Conspiracies as a normal modus operandi of elites
Richard M. Dolan studied at Alfred University and Oxford University before completing his graduate work in history at the University of Rochester, where he was a finalist for a Rhodes scholarship. Dolan studied U.S. Cold War strategy, Soviet history and culture, and international diplomacy. He has written about “conspiracy” in the following way:
The very label [conspiracy] serves as an automatic dismissal, as though no one ever acts in secret. Let us bring some perspective and common sense to this issue.
The United States comprises large organizations – corporations, bureaucracies, “interest groups,” and the like – which are conspiratorial by nature. That is, they are hierarchical, their important decisions are made in secret by a few key decision-makers, and they are not above lying about their activities. Such is the nature of organizational behavior. “Conspiracy,” in this key sense, is a way of life around the globe.
Within the world’s military and intelligence apparatuses, this tendency is magnified to the greatest extreme. During the 1940s, […] the military and its scientists developed the world’s most awesome weapons in complete secrecy… […]
Anyone who has lived in a repressive society knows that official manipulation of the truth occurs daily. But societies have their many and their few. In all times and all places, it is the few who rule, and the few who exert dominant influence over what we may call official culture. – All elites take care to manipulate public information to maintain existing structures of power. It’s an old game.
America is nominally a republic and free society, but in reality an empire and oligarchy, vaguely aware of its own oppression, within and without. I have used the term “national security state” to describe its structures of power. It is a convenient way to express the military and intelligence communities, as well as the worlds that feed upon them, such as defense contractors and other underground, nebulous entities. Its fundamental traits are secrecy, wealth, independence, power, and duplicity.
Nearly everything of significance undertaken by America’s military and intelligence community in the past half-century has occured in secrecy. The undertaking to build an atomic weapon, better known as the Manhattan Project, remains the great model for all subsequent activities. For more than two years, not a single member of Congress even knew about it although its final cost exceeded two billion dollars.
During and after the Second World War, other important projects, such as the development of biological weapons, the importation of Nazi scientists, terminal mind-control experiments, nationwide interception of mail and cable transmissions of an unwitting populace, infiltration of the media and universities, secret coups, secret wars, and assassinations all took place far removed not only from the American public, but from most members of Congress and a few presidents. Indeed, several of the most powerful intelligence agencies were themselves established in secrecy, unknown by the public or Congress for many years.
Since the 1940s, the US Defense and Intelligence establishment has had more money at its disposal than most nations. In addition to official dollars, much of the money is undocumented. From its beginning, the CIA was engaged in a variety of off-the-record “business” activities that generated large sums of cash. The connections of the CIA with global organized crime (and thus de facto with the international narcotics trade) has been well established and documented for many years. – Much of the original money to run the American intelligence community came from very wealthy and established American families, who have long maintained an interest in funding national security operations important to their interests.
In theory, civilian oversight exists over the US national security establishment. The president is the military commander-in-chief. Congress has official oversight over the CIA. The FBI must answer to the Justice Department. In practice, little of this applies. One reason has to do with secrecy. […]
A chilling example of such independence occurred during the 1950s, when President Eisenhower effectively lost control of the US nuclear arsenal. The situation deteriorated so much that during his final two years in office, Eisenhower asked repeatedly for an audience with the head of Strategic Air Command to learn what America’s nuclear retaliatory plan was. What he finally learned in 1960, his final year in office, horrified him: half of the Northern Hemisphere would be obliterated.
If a revered military hero such as Eisenhower could not control America’s nuclear arsenal, nor get a straight answer from the Pentagon, how on earth could Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, or Nixon regarding comparable matters?
Secrecy, wealth and independence add up to power. Through the years, the national security state has gained access to the wrorld’s most sophisticated technology sealed off millions of acres of land from public access or scrutiny, acquired unlimited snooping ability within US borders and beyond, conducted overt or clandestine actions against other nations, and prosecuted wars without serious media scrutiny. Domestically, it maintains influence over elected officials and communities hoping for some of the billions of defense dollars. [including scientists, universities, etc.]
Deception is the key element of warfare, and when winning is all that matters, the conventional morality held by ordinary people becomes an impediment. When taken together, the examples of official duplicity form a nearly single totality. They include such choice morsels as the phony war crisis of 1948, the fabricated missile gap claimed by the air force during the 1950s, the carefully managed events leading to the Gulf of Tonkin resolution… […]
The secrecy stems from a pervasive and fundamental element of life in our world, that those who are at the top of the heap will always take whatever steps are necessary to maintain the status quo.
[S]keptics often ask, “Do you really think the government could hide [anything] for so long?” The question itself reflects ignorance of the reality that secrecy is a way of life in the National Security State. Actually though, the answer is yes, and no.
Yes, in that cover-ups are standard operating procedure, frequently unknown to the public for decades, becoming public knowledge by a mere roll of the dice. But also no, in that … information has leaked out from the very beginning. It is impossible to shut the lid completely. The key lies in neutralizing and discrediting unwelcomed information, sometimes through official denial, other times through proxies in the media.
[E]vidence [of conspiracy] derived from a grass roots level is unlikely to survive its inevitable conflict with official culture. And acknowledgement about the reality of [conspiracies] will only occur when the official culture deems it worthwhile or necessary to make it. [Don’t hold your breath.]
This is a widespread phenomenon affecting many people, generating high levels of interest, taking place in near-complete secrecy, for purposes unknown, by agencies unknown, with access to incredible resources and technology. A sobering thought and cause for reflection. [Richard Dolan]