Friday, July 14, 2017

The Next Step in the Drug Wars

An ANA Commando with 3d Company, 1st Special Ops Kandak, covers a poppy field in Khugyani District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, 9 May 2013. 

Legislators in Oregon passed state laws decriminalizing certain Schedule 1 Narcotics. The purpose of this decriminalization was to reduce pressure on state prisons and the state judicial system, which are overrun by nonviolent drug offenders.

It is a sad fact that the United States has the largest penal system in the world, and at 2.3 million, the most criminals behind bars. Privatization of the penal system is a trend that requires careful monitoring and supervision. Indeed, we should have a national dialog on whether we wish to privatize our penal system at all. 

Legislation like Oregon's pales in significance when Federal law still criminalizes opiates, cocaine, cannabis, LSD, MDMA and meth, and most of all, when rehabilitation treatment for addicts remains ineffective and prone to recidivism. 

We are talking here about state laws. Not federal laws. When DEA decriminalizes specific narcotics and collaborates with HHS to provide opiate rehab based on buprenorphine in government clinics, then we will be fighting a winnable war on drugs, and it will not be a war at all. 

I have no informed idea how to address meth and cocaine addiction, so I will focus my remarks to opiates. My only thought is that legal medicinal cannabis could provide one option. I likewise have no thoughts on LSD abuse, other than the belief that LSD and other psychedelics are not inherently prone to addiction. 

Those rehab organizations that promote 12 step programs should be ignored into nonexistence. According to some studies, their recidivism rate exceeds 90-percent. They simply do not work, and are nothing less than a lucrative funding spigot for insurance companies. 

Seen another way, interdiction as drug policy, the "war on drugs," is a cash cow that turns on funding spigots for insurance companies and for local law enforcement from DHS and DOJ. This is why resistance to legalization and decriminalization will come predominately from those lobbies. It is about money. 

Such lobbies ignore the fact that nearly 50 years of record seizures never impacted the street price or the purity of illegal drugs, which are at unprecedented highs and will continue rising. That is the historical pattern.

Another effect of nearly 50 years of drug wars is the militarization of police. Criminalization of narcotics makes we the people the enemy. It should finally dawn on us after decades of drug wars that criminalization and interdiction failed, and can never succeed. 

One undeniable indicator of the opiate market's durability is the fact that heroin kills its users due to overdose, and yet demand continues to grow. 

My solution is simple and rational. Government clinics contracted to HHS should provide prescribed doses of opiates under medical supervision, dispensing pharmaceutical grade narcotics to addicts. 

Those junkies who express a desire for rehab should be facilitated into government programs based on buprenorphine opiate replacement therapy, not 12-step therapy. 

Those junkies that combine government doses with street doses will inevitably overdose. They should be permitted to die. Narcan is an antagonist that reverses opiates. Those junkies who repeatedly overdose should not be resuscitated.

We must have some limits. We should reward beneficial behaviors, and punish criminal behaviors. But we should do it in an enlightened, informed fashion, admitting that imprisoning nonviolent drug offenders for the past five decades is a policy that failed. 

Those junkies that comply with government programs should be maintained for as long as it takes for them to taper off under medical supervision, even if the timeframe stretches into years. The deciding factors should be the degree of addiction and the ability of the individual addict to tolerate a gradual decrease in dosage.

Our goal should not be to give addicts a way to be high for free, though an argument can be made that this is ultimately more cost effective than prosecution, conviction and incarceration. Our goal should be to stave off the crippling symptoms of withdrawal, and to assist addicts in managing their addictions, helping them live productive lives despite them. 

Dosages should accordingly be prescribed by medical professionals, based on blood tests and other accepted methodologies that assess degrees of addiction and tolerances. Using pharmaceutical grade narcotics will enable precision, as well as offer a legal revenue stream to pharmaceutical companies. 

Our goal should be to assist functional addicts, and to grow their numbers. Many junkies can hold jobs and keep their families together with appropriate medical support. If junkies wish to receive sustainment dosages of opiates for life, remaining otherwise free from violent criminal entanglements, then they should be maintained for life.

The cost savings in the reduction of street crime alone will overwhelmingly defray the costs of such programs. It goes without saying that safer streets, safer cities, and safer families, will ensue. 

Decriminalization of narcotics and effective rehab will dramatically reduce the pressure on our law enforcement, judicial, and penal systems, slashing the numbers of those who would otherwise be convicted of nonviolent drug crimes. 

This will further have a favorable impact on American families, shunting vulnerable populations into effective rehab, targeting the provision of effective life skills programs in coordination with educational and vocational authorities, liberating law enforcement to concentrate on violent criminals without distraction. 

Local law enforcement will need to find some other golden goose to fund militarization, as the cessation of the war on drugs and the decriminalization of narcotics will save us billions of dollars a year. 

Care will be needed to ensure that asset forfeiture is not further abused by law enforcement, as it has been historically, to seize funds without any court order. 

