Probe Beneath the Surface of the Obama Era at the “Understanding Deep Politics” Conference in Santa Cruz, May 14-16 2010
By Byron Belitsos
May 4, 2010
Some say it began with the invasion of Iraq. Others, with the inauguration of George W. Bush for his second term. Many point to the day of 9/11. But those in the know—including ten distinguished speakers headlining the “Understanding Deep Politics” Conference in Santa Cruz this May 14-16—trace the era of deep politics further back: Some to JFK’s assassination; others, to the aftermath of World War II. And a few speakers in Santa Cruz will stretch us back to Hitler, Lenin, Weishaupt, or Machiavelli, from there to ancient secret societies, and even back to the dawn of human governance itself—in the belief that conscious political deception is an inescapable feature of human nature. But all agree on the general definition of deep politics: It refers to government in which two dimensions of action always coexist: Overt and covert, or benign and utterly ruthless.
We can trace it forward too; by now we know that the ways of deceptive government did not end with the ascent of Obama. As with the Bush era, the overt side of American politics still refers to government actions thinly covered in the mainstream press; on this level of action, we know that Obama signed the largest military budget in history, expanded the war in Afghanistan, bailed out banks, and “reformed” health care; but on the covert side of the equation, most don’t realize—given how the corporate media and Obama’s benign rhetoric is busy distracting us—that the new president has carried forward virtually all of the discredited Bush-era War or Terror policies. Worse, Obama and his gallery of advisors steeped in the ways of postmodern corruption have shocked Americans by their eagerness to uphold the Bush administration’s ornate machinery of quasi-constitutional and sometimes criminalized covert action. At a minimum, these include: claims of “state secrets,” NSA (National Security Agency) domestic surveillance, emergency powers linked with the de facto repeal of Posse Comitatus (which enable martial law), summary assassination, illegal detention, and counter-insurgency warfare techniques that defy international law. In addition, Obama countenanced trillions in secret bailout money issued by the Federal Reserve; and, he handed back-room deals to Big Pharma and the health insurance cartel that locks their super-profits into “Obamacare.”
The speakers in Santa Cruz will help you trace these steps by the new administration, measures that further America’s (and the world’s) descent into what might be called the postmodern reign of deep politics. The unprecedented Santa Cruz event also offers us the hope of seeing through the charade.
The Deep Politics Big Picture
The phrase “deep politics” was first coined by the eminent author, poet, and emeritus Berkeley professor, Peter Dale Scott, one of the weekend’s headline speakers. In Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993), Scott used this term to refer to the covert machinations of the military, the hard right, the intelligence agencies, and organized crime—all of which coalesced in the assassination in Dallas. Veteran journalist Jim Marrs, another distinguished Santa Cruz presenter, developed a similar argument in Crossfire (1989); Oliver Stone’s classic deep-politics movie “JFK” is based in part on this book. Marrs then works out the implications in later writings, including Rule By Secrecy (2000), The Terror Conspiracy (2007), and most recently, in the New York Times bestselling book, The Rise of the Fourth Reich (2009), which traces the infiltration of Nazi elements into a wide range of U.S. government institutions since their “defeat” in WWII.
An equally profound dimension of deep-politics analysis has been pouring forth from Dr. David Ray Griffin, another headline speaker, who is the author of numerous devastating critiques of the 9/11 Commission Report and the War on Terror. In effect, these accounts provide enough analysis of court-admissible evidence and accompanying logic for any jury to find the Bush administration (and covert operators behind it) guilty of direct involvement in 9/11. After a career as a world-renowned philosopher and professor at California’s Claremont School of Theology, Griffin, now retired, has provided us with a courageous output of richly detailed books on 9/11 that have culminated with 9/11 Contradictions (2008) and The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7 (2009). His painstaking work on 9/11 evidence is complemented by his effort to explain the macro-level of the causes of our dark night: Along with Peter Dale Scott, Griffin edited 9/11 and the American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out (2006); and, in The American Empire and the Commonwealth of God (also 2006), Griffin explores the global implications of 9/11 as an “inside job” and America’s rise to empire, advocating a turn to global democracy and the dismantlement of America’s global empire and corporate state as our best hope for justice and peace.
