Deep Politics and the Deep State

[This is the english translation of the original article - Ceci est la traduction de l'article original paru en français]

The "deep politics" concept has been coined by Pr. Peter Dale Scott. The first occurrence in a published work appeared year 1993.[1] In this book Scott coined the terms "deep political system" and his study as "deep political analysis" too. 

The goal of this article is to synthesize the proposed definitions and those for associated concepts. The approach of deep politics is fundamental and essential for a better understanding of power legitimacy in the current political affairs. This announces the openness of a new and large field in political sciences, with an impact similar to the release of The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli.

With the rise since the second world war of socio-technical systems remained hidden from Parliament's control (like systems for mass surveillance of citizens) deep politics are in our view a comprehensive approach to how power acts -- from the design of the stakes up to the decision-making process -- that becomes much more relevant. Note however, that events caused by deep politics (deep events) have been identified since the Roman Republic. Thus its relevance is not limited to a certain American country in the XXI-st century. It is symbiotic of power, and valid at all times and in all places, to different degrees and different scales.

It is of paramount importance to civil society in each country to put a word defining this danger, which if it not managed can lead to the death of democracy.[2] If there is a word available to link a concept, then we can discuss this concept and study it as a tangible question, instead of an evanescent risk or a vague scare felt during a moonless night.[3] U.S. civil society has mastered this approach and has published more than 32.000 pages of studies since 1995 [4] in order to clarify in a comprehensive, consistent and public way all the details surrounding the death of JFK, that the American public state has refused to do for 50 years.

Some academic literature on State Crimes against Democracy (SCAD), that is to say, ultimately against citizens, exists but is still few in number.[5] This can be explained by the exceptional societal difficulty to publish on this subject since the 40s and by the fact that this literature comes in a second time to consolidate the theoretical contributions of numerous books and essays written by civil society (including scholars), retrospectively documenting SCAD in a historiographical way.[6]

In November 1996 [7] appeared in interviews and political studies the term "deep state", first within Turkey.[8] Démirel, former President of Turkey, has said: [9] 
“There is one deep state and one other state, […]. The state that should be real is the spare one, the one that should be spare is the real one.”
Prime Minister Erdoğan also said: [10] 
“Every state has its own deep state; it is like a virus; it reappears when conditions are suitable. We continue fighting these structures. We cannot of course argue that we have completely eliminated and destroyed it because as a politician, I do not believe that any state in the world has been able to do this completely.”
It is very significant to note that a related concept (the dual state) was proposed by Fraenkel in 1941 to characterize Nazi Germany.[11] He thought that the Nazi regime consisted in fact of two distinct states: a "normative" one and a "prerogative" one. In the first one administrative and judiciary bureaucracy acts according to rules; in the second one the Party, especially the Gestapo, act without any ultimate legal constraint. The prerogative state, of course, has in practice full power and can arbitrarily replace the normative state's actions in whole or part.

It is relevant to mention General MacArthur’s Cleveland speech of September 6, 1951 in the course of which the Mt. Vernon Register-News reported that :
[...] he cited the State Department as an example of what he called a "steady drift toward totalitarian rule." He said the department is assuming the character of a "prime ministry." [11b] 
The Sarasota Herald Tribune gave others details :
General Douglas MacArthur said Thrusday night he has noted a "steady drift toward totalitarian rule" and suppression of individual liberties in the United States.
In a speech bristling with attacks on the Truman administration, he said that if the trend is not stopped, it could lead to a dictatorship.
"This drift has resulted in an increasingly dangerous paternalistic relationship between federal government and private citizens, with the mushrooming of agency after agency to control the individual," the general asserted.
The speech, in which he said the administration's leaders are not to be trusted,... 
The San Bernardino Sun reported :
His speech, latest in a series of major policy addresses, was devoted almost equally to domestic and foreign issues. It contained four central points :
1. That "our leaders" have lost the military victory gained in World war II, through a too rapid disarmament and diplomatic blunders, and that they can no longer be trusted now.
2. That the United Nations, as an organization, is "inherently weak," and is threatened with failure.
3. That the time may come when Japan may be "firmly established within the protective folds of our own cherished liberties, while we ourselves shall have lost them." 
4. That since his return from the Orient, he has noted our "steady drift toward totalitarian rule with the suppression of those personal liberties which have formed the foundation stones to our political, economic and social advance to national greatness." MacArthur, amplifying the last point, went on to say: "If long countenanced by free men, it can but lead to those controls upon conviction and conscience which traditionally have formed stepping stones to dictatorial power." [11d]
The Rome News - Tribune reported :

In 1955 Morgenthau used the concept of dual state to characterize the United States.[12] O. Tunander summarized it: "There was on the one hand the regular democratic state hierarchy that acts according to the rule of law, and, on the other hand a more or less hidden security hierarchy, [...] that monitors and controls the former, or at least is able to "exert an effective veto over its decisions" to quote Morgenthau.
[...] In fact, this parallel security structure, [...] what some would call the "deep state", is the very apparatus that defines when and whether a "state of emergency" will emerge. This aspect of the state is what Carl Schmitt in his work Politische Theologie from 1922 qualifies as the "sovereign"." [12b,c]
We immediately note that the integration of the state of emergency is one of the key concepts on which the US deep state spent the last decades of the twentieth century.[13a] See below the distinction between Tunander and Scott about the exact meaning of the term 'deep state'.

