Many thanks to John Titus for turning me on to this incredibly important piece
. I hope that he will not mind extensive quotation. Hit the link and study the whole thing -- and then study his sources; nothing else you read today will be of comparable importance.
Three major publications are out this week that suggest we should be ready for a running coup, a planned terror attack and the subsequent power grab by Bannon and Trump. These publications are the Canberra Times out of Australia, CNN online, and The New Yorker. Not exactly radical rags.
, warning of an impending coup:
The confusion and chaos generated at the bureaucratic and individual level by Trump’s most spectacular executive order — his ban of individuals from selected predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States — came in part from its sudden announcement. From enforcers to the public, many were thrown off guard.
Welcome to the shock event, designed precisely to jar the political system and civil society, causing a disorientation and disruption among the public and the political class that aids the leader in consolidating his power.
Those who still refuse to take Trump seriously cite his incompetence for the rough start in office. Yet this blitzkrieg was intentional. “Get used to it. @POTUS is a man of action and impact … Shock to the system. And he’s just getting started” his counselor Kellyanne Conway tweeted Saturday.”
As Titus notes, this analysis owes much to the basic idea driving The Shock Doctrine
. I will confess that I had my problems with Naomi Klein's work on first glance. ("We're going over the Cameron thing again?"
) But that book and documentary seem prescient now.
“As Conway implies, these first days of the Trump administration could be considered a prologue to a bigger drama, and one that reflects the thinking of Trump and Bannon alike. From their actions and pronouncements, we cannot exclude an intention to carry out a type of coup.
Many may raise their eyebrows at my use of this word, which brings to mind military juntas in faraway countries who use violence and the element of surprise to gain power. Our situation is different. Trump gained power legally but this week has provided many indications that his inner circle intends to shock or strike at the system, using the resulting spaces of chaos and flux to create a kind of government within the government: one beholden only to the chief executive.”
Ryan Lizza, writing in the New Yorker, predicts Big Wedding II
almost as boldly as I do. I am considering holding a raffle: The prize will go to the first person who guesses the correct date.
Jack Goldsmith, a former senior Justice Department official in the George W. Bush Administration, who helped design the post-9/11 anti-terror legal architecture, recently suggested that Trump might actually want his travel ban to be overturned. That way, in the wake of an attack, he can use the judiciary as a bogeyman and justify any new efforts to push through more extreme measures.
I asked Goldsmith and others what the menu of options might be for a President Trump empowered by the justifiable fears Americans would have in the aftermath of a serious attack. “If it is a large and grim attack, he might ask for more surveillance powers inside the U.S. (including fewer restrictions on data mingling and storage and queries), more immigration control power at the border, an exception to Posse Comitatus (which prohibits the military from law enforcement in the homeland), and perhaps more immigration-related detention powers,” Goldsmith wrote in an e-mail. “In the extreme scenario Trump could ask Congress to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, which would cut off the kind of access to courts you are seeing right now."
Matt Olsen, the former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, told me that he didn’t agree with Goldsmith’s suggestion that Trump actually wants the executive order overturned, but he said that he thought Trump was laying the groundwork for arguments he might make after an attack. “This is a win-win for Trump,” Olsen said. “We can assume there will be another terrorist attack in the U.S. If the executive order is in place, he will point to the attack as support for the executive order and the need to expand it to other countries with bad dudes (Muslims). If the executive order has been struck down, Trump will blame judges and Democrats for the attack.”
Todd Breasseale, the former assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, was also alarmed. “I had a very similar discussion with a former senior intel official on this very issue, before Jack’s column,” he told me. “We both wholly believe that Trump needs a bogeyman. But, more importantly, he needs distraction and a blame source. In terrorists, he has his bogeyman. In his control of the prevailing press narrative via tweet, he has distraction. And, in the judiciary, he has a source of blame for why his way was right from the beginning.” Breasseale added, “I am fully confident that an attack is exactly what he wants and needs.”
The most difficult of the three articles cited by Titus is the one published by Australia's Canberra Times
. This piece offers speculation about Trump's relationship with the "Deep State." Since that term sounds a bit too Alex Jones-y for my taste -- remember when Roger Stone blamed the "Deep State" for that nasty case of "polonium poisoning"? -- I prefer to speak of the military/intelligence community.
That community may fairly be called "the Deep State" in this sense: Administrations come and go, but spooks and War Guys usually stay in their seats. Change does
occur in their world, but that change is rarely sudden. One must never speak of that community as though it were a single monolithic entity, for within that community there are differing factions, differing ideologies, differing loyalties.
Trump -- being the candidate of Alex Jones and other right-wing conspiracy buffs (most of whom are easily-gulled simpletons) -- portrays himself the antidote to this Deep State. But Trump is no outsider. Or rather: Steve Bannon
is no outsider.
The Breitbart empire has long pretended to be antagonistic to the Establishment. Yet Breitbart has always had ties to that very Establishment -- or rather, to a far right faction within it.
A while back, I announced that I was working on a long, long piece that would look into Breitbart's relationship with a segment of the intelligence community. I put off writing that article because -- well, frankly, doing the job right required a lot of work and a lot of thought. Would the effort be worth it? I'm still not sure how many people would pay attention to something so lengthy and abstruse.
While researching that piece, I ended up re-reading many of my earlier posts. (I've reached the age at which one reads older writings with a genuine sense of discovery.) The experience was uncanny. Many unconnected posts turned out to be connected: Without comprehending what I was doing, I had -- over the course of eleven years -- worked on One Big Story, even though I thought
I had written a myriad small stories.
Believe it or not, this line of investigation goes back to the "Duke" Cunningham bribery scandal, now more than a decade old. If you are feeling ambitious (or masochistic), you may want to read what I wrote about all of that, especially the posts about MZM.
Then read about what happened to MZM.
Then read my posts about the HBGary scandal.
Then read about what happened to that
Then read my posts about the death of Michael Hastings.
Then read about how all of the above -- yes, all
of it -- links up with the Breitbart crew.
If you go on to do some heavy-duty research, you'll also discover how all of this ties in with Michael Flynn and to the Alt-Right movement.
I have hesitated to emphasize the links between Bannon, Trump and the intelligence community because doing so might be seen as contradicting the narrative that Putin and the FSB control Trump. To be honest, that narrative is hard to reconcile with the thesis that I'm working on. Make no mistake: I remain quite certain that the Putin/Trump link is real, and that liberals are correct when they portray Trump as the toady of the Enemy Without.
Nevertheless, there is also an Enemy Within. Alex Jones and his nitwit brotherhood tout Trumpism as the antidote to the Great American Conspiracy. In fact, Trumpism is
the Great American Conspiracy.
And if what I've just said seems outlandish or obscure -- well, now you know why I never completed that article.