In his book The Road to 9/11, now available in French, Professor Peter Dale Scott traces back the history of the "Deep State" in the United States, that is to say the secret structure that steers defense and foreign policy behind the facade of democracy. His analysis lifts the veil on the group that organised the September 11 attacks and which finances itself through international trafficking networks.
Regarded as a reference book, The Road to 9/11 already features as recommended reading at military-diplomatic academies. This interview is a follow-up to the article " Afghanistan: Opium, the CIA and the Karzai Administration", by Peter Dale Scott, Voltaire Network, 13 December 2010.VoltaireNet: Professor Scott, as your work is not as widely known as it ought to be in French-speaking countries, could you please start by defining what “Deep politics” is, and explain the distinction between what you call the “Deep state” and the “Public state”?
Peter Dale Scott: The term “Deep state” comes from Turkey. They invented it after the wreck of a speeding Mercedes in 1996 in which the passengers were a Member of Parliament, a beauty queen, a local senior police captain, and an important drug trafficker in Turkey who was also the head of a criminal paramilitary organization – the Grey Wolves – that went around killing people. And it became very obvious in Turkey that there were a covert relationship between the police who officially were looking for this man – even though a policeman was there with him in the car – and these people who committed crimes on behalf of the state. The state that you commit crimes for is not a state that can show its hand to the people, it’s a hidden state, a covert structure. In Turkey, they called it the Deep state,  and I had been talking about deep politics for a long time so I used the term in The Road to 9/11. This is why I have defined deep politics as all those political practices and arrangements, deliberate or not, which are usually repressed rather than acknowledged. So the term “Deep state” – coming from Turkey – is not mine.
It refers to a parallel secret government, organized by the intelligence and security apparatus, financed by drugs, and engaging in illicit violence, to protect the status and interests of the military against threats from intellectuals, religious groups, and occasionally the constitutional government. In this book, I adapt the term somewhat to refer to the wider interface in America between the public, the constitutionally established state, and the deep forces behind it of wealth, power, and violence outside the government. You might call it the back door of the Public state, giving access to dark forces outside the law. The analogy with Turkey is not perfect, because what we see today in America is less a parallel structure than a wide zone or milieu of interaction between the public state and unseen dark forces, as I expound in my latest book The American War Machine. But this interaction is significant, and we need a name, such as Deep state, to describe it.
VoltaireNet: Your critically acclaimed book, The Road to 9/11, was published in 2007 under the Bush regime in the United States. In November 2010, you have published your latest body of work, The American War Machine, two years after Obama’s electoral victory; in your opinion, did the influence of the Deep state decrease in favor of the Public state after Mr. Obama’s election, or did it stay the same or even increase?
Peter Dale Scott: After almost two years of the Obama presidency, I have to conclude, regretfully, that the influence of the deep state, or more accurately what in my new book I call the American war machine, has continued to increase, just as it has under every US president since Kennedy. A key sign is the extent to which Obama, despite his campaign rhetoric, has continued to expand the scope of secrecy in US government, and especially to punish whistle-blowers: his campaign against Wikileaks and Julian Assange, who has not been charged yet with any crime, is without precedent in US history. I suspect that Washington’s fear of publicity is related to its awareness that US war policies are increasingly at odds with reality. In Afghanistan Obama appears to have capitulated to the efforts of General Petraeus and other generals to ensure that US troops do not begin to withdraw from combat in 2011, as originally foreseen when in 2009 Obama authorized a troop increase. Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars, reports that during that protracted administration debate over whether to escalate in Afghanistan, CIA Director Leon Panetta advised Obama that “no Democratic president can go against military advice… So just do it. Do what they say.” Obama recently told US troops in Afghanistan that “you’re achieving your objectives, you will succeed in your mission.” This echo of earlier, fatuously optimistic statements from Petraeus explains why there were no realistic appraisal of the war’s progress inside the White House in December 2010, as was originally mandated.
Like Johnson before him, the president is now trapped in a quagmire war he dare not lose, and which threatens to spread to both Pakistan and Yemen, if not further. I suspect that the deep forces dominating both political parties are now so powerful, so affluent, and above all so invested in the profits from war-making, that a president is farther than ever from challenging this power – even as it becomes more and more clear that America’s era of world dominance, like Britain’s before it, is drawing to a close.
In addition Obama, without debate or review, has extended the domestic state of emergency proclaimed after 9/11, with its drastic limitations of civil rights (see below). In September 2010 the FBI raided the homes or offices of nonviolent human rights workers in Minneapolis and Chicago, citing a recent Supreme Court ruling that nonviolent first amendment speech and advocacy was a crime if "coordinated with" or "under the direction of" a foreign group designated as "terrorist." It is worth noting that, in nine years, Congress has not once met to discuss the State of Emergency declared by George W. Bush in response to 9/11, a State of Emergency that remains in effect today. Former Congressman Dan Hamburg and I appealed publicly in 2009, both to President Obama to terminate the emergency, and to Congress to hold the hearings required of them by statute. But Obama, without discussion, extended the 9/11 Emergency again on September 2009, and again a year later. Meanwhile Congress has continued to ignore its statutory obligations....continued.
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The Road To 9/11
The American War Machine