Don’t Be Afraid, Nancy; IMPEACH

By Ray McGovern, January 10, 2019

If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi trashes the Constitution by not allowing Jerold Nadler, D, NY, chair of the Judiciary Committee, to begin impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, the Constitution will become, in effect, what George W. Bush called it in 2005 — “just a goddamned piece of paper.”

The crucible is now — today, when it appears likely that Trump will declare a state of emergency to usurp the sole authority given to Congress to appropriate funds — all of this simply to satisfy his Captain-Ahab obsession to build a wall on the southern border.

Pelosi is not a profile in courage.  She chickened out when the Democrats won back the House in 2006.  She would not allow impeachment for reasons both crassly political and personal.

After the life of Casey Sheehan, peace activist Cindy Sheehan’s son was squandered in Iraq early in the war and Cindy insisted that Bush explain the “noble cause” for which Casey died, then-Congressman John Conyers, D, Michigan, offered her more sympathy than many of his colleagues did.  After Conyers regained his chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee, he agreed to meet Cindy in July 2007.

Cindy got permission to include Rev. Lennox Yearwood and me at the meeting in Conyers’s office in the Rayburn Building.  It turned out to be a very instructive experience, the upshot of which seems likely to re-occur today as President Donald Trump abuses the Constitution in as flagrant way as imaginable.  Consortium News published my account of that meeting.   https://www.consortiumnews.com/2007/072407a.html  It may be worth a re-read.

Political Reasons

After we congratulated Conyers on winning back his chairmanship, we suggested that he start the process of impeaching then-President Bush.  We were astonished that he seemed taken aback that we would suggest such a thing.  His first reason for inaction was a suggestion that he would not be able to get the votes in the House. We thought that was bogus, and I said so.

Conyers then proceeded to explain what he said was the real reason: “Nancy [Pelosi] has ruled out impeachment.”  When we asked why, Conyers explained “Nancy says that if we appear divisive, Fox News will have a field day, and we Democrats will not win as big in the next election.”

I reminded Conyers that the Founders anticipated that a president could well start acting like a king, and to prevent that they mentioned the orderly political process of impeachment no fewer than six times in the Constitution.  And I shocked Conyers’s four lawyers in the room by saying, “Mr. Conyers, it is your duty as head of the Judiciary Committee to begin to impeach.  You will find it easy to get the votes.”

It was immediately clear that people are not supposed to talk like that to a committee chair. When we refused to leave his office, he called the Capitol Police and we were quickly arrested.  I insisted on being arraigned; it is the only time I have been convicted; I am proud to tell my grandchildren about it.

In retrospect, it was an important juncture.  War criminals Bush, Cheney, and the others responsible for what the post-World War II Nuremberg Tribunal branded “the supreme international crime,” a war of aggression, with its “accumulated evil” (think torture, for example) were to be let off scot free so the Democrats could “win bigger” in the next election.

I was surprised not only at Speaker Pelosi’s justification for failing to discharge her duty to the Constitution, but also that Conyers would nonchalantly instruct us on that political reality, as though we would surely understand.  All that was quite bad enough.

Pelosi’s Personal Reasons

When I shared our Conyers encounter with those in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity who had been senior officials at the National Security Agency, they smiled and told me that I did not know the half of it.  They reminded me that the CIA and NSA have the book on Nancy Pelosi — and, of course, not only on her.  Their procedure is to write up memoranda of conversation immediately after briefing the two top members of the intelligence “oversight” committees and also the two top members of the House and Senate leadership.

You are unlikely to see it in the New York Times, but it is on the record that she was briefed early not only on the massive illegal surveillance of American citizens but also on the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques.”  The Deep State can always pull those memcons out of the file, leak them to the media, and destroy the reputations and political careers of people like Pelosi whom they cleverly render complicit.

In May of 2009, with Barack Obama as president and disclosures about torture hot and heavy, Pelosi held a press conference in which she claimed that the intelligence people “mislead us all the time.”    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYwZa8jvNp4   Her body language shows better than words can convey that she had guilty knowledge of the torture techniques and that she did not demur.  As the video clip shows, she utterly failed to overcome the skepticism of those in attendance.

Blackmail potential remains for the CIA, NSA, or the FBI to put into play as they see fit.  So does the fear of appearing “divisive.”  What will Nancy Pelosi feel it is politically and personally wise to do at this key juncture, with the very Constitution at stake?  We should know soon.

Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. A CIA analyst for 27 years, in January 2003, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and remains on its Steering Group.

Don’t Major In Political Science

Innocents Abroad: Some History Would’ve Helped

By Ray McGovern

Fat and skinny had a race, all around the Middle East; each fell down, lost still more face; and neither won the race.

The twin travels around the Middle East of Secretary of State Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton would be high comedy, were killing and destruction some kind of game.  They are on tour to ’splain to U.S. vassal states what their boss really meant about withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria. (Psst. In case you haven’t heard, Trump didn’t really mean what he said.)

See, for example this sad report in today’s Washington Post: https://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Turkish-leader-Erdogan-snubs-Bolton-over-Kurdish-13516975.php

As they hustle from capital to capital, here are two takeaways:

1 — President Donald Trump is not his own man (as if confirmation of that piece of reality were needed at this point); and

2 — You can get all A’s at the U.S. Military Academy (as Pompeo did), learn little to no history, become a know-nothing politician, and flunk life —ruining a lot of other lives in the process.  And you can major in political science at Yale and graduate summa cum laude (as Bolton did), and the realities you learn about the Middle East boil down the “obvious” need for the U.S. to dominate the area and “walk in lockstep” with Israel. (Those are the words President Obama used as 100 million viewers watched him being interviewed immediately before the Super Bowl in 2012.) The Yale Law School alumnus spoke with ironic candor — ironic in the sense that his use of “lockstep” betokens a remarkable insensitivity to the history of blacks on chain gangs in the South.

(“Lockstep?” What does Webster’s say of “lockstep?”

noun:

1  a mode of marching in step by a body of men going one after another as closely as possible;

2  a standard method or procedure that is mindlessly adhered to

adjective:

in perfect, rigid, often mindless conformity or unison.)

Former Secretary of State John Kerry also majored in political science at Yale, four years before Bolton.  It became gradually clear that — like Obama and Bolton — Kerry too thought the U.S. could “align” the various forces in the Middle East because … well, it was a mixture of hubris and ignorance.  Let Kerry’s own words provide the evidence.  Here’s how he explained it all to a conference run by the Atlantic magazine:

Sept. 29, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: — but Syria is as complicated as anything I’ve ever seen in public life, in the sense that there are probably about six wars or so going on at the same time – Kurd against Kurd, Kurd against Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sunni, Shia, everybody against ISIL, people against Assad, Nusrah. This is as mixed-up sectarian and civil war and strategic and proxies, so it’s very, very difficult to be able to align forces. So it’s —

MR STEVE CLEMONS: So in the middle of that, why did you think you could get a ceasefire?

Better to major in history.

A Look Back at Clapper’s Jan. 2017 ‘Assessment’ on Russia-gate


By Ray McGovern, January 7, 2019

There were, of course, bad spells for intelligence back in the day.  Ray’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch even kept a file labeled ironically “Great Moments in Intelligence” for episodes of particularly gross malfeasance or ineptitude.

Clapper’s complaint about the “almost genetically” evil Russians (“It’s in their DNA”) would certainly have earned a place in that file, as would the assessment-sans-evidence he foisted on the world two years ago.

TRANSCRIPT: When Clapper Was Asked Real Questions

By Ray McGovern

Clapper’s remarks in November at the Carnegie Endowment cannot be described as entertaining, but they are highly revealing — particularly the things he admits to in hawking his memoir, Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence.   Hard truths indeed.

As mentioned in an earlier posting, the full video of former National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s Nov. 13 appearance at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC is now available on the Carnegie website (See:

http://carnegieendowment.org/2018/11/13/intelligence-brief-with-james-clapper-event-7007 ).  It includes the Q&A, during which Ray had four minutes to question Clapper (starting at minute 28:45)

Ray’s back-and-forth with Clapper brought a flashback to May 4, 2006, when Ray questioned then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for four minutes on live TV in Atlanta.  (See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1FTmuhynaw ).

