Price for Witnessing Against War

Exclusive: The funeral for anti-war priest Daniel Berrigan was a reminder of humanity’s need to challenge immoral government actions and the price that one pays for doing so, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

Fr. Daniel Berrigan’s funeral was being live-streamed Friday, as I started to write this, which seems only fitting. Dan’s witness and writing have been a constantly re-chargeable battery for my moral compass.

Live-streaming (arranged by America magazine) was the next-best thing to being at the funeral in person. And it brought back memories of getting shoe-horned into West Baltimore’s St. Peter Claver church in early December 2002 for an equally moving celebration of the life of Dan’s younger brother, Fr. Phil Berrigan.

Anti-war activist priest Daniel Berrigan.

Anti-war activist priest Daniel Berrigan.

Homilist Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J., who has spent more than a decade in this or that prison for non-violent resistance to war began with some Berrigan-style Irish humor: “Let members of the FBI assigned here today validate that it is Daniel Berrigan’s funeral Mass of the Resurrection, so they can complete and perhaps close their files. ‘Death has no dominion!’ to quote Daniel’s friend William Stringfellow.”

Kelly then minced no words in calling out “appointed pastors who collude with structures of domination, blessing the bombs.”

Tears welled as I watched Catholic Worker friends drop a large banner with the words from Isaiah, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares. Nations shall make war no more,” a charge lived into by all three brothers Berrigan – Jerry, Dan, and Phil.

And I thought back on what I learned decades ago at retreats led by Dan on the prophets Isaiah and Amos.

During the eulogy, Liz McAlister, Phil’s widow, quoted from the “apology” Dan wrote for burning draft cards with home-made napalm in Catonsville, Maryland, in May 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War:

“Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house.”

Liz continued to read from the Statement of the Catonsville 9: “The suppression of truth stops here; this war stops here!” (emphasis added by Liz’s own prophetic voice.) Not stopping was the loud, un-church-like cheering that rattled the rafters.

So Liz added a vintage Berrigan admonition for those who “seek ways to exempt themselves from responsibility.” I had the feeling that the affirming crowd would still be making a din, had not Phil’s daughter Frida gently gestured: Please, let my mom finish.

Life-size cut-outs of Jerry Berrigan arrayed to blockade at Hancock  airbase in upstate New York on Jan. 28, 2016. (Screen grab from YouTube video)

Life-size cut-outs of Jerry Berrigan arrayed to blockade at Hancock airbase in upstate New York on Jan. 28, 2016. (Screen grab from YouTube video)

Thanks to the live-streaming, I could discern many of my friends at the still functioning Dorothy Day Catholic Worker houses for men and women in the Bowery. The only folks missing were those doing the daily Martha-work of preparing food for the lunch line. Ringing in my ears was another charge, heard hundreds of times from my Irish grandmother: “Show me your company, and I’ll tell you who you are!”

As the daughter of the late Jerry Berrigan, eldest of the three brothers, added her words to the eulogy, I felt proud to be out on bail, awaiting trial with 11 others of the “Jerry Berrigan Memorial Anti-Drone Brigade” for shutting down the main entrance and exit to Hancock Air Force Base Brigade near Syracuse, New York, on the morning of Jan. 28, 2016. Jerry, who lived in Syracuse, was frequently arrested there for similar protests against drone killings.

‘Whatever His Views, He’s Harmless’

Following people like Dan, Phil, and Jerry can get you beaten up and thrown in jail, but the benefits are out of this world, so to speak. Watching Dan’s funeral, I found myself musing over the words chosen by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s confidant Sidney Blumenthal, reassuring Clinton that she had nothing to fear from the likes of me.

Army veteran and ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, standing in protest of a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Feb. 15, 2011.

Army veteran and ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, standing in protest of a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Feb. 15, 2011.

On Feb. 15, 2011, at George Washington University, Clinton had, with callous aplomb, completely ignored my getting assaulted by two security personnel as I silently stood directly in front of her with my back turned.

In a Feb. 18, 2011 email, Blumenthal explained: “Ray McGovern, a former CIA officer who gave the daily brief for President George H.W. Bush, is pretty well known in the intelligence community. He’s become a Christian antiwar leftist who goes around bearing witness. Whatever his views, he’s harmless.”