It is in this context of deep state that we must also understand the famous farewell address of President Dwight Eisenhower January 17, 1961 as well as the one of President John F. Kennedy "The President and the Press" given for American Newspaper Publishers Association at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, April 27, 1961 ten days after the Bay of Pigs failed invasion by the CIA. But also in the perspective of F.D. Roosevelt April 29, 1938 speech "Message to Congress on Curbing Monopolies" who stated : [13e]

"Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people.

The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.

The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living.

Both lessons hit home.

Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing."
December 23, 1913 the term "The Invisible Government" was used by Congressman Lindbergh in the Federal Reserve Act debate : "When the President signs this bill, the invisible government by the Monetary Power will be legalized.[13f] This term was used 1928 by Edward Bernays [13h] and again in the 60's. [13b] Pr. Antony C. Sutton also used it after 1972, but only with a focus on US foreign policy acted by the public state and the links with private firms (industries, banks, medias, think tanks). He did not explore the links with state agencies like CIA.

In 2014 in the context of the NSA scandal, Pr. Michael J. Glennon reused the "Double Government" theory, a term coined by Bagehot [13c], in his excellent sociological and constitutional study of the recent US administrations : 
"National security policy in the United States has remained largely constant from the Bush Administration to the Obama Administration. This continuity can be explained by the “double government” theory of 19th-century scholar of the English Constitution Walter Bagehot. As applied to the United States, Bagehot’s theory suggests that U.S. national security policy is defined by the network of executive officials who manage the departments and agencies responsible for protecting U.S. national security and who, responding to structural incentives embedded in the U.S. political system, operate largely removed from public view and from constitutional constraints."
Glennon also mentioned the term "deep structure" used by H. Heclo in 1999 but this one was limited to describing "those elements that remain the same when the administration changes." [13d]

Glennon did not study the illegal and covert actions by the deep state like Scott has done. But we can note these sentences, p. 99 :
"Inspectors general were set up within federal departments and agencies in 1978 as safeguards against waste, fraud, abuse, and illegality, but the positions have remained vacant for years in some of the government’s largest cabinet agencies, including the departments of Defense, State, Interior, and Homeland Security.[...]  
The CIA’s Office of Inspector General “has generally produced better results when addressing discrete, isolated problems,” but “when the largest problems surfaced, the statutory OIG did not add significant remedial value”; 
When it was Dana Priest who broke The Washington Post story about secret CIA prisons—prisons that OIG had not investigated before the story— it leads to the conclusion that intelligence insiders deem Ms. Priest (or Mr. Risen, or Mr. Lichtblau, or Mr. Pincus, or any other investigative reporter) a more effective agent of change than OIG. And not only did the whistleblower choose Ms. Priest either instead of, or in addition to, OIG, he or she did so despite the risk of being disciplined, discharged, or even arrested for disclosing secrets to a reporter.”

Daniel Inouye was chairing a special committee (Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition) from 1987 until 1989 in the Iran-Contra investigations of the 1980s. During the hearings, Inouye referred to the operations that had been revealed saying:
"[There exists] a shadowy Government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of the national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself." [13g]
We used the term deep state in 2012 into a chronological description of U.S. political events during the last century [14] in acknowledgment of Scott's work, who used it himself since 2007.[15]

Today the deep state is the term mostly used in mainstream media [16] but its explanation remains very simplistic and often confusing.

Definitions and meanings

Scott's works offer the most comprehensive contribution, and historically make reference.

