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Posts Tagged ‘CIA’

Afghanistan and the CIA Heroin Ratline – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 18, 2021

He then cornered the key army intelligence operations and CIA at a meeting and asked why no action was taken. The answer was that the goal of the US was winning the hearts and minds of the population and giving them the poppies to grow won their hearts. He was then warned that if he brought this issue up again he would be returned to Australia in a body bag.”

The source is adamant, “CIA external operations are financed from these profits. The charge that the Taliban was using the heroin trade to finance their operations was a fabrication and a form of misdirection.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/01/no_author/afghanistan-and-the-cia-heroin-ratline/

By Pepe Escobar
Sputnik News

The Persian Gulf harbors an array of extremely compromising secrets. Near the top is the Afghan heroin ratline – with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) positioned as the golden node of a transnational, trillion dollar heroin money laundering operation.

In this 21st century Opium War, crops harvested in Afghanistan are essentially feeding the heroin market not only in Russia and Iran but especially in the US. Up to 93% of the world’s opium comes from Afghanistan.

Contrary to predominant Western perception, this is not an Afghan Taliban operation. The key questions — never asked by Atlanticist circles — are who buys the opium harvests; refines them into heroin; controls the export routes; and then sell them for humongous profit compared to what the Taliban have locally imposed in taxes.

The hegemonic narrative rules that Washington bombed Afghanistan in 2001 in “self-defense” after 9/11; installed a “democratic” government; and after 16 years never de facto left because this is a key node in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), against al-Qaeda and the Taliban alike.

Washington spent over $100 billion in Afghan reconstruction. And, allegedly, $8.4 billion in “counternarcotics programs”. Operation Enduring Freedom — along with the “liberation” of Iraq — have cost an astonishing several trillion dollars. And still the heroin ratline, out of occupied Afghanistan, thrives. Cui bono?

Have a SIGAR

An exhaustive Afghanistan Opium Survey details the steady rise of Afghan opium production as well as the sprawl in production areas; “In 2016, opium production had increased by approximately 25 times in relation to its 2001 levels, from 185 tons in 2001 to 4800 tons in 2016.”

Another exhaustive report issued by the delightful acronym SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) even hints — discreetly — at the crucial connection; Operation Enduring Freedom feeding America’s heroin epidemic.

Afghanistan is infested by contractors; numbers vary from 10,000 to tens of thousands. Military and ex-military alike can be reasonably pinpointed as players in the heroin ratline — in many cases for personal profit. But the clincher concerns the financing of US intel black ops that should not by any means come under scrutiny by the US Congress. 

A Gulf-based intel source with vast experience across the Pentagon-designated “arc of instability” tells the story of his interaction with an Australian intel operative who served in Afghanistan; “This was about 2011. He said he gave US Army Intelligence and the CIA reports on the Afghan heroin trade — that US military convoys from the ports of Pakistan were being used to ship the heroin out of Afghanistan — much of it was raw opium — for distribution as their backhaul.

No one answered.

He then cornered the key army intelligence operations and CIA at a meeting and asked why no action was taken. The answer was that the goal of the US was winning the hearts and minds of the population and giving them the poppies to grow won their hearts. He was then warned that if he brought this issue up again he would be returned to Australia in a body bag.”

The source is adamant, “CIA external operations are financed from these profits. The charge that the Taliban was using the heroin trade to finance their operations was a fabrication and a form of misdirection.”

And that brings us to a key motive behind President Trump‘s going against his instincts and accepting a new Afghan surge; “In the tradition of the opium wars of perfidious Albion in the 19th century, in which opium paid for tea and silk from India, and the taxes on these silk and tea imports financed the construction of the mighty British Navy which ruled the seas, the CIA has built itself up into a most powerful agent based on the trillion dollar heroin trade. It is impossible for Trump to overcome it as he has no allies to tap. The military are working together with the CIA, and therefore the officers that surround Trump are worthless.”

None of this deviates from the CIA’s modus operandi.

Past examples abound. The most notorious concerns the Golden Triangle during the Vietnam war, when the CIA imposed a food-for-opium scheme on Hmong tribesmen from Laos — complete with a heroin refinery at the CIA headquarters in northern Laos and the set up of nefarious Air America to export the opium.

The whole story was exposed on Prof. Alfred McCoy’s seminal The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia — which drove Langley nuts.

A contemporary counterpart would be a recent book by Italian journalist Enrico Piovesana detailing the New Opium War in Afghanistan.

The return of Air America

A Pakistani intel source with vast Pashtun/ tribal area contacts delves into even more incendiary territory; “According to our best information the CIA has brought in their al-Qaeda-Daesh proxies into Afghanistan to justify the additional American troops”. That would neatly tie in with Trump being cornered by his generals.

And then, there’s Moscow. Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry was adamantly denouncing “foreign fighters” transferred by “unknown helicopters” as the perpetrators of a massacre of Hazara Shi’ites in a northern Afghanistan province; “It seems that the command of the NATO forces controlling the Afghan sky stubbornly refuses to notice these incidents.”

It does not get more serious than that; Moscow denouncing sectors of the US-trained Afghan Armed Forces side by side with NATO engaged in covert ops supporting jihadis.  Russian intel has hinted — discreetly — for quite some time that US intel is covertly sponsoring Daesh — a.k.a. “ISIS Khorasan” — in Afghanistan.

Russian intel is very much aware of the Afghan chapter in the New Great Game. Russian citizens are “collateral damage” of the Afghan heroin ratline as much as Americans. The Russian Foreign Ministry is tracking how tons of chemicals are being illegally imported into Afghanistan from, among others, “Italy, France and the Netherlands”, and how the US and NATO are doing absolutely nothing to contain the heroin ratline.

Well, Air America, after all, never died. It just relocated from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the arid crossroads of Central and South Asia.

Be seeing you

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RAY McGOVERN: Why Michael Morell Cannot Be CIA Director – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on December 14, 2020

The most accomplished engineers and technical intelligence analysts in the intelligence community knew that the aluminum tubes story was BS. In the finest tradition of intelligence analysis, they remained impervious to the political winds. They insisted that associating those aluminum tubes with nuclear weapons development was wrong and they could not be persuaded to go along. And yet that bogus information got into Powell’s February 2003 speech at the UN.

https://consortiumnews.com/2020/12/11/ray-mcgovern-why-michael-morell-cannot-be-cia-director/

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

Gross manipulation of CIA analysis under George W. Bush pushed a new generation of “yes men” into the agency’s top ranks and now one of them is being considered by Joe Biden for the top job, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

As President-elect Joe Biden names his cabinet and other chief advisers, what has escaped wide attention is the fact that none of his hawkish national security advisers — except for his nominee for defense secretary, Gen. Lloyd Austin — has served in the military.

Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell, who is reportedly on Biden’s short list for CIA director, shares that non-veteran status, one of the reasons along with other skeletons from Morell’s past that make him singularly unfit to lead the CIA.

During my 27 years at the CIA, I worked under nine CIA directors — three of them (Stan Turner, Bill Colby, and George H.W. Bush) at close remove — and served in all four of the agency’s main directorates.

Having closely followed the past-two-decade corruption of my profession — in particular, what the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee called the “uncorroborated, contradicted, or even non-existent” intelligence manufactured to “justify” the attack on Iraq, I have on occasion offered an suggestions for remediation, particularly during transition periods like this one. (Links to five such efforts in the past appear below.)

Whiz Kids

Decades of unfortunate experience show that over-dependence on bright, but inexperienced “best and brightest” can spell disaster. War gaming and theorizing at Princeton and Johns Hopkins have yielded knights with benightedly naive, politics-drenched decisions that get U.S. troops killed for no good reason.

Even if Gen. Lloyd Austin is confirmed as secretary of defense, the whippersnappers already appointed by Joe Biden will probably be able to outmaneuver the general and promote half-baked policies and operations bereft of needed military input — not to mention common sense from the likes of Gen. Austin who knows something of war.

The current generation of “whiz kids” — the well-heeled, politically astute chickenhawks Biden has appointed — will always “know better” and — if past is precedent — are likely to pooh pooh what Gen. Austin may advise, assuming he is able to get a word in edgeways.

Moreover, ambitious former generals like David Petraeus — many of them now on the outside of the proverbial revolving door making big bucks in the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank) complex — will not hesitate to weigh in with their own self-interested support to the chickenhawks, fostering the notion that military threats from notional enemies warrant still more funding for the defense contractors on whose boards so many alumni generals sit.

Who does not remember the braggadocio accompanying the criminal attack on Iraq, the full-throated support of journalists like David Sanger of The New York Times, and the chest-thumping of Bush/Cheney neocons saying “Real men go to Tehran?” (Sanger is still at it, sitting on the “Judith Miller Chair for Journalism”.)

Clearly, one does not have to go as far back as Vietnam for noxious examples of the harm that can be done by these “best and brightest,” albeit inexperienced advisers — whether out of the myth of American exceptionalism, ignorance of post-WWII military history, or pure arrogance.

It may be helpful to recall that Vice President Dick Cheney, the archdeacon of the chickenhawks, acquired five draft deferments during Vietnam. (So did his successor as vice president, the president-elect.)

Cheney, of course, was the driving force behind the attack on Iraq. He had appointed himself Bush’s principal intelligence officer (usurping the role of CIA Director George Tenet who made not a murmur of protest) and went first and biggest with the Big Lie on (ephemeral) weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Here’s Cheney in his kick-off speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Aug. 26, 2002: “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”

Simply stated, Tenet dutifully followed White House orders to “fix” the intelligence to support Cheney’s accusations against Iraq. Tenet did so formally in the deceitful National Intelligence Estimate of Oct. 1, 2002 — which earned the sobriquet “The Whore of Babylon.”

It was successfully used to get Congress to enable Bush/Cheney to make war on Iraq, and eventually create havoc in the whole region. In his memoir Tenet gave the laurels to Morell for “coordinating the CIA review” of Secretary of State Colin Powell’s UN speech that let slip the dogs of war. (Details on that below)

Cakewalks and Cubbyholes

Cheney, the quintessential chickenhawk, surrounded himself with advisers of the same bent. One pitiable example was armchair warrior Kenneth Adelman, who had been director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under President Reagan. In a Washington Post op-ed of Feb. 13, 2002, Adelman wrote: “I believe demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk.”

Two years later, Adelman wrote an equally pathetic op-ed, insisting that he and his neoconservative friends had been right on everything except Iraq possessing WMD, Iraqi factions cooperating after Saddam Hussein was deposed, and “probably” on close ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda.

