On Empire: NATO, Ukraine, Germany, and the U.S.

Particularly for those who understand German – Ray with German voice-over

September 2014 (26 minutes)

Ray just came across the YouTube item linked above, posted on Nov. 27, 2016, of an interview he gave in Germany in early September 2014.  The voice-over on this one is particularly good. During Ray’s subsequent visits to Germany, he has done most of his speeches/interviews in German – (one result being they become twice as long, with the wording half as accurate).  So this interview posting is a welcome relief; it flows quickly and accurately, with the interviewer raising the most salient issues at the time (which remain so two years later).

Discussion topics include:

-“Speaking truth to power” – the duty of honest intelligence analysts;

-How institutions can be corrupted over a 20-year period – and how mixture of cowardice and careerism corrupted intelligence analysis;

-The worst = fraudulent “intelligence” to “justify” a war of aggression;

-The founding of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

-VIPS issuances: (For a list with live links, see: https://consortiumnews.com/vips-memos/)

-Impeachment: the orderly Constitutional provision to get rid of war criminals, assuming some courage in Congress (lots of luck!);

-How NATO expanded eastward after the Berlin wall fell, despite earlier Western promises; and

-Moscow’s totally foreseeable reaction to the Feb. 22, 2014 Putsch in Ukraine and attempts to bring Ukraine into NATO, despite Russian warnings that could hardly have been more explicit – “Nyet Means Nyet.”

During the interview, Ray makes frequent reference to analysis presented earlier in the first of two VIPS Memoranda addressed to Angela Merkel.  The first was prepared just before Ray’s visit in September 2014; the second came almost two years later:

1-Warning Merkel on Russian ‘Invasion’ Intel


September 1, 2014

2- Merkel Urged to Temper NATO’s Belligerence


July 6, 2016

Evidence of Russian interference in US presidential election ‘just not there’ 

Ray comments via live Skype interview by RT late Sunday evening.

November 27, 2016 (4 minutes)

Summary: There is something called a trace mechanism by which emails can be traced back to their origin. None of those trace mechanisms proved Russia was interfering with the US election, former CIA officer Ray McGovern told RT. 


A White House statement confirming the result of the presidential election reflects the will of the American public.  The statement comes after calls from President-elect Donald Trump’s opponents to recount votes in several states on fears Russia could have somehow influenced the process.  Articles with a similar anti-Russian tune are still being published in the mass media.


RT: Why do you think the mass media hasn’t changed its tune toward Russia and its interference in the US elections, even after the White House admitted the elections reflect the will of American people?

Ray McGovern: The Green Party is simply trying to establish exactly what happened in those three key states. And I applaud that. The insidious part comes with the innuendo that Russia tried to affect this election. And the New York Times indicates very clearly that it did not affect the election. And the evidence that it “tried” to affect the election is ambiguous and very elusive at best. The Times and the Washington Post have had it in for Russia ever since Hillary Clinton needed a way to divert attention away from the fact that she stole the nomination from Bernie Sanders. That is what the WikiLeaks leaks – not hacking – but someone gave those things to Julian Assange. We believe it was someone from the NSA or someone from the Democratic National Committee who were aghast that the election and the nomination could be stolen from Bernie Sanders. That it gave legs and diverted attention from that fact and Hillary won the nomination. But now that it is all over, there is still this residual business where it is accepted as flat fact that Russia tried to interfere. And the evidence is just not there. Would we have the evidence? My former NSA colleagues tell me of course, we would. There is something called a trace mechanism where you can trace back emails as far as you need to find out the origin. And none of those trace mechanisms were revealed as proving that Russia was interfering with the US election.


RT: Is there a real possibility that a foreign country can have such a huge impact on the US elections?

RM: No, and the joint statement from the director of National Intelligence and the Director of Homeland Security said that. They said that it is extremely unlikely that this could ever happen because of the way the electoral system is set up in the US. The language here was: “it would be extremely difficult for someone, anyone to alter the ballot counts on election results by cyber-attack or intrusion.” They point out, for example that many of these voting machines are not connected at all to the Internet. So, they’ve ruled that out and yet Russia is the choice of people who would like to blame all manner of things on Russia. A friend of mine was late for work on Friday, and he just blamed Russia, and everybody accepted that.

