Julian Assange at 50

By Ray McGovern, July 6, 2021

For those put off by the dulcet tones of my Happy 50th Birthday singing to Julian Assange or begrudging 8 min. For the rest of the talk I recorded for the demo before Belmarsh Prison on July 3, here is what I said after the song:

I’d like to start by quoting Julian’s brother Gabriel, at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on June 30 — Wednesday, 4 days ago.

Gabriel said: In Washington we stopped at the Jefferson Memorial and one thing that really struck us there was one of Jefferson’s writings, where he said that if he were forced to choose between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government”, he would choose the latter.

The powers that be here in the United Stated have have chosen the former — in effect, a government without independent newspapers. So, we have a government without a free press.

There were no “mainstream” journalists, no TV outlets.  At THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB, for god’s sake, and no newspaper journalists, no members of what I have called the “Fawning Corporate Media” — the FCM.  Actually, it’s an acronym — FCM — go ahead, pronounce it quickly, with the “C” a hard “C”. Yes, that’s how I feel about them too.

Again, we have a government without a free press.

Are you shocked that there was a big event at the National Press Club and no one from the corporate media came?

Well, it’s worse.  Get this: A whole week has gone by without ANY mention of the confession by “Siggi the Hacker” that he made up the accusations that the U.S. Justice Department used in its SUPERSEDING INDICTMENT of Julian. It desperately needed to manufacture “evidence”, in order to avoid what is widely known as “the New York Times problem”.  Namely, how can one prosecute JA and not prosecute the NYTimes for publishing the same material?.

The “Siggi the Hacker” story trended worldwide on Twitter on the weekend LAST WEEKEND, with WikiLeaks itself, Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald tweeting about it.  We ALL tweeted about it.

Has the story appeared in the Fawning Corporate Media — the so-called “Mainstream Media??? NO!

As one media watchdog, FAIR, put it:

Such a blatant and juicy piece of important news should have made worldwide headlines. But, instead, as of Friday, July 2, there has been literally zero coverage of it in corporate media; not one word in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, Fox News or NPR.

I have been told that papers in the UK have also been biting their collective tongue.

Here’s the thing: the charges against JA for hacking in Iceland — the charges that the Department of Justice thought would allow it to prosecute JA and circumvent the “NY Times problem” — those charges now have no foundation. They rest on self-admitted lies. The superseding indictment falls flat on its face.

Absent those made-up charges…. well here’s how the deputy general counsel of the NY Times, David McCraw, stated “the New York Times problem” three years ago:  “The prosecution of Assange would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers… he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.” 

By their current silence, what The NY Times and other major media have made clear is that they are, pure and simple, tools of the government; they are the centerpiece, the cornerstone of what I call the MICIMATT — the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-MEDIA-Academia-Think-Tank complex.

So today we face a far more complicated conundrum than the one Jefferson spoke of.  It’s not a choice between newspapers and government.  THE NEWSPAPERS ARE SERVILE TO THE GOVERNMENT AND THE RULING CIRCLES, THE MICIMATT, IF YOU WILL. The government and media are one.  In other words, today we no longer have the choice Jefferson spoke of. It is not as though we can give priority to one over the other.

It is a truism that DEMOCRACY CANNOT SURVIVE if people have no way of knowing what is going on.  We are getting very close to that now.

But, NO CHOICE?  Really?  Surely we have a choice,  But it will take more imagination and more courage than we have shown up till now. And our 50th-birthday person deserves no less.

Let me invoke the “NOAH PRINCIPAL”:  NO MORE AWARDS FOR PREDICTING RAIN; AWARDS ONLY FOR BUILDING ARKS.

SURELY IT IS NOT BEYOND US TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BUILD SOME STURDY ARKS.

IT’S ON US NOW; Julian has done his part.

LETS SUMMON THE INGENUITY AND THE COURAGE TO DO THE RIGHT THING.

What a good way to wish Julian a Happy 50th Birthday!

Needed on July 4: μετανοία

By Ray McGovern, July 4, 2021

Metanoia (from the Greek μετανοία) means turning your mind (νους meaning “mind”) upside down, (μετα adding force, conveying “undo, unfasten, unravel”.) No less than this is required at this liminal moment.

Flawed as they were (like the rest of us) Thomas Jefferson and the other founders of our country did a radical thing 245 years ago. That small group of mostly wealthy men adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

So the United States of America was founded on the then-radical idea that all men are created equal. True, practice (and even the document itself) did not go far enough, but it was a liminal moment (the Latin “limen” meaning threshold). They summoned the courage to step over a high threshold that had been nailed down for millennia.

