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CNN Silences War-Skeptical Soldier

February 27, 2012

Consortiumnews.com Editor's Note: By obsessing over Iran gaining a nuclear weapon “capability” – even with no actual bomb – while ignoring Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal, the U.S. news media proves the point of its own bias. There’s also the usual hostility toward dissenting voices, as Ray McGovern notes.

By Ray McGovern

When CNN interviews a U.S. Army corporal preparing for his third deployment to Afghanistan, should TV viewers be permitted to hear him out on a front-burner issue like Iran’s alleged threat to Israel? For those who might think so, watch what happens when 28-year-old Cpl. Jesse Thorsen touches a neuralgic nerve by suggesting that Israel can take care of itself.

Before Panem et Circenses, a Word from the Emperor

Obama’s Super-Bowl Fumble on Iran

February 7, 2012

Editor's (Consortiumnews.com) Note: In a televised interview before the Super Bowl, President Obama had the chance to send a clear signal to Israel not to launch a preemptive war against Iran but instead offered ambiguous remarks that Israeli hard-liners might read as a partial green light, reports ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

Before President Barack Obama’s interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, aired before the Super Bowl on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu probably hoped that, if Obama discussed Iran, he would give him the strong backing that Israeli leaders crave, freeing them to lash out at Iran — militarily, if they so choose.

Intelligence Director Holds Firm on Iran Estimate

 

Divining the Truth about Iran

February 1, 2012

Editor (Consortiumnews.com) Note: Like before the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. news media is flooding Americans with alarmist accounts about Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. Even when U.S. officials suggest nuance and caution, the media ignores the signals, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern reports.

By Ray McGovern

Watching top U.S. intelligence officials present the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” before the Senate Intelligence Committee, I found myself wondering if they would depart from the key (if politically delicate) consensus judgment that Iran is NOT working on a nuclear weapon.

Don't Believe NY Times; Iran NOT Building Nukes

US/Israel: Iran NOT Building Nukes

January 24, 2012

Exclusive: Recent comments by U.S and Israeli military leaders indicate that the intelligence services of the two countries agree that Iran has not decided to build a nuclear bomb, a crack in the Western narrative that the U.S. press corps won’t accept, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains.

By Ray McGovern

Has Iran decided to build a nuclear bomb? That would seem to be the central question in the current bellicose debate over whether the world should simply cripple Iran’s economy and inflict severe pain on its civilian population or launch a preemptive war to destroy its nuclear capability while possibly achieving “regime change.”

Retrieving Manhood Maybe

Israel Tamps Down Iran War Threats

January 19, 2012

Editor's Note (consortiumnews.com): For months, Israeli hardliners and their neocon allies in the United States have been beating the war drums over Iran. But apparent resistance to war from President Obama has brought a softening of rhetoric in Israel, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern reports.

By Ray McGovern

In a stunning departure from recent Israeli threats to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday used an interview with Israel’s Army radio to assert that any attack on Iran “is very far off,” adding, “We haven’t made any decision to do this.”

Defiling the Constitution of the United States

 

A Betrayal of the Founders

January 4, 2012

Editor (consortiumnews.com) Comment: Though voicing “serious reservations” about encroachments on civil liberties in a military authorization bill, President Obama signed the law anyway to avoid a nasty veto fight with Congress. But ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says courage, not timidity, is what’s needed at such moments.

By Ray McGovern

President Barack Obama desecrated the Constitution that he and I swore to defend when he signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which includes language violating the Bill of Rights and other constitutionally protected liberties.

The NDAA affirms that the president has the authority to use the Armed Forces to detain any person “who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.”

Playing Persian Roulette at Mouth of the Gulf

Urging Obama to Stop Rush to Iran War

December 30, 2011

Editor (consortiumnews.com) Comment:  A torrent of war propaganda against Iran is flooding the American political scene as U.S. neocons and Israeli hardliners see an opening for another war in the Middle East, a momentum that ex-CIA analysts Ray McGovern and Elizabeth Murray urge President Obama to stop.

