The famous Indian story of the Blind Men and the Elephant is a metaphor highlighting that while one’s subjective experience can be true, it can also be limited by its failure to account for other truths or a totality of truth. A similar metaphor can be used to try to explain the hidden forces guiding the US Government
From 1975 to 1976 the Church Committee in the Senate and the Pike Committee in the House attempted unsuccessfully to curtail the power of US intelligence agencies. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in particular, was investigated to see if it was a “rogue elephant” or under strict control of the President and the executive branch. However, besides some damning revelations outlined in the “whitewashed” report and some minor oversight changes, the “rogue elephant” was allowed to roam free.
Contemporary main-stream pundits now openly describe these hidden forces as a “shadow government,” a “corporatocracy” or a “deep state” controlling American politics. None however can do justice to what truly is an amorphous, complex and intricate web of overlapping entities. All who have tried to define who really governs America have essentially behaved as “blind” men.
The first “blind” man was the Sociologist Professor C. Wright Mills. His book, The Power Elite, which was published in 1956, was the first full-scale study of the structure and distribution of power in the United States.
Mills examined how the concentration of power had pooled within three main hierarchies. “There are a few thousand people in the United States that control almost all aspects of society. These few thousand individuals hold leadership posts in the political, military, and economic spheres. An extremely high percentage of these individuals were educated in the same schools, come from upper-class families, belong to the same public clubs, and often the same secret societies. The members of this ruling group hold the same interests and values. And this group self-selects the majority of its members.”
According to Mills the three hierarchies of power – political, military, and economic – in the United States are interlocking and form a ruling class whose members, at the time, could generally be grouped into one of the following six distinct groups – the Social Register (today replaced by Forbes’s annual top 500 richest people in the world list), the Celebrities, the Chief Executives, the Corporate Rich, the Warlords and the Political Directorate.
The people at the highest levels of these institutions see each other socially and look after one another by doing each other favours because they not only serve together on the boards of directors of corporations, charitable organisations, and other bodies, but they also share a mutuality of life experiences, educational backgrounds, and economic situations. This self-interest is of course to the detriment of the American people who they derogatively refer to as the masses.
Mills highlights the “revolving door” between government, military and corporations that helps maintain the power elite’s dominance over American life. He explains that when cabinet members, senators, and top generals and other military officials retire, they usually become corporate executives; whereas conversely, corporate executives often become cabinet members and other key political appointees.
The power elite use the conglomerate media to broadcast their opinions to the masses, which believe, and regurgitate what the conglomerate media run by the elites, feed them. The masses are merely easily manipulated spectators led to believe that they are making the decisions: “This is why there won’t be change in the values and course of direction of the United States. One of the biggest myths of American society is that the middle class has influence on which direction and course our society takes. The American middle class does not have interests or values in common with the power elites that control and run US society.”
A 19th century Cassandra, Mills’ dire omen on how the power elite would gradually but collusively gain control of every aspect of life was an amazingly accurate analysis of the true nature of power and privilege in America.
The second “blind” man was former FBI agent Dan Smoot. His self-published book, The Invisible Government, which was omitted from The New York Times Best Sellers List of 1962, sold over 1 million copies.
Smoot’s book charts the gradual infiltration of the US Government by the secret society known as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The CFR was established in 1921 by Colonel Edward M. House, who had links to “international bankers in New York” as well as “great financial institutions.”
Smoot explains that the secret society’s key aim was to push the American government into foreign entanglements. “The purpose of the Council on Foreign Relations was to create (and condition the American people to accept) what House called a ‘positive’ foreign policy for America– to replace the traditional ‘negative’ foreign policy which had kept America out of the endless turmoil of old-world politics and had permitted the American people to develop their great nation in freedom and independence from the rest of the world.”
By 1927, the Rockefeller family’s Rockefeller Foundations and Funds, along with the Carnegie Foundations and later the Ford Foundation began to finance the CFR and its principal publication, the quarterly magazine Foreign Affairs.
Many CFR members had come to occupy important positions in government, education, the press, the broadcasting industry, business and finance, or in some multi-million-dollar tax-exempt foundation. Smoot explains how by 1945 the CFR, and various foundations and other organisations interlocked with it, had virtually infiltrated and taken over the US State Department.
