The First Woman Picked to Lead CIA, But Not the First War Criminal

March 13, 2018 (six minutes)

Ray was interviewed Tuesday about Gina Haspel, just nominated to be CIA director.  He found it bizarre to discuss the exploits of the current CIA deputy director/war criminal Haspel, who in 2002 ran the secret prison where “terrorist suspect,” Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times.

Such crimes were documented by a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation, based on original CIA cables and other documents — a four year-long effort, a redacted Executive Summary of which was released in Dec. 2014.  It revealed a number of heinous torture techniques used on kidnapped “detainees” and — equally important — gave the lie to claims by top CIA officials that useful intelligence was acquired by the torture.

As soon as Sen. Richard Burr (R, NC) became chair of the committee in Jan. 2015, he ordered all copies of the Senate investigation report returned to the committee.  Ms. Haspel, who has demonstrated a penchant for destroying evidence, can be counted on to deep-six whatever copies may linger at the CIA, unless someone tucks one under his/her shirt and absconds with it.  Haspel played a role in ordering the destruction of videotapes of the waterboarding and other torture she supervised at her secret little “dark-side” facility in Thailand, despite being specifically told by the White House Counsel to preserve them.

NBC’s Clueless Boost for Putin

By Ray McGovern, March 12, 2018

Could it have been deliberate?  Could NBC shudder at the possibility of hearing Putin one day say, a la Nixon, “You won’t have Putin to kick around any more.”

Gang of Four: Senators Call for Tillerson to Enter into Arms Control Talks with the Kremlin

By Gil Doctorow and Ray McGovern, March 10, 2018

Gang of Four: Senators Call for Tillerson to Enter into Arms Control Talks with the Kremlin

Look for news of this important initiative in the NY Times or Washington Post, or on TV.  But don’t waste a lot of time.  It seems that none of the “mainstream” media have yet gotten the necessary guidance from the “blood-soaked arms merchants” (Pope Francis) — from the war profiteers that own much of the media.  So there have been two days of wall-to-wall zero coverage.

Neither should you look for any news or commentary on this key development on the Sunday TV talk shows tomorrow.  It is doubtful that the TV moguls will be able to figure out whom to invite, in the light of this initiative, to keep demonizing Putin and — together with Putin — those sensible souls who believe the U.S. should deal on arms control with Russia before it is too late.

Until the media figures all this out, they will probably be turning to the likes of the petulant, supercilious Megyn Kelly or the “keep-us-safe-from-Putin,” scary Rachel Maddow?

How Washington Provoked—and Perhaps Lost—a New Nuclear-Arms Race

By Professor Stephen F. Cohen, longtime historian of Russia

Putin declares, in his March 1 speech, that the long US attempt to gain nuclear superiority over Russia has failed and hopes Washington will “listen now.”

Ray has learned tons from Professor Cohen and considers it an honor to inhabit the same category of “untouchable,” as far as the know-nothing, Putin-bashing media are concerned.

Quick, someone call Megyn Kelly and suggest she have someone “read her out of one of Steve’s books,” as NY City natives used to say.

Could the German Social Democrats Revert to the Detente-minded Ways of their visionary Willy Brandt? Conceivably, the prompt publication of German translations of VIPS’ and Ray’s articles may lead to a more informed citizenry, since Germany’s “mainstream” media are as hopeless as those in the U.S.

As we reported earlier ( ), the popular German website NachDenkSeiten (NDS) has been posting many of VIPS’ and Ray’s articles, after performing a prompt, professional translation.

Ray got word this morning that NDS has just posted, as lead story on its home page, Ray’s piece on President Putin’s important speech of March 1, “Putin Claims Strategic Parity, Respect” (  ) of March 3.

The NDS link is ; here is the introduction:

Wladimir Putins Ankündigung neuer Waffensysteme zur Schaffung eines nuklearen Gleichgewichts sei das Ergebnis einer Erosion des Rüstungskontrollsystems durch das unkluge Ausscheiden der USA aus dem ABM-Vertrag im Jahr 2002, erklärt Ray McGovern. Josefa Zimmermann hat den Text für die NachDenkSeiten aus dem Englischen übersetzt.
Dieser Beitrag ist auch als Audio-Podcast verfügbar.

You may wish to tell your German speaking friends — especially the ones in Germany, where key political decisions hang in the balance, as we speak (literally).  Will the SPD revert to the East-West detente ways of Willy Brandt?  Or will it choose to remain as junior partner/handmaiden to the CDU/CSU?