Please Contribute to Consortium News During  its 2020 Winter Fund Drive

As for Cheney himself, he did memorize some weapons nomenclature vocabulary, but could not avoid an occasional faux pas betraying his lack of familiarity with things on the ground. Nine months after the attack on Iraq, when WMD were still nowhere to be found, NPR asked Cheney whether he had given up on finding them.

“No, we haven’t,” he said. “It’s going to take some additional, considerable period of time in order to look in all the cubbyholes and ammo dumps and all the places in Iraq where you’d expect to find something like that.” (The continued, quixotic search cost not only a billion dollars but the lives of U.S. troops.).

The amateur but opinionated Cheney was the largest fly in the intelligence ointment. Four months into the war it got so blatantly bad that we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) sent a Memorandum to President Bush entitled “Intelligence Unglued”, recommending that he “ask for Cheney’s immediate resignation.”

Naiveté on War

Jake Sullivan, seated farthest back, as national security advisor to vice president, in a meeting with President Barack Obama and advisers, Aug. 29, 2013. (White House, Pete Souza)

In a recent, disturbingly graphic article entitled “Biden’s young Hawk: The Case Against Jake Sullivan,” retired Army Maj. Danny Sjursen broadly hinted that President Biden’s national security adviser should at least look at the photos. (An editor’s note in the piece explained that such photos are almost totally absent from Establishment media: “Graphic images of war and suffering are included with this text. We believe it is important for the world to witness what their taxes, votes and apathy may be supporting.” )

In his article Sjursen finds himself wondering “whether Sullivan’s ever seen a dead child, gazed upon the detritus of American empire, waded through the sights and smells of our indecency. And, worse still, I wondered whether it’d matter much if he had. …”

The national security adviser is gatekeeper to the president, with the gate strong or weak depending — at least in concept — on what the president wants. In the normal course of business, the CIA director and the director of national intelligence would go through the security adviser to get to the president. Cabinet secretaries in the national security arena and, when appropriate, FBI directors often use the same channel.

What seems important here, though widely overlooked, is that no Biden national security appointee/nominee except Gen. Austin has apparently served a day in the military. Not Sullivan, not DNI nominee Avril Haines, not secretary of state nominee Antony Blinken, and not FBI Director Christopher Wray.

This is just one factor that should disqualify Morell for director of Central Intelligence (DCI). There are already far too many fledgling warhawks-without war experience. In Morell’s case, though, there are many other factors — some even more important — that disqualify him. His playing fast and loose regarding the legality and effectiveness of torture has been in the headlines recently, thanks to Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden (D-OR), who called Morell a “torture apologist.”

It has been a challenge to record Morell’s many artful dodges, but Consortium News did publish “On Iraq/Torture, Still in Denial”,as Morell began to peddle his memoir in May 2015.

Two of Morell’s tours de force with Charlie Rose in 2016, in which Morell advocates killing Russians and Iranians in Syria, were covered by CN.

More revealing still — and damning of his chances for another try at CIA — is an article, “Rise of Another CIA Yes Man.” That piece was written when Morell was picked to be Gen. David Petraeus’s deputy at CIA; it ends with personal comments by intelligence professionals who knew Morell well.

The article also includes citations from Tenet’s own memoir, including encomia he threw in Morell’s direction, one of which should actually be enough to bar Morell from any future role in intelligence.

Tenet to the left of Powell at the United Nations on Feb. 5. 2003. (Wikimedia Commons)

In Tenet’s book, At the Center of the Storm, he writes that Morell “coordinated the CIA review” of the intelligence used by Secretary of State Colin Powell in his infamous Feb. 5, 2003 speech to the UN Security Council on the threat from (non-existent) WMD in Iraq.

Tenet, who sat directly behind Powell on that day, pointed out that Morell had served as regular briefer to President George W. Bush. It has been reported that, of the CIA’s finished intelligence product on Iraq, it was The President’s Daily Brief delivered by Morell that most exaggerated the danger from Iraq.

Morell fluttered quickly up CIA ranks as the yes-sir protege of two CIA directors who were, arguably, the worst of them all — “Slam-Dunk” Tenet and the-Russians-hacked-so-Trump-won John Brennan. During the presidential campaign of 2016, as Brennan and his accomplices in the National Security State worked behind the scenes to sabotage candidate Donald Trump, Morell dropped any pretense of nonpartisanship — which used to be the hallmark of an intelligence professional.

From retirement (but with eyes on the big prize he coveted in a new Democratic administration), Morell openly backed the Democratic candidate in a highly unusual op-ed in The New York Times on August 5, 2016: “I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton.”

Iraq: the Crucible

In my view, the key gauge in weighing qualifications for a national security position like CIA director is whether a candidate showed good judgment before the misbegotten, calamitous attack on Iraq.

Morell flunks that test outright. Accordingly, he can hardly be expected to be one of the calmer voices in a room of still less experienced fledgling hawks who, to quote Maj. Sjursen, have never “waded through the sights and smells of our indecency” in killing and maiming abroad. With Morell in the room, there would be greater risk of the U.S. getting sucked into still more misadventures overseas.

What did Morell tell Bush about Iraq? In Tenet’s memoir, he describes Morell as “the perfect guy” to brief President Bush, noting that Morell and Bush hit it off “almost immediately”. Morell added later: “I was President Bush’s first intelligence briefer, so I briefed him kind of the entire year of 2001.”

‘The Entire Year 2001’

So, was Iraqi President Saddam Hussein trying to acquire “weapons of mass destruction” during 2001? The first (and honest) answer was ”No” — if Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice are to be believed. Here’s what they said at the time — Powell publicly during a speech in Cairo and Rice to CNN five months later.

Powell on Feb. 24, 2001:

“He [Saddam Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.”

Rice told CNN’s John King on July 29, 2001:

“We are able to keep arms from him [Saddam Hussein]. His military forces have not been rebuilt.”

Is this what Morell told Bush just six weeks before 9/11? Did Morell ever explain how Iraq could have developed, purchased, or stolen copious WMD in one year’s time?

Rice. (Wikipedia)

And when Morell briefed Bush right after 9/11, was the president fixated on Saddam Hussein, as counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke describes him in his book Against All Enemies? According to Clarke, on 9/12 Bush told him “to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he’s linked in any way.”

Clarke says he was incredulous, replying, “But, Mr. President, al-Qaeda did this.” In later interviews Clarke added that he felt he was being intimidated to find a link between the attacks and Iraq.

Did Morell play it straight and tell Bush (as Clarke did) that Iraq had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or the attacks of 9/11? Did Clarke share that vignette at the time with Tenet and Morell?

And what about those notional Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq? After 9/11, did Morell take his cue from Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Tenet and give President Bush the impression that Iraq already had all manner of WMD and was on the threshold of acquiring a nuclear weapon?

Sham Dunk

Later, in December 2002 when Morell’s boss Tenet assured Bush and Cheney that CIA could prove, slam-dunkedly, the existence of WMD in Iraq, did Morell ever ask himself how both Powell and Rice could have been so far off base the year before?

Far more likely, Morell knew what the game was, as he watched Rice do a fancy pirouette, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Sept. 8, 2002 that “Saddam Hussein is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon. We do know that there have been shipments into Iraq of aluminum tubes that really are only suited to nuclear weapons programs.”

The most accomplished engineers and technical intelligence analysts in the intelligence community knew that the aluminum tubes story was BS. In the finest tradition of intelligence analysis, they remained impervious to the political winds. They insisted that associating those aluminum tubes with nuclear weapons development was wrong and they could not be persuaded to go along. And yet that bogus information got into Powell’s February 2003 speech at the UN.

In Morell’s memoir he wrote that he wanted to apologize to Powell. Morell says, “We said he [Saddam Hussein] has chemical weapons, he has a biological weapons production capability, and he’s restarting his nuclear weapons program. We were wrong on all three of those.”

But not my fault, wrote Morell, who tried to shift the blame by claiming he was not a senior official at the time.

How does that square with Tenet writing that Morell “coordinated the CIA review” of Powell’s speech? Whom to believe? However begrudging must be any trust given “slam-dunk” and “we-do-not-torture”Tenet, he presumably would have less reason to dissimulate than Morell in this particular case.

Assuming Morell did “coordinate the CIA review” of Powell’s speech, did Morell know about the strong dissent on the infamous aluminum tubes?

More important, did he know that CIA operators had recruited and “turned” Naji Sabri, the Iraqi foreign minister (who Saddam Hussein continued to believe was still working for him) and, with the help of British intelligence, had “turned” the chief of Iraqi intelligence, Habbush, as well.

After the reporting from these two sources on other issues and after their access to secret information was evaluated and judged to be genuine, President Bush was told that Sabri and Habbush both said there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Sabri’s information was given to the president by Tenet on Sept. 18, 2002; Habbush’s in late Jan. 2003. 

Did Tenet not share that with Morell before he coordinated CIA input into Powell’s speech?

Clearly, this first-hand intelligence from proven sources with excellent access did not suit the Cheney/Bush narrative for war on Iraq. The president’s staff told CIA operatives not to forward additional reporting on this issue from these sources, explaining that Bush did not want more information about weapons of mass destruction; rather, it was now about “regime change.”

McGovern questions Clapper at Carnegie Endowment in Washington. (Alli McCracken)

Did Morell know about this when he was “coordinating” input into Powell’s disastrous speech? It is a safe bet that Morell was fully aware of the con job he was “coordinating” — as did other senior intelligence officials.

In his own memoir, former Director of National Intelligence (and, during Iraq, director of imagery analysis), James Clapper takes a share of the blame for the Iraq WMD fiasco. Clapper puts the blame for “the failure” to find the (non-existent) WMD “squarely on the shoulders of the administration members who were pushing a narrative of a rogue WMD program in Iraq and on the intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help that we found what wasn’t really there.”(emphasis added) .

Regarding Morell’s “I-confess-they-did-it” apology to Powell, the still-youngish Morell has not stopped lusting for an eventual seat at the table, so he apparently thought it a smart move politically. Typically, Powell did not react — as far as is known. Nor has the conflict-averse Powell summoned the cohones to say clearly what he thinks of how Tenet, Morell, et al. sold him a bill of goods on Iraq.

In the “where-are-they-now?” department, Tenet quit in July 2004 and fled to Wall Street to be joined the following year by Jami Miscik, who was deputy director for intelligence during the Iraq fiasco. She “lucked into” a nice job at Lehman Brothers before it went bust.

Note to readers: If you know someone advising the Biden team on selecting a director for CIA, please pass this along.

Finally, those interested in suggestions from the experience of previous transition teams, please click on one or two of the links below. The key issues tend to remain the same. Above all, integrity counts.

Additional Readings

1 — A Compromised Central Intelligence Agency: What Can Be Done?