About parapolitics [17] and the relations with deep politics[18]
"...the investigation of parapolitics, which I defined (with the CIA in mind) as a `system or practice of politics in which accountability is consciously diminished.'...I still see value in this definition and mode of analysis. But parapolitics as thus defined is itself too narrowly conscious and intentional... it describes at best only an intervening layer of the irrationality under our political culture's rational surface. Thus I now refer to parapolitics as only one manifestation of deep politics, all those political practices and arrangements, deliberate or not, which are usually repressed rather than acknowledged."
About the deep political system and its analysis :
“A deep political system or process is one which habitually resorts to decision-making and enforcement procedures outside as well as inside those publicly sanctioned by law and society. In popular terms, collusive secrecy and law-breaking are part of how the deep political system works. […]
Deep political analysis focuses on the usually ignored mechanics of accommodation. From the viewpoint of conventional political science, law enforcement and the underworld are opposed to each other, the former struggling to gain control of the latter. A deep political analysis notes that in practice these efforts at control lead to the use of criminal informants; and this practice, continued over a long period of time, turns informants into double agents with status within the police as well as the mob. The protection of informants and their crimes encourages favors, payoffs, and eventually systemic corruption […] where the controlling hand may be more with the mob than with the police department it has now corrupted.”[19]
It is important to understand that this mechanism has no limit of dissemination in the political system: in 1985 the CIA director and ex-FBI director testified in favor of Jacquie Press (a member of Reagan presidential team and also one of the leaders of the Teamsters mob) stating that his illegal activities had been authorized. [20]
“A deep political analysis enlarges traditional structuralist analysis to include indeterminacies analogous to those which are studied in chaos theory. A deep political system is one where the processes openly acknowledged are not always securely in control, precisely because of their accommodation to unsanctioned sources of violence, through arrangements not openly acknowledged and reviewed.”[21]
About the deep state and the relations with the public state :

According to Scott, the political organization in a country « correspond to two overlapping systems of statal institutions: the deep state and the public state. The second interacts with and is responsive to civil society, especially in a democracy; the first is immune to shifts in public opinion.

Thus the deep state is expanded by covert operations; the public state is reduced by them. Following the same distinction as Hans Morgenthau in his discussion of the dual state, Ola Tunander talks of a “democratic state” and a “security state.” His definitions focus more on the respective institutions of the dual state; mine, on their social grounding and relationship to the power of the "overworld"
» [that is to say the realm of wealthy or privileged society that, although not formally authorized or institutionalized, is the scene of successful influence of government by private power].

« Deep state and security state are not quite identical. By the deep state I mean agencies like CIA, with little or no significant public constituency outside of government. By the security state, I mean above all the military, an organization large enough to have a limited constituency and even in certain regions to constitute an element of local civil society. The two respond to different segments of the overworld and thus sometimes compete with each other. »

« Archival history is a chronological record of events, as reconstructed by archival historians from public records; as opposed to deep history, which is a chronology of events concerning which the public records are often either falsified or nonexistent. » [22]

About influence and geopolitical strategies, the main difference between a public state and a deep state is that the latter is not limited to agreed frontiers and to its embassies. It is present where lies and moves each of his pieces. Collusion with trans-national companies and organizations (NGOs, but also relay antennas within institutions) gives it momentum. P.D. Scott has called this the supranational deep state. [23] 

P.D. Scott summarized his fundamental ideas on deep politics in this video :

... and in this interview too:


