Conspiracies inside of government, or the appearance of conspiracy, can be found within the annals of most countries.
– Ryan Gingeras, How the Deep State Came to America
MEANING OF DEEP STATE
The first question that needs to be asked is, what is the Deep state? Is it a theory? Rise of a shadow government? How does it work? Is it the industrial-military complex? Or to keep in terms of El Professor the resistance, here we say bureaucratic resistance! or just a dark conspiratorial term?
The term Deep state is used to describe an alleged secret network of especially nonelected government officials and sometimes private entities (as in the financial services and defense industries) operating extra-legally to influence and enact government policy.
The deep state, also referred to as a state within a state, is defined as a network of civil servants, military, intelligence, and/or other administrative agencies within a government working to pursue their own agenda, which may be contrary to that of the electorate and their duly elected officials.
For decades, the term “deep state” was applied to Turkey. It was a reference to the Turkish military and their efforts to slow the spread of democracy there. Some applied it to Egypt and the Egyptian military to describe the same thing.
In more recent times after the 2016 US presidential elections, this term was very popular inside the inner circle of then newly elected President Donald Trump. President Trump’s supporters use the term to refer to allegations that intelligence officers and executive branch officials guide policy through leaking or other internal means.
Now, where does India stands on this list? Well, India is a hard and unforgiving state when it comes to internal security and this is a bipartisan policy of whichever party is in power. Yet, some incidents which should have led to alarm bells ringing in a deafening chorus, have witnessed a deafening silence from the present government.
Every country has a deep state when it comes to security challenges. Yet, a measure of the resilience of the system is an unbiased oversight and audit. While no country will go public, the rogue element will always be held to account.
The perspective or approach an individual opts for decides the thought procession. Here the problem with the phrase “deep state” is that it is used to suggest that dishonorable individuals are subverting the virtuous state for their private ambitions. Now a good Marxist, and even an intelligent liberal, knows that under capitalism, ambition is considered a virtue, not a vice and that the whole point of government is to collectively organize subversion.
What do you think about the attribute “pursuit of happiness” of Thomas Jefferson meant? It’s this public virtue/private vice false opposition that makes so much of the “deep state” writing slide into, if not noxious Bilderberg anti-Semitism, then “we are a republic, not an empire” idiocy. But the concept resonates, especially since the modern state is not just an instrument to execute elite ambition but a site of popular demands and class struggle.
The private, organized backlash to those demands and struggles is often understood as a “deep state” conspiracy, and that understanding is more often than not correct. Fredric Jameson says “Conspiracy, one is tempted to say, is the poor person’s cognitive mapping in the postmodern age.” With the concurrent rise of finance capitalism and the privatization of many facets of national security associated with what we call neo-liberalism, “deep state” conspiracies have grown.
TURKEY: INSTANCES OF EXISTENCE OF DEEP STATE
These instances have been taking place way back where everything was taking the momentum from square one i.e., early 14th century, South-eastern Europe, Central Europe, Western Asia, parts of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Northern Africa, and the Horn of Africa, the Ottoman Empire.
Even before the fall of the Ottoman Empire, we can trace deep state activities back to Sultan Selim III’s reign from 1789 to 1807. Selim was referred to as ‘Selim the Grim’. In his eight-year reign, he was responsible for the execution of over 30,000 people. He also went through seven grand viziers in his time. As a man with many enemies, it’s said Selim appointed a secret committee for protection. Even his second-in-command didn’t know about it. After the fall, Turkish field Marshall Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was embedded in several secret societies that were designed to further the republican cause.
To talk about the development of modern Turkey it is not possible to not mention its history of alleged governmental conspiracies. Conspirational parties and events are said to lie at the heart of several important events that have defined the country’s modern history.
The Sentinel Association is one example of such secret societies. Many assert that these societies propel the deep state into further existence. Interestingly, in November 1996, a truck struck a Mercedes-Benz transporting Istanbul’s deputy chief of police, a member of parliament, a well-known hitman, and the hitman’s girlfriend. Only a right-wing member of parliament, Sedat Bucak, survived.
Nearly everyone in Turkey – and across the globe – conceded to the existence of a deep state after the crash. Why else would such a juxtaposed group of people be traveling together? There you had a Turkish legislator, a senior member of the police force, and a pay-for-hire murderer gathering together!
Egyptians and Turks lived in a political system where capriciousness, brutality, and corruption had become norms. It is no wonder that people have come to believe in the existence of a deep state. That is Egypt and Turkey, though, countries where journalists are routinely jailed, opponents of the government are imprisoned, security forces politicized, parliaments are pliant, and the news is another name for an elaborate information campaign waged under the auspices of presidential palaces.
