Coup in Venezuela Invites Possible Global Cold War

Russia and China have a huge financial stake in Venezuela because both sell the country weapons, meaning U.S. threats of supporting a military coup in Venezuela could create a Latin American Cold War.

By Richard Walker

Should President Donald Trump and prominent members of Congress continue to advocate for a military coup in Venezuela, it could see a return to a Cold War in Latin America, a region in which countries have always shared divided loyalties to East and West.

According to foreign policy expert Brian Fonseca, should the U.S. continue to push for overthrowing the Venezuelan government, the West could see a bigger Chinese and Russian footprint in Latin America. These two superpowers have close ties to the Venezuelan military and sell it weapons. They would be thrilled if Venezuela’s relations with Washington reached a point of no return because Moscow and Beijing would pursue an opportunity to purchase majority stakes in Venezuela’s oil reserves that are among the world’s largest.

Venezuela also has large deposits of natural resources that China would be keen to develop, in keeping with China’s growing economic role in the world. China has been busy for the past two decades establishing relations with nations across Latin America and Africa, especially those that have massive energy and fossil fuel reserves. A classic example is that, in 2015, in the out-of-the-way country Mozambique, China began cutting large tracts of forest for the timber it desperately needs for its ever-expanding infrastructure. When it discovered that the same area held large deposits of gemstones, it bought mining rights and began exploiting them, too.

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Fonseca has warned Washington figures that flirting with the prospect of backing the overthrow of the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela is playing with fire, endangering America’s foreign policy in its own backyard. It could even result in a major national security blunder.

Big oil companies Chevron and Halliburton that have stakes in Venezuela’s oil industry have privately appealed to the White House to avoid plunging Venezuela into total chaos by pursuing tougher financial sanctions against the government. They have also cautioned that intervention in support of a military coup could be disastrous for Washington’s relations throughout the region.

Those warnings have not deterred Trump from floating the possibility of supporting a coup by the Venezuelan military. He received backing for his views from U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

There is also evidence that some former Venezuelan military figures have met members of the Trump administration.

The promotion of regime change in Congress and the White House is a dangerous trend that ignores the failed history of U.S.-led coups. After 1947, with the emergence of the CIA, Washington decided it now had the ideal tool to change regimes it did not like or that American corporations felt threatened their energy domination. The first coup the CIA launched was in Iran in 1953 when U.S. agents overthrew a democratically elected government because Iran was seeking to stop exploitation by foreign oil corporations, mostly British, by nationalizing Iran’s oil for the benefit of its people. Other coups followed in the Congo and South Vietnam, but Latin America became the major target of nine coup-led interventions by the CIA. The Agency used tactics that became all too familiar of arming and training insurgents. It encouraged assassinations, bombings, kidnapping, and the secret torture and elimination of perceived enemies.

George Bush and Dick Cheney meddled in Venezuela and in other Latin American nations, and so, too, did Barack Obama who pursued what became known as the soft power strategy. Obama advocated using less CIA paramilitary input in favor of exploiting and financing opposition groups by funneling money to them, using Washington-run aid organizations. Bribes were also paid to political figures and disgruntled military officers. At the same time, fake stories were fed into the media of the target nation.

It is a fact that Venezuela, like many Latin American nations, has existed for decades with serious levels of corruption. But of much more significance is the reality that its economy has relied for too long on oil exports. Knowing this, in 2014, the Saudis, under pressure from Israel and Washington, flooded the international oil markets with cheap oil, crushing the price of oil to the detriment of the Venezuelan economy. The effects were devastating and long term. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Washington saw it as punishment for Venezuela’s closeness to Iran and its attacks on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. It may well be that some oil corporations were also pushing for the Saudi move, hoping it would lead to Venezuela’s collapse, giving them control of its energy resources.

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Venezuela is now collapsing financially, and U.S. sanctions could push it over the edge into the arms of Beijing and Moscow. It is generally not reported that 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country in the past three years.

Too many figures in Congress promote regime change, ignorant of the terrible effects of failed CIA-led coups in the past. Even those regimes in Latin America that do not support the Venezuelan leadership have raw memories of past U.S. interventions in countries like Chile and the failed 2002 CIA-led coup against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. In that coup tens of millions of dollars were secretly funneled to opposition groups and disaffected members of the country’s military. That is probably what has been happening again in the past couple of years.

Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.


RELATED, FROM RON PAUL . . .

D.C.’s Hypocritical Attack on Maduro

If our leaders really cared about the people of Venezuela, they would lift the sanctions.

By Dr. Ron Paul

Last week we witnessed the horrible spectacle of Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, joining a protest outside the UN building and calling for the people of Venezuela to overthrow their government.

“We are going to fight for Venezuela,” she shouted through a megaphone. “We are going to continue doing it until [Venezuelan President Nicolas] Maduro is gone.”

This is the neocon mindset: that somehow the U.S. has the authority to tell the rest of the world how to live and who may hold political power regardless of elections.

After more than a year of Washington being crippled by evidence-free claims that the Russians have influenced our elections, we have a senior U.S. administration official openly calling for the overturning of elections overseas.

Imagine if President Vladimir Putin’s national security advisor had grabbed a megaphone in New York and called for the people of the United States to overthrow their government by force.

At the UN, Maduro accused the Western media of hyping up the crisis in his country to push the cause for another “humanitarian intervention.”

Some may laugh at such a claim, but recent history shows that interventionists lie to push regime change, and the media goes right along with the lies.

Remember the lies about Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi giving Viagra to his troops to help them rape their way through Libya? Remember the “babies thrown from incubators” and “mobile chemical labs” in Iraq? Judging from past practice, there is probably some truth in Maduro’s claims.

We know socialism does not work. It is an economic system based on the use of force rather than economic freedom of choice. But while many Americans seem to be in a panic over the failures of socialism in Venezuela, they don’t seem all that concerned that right here at home Trump just signed a massive $1.3 trillion spending bill that delivers socialism on a scale that Venezuelans couldn’t even imagine. In fact, this one spending bill is three times Venezuela’s entire gross domestic product.

Did I miss all the Americans protesting this warfare-welfare state socialism?

Why all the neocon and humanitarian-interventionist “concern” for the people of Venezuela? One clue might be the fact that Venezuela happens to be sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves. More even than Saudi Arabia. There are plenty of countries pursuing dumb economic policies that result in plenty of suffering, but Nikki and the neocons are nowhere to be found when it comes to “concern” for these people. Might it be a bit about this oil?

Don’t believe this feigned interest in helping the Venezuelan people. If Washington really cared about Venezuelans they would not be plotting regime change for the country, considering that each such “liberation” elsewhere has ended with the people being worse off than before.

No, if Washington—and the rest of us—really cared about Venezuelans we would demand an end to the terrible U.S. economic sanctions on the country—which only make a bad situation worse—and would push for far more engagement and trade.

And maybe we’d even lead by example, by opposing the real, existing socialism here at home before seeking socialist monsters to slay abroad.

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at www.ronpaulinstitute.org.




Trump Right About John Brennan

The former CIA director’s security clearance should have been pulled long ago, maintains former CIA analyst Philip Giraldi. President Trump should go a step further, he argues, and pull the security clearance of everyone who no longer has a reason to have it. 

By Philip Giraldi

It is quite amazing to watch how the mainstream media and alleged “former senior intelligence officials” are rallying around to defend ex-CIA Director John Brennan, who has had his security clearance taken away by President Donald Trump. It is the usual bit of pretentiously high-minded blather that makes one cringe, considering the questionable track records of the loudest voices being raised to defend a man who actually has no need for a clearance and who, quite possibly, abused his office by working with the Hillary Clinton team and foreign intelligence services to dig up dirt on Trump during the election campaign. Brennan appears to have also been party to an attempt to delegitimize the president-elect even before he took office, in the latter days of the Barack Obama administration.

Consider for a moment how, back in 2013, John Brennan, then Obama’s counterterrorism advisor had a difficult time with the Senate Intelligence Committee explaining some things that he did when he was still working at CIA. He was predictably attacked by some senators concerned over the expanding drone program, which he supervised, over CIA torture, for the kill lists that he helped manage, and regarding the pervasive government secrecy, which he surely condoned to cover up the questionable nature of the assassination lists and the drones.

But the area that is still murky regarding Brennan relates to what exactly he was up to in 2016 when he was CIA director and also, quite possibly, simultaneously working hard to help Hillary become president. In May 2017, his appearance before Congress was headlined in a Washington Post front-page featured article as Brennan’s explosive testimony just made it harder for the GOP to protect Trump. The article stated that Brennan, during the 2016 campaign, “reviewed intelligence that showed ‘contacts and interaction’ between Russian actors and people associated with the Trump campaign.” Politico was also in on the chase in an article entitled “Brennan: Russia may have successfully recruited Trump campaign aides.”

Brennan, an ambitious man with a checkered history who was strongly disliked by his peers at CIA, appears to lack either a moral compass or any sense of restraint. He was still going after Trump well after the election, playing a part in the notoriously salacious Steele dossier, which was surfaced in January just before the inauguration. The dossier included unverifiable information and was maliciously promoted by Brennan and others in the intelligence and law enforcement community. And even after Trump assumed office, Brennan proved to be unrelenting.

The May 2017 testimony by Brennan included this statement: “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. It raised questions in my mind whether or not Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”

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The testimony inevitably raises some questions about just what Brennan was actually up to. First of all, the CIA is not supposed to keep tabs on American citizens, and tracking the activities of known associates of a presidential candidate should have set off warning bells, yet Brennan clearly persisted in following the trail. What Brennan did not describe, because it was “classified,” was how he came upon the information in the first place. We know from Politico and other sources that it came from foreign intelligence services, including the British, Dutch, and Estonians, and there has to be a strong suspicion that the forwarding of at least some of that information might have been sought or possibly inspired by Brennan unofficially in the first place. But whatever the provenance of the intelligence, it is clear that Brennan then used that information to request an FBI investigation into a possible Russian operation directed against potential key advisers if Trump were to somehow get nominated and elected, which admittedly was a longshot at the time. That is how Russiagate began.