By Ray McGovern and Elizabeth Murray

President Obama needs to put an abrupt halt to the game of Persian Roulette about to spin out of control in the Persian Gulf. If we were still on active duty at the CIA, this is what we would tell him:

This informal memorandum addresses the escalating game of chicken playing out in the waters off Iran and the more general issue of what can be done to put the exaggerated threat from Iran in some kind of perspective.

Bradley Manning: The Imperative of Truth

Pvt. Manning and Imperative of Truth

by Ray McGovern

When I was asked to speak at Saturday’s rally at Fort Meade in support of Pvt. Bradley Manning, I wondered how I might provide some context around what Manning is alleged to have done.

(In my talk [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4174QK1emtQ ], so as not to think I had to insert the word “alleged” into every sentence, I asked for unanimous consent to using the indicative rather than the subjunctive mood.)

What jumped into my mind was the letter Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from the Birmingham City jail in April 1963, from which I remembered this:

Line 'Em All Up — for Gitmo

 

Line ‘Em Right Up — For Gitmo

By Ray McGovern, Consortiumnews.com

Editor Comment(Consortiumnews.com):Though the 9/11 attacks occurred more than a decade ago, Congress continues to exploit them to pass evermore draconian laws on “terrorism,” with the Senate now empowering the military to arrest people on U.S. soil and hold them without trial, a serious threat to American liberties, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Ambiguous but alarming new wording, which is tucked into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and was just passed by the Senate, is reminiscent of the “extraordinary measures” introduced by the Nazis after they took power in 1933.

Ask Questions the Candidates Can't Duck

 

Ask the Candidates Real Questions — Like These

By Ray McGovern

Editor’s Note (Consortiumnews.com): During recent presidential debates, moderators have asked mostly predictable questions and – except for some notable gaffes – have elicited mostly talking-point answers. But ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says it’s time for citizens to put politicians on the spot with some more pointed questions.

Pity the pundits. It must be hard to pretend to be a journalist and live in constant fear of being one question or comment away from joining the jobless.

This Thanksgiving holiday weekend we can be thankful for the obscene transparency of the “mainstream” pundits’ efforts to avoid at all cost offending the corporations that own and use them.

Honoring Whistleblowers; Encouraging More to Come Forward

Whistleblowers To Be Honored on Nov. 21 at American U.

http://consortiumnews.com/2011/11/16/whistleblowers-honored-on-nov-21/

November 17, 2011

In recent decades, information – the lifeblood of democracy — has often been cut off from the American body politic on “national security” grounds or because insiders feel it wouldn’t be “good for the country.” To counter that benighted view, a group of ex-U.S. intelligence officials honors brave whistleblowers, this year Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack.

By Ray McGovern

"Real Men Go to Tehran!"

Switching Focus from Iraq to Iran

By Ray McGovern

Introductory Note:There I go again — reading the Washington Post before breakfast.

“Clinton cautions Iran on U.S. resolve in Iraq” headlines an article by N.S. Aizenman on who said what on Sunday’s talk shows yesterday.

Aizenman points out that the guests were “pressed by multiple interviewers on … whether the [U.S. troop] withdrawal would open Iraq to greater influence from Iran.”  (No coincidence: talking points courtesy of the White House, no doubt.)

Was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blindsided by the question?  Hardly.  She probably drafted it.  In any case, she was well prepared to lead the chorus well into its rehearsals to blame Iran, when Iraq falls apart.

Iraq Done; Real Men Go On to Iran!

Plus ça change…; Iraq Done, Now On to Iran

Ray McGovern, October 22, 2011

Editor Note (Consortiumnews.com): One not-so-funny fact about Washington is that nearly all the news media stars who fell for neoconservative falsehoods about Iraq are still around to fall for new ones on Iran, even some like Richard Cohen who briefly regretted his earlier gullibility, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Paul R. Pillar, my former colleague in the CIA’s analytical division, has raised a warning flag, cautioning that the same imaginative neocon composers who came up with the various refrains on why we needed to attack Iraq are now providing similar background music for a strike on Iran.

He is right. And as one of my Russian professors used to say, “This is nothing to laugh!”

Petraeus's CIA Helps Make the "Implausible" Plausible

Petraeus’s CIA Fuels Iran Murder Plot

By Ray McGovern

Editor’s Note (Consortiumnews.com):  The U.S. media and public are being riled up again with a new set of allegations against Iran, this time for a bizarre assassination plot aimed at the Saudi ambassador in Washington. But former CIA analyst Ray McGovern addresses the role being played by former general and current CIA director David Petraeus in what has the earmarks of an amateur Hollywood script.

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, in his accustomed role as unofficial surrogate CIA spokesman, has thrown light on how the CIA under its new director, David Petraeus, helped craft the screenplay for this week’s White House spy feature: the Iranian-American-used-car-salesman-Mexican-drug-cartel plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.

Activism: A Moral Imperative...and Fun!

The Moral Imperative of ‘Activism’

By Ray McGovern, Consortiumnews

October 6, 2011

Editor Note: On Sept. 18, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern gave a talk about “activism” to a conference in Charlottesville, Virginia, focused on the need to confront the military industrial complex. Now, as the occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington gets under way, his words take on a special resonance.

The past 50 years have shown that President Dwight Eisenhower was spot on about the Military Industrial Complex and what to expect if Americans were not vigilant, which, of course, we have not been — until maybe now.

Will Israel Attack Iran This Time?

Israeli leaders and their supporters are again pounding the drum about the need to nip in the bud the danger they profess to see coming from Iran.  No one ever mentions the key, "high-confidence," unanimous judgment by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies (published in a National Intelligence Estimate in November 2007) that Iran stopped work on a nuclear weapon in the fall of 2003 — yep, that's right; EIGHT YEARS AGO.

The evidence supporting that judgment is continually reviewed very closely, as you might imagine.  It has be reaffirmed every year since...as recently as February and March 2011.  There are still some honest analysts and managers working in our intelligence community.

The Fawning Corporate Media (FCM), however, avoid any allusion to this; go ask your neighbors if they think Iran is trying to get the bomb.

Thursday with Yoo, Donald, Mike & Ari

Bird-Dogging Torturers in NYC

By Ray McGovern

As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 nears, many ex-Bush administration officials who approved torture in the “war on terror” and botched the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are back in the spotlight taking bows from appreciative audiences in tightly controlled settings.

Back in my native New York on Thursday afternoon, I was bolstered by a scene of what I call real New Yorkers (along with tourists and honking cab drivers) joining in a protest of the adulation bestowed on torture lawyer John Yoo at the swank University Club off Fifth Avenue.

What became gradually and reassuringly clear is that New York continues to be a tale of two cities. And those whom my grandmother used to call “the swells” remain a loud but increasingly transparent minority.

Rise of Another CIA Yes Man

The Rise of Another CIA Yes Man

By Ray McGovern

August 29, 2011

Editor’s Note(Consortiumnews.com): The gross manipulation of CIA analysis under George W. Bush pushed a new generation of “yes men” into the agency’s top ranks. Now one of those aspiring bureaucrats will be Gen. David Petraeus’s right-hand man, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern. (Also, at end of article, see special comments from several former CIA insiders.)

As Gen. David Petraeus prepares to take the helm at CIA in September, he can expect unswerving loyalty from his likely deputy, Michael Morell, who has been acting director since July when Leon Panetta left to become Secretary of Defense. 

Like many senior CIA officials in recent years, Morell’s record is checkered, at best. He held key jobs in intelligence analysis over the past decade as the CIA often served as a handmaiden to the war propagandists.

Lemmingly, We Roll Along; More to Die in Vain

Lemmingly, We Roll Along

Ray McGovern

When soldiers die, the politicians who sent them to their deaths typically use euphemisms and circumlocutions — like “lost,” “fallen,” or “ultimate sacrifice.” On one level, the avoidance of blunt language can be seen as a sign of respect, but on another, it is just one more evasion of responsibility for the snuffing out of young lives.