We are now at a new liminal moment. The question is will we summon the courage to step over today’s even higher threshold. Progress toward a more equal — a more just — world has been stopped in its tracks by the new, less reputable, more greedy, and wealthier people who have come to power in recent decades. The distortions in their vision are far worse than the defects of those who risked all — as they put it, their “lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” — in declaring independence 245 years ago.

Are We ‘Winter Soldiers’?

Thomas Paine: “These are the times that try men’s souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

And here, two centuries later, is Howard Zinn, warning us not to despair: “To engage in whatever nonviolent actions appeal to us: There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at critical [liminal] points to create a power that governments cannot suppress. We find ourselves today at one of those critical points.” 

μετανοία in Context

Franciscan Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation today puts metanoia in biblical context in his Daily Meditation:

The great themes of the New Testament continue those of the Hebrew Bible, and one of those “great themes” is the Gospel itself. In ancient times, a “gospel” was a sharing of good news. Why did the Gospel writers choose to use the Greek word euangelion, which means “good news”? I think it’s because the story of Jesus was the news that transformed their lives. It was Good News of unconditional love, that we are loved, and that our entire lives can and should be based on the absolute love of God.

That centers and grounds everything. What a tragedy that so much of Christianity has been made bad news, and has joined with the bad news of Empire, scapegoating, racism, war, sexism, and destruction of the planet. How far we must be from the experience of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John!

Matthew wants to show that Jesus has come to proclaim and to establish “the kingdom of God.” Jesus says, “Turn around! The kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17). The realm of God is right here, right now, in the present tense. The relationship with God’s love that sets us free is in our midst. We have to have the humility and trust to turn around and see it.

Here’s how Brian McLaren describes it:

Jesus forms a movement of people who trust him and believe his message. They believe that they don’t have to wait for this or that to happen, but rather that they can begin living in a new and better way now, a way of life Jesus conveys by the pregnant phrase kingdom of God. Life for them now is about an interactive relationship—reconciled to God, reconciled to one another—and so they see their entire lives as an opportunity to make the beautiful music of God’s kingdom so that more and more people will be drawn into it, and so that the world will be changed by their growing influence. It is a much greater message than just individual salvation, which has not gotten us very far at all.

Jesus preaches to “turn around,” or in Greek metanoia, which literally means to “change your mind.” It does not mean self-flagellation or being really down about ourselves, which is what the word “repent” has implied for most of us. It always involves an attitude of trust, letting go, and surrender. Originating with the Hebrew prophets, the biblical idea of metanoia is that of a change of mind and heart, a full turning around, a whole new transformation of one’s mentality and level of consciousness, more than “going to church” or following a new moral code. The message to love is simple. We complicate it.

Rohr ends with this prayer:

Loving God, you fill all things with a fullness and hope that we can never comprehend. Thank you for leading us into a time where more of reality is being unveiled for us all to see. We pray that you will take away our natural temptation for cynicism, denial, fear and despair. Help us have the courage to awaken to greater truth, greater humility, and greater care for one another. May we place our hope in what matters and what lasts, trusting in your eternal presence and love. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our suffering world. Please add your own intentions . . . Knowing, good God, you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God. Amen.

Happy Birthday, Julian

Singing Happy 50th Birthday today for Julian Assange under the non-window of his cell. Grassroots activists are now before Belmarsh prison where my 8-min recording is being played at demo organized by Committee to Defend Julian Assange. 

The Legacy of Donald Rumsfeld

Ray and Scott Ritter on Critical Hour; July 2, 2021


Ray McGovern
, former CIA analyst and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence; joins Scott Ritter, former UN weapon inspector in Iraq; to discuss the Donald Rumsfeld legacy and his actions related to the Iraq invasion. 

From JFK to Biden/Khrushchev to Putin

By Ray McGovern (an interview)

“Crikey, this is it folks.” This is how my Scottish interviewer/podcaster Matthew Howland described a long conversation we had on June 25, covering pretty much the waterfront.

I quickly confirmed that “crikey” does not mean BS; then I listened to parts of the interview and was glad I gave the time to this well informed young interviewer. This is how Howland listed most of the topics we covered:

— Ray’s start at the CIA (1963)
— JFK and Allan Dulles
— Gulf of Tonkin, Vietnam
— Retirement as USSR fell apart
— 9/11
— The MICIMATT
— Donald Rumsfeld
— Julian Assange
— Hillary Clinton
— The 2016 election, Russia-gate
— Ukraine
— Russia-China relations
— Trump
— Putin
— Biden-Putin Geneva summit

The Scotts may say “crikey”: My Irish cousins might say “not too bad”.