By the time that Smoot published the Invisible Government, the CFR was by 1962, “Boasting among its members Presidents of the United States (Hoover, Eisenhower, and Kennedy), Secretaries of State, and many other high officials, both civilian and military.”
The US corporations were also funding other global secret societies. The “Bilderbergers”, also known as the Bilderberg Group, derived their name from the location of their first meeting – the Bilderberg Hotel, Oosterbeck, The Netherlands, in May, 1954. Smoot describes them as another powerful group involved in the internationalist web: “The group consists of influential Western businessmen, diplomats, and high governmental officials. Their meetings, conducted in secrecy and in a hugger-mugger atmosphere, are held about every six months at various places throughout the world. His Royal Highness, Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands, has presided at every known meeting of the Bilderberger Group.”
He then explicitly cites the corporate links behind the Bilderberg Group: “Prince Bernhard is known to be an influential member of the Societé Generale de Belgique, a mysterious organization which seems to be an association of large corporate interests from many countries. American firms associated with the society are said to be among the large corporations whose officers are members of the Council on Foreign Relations and related organizations.”
The third “blind” man was retired US Air Force Col. L. Fletcher Prouty, who was an early critic of the CIA that stood at the head of the then founded security state. In his book titled The Secret Team, published in 1973, he charts the birth of the modern security state through President Harry S. Truman, who in late 1947, signed into law the National Security Act.
He explains how this seminal event “in addition to establishing the Department of Defense (DoD) with a single Secretary at its head and with three equal and independent services — the Army, Navy, and Air Force — also provided for a National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency.”
Prouty served from 1955 to 1964 as the focal point for contacts between the CIA and the DoD on matters pertaining to “special operations” – official language for covert activities. In this capacity Prouty worked directly with CIA Director Dulles and his brother John Foster, who was then Secretary of State, and also with several different Secretaries of Defense and chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, and many other government officials. Prouty had become disillusioned with the CIA after witnessing that they “had been diverted” from the original assignment that he and the legislators who drafted the Act had so carefully planned.
In his book Prouty debunks the CIA’s most important “cover story” which is that of an “Intelligence” agency. Prouty affirms that while the CIA does make use of “intelligence” and “intelligence gathering”, this is largely a front for its primary interest – clandestine operations.
In his book Prouty quotes Truman to explain how “the CIA had gone into clandestine operations and had been ‘injected into peacetime cloak-and-dagger operations’, and ‘has been so much removed from its intended role.’”
The diversion from its intended role was according to Prouty, “attributable to the growing and secret pressures of some other power source.” Again quoting Truman, Prouty explains how the CIA had become: ”a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”
Prouty goes on to define this other power source. “The CIA is the center of a vast and amorphous mechanism that specializes in Covert Operations … or as Allen Dulles always called it, ’Peacetime Operations.’ In this sense, the CIA is the willing tool of a higher level High Cabal, that may include representatives and highly skilled agents of the CIA and other instrumentalities of the government, certain cells of the business and professional world and, almost always, foreign participation.”
Within this unique position the CIA can prod the other arms of government into doing its bidding. Prouty explains how “[t]he CIA’s greatest strength derives from its ability to activate various parts of the U.S. Government, usually the Defense Department, with minor inputs designed to create reaction.”
Expanding on the evolution of the security state, Prouty explains how “The CIA did not begin as a Secret Team, as a ‘series of tiny but powerful cabals’, as the ‘invisible government’, or as members of the ‘secret elite’. But before long it became a bit of all of these.”
His dissection of the secret team also includes the ever-present “revolving-door” between government and corporations: “At the heart of the Team, of course, are a handful of top executives of the CIA and of the National Security Council (NSC), most notably the chief White House adviser to the President on foreign policy affairs. Around them revolves a sort of inner ring of Presidential officials, civilians, and military men from the Pentagon, and career professionals of the intelligence community. It is often quite difficult to tell exactly who many of these men really are, because some may wear a uniform and the rank of general and really be with the CIA and others may be as inconspicuous as the executive assistant to some Cabinet officer’s chief deputy. Out beyond this ring is an extensive and intricate network of government officials with responsibility for, or expertise in, some specific field that touches on national security or foreign affairs: ‘Think Tank’ analysts, businessmen who travel a lot or whose businesses (e.g. import-export or cargo airline operations) are useful, academic experts in this or that technical subject or geographic region, and quite importantly, alumni of the intelligence community — a service from which there are no unconditional resignations. All true members of the Team remain in the power center whether in office with the incumbent administration or out of office with the hard-core set. They simply rotate to and from official jobs and the business world or the pleasant haven of academe.”
