You might have seen a talking point going around at the moment about the “Deep State”. Timelines are kinda my thing at the moment, so let’s take a look at how the “Deep State is not your friend” meme has snowballed:
- 16 Feb 2017: New York Times.
- 15 Feb 2017: The Atlantic.
- 08 Feb 2016: Counterpunch.
- 11 Jan 2017: The Intercept.
- 21 Dec 2016: Jacobin.
What triggered this recent set of “Deep State is trying to take down Trump” articles? The answer seems to be (drum roll please):
- 12 Dec 2016: Breitbart.
That alone should give you pause: the White House’s main propaganda site started pushing the idea based on a Trump campaign talking point. But let’s go back further, to the origin of the meme.
The term “deep state” had been around in conspiracy circles for quite a few years, but was popularized in Turkey as derin devlet. From there, the New York Times identified it as a new term in 2013, specifically referring to the Turkish phenomenon.
This original idea of the deep state requires a strong military, and Trump is expected to boost the military budget. The Turkish deep state carries a strong element of right-wing ultra-nationalism, which is another Trump hallmark. The Turkish deep state is associated with criminality and money laundering, things Trump is also suspected of.
Then in 2014, Peter Dale Scott introduced the term “Deep State” in the context of US politics, in his book “The American Deep State”. Scott’s American Deep State built on the Egyptian concept. His was steered by oil companies and Wall Street. Those are exactly the people Trump has packed his administration with, and exactly the people who are rumored to be pulling his strings.
So given the original meaning and Peter Dale Scott’s use of the term, “Deep State” would seem to apply perfectly to Trump.
The new “Deep State”
However, all that changed in 2016. As Scott put it:
Recently [the term] has been enhanced by a new meme, “the ’deep state’ versus Trump,” a theme that promoted Donald Trump as a genuine outsider, and entered the electoral campaign as early as August 2016.
Trump reinforced this notion when he expressed opposition to America’s international defense alliances and trade deals that both traditional parties had long supported, as well as by his promise to “drain the Washington swamp.” It was encouraged again post-election by Trump’s longtime political advisor Roger Stone, formerly of the Washington lobbying firm Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly, once a major feature of that swamp.
What seems to have happened is that in 2016, Trump’s propaganda masters saw that the “Deep State” idea could harm Trump, so they set out to use their standard arsenal of tricks to try to neutralize the term by rendering it meaningless. They were eventually given a big boost by Glenn Greenwald’s article “The Deep State Goes to War With President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer”, which laughably implied that the Orbis dossier was all “fake news” while urging the left to reject the intelligence services. Greenwald’s article then triggered similar thinkpieces in all the mainstream liberal media outlets.
So now, rather than being seen as the puppet of the “Deep State” as he fills government with white nationalists, oil execs, and Wall Street bankers, Trump and his supporters can pretend to be the enemy of the Deep State — which is now any entity that disagrees with Trump. EPA? Deep State. NASA? Deep State. The judiciary? Deep State. John McCain? Deep State. George Soros? Deep State. The Pope? Deep State. Muslims? Deep State. Jews? Deep State. Antifa protesters? Deep State.
Rather than being funded and controlled by oil companies and Wall Street, this new whoever-opposes-Trump “Deep State” is supposedly funded and controlled by George Soros, Barack Obama, and the Clinton Foundation, and Donald Trump is the lone hero trying to fight it.
This is, of course, patently ridiculous — as is the idea that the US intelligence services are engaged in a unified conspiracy against Trump. I mean, maybe I’m gifted with an extraordinary memory, but I seem to recall that way back in November 2016, the intelligence services got Trump elected by suggesting — contrary to standard procedure as well as contrary to fact — that there might be some sort of e-mail evidence of Hillary Clinton doing something criminal. Just before the election sites like Zerohedge were telling us that the Deep State was destroying Hillary Clinton in order to install Trump. You might even have a reminder of the distant past on your phone, in the guise of the Signal instant messaging app which everyone started installing after the election so that the intelligence services couldn’t tap instant messages to round up anti-Trump protesters.
The new neutered meaning of Deep State, and the articles warning liberals to oppose it, clearly serve the Breitbart/Trump agenda. Steve Bannon would surely love it if the left listened to Greenwald and started opposing intelligence leaks for the sake of “democracy”.
Believe me, I know that the CIA and NSA are not my friends. I’ve been writing about that for decades. But while the CIA might go rogue every now and again, they haven’t stated that they want to destroy the state and start a religious crusade, as Trump’s chief adviser has.
Yes, ideally Michael Flynn would have been removed from government via proper democratic means. There would have been a proper independent investigation, a public report would have been issued, and he would have been fired. I say he would have been fired because at this point we know he at least committed a felony by lying to the FBI and broke military regulations by failing to report his paid trip to Moscow to celebrate Russia Today and have dinner with Putin.
Yes, ideally it would have been handled via a proper investigation, rather than intelligence leaks and public outrage. But in case you haven’t noticed, the Republican Party isn’t exactly in the mood to investigate or prosecute anything right now, and they control the Senate, House and Presidency. Without leaks, Flynn would still be in the White House and we’d be none the wiser. The reason why the intelligence services didn’t want that has nothing to do with globalist conspiracies, it’s much simpler:
What’s going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that “since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official added in wry frustration.
Members of the intelligence services take an oath to the nation, not to the President. Apparently some of them are sincere.
So yes, Glenn Greenwald, the intelligence services are not my friend. But you know who else isn’t my friend? Vladimir Putin. As with angrily writing in Bernie’s name on your election ballot, ignoring or rubbishing intelligence leaks and angrily holding out for Republicans to do their jobs is not going to benefit anyone but Trump and the Republican party. Stop being their useful idiot.
And once again, Trump is not the heroic enemy of the Deep State. At best, he’s the puppet of one faction of the Deep State. Don’t let the occasional intelligence leak obscure that.