The Doomsday Project and Deep Events: JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11

“I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency [the National Security Agency] and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.” — Senator Frank Church (1975)

I would like to discuss four major and badly understood events – the John F. Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11. I will analyze these deep events as part of a deeper political process linking them, a process that has helped build up repressive power in America at the expense of democracy. In recent years I have been talking about a dark force behind these events — a force which, for want of a better term, I have clumsily called a “deep state,” operating both within and outside the public state. Today for the first time I want to identify part of that dark force, a part which has operated for five decades or more at the edge of the public state. This part of the dark force has a name not invented by me: the Doomsday Project, the Pentagon’s name for the emergency planning “to keep the White House and Pentagon running during and after a nuclear war or some other major crisis.”1My point is a simple and important one: to show that the Doomsday Project of the 1980s, and the earlier emergency planning that developed into it, have played a role in the background of all the deep events I shall discuss.More significantly, it has been a factor behind all three of the disturbing events that now threaten American democracy. The first of these three is what has been called the conversion of our economy into a plutonomy – with the increasing separation of America into two classes, into the haves and the have-nots, the one percent and the 99 percent. The second is America’s increasing militarization, and above all its inclination, which has become more and more routine and predictable, to wage or provoke wars in remote regions of the globe. It is clear that the operations of this American war machine have served the one percent.2The third – my subject today — is the important and increasingly deleterious impact on American history of structural deep events: mysterious events, like the JFK assassination, the Watergate break-in, or 9/11, which violate the American social structure, have a major impact on American society, repeatedly involve law-breaking or violence, and in many cases proceed from an unknown dark force. …

Source: The Doomsday Project and Deep Events: JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11():9.11 *Japanese translation available | The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus


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