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A Deep State Of Mind: America’s Shadow Government and its silent coup

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Counter Punch
By John W. Whitehead
26 October 2016

"Today the path to total dictatorship in the U.S. can be laid by strictly legal means, unseen and unheard by Congress, the President, or the people. Outwardly we have a Constitutional government. We have operating within our government and political system … a well-organized political-action group in this country, determined to destroy our Constitution and establish a one-party state…. The important point to remember about this group is not its ideology but its organization… It operates secretly, silently, continuously to transform our Government…. This group … is answerable neither to the President, the Congress, nor the courts. It is practically irremovable."

— Senator William Jenner, 1954 speech

Unaffected by elections. Unaltered by populist movements. Beyond the reach of the law.

Say hello to America’s shadow government.

A corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country, this shadow government represents the hidden face of a government that has no respect for the freedom of its citizenry.

No matter which candidate wins the presidential election, this shadow government is here to stay. Indeed, as recent documents by the FBI reveal, this shadow government—also referred to as “The 7th Floor Group”—may well have played a part in who will win the White House this year.

To be precise, however, the future president will actually inherit not one but two shadow governments.

The first shadow government, referred to as COG or Continuity of Government, is made up of unelected individuals who have been appointed to run the government in the event of a “catastrophe.” COG is a phantom menace waiting for the right circumstances—a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, an economic meltdown—to bring it out of the shadows, where it operates even now. When and if COG takes over, the police state will transition to martial law.

Yet it is the second shadow government—also referred to as the Deep State—that poses the greater threat to freedom right now. Comprised of unelected government bureaucrats, corporations, contractors, paper-pushers, and button-pushers who are actually calling the shots behind the scenes, this government within a government is the real reason “we the people” have no real control over our government.

The Deep State, which “operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power,” makes a mockery of elections and the entire concept of a representative government.

So who or what is the Deep State?

It’s the militarized police, which have joined forces with state and federal law enforcement agencies in order to establish themselves as a standing army. It’s the fusion centers and spy agencies that have created a surveillance state and turned all of us into suspects. It’s the courthouses and prisons that have allowed corporate profits to take precedence over due process and justice. It’s the military empire with its private contractors and defense industry that is bankrupting the nation. It’s the private sector with its 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances, “a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government.” It’s what former congressional staffer Mike Lofgren refers to as “a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies”: the Department of Defense, the State Department, Homeland Security, the CIA, the Justice Department, the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a handful of vital federal trial courts, and members of the defense and intelligence committees.

It’s every facet of a government that is no longer friendly to freedom and is working overtime to trample the Constitution underfoot and render the citizenry powerless in the face of the government’s power grabs, corruption and abusive tactics.

These are the key players that drive the shadow government.

This is the hidden face of the American police state that will continue long past Election Day.

Just consider some of the key programs and policies advanced by the shadow government that will continue no matter who occupies the Oval Office.

Domestic surveillance

No matter who wins the presidential popularity contest, the National Security Agency (NSA), with its $10.8 billion black ops annual budget, will continue to spy on every person in the United States who uses a computer or phone. Thus, on any given day, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior. Local police have been outfitted with a litany of surveillance gear, from license plate readers and cell phone tracking devices to biometric data recorders. Technology now makes it possible for the police to scan passersby in order to detect the contents of their pockets, purses, briefcases, etc. Full-body scanners, which perform virtual strip-searches of Americans traveling by plane, have gone mobile, with roving police vans that peer into vehicles and buildings alike—including homes. Coupled with the nation’s growing network of real-time surveillance cameras and facial recognition software, soon there really will be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

Global spying

The NSA’s massive surveillance network, what the Washington Post refers to as a $500 billion “espionage empire,” will continue to span the globe and target every single person on the planet who uses a phone or a computer. The NSA’s Echelon program intercepts and analyzes virtually every phone call, fax and email message sent anywhere in the world. In addition to carrying out domestic surveillance on peaceful political groups such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace and several religious groups, Echelon has also been a keystone in the government’s attempts at political and corporate espionage.