By Ray McGovern, 2004

Chapter 4 in “Patriotism, Democracy, and Common Sense: Restoring America’s Promise at Home and Abroad”, Rowman & Littlefield, 2004

Ray’s chapter follows chapters by Alan Curtis (editor), Gary Hart, and Jessica Mathews.

Link to Chapter 4 text:

2 — Sham Dunk: Cooking Intelligence for the President?

By Ray McGovern, 2005

Chapter 19 in “Neo-CONNED! Again: Hypocrisy, Lawlessness, and the Rape of Iraq”, Light in the Darkness Publications, 2005?https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vBsKG1CRHTpqKrtOm4_bftQSOWtjF_PE/view?usp=sharing

3 — Try These on Your CIA Briefer, Mr. President-Elect

By Ray McGovern, November 8, 2008

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2008/11/08/try-these-your-cia-briefer-mr-president-elect

4 — What Needs to Be Done in Intelligence (a memo for the Bush-to-Obama transition team)

By Ray McGovern. December 4, 2008

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mfT70D90UrNxAWhpy_SKtF4NkSmmHxmn/view?usp=sharing

5 — US Intelligence Vets Oppose Brennan’s CIA Plan

By Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), March 9, 2015

Ray McGovern was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer before serving as a CIA analyst. A specialist on Russia, he also prepared and delivered The President’s Daily Brief for Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. In retirement, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Ray works with Tell the Word, a publishing ministry of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.

Be seeing you

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Edward Snowden On Big Tech Companies, Like Facebook, Censoring & Controlling Information – Collective Evolution

Posted by M. C. on November 30, 2020

These companies are not obligated by the law to do almost any of what they’re actually doing but they’re going above and beyond, to, in many cases, to increase the depth of their relationship (with the government) and the government’s willingness to avoid trying to regulate them in the context of their desired activities, which is ultimately to dominate the conversation and information space of global society in different ways…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour… – Snowden

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2020/11/29/edward-snowden-on-big-tech-censoring-information-joe-biden-press-freedom-dangers/

ByArjun WaliaCE Staff Writer

In Brief

  • The Facts:Glenn Greenwald interviews NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about Big Tech censorship of information, and the muzzling of journalists who go against the grain.
  • Reflect On:f your perception is built by mainstream media, do you truly know what is going on in the world if they are often working to hide or censor stories that would dramatically change your perception?

Glenn Greenwald is no stranger to censorship, he’s the journalist who worked with Edward Snowden (NSA mass surveillance whistleblower)  to put together his story and release it to the world while working for the Guardian. He eventually left the Guardian and co-founded his own media company, The Intercept, an organization that would be free from censorship and free to report on government corruption and wrong-doings of powerful people and corporations. He recently resigned from The Intercept as well due to the fact that they’ve now censored him, and is now completely independent. You can find his work here.

Anybody who reports on or sheds a bright light onto immoral and unethical actions taken by governments and the powerful corporations they work with has been subjected to extreme censorship. In the case of Edward Snowden, he’s been exiled, and Julian Assange of Wikileaks is currently clinging to his life for exposing war crimes and other unethical actions by multiple governments and corporations. There are many other examples. What does it say about our civilization when we prosecute those who expose harm, corruption, immoral/unethical actions by governments and war crimes?

Greenwald recently interviewed Snowden about internet censorship and the role big tech companies and governments are playing. Greenwald explains that in one of his earliest meetings with Snowden, he (Snowden) explained that he was driven in large part by the vital role the early internet played in his life, “one that was free of corporate and state control, that permitted anonymity and exploration free of monitoring, and, most of all, fostered unrestrained communication and dissemination of information by and among citizens of the world without corporate and state overlords regulating and controlling what they were saying.

This is what he and Snowden go into in the interview posted below. Prior to that I provide a brief summary of Snowden’s key thoughts.

Snowden starts off by mentioning government surveillance programs and the companies they contracted to do this work and compares them to modern day Big Tech giants censoring information on a wide range of topics. We see this today with elections/politics, to medical information dealing with coronavirus and vaccines, for example.

“In secret, these companies had all agreed to work with the U.S. Government far beyond what the law required of them, and that’s what we’re seeing with this new censorship push is really a new direction in the same dynamic. These companies are not obligated by the law to do almost any of what they’re actually doing but they’re going above and beyond, to, in many cases, to increase the depth of their relationship (with the government) and the government’s willingness to avoid trying to regulate them in the context of their desired activities, which is ultimately to dominate the conversation and information space of global society in different ways…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour… – Snowden

So basically, these Big Tech companies have become slaves, if you will, to the governments will, or at least powerful people situated in high places within the government. Snowden brings up the fact that many of these companies are hiring people from the CIA, who come from the Pentagon, who come from the NSA, who have top secret clearances…The government is a customer of all the major cloud service providers. They are also a major regulator of these companies, which gives these companies the incentive to do whatever they want.

This is quite clear if you look at Facebook, Google and Amazon employees. There are many who have come from very high positions within the Department of Defense.

In no case is this more clear than Amazon – Snowden

Amazon appointed Keith Alexander, director of the NSA under Barack Obama.

He was one of the senior architects of the mass surveillance program that courts have repeatedly now declared to be unlawful and unconstitutional….When you have this kind of incentive from a private industry to maintain the warmest possible relationship with the people in government, who not just buy from you but also have the possibility to end your business or change the way you do business…You now see this kind of soft corruption that happens in a constant way. – Snowden

Snowden goes on to explain how people get upset when government, especially the Trump government, tries to set the boundaries of what appropriate speech is by attempting to stop big tech censorship, he then says,

If you’re not comfortable letting the government determine the boundaries of appropriate political speech, why are you begging Mark Zuckerberg to do it?

I think the reality here is…it’s not really about freedom of speech, and it’s not really about protecting people from harm…I think what you see is the internet has become the de facto means of mass communication. That represents influence which represents power, and what we see is we see a whole number of different tribes basically squabbling to try to gain control over this instrument of power.

What we see is an increasing tendency to silence journalists who say things that are in the minority.

In Brief

  • The Facts:Glenn Greenwald interviews NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about Big Tech censorship of information, and the muzzling of journalists who go against the grain.
  • Reflect On:f your perception is built by mainstream media, do you truly know what is going on in the world if they are often working to hide or censor stories that would dramatically change your perception?

Glenn Greenwald is no stranger to censorship, he’s the journalist who worked with Edward Snowden (NSA mass surveillance whistleblower)  to put together his story and release it to the world while working for the Guardian. He eventually left the Guardian and co-founded his own media company, The Intercept, an organization that would be free from censorship and free to report on government corruption and wrong-doings of powerful people and corporations. He recently resigned from The Intercept as well due to the fact that they’ve now censored him, and is now completely independent. You can find his work here. advertisement – learn more

Anybody who reports on or sheds a bright light onto immoral and unethical actions taken by governments and the powerful corporations they work with has been subjected to extreme censorship. In the case of Edward Snowden, he’s been exiled, and Julian Assange of Wikileaks is currently clinging to his life for exposing war crimes and other unethical actions by multiple governments and corporations. There are many other examples. What does it say about our civilization when we prosecute those who expose harm, corruption, immoral/unethical actions by governments and war crimes?

–> Practice Is Everything: Want to become an effective changemaker? Join CETV and get access to exclusive conversations, courses, and original shows that empower you to embody the changemaker this world needs. Click here to learn more!

Greenwald recently interviewed Snowden about internet censorship and the role big tech companies and governments are playing. Greenwald explains that in one of his earliest meetings with Snowden, he (Snowden) explained that he was driven in large part by the vital role the early internet played in his life, “one that was free of corporate and state control, that permitted anonymity and exploration free of monitoring, and, most of all, fostered unrestrained communication and dissemination of information by and among citizens of the world without corporate and state overlords regulating and controlling what they were saying.

This is what he and Snowden go into in the interview posted below. Prior to that I provide a brief summary of Snowden’s key thoughts.

Snowden starts off by mentioning government surveillance programs and the companies they contracted to do this work and compares them to modern day Big Tech giants censoring information on a wide range of topics. We see this today with elections/politics, to medical information dealing with coronavirus and vaccines, for example.

“In secret, these companies had all agreed to work with the U.S. Government far beyond what the law required of them, and that’s what we’re seeing with this new censorship push is really a new direction in the same dynamic. These companies are not obligated by the law to do almost any of what they’re actually doing but they’re going above and beyond, to, in many cases, to increase the depth of their relationship (with the government) and the government’s willingness to avoid trying to regulate them in the context of their desired activities, which is ultimately to dominate the conversation and information space of global society in different ways…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour… – Snowden advertisement – learn more

So basically, these Big Tech companies have become slaves, if you will, to the governments will, or at least powerful people situated in high places within the government. Snowden brings up the fact that many of these companies are hiring people from the CIA, who come from the Pentagon, who come from the NSA, who have top secret clearances…The government is a customer of all the major cloud service providers. They are also a major regulator of these companies, which gives these companies the incentive to do whatever they want.

This is quite clear if you look at Facebook, Google and Amazon employees. There are many who have come from very high positions within the Department of Defense.

In no case is this more clear than Amazon – Snowden

Amazon appointed Keith Alexander, director of the NSA under Barack Obama.

He was one of the senior architects of the mass surveillance program that courts have repeatedly now declared to be unlawful and unconstitutional….When you have this kind of incentive from a private industry to maintain the warmest possible relationship with the people in government, who not just buy from you but also have the possibility to end your business or change the way you do business…You now see this kind of soft corruption that happens in a constant way. – Snowden

Snowden goes on to explain how people get upset when government, especially the Trump government, tries to set the boundaries of what appropriate speech is by attempting to stop big tech censorship, he then says,

If you’re not comfortable letting the government determine the boundaries of appropriate political speech, why are you begging Mark Zuckerberg to do it?

I think the reality here is…it’s not really about freedom of speech, and it’s not really about protecting people from harm…I think what you see is the internet has become the de facto means of mass communication. That represents influence which represents power, and what we see is we see a whole number of different tribes basically squabbling to try to gain control over this instrument of power.

What we see is an increasing tendency to silence journalists who say things that are in the minority. Stay Aware Subscribe To Our Newsletter  

You can watch the full conversation between Greenwald and Snowden below, the conversation is about 40 minutes long.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5qEuKCS-czU?start=0&modestbranding=1&showinfo=0&theme=light

Closing Comments: This kind of information almost begs the question, are we ready as a society to truly create and disseminate journalism that is honest, integral and bi-partisan? Why is it that these types of organizations fail or struggle? How do some media companies fail? Well, they no longer stay true to their mission. They fall to the pressure of politics and fall into ideology. How many other times did ideology change what media outlets reported? Yes, it’s almost impossible to have zero bias, but how close can we get to zero? How can we achieve this when media outlets who do not fit within the accepted framework and disseminate information that challenges the popular opinion are constantly being punished for simply putting out information?

As Snowden mentioned above, these Big Tech companies in collusion with governments are literally attempting to not only censor information, but change the behaviour of people as well, especially journalists. When you take away one’s business or livelihood as a result of non-compliance, you are in a way forcing them to comply and do/say things you they way you want them done/said. We’ve experienced massive amounts of censorship and demonetization here at Collective Evolution, but we haven’t changed as a results of it. We simply created CETV, a platform that helps support our work as a result of censorship.

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The source of news bias

Posted by M. C. on November 23, 2020

https://mailchi.mp/1b96b1f772bb/are-we-watching-the-jfk-assassination-in-slow-motion-4133893?e=de2d0eded6

The worst thing to happen to journalism, with Ray McGovern
Ray McGovern, former chief of the CIA’s Soviet analysts division, holding a copy of the Declarion of Independence Did the CIA kill JFK? Are they meddling again in American politics?

Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst, thinks it’s possible.

How are the FBI and CIA able to get away with torturing people to death? Or spending millions on bogus investigations? Or attempting coups? 

The corporate media covers for them.  “If you don’t have full control of the media, which the military-industrial complex does have, then you can’t make this work, because then you can’t fool all of the American people out of spending 60% of their tax money on unnecessary military expenditures.”
—Ray McGovern If a real journalist like Julian Assange publishes something that is true but damning about the CIA, the corporate media scolds him. And the CIA fabricates fraudulent charges to destroy him, as was uncovered by the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer. “It’s the worst thing to happen to journalism in my lifetime, the unadulterated persecution of this fellow [Assange], and the fact that he was set up.”
—Ray McGovern The unelected bureaucracy is out of control. Can anyone put them in check? Will Trump, who was a direct victim of illegal spying, attempted blackmail, and false accusations, release the classified documents that hide their crimes? Probably not.

So it’s up to us. You can help expose their crimes. Share this email, and get informed by clicking on the link below. Listen to Interview “There has to be a way to make sure the people have access to the truth.”
—Ray McGovern Innoculate others against war propaganda. Share this email.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : What is John Brennan So Worried About?

Posted by M. C. on November 17, 2020

The CIA’s point man at The Washington Post, David Ignatius, has provided the answer:

Protecting “sources and methods” is a red herring. They can be redacted from a classified document. It’s the content of these files that has Brennan extremely nervous as they might reveal Brennan’s role in the Russiagate scandal. Of course, Brennan invoked the old trope of “national security” when it appears it’s his own security he’s worried about.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/november/13/what-is-john-brennan-so-worried-about/

Written by Ray McGovern

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Former CIA Director John Brennan is apparently so worried that Donald Trump might release certain classified intelligence that he suggested this week that Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet remove Trump via the 25th amendment.

Brennan appeared this week on both CNN and MSNBC to spread alarm about what Trump might do as he continues to contest the election results and appoints new people at Defense, NSA (and possibly CIA) who may do his bidding. 

Brennan warned on CNN that it was “very, very worrisome” that Trump “is just very unpredictable now … like a cornered cat — tiger. And he’s going to lash out.”

Brennan told MSNBC he was worried that Trump has called for the “wholesale declassification of intelligence in order to further his own political interests.”

Whom would he lash out at and what classified documents might Brennan be referring to?

The CIA’s point man at The Washington Post, David Ignatius, has provided the answer:

“President Trump’s senior military and intelligence officials have been warning him strongly against declassifying information about Russia that his advisers say would compromise sensitive collection methods and anger key allies.

An intense battle over this issue has raged within the administration in the days before and after the Nov. 3 presidential election. Trump and his allies want the information public because they believe it would rebut claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin supported Trump in 2016. That may sound like ancient history, but for Trump it remains ground zero — the moment when his political problems began.”

Protecting “sources and methods” is a red herring. They can be redacted from a classified document. It’s the content of these files that has Brennan extremely nervous as they might reveal Brennan’s role in the Russiagate scandal. Of course, Brennan invoked the old trope of “national security” when it appears it’s his own security he’s worried about.

Trump reportedly wants to declassify key intel on the Russia probe; Haspel & other officials are opposed. I think the public has a right to see this info — especially since so much of what we have been allowed to see undermines the narrative we were told. https://t.co/pwpQSz7z3y — Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) November 11, 2020

As we noted at a similar juncture in March 2018 (in “Former CIA Chief Brennan Running Scared”), Brennan’s foremost worry — then, as now — was that Trump was about to expose him to the disgrace that befell ex-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for malfeasance in connection with Russiagate.

The president had just fired McCabe for repeatedly lying, and Brennan had good reason to worry. That was before the true extent of the roles McCabe, his boss, former FBI Director James Comey, and Brennan played in the WMD-style fabrication of “Russiagate” had became more fully understood.

Brennan landed on his MSNBC perch as a paid commentator on Feb. 2, 2018 and was riding high with adulation from the likes of former UN Ambassador Samantha Power, who publicly warned Trump that it is “not a good idea to piss off John Brennan.”

Even back then, however, storm clouds were gathering. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), who knew much more than he revealed, was warning of legal consequences for Russiagate conspirators.

Referring to the weavers and tailors of Russiagate, Nunes told reporter Sharyl Attkisson on Feb. 18, 2018: “If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial. The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created.”

Dismissive of such warnings, Brennan accused Trump on May 17, 2018 of “moral turpitude” and predicted, with an alliterative flourish, that he would end up “as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history.” 

As the Russiagate saga has unfolded, however, it has become abundantly clear that there is more than enough moral turpitude to go around. As discussed below, there may be a reasonable hope that documentary evidence — chapter and verse — about Russiagate turpitude will see the light of day if Trump summons the backbone to get unimpeachable evidence into the open.

In my view, this is what seems to have Brennan on tenterhooks.

What Else Did Esper Refuse to Do?

This is the big question. In the CNN interview, Brennan was not artful enough to disguise what seems to be his major worry. Right after complaining that complacent observers are “missing what is a very, very worrisome development,” the ex-CIA chief added:

And I think it’s quite apparent from reporting that Mark Esper has stood up to Donald Trump repeatedly. Who knows what else has he [‘terminated’ Secretary of Defense Esper] refused to do?

(For one thing, according to Politico, Esper clashed with Trump over pulling US troops out of Afghanistan.)

Brennan added: “Who knows what [freshly appointed Acting Secretary of Defense] Chris Miller is going to do if Donald Trump does give some kind of order that really is counter to what I think our national security interests need to be?”

There are abundant — and disquieting (to Brennan) — clues to this, in the events unfolding over the past several days.

For starters, there is the role Ignatius (as close to Brennan as a Siamese twin) played in setting an unusually transparent table to interpret Brennan’s CNN interview the morning after — curiously, without mentioning the interview itself.

(Yes, this is the same David Ignatius who reported on the leaked, late-Dec. 2016 telephone conversation between Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Gen. Michael Flynn, which was used to trap Flynn and, if possible, put him in prison. After all, Flynn was a major threat. He knew — or would have been able to find out — where most of the Russiagate bodies were buried. It was imperative that he be removed quickly from his position as Trump’s national security adviser.)

Here are Ignatius’s main points:

— Senior military and intelligence officials have been warning Trump against declassifying information about Russia that would compromise sensitive collection methods and anger allies.

— Trump wants the information out “because he thinks it would rebut claims that Putin supported Trump in 2016
— how his political problems began.”

— CIA Director Gina Haspel is against release; said to be determined to “protect sources and methods.”

— NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone directly opposed White House efforts to release the information.

— Defense Secretary Mark Esper – just “terminated” on Monday – supported Nakasone’s view, warning of “harm to national security and specific harm to the military.”

— Christopher Miller is named to replace Esper.

— Michael Ellis, former chief counsel to Nunes, has just been installed as general counsel at NSA.
Nunes: Out From Under the Bus?

After being “thrown under the bus” by Trump more than once in his attempts to expose the crimes of Russiagate, Nunes may now harbor some hope that his patience and loyalty will be rewarded after all. In October Trump ordered Russiagate documents declassified and nothing happened. The next few weeks will tell. The omens are better than before.

Not only will Ellis be general counsel at NSA, reportedly over the objections of Gen. Nakasone, but Kashyap Patel, a longtime Russiagate skeptic and former Nunes aide on the House Intelligence Committee, is replacing Esper’s chief of staff at the Pentagon. Patel is said to already have a “very close” working relationship with Miller, the acting defense secretary. (And rumors persist that Haspel’s ouster is next.) 

In addition, former National Security Council official Ezra Cohen-Watnick has been named acting undersecretary of defense for intelligence. Cohen-Watnick not only reaps close ties to Nunes; he was also a top aide to Flynn during the latter’s abbreviated tenure as national security adviser.

Have these folks been appointed to help start a new war? They seem better placed to try to finish an old one — namely, Russiagate. They would certainly be well placed to execute a Trump order to declassify and release R-gate-related documents that have been Waiting for Godot.

This sends shivers up the spines of those with much to fear from such disclosures. At the same time, the formidable ability of the bureaucracy to resist is well known to all concerned.

Esper Slow-Walked Out the Door

It appears Esper may have been slow-walking a White House request to release information gathered and stored by the National Security Agency, which could document what Trump calls the “hoax” of Russiagate, and the criminal behavior of its perpetrators — including the role prime mover Brennan may have had.

It may be hard to believe, but the NSA intercepts and stores every electronic communication. All Trump has to do is to have newly appointed acting Pentagon chief Miller order Gen. Nakasone to release materials spelling out chapter and verse on the Russiagate operations orchestrated by Brennan, Comey, and ex-National Intelligence Director James Clapper. Nakasone reports to the secretary of defense.

Don’t be misled; virtually all of it can be released with ZERO danger to intelligence “sources and methods.” But release won’t happen if Trump continues to just whine to Fox News, or he “authorizes” release without follow-up (he’s already done that — to no effect).

What Brennan seems to fear is that it might dawn on Trump that he lost the election and has little time left to act. As a lame-duck he might want to go out with a flourish: revenge against the intelligence establishment that undermined him for four years with its Russiagate fable.

Trump might awake one day to find that someone has scrawled on his mirror, “Hey, I thought YOU were the president.” At that point, there would be an outside chance he might act like one, and Brennan and co-conspirators might find themselves going the way of McCabe.

In such circumstances, establishment media can be expected to make a Herculean effort to suppress the (highly embarrassing, including for the media) truth about Russiagate.

