Honoring Julian Assange in Boston (via Zoom)

By Ray McGovern, June 9, 2021

Julian Assange’s father, John Shipton, and his brother Gabriel, together with Jill Stein and me among others, spoke briefly earlier today at Community Church of Boston as the “Home Run for Assange” U.S. Tour/2021 reached New England.

The highlight was Julian’s father accepting the Sacco and Vanzetti Award given annually for the past 45 years by Community Church of Boston — the first church to protest loudly the travesty of justice accorded Sacco and Vanzetti, both of whom were falsely convicted and executed in 1927. A Community Church stalwart, David Rothouser, presented a brief summary of that sordid affair and discussed the continuing support for justice provided by 101 year-old Community Church.

Order of Talks  

Fast-forward: The actual event does not begin until minute 26:05 of the YouTube video (see link below) with a song and brief welcome by Dean Stevens, musician and a leader of the church.  David Rothouser begins speaking at minute 29:00; Jill Stein at min. 37:00.  I speak for 11 minutes, starting at min. 49.

John and Gabriel Shipton are then interviewed before the Sacco and Vanzetti award is accepted by John on behalf of the awardee — his son, Julian Assange.

Musician David Rovics provides a moving coda to the affair, singing a song he composed about Julian — a song he actually performed in front of the walls of Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh. The song is “Behind These Prison Walls”.

Why Major Media Mostly Mum on Hunter’s Laptop

By Ray McGovern, June 3, 2021

On The Critical Hour today, I was asked to comment on Hunter & Joe’s Excellent Adventure regarding Ukraine. 

Ray on Critical Hour; June 6, 2021

The interview was pegged to a Politico report that the Justice Department is investigating Democratic Party-aligned “Blue Star Strategies” for possible illegal lobbying for the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Yes, the same Burisma that was giving Hunter Biden extravagant remuneration for sitting on its Board, clearly because he was a son of a Biden, so to speak.

Politico’s story ( See: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/06/03/blue-star-burisma-justice-department-investigation-491681 ) was based on information from “four people familiar with the probe”.  It seemed to me that the newly announced investigation was a typical PR stunt to demonstrate “balance”; that is, to show that our intrepid, ostensibly apolitical DOJ will go after Democrats as well as folks like Rudy Giuliani to investigate illegal lobbying on behalf of a foreign country — in both these cases Ukraine. Some semblance of “balance” was needed after the feds raided Rudy Giuliani’s office and home in late April.

Having given that relatively minor PR ploy more attention than it might deserve, I moved on to more important issues, which I’ll point to below. 

Dems Learn From Comey Overconfidence in 2016

This latest focus on Burisma brought to mind how the Democrats were hell bent on suppressing reporting on the damning evidence in Hunter’s laptop against Hunter and Joe Biden first reported by the New York Post on October 14, 2020 (19 days before the election). And the truly shocking, egregious complicity of Establishment media — including Twitter, Facebook and virtually everyone else except the incorruptible Glenn Greenwald, who quit The Intercept over its attempt to censor his reporting on the issue.***

But what lesson did the Dems learn from 2016?  Recall that the polling heavily favored Hillary Clinton.  But on October 28, 2016 (just 10 days before the election) then-FBI Director James Comey announced that more Clinton emails had been found and that he had to reopen the investigation. Smart pollsters should have realized at that point that they should have thrown out all polling before Oct. 28 and started afresh.

Exogenous Shock Brings the Traumatic Shock of Trump

In the wake of the Trump surprise win, Donald L. Buresh & Theresa Pavone wrote a scholarly paper titled: Why No One Knew that Hillary Clinton Would Lose the 2016 Election ( See: http://www.ivyunion.org/index.php/ajpsr/article/view/1248 ) The following is culled from their summary:

Blind reliance on the use of predictive models led to the major pollsters never knowing that Hillary Rodham Clinton might lose … Predictive models assumed the existence of a steady-state which was not present at the time. … When a predictive model experiences an exogenous shock or a superseding intervening cause, the dependence on data before the shock occurred is unwarranted.