More recently, Brennan has attacked Trump for congratulating President Vladimir Putin over his victory in Russian national elections. He said that the U.S. president is “wholly in the pocket of Putin,” definitely “afraid of the president of Russia,” and that the Kremlin “may have something on him personally. The fact that he has had this fawning attitude toward Mr. Putin . . . continues to say to me that he does have something to fear and something very serious to fear.” And he then administered what might be considered the coup de main, saying that the president should be impeached for “treasonous” behavior after Trump stood next to Putin of Russia at a news conference in Finland and cast doubt on the conclusion of the intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump’s decision to pull Brennan’s clearance attracted an immediate tweeted response from the ex-CIA director: “This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out.” He also added, in a New York Times op-ed, that “Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion [with Russia] are, in a word, hogwash.”

But hogwash aside, these claims that Trump is a recruited Russian agent or is being blackmailed by the Kremlin are serious, and Brennan characteristically provided no evidence. As many have noted, he is playing fast and loose with his “security clearance” and CIA background to provide credibility for his remarks, which have to be viewed as politically motivated.

Prior to the Brennan incident, most Americans were certainly unaware that any ex-officials continued to hold clearances after they retired, and the controversy has inevitably raised the question why that should be so.

The media should be asking why Brennan has a security clearance at all. A clearance is granted to a person, but it is also linked to “need to know” in terms of what kind of information should or could be accessed, which means that when you are no longer working as director of the Central Intelligence Agency you don’t necessarily need to know or have access to classified information.

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If you are allowed to keep your clearance it is a courtesy, unless you directly transition into a directorship or staff position of a major intelligence or security contractor, which many retirees do. If that is the case, you might need to retain the qualification for your job, which makes the clearance an essential component in the notorious revolving door whereby government officials transit to the private sector, double dip with a large salary on top of their substantial pensions, and then directly lobby their former colleagues to keep the flow of cash coming.

The real problem arises when former officials, like Brennan, use their clearances as bona fides to enhance their marketability for non-clearance jobs in the media or corporate world, particularly when those individuals are criticizing current government policies and behaving in a partisan fashion.

So was Trump justified in taking away Brennan’s clearance? Absolutely. And going one step farther, he should take away all the clearances for all former government employees who are no longer working on classified issues. They don’t need them, and it is a courtesy that has outlived any usefulness it might once have had in the days before America’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies became politically compromised.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.




How the CIA’s MK-Ultra Ruined Their Lives

A group of Canadians is fighting back against years of abuse under a secret experimental U.S. program, and it’s not the first time. A Canadian judge compensated 77 former victims of MK-Ultra in 1992. The U.S., whose CIA oversaw the mind-control program, has yet to see a similar suit successfully brought to trial.

By S.T. Patrick

Over 40 Canadians are striking back at one of the most notorious covert operations of the 20th century. Calling themselves Survivors Allied Against Government Abuse (SAAGA), the survivors recently gathered in Montreal to publicly share stories of the MK-Ultra abuse that destroyed their lives and their families. Their next step is to bring a class-action lawsuit against Canada’s national government in Ottawa.

The MK-Ultra class-action suit centers on the Allan Memorial Institute (AMI) in Montreal, a psychiatric hospital that also houses the Psychiatry Department of McGill University’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

As an extension of the CIA-funded MK-Ultra project, AMI doctors used sleeping medications, electroshock therapy, and hallucinogens such as LSD to experiment on unwitting patients. Some of the more troubling allegations consist of patients having been involuntarily sedated into a medically induced coma for weeks as loops of repeated statements or noise played.

Project MK-Ultra was a CIA mind-control program that was operated in conjunction with the Office of Scientific Intelligence and the U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories. The program officially operated from 1953 to 1973, but covert experimentation on the limits of the human mind existed before MK-Ultra and will exist into the future. Though CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all documents on MK-Ultra destroyed in 1973, a Freedom of Information Act request in 1977 uncovered over 20,000 documents that had been destined for eradication. More information was declassified to the public in 2001.

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Implementation of the MK-Ultra program at the Allan Memorial Institute was undertaken by its founding director, Dr. Donald Ewen Cameron. Cameron served as the president of both the American Psychiatric Association from 1952-53 and the Canadian Psychiatric Association from 1958-59 before becoming the first head of the World Psychiatric Association in 1961.

In 1945, Cameron was part of a team that traveled to Germany during the Nuremberg Trials to evaluate Rudolf Hess, deputy führer to Adolf Hitler from 1933 to 1941. Their diagnosis of Hess was hysteria and amnesia, but Cameron’s later analysis of German society was even more troubling, albeit completely fallacious. In his paper “The Social Reorganization of Germany,” Cameron argued for a complete reorganization of German society to prevent what he believed would be another threat to world peace in 30 years.

After the Manhattan Project regarding atomic weapons was revealed in the United States, he argued for the necessity of behavioral scientists to act as social planners in civilized societies. The United Nations, he argued, would then become the conduit by which psychiatric goals could be intertwined with globalism. Society, Cameron believed, should be divided between the “weak” and the “strong.” Those who could not handle the state of the world—as the globalists constructed it—would then be “weak,” while those who accepted its stark realities without rebellion would be “strong.”

Authors such as Naomi Klein have questioned the real reason for the AMI’s MK-Ultra experimentation. She believes that Cameron’s initial work at AMI was not about brainwashing. Instead, it was an effort to develop the art of torture and lay the groundwork for the CIA’s two-step psychological torture method. The focus on drug inducement and electroshock therapy was designed, according to Klein, to extract information from “resistant sources.”

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As part of the MK-Ultra project, the United States psychiatric community also experimented widely with the suggestive power of hypnosis, with and without drugs. Richard Condon’s novel The Manchurian Candidate was released at the height of the MK-Ultra operations. It featured a presidential assassination attempt undertaken by a hypnotized, brainwashed subject. Since 1968, speculation has existed as to the role of hypnosis in the life of Sirhan Sirhan, imprisoned for the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

To date, a similar class-action suit has not been filed in America. It could be that a similar group exists, carefully monitoring the Canadian case before filing.

Nancy Layton was admitted to Cameron’s care at the age of 18. She suffered from depression. Within six months of being treated by Cameron, Layton developed an acute schizophrenia that had not existed before she had been under Cameron’s care.

“I could not believe this was allowed,” Marlene Levenson, whose aunt was victimized by AMI’s mind-control program, told CTV Montreal. “These were innocent people who went in for mild depression—even if it was severe depression, postpartum, neurological things that happened—they came out completely ravaged and their life was ruined.”

This is not the first such legal case in Canada. In 1992, Justice Minister Kim Campbell compensated 77 former victims of MK-Ultra. Others were denied when they were deemed “not damaged enough.” The empirical level at which someone has to be damaged “enough” by his or her own government has yet to be set. The bar, however, should be low when a government harms the very people it is democratically meant to protect and serve.

S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected]




Gina Haspel’s New Vision for CIA?

Intel expert Philip Giraldi hopes new CIA Director Gina Haspel will reduce “questionable activities.” In spite of her pro-torture responses during her recent confirmation hearings, she did put her foot down once opposing expansion of the assassination-by-drone program. 

By Philip Giraldi

After a bruising confirmation fight, one wonders if newly approved Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Gina Haspel will have the political support to put her own stamp on how the agency is structured and operates. Insiders note that, though she was acting director for only two months, she did little more than continue the changes made by her predecessor Mike Pompeo, who had been in charge of the agency for 15 months.

The past 17 years have seen a major change in how the CIA is organized. The Cold War agency was basically divided into two major intelligence components and included an administrative structure as well as a scientific and technical division that had their own independent functions but also worked to support intelligence operations and analysis. To put it simply, the agency consisted of one half that collected information and another half that analyzed the information collected. The operations component, itself divided into geographical regions, was a producer of intelligence, which was then processed by the analysts before going on to the consumers, which consisted of the White House, Congress, and other agencies within the government with a “need to know” that gave them access to the finished intelligence reports. The principal consumer of intelligence and the CIA’s “boss” was and is the president of the United States.

Within the system of producer-consumer there were a number of staffs and centers that dealt with issues like terrorism, drug trafficking, and nuclear proliferation that were regarded as global threats that defied neat compartmentation into geographic areas. The Counter Terrorism Center (CTC), which included representatives from the Secret Service, FBI, DIA, NSA, and Pentagon, also incorporated analysts into the process, which was a major break from the principle that analysts and case officers should never mix lest the final product be contaminated by operational or political considerations.

Post 9/11, the allegations that clues to the hijackers had been missed due to excessive compartmentation within the various intelligence and law enforcement agencies meant that the idea of fusion centers like CTC became more popular. It also meant that there was a great demand for officers with paramilitary training to send to places like Afghanistan and eventually Iraq. Spies who had been trained to slowly and carefully develop Russian diplomats for recruitment became less relevant.

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Operations in places like Pakistan became brutal, with low-level agents working for money treated like disposable garbage. When CIA contract officer Raymond Davis was arrested by Pakistani police in 2011 after he shot dead two motorcyclists, who may or may not have been Pakistani intelligence officers, it emerged that he was part of an armed team providing security for meetings with Pakistani agents. Agents would be picked up off the street, stuffed behind the car seat with a blindfold on so they would not know where they were going, taken to a second car where they would be interrogated before they would be paid and again stuffed behind the seat blindfolded to be taken to a spot where they could be dropped off. As a model of CIA agent handling it was not exactly old school.

Inevitably the methodology of CIA operations involving the recruitment and debriefing of agents, referred to as tradecraft, began to be forgotten as older officers retired and the training of new officers emphasized new skills. The agency pretty much began to forget how to spy and how to deal with an untested agent, leading to catastrophes like the 2009 suicide bombing deaths of seven CIA officers at Camp Chapman near Khost in Afghanistan, where an agency base was run by an officer who lacked the relevant experience and made a major security mistake.

And meanwhile more and more of the annual budget was going to the paramilitaries, who provided the physical protection of the burgeoning number of CIA sites and also protection for meetings. The transition to a different agency structure accelerated under President Barack Obama and his director, John Brennan. Brennan favored replacing the former geographic structure with more fusion teams that would include analysts and representatives from other government agencies. Many at CIA believed that Brennan had a particular animus against agency operations, as he had entered CIA hoping to become a case officer but had washed out of the training course. Brennan pushed ahead with his fusion program and also promoted Greg Vogel to be head of Clandestine Services, once described as operations. Vogel was a paramilitary, not a case officer, and inside the CIA it was widely regarded as the final insult to the agency’s spies.

Haspel, who briefly held the position of acting director of the clandestine service, was an integral part of the Brennan regime and generally went along with his preferences, though a source reports that she did dig in her heels at one point when there was a proposal to greatly expand the assassination by drone program. If she did that, it is to her credit and perhaps an indication that she does have limits in terms of what she would do in support of the White House.

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As a result of the 2016 election, there was inevitably a change at the top of the agency. Coming into a CIA that no longer knew how to spy, President Donald Trump’s new director, Mike Pompeo, moved quickly to reverse many of the decisions made by Brennan, but he also brought his own set of likes and dislikes. Officers who worked directly with Pompeo reported that he was controlling, insisting on support among senior officers for whatever policies the White House was promoting. This did not go down well at CIA, where officers prided themselves on being politically neutral with their only guideline being to report developments honestly and analyze objectively. Pompeo also institutionalized greater emphasis on Iran as a prime enemy, creating a task force to address it.

And now there is Ms. Haspel. Insiders believe she will move slowly and cautiously but will continue in the direction set by Pompeo. That means somewhat of a reversion to the traditional agency model, which prevailed when she was being trained and during her first assignments. And given her grilling by the Senate, she will be presumably very cautious about engaging in questionable activities. As a former case officer, I would have to think that is a good thing—traditional spying hopefully without the renditions, the black sites, and the torture.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.




Veteran CIA Analyst Censored, Manhandled

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern was physically thrown out of a Senate confirmation hearing for CIA director Gina Haspel for politely demanding answers on U.S. torture and Ms. Haspel’s role. The police state is alive and well when a 78-year-old man whose spent his life in public service is slammed to the ground, handcuffed, and physically assaulted for asking questions.

By Dave Gahary

If someone served their country by enlisting in the United States Army as an infantry and intelligence officer, and then followed that up by further serving that same country for nearly three more decades as a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst, one might think that such an individual would be accorded a modicum of respect when voicing his opinion at a Senate confirmation hearing for the nomination of the CIA director.

Well, maybe there was a time in this once-great nation’s history when any citizen could voice their opinion in “the People’s House,” but those days are long gone. This was painfully illustrated on May 9 when 78-year-old Raymond L. “Ray” McGovern attempted to have his voice heard at the confirmation hearing for Gina Cheri Haspel, President Donald Trump’s choice to head the CIA, and was manhandled by the tools of the current police state.

Haspel courts much controversy, mostly due to her ties to a CIA “black site” in Thailand—“Detention Site Green,” or “Cat’s Eye,” located inside a Royal Thai Air Force base—used to torture “war on terror” detainees. Holding prisoners in U.S. military custody requires informing the International Committee for the Red Cross, hence the desire for black sites.

According to Wikipedia, a “black site,” or secret prison, is a location where a “black project” is conducted, “a highly classified military or defense project publicly unacknowledged by government, military personnel, and contractors.” It is suspected that black sites have been located on all seven continents of the Earth.

McGovern, who served under seven presidents, from JFK forward, attended the televised confirmation hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building, and spoke to this reporter about his latest encounter with “democracy.”

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“I sat in the audience not knowing exactly what I might do but fearing that it might be really hard to take. And it was,” he said. “The discussion was pretty appalling,” he explained. “The chair, who was pretty much hand-in-glove with the intelligence community that he’s supposed to be supervising, appraised [Haspel] up and down as not only moral but ethical.”

The hearing was broadcast on C-SPAN and ran for 153 minutes, and around 74 minutes into the hearing, it was Sen. Ron Wyden’s (D-Ore.) turn to grill the nominee. McGovern explained how the questioning went.

“ ‘You were in charge of the base there in Thailand, the black site, when [Abd al Rahim] al Nashiri was there,’” McGovern recounted Wyden’s testimony. “ ‘Did you supervise his waterboarding, yes or no, please?’ And Ms. Haspel said, ‘Senator, that’s classified. I wish I could tell you, but it’s classified.’ And Wyden had run out of time.

“Now I’m seething there,” McGovern said, “because the next question that Wyden would’ve asked was, of course, ‘Well, Ms. Haspel, could you tell us who classified that?’ And she would’ve had to say, ‘Well, I did, senator. I classified all the incriminating material that might prevent me from being approved as the next head of the CIA.’ ”

McGovern continued: “With Wyden out of time, I waited for the chair to come in and say, ‘Now, Ms. Haspel, it’s a yes or no question. We actually know the answer, and so do you. Would you let the American people who are tuned in now, would you let them know what the answer is?’ And, of course, she would’ve had to say, ‘Well, yes, Mr. Chairman, the answer is yes.’ ”

The former CIA analyst told AFP, “There’s a war crime, pure and simple. Now, she was allowed to defer that into executive session, and so the American people were deprived of the opportunity to hear that she was directly responsible for the waterboarding and other extreme techniques administered to al Nashiri in Thailand in 2002.”

McGovern, dressed smartly in suit and tie, could contain himself no longer, and at 131 minutes into the hearing, he made his move.

“There was a great, big policeman standing between me and Haspel,” McGovern said. “And so, I waited for him to go to the bathroom and went up there and interrupted one of the senators, and said, ‘I’m sorry to interrupt here, but, Senator Wyden, you deserve a direct answer to your question. It really is a yes or no, and she was guilty of supervising of waterboarding, and no legal opinion can make waterboarding. . . .’ ”

McGovern was quickly surrounded by four Capitol policemen, who took nearly 40 seconds to manhandle him out the door. “And then, of course, these very large Capitol Police descended on me [to prevent me] from saying anything else,” he explained. “Anytime I tried to say something else, they shouted out, as they’re instructed to, ‘Stop resisting, stop resisting!’ I suppose manufacturing evidence that I was resisting when in reality I was not under my own power, as soon as the four lifted me up and dragged me out.”

C-SPAN cameras were not in the hallway, but other video captured the way this almost octogenarian was dealt with for simply speaking his mind. A woman attending the hearing began filming and followed McGovern and the thugs out the doors.

“The saving grace was that there was a very gutsy, young woman with an iPhone filming the whole thing,” explained McGovern, “and even as I was dragged out of the place, lifted out, she followed, she got the whole thing on videotape. When she saw what they were doing to me and they took me down, she said, ‘Don’t hurt him. You’re hurting him.’ ”

The police smashed McGovern to the floor and continued to manhandle him even after he pleaded to them about the chronic dislocation of his left shoulder. In fact, in the video, you can hear an audible pop.

“I didn’t know she was there; thank God she was there,” said McGovern. “But if you’re gonna risk this kind of treatment at the hands of people who are just following orders, then it’s a good thing to have someone who will capture it on film, because number one, then it is on film, and number two, when the cops in charge see it, they have a choice whether they’re going to brutalize yet another person on film, or whether they’re going to stop the brutalization.”

McGovern was transported out of the building to spend 27 hours in a D.C. cellblock, not a pleasant position to be in. He explained why he exposed himself to these conditions.

“When we see this torture that [Haspel] was clearly responsible for,” he explained, “and we see the whitewash done by a committee—many of whose members were approving of those steps—now too embarrassed to backtrack and do the right thing, well, those are violations of the Constitution of the United States, international law, the UN Convention against Torture. And so, what are we to do? We’re to stand up and honor our oath. Now, does that oath that we took—I took it first when I got my commission in 1961—does it have an expiration date, like, ‘Warning, don’t consume this oath after 50 years’? No, there is no expiration date.”

Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, prevailed in a suit brought by the New York Stock Exchange in an attempt to silence him. Dave is the producer of an upcoming film about the attack on the USS Liberty. See the website erasingtheliberty.com for more information.




In New Video, Former CIA Analyst Disputes Claim That Russia Hacked DNC

By AFP Staff

In a new video posted to the Internet, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern contends that the Russians did not hack computers at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Instead, he argues, citing evidence from the intelligence committee, it was elements inside the CIA that made copies of emails and other digital content and leaked them.

McGovern was speaking at the Left Forum, North America’s largest gathering of U.S. and international left-wing activists.

The former spook begins by explaining why the CIA hates Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

“In March, there was a leak that WikiLeaks exposed,” said McGovern in the video. “It was a leak based on a contractor for the CIA, who was appalled at the offensive cyber tools that the CIA had developed in connection with NSA.”

McGovern was referring to the leak of Vault 7, which cost the CIA hundreds of millions of dollars and exposed some of the worst cyber tools in the U.S. intelligence community’s arsenal to include software that could take over a car’s computer or ones that facilitated spying.

That leak, he argued, proved that the CIA and NSA have the capabilities to hack into any computer system and then leave breadcrumbs behind, which fool computer investigators into thinking the crime was perpetrated by someone else. Specifically, McGovern said, it was the CIA’s Digital Intelligence Directorate that used a secret system called Marble Network to hack the DNC computers and then left behind the Russian words and the name of a Russian intelligence figure.

Think the IRS Never Loses Cases? Think again!

Though he does not know who exactly was behind the leaking of internal DNC documents, he believes it was carried out by someone inside the DNC, who copied them and released them online.

How does he know this? McGovern contends that his colleagues in the watchdog group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, who include former NSA officials, told him this is what happened.