There has been unusually wide (and for the most part supportive) reaction to my article of August 8 (They Died in Vain: Deal With It) on the killing of 30 American troops when their helicopter was shot down over Afghanistan on the night of the 6th.  One website posting the article clocked 181 comments; scanning through them, I found many substantive, helpful ones.

Let me share one telling comment, which seemed to me particularly — if sadly — apt:

Richard Clarke Accuses Ex-CIA Chief of Hiding Key Pre-9/11 Info

Did Tenet Hide Key Info on 9/11?

By Ray McGovern

(Note: some of this commentary was included in David Swanson's blog earlier today)

With few exceptions, like some salacious rumor about the Kennedy family, the mainstream U.S. news media has shown little interest in stories that throw light on history — even recent, very relevant history. So it comes as no surprise that, when a former White House counter-terrorism czar accuses an ex-CIA director of sitting on information that could have prevented a 9/11 attack, the story gets neither ink nor air.

On the Unnecessary Death of 30 Soldiers

They Died in Vain; Deal With It

By Ray McGovern

 

Many of those preaching at American church services Sunday extolled as “heroes” the 30 American and 8 Afghan troops killed Saturday west of Kabul, when a helicopter on a night mission crashed, apparently after taking fire from Taliban forces.  This week, the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) can be expected to beat a steady drumbeat of “they shall not have died in vain.”

 

But they did.  I know it is a hard truth, but they did die in vain.

 

As in the past, churches across the country will keep praising the fallen troops for protecting “our way of life,” and few can demur, given the tragic circumstances.

 

Obama Blows a Judas Kiss to the Poor

Obama Blows a Judas Kiss to the Poor

By Ray McGovern

 

The unconscionable result of the manufactured crisis over the debt ceiling shows that the political Right knows how to play hardball, and that President Obama and his hapless party know how to get rolled.  There are other options; and we, the people, need to press them home.

 

 The Obama-brokered deal on debt and spending was certainly what the Germans call eine schwere Geburt (a difficult birth); this one should have been aborted.

 

The Obama surrender reminds me of a sermon that Dr. Martin Luther King gave during the turbulent 1950s, in which he peered into the future and issued a prescient warning:

 

“A nation or a civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.”

 

Is Jerry Brown a "Fallen-Away" Follower of Ignatius? (rev. 7/23)

Editor's Note (Consortiumnews.com): Re. Ray McGovern Challenge to Gov. Brown on Prisons

In recent weeks prisoners in California's over-crowded prison system have been on hunger strikes demanding more humane treatment. This crisis has prompted Jesuit-schooled, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern to write an open letter — an appeal for justice — to California Gov. Jerry Brown, who also studied with the Jesuits.

July 22, 2011

Dear Gov. Brown,

Is Gov. Jerry Brown: A "Fallen-Away" Jesuit?

 

Editor's Note (Consortiumnews.com): Re. Ray McGovern Challenge to Gov. Brown on Prisons

In recent weeks prisoners in California's over-crowded prison system have been on hunger strikes demanding more humane treatment. This crisis has prompted Jesuit-schooled, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern to write an open letter — an appeal for justice — to California Gov. Jerry Brown, who also studied with the Jesuits.

 

July 22, 2011

 

Dear Gov. Brown,

 

I’m thinking that the Jesuits who educated you probably told you, as they did me, that Ignatius of Loyola required all Jesuits, including the highly educated ones, to empty bedpans at local hospitals and prisons on a regular basis.

 

We "Audacity of Hope" Boaters: From "High-Seas Hippies" to "Fools & Knaves"

Neocons Fume Over US Boat to Gaza

Editor Note (Consortiumnews): At the behest of Tel Aviv and Washington, Greek authorities stopped a small flotilla from sailing to Gaza in a challenge to Israel’s four-year blockade of the narrow strip of land and its 1.6 million people. Now, apologists for Israel’s right-wing Likud government are heaping scorn on the passengers, as Ray McGovern notes.

