Guantanamo and the Shadow Government

Back in 2009 after Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, during the days of the old Dark Age Blog, I wrote then that I would judge Obama’s presidency by how quickly he moved to dissolve that obscenity called “Guantanamo”. After seven years of foot-dragging that obscenity is still operational, a reminder still of the stark (and dark) contradictions that exist between rhetoric about the nobility of “Western values” and the actual reality.

But then, such duplicity is the very meaning of “the new normal”.

An article in today’s Guardian on the ongoing difficulty of closing Guantanamo highlights the larger problem of what we might call “the Shadow Government” (“Guatanamo Bay lawyers call bluff on Obama’s promise to close prison“). To be sure, “Shadow Government” is a descriptive term that has been used previously to describe what former president Eisenhower once warned his fellow countrymen about as “the military-industrial complex”. Eisenhower had wanted to say “the military-industrial-congressional complex” that had emerged during and after World War II, but was counseled against including “congressional” by his advisors.

Since Eisenhower, and thanks to the conditions and atmosphere generated by the Cold War, the octopus called the military-industrial-congressional complex has expanded to now include other formerly autonomous domains of social life, so that now some speak of the “military-industrial-government-media-university-energy complex” which is a mouthful. So, for the sake of brevity, we will just call it the unelected “Shadow Government” or “corporatocracy”, as it has also been called. It has tenacity and tenure compared to the transiency of the presidency and the Congress, and has become the true “power behind the throne” as the keeper of the presidency and the Congress in the sense that it keeps these, for the most part, as a disciplined and well-heeled facade. And thanks to the revelations of Ed Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and dozens of others whose names are less well-known, the reality of the Shadow Government or Techno-Corporate State operating in the dark cannot be denied.

As the Guardian article suggests, whatever Obama’s actual intentions for Guantanamo he appears to be overruled by the Department of Defence (DoD) and the Pentagon. And the question naturally arises, what interest does the DoD or the Pentagon, or the Shadow Government overall, have in preserving Guatanamo, or in continuing violations of elementary justice by keeping men caged up who have previously been cleared of any wrong-doing even as early as 2009?

Guantanamo, the present “war on terror,” and the Shadow Government has to be understood in the context of at least the last three decades since the end of the Cold War. The glad tidings and triumphalism that attended the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 was not universally shared, especially in the Shadow Government. Thomas Barnett noted in his book The Pentagon’s New Map that there was a sense of gloom in ranks of the Pentagon (and beyond the Pentagon) at the end of the Cold War — a “peace scare” that threatened budgets, careers, and opportunities for advancement and promotion. Careers, fortunes, reputations, budgets, status, military research & development projects that had all been built up since Eisenhower’s warning about the “unwarranted influence” of the Shadow Government were suddenly under suspicion or called into doubt by the breakdown of the USSR.

Unreconstructed Cold Warriors, now worried about their prestige, stature, and legitimacy, set to work “in search of enemies” that would justify the continuation of the status quo. Chief among early ideologues of perpetual war, besides Barnett and others, was noted Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington, noted member of the Trilateral Commission and advocate of a “new world order” in the “clash of civilisations”. Huntington was no friend of democracy, to be sure. For as much as Huntington is also remembered as the advocate of the “clash of civilisations” he is also remembered as the advocate of a fascistic form of power in the United States,

The architects of power in the United States must create a force that can be felt but not seen. Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate. (cited by Chomsky in “Security and State Power“)

In his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order Huntington justified his bellicose and belligerent approach to the making of world order, and the search for new enemies and an Evil Other, with the excuse or rationalisation that Americans by and large needed an Evil Other against which to define themselves and their identity as the Good and Righteous. If such is true (and I doubt it as a general rule) that doesn’t say much about the inner security of the American identity. Nonetheless that rationale frames the neo-con screed latterly published by Richard Perle and David Frum called An End to Evil, which was pure demagoguery — a fact which former Bush speech-writer, David Frum, freely admitted after its publication in an interview on CBC radio’s current affairs programme Sunday Morning.

Francis Fukuyama, whose early essay on “The End of History” after the fall of the USSR attracted notable public attention, was a former student of Samuel Huntington’s. Fukuyama later developed his essay into a book entitled The End of History and the Last Man, which, in my opinion, provided the mythic framework within which everything else was to be interpreted — much as Alfred Rosenberg’s Myth of the Twentieth Century provided the mythic framework for German fascism.