The other major benefit of such an approach is that it will position the government in direct opposition to narcotics smuggling cartels, and the negative impact on cartel earnings could finally prove definitive. 

When the government provides medicinal grade pharmaceuticals directly to addicts, it takes those addicts away from the cartels, at the street level. 

Further, when government supplies pharmaceutical grade narcotics to addicts, farmers in source countries will finally face competition that will incentivize them to grow alternative crops. If you eliminate the market for illegal drugs, farmers in source countries will grow something else.

Banks will need to seek a replacement revenue stream as their profits from illegal drug laundering will crater, but they should not be laundering drug funds anyway. 

Cannabis should be legalized and regulated like alcohol. This is already happening at the state level, and more states will follow as the economic benefits of legalization become undeniable. 

Far from being a "gateway" drug, cannabis is a natural intoxicant that can supplant prescribed narcotics for pain management. When legal cannabis is available, there is less incentive for end users to purchase meth and cocaine, and a reduced lure to migrate to illegal street opiates. 

It goes without saying that cannabis smuggling will decrease to nonexistence over time, as Americans will buy legal American grown cannabis. Already there is market competition between GMO cannabis and organic cannabis. The free market should decide.

It is also possible that medicinal cannabis can anchor therapies for opiate, meth and cocaine addictions. This possibility requires scientific research, and this research should be legalized and facilitated by the government immediately. 

In sum, certain states already decriminalize cannabis, with undeniable positive effects. Oregon went a step further, decriminalizing small amounts of meth, MDMA, LSD, cocaine, oxycodone and heroin. 

We can wait until other states imitate Oregon's example, or the Congress can pass federal laws decriminalizing narcotics. 

In any case, the war on drugs is all but over, and it failed.

It is long past time to go another way. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Deep State, Seth Rich, Russians

Our mainstream dinosaur media, epitomized by the disgraced Washington Post, the failing New York Times and the Clinton News Network (CNN), is a sick trifecta of fake news resembling state-controlled media in authoritarian countries. 

I rarely link to their content. The majestic newspaper that broke the Watergate burglary is now a propaganda mouthpiece for the deep state and the intelligence community, which are not one and the same. 

The intelligence community is amply represented within the deep state, but not all intelligence officers are leakers and traitors. Just a few who gamble with classified information, dealing themselves into the great card game of American politics. 
"2.13 Limitation on Covert Action. No covert action may be conducted which is intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media."

CIA officers are not supposed to operate domestically. That is in the Bible of the intelligence community, EO12333. But we see what we see. Some spooks are off the reservation. 

Former DCI Brennan set a bad example. So did General Hayden. Our problems with intelligence officers meddling in domestic politics go back further than we like to think, and a strong argument can be made that the Kennedy assassination was the malign apex of all deep state ops. 

This past weekend, we saw the Washington Post yet again publishing the "official version" of events that the deep state wanted to plant in the media, the claim that the Obama regime "failed to punish the Russians." 

The deep state will stop at nothing to perpetuate its cover story, even if Obama gets splashed with this fable of his incompetence. 

The Washington Post dances for its deep state puppeteers, and its owner, Mr. Bezos, will accede to it since he just got a fat $600 million contract for hosting the intelligence community cloud. 

Julian Assange repeatedly stated, "Russia was not our source." He obviously cannot confirm that Seth Rich leaked the DNC and Podesta emails, but Mr. Assange can pledge $20,000 for the arrest of Mr. Rich's murderers, and you can draw your own conclusions. 

In fact, when you watch the infamous video where Julian Assange refuses to confirm that Seth Rich was his source, you can actually see Mr. Assange gently nod after the 1:02 mark just before he speaks. Body language is more evocative than mere words. 

The murder of Seth Rich contradicts the deep state's cover story, so the investigation into his assassination is suppressed, despite the right of the Rich family to know who killed their son and why. 

Gunning down Seth Rich, and then imposing a coverup before our very eyes, means that the deep state can literally kill American citizens on our own streets and get away with it. Why not? They murdered President Kennedy, in public, as he was seated next to his wife. 

But ask yourself another question: The investigation into the murder of Seth Rich is frozen. Who has that kind of juice? Who has the capability to censor Mr. Rich's social media accounts after his death? 

Worse, who could ensure that Seth Rich did not survive his critical wounding? 

But bear with me. I do have a point. Vladimir Putin, who is admittedly an epic liar, also insists that Russia was not the WikiLeaks source. 

We see in the Vault 7 leak, purportedly the worst breach that CIA ever suffered (but stay tuned), the capability for CIA to spoof the telltale fingerprints in malware code that security analysts use to identify hacking perpetrators. 

Dubbed MARBLE, this "obfuscating" framework enables CIA to falsely pin an attack on China, Iran, Russia, or North Korea, though those who know actual NSA geeks will tell you that they joke about blaming everything on the Israelis anyway. Maybe this is why NSA only had "moderate confidence" that Russia was the hidden hand behind the DNC and Podesta leaks. 

