Yes, it’s just as you suspected, your constitution’s gone. You’re not getting it back. You’re trapped in a sadistic totalitarian state under Argus-eyed surveillance. Your democracy is fake. Your government has one branch, CIA. Sorry! That’s partly my fault.

It’s not entirely my fault, of course – it’s a big job, defiling all your rights and freedoms. It got parceled out in countless bits of piecework. I did not contribute much. I didn’t work that hard. And anyway, I was a dupe.

None of the worker bees knew what the others were doing. None of them saw how the pieces might fit together. Organized crime has gone through an industrial revolution of its own. Compartmented information was the key. The greatest, gravest crimes can be broken down by division of labor and division of guilt until evil’s not merely banal but tedious, like any other sort of work.

National survival, they called it. Or COG, Continuity of Government, COOP, Continuity of Operations. The idea was, before the nuclear war got going, CIA would spread out and hunker down in major population centers, hide behind the skirts of lots of mommies. When Saddam Hussein does it, he’s using human shields. When CIA does it, that’s different. They are raising the threshold of conflict by making counter-force shade into counter-value, in the argot. The Russians can’t decapitate the government, you see? They would have to kill us all.

After the war, so the plan went, CIA would crawl out from under the rubble and take over. The arrangements were quite elaborate, with far-flung hideouts, special grapevines for insiders, experts in post-nuclear stone age skills on call, Soviet-style inter-agency central planning. They made lists of dissenters to put away and elaborate procedures for CIA to choose your rulers. It’s all around you, when you know where to look. Even here in the author’s dispensable backwater there’s a nuclear redoubt, a cut-rate Führer-bunker for the small fry of total war. They dug it into the property of a gentleman farmer of oldest Puritan New England, a thick concrete manhole in a flimsy shed earmarked for minor provincial death merchants, bygone and vain as an Etruscan tomb.

Once at one of the larger mountains they hollowed out to hide in – an impregnable eagle’s nest weirdly reminiscent of a high school cafeteria – inner-party CIA spooks let on what scared them most. It sure wasn’t nuclear war. We pored over the minutiae of nuclear tit-for-tat. The RISOP, they called it – two or three thousand of these aimed at all your favorite things. If you’re in one of the bubbles, that means you will be buried under rubble, or sloughing ash that used to be your flesh.

These duck-and-cover war plans for the home front inevitably seem silly when you think it through. Who decided to pick a fight with the Russians? You think you can scare them? This is a country that nuked themselves with a 50 megaton warhead just to see what would happen. It didn’t set the atmosphere on fire, that was a relief, but once you’ve tried it, nuclear war is not all that exciting. Nuclear winter takes all the fun out of it. It’s one thing to make people grow potatoes and give up coffee for the troops. But if your part is to end up an unscorched shadow on a chunk of concrete or a tottering skeleton shitting blood in a refugee camp, that’s different. It wasn’t just the obvious drawbacks that made the plan implausible. It’s hard to take Armageddon seriously when your enemy loses interest, then ceases to exist.

So by 1991 the idea had proved not merely crazy but pointless. But instead of chucking it when the Soviets quit, they gussied it up with contingency plans for everything else they could think of, even far-fetched things like domestic insurrections. I put it down to bureaucratic inertia and jobs for the boys, and went on to the next thing with relief.

But COG and COOP remained. It never occurred to me they could knock down a couple of buildings and roll it all out. What a dupe, eh?

I should have seen it coming – I browsed the safes like they were bookshops and poked my nose shamelessly into other people’s compartments, especially abroad, where people gossip more. But bureaucracy is boredom. Having gone off to see the world, I had forgotten all about it by the time we learned what it was for.