Big-picture writers like Scott, Marrs, and Griffin, have succeeded in synthesizing a growing body of evidence that support the notion that America now inhabits the surreal realm of deep politics. Presenter Michael Parenti —- veteran political analyst and author of over twenty books —- calls it “deep ideology,” while Congresswoman and 2008 Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney comes to Santa Cruz to help map our political journey out of this maze.
Each speaker in their own way will make clear that not only do both covert and overt policies co-reside in this dark realm; in point of fact, it is covert action that directs and manages the overt political world and manipulates our perceptions of it. And how is it that mainstream media provides convenient cover stories for such hidden schemes? This chilling reality will be analyzed in particular by Peter Phillips, emeritus professor at Sonoma State University and former director of the famed Project Censored.
The Truth Agony of 9/11
It was soon after 9/11 that many of us first began to wrestle with inklings of the reality of deep politics. But now, as we approach the tenth anniversary of that event, most Americans either distrust or reject the official story—well over sixty percent in the last professional poll; at least implicitly, we can say that these citizens accept the actuality of deep politics. These Americans are beginning to understand the open secret—and the gaping wound—of today’s deep politics: the emerging truth that we’ve been hoaxed about 9/11, and that the official story is all but discredited. Opinion surveys of citizens in foreign countries provide the same result. (See 911truth.org for more.) The likely final straw has been an article appearing in the peer-reviewed journal Chemical Physics (April 4, 2009) showing that military-grade explosive materials are present in significant quantities in the dust of the collapsed World Trade buildings.
At first just a trickle, a growing stream of prominent Americans are now lending their names to this persistent phenomenon now known as the 911 truth movement. The list includes well-known intelligence, military, and science professionals with names like Lynn Margulis, Ph.D., world-renowned biologist and Presidential Medal of Science winner; Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell; Paul Craig Roberts, PhD, assistant treasury secretary under Reagan; Catherine Austin Fitts, assistant secretary of housing under George H.W. Bush; Colonel Robert Bowman, director of “Star Wars” under Carter; and Ray McGovern, a CIA veteran who advised many presidents. Overseas, a myriad of prominent names have admitted profound doubts, including former Italian President Francesco Cossigaone and Yukihisa Fujita, an influential member of parliament for the opposition party in Japan. Over forty U.S. counter-terrorism and intelligence agency veterans have also challenged the official account, calling it: “terribly flawed,” “laced with contradictions,” and “a cover-up.” Indeed, the names of prominent dissenters to the official account are now too numerous to list. At the website patriotsquestion911.com, the list of professionals adding their names to the avalanche includes 1100+ engineers and architects, 250+ pilots, 400+ professors, and many more groups.
But did you hear about any of this from our mainstream media?
This problem is the specialty of two event speakers, Peter Phillips (previously introduced) and Barrie Zwicker, the famed Canadian journalist, author, media scholar, and false flag expert—the first prominent mainstream media professional to publicly question the official story.
For nearly a decade, citizen-activists involved in the 9/11 truth movement have battling it out over fine details of what happened on that day, but the 9/11 truth movement as a whole speaks with a single voice for a new investigation. And this call, long heard in hundreds of radio interviews and websites, dozens of 9/11 truth conferences, and scores of books and DVDs, has culminated in a dramatic, ongoing struggle in New York. 9/11 activists are trying to gain access to the ballot in the five boroughs in order to present an initiative that will finally authorize the creation of a truly independent 9/11 commission. At the conference in Santa Cruz, you will receive a full update on this and other developments in the vital 9/11 truth movement.
Who Lost Planet Earth?
During the 1950s anti-communist scare, the question often asked was, “Who lost China?” Now we might ask: Who lost our home planet? Deep-politics high jinks at home is one thing, but even the mainstream media is beginning to awake to just how rigged and self-destructive our entire global system has become after the meltdown of the world financial system in 2008 and its bailout by those most victimized by it. Domestically speaking, this issue is a specialty of Santa Cruz speaker Ellen Brown, attorney and forensic economist focused on the crimes of the Federal Reserve, and author of the bestselling Web of Debt.