Roving TSA searches

The American taxpayer will continue to get ripped off by government agencies in the dubious name of national security. One of the greatest culprits when it comes to swindling taxpayers has been the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), with its questionable deployment of and complete mismanagement of millions of dollars’ worth of airport full-body X-ray scanners, punitive patdowns by TSA agents and thefts of travelers’ valuables. Considered essential to national security, TSA programs will continue in airports and at transportation hubs around the country.

USA Patriot Act, NDAA

America’s so-called war on terror, which it has relentlessly pursued since 9/11, will continue to chip away at our freedoms, unravel our Constitution and transform our nation into a battlefield, thanks in large part to such subversive legislation as the USA Patriot Act and National Defense Authorization Act. These laws completely circumvent the rule of law and the rights of American citizens. In so doing, they re-orient our legal landscape in such a way as to ensure that martial law, rather than the U.S. Constitution, is the map by which we navigate life in the United States. These laws will continue to be enforced no matter who gets elected.

Militarized police state

Thanks to federal grant programs allowing the Pentagon to transfer surplus military supplies and weapons to local law enforcement agencies without charge, police forces will continue to be transformed from peace officers into heavily armed extensions of the military, complete with jackboots, helmets, shields, batons, pepper-spray, stun guns, assault rifles, body armor, miniature tanks and weaponized drones. Having been given the green light to probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts, America’s law enforcement officials, no longer mere servants of the people entrusted with keeping the peace, will continue to keep the masses corralled, controlled, and treated like suspects and enemies rather than citizens.

SWAT team raids

With more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans by local police for relatively routine police matters and federal agencies laying claim to their own law enforcement divisions, the incidence of botched raids and related casualties will continue to rise. Nationwide, SWAT teams will continue to be employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activity or mere community nuisances including angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Domestic drones. The domestic use of drones will continue unabated. As mandated by Congress, there will be 30,000 drones crisscrossing the skies of America by 2020, all part of an industry that could be worth as much as $30 billion per year. These machines, which will be equipped with weapons, will be able to record all activities, using video feeds, heat sensors and radar. An Inspector General report revealed that the Dept. of Justice has already spent nearly $4 million on drones domestically, largely for use by the FBI, with grants for another $1.26 million so police departments and nonprofits can acquire their own drones.

School-to-prison pipeline

The paradigm of abject compliance to the state will continue to be taught by example in the schools, through school lockdowns where police and drug-sniffing dogs enter the classroom, and zero tolerance policies that punish all offenses equally and result in young people being expelled for childish behavior. School districts will continue to team up with law enforcement to create a “schoolhouse to jailhouse track” by imposing a “double dose” of punishment: suspension or expulsion from school, accompanied by an arrest by the police and a trip to juvenile court.


The government bureaucracy will continue to churn out laws, statutes, codes and regulations that reinforce its powers and value systems and those of the police state and its corporate allies, rendering the rest of us petty criminals. The average American now unknowingly commits three felonies a day, thanks to this overabundance of vague laws that render otherwise innocent activity illegal. Consequently, small farmers who dare to make unpasteurized goat cheese and share it with members of their community will continue to have their farms raided.

Privatized Prisons

States will continue to outsource prisons to private corporations, resulting in a cash cow whereby mega-corporations imprison Americans in private prisons in order to make a profit. In exchange for corporations buying and managing public prisons across the country at a supposed savings to the states, the states have to agree to maintain a 90% occupancy rate in the privately run prisons for at least 20 years.

Endless wars

America’s expanding military empire will continue to bleed the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour). The Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety. Yet what most Americans fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with enriching the military industrial complex at taxpayer expense.

Are you getting the message yet?

The next president, much like the current president and his predecessors, will be little more than a figurehead, a puppet to entertain and distract the populace from what’s really going on.