As is well known, Rumsfeld’s lies were legion (as he so clearly demonstrated during that particular Q&A).  Clapper’s lies are less well known, partly because neither C-SPAN nor CNN were broadcasting live at Carnegie, as they were in Atlanta.  Rumsfeld was Clapper’s patron.  Before the 2003 attack on Iraq; he put Clapper in charge of the analysis of satellite imagery, in order to ensure that no imagery analyst would dare play skunk at the picnic and blurt out that there were no confirmed WMD sites.  Instead, with the help of a co-opted media, Rumsfeld, Clapper, Cheney/Bush, and others were able to convince over two-thirds of Americans not only that Saddam Hussein had all manner of WMD but also that he played a role in the attacks of 9/11.  That is roughly the same percentage of Americans who now have been led to believe that the Russias brought us Trump.

At the Carnegie event, Clapper repeatedly borrowed Rumsfeld’s direct denial of their epic, consequential fraud before the Iraq war. He keeps repeating, “I did not lie.”  But of course they both did.  And in doing so, they helped destroy a country that was of no threat to the U.S., get hundreds of thousands killed, and bring continuing chaos to the Middle East.  They suffered zero consequences for their dishonesty.

In his memoir, Clapper admits, with stomach-churning nonchalance, that “intelligence officers, including me, were so eager to help [spread the Cheney/Bush claim that Iraq had a “rogue WMD program”] that we found what wasn’t really there.”  (Emphasis added)

And Now …

Clapper’s answers on Russian “interference” in the 2016 U.S. election are, of course, of more current importance and interest — particularly since he is not used to such direct questioning.  The Clapper-McGovern back-and-forth is so unusual that we include below a transcript of those four minutes.  (Caution: those who limit themselves to the transcript without the video will be cheated out of the body language.)

(Note: Clapper, as usual, keeps referring to the widely cited, so-called Intelligence Community Assessment of January 6, 2017, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections.”  Today, Ray plans to write an after-two-years piece explaining why that poor excuse for intelligence analysis is another fraud on the American people. Indeed, there are indications that Clapper himself had a strong hand in its drafting.)

Transcript:

James Clapper (JC)

Ray McGovern (RM)

RM: My name is Ray McGovern. Thanks for this book; it’s very interesting [Ray holds up his copy of Clapper’s memoir]. I’m part of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.  I’d like to refer to the Russia problem, but first there’s an analogy that I see here.  You were in charge of imagery analysis before Iraq.

JC: Yes.

RM: You confess [in the book] to having been shocked that no weapons of mass destruction were found.  And then, to your credit, you admit, as you say here [quotes from the book], “the blame is due to intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help [the administration make war on Iraq] that we found what wasn’t really there.”

Now fast forward to two years ago.  Your superiors were hell bent on finding ways to blame Trump’s victory on the Russians.  Do you think that your efforts were guilty of the same sin here?  Do you think that you found a lot of things that weren’t really there?  Because that’s what our conclusion is, especially from the technical end.  There was no hacking of the DNC; it was leaked, and you know that because you talked to NSA.

JC: Well, I have talked with NSA a lot, and I also know what we briefed to then-President Elect Trump on the 6th of January.  And in my mind, uh, I spent a lot of time in the SIGINT [signals intelligence] business, the forensic evidence was overwhelming about what the Russians had done.  There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever.  The Intelligence Community Assessment that we rendered that day, that was asked, tasked to us by President Obama — and uh — in early December, made no call whatsoever on whether, to what extent the Russians influenced the outcome of the election. Uh, the administration, uh, the team then, the President-Elect’s team, wanted to say that — that we said that the Russian interference had no impact whatsoever on the election.  And I attempted, we all did, to try to correct that misapprehension as they were writing a press release before we left the room.

However, as a private citizen, understanding the magnitude of what the Russians did and the number of citizens in our country they reached and the different mechanisms that, by which they reached them, to me it stretches credulity to think they didn’t have a profound impact on election on the outcome of the election.

RM: That’s what the New York Times says.  But let me say this: we have two former Technical Directors from NSA in our movement here, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity; we also have forensics, okay?

Now the President himself, your President, President Obama said two days before he left town: The conclusions of the intelligence community — this is ten days after you briefed him — with respect to how WikiLeaks got the DNC emails are “inconclusive” end quote.  Now why would he say that if you had said it was conclusive?

JC: I can’t explain what he said or why.  But I can tell you we’re, we’re pretty sure we know, or knew at the time, how WikiLeaks got those emails.  I’m not going to go into the technical details about why we believe that.

RM: We are too [pretty sure we know]; and it was a leak onto a thumb drive — gotten to Julian Assange — really simple.  If you knew it, and the NSA has that information, you have a duty, you have a duty to confess to that, as well as to [Iraq].

