Operation Gaslight Triumphant
Operation Gaslight has been successful in at least establishing the appearance of a dominant narrative, according to which the fundamental problem with the Democratic party in 2016 was not that they ran a sham of a primary, intent from long before it began on handing Clinton the nomination, and used that nomination to drape the status quo in a mantle of intersectional progress. Instead, the problem was everything but that, from Jim Comey (before he was canonized), to Vladimir and his Bots, to Bernie and his Bros, to tens of millions of irredeemable white men, to the internalized misogyny of white women themselves.
The fact that the big “D” Democratic party was small “d” undemocratic didn’t hang up the Operation Gaslight narrative one bit. An all out culture war with literal Nazis is no time to get overly scrupulous about democracy. While the DNC was arguing quietly in court that it had no legal requirement to honor the democratic process it pretended to oversee, the public faces of the party were decrying the perversion of democracy wrought by Facebook ads and Twitterbots launched from the basement of the Kremlin. Dutch intelligence even had video of Russians sitting at computers, hacking away at the foundations of democratic legitimacy and the Benevolent Deep State.
Back during the 2016 election, nothing rang more hollow than acting DNC head Donna Brazile’s attempts to deflect questions about passing debate questions to the Clinton campaign by saying that the information in question had been stolen, and anyway, it hadn’t even been verified as real.
Though Brazile would soon admit the whole thing, this line of defense provided a perfect example of the well-known resistance of the partisan mind to all information that threatens the integrity of its allegiance. As painful as it was to watch Brazile play willfully dumb in print and on live TV, her posture would become the backbone of Operation Gaslight, the hydra-like effort by Democratic party establishment and related forces to preserve their dominance over what would come to be called The Resistance.
This dominance comes down to a narrative, and the idea that no one should have learned that the Democratic party was rigged, and fundamentally cynical, is the cornerstone of its defense.
The counter to this defense has come in three forms:
First is the denial that it matters where the information came from, or how it arrived, but only whether or not it is true. A strong example of the propriety of this defense would be the case of Daniel Ellsberg and his leaking of The Pentagon Papers, which fatally undermined defense of the war in Vietnam by means of the Pentagon’s own internal records. Ellsberg’s act of defiance – he smuggled the top secret papers out of his office and leaked them to the press – has long been regarded as heroic by the demographic that is now the primary target of Operation Gaslight. Fortunately for the operation, the force of this example depends on the strength of historical memory, and historical memory is in very short supply.
The second counter to the defense comes in the testimony of former NSA official William Binney, and his claim that the file transfer rates of the documents provided by Guccifer 2.0 to Wikileaks preclude the possibility that they were obtained by an intercontinental hack. The files were written at a speed, Binney contends, that could only have been obtained on a local network, such as from a host computer within the DNC to a thumb drive.
Which brings us to the third counter: the idea that the “hacked” DNC emails were actually leaked by now-deceased DNC staffer Seth Rich, an idealistic Bernie supporter driven by his own senses of outraged conscience to blow the whistle on the anti-democratic spirit that had dominated the Democratic party’s ruling elite. In response to the this betrayal, he was murdered one night in Summer of 2016, shot in the back on the streets of DC in a robbery attempt so botched that the killer or killers failed to take any of the valuables he had on his person.
According to this narrative, Seth Rich was a sort of Rorschach figure, from Alan Moore’s graphic novel THE WATCHMEN. In current terms, Rorschach could be called a deplorable, fixated on a personal sense of right and wrong that won’t allow him to keep quiet about the titanic crime and fraud Adrian Veidt has perpetrated on the world, for the noble purpose of creating a sense of global unity and thereby averting nuclear annihilation. Dr Manhattan, the effectively omnipotent avatar of the Military Industrial Surveillance State and nuclear annihilation itself, obliterates Rorschach in order to preserve the illusion that has brought together the world.
Seth Rich Must Die
If Rich was the source of the leak he needed to be killed, not so much as a warning to other would-be leakers (though this was perhaps a secondary aim), but so that Rich could never confirm what he had done, and thus destabilize the core of the Operation Gaslight narrative. If the documents were not the fruit of a hack directed by Putin, but rather the consequence of one idealistic American’s faithfulness to the principle of democracy, then the moral polarity of the information contained in those documents is reversed. With this polarity reversed, rather than being an attempt from without to corrupt democracy, it was an attempt from within to rectify its corruption.
Just as the ultimate aim of Veidt’s plan in WATCHMEN is to create a global sense of unity, and Rorschach must die to protect this manufactured in-group solidarity, so the aim of Operation Gaslight is to bring the Democratic party together under a single narrative, which just so happens to be grotesquely untrue. As in WATCHMEN, the Noble Lie is justified by the idea that the only way to transcend in-group/out-group bigotry is by hijacking in-group/out-group awareness.
In WATCHMEN (the original graphic novel, not the movie), a global sense of in-group identity is engineered by a massive psychological operation that convinces the people of the world that they face a massive threat from Outer Space. This threat manifests in what seems like a failed invasion that kills tens of millions and leaves the corpses of horrifying aliens in major cities, most especially, New York.
In Operation Gaslight, Donald Trump is the bloated alien carcass, and Russia the alien threat, and – to repeat – Seth Rich is the Rorschach that must die in order to protect the unifying fiction. The sense of in-group unity created by this alien threat is the aim. That this xenophobic unity has been established among people simultaneously decrying the immorality of borders is just another of life’s grand ironies.