Fukuyama was, of course, signatory to the Project for a New American Century’s (PNAC) Statement of Principles (1997), along with some other familiar names — Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, etc. The PNAC, as is well known, is infamous for its manifesto “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (2000) which included the highly controversial “new Pearl Harbor” meme that was to take on a very sinister meaning and interpretation amongst conspiracy buffs after 9/11. Cheney and Rumsfeld, at least, were also long-time insiders and members of the Shadow Government, which made them even more suspect, even in the eyes of George Bush, Sr.

“Rebuilding America’s Defenses” is Orwellian logic from beginning to end, and the desire for a “new Pearl Harbor” expressed the anxieties of the Shadow Government about its legitimacy and tenure in the absence of any identifiable enemy or Evil Other, as well as rationales for continuing R & D and military expenditures upon which “the economy” had come to depend — that is to say, “military Keynesianism”. Not just the American economy, but much of the global economy had become addicted to warfare and the need to preserve and maintain a constant state of tensions.

So, how providential and opportune it was when al-Qaeda attacked the United States a couple of years after the PNAC expressed its yearning for a “new Pearl Harbor”! You can hardly fault conspiracy theorists for believing it was an inside job all along. But if there was a conspiracy, as I wrote afterwards, it was a “conspiracy of desires” — the desire of one group to be attacked meeting the desire of another to attack, and this reciprocal and mutual desire simply coalesced in the events of 9/11 giving the Shadow Government and the unregenerate Cold Warriors exactly the thing they wanted all along — a “new Pearl Harbor”.

So, here we are twelve years later in the midst of the GWOT, as it has come to be called — “the Global War on Terror”. And one has to wonder how much of this is still belongs to the conspiracy of desire and intent. The seeming irrationalities of the war on terror — such as barring Muslims from travel (without providing explanation) or maintaining acknowledged innocent men in Guantanamo indefinitely — may well be due less to paranoia and hysteria and more to a cold, calculating logic designed to keep the “clash of civilisations” at a fever pitch or, (as Steve put it in a comment) “the dialectic of chaos”. For upon the perpetuation of this chaos the Shadow Government depends for its legitimacy and, of course, the justification for its appetites which seem boundless and insatiable.

Of course, some additional insight into the Shadow Government was provided, inadvertently perhaps, by Donald Trump when he boasted that quite a few Congressmen were on his payroll, or bankrolled, and owed him. It was so far from being received with surprise or outrage that hardly anyone took note of it. But to some extent or another, the Shadow Government’s spoor and spawn is detectable in a number of host governments around the world — particularly the so-called “Five Eyes“, which are affiliated in some way or another, all of which have a stake in ensuring that democracy doesn’t function in the way it is supposed to function.

Of course, I have no “smoking gun” that would unquestionably prove that things like Guantanamo, or the atrocities of Abu Ghraib, or bans on Muslims visiting the US are being kept deliberately in place from a calculating logic designed to foment bitterness, resentment, animosity, and hostility and so not to bring the “war on terror” to a conclusion, but to perpetuate it. Perhaps the only other conclusion one can draw from the “kafkaesque” nature of Guantanamo or the travel ban is that it is completely irrational. Well, in the larger overview that may well be the case, but given our brief summary of recent history it seems to fit a pattern of considered and deliberate provocation.

But, of course also, that’s not the dominant narrative, except for the occasional journo like The Globe & Mail’s Doug Saunders who asks the pertinent questions about why old Cold Warriors are still being allowed to shape policy given their stake in having and preserving global conflict. If Eisenhower in his time felt that his hands were being tied by the “unwarranted influence” of the military-industrial-congressional complex, and which has only grown more powerful over the course of the decades since, then maybe the presidency and the Congress is now fully captive of the Shadow State, which is the sorry conclusion of some observers today — Chris Hedges, George Monbiot, Greg Palast, Bertram Gross, Arthur Selwyn Miller, the late Alex Carey, amongst others.

It is even possible that Obama doesn’t definitively know himself who is pulling his strings.



3 responses to “Guantanamo and the Shadow Government”

  1. LittleBigMan says :

    I was just on my long road trip back and I was listening to the radio when the program I was listening to broadcast an excerpt from Eisenhower’s “farewell speech.” I particularly liked the end of the excerpt which said:

    “……The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist…..”

    Not only that “misplaced power,” (i.e. the Shadow government”) exists but also it is ancient and it has experience in toppling empires.

    By the way, according to a recent documentary by CNN, Douglas Feith, is another major player in the Shadow Government in the United States. The documentary is on Youtube. I hope you can access it if interested:

    I don’t think one would ever be able to find a “smoking gun,” that traces back to the Shadow. But as Robert De Niro very accurately and concisely put it in the movie, Ronin:

    “Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt.”