Whom the Gods Would Destroy: War With Russia and China is Worse Than MAD!

Report on a Panel Discussion, June 26, 2021
By Ray McGovern
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHacLTeb9r4

This morning I took part in a freewheeling, relaxed discussion addressing some of today’s most important foreign policy issues. It was the kind of conversation-cum-substantive-Q&A that, sadly, one does not easily find in corporate media.

The session began after Mozart’s Laudate Dominum was performed by the Schiller Institute Chamber Singers. Dennis Speed acted as moderator, put initial context around the discussion, and introduced the panelists, who spoke in this order:

1 — Dennis Speed, The Schiller Institute(minutes 6:20 to 12:20)

2 — Helga Zepp-LaRouche, President of the Institute: Keynote (min. 12:20 to 58:00)

3 — Dr. Andrey Kortunov (Russia), Director General, Russian International Affairs Council: “Has the Geneva Summit Changed Relations Between the U.S. and Russia?” (58:55 to 1:14:00)

4 — Atul Aneja (India), Editor, India Narrative.com: “Engaging Russia and China as Part of a New World Order-What Can India Bring to the Table?” (1:14:00 to 1:26:28)

5 — Col. Richard H. Black (ret.), former State Senator (Virginia), former head of the U.S. Army’s Criminal Law Division, “U.S.-China Relations: A Pathway for War Avoidance and Cooperation” (1:26:28 to 1:46:32)

6 — Ray McGovern CIA analyst/presidential briefer (ret.), co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS): “Russians Know the Horrors of War; U.S. ‘Ruling Circles’ Don’t: This is Big” (1:46:32 to 2:00:12)

7 — Q and A (2:01:00 to 3:40:35)

‘Squeezing’ More Out of Statements at Summit

By Ray McGovern, June 21, 2021

The Critical Hour interviewed me today for any further impressions I had — especially with respect to Biden’s benighted comments on China at his solo press conference (no Putin; no Russian journalists allowed), and later at the airport before he departed Geneva.

Ray on Critical Hour; June 21, 2021

The Chinese Squeeze

To remind, here is the bizarre way in which Biden described, at the post-summit presser, his approach to Putin on China:
“Without quoting him [Putin] — which I don’t think is appropriate — let me ask a rhetorical question: You got a multi-thousand-mile border with China.  China is seeking to be the most powerful economy in the world and the largest and the most powerful military in the world.”

(Sotto voce: You better think about that, “killer” Putin. A billion and a half are a lot of people to kill. … And such a long border. Just saying.)

Joe, PLEASE!, get on the plane, his co-travelers pleaded, but they could not stop the blather. Before boarding, Biden shared with the media still more wisdom — this time on China’s strategic “squeezing” of Russia:
“… let me choose my words.  Russia is in a very, very difficult spot right now. They are being squeezed by China.”

There is no escaping the conclusion that the President is out to lunch on this key issue, even (or maybe especially!) when he chooses his words carefully.

When are his rising-junior advisers going to let him in on the fact that Russia and China have never been closer — that, indeed, they have what amounts to a virtual military alliance?  This would seem to be an important thing to make sure Biden learns — and remembers.

But alas! The president has already put his foot in his mouth. Will his courtiers avoid correcting him out of fear that he might kill the messenger? (Figuratively speaking, of course. Banishing them back to a one or another Democratic “think tank” would be more likely.)

Or, worse still, do those wet-behind-the-ears advisers share the view that China is “squeezing” Putin?  Did they perhaps acquire that “intelligence” from a paid FBI informant who talked to a seemingly well-informed driver in the Chinese motor pool in Anchorage?

The Handwriting on the Wall

I was reminded recently of Robert Frost’s poem, “The Bearer of Evil Tidings”, about a messenger headed to Belshazzar’s court to deliver bad news to King Belshazzar. The messenger suddenly remembers that bad news is a very “dangerous thing to bear,” so he runs away rather than risk the monarch’s wrath.

Will the Blinken-Sullivan dynamic duo also run away? Whether they run or stay I fear Biden and his team are in for a rude awakening.  They soon enough will know the evil tidings.

Here are Frost’s final lines from “The Bearer of Evil Tidings”:

As for his evil tidings, 
Belshazzar’s overthrow, 
Why hurry to tell Belshazzar
What soon enough he would know?