Veteran American journalist and Russia specialist Mark Ames wonders why President Vladimir Putin and other Russians are not angrier at the U.S. than they seem to be, given what Bill Clinton, Wall Street, and Harvard advisers did to take advantage of drunken president Boris Yeltsin and predator oligarchs to hobble the Russian economy and make the very life-span of Russia’s 99 percent much shorter.

 Ames knows whereof he speaks.  He spent a decade reporting from Yeltsin’ and Putin’s Russia, witnessing its transformation from an American “colony” to it’s “number one threat.”  Brava to Telesur’s Abby Martin and Mark Ames for filling in the blanks regarding a critical period in U.S.-Russia relations, about which few Americans are aware.


Published on January 23, 2017 (27 minutes)

Ames explains how deeply the US government, along with Western capitalist institutions, cheered, shaped and exploited the Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, paving the way for the political system they all condemn today.  Everyone can profit from hearing some real history of the immediate post-Soviet period and the U.S. role in it.  Ames was there and on the money – so to speak.

Ray uncovered the 2-minute YouTube video linked below while preparing to speak on panel arranged by the Green Party on January 21 in Washington DC. The other panelists were Sue Udry, Executive Director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and Green Party activist George Friday.  Topic: “Civil Liberties & the Security/Surveillance State.  Introducing the short video, Ray offered it as an example of what we are up against.

Here is a link to 2-minute video showing former House Intelligence Committee chair Pete Hoekstra and Ray in heated argument over CIA torture, which Hoekstra knew about, supported, and continues to support.


Thanks to a very helpful – but apparently not widely known to readers – modality called a SEARCH button on his site, Ray readily found and used the YouTube segment showing former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, R, Michigan in spirited discussion with Ray two years ago, just after the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation released an Executive Summary of the results of its 4-year investigation on CIA torture.  {The investigation was based on original CIA documents from headquarters and the field.  While the executive summary was heavily redacted, the scent of blood does not escape its pages, which include sickening detail on the heinous torture practices “approved” – “rectal hydration,” for example.)


Former Vice President Dick Cheney, Department of Justice “lawyers,” and the chairs of the congressional intelligence “oversight” committees (Hoekstra headed the one in the House) all strongly backed “enhanced interrogation techniques” (aka torture – like waterboarding).  Hoekstra, admitted to having been briefed in detail at the time, and sings the praises of the CIA torturers, whom he describes as “heroes.” Ray, in his typically understated way, demurs.

Obama Admits Gap in Russian ‘Hack’ Case

By Ray McGovern, January 20, 2017

Obama Admits Gap in Russian ‘Hack’ Case

NOTE: Alexander Mercouris, Editor of The Duran draws similar conclusions from what Obama said about the missing link to WikiLeaks.  Mercouris includes the long list of inferences and other evidence, and draws on VIPS’ earlier work on the conundrums that continue to linger.  His meticulous analysis includes additional background detail – it is well worth reading.  Below is the title and the link:

Obama implies US intelligence community ‘doesn’t know’ how WikiLeaks obtained DNC and Podesta emails

By Alexander Mercouris (Editor-in-Chief, The Duran)


Ray addressed Trump’s bully-pulpit performance Wednesday and related issues in wide-ranging interview with Loud and Clear.

Wednesday, January 11, was a full day for Ray (more on that below*).  But the highlight was a hour-long impromptu interview with Radio Sputnik’s “Loud and Clear” host Brian Becker and Ted Rall that was taped immediately after Donald Trump gave new meaning to the term “bully pulpit” at his first press conference as President-elect.


The Sputnik interview covered a lot of ground – including comments on several front-burner issues that Ray had wanted (but did not have the time) to write about.  It is Ray’s favorite interview of the dozen so far this year (live links to some of which are posted below).


It was the first time Ray can recall being bleeped – twice – for trying to say “wild-ass,” as in the not-very-sophisticated analytical tool we used to call “the SWAG Factor” – for Scientific Wild-Ass Guess – a tool upon which some intelligence analysts based their conclusions when evidence available was sparse, or nonexistent.  He also took the opportunity to add to the reasons why there is no love lost between Trump and CNN, by trying to reproduce Christiane Amanpour’s manner in expressing shock that some folks have trouble believing what CNN publishes based on briefings from a government that never lies.


But seriously, a full hour allows for wide-ranging discussion and Ray was particularly happy to have a chance to vent upon returning, saddened, from his 15th annual noontime demonstration against Guantanamo.


Besides the topic of the day – the towering Trump Trump-Towers press conference – Ray was able to touch on:


-The history of CIA Director John Brennan’s hold on Obama; and the jeopardy Brennan fears when he and National Intelligence Director James Clapper are required to say “We’re outa here;”


-The bizarrely transparent, “bipartisan” cum media effort to discredit Trump;


-Prospects for a possible “reset” in relations with Russia;


-The curious calls to “retaliate” for the “act of war” represented by “Russian hacking” (stated as flat fact);


-Egregious behavior by the media reminiscent of the role they played in beating the drums for attacking Iraq;


-The role played by the NY Times David Sanger, in particular, as stenographer for the White House – both before Iraq and now regarding Putin and his many sins.  Why did the NYT hacking experts avoid contacting former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, who has said publically that he knows the source AND that WikiLeaks’ DNC and Podesta disclosures were from a LEAK not a HACK – and that Russia played no role?