Watch the video above for the details, and don’t forget to tell us what you think in the comments below. Do you believe McGovern, or do you think someone else was behind it?




Robert Mueller’s Questionable Past

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Trump, was born, bred, and married into deep state spy families. As S. T. Patrick points out, “some of the more interesting reasons” to question Mueller’s current role may be historical, involving his or his family members’ role in deep state events from the Bay of Pigs, JFK assassination, and Pan Am Flight 103 to 9/11’s Dancing Israelis, the Israeli “art students,” and many others. 

By S. T. Patrick

Robert Mueller is the special counsel tasked with investigating potential Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This appointment has also given Mueller significant leeway in exploring any possible links between the Trump campaign and the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Much has been written about Mueller’s conduct, as well as his methods, but some of the more interesting reasons for questioning Mueller’s role may be historical.

Mueller was born into and then married into a family with high-level ties to covert CIA operations.

Since 1966, Mueller has been married to Ann Cabell Standish. The Cabell family includes Charles Cabell, the deputy director of the CIA under Allen Dulles. As part of the fallout of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Cabell was forced to resign by President John F. Kennedy in January 1962. His brother, Earle Cabell, was the mayor of Dallas in 1963 where and when Kennedy was assassinated. The 2017 JFK document releases have also proven that Mayor Cabell was a CIA asset.

Kingdom Identity

Mueller, himself, is a relative of Richard Bissell, the CIA’s director of plans at the time when it utilized the U-2 spy plane, formed closer ties to the mafia, planned assassination plots against Castro, and directed the Bay of Pigs invasion.

During his tenure with the Justice Department under President George H.W. Bush, Mueller supervised the prosecutions of Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, the Lockerbie bombing (Pan Am Flight 103) case, and Gambino crime boss John Gotti. In the Noriega case, Mueller ignored the ties to the Bush family that Victor Thorn illustrated in Hillary (and Bill): The Drugs Volume, Part Two of the Clinton Trilogy.* Noriega had long been associated with CIA operations that involved drug smuggling, money laundering, and arms running. Thorn significantly links Noriega to Bush family involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal.

Regarding Pan Am Flight 103, the culprit has swayed with the immediate need for a villain. Pro-Palestinian activists, Libyans, and Iranians have all officially been blamed when U.S.  intelligence and the mainstream mass media needed to paint each as the antagonist to American freedom. Mueller toed the line, publicly ignoring rumors that agents onboard were said to have learned that a CIA drug-smuggling operation was afoot in conjunction with Pan Am flights. According to the theory, the agents were going to take their questions to Congress upon landing. The flight blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Rogue Spooks, by Dick Morris
Rogue Spooks: The Intelligence War on Donald Trump, is available from the AFP Online Store in print and audio versions.

In 1995, Mueller worked under Eric Holder as the senior litigator in the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney’s Office. When Holder was appointed to the position of deputy attorney general under Janet Reno in 1997, he urged President Bill Clinton to make Mueller the U.S. attorney for San Francisco.

As the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California in 2000, Mueller “strongly opposed” Patty Hearst’s application for a presidential pardon. Mueller wrote, “The attitude of Hearst has always been that she is a person above the law and that, based on her wealth and social position, she is not accountable for her conduct, despite the jury’s verdict.”

As author Brad Schreiber noted in Revolution’s End, the 1974 kidnapping of Hearst was an eventual effect of the CIA-created Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). By vehemently arguing that Hearst was responsible for her association with the SLA—rather than being a victim in a FBI Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) operation gone haywire—Mueller protected the FBI from bearing any responsibility for the SLA’s origin or actions.

Shortly after his inauguration, President George W. Bush chose Mueller to head the FBI. As news organizations were vetting Mueller in 2001, The New York Times stumbled upon former associates who remembered Mueller’s reactions to critics who had questioned the FBI’s actions at Ruby Ridge. During an 11-day siege, officers of the U.S. Marshals and FBI killed Randy Weaver’s wife and 14-year-old son.

“Associates recall his anger at members of Congress and others for criticism of the FBI’s 1992 siege of a separatist family at Ruby Ridge in Idaho,” reported Neil A. Lewis. The New York Times further reported the popularity Mueller garnered from officers at both the FBI and the IRS.

Mueller was at the helm of the FBI on Sept. 11, 2001. Many independent researchers have questioned Mueller’s handling of the “five dancing Israelis” who worked for Urban Moving Systems. Callers to the FBI office in New Jersey reported five dancing Middle Eastern men watching and celebrating in clear view as the World Trade Center was destroyed. The Forward, a Jewish weekly publication, later reported that the FBI concluded that at least two of the five Israelis were Mossad agents. It was also concluded that Urban Moving Systems was a Mossad front operation. Unfathomably, the Israeli agents were quietly released from detention.

Also downplayed was the story of the Israelis who claimed to be capitalistic art students. They were traveling the country in hopes of hawking their questionably artistic wares at top-secret facilities and at the homes of those who worked at sensitive security locations. Though the “students” had been reported by the U.S. Marshals, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Air Force, the Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the FBI itself, the issue was largely ignored in the FBI’s testimony to the 9/11 Commission and by Mueller himself.

Mueller’s history goes deeper than partisanship or personal grudges. He is the consummate establishment insider, a role into which he was born and then married. His résumé has been built upon pleasing those whose career trajectories, family histories, and loyalty to the deep state guide their assignments, associations, and maneuvers. Any hope that Mueller will conduct an impartial investigation of the Trump campaign staff seems whimsical, at best.

The apparent tactics of Mueller’s office seemingly reside in the faulty “There’s the man. . . . Now go find the crime” strategy. If there is fault, it will lie at the feet of individuals, not institutions. This is Mueller’s history and the modus operandi of a career insider who has flourished protecting the interests of his most loyal allies.

*Victor Thorn’s Hillary (and Bill): The Drugs Volume—Part Two of the Clinton Trilogy is available from the AFP Online Store for $30. Order online or send cash, check, or money order to AFP, 16000 Trade Zone Ave., Unit 406, Upper Marlboro, Md. 20774. To order by credit card or cryptocurrency, call 888-699-6397, Mon.-Thu. 9-5.

S. T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected].




Hearst Kidnapping Was CIA Op

The author of a new book has powerfully countered CNN propaganda, boldly challenging the accepted mainstream version of “the most notorious American kidnapping since the baby of Charles and Anne Lindbergh was taken in 1932.” In doing so, Brad Schreiber exposes how the U.S. undermines dissident groups through revealing the real history of the Symbionese Liberation Army’s kidnapping of media mogul heiress Patty Hearst. 

By S. T. Patrick

Political kidnappings are rare in North America. More common in Latin America, South Asia, and Africa, they are most often used to gain political concessions, commodity control, money, notoriety or a combination of the four. Someone who may be valuable to a wealthy and powerful entity is kidnapped in exchange for something that is of value to the kidnappers.

Patricia (Patty) Campbell Hearst was an heir to the publishing fortune of William Randolph Hearst. She was valuable. The Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) and their leader, Donald DeFreeze, wanted to make a statement that would instantly gain them notoriety through the media, a business the Hearsts knew very well.

When Hearst, a sophomore at the University of California-Berkeley, was kidnapped by members of the SLA on Feb. 4, 1974 there was reason to believe the motives were political and monetary. When no ransom demand was given to California authorities, the media began reporting the story as a political kidnapping. It quickly became the most notorious American kidnapping since the baby of Charles and Anne Lindbergh was taken in 1932. As the story unfolded, the characters, events, and history behind the kidnapping became even more bizarre than what was being reported.

In Revolution’s End: The Patty Hearst Kidnapping, Mind Control, and the Secret History of Donald DeFreeze and the SLA, author Brad Schreiber boldly challenges what is still the accepted mainstream version of the story. It is the mainstream version that was featured on CNN’s recent docuseries, “The Radical Story of Patty Hearst.” In challenging the CNN version of the story with documents and archival interviews that have been available since researcher Dick Russell revealed them in 1976, Schreiber is also challenging the work of CNN’s legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, on whose work the CNN series was based.

While Toobin’s work focuses largely on Hearst, Schreiber’s research delves deeper into the history and ideologies of the SLA and DeFreeze, both of which stem from California Gov. Ronald Reagan’s attempts at infiltrating left-wing political groups. California’s infiltration project was led by Reagan’s attorney general, Evelle Younger, as well as the CIA.

Three months before the Hearst kidnapping, the SLA had been responsible for killing Marcus Foster, the first black superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District. The killing baffled journalists and officials. The SLA had come to prominence as a radical left-wing group concerned mainly about the plight of black Americans. The Foster murder created a rift between the SLA and the Black Panthers, which had formed in Oakland in 1966. It is senseless unless you view the rift as an intentionally created one, as Schreiber does.

While DeFreeze was incarcerated at Vacaville Prison, he became associated with the Black Cultural Association (BCA), a group led by UC-Berkeley professor and CIA asset Colston Westbrook. The BCA would bring white, radical students into the prison to help facilitate political and educational discussions with black inmates housed in a wing used and funded by the CIA for mind control and sociological experimentation projects.

It was through the BCA that Hearst first met the incarcerated DeFreeze. Using a fraudulent ID of friend Mary Alice Siem in a time when prison rules were much more lax, she then began sending money to DeFreeze. Hearst and two of Westbrook’s other volunteers, Patricia Soltysik and Nancy Ling Perry, also engaged in sexual activity with DeFreeze while at Vacaville. DeFreeze and other prisoners targeted by Westbrook were placed on heavy doses of medication.

American Freedom Party Conference in Tennessee

DeFreeze was offered a deal by the California Department of Corrections and the CIA. He would be released (portrayed as an escape) in exchange for starting a phony left-wing group—the SLA—and working in chaotic opposition to the goals of the Black Panthers and the New Left. Westbrook would serve as the control agent for DeFreeze, who had previously been used as an informant to set up the Black Panthers for the Los Angeles Police Department.