It certainly did an amazingly effective job suppressing “Huntergate.” Odds are they could succeed this time around too.

Like those huge banks ten years ago, Russiagate may be too-big-to-fail. But, at least, the documentary evidence would be out there for those who “can handle the truth” — and for future historians with some courage. This is not about the election, which has been decided. But about putting on the record intelligence interference in the last election and subsequent administration, so that future agencies might think twice about doing it again.

By finally ordering the release of such documents, sanitized in those few cases in which it might be necessary, Trump may enable anyone opened minded about Russiagate to be informed in a documented way, about what actually happened during that long-lingering, dark chapter of our recent history.

And, in the process, Russiagaters might be able to overcome their instinctual reluctance to accept the pernicious nature of the National Security State. And that would be for the best.

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Aaron Maté Interviews ; Is Interviewed on ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on October 29, 2020

The below video is an interview with José Bustani, “the former head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) reveals new details of how he was targeted in the lead-up to the Iraq war, when the Bush administration engineered his ouster…

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/10/yvonne-lorenzo/aaron-mate-interviews-is-interviewed-on-russia-russia-russia/

By Yvonne Lorenzo

Award winning journalist Aaron Maté might be best known for his writings, featured on Real Clear Politics and The Grayzone, but he hosts a show on YouTube called “Push Back” and as always, these programs are worthy of attention of not only libertarians but truth seekers and anti-war advocates. Recently, several Pushback videos were posted to YouTube (and I do hope the Grayzone, considering YouTube’s recent purges, continues to be hosted), which I will outline below but also Aaron Maté himself was interviewed to voice his concerns and opinions as well. Of course, no “main stream” or “legacy media” platform would cover such topics.

The below video is an interview with José Bustani, “the former head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) reveals new details of how he was targeted in the lead-up to the Iraq war, when the Bush administration engineered his ouster for impeding its plans to invade,” which was posted on October 21st.

Also posted is this brief interview with Noam Chomsky, who “criticizes the chemical watchdog for suppressing, under US pressure, evidence that undermined the pretext for the US-led bombing of Syria in April 2018. The censorship recently extended to the UN Security Council, where the US, UK, and France blocked former OPCW Director General José Bustani from testifying in support of the inspectors whose findings were kept from the public.”

On October 23rd, Aaron featured this interview with former CIA officer Ray McGovern, well known to readers of LewRockwell.com, “Blaming Moscow for Hunter Biden’s laptop is Russiagate disinformation” in which he discusses “discusses the widespread disinformation about ‘Russian disinformation,’ and why it raises new questions about the conduct and claims of the intelligence officials behind Russiagate.

Lastly, Aaron himself is subject of a wide-ranging interview with Polly Boyko of RT “OPCW cover-ups, Russiagate and US Elections: Polly Talks to Aaron Maté.”

Each and everyone of these videos are important, perhaps more so than all the “political theater” surrounding us.

The Best of Yvonne Lorenzo

Yvonne Lorenzo [send her email] makes her home in New England in a house full to bursting with books, including works on classical Greece and Russian history and literature, and has contributed to LewRockwell.com, Unz.com and to TheSaker.is. Her interests include gardening, mythology, ancient history, The Electric Universe, and classical music, especially the compositions of Handel, Mozart, Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Wagner and the Bel Canto repertoire. She is the author of he Spear of Odin Trilogy: Son of Thunder, The Cloak of Freya and the just published The Well of Mimir.

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Treason in America: An Overview of the FBI, CIA and Matters of ‘National Security’ — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on October 26, 2020

The Family Jewels report was only partially declassified in June 25, 2007 (30 years later). Along with the release of the redacted report included a six-page summary with the following introduction:

The Central Intelligence Agency violated its charter for 25 years until revelations of illegal wiretapping, domestic surveillance, assassination plots, and human experimentation led to official investigations and reforms in the 1970s.” [emphasis added]

Despite this acknowledged violation of its charter for 25 years, which is pretty much since its inception, the details of this information were kept classified for 30 years from not just the public but major governmental bodies and it was left to the agency itself to judge how best to “reform” its ways.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/10/19/treason-america-overview-of-fbi-cia-matters-national-security/

Cynthia Chung

“Treason doth never prosper; what is the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”

Sir John Harrington.

As Shakespeare would state in his play Hamlet, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” like a fish that rots from head to tail, so do corrupt government systems rot from top to bottom.

This is a reference to the ruling system of Denmark and not just the foul murder that King Claudius has committed against his brother, Hamlet’s father. This is showcased in the play by reference to the economy of Denmark being in a state of shambles and that the Danish people are ready to revolt since they are on the verge of starving. King Claudius has only been king for a couple of months, and thus this state of affairs, though he inflames, did not originate with him.

Thus, during our time of great upheaval we should ask ourselves; what constitutes the persisting “ruling system,” of the United States, and where do the injustices in its state of affairs truly originate from?

The tragedy of Hamlet does not just lie in the action (or lack of action) of one man, but rather, it is contained in the choices and actions of all its main characters. Each character fails to see the longer term consequences of their own actions, which leads not only to their ruin but towards the ultimate collapse of Denmark. The characters are so caught up in their antagonism against one another that they fail to foresee that their very own destruction is intertwined with the other.

This is a reflection of a failing system.

A system that, though it believes itself to be fighting tooth and nail for its very survival, is only digging a deeper grave. A system that is incapable of generating any real solutions to the problems it faces.

The only way out of this is to address that very fact. The most important issue that will decide the fate of the country is what sort of changes are going to occur in the political and intelligence apparatus, such that a continuation of this tyrannical treason is finally stopped in its tracks and unable to sow further discord and chaos.

When the Matter of “Truth” Becomes a Threat to “National Security”

When the matter of truth is depicted as a possible threat to those that govern a country, you no longer have a democratic state. True, not everything can be disclosed to the public in real time, but we are sitting on a mountain of classified intelligence material that goes back more than 60 years.

How much time needs to elapse before the American people have the right to know the truth behind what their government agencies have been doing within their own country and abroad in the name of the “free” world?

From this recognition, the whole matter of declassifying material around the Russigate scandal in real time, and not highly redacted 50 years from now, is essential to addressing this festering putrefaction that has been bubbling over since the heinous assassination of President Kennedy on Nov. 22nd, 1963 and to which we are still waiting for full disclosure of classified papers 57 years later.

If the American people really want to finally see who is standing behind that curtain in Oz, now is the time.

These intelligence bureaus need to be reviewed for what kind of method and standard they are upholding in collecting their “intelligence,” that has supposedly justified the Mueller investigation and the never-ending Flynn investigation which have provided zero conclusive evidence to back up their allegations and which have massively infringed on the elected government’s ability to make the changes that they had committed to the American people.

Just like the Iraq and Libya war that was based off of cooked British intelligence (refer here and here), Russiagate appears to have also had its impetus from our friends over at MI6 as well. It is no surprise that Sir Richard Dearlove, who was then MI6 chief (1999-2004) and who oversaw and stood by the fraudulent intelligence on Iraq stating they bought uranium from Niger to build a nuclear weapon, is the very same Sir Richard Dearlove who promoted the Christopher Steele dossier as something “credible” to American intelligence.

In other words, the same man who is largely responsible for encouraging the illegal invasion of Iraq, which set off the never-ending wars on “terror,” that was justified with cooked British intelligence is also responsible for encouraging the Russian spook witch-hunt that has been occurring within the U.S. for the last four years…over more cooked British intelligence, and the FBI and CIA are knowingly complicit in this.

Neither the American people, nor the world as a whole, can afford to suffer any more of the so-called “mistaken” intelligence bumblings. It is time that these intelligence bureaus are held accountable for at best criminal negligence, at worst, treason against their own country.

When Great Figures of Hope Are Targeted as Threats to “National Security”

The Family Jewels report, which was an investigation conducted by the CIA to investigate itself, was spurred by the Watergate Scandal and the CIA’s unconstitutional role in the whole affair. This investigation by the CIA reviewed its own conduct from the 1950s to mid-1970s.

The Family Jewels report was only partially declassified in June 25, 2007 (30 years later). Along with the release of the redacted report included a six-page summary with the following introduction:

The Central Intelligence Agency violated its charter for 25 years until revelations of illegal wiretapping, domestic surveillance, assassination plots, and human experimentation led to official investigations and reforms in the 1970s.” [emphasis added]

Despite this acknowledged violation of its charter for 25 years, which is pretty much since its inception, the details of this information were kept classified for 30 years from not just the public but major governmental bodies and it was left to the agency itself to judge how best to “reform” its ways.

On Dec. 22, 1974, The New York Times published an article by Seymour Hersh exposing illegal operations conducted by the CIA, dubbed the “family jewels”. This included, covert action programs involving assassination attempts on foreign leaders and covert attempts to subvert foreign governments, which were reported for the first time. In addition, the article discussed efforts by intelligence agencies to collect information on the political activities of U.S. citizens.

Largely as a reaction to Hersh’s findings, the creation of the Church Committee was approved on January 27, 1975, by a vote of 82 to 4 in the Senate.

The Church Committee’s final report was published in April 1976, including seven volumes of Church Committee hearings in the Senate.

The Church Committee also published an interim report titled “Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders”, which investigated alleged attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, including Patrice Lumumba of Zaire, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Ngo Dinh Diem of Vietnam, Gen. René Schneider of Chile and Fidel Castro of Cuba. President Ford attempted to withhold the report from the public, but failed and reluctantly issued Executive Order 11905 after pressure from the public and the Church Committee.

Executive Order 11905 is a United States Presidential Executive Order signed on February 18, 1976, by a very reluctant President Ford in an attempt to reform the United States Intelligence Community, improve oversight on foreign intelligence activities, and ban political assassination.

The attempt is now regarded as a failure and was largely undone by President Reagan who issued Executive Order 12333, which extended the powers and responsibilities of U.S. intelligence agencies and directed leaders of the U.S. federal agencies to co-operate fully with the CIA, which was the original arrangement that CIA have full authority over clandestine operations (for more information on this refer to my papers here and here).

In addition, the Church Committee produced seven case studies on covert operations, but only the one on Chile was released, titled “Covert Action in Chile: 1963–1973“. The rest were kept secret at the CIA’s request.

Among the most shocking revelation of the Church Committee was the discovery of Operation SHAMROCK, in which the major telecommunications companies shared their traffic with the NSA from 1945 to the early 1970s. The information gathered in this operation fed directly into the NSA Watch List. It was found out during the committee investigations that Senator Frank Church, who was overseeing the committee, was among the prominent names under surveillance on this NSA Watch List.

In 1975, the Church Committee decided to unilaterally declassify the particulars of this operation, against the objections of President Ford’s administration (refer here and here for more information).