Also, considering the facts, the first to publicly point at the existence of an influential, secret coalition, was Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who in 1974 revealed the “Counter-Guerrilla”. For those who are unaware of Counter-Guerrilla, Counter-Guerrilla is the Turkish branch of Operation Gladio, a clandestine stay-behind anti-communist initiative backed by the United States as an expression of the Truman Doctrine. The founding goal of the operation was to erect a stay-behind guerrilla force to undermine a possible Soviet occupation. The goal was soon expanded to subverting communism in Turkey.
Until then, the United States had been funding the Special Warfare Department under the Joint United States Military Mission for Aid to Turkey (JUSMMAT) program; a Truman Doctrine-based initiative. When annual aid negotiations fell through, the commander of the OHD, General Kemal Yamak asked General Semih Sancar, then the Chief of General Staff to ask PM Ecevit for a slush fund of 1 million dollars. It was at that point PM Ecevit learned of its existence and demanded a briefing. His inquisitiveness and attempt to rein in the organization resulted in an assassination attempt at Izmir airport in 1977.
In his memoirs, General Yamak said that PM Ecevit’s party itself contained OHD operatives, who were selected and educated at a young age by the chief of staff. When PM Ecevit obliquely asked General Yamak about the extent of the party’s infiltration General Yamak told him not to worry, as the “boys were upright and specially educated…does that not make them better members of parliament? Besides, have any of them been implicated in a scandal?”
Former President and General Kenan Evren, who led the 1980 military coup related in his memoirs a meeting with the then-Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel on May 5, 1980, stating that PM Demirel asked him to use the staff of the OHD in the fight with the terrorists apparently hinting at the incident in Kizildere village on March 30, 1972.
General Kenan Evren refused, stating that he would not allow renewed rumors about counter-guerrillas. General Kenan Evren made similar remarks in the daily Hurriyet of November 26, 1990. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Tansu Çiller embraced both “those who died for the state, and those who killed for the state” as heroes.
Former President Suleyman Demirel described the deep state as synonymous with the military, and capable of subordinating the legitimate state in times of turbulence. Former President and General Kenan Evren himself confirmed the suspicions, in an interview with journalist Yavuz Donat.
The further allegation comes from the then Prime Minister, and later President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the television show Iskele Sancak on the Turkish TV channel Kanal 7 on 26 January 2007, he stated his belief in the existence of the deep state: ‘I don’t agree with those who say the deep state does not exist. It does exist. It has always had—and it did not start with the Republic; it dates back to Ottoman times. It’s simply a tradition. It must be minimized, and if possible, even annihilated.’
THE STATE OF DEEP STATE?
Now considering all of this you would add up all the worldwide scenario riddles from here on to the present scenario, you would count up several assassins be it wrongs of kings, India’s very own version of the Illuminati, the mysterious ‘9 Unknown Men’ i.e., believed to be one of the world’s most powerful secret societies. According to legend, it was founded by Emperor Asoka himself, in 273 BC, after the bloody battle of Kalinga that took the lives of 100,000.
Each of these 9 unknown men had been entrusted with a book of knowledge on different subjects ranging from time travel and propaganda to microbiology and psychological warfare. The actual identities of these 9 unknown men are still a mystery, but it is believed that the secret society, preserved over generations, exists to date.
Deaths of political leaders, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Disappearance, more modern presidential deaths, the conspiracy that former president of USA Barack Obama was not born in the USA, President Trump’s presidential elections, India’s DSP Davinder Singh along with Afzal Guru, be it David Rhode’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, or death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In Pakistan, a woman named Fatima Jinnah stood up and challenged the deep state and was immediately labeled a traitor to her country. There have been numerous other such instances and whistleblowers of the existence of the deep state in various countries.
These were just very much basic examples that one could generally know and brief. There have been even darker happenings and still, it continues to happen and their authenticity might be trouble-making.
If one goes thinking of Deep State as a myth then several reservations might come up countering the psychology of an individual. It might come up like the Deep State is highly fragile- vulnerable, by its nature, to single-point failure, many more brainstorming thoughts and facts.
Even here we could point out many actual happenings: Edward Snowden’s intellectual revolt against the National Security Agency, or the decision by a lonely Army private in Iraq to steal diplomatic cables, or whoever gifted Wiki Leaks with the CIA’s phone and television hacking tools. In this way, a single person can completely alter the way an institution conducts tradecraft.
Now, what do you think? Does the deep state exist? Is this merely the result of widespread paranoia as bureaucrats walk through the hallways of democracy with a dagger in their back?
Or are various factions of high-ranking officials calculating nefarious affairs to undermine a standing administration? That is up to one’s own thinking and understanding.
But we would like to leave you with are these words that a Man’s reach exceeds his imagination!
By Shrey Kuldeep Brahmbhatt and Naaimish Radadiya, 2nd Year, B.A.LL.B (Hons.), Faculty of Law, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara.