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John Brennan Voted Communist in 1976, Then Entered CIA in 1980

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Barack Obama’s CIA chief, John Brennan, told the Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus, on 15 September 2016, in Washington DC, that when he had applied in 1980 to join the CIA, he admitted to them that in the 1976 Presidential election, when Jimmy Carter was running against Gerald Ford, Brennan had voted instead for the candidate of the U.S. Communist Party, Gus Hall, and that he was then greatly relieved to find that this information didn’t cause rejection of his CIA-application. This had happened 11 years before the 1991 end of the Cold War (which ended actually only on the Russian side, but not also on the U.S.-NATO side, where it continues without stop, and has accelerated since 2014, now finally being joined by both sides).

The Caucus made no mention of Brennan’s having spoken there, nor did the CIA include in its public archives any indication that he had spoken there, though, for example, they did include the complete transcript of “Director Brennan Delivers Keynote at Miles College” on 13 September 2016, in Birmingham Alabama, at which event he said nothing at all that was newsworthy. (The Miles College event was mentioned by CBS, in this brief video.)

Furthermore — though there is online a webpage devoted to, and covering each day of, the 2017 Annual Legislative Conference, on 20-24 September of last year — the webpage for the 2016 Conference, on September 14th-18th, mentions events only on September 14th and September 17th, as if Brennan hadn’t even appeared there at all. The entire day’s events on September 15th are missing. So: both the Caucus, and the CIA, blacked-out his 15 September 2016 presentation, and the transcript of it isn’t publicly available (nor is any video or audio of it available publicly).

However, a little coverage of Brennan’s remarkable statement did appear in the press, first, as a sparse and poorly written news-report on CNN that didn’t even mention where Brennan had made the remark (nor in which year he had voted that way), and, then, finally a week later, in a professionally competent news-report, at Buzzfeed, titled “Congress Doesn’t Really Care That The CIA Chief Once Voted Communist”, and reporting, on September 22nd, that, “Brennan copped to the vote in little-noticed remarks last week [September 15th] at the Congressional Black Caucus’s annual conference. The spy chief spoke of his stomach-turning fear while undergoing the vetting process to be employed at the CIA in 1980 — strapped to a polygraph during the height of the Cold War,” and “Brennan said he came clean about the his 1976 ballot during the polygraph, expecting it to disqualify him from a clearance. But to the director’s surprise, he was offered admission to the agency, and, nearly 40 years later, landed in the top office.” Furthermore, when Buzzfeed’s reporter, Ali Watkins, asked some U.S. Senators what they thought about Obama’s having selected to run the CIA a man who only a few years prior to joining the CIA had voted for the communist candidate, Gus Hall, none seemed to care. Whereas the war against communism had ended, the war against Russia still has not, and so Senators from both Parties didn’t want to talk about the matter — didn’t want to draw the public’s attention to the clear fact now, that the ideological excuse for the Cold War had been merely a fake, a rationalization, all along, on the American-NATO side; that the Cold War was never really about communism at all, but about conquest, on the American side — that Soviet, and then Russian, leaders had been conned into thinking that abandonment of communism and ending the Warsaw Pact mirror to America’s NATO military alliance, would bring peace with The West. Increasingly since 1991, it has been made clear that Russian leaders had been swindled.

In 2013, when the Obama Administration was intensifying its efforts, in conjunction with the Sauds, to replace Russia-allied Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Mr. Brennan has been in periodic contact by phone with Prince Bandar”, who until 9/11 had been personally financing at least two of the 15 Saudis who were among the 19 hijackers/pilots; and, moreover, Bandar and his brothers were the main funders of Al Qaeda throughout the period leading up to 9/11. And, furthermore, Bandar had worked with the U.S. Government before Al Qaeda even existed, so as to help Osama bin Laden to set up Al Qaeda, originally against the Soviet Union. (And, now, Al Qaeda is America’s key organization leading Syria’s jihadists to overthrow and replace Syria’s Government.)

On 29 November 2015, Andrew Emett of Activist Post bannered “Obama Accepted $1.3M In Gifts Last Year From A Country Who Beheads More People Than ISIS” and he reported and documented that, “Although the State Department listed several gifts to CIA Director John Brennan and multiple anonymous agency employees, the donors’ names have been redacted because ‘such information could adversely affect United States intelligence sources or methods.’ Besides receiving a $10,000 Omega men’s watch, Brennan was also given a $7,500 decorative rug.” And, “the Saudi king gave President Obama and his family roughly $1.35 million in gifts last year.”