Just three intelligence agencies weighed in on that assessment, FBI, CIA and NSA, and it was an assessment, not a formal estimate, a distinction that is lost on civilians but one that speaks volumes to intelligence insiders. Intelligence estimates include input from all seventeen intelligence agencies, and are products of the National Intelligence Council. 

Only two agencies, CIA and FBI, confirmed with high confidence that it was the Russians. But Hillary Clinton will inveigh that "seventeen intelligence agencies said that it was the Russians!" Which is a dirty lie, but what do you expect from Crooked Hillary. 

Then it comes out that the DNC forbade FBI access to their hacked servers, no agency within the US government ever did a forensic analysis of those servers, and the entire edifice of the Russian / Trump collusion narrative is collapsing because it depends upon findings from an increasingly discredited private firm, CloudStrike. 

The hacker Kim Dotcom offered to tell his story to the DOJ, he claimed that he knew Seth Rich as "Panda," but for a price. Mr. Dotcom is embroiled in a legal dispute with the Department of Justice, so he has personal matters on his mind. 

Mr. Rich did use the Gmail accounts [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected], but Mr. Dotcom has yet to furnish any forensic evidence confirming a relationship with Mr. Rich, and Mr. Dotcom has a criminal record. 

Among others, these two protagonists of debatable integrity,  Mr. Putin and Mr. Dotcom, insist that Russia had nothing to do with the DNC and Podesta hacks. It seems crazy to assert that Mr. Assange has more credibility and a longer track record of truth telling than everyone in this sordid mess, but that is where we are. 

After six months of orchestrated deep state information warfare in the American state media, no proof of Russian culpability exists. The intelligence community leaks like a sieve, the deep state plants tall tales everywhere, yet evidence of Russian complicity is yet to be published by partisan fake patriots. 

The deep state leaks everything else, including the smear that President Donald J. Trump​ hired Russian hookers to urinate on a bed in a fancy Moscow hotel, a calumny that the FBI paid $50,000 for Mr. Steele to corroborate. And it sure did get Senator McCain exercised, but not enough to give him a stroke. I am also at risk of having a stroke, so I will not wish one on him. 

Even Senator Feinstein, whom I do not like one bit, concedes that there is no evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. So did that other liar, DNI Clapper. Even discredited former FBI Director Comey admitted that there is no proof. After six months of investigations. 

This article links to Wired. I will still link to them. If you wish to click through and read what the Washington Post said, you can. But I will abet neither state sponsored nor deep state propaganda by linking to them myself. 

I have my limits.

This article is based on a rant that originally appeared on my Facebook page, Magic Kingdom Dispatch.  

I edited and expanded this article on 28 June, 2017. 

One more thing: HIS NAME WAS SETH RICH. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Is American Intelligence Wide Open?

In Episode 2 of Oliver Stone's interviews with Russian President Vladimir Putin we see glimpses of the old spy. Putin flat out lies two or three times, and he sticks to his cover stories like school trained spooks do.
YouTube links to all four episodes of Oliver Stone's Interviews with President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
Part 1: 2: 3: 4:
Which reminds me of something that I learned sometime during my own government employment, which was reinforced when I attended SERE-C. You recognize a hostile service intelligence officer by detecting the residual indicators in their behaviors that they are school trained.

Those marks, the body language, the careful control of facial expressions, emanate off of Vladimir Putin. He was obviously a professional, formally trained intelligence officer when he was younger. You can just see it. 

Most interesting to me in this installment, Putin says that he thinks that “Snowden went too far,” though surely Russian SIGINT celebrated the release of the Snowden documents. Putin never says so, and Mr. Stone does not pressure him on this.

It is possible that this is the lone aspect of the Snowden breaches that everyone can agree to: that their release gave adversarial intelligence agencies a bonanza to work with.

Suddenly, like everybody else, intelligence agencies worldwide, both hostile and allied, got an unprecedented peek into the arcana of American SIGINT, and some of them may have been as dismayed as we were.

I am sure that the Snowden documents filled in deficits in the knowledge base of hostile services, and they surely incited envy, but one other thing bugs me.

The mandarins of American intelligence know now that an undetected leaker, someone with wide access to data, blew more information than everything that Snowden released. 

In this case, and I obviously refer to the Vault 7 breach, an unidentified leaker, potentially a patriot, exposed classified CIA SIGINT data to WikiLeaks. 

My concern is that this breach, and others that I will discuss below, may not be the only ones that American counterintelligence knows about. 

An unknowable number of yet undetected leakers may have exposed this data and potentially even more to hostile intelligence agencies.

Yet another gross breach of NSA security is seen in the Shadow Broker’s hack, which spawned the WannaCry malware which is causing havoc worldwide. 

NSA literally does not know how the Shadow Brokers ended up with their weaponized code tools, which Snowden confirmed came out of NSA’s TAO, Tailored Access Operations. 

