“U.S. – Russia: From Trust to Tension in Just Three Years”

Ray’s keynote talk at Forum on U.S. – Russian Relations

March 11, 2017; Mount Diablo, California


How Obama almost let himself be mousetrapped into open attack on Syria: Between minutes 13:00 and 29:30 Ray reminisces about the tense times in August-September when President Barack Obama faced into extreme pressure from extreme neocons to do “shock and awe” on Syria; he includes a personal anecdote of a close encounter of a strange kind with neocon archdeacons Paul Wolfowitz and Joe Lieberman.


Where is former JCS Chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey, when we need him?  President Barack Obama was lucky to have straight-shooter Dempsey around to tell him the truth and enable him to avoid being false-flagged into another unnecessary war in Syria.  No such luck for President Donald Trump, beset with advisers proud of the moniker “Mad Dog.”

Trampling the US Constitution for War

By Daniel C. Maguire, Professor of Moral Theology, Marquette University

April 8, 2017


Trampling the US Constitution for War

About Dan Maguire (and similar Dans):  One morning in January 1984, after reporting to his CIA colleagues on his morning briefings of VP George H. W. Bush and Secretary of State George Shultz with the President’s Daily Brief, Ray retreated to the Sheraton Hotel in DC to take part in the annual East Coast Conference for Religious Education for which Ray’s parish had registered him (he was teaching 11th graders in Sunday School at the time).  Dan Maguire was the keynote speaker and the conference program listed his topic as “Educating for Peace and Justice.”


Ray reports that Dan’s talk got off to an unusually shaky start when he criticized the organizers for making an almost unforgivable error in stating the topic backwards.  Justice has to come first, he said – before Peace.  With faux indignation, Dan drove home the core point that, in the Biblical sense, PEACE IS NOTHING MORE THAN THE EXPERIENCE OF JUSTICE.


That woke everyone up and Maguire proceeded to educate the hundreds of nuns, priests, and other teachers crammed into the Sheraton ballroom on the reality that the Reagan budget announced the day before was, in Biblical Justice perspective, “a God-damned budget.”  Dan was off and running; Ray says it was the best talk he ever heard – or read, for that matter – on Justice and Peace.  Thanks to the modern technology of the times (the tape recorder), Ray was able to commit many of Dan’s observations to memory, plagiarizes freely at every opportunity, and uses Dan’s books in one of the courses Ray teaches at the Servant Leadership School: Biblical Justice: An Un-American Activity?


Last month, while in Israel/Palestine with other Veterans For Peace, Ray was reminded of his debt to three Dans in his life (Maguirebeing the first).  Before Ray left for abroad, another mentor, Dan Ellsberg had expressed the hope that Ray would somehow find Dan’s close friend, Mordecai Vanunu, and give him Dan’s best.  And whom did Ray and some of his small VFP delegation run into in East Jerusalem one evening but Mordecai Vanunu – the Israeli nuclear technician who blew the whistle on Israel’s secret nuclear weapons center at Dimona.  He is now, finally, out of prison – for the nonce, anyway.


They all shared a meal looking down at the Damascus Gate into the Old City, and Mordecai Vanunu decided on the spot to become a member of Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (the requirement for references having been waived).  Posted on this website is a short article (with photos) about the encounter with Vanunu:



The other Dan is Berrigan.  Suffice it to add that those who have read To Dwell in Peace, Dan’s autobiography and are familiar with Ray’s post-retirement activism will have some idea of the impact that this third prophet-Dan has had on Ray’s life.

Syria: ‘Chemical Attack’ — Ray McGovern on RT International

March 31, 2017 (six minutes)


This interview was conducted at 7 PM.  By that time on March 31, VIPS had heard from some of our U.S. military sources in the Middle East, who make a point of keeping us abreast at critical times, and who allergic to the all-too-common practice of “fixing” intelligence, trimming it to perceptions of what the White House should know.  (Yes, it still happens – even after the fraudulent “intelligence” use to “justify” the attack on Iraq.)

So that evening Ray was able to share what we had learned about how this “chemical attack” actually went down.  Briefly, Syrian aircraft “knew” there was a weapons cache in this particular rebel-held area.  That was correct, and the Syrian aircraft bombed it.

What seems not to have been known was the existence nearby of a large storage facility for chemicals.  That too was damaged, releasing a cloud of chemicals that the wind blew south and poisoned those villagers.

Is there a hint here as to why the U.S. Establishment has no love for RT?

Another backstory.  Why, you ask, did we wait until now to post this particular interview?  A couple of VIPS members had watched it live on RT International.  However, when RT tried to post the interview on YouTube, Fox News demanded that it be taken down.  Here is the message that appeared on the screen when those few who knew of the link tried to download the interview

“This video contains content from FOX News Network, who has blocked it on copyright grounds. Sorry about that.”

A complete mystery, so far, to RT.  Anyone wish to hazard a guess?  Let’s hope the interview will not been taken down again.  After my repeated requests, RT has just given it to me unofficially, with the suggestion that I view it quickly before that happens.  You may wish to do the same.