The Church Committee’s reports constitute the most extensive review of intelligence activities ever made available to the public. Much of the contents were classified, but over 50,000 pages were declassified under the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992.

President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22nd, 1963. Two days before his assassination a hate-Kennedy handbill (see picture) was circulated in Dallas accusing the president of treasonous activities including being a communist sympathizer.

On March 1st, 1967 New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison arrested and charged Clay Shaw with conspiring to assassinate President Kennedy, with the help of David Ferrie and others. After a little over a one month long trial, Shaw was found not guilty on March 1st, 1969.

David Ferrie, a controller of Lee Harvey Oswald, was going to be a key witness and would have provided the ”smoking gun” evidence linking himself to Clay Shaw, was likely murdered on Feb. 22nd, 1967, less than a week after news of Garrison’s investigation broke in the media.

According to Garrison’s team findings, there was reason to believe that the CIA was involved in the orchestrations of President Kennedy’s assassination but access to classified material (which was nearly everything concerning the case) was necessary to continue such an investigation.

Though Garrison’s team lacked direct evidence, they were able to collect an immense amount of circumstantial evidence, which should have given the justification for access to classified material for further investigation. Instead the case was thrown out of court prematurely and is now treated as if it were a circus. [Refer to Garrison’s book for further details and Oliver Stone’s excellently researched movie JFK]

To date, it is the only trial to be brought forward concerning the assassination of President Kennedy.

The Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) was created in 1994 by the Congress enacted President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which mandated that all assassination-related material be housed in a single collection within the National Archives and Records Administration. In July 1998, a staff report released by the ARRB emphasized shortcomings in the original autopsy.

The ARRB wrote, “One of the many tragedies of the assassination of President Kennedy has been the incompleteness of the autopsy record and the suspicion caused by the shroud of secrecy that has surrounded the records that do exist.” [emphasis added]

The staff report for the Assassinations Records Review Board contended that brain photographs in the Kennedy records are not of Kennedy’s brain and show much less damage than Kennedy sustained.

The Washington Post reported:

Asked about the lunchroom episode [where he was overheard stating his notes of the autopsy went missing] in a May 1996 deposition, Finck said he did not remember it. He was also vague about how many notes he took during the autopsy but confirmed that “after the autopsy I also wrote notes” and that he turned over whatever notes he had to the chief autopsy physician, James J. Humes.

See the rest here

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Caitlin Johnstone: America has no allies, only hostages — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on October 26, 2020

As the recently released Palace Letters illustrated, the CIA staged a coup to oust Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam because he was prioritizing the nation’s self-sovereignty. Journalist John Pilger wrote in 2014 after Whitlam’s death:

I don’t know about you, but I never consented to a world where powerful nuclear-armed forces wave Armageddon weapons at each other while fighting for planetary domination and subverting less powerful nations if they don’t play along with their Cold War games. Detente and peace must be sought and obtained, and we must all work to live together on this planet in collaboration with each other and with our ecosystem.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/504263-caitlin-johnstone-america-allies/

By Caitlin Johnstone, an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz

The US-centralized empire functions like a giant blob that absorbs nations and turns them into imperial client states. Once absorbed, it is rare for a country to escape and rejoin other genuinely sovereign nations.

The new president-elect of Bolivia, Luis Arce, has told the Spanish international news agency EFE that he intends to restore the nation’s relations with Cuba, Venezuela and Iran. This reverses the policies of the US-backed coup regime which immediately began closing embassieskicking out doctors and severing relations with those nations after illegally seizing power last year.

Arce also spoke of warm relations with Russia and China.

“We are going to re-establish all relations,” he told EFE. “This government has acted very ideologically, depriving the Bolivian people of access to Cuban medicine, to Russian medicine, to advances in China. For a purely ideological issue, it has exposed the population in a way that is unnecessary and harmful.”

Arce expressed a willingness to “open the door to all countries, the only requirement is that they respect us and respect our sovereignty, nothing more. All countries, no matter the size, who want a relationship with Bolivia, the only requirement is that we respect each other as equals. If that is so, we have no problem.“

If you know anything about US imperialism and global politics, you will recognize that last bit as brazen heresy against imperial doctrine.

Bolivia will restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, said President-elect Luis Arce in an interview with EFE. He will also re-establish good relations with China & Russia.Arce condems the coup govt for its ideological & pro-US approach to foreign policy. pic.twitter.com/3ATXjSVbuF— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) October 20, 2020

The unofficial doctrine of the empire-like cluster of international allies that is loosely centralized around the United States does not recognize the sovereignty of other nations, much less respect them as equals. This empire takes it as a given that it has every right to determine what every nation in the world does, who their leaders will be, where their resources will go, and what their military posture on the world stage will be. If a government refuses to accept the empire’s right to determine these things, it is targeted, sabotaged, attacked, and eventually replaced with a puppet regime.

The US-centralized empire functions like a giant blob that slowly works to absorb nations which have not yet been converted into imperial client states. It is rare that a nation is able to escape from that blob and rejoin the unabsorbed nations like China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba in their fight for self-sovereignty, and it is encouraging that it was able to do so.

We saw the dynamics of the imperial blob explained quite vividly last year by American political analyst John Mearsheimer at a debate hosted by the Australian think tank Center for Independent Studies. Mearsheimer told his audience that the US is going to do everything it can to halt China’s rise and prevent it from becoming the regional hegemon in the eastern hemisphere, and that Australia should align with the US in that battle or else it would face the wrath of Washington.

The rules based human rights defending democratic order, ladies and gentlemen https://t.co/ZEfxGm6LFi— RaHoWarrior Steve Bannon, 1st Boomer Division (@healingbyhenry) October 8, 2020

“The question that’s on the table is what should Australia’s foreign policy be in light of the rise of China,” Mearsheimer said. “I’ll tell you what I would suggest if I were an Australian.”

Mearsheimer said China is going to continue to grow economically and will convert that economic power into military power to dominate Asia “the way the US dominates the western hemisphere,” and explained why he think the US and its allies have every ability to prevent that from happening.

“Now the question is what does this all mean for Australia?” Mearsheimer said. “Well, you’re in a quandary for sure. Everybody knows what the quandary is. And by the way you’re not the only country in East Asia that’s in this quandary. You trade a lot with China, and that trade is very important for your prosperity, no question about that. Security-wise, you really want to go with us. It makes just a lot more sense, right? And you understand that security is more important than prosperity, because if you don’t survive, you’re not gonna prosper.

“Now some people say there’s an alternative: you can go with China,” said Mearsheimer. “Right, you have a choice here: you can go with China rather the United States. There’s two things I’ll say about that. Number one, if you go with China you want to understand you are our enemy. You are then deciding to become an enemy of the United States. Because again, we’re talking about an intense security competition.

“You’re either with us or against us,” he continued. “And if you’re trading extensively with China, and you’re friendly with China, you’re undermining the United States in this security competition. You’re feeding the beast, from our perspective. And that is not going to make us happy. And when we are not happy you do not want to underestimate how nasty we can be. Just ask Fidel Castro.”

Nervous laughter from the Australian think tank audience punctuated Mearsheimer’s more incendiary observations. The CIA is known to have made numerous attempts to assassinate Castro.

If you’ve ever wondered how the the US is so successful in getting other nations around the world to align with its interests, this is how. It’s not that the US is a good actor on the world stage or a kind friend to its allies, it’s that it will destroy you if you disobey it.

Australia is not aligned with the US to protect itself from China. Australia is aligned with the US to protect itself from the US. As a Twitter follower recently observed, the US doesn’t have allies, only hostages.

As the recently released Palace Letters illustrated, the CIA staged a coup to oust Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam because he was prioritizing the nation’s self-sovereignty. Journalist John Pilger wrote in 2014 after Whitlam’s death:

Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution.” Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.

The primary difference between the coup in Australia and the one in Bolivia was that the Bolivians refused to roll over and take it while we shrugged and said ‘No worries mate.’ We had every option to become a real nation and insist on our own self-sovereignty, but we, unlike the Bolivians, were too thoroughly propagandized and placid. Some hostages escape, some don’t.

The US empire got rid of Whitlam, and then when we elected in 2007 a prime minister who was considered too friendly with China they did it again; in order to facilitate the Obama administration’s “pivot” against Beijing the pro-China Kevin Rudd was replaced by the compliant Julia Gillard. World Socialist Website reports:

Secret US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks in December 2010 revealed that “protected sources” of the US embassy were pivotal figures in Gillard’s elevation. For months, key coup plotters, including senators Mark Arbib and David Feeney, and Australian Workers Union (AWU) chief Paul Howes, secretly provided the US embassy with regular updates on internal government discussions and divisions within the leadership…

Rudd had proposed an Asia-Pacific Community, attempting to mediate the escalating strategic rivalry between the US and China, and opposed the formation of a quadrilateral military alliance between the US, India, Japan and Australia, aimed against China.

Gillard, who had cultivated her pro-US credentials through Australia-US and Australia-Israel leadership forums, was literally selected by the US embassy as a reliable replacement to Rudd. In her first public appearance after knifing Rudd, she demonstrated her devotion to Washington by posing for a photo op with the US ambassador, flanked by US and Australian flags. She soon had a phone call with Obama, who had previously twice postponed a planned visit to Australia under Rudd.

The centrality of Australia to the US preparations for war against China became apparent in November 2011, when Obama announced his “pivot to Asia” in the Australian parliament, rather than the White House. During the visit, Gillard and Obama signed an agreement to station American Marines in Darwin and allow greater US access to other military bases, placing the Australian population on the front line of any conflict with China.

Gillard’s government also sanctioned the expansion of the major US spying and weapons-targeting base at Pine Gap, agreed to the US military’s increased use of Australian ports and airbases, and stepped up Australia’s role in the US-led top-level “Five Eyes” global surveillance network, which monitors the communications and online activities of millions of people worldwide.

Rudd’s removal marked a turning point. US imperialism, via the Obama administration, sent a blunt message: There was no longer any room for equivocation by the Australian ruling elite. Regardless of which party was in office, it had to line up unconditionally behind the US conflict with China, no matter what the consequences for the loss of its massive export markets in China.

This is what we’re seeing all around the world now: a slow motion third world war being waged by the US power alliance against the remaining nations which have resisted being absorbed into it. As the most powerful of the unabsorbed nations by far, China is the ultimate target of this war. If the empire succeeds in its ultimate goal of stopping China, it will have attained a de facto planetary government which no population will be able to oppose or dissent from.

