Saturday 14 January 2017

From Langley, With Love.

Inside The Magic Circle: Making America great has never, ever, been the President's job.
NEVER BEFORE have the puppet-masters’ strings been more exposed. Clearly, something very close to a full-scale civil war is raging across the dark institutions of the American Deep State.
In the days immediately preceding the 8 November presidential election we witnessed the critical intervention of the New York Office of the FBI. Faced with the near certainty of “strategic leaking” by his own agents should he refuse, the hapless FBI Director, James Comey, agreed to inform Congress (and the world) that the Bureau was re-opening the investigation into the Clinton E-mail Scandal.
At the time it seemed reasonable to speculate that the FBI’s New York Office was a hot-bed of Trump supporters gone “rogue”. But, as Glenn Greenwald’s recent posting on The Intercept makes clear, the true motivation for the New York Office’s political intercession was very probably the CIA’s own political interventions on behalf of the Clinton campaign.
The FBI’s disdain for the CIA’s legally questionable (to say the least!) rules of engagement is well known in US national security circles. In the lurid light of the strategically leaked “Russian Dossier”, the re-ignition of the Clinton E-Mail Scandal is beginning to look more and more like a pre-emptive FBI strike.
That such a politically compromising document – unsourced and unverified – has been injected into the bloodstream of the American body politic just eight days before Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the United States is as unprecedented as it is alarming. As Greenwald rightly states: “The threat of being ruled by unaccountable and unelected entities is self-evident and grave. That’s especially true when the entity behind which so many [Trump opponents] are rallying is one with a long and deliberate history of lying, propaganda, war crimes, torture, and the worst atrocities imaginable.”
Just how this overt effort to undermine the duly-elected President-Elect of the USA plays out will depend largely on how most Americans view the role and conduct of the CIA. On the one hand, there is what might be called the “Jason Bourne” view of the agency, and, on the other, the view inspired by the television series “Homeland”.
The Jason Bourne CIA is presented as a murderous law unto itself. Unrestrained and unaccountable, this version of the Agency would not hesitate to cobble together a damning dossier and use it to weaken, perhaps fatally, the administration of a president deemed (by itself) to be a person inimical to the USA’s long-term strategic interests.
The Homeland CIA offers a much more nuanced view of America’s national intelligence agency. Above all else, the Agency’s operatives are portrayed as patriots. Their contradictory obligations: to remain loyal to the US Constitution; and to take whatever steps are necessary to protect America’s interests; repeatedly reduce characters like Carrie Mathison, Peter Quinn and Saul Berenson to guilt-ridden wrecks.
Of the two views, the Homeland CIA is by far the more dangerous. By painting over the blood-red crimes of the Agency with reassuring coats of ambivalent grey, the series’ writers encourage the view that although it is often necessary to uphold the Constitution by subverting it, and to preserve America’s international reputation by tarnishing it, the agents responsible never, ever, stop loving the United States.
One could almost say that the Jason Bourne CIA is how American liberals view the Agency when the evil Republicans are in power; while the Homeland version provides them with the excuses they need when the CIA’s misdeeds are authorised by a Democrat. So, if the Russian Dossier really is a CIA concoction, then, as far as Trump’s liberal opponents are concerned, it’s from Langley, with love.
Greenwald rails against this anything-to-rid-America-of-Trump  double standard: “There are solutions to Trump. They involve reasoned strategizing and patient focus on issues people actually care about. Whatever those solutions are, venerating the intelligence community, begging for its intervention, and equating their dark and dirty assertions as Truth are most certainly not among them. Doing that cannot possibly achieve any good, and is already doing much harm.”
Greenwald’s sterling defence of the US Constitution, notwithstanding, the situation in Washington may already have moved beyond the power of the most conscientious journalist to remedy. Regardless of Trump’s ultimate fate, the men he has nominated to defend US interests are quietly reassuring their Senate interlocutors that the continuity of America’s military, foreign relations and national security policy is not about to be upended by 3:00am tweets from the White House.
The unchanging priorities of the American Deep State crowd around Trump like ancestral ghosts: hemming him in; whispering in his ear; by turn inflaming and freezing his untutored political heart. His supporters should not be surprised. Though they may not know it, making America great has never, ever, been the President’s job.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 13 January 2017.


peteswriteplace said...