The CIA Vault 7 breach is already assessed as the worst breach in the history of American intelligence, and WikiLeaks says that they have umpteen gigabytes of data, which they are systematically working through on a weekly release schedule. Every week, WikiLeaks publishes yet another blown project, yet another blown capability, yet another blown tool. 

The CEO of Microsoft publicly lambasted NSA and CIA for hoarding zero day exploits, and then failing to adequately warn private firms about leaked malware. Cybersecurity researchers worldwide are livid that weaponized NSA code was used to create the WannaCry exploit. 

But back to Snowden: I consider Snowden a self-inflicted wound on the part of the mandarins of the intelligence community. I will explain. 

Bradley Manning, now Chelsea Manning, preceded Snowden. Manning was deployed to Iraq in 2009, and he leaked to WikiLeaks in 2010. 

Manning was our great wakeup call. When he released hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables, we should have realized that access permissions, and clearance processes, were too liberal.

Remember that Manning was detected because he confided in Adrian Lamo, who ratted him out and informed US Army Counterintelligence. 

No system detected Manning as he transferred gigabytes of classified cables to a CD-R as he worked in his SCIF. Manning was caught due to a tip. Even Manning’s supervisors, who should have realized that Manning was a problem due to multiple red flags, were clueless about his activities.

Manning’s modus operandi was simple: he pretended to be rocking out to Lady GaGa CD’s while he worked. He was actually capturing massive quantities of data and burning it to that CD. 

There was a push to drop the walls between the fiefdoms of the multiple intelligence agencies in the aftermath of 9-11. One initiative was Intellipedia, a classified online Wiki for the intelligence community. 

Intellipedia debuted in 2006, and was intended to improve interagency collaboration. Manning was the result. Did the mandarins of American intelligence respond by re-erecting those walls?

They did not. They left the walls down, and then Snowden happened in 2013. You would think that after Snowden that more effective filters would be emplaced, but then we see that Reality Winner in 2017 not only retained a TS/SCI clearance against all logic, she could access information well beyond her need to know. And she did just that.

Reality Winner was not even working in a compartment that would have justified her searching for the document that she blew to The Intercept, much less printing a hard copy.

Both Manning and Winner are prime examples of people who never should have received security clearances in the first place, much less retained them. To my knowledge nobody was ever punished over the failure of the clearance process in either of these two cases.

In the old Stasi, or the old KGB, somebody would have been shot for these failures.

Which brings us to the strange case of Mr. Harold T. Martin, who was indicted in February by prosecutors for illicitly exfiltrating more than 50 terabytes of highly classified material and several bankers boxes of hard copy documents, a quantity that eclipses both Snowden and Manning by several orders of magnitude. 

Over a 20 year career, Martin accumulated massive quantities of classified data in hard copy and in digital form that he hoarded in his home, in his shed, in his car, and in the portfolio that was in his hands at the moment of his arrest. 

Martin was arrested on August 27, 2016, but no details have been released about how he was detected. Perhaps new “Insider Threat” programs are actually effective? 

Authorized leaks by intelligence sources discussing the Martin case closely coincide throughout mainstream media, outlining the parameters of the government’s case against him. 

And no further information has been released. 

One point of interest is that the monumental hoarder Mr. Martin was a contractor working for Booz Allen Hamilton at the time of his apprehension, though he did work for a total of seven separate private firms with intelligence contracts over his 20 year career. 

Snowden was also a contractor with Booz at the time that he extracted his infamous documents from an NSA facility in Hawaii. 

While Martin was detected and arrested, the question whether truly effective reforms are in place and successful must remain doubtful as Martin is yet another contractor who was able to access vast quantities of classified information, in his case for 20 years, far in excess of his legitimate need to know. 

And then we see what happened with Ms. Reality Winner. 

There are now seven separate cases where leakers breached NSA security, just in the past three years. 

Putin does get a funny little smile on his face when he is telling a flat out lie. If you watch his body language, you will see it.

Then of course there is at least one other leaker that we barely know about, and about whom state controlled media in America has regurgitated minimal official anonymous leaks, though the record of court cases involving him is not lean. 

This leaker’s long history of dubious interactions with the US government paints him as litigious, and his character is so successfully assassinated that his own lawyer described him as a conman.

Which makes you wonder whether recent articles about him happened despite his long legal history with the US government, or if the journalists who wrote about him failed to do the simplest due diligence investigation into his background. 

I refer of course to Mr. Dennis Montgomery, characterized by some as the most epic intelligence leaker of all time, who legally duplicated and retained in his custody some 28 million distinct NSA records, and some 600 million pages of classified documents. Yes, those numbers were reported in historically trustworthy media.  

In his latest act, Mr. Montgomery sued multiple mandarins of the intelligence community and their organizations, naming former FBI Director James Comey, current DIRNSA Mike Rogers, former DCI John Brennan, and former POTUS Barack Hussein Obama. He also named the FBI, the CIA, the NSA and the DIA and other agencies in his lawsuit. 