Harmless or not, I can see my grandmother smiling down at the company I now keep, and whispering in her thick Irish brogue, “If you were really harmless, Raymond, they would not be writing them email things about you.”

It was not so long ago that I moved in circles where the label “activist” was dismissed as misguided but, well, harmless. How fortunate, then, to learn of the definition given to activism by my co-passenger on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, poet Alice Walker: “Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.”

I could not be more grateful at having fallen in, better late than never, with such companions. Dan’s funeral served as a reminder of how much my journey has changed – having witnessed power from the inside, and the consequences of challenging it from the outside.

On the Inside

During the first Ronald Reagan administration, it was my job to conduct early morning one-on-one briefings of the Secretary of Defense (Caspar Weinberger), Secretary of State (George Shultz), and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Gen. Jack Vessey) and also, depending on their schedules, Vice President George H. W. Bush, as well as a movable feast of Assistants to the President for National Security Affairs.

Another senior CIA officer and I took turns, each of us briefing every other day six days a week. As professional intelligence analysts, we conducted ourselves in a completely non-partisan way, and our services were appreciated. We relied largely on The President’s Daily Brief that we had helped prepare the day before, and we updated and supplemented the material in it, as needed.

Ronald Reagan was given these one-on-one briefings as soon as he became president-elect and put considerable value on them. Once in the White House, however, he ordered that, as a general rule, the early morning briefings be given to his most senior national security advisers whom he would normally ask to brief him directly several hours later.

When I took early retirement at age 50, I was fully aware that few others on “the outside” had the privilege of acquiring a first-hand feel for how intelligence could be used, and power abused.

At the time, however, I had no inkling that the creeping politicization and careerism fostered by senior CIA official Robert Gates on behalf of Reagan’s CIA Director William Casey would corrupt managers and analysts alike to the point they would let themselves be suborned into conjuring up the kind of faux intelligence that President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney ordered up to “justify” war on Iraq.

‘Quid Est Veritas?’

What brought this to mind earlier this week was the tenth anniversary of an impromptu, four-minute debate that I had with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Atlanta on May 4, 2006.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a press briefing with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers. (State Department photo)

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a press briefing with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers. (State Department photo)

It was not hard to prove him an inveterate liar about important matters like the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) he said were in Iraq – but weren’t; and the ties that existed between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein – but didn’t. But my Rumsfeld anniversary brought a painful reminder that things have hardly improved – and that no one has challenged former Secretary Clinton openly about her lies – about Syria and Libya, for example. [See’s “A Need to Clear Up Clinton Questions.”]

The opportunities for such challenge have become fewer; the penalties harsher; the Fawning Corporate Media dumber and dumber.

The mini-debate with Rumsfeld in Atlanta depended largely on luck. Not only had I truth as my breastplate, so to speak, but the stars were nicely aligned. People like Rumsfeld, an accomplished Princeton debater (and, for that matter, Wellesley valedictorian Hillary Clinton), are required to keep careful track of their lies. Those not normally burdened with that extra chore – professional intelligence analysts, for example – enjoy a distinct advantage, even in times like these, when all too many Caesars keep asking “Quid est Veritas?” – “what is truth?” – a phrase attributed to Pontius Pilate during the trial of Jesus.

As it turned out, I had some success – momentarily, at least – exposing Rumsfeld, who had played fast and loose with the truth, while enjoying the “matinee-idol” label pinned on him by President George W. Bush during the initial weeks of “shock and awe.”

The abundance of evidence notwithstanding, my attempts to expose the lies of Hillary Clinton proved much more difficult (as I was wrestled away by security guards for turning my back on the Secretary of State), and I had zero success exposing Teflon-coated General (and former CIA Director) David Petraeus for the fraud he is (as I was arrested by New York City police at the entrance of a Petraeus speech). Worse still, the violence I encountered escalated with each nonviolent attempt.

With Rumsfeld, none of the media stenographers at Pentagon briefings ever looked up from their pads long enough to ask the Defense Secretary a direct question about his prevarications, so the Pentagon prima donna seemed a bit shocked by a factual question he could not spin.

So, Rumsfeld was not used to fielding “impertinent,” un-self-censored questions. Indeed, it may have seemed to some as though I were unfairly blindsiding the poor Secretary of Defense.

