgren, “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.”
As Lofgren concludes:
"[T]he 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… 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. It is even willing to tolerate a degree of gridlock: Partisan mud wrestling over cultural issues may be a useful distraction from its agenda."
Remember this the next time you find yourselves mesmerized by the antics of the 2016 presidential candidates or drawn into a politicized debate over the machinations of Congress, the president or the judiciary: it’s all intended to distract you from the fact that you have no authority and no rights in the face of the shadow governments.
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