Then, on 28 September 2016, Eli Yokley at Morning Consult headlined “Congress Overrides Obama’s Veto of 9/11 Bill” and reported that:

“Congress on Wednesday forcibly voted to override President Obama’s veto of legislation that would allow 9/11 victims’ families to sue the government of Saudi Arabia, despite Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan’s warning of “grave” risks to American national security if it becomes law. Despite his late plea, the Senate voted 97-1 to override Obama’s veto. … In the House, the override attempt passed in similar fashion, 348 to 77.”

Those Senators and Representatives of the Sauds needed to display public support for the victims of 9/11, but Obama wasn’t running again, so didn’t need to worry. Anyway, the entire 9/11 case remains in legal limbo now under Trump.

Whereas the Sauds’ main strategic objective, in fulfillment of an agreement the royal Saud family had reached with the fundamentalist-Sunni Wahhab family in 1744, is to defeat Iran and Shia Muslims everywhere, and the Sauds’ secondary objective is ultimately to take over from Russia as being the main source of oil supplying the EU, which is the world’s largest energy-market; the U.S. aristocracy’s main objective is simply to conquer Russia. (Conquering China would then be next, and would complete their plan.)

So, on many levels now, it is clear that for the American aristocracy (the people who control America’s Deep State), defeating communism, which had served as its ideological excuse for the Cold War, was just a cover-story. The reality, on America’s side, was always about conquest, which is why the CIA, even at the start, took in and protected so many Nazis.

FDR would turn over in his grave, if he knew what came after him.

First published at strategic-culture.org

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Americas

Will Geneva Be Any Different Than Helsinki?

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Joe Biden
Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

Any meeting between the leaders of Russia and the U.S. is inevitably an important international event. At some point in history, such summits decided the fate of the entire world, and the world held its collective breath as it followed Kremlin-White House talks on strategic arms or the two sides seeking agreements on urgent regional problems or any political signals coming from the superpower capitals prior to another round of negotiations.

The bipolar era has long been gone, and the Russia-U.S. relations are no longer the principal axis of international politics, although the suspense over bilateral summits remains. As before, the two countries are engaged in “top-down” interaction. Summits give the initial impetus to Moscow and Washington’s cumbersome bureaucratic machines, then diplomats, military personnel and officials start their assiduous work on specific issues, collaboration between the two countries’ private sectors and civil society perks up, the media gradually soften their rhetoric, bilateral projects in culture, education and science are gradually resumed.

Still, there are annoying exceptions to this general rule. In particular, the latest full-fledged Russia–U.S. summit in Helsinki in July 2018 failed to trigger improvements in bilateral relations. On the contrary, Donald Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin in Finland’s capital aroused massive resentment among the anti-Russian Washington establishment. Ultimately, on returning home, the U.S. President had to offer awkward apologies to his supporters and opponents alike, and relations between the two countries continued to rapidly deteriorate after the summit.

Surely, nobody is willing to see another Helsinki scenario in June 2021, this time in Geneva. Yet, do we have good reason to hope for a different outcome this time? To answer this question, let us compare Donald Trump and Joseph Biden’s approaches to Russia-U.S. summits and to bilateral relations at large.

First of all, in Helsinki, Trump very much wanted the Russian leader to like him. The Republican President avoided publicly criticizing his Russian counterpart and was quite generous with his compliments to him, which inevitably caused not only annoyance but pure outrage in Washington and in Trump’s own Administration. Joe Biden has known Vladimir Putin for many years; he does not set himself the task of getting the Russian leader to like him. As far as one can tell, the two politicians do not have any special liking for each other, with this more than reserved attitude unlikely to change following their meeting in Geneva.

Additionally, in Helsinki, Trump wanted, as was his wont, to score an impressive foreign policy victory of his own. He believed he was quite capable of doing better than Barack Obama with his “reset” and of somehow “hitting it off” with Putin, thereby transforming Russia if not into a U.S. ally, then at least into its strategic partner. Apparently, Biden has no such plans. The new American President clearly sees that Moscow-Washington relations will remain those of rivalry in the near future and will involve direct confrontation in some instances. The Kremlin and the White House have widely diverging ideas about today’s world: about what is legitimate and what is illegitimate, what is fair and what is unfair, where the world is heading and what the impending world order should be like. So, we are not talking about a transition from strategic confrontation to strategic partnership, we are talking about a possible reduction in the risks and costs of this necessarily costly and lengthy confrontation.

Finally, Trump simply had much more time to prepare for the Helsinki summit than Biden has had to prepare for Geneva. Trump travelled to Finland eighteen months after coming to power. Biden is planning to meet with Putin in less than five months since his inauguration. Preparations for the Geneva summit have to be made in haste, so the expectations concerning the impending summit’s outcome are less.