Civil war beckons?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Homeland" might be more nuanced, but Jason Bourne is much more entertaining. :)

And of course all that fuss about Russian prostitutes and Trump must be fake news. Partly because no one surely, would piss on the man if he was on fire.

But given his reputation for stiffing people on their fees, let's hope the prostitutes got their money in advance.

Apropos of that, the refusal to pay small business people because the "work wasn't good enough" has sparked a response from someone who I regard as an Internet acquaintance, who suggested that people go into his restaurants, eat – and refuse to pay, because the meal wasn't good enough. The words hoist and petard come to mind.

Anne said...

The sober and rational end of the main stream media market have already outed the apparent source of the dossier - a former MI6 officer who goes by the name of Christopher Steele. He was hired by a Republican candidate (thought to be Ted Cruz) to investigate Trump's Russian connections. I suggest you read this link to find out why...

Nick J said...

As Trump stated so eloquently "the swamps gonna be drained". I would have thought that declaring war against your new boss was a silly move. Using blatently spurious stories makes the whole of the security apparatus of the Deep State look decidedly amateur. Anonymous must see them as a technical joke.

The saddest part of this whole fuck up is the constant whining whingeing efforts from a liberal Left that lost fair and square. Trump won according to the rules yet universally the losing side are happy to scrap any allegiance to the democratic principle. Dont these mendacious brats realise that the hardest part of being democratic is to accept defeat and deal with it democratically.

We now have to go through 4 years of Trump which may not be pleasant. One thing I dont need as a defeated party is excuses from faux Lefties who supported a corrupt candidate -the DP convention leaks said it all. If the international Left is going to resist and rebuild a little self honesty might go far. Im not seeing a lot so far.

Victor said...


I suspect the CIA is neither as efficient as in the Bourne franchise nor as neurotically guilt-stricken as in "Homeland", much as I love that wonderful exercise in fiction.

Either way, I doubt that it has quite as much of a role as you suggest in deciding policy as opposed to implementing it.

Changes in administration have, in the past, led to quite far-reaching changes in foreign policy, the changeover from Bill Clinton to W being the most obvious of these.

The agency then did what it was told and subsequently took the blame for the limitless folly of its bosses.

That's not to say that the US doesn't have a deep state. But it also has nutty politicians who tend to call the shots.

I'm also not entirely sure I follow the logic of your suggestion that the FBI was carrying out a pre-emptive strike against the "Russian" dossier with the Hillary emails.

If the Bureau knew about the dossier (and we can probably assume it did), then it would also have known that this sleazy piece of fact or fiction was going to be published anyhow but probably after the election. So, in what sense was this a preemption?

Okham's Razor suggests to me that J Edgar Hoover's heirs include a preponderence of Trupkins, who effectively carried out a coup by making this alleged new evidence public knowledge and then deliberately failing in the quite simple task of checking them out until virtually the eve of the election.

Harry's MI5 Spooks would have got through them before lunch and no-one outside Whitehall would ever have heard of them. Now that's what I call a deep state.

Bushbaptist said...

@ Nick J; The only true thing you posted previously is that it will be possibly (probably?) an unpleasant 4 years.

He has drained the swamp alright and filled it with slime.

The US is not a Democracy, it's a Constitutional Republic, an entirely different political beast. That is why Slippery Hill got more votes but still lost the election.

The right to protest is an important right that people have and they can exercise it. It's called Freedom of Expression!

I repeat what I have posted before; Trumpy has the mentality and petulance of a 13 year old and it shows in the endless crap he tweets. He's a twat tweeting twits on titter.

Wayne Mapp said...

Do you really buy into the Greenwald conspiracy?