    “Conspiracy of desires,” is a brilliant theory. It really is and I love how insightful and deep that point of view is. But I’m afraid the 9/11 attacks went beyond a conspiracy of desires.

    To anyone who knows how buildings are constructed and react to various destructive forces (fire, earthquake, tornados and wind shear, etc.) the way the Twin Towers collapsed — made no sense AT ALL — given the explanation that it was the excessive heat caused by the fire that was ignited after the planes’ collision that was able to lead to such catastrophe.

    To this day, what surprises me more than the actual attack itself is the way the collapse of those buildings was explained by the so called “experts” on the network media. Even to the most skeptic minds, here are some testimonials:

    “9/11 Conspiracy: Jack Cloonan (FBI veteran) saying that he has never heard of any case where the black boxes of crashed airplanes were not found. In fact all 4 black boxes have been found but the 9/11 commission report has never admitted it in its report.”

    “Also, Mike Bellone, a ground zero worker saw one of the black boxes being found, but again this was never mentioned in the 9/11 commission report.”

    “William Rodriguez (the maintenance guy) and also the very last person leaving Tower 2, reports having heard several loud explosions in the basement before the building’s collapse.”

    “Professor Jones, a physicist, found the residue of the Super-Thermite in the debris collected from ground zero. But no report of this was made in the 9/11 commission report.”

    By the way, to the best of my knowledge, the congress appointed $100 million to investigate the Clinton’s sexual exploits, but appointed only $3 million (which was eventually increased to $14 million) to investigate the 9/11 events!!

    The Shadow Government exists and it is ancient with its roots in prisons of Babylon. This should come as no surprise, since “Thieves in Law,” or the Russian Mafia has its roots in prisons and Stalin’s gulags.

    Whistleblowers, and “successful We” groups mushrooming all over the world are key players to bringing awareness to the public about what the Shadow intends to do.

    • Scott Preston says :

      By “conspiracy of desires” I mean something like a seduction. Boy meets Girl. Both want to jump into the sack with each other, but are restrained by protocols, norms, inhibitions that must be overcome by appropriate flirtations, come-ons, courtship rituals, etc. Eventually, after all the formalities are concluded, they find each other in the sack together, maybe to the surprise of them both. Cupid works in funny ways, and even the gods of Olympus feared Cupid above all others.

      There is no question that there was a similar kind of flirtation and come-on from the neo-cons — their expressed desire for a “new Pearl Harbor”. Bin Laden accepted the invitation. He fell into their arms. I think the seduction was deliberate (“in search of enemies”), but I don’t think there was overt collusion between al Qaeda and the neo-cons at all. The desire for a “new Pearl Harbor” and the desire of bin Laden to give them one was sufficient to set the gears in motion, as befits the old saying “be careful what you wish for, for you must might get it”.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        I think “Boy meets girl” is an accurate and powerful analogy, because it suggests actions (as well as intentions and desires) on the part of both the boy and the girl – “It takes two to Tango” so to speak 🙂

        I agree that there was no overt collusion between al Qaeda and the Shadow government, but the Shadow government intelligence knew of the al-Qaeda plan and it paved the way for the al-Qaeda plan to have the maximum impact. Just compare the size of the plane that hit each tower with the size of each of those towers. It’s like a little bird crashing into a tree.

        The reference “Shadow Government,” by the way, is very valuable. Because it acknowledges the existence of a power structure (e.g. “The Syndicate” in the movies nowadays) behind the official government that really runs and manipulates things.

        In my judgment, the Shadow Governments worldwide are well-connected and form a closed hierarchical network. They are a true visionary, but in a very evil and twisted and sick way. They have the ability to see and plan things a thousand years in advance and they adapt quickly.

        For instance, they knew that unlike the highly fragmented societies in the Middle East (which are actually the very fruits of their own tireless planning, plotting, and labor that aimed at embedding themselves in the kings’ palaces as either a doctor, a top cleric/thinker, or a treasurer in order to gather intelligence only to assassinate and eliminate any patriotic figure that came close to power going back more than 2000 years), Europeans and the West had become highly united.

        So, they created their “Agent Smith” as the symbol of unification while the intentions were anything but (e.g. the United Nations, the European Union, The World Bank, NAFTA, etc. etc.). And now these seemingly benevolent organizations, aside from their ostentatiously humanitarian debates and programs, follow policies on the ground that weaken, segregate, and impoverish the societies in which they operate. Weak societies will then be easier to crack, allowing the Shadow Government and its agents of shadow to become stronger.

        The Shadow Government does not want happy coexistence for the people of any nation. It craves superiority of its agents over masses that are made inferior economically, historically and psychologically, culturally and intellectually.

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