Civilization in the Overdrive: A Conversation at the Edge of the Human Future
By Richard Falk and Konrad Stachnio
Global Research, September 14, 2020
Transcend Media Service 12 September 2020
Theme: Intelligence, Militarization and WMD, Police State & Civil Rights
(Interjection by Don Chapin: ) Because of its length, we’re only including the first paragraphs of this article. But my last assignment in the USAF was as a recipient of DoD’s Black Budget, as mentioned in this article, to design and produce a bird impact-resistent system for the F-111 aircraft (McNamara’s Folly, the TFX)… It was past the R&D phase and well into production when we ‘mysteriously’ lost three of six F-111s in Vietnam, plus one in Bryce Canyon… the one in Bryce Canyon to a 1-1/4-ounce bird impact on the left windshield! With the F- 111 in full production, it was “illegal” for additional R&D work, but a redesign was obviously very necessary since that aircraft was rapidly acquiring the reputation of a “widow-maker.” The redesign effort… of which no information was to be released that could be accessible by any member of Congress… but was to be able for the windshield/canopy system to withstand the impact at the low-level design speed of 500 knots (about 575 mph), of a four-pound bird. It took a couple years, but the program was successful, saving the first aircraft the redesigned system was installed upon in a low-level night flight from Mountain Home AFB to Kelly AFB from an approximately two pound bird strike on the left windshield… a $15M aircraft ‘save,’ plus, potentially, the lives of two crew members.
We would encourage the reader to access the full article at the link provided since Global Research is noted for its truth-to-power philosophy, very much as our own.
I am posting below a long interview with Konrad Stachnio on wide- ranging questions, which stretched my knowledge past its breaking point, especially in assessing where the technological innovations on the horizons will lead us. It is one of 17 conversations published by Clarity Press under the title, Civilization in Overdrive: Conversations at the edge of the Human Future.
I recommend the book strongly. It can be ordered here (https://www.claritypress.com/product/civilization-in-overdrive-conversations-at-the-edge-of-the-human-future/) .
“If a digital Fukuyama tells the world that ‘the end of history’ has been reached, he should be scorned this time around.”
KONRAD STACHNIO: Do you know what is the role of the so-called Black Budget in building the power of the USA as a global security state?
RICHARD FALK: It is not possible for someone without access to highly classified materials to assess accurately the policy significance and content of the Black Budget in the years since 1945, including the financing of a range of intelligence activities and a variety of covert intervention projects. It is possible to put forward the view that the CIA and special operations forces are both partially financed by the Black Budget that has been integral to the formation and execution of American grand strategy since the end of World War II, building its unaccountable claims on government spending for global security as a byproduct of Cold War imperatives. The Black Budget has, above all, provided a cover for unlawful encroachments on the sovereign rights of foreign countries, mainly those of adversaries, but also extending to thwarting leftist political movements from controlling governments in countries whose foreign policy was under the tutelage of the United States. The Black Budget has also evidently been used to keep secret the financing of the research and development of new weapons and surveillance technologies. As with other bureaucratic innovations, the removal of an original justification for an undertaking does not easily lead to its
abandonment or even downgrading, especially if shielded from scrutiny by its secrecy and related non-accountability. In this respect, although the size of the Black Budget steadily grew as one side effect of the Cold War, its ending in the 1990s did not lead to reduced appropriations.
Most modern states finance their secretive activities through some form of “Black Budget.” What distinguishes the U.S. Black Budget is its scale, global projection dimensions, and integration into an overarching design for establishing and maintaining a global state, and its ties to unlawful policies and practices outside the domain of territorial sovereignty, and most of all, its linkages to sustaining the United States as the first “global state” in history. It is not just a matter of its planetary interpretation of American security, but of its subsuming under the banner of security a wider hegemonic agenda of economic dominance, cultural hegemony, and ideological influence. There is no serious pretension that after the Cold War the U.S. Government was taking over responsibility for global peace and security as envisioned in the Charter of the United Nations, although there was a brief claim to this effect in 1990–91 when the American president, George H.W. Bush, proclaimed “a new world order” based on UN authority and international law in response to defending Kuwait against Iraqi aggression. Such a claim was never subsequently repeated.
The idea of the U.S. as a global state is a geopolitical endeavor related to power and wealth rather than on any normative (based on law and morality) or cosmopolitan (meta-nationalist) conceptions of security. It is rationalized and justified by reference to national interests as measured by military superiority, economic advantage, alliance cohesion, and by the exercise of global leadership supposedly for the benefit of all humanity. The substantive priorities of the Black Budget are designed by American political realists who are by training and disposition distrustful of any loss of sovereign control over national policies and practices, are suspicious of the UN and international law, and seek to validate foreign commitments by reference to the promotion of national interests.
There is every indication that the Black Budget has been over the years “bipartisan” in the sense that it receives equal support from the U.S. Congress whether the occupant of the White House is a Democrat of a Republican. This bipartisanship extends to overall support for the defense budget and for a capitalist approach toward financial and labor markets, environmental protection, and corporate regulation. Donald Trump was opposed by part of the national security establishment when he sought the presidency in 2016 because he was perceived as a threat to this bipartisan consensus, and especially the commitment to maintaining control over a global security system. Trump did challenge aspects of the consensus, but when it came to militarism there has been no rupture since he entered the White House. The Black Budget has been rising during his presidency, reaching $81.1 billion in the last fiscal year, suggesting that Trump, despite withdrawing from economic, humanitarian, and environmental internationalism and asserting a belligerent brand of chauvinistic nationalism, is not willing to dismantle the American state apparatus of global surveillance, secrecy, and control, and even more tellingly, to abandon the network of overseas military bases, the far flung naval presence in the world’s oceans, and even the militarization of space.