Raymond McGovern (born August 25, 1939) is a former CIA officer turned political activist. McGovern was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, and in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President's Daily Brief. He received the Intelligence Commendation Medal at his retirement, returning it in 2006 in protest of CIA's involvement in torture. McGovern's post-retirement work includes commenting for Consortium News, RT, and Sputnik News, among other outlets, on intelligence and foreign policy issues. In 2003 he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
- The U.S. Constitution and international law suffered a stinging blow last night at the hands of an odd coalition... As was the case 15 years ago when the U.S. and UK launched a war of aggression against Iraq, the pretext was so-called “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) — this time the claimed use on April 7 of chlorine (and maybe the nerve agent sarin — who knows?) in Duma a suburb of Damascus...
The attacks by the Gang of Three came hours before specialists from the UN Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were to arrive in Syria to study soil and other samples in Duma. The question leaps out: Why could the Gang not wait until the OPCW had a chance to find out whether there was such an attack and, if so, what chemical(s) were used? U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis could only say that he believes there was a chemical attack and that perhaps sarin, in addition to chlorine, was involved. Serving until now as the only available “evidence” are highly dubious reports from agenda-laden “social media.” What is clear is that the U.S./UK/French Gang wanted to strike before the OPCW investigators had a chance to ascertain what happened. Hmm. All the earmarks of “Sentence first; verdict afterwards.”
- Let me just start with Putin’s major address... It was really something. Not only did he advertise a whole new generation of strategic weaponry, which he claimed, and no one has disproved, would render the billions of dollars that we have wasted on antiballistic missile defenses useless. They’re useless to begin with, most scientists and engineers say, but these new weapons that he advertised, and some of which he said are operational, would upend that... he also said, Now, we tried to get you to listen to us. You wouldn’t listen to us. Now, hopefully, you will listen to us. Let’s get together at the appropriate time with experts and figure out how we address these problems, in other words, talks on arms control...
- Now, a couple days later he’s talking about the strategic relationship and somebody says, Now, Mr. Putin—this is in an interview...six days later—somebody says, Hey, listen, Mr. Putin...would you destroy the whole world? If there were a first strike on Russia, would you really respond? It would be too late to save Russia.... Look, He says, yes, this would be a global catastrophe, but “as a citizen of Russia and as the head of the Russian state, I ask, What need will we have for a world if there was no Russia?” So he’s saying, Look, you’ve got to take this stuff seriously. Yes, we would retaliate, even if it meant that the rest of the world would be blown up as well as Russia.
- Two days later, four senior senators, okay, three Democrats—let’s see if I can remember them — Feinstein, Wyden, the fellow up there in Massachusetts, and Bernie Sanders—they issue a call, a letter to then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Look, this is really getting out of hand. We don’t like the fact that Putin is brandishing these weapons that we really haven’t ever heard of before, but he’s calling for arms control talks, so let’s talk. Let’s talk. Guess what? That appeal appeared on all those four senators’ websites but was totally—totally—ignored by what passes for the mainstream media. So one suspects that this is an unwelcome subject, and there is proof positive...we're talking about four senior senators appealing for arms control talks on their websites but it never getting past their websites, no publicity for it. I’m thinking that Chuck Schumer said, No, no. Arms control, no, no... Don’t mention arms control talks. So that’s the reality in the mainstream media.
- And what I’m trying to say is, Putin’s looking at all this. He knows who “the crazies” are and he knows that Bolton has a lot of influence. So this is a very destabilizing thing, because when the Russians keep telling us, Look, we’ve got these new weapons, well, you know, the press says, Ah, they’re faking it, they’re probably faking it. You know, I don’t know if they’re faking it or not. But, my God, if we knew about all this, why is it not in the annual intelligence briefing that is given to both the House and to the Senate early each year? It’s missing. All we get is rhetoric about how bad the Russians are, just as if they were the old Soviet Union, ideologically determined to bury us.
- If you are wondering why so little is heard these days of accusations that Russia hacked into the U.S. election in 2016, it could be because those charges could not withstand close scrutiny. It could also be because special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have never bothered to investigate what was once the central alleged crime in Russia-gate... Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity — including two “alumni” who were former National Security Agency technical directors — have long since concluded that Julian Assange did not acquire what he called the “emails related to Hillary Clinton” via a “hack” by the Russians or anyone else. They found, rather, that he got them from someone with physical access to Democratic National Committee computers who copied the material onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive. In December 2016 VIPS explained this in some detail in an open Memorandum to President Barack Obama.