CIA infiltrated foreign intelligence cutouts into our country, repeatedly rescuing them as they skulked conspicuously into hopeless pickles. In the Riyadh CIA station, John Brennan declined to inquire about these outlandish picaros, lest we hurt some prince’s feelings, as Cofer Black ran around furiously barking up the wrong tree. CIA moles arranged a distracting commotion of exercises and put some befuddled cub scout in charge of the national military command center. Then came a puzzling series of spectacles. Planes crashed and missed the crater or just disappeared. Intact passports and engine nacelles wafted to earth. Israeli mad bombers got caught and sent home with a spanking. Buildings fell down for no reason.

Then Donald Rumsfeld called DEFCON3. That made COG official. He dusted off the daft apocalyptic bumf that we churned out. The part where CIA takes over he plopped on the table at Congress and made them rubber-stamp it as the PATRIOT ACT, pixie-dusting the dawdlers with government-issue anthrax. The touchy bits he and Cheney issued as assorted secret decrees.

So here we are. Your local CIA fusion center crushes dissent while daring the Russians to nuke them. They pore over your social-media expostulations and rat you out to the police for your despondent fits of pique. Blackmailed pedophiles and crooks in Congress and the courts grovel to Langley. You can’t have health care or higher education or honest work because they take all the money for spies and police to keep you in control. You don’t need to berate me, I’m thoroughly embarrassed. And to be brutally honest, your subjection’s just a matter of degree. Threescore and seven years ago, your founding fathers, the Dulles brothers and Clark Clifford, brought forth on this continent a new nation, dedicated to the proposition that they’re in charge. They set out new state papers for Americans to live by: the National Security Act and the Central Intelligence Agency Act.

They got busy at once. From the new regime’s inception CIA pushed aside your first choice, Taft, for Ike, shot your next president and two unauthorized aspirants, RFK and MLK, framed and ousted your fourth president and replaced him with one of the stooges who covered up their JFK coup, plotted with foreign spies to push out your sixth president, and shot the seventh. CIA then dropped the arms-length pretense and put their own men in the president’s seat: Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama. CIA Director Bush; Clinton, recruited at Oxford by Cord Meyer; spy brat G.W. Bush; Obama, son of spooks, grandson of spooks, shoehorned into Harvard by Prince Alwaleed, Safari Club associate of the CIA permanent government. And even these loyal cadres know who’s the boss. Kennedy was the last president who didn’t know he was a puppet ruler.

And they didn’t give their puppets much rope between purges, either. When Truman and Congress denied the DCI authority for covert action, CIA ignored them and got to work knocking over free-world allies. When Eisenhower acted on his plan for global peace, CIA trundled a C-118 full of infuriating war plans past the waiting ack-ack guns in Soviet airspace, then, right before the triumphal disarmament summit they sheepishly crashed a U-2 at Khrushchev’s feet. CIA invaded Cuba with a doomed army of plucky imbeciles so Kennedy would have to save them. They whacked every hornet’s nest in Indochina and blamed the Pentagon when all was lost. They thought they ran the UN, too. When Dag Hammarskjold tried to negotiate an end to war in Congo, CIA shot him out of the sky. Along the way CIA picked off an assortment of lesser gadflies here at home. They took control ((“PAO has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and television network in the nation.” Big stories they manage directly.)) of the press to keep it down to a dull roar.

With in-house CIA figureheads warming the President’s seat, CIA started blowing us up. CIA moles in FBI pressed provocateurs into service. They set the provocateurs provoking each other to a frenzy till something blew up, then picked the dumbest one to hold the bag. They blew up Oklahoma City. They blew up the World Trade Center, twice. They blew up the Boston Marathon. ((Foreign intelligence asset Emad Salem taped himself reporting government participation in the WTC bombing and testified that the government stopped Salem from thwarting the plot. The government protected foreign intelligence asset Andreas Strassmeir and obstructed investigation of the OKC bombing. The government controlled accused Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the highly anomalous crime scene.))

Why? To scare you. To make you hold still for more draconian secret laws.

