Jericho: Not Just Another TV Show?

by William Skink

I finished a series on Netflix this week that originally aired on CBS, called Jericho. The premise is what kept me watching through the melodrama, which was obnoxious at times. There will probably be some spoilers in this post, so you’ve been warned.

The show begins with the protagonist, Jake, returning to his hometown, Jericho, Kansas. Then a nuclear bomb goes off in Denver and everyone freaks out except for the mysterious guy who just arrived with his family, a guy who has curiously specific advice for dealing with nuclear fallout.

As the show progresses the audience learns that there were 23 nuclear bombs set off in a coordinated terrorist attack that plunges America into a survivalist’s wet dream. The attacks are blamed on Iran and North Korea, but the mysterious guy knows better and ultimately finds out that the attacks were coordinated at the highest levels of the US government. The result is an attempt by a new government based in Cheyenne, Wyoming (complicit in the attacks) trying to take over the remnants of the Federal government east of the Mississippi.

The first season is 28 episodes and the second season is a 7 episode wrap-up that makes it appear the show wasn’t cleared for more time, so they had to rush to tie up the narrative. It’s the second season that really got me thinking about authority, occupation and following orders. I swear I’m going somewhere relevant with this, so bare with me.

One of the main bad guys in this fictional series is the head of DHS (Department for Homeland Security). Another bad guy is a private contractor that works for Ravenswood, a clear reference to the company of mercenaries formerly known as Blackwater. Ravenswood is part of a company called J&R, a company that makes me think of Halliburton. Add this to the fact the new government is based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and it starts looking like this series is a commentary on the reign of Dick Cheney and the unaccountable power that has poisoned the Federal government after 9/11.

In the second season, a military commander is sent to Jericho to restore order after Jericho goes to war with a neighboring town. The military commander is an honorable man and struggles with the growing realization that he is serving a corrupt government. With episode titles like “Sedition” and “Patriots and Tyrants” you can clearly see where this is going.

The implication of this fictional narrative suddenly became oddly relevant this week with another controversial article from investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, claiming the US military undermined the Obama administration in 2013 over foreign policy in Syria:

The military’s resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya. A former senior adviser to the Joint Chiefs told me that the document was an ‘all-source’ appraisal, drawing on information from signals, satellite and human intelligence, and took a dim view of the Obama administration’s insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups. By then, the CIA had been conspiring for more than a year with allies in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to ship guns and goods – to be used for the overthrow of Assad – from Libya, via Turkey, into Syria. The new intelligence estimate singled out Turkey as a major impediment to Obama’s Syria policy. The document showed, the adviser said, ‘that what was started as a covert US programme to arm and support the moderate rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey, and had morphed into an across-the-board technical, arms and logistical programme for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State. The so-called moderates had evaporated and the Free Syrian Army was a rump group stationed at an airbase in Turkey.’ The assessment was bleak: there was no viable ‘moderate’ opposition to Assad, and the US was arming extremists.

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn’t doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. ‘If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,’ Flynn told me. ‘We understood Isis’s long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.’ The DIA’s reporting, he said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’

‘Our policy of arming the opposition to Assad was unsuccessful and actually having a negative impact,’ the former JCS adviser said. ‘The Joint Chiefs believed that Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists. The administration’s policy was contradictory. They wanted Assad to go but the opposition was dominated by extremists. So who was going to replace him? To say Assad’s got to go is fine, but if you follow that through – therefore anyone is better. It’s the “anybody else is better” issue that the JCS had with Obama’s policy.’ The Joint Chiefs felt that a direct challenge to Obama’s policy would have ‘had a zero chance of success’. So in the autumn of 2013 they decided to take steps against the extremists without going through political channels, by providing US intelligence to the militaries of other nations, on the understanding that it would be passed on to the Syrian army and used against the common enemy, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State.

If true, this is huge because this isn’t just military officials pushing back against the foreign policy of the White House. When the article describes actions being taken outside official political channels, we are getting very close to describing acts of treason.

Once again, Hersh should be commended for his investigative journalism. If we had more Hersh’s maybe we wouldn’t be in a situation where the Obama administration is trying to repeat the disastrous policy of regime change that has turned Libya into a haven for jihadists. And if we had more honest, accurate assessments of the consequences of US foreign policy, maybe we wouldn’t have such a propagandized population incapable of understanding the risk of America playing global cop.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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14 Responses to Jericho: Not Just Another TV Show?

  1. steve kelly says:

    “Global cop?” Or global burgler?