The gradual strategic infiltration of government departments also appears to be a speciality of the secret team. Prouty cites how “[o]n the basis of security [Dulles] would place people in all areas of the Government, and then he would move them up and deeper into their cover jobs, until they began to take a very active part in the role of their own cover organizations.”
The global power of the secret team according to Prouty comes from its “vast intragovernmental undercover infrastructure and its direct relationship with great private industries, mutual funds and investment houses, universities, and the news media, including foreign and domestic publishing houses. The Secret Team has very close affiliations with elements of power in more than three-score foreign countries and is able when it chooses to topple governments, to create governments, and to influence governments almost anywhere in the world.”
The fourth “blind” man is Professor of Economics, Jeffrey D. Sachs, the pioneer of what Naomi Klein called Shock Therapy — a free market fundamentalism of privatization, deregulation, and cutting of government subsidies, met with debt relief and foreign aid — better known in the developing world as the infamous Washington Consensus.
In his New York Times listed book, The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity, published in 2011, he laments that US political power has been usurped by four powerful corporate interest groups, whom he labels a “corporatocracy,” that have mired the country in a feedback loop: ”Corporate wealth translates into political power through campaign financing, corporate lobbying and the revolving door of jobs between government and industry; and political power translates into further wealth through tax cuts, deregulation and sweetheart contracts between government and industry. Wealth begets power, and power begets wealth.”
The most notorious of these corporate lobbies is identified by Sachs as the military-industrial complex – a term first coined by Eisenhower in his farewell speech on January 17, 1961, when he warned that “the linkage of the military and private industry created a political power so pervasive that America has been condemned to militarisation, useless wars and fiscal waste on a scale of many tens of trillions of dollars since then.”
The second corporate lobby, according to Sachs, is the Wall Street–Washington complex, which consists of politically powerful Wall Street firms, notably Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and a handful of other financial firms. Sachs describes how these US banks gradually managed to wrest control of the financial system from the government: “The close ties of finance and Washington paved the way for the 2008 financial crisis and the mega bailouts that followed, through reckless deregulation followed by an almost complete lack of oversight by government. Wall Street firms have provided the top economic policy makers in Washington during several administrations, including the likes of Donald Regan (Merrill Lynch) under Reagan, Robert Rubin (Goldman Sachs) under Clinton, Hank Paulson (Goldman Sachs) under Bush Jr., and several Wall Street–connected senior officials under Obama (including William Daley, Larry Summers, Gene Sperling, and Jack Lew).”
He defines the third corporate lobby as the Big Oil-transport-military complex, which he explains has put the US on the trajectory of heavy oil-imports dependence and ever deepening military entrapment in the Middle East: “Since the days of John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Trust a century ago, Big Oil has loomed large in American politics and foreign policy. Big Oil teamed up with the automobile industry to steer America away from mass transit and toward gas-guzzling vehicles driving on a nationally financed highway system. Big Oil has consistently and successfully fought the intrusion of competition from non-oil energy sources, including nuclear, wind, and solar power.”
Sachs also highlights Big Oil’s counter-intuitive reliance on the Pentagon: “America defends the sea-lanes to the Persian Gulf, in effect ensuring a $100 billion–plus annual subsidy for a fuel that is otherwise dangerous for national security. And Big Oil has played a notorious role in the fight to keep climate change off the U.S. agenda. ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and others in the sector have underwritten a generation of antiscientific propaganda to confuse the American people.”
The fourth of the great industry-government tie-ups has been the health care industry, America’s single largest industry today, absorbing no less than 17 percent of GDP. According to Sachs, what began as government partnering with business to refund costs has morphed into a lobby with little systematic oversight and control: “Pharmaceutical firms set sky-high prices protected by patent rights; Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers reimburse doctors and hospitals on a cost-plus basis; and the American Medical Association restricts the supply of new doctors through the control of placements at American medical schools. The result of this pseudo–market system is sky-high costs, large profits for the private health care sector, and no political will to reform.”