JC: Confess to what?

RM: Confess to the fact that you’ve been distorting the evidence.

JC: I don’t confess to that.

RM: The Intelligence Community Assessment was without evidence.

JC: I do not confess to that.  I simply do not agree with your conclusions.

William J. Burns (Carnegie President): Hey, Ray, I appreciate your question.  I didn’t want this to look like Jim Acosta in the White House grabbing microphones away.  Thank you for the questioning though.  Yes ma’am [Burns recognizes the next questioner].

Challenging Clapper at Carnegie

The full video, including the Q&A, is now available at: http://carnegieendowment.org/2018/11/13/intelligence-brief-with-james-clapper-event-7007

On Nov. 14, 2018, the day after he posed some direct questions to former National Intelligence Director James Clapper at the Carnegie Endowment, Ray wrote “Clapper’s Credibility Collapses.” See:  

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/11/14/clappers-credibility-collapses/

Embedded in that article was a barely audible iPhone video of the first one and a half minutes of Ray’s questioning of Clapper. The following three minutes are also interesting — as Clapper’s responses to the next two questioners.

Carnegie has now posted a high quality video of Clapper’s Nov. 13 talk at Carnegie, including the Q&A.  Ray was followed by Alli McCracken Jarrar, who asked how Clapper was able to hold onto his job after lying to Congress; and then by Greg Thielmann, who asked why State Department Intelligence (INR) was excluded from the Jan. 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment,“Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections.”

Alli is with Amnesty International; Greg is an ex-Foreign Service Officer and former Director of INR’s Office of Strategic, Political, and Military Affairs and is also a VIPS member. Here, again, is the Carnegie link:

http://carnegieendowment.org/2018/11/13/intelligence-brief-with-james-clapper-event-7007

Ray’s is on at minute 28:45; Alli at min. 33:10; and Greg at min. 39:50.

William Arkin’s Farewell to NBC; His Email Explains

(Hat tip to Caitlin Johnstone for the alert.)

Worth reading in full, Bill’s farewell address sounds a lot like Bob Parry’s own post-stroke, impaired-vision apologia on New Year’s Eve 2017, his very last piece: (See: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/31/an-apology-and-explanation/ )

—————————-
From: William Arkin

Date: January 2, 2019

Subject: My goodbye letter to NBC

January 4 is my last day at NBC News and I’d like to say goodbye to my friends, hopefully not for good. This isn’t the first time I’ve left NBC, but this time the parting is more bittersweet, the world and the state of journalism in tandem crisis. My expertise, though seeming to be all the more central to the challenges and dangers we face, also seems to be less valued at the moment. And I find myself completely out of synch with the network, being neither a day-to-day reporter nor interested in the Trump circus.

I first started my association with NBC 30 years ago, feeding Cold War stories to Bob Windrem and Fred Francis at the Pentagon. I became an on-air analyst during the 1999 Kosovo War, continuing to work thereafter with Nightly News, delighting and oftentimes annoying in my peculiar position of being a mere civilian amongst THE GENERALS and former government officials. A scholar at heart, I also found myself an often lone voice that was anti-nuclear and even anti-military, anti-military for me meaning opinionated but also highly knowledgeable, somewhat akin to a movie critic, loving my subject but also not shy about making judgements regarding the flops and the losers.

When the attacks of 9/11 came, I was called back to NBC. I spent weeks on and off the air talking about al Qaeda and the various wars we were rushing into, arguing that airpower and drones would be the centerpiece not troops. In the new martial environment where only one war cry was sanctioned I was out of sync then as well. I retreated somewhat to writing a column for the Los Angeles Times, but even there I had to fight editors who couldn’t believe that there would be a war in Iraq.  And I spoke up about the absence of any sort of strategy for actually defeating terrorism, annoying the increasing gaggles of those who seemed to accept that a state of perpetual war was a necessity.

I thought then that there was great danger in the embrace of process and officialdom over values and public longing, and I wrote about the increasing power of the national security community. Long before Trump and “deep state” became an expression, I produced one ginormous investigation – Top Secret America – for the Washington Post and I wrote a nasty book – American Coup – about the creeping fascism of homeland security.

Looking back now they were both harbingers for what President Obama (and then Trump) faced in terms of largely failing to make enduring change.