But Brown and other speakers will go deeper. We’re awash in trillions of dollars of debt and derivatives, and the world is dotted with eight sovereign nuclear powers; thousands starve to death daily, super-exploitative globalization and our perilous fossil-fuel dependency continue, and the planet’s monstrous war system costs humankind a trillion dollars a year (with more than half of that spent by the U.S.). Systemic problems like these—while they enrich entrenched elites and their corporations—can end in catastrophic wars, depressions, genocide, climate catastrophe, and population die-off.
How did we get here? And what can we do about it?
The third day of the conference will feature two solution-focused panels. Most of us have some sort of diagnosis and solution, and my own involves a focus on the historical and cultural underpinnings of deep politics.
To begin with, the momentum of the reductionistic materialism and shallow rationalism of the nineteenth century, or what can be called modernism, came to a shattering culmination with the Great Depression and the rise of fascism that was followed quickly by World War II, the Holocaust, and Hiroshima. If one were to combine this wreckage with the ravages of World War I, they’d be justified in saying that the mid-twentieth century had witnessed the apocalypse of modernism.
In the post-WWII era, a rehabilitated version of this secular modernism survived. It was now focused in the United States, but remained tightly linked to the UK, and behind that, to the British crown and European banking elites. Some claim this alliance is maintained by the so-called Bilderberger agenda at the covert level, and by the Council on Foreign Relations and Trilateral Commission on the overt level.
Made wiser by the recent self-destruction of its European partners, and strengthened by its “success” at Hiroshima, this more jaded modernism now featured an enhanced Machiavellian and paranoid twist. Ours was a world capable of colossal genocide and total war, so politics now had to be ruthless and deceptive by conscious design and supported by the most advanced technology. And so, the victorious U.S. government actively reached out and absorbed Nazi scientists and high-level Nazi officers and operatives; it gave birth in 1947 to the CIA (conferring upon it the ability to self-fund by any means necessary under its own black budget); and then, soon after, it secretly established the NSA and the National Security Council with a charter of projecting deep politics and “shock doctrine” projects far and wide, both domestically and worldwide. Rising together with the new U.S. national security state was its covert sponsor and raison d’etre, the modern transnational corporation, and especially global banking elites. And there is much blood and egregious suffering on the tracks of the resulting covert actions. Overseas, it ranges from the CIA-backed overthrow of innumerable legitimate governments, to the murderous Phoenix Program in Vietnam, to global narcotics trafficking, and culminating in the cultivation of Islamic terrorist patsies; and at home it includes the notorious MK-Ultra mind control program, the FBI’s COINTELPRO, the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK.
Another Santa Cruz speaker, Annie Machon —- a former British MI-5 Security Service intelligence officer and now renowned whistleblower —- will trace how the U.S. intelligence apparatus grew symbiotically in cooperation with the intelligence arm of the British government. She’ll explain from first-hand experience how black operatives design and perpetrate false-flag events, implementing them through the “terrorists” they control or manipulate. Speaker Jim Marrs traces this history from the standpoint of a libertarian populist, whereas political analyst Michael Parenti comes at it from the perspective of the left; Peter Dale Scott and David Ray Griffin approach it as masters of the details and of theory. Barry Zwicker will in particular cover how false-flag events, followed by powerful overt propaganda and covert psychological warfare, have been used in the last hundred years to bend the minds of unsuspecting Americans toward war. Aside from 9/11, such staged provocations include the bombing of the Maine in 1898, Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin (which launched the war in Vietnam), the Oklahoma bombing, and even the “underwear bomber” of 2009.
