You may have heard of Julian Assange, but chances are that you haven’t heard about him from inside the CIA, State Department and US military. In this special episode, Eleanor first talks with former CIA counterterrorism officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou about what Assange would face if extradited to the United States, as Kiriakou himself has sat in the very same court that awaits Assange. Kiriakou also discusses the CIA’s rabid stance against Assange and inside workings that allowed the CIA to plan Assange’s murder with total abandon and without any accountability. Next up, former Marine Corps captain and State Dept officer Matthew Hoh joins the show again to walk us through exactly what classified information is, and why that’s important in understanding the files that wikileaks shared. Matthew debunks the popular trope that the Wikileaks publications put any US lives at risk, pointing out that the true harm was to the empire itself.
Morale is low, and some staffers are preparing to formally express their opposition to President Joe Biden's approach, officials told HuffPost.
A US Department of State official has resigned over Washington’s decision to boost military aid to Israel, saying the US-supported Gaza war would lead to more suffering for both Israelis and Palestinians. Josh Paul, a director in the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, wrote in a note published online on Wednesday that the administration of President Joe Biden was repeating the same mistakes Washington has been making for decades. “The response Israel is taking, and with it the American support both for that response and for the status quo of the occupation, will only lead to more and deeper suffering for both the Israeli and the Palestinian people,” he wrote.
In a little-remarked move, the Biden administration announced Monday that Victoria Nuland will take over as the acting second-in-command at the State Department. She replaces Wendy Sherman, who plans to retire at the end of this week. Nuland’s appointment will be a boon for Russia hawks who want to turn up the heat on the Kremlin. But, for those who favor a negotiated end to the conflict in Ukraine, a promotion for the notoriously “undiplomatic diplomat” will be a bitter pill. A few quick reminders are in order. When Nuland was serving in the Obama administration, she had a now-infamous leaked call with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's official visit to Africa had the typical hallmarks of paternalism and hypocrisy the U.S. exhibits toward Africa but this time with a subtle difference. Blinken’s trip to meet with heads of state in Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal was ostensibly to address the COVID-19 pandemic, “building back” to a more inclusive global economy, combating the climate crisis, revitalizing democracies, and advancing peace and security. The U.S.’s poor performance in all of these areas is now notorious, making it difficult to be as condescending as it tends to be toward Africa. Even though this predicament hasn’t been lost on Blinken who admitted to a group of human rights activists in Nairobi, Kenya “[t]he United States is hardly immune from this challenge” of being vulnerable to misinformation, corruption, political violence and voter intimidation. He was making an apparent reference to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capital.
Red Lines host Anya Parampil explores a new report issued by USAID's Office of the Inspector General which admits the agency's policy on Venezuela was driven by the State Department and National Security Council's push for regime change. The report specifically investigated USAID's attempt to use the US military to force aid through Venezuela's border with Colombia on February 23, 2019. Anya highlights the most interesting findings in the audit, including that USAID failed to put proper fraud controls in place in order to appease US officials seeking to overthrow Venezuela's elected government.
Some people think that a change in government actually changes things. Not so. Moon of Alabma demonstrates through a series of tweets, the striking consistency of US foreign policy from one administration to the next regardless of whether it is Democratic or Republican.
Joe Biden has certainly paid his dues to and reaped rewards from the same corrupt political and economic system as Trump, as the latter delightedly trumpeted in every stump speech. But Biden must understand that the young voters who turned out in unprecedented numbers to put him in the White House have lived their whole lives under this neoliberal system, and did not vote for “more of the same.” Nor do they naively think that deeply-rooted problems of American society like racism, militarism and corrupt corporate politics began with Trump.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani Saturday announced that the U.S. lied about the seizure of four Iranian gasoline tankers headed towards Venezuela. On Friday, the U.S. Justice Department announced that the country’s authorities had confiscated four Iranian fuel tankers bound for Venezuela. “We have successfully executed the seizure of four vessels, that were carrying a total of 1.116 million oil barrels. With the assistance of foreign partners, this seized property is now under U.S. custody,” the U.S. Justice Department stated. However, "non of the seized tankers were Iran-flagged. It was all just fake news,” Rouhani said.
The Grayzone has confirmed that former US ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson traveled to Venezuela on Monday, July 13, following conversations with the families of former Green Beret soldiers Luke Denman and Airan Berry. Venezuelan authorities detained Berry and Denman on May 4, after they participated in a failed mercenary invasion of Venezuela with the stated goal of kidnapping the country’s elected president, Nicolas Maduro. Mark Denman, the younger brother of the detained mercenary Luke Denman, told The Grayzone that Richardson had agreed to help his family after the US Department of State failed to offer assistance.
The latest chapter in the ongoing effort to overthrow the Venezuelan government reads like a bad spy thriller: a group of mercenaries piloted speedboats from Colombia to Venezuela; half of them were killed or captured by Venezuelan security forces immediately upon landing, while the other half – apparently delayed by mechanical issues with their boat – surrendered to local police and militia the next day. Thirty-nine attackers have been captured so far, including two Americans, both former special forces soldiers. Their plan was to capture or kill high-value targets, including Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Instead, it failed miserably and raised more concerns about the leadership of opposition figure Juan Guaidó.
United Nations - The United States rejected a request by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to visit Iran’s United Nations ambassador in a New York hospital where he is being treated for cancer, the U.S. State Department and Iranian U.N. mission said on Friday. A U.S. State Department spokesperson said Zarif’s request would be granted if Iran released one of several American citizens it had detained. In July the United States imposed tight travel restrictions on Zarif before a visit that month to the United Nations, as well as on Iranian diplomats and their families living in New York, which Zarif described as “basically inhuman.” Unless they receive prior approval from Washington, they are only allowed to travel within a small area of Manhattan, Queens and to and from John F. Kennedy airport.
In par with its belligerent policy towards Latin America, United States President Donald Trump appointed Thursday Michael Kozak as Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, a U.S. diplomat known for his expertise in regime change. “Kozak is one of those rare diplomats without fear of using force for what the U.S. considers a noble goal," journalist and Director of the Andes section of the Associated Press Joshua Goodman tweeted on Thursday. This comes as Trump warned that with former National Security Advisor John Bolton out he will enforce an even harder policy against Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, thus Kozak will likely become his ‘go-to-guy’. The new acting head of U.S. diplomacy toward Latin America is no stranger to the implementation of interventionist tactics in the region, where for thirty years he learned and perfected the tactics to oust governments, a craft that was later exported to Eastern Europe and the former USSR.
What does President Trump’s recent nomination of retired Army General John Abizaid to become the next U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia signify? Next to nothing -- and arguably quite a lot. Abizaid’s proposed appointment is both a non-event and an opportunity not to be wasted. It means next to nothing in this sense: while once upon a time, American diplomats abroad wielded real clout -- Benjamin Franklin and John Quincy Adams offer prominent examples -- that time is long past. Should he receive Senate confirmation, Ambassador Abizaid will not actually shape U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia.