Deep Cover: Hidey Holes for the American Elite

Orginally published in The Moscow Times on March 26, 2004.

"I have a strategy. You're not in it."
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Unfortunately for the rest of us, the insatiable Slayers in the White House and Pentagon fully share Miss Summers' stern credo. In fact, for more than 20 years, men named Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have been working hard – and spending billions of public dollars – on secret strategies to ensure their personal survival when the hellmouth of catastrophe swallows everyone else.

But do let's be fair. The yellow-feathered Washington warriors aren't only looking out for their own backsides – they've also included their closest corporate cronies in the escape plan. In fact, the whole jolly crew intends to preserve their wonted rank of wealth and privilege even as their fellow citizens are roasting in nuclear fires or howling in clouds of gut-chewing microbes, as The Atlantic's James Mann reports this month.

Operation Anal Cover began in 1981, after affable frontman Ronald Reagan and CIA headman George H.W. Bush took office. The Reagan-Bush team immediately began serious preparations for nuclear war with the Soviet Union, including a first-strike "decapitation" plan to take out the Kremlin leadership in one swift blow. Naturally, they feared the Red dastards were thinking along similar lines, hoping to turn the fabulous Ron into a little spot of hair dye and rouge on the Oval Office carpet.

Thus was born an elaborate scheme to set up a secret government, hidden in hardened bunkers, capable of waging war and controlling the civilian populace – without any fussy bother from Congress or other elected representatives of the suckers out there. Instead, three separate teams of insiders were formed, each with a figurehead Cabinet member – placemen like the Agriculture Secretary – who would be "guided" by an all-powerful chief of staff. Dispersed around the country, the teams would use special communications links to rule the nation, for as long as the appointed über-chiefs saw fit.

Vice President Bush helped construct this secret machinery, working cheek-by-jowl with Colonel Oliver North – the beginning of a beautiful relationship that would fully blossom in the Iran-Contra scam, when the plucky pair shipped guns to Islamic extremists in Iran to fund an illegal terrorist war against Nicaragua's democratically elected government. North would later expand Anal Cover to deal with contingencies beyond nuclear war, such as "terrorist attacks" and "civil disturbances" – including large-scale protests against an unpopular military action – with concentration camps for tens of thousands of "dissidents," as the San Francisco Bay Guardian reports.

For two of the über-chief posts, the White House picked Bush's former comrades from the Nixon Administration: Dick Cheney, now a rightwing Congressman, busy slashing social programs for lazy peons and condemning the terrorist Nelson Mandela; and Don Rumsfeld, now a top corporate executive hawking laxatives to the hoi polloi. At regular intervals, Cheney and Rumsfeld would disappear from sight and repair to the secret redoubts, where they practiced running the country through arbitrary rule.

The program, created by a presidential decree and never submitted for Congressional approval, was financed by a secret slush fund, pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars each year. It edged briefly into the light during the first Bush administration, when allegations were raised about – what else? – financial corruption, funneling the program's public money to private cronies in sweetheart deals.

The program lapsed during the Clinton interlude, but roared back to life after the "new Pearl Harbor" that Cheney and Rumsfeld had been publicly yearning for, to "catalyze" the American public into supporting their plans for "radical transformation" of American society into a more aggressive, militarized state, as detailed in the publication of their private think-tank, Project for a New American Century, in September 2000.

Just minutes after the attacks on September 11, 2001, Cheney reactivated the "secret government," sending selected government officials – including, yes, the hapless Agriculture Secretary – into the long-prepared hidden bunkers. Cheney himself still periodically disappears into "secure, undisclosed locations," along with squads of bureaucrats, no doubt to "practice" emergency measures for the next big terrorist attack – the one that Iraq war leader General Tommy Franks tells us will cause "the unraveling of the Constitution" and the "militarizing of our country," reports.

But man does not live by bread alone – or rather, a man alone still needs his bread, even if he's running the country by decree from a spider hole in Nebraska. That's why the Bush Regime has now wired America's top business leaders directly into the special security grid through "CEO COM Link." As Harpers reports, CCL is a secure, "exclusive communications network created by the Business Roundtable for use by its members, 150 CEOs from Fortune 500 companies," giving the tycoons instant access to top Bush officials during a terrorist attack.

The magazine notes that no other organization – "not governors, mayors, firefighters, hospitals or police" – has such a connection. They'll be left to sink or swim while the CEOs get directions to the nearest safe haven. Oddly enough, even this scenario seems to have been inadvertently "practiced": on September 11, Bush was whisked to safety in the locked-down fortress of Nebraska's Offut Air Base, headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) – where he found a gaggle of top CEOs holding a charity event in the secure bowels of America's military machine, the San Francisco Business Times reports.

Thus CCL is just business as usual, another link in the great iron chain that has long bound "CEO COM" with "STRATCOM" and the Pearly PNAC "transformers." No matter how reckless or lunatic their policies – first strikes, illegal wars, targeted assassinations – the bunkered elites will be safe from the burning and howling they provoke.