In fact, it is argued that all data before the exogenous shock or superseding intervening cause should be ignored, and only the data that appears after the shock should be used in making predictions.

The predictive models used by the pollsters during the 2016 Presidential election were incapable of recognizing an exogenous shock and that human intervention was needed to correct for the limitations of the predictive models.

Dems Taking No Chances

In 2020, the Democrats were not going to take any risk that something similar might happen after the New York Post — exogenously — published its story, based on the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop, which showed all manner of corruption — some of it in graphic detail. What speaks volumes is that the Democrats were able to enlist the entire “mainstream” media and Silicon Valley in a common effort to suppress Biden-damaging reporting for the following 19 days. Had they been unable to control the media during that critical period, who would have won the election? It is a fair — if probably unanswerable — question.

*** Regarding Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi has an excellent commentary today ( See: 

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/congratulations-elitists-liberals-6ec? ) on how Glenn has been vilified by the media.  Matt points to a “hilarious headline” in the Daily Beast yesterday: “Is Glenn Greenwald the New Master of Right-Wing Media? FROM HIS MOUTH TO FOX’S EARS!” (See: https://www.thedailybeast.com/is-glenn-greenwald-the-new-master-of-right-wing-media?via=twitter_page )

And so it goes.

Looking Toward an Inauspicious Summit

By Ray McGovern, May 26, 2021

The “Critical Hour” asked me to elaborate on my gloomy prediction for the June U.S.-Russia summit in Geneva — so far, it has been the most bizarre, acerbic pre-summit period of any I have watched in the past five decades. The “Is the Biden-Putin Summit Doomed?” article published earlier Wednesday was the jumping off point ( See: https://original.antiwar.com/mcgovern/2021/05/25/is-the-biden-putin-summit-doomed/. )

Critical Hour, 5/26/2021, 14 mins

In addition to my pointing out the important role likely to be played by the increasingly close relationship between Russia and China, I must mention more mundane modalities having to do with Biden’s first venture abroad as president. As the Western press seems to relish reporting, Biden’s visit with Putin “is being tacked onto the end” of his travels  … a kind of afterthought — as in, Oh, and let’s not forget to hit Geneva before we turn around and go home.”

As if to add insult to afterthought, Biden is attending the Group of Seven summit (June 11-13) in Britain, and then the NATO summit in Brussels (June 14) before going to Geneva to meet Putin on the 16th.

The G-7 was the G-8 before Russia was unceremoniously kicked out in March 2014. NATO, of course, is a military alliance created to stop the Soviet Union from invading Western Europe. As most people outside NATO headquarters know, the Soviet Union fell apart 30 years ago. The NATO bureaucracy, though, pretends to believe still that the Russians are coming anyway.  That belief is good, of course, for the bureaucracy and excellent for the MICIMATT, which needs as many enemies as it can find or contrive.

As for what Biden’s motivation might be in proposing a summit (that is, beyond telling the Russians how to behave), one theory Ray passed along is that the Pentagon is genuinely worried at the progress the Russians have made with hypersonic and other highly advanced weapons, and consequently Biden may suggest renewing strategic arms control talks as a way to apply brakes on what has become growing Russian superiority in some areas.

I recounted the various illusory hopes — like Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” ABM system — that an airtight missile defense system could one day be produced and deployed.  Billions have been thrown toward that illusory goal and billions more are likely to follow.  This, despite the reality that Russia’s latest weapons make ABMs absolutely obsolete, so to speak. Putin has actually made that claim, and the Pentagon presumably knows he is not bluffing.

Will Biden Stay in Bibi’s Pocket? (REVISED)

By Ray McGovern, May 19, 2021

Netanyahu’s own words, videotaped two decades ago, show his disdain for the malleability of  former U.S. presidents.  As it turns out, Netanyahu had good reason to hold them in contempt as he “maneuvered” around them to ensure unstinting American support for status-quo Israeli domination of the Palestinians.

How about now? Will he see President Biden as a wimp, with Biden’s mealy-mouthed comment to Netanyahu earlier today that Biden “expects to see a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire” in Gaza.

If past is precedent, Netanyahu’s likely response will be a half-polite, “Joe, please take that and shove it … and oh, by the way, I meant to thank you for your proposed sale of $735 million-worth of smart bombs a couple of weeks ago. It came at just the right time for me.”

You readers will be quick to point out, Netanyahu could not survive, were the U.S. to stop its misconceived, lemming-like, unprecedentedly generous support for Israel.  And you would be correct.  Still, the odds are against anything more effective than pious calls for steps “on the path to a ceasefire”, until Israeli forces accomplish what the Israelis now admit they have long planned to achieve in Gaza.

Here’s Why

Netanyahu thought the camera/sound was off 20 years ago, when he spoke with unspeakable candor to a small private group, explaining,  “America is a thing that can be easily moved … moved in the right direction. They [Americans] will not bother us.”

In this 5-minute video, leaked and aired on Channel 10 News in Israel, Netanyahu in 2001 discussed the Oslo Accords, the peace process, Bill Clinton, and Israel’s power to move the U.S. “in the right direction’.

Translation (based on the subtitles) follows, with Netanyahu in bold.

“The Arabs now are preparing a campaign [war] of terror, and they think that this will break us.

“The main thing is, first and foremost, to hit them hard.

“Not just one hit … but many painful, so that the price will be unbearable.

“The price is not unbearable now.

“A total assault on the Palestinian Authority.

“To bring them to a state of panic that everything is collapsing.

“ … fear that everything will collapse … this is what we’ll bring them to …

[Woman interrupts: But wait a minute.  At that point the whole world will say, ‘What are you, occupiers?]

“The world will say nothing.  The world will say we are defending ourselves.

[Woman: ‘Aren’t you afraid of the world, Bibi?

“No.

“Especially now with America, I know what America is. 

“America is a thing that can be easily moved … moved in the right direction.

“They [Americans] will not bother us.

“Let’s suppose they [Americans] will say something to us – Israelis … so they say it …  [so what?].

“80 percent of the Americans support us.

“It’s absurd.  We have such [great] support there!

“And we say … what shall we do with this [support]?

“Look, the other administration [that of Clinton] was pro-Palestinian in an extreme way.

“I was not afraid to maneuver there.  I did not fear confrontation with Clinton.

“I was not afraid to clash with the UN.” …

Netanyahu then goes on to explain how he exploited a loophole in the Oslo Accords (regarding which side defines what a “military site” is), and that, in Netanyahu’s words is how “I actually stopped the Oslo Accords.”  (The Accords provided, among other things, for phased withdrawal of Israeli troops.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What About Now?

We will soon find out not only if there is any “significant de-escalation”, but also if there is any significant change in who is calling the shots now — Bibi or the U.S. president.

Those who want really significant change had better show that they care enough to get out in the streets.

Otherwise, nothing “significant” will happen, and the Israeli military will continue to “mow the grass” in Gaza, unhindered — and with a Netanyahu-type smirk on their faces.  ( See: https://consortiumnews.com/2021/05/16/26686/. ) And Biden will have shown that, like his predecessors, he lacked the courage and the will to climb out of Bibi’s pocket.

Expert at Surprises: Is Iran Next?

Again, if past is precedent …

Blindsiding other countries has long been a favorite arrow in Israel’s quiver. During the Middle East crisis in the spring of 1967, some of us witnessed closely a flood of Israeli surprises and deceptions, as Netanyahu’s predecessors feigned fear of an imminent Arab attack as justification for starting a war to seize and occupy Arab territories.

Few Americans realize that we in U.S. intelligence had long since concluded that Israel had been grossly exaggerating the Arab “threat” in early 1967.  Fifteen years later, in 1982, former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin publicly confessed:

“In June 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that [Egyptian President] Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

Israel, in fact, had prepared well militarily and also mounted provocations against its neighbors, in order to provoke a response that could be used to justify expansion of its borders.  In today’s fluid, unpredictable circumstances, President Biden would be well advised to greet with appropriate skepticism any private assurances Netanyahu may provide that he will not go for broke and launch a surprise attack on Iran. (See: https://consortiumnews.com/2010/080310c.html for additional background)

Will Biden Stay in Bibi’s Pocket?

By Ray McGovern, May 19, 2021

In Netanyahu’s own words, two decades ago.  He was right then.  How about now? Will he see President Biden as a wimp, with his his mealy-mouthed comment to Netanyahu that Biden “expects to see a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire” in Gaza.

If past is precedent, Netanyahu’s likely response will be a polite, “Joe, you can take that and shove it … oh, and by the way, thanks for the $735 million weapons sale you proposed a couple of weeks ago.” 

But, you say, Netanyahu could not survive, were the U.S. to stop its misconceived, lemming-like support for Israel.  And you would be correct.  Still, the odds are against anything more than pious calls for steps “on the path to a ceasefire”, until Israeli forces accomplish what the Israelis now admit they have long planned to achieve in Gaza.

Here’s Why

Netanyahu thought the camera/sound was off when he spoke with unspeakable candor to a small private group 20 years ago, explaining,  “America is a thing that can be easily moved … moved in the right direction. They [Americans] will not bother us.”

In this 5-minute video, leaked and aired on Channel 10 News in Israel, Netanyahu in 2001 at a constituent’s home discussed the Oslo Accords, the peace process, Bill Clinton, and the United States.

Literal translation (based on the subtitles); Bibi in bold.

“The Arabs now are preparing a campaign [war] of terror, and they think that this will break us.

“The main thing is, first and foremost, to hit them hard.

“Not just one hit … but many painful, so that the price will be unbearable.

“The price is not unbearable now.

“A total assault on the Palestinian Authority.

“To bring them to a state of panic that everything is collapsing.

“ … fear that everything will collapse … this is what we’ll bring them to …

[Woman interrupts: But wait a minute.  At that point the whole world will say, ‘What are you, occupiers?]

“The world will say nothing.  The world will say we are defending ourselves.

[Woman: ‘Aren’t you afraid of the world, Bibi?

“No.

“Especially now with America, I know what America is. 

“America is a thing that can be easily moved … moved in the right direction.

“They [Americans] will not bother us.

“Let’s suppose they [Americans] will say something to us – Israelis … so they say it …  [so what?].

“80 percent of the Americans support us.

“It’s absurd.  We have such [great] support there!

“And we say … what shall we do with this [support]?

“Look, the other administration [that of Clinton] was pro-Palestinian in an extreme way.

“I was not afraid to maneuver there.  I did not fear confrontation with Clinton.

“I was not afraid to clash with the UN.” …

Netanyahu then goes on to explain how he exploited a loophole in the Oslo Accords (regarding which side defines what a “military site” is), and that, in Netanyahu’s words is how “I actually stopped the Oslo Accords.”  (The Accords provided, among other things, for phased withdrawal of Israeli troops.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What About Now?

We will soon find out not only if there is any “significant de-escalation”, but also if there is any significant change in who is calling the shots now — Bibi or Biden.

Those who want really significant change had better care enough to get out in the streets.

Otherwise, nothing “significant” will happen, and the Israeli military will continue to “mow the grass” in Gaza, unhindered — with a Netanyahu-type smirk on their faces.  ( See: https://consortiumnews.com/2021/05/16/26686/. ) And Biden will have shown that, like his predecessors, he lacked the courage and the will to climb out of Bibi’s pocket.

Remember the USS Liberty

URGENT: Tell the Navy to REMEMBER THE USS LIBERTY, which was deliberately attacked by Israel June 8, 1967, killing 34 and wounding 171. Pentagon: move ships out of range. Biden: tell Netanyahu not to even think about a false-flag attack to draw the US in!