Donald Trump ran on a platform of improving relations with Russia: his victory was a mandate for that policy. Yet the real power in this country doesn’t reside within the ballot box, and that reality was brought home when the Justice Department appointed a “special counsel” to investigate “any links and/or coordination with the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”
After months of leaks coming from the intelligence agencies, who bitterly oppose the new policy, and a barrage of innuendo, smears, and character assassination in the media, the will of the people has been abrogated: the Deep State has the last word. The denizens of Langley, and the career spooks within our seventeen intelligence agencies, have exercised their veto power – a power that is not written into the Constitution, but is nevertheless very real.
Their goal is to not only make détente with Russia impossible – and Trump’s goal of “getting along with Russia” will surely not be implemented now that the regime of the special counsel has trumped him – but also to overthrow a democratically elected chief executive, and perhaps prosecute him for “high crimes and misdemeanors” in the process.
No matter what you think of Trump, this is an ominous development for all those who care about the future of our republic. Because the warning to our politicians could not be clearer: So you want to effect a fundamental change in US foreign policy? You dare to question the permanence of NATO? Let this be a lesson to you.
This goes way beyond the Trump administration: the potential targets of the investigation are potentially unlimited. Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein’s letter to the Special Counsel – Bush era FBI Director Robert Mueller – also states that the counsel’s purview includes “any matters that arose directly from the investigation,” as well as “any other matters within the scope of 28 CFR 600.4 (a),” which refers to anyone who might conceivably be involved in obstructing the Special Counsel’s probe.
In short, Mueller has virtually unlimited power to expand his investigation, and, given the history of Special Counsels, you can be sure that this one will wander far afield and become a general probe into “Russian influence” on the election – a matter already taken up by at least two congressional committees.
Any politician, especially one who supported Trump, who advocates peaceful and productive relations with Russia is a likely target. The War Party has already got Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) in its sights for his fearless questioning of the anti-Russian propaganda campaign.
Furthermore, any media outlets that either supported Trump, had a good word to say about Trump, and/or dissented from the Russophobic hysteria that has gripped the “mainstream” media are liable to be scrutinized. Journalists with “Russian ties” – no matter how tenuous – will be caught up in the witch-hunt. The Washington Post gave front page prominence to a group of anonymous “researchers” that calls itself “PropOrNot,” which has compiled a lengthy list of “pro-Russian” media outlets and web sites – including the Drudge Report, and Antiwar.com.
The dynamics of the witch-hunt will play out in the manner in which it has operated up until this point, only more so: the “mainstream” media will act as the research department of DOJ investigators, “uncovering” the “pro-Russian” network in the US, inviting Mueller to move in for the kill. Politicians, journalists, academics, and even ordinary folks will be targeted by the government in the hunt for “Putin’s puppets.”
We haven’t seen this kind of thing since the 1950s. Indeed, the history of these political lynchings goes all the way back to the Moscow Trials conducted by Stalin and his henchmen, who consolidated their power by prosecuting “Trotskyite wreckers” and other “enemies of the people” – to the applause of Western “liberals.”
What we are witnessing is a “regime-change” operation, such as our intelligence agencies have routinely carried out abroad, right here in the United States. Yet it is more – and worse – than that.
This pernicious campaign is an attempt to criminalize dissent from the foreign policy “consensus.” It is an effort by powerful groups within the national security bureaucracy, the media, and the military-industrial complex to stamp out any opposition to their program of perpetual war. It is, in effect, political terrorism – that is, an attempt to achieve political-ideological goals by the threat of force, i.e. the threat of State coercion. The police state methods utilized by law enforcement agencies in this country since 9/11 – universal surveillance, and the whole menu of cyber-spying techniques exposed by Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks – will be deployed. And it won’t just be our own American spooks doing the eavesdropping.
The involvement of the British and other European intelligence agencies in this regime-change operation on American soil is well-known: it was a “former” MI6 agent, one Christopher Steele, who authored and circulated the infamous “dirty dossier” on Trump. The Ukrainians, in particular, are in the forefront of this campaign: their targeting of Paul Manafort is out in the open. And a recent article in the Washington Post which relates a conversation between GOP House majority leader Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan, and others, has McCarthy saying he thinks both Trump and Rep. Rohrabacher are “paid by Putin.” The exchange took place on Capitol Hill, after a meeting with the Ukrainian envoy – and the Post, in a story datelined Kiev, reports that it was “recorded.” So who did the recording? My bet is on the Ukrainians.
Oh, but that kind of “foreign influence” on our politics is just fine and dandy. You won’t ever see a Special Counsel appointed to investigate it.
The reign of terror is about to begin: anyone who opposes our interventionist foreign policy is liable to be labeled a “Kremlin tool” – and could face legal sanctions. Because you can be sure that ancillary efforts, apart from the office of the Special Counsel, are already in motion to make sure dissent is muzzled. They intend to move against the Internet, in the name of guarding against “Russian influence”: the phony campaign against “fake news” is already well-advanced, along with legislative efforts to fund a “push back” campaign against “Russia propaganda.” And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some attempt is made to abridge the right to publish material deemed “pro-Russian,” either with direct legal sanctions or indirect methods, such as stopping or inhibiting the funding of “suspicious” web sites.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.
This article was originally published at Antiwar.com, May 19, 2017.
Image: Credit Christopher Gregory/The New York Times, May 17, 2017 / selected by wg.pco