Wayne Madsen is an investigative journalist, the author of twenty-one books, and the publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report. His latest book is The Rise of the Fascist Fourth Reich: The Era of Trumpism and the New Far-Right.
Further reading: Did Wayne Madsen uncover a 2016 ‘Stop the Steal’ Plot?
The following is edited for length and clarity, because all interviews are.
FAILED STATE UPDATE: What do you mean by the fascist Fourth Reich?
WAYNE MADSEN: Well, it's a continuation of the Third Reich, which we thought we defeated in 1945. It's beginning to look like there was not a surrender, that it was more or less a ceasefire. Joe McCarthy was more interested in protecting the Waffen SS troops who committed war crimes, massacres against US troops in Belgium during the Battle of Bulge, than in supporting our guys in uniform. So here we have another case where Wisconsin gave us something quite nasty. They gave us the John Birch Society, which was formed in Wisconsin. And more recently, they've given us people like Ron Johnson.
This Fourth Reich, they're not even trying to make any bones about it. Look at the Proud Boys and these groups that Trump relies on. They're using Nazi and fascist symbology. I learned about the Patriot Front after the book went to print, but these guys have a new flag that's got the fasces on it, the symbol of fascism. The bundle of sticks and the ax. This was Mussolini's National Fascist Party emblem. It’s been used by fascist parties elsewhere. So they're the ones who are proclaiming that they are Fourth Reich.
I’m interested in the way Trump and his allies, this Fourth Reich as you call it, echo Nazi Germany. A lot of their actions mirror the actions that took place in Germany's history and the formation of the Third Reich.
Everything from changing school curricula, burning books — I saw that Kirk Twigg, the new president of the school board in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, suggested that books they don't like should be burned. And he's now the school board president. This is a result of the recent election that saw a Republican win the governorship on this phony issue of critical race theory.
And of course, we're not talking about some county in Alabama. Spotsylvania County is a forty-five-minute drive from downtown Washington D.C. So that should be cause for concern right there, because the people who live in that county are largely government employees, or they're working as government contractors. With a heavy, heavy sprinkling of the military.
In the beginning, the military was seen almost as the heroes, in the sense that they at least paid lip service to resisting Trump on January 6. As we get farther away from that event, it looks like officers like General Charles Flynn were key in stopping the National Guard from deploying to the capitol. How much do you think we have to fear the military playing a role in this resurgent fascism?
Three retired U.S. Army generals, Paul D. Eaton, Antonio M. Taguba, and Steven M. Anderson, recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, where they said that the next insurgency, the next coup will involve members of the military. And they're concerned about it, and they're concerned about the politicization of the military under Trump. And you know, I agree with them.
Since I wrote the book we have a new revelation, that Charles Flynn met with the Stop the Steal people before January 6. That should have been enough right there to prevent him from getting a third star and being given command of all US Army forces in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean in Hawaii.
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I feel like the White House, or federal law enforcement — somebody has to realize that there's this fascist menace in the United States government. Are they willfully doing nothing about it? Are they ignorant? Is it just impossible, is the problem that big? What's going on there?
My fear is it's not just the military that has a problem with these embedded right-wing radicals. They're in the FBI. They're in the Justice Department. I know they're in the Homeland Security Department. And how many of Trump's political appointees burrowed themselves in as permanent Senior Civil Service, Schedule C employees? What they call super grades in the civil service. You know, I'm sure they're there. And really, they should be weeded out and gotten rid of.
It's a huge, huge problem. There are still two Trump political appointees in the Department of Justice, for example. They were political appointees, they should have been gone on January 20th, last year. You know, the minute Joe Biden became president. But they're still there.
I thought one interesting aspect of your book was the background on Tucker Carlson. I don't think I realized exactly how much of a crazy ideologue he was, or how it runs in his family.
Tucker’s father is Dick Carlson, who Reagan put in charge of the U.S. Information Agency. That was a huge problem at the Voice of America when they started Radio Free Europe. They started hiring all these ex-Nazis as commentators. I'm sure that's where Tucker gets it all. [laughs] Probably listening to the conversations at the dinner table, you know. Probably people from the SS, the Gestapo, the Croatian Ustaše — these are the people that Dick Carlson hired. And I'm sure Tucker was exposed to them at an early age.
At the beginning of your book, you mentioned being embedded with Alex Jones’s crew during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Politically, you are not in the same ballpark as Alex Jones. So how does that happen?
He contacted me probably around 2000; maybe it was even 1999. He was doing some documentary on the Federal Reserve, which is something I don't know much about. I'm not an economist. He interviewed me. After that, he used to have me on his show. I knew he was a libertarian, and I can take ‘em or leave ‘em.
When the convention came around in 2016, he asked me to help them cover the conventions. I even rode in his motor home from Cleveland to Philly, so I got to know a lot of his people. And what I saw I didn't like. One of the guys I got to get to know was Joe Biggs, who's the head of the Proud Boys. He's in jail right now in Orlando. The guy is a provocateur. I can't believe he was in the military, but he was. When I was in the military, I don't think he would have passed a psych test to be allowed in.
I was made aware of something that I think is critically important to the January 6 committee, and also to the Biden administration. When I covered that Cleveland convention, there was a big "Welcome to Cleveland" bash at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. I tried to get to that, but all of Jones's people were tied up that night.
Later, I was told that they were at a special, hush-hush dinner hosted by Tucker Carlson. And Jones was there, at least one of Jones's people. His producer was there. Roger Stone was there. And a couple other ne'er do wells — Nigel Farage was there. The head of the far-right party in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, he was there. I understand that Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was there. So what was going on at this hush-hush dinner? I think it was the forerunner to Stop the Steal, in case Hillary won an election. They were going to pull the same thing in 2016 as they did last year, starting in 2020, after the election. So I passed this information on to the January 6 committee and said "look, you may want to go back to 2016, even 2015, and find out just how many foreign countries were involved with Tucker Carlson."
You saw something very suspicious in Cleveland in 2016. We know what happened in 2021. I have to believe that in 2024, they're going to try something like that again. A "Stop the Steal"-type-thing. I guess I'm wondering if America is capable of stopping it. They got so close to overturning the election last time, I wonder if our democracy can handle another full-frontal attack like that.
I don't know. It certainly worried those three generals. There's a well-respected Canadian political science professor who recently wrote that Canada should prepare for the US becoming a fascist country, no later than 2030. And he thinks that process will start in 2024.
You’ve been at the forefront of independent journalism and alternative media for 20-plus years now. For so long, it was a struggle to get people to listen to alternative viewpoints. And now it seems like they are, but they're listening to misinformation.
They’re listening to the wrong people. Of course, I'm accused of being a traitor, and a secret CIA agent, by all these people that I guess you can call alternative media. The same thing happened in Germany in the 1930s. People were turning in members of their family and close friends to the Gestapo because they heard them bad-mouthing Hitler. You know, they're here one day, they're gone the next.