After DeFreeze left prison, he was reunited with Soltysik and Perry, who became SLA members. The group’s spurious origins were known by Westbrook and DeFreeze, but not by its white, radical members.

“None of the core 10 white followers of the SLA ever knew that DeFreeze was working for the state,” Schreiber said in an interview with this writer. “They believed it was a radical group, and they believed in revolution. They thought America was a racist country . . . and they thought that the Vietnam War was an immoral war. They were following a black prisoner . . . and they had no idea he was setting them up. . . . They were following DeFreeze blindly.”

According to Schreiber, the kidnapping of Hearst was undertaken by the SLA because DeFreeze felt abandoned by Hearst and had animus toward her. It was, therefore, a personal kidnapping and was neither political nor random. Schreiber believes that Hearst did not expect the kidnapping, nor did she take a willing part in it.

Aside from DeFreeze, the SLA members treated Hearst well. She was already politically radical. DeFreeze employed the use of drugs, intimidation, and sex with other members to mentally coerce Hearst into participating with the SLA in the Hibernia Bank robbery and other activities.

Schreiber is often indignant at the mainstream’s focus on the Hearst angle in the story. Reagan, Younger, and the CIA bear responsibility for the programs by which false left-wing groups were created in California. One of those groups, the SLA, murdered a school superintendent before engaging in a robbery of a San Francisco bank. In a later shootout with the LAPD, six SLA members were killed.

The focus of the story, to Schreiber, is the infiltration of the left, the corruption of the California Department of Corrections, the murder of school superintendent Foster, and the sad deaths of the group’s committed believers.

Schreiber’s point of view is a reminder that the truth of history can be found through dissecting the story of someone the mainstream media views as a minor character. Schreiber found both the truth and the true tragedy of the story within the biographies of the supposedly extraneous figures that surrounded Patty Hearst in 1974 rather than through biographies of Hearst herself.

S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News” show. His email is [email protected]




Pompeo and Haspel are Symptoms of a Deeper Problem

What most threatens our republic, says Ron Paul, is not the particular war-mongering neocons President Trump wants to appoint to the State Department and CIA but “that both federal agencies are routinely engaged in activities that are both unconstitutional and anti-American” and the wider executive branch over-reach.

By Ron Paul

President Donald Trump’s recent cabinet shake-up looks to be a real boost to hardline militarism and neoconservatism. If his nominees to head the State Department and CIA are confirmed, we may well have moved closer to war.

Before being chosen by Trump to head up the CIA, Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo was one of the most pro-war members of Congress. He has been militantly hostile toward Iran, and many times has erroneously claimed that Iran is the world’s number one state sponsor of terror. The truth is, Iran neither attacks nor threatens the United States.

At a time when Trump appears set to make history by meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un face-to-face, Pompeo remains dedicated to a “regime change” policy that leads to war, not diplomacy and peace. He blames Iran—rather than the 2003 U.S. invasion—for the ongoing disaster in Iraq. He enthusiastically embraced the Bush policy of “enhanced interrogation,” which the rest of us call “torture.”

American Freedom Party Conference in Tennessee

Speaking of torture, even if some of the details of Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel’s involvement in the torture of Abu Zubaydah are disputed, the mere fact that she helped develop an interrogation regimen that our own government admitted was torture, that she oversaw an infamous “black site” where torture took place, and that she covered up the evidence of her crimes should automatically disqualify her for further government service.

In a society that actually valued the rule of law, Haspel may be facing time in a much different kind of federal facility than CIA headquarters.

While it may be disappointing to see people like Pompeo as secretary of state and Haspel as the head of the CIA, it shouldn’t be all that surprising. The few areas where Trump’s actions are consistent with candidate Trump’s promises are ripping up the nuclear deal with Iran and embracing the torture policies of Bush. Candidate Trump in late 2015 promised to bring back waterboarding “and a whole lot worse” if he became president. It seems that is his intention with the elevation of Pompeo and Haspel to the most senior positions in his administration.

We should be concerned, of course, but the real problem is not really Pompeo or Haspel. It is partly true that “personnel is policy,” but it’s more than just that. It matters less who fills the position of secretary of state or CIA director when the real issue is that both federal agencies are routinely engaged in activities that are both unconstitutional and anti-American. It is the current executive branch over-reach that threatens our republic more than the individuals who fill positions in that executive branch. As long as Congress refuses to exercise its constitutional authority and oversight obligations—especially in matters of war and peace—we will continue our slide toward authoritarianism, where the president becomes a kind of king who takes us to war whenever he wishes.

I am heartened to see some senators—including Sen. Rand Paul—pledging to oppose Trump’s nominees for State and CIA. Let’s hope many more join him—and let’s hope the rest of the Congress wakes up to its role as first among equals in our political system.

Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas and medical doctor, continues to write his weekly column for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, online at www.ronpaulinstitute.org.




Phil Giraldi Speaks Candidly With AFP

Former Army intelligence and CIA agent Philip Giraldi confirmed recently there is indeed a limit to free speech in America—even amongst “conservatives.” When it comes to criticizing neoconservatives’ Israel-first policy, repercussions are swift.

By Dave Gahary

George Orwell once said, “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.”

That ominous warning was clearly on display last month when Philip Giraldi—one of the heavyweights who has been able to cross the line between the alternative media and the established media—was banned from writing for The American Conservative magazine, where he had been a contributor since its inception, because they didn’t like an article he wrote—not for them, but for another publication.

AFP Podcast

Giraldi, born in New Jersey and educated at the University of Chicago and the University of London, served in U.S. Army intelligence during the Vietnam War and was a CIA operations officer, i.e., agent, for 17 years. Since his time with “the Agency,” Giraldi has been writing for several websites and magazines about national security issues and most particularly about the war on terror.

He has also been the executive director for the past seven years of the 30-year-old Council for the National Interest (CNI), founded by former U.S. diplomats “outraged by the U.S. policy in the Middle East, which was favoring Israel very heavily and damaging our other interests in the region,” explained Giraldi in an exclusive interview with American Free Press.

CNI’s objective is to change “U.S. policy to make it more aligned with U.S. interests and less with Israeli interests,” he added.

The hullaballoo over some words started Sept. 19 when Giraldi penned a 1,483-word piece entitled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars: Shouldn’t they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?” The story may have been relegated to appealing to the choir, if not for a chance event.

 

Giraldi explained what happened.

“Valerie Plame is a former CIA officer like myself,” he began. “She’s best known for involvement with her husband, Joe Wilson, who was in Niger to see if Iraq was buying uranium. This was before the war against Iraq. [Wilson] came back and said, ‘No way, this had never happened.’ And when he did that he was punished, but his wife was punished worse. She was a serving CIA officer, undercover, and Scooter Libby, who was an advisor to Vice President Cheney—and an ardent Zionist, I might add—was so angered by this that he leaked her name and identity to the media, The Washington Post, which picked up on it.”

He continued: “She has been punished again, because she made the mistake of seeing my article online and reading it and then making a comment that it was interesting material. She got jumped on by all and sundry of the Jewish oligarchy in the media and she apologized repeatedly, but they didn’t let up on her for a whole week. I suspect that the fact that she got into the story, and the story then made national news, was what made the story have the kind of currency that it got. I think if she had not been involved, my story would’ve been like other articles that I’ve written where people will say, ‘He’s just another crackpot; he’s an anti-Israeli crackpot.’ ”

Ms. Plame sent the article out to her followers on the social media platform Twitter, and “the Jewish oligarchy in the media” used the “anti-Semitic trick” to get her to grovel and genuflect.

The upside of Ms. Plame’s tweet was the exposure Giraldi’s article received, as well as a follow-up piece he wrote on Oct. 3, entitled “How I Got Fired: Exposing Jewish power in America has real consequences.”

“The original article’s been viewed about 150,000 times,” Giraldi said, “and the comments [responding to the online article] are up to about 1,500. The second article has had about 60,000 views and I think it just broke 1,000 in terms of comments. And some of my older articles also found a new readership as a result and are approaching 50,000 views. So it certainly had a dramatic impact in terms of getting the message out.”

Considering all the exposure his articles had received, AFP asked if the mainstream media reached out to him for comment, as they were relentlessly skewering him.

“The short answer is, ‘No,’ ” he said. “No established mainstream-type outlets have gotten in touch with me, even though the story has been all over the place. It was in The Washington Post, it was in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times; it was everywhere. It was on MSNBC, CNN. But nobody has gotten in touch with me to talk about this. However, from the alternative media, I’ve been run off my feet, in terms of doing interviews, in terms of talking about what this all means.”

Giraldi continued: “Unfortunately, we are seeing the classic exploitation of the heavy Jewish presence over-representation in the media and entertainment industries, to make sure these kinds of stories don’t get out. How long they’re going to be able to do that, I don’t know. I’ve long felt that what the Israelis have been doing to the Palestinians and also to all of their neighbors is totally indefensible. So how long do you keep this fiction going? I don’t know. I don’t have an answer to that.”

IRS Loses Cases

 

Giraldi explained to this newspaper what he wrote about and why it caused a stir.

“The article was about what I was describing as Jewish power, the ability of Jewish groups and individuals to distort our foreign policy in the Middle East to benefit Israel and to the damage of the United States,” he said. “And I think what set these people off was the fact that I didn’t use a euphemism about who these people were: I said that they were Jewish. And very often you’ll see people writing about Middle East policies and they’ll use expressions like ‘the Israel lobby’ or ‘Zionist’ or ‘neoconservatives.’ But [they are] fudging the basic issue. The basic issue is that this is Jewish money, this is Jewish people with access to the political class and with lots of money, and creating these foundations and organizations that only exist to benefit the Jewish state.”

Giraldi was emphatic that he was not talking about all Jews. He said he was only referring to a select few.

“Not all Jews by any means,” he said, “but I was indicting these people by name. I mentioned who they were and what the organizations were. These organizations are, as far as I’m concerned, committing treason.”