These differences between Biden and Trump suggest that there is no reason to expect a particularly successful summit. Even so, we should not forget the entire spectrum of other special features of the Biden Administration’s current style of foreign policy. They allow us to be cautiously optimistic about the June summit.

First, Donald Trump never put too much store by arms control, since he arrogantly believed the U.S. capable of winning any race with either Moscow or Beijing. So, his presidential tenure saw nearly total destruction of this crucial dimension of the bilateral relations, with all its attendant negative consequences for other aspects of Russia-U.S. interaction and for global strategic stability.

In contrast, Biden remains a staunch supporter of arms control, as he has already confirmed by his decision to prolong the bilateral New START. There are grounds for hoping that Geneva will see the two leaders to at least start discussing a new agenda in this area, including militarization of outer space, cyberspace, hypersonic weapons, prompt global strike potential, lethal autonomous weapons etc. The dialogue on arms control beyond the New START does not promise any quick solutions, as it will be difficult for both parties. Yet, the sooner it starts, the better it is going to be for both countries and for the international community as a whole.

Second, Trump never liked multilateral formats, believing them to be unproductive. Apparently, he sincerely believed that he could single-handedly resolve any burning international problems, from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to North Korea’s nuclear missile programme.

Biden does not seem to harbor such illusions. He has repeatedly emphasized the importance of multilateralism, and he clearly understands that collaboration with Russia is necessary on many regional conflicts and crises. Consequently, Geneva talks may see the two leaders engage in a dialogue on Afghanistan, on the Iranian nuclear deal, on North Korea, or even on Syria. It is not at all obvious that Biden will succeed in reaching agreement with Putin immediately on all or any of these issues, but the very possibility of them discussed at the summit should be welcomed.

Third, Trump was not particularly fond of career diplomats and, apparently, attached little value to the diplomatic dimension of foreign policy. The Russia-U.S. “embassy war” had started before Trump—but not only did Trump fail to stop it, he boosted it to an unprecedented scale and urgency.

Sadly, the “embassy war” continues after Trump, too. Yet President Biden, with his tremendous foreign policy experience, understands diplomatic work better and appreciates it. Practical results of the Geneva summit could include a restoration of the diplomatic missions in Washington and Moscow to their full-fledged status and a rebuilding of the networks of consular offices, which have been completely destroyed in recent years. Amid the problems of big politics, consular services may not seem crucial but, for most ordinary Russians and Americans, regaining the opportunity for recourse to rapid and efficient consular services would outweigh many other potential achievements of the Geneva summit.

From our partner RIAC

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“Choose sides” is practically a bogus idea for US military partners

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“Choosing sides” is practically a non-starter for US military allies such as Japan and South Korea. These nations, first and foremost military allies of the US, are forging cordial and productive ties with other countries based on military alliances with the US. The nature and level of partnerships varies greatly from those of allies, despite the fact that they appear to be quite heated at times.

Military concerns have been less important in the postwar period, but economic concerns have been extremely heated, social and cultural interactions have been close, and the qualitative differences between cooperative relations and allies have gotten confused, or have been covered and neglected.

Some unreasonable expectations and even mistakes were made. In general, in the game between the rising power and the hegemony, it is undesirable for the rising power to take the initiative and urge the hegemony’s supporters to select a side. Doing so will merely reinforce these countries’ preference for hegemony.

Not only that, but a developing country must contend with not only a dominant hegemony, but also a system of allies governed by the hegemony. In the event of a relative reduction in the power of the hegemony, the strength of the entire alliance system may be reinforced by removing restraints on allies, boosting allies’ capabilities, and allowing allies’ passion and initiative to shine.

Similarly, the allies of the hegemonic power are likely to be quite eager to improve their own strength and exert greater strength for the alliance, without necessarily responding to, much alone being pushed by, the leader. The “opening of a new chapter in the Korean-US partnership” was a key component of the joint statement issued by South Korea and the United States following the meeting of Moon Jae-in and Biden. What “new chapter” may a military alliance have in a situation of non-war?

There are at least three features that can be drawn from the series of encounters between South Korea and the United States during Moon Jae-visit in’s to the United States: First, the withdrawal of the “Korea-US Missile Guide” will place military constraints on South Korea’s missile development and serve as a deterrence to surrounding nations. The second point is that, in addition to the Korean Peninsula, military cooperation between the US and South Korea should be expanded to the regional level in order to respond to regional hotspots. The third point is that, in addition to military alliances, certain elements in vaccinations, chips, 5G, and even 6G are required. These types of coalitions will help to enhance economic cooperation.

