Pentagon shakeup aimed at paving path to Trump coup

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  imt  •  6 days ago  •  25 comments

By:   Bill Van Auken

Pentagon shakeup aimed at paving path to Trump coup
Under normal circumstances, Miller would be surrendering his office to a Biden appointee in barely two months and, in the interregnum, would be collaborating closely with his incoming replacement. Instead, he is announcing the most far-reaching change in the military chain of command in recent memory.

The extra-constitutional attempts to nullify the US elections and overturn basic democratic rights cannot be accomplished without massive state repression.


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



In the midst of the attempt by US President Donald Trump to nullify the 2020 election by means of an extra-constitutional coup, neither Biden and the Democrats, nor the US corporate media, have seen fit to alert the American and world public to ominous developments within the US military and its Pentagon command.

The outlines of this coup have come into sharp focus in the past few days. This is not a matter merely of Trump’s intentions, but rather of actions aimed at executing this coup that are being carried out in real time.

Trump’s invitation to the White House Friday of Michigan Republican state legislators has laid bare a definite strategy for establishing a presidential dictatorship. Trump and his supporters are carrying out an aggressive propaganda campaign to delegitimize the election with lying allegations of ballot fraud and increasingly fascistic conspiracy theories in order to provide a pretext for Republican-controlled statehouses in states like Michigan to repudiate the popular vote and select slates of pro-Trump electors.

They are counting on this extralegal operation ending up in the US Supreme Court, where fully one-third of the justices are Trump appointees, and a precedent has already been established by the 2000 decision in Bush v. Gore, which stopped the popular vote count in Florida and awarded the presidency to Republican George W. Bush, with no opposition from the Democratic Party.

Such a brazen attempt to overturn an election will inevitably provoke explosive resistance, particularly in the heavily working-class urban areas where millions cast their ballots to drive Trump from office. Such an assault on core democratic rights and the last vestiges of constitutional forms of rule cannot be executed without a resort to overwhelming repression.

It is in this context that a ceremony held Wednesday at the Fort Bragg, North Carolina headquarters of the US military’s Special Operations Command—comprised of the Army’s Green Berets, the Navy’s SEALs and other elite killing squads—serves as a deadly warning. The new “acting” Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller announced the elevation of the Special Operations Command to a status on a par with the existing branches of the armed forces, the Army, Navy, Air Force, etc.

As the well-connected military website breakingdefense.com explained the shakeup: “The crux of the transformation will ensure that the top special operations official at the Pentagon can go directly to the Defense Secretary on ... operational matters, including secret raids against high-value targets. The office will no longer have to move through the larger DoD Policy apparatus to reach the secretary.”

Miller, who has refused to answer any questions from the media since being installed as Pentagon chief, told an audience of assembled troops, “I am here today to announce that I have directed the Special Operations civilian leadership to report directly to me, instead of through the current bureaucratic channels.”

Miller has not been confirmed, and will not be confirmed, by the US Senate to an office he has held for little more than a week. A retired colonel and 30-year Special Forces officer, he has no qualifications to hold the post outside of his unswerving loyalty to Trump.

Under normal circumstances, Miller would be surrendering his office to a Biden appointee in barely two months and, in the interregnum, would be collaborating closely with his incoming replacement. Instead, he is announcing the most far-reaching change in the military chain of command in recent memory.

Miller’s installation as defense secretary is the result of a wholesale purge of the top civilian leadership at the Pentagon that Trump initiated with the firing-by-tweet of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Trump’s determination to oust Esper dates back to last June, when the US president deployed federal security forces and US troops to suppress anti-police-violence demonstrations near the White House and threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act in order to send troops into the streets across the country to put down the mass protests provoked by the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Esper, a former lobbyist for the arms industry, voiced his opposition, saying that such a domestic deployment of the US military to suppress the American population could be ordered only as a “last resort.” His position, shared by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, expressed fears that such a use of US troops would provoke uncontrollable resistance and tear the military apart. Since his ouster, Esper, Milley and the fired number-three official at the Pentagon have all issued statements pointedly reminding US military personnel that they have sworn an oath to the Constitution.