Mr. Montgomery’s complaint: he was ignored, and he was shunned by Congressmen, Senators, and by Mr. Comey, whom he accuses of suppressing these records in order to perpetuate a series of illegal programs that surveil the American people and preeminent figures like the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, other Supreme Court Justices, prominent businessmen like Donald J. Trump, and Mr. Montgomery himself and his lawyer, Mr. Larry Klayman. 

Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Klayman first blipped my radar when InfoWars published an article on 20 March 2017 confirming that Donald J. Trump was surveilled. The examples provided were persuasive. 

The surveillance was confirmed between 2004 and 2009, but records provided to Sheriff Joe Arpaio only covered years up to 2010. So it is possible that further surveillance took place. 

On 22 March 2017, Bob Unruh published an article on stating that Mr. Montgomery provided testimony to the FBI under a grant of immunity nearly two years ago. No investigation was mounted. 

The USG henceforth ignored Mr. Montgomery and his problematic whopping quantities of forensic evidence of illegal mass surveillance of the domestic US population, and resumed its whispering campaign that he is unreliable, a conman and a fraudster, and perhaps mentally unstable. 

Did they shoot the messenger? Or is their character assassination of Mr. Montgomery accurate? Is it possible that Mr. Montgomery is a nutcase, but he also has in his custody evidence of illegal government domestic mass surveillance? 

Mr. Montgomery’s lawyer, Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, sent a letter to Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the House, demanding that former Director Comey be asked about this forensic evidence under oath during his testimony. 

Obviously, that did not happen. Mr. Klayman also demanded a meeting with the Congressman who instead sent a staffer to listen to the lawyer. 

It is inescapable that Mr. Klayman and Mr. Montgomery were treated with rudeness and contempt by officials at the highest levels of the intelligence community, and now, by Mr. Nunes. Was it merited? 

Mr. Montgomery’s lawsuit was assigned to Judge Richard J. Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia, who issued an historic ruling in December, 2013 that NSA’s Bulk Telephony Metadata Program likely violates the Constitution. 

Judge Leon however stayed his own injunction ordering a halt to the surveillance in light of the national security interests at stake and the novelty of the constitutional issues raised, he said. Judge Leon was also optimistic that the appeals process would move expeditiously. 

Judge Leon’s optimism was betrayed, however, until he ruled two years later that the program likely violates the constitution. Then the appeals court moved expeditiously on behalf of the government, and a panel of three appellate court judges ruled in favor of NSA.

Judge Richard Leon is considered an ally of the people, and this court case may end up with rulings against mandarins of the intelligence community and against the former president and the intelligence agencies themselves. Or it may be dismissed, like other litigation involving Mr. Montgomery.

Mr. Montgomery’s long history of litigation with the US government remains problematic, and it appears possible that journalist Mr. Bill Still was deceived, as was Bob Unruh, as was Sheriff Joe Arpaio, as were John Solomon and Sara A. Carter of Circa

Mr. Montgomery’s Wiki entry is devastating. It states that Mr. Montgomery “conned the Pentagon” and “won millions in federal contracts” for software that was later characterized as “an elaborate hoax.” 

The talk page for that entry shows Mr. Montgomery himself attempting to edit his own entry, which drove Wikipedia editors into a frenzy.

In a final condemnation, the entry states that Mr. Montgomery’s former lawyer “called him a “con artist” and an “habitual liar engaged in fraud.”

As interesting that all of this is, my point is that Mr. Montgomery may have exfiltrated classified records. Mr. Martin certainly did, Mr. Snowden definitely did, and so did Mr. Manning. So did Ms. Winning. 

We can also consider the OPM breach in this context, which is blamed on Chinese hackers, as well as another recent breach, this time of Air Force personnel files. All of these breaches happened, while only Mr. Montgomery’s remains problematic. 

What about the spies that we never hear about? 

We are still apparently wide open. Reality Winner was just an exception because she got caught. What about the leakers that did not make her mistakes?

Nobody knows. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Redefining the Deep State

It is interesting that the idea of a "deep state" now enjoys wide currency, whereas, as Mac Slavo points out, previously it was dismissed as a conspiracy theory. 

Like many conspiracy theories, the deep state actually exists, it can be tested and demonstrated and illustrated with innumerable historical examples. 

WikiPedia states
“The concept of a deep state suggests that there exists a coordinated effort by career government employees and others to influence state policy without regard for democratically elected leadership.” (Italics mine). 

The entry then correctly notes that the concept of the deep state originated within analysis of the Turkish polity, but admits that the term is achieving wide penetration due to the influential writing of Marc Abinder, David W. Brown, Peter Dale Scott, and Mike Lofgren

The entry then adopts Mr.  Lofgren's definition: 
"I use the term to mean a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process." (Italics mine).
Mike Lofgren, The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government, 2016. 

This definition deftly explicates the and others that I italicized above, as "parts of top-level finance and industry," a characterization that I accept, though I insist that any definition of the deep state that omits to mention the roles of the mainstream media and the alternative media is incomplete.

