America's next president will inherit more than a bitterly divided nation teetering on the brink of financial catastrophe when he or she assumes office. He will also inherit a shadow government, one that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country.
To be precise, however, the future president will actually inherit not one but two shadow governments.
The first shadow government, referred to as COG or continuity of government, is made up of unelected individuals who have been appointed to run the government in the event of a "catastrophe."
The second shadow government, referred to as the Deep State, is comprised of unelected government bureaucrats, corporations, contractors, paper-pushers, and button-pushers who are actually calling the shots behind the scenes right now.
The first shadow government, COG, is a phantom menace waiting for the right circumstances--a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, an economic meltdown--to bring it out of the shadows, where it operates even now. When and if COG takes over, the police state will transition to martial law.
Yet as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, it is the second shadow government, the Deep State, which poses the greater threat to our freedoms. This permanent, corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy is unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and beyond the reach of the law.
As the following makes clear, these shadow governments, which operate beyond the reach of the Constitution and with no real accountability to the citizenry, are the reason why "we the people" have no control over our government.
The COG shadow government, originally devised during the Cold War as a means of ensuring that a nuclear strike didn't paralyze the federal government, has taken on a power--and a budget--of its own in the years since 9/11, placing the nation in a constant state of near-emergency and acclimating us to the sight of militarized police, military drills on American soil, privatized prisons, the specter of internment camps, and the erosion of constitutional rights, especially as they pertain to so-called "extremists," domestic or otherwise.
Under the Obama administration, the plans for a full-time, permanent shadow government, stationed outside the capital, and run by permanently appointed (not elected) executive officials have expanded and grown far more elaborate and costly than many realize.
Study the COG plans carefully, however, and you'll find that the concern isn't so much about protecting our government as it is about protecting the nation's governmental elite, ensuring, in Arkin's words, that "Washington can defend itself, take care of its own, and survive no matter what."
To this end, the government has invested heavily in the "architecture of fear": massive underground bunkers--the size of small cities--which are sprinkled throughout the country for the government elite to escape to "in case of an imminent nuclear strike so that they can set up a kind of Administration-in-exile, directing every order of business from retaliation to recovery."
These self-contained bunkers, staffed 24/7 and strategically located around the nation's capital and in key states, represent a who's who on the shadow government's payroll, with every department and agency represented, from the Department of Education and the Trademark Office to the Small Business Administration and the National Archives. No sector has been overlooked. They even have contingency plans to save priceless works of art.
However, you know who's not on the list of key-individuals-to-be-saved-in-the-eventuality-of-a-disaster? You and me and every other American citizen who is viewed as a mere economic unit to be tallied, bought and sold by those in power.
Not to worry, however. The government hasn't completely forgotten about us.
In the event of a loosely defined "national emergency," the Constitution will effectively be suspended, thereby ushering in martial law.
At that time, writes Christopher Ketcham in Radar magazine, the government will likely round up any "potentially suspect" Americans and place them in one of the many internment camps or private prisons built for just such an eventuality.