Sachs is equally scathing of the government for turning “the levers of power over to the corporate lobbies.” Sachs explains how “[a] healthy economy is a mixed economy, in which government and the marketplace both play their role. Yet the federal government has neglected its role for three decades.”
The fifth “blind” man is Professor of Economics and proud member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Michael J. Glennon. In his book National Security and Double Government, he debunks the myth that US security policy is still forged by America’s visible, “Madisonian institutions” – the President, Congress, and the Courts. “Their roles …have become largely illusory. Presidential control is now nominal, congressional oversight is dysfunctional, and judicial review is negligible.” Glennon’s book details the gradual shift in power that has occurred as the Madisonian institutions gradually became “hollowed out” and their impermanent custodians were gradually replaced by a concealed, non-elected perpetual Trumanite network.
Glennon traces the rise of this double government to the seemingly innocent reorganization of the national security structure established by the Truman administration. Glennon details how the “National Security Act of 1947, which unified the military under a new secretary of defense, set up the CIA, created the modern Joint Chiefs of Staff, and established the National Security Council (NSC).” Also secretly established and not revealed until many years later, was “the National Security Agency, which was intended at the time to monitor communications abroad.”
Glennon describes how the Trumanite network, mostly immune from constitutional and electoral restraints, consists “of the several hundred executive officials who sit atop the military, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement departments and agencies that have as their mission the protection of America’s international and internal security.” They contain elements mainly from the NSA, the FBI, the Pentagon, the State Department, as well as law enforcement, intelligence and the military entities of the government.
“US national security policy is in fact conducted by a shadow government of bureaucrats and a supporting network of think tanks, media insiders, and ambitious policy wonks,” according to Glennon. He also sees the media as critical in reinforcing the illusion that the public institutions of US government are actually in charge: “For double government to work, the Madisonian institutions must seem in charge, for the Trumanites’ power flows from the legitimacy of those institutions.”
Casting some of the blame on “America’s pervasive civic ignorance,” Glennon’s solution to the unchecked double government is a more informed and engaged electorate, without which the restoration of accountability in the formulation and execution of national security policy will be impossible.
The sixth “blind” man is Professor Peter Dale Scott, a Canadian-born Professor of English, poet and diplomat. His book titled The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy, depicts a fundamentally schizophrenic American government.
Considered the father of “deep politics”, Scott highlights the two levels of government in America – the more familiar one is the law-enacting government, consisting of a Senate, House of Representatives and President. Meanwhile, the second hidden government operates on a deeper level and is composed of the national security apparatus, intelligence agencies and the armed forces.
This deep state is itself divided between the “Beltway agencies of the shadow government, like the CIA and NSA, which have been instituted by the public state and now overshadow it, but also including private corporations like Booz Allen Hamilton (Edward Snowden’s employers) and SAIC.” Meanwhile its corporate arm is made up of “the much older power of Wall Street, referring to the powerful banks and law firms located there, but also to the cartels and other corporate alliances established there, and Wall Street’s think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations.”
Scott stresses the strong corporate-beltway-government tether through the effortless way with which officials move between these organisations. “Top-level Treasury officials, CIA officers, and Wall Street bankers and lawyers think much alike because of the ‘revolving door’ by which they pass easily from private to public service and back.”
However even the familiar law-enacting government has not been immune from the deep state’s subversion. Scott charts the history of FEMA’s deep state unconstitutional plans to take over the American government: “Known more recently (and misleadingly) as ‘Continuity of Government’ (COG) planning, the Doomsday project, under the guiding hands in the 1980s of Oliver North, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and others, on 9/11 became the vehicle for a significant change of government.” It was under their tenure in 1988 that COG’s apocalyptic scope was enlarged to not only prepare for an atomic attack, but to also plan for the effective suspension of the American Constitution in the face of any emergency: “This change in 1988 allowed COG to be implemented in 2001.”
With its access and control of a high-level secret communications channel, not under government control, the project planners gradually gained the power to reach deeply into the US social structure and implement a program in direct opposition to official government policy.