I don’t know about you, but I never consented to a world where powerful nuclear-armed forces wave Armageddon weapons at each other while fighting for planetary domination and subverting less powerful nations if they don’t play along with their Cold War games. Detente and peace must be sought and obtained, and we must all work to live together on this planet in collaboration with each other and with our ecosystem.

This omnicidal, ecocidal way of living that the oligarchic empire has laid out for us does not suit our species, and it will drive us to extinction along with God knows how many other species if we do not find a way to end it. Rulers historically do not cede their power willingly, so we ordinary human beings as a collective are going to have to find a way to destroy their propaganda engine, force an end to imperialism, and build a healthy world.

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JOHN KIRIAKAOU: What Would Biden’s Foreign Policy Look Like? Just Look at His Supporters – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2020

Negroponte made a point in the interview of saying that he had disagreed with Biden on important (unspecified) issues over the years, but that Biden was “an experienced politician,” “a middle of the road kind of person,” and “a wise gentleman.” He said, for example, that he supported warrantless wiretapping of American citizens after the 9/11 attacks.

https://consortiumnews.com/2020/10/06/john-kiriakaou-what-would-bidens-foreign-policy-look-like-just-look-at-his-supporters/

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

Many of us are counting down the days until we can throw President Donald Trump out of office, out of Washington, out of our lives, and out of the daily news cycle.  With the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, there’s even more immediacy to replacing Trump.  But what would we get with a “President” Joe Biden? What would a Biden foreign policy look like?

Earlier this month, a group of Republican former senators and congressmen endorsed Biden for president, saying that he was better equipped that Trump to run the country.  At around the same time, a large group of intelligence and foreign policy professionals, most of whom had worked for Republican presidents, also endorsed the former vice president.  That sounds pretty impressive.  But let’s look at what it really means.  It means that they believe Biden will continue an interventionist, neoliberal, pro-war foreign policy.

John Negroponte 

John Negroponte, on right, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell displays anthrax vial at UN Security Council, Feb. 5, 2003. Former CIA Director George Tenet on left. (Wikimedia Commons)

Former Ambassador John Negroponte is one of those intelligence professionals who endorsed Biden. Negroponte is the Darth Vader of American foreign policy of the past half-century. 

Negroponte was ambassador to Honduras during the Iran-Contra affair, through which covert funds from the CIA made their way to the contra rebels; ambassador to Mexico as the drug cartels consolidated their power against a corrupt government there; ambassador to the United Nations as the U.S. sought to go to war with a knowingly false narrative of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction; ambassador to Iraq during the U.S. occupation of that country; and director of national intelligence during President George W. Bush’s torture program. 

Nobody has ever accused Negroponte of being a progressive in any sense of the word.  He loves war and has proven happy to jump into it with both feet.  And he happily and publicly endorsed Biden.

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Negroponte recently told the Daily Beast what was behind his endorsement.  The interview says as much about Biden as it does about Negroponte.  At the outset, Negroponte said, “All roads lead to Trump, and I’m just not sure the country can withstand another four years with a man who has shown such disregard for the office.”  I agree. Just about every Democrat does.  Donald Trump is a bad guy.  But it’s not as simple as that.

Warrantless Wiretapping

Negroponte made a point in the interview of saying that he had disagreed with Biden on important (unspecified) issues over the years, but that Biden was “an experienced politician,” “a middle of the road kind of person,” and “a wise gentleman.”  He said, for example, that he supported warrantless wiretapping of American citizens after the 9/11 attacks. 

Presidential candidate Joe Biden in Henderson, Nevada, February 2020. (Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons)

The statement was incomplete, however. Biden also supported warrantless wiretapping, voting for the Patriot Act while a senator in 2001, voting repeatedly for its subsequent reauthorizations and then opposing weakening the measure while he was vice president in the Obama administration.

There are other reasons that Negroponte and a bevy of Republican former intelligence and foreign policy big-shots have moved to Biden. 

The former VP opposes a troop drawdown in Europe, saying that such a move would embolden the Russians, for example.  He supports a more engaged military policy against China in the South China Sea.  He supports an extension of President Barack Obama’s policy of maintaining military bases in more than 100 countries, including Forward Operating Bases across Africa.

Literally the last thing I would do is to urge anybody to vote for Donald Trump.  The president has been a disaster in every sense of the word and in both foreign and domestic policy.  The country can’t take four more years of a Trump presidency.  But Biden is no panacea. He’s a center-right placeholder.  Negroponte confirmed that.

If you think things will change in foreign policy under a President Biden, think again.  It’ll be the same old expansionist, militarist policy that we had under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  So go into the voting booth with your eyes open.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act—a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

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Operation Warp Speed is Using a CIA-Linked Contractor to Keep Covid-19 Vaccine Contracts Secret

Posted by M. C. on October 9, 2020

Though NPR named thedefense contractor—South Carolina–based Advanced Technology International—they declined to explore the company’s deep ties to the CIA, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense and how ATI is helping to lead those agencies’ efforts to militarize health care and create a surveillance panopticon that not only monitors the world around us but our physiology as well.

https://www.thelastamericanvagabond.com/operation-warp-speed-is-using-a-cia-linked-contractor-to-keep-covid-19-vaccine-contracts-secret/

Author Whitney Webb

$6 billion in Covid-19 vaccine contracts awarded by Operation Warp Speed have been doled out by a secretive government contractor with deep ties to the CIA and DHS, escaping regulatory scrutiny and beyond the reach of FOIA requests.

Last Tuesday, while most Americans were distracted by the first US presidential debate, NPR quietly reported that the US government’s Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership launched by the Trump administration to rapidly develop and distribute a Covid-19 vaccine, had taken the unusual step of awarding contracts to vaccine companies, not directly, but through a secretive defense contractor.

Though NPR named thedefense contractor—South Carolina–based Advanced Technology International—they declined to explore the company’s deep ties to the CIA, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense and how ATI is helping to lead those agencies’ efforts to militarize health care and create a surveillance panopticon that not only monitors the world around us but our physiology as well.

The “secret” vaccine contracts awarded through ATI as part of Warp Speed total approximately $6 billion, accounting for the majority of Operation Warp Speed’s $10 billion budget. Both Paul Mango, Health and Human Services’ deputy chief of staff for policy, and Robert Kadlec, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response (ASPR), personally signed off on the contracts.

Operation Warp Speed, which officially involves the combined efforts of HHS and the military to deliver over 300 million Covid-19 vaccines to Americans by next January, is a highly secretive program dominated by military personnel, most of whom have no experience in health care or vaccine production. The Trump administration has often compared Warp Speed to the Manhattan Project, which produced the atomic bomb.

Several very unsettling revelations about the true nature and scope of Warp Speed, including the out-sized role of ATI, began to emerge starting last Monday. Yet, most of this new information was not covered by US news outlets due to the media frenzy surrounding the first presidential debate and the subsequent news that President Trump and several other politicians and White House officials had tested positive for Covid-19.

NPR noted that the decision to use a nongovernment intermediary like ATI to issue the coronavirus vaccine contracts, as opposed to the government itself directly awarding those contracts, allows Operation Warp Speed to “bypass the regulatory oversight and transparency of traditional federal contracting mechanisms.” This means that, among other things, the vaccine contracts awarded under Operation Warp Speed are unlikely to be publicly released in the near future, if ever.

The report from NPR also noted that the Congressional Research Service reported just last year that using such intermediaries to award contracts can result in “significant risks, including potentially diminished oversight and exemption from laws and regulations designed to protect government and taxpayer interests.” Proponents of this unorthodox way of issuing contracts, known as “other transaction agreements” (OTAs), often argue that utilizing this alternative method for awarding contracts significantly hastens the process. However, the Congressional Research Service also noted that the Department of Defense, which has been increasingly relying on OTAs in recent years, has never tracked the information necessary to determine if OTAs are actually faster than traditional contracting methods. This suggests that claims regarding the alleged “speed advantage” of OTAs are based on assumptions rather than data-based evidence.

Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer, and Sanofi are among the companies that have received these covert vaccine contracts through the OTA authorized by Operation Warp Speed and managed by ATI. Many of these companies, particularly Johnson & Johnson, have been involved in scandals related to selling and marketing products they knew to be unsafe to the public. This makes the lack of oversight and their exemption from federal regulations (including safety regulations) an issue of concern regarding their participation in Warp Speed.

This concern is further compounded by the fact that, on September 21, HHS Secretary Alex Azar told FOX Business that all Operation Warp Speed vaccine manufacturers would be exempt from liability for any damages their vaccines may cause and that those who administer their vaccines would also not be liable for damages. “Under the PREP Act, which is a provision in Congress, any treatment or vaccine for purposes of a national emergency pandemic like this actually comes with liability protection. Both the product as well as those who administer it or provide it,” Azar stated during the televised interview. The PREP Act that Azar referenced was originally signed into law in 2005 but was updated this past April, a few weeks before Operation Warp Speed was announced, so that vaccine and therapeutic manufacturers “cannot be sued for money damages in court” over injuries caused by medical countermeasures for Covid-19.

Expose Warp Speed
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 02: Flanked by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, U.S. President Donald Trump leads a meeting with the White House Coronavirus Task Force and pharmaceutical executives in Cabinet Room of the White House on March 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump and his Coronavirus Task Force team met with pharmaceutical companies representatives who are actively working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Notably, the architect of that controversial April update to the PREP Act, HHS ASPR Kadlec, is intimately involved in deciding who is awarded Operation Warp Speed contracts.STAT News reported last week, citing senior HHS officials, that Kadlec “personally signs off” on every business agreement made on behalf of HHS for Operation Warp Speed. In addition to his past activities in lobbying for intelligence and defense contractors, Kadlec also previously worked as a lobbyist for the scandal-ridden biodefense company Emergent Biosolutions, which is also a major player in Operation Warp Speed as well as the manufacturer of the controversial anthrax vaccine BioThrax.

Despite top HHS officials allegedly overseeing every single one of these business agreements, NPR was told by HHS that the department has “no records” of the $1.6 billion Operation Warp Speed contract with Novavax, which was awarded through ATI. This is a strange response given that HHS is supposedly the lead agency overseeing Operation Warp Speed, yet they somehow lack a copy of a massive vaccine contract at the heart of the operation. NPR also asked the DoD for a copy of the Novavax contract and have yet to receive a response.

At a press conference in mid-September, Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, a key figure in Operation Warp Speed, told reporters: “With respect to the contracts, the contracts are between ourselves, the United States government and private entities, and they are releasable to an extent. Obviously everything cannot be released, but they are releasable to an extent and they will be made available at some point in time.” Ostrowski declined to elaborate on when that “point in time” would be.

Also odd is that ATI told NPR that, at the time they were awarding these secretive vaccine contracts, it was never explicitly told by the Department of Defense that these contracts were part of Operation Warp Speed, with a former ATI executive describing that key fact as “invisible” to the company.

