Mutiny On The Bounties

| Educate!

Above photo: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with McFaul meeting Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, Russia, on May 7, 2013. State Department.

Has there been another mutiny in Trump’s White House, as Obama’s former ambassador to Russia piles on the nonsense about Trump being in Putin’s pocket?

Corporate media are binging on leaked Kool Aid not unlike the WMD concoction they offered 18 years ago to “justify” the U.S.-UK war of aggression on Iraq.

Now Michael McFaul, ambassador to Russia under President Obama, has been enlisted by The Washington Post’s editorial page honcho, Fred Hiatt, to draw on his expertise (read, incurable Russophobia) to help stick President Donald Trump back into “Putin’s pocket.” (This has become increasingly urgent as the canard of “Russiagate” — including the linchpin claim that Russia hacked the DNC — lies gasping for air.)

In an oped on Thursday McFaul presented a long list of Vladimir Putin’s alleged crimes, offering a more ostensibly sophisticated version of amateur Russian specialist, Rep. Jason Crow’s (D-CO) claim that: “Vladimir Putin wakes up every morning and goes to bed every night trying to figure out how to destroy American democracy.”

McFaul had — well, let’s call it an undistinguished career in Moscow. He arrived with a huge chip on his shoulder and proceeded to alienate just about all his hosts, save for the rabidly anti-Putin folks he openly and proudly cultivated. In a sense, McFaul became the epitome of what Henry Wooton described as the role of ambassador — “an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.” What should not be so readily accepted is an ambassador who comes back home and just can’t stop misleading.

Not to doubt McFaul’s ulterior motives; one must assume him to be an “honest man” — however misguided, in my opinion. He seems to be a disciple of the James Clapper-Curtis LeMay-Joe McCarthy School of Russian Analysis.

Clapper, a graduate summa cum laude, certainly had the Russians pegged! Clapper was allowed to stay as Barack Obama’s director of national intelligence for three and a half years after perjuring himself in formal Senate testimony (on NSA’s illegal eavesdropping). On May 28, 2017 Clapper told NBC’s Chuck Todd about “the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique.”

As a finale, in full knowledge of Clapper’s proclivities regarding Russia, Obama appointed him to prepare the evidence-impoverished, misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” claiming that Putin did all he could, including hacking the DNC, to help Trump get elected — the most embarrassing such “intelligence assessment” I have seen in half a century .

Obama and the National Security State

I have asked myself if Obama also had earned some kind of degree from the Clapper/LeMay/McCarthy School, or whether he simply lacked the courage to challenge the pitiably self-serving “analysis” of the National Security State. Then I re-read “Obama Misses the Afghan Exit-Ramp” of June 24, 2010 and was reminded of how deferential Obama was to the generals and the intelligence gurus, and how unconscionable the generals were — like their predecessors in Vietnam — in lying about always seeing light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Thankfully, now ten years later, this is all documented in Craig Whitlock’s, “The Afghanistan Papers: At War With the Truth.” Corporate media, who played an essential role in that “war with the truth”, have not given Whitlock’s damning story the attention it should command (surprise, surprise!). In any case, it strains credulity to think that Obama was unaware he was being lied to on Afghanistan.

Some Questions

Does no one see the irony today in the Democrats’ bashing Trump on Afghanistan, with the full support of the Establishment media? The inevitable defeat there is one of the few demonstrable disasters not attributable directly to Trump, but you would not know that from the media. Are the uncorroborated reports of Russian bounties to kill U.S. troops aimed at making it appear that Trump, unable to stand up to Putin, let the Russians drive the rest of U.S. troops out of Afghanistan?

Does the current flap bespeak some kind of “Mutiny on the Bounties,” so to speak, by a leaker aping Eric Chiaramella? Recall that the Democrats lionized the CIA official seconded to Trump’s national security council as a “whistleblower” and proceeded to impeach Trump after Chiaramella leaked information on Trump’s telephone call with the president of Ukraine. Far from being held to account, Chiaramella is probably expecting an influential job if his patron, Joe Biden, is elected president. Has there been another mutiny in Trump’s White House?

And what does one make of the spectacle of Crow teaming up with Rep. Liz Cheney (R, WY) to restrict Trump’s planned pull-out of troops from Afghanistan, which The Los Angeles Times reports has now been blocked until after the election?

Hiatt & McFaul: Caveat Editor

And who published McFaul’s oped? Fred Hiatt, Washington Post editorial page editor for the past 20 years, who has a long record of listening to the whispers of anonymous intelligence sources and submerging/drowning the subjunctive mood with flat fact. This was the case with the (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the U.S.-UK attack. Readers of the Post were sure there were tons of WMD in Iraq. That Hiatt has invited McFaul on stage should come as no surprise.

To be fair, Hiatt belatedly acknowledged that the Post should have been more circumspect in its confident claims about the WMD. “If you look at the editorials we write running up [to the war], we state as flat fact that he [Saddam Hussein] has weapons of mass destruction,” Hiatt said in an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review. “If that’s not true, it would have been better not to say it.” [CJR, March/April 2004]

At this word of wisdom, Consortium News founder, the late Robert Parry, offered this comment: “Yes, that is a common principle of journalism, that if something isn’t real, we’re not supposed to confidently declare that it is.” That Hiatt is still in that job speaks volumes.

‘Uncorroborated, Contradicted, or Even Non-Existent’

It is sad to have to remind folks 18 years later that the “intelligence” on WMD in Iraq was not “mistaken;” it was fraudulent from the get-go. The culprits were finally exposed but never held to account.