By Ray McGovern

July 16, 2011

My co-passengers and I of the U.S. Boat to Gaza have now gone from “High-Seas Hippies,” according to the right-wing Washington Times, to participants in a flotilla full of “fools, knaves, hypocrites, bigots, and supporters of terrorism,” says Alan Dershowitz in his usual measured prose.

A Gaza Cri de Coeur

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Gaza: Cradle of Killing — Americans Too
By Ray McGovern
June 18, 2011

Stuffing my backpack before setting out to board “The Audacity of Hope,” the U.S. boat to Gaza, I got a familiar-sounding call from yet another puzzled friend, who said as gently as the words allow, “You know you can get killed, don’t you?”

I recognize this caution as an expression of genuine concern from friends. From some others — who don’t much care about Gaza’s plight and/or who do not wish us well — the words are phrased somewhat differently: “Aren’t you just asking for it?”

That was the obligatory question/accusation at the end of a recent interview of me that was taped for a BBC-TV special scheduled to air this coming week as we try to break — or at least draw attention to — Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza and the suffering it inflicts on the people there.

"Love Your Enemies?" Oh, Please! Don't Be "Quaint"

Gen. Keane Still Keen on Attacking Iran

By Ray McGovern

June 6, 2011

Celebrating a golden anniversary reunion with classmates from Fordham College
(class of 1961) on a perfect June day in New York should be a time of pure
Gaudeamus Igitur and little or no stress.

I should have known better that to attend a long lecture by Jack Keane, a retired
four-star general of Fordham Business School’s class of 1966. Actually, I did know
better; but I went anyway. I felt I could risk going to hear Keane’s slant on the world
because, prior to my upcoming Mediterranean cruise to Gaza, my cardiologist had
pronounced my blood pressure under control. I felt as good, and energized, as 50
years ago.

Keane, now a member of Fordham’s Board of Trustees, has been the go-to general
for the neoconservatives in recent years. He indicated that he was about to catch
a flight to Europe where he would lobby leaders of the 41 NATO countries who,

Don't Shoot Up "The Audacity of Hope"

Obama, Tell Netanyahu – Don’t Mess With Flotilla to Gaza

Ed. Note: The U.S. boat, “The Audacity of Hope,” will depart for Gaza next month with 50 on board, including Ray McGovern, who wrote this open letter to President Barack Obama after watching his speech Thursday on the Middle East. Speaking for passengers and crew, McGovern asks the President to serve notice on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday that Obama will hold him accountable for ensuring safe passage.

May 19, 2011

Dear Mr. President:

Your speech on the Middle East earlier today emboldens me to claim your protection as we set out to put flesh on your rhetoric. Fifty of your fellow citizens will be sailing on “The Audacity of Hope” to Gaza in June.

Fresh White House Exegesis: Delete "Love Your Enemies;" Paste In "An Eye for An Eye"

What Has Bin Laden's Killing Wrought?

By Ray McGovern
May 6, 2011

As America’s morbid celebrations over the killing of Osama bin Laden begin to fade, we are left with a new landscape of risks – and opportunities – created by his slaying at the hands of a U.S. Special Forces team at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The range of those future prospects could be found in Wednesday’s Washington Post. On the hopeful side, a front-page article reported that the Obama administration was following up bin Laden’s death with accelerated peace talks in Afghanistan. On a darker note, a Post editorial hailed bin Laden’s slaying as a model for “targeting” Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and his sons.

Petraeus's Dilemma: Admit Afghan "Progress" Illusory; or Purge CIA Analysts

Obama’s CIA pick has Afghan war bias

By Ray McGovern

Atlanta Journal Constitution Op-Ed

May 5, 2011

President Barack Obama’s nomination of Gen. David Petraeus to be CIA director raises troubling questions for anyone familiar with the need for tell-it-like-it-is intelligence analysis.

Sadly, the selection of Petraeus suggests that the president places little value on getting the objective analysis that was originally the CIA’s raison d’etre — the kind that could (and often did) challenge more narrowly focused views of the Pentagon. What could Obama have been thinking in giving the top CIA job to the general with the most incentive to gild the lily regarding “progress” made under his command?

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