Indeed, most visible deep state activity today involves weaponized anonymous leaks to media.

While Mr. Lofgren's definition has many correct elements, I do not think that the deep state “effectively governs the United States.” Rather, deep state actors compete and collaborate with other power centers within and without the US government, and sometimes they succeed, and sometimes they fail. They often fall short of the benchmark that Mr. Lofgren proposes of "effectively governing the United States."

External protagonists like President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin perceive, for example, that "there is no change" between Democrat and Republican administrations. 

From Mr. Putin's position as an external observer, the bureaucratic elites that manage government policies on a daily basis remain in place no matter who is elected. 

While this assessment would reinforce a perception that the deep state is monolithic and successful in "effectively governing" America, such an assessment lacks crucial nuance.

Here are links to the Oliver Stone interviews with Vladimir Putin on YouTube. 
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:

The Wiki entry on the deep state seems to be obsessed with eschewing the idea that most deep state activity is by definition conspiratorial, as the editors on the article’s talk page fear the label of “conspiracy theorists.” 

I do not fear conspiracy as an historical mechanism, and I think that it would be accurate to say that most deep state actors, depending on how they are comprised on a case by case basis, engage in conspiratorial behavior, particularly when you accept that deep state actors often act as members of cabals

This observation then suggests that some deep state actors conspire in cabals, and that these cabals have some persistence. There are many cabals within the factions of the deep state, and some members of them collaborate with other cabals, or even participate in multiple cabals. But while some cabals are persistent, many come and go. They can be dynamic. 

This may be a reflection of the Special Access Program concept of compartmentalization, a fundamental principle in the intelligence community, which many deep state actors work for, or previously worked for. Compartmentalization is a natural characteristic of conspiratorial deep state behavior. 

Such cabals are often not persistent at all, they form to support specific purposes, and then they dissolve naturally when the purpose that brought them together is resolved. 

What is persistent are the deep state factions from which cabals manifest. It seems self evident that an ill-defined, barely detectable, amorphous entity that often acts in defiance of formal political processes exists. What we cannot define are its margins, its internal organization, and who comprises it. 

This essay is an attempt to refine our definition of the deep state and to consequently help us identify its margins, its internal organization, who comprises it, and its functioning. Behaviors of participants appear to be critical to our understanding. 

It is important to add that some deep state members act alone, they do not always conspire with others, aside from their collusion with members of the media. So there are limits to the thesis that deep state actors conspire in cabals. Sometimes deep state leakers act alone, as singletons

I have long said that the dominant struggle of our era is between globalism and nationalism, and one of the primary contemporary battlegrounds is between unelected deep state operatives and our elected government. Deep state activity is hence often illicit, if not illegal, though not always. 

We watch it manifesting in the mainstream media almost every day. But deep state phenomena originates from within government, and sometimes from outside government, from former government employees or appointees, from lobbying firms, from think tanks, from corporations, or Wall Street, or from organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations, or the Trilateral Commission, or even the Bilderberg Group

This observation accounts for infamous deep state operators like former Vice President Richard Cheney, surely one of the apex deep state operators of all time, former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

I think that the Trump administration proposal to reduce the size of government must be seen within this context. If you reduce the size of government, you reduce government intrusion into the daily lives of the populace, and you reduce the very financial oxygen that some elements of the deep state suck in order to exist. 

I believe that shrinking the size of the government will curtail the number of those bureaucrats who engage in deep state activities. Smaller budgets will force them to prioritize statutory responsibilities, and leave them with less time to plot. 

Mr. Stephen Bannon, Chief Strategist for the President, calls this concept, "the deconstruction of the administrative state." 

I also suspect that the liberal elite media collusion that dominates mainstream consciousness today is orchestrated by a cabal led by former director of the Hillary Clinton campaign, John Podesta

Mr. Podesta has a long pedigree in government service, serving as White House Chief of Staff for President Clinton, but most interestingly for this discussion, between 1994-6, he was appointed by President Clinton to the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, also known as the Moynihan Secrecy Commission. 

As a result of this appointment, Mr. Podesta rubbed shoulders with mandarins of the intelligence community like former DCI John M. Deutch, former Director of the National Reconnaissance Organization Martin C. Faga, and Mr. Maurice Sonnenberg, member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

Though Mr. Podesta was not a formally trained intelligence officer, he was in a position to soak up enabling skills from those around him who were: the cellular organization of Special Activity Programs and similar entities, planning, operational security, clandestinity, how to exploit secrecy, agent handling, compartmentalization, and other tradecraft.

Any self-taught operator will inevitably have gaps in his training. One subject that Mr. Podesta did not learn, that a school-trained intelligence officer would be taught in Clandestine Communications 101, was: cybersecurity and secure communications. And this was his downfall. 