Announcing on June 5, 2008, the bipartisan conclusions from a five-year study by the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller ( D-WV) said the attack on Iraq was launched “under false pretenses.” He described the intelligence conjured up to “justify” war on Iraq as “uncorroborated, contradicted, or even non-existent.”


Here’s an assignment due on Monday. Read McFaul’s oped carefully. It appears under the title: “Trump would do anything for Putin. No wonder he’s ignoring the Russian bounties: Russia’s pattern of hostility matches Trump’s pattern of accommodation.”

And to give you a further taste, here is the first paragraph:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have paid Taliban rebels in Afghanistan to kill U.S. soldiers. Having resulted in at least one American death, and maybe more, these Russian bounties reportedly produced the desired outcome. While deeply disturbing, this effort by Putin is not surprising: It follows a clear pattern of ignoring international norms, rules and laws — and daring the United States to do anything about it.”

Full assignment for Monday: Read carefully through each paragraph of McFaul’s text and select which of his claims you would put into one or more of the three categories adduced by Sen. Rockefeller 12 years ago about WMD on Iraq. With particular attention to the evidence behind McFaul’s claims, determine which of the claims is (a) “uncorroborated”; which (b) “contradicted”; and which (c) “non-existent;” or (d) all of the above. For extra credit, find one that is supported by plausible evidence.

Yogi Berra might be surprised to hear us keep quoting him with “Deja vu, all over again.” Sorry, Yogi, that’s what it is; you coined it.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27-year career as a CIA analyst, he prepared and briefed The President’s Daily Brief for Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

  • D.K. Wilson

    These people like McGovern are unbelievable. “…the canard of “Russiagate” — including the linchpin claim that Russia hacked the DNC…” as if THAT is what Russia’s role in Trump’s election hinged upon. Or is McGovern just another feather elucidating the fact that we’re witnessing what happens when the left wing and the right wing think-speak in unison to fly the bird called fascism forward into a dank pollution-hazed sky.

    McGovern and his slew of lackey journalists know full well of the influence Russia had and continues to have in the Trump-Kushner-slew of dual citizens who are national security risks that hang like cumulonimbus clouds over the present administration.

    Question, Ray: “why would the Council for National Policy foist upon the American people member Mike, “made his bones on Anthrax,” Pence, vetted toady, Donald Trump, and CNP stalwarts in addition to being longtime coverup artists, William Barr and Brett Kavanaugh? Why Ray? Perhaps, in large part, because all of them know the vetted showman, bad actor and actor in bad faith, Trump, owes his prodigious, feted derriere to Russia?

    What say you, Ray? (Since this is a 13-day old article from Consortium News and they’re comment section after the article is closed, I am forced to, instead, comment here.)

  • DonRice

    Lackey journalists? You mean like the ones in the corporate media who do othing but praise the official establishment narrative without even an iota of the critical thinking that journalism used to be know for?


    “genetically driven to co-opt” Oh my God these are our leaders? The Russians are not genetically driven any more than the Chinese give birth to viruses. They are DEFENDING THEMSELVES FROM US AGGRESSION. All you have to do is read what’s going on, preferable from overseas sources.

  • sabelmouse


  • mwildfire

    Totally apart from the substance of these claims, NOBODY is “genetically driven to…” That’s sheer racist drivel, the claim that you can impute character to a given ethnic group, not as a matter of culture but as a hardwired, inborn thing.

  • chetdude

    Isn’t it the Apartheid State of Israel and NOT “Russia” that influences “the Trump-Kushner-slew of dual citizens who are national security risks
    that hang like cumulonimbus clouds over the present administration”?

  • D.K. Wilson

    Journalism as we know it is corporate driven & so replete with lackeys. People who say “there was a time when…” this was untrue are kidding themselves, believing in a constructed and story told to them by the very corporate, power elite class they criticize now. e.g. see, Rolling Stone, 1977 Carl Bernstein piece on journalism. And for all revealed in that article, it’s limited hangout as RS was and is mainstream, too.

  • D.K. Wilson

    Read the comment again – this time a little more closely for nuance…. thanks.

  • chetdude

    Ok, I read it again.

    Infused with Russiagate nonsense when the Trumpsters – especially creatures like Kushner – are actually influenced by the Apartheid State of Israel and it’s funders and rabid supporters like early money Adelman.

  • D.K. Wilson

    In other words, I commented in kind with the context of the article. Israel is, quite obviously, an entirely different issue than Russia. Additionally, “Russia gate nonsense” at this point is little more than a banal ad hominem… if you can’t understand the bald conjoining of the Russians in question and, their “Apartheid State of Israel,” kissing cousins, there’s no reason for you to comment toward me again… unless it’s to say something to the effect of, “Wow, I’m sorry I fell prey to media-generated bs rather than seeking to find where and how the parts fit.”

  • chetdude

    I have often recognized that EVERY nation that has the technology and a relative affluence to “protect” is engaged in every form of intelligence gathering and “interference” into the mechanisms that the Owner/Donor Class uses to run the USAmerican Imperial Plutocracy that engages in global (and domestic) economic rape and pillage and terrorism. Those engaged in the “interference” that includes Russia, France, China, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore AND ISRAEL among many others.

    Any nation that isn’t keeping an eye on the dying Empire is guilty of negligence.

    The ARTICLE is about yet another counter-factual, bullsh*t story planted by the USAmerican “intelligence” apparatus in the corporate media that has quickly been completely debunked (even in the corporate media).

    I compared it to another counter-factual set of bullsh*t stories: Russiagate. It is not an ad-hominem to point out obvious truths.