Somewhere in all of that, and particularly as the social media wave began, it was clear that NBC (like the rest of the news media) could no longer keep up with the world. Added to that was the intellectual challenge of how to report our new kind of wars when there were no real fronts and no actual measures of success. To me there is also a larger problem: though they produce nothing that resembles actual safety and security, the national security leaders and generals we have are allowed to do their thing unmolested. Despite being at “war,” no great wartime leaders or visionaries are emerging. There is not a soul in Washington who can say that they have won or stopped any conflict. And though there might be the beloved perfumed princes in the form of the Petraeus’ and Wes Clarks’, or the so-called warrior monks like Mattis and McMaster, we’ve had more than a generation of national security leaders who sadly and fraudulently have done little of consequence. And yet we (and others) embrace them, even the highly partisan formers who masquerade as “analysts”. We do so ignoring the empirical truth of what they have wrought: There is not one country in the Middle East that is safer today than it was 18 years ago. Indeed the world becomes ever more polarized and dangerous.

As perpetual war has become accepted as a given in our lives, I’m proud to say that I’ve never deviated in my argument at NBC (or at my newspaper gigs) that terrorists will never be defeated until we better understand why they are driven to fighting. And I have maintained my central view that airpower (in its broadest sense including space and cyber) is not just the future but the enabler and the tool of war today.

Seeking refuge in its political horse race roots, NBC (and others) meanwhile report the story of war as one of Rumsfeld vs. the Generals, as Wolfowitz vs. Shinseki, as the CIA vs. Cheney, as the bad torturers vs. the more refined, about numbers of troops and number of deaths, and even then Obama vs. the Congress, poor Obama who couldn’t close Guantanamo or reduce nuclear weapons or stand up to Putin because it was just so difficult. We have contributed to turning the world national security into this sort of political story. I find it disheartening that we do not report the failures of the generals and national security leaders. I find it shocking that we essentially condone continued American bumbling in the Middle East and now Africa through our ho-hum reporting.

I’m a difficult guy, not prone to either protocol or procedure and I give NBC credit that it tolerated me through my various incarnations. I hope people will say in the early days that I made Brokaw and company smarter about nuclear weapons, about airpower, and even about al Qaeda. And I’m proud to say that I also was one of the few to report that there weren’t any WMD in Iraq and remember fondly presenting that conclusion to an incredulous NBC editorial board. I argued endlessly with MSNBC about all things national security for years, doing the daily blah, blah, blah in Secaucus, but also poking at the conventional wisdom of everyone from Matthews to Hockenberry. And yet I feel like I’ve failed to convey this larger truth about the hopelessness of our way of doing things, especially disheartened to watch NBC and much of the rest of the news media somehow become a defender of Washington and the system.

Windrem again convinced me to return to NBC to join the new investigative unit in the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign. I thought that the mission was to break through the machine of perpetual war acceptance and conventional wisdom to challenge Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness. It was also an interesting moment at NBC because everyone was looking over their shoulder at Vice and other upstarts creeping up on the mainstream. But then Trump got elected and Investigations got sucked into the tweeting vortex, increasingly lost in a directionless adrenaline rush, the national security and political version of leading the broadcast with every snow storm. And I would assert that in many ways NBC just began emulating the national security state itself – busy and profitable. No wars won but the ball is kept in play.

I’d argue that under Trump, the national security establishment not only hasn’t missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength. Now it is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism. I’d also argue, ever so gingerly, that NBC has become somewhat lost in its own verve, proxies of boring moderation and conventional wisdom, defender of the government against Trump, cheerleader for open and subtle threat mongering, in love with procedure and protocol over all else (including results). I accept that there’s a lot to report here, but I’m more worried about how much we are missing. Hence my desire to take a step back and think why so little changes with regard to America’s wars.

I know it is characteristic of our overexcited moment to blast away at former employers and mainstream institutions, but all I can say is that despite many frustrations, my time at NBC has been gratifying. Working with Cynthia McFadden has been the experience of a lifetime. I’ve learned a ton about television from her and Kevin Monahan, the secret insider tricks of the trade and the very big picture of what makes for original stories (and how powerful they can be). The young reporters at NBC are also universally excellent. Thanks to Noah Oppenheim for his support of my contrarian and disruptive presence. And to Janelle Rodriguez, who supported deep expertise. The Nightly crew has also been a constant fan of my too long stories and a great team. I continue to marvel as Phil Griffin carries out his diabolical plan for the cable network to take over the world.

