COG: Secret Shadow Government
by Amy Goodman
AMY: "Your listening to Democracy Now, I'm Amy Goodman, this from today's Washington Post: Tensions over the Bush administration's sharing of information with Congress flared anew on Tuesday as the White House excluded the House Democratic leader from a confidential briefing and Bush aides swapped charges with lawmakers about who was told of White House contingency plans dealing with a hypothetical nuclear attack on Washington.
House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt first learned from a reporter about the classified briefing for congressional leaders this week on the contingency plans, this according to his aides. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer blamed a "scheduling matter" and said Gephardt had "already been talked to," which Gephardt's aides said was untrue.
The White House also disputed lawmakers' claims that they had not been advised of the administration's contingency plans, reported last week in The Washington Post, involving scores of career government officials taking rotations in underground bunkers outside of Washington.
West Virginia Democratic Senator Robert Byrd who as Senate president pro tempore is third in line to the presidency said Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle had said they were not informed of the plans. The White House released records showing that the secretary of the Senate and the Senate sergeant at arms had been briefed Sept. 22. Administration officials said the briefing included a tour of one of the facilities. They said Byrd was offered
a similar briefing Sept. 24 but declined.
In a statement, the two Senate officials said the briefing was not about executive branch contingency plans.
[White House, Hill Democrats at Odds By Dana Milbank and John Lancaster
Washington Post Staff Writers Wednesday, March 6, 2002; Page A04 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A44324-2002Mar5.html]
[Congress Not Advised Of Shadow Government Saturday By Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin Washington Post Staff Writers March 2, 2002; Page A01
Well were now going to turn to Part 2 of our in depth look at Washington's Secret Shadow Government as reported on Democracy Now yesterday President Bush has dispatched about a hundred senior civilian managers to live and work secretly outside Washington.
Bush has activated for the first time, long standing plans to insure survival of Federal rule after catastrophic attack on the Nations Capital. We turn now to Chris [Christopher] Simpson associate professor of communications at American University in Washington D.C.
He is the author of the book Blowback, America's Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War - Mar. 1988 and War Crimes of the Deutsche Bank
and the Dresdner Bank; Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare 1945-1960 - Apr. 1996; National Security Directives of the Reagan and Bush Administrations : The Declassified History of U.S. Political and Military Policy, 1981-1991 - Mar. 1995; The Splendid Blonde Beast: Money, Law, and Genocide in the Twentieth Century - Mar. 1993; He is an expert on U.S. intelligence agencies and operations.
I spoke with him yesterday, and asked him what this Shadow Government is, and where it is operating."
CHRIS: "The Continuity Of Government programs are rooted in the United States nuclear weapons strategy. That's were they came from, that was their main motivation for creating a Government in waiting.
Right now, they are located at Ravens Rock [Site-R] which is in Pennsylvania, a bit east of Waynesboro, and most likely a second installation at Mt. Weather in Virginia."
AMY: "And explain what this is, what COG the Continuity Of Government is and why it has been kept so secret."
CHRIS: "Continuity Of Government is simply a plan to keep the central Government operating in the event of a nuclear war.
From there it was expanded to keep the Government operating in the event of a domestic rebellion or act of terrorism or other unspecified crisis, natural disaster, and so on.
What's happened in this administration, is the declaration of a state of emergency, that has spurred the actual practice, in the installation of this Shadow Government.
The decisions that have been made thus far, to the extent that they have been made public, are in parallel with the public decisions of the administration, at least for the most part.
The more disturbing aspect of the Shadow Government, is that it creates an apparatus, in waiting, that is an invitation, to abuse, in a whole variety of manners. Basically, it's the executive branch, particularly appointed officials, in the executive branch, who have been tasked, to carry out a War On Terrorism, which is undefined, which the enemies of which, are undefined,
except to say they, they include just about everybody, sooner or latter,and which, according to the Administration, is supposed to go on for the rest of our lives. This is, very disturbing."
AMY: "But what exactly are they doing every day. I mean, you have. Where did you say you think these two locations are, that the Washington Post said, The White House asked them not to reveal?"
CHRIS: "One is at Ravens Rock [Site-R] in Pennsylvania, which is a bit east of Waynesboro Pennsylvania, and the other, most likely location, is at Mt. Weather in Virginia, also in the Appalachian Mountains. Both of those sites, are reasonably well known to people who follow this sort of thing.
The Raven's Rock site, the existence of it, was broadcast on CNN several months ago,and Mount Weather has been known, for ohhh, at least two decades, as a site for Continuity Of Government operations. So the literal sites, are not the secret, that the present administration, makes them out to be.
There seems to be basically, a reflex secrecy, that they which to maintain,
about this sort of thing.The question is what are these people doing.
Now, officially, or to listen to the, press statements; their Government managers, who are, sort of, supposed to be waiting around, for some sort of cataclysmic attack on the central Government in Washington, at which time they will spring into action, and be a backup, Government.
Well, the problem with these claims is that simply isn't the way that governments work. You can't, have, you can certainly put several hundred people
in waiting underneath a mountain, but if they are actually to be capable of running a government, and surely, Ashcroft, and Bush, so forth know this,
they have to be, running the Government. They have to be, actually active in policy decisions, implantation of policy, and so on. That's what they are doing.
Now, to the best, of my knowledge, and to the best of, to the extent that this has been made public, They're, coordinating a War On Terrorism, particularly anti-terrorist initiatives, for the various agencies, and that type of thing.
The problem here is illustrated from the old Iran-Contra affair.What happened there, among other things, was that very good regulation, and oversight of the intelligence agencies, and so forth, had been set up, in the wake of the, scandals of the 1970's where it was revealed that the CIA had large scale domestic programs in the United States, that they engaged in, assassination operations, so forth and so on.