And all the while they primped their internal security Gestapo, COG. COG was the great endeavor of the postwar era, bigger than any war or moon shot. 9/11 was the real Manhattan Project. It had its origins in the total war of WWII, which spawned a new military function called CAMG: Civil Affairs and Military Government. Bringing conquered populations to heel. Repentant CIA mole Fletcher Prouty related how CIA took it over from the military and metastasized it from a mop-up operation to an all-purpose template for taking over, over there or over here.

The Bomb gave the concept a shot in the arm. Top Secret nuclear war plans left some un-nuked nooks and crannies for post-apocalyptic invasion. As soon as the rubble stopped bouncing in Russia, US administrators were to go to those enclaves and pen up the desperate survivors. They would dole out cans of US soy oil or cheese blocks or flour and crush signs of resistance. They would hand the new autocracy off to grateful collaborators they’d tipped to run to the safe zones.

As nuclear arsenals burgeoned to ecocidal absurdity, military government went from strength to strength. It wasn’t military any more, it was strictly CIA, and it wasn’t government any more, it was a reign of terror based on murder, torture, and disappearance. The object was to decapitate independent civil society and crush resistance to CIA’s chosen puppets. CIA scaled its grandiose A-war plans back to gingerly counterinsurgency wars in Indochina, and scaled its CAMG up to the Phoenix Program. Secret Agent Frank Snepp told us all about it.

Then CIA handed the wars off to foreigners to fight among themselves, siccing favored strongmen on dissenters and reformers. CAMG reappeared as Operation Condor. This freed CIA to focus on refinements of murder and torture, and to top up covert budgets with criminal enterprise. Secret Agent Philip Agee wrote about it. Journalist Gary Webb wrote about it too, till he shot himself twice in the head (Yes, that’s improbable. That’s the point.)

CIA put the finishing touches on the USA’s CAMG regime. In the end, the only conquered population they could bring to heel was us. They lowered the threshold of apocalypse from thermonuclear war to the bumbling hurricane response of Katrina to peaceable assemblies of citizens to the Boston Marathon clown show. Rear guards of 4-Fs in soldier suits corralled peaceniks in Washington, lobbed bottles into crowds and shot displaced victims for sport in New Orleans, tortured Occupy hippies, and shambled through counterinsurgency marches in supine Boston neighborhoods.

Sounds crazy, I know. But this is from the horses’ mouth. CIA gives you a reading list when they recruit you: Prouty, Agee, Snepp. They want to be sure you understand the line of work you’re getting into. Prouty’s book vanished off the shelves, Agee lived and died on the run, CIA sued and beggared Snepp. But their disgruntlement was not in vain. That’s how you learn the ropes when you sign on to rule the USA.

Those books are not for Joe Blow. You did not read them in grade-school civics. It takes a foreigner to spell it out for you, like the exquisitely tactful Vladimir Putin. “The force of the United States bureaucracy is very great. And there are many facts that are not visible to the candidates until they become President. And the moment one gets to real work, he or she feels the burden.”

He calls it the bureaucracy but it’s perfectly clear what he means. Among all the predatory corporate kleptocrats tearing strips off your prostrate form, mobbed-up bankers and genocidal opioid manufacturers and pipeline Pinkertons, Who is to arbitrate? The people with impunity, of course. The ones who can torture you or murder you and get away with it. That’s CIA. They delegate a lot, but they make sure it all gets done.

Secretary of State Robert Lansing set out the US view of state sovereignty: “the essence of sovereignty is the absence of responsibility.” You are sovereign only if you can do whatever you want and get away with it. And who in America is sovereign in this sense, wielding absolute Sun King power of life and death for almost seven decades now? CIA. L’état, c’est les.