This open conspiracy was even acknowledged in the mainstream media. Scott explains how “[a] decade before 9/11, it’s far-reaching arrangements were expanding the groundwork of Oliver North, to create what CNN in 1991 already described as a ‘shadow government……about which you know nothing.’”
The 9/11 attack was a pivotal day in US history that permanently changed America and suspended Constitutional rights. This transformation, according to Scott, was based on the decades old COG plans that went into effect on that fateful day: “By this time the Doomsday Project had developed into what the Washington Post called ‘a shadow government that evolved based on long standing ‘continuity of operations plans.’’”
The Judicial branch of the American government is also not immune. According to Scott: “[T]his parallel government is guided in surveillance matters by its own Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the ‘FISA Court,’ which according to The New York Times ‘has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court.’ Thanks largely to Edward Snowden, it is now clear that the FISA court has permitted this deep state to expand surveillance beyond the tiny number of known and suspected Islamic terrorists, to any incipient protest movement that might challenge the policies of the American war machine.”
The seventh “blind” man is former Republican congressional aide Mike Lofgren whose 2016 book titled The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government describes the deep state as a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies, hiding in plain sight, which Lofgren cites as “The Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Justice Department are all part of the Deep State. We also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its extensive bureaucracy devoted to enforcing international economic sanctions, and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street.”
Lofgren sees the deep state’s foundation as ultimately built on Wall Street because of the incredible amount of money it generates, allowing it to provide comfortable retirement jobs to those within the government and military.
Even the visible government is not immune: “Certain key areas of the judiciary [also] belong to the Deep State, like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (appointed by the chief justice of the Supreme 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 deep state’s government agencies have a symbiotic relationship with private enterprise, which Lofgren specifically designates as, the “military-industrial complex, Wall Street, and…..Silicon Valley.” The CIA and NSA are especially dependent on Silicon Valley. Lofgren explains how “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.” The deep state has also grown to control Congress, its leadership and some of the members of the Defense and Intelligence committees.
Lofgren describes the deep state and its neoliberal policies as, “the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism and the militarization of foreign policy, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure that has given us the most unequal society in almost a century, and the political dysfunction that has paralyzed day-to-day governance.”
While numerous political pundits have over the years ventured to analyse and describe the US “elephant”, the seven “blind” men all were only flawed in that they failed to account for other truths. The seven “blind” men were specifically chosen not just for their multi-faceted perspective of the US “elephant” but also for that view over their respective time periods.
Lofgren’s description of the deep state is the most tangible way to visualise what is essentially an amorphous entity: “There is the visible United States government, situated in imposing neoclassical buildings around the Mall in Washington, D.C., and there is another, more shadowy and indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is the tip of an iceberg that is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg operates on its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.” Scott cautions against Lofgren’s metaphor of the deep state as an iceberg which “risks suggesting a too solid or structural relationship to that overworld.”
Lofgren’s visible government, which can be represented with a publicly available organisational chart of the US government, can now be accurately mapped at both the deep state level as well as Sach’s corporatocracy level. The disparate corporate and government entities within those levels can also be interconnected.
The Madisonian pure white scale moves up through three shades of grey spectrum – each representing more and more Trumanite influence – to a purely black scale, representing the purely corporate-Trumanite interests.
The power elite, identified by Mills, form the ruling class and have direct control or influence on all levels of the visible-invisible government; the visible government (political), the deep state (military) and the corporatocracy (economic).
Members of the power elite are present as board members or executives within the corporatocracy level; as military leaders or powerful businessmen at the deep state level or as politicians or committee chairmen within the public state level. Their main goal is to maintain and constantly increase their invisible power (political and military) and profit (corporatocracy). Their power and influence allows them to almost seamlessly transition from one level to another using the corporate-government “revolving door.”
The corporatocracy level- consisting of the five main lobbies depicted in the diagram – represents the biggest and most influential of lobbies including Wall Street, the Military Industrial Complex, Big Oil, the Healthcare Industry and, more recently, Silicon Valley. Sachs’ four lobbies – his corporatocracy – along with Lofgren’s Silicon Valley lobby, effectively behave as the invisible federal executive departments, outlining policies within the visible government.