Isn't the truth likely to be far more prosaic. For instance Comey may have felt he had no choice but to release the information about the Clinton reinvestigation, because if he didn't it would have leaked anyway. He would then have been in a situation where he had to confirm it, or not comment on it, which is just about the same thing.

As for the CIA role, well I think that is all a bit ridiculous. On the Russian dossier and the MI6 agent. Well it might be true. It is sufficiently plausible that it is believable, which of course is why it creates the damage it has.

Just looking at the 8 or so weeks since the election Trump has done enough all by himself to weaken the start of his presidency. It seems to me he now goes in severely weakened. The Republican Congress are able to do what they want. In some cases that will coincide with Trumps wishes, in other cases not. In that I mean they will go further on radical reform than he wants. Presumably he does not want to loose the support of working Americans who voted for him, but who will have no love for a radical Republican agenda.

To me he already looks like a one term president. He is too eccentric and makes too many enemies, often needlessly. He may even resign earlier in sheer frustration. On the other hand I don't think he will be impeached. No real need, since the Republican Congress and Pence will operate around him, leaving him as a figurehead.

However, the Democrats will have to look like they are ready for government.They will need a few key leaders of the next generation to drive things forward. Andrew Cuomo looks well placed to be one of the leaders (though only 10 years younger than Clinton, but clearly perceived in a different way) and a likely presidential contender. After all that race starts in just over two years

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"which of course is why it creates the damage it has."

Well if you could tell us exactly what damage the pissing prostitutes have caused Trump Wayne, I'd really like to know. His base doesn't seem the least bit fazed by it and they keep calling it "fake news". Which is interesting, because they are the people who seem to believe that Hillary Clinton was running a paedophile ring out of a pizza parlour. It just goes to show the difference between conservatives and the left. I'm willing to suspend judgement on pissgate, though it has provided me with hours of innocent amusement. And Jesus wept, Cuomo? Elizabeth Warren! She's a politician who actually knows stuff. Whereas most seem to glory in their ignorance.

Victor said...


Both you and your left-wing and Trumpite would-be nemeses on this site all, for different reasons, make the assumption that it takes ten days for a well-equipped, professionally-staffed, modern organisation to go through a mere 650,000 emails.

This is surely nonsense.

As I pointed out a few weeks ago, I recently took three hours to check 1,000 emails, despite being elderly, wasted by numerous minor anatomical challenges, technologically challenged and devoid of sophisticated search engines or the ability to use them.

I assume that anyone under 50 and appropriately trained and equipped could have got through ten times that number of emails in the time in question. So just over 20 FBI operatives could have got through it all in just under three hours.

This may well be a huge under-estimate, as I assume there is software available that could have easily excluded emails that had already been scrutinised (viz. all of them!).

This, in turn, leads to the question of why the emails weren't checked out BEFORE any announcement was made and why this issue was allowed to fester till almost the eve of the election.

The only possible conclusions are that either the FBI is as fumbling and inept as its CIA rivals believe it to be on "Homeland" OR (more likely) that this was a deliberate attempt to influence the election result.

My money (if I had any) would be on the latter.

Nick J said...

Bush, what you see as untrue illustrates very nicely why I am so narced by the Left. So by point:

Trump has not filled the swamp with slime (yet), he is not even inaugurated.

The US may or may not be a democracy, yet they had what appeared to be an election albeit with strange rules etc, is that not “democratic”? Slippery played by the same rules badly and lost (predictably I might add).

The right to protest, sure we should all have that right. Now flip the page and ask yourself what you would think if Trump had lost and his supporters went feral? More importantly Trump needs to be resisted, all this noise does is play entirely into his hands and the Left ends up looking pathetic. That’s cool if you want to freely express that way.

Last, maybe you are right about Trump but you may wish to check out the fact that he won against all odds and dictated the pace all the way, not bad for a 13 year old petulant. Or perhaps the Left might wish to do an honest assessment of ourselves and come up with a far more helpful and electable dialogue.

Victor said...

Andrew Cuomo, like his dad, is a nice guy. But the last thing the Dems need is another dynastic scion to head their ticket, let alone one who's been at the heart of the establishment for so long.