As Lofgren reveals, this state within a state, “concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue,” is a “hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose.”

The Deep State not only holds the nation’s capital in thrall, but it also controls Wall Street (“which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary marionette theater”) and Silicon Valley.

This is fascism in its most covert form, hiding behind public agencies and private companies to carry out its dirty deeds.

It is a marriage between government bureaucrats and corporate fat cats.

As Lofgren concludes:

[T]he Deep State is so heavily entrenched, so well protected by surveillance, firepower, money and its ability to co-opt resistance that it is almost impervious to change… If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent, uninterrupted cash flow and the confidence that things will go on as they have in the past. It is even willing to tolerate a degree of gridlock: Partisan mud wrestling over cultural issues may be a useful distraction from its agenda.

In other words, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, as long as government officials—elected and unelected alike—are allowed to operate beyond the reach of the Constitution, the courts and the citizenry, the threat to our freedoms remains undiminished.

So the next time you find yourselves despondent over the 2016 presidential candidates, remember that it’s just a puppet show intended to distract you from the silent coup being carried out by America’s shadow government.
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John W. Whitehead is the president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People.



  1. This is to help you understand the Real America! Not the shallow, marching band crap you have been conditioned to. The reality of the Real, Unelected Government who take, kill with impunity, and have removed your entire Constitutional rights. The real and present danger to all Americans.
    Elected by none, in control of all! They stole your Democracy.

  2. OK, well I am rather confused by all this. And angry.

    On one hand we have all been fighting to keep that psycho HRC out of the presidential race and get Trump in as the best option. The people did that very successfully. Now this guy states it does not even matter who holds that position. I am certainly no expert with regard to this subject but this cannot be right.

    Look at all the crap Obumma pulled whilst President. If he can change laws and make orders then the President does seem to have some power. So if that conman can do it, so can Trump. Yes or No?

    All this funding going to these shadow government, as mentioned in this article must be able to be stopped. Surely the President can change laws and cut these criminals off somehow. There has to be a way.

    Now John, you continually state that Trump should speak out about the truth concerning the Bush's, Clinton's, Soros and their ilk and have them all jailed for what they have done. But if the President has no power, as this guy seems to believe, then how the hell is he going to do that?

    Basically, this article states their is no hope for change in the US. So what the hell have we all been fighting for. I thought this election outcome was the first step toward a change for the better but if we listen to this guy we might as well all go back to sleep and forget about everything and let these bastards destroy us and control everything in the process.

    I'm sorry, but I just don't understand this, accept it or agree with it. There has to be a way to achieve what is needed to turn this around.

    John, I am really serious about this. Can you tell me why we have all supposedly wasted our time and effort in fighting the system and attempting to achieve change if we have no hope in hell of winning against this shadow government.

    NO NO NO. I do not accept this.

    1. It's called the Illuminati the shadow Goverment takes orders from the elites the trillionairs of the world the owners of the world bank. This is also written in the Bible as well. All they care about is money and power . Why do you think JFK was killed because he expose them in his famous speech . Understand they have the masses brainwashed it's an evil agenda they only care about their bloodline.

  3. You have not they are in our sights. 99.9999% of the world does not know they exist.
    We will disclose them.

  4. Just saw quote from Trump on 60 minutes.... " I dont want to hurt them".... speaking of the the Clintons..... WTF?....

    1. It would be up to the judicial branch to convene a grand jury and indict. The president, to my knowledge, cannot do so alone. He's just being diplomatic.

      He can appoint someone to conduct an investigation, or a special prosecutor, but the indictment must be from a grand jury, or congress, if the circumstances warrant.

      Nixon exceeded his power and paid a price. We don't want Trump going down that road.

      He's not one to telegraph his entire plan details in advance. He's too smart for that.

      I remember during the debates, when Trump said if elected he would assign a special prosecutor and go after her. Hillary went silent, and her face was ashen. She didn't even laugh it off or try to rebut it.