Such invocations will have no effect on the cabal of Trump loyalists and semi-fascists that have been placed in charge at the Pentagon since the election. Miller made it clear in a confirmation hearing for another national security post that he had no compunction against using federal intelligence resources to pursue protesters at the order of the White House.

The new civilian head of Special Operations, who will now enjoy direct and secret collaboration with the defense secretary, unencumbered by “bureaucratic channels,” is one Ezra Cohen-Watnick, 34, an extreme right-wing operative. He was brought onto the National Security Council by virtue of his political connections to the likes of Trump’s fascistic former adviser Steve Bannon, the fanatically anti-Iranian and indicted ex-National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Named to the number-three post at the Pentagon, undersecretary for policy, is retired general and frequent Fox News commentator Anthony Tata, whose previous nomination for the post had to be withdrawn after it emerged that he has denounced Obama as a “terrorist leader,” a “Manchurian candidate" and a Muslim.

A similar figure has been named as Miller’s chief adviser, retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, another Fox News commentator known for denouncing European countries for admitting “unwanted Muslim invaders” bent on “turning Europe into an Islamic state.” He has also condemned attempts in Germany to come to terms with the Holocaust as a “sick mentality” and called for martial law and the summary execution of migrants on the US-Mexican border.

Trump has made a particular appeal to the Special Operations forces that have now been elevated in status within the chain of command. He aggressively intervened last year in the court martial of Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher for war crimes in Iraq, protesting, “We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!”

At the close of his campaign, just five days before the election, Trump flew to Fort Bragg for closed-door meetings with Special Forces troops and their commanders. Given subsequent developments, there is every reason to believe that the purpose of this trip was to assess the level of his support within the military units stationed there, and among their commanders, and to discuss plans for an armed response to an explosion of resistance to his plans to steal the election and establish a presidential dictatorship.

The tactics being employed by the Trump White House have been rehearsed countless times abroad under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Fabricated claims of election fraud have been used to justify US-backed coups, oust presidents and foment “color revolutions” from Honduras, Bolivia and Venezuela to Ukraine and Georgia.

Now these same methods are being brought “home” under conditions of an insoluble economic and social crisis, characterized above all by staggering levels of social inequality and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the homicidal “herd immunity,” back-to-work policy of the capitalist ruling class.

The Democratic Party is well aware of Trump’s maneuvers and threats. There has been a stream of contacts between Biden's transition team and the Pentagon, no doubt to assess the attitude of the military to Trump’s coup plotting. The widely reported discussions between the Biden camp and former Trump defense secretary James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general with wide contacts throughout the officer corps, are only the tip of the iceberg.

Former president Barack Obama said Wednesday night that in response to Trump’s intransigent refusal to concede the election, “I think we can always send the Navy SEALs in there to dig them out.” While presented by the media as a joke, this remark confirms that, in the final analysis, the Democrats rely on the military, rather than popular opposition, to remove Trump from office. Such an outcome would make the military the arbiter of American politics.

Far more than the threat of a coup and dictatorship, Biden and the Democratic Party fear an eruption of popular protest and mass resistance from below against Trump and his co-conspirators. Whatever their tactical differences with Trump, they represent the interests of Wall Street and the military-intelligence apparatus.

The working class must intervene in this unprecedented crisis as an independent social and political force, opposing the conspiracies of the Trump White House and its military allies through the methods of class struggle and the fight for the socialist transformation of society.


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IMT
1  seeder  IMT    6 days ago

A section of the ruling class sees this as ‘now or never’ moment for the US intelligence agencies schooled in ‘'the art of the coup.’ Strategies we used in Honduras, Bolivia and Venezuela and elsewhere now penetrate into the homeland. The Pentagon shakeup is a threat to the working class. As Washington’s political dysfunction deepens, the Democratic Party fears that this working class eruption will disrupt Capital’s normal profit-reaping.