I’m proud of the work I’ve done with my team and know that there’s more to do. But for now it’s time to take a break. I’m ever so happy to return to writing and thinking without the officiousness of editorial tyrants or corporate standards. And of course I yearn to go back to my first love, which is writing boring reports about secret programs, grateful that the American government so graciously obliges in its constant supply. And I particularly feel like the world is moving so quickly that even in just the little national security world I inhabit, I need more time to sit back and think. And to replenish.

In our day-to-day whirlwind and hostage status as prisoners of Donald Trump, I think – like everyone else does – that we miss so much. People who don’t understand the medium, or the pressures, loudly opine that it’s corporate control or even worse, that it’s partisan. Sometimes I quip in response to friends on the outside (and to government sources) that if they mean by the word partisan that it is New Yorkers and Washingtonians against the rest of the country then they are right.

For me I realized how out of step I was when I looked at Trump’s various bumbling intuitions: his desire to improve relations with Russia, to denuclearize North Korea, to get out of the Middle East, to question why we are fighting in Africa, even in his attacks on the intelligence community and the FBI.  Of course he is an ignorant and incompetent impostor. And yet I’m alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war. Really? We shouldn’t get out Syria? We shouldn’t go for the bold move of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula?  Even on Russia, though we should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is so vulnerable to manipulation, do we really yearn for the Cold War? And don’t even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?

Even without Trump, our biggest challenge as we move forward is that we have become exhausted parents of our infant (and infantile) social media children. And because of the “cycle,” we at NBC (and all others in the field of journalism) suffer from a really bad case of not being able to ever take a breath. We are a long way from resolving the rules of the road in this age, whether it be with regard to our personal conduct or anything related to hard news. I also don’t think that we are on a straight line towards digital nirvana, that is, that all of this information will democratize and improve society. I sense that there is already smartphone and social media fatigue creeping across the land, and my guess is that nothing we currently see – nothing that is snappy or chatty – will solve our horrific challenges of information overload or the role (and nature) of journalism. And I am sure that once Trump leaves center stage, society will have a gigantic media hangover. Thus for NBC – and for everyone else – there is challenge and opportunity ahead. I’d particularly like to think and write more about that.

There’s a saying about consultants, that organizations hire them to hear exactly what they want to hear.  I’m proud to say that NBC didn’t do that when it came to me.  Similarly I can say that I’m proud that I’m not guilty of giving my employers what they wanted. Still, the things this and most organizations fear most – variability, disturbance, difference – those things that are also the primary drivers of creativity – are not really the things that I see valued in the reporting ranks.

I’m happy to go back to writing and commentary. This winter, I’m proud to say that I’ve put the finishing touches on a 9/11 conspiracy novel that I’ve been toiling on for over a decade. It’s a novel, but it meditates on the question of how to understand terrorists in a different way. And I’m undertaking two new book-writing projects, one fiction about a lone reporter and his magical source that hopes to delve into secrecy and the nature of television. And, If you read this far, I am writing a non-fiction book, an extended essay about national security and why we never seem to end our now perpetual state of war. There is lots of media critique out there, tons of analysis of leadership and the Presidency. But on the state of our national security? Not so much. Hopefully I will find myself thinking beyond the current fire and fury and actually suggest a viable alternative. Wish me luck.

Setting the Stage for 2019

Army Maj. Danny Sjursen, Noam Chomsky Set Stage for 2019
(courtesy Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch and Amy Goodman)

Ringing in a New Year of War

Danny Sjursen, Dec. 23, 2018
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176511/tomgram:_danny_sjursen,_ringing_in_a_new_year_of_war/

++++++++

Noam Chomsky (sharp as ever) aired today on democracynow.org

5 segments

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/12/31/a_disaster_for_brazil_noam_chomsky
https://www.democracynow.org/2018/12/31/noam_chomsky_members_of_migrant_caravan
https://www.democracynow.org/2018/12/31/a_march_to_disaster_noam_chomsky
https://www.democracynow.org/2018/12/31/noam_chomsky_the_future_of_organized
https://www.democracynow.org/2018/12/31/noam_chomsky_on_pittsburgh_attack_revival

HAPPY NEW YEAR from “all of us” at raymcgovern.com.