The article made a few recommendations as well, in order to return this once-great nation to the people it was created to serve.

“Actually, I made two proposals,” he explained. “I said, ‘Look, if you’ve got a guy like Bill Kristol—a leading neoconservative and great lover of Israel—on television, and he’s talking about the Middle East and Middle East policy, it might be nice to have a label underneath to tell people who are listening that don’t know about him, that this is a guy who’s partisan.’ And it was kind of a lighthearted comment, because I knew this was never going to happen, but I immediately got jumped on by the usual crowd—like Alan Dershowitz—for this ‘outrageous, anti-Semitic slur.’

“And the other proposal I made was that for Jewish officials in the government who are involved with policymaking, I said, ‘Well, look, if you’re Jewish and you have strong feelings about Israel, when the issue of what the policy should be in Syria or in Iran or indeed in Israel, you should recuse yourself, just like a judge would do in a trial in which he had a personal interest.’ It seemed to make extremely good sense to me to suggest that, and, of course, I got bombed for that one, too.”

Shortly after the article appeared online, Giraldi got a call. “I received a call from the editor [at The American Conservative] about two days after it came out,” Giraldi explained, “telling me that it was completely unacceptable by their standards, and as a result they were terminating their relationship with me.”

AFP asked if his firing sets a dangerous precedent.

“Yeah, we’re in danger,” he said, “because I think the example of what happened to me will keep anyone else from crossing that line and using what I refer to as the ‘J’ word. And I think a lot of people have already figured that out.”

One of the founders of The American Conservative was Pat Buchanan, and his 2003 article, “Whose War? A neoconservative clique seeks to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interest,” about Jewish political power, set the stage for the anti-war magazine.

“That’s the irony about this whole thing,” Giraldi said. “Pat Buchanan became famous—or infamous, depending on how you want to look at it—when he wrote [that] article denouncing the war in Iraq. And he basically said the same thing that I did. And so here we have the irony of the guy who founded the magazine 15 years ago, and here I’m continuing this tradition of asking the same questions he was asking, and I get fired for it.”

AFP asked what he felt has transpired between the time Buchanan wrote his article and now.

“I think what has happened is that everybody in the publishing industry, which has changed dramatically in the past 15, 20 years, is scrambling for the same dollars, looking for money to survive,” he said. “I suspect what’s happened with The American Conservative, like many other publications, is that they have to basically triangulate where their money is coming from and they move toward what they think is the center. And that means that views that are even quite legitimate—which I feel my viewpoint was—are considered to be too dangerous and too risky. In this case it was too dangerous and too risky even to have me around.”

One of the bright spots of this rather sad affair is the support Giraldi has received.

“I’ve had a lot of calls from friends and people whom actually I didn’t even know,” Giraldi explained, “telling me that, ‘Look, it’s about time that we change the way we think and talk about this issue because there clearly is a superbly well-organized and funded cabal out there which is doing a lot of damage to the United States, and we have to talk clearly about what this means.’ ”

Giraldi next addressed another glaring example of Jewish control over America’s political institutions most painfully illustrated through Senate Bill 720, Sen. Benjamin Cardin’s (D-Md.) Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which “would make it a felony for U.S. citizens to support boycotts of Israel and Israeli settlements, punishable by at least a $250,000 fine, with a maximum penalty of a fine of $1 million and 20 years in prison.”

AFP covered this topic in the Oct. 9 & 16 issue on page 15. In the Senate, there are 49 cosponsors—36 Republican and 13 Democrat—and 261 in the House, where it was introduced by Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), from both sides of the aisle. Naturally, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has made the anti-First Amendment measure’s passage one of the group’s top lobbying priorities for the year.

“I had lunch yesterday with a university professor and he told me his tale,” Giraldi said. “He teaches a course in international relations, and as part of the syllabus he had an article that was talking about the Middle East and the author of the article—this was not him, it was the author of the article—had a comment about Israel and its neighbors. The comment was essentially that Israel has very strict immigration laws, but Jewish Americans who support Israel want open immigration in the United States. The article was basically [pointing out that] there’s a contradiction in the way Jewish supporters of Israel see the world.  And this professor was admonished for being an anti-Semite and was almost fired as a result.”

Giraldi concluded the interview by alluding to the obvious.

“When all is said and done the punishment that has been meted out to me and Valerie Plame proves my point: The friends of Israel rule by coercion, intimidation, and through fear,” he said. “If we suffer through a catastrophic war with Iran, fought to placate Benjamin Netanyahu, many people might begin to ask ‘Why?’ But identifying the real cause would involve criticism of what some American Jews have been doing, which is not only fraught with consequences but something that also will possibly become illegal thanks to congressional attempts to criminalize such activity. We Americans will stand by mutely as we begin to wonder what has happened to our country, and some who are perceptive will even begin to ask why a tiny client state has been allowed to manipulate and bring ruin on the world’s only superpower. Unfortunately, at that point it will be too late to do anything about.”

Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, prevailed in a suit brought by the New York Stock Exchange in an attempt to silence him. Dave is the producer of an upcoming full-length feature film about the attack on the USS Liberty. See erasingtheliberty.com for more information and to get the new book on which the movie will be based, Erasing the Liberty.

 

Who Really Drives America’s Wars?

• Columnist for American Conservative canned for voicing taboo opinions

By Philip Giraldi Ispoke recently at a conference on America’s war party where afterwards an elderly gentleman came up to me and asked, “Why doesn’t anyone ever speak honestly about the 600-pound gorilla in the room? Nobody has mentioned Israel in this conference and we all know it’s American Jews with all their money and power who are supporting every war in the Middle East for [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.

Shouldn’t we start calling them out and not letting them get away with it?” It was a question combined with a comment that I have heard many times before and my answer is always the same: Any organization that aspires to be heard on foreign policy knows that to touch the live wire of Israel and American Jews guarantees a quick trip to obscurity. Jewish groups and deep-pocketed individual donors not only control the politicians, they own and run the media and entertainment industries, meaning that no one will hear about or from the offending party ever again.

They are particularly sensitive on the issue of socalled “dual loyalty,” particularly as the expression itself is a bit of a sham since it is pretty clear that some of them only have real loyalty to Israel. Most recently, some pundits, including myself, have been warning of an impending war with Iran.

To be sure, the urging to strike Iran comes from many quarters, to include generals in the administration who always think first in terms of settling problems through force, from a Saudi government obsessed with fear over Iranian hegemony, and, of course, from Israel itself.

But what makes the war engine run is provided by American Jews who have taken upon themselves the onerous task of starting a war with a country that does not conceivably threaten the United States. They have been very successful at faking the Iranian threat, so much so that nearly all Republican and most Democratic congressmen as well as much of the media seem to be convinced that Iran needs to be dealt with firmly, most definitely by using the U.S. military, and the sooner the better.

And while they are doing it, the issue that nearly all the Iran haters are Jewish has somehow fallen out of sight, as if it does not matter. But it should matter. A recent article in The New Yorker on stopping the impending war with Iran strangely suggests that the current generation of “Iran hawks” might be a force of moderation regarding policy options given the lessons learned from Iraq.

The article cites as hardliners on Iran David Frum, Max Boot, Bill Kristol, and Bret Stephens. Daniel Larison over at The American Conservative has a good review of The New Yorker piece entitled “Yes, Iran Hawks Want Conflict with Iran,” which identifies the four above-cited hawks by name before describing them as “. . . a who’s who of consistently lousy foreign policy thinking.

If they have been right about any major foreign policy issue in the last 20 years, it would be news to the entire world. Every single one of them hates the nuclear deal with Iran with a passion, and they have argued in favor of military action against Iran at one point or another. There is zero evidence that any of them would oppose attacking Iran.”

And I would add a few more names: Mark Dubowitz, Michael Ledeen, and Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum; John Podhoretz of Commentary magazine; Elliot Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations; Meyrav Wurmser of the Middle East Media Research Institute; Kimberly Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War; and Frederick Kagan, Danielle Pletka, and David Wurmser of the American Enterprise Institute. And you can also throw into the hopper entire organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), and the Hudson Institute. And yep, they’re all Jewish, plus most of them would self-describe as neoconservatives.

I might add that only one of the named individuals has ever served in any branch of the American military— David Wurmser was once in the Navy reserve. These individuals largely constitute a cabal of sanctimonious chairborne warriors who prefer to do the heavy thinking while they let others do the fighting and dying. So it is safe to say that much of the agitation to do something about Iran comes from Israel and from American Jews.

Indeed, I would opine that most of the fury from Congress regarding Iran comes from the same source, with AIPAC showering our solons on the Potomac with “fact sheets” explaining how Iran is worthy of annihilation because it has pledged to “destroy Israel,” which is both a lie and an impossibility, as Tehran does not have the resources to carry out such a task.

The AIPAC lies are then picked up and replayed by an obliging media, where nearly every “expert” who speaks about the Middle East on television and radio or who is interviewed for newspaper stories is Jewish. One might also add that neocons as a group were founded by Jews and are largely Jewish, hence their universal attachment to the state of Israel. They first rose into prominence when they obtained a number of national security positions during the Reagan administration, and their ascendancy was completed when they staffed senior positions in the Pentagon and White House under George W. Bush. Recall for a moment Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, and Scooter Libby.

Yes, all Jewish and all conduits for the false information that led to a war that has spread and effectively destroyed much of the Middle East—except for Israel, of course. [9/11 Commission executive director] Philip Zelikow, also Jewish, in a moment of candor, admitted that the Iraq War, in his opinion, was fought for Israel. Add to the folly a Jewish U.S. ambassador to Israel who identifies with the most right-wing Israeli settler elements, a White House appointed chief negotiator who is Jewish, and a Jewish son-in-law who is also involved in formulating Middle East policy. Is anyone providing an alternative viewpoint to eternal and uncritical support for Netanyahu and his kleptocratic regime of racist thugs? I think not.