[1] “Deep Politics and the Death of JFK”, Peter Dale Scott, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1993. Scott explained (pp. vii) this book was written from two manuscripts released in 1971 and 79.
[2] Agile-Democracy.net (03/07/2014) ; Agile-Democracy.net (01/26/2014) ; Agile-Democracy.net (02/01/2014)
[3] I published this article 3/15/2014 in a period when the non elected leaders of European Commission force all EU citizens to take commitments in a fast track mode without following regular processes, that are opposed to what the EU people wish: integration of Ukraine into EU, signature of TTIP agreement with the US, and soon new laws restricting liberties because supposedly « the EU is not any more in security and must do everything possible to protect herself from Russia ». Think about it when you will count the NATO boots in your streets. (Update 5/3/2014: for instance read this published 4/24/2014).
[4] JFK / Deep Politics Quarterly (1995 – 2013).
[5] a) in “Government of the shadows: Parapolitics and Criminal Sovereignty”, Dr Eric Wilson, éditeur, 2009, London: Pluto Press (A copy of O. Tulander's article is here); b) Six articles published in American Behavioral Scientist, February 2010; 53 (6) ; See a copy of the article written by L. deHaven-Smith here to separate and distinguish between SCAD and what is called "conspiracy theory" ; c) in « The Dual State - Parapolitics, Carl Schmitt and the National Security Complex », Dr Eric Wilson, Ed., 2012, Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
[6] For instance, the two lists of books mentioned here.
[7] "The Rise and Decline of the Turkish “Deep State”: The Ergenekon Case", Serdar Kaya, Insight Turkey (Vol. 11, No. 4, Fall 2009, pp.99-113)
[8] a) See Wikipedia.org for the use of this term about Turkey ; b) The New Yorker (03/2012); c) See in the case of Egypt: OnReligion.co.uk (07/2013), GlobalPost (09/2013), GlobalPost (01/2015) ; DNAIndia (04/2014) about deep state in  India; Maine's NPR News Source (01/2015) about Argentina.
[9] Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (January/February 2006) ; NTV (11/2005)
[10] "What is deep state?", Markar Esayan, Today’s Zaman (12/2012)
[11] “The Dual State. A Contribution to the Theory of Dictatorship”, Ernst Fraenkel, translation from the German by E. A. Shils, in collaboration with Edith Lowenstein and Klaus Knorr, Oxford University Press, New York, 1941 ; Fraenkel lived in the U.S. starting 1939 and worked for Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and US government between 1942 and 1951, and closely with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a predecessor of the CIA -- as explained by Gerhard Göhler, Dirk Rüdiger Schumann: Vorwort zu diesem Band, in: Ernst Fraenkel. Gesammelte Schriften, Band 3, Neuaufbau der Demokratie in Deutschland und Korea, Baden-Baden 1999, Pp 9–49. The US government has then paid for his return back in Germany. This could explain why he described only positively the US political system in his 1960 book titled « Das amerikanische Regierungssystem ».
[11b] Mt. Vernon Register-News, 7 September 1951, p 2.
[11c] Sarasota Herald Tribune, 7 September 1951, p 1.
[11d] San Bernardino Sun, 7 September 1951, p 1.
[12] Hans J. Morgenthau, in Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 1955 ; Reprinted in « Politics in the Twentieth Century, Vol. 1: The Decline of Democratic Politics », Hans J. Morgenthau, Univ. Chicago Press, 1962.
[12b] "Dual State: The Case of Sweden", Ola Tunander, in Eric Wilson, ed., "The Dual State: Parapolitics, Carl Schmitt and the National Security Complex", Ashgate, 2012, pp 171–192.
[12c] "Securitization, Dual State and US-European Geopolitical Divide or The Use of Terrorism to Construct World Order", Ola Tunander, Fifth Pan-European International Relations Conference, The Hague, 9-11 September 2004.
[13a] See the chapter about Continuity of Government (COG) in "The road to 9/11 - Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America", Peter Dale Scott, University of California Press, 2007.
[13b] "There are two governments in the United States today. One is visible. The other is invisible. The first is the government that citizens read about in their newspapers and children study about in their civics class. The second is the interlocking, hidden machinery that carries out the policies of the United States in the Cold War. The second invisible government gathers intelligence, conducts espionage and plans and executes secret operations all over the globe." (David Wise, Thomas B. Ross, 'The Invisible Government', Random House, 1964) ;  Quoted by J. Kuzmarov.
[13c] Walter Bagehot, The English Constitution, 1867.
[13d] Michael J. Glennon, "National Security and Double Government", Harvard National Security Journal, Vol. 5, 2014, Pp 1-114. A short review can be found here.
[13e] F.D. Roosevelt, "Message to Congress on Curbing Monopolies", April 29, 1938.
[13f] Speech before the House of Representatives by C.A. Lindbergh (1859-1924), December 22, 1913, Congressional Record, Vol. 51, p. 1446.
[13g] Speech before the Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition, 1987.
[13h] "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized." (Edward Bernays, "Propaganda", 1928, Pp. 37).
[14] Conscience-sociale.org (09/2012).
[15] “Road to 9/11 - Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America”, Peter Dale Scott, University of California Press, 2007 ; Global Research (06/2008).
[16] The Guardian (07/2013) ; Financial Times (07/2013) ; Huffington Post (07/2013) ; WSJ (10/2013) ; New York Times (12/2013) ; Tom Hayden in the Huffington Post (07/2013) called it "state within a state" ; Note also Moyers & Company (02/2014) ; Charles Hugh Smith (02/2014) ; Huffington Post (03/2014).
[17] The term parapolitics (that has a different meaning than the deep state) was used by P.D. Scott in one of his first book published in 1972. In 1977 the term parafascism appeared.
[18] “Deep Politics and the Death of JFK”, Peter Dale Scott, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. 1993, pp. 6-7.
[19] Ibid, pp xi-xii
[20] See the sources listed on Wikipedia about this lawsuit.
[21] Ibid, pp xiii
[22] “Road to 9/11 - Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America”, Peter Dale Scott, University of California Press, 2007, pp. 267-271.
[23] Peter Dale Scott, "The State, the Deep State, and the Wall Street Overworld", The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 12, Issue 10, No. 5, March 10, 2014.

05/03/2014 : added a new link in Ref 3
05/09/2014 : added MacArthur speech and references 11b, c, d ; precisions added in ref 11.
05/15/2014 : added a § about the 'invisible government'.
06/05/2014 : added Refs 13c, 13d and corresponding §
06/09/2014 : added Ref 13a and corresponding § ; added Ref 8b ; added new links in Ref 16 and Ref 8c
09/29/2014 : added Refs 12b, 12c
10/10/2014 : added Ref 13f
01/31/2015 : updated Ref 8c
03/03/2015 : added Ref 13g
05/11/2016 : added Ref 13h

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