But the rise of the Machiavellian national security state and its fusion with the modern corporation has not gone unchecked. The next step in the cultural history of deep politics is the postmodernist critique—the story of how the conscience of an entire generation rose up against corrupt politics amid the political turbulence of the sixties. A different mentality altogether, the so-called postmodern cultural “meme” is reform-minded, self-expressive, pluralistic, egalitarian, and sometimes narcissistic. Starting out as a true opposition movement, most leaders of the postmodern boomer generation have become either denialists about the deeper realities of covert political power, or obsequious to its power centers. Their original, fearless critique of modernist inequities—featuring civil rights, feminism, pacifism, and environmentalism—has been tamed and now inherited by the Democratic Party. The preponderance of their work is confined to the overt world of politics as manifested by the level of reporting one sees, for example, in the New York Times or MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. The hard edge of the New Left was long ago straight-jacketed by overwhelming repression and rightist propaganda from well-funded think tanks, leaving even the likes of Noam Chomsky blind to key features of what Peter Dale Scott calls “the deep state.”
And so we have the spectacle of partial creativity and arrested evolution, the tragedy of a generation that is, so far, unwilling to go the distance required to face our collective shadow—that is, unable to wake up in time. That’s why I believe that the apocalypse of the political postmodernism will be the widening realization of egregious political deception, and will culminate with the results of a new 9/11 investigation.
Meanwhile, at the overt level, we witness the duel of two very partial worldviews, i.e., the crippled postmodern left (think John Kerry), and the pathology-driven modernist right (think Dick Cheney), both awash in corporate dollars and both subservient to covert realities. It’s all epitomized today by the polarized gridlock in Washington between Republicans and Democrats, which serves (surprise!) to enable the covert realm even more. As the fate of the earth hangs in the balance, this stalemate condition has also enabled a tragic state of regression to overtake the planet, or at least the U.S. The retrograde motion includes the blowback of reactionary movements, groups the reject both the modern and postmodern worlds—one of the specialties of speaker Michael Parenti. It includes the strange rise of the “Christian” right who hold to what David Ray Griffin calls nationalist faith, of proto-fascist armed militias, and of the varied Islamic fundamentalisms. Each of these double as desperado grassroots movements and as tools of the covert elites.
Speaker Ian Crane, a former oil executive, along with Jim Marrs, Cynthia McKinney, Ellen Brown, and others, will trace the ongoing covert manipulations of our perception of overt politics, dysfunctional as it already is, by hidden global elites—especially financial elites—acting through various fronts in the media. This phenomenon also includes moles placed into the “overt” government whose work is to exacerbate the battle between left and right so as to control the outcome. Exploiting obvious blind spots, these unseen forces play and squeeze all sides (i.e., the “premodern” fundamentalists, the modernists, and the postmoderns) to their own advantage. Make no mistake: This Parallel Government—as Peter Dale Scott calls it—controls the levers through the “deep state,” whether Democratic or Republican. They are strategic, they are cunning, they are funded, and they are competent: at the Santa Cruz event, you will learn how various blocs, often working together, have managed to lie their way into wars; lock away revolutionary technologies; assassinate U.S. leaders; destroy the New Left; infiltrate the libertarian and populist right; protect Israel from international law; pilfer several trillion dollars from the U.S. Treasury; and foist false-flag operations like 9/11.
Again, the tragedy is that this regressive dance of overt and covert, left and right, modern and postmodern, has not solved the great problems of our day; we continue to lose planet earth. In fact, an approximate fifty-year window of opportunity for genuine reform is now closing, one can argue.
Face the Shadow First!
But don’t despair yet. On the positive side, we know that such times of epochal crisis can inspire and stimulate the better side of human nature; times of peril are also times of great ideas. We have seen how the crisis of modernism gave rise to its own binary alternative, the reform culture of the postmodern sixties. Similarly, the Santa Cruz conference marks a high point in the unmasking of the realities of deep politics, thereby providing a counterpoint to the failures of the postmodernist mentality. We will uncover the shadow, and we will survive the coming postmodern apocalypse.
Then we’ll move, very humbly I think, into a radical synthesis of the best of all that has gone before. Thus will appear a new wisdom, what I call radical wisdom, the philosophic and political successor to the postmodern apocalypse. (For more, see my website rad-wiz.com.)
Nevertheless, the “dark night” that precedes the dawn cannot be avoided.