There are a couple of simple fixes for the dominant involvement of American Jews in foreign policy issues where they have a personal interest due to their ethnicity or family ties. First of all, don’t put them into national security positions involving the Middle East, where they will potentially be conflicted. Let them worry instead about North Korea, which does not have a Jewish minority and which was not involved in the holocaust.

This type of solution was, in fact, somewhat of a policy regarding the U.S. ambassador position in Israel. No Jew was appointed to avoid any conflict of interest prior to 1995, an understanding that was violated by Bill Clinton (wouldn’t you know it!) who named Martin Indyk to the post. Indyk was not even an American citizen at the time and had to be naturalized quickly prior to being approved by Congress.

Those American Jews who are strongly attached to Israel and somehow find themselves in senior policy-making positions involving the Middle East and who actually possess any integrity on the issue should recuse themselves, just as any judge would do if he were presiding over a case in which he had a personal interest. Any American should be free to exercise First Amendment rights to debate possible options regarding policy, up to and including embracing positions that damage the United States and benefit a foreign nation.

But if he or she is in a position to actually create those policies, he or she should butt out and leave the policy generation to those who have no personal baggage. For those American Jews who lack any shred of integrity, the media should be required to label them at the bottom of the television screen whenever they pop up, e.g., Bill Kristol is “Jewish and an outspoken supporter of the state of Israel.” That would be kind of like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison—translating roughly as “ingest even the tiniest little dosage of the nonsense spewed by Bill Kristol at your own peril.”

As none of the above is likely to happen, the only alternative is for American citizens who are tired of having their country’s national security interests hijacked by a group that is in thrall to a foreign government to become more assertive about what is happening. Shine a little light into the darkness and recognize who is being diddled and by whom. Call it like it is. And if someone’s feelings are hurt, too bad. We don’t need a war with Iran because Israel wants one and some rich and powerful American Jews are happy to deliver. Seriously, we don’t need it.




U.S. Picks a Fight in Syria

Not content to allow the Syrian war to wind down, the Pentagon and the CIA continue to escalate tension. Now, they’ve shot down a Syrian army jet bound for radical Islamic targets, which Russia declared an “act of war,” in the warmongers’ latest efforts to protect their creation, ISIS. 

By Matthew Raphael Johnson

The United States has shot down a Syrian army jet on a mission to hit radical Islamic targets near Raqqa. To say that the U.S. is waging war against ISIS would be willful dishonesty. In truth, ISIS was the creation of U.S. and Israeli intelligence.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister rightly called the shooting down of the jet not only an “act of war” but also “support for terrorists.” This is something the Russian government has known for some time. As Russia makes plans to dump the dollar and as the present depression continues to wrack the U.S., the elite are demanding war.

The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that any planes interfering with the war on ISIS will be “intercepted“ by the Russian Air Force. This is the escalation the American ruling class wanted.

“In areas where Russian aviation is conducting combat missions in the Syrian skies, any flying objects, including jets and unmanned aerial vehicles of the international coalition discovered west of the Euphrates River will be followed by Russian air and ground defenses as air targets,” the Russian Defense Ministry announced.

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There is a telephone line, a channel established between Russia and the U.S. in the case of any intensification of tension. Russia claims that this was not used prior to the incident. The U.S. denies this claim.

Ironically, the U.S. stated: “The Coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. . . . The Coalition does not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russia, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat.”

No one can possibly believe this. The purpose of the attack was to defend ISIS, not defeat it. Whenever the Syrian Army liberates a town from ISIS, they find tons of Israeli and American weapons.

The U.S. military claims that the Syrian army plane was sent to attack the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a “moderate” group whose founding purpose was to make war on the Syrian government. Damascus claims the jet was headed toward an ISIS camp, one that the SDF was protecting.

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The SDF allegedly seeks a “stable, secular” Syria, which is precisely what Syria was prior to the creation of this present war. American sponsorship of this Kurdish group deeply alienates Turkey, showing the continued disaster of U.S. Mideast policy.

It’s worth mentioning that most prisoners of war taken in this conflict by Russian or Syrian forces are not Syrians.

The SDF admitted its use of the banned white phosphorus shells in its operations against Damascus. The Russian military states that the purpose of the SDF is to act as a buffer between ISIS and the Syrian government, hindering Russian and Syrian forces.

In a recent interview with Le Figaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated about the U.S.: “Presidents come and go, but policy remains the same. Do you know why that is? Because the bureaucracy has too much power. A president is elected with new ideas. Then men in dark suits come and visit him. They tell him what to do.” This is the foundation of this reckless attack on Syria. Other, non-elected, forces have control over foreign policy.

On May 20 of this year, presidential spokesman Brett McGurk stated, “There is no government in Syria and we will never cooperate with the Assad regime.” Since the U.S. considers Assad illegitimate, any violation of Syrian sovereignty is warranted; anything goes. This is in contradiction to the military’s position stated above, because factions backed by the CIA are fighting factions backed by the Pentagon. The SDF is the Pentagon’s creation, called “our troops” by U.S. generals, while al Qaeda’s various offshoots are backed by the CIA. The larger question as to why the U.S. has authority to back any side in this war is a question few in the halls of power are asking.

This is why “self-defense” is the justification for the attack on the Syrian jet. Since these troops are essentially proxies of the Pentagon, it is considered no differently than if the warplane were going to attack Fort Leavenworth.

Recently, the Assad government was winding down this war, which in its seventh year has claimed more than 450,000 lives. Dissatisfied, however, both the CIA and Pentagon poured more money into these factions, making sure they had the resources to keep the war going.

Matthew Raphael Johnson, Ph.D. is originally from Union County, N.J. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska, writing his dissertation on Michael Oakeshott’s critique of modernity. His first job out of college was working with The Barnes Review. He is a former professor of history at Mt. St. Mary’s University in Emmetsville, Md. Matt resides in Franklin County, Pa., where he teaches and writes on Russian history and politics. Matt’s latest books Russian Populist: The Political Thought of Vladimir Putin and The Third Rome: Holy Russia, Tsarism and Orthodoxy are available from TBR Book Club. Send payment with request to TBR. 16000 Trade Zone Avenue, Unit 406, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774. Order online at www.BarnesReview.com or call 1-877-773-9077 toll free to charge.




Unsealed FISA Court Order Reveals Warrantless Surveillance by Obama Administration in 2016

While Trump’s Justice Department has stepped in to slightly limit the surveillance reach of U.S. intelligence agencies, we may have a much bigger problem than most Americans realize when it comes to the guidelines intended to safeguard our 4th Amendment rights.

By Robert Romano

An unsealed April 26 court ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court found that the Obama administration had violated “the NSA’s minimization procedures involving queries of data acquired under Section 702 using U.S. person identifiers. The full scope of non-compliant querying practices had not been previously disclosed to the Court.”

Under FISA, the court is supposed to determine whether the minimization procedures—those that are supposed to seal the identities of U.S. persons swept up in foreign surveillance—comply with Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

An example of those rules falls under USSID 18, which governs the collection, retention, and then dissemination of foreign intelligence gathered to and from U.S. persons.

Those rules are promulgated by the attorney general under 50 USC 1801(h)(2), which provides that they include “procedures that require that nonpublicly available information, which is not foreign intelligence information, as defined in subsection (e)(1), shall not be disseminated in a manner that identifies any United States person, without such person’s consent, unless such person’s identity is necessary to understand foreign intelligence information or assess its importance.”

Under USSID 18, to have kept the communications would have required either sign-off from the attorney general if he or she believes that the “contents indicate a threat of death or seriously bodily harm to any person,” under Section 5.4.a., or the director of the National Security Agency, under 5.4.d., if he or she determines the communications contain “significant foreign intelligence” or “evidence of a crime or threat of death or serious bodily harm to any person.”

For these U.S. persons to have been included in a report for dissemination could have only occurred if, under Section 7.2.c., the “appropriate approval authority” determined “[t]he identity of the U.S. person is necessary to understand foreign intelligence information or assess its importance” or “[t]he information is evidence that the individual may be involved in a crime that has been, is being, or is about to be committed, provided that the dissemination is for law enforcement purposes.”

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What the FISA Court is saying in its April 26 ruling is that these bare minimal rules, which do not even require a warrant to unmask a U.S. person, were not being followed. Since all the agents must show is that the information is relevant to foreign intelligence matters, that is saying something. The only explanation is that, in those cases, the searches had no bearing on foreign intelligence gathering.

According to reporting by John Solomon and Sarah Carter of “Circa.com,” “More than 5%, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.”

Circa could not ascertain how many such inappropriate searches had occurred, as the information was classified, but it does provide a window into how the FISA Court responds to these instances even when there are violations.

The federal government under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has since applied to the FISA Court to change those minimization rules on March 30, which the court granted on April 26. Two days later, on April 28, the National Security Agency issued a statement that it “will no longer collect certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target.”

According to the court ruling, “Under the revised procedures, the government may acquire communications to which United States persons and persons within the United States are parties when such persons communicate with a Section 702 target.”

The court praised this move, stating, “The Court agrees that the removal of ‘abouts’ communications eliminates the types of communications presenting the Court the greatest level of constitutional and statutory concern.”

This appears to indicate American citizens who were merely mentioning the name of a foreign target were being subjected to surveillance and potentially unmasked without warrants.

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Information previously gathered on this basis will now be destroyed: “Revisions to the NSA Minimization Procedures now state that all Internet transactions acquired on or before [March 17] and existing in NSA’s institutionally managed repositories will be sequestered pending destruction such that ‘NSA personnel will not be able to access the[m] for analytical purposes.’ NSA will destroy such sequestered Internet transactions as soon as practicable through an accelerated age-off process.”

The new rules appear to be a sharp departure from previous practice, but do they go far enough to reform minimization abuses?

