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Yasser Arafat's Bout With ... Polonium?

The Mystery of Arafat’s Death

July 10, 2012

Editor Note: In 2004, when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat suddenly fell ill and died, suspicions swirled that he might have been poisoned, but no autopsy was performed. Now, nearly eight years later, his death is getting new scrutiny, though ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern doubts a complete answer will ever be found.

By Ray McGovern

We may never know with complete certainty whether the still unexplained health crisis that suddenly did in Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was due to natural or unnatural causes. But the recent discovery of polonium on Arafat’s clothing, added to a considerable body of circumstantial evidence, has increased an already widespread suspicion that Israel was involved in his sudden demise.

An "Aardwolf" - Iranian Intelligence Field Assessment for Tehran (alas, notional)

How Iran Might See the Threats

June 28, 2012
 
Editor Note: Hard-headed realism and outside-the-box thinking might be needed to avert another catastrophe in the Middle East, this time an Israeli attack on Iran and the unpredictable consequences. In that light, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern imagines a bleak report that an Iranian intelligence officer might report back to Tehran.

By Ray McGovern  

In CIA jargon, “Aardwolf” is a label for a special genre of intelligence report from field stations abroad to headquarters in Washington. An Aardwolf conveys the Chief of Station’s formal assessment regarding the direction events are taking in his or her country of assignment – and frequently the news is bad.

Julian Assange Was Given Sam Adams Award for Integrity in 2010

June 25, 2012

Asylum for Julian Assange

By Ray McGovern

     (for Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence)

Editor Note: Decisions to speak out inside or outside one's chain of command -- let alone to be seen as a whistle-blower or leaker of information -- is fraught with ethical and legal questions and can never be undertaken lightly. But there are times when it must be considered. Official channels for whistle-blower protections have long proved illusory.

Julian Assange Gets Out of Dodge

Julian Assange’s Artful Dodge

June 20, 2012

Editor Note: Faced with extradition from London to Sweden to face sex-abuse allegations, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange fled to the Ecuadorian embassy and asked for asylum, what ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern considers an artful dodge to avoid possible U.S. persecution.

By Ray McGovern

Barring a CIA drone strike on the Ecuadorian embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s sudden appeal for asylum there may spare him a prison stay in Sweden or possibly the United States. Assange’s freedom now depends largely on Ecuadorian President Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado, a new breed of independent-minded leader like Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

Iran: Facts vs. Fantasy

Sorting Out the Facts about Iran

By Ray McGovern

Editor Note: Neocons, including the Washington Post’seditors, keep playing games with the facts regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The plan apparently is to guide the United States into a military confrontation whether President Obama and the American people want one or not.  McGovern will discuss these issues at 6:00 PM Thursday, June 7, at Random Row Books, 315 West Main St., Charlottesville, Virginia.

On the issue of Iran’s “nuclear ambitions” you hear one thing on Monday, a different thing on Tuesday. “It’s a puzzlement!” to quote Yul Brunner’s famous line in The King and I. But in this case, the confusion is hardly insignificant.

Worker Bees vs. Drones at Fordham

Graduation at Fordham: Worker Bees vs. Cowardly Drones

By Ray McGovern and Nick Mottern

We have reported on White House “Kill List” compiler and alumnus John Brennan’s second coming to Fordham for commencement inside Fordham’s Bronx campus http://warisacrime.org/content/priests-or-hench-men — (see embedded link “imaginative protests” on the line above the subhead, Bellying Up.)  And several readers have expressed gratitude to learn that a few Justice-oriented graduates found inventive ways to protest this indignity at graduation on May 19.

"Priests?" or Hench Men?

 

The Moral Challenge of ‘Kill Lists’

May 30, 2012

Editor Note: Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan has been called President Obama’s “priest” as they wrestle with the moral dilemma of assembling a “kill list” of “bad guys,” a role that recalls how established religions have justified slaughters over the centuries, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

In an extraordinary article in Tuesday’s New York Times, “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” authors Jo Becker and Scott Shane throw macabre light on the consigliere-cum-priestly role that counterterrorist adviser John Brennan provides President Barack Obama.

Neocons Mount Another Pre-emptive Strike on History

Applying the Six-Day War to Iran

May 17, 2012

Editor Note: America’s neocons continue to beat the drums for war with Iran, brushing aside warnings even from Israeli intelligence veterans. Another part of the propaganda is to merge a future war against Iran with the heroic memories of the Six-Day War nearly 45 years ago, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.

By Ray McGovern

With the 45th anniversary of the Six-Day War of June 1967 coming early next month, pro-Israel pundits like syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer are again promoting Israel’s faux-narrative on the reasons behind Israel’s decision to attack its neighbors.

Gory Glory at Fordham Commencement (Be There, If You Can)

Honoring a ‘Terror War’ Architect

May 12, 2012

Editor Note: In this season of graduations – and the rush to bestow honorary degrees on the “great and powerful” – one ironic moment will play out at Fordham University, where Jesuits are giving top billing among its honorees to White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan, notes Fordham grad (and ex-CIA analyst) Ray McGovern.

 

By Ray McGovern

Brennan Befuddled By the 'Why' Behind Terrorism

Not Explaining the Why of Terrorism

May 2, 2012

Exclusive: President Obama signed a U.S.-Afghan strategic agreement on May 1, committing U.S. combat forces to withdraw by the end of 2014 while leaving behind U.S. counter-terrorism teams for another decade. But Obama and his aides still duck a full debate over the causes of terrorism, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

John Brennan, President Obama’s chief adviser on counter-terrorism, has again put on public display two unfortunate facts: (1) that the White House has no clue as to how to counter terrorism; and (2) (in Brennan’s words) “the unfortunate fact that to save many innocent lives we are sometimes obliged to take lives.”

It Ain't Necessarily So

Iran’s Phantom Menace

April 16, 2012

Editor (Consortiumnews.com) Note: For years, a propaganda drumbeat has been rising to justify a war to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb, though U.S. intelligence agencies say Iran isn’t building one and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has decried nukes as a “great sin.” But nothing has stopped the drumbeat, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.

By Ray McGovern

Last Thursday, I took part in a panel discussion on “Targeting Iran: Sanctions and War” at California State University, Fresno. The panel discussion took place against the backdrop of all-too-familiar warnings to Iran that it has one “last chance” to stop doing what the CIA and pretty much all serious intelligence agencies say it is not doing — namely, working on a nuclear weapon.

on Rattlesnakes

Render to Caesar, Extraordinarily

April 6, 2012

Exclusive  Consortiumnews.com Editor's Note: On Good Friday, Christians observe the brutal torture and crucifixion of Jesus at the hands of Roman occupiers, but many modern Christians don’t mind when it’s “their” side doing the extraordinary renditions of alleged subversives to be tortured and sometimes killed, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.

By Ray McGovern

Some of us pause on Good Friday to mark the torture and death of a high-value detainee rendered, extraordinarily, to Roman occupiers.

Although the charges against Jesus of Nazareth were trumped up, the Romans decided to err on the safe side by going to the “dark side.” They applied enhanced torture techniques with the ultimate hanging.

Better You Shouldn't Ask...

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.

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