Hackers successfully phished him, for a time Mr. Podesta's Gmail password was "password," and the contents of his Gmail inbox were soon splashed across WikiLeaks, in a series of breaches which probably cost his candidate the 2016 presidential election.

Among many consequential revelations, the WikiLeaks Podesta email breach exposed Clinton campaign and media collusion in irrefutable detail. 

It appears that the cabal coordinated by Mr. Podesta persists, coexists and collaborates with a remnant shadow government within the Obama Foundation and other enduring elements of the Clinton machine. 

Former presidents receive funding for their offices from the government. This often supports the establishment of a presidential library and other activities. Former presidents also receive significant funding from private sources. 

The incipient Obama machine harbors former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, former Director of Central Intelligence John Brennan, and protagonists like Dr. Evelyn Farkas, a former Deputy Assistance Secretary of Defense who shamelessly admitted leaking classified information on MSNBC.

Interested observers enjoyed an historic and unprecedented glimpse into the ways that such cabals operate with the Podesta email leaks published by WikiLeaks. Those leaks revealed many secrets, but media collusion is one that is less contentious: it was indisputable. 

I have said that the deep state is not monolithic, it is characterized by dissident and loyalist conspiratorial cabals and singletons, it is not broadly cohesive, it is amorphous, dynamic and fluid, in some cases it is natural and organic, but most importantly, there are factions within the deep state, and President Donald J. Trump has his own deep state defenders and his own loyalists among them. 

Trump supporters in the deep state are leaking to 4chan, to InfoWars, to Breitbart, to Dr. Steve Pieczenik, to the inimitable political operative Roger Stone, to YouTube journalists Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec, and David Seaman, and even to me.

Under some conditions natural and organic deep state activities could include hypothetical secure messaging between protagonists like Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and White House Counsel Don McGahn, for example. 

As the lines of communication between them are formal, natural and organic, their activities are not characterized as deep state behaviors when they act in statutory ways.  The deep state standard is met when they plot to influence other actors within government or outside government, for example, acting deniably, conspiratorially, in a coordinated fashion.

Much deep state conduct culminates in an anonymous leak to media. The deep state standard can also be met when the protagonists merely seek an outcome, a decision, perhaps, by a third party, and they plot to influence it. 

The deep state standard is met in this hypothetical case when the protagonists plot activities that are not statutory to their roles and their bureaucratic positions within the administration. 

Deep state protagonists in such cases are defined by their behaviors, and most of all, when they conspire in activities which are outside their statutory roles. Not necessarily illegal, but unusual, definitely bureaucratic, and transgressing their natural and organic official positions. 

Conversely, when Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein secure messages to Senior Advisor for Policy Stephen Miller, for example, he is transgressing natural and organic lines of communication. When deep state actors secretly ignore formal lines of communication and leap over them, they can be said to be engaging in deep state activity, even when an anonymous leak to a media outlet is not the consequence.

Government bureaucrats can often be seen saying, "that is outside my lane," for example. If they do nothing further and remain within their bureaucratic ambit, they are not engaging in deep state behaviors. 

But when they say, "that is outside my lane," and they then act secretly, transgressing the limits of their authorities, behaving in a bureaucratic fashion that is characterized by secrecy, the deep state standard is met and they can be said to be violating natural and organic bureaucratic norms, and they are engaging in deep state behaviors. 

You have to ask whether such protagonists can properly be considered as part of the deep state, as they support the elected government. I think that they must be included in our refined definition of the deep state. 

They remain part of those bureaucratic and extra-governmental  elites that persist across elections, they collaborate with actors within government contractors, think tanks, lobbying firms, and both defense corporations and Wall Street, and they function secretly, favoring whispers and weaponized leaks. 

It does not matter whether deep state operatives favor or disfavor the elected government. They are defined, rather, by their actions, by the ways that they operate. Is a leak to Alex Jones different from a leak to Maggie Haberman? As a political scientist I look at roles and functions and less at partisan loyalties. 

One revised definition of the deep state would hence be: 

"Dynamic conspiratorial cabals and singletons drawn from persistent factions of government, former government employees and appointees, and members of finance, media and industry, that exploit the cult of secrecy and collude, often serving as sources for anonymous leaks of classified information to the media and otherwise acting in order to influence the policies of the United States, often in defiance of the formal political process."

While I do not explicitly state that some deep state actors act in support of the elected government, saying that they often act in defiance of the formal political process does not say that they always act in defiance of the formal political process.

A distilled definition of the deep state could consequently be:

"Dynamic conspiratorial actors drawn from persistent factions of government, former government personnel, finance, media and industry, secretly facilitating classified leaks and otherwise acting to influence United States policy, often in defiance of the formal political process and bureaucratic norms."

As I say, President Trump has his adherents within the factions of the deep state, and they do act to benefit his administration. 

A ZeroHedge article that incited me to write this analysis claims that factions within the current deep state are attempting to undermine the Presidency of Donald J. Trump, and they are actively seeking his overthrow. 