The Democratic Party knows well the import of Trump’s actions but refuses to reply accordingly.  The Democratic Party House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer condemned Trump’s efforts to block certification of the vote in battleground states Biden won with the words, ‘I think this border on treason.’ Hoyer’s principled statement is the exception that proves the rule. Like some on this board, President-elect Joe Biden meets Trump’s belligerence by downplaying the very real threat of dictatorship by calling Trump’s actions ‘irresponsible.’ This is calculated to spread complacency and passivity at a time when the Democratic Party ought to be issuing solemn warning to the US working class and to the world of what lies ahead if a Trump coup d’etat is successful.

The struggle against fascistic and authoritarian forms of rule can be led SOLELY by the working class and ONLY upon breaking decisively with both the Republican and Democratic Parties.

 
 
 
Thomas
2  Thomas    6 days ago

The struggle against fascistic and authoritarian forms of rule can be led SOLELY by the working class and ONLY upon breaking decisively with both the Republican and Democratic Parties.

Well, I am not sure I agree to that statement, but I do agree that both parties have to go in the US. I would go further and say that no parties should be allowed in the electoral process. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.1  TᵢG  replied to  Thomas @2    6 days ago
I would go further and say that no parties should be allowed in the electoral process. 

Man, I wish there was a way to pull that off.

 
 
 
Thomas
2.1.1  Thomas  replied to  TᵢG @2.1    5 days ago

I don't know that there isn't a way to get parties out of the process, but if we don't start to take control of our government out of the hands of the parties, we get more of the same: That is, parties and politicians controlling the gateway to public office and leading to polarization because the partisans mistakenly think that by dividing the people into several factions the partisans can be more powerful. Ultimately, this leads to the present untenable and incoherent situation that we find ourselves in now. 

The current POTUS trying to illegitimately and unconstitutionally disenfranchise large swaths of the population for no reason other than the majority of votes in certain districts were not favorable to him. The public knows who won the election: Biden. The public knows who lost, but that person is trying, as he said he would, to thwart the will of the majority of the voters.

Personally, I cannot wait for the repudiation of his tactics by the courts and by the people at large and by the military if it comes to that. All of our public servants are sworn to protect the constitution, not to maintain a despot by extralegal means. His court cases are not based on factual cases of fraud but on specious and unsubstantiated claims. If he actually was trying to claim fraud as a basis for not counting certain votes, he or his lawyers would have some evidence showing just that. He has no evidence and virtually all of the people involved in the counting of the votes say that it was a fair election. So, his only reason for continuing this charade, this game of smoke and mirrors, is to destruct democracy to assuage his ego, just like he has destroyed all that he has touched in the past.

In Animal Farm, the assumption is that it is communism that looks good at the outset, starts with all beings equal but grows into a stratified society where all are not equal. But that is too narrow of a reading of the parable. Any society that allows only some people to gulp from the glass of plenty while others are dying of thirst, that says that there are people, others, who are not like "us", are different and therefore unworthy of sharing in the full benefits of that society, is guilty and corrupt. That is our society today. We, as a society, are certainly guilty and corrupt . We let inequity exist and fester by simply not admitting to its existence. By looking the other way.

Some people would say that, because I claim to live in an imperfect society that has identifiable and real problems which I readily admit to, I should be classified as one of those "others." I would contend that we are all imperfect, that we are all corrupt in some way and could use the light of others observations to show the path forward to betterment instead of trying to see who can yell the loudest and drown everybody else out. To be heard, we all need to listen.      

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.1.2  TᵢG  replied to  Thomas @2.1.1    5 days ago

An excellent, well-written opinion that rings entirely true to me.