An Exchange with Power 

The setting for Rumsfeld’s talk was a little-known, defense-secretary-friendly-Southern-white-male-upper-crust “think tank.” There was no advance notice of Rumsfeld’s talk on its website, but some women friends from the World Can’t Wait figured out a way to get me a ticket (for $70!).

The impromptu debate went as follows:

RAY McGOVERN: And so, I would like to ask you to be up front with the American people. Why did you lie to get us into a war that was not necessary and that has caused these kinds of casualties? Why?

DONALD RUMSFELD: Well, first of all, I haven’t lied. I did not lie then. Colin Powell didn’t lie. He spent weeks and weeks with the Central Intelligence Agency people and prepared a presentation that I know he believed was accurate, and he presented that to the United Nations. The President spent weeks and weeks with the Central Intelligence people, and he went to the American people and made a presentation. I’m not in the intelligence business. They gave the world their honest opinion. It appears that there were not weapons of mass destruction there.

RAY McGOVERN: You said you knew where they were?

DONALD RUMSFELD: I did not. I said I knew where suspect sites were, and we were —

RAY McGOVERN: You said you knew where they were, “near Tikrit, near Baghdad, and northeast, south and west of there.” Those were your words.

DONALD RUMSFELD: My words — my words were — no, no, no, wait a minute! Let him stay one second. Just a second.

RAY McGOVERN: This is America, huh? Go ahead.

DONALD RUMSFELD: You’re getting plenty of play, sir.

RAY McGOVERN: I’d just like an honest answer.

DONALD RUMSFELD: I’m giving it to you.

RAY McGOVERN: We’re talking about lies and your allegation that there was bulletproof evidence of ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq. Was that a lie or were you misled?

DONALD RUMSFELD: Zarqawi was in Baghdad during the prewar period. That is a fact.

RAY McGOVERN: Zarqawi, he was in the north of Iraq, in a place where Saddam Hussein had no rule. That’s where he was.

DONALD RUMSFELD: He was also in Baghdad.

RAY McGOVERN: Yeah, when he needed to go to the hospital. Come on, these people aren’t idiots. They know the story.

DONALD RUMSFELD: You are — let me give you an example. It’s easy for you to make a charge, but why do you think that the men and women in uniform every day, when they came out of Kuwait and went into Iraq, put on chemical weapon protective suits? Because they liked the style? They honestly believed that there were chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons on his own people previously. He had used them on his neighbor, the Iranians. And they believed he had those weapons. We believed he had those weapons.

RAY McGOVERN: That’s what we call a non-sequitur. It doesn’t matter what the troops believe. It matters what you believe.

MODERATOR: I think, Mr. Secretary, the debate is over. We have other questions, courtesy to the audience.

‘Let Him Stay’

Early in the exchange, the black-hatted point man from Rumsfeld’s SWAT Team (clearly seen in the video) put his elbow in my solar plexus as I was speaking and started to pry me from the microphone to which I was adhering like permanent glue.

However, after a glance in the direction of the TV cameras, Rumsfeld waved him off, with a “no, no, no, wait a minute! Let him stay one second. Just a second.” It was a snap decision to continue the debate, with Rumsfeld convinced he could put me in my place. After all, I had identified myself as a former CIA analyst, and Rumsfeld had had an easy time intimidating CIA directors George Tenet and Porter Goss, as well as those of my former colleagues badgered into dancing the Cheney/Rumsfeld fraudulent tango on Iraq.

The event also took place early enough that afternoon to make the evening news. Better still, the event was aired live on C-Span and CNN. All this together made it very difficult for TV producers, anchors and pundits to brush off my challenges to Rumsfeld as inconsequential. Besides, there was very little happening that was newsworthy on May 4, 2006, which put icing on the cake.

In any case, the tense scene of a citizen challenging the great and powerful Rumsfeld with real questions was so unusual that even the corporate media recognized it as “news” and gave it at least fleeting attention on the evening news shows.

But my unmasking of Rumsfeld’s Iraq War lies also created a highly unwelcome precedent that I would be made to pay for by soon being pigeonholed as a disgruntled stalker.

CNN anchor Paula Zahn’s first questions that evening were (1) “How long have you harbored this animus against Donald Rumsfeld?” and (2) why was I “following the Secretary of Defense all the way down to Atlanta?”