Putin: I Kept Trying to Tell You; You Wouldn’t Listen

Many took offense when President Putin on March 1 accused the West of refusing to listen and respect Russia’s strategic concerns — particularly on missile defense. Small wonder there was such widespread consternation.  Some folks still think that, if they read the NY Times, they know what’s going on.

The following link includes four distinct warnings from Putin; in the last one, he comes close to losing it, watching the nonchalant reaction of the journalists who were listening — sort of.

Putin’s March 1 speech reminded Ray of a 14-minute talk (the LINK is above) he gave a year ago on Russia’s concerns regarding U.S. missile defense installations on Russia’s periphery.  Planers of a Webinar on U.S. missile defense (THAAD) in the Far East asked Ray to set the stage, speaking from own experience with Russian concerns — not only “back in the day” but particularly after the scuttling of the ABM treaty by President Bush in 2002

Embedded in Ray’s presentation are four short slides/videos of particular interest, given Putin’s claims that no one has been listening:

1 — minute 3:50 to 5:20 (SLIDE)— Conversation overheard on ABC microphone on March 26, 2012 in Seoul:  then-President Medvedev, on behalf of Putin, asking Obama when he will deal with Russian concerns over missile defense systems being installed around European Russia; Obama says tell Vlad to wait till I get re-elected.  (Obama apparently forgot about it, once re-elected.)

2 — minute 5:20 to 6:47 (SLIDE)— on March 17, 2014, the day before Crimea is formally annexed, Putin tells a country-wide TV audience that the threat of missile defense was an “even more important” factor in keeping Crimea out of NATO hands than the general threat of NATO encroachment eastward.

3 — minute 7:00 to 9:15 (VIDEO)— At Valdai Discussion Club, October 22. 2015, Jack Matlock makes a giant faux pas on missile defense and Putin does not let him down easy.*  (The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action restraining Iranian nuclear weapons development had been signed three months earlier, on July 14, 2015.)

4 — minute 9:55 to 13:00 (VIDEO) — Putin, on June 17, 2016 tries to explain Russian concerns over missile defense to Western journalists who were in St. Petersburg for the International Economic Forum.  Putin comes close to losing his patience as he watches their nonchalant reaction.

* Below is the transcript of the relevant parts of the Valdai discussion, October 22, 2015:

Vladimir Putin:  Now, on the question of continuing strategic offensive arms limitation talks, you are right to say that we do need to continue this dialogue. But at the same time, I cannot say that Russia and the United States have done nothing here. We did conclude a new treaty on limiting strategic offensive arms and set goals for limiting this type of weapons. However, the USA’s unilateral withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, which was the cornerstone for preserving the balance of power and international security, has left this whole system in a serious and complicated state.
In this respect, since this is a discussion club, I would like to ask Mr Ambassador what he thinks of the USA’s unilateral withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.

Jack Matlock: I was personally opposed to that withdrawal and I take your point. I would say that I don’t think that any subsequent plans for the sort of deployments were or could be a threat to Russian systems. But in general, I am not a supporter of ABM systems. I would point out that I think the main source of that is not to threaten Russia but to secure employment in the United States. A lot comes from the military-industrial complex and the number of people it employs.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Ambassador, I find your arguments unconvincing. I have the greatest respect for your experience and diplomatic skills, of which you have given us a flawless demonstration, avoiding a direct answer. Well, you did answer my question, but not without some embellishments.

One should not create jobs when the result of this activity threatens all of humanity. And if developing new missile defence systems is about creating jobs, why create them in this particular area? Why not create jobs in biology, pharmaceuticals, or in high-tech sectors not related to arms production?

On the question of whether this poses a threat to Russia or not, I can assure you that US security and strategic arms specialists are fully aware that this does threaten Russia’s nuclear capability, and that the whole purpose of this system is to reduce the nuclear capabilities of all countries but the USA itself to zero. We’ve been hearing arguments this whole time about the Iranian nuclear threat, but as I said in my remarks before, our position was always that there was no such threat, and now not only we but the entire international community share this view.

The United States initiated the signing of an agreement with Iran on settling the Iranian nuclear issue. We actively followed and supported our US and Iranian partners on the road to a common decision and this agreement has now come into force and Iran has agreed to send its enriched uranium out of the country. So if there is no Iranian nuclear problem, why develop a missile defense system? You could stop the project, but not only has the project not stopped, on the contrary, new tests and exercises are taking place. These systems will be in place in Romania by the end of the year and in Poland by 2018 or 2020.

The antidote to surprise?  Read,; we listen.