I'm a long-term admirer of Senator Warren but I'm not sure she would have a broad enough appeal. There again, I originally thought that about Bernie, whom, I now think, would have won the election had he been nominated.

BTW. The excellent Jane Sanders has coyly suggested that her hubby might still be available in 2020, when he'll still be younger than Reagan was when he left office.

That said, I think that, after four years of Trump, voters will again be looking for youth. Julian Castro would tick that and other boxes. But he's far too much of a Clintonite for my tastes or, I suspect, for those of an emerging, change-hungry, youthful' Democratic majority.

And have no doubt that it will be even more change-hungry after four years of Republican/Trmpist coalition rule and the chaos that will engulf the Union when this coalition crumbles.

So I think that the next US president has yet to emerge.

Victor said...

Nick J

You have a curious notion of what "fair and square" entails.

Wayne Mapp said...

Guerilla Surgeon,

Maybe you are right, perhaps there was no additional damage. For many Trump supporters they would not care, and might even like the extreme insults to the Obamas. For those already against Trump it would have confirmed how unsuitable he is. But surely there were some in the middle, perhaps even some who voted for him, who were less than impressed.

His approval rating is 44%, way lower than any other incoming President. His behaviour since the election can hardly have impressed anyone, including many of his supporters. Hence the reason I said why people like Ryan and McCain will sideline him as much as possible. They will act with the independent mandate that they can properly claim.

Cuomo, solid progressive establishment Democrat. Both labels will be important given the probability that Trump will continue to demonstrate why picking the wild card is a high risk proposition. So in my view Cuomo is the sort of person who could win the Presidency with a broad range of support in the "rustbelt" states that Trump won.

Nick J said...

Victor, an example "fair and square". In 1959 the All Blacks scored 6 penalties to beat 4 Lions tries. The Lions moaned and complained about the unfairness of losing that way. The result however stood. It was played under rules both sides understood. One side clearly had a strategy that worked for them under the then rules. Fair and square they won, the point being to score more regardless of how you get them. Subsequently rules changed.

Clintons team knew what each state was worth in terms of electoral college votes (to not know would be clear dereliction of duty). She played under the same rules as Trump. Her strategy garnered more individual votes and scored less in the electoral college. Game over. Whether we see subsequent changes we can only hope. Right now those are the rules.

Curious? Or realistic?

Victor said...

Nick J

To my mind, 'fair and square' means just that and not merely 'according to the rules', although obeying the rules is normally part of the definition.

So, 'à chacun son goût' but I still find it a curious definition and I suspect I'm not alone in this.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Cuomo, solid progressive establishment Democrat. "

Yes indeed. Pretty much just what lost to Trump – except perhaps for being a man. Unfortunately there is a broad streak of anti-intellectualism in the US as there is in New Zealand. So Elizabeth Warren might be a nonstarter. But one lives in hope. Unfortunately now the cry "fake news" has become pretty much meaningless. I.e. – something you don't agree with or just don't believe. It used to mean "Making shit up.".... sigh.

Nick J said...

Yes indeed Victor, each to his own. Fair to me is doing what is right within the rules, the morality of the rules may be judged to be otherwise. My inclination on the whole Trump issue is to be as clinical as possible and to learn. I think what we saw was a change to the established method of election of the last 50 years that increasingly depended on television media, vast amounts of money, talking heads, framed reference and opinion polls leading opinion.

Trump came up with the counter, a blitzkrieg on the established orthodoxy just as effective as dive bombers and tanks. He had TV status from "reality TV" so he milked that, neutralizing the big money and talking heads on TV. He framed the terms of engagement, changed them on the trot when challenged, delivered by Tweets in real time sound clip mode. He challenged the leading effect of opinion polls by challenging them, proving them wrong and grinding their results back in their faces in a very public way.