In assessing whether minimization procedures are constitutional, the court applies the so-called reasonableness standard, that is, those exceptions to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement to perform a search. These typically include situations such as a police officer witnessing a crime in progress or conducting a search during the course of a lawful arrest. Nearly all of these exceptions require some nexus to criminal activity in order to justify the search. Generally, if there is no crime, then no search can be justified.

The standard used by the FISA Court, however, does not consider any of that. Foreign intelligence gathering in itself is not focused on gathering information about crimes but about threats to national security or the workings of foreign powers.

Yet, the FISA Court still uses the same precedents and language from 4th Amendment Supreme Court cases to justify itself: “In assessing the reasonableness of a governmental intrusion under the Fourth Amendment, a court must ‘balance the interests at stake’ under the ‘totality of the circumstances.’ … Specifically, a court must ‘balance … the degree of the government’s intrusion on individual privacy’ against ‘the degree to which that intrusion furthers the government’s legitimate interest.’ … ‘The more important the government’s interest, the greater the intrusion that may be constitutionally tolerated.’”

These standards were established in various cases involving traffic stops and arrests in criminal contexts. For example, in Riley v. California (2014), where the Supreme Court ruled that the contents of a cellular phone could not be searched without a warrant even when a lawful arrest has occurred. Or Wyoming v. Houghton (1999), where the nation’s highest court ruled that the contents of a vehicle could be searched without a warrant if the police had reason to believe it had been used in the commission of a crime or contained contraband.

In every case, for a warrantless search to occur, some sort of criminality was needed, and even then, certain restrictions were applied to the extent the search was constitutional.

Not so in the FISA Court, we now know, where intelligence is gathered without regards to criminality. Which is why the disclosure of classified intelligence that includes U.S. person identifiers—so-called incidental collection as happened in the case of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn—is such a serious crime, so that mere contacts with foreign intelligence surveillance targets are not used to create the appearance of being a foreign agent or to create legal jeopardy.

All of this raises serious constitutional questions of how FISA has been applied on U.S. soil.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning urged Congress to slow down reauthorization of Section 702 of FISA in a statement, saying: “The implications of the Obama administration unmasking hundreds of targeted people unconstitutionally leads any reasonable person to wonder how precisely this illegally gained information was used. In light of the obvious abuse of power in the Mike Flynn case of leaking Flynn’s name to the press after being unmasked for political reasons, it becomes reasonable to assume that was the intent of these unmaskings all along, and calls into question the continuance of the entire program.”

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When it comes to U.S. persons and persons on U.S. soil, the American people should consider whether they want the federal government conducting warrantless searches where no criminal activity is implicated, a constitutionally dubious standard.

If a criminality standard had been applied, Flynn’s conversation might not have ever been intercepted in the first place.

But even if that were a bridge too far for Congress—because recording every conversation by foreign ambassadors on U.S. soil is somehow deemed essential—Congress should consider the fact that the attorney general can apparently, according to the FISA Court, just reinstitute “abouts” collection at his discretion.

As the court states: “This Opinion and Order does not question the propriety of acquiring ‘abouts’ communications and MCTs as approved by the Court since 2011, subject to the rigorous safeguards imposed on such acquisitions. The concerns raised in the current matters stem from NSA’s failure to adhere fully to those safeguards.”

In other words, unless Congress acts, these types of warrantless searches—where a person who says “Kisylak” or “Putin” on the phone might be intercepted and recorded and that person’s identity might be unmasked without a warrant even if no crime has been committed—could just be reinstituted later.

The Justice Department under Sessions is to be applauded for discontinuing this practice for the moment, but Congress should act to make certain these types of abuses never happen again.

The Church Committee was convened in 1975 to get to the bottom of revelations by Seymour Hersh’s explosive report to The New York Times on Dec. 22, 1974 that the CIA had been engaged in a mass, domestic surveillance program against anti-war protestors, members of Congress, and other political figures.

We are on the edge of the abyss of tyranny Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) warned about in 1975.

To the extent the American people presently look the other way in terms of foreign government officials being under constant surveillance on U.S. soil, even with warrants, they will not do so if they believe their own activities are under threat to come under scrutiny without warrants merely because they took an interest in foreign affairs.

Or if these powers are being used against political opponents, as apparently happened in the last year of the Obama administration, against the Trump campaign and then transition after the election.

If Congress is not currently telling itself, “Never again”—if it believes such political surveillance against the opposition party in an election year is somehow justified on the most dubious of grounds—then we’ve got a bigger problem than most people realize.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.




Who Was Really Behind Wiretapping Donald Trump and His Campaign Aides?

President Trump’s wiretapping claims have been proven true, according to analysis from John Kiriakou, the first government official to confirm that waterboarding was being utilized to interrogate al Qaeda captives. Kiriakou should know. He’s a former CIA analyst and case officer who spent his first eight years with the Agency as a Middle East analyst specializing in Iraq, with a top secret/sensitive compartmented information security clearance. He’s also a former senior investigator for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, counterterrorism consultant for ABC News, and author of The Reluctant Spy:  My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror (2009) and Doing Time Like a Spy: How the CIA Taught Me to Survive and Thrive in Prison (due out in May). 

By Dave Gahary

When President Donald J. Trump accused—via a series of “tweets” on March 4—Barack Hussein Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower, the fake news media went into overdrive to humiliate the billionaire real-estate developer-turned-president, plastering their papers and websites with vicious and vacuous “articles.” It got so bad that former New Jersey superior court judge, author, syndicated columnist, and senior judicial analyst for Fox News, Andrew Napolitano, was pulled off the air on March 21 over his statements regarding the wiretapping.

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Although Napolitano was back in front of the camera by March 29, he stood by his claim that Obama “went outside the chain of command” by using Britain’s security service, GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), “to surveil then-President-elect Trump.” Of course, GCHQ denied Napolitano’s allegations by calling them “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous.”

The only trouble is—for the surveillance state and the fake news media, that is—the president and the judge were right.

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On April 13, the UK’s Guardian admitted that “GCHQ was digitally wiretapping Trump associates, going back to late 2015.” In fact, the U.S. non-profit news media watchdog Accuracy In Media (AIM), which analyzed the Guardian report, stated: “President Trump’s claim of being ‘wire tapped’ has been vindicated. Indeed, the surveillance is far more extensive than even he suspected at the time.

“Based on the new disclosures,” continued AIM, “we can safely conclude that the world’s most advanced and extensive system of computerized espionage was indeed used against him and people he worked with, for political purposes, with the knowledge and approval of top Obama officials,” including Obama’s Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John O. Brennan and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice.

In order to gain a more complete understanding of this matter, American Free Press conducted an exclusive interview with former CIA analyst and case officer, former senior investigator for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, counterterrorism consultant for ABC News, author, and married father-of-five John Kiriakou, the first government official to confirm that waterboarding was being utilized to interrogate al Qaeda captives.

Listen to AFP’s interview with former CIA analyst John Kirakou by clicking the image below

 

In waterboarding, water is poured over a cloth that covers the face and breathing passages of an immobilized captive. The water causes the individual to experience the sensation of drowning, which can cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, and other physical injuries. That does not include the psychological effects it can have on the individual being tortured.

“I spent 15 years with the CIA; the first half in analysis, the second half in counterterrorism operations,” Kiriakou told AFP, and “left the CIA in 2004 and went into the private sector.”

Kiriakou detailed the blowback from telling the truth.

“In 2007, in an interview on ABC News, I blew the whistle on the CIA’s torture program,” he began. “I was investigated for four years for my revelations, and I ended up going to prison for two years, from 2013 to 2015.”

AFP asked if he thought Brennan and Ms. Rice had orders to surveil Trump.

“I’m not sure that I’m so cynical to say that an order was made to surveil Trump and people associated with the Trump campaign,” he said. “I think that once the CIA and NSA [National Security Agency] realized that the people they were surveilling were in touch with Trump and the Trump campaign, or were senior officials of the Trump campaign, they decided to continue down that road.”

Kiriakou explained how surveillance works in U.S. intelligence and how Ms. Rice may have been involved.

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“Let me talk specifically about Susan Rice, because I think this is really the crux of the whole thing,” he said. “Susan Rice is not an analyst at the CIA. Susan Rice was a political figure. She was an important political figure, but she was a political appointee of the Obama White House. It is absolutely unheard of for someone at Susan Rice’s lofty, vaunted position to pick up the phone and call NSA and ask for an unmasking. What possible use would she have for that unmasking? She’s not doing the analysis for the rest of the community. She was just curious. Well, what she did was not necessarily illegal, but it was certainly unethical, absolutely unethical.”

Although the NSA has a wide berth to surveil people outside the U.S., there are allegedly legal barriers to doing the same to U.S. citizens. If, while monitoring a foreign national, NSA picks up communications from a U.S. citizen, its practice is to “mask” the identity of the U.S. person. Hence, “unmasking” means to reveal the identity of the U.S. person.

Kiriakou explained why he believes Trump was surveilled and what the president should do about it.

“I think that it’s part of a bigger problem, and that problem is the overreach of our intelligence services,” Kiriakou told AFP. “So the bottom line for me is: Were the CIA, the NSA, and perhaps other U.S. intelligence services taking what might be an illegally deep look at the Trump campaign? I think actually that the answer is yes, and I think that the president really needs to push this to the next level and appoint a special prosecutor. I think this story is important enough, and goes directly to our own civil liberties, that the president does need to appoint a special prosecutor and let the cards fall where they may.”

Kiriakou pinned the blame squarely on the shoulders of the previous administration.

“We know that Obama was overreaching, and it wasn’t just Obama; it was pretty much everybody that Obama surrounded himself with,” he said. “I think the American people are owed an explanation and that really as a country we need to get to the bottom of this story. I think that if we had a special prosecutor really digging down into the depths of what was going on at the CIA, we would find crimes against the American people and crimes against our own government that we haven’t even begun to discuss, with John Brennan there at the very top of it all.”

Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, prevailed in a suit brought by the New York Stock Exchange in an attempt to silence him.