Clinton’s PR chief... later admitted that she golf-carted around to various media outlets at the convention with instructions “to get the press to focus on... the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.” The diversion worked like a charm. Mainstream media kept shouting “The Russians did it,” and gave little, if any, play to the DNC skullduggery revealed in the emails themselves. And like Brer’ Fox, Bernie [Sanders] didn’t say nothin’.
- In Still Waiting for Evidence of a Russian Hack Consortium News (7 June 2018)
- Outgoing Defense Secretary Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis was famous for quipping, “It’s fun to shoot some people.” It remains a supreme irony that Mattis was widely considered the only “adult in the room” in the Trump administration. Compared to whom? John Bolton, the rabid neocon serving as national security adviser? That would be the epitome of “condemning with faint praise.”
- Mattis was simply incapable of acknowledging the self-destructive, mindless nature of U.S. “endless war” in the Middle East, which candidate-Trump had correctly called “stupid.” In his resignation letter, Mattis also peddled the usual cant about the indispensable nation’s aggression being good for the world.
- Mattis was an obstacle to Trump’s desire to pull troops out of Syria and Afghanistan (and remains in position to spike Trump’s orders). Granted, the abrupt way Trump announced his apparently one-man decision was equally stupid. But withdrawal of ground troops is supremely sane, and Mattis was and is a large problem. And, for good or ill, Trump — not Mattis — was elected president.
- Send the Mad Dog to the Corporate Kennel, Consortium News, (21 December 2018)
- Trump had been calling for better relations with Russia during his presidential campaign... Stooping to a new low, Friday’s (New York) Times headline screamed: “F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.” For those interested in evidence — or the lack of it— regarding collusion between Russia and the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, we can thank the usual Russia-gate promoters at The New York Times and CNN for inadvertently filling in some gaps in recent days....NYT readers had to get down to paragraph 9 to read: “No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials.”
- Ray McGovern: Russia-gate Evidence, Please, (15 January 2019)
- On June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War, the Israeli military attacked the USS Liberty, an American spy ship which had been monitoring Israeli transmissions about the conflict. Intercepted Israeli communications indicated that the goal was to sink the Liberty and leave no survivors.
Warplanes and torpedo boats had already killed 34 and wounded 174, when Halbardier slid over the Liberty’s napalm-glazed deck to jury-rig an antenna and get an SOS off to the Sixth Fleet. The Israelis intercepted the SOS and broke off the attack immediately. In effect, Halbardier prevented the massacre of all 294 onboard. Still, the infamy of the attack on the Liberty was two-fold.
First, the Liberty, a virtually defenseless intelligence collection platform prominently flying an American flag in international waters, came under deliberate attack by Israeli aircraft and three 60-ton Israeli torpedo boats off the coast of the Sinai on a cloudless June afternoon during the six-day Israeli-Arab war. Second, President Lyndon Johnson called back carrier aircraft dispatched to defend the Liberty lest Israel be embarrassed, the start of an unconscionable cover-up, including top Navy brass, that persists to this day.
Does all this have relevance today? Of course. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understands that there is little that Israel could do that would earn the opprobrium of the U.S. Congress or retaliation from the White House, whether it’s building illegal settlements or slaughtering civilians in Gaza. The Israelis seem convinced they remain in the catbird’s seat, largely because of the Israel Lobby’s influence with U.S. lawmakers and opinion makers.
- A USS Liberty’s Hero’s Passing, Consortium News (8 June 2019)
- U.S. pundits and strategic experts seem blissfully unaware of how close we all are to being fried in a nuclear strike by Russia. (Fair Labeling: if you are simply looking for yet another reason to demonize Putin, rather than to understand where he is coming from, save time and read no further.) Here’s the thing: the Russians have good reason to be on hair-trigger alert. Their early-warning radar system is so inadequate that there are situations (including those involving innocent rocket launches) under which Russian President Putin would have only a few minutes – if that – to decide whether or not to launch nuclear missiles to destroy the rest of the world – on the suspicion that Russia was under nuclear attack. "If that"? Yes, launch-to-target time is now so short that it is altogether likely that the authority to launch nuclear weapons is now vested in subordinate commanders "in the field," so to speak. Readers of Daniel Ellsberg’s Doomsday Machine are aware of how the US actually devolved this authority during the days of the first cold war. I, for one, was shocked to learn that... Russia, of course, is not about to admit that its early-warning system is far inferior to the US’s world-wide, satellite-based capability. But such is the case. The implications could not be more serious.
- Washington can stop making relations still more tense over Ukraine. The Pentagon may boast about its formidable offensive strategic capabilities, but it has no way to protect us from a Russian nuclear attack. And if a false alert occurs a la 1995, this time sans the "saving grace" of a decent bilateral relationship with Russia, we could all end up as human fries. It should give us zero consolation to know that most Russians would too.