- JFK documents withheld (almost 50 years later)
- Bill Bonner: “There are three legs to the Deep State stool”
- Defying the commander in chief for 75 years
- Barack Obama’s Cabinet (speaking of banksters)
- History has been redacted.
Maybe you missed it in the blizzard of news last week: While the Biden administration released “most” of the government’s remaining records on the JFK assassination, more than 4,300 remain off limits to you and me.
Under the 1992 JFK Records Act, documents can still be withheld if there is “clear and convincing evidence” that release would cause “an identifiable harm” to “military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement or conduct of foreign relations.”
“On the street, they call it a shell game,” tweets journalist Jefferson Morley. “In Washington they call it a CIA document dump.”
“The preponderance of evidence indicates the president was killed by enemies who had the skills and impunity to lay responsibility for the crime on a ‘patsy,’ whose political personality and foreign contacts were well known to the CIA’s leadership,” Morley writes.
“That the intellectual authors of this operation are still protected by official secrecy is scandalous yet predictable given the dysfunctional culture of ‘national security’ in Washington.”
Morley used to be with The Washington Post. In more recent years, he was editor of a nonprofit project called Deep State. He wrote a biography of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s infamous chief of counterintelligence from 1954–74.
These days, Morley has a Substack page called JFK Facts. He exercises extreme care not to jump to conclusions.
He is no kook — nor can the mainstream dismiss him as one. He was interviewed respectfully last week by MSNBC and CNN — outlets that otherwise retail Deep State propaganda 24/7, often with “analysts” who used to be on the payroll of one or another three-letter agency.
The latest revelations — or lack thereof — prompt us to revisit some of our past musings about the Deep State…
For a brief moment during Donald Trump’s first impeachment in late 2019, the mainstream considered it acceptable to acknowledge the existence of the Deep State.
“Thank God for the Deep State,” said John McLaughlin — who for a time was acting CIA director under the younger President Bush — during a panel discussion at George Mason University.
Barack Obama’s CIA director John Brennan, speaking on the same panel, freely acknowledged how “Mr. Trump has this very contentious relationship with CIA and FBI and the Deep State people.”
Otherwise, before and since, discussing the Deep State gets you dismissed as a conspiracist loon, to be outfitted with one of these…
The establishment take on the “Deep State” — except for about six weeks in 2019.
But what exactly is the Deep State, anyway?
“The concept of the ‘Deep State’ was first applied to countries such as Turkey and Egypt,” writes Bill Bonner — who founded The Agora Companies more than 40 years ago.
“These were places where military-police-security insiders put screws to your thumbs, forcing you to do as you were told. Elections changed ruling parties and their leaders. But the real power was elsewhere.”
It was a former congressional aide named Mike Lofgren who first applied the term to the United States, in a 2014 essay for the Truthout website, and later a book.
“The Deep State… is the story of our time,” writes Lofgren. “It’s the thin red line that runs through the war on terrorism, and a militarized foreign policy. Also the financialization and deindustrialization of the economy, and a social structure that has given us the most unequal income distribution in almost a century.”
Years before the term “Deep State” entered popular usage, we took note of a report by McClatchy newspapers (Miami Herald, The Charlotte Observer, etc.) — stating that the number of Americans with “access to classified material” numbered about 5 million.
At the time, the U.S. population was 312 million. So about 1.6% of the population was privileged to have “access to classified material.”
Now get this: In the Oceania of George Orwell’s 1984, the Inner Party made up 2% of the population.
The Outer Party made up another 13%, and the rest were proles.
You think that’s spooky? “Orwell’s division of labor and power,” observed journalist Sam Smith, “was almost precisely replicated in East Germany decades later, where about 1% belonged to the General Secretariat of the Communist Party, and another 13% being far less powerful party members.”
East Germany, with its infamous Stasi secret police, was the ne plus ultra surveillance state of the pre-internet era. Helluva model to be following in the “Land of the Free,” huh?
But don’t get us wrong: “The Deep State is not a homogenous or centrally controlled organization,” elaborates Bill Bonner.