-The incestuous relationship going back decades between the CIA and “mainstream media;”


-The dubious credibility of anything that comes out of Britain’s CIA – MI6 – which plays all kinds of support roles for bellicose U.S. officials, as was the case in helping Cheney foster stories about yellowcake uranium from Niger to Iraq, later proven to be “not authentic.”


-The dangers to the Washington Establishment if Trump’s overtures to Russia are not nipped in the bud, and how strongly the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Media-Deep State Complex will try to prevent peace from breaking out.


Ray hopes that, if you like a martinus, pour one, relax, and enjoy what turned out to be a fun interview for otherwise pretty dark times.


* Ray’s Wednesday began, as usual, watching live; then a live radio interview (by telephone) with Frank Morano in NY City (970 AM) during morning rush hour; then a quick article for posting on — — as well as here on; then a drive downtown to the demonstration against Guantanamo (with, fortuitously, Trump’s performance live on the car radio); then Sputnik interview (above); then remote video interview for Aljazeera news program; finishing with an interview on RT International. A full schedule not that unusual over these past several weeks.

Brennan sheds crocodile tears over ‘scorched Syria’

In an “exit interview” on NPR’s All Things Considered, CIA Director John Brennan managed to keep a tight upper lip, saying that despite “Aleppo’s fall” he remained “convinced that many, many of those oppositionists … will continue to fight.”  Brennan did his best to put lipstick on the pig of CIA support for “moderate” jihadists, but included some sadly revealing things showing that he – like John Kerry – was in way over his head on Syria.  Like Kerry, Brennan described Syria as the most complex situation he’d faced in his career.  In the following (linked) four-minute interview on January 4, 2017, Ray tried to be sympathetic – failing miserably.

(Includes transcript)


(Without transcript)


The “most complex situation Brennan” has faced in his whole career!  What did he think his mission was, and how did he expect to achieve it?  And did he think it was going to be easy?  Following is part of what Brennan told NPR, followed by depressingly similar remarks made earlier by Secretary of State John Kerry during one of his own “exit interviews.”

BRENNAN: I think we always like to say that we wish that we would have been able to make a difference in a way that would have prevented the slide in the situation there. We also have to recognize though that as great a country – as powerful a country as the United States is, we have in many areas limited ability to influence the course of events.  (December 23, 2016)

KERRY: 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.

(September 29, 2016)


Can it be that Kerry (and Brennan) really believed that America’s exceptionalism and indispensable-ism should have made it easy for Washington to be able to “align forces” in the Middle East?

Brennan Increasingly Desperate

By Ray McGovern


The rubbish released yesterday by CNN about the blackmail material that the Russians supposedly have on President-elect Trump is not to be taken seriously.  The episode is, nonetheless, quite serious.


CIA Director John Brennan seems to have concluded that with his patron/president gone, he (Brennan) will be “thrown under the bus,” as smart people say – and do – in Washington.  If the Trump administration folks are as vindictive as Brennan fears (and he has given them lot to be vindictive about), there is much to blame Brennan for, including serious crimes.


It is possible to regard this latest outrage as a kind of prophylactic: If Trump goes after Brennan, the former CIA chief can try to make it appear to be retaliation for “the goods Brennan has on Trump — but (of course) cannot reveal in detail because of the sensitivity of ‘sources and methods’.”


One of our (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) regulars, former CIA operations officer Phil Giraldi, put it succinctly:


At first read, this has all the hallmarks of a clever fabrication, the sort of thing we at CIA used to do in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s.


What’s at Stake: CIA vs. Trump


Chuck Schumer said it all on Jan. 3, when he told Rachel Maddow, “He (Trump) is really dumb to do this.”


— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 4, 2017

New Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump is “being really dumb” by taking on the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia’s cyber activities.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

Big Stakes: And the Winner Will Be …

As far as Obama’s presidency is concerned, the winner has been Brennan – starting seven months before his patron became president.  In June 2008, when John Brennan joined the Obama Team, Obama quickly learned who the boss is in Washington.  Among other early signs, Sen. Obama immediately went back on his pledge to vote against legislation to hold the giant telecoms (and NSA leaders) harmless for gross violations of the 4th amendment.  Here’s a link to what I wrote at the time:

VIPS’s considered view (out of hundreds of years of experience in intelligence, and with the input of the former Technical Director of NSA and some of his closest associates) is that the accusations that Russia was responsible for hacking the emails released by WikiLeaks on DNC and Podesta remain without persuasive evidence.  It’s hard to prove a negative, but, with all that Ed Snowden has released, we can – and have – come real close.  See:

And This Just In …

… from Annie Machon – former UK MI5 officer, whistleblower, who is thoroughly familiar with the shenanigans of MI6 …

“This farrago of nonsense makes the infamous Iraq weapons of mass destruction
report look positively professional in comparison.

“And if, in some parallel universe, these fabrications could conceivably
be true, the leaking to the US media of these alleged reports by a
so-called British MI6 “operative” would have blown the cover of
innumerable highly placed and valuable intelligence sources.

“Such sources are the crown jewels of intelligence work, so if these
reports have any basis in reality, I would expect heads to roll in both
MI6 and the CIA.”

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  He served as an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for a total of 30 years.