The ‘Deep-State’ Assault on Trump

Full video of the most comprehensive (and relaxed) of the four video interviews Ray gave on March 31. Early that day WikiLeaks published enough CIA original documents to persuade Ray that the alleged “Russian hacking” last year was orchestrated by then-CIA Director John Brennan – not Vladimir Putin. (Yes, you read that right.)
The ‘Deep-State’ Assault on Trump
The March 31 tranche in the series of highly classified documents WikiLeaks has labeled “Vault 7” showed that in 2016 the CIA used a highly sophisticated cyber tool to disguise the source of its own hacks. (To “obfuscate” was shown to be one of the principal aims, the documents make clear.) Earlier WikiLeaks releases in the “Vault 7” series included CIA documents revealing other programs designed to mimic all kinds of hacking techniques and leave traces pointing to foreign sources.
Remember the “telltale signs?” Remember the Cyrillic “inadvertently” left behind, which “clearly pointed” to one of those foreign countries? The languages used in this particular cyber program were: Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, Korean, and – you guessed it – Russian.
In any event, the WikiLeaks release earlier on March 31 was what led to the unusual number of interviews of Ray that day. The Jason Ross interview (below) was non-sound-bite-ish enough to allow Ray to tie together a lot of strands – current and historical. Excerpts were posted here earlier and can be found below. But Ray suggests that gluttons for punishment, or insomniacs, may wish to view the whole thing.

Investigating Russia’s Interference in Our Democracy

On Thursday Ray witnessed some imaginative bear hunting by Hillary-Should-Have-Won (HSHW) Democrats at the “progressive” Clinton/Podesta Center for American Progress Fund.  A panel discussed the “serious challenge to U.S. national security by Russia’s interference in our democracy.”  The event began with introductory remarks by House Intelligence Committee member Jim Himes (D-CT) and ended with a question from a skunk at the picnic. (The dramatis personae are listed below.)


April 6, 2017 (1 hour 13:45 minutes)


All in all, it was a telling performance; watching at least some of it is highly recommended.  Ray got recognized for a question at 1:05:40; survived an attempt by the HSHW moderator to cut off his mic; and then sat through a three-minute rebuttal by former special envoy to Libya Jonathan Winer, who availed himself of the few non-sequiturs left unused by Congressman Himes and the panelists.

Ray began his question by complimenting Jennifer Palmieri (Hillary Clinton’s campaign communications director) for her very candid Washington Post revelations about how hard – and how successfully — she worked at the Democratic National Convention to get the media to focus on Russian “hacking” of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails, and to ignore what they revealed – to wit, how Clinton and the DNC stole the nomination from Bernie Sanders.


Palmieri proudly explained how she managed to accomplish that in a recent feature article in the Washington Post titled The Clinton campaign warned you about Russia. But nobody listened to us.


Palmieri continued in the same vain vein during the panel discussion, and unwittingly let drop tidbits of evidence that could get some former officials in deep kimchi – if a serious investigation of leaking, for example, were to be conducted.  But on Thursday no one seemed to notice.  It was all Hats Off! to Palmieri for putting the media on the trail of the Russian bear.  The event itself reflected the reality that that her success persists to this day.

Transcribed below (verbatim) are some of Palmieri’s more telling remarks after the moderator asked her to comment, from her insider perspective, on “what was actually going on in late summer/early fall.”

It was a surreal experience for us and our campaign so I did appreciate that for the press to absorb, in addition to how/what an unconventional – to put it mildly — candidate Trump was and all of the crazy theater that was happening on stage, the idea that behind the stage that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton was too fantastic for people to, um, for the press to process, to absorb…. and for us it did feel that the whole campaign experience was pretty surreal without Russia.  (Emphasis added)


But then we go back to Brooklyn and heard from the — mostly our sources were other intelligence, with the press who work in the intelligence sphere, and that’s where we heard things and that’s where we learned about the dossier and the other story lines that were swirling about; and how to process, how do we … And along the way the administration started confirming various pieces of what they were concerned about what Russia was doing.  And how do you weave that story line into the fight we were having with Donald Trump on the campaign trail?  And that was a really hard thing. …  People did not care about Russia … because they didn’t hear about it. …. (Emphasis added)


And we did finally get to the point on October 7, when the administration came out with a very stunning [memorandum].  How stunning it was for both the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of Homeland Security to put out a statement – a long statement – that said with high confidence that Russia was interfering in the election and they were also directing the timing of the leaks.  And it named the institutions – WikiLeaks, dcleaks, and Guccifer – as being Russian-led, and how stunning that was to be that certain and that public. …


So I do think that the answer for the Democrats now … in both the House and the Senate is to talk about it more and make it more real ….

(End of excerpt from Palmieri’s remarks)


Dramatis Personae

Featured Panelists:
Jennifer Palmieri, former Communications Director to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and former Communications Director to President Barack Obama
Jonathan Winer, former U.S. Special Envoy to Libya and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement from 1994-99
Max Bergmann, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress Action Fund and Director of the Moscow Project

Moderated by:
Vikram Singh, Vice President, National Security and International Policy, Center for American Progress Action Fund

CNN says RT is “Kremlin propaganda”

By Lori Harfenist, “The Resident” on RT

March 20, 2017 (3 minutes)

Lori: CNN’s Brian Stelter had Larry Johnson on his show, “Reliable Sources,” recently to discuss the “wiretapping” (read electronic surveillance) story.  Stelter called RT a Kremlin propaganda channel.

Johnson disagreed and provided particulars as to how CNN, et al. practice a (not very subtle) form of content control.  It goes by the name of “pre-interview.”  Stelter questioned how it was appropriate for any American to go on RT, didn’t acknowledge Johnson’s answers, and changed the topic. With Stelter not around to interrupt, Harfenist goes ahead and answers Stelter’s question.