“It is not a conspiracy of spooks, meeting in secret and plotting a takeover of the country. Instead, it includes hundreds of thousands of people who already run the country.
“It is a loose and tacit alliance of cronies, politicians, bureaucrats, consultants, experts, economists, lobbyists, the press, professors, the whole medical care complex and the military and its contractors.
“There are so many mansions in this house, the walls bulge and the nails pop. And the people who live in them have many different competing interests. But they have one single overriding common agenda — to shift power, status and wealth from the public to themselves.
“That is what makes them different from you and us: They can get richer only by making us poorer. And that, and only that, is the reason federal spending, debt and fake money go in only one direction — up.
“There are three legs to the Deep State stool,” Bill continues. “One controls the guns. Another seeks control over the voters. The third controls the money.
“The most powerful and dangerous of the three legs is the one Dwight Eisenhower warned about: the military-industrial complex. It’s gotten much more complex… and much more powerful… since Eisenhower outed it in 1961.
“The second leg is the politically correct, mostly culturally liberal, non-‘deplorable’ elite who dominate the universities, the media and the health, education and welfare complex.
“Wall Street is the third leg. It is not interested in politics. It is interested in money itself. But it knows that today’s fake money comes from politics, and it does its part, along with the rest of the Deep State, to keep it flowing.”
And it is anything but new: The military-industrial leg of the Deep State has been defying the orders of elected presidents for over 75 years.
Perhaps you’re familiar with Operation Paperclip — an effort by the U.S. Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency in the 1940s, bringing 1,600 German scientists and engineers to America. The aim — leveraging their knowledge to wage the emerging Cold War with the Soviet Union.
“Although he officially sanctioned the operation, President Harry Truman forbade the agency from recruiting any Nazi members or active Nazi supporters,” says the History Channel website.
“Nevertheless, officials within the JIOA and Office of Strategic Services — the forerunner to the CIA — bypassed this directive by eliminating or whitewashing incriminating evidence of possible war crimes from the scientists’ records, believing their intelligence to be crucial to the country’s postwar efforts.”
And that’s how it’s gone ever since. In 1960, Dwight Eisenhower ordered the CIA to cease its U-2 spy flights over Soviet territory. CIA chief Allen Dulles ignored him, Gary Powers was shot down and plans for an Ike-Khrushchev summit were blown up.
Two episodes from the Reagan presidency are especially illustrative of how the Deep State works.
In early 1986, Reagan got a letter at the White House from the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev had been on the job less than a year, but he’d already begun his program of epic reforms. For his part, cold-warrior Reagan felt Gorbachev was a Soviet leader he could work with.
The letter proposed eliminating all nuclear weapons by 2000.
Reagan mused about upping the ante. “Why wait until the year 2000?” he asked his aides in the Oval Office.
The Deep State swung into action. “Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and CIA Director William Casey, who had done their best to sabotage earlier nuclear treaties, were appalled,” wrote Jacob Weisberg in a 2016 Atlantic article. “Few others inside the Reagan administration took the idea of nuclear abolition seriously.”
The best Reagan and Gorby could pull off was eliminating a single class of nukes in continental Europe, with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987.
Which Donald Trump withdrew from in 2019, swayed by his own Deep State advisers.
The other story from the Reagan years was told by the late columnist Robert Novak.
Reagan appointed a U.S. Gold Commission early during his first term to investigate whether the United States should return to some sort of gold backing for the U.S. dollar. In the end, the Commission voted 15-2 against. (Rep. Ron Paul was one of the two dissenters.)
During his second term, Reagan granted a one-on-one interview to Novak at the White House. From Novak’s 2007 autobiography:
I asked Reagan: “What ever happened to the gold standard? I thought you supported it.”
“Well,” the president began and then paused (a ploy he frequently used to collect his thoughts), “I still do support the gold standard, but —” At that point, Reagan was interrupted by his chief of staff. “Now, Mr. President,” said Don Regan, “we don’t want to get bogged down talking about the gold standard.”
“You see?” the president said to me, with palms uplifted in mock futility. “They just won’t let me have my way.”