‘Other Lobbies’ omitted from the corporatocracy by Sachs and Lofgren include Big Agriculture (led by the infamous Monsanto), Big Tobacco, Organised Labor and various others which have a much smaller degree of influence over the visible government.
The oldest and most influential lobby is the Wall Street lobby. Lofgren highlights how it is the cornerstone of the deep state due to the sheer amount of fiat money it generates, allowing it undue influence over the deep state (military) and the visible government (political).
The Truman national security state cloaked in secrecy was set up by the corporatocracy to behave as a Trojan horse and gradually infiltrate and subvert the visible government. Prouty’s CIA which stands at the heart of the national security state and with its direct link to Wall Street behaves as the central nervous system of the security state. Over time, by either taking advantage of or orchestrating what Scott calls structural deep events, the national security state has managed to metastasize and gradually subvert the government departments and entities and grow into what today can be labelled a deep state, staffed predominantly by Glennon’s Trumanites.
The deep state level behaves as the scaffolding by which the corporatocracy has managed to influence and eventually control the visible government. The corporate influenced groups within the deep state level include Political Action Committees (PACs), think tanks, secret societies, universities, the mainstream media and non-government organisations (NGOs). These entities are supposed to play the part of impartial groups that stand independent of moneyed interests but to some extent they either co-ordinate (secret societies and PACs), legislate (lobbyists, universities and think tanks) and disseminate (media and NGOs) the skewed views of their corporate sponsors. Either knowingly or unknowingly they behave as independent fronts influencing and guiding the visible government’s policies in order to fulfil the wishes of the corporatocracy.
These groups directly link to the various federal government departments and entities that mostly make up the financial and security state. The level of corporate-to-public control of these entities and hence corporate influence varies considerably. The Federal Reserve is 100% corporate controlled, and Lofgren gives the example of how 70% of the US intelligence budget goes to corporate contractors.
The visible portion of the public state is made up of the three branches of government and their various government departments. The government departments that are tethered to the secretive security state most dominated by the Trumanites are shaded in black. The other cabinet departments vary in influence and are depicted in various shades of grey.
The three branches of the visible US federal government were formally established by the Constitution to serve as checks on the instruments of state security ensuring that no single branch could dominate the other. Yet even at this level it becomes clear that Glennon’s deep state Trumanites have managed to heavily influence the Executive branch of government and even dominate the National Security Council (NSC). The NSC which was created as a civilian advisory group to the President in 1947 has instead been overwhelmed by Trumanites and gradually become another spoke in the deep state, co-ordinating secretive covert operations run by the Presidency.
Meanwhile the Judicial branch has also been overrun by the Trumanites who have managed to control the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA). Finally the Legislative branch’s Madisionian Congress, Senate and House of Representatives, although not totally subverted, appear to be heavily influenced by the deep state’s Trumanites and their various deep state entities.
At the top of the chart is the visible portion of the public state that, according to the Constitution, is supposedly controlled by the democratic will of what the power elite have derogatively labelled the masses.
Many members of the masses work within the corporate and public entities identified within the system. If the 7 “blind” men were unable to see the overall structure there is little hope for the masses, groups and even entities within all layers of the system, who are compartmentalised and given limited “need to know” information that precludes them from seeing the greater picture. This however does not stop an adept player who will be aware of the contours, and can adeptly game the system’s political, military and corporate entities to get ahead and personally profit.
In 1967, the deep state’s CIA created the label “Conspiracy Theorists” to attack anyone challenging the “Official” narrative. None of the “blind” men could see the elephant in its entirety and so their perspectives on whether the elephant is a system or conspiracy will be mixed as they can only reference the entities and level at which they saw the elephant.
Smoot bluntly describes specific entities within the deep state level as conspiring to gradually infiltrate and subvert the visible government institutions from within: “I am convinced that the Council on Foreign Relations, together with a great number of other associated tax-exempt organizations, constitutes the invisible government which sets the major policies of the federal government; exercises controlling influence on governmental officials who implement the policies; and, through massive and skilful propaganda, influences Congress and the public to support the policies.”
Similarily, Sach’s description of the corporate lobbies emphasises the clear corporate-government links that exist. Sachs sees a corporate conspiracy he calls The Rigged Game in which the political system has come to be controlled by powerful corporate interest groups – the “corporatocracy” – who dominate the policy agenda.