Most importantly I believe Trump knew that he faced a Maginot line, and he simply went around it. That line consisted of the orthodox approach and hubris of the status quo who failed to learn the lesson from Brexit, and assumed that they could expect votes from people they had long since deserted. His narrative exploited this to the max. And he found fertile grounds of resentment among-st those Rustbelters that are real. The opposition by comparison condemned these people as "deplorable" and denied their issues

Game set match, fairly executed. The game has been radically changed, the Left now needs to stop whining, suck it up and learn. And that has to start with a positive narrative that engages all of those who swapped camp. Belting on about the evils of Trump is one thing, creating a preferable alternative narrative that engages and defeats the Trumps of this world is entirely a different matter. And I don't give a f;lying proverbial about being called a pariah by the Left for saying this.

Bushbaptist said...

@Nick J 14.37

We will disagree on several points;

A Democracy is only a method of electing a leader. It has two components namely; one person -- one vote and the one with the most votes wins the election. Hillary got the most votes but did not win therefore the USA is not a democracy. For the record I am not a Hill supporter, she is a rightwing Republican in disguise.

Trumpy HAS filled the swamp with slime -- take a look at the people he has surrounded himself with. Not to mention those offspring of his! The Inauguration is simply a foregone conclusion.

Yes he got the job because he got $3 billion of free advertising whereas Hillary could hardly get any.That has to say a lot! Trumpy got the vote of the white middle class because they are hurting from the export of their jobs. He is going to bring all those jobs back! Yeah right. That's not going to happen! He's going to build big beautiful wall and that's not going to happen either.

If you check back and watch the clips of him in those last few weeks of the campaign you will see that he was setting himself up an escape route. "The election will be rigged", "Everyone hate me" etc. When he was told he'd won he was like a possum in the headlights! He didn't know what to do.

As some-one wiser than I once said, "We live in interesting Times!"

Victor said...

Nick J

Ah well, you draw an interesting comparison with the Blitzkrieg versus the Maginot Line.

I'm not sure French civilian refugees dive-bombed by Stukas would have thought it all that fair. But, you're right, France could have invested in its own dive bombers to terrorise the Rhinelanders, built more tanks and made Charles de Gaulle Defence Minister or CIC many years earlier. It didn't and so it lost.

So, technically, game, set and match, well executed. But I struggle to see it as any fairer than the way Hillary got the Democratic nomination (i.e.not very).

Where I do agree with you is that opponents of Trumpism must learn lessons from his success rather than just picking away at the sores of defeat. But they shouldn't for a moment doubt the extent of the evil they now confront.

Nick J said...

Victor, agree entirely. Picking away at the sores of defeat merely infects the wound. Time for a prescription of effective antibiotics methinks.

Victor said...

Nick J

Agreed. But, irrespective of the truth or falsehood of these latest accusations, questions of significance remain concerning Trump's Russian connections.

If I was an American, of right, left or center persuasion, I would want these answered, as much from a point of view of national security as any other .

Bushbaptist said...

For yiu Nick J;

Nick J said...

All good Bushbap.....I get the feeling you think I like Trump. I dont. I think he is a sleaze.

I hope the truth on this one comes out, although I suspect it wont. I would rather leave it to the courts than speculate on veracity etc.

While you look at this stuff nobody on the US "left"seems to be saying that maybe we should be looking policies of bringing back industry, making jobs, establishing a dialogue with Russia to improve relations, stopping the dropping of bombs or drone attacks, pulling the "deep state" into line etc etc, all policies they should stand for.

Bushbaptist said...

No prob. Nick. I thought you are not a Trumpet. I agree the courts will decide on that case but there are three others pending. It's going to be a rocky ride for Trumpy even if he is cleared.

The problem that the 'Left' in the US is that they don't have a voice politically. Traditionally the Democrats were their people but the Clintons dragged the party to the right and in the position that the Republicans once held. That pushed the Republicans further to the right into the arms of the Religious fringies. So the US has the Right and the Right Nutters. Anyone else doesn't get a look-in. Their whole electoral system needs a serious rebore.

The huge numbers of backers that Bernie got shows that there are a large proportion of the Yank population who support the Left.