      Give it time. She will go down in flames now that her power is gone. Someone in the judicial system will salivate over being the one who convicted Hillary Clinton. Think of the career move that would be. Trump could then promote that person and have at his side a Praetorian of considerable worth.

      The man just bested the entire Republican field, and put away the leading Democratic candidate when all odds were against it. Let's not forget the kind of qualities in a person that it would take to pull that off. No other Republican insider could have done it. They were dead in the water without Trump.

      Let's wait for the judicial system to round up witnesses and do their work. Now that Hillary is done politically, they should be more willing to come forth and assist with evidence.

      That's how I see it.

    2. Scott

      The 7th Floor is a whole different playing field. An unelected Praetorian Guard with now over 60 years embedded history, masters of all they survey, and ruthless. JFK? Foster? So many more. They are so far above the law, they don't care.

      Trump against them right now is like taking a Peasant on a Donkey to a Jousting contest facing a battle hardened Knight in full armour,armed with metal piercing lances, coming at you head on with his horse in full flight, while you lop along with a Pogo stick in your hand.

      Trump, with respect, has no idea of the game board he's now on,or the 10 above he has no idea even exist. He's in play, but as a Patsy? Think the unthinkable of What If?

      Go back to the Jesuit Agenda.
      What is Trumps price?
      As with O, each President is allowed a multi B pay off for his tenure of office from the Trading Programs to put up, shut up and sign up where told.
      To date, none have declined. JFK?

      Trump is hardly a man of moral fortitude is he?
      So Yes, we play the game and hope.
      Yes, we support the wishes of the people.

      But Scott, the entire Political spectrum from the Senate to Parliament, are mass ignorant of the 7th Floor. It's Agency territory, Plus! Ike warned what was in play.

      As I said Trump Tier 3. Above Tier 10. And Which Agencies? There are more, but not for publicising.

      The Political system runs on ignorance. Total, absurd naivety.
      Until one day they realise, the NWO and Tri Laterals ethos is real.
      Assets, resources and capital is finite. The planet IS being carved up, resources are not sufficient and pollution at what cost?
      7 Billion for what purpose then if 10B ? Worse, more? Who calls it, says no need, stop their feed?
      What is really playing out, is who determines the case for each unwanted snout? Who calls time, and when?
      Dont assume Russia and China wont co enjoin when it suits.
      They also are just positioning their own claims on the board.
      When ready, compromise will be achieved, and the minions may be no more.
      Transhumanism, Robotics, evolution and revolution.
      Who will feed who they don't need?

      The real game is beyond the consciousness of the masses.
      Including the Politicos, because the 7th Floor is now Global.
      The species are now-In Play.

    3. Tony, I appreciate what you have shared there very much in your response to JD BYD. It does help me understand the current system more than I did, thank you for that. I agree with your sentiment.

      John, I honestly do not what to say in response to what you have shared above. I know I am quite ignorant in many areas of the current systems governing our existence here but I am learning and hopefully will become a great deal wiser by surrounding myself with the right people and information.

      This battle is way way bigger than I had ever imagined. So many twists and turns. Nothing works smoothly in an open upfront manner. I'll be shaking my head for a while yet I believe.

      It is all quite disheartening but we cannot give up. To have knowledge and not do something with it is not an option for any of us.

    4. You know John, historically speaking, provided folks are relatively free in a somewhat fair-free-market, there has actually never been a resource constraint that wasn't overcome. Julian Simon's works show that conclusively across the spectrum. Every damn crisis was a political constraint trying to create a luxury market for priveledged players. And frankly, the insane accounting that somehow puts the "feed bill" at someone's Elite doorstep, should also be thrown out with the bath water. The ONLY justification for having ANY kind of Elite is stewardship. If we are doomed to be a Prison Planet, then we might as well go the way of the French Revolution and lop off a lot of heads.

    5. Tino

      Whilst a barbaric history revisited, non deserve it more.

    6. Amen, John, amen. Onwards to the battle, each at his own level...


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