Prouty’s interpretation of the deep state, or what he calls “the secret team”, is of a self-serving unguided system rather than a grand strategic conspiracy. He describes it as an “automatic system, much like a nervous system or an electrical system.” Prouty elaborates: “It is big business, big government, big money, big pressure, and headless — all operating in self-centered, utterly self-serving security and secrecy.”
Glennon, who admits that he is the quintessential double government insider, is also adamant that there is no conspiracy theory at the deep state level. The Trumanite network is a diverse and amorphous group, with no leader and no formal structure that has come to direct the formation of American security state policy bypassing Congress, the Presidency and the Courts. Glennon’s book and theory absolves the bureaucrats within the Trumanite network whose natural instincts are to both survive and expand their always-insufficient power.
Scott also resolutely states that there can be no conspiracy and refers instead to a self-serving system because “Unlike the state, the deep state is not a structure but a system, as difficult to define, but also as real and powerful, as a weather system.”
Lofgren’s deep state also operates in broad daylight and cannot be attributed to a planned conspiracy but rather due to disconnected, self-serving, bureaucratic people who have evolved into these roles by looking after their best interests: “Those who seek a grand conspiracy theory to explain the phenomenon will be disappointed. My analysis of the Deep State is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal. Logic, facts, and experience do not sustain belief in overarching conspiracies and expertly organized cover-ups that keep those conspiracies successfully hidden for decades.”
A more nuanced view is provided by Mills who states that “[t]he rise of the elite, as we have already made clear, was not and could not have been caused by a plot; and the tenability of the conception does not rest upon the existence of any secret or any publicly known organization.” However Mills does see how the power elite, once in power, would eventually conspire to maintain it: “But, once the conjunction of structural trend and of the personal will to utilize it gave rise to the power elite, then plans and programs did occur to its members and indeed it is not possible to interpret many events and official policies …..without reference to the power elite.”
The first and most visible government levels is the well publicised viewpoint highlighted by the corporate owned media who portray the visible government as guided by the democratic will of the people (masses). The visible government then merges with the partly visible deep state whose strategy is to guide the visible government via neoliberalism at home and exceptionalism abroad. This is followed by the corporatocracy level which uses predatory and – Naomi Klein’s aptly named – disaster capitalism to maintain and expand their power and profit. And finally the power elite are able to maintain their control over most of the layers of the visible-invisible government via a conspiracy known as monetary hegemony.
While it comes as no surprise that the power elite and corporatocracy are active in planning and conspiring to maximise profit and power, through the undue influence of the visible government, what is surprising is that four out of five “blind” men affirm that there is no conspiracy at the deep state level. Therefore using the analogy of Scott’s deep state behaving as a weather system we can confidently state that although the power elite and corporatocracy do not directly control the deep state or the visible government – to which they are clearly tethered – they do exercise inordinate influence over their decision making and policies through the neo-liberal “cloud seeding” of the deep state, the corporate out sourcing of entities and the “revolving door” hiring of neoliberal ideologues into visible government roles.
This hybrid of a naturally evolving and self-serving system maintained by a conspiracy gives it both its strength – through the plausible deniability of its loyal participants – and its weakness – through the dismantling of the system via revelation to the very same indoctrinated participants. A goal this very paper has been written to achieve.
Monetary hegemony, is bestowed upon the nation that holds the world’s leading central bank reserve currency, and is the main pillar of US hegemony since the end of World War II. The second pillar is world military supremacy which is dependent on monetary hegemony.
The ability of Washington to hold the lead reserve currency role is a strategic priority for the US Government and the corporatocracy’s Wall Street lobby allowing it to control the international monetary system. Monetary hegemony benefits Mill’s three hierarchies of power – simultaneously allowing the political hierarchy to finance the welfare state, the military hierarchy to finance the warfare state, and the corporate hierarchy to internationally expand and reap stupendous profits.
This strategy although appearing haphazard has been a consistent long term strategy pointing to a high level conspiracy by some elements of the power elite. It was under President Woodrow Wilson that the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 that the US government first allowed the corporatocracy’s Wall Street lobby to infiltrate the visible government and control the nation’s money supply.