  2. JC says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed Jericho when it came out, wishing they could have done justice to the story line they had setup. But Sy Hersh has taken a huge amount of flak for his reporting. The debunkers (chief admin apologist Max Fisher tops the list) hit the road running, and the “debunkers are wrong” explainers were close behind. I imagine Sy will have a heart attack in the near future or something…

    • I thought the show was pretty provocative, considering it originally aired between 2006-2008. it is also interesting to note that the biggest screw up in history regarding nuclear weapons happened at the end of August, 2007. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out, decades later, that people within the military stopped something from happening.

      • JC says:

        Biggest screwup that was made widely public. Growing up in GF, in a military family, I saw and heard about a lot of odd nuke incidents. Like this fender-bender with a likely missile-carrying semi, the “Damascus Incident” in Arkansas, where a worker dropped a tool in a nuke silo, which pierced the rocket and nearly ignited a rocket fuel explosion.

        Then there are the disciplinary problems, from massive test cheating on readiness exams and drug trafficking, or the firing of the nation’s nuclear missile force Commander for “a series of drunken incidents while leading a delegation in Russia”.

        Then there’s my anecdotal reports from conversations I used to have with airmen in the bars, or with the base commander and his family over dinner (I used to date his daughter once upon a time decades ago). These conversations indicated that if a real order to fire a missile would come through, many airmen would choose to just walk away from the silos instead of firing them, and spend their last moments alive walking through the prairies of Montana instead of living in perpetual lockdown hundreds of feet down while a nuclear armageddon triggered a nuclear winter.

        And last, but not least, the Malmstrom/UFO incident in 1967, where UFOs purportedly deactivated missile silos. There were a lot of UFO sightings round this time when I was growing up in GF. As my father was a military pilot, he invariably got involved in one fashion or another with these things, including tracking UFOs in-flight, as there are many reports over the years connected to the nuclear missile installations.

        Now that I’ve labeled myself a UFO conspiracy theorist (and ripe for mocking), I’ll just say that “unidentified” doesn’t automatically mean alien. My father, a Lt. Colonel with over 30 years flight experience, and as conservative and rational person as you’d ever meet, was convinced that some unexplainable events had happened, as he was witness to them.

  3. Bob Williams says:

    William, thanks for super good posting! Although Sy is open about relying upon only one source, watching a large screen video of him on FSTV last week built up my desire to like Mark says, to do my own thinking. Maybe the CIA and the Administration stonewalled/stovepiped against information from DIA. How come late on US bombing of daesh crude oil truck caravans?
    Because what oil poor Nation was the obvious buyer of the crude!
    Benefited from all three of your posts, JC! But I do wish the best for see more, Seymour Hersh!

  4. Hersh is, in my never-humble opinion, just another cog in the machine. He has inside links, but you have to ask whether he is leaking or merely being (willingly) used (Woodward style) as a conduit. Working for LRB, hardly an anti-establishment journal, more likely one of those journals that have been around since the early fifties subsidized by obscure sources, I’d say the latter. Check out Encounter some time.

    The who piece smells of limited hangout. I doubt that there were ever any people in power who supported “moderate” forces – WTF? They are armed with guns and bombs. What makes them moderate? That is perception management, as thugs are thugs. They poured money and arms into Syria, expecting what? A new and better government born of bloodshed? Further it is doubtful that there is conflict between Obama people and the Pentagon, as the elected branch has no power. It is just for show.

    Hersh is just doing his insider guy thing, pushing one agenda over another, pretending to be an outsider when he is deep in.

  5. steve kelly says:

    The whole MSM narrative about civil war in Syria is fiction. Hersh chooses to ignore the origins of the conflict.

    “How to settle a civil war that doesn’t exist?
    If the Syrian conflict was created by foreign interests fueling militant groups it has used for decades as an instrument of executing foreign policy (in and out of Syria), amounting to what is essentially a proxy invasion, not a civil war, how exactly can a “settlement” be reached?”

    “For those who have been trying to make sense of the Syrian “civil war” since 2011 with little luck, the explanation is simple, it isn’t a civil war and it never was. Understanding it as a proxy conflict from the very beginning (or even before it began) will give one a clarity in perception that will aid one immeasurably in understanding what the obvious solutions are, but only when they come to this understanding.” – Ulson Gunnar

    • One way you can tell that Hersh is connected to the spooks is that he never pays a price for his supposed whistle-blowing, still gets invited on TV, still goes to all the parties. He’s controlled opposition.

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