Well, what, the Reagan Administration did, was to use, the National Security Council, for the purpose of covert operations, and that had never really been thought of before, frankly, and so there was no over sight of it. It was all, Executive branch, it was all, you know, Presidential privilege, and so that, there was very little publicity about it, at least at first."
AMY: "So, that's a key point, that it's not just a Shadow Government, used for the future, incase of, a total catastrophe, but it's actually a Shadow Government operating, right now."
CHRIS: "That's correct, and it must be, and by that I mean that, organizations of people, don't sustain themselves if they just sit there, and they just wait. That simply isn't the way organizations thrive, so, what happens is that their given a particular task, and in this context, that task, is advancing the Administrations, so called War On Terrorism.
Then the next question comes: Well what exactly is that?
And the more closely one looks at the War On Terrorism, the more disturbing it becomes, for it's, actual and it's potential, abuses of American Citizens."
AMY: "Maybe the War On Terrorism, is not the reason for, but the excuse for, the Shadow Government, to operate."
CHRIS: "Well, you're making a good point, but, I'm not sure, let's see, your making a good point, but, what's going on here, is, that, these words are being used to tie people in knots. The War On Terrorism, is a code word, for a very far [reaching] War on decent, on disagreement, on the, disintegration, or the, disintegration, if you will, of the central Government, in Washington.
Despite, what, it often appears, it's very difficult to run the Government at all, and there's some question, frankly, as to weather it can be said that
the President, or anybody else, is running the Government. So what these Administrations do, is to try to, try to control this gigantic bureaucratic machine, that holds the authorities, the power structure, together, and they can't control that machine very well, and the machine is, creaky, and it tends to break down. To the extent, that they can, these Administrations, rely on propaganda, and if necessary, violence, to maintain that apparatus.
I think it's a very real question, as to whether or not they can succeed in maintaining that apparatus."
AMY: "Where talking to Christopher Simpson he's associate professor of communications at American University, author of a number of books. What about the crack down on information, how it's becoming increasingly difficult under the Bush Administration, with his Executive Orders, cracking specifically down on, Freedom Of Information Act requests, talking about Presidential libraries,
now not releasing information, to get information precisely about issues like these, that were discussing, and the Shadow Government, that's operating today in, Virginia and Pennsylvania."
CHRIS: "I think the first key to doing that is to use a bit of historical perspective. For example the National Security Directives that lay out this basic plan for a Shadow Government, it's procedures, it's step one step two step three, so forth, these became public in the wake of the Iran-Contra scandal, some of them became public in the Bush Administration, some in the Clinton Administration, (the first Bush Administration I meant, and the Clinton Administration) so when somebody starts talking about a Shadow Government or Government In Waiting, you can at least go back and see what the policy documents from the 1980's and before, had to say, and that tends to give a person a framework for understanding the little threads and slips of information that squeeze their way out despite the Administrations efforts to keep them secret."
AMY: "Hmm ... you wrote the book Blowback, America's Recruitment of Nazis
and Its Effects on the Cold War, about ... Nazis being recruited after World War 2, by the United States.Can you talk about how that relates to what we are looking at today in Afghanistan, this whole notion of Blowback, and start by explaining what it is?"
CHRIS: "Sure ... Blowback is ... a Intelligence jargon term for a Covert Action that begins overseas, ... and it goes bad, and it blows up in the face of the Agency or the Government that's sponsoring it, it blows back on them. ...
There's a number of ways ... that the post World War 2, period, the lessons from that, ... are useful today.But one of the clearest ones, is that, when there is a turnover in a regime, ... or a change of Government, the political police, for the most part, ... are, tied to the old machine.
In the case of Nazi Germany, there was the SS, and they where ... particularly the SS, ... where, mass murders., ... fundamentally the same sort of procedure, ... is underway now, as far as, recruiting defectors, recruiting ... disaffected political elements, particularly political police, from ... regimes where the United States is intervening."
AMY: "That is, Christopher Simpson, professor of communications at American University in Washington DC.. You are listening to Democracy Now www.democracynow.org
COG in OVERVIEW:
( ) Underground Bases and Tunnels
by Richard Sauder
( ) Deep Subject
Aviation Week Apr. 29 1996
( ) Russia Builds Mammoth Underground Complex
New York Times Apr. 16 1996
( ) Study Reveals US has spent $4 Trillion on Nukes
Christian Science Monitor Jul. 12 1995
( ) Bashful Bunker Reveals its Secrets
Glasgow Herald May 22 1995
( ) The Doomsday Blueprints
Time Aug. 10 1992 p32(8)
( ) Doomsday Hideaway
Time Dec. 9 1991 p26(4)
( ) Democracy at Risk If Covert Bill Passes
Los Angeles Daily News Sep. 19 1990
( ) The Backbone of Hidden Government
The Nation Jun. 19 1989
( ) America's Doomsday Project
U.S. News & World Report Aug. 7 1989
( ) Bigger Secrets (Chapter on Mount Weather)
William Poundstone 1989 ISBN 03 95 53 00 83
( ) Bureaucrats Get Ready for a Presidential Order
The Spotlight Jul. 27 1987
( ) North Helped Revise Wartime Plans
Miami Herald Jul. 9 1987
( ) The Take-Charge Gang
The Progressive May. 1985 p 1(8)
( ) Lawyers Press U.S. on Martial Law Plan
Chicago Tribune Aug. 15 1983
( ) The Mysterious Mountain
The Progressive Mar. 1976 p12(5)