It was Donald Regan — the Merrill Lynch veteran who was Treasury secretary during Reagan’s first term — who stacked the U.S. Gold Commission with supporters of fiat money.
Speaking of banksters calling the shots, it’s not a stretch to say Wall Street dictated the makeup of Barack Obama’s Cabinet.
Or so one could safely conclude after sifting through WikiLeaks’ dump of John Podesta’s emails in 2016, when Podesta was chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
In October 2008, Podesta was soon to be co-chair of Obama’s transition team. He got an email from a Citigroup executive named Michael Froman with the subject line “Lists.”
The lists were of prospective Cabinet members. “These are the names to date that seem to be coming up as recommended by various sources for senior-level jobs,” Froman wrote.
The list eerily anticipated the actual makeup of Obama’s Cabinet and senior aides. Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff. Eric Holder as attorney general. Robert Gates staying on from the Bush administration as defense secretary. Three names were floated as Treasury secretary — including the one who got the job, Timothy Geithner.
“This was Oct. 6. The election was Nov. 4,” wrote David Dayen at The New Republic. “And yet Froman, an executive at Citigroup, which would ultimately become the recipient of the largest bailout from the federal government during the financial crisis, had mapped out virtually the entire Obama Cabinet, a month before votes were counted.”
So the only difference in the Trump era, really, is how the Deep State’s subversion came into the open.
The Deep State’s attitude was on display for all to see Nov. 13, 2019, on the first day of the public impeachment hearings.
Diplomat Bill Taylor testified that “the official foreign policy of the United States was undercut” by the White House’s “irregular efforts.”
Ditto for the closed-door testimony of National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. He carped that Trump was “promoting a… narrative [that was] inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency.”
(“The interagency.” That’s how these people talk…)
Back to Bill Bonner: “In other words, the generals, foreign policy experts, politicians and bureaucrat lifers (all aided and abetted by crony capitalists, campaign donors and lobbyists) have their own plans for stomping around the globe; they don’t want the White House butting in.”
Certainly not Joe Biden — who nonetheless crowed about the JFK documents that were released last week: “This significant disclosure reflects my administration’s commitment to transparency.”
Nonsense. Back to where we began, with Jefferson Morley: “What remains to be done is the complete declassification of the historical record of the assassination, including disclosure of the [CIA]’s still unacknowledged activities involving [Lee Harvey] Oswald while JFK was still alive.”
Maybe then we’d get some idea of what JFK’s special assistant Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was getting at in a June 1961 memo to the president. It’s still heavily redacted, including all of Page 9.
In the last 15 years — especially with the publication of books like JFK and the Unspeakable by James W. Douglass — it’s become fashionable to suggest the Deep State had it in for JFK because he was determined to put an end to the Cold War.
In this telling, JFK signed his own death warrant with his commencement speech at American University in June 1963 — informed by his experience during the Cuban Missile Crisis the previous year.
Like Jefferson Morley, we don’t want to jump to conclusions about the precise who and why. But until all the documents are public… the JFK peace narrative seems way more credible than anything that came out of the Warren Commission.
The 5 Min. Forecast
P.S. Maybe you saw the news over the weekend that FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried won’t fight extradition from the Bahamas to the United States to face trial.
It wouldn’t surprise us at all if during the course of pre-trial discovery, a Deep State agency asks the court to prevent key evidence from being introduced on the grounds of “state secrets” privilege. Enough to torpedo several of the most damning charges, if not the entire case.
Maybe it’ll never come to that… but if it does, you heard it here first.
P.P.S. For once, the markets are quiet today — the major U.S. indexes in the red, but not much. Well, except the Nasdaq — down over 1%. Treasury yields are on the rise, the 10-year note approaching 3.6%. Precious metals are little moved, with silver still holding the line on $23. Crude is up 2%, approaching $76.
No, we don’t have anything to say about Elon Musk’s Twitter poll asking whether he should step down as Twitter CEO. Except this: Couldn’t he have waited a few more days and let people chew on the most damning revelations to date from the Twitter Files… before making the discussion all about him again?