Such a development would not be unique in American politics, as we saw the assassination of President John F. Kennedy happen before our very eyes, and then witnessed the coverup with the empanelment of the Warren Commission

Other examples can be drawn, for example the Iran-Contra scandals that consumed the presidency of President Ronald Reagan, and the grandfather of all political conspiracies, Watergate, which saw an Assistant Director of the FBI, Mark Felt, as Deep Throat whispering into the ears of journalists Woodward and Bernstein in effecting yet another coup. 

It is interesting to me that some members of the FBI are repeatedly seen acting despite its apolitical culture for their own sometimes quite partisan and personal reasons. 

There are, for example, some observers who claim that disgraced former Director of the FBI James Comey undermined the political impartiality of that agency when he outlined numerous violations of federal statutes and then failed to recommend that Hillary Clinton and her aides be referred for indictment to the DOJ in a scandal now known as ServerGate.  

Those who are familiar with Mr. Comey's personal history understand that he is very much a Clinton loyalist, he acted repeatedly over many years in ways that benefited the Clinton political machine. 

Indeed, some analysts consider Mr. Comey a core participant in deep state resistance to the Trump administration, and it is in retrospect no surprise that he was fired in disgrace by President Trump. President Trump had no alternative. Some of Mr. Comey's FBI associates characterized him to me as a "viper."

Students of Watergate ask why Associate Director Mark Felt betrayed his country, though some defenders claim that his treason was motivated by love of country and intended to counteract abuses of executive branch power by the Nixon regime. 

In the end analysis, it appears that Mr. Felt's motives were quite pedestrian. This deep state singleton was mad that Nixon did not nominate him as Director after the death of J. Edgar Hoover, who was surely the ultimate deep state operator of all time. 

Was that the reason that Nixon was hounded out of office? Because a bureaucrat was mad at him? I must remember to ask Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) this question. He witnessed those events at close range. 

We ask ourselves today, why are cabals within factions of the current deep state plaguing President Trump? The obvious reasons are partisan politics, and ideological opposition to the political and cultural values that President Trump embodies. 

Others could include both neocon and neoliberal preference for Hillary Clinton, who would have facilitated a seamless consolidation of those factions that embedded themselves throughout government during the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama. 

Indeed, Obama regime loyalists now witness the Trump administration rolling back policies which they long labored to implement, like participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the Paris Climate Accord. 

As they gnash their teeth, they plot, and they leak, and they wage an orchestrated campaign to undermine the legitimacy of an elected president, with palpable contempt for those deplorable Americans who voted him into office. 

One thing that confuses me is, President Trump appears to be throwing more money at the military industrial complex than even Madame Clinton would have. You would think that this would appease many deep state actors, particularly those from the defense industry. 

Apparently not, at least, not in this case. The predominate opposition deep state actors of this era appear to be acting primarily for partisan political reasons, exploiting the cult of secrecy, wielding weaponized classified information and illegal leaks. 

It all seems so petty to me. I used to work for the US government myself. We considered ourselves outside politics. We served in the executive branch at the convenience of the president, and we followed his directives in all things. Yes, at times, bureaucratic friction would be introduced when we did not like policies, but we did not presume to defy a sitting president. 

This may be because the agency that I worked for, DEA, consisted during that era, the early 1990's, predominately of former military personnel. The military is historically and traditionally considered to be apolitical. Indeed, this is a defining characteristic of US political culture, one that we believe differentiates us from banana republics. 

I suspect that this is one of the primary reasons that the military as an institution is the most popular among the American electorate. It is perceived to be apolitical. 

The irony of course is that the Pentagon and the defense industry are hotbeds of deep state activity, in the endless battles over budgets, weapons systems, and contracts. 

Regardless, the American people perceive that the generals obey the executive branch, no matter how asinine our wars may be. 

And we are definitely fighting irrational wars now, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. Nobody can explain why we are fighting those wars. Is it because the Pentagon wants those wars? For oil? For geopolitics? To justify its own existence and the financial windfall represented by the Trump administration? 

Is it to "knock the hell out of ISIS?" Terrorism increasingly appears to be a fading rationale for military conflict, terrorism is rather a pretext for more invasive domestic surveillance and enhanced security in many nations, justifying increased expenditures. 

While US government spokesmen said recently that US policy in Syria is focused on combatting ISIS, deep state actors succeeded in establishing regime change as an unstated strategic goal of the United States in Syria. 

I remind you that US forces are uninvited invaders in Syria, and they are acting without even an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) from the Congress, much less a Declaration of War.

Nobody can explain what our overarching strategic goals are. Nobody can define simple "victory" in any of those wars. 

Some deep state actors are agitating for deeper military involvement in Syria, for a renewed effort in Afghanistan, and for an escalation of the long state of conflict between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States.

Our dispute with North Korea could erupt into open warfare at any time. That seems to suit some deep state actors just fine. 

Strange times. 

This article was adapted from a rant on my Facebook page, Magic Kingdom Dispatch, in response to an article on ZeroHedge