( Also carried via this link:  https://www.rt.com/op-edge/368431-trump-election-russia-interference/ )

US-Russian Relations 1989-2016

A couple of days ago, Ray was asked by German officials, whom he recently briefed, whether he could put together an informal chronology of the main events in U.S. – Russian relations since the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. Here’s the timeline that took shape:




Ray made no attempt to be all-inclusive. When it came to key events — like the Western-orchestrated coup in Ukraine on February 22, 2014 — Ray includes some supplementary detail and an occasional link to help provide context.


We thought we would go ahead and post the DRAFT “Timeline” now: (1) to provide an aid to memory/research tool for those wishing to review and interpret key events of this period; and (2) to offer an opportunity to those of you who might be interested in helping add significant events to the timeline to go ahead and do so. Suggestions can be sent to raylmcgovern@gmail.com.


When we are pretty sure we have not missed any important event(s), we might even wish to do a little graph showing the ups and downs. Could be very revealing. Please get in touch at the above email address, if you would like to volunteer to do that.


In Summary: As far as recent years are concerned, the Obama-Putin relationship reached its zenith in September 2013, after Putin persuaded Syria to give up its chemical weapons for verified destruction, enabling Mr. Obama at the last minute to call off, with some grace, the neocon-pushed plan to attack Syria in late summer 2013. But the neocons got even with Obama for his having cheated them out of the war they fully expected – the shock and awe on Syria. They had come within a hair’s breadth of mousetrapping the President only to be thwarted by Putin!


To an appreciable degree, that accounted for the Nuland-led neocon boldness in carrying out the coup in Kiev a half-year later, and in their artificial exploitation of the terrible loss of 298 lives on MH17, blaming the Russians sans any convincing proof. John Kerry also said that “social media” are an “extraordinary tool.” Right. But equally useful for deception as for truth. The lame attempts of various imaginative (but not imaginative enough) folks, many of whom seem to be employed by Western intelligence services to use their imaginations in applying “social media” to the MH17 affair, are transparent to any discerning observer.


The election of Donald Trump will, in my view, introduce more opportunities for progress in U.S.-Russia relations than would have been the case under Hillary Clinton.


For additional detail on these key events, I encourage you to include my website, raymcgovern.com, which is easily searchable.

On Russia, the Ukraine, etc (from 2014)

From the archive:


Former U.S. Ambassador to the USSR & Russia Jack Matlock with Sophie Shevardnadze on April 4, 2014: discuss Ukraine, NATO expansion and pressure in the 1990s from the Poles, Czechs, and Hungarians to join NATO (see especially minutes 17:30 and following), the example of Finnish neutrality living free in the shadow of Russia, and more.
April 4, 2014 (26 minutes: including the commercial break between minutes 11:20 and 14:15)

Sophie Shevardnadze interviewed Ray about Ukraine three months before the downing of MH17, which was widely (and conveniently) blamed by the U.S. and Europe on “the Russians” and/or “pro-Russian separatists.”

… from the archives, on Ukraine



The killing of 298 people aboard MH17 on July 17, 2014 was used by Washington to harness previously reluctant Europeans into step behind the U.S. in imposing economic sanctions on Russia.  (It was no coincidence that the sanctions were approved just nine days after the shoot-down.)  So the glimmers of hope on Ukraine that Ray was seeing in April 2014 quickly flickered almost totally out that summer.


April 14, 2014 – 29 minutes, including song Ray sings to make a point.

(To skip the commercials in the middle, fast-forward from 12:35 to 16:55)

Germans Ask Ray About President-elect Trump

Ray was in Berlin during the U.S. election.  There was, of course, immense interest (tinged with considerable shock) regarding what to make of Trump and what his election could mean for Germany and East-West relations.  When Ray got back home a week later, he was asked to respond to “Six Questions” for Forum, the main publication of the German affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War/Physicians for Social Responsibility, one of the most important peace organizations in Germany.  Not surprisingly, the questions home in on issues of most importance to Germany, concerns not discussed very much in the U.S. – yet.


Since no English version will be published, we translated (below) the one-page piece just sent to Ray. Pressed for time, Ray emailed his answers in English on Nov. 17.  He has now checked the IPPNW translation.  It is accurate.  (Actually, the interview sounds a lot better in German!)


For the German speakers, the text in German can be found at the bottom of this post.



  1. Ist mit der Wahl von Donald Trump zum US-Präsidenten eine Neujustierung der US-amerikanischen Außenpolitik zu erwarten?