So on one hand we this fine opine from Thomas.   The rebuttal, if any, from those claiming Trump won the election or that Trump should continue this charade will, I predict, look ridiculous by comparison.

 
 
 
Ronin2
2.1.3  Ronin2  replied to  TᵢG @2.1.2    5 days ago

So when no coup happens- should we have all those that believed this tin foil hat conspiracy theory committed?

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
2.1.4  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Ronin2 @2.1.3    5 days ago
So when no coup happens- should we have all those that believed this tin foil hat conspiracy theory committed?

Any attempt to invalidate millions of votes is nothing less than an attempted coup.  Just because the attempt is absurd and has essentially failed, it doesn't mean no crime was committed.

In addition, Trump and his lawyers are making money hand over fist with this nonsense.  Anyone who has donated money to pay Trump's legal fees and/or ongoing campaign dreams, is a straight-up fool.  A fool and  his money...

 
 
 
TᵢG
2.1.5  TᵢG  replied to  Ronin2 @2.1.3    5 days ago

Why are you asking that question of me?   Have I claimed some real coup will occur?   Are you reading something into what Thomas wrote?

 
 
 
IMT
2.1.6  seeder  IMT  replied to  Thomas @2.1.1    5 days ago

Missing in this fine reply is any reference to the persistent dynamic which relates to everything you address – social class.

The political ‘gate-keeping’ function [a wonderful designation for it!] expresses class interest by party. The ideological and social division of people is by class. Trump’s tactics [repudiated by the people already] serve specific class interests. [He himself is remarkably unimportant; without class support, Trump's ego means nothing]. The social inequality you mention is certainly a distinction of social class.

These very conditions equally create class resistance to class rule. Our class based system is ‘untenable and incoherent’ because it neither acknowledges nor allows resolution of festering inequality. This creates explosive social conditions.

Citizen control of government is profoundly needed and equally lacking. But neither our parties nor our system can/will allow citizen government. Yet some form of organization [whatever it is called] is imperative if citizens are to undertake national governance. So the SOLE option I see is to create new citizen organizations to discover solutions and implement policies to address the abundance-versus-deprivation conditions described. 

The fraudulent court cases and claims are not the threat. The intention is to string out this process past the December 8 ‘safe harbor’ date, after which there can be no legal challenges to the official vote tallies of the various states. The idea is that Republican-led state legislatures can then try to nullify the popular vote and choose their own, pro-Trump slates of electors. By statute, electors must meet December in each state capital and officially vote for the winning candidate.

Whatever variations come into play [ex: Biden States ‘unable’ to send electors to DC in a timely manner, or pro-Trump electors may be sent despite that state’s voting for Biden], concerted efforts are being made to ensure that Biden does not have his 270 electoral votes he needs.

If slates of electors are contested, the election can be thrown into the House of Representatives, or it can go to the US Supreme Court. If the House is to decide, Republicans take the advantage as each state delegation gets one vote and Republicans control more delegations than the Democrats. As for the Supreme Court, the addition of far-right Trump appointee Amy Coney Barrett is now the court packed six to three with right-wing Republicans.

‘Loyalty’ oaths notwithstanding, don’t assume that the courts or the military will stand by the constitution. Efforts made at those very points indicate the working of a definite strategy. Biden also has deferred to the military in reply to what to do if Trump’s belligerence continues. Still, Trump’s repudiation of election results will evoke protests in every city in the country, especially in heavily working class areas. At that point, Trump will revive his ‘looters and anarchists’ narrative and deploy Special Forces to ‘maintain law and order.’

 
 
 
IMT
2.1.7  seeder  IMT  replied to  Ronin2 @2.1.3    5 days ago

Tell me, Ronin2: If a coup happened, would it be called that, or would it be named a legitimate succession of governance? What do you think?

For myself, I suggest that even if this coup in the make is unsuccessful, the lessons it entails must be assimilated and entered into working class calculations for the future. None of the social conditions driving this thing change even if the coup itself fails. The class interests a coup stands to serve remain. Do you suppose that the militia movement capitulated when the Michigan plot was exposed?