Despite the fact that Vice President Harris wiped her hands after shaking hands with Moon Jae-in, and Biden called Moon Jae-in “Prime Minister” and other rude behaviors, the so-called “flaws” are not hidden, South Korea still believes that the visit’s results have exceeded expectations, and that Moon Jae-in’s approval rate will rise significantly as a result.

The joint statement issued by South Korea and the United States addresses delicate subjects such as the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea. Of course, China expresses its outrage. It is widely assumed that this is a “private cargo” delivered by Biden’s invitation to Moon Jae-in to visit the United States.

Moon Jae-in stated that he was not pressured by Biden. If this is correct, one option is that such specific concerns will not be handled at all at the summit level; second, South Korea is truly worried about the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea concerns and wishes to speak with the US jointly.

South Korea should be cognizant of China’s sensitivity to the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea concerns. When it comes to China-related concerns, the phrasing in the ROK-US joint statement is far more mild than that in the ROK-Japan joint declaration. Nonetheless, the harm done to South Korea-China ties cannot be overlooked.

South Korea highlights the “openness” and “inclusiveness” of the four-party security dialogue system, which allows South Korea to engage to some extent. South Korea will assess the net gain between the “gain” on the US side and the “loss” on the Chinese side. China would strongly protest and fiercely respond to any country’s measures to intervene in China’s domestic affairs and restrict China’s rise.

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Political Violence and Elections: Should We Care?

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The next Sunday 6th of June, the Chamber of Deputies along with 15 out of the 32 governorships will be up for grabs in Mexico’s mid-term elections. These elections will be a crucial test for the popularity of the president and his party, the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA). They currently hold majority in the Lower Chamber of the national Congress, and these elections could challenge this.

Recent national polls indicate that the ruling party, MORENA, is still the most popular political force in Mexico, and they are poised to win not only several governorships, but also several municipalities. They are also expected to maintain control of the Lower  Chamber, although with a loss of a few seats. In order to ensure MORENA keeps its current majority in the Congress, they have decided to pursue an electoral alliance with the Green Party (PVEM) and the Labout Party (PT). It is expected that with this move, they will be able to ensure the majority in the Chamber of Deputies in the Congress.

There is, however, another aspect that is making the headlines in this current electoral process: The high levels of political and electoral violence, The current electoral process is the second most violent since 2000. The number of candidates that have been assassinated is close to 30% higher than the mid-term electoral process of 2015. More than 79 candidates have been killed so far all across the country.

Insecurity in Mexico has been an ongoing issue that has continued to deteriorate during the administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). AMLO has continually criticised his predecessors and the valid problems of their approaches to insecurity in Mexico along with the War on Drugs policy. However, to date, he has yet to offer a viable alternative to tackle the security problems he inherited. During his campaign, AMLO coined the phrase “abrazos no balazos” (hugs not bullets) to describe his approach toward improving security in Mexico. He believed that to successfully tackle the worsening crisis of insecurity, the structural conditions that forced people to commit crimes had to be addressed first: Namely inequality, poverty, low salaries, lack of access to employment etc. To date, insecurity in Mexico continues to worsen, and this had become evident during the current electoral process.

This nonsensical approach to insecurity has resulted in the first three years of his government reaching over 100,000 murders, along with the nearly 225,000 deaths as a result of the pandemic.

What should be particularly worrying in this spiral of violence, is the prevalence of political and electoral violence during the current process. Political violence represents not only a direct attack on democratic institutions and democracy itself, but it also compromises the independence, autonomy, and integrity of those currently in power, and those competing for positions of power. It affects democracy also because political violence offers a way for candidates to gain power through violent means against opposition, and this also allows organised crime to infiltrate the state apparatus.

Political violence is a phenomenon that hurts all citizens and actors in a democracy. It represents a breeding ground for authoritarianism, and impunity at all levels of government. This limits the freedoms and rights of citizens and other actors as it extinguishes any sort of democratic coexistence between those currently holding political power and those aspiring to achieve it. Political violence also obstructs the development of democracy as it discredits anyone with critical views to those in power. This is worrying when we consider that 49% of those assassinated belong to opposition parties. This increase in political violence has also highlighted AMLO´s inability to curtail organised crime and related violence.

Assassination of candidates is only the tip of the iceberg. Organised criminal groups have also infiltrated politics through financing of political campaigns. Most of electoral and political violence tends to happen an municipal levels, where it is easier for criminal groups to exert more pressure and influence in the hope of securing protection, and perpetuate impunity, or securing control over drug trafficking routes. This should be especially worrisome when there is close too government control in certain areas of the country, and there is a serious risk of state erosion at municipal level in several states.

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