With the election of Donald Trump can one expect an adjustment in U.S. foreign policy?

One can expect a more reasonable, business-like approach to Russia.  In my view, the immediate danger of armed escalation is less that would have been the case if Clinton had won. Much will depend on whether Trump reacts in a positive way the Putin’s suggestion of a mutual pullback of troops from the border areas.  What worries Putin even more is the stationing of ABM bases around Russia’s periphery, which could lead Pentagon leaders to believe that a first-strike against Russian strategic forces would be successful.

  1. Was bedeutet die Wahl für das Verhältnis zwischen der USA und Russland?

What does the election mean for relations between the U.S. and Russia?

For their part, the Russians have reacted in a very positive way to the election of Trump.  The ball is now in Trump’s court.  I believe Trump really does want better relations with Russia.  Much will depend on whether Trump turns out to be “his own man” or appoints and defers to warmongers like John Bolton in key posts.  Barack Obama quickly became putty in the hands of the so-called Deep State — afraid of confronting or replacing the Generals and intelligence officials – the “yes-men” — whose policies brought chaos to the Middle East.

  1. Wie wird sich Trump im Syrienkrieg positionieren?

What will Trump’s position be on war in Syria?

This will depend on whether he can implement his wish (which I believe is genuine) to pursue a more cooperative relationship with Russia – and on whether he can see the clear congruence of interests.  Those are: (1) preventing an open clash between Russian and U.S. armed forces over Syria, where Russia has imposed a no-fly zone (a fact virtually ignored in Western media); and (2) defeating ISIS.  To act on this convergence of interest, Trump must not give priority to the “first Assad must go” approach.

  1. Steigt mit Trump die Gefahr eines Atomkrieges?

Has the danger of nuclear war increased with Trump?

Nuclear war seems somewhat more remote, given Trump’s open attitude toward Russia and his imperviousness to media criticism on that score.  Moreover, he is likely to take more effective control over the Pentagon than his shy predecessor; the Russians will be watching that closely. But Trump’s self-trumpeted “unpredictability” is likely to have Russian strategic forces on high alert, at least initially.  Thus, an Air Force mistake could mean the end of all of us.

  1. Gibt es bereits Reaktionen der US-amerikanischen Friedensbewegung?

Are there already reactions in the U.S. peace movement?

Trump’s win is already galvanizing U.S. activists for peace as well as for justice for Muslims, Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans.  Exceptional courage will be required, though, to overcome the fear of arrest, as well as the widespread, artificially stoked “fear of the other.”  After 9/11 “everything changed” – very much like after the burning of the Reichstag in 1933.  Activists now face draconian, unconstitutional laws passed after 9/11 – laws reminiscent of the “emergency laws” passed in 1933.

  1. Wie bewerten Sie die Erweiterung und Verlängerung des Syrienmandats der Bundeswehr durch den Deutschen Bundestag?

How do you evaluate the German Bundestag’s vote to widen and prolong the mandate for involvement of German armed forces in Syria?

It is difficult for legislators to adapt quickly to totally new circumstances – like Trump’s victory just one day before the Bundestag voted on participation of German forces in the Syrian conflict.  Trump’s victory opened completely new possibilities.  Yet, inertia prevailed.  Most Bundestag members voted like lemmings to please a U.S. administration soon to be gone.  Earlier German governments – like that of Gerhard Schroeder – were wise to avoid being dragged into highly dubious adventures overseas.



Ray was asked on November 21 to comment on President Barack Obama’s latest disingenuous (that’s Washington polite-speak for “fraudulent”) explanation as to why the President cannot pardon Edward Snowden.  

November 18, 2016 (8 minutes; the section with Ray starts at minute 3:20)


Basically, the President’s failure to rise to the occasion with a pardon for Snowden can be readily attributed to Obama’s abiding fear of the Deep State and his consequent penchant for looking “ahead.”  After all, what might practitioners of the “dark side,” whom he as thus far held harmless, do to him and his family if he changed his mind?


Alternatively, the President’s transparently false claim permits of at least three other – not mutually exclusive – explanations: (1) he actually got his law degree via snail mail correspondence with the “Havard Law School” advertised inside Chicago matchbooks; (2) as professor of constitutional law, he focused exclusively on the constitution of Burkina Faso; and/or (3) he is, once again, taking us for fools.