 
 
 
Thomas
2.1.8  Thomas  replied to  IMT @2.1.6    5 days ago

This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I think that if this circus-sideshow, fever-dream of post election tantrums makes it as far as the SCOTUS, it will be unanimously decided that man who would be king needs to leave because he lost and has zero evidence to show otherwise. Stories are not evidence of injury. Facts are missing from these stories and so they remain...  just stories.

The ideological and social division of people is by class.

I do not agree totally with this statement. The way I see things, class and ideology are each one facet of people. Class and ideology are separate. They may go together along trend lines, but are not nearly inseparable. Look at (Deleted)'s base. They are not all from one class. They span from dirt poor to ultra-rich. Their reasons, their ideology, may differ or vary along a spectrum, but some of there core ideals must match, because they are inspired to vote for him. Now as far as social division, yes, the main motivator on how and where you live is income. 

I am aware that the long game is in effect, I just don't think that the American people will stand being told that the election results will be overturned by fiat. But I have been wrong before.

 
 
 
IMT
2.1.9  seeder  IMT  replied to  Thomas @2.1.8    4 days ago

'This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I think that if this ... makes it as far as the SCOTUS, it will be unanimously decided that [the] man who would be king needs to leave because he lost and has zero evidence to show otherwise.'

This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I totally hope that if 'this circus-sideshow' comes to that, you will prove totally correct. That said, I've been disappointed before.

Your statement about ideology and social division has merit. Social class does determine ideology, but ongoing campaigns also seek to divide [as you noted] the population for one ideology or another, which is largely along party lines. Also, I would contend that this process is misshapen in that the largest [by far] social class [productively and numerically] has no real representation of its own. Essentially, the proletarian [working] class is the subject of ongoing division by the bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie which mutually compete in the exploitation of the 90%.

Take care!

 
 
 
Split Personality
2.1.10  Split Personality  replied to  IMT @2.1.9    4 days ago

They have thus far sided with the states on almost every issue.  No need to believe they will change stripes now

.If it makes it, I think between 9-0 an 7-2

they reject Trump for the states rights

 
 
 
Ozzwald
2.1.11  Ozzwald  replied to  Ronin2 @2.1.3    4 days ago
So when no coup happens- should we have all those that believed this tin foil hat conspiracy theory committed?

The "coup" is already in progress with Trump trying to overturn the election.  The question is whether the coup will succeed, and currently it looks like it will not.  The Biden win was too large, and the Trump team is too incompetent.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
3  Nerm_L    5 days ago

Whoopty coup.  The people in the Pentagon chain who have kept the United States bogged down in Middle Eastern quagmires have been removed.  Troops are being withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Hopefully we'll be out of Syria before Joe Biden is sworn in.  It would be great if we could get out of the Korean DMZ, too.

Joe Biden won't be able to put our troops back without paying a political price.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
3.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Nerm_L @3    5 days ago
Joe Biden won't be able to put our troops back without paying a political price.

Rumor has it that Biden wants to lift the sanctions on Iran

 
 
 
Nerm_L
3.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Greg Jones @3.1    5 days ago
Rumor has it that Biden wants to lift the sanctions on Iran

So?  The sanctions on Iran aren't doing anything other than giving the Iranian regime leverage over Iran's own population.  And lifting the sanctions won't mean Iran will walk away from Russia.

If the Persians and Arabians want to fight each other, let them.  The United States bogged down in the Middle East isn't accomplishing anything.

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
3.1.2  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Nerm_L @3.1.1    5 days ago

Sure it is/has. Enriching and justifying our Military Industrial Compliance and the likes of Halliburton and such. Costing US All TRILLIONS

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.1.3  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Greg Jones @3.1    4 days ago

Rumor has it that Biden wants to lift the sanctions on Iran

And I'm sure you're the origin of the rumor Greg....