The rest of the world directly contradicts the US concept of absolute sovereignty. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon put it, “Sovereignty is responsibility.” Tell that to CIA. They got their official impunity at the outset, in the Central Intelligence Agency Act, which put CIA business out of reach of any court. That proved a bit too blatant so they papered it over with a confidential gentleman’s agreement: the Rogers-Houston MOU. It gave the CIA director a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. The CIA director can withhold his crimes from referral to the Justice Department. Other CIA red tape made their corpus delicti secret. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act lets you talk about the crimes as long as the criminals are not named – except that the operational files exemption lets the CIA director hide all the evidence, too. Judicial ‘political questions’ doctrine returns CIA to its original untouchable status when the beans get spilled. Once Congress has condoned CIA crimes out of blackmail, intimidation, or cowardice, however tacitly or vaguely, the courts don’t dare touch it.

Prouty, Agee, and Snepp are not flukes. Repentant spooks continue to pop up, augmenting and curating the overwhelming evidence of CIA crime. The story doesn’t change. It’s not the deep state, or some ideological movement, neocons, realists, liberal interventionists. When the same message issues from different bureaucracies, it’s hard to resist the urge to coin a phrase to cover the war propagandists chorusing at State, the Pentagon, Treasury, FBI, and DHS. The war party. The permanent government. The New World Order…

Call it what it is: the CIA. Prouty tells us that CIA’s deepest-cover agents are the domestic ones in our own government. Decentralized with cutouts and proprietaries and focal points; hidden in executive billets with secret contractors for skilled or dirty work; plotting in Safari Clubs with foreign secret services who harbor each others’ agents. Even the most perceptive observers can be distracted by CIA’s diffuse domestic infiltration: CIA spies ((“Officer” Tom Gerard is a typical example: he has authority to abuse and foreign spymasters to blame if he gets caught. But his big boss is CIA. These are the real spies. They’re not in exotic locales. They’re here at home spying on you.)) and auxiliaries planted throughout all levels of government and civil society. If a sobered-up Tail-Gunner Joe revived to root them out his list wouldn’t number 205, it would run into the tens of thousands.

It’s hard to take, I know. Can’t you feel the imbued itch to recite the comforting pejorative, ‘Conspiracy Theory!?’ CIA propounded that for you, in memo 1035-960. It soothes you when your first-world self image gets threatened by stray facts. It’s a fervent two-word prayer, an Our Father to imaginary benevolent authorities who will protect you. It can take years of confusion and anguish to lose your only faith. But by the time we’ve come to terms with this state of affairs, it will be over. The CIA regime will have fallen. The world is fed up.

If in the last dark age Romans became Europeans, in this dark age, with luck, we’ll see Americans become humans. How that can happen is out of scope for this report, as the bureaucrats say. But as CIA subjects Americans to COG rule, the world is curbing and crippling CIA. The outside world – the 96 per cent of humanity not under CIA’s thumb – has decided that CIA’s impunity must end. CIA’s own functionaries are disgusted. Project Mockingbird can’t hide the sound of all the chickens coming home to roost. There is an intriguing whiff of panic from congressional attempts to designate Wikileaks an enemy when Wikileaks is the least of their problems. The sea change is explained in the prior broadsides linked below but it’s a long story with lots of tedious detail and creeping link rot. I’ll sum it up the next time we see ripples from this submerged feeding frenzy.

When the USA goes the way of the USSR and the propaganda is dispelled, they won’t call this corporate snake pit America, they’ll call it Langley. Even if the nation stays in one piece, we’ll need to qualify the country with the state. There’s Germany, and then there’s Nazi Germany. The perfectly good land mass we call America is not to be confused with CIA America. That was Nixon’s nightmare of war without end. ((Nixon’s allusion to CIA crimes in a television interview on January 4, 1971, quoted in L. Fletcher Prouty, The Secret Team.)) Now we’re all awake.

Brian Littlefair is the author of Desert Burial. As a consultant specializing in foreign direct investment he worked with foreign joint ventures, international financial institutions and bilateral aid agencies, with volunteer work in food security, transparency, and human rights in the global south. Read other articles by Brian.