Spooks and Skunkworks

Advanced Technology International (ATI) is a nonprofit company that organizes consortia of public, private, and academic organizations that perform research and development (R&D) on behalf of the US government. ATI mostly manages R&D consortia for the Department of Defense for things like weapons manufacturing, metal casting and forging, ship production, and technology aimed at countering so-called weapons of mass destruction. They also manage the Border Security Technology Consortium (BSTC) for the Department of Homeland Security, primarily surveillance technology companies, among other DHS research projects.

ATI only currently manages two consortia that have any relationship to health care, the Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC) and the Medical CBRN Defense Consortium (MCDC). The MTEC, operating on behalf of the US Army Medical Research and Development Command, aims to “accelerate the development of revolutionary medical solutions,” which include gene editing, nanotechnology, “telehealth solutions,” artificial limbs, and brain implants. They are also currently developing a wearable device that would diagnose individuals with Covid-19 before symptoms appear.

The other ATI-managed “health-care” consortia, the MCDC, is focused on “advanced development efforts to support the Department of Defense’s (DoD) medical pharmaceutical and diagnostic requirements to counter Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) threat agents.”

They are specifically involved in “enabling prototype technologies for therapeutic medical countermeasures targeting viral, bacterial and biological toxin targets of interest to the DoD,” including the development of vaccines. ATI told NPR that theywere contacted by the DoD sometime between March and April, before Warp Speed was announced in May, and asked to issue requests for proposals related to Covid-19 from MCDC members.

MCDC members include Emergent Biosolutions as well as DoD/CIA contractor Battelle Memorial Institute, with both of those companies having unsettling ties to the 2001 anthrax attacks. Another member of the MCDC is CIA/NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton and weapons manufacturer General Dynamics. MCDC’s membership has expanded significantly following ATI’s acquisition by Analytic Services Inc. (ANSER), the principal sponsor of the Dark Winter bioterror simulation, with eighteen new members added just three months after the acquisition had concluded.

In addition, there is considerable overlap between the MCDC and the vaccine companies that have been awarded secretive contracts through ATI as part of Operation Warp Speed. Sanofi, Novavax, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson are all MCDC members as well as recipients of Warp Speed vaccine contracts. In addition, Emergent Biosolutions, another MCDC member, was awarded a major Warp Speed contract to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines, but that contract was awarded through HHS Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), not ATI.

ANSER’s Rise, Its Fall, and Its Saving Grace

In February 2017, ATI was acquired by Analytic Services Inc. ANSER, like ATI, manages R&D projects for the federal government, historically for DHS, with ANSER being the long-time manager of one of the two DHS federally funded research and development centers. However, ANSER also provides services to the DoD, NASA, the State Department, and the US intelligence community.

ANSER was originally founded as a spin-off from the RAND Corporation in the late 1950s, but it became a much larger part of government operations, particularly in the realm of Homeland Security, after Ruth David became its president and CEO in 1998. Prior to becoming ANSER’s CEO, David had been the deputy director for science and technology at the CIA, where, among other things, she laid the groundwork for what would become In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital arm responsible for the rise of several Silicon Valley behemoths such as Google and Palantir. David led ANSER until 2015. After David took charge, ANSER became an early leader in promoting the use of biometric and facial recognition software by US law enforcement agencies and became a key driver in pivoting the government toward “homeland defense” and “homeland security” in the years leading up to the events of September 11, 2001.

As journalist Margie Burns noted in a 2002 article, the rise of “homeland defense” as a centerpiece of US government policy, including the push to create a new “homeland security” agency, began with former State Department official Richard Armitage’s alleged coining of the term in 1997 in a National Defense Policy document. In the years that followed, this pivot toward seeing the American homeland as a future battlefield was heavily promoted by a web of media outlets owned by South Korean cult leader and CIA asset Sun Myong Moon, including the Washington Times, Insight Magazine, and UPI. Allpublished numerous articles either penned by ANSER analysts or that heavily cited ANSER reports and employees regarding the need for a greatly expanded “homeland security” apparatus.

Lt. Gen. Paul A. Ostrowski, deputy commander at Army Futures Command under commanding general Mike Murray. (Photo by Catherine DeRan/U.S. Army)

In October 1999, at David’s behest, ANSER created the Institute for Homeland Security (ANSER-IHS). Though fully funded and established at that time, but for reasons still unclear, the ANSER-IHS was not formally launched until April 2001. The Institute’s first director was Randall Larsen, who was at that time—and still is today—a close associate of current HHS ASPR Robert Kadlec. Though ANSER has never explained the reason behind the lengthy delay in officially launching ANSER-IHS, it is possible that the timing was related to the introduction of H.R.1158 in March 2001. That bill called for the creation of the National Homeland Security Agency, which was the foundation of the later Department of Homeland Security.

One month after ANSER-IHS was created, Insight Magazine published an article in May 2001 entitled “Preparing for the Next Pearl Harbor,” which heavily cited ANSER and its Institute for Homeland Security as being among “the nation’s top experts” in warning that a terrorist attack on the US mainland was imminent. It also stated that “the first responders on tomorrow’s battlefield won’t be soldiers, but city ambulance workers and small-town firefighters.”

The following month, ANSER-IHS cohosted the Dark Winter exercise, with two top ANSER-IHS officials, Mark DeMier and Randall Larsen, cowriting the exercise with Tara O’Toole and Thomas Inglesby of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies (now the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security). O’Toole, at the time, was on the ANSER-IHS board of advisers.

As previously detailed in the Engineering Contagion series, several of those involved in Dark Winter had foreknowledge of the 2001 anthrax attacks, and Dark Winter itself originated what became the initial, yet false, narrative for those attacks—that Iraq and Al Qaeda were working together to conduct acts of bioterrorism on US soil. However, the anthrax used in the attacks was quickly determined to have either originated from a US military lab or a US defense contractor.

ANSER’s convenient gamble that the US government would imminently pivot toward homeland security soon after April 2001 paid off tremendously. Thanks largely to the fear stoked by 9/11 and the 2001 anthrax attacks, the Department of Homeland Security was created, and ANSER-IHS quickly became the first government think tank, that is, federally funded research and development center.

Not long after its formal creation as an agency, DHS established its Science and Technology (S & T) Directorate in 2003 with the mission “to protect the homeland by providing . . . officials with state-of-the-art technology.” DHS later announced in 2004 that it had “selected [ANSER] to operate the Homeland Security Institute . . . [f]ollowing a full and open competition procurement process conducted by [DHS] Science and Technology.” This is despite this very institute having already been funded and established by ANSER in 1999 and then launched in 2001.

From 2009 to 2013, the head of DHS Science and Technology Directorate was Dark Winter coauthor and bioterror alarmist Tara O’Toole, who had long-standing, close ties to ANSER-IHS, as previously mentioned. With O’Toole at the helm, DHS focused on “more robust public-private sector partnerships” and “increasing the budget for innovative, longer-term technology projects,” such as those overseen by ANSER on the behalf of DHS. She also made it her mission to model the S & T Directorate more closely after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

During her tenure, DHS also claimed to be “unaware” of how the department’s multibillion dollar research expenditures were being used, suggesting a lack of oversight in the millions of dollars DHS S & T was funneling to the ANSER-run research center and the other DHS research center, which is run by the equally shady MITRE Corporation.

Unexpectedly for ANSER, DHS declined to renew ANSER’s federally funded research and development center contract in October 2016. They instead awarded that contract to the RAND Corporation, which created a new research and development center with “a different set of focus areas, aligned more closely with current DHS priorities.” ANSER’s apparent plans for restructuring following the loss of this critical contract included its decision to acquire ATI, which took place just a few months later in February 2017.

The acquisition of ATI gave ANSER access to the key OTA research consortia that ATI manages, ensuring that ANSER’s board of former intelligence officials, military officers, and defense-industry executives continued to wield considerable influence over the direction of government-funded research projects. Per the press release, the acquisition was aimed at combining ANSER’s “government problem-solving heritage with ATI’s technical expertise,” allowing ANSER to continue to execute “thought leadership independent of commercial influences” over the “important defense technology developments” being overseen by ATI. Thus, whatever decisions are being made by ATI with respect to these secretive Operation Warp Speed vaccine contracts, it is ultimately ANSER that is signing off on them.

Mess Hall

Given that Operation Warp Speed’s official purpose is to use taxpayer funds to produce, accelerate, and distribute a medical treatment (i. e., vaccine) to Americans, there is no reason for such extreme secrecy and also no reason for the excessive role of the military and secretive contractors like ATI and ANSER in the execution of this “public health” effort.

While the officially stated purpose of Warp Speed makes the extreme secrecy involved seem not just unnecessary but absurd, it is worth noting that several recent revelations regarding Warp Speed’s structure, strategy, and execution strongly suggest that the reason for the operation’s covert nature is because its scope goes well beyond its publicly stated purpose.

For instance, Stat News noted last week that Operation Warp Speed “looks a lot more like a military operation than a science project,” adding that “roughly 60 military officials—including at least four generals—are involved in the leadership of Operation Warp Speed, many of whom have never worked in health care or vaccine development.” That report also pointed out that “just 29 of the roughly 90 leaders on the chart aren’t employed by the Department of Defense.”

Though the military’s initial justification for playing such a major role in Warp Speed was related to its “expertise” in logistics and supply chains, the recent release of the operation’s vaccine distribution strategy makes no direct mention of the military’s role in those aspects of Warp Speed. So noticeable was the disconnect that, soon after the release of the official distribution strategy, the Department of Defense “clarified” the military’s role in the operation by publishing an interview on its website with Lt. Gen. Ostrowski, who is leading Warp Speed’s efforts to supply, produce, and distribute vaccines. Per Ostrowski, the reason the military is playing such an outsize role in Warp Speed is because of the military’s “program management and contracting expertise.”

Yet, as this article has shown, Warp Speed contracts are being funneled through secretive contractors to avoid scrutiny and are apparently not being made available to HHS, the civilian agency supposedly “co-leading” Warp Speed alongside the military.

Such examples of extreme secrecy and conflicting statements appear to be just scratching the surface of what Operation Warp Speed truly aims to accomplish. An upcoming series of investigative reports produced by this author in collaboration with Ryan Cristián and Derrick Broze of The Last American Vagabond will explore in depth this operation and the individuals leading it in order to expose Operation Warp Speed as the most clandestine, and arguably most dangerous, US military operation in decades. Unlike such well-funded and secretive military operations of years past, this one is aimed directly at the American people.

Question Everything, Come To Your Own Conclusions.

Be seeing you

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