 
 
 
IMT
3.2  seeder  IMT  replied to  Nerm_L @3    5 days ago

'Troops are being withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan.'

And being readied for what -- redeployment in Iran? More to the point, why not address the article?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
3.2.1  Nerm_L  replied to  IMT @3.2    4 days ago
And being readied for what -- redeployment in Iran? More to the point, why not address the article?

The points outlined in the article indicate an effort to compartmentalize and isolate special forces.  That is the same sort of organizational structure put in place for the nuclear arsenal.  The result of the reorganization will make it more difficult to use special forces just as for nuclear weapons.

 
 
 
IMT
3.2.2  seeder  IMT  replied to  Nerm_L @3.2.1    4 days ago
'...an effort to compartmentalize and isolate special forces.'

This 'isolation' [as you call it] from the broader D0D apparatus indicates a streamlining of of access to the Secretary. This represents not the implementation of layers of safety but rather their removal. This moves the special forces toward functioning as Trump's personal army of Trump through Miller, a Secretary. positioned solely for his loyalty to his führur. Pentagon replacement at this time indicates anything but an intention to leave office peacefully. Moreover, there is the particular reason for Esper's replacement: Last June, he voiced opposition to Trump's deployment of federal security forces and US troops to suppress anti-police state violence as anything but a 'last resort.' The US working class [295,200,000 strong] is increasingly regarded by the Trump regime as a foreign population which it is to occupy under hostile [i.e. wartime] conditions. It would be a terrible defeat of the US working class if its resistance is not commensurate to that if the attempt is made to overthrow the result of this month's national election. It should not be doubted that the state is preparing to repress and reduce the working class to the status of hostages.

Faced with any serious, principled opposition, the whole ruling class -- Republican and Democrat -- will immediately unite to crush the US population. Should this unfold, where will you be? Will you stand beside the 90%, or with the top 10%?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
3.2.3  Nerm_L  replied to  IMT @3.2.2    4 days ago
This 'isolation' [as you call it] from the broader D0D apparatus indicates a streamlining of of access to the Secretary.

The Secretary of Defense is a civilian position, not a military position.  What you are calling 'streamlining' is actually moving special forces under the direct authority of civilian leadership.  The reorganization takes special forces away from the generals.  A theater commander cannot utilize special forces without approval by the Secretary of Defense.

If the desire is to create some sort of conspiracy theory then keep in mind that Trump has direct control of nukes.  Trump has the entire Federal civilian law enforcement establishment.  Trump has authority over the NSA and CIA.  Please, explain why Donald Trump would need special forces?

A conspiracy theory based on a Tom Clancy novel really should focus more attention on the US equivalent of the Russian GRU and KGB.  The military fights wars.  But the intelligence community and secret police controls populations.

Everyone wants to talk about Nazis and Fascists.  But Hitler and Mussolini did not seize power with the military and did not control the population with the military. 

 
 
 
Thomas
3.2.4  Thomas  replied to  Nerm_L @3.2.3    4 days ago

Bullshit. 

Hitler and Mussolini did not seize power with the military and did not control the population with the military. 

No. Hitler did came to power with paramilitary, party goons and so did Mussolini. And when they got to power, they used the military to remain there. 

Or are you rewriting history? 

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
4  FLYNAVY1    4 days ago

 It should not be doubted that the state is preparing to repress and reduce the working class to the status of hostages.

It is not much of a stretch to think that we're there already.....

But honestly, if you think the US military is going to take any part in any form of action against civilians..... you better think again.  It's pounded into every recruit to evaluate the lawfulness of orders given by superiors.  The military is going to follow the constitution and the UCMJ. 

Even adulterated action within the ranks is pretty far fetched as independent of the uniform, we all know we bleed American red blood.  We will not take up arms against civilians.  Take that to the bank IMT.

I trust you've been well.

 
 
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