US economic dominance through monetary hegemony, and the rise of Wall Street, was preordained in the aftermath of WW2 as the US controlled two-thirds of the world’s gold allowing it to establish the 1947 Bretton Woods system which gave the US monetary hegemony through its gold-backed dollar. Wall Street was then joined by the military industrial complex which helped expand the security state under Truman in 1947.
However after WW2 the military-industrial complex squandered US blood and treasure in multiple wars and interventions culminating in unsustainable gold outflows. And at the height of the Vietnam War in 1971, President Nixon, on advice from the Wall Street lobby, ended dollar convertibility to gold to prevent a run on the US dollar.
The ingenious geopolitical and economic petrodollar recycling strategy was first discussed in May 1971 at the Bilderberger (secret society) meeting in Saltsjoebaden, Sweden. According to William Endghal it was presented by American members of Bilderberg. The petrodollar recycling strategy was then implemented in 1973 and saw US monetary hegemony transition from a stable gold-backed dollar to a floating black-gold-backed dollar, also known as the petrodollar. With the majority of the black-gold reserves that it needs to back its dollar sourced from the Middle East, the plan became dependent on the continued control of the Middle Eastern oil producers and petrodollar recycling (investment) of Middle Eastern oil surpluses into the US treasury, the Federal Reserve and Wall Street.
Without the constraints imposed by a rigid low inflation gold-dollar, the US monetary base could be grown at exponential rates. At home, the petrodollar standard resulted in the financialisation of the US economy and the gutting of the US industrial economy and the middle class. Internationally the new petrodollar economic system elevated the US to a global economic super empire with the world’s nations forced to use the petrodollar and pay inflationary tribute or face security state intervention.
Although all corporations within the corporatocracy benefit from the strategic maintenance of the US monetary hegemony, Wall Street, the military-industrial complex and Big Oil in particular are deeply intertwined in the self-reinforcing petrodollar recycling plan. These lobbies gain power and profit through a death spiral that sees them printing the fiat petrodollars to finance the wars, selling the armaments to fight the wars, and the securing of oil fields to maintain the petrodollar. The maintenance of monetary hegemony by the power elite through the petrodollar is proportional to the symptoms it has created – the economy (global financial crisis), the empire (Middle Eastern “War on Terror”) and the environment (climate change).
A 2011 study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities entitled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens affirmed Mill’s view – that the US Government does not represent the interests of the majority of the masses, but instead represents the interests of the rich and powerful.
A high level breakdown of the policies advocated by the masses versus the neo-liberal policies advocated by the corporatocracy neatly highlights what has been called the democratic deficit and clearly shows which group’s policies prevail and which constituents are truly being served.
The US Government of the people, for the people no longer exists. With the help of the 7 “blind” men however the shadow government can now be illuminated; the invisible government can now be discerned and the double government can now be identified.
The totality of truths is that the US “elephant” consists of a power elite hierarchy overseeing a corporatocracy, directing a deep state that has gradually subverted the visible government and taken over the “levers of power.” Henceforth in stark contrast to Scott and Lofgren it shall not be known as the disparate deep-state, nor as Sach’s corporatocracy, but more aptly as the amalgamated corporate-deep-state.
The Holy Grail of the science branch of physics is to find what Einstein called a Unified Field Theory, also known as “a theory of everything.” This is quite simply one idea, one set of equations that could explain the entire physical universe.
Similarly the corporate-deep-state theory is the Holy Grail of political science and builds on the work of the giants, called “blind” men in this paper, diving deeper into what Lofgren calls the red thread that runs throughout the past 40 years of US government and politics.
The US’s founding fathers went to great lengths in their Constitution to separate the powers between the three visible branches of the US federal government, ensuring that no single branch could dominate.
What they failed to plan for was the separation of corporation and state. A failure highlighted by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913, under whose leadership the corporate Pandora’s box was first opened with the establishment of the Federal Reserve: “We are at the parting of the ways. We have, not one or two or three, but many, established and formidable monopolies in the United States. We have, not one or two, but many, fields of endeavor into which it is difficult, if not impossible, for the independent man to enter. We have restricted credit, we have restricted opportunity, we have controlled development, and we have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world—no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men.”