The ultimate quest of radical wisdom is for national and planetary rehabilitation in the wake of cataclysm; its ultimate premise is that we can only birth this new world by first facing our own shadow—especially the collective shadow—and then reconnecting with our truest heart. What better time to do this than during the harrowing challenge of the postmodern apocalypse? This requires radical wisdom because it gets to the root of the pathologies of deep politics.
Humanity’s shadow work is, quite simply, an energetic, political, and cultural battle for the control of planet earth. But facing down humanity’s heart of darkness will require heroic effort, and for three reasons.
First of all, to even begin this work, we must anchor ourselves as never before in enduring spiritual realities; there is simply no other way to hold the space while we confront the reality of our own collective shadow; there’s no other means of holding this stance long enough to neutralize the perpetrators of criminalized deep politics. But is spiritual strength not the singular mission of true religion—as opposed to religion prostituted to the service of corrupt elites? This will be religion as we have never known it before—inspirational religion, futuristic religion, religious living infused with spiritual courage.
Second, facing the collective shadow requires political courage. Political courage begins by refusing to conflate one’s spiritual beliefs with one’s politics. This means subordinating ideology to facts. We will do politics as politics—and today that means deep politics. We face economic and political reality unflinchingly, unafraid to go in to the deep, that is, all the way down the rabbit hole to where many of the ugliest and most important facts are to be found.
And third, shadow work means that we must face our deepest illusions about time and evolution, especially our projections onto the very notion of a coming apocalypse. Most of us know that a very hard landing is coming, but we want it to land our way. We may see it with polyannish eyes or with the sniping of the cynic. Or we will require that it conform to our favorite scripture or political ideology, match our fantasy of revenge, or occur with a timing that suits our life-path. To get through sanely, we’ll need to develop discernment to “read the signs of the times” so as to see through false apocalypticism in all of its renditions. This too is radical wisdom.
From Globalization to Planetization
If we pull the camera back as far as we can go, humanity and the earth hang in the balance between two stark alternatives: globalization versus “planetization” (a term first coined by Teilhard de Chardin). We must distinguish sharply between the search for global peace and justice and “globalism”— the purported quest of global elites for top-down world domination through the United Nations or any other institution it can manipulate. Yes, yes, just who the “globalists” are is a matter of wide debate. But a shadow world government has in fact evolved. It long ago moved into the power vacuum created by the lack of individual accountability before law at the planetary level and the gridlock of overt politics at the nation-state level.
And so we ask: Is it so far-fetched to believe that the profiteers from the globalization of capital and the global war system are not also politically organized at the global level? Here’s a short course in the back-story: Once communism collapsed, capital accumulation could be unleashed planet-wide, free to be projected far beyond the grasp of its local and even national roots; power and profit have been ceded from locality to nation, and from there to corrupt global elites. The winner is the player with the lowest cost of capital and the greatest influence on those secret organizations and secret societies that comprise the de facto shadow world government.
Who, then, lost planet earth? We all did. But can the peoples of the world regain control through some sort of planetary democracy or world federal republic, as speaker David Ray Griffin advocates? To those consumed by concerns that such a democratic world authority may turn into a global “tyranny of the majority,” advocates of world constitutional democracy say this: The current course already is the road to a global tyranny of a wealthy and powerful minority. Who would you rather see make decisions that affect all of humanity: the WTO, the World Bank, Monsanto, the White House—or a directly elected world parliament that’s accountable to the world’s people?
Thus, the real question is not if the world will have one government, but what form that government will take. Will it be fair and just, or corrupt and tyrannical? Will there be no governance, and nothing less than a descent into chaos and global self-destruction? Or could we envision an entirely decentralized planet, operated as autonomous bioregions? But if it is to be a governed world, will it be a democratic constitutional instrument of limited government, or will it be dominated by small groups of powerful nations, hidden wealthy elites, and global corporations hiding behind the machinations of deep politics?
Whatever the case, we’ll never get anywhere with this inquiry until we face the shadow; we must begin by facing it in ourselves and here at home in America. Then we can birth a new world.
Byron Belitsos is a journalist, publisher, and most recently coauthor of World Democracy (2005) and A Return to Healing (2009). His website can be found at OriginPress.com. He is on the board of advisors to the Understanding Deep Politics Conference.