I explained that, in fact, I had gotten to Atlanta first – to receive, that same evening, the ACLU’s National Civil Liberties Award (won the previous year by Coretta Scott King).

I could not remember how long I had had “this animus” toward Rumsfeld. Were I quicker on my feet, I would have said something like — since his lies got thousands of human beings killed in an unnecessary war. But you don’t get a do-over.

After the Zahn interview, CNN’s Anderson Cooper’s first question, asked of me haltingly as I was exiting the auditorium, was much less hostile but, in its own way, far more revealing: “Weren’t you afraid?” he asked. Think about that for a while.

No Such Luck With Hillary

Five years later, with some slight hope for an encore during a possible Q & A – this time with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – I wangled a ticket to hear her speak at George Washington University on Feb. 15, 2011. After several minutes of fulsome praise from the university president and prolonged, standing, adulatory applause from the carefully chosen audience, before Clinton even uttered a word, I decided to remain standing in silence with my back to her.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Unlike Rumsfeld in 2006, Secretary of State Clinton was taking no chances. True, her speech focused on the need to respect dissent, but she was talking about the authorities in Iran, not in Washington. She missed not a syllable as she watched me brutalized directly in front of her and then dragged down the main aisle (with Clinton seeing-no-evil and nary a peep from the Hillary-friendly audience of by-standers/by-sitters).

Once outside the auditorium, a Clinton security-woman interrogated me at some length, after two sets of steel handcuffs were put on my wrists. I was then arrested and dumped into jail.

Perhaps Clinton thought her tacit condoning of this pre-emptive strike by her security folks would provide a useful deterrent to others who might choose nonviolent but highly visible ways to express dissent – or, God forbid, ask an impertinent question of the kind asked of Rumsfeld in Atlanta.

Unlike my encounter with Rumsfeld and even though multiple TV cameras caught the brutal way I was seized and thrown out directly in front of Hillary Clinton (“escorted out” is the gentle way Fox News put it), there was almost no further mention in mainstream media.

The Clinton incident happened at the same time of day as my mini-debate with Rumsfeld, so its absence from the evening news had nothing to do with the news cycle. Still, one would have thought the Kafkaesque nature of my brutalization at the very moment Clinton waxed eloquent about respecting dissent – in Iran – might have provided irresistible grist for a news story or commentary.

But in the five years that had passed since the Rumsfeld event in Atlanta, the media had grown five years-worth tamer. And, in contrast to Rumsfeld’s quick calculation as he looked at the cameras in the back, Clinton apparently believed she could count on the TV outlets and pundits NOT to give much coverage to the assault. In any case, she calculated correctly.

A number of Washington media stenographers were there, of course, as well as the cameras, but the evening TV producers and anchors chose the safer path. After all, no “sensible” commentator or outlet will gratuitously put out of joint the nose of a probable heiress to the presidency.

Less Tolerance of Dissent

If my understandable chagrin at the way Hillary Clinton ignored the assault right in front of her leaves me open to charges of having an “animus” toward Hillary Clinton, so be it. That is very small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.

My “animus” was substantive – her share of responsibility for all manner of death and destruction because of her vote for the Iraq War and the benighted escalation/surge in Afghanistan, for example. It would be only another couple of months after her GWU speech before she helped create equal tragedies in Libya and Syria.

I suppose I should thank my blessings in having avoided the far more brutal, fatal treatment accorded Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Although I had a ticket to hear David Petraeus speak at the 92nd Y in New York City on Oct. 30, 2014, I was barred from even entering, roughly treated, whisked away by NYPD cops already on the scene and jailed overnight in the infamous “The Tombs” beneath the Criminal Court in lower Manhattan.

Although my arrest occurred in the so-called “media capital of the world,” the incident was almost completely ignored at least in the mainstream media. [See’s, “When Silencing Dissent Isn’t News.”]

The trend seems to be more violence from the “organs of state security,” as they were known in Soviet parlance, and more silence in the mainstream media.

All the more need to follow the example of the Berrigans.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  He served as an Army infantry/intelligence officer and CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and, after retiring, co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

26 comments for “Price for Witnessing Against War

  1. zman
    May 19, 2016 at 13:16

    Excellent article. I, too was a war protester in the 60s, as so many others were. I value highly people like Mr. McGovern, who have been to the highest echelons and have witnessed the degradation of our country and now speak out.

  2. Tom
    May 10, 2016 at 18:55

    So very happy to see you back Abe!

  3. Theresa Squillacote
    May 10, 2016 at 04:18

    I very much appreciate this piece and related comments. I just completed 18 years in federal prison on espionage charges after a successful 1997 FBI psychological sting operation by defunct cold warriors to keep alive their fading mission. They sent an undercover agent pretending to be from Nelson Mandela’s new govt, seeking my help in protecting the new democracy. Naive, silly and not well, I put it all out there. I regret much, but not the latter. In the face of criminal warmongering profiteers, of the traumatized lives of our returnings vets, of their suicide rates, of the untold thousands people of color whose deaths aren’t even counted, we must continue to find ways to “put it all out there.” Our faith demands no less.

      May 10, 2016 at 13:27

      “Theresa Squillacote and her husband Kurt Stand ended on October 23, 1998 in Alexandria, Virginia, with the jury finding the Washington, D.C. political activist couple guilty of “conspiracy to commit espionage”, “attempted espionage”, and related charges having to do with classified documents. They were sentenced to 22 years and 19 years in prison although they were not found guilty of – nor were they even charged with – doing harm to a single creature on the face of the earth.” Wm Blum, 1999 — On the other hand, I suspect the “No Harm, No Foul” defense will work for Hillary, as Potus Obama has endorsed it.

  4. Jc
    May 9, 2016 at 22:14

    What he is a Jesuit? Jesuits are killers … they that got us into this since 1500! Oras read more about the Jesuits or if you know Spanish, watch this video … Look how lovely they are

  5. Abe
    May 9, 2016 at 13:00


    As Ray McGovern pointed out in “Propaganda, Intelligence and MH-17” on Consortium News (August 17, 2015):

    “The key difference between the traditional ‘Intelligence Assessment’ and this relatively new creation, a ‘Government Assessment’ is that the latter genre is put together by senior White House bureaucrats or other political appointees, not senior intelligence analysts. Another significant difference is that an ‘Intelligence Assessment’ often includes alternative views, either in the text or in footnotes, detailing disagreements among intelligence analysts, thus revealing where the case may be weak or in dispute.

    “The absence of an ‘Intelligence Assessment’ suggested that honest intelligence analysts were resisting a knee-jerk indictment of Russia, just as they did after the first time Kerry pulled this ‘Government Assessment’ arrow out of his quiver trying to stick the blame for an Aug. 21, 2013 sarin gas attack outside Damascus on the Syrian government.”

    The primary disinformation source in two recent “Government Assessment” episodes, both the 2013 chemical attack in Syria and the 2014 crash of MH-17 in Ukraine, the one person in common who generated the “pseudo-intelligence product, which contained not a single verifiable fact”, was British blogger and media darling Eliot Higgins.

    Higgins and the Bellingcat site serve as deception “conduits” as defined by the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Joint Publication 1-02), a compendium of approved terminology used by the U.S. military.

    Within military deception (MILDEC), “conduits” are information or intelligence gateways to the “deception target”, defined as the “adversary decision maker with the authority to make the decision that will achieve the deception objective.”

    The primary “deception targets” of US and NATO propaganda are key “policy makers” and the civilian populations of the United States and Europe Union.

    The Internet offers a ubiquitous, inexpensive and anonymous method for “open source” deception and rapid propaganda dissemination.

    With no credible evidence of direct Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine, and faced with the prevailing distrust of the Pentagon or Western intelligence agencies, Washington advanced their new “open source” Propaganda 3.0 strategy that had proven so effective in instigating the February 2014 coup d’etat in Kiev.

    The Pentagon and Western intelligence agencies now disseminate propaganda by making it “publicly available” via numerous channels, including “investigations” concocted by fake “citizen journalist” Higgins and the Bellingcat site.

    The actual purpose of these fake “citizen journalist” deception operatives is to provide a channel for Western propaganda to more effectively reach the public and be perceived as truthful.

    Higgins promoted this deception strategy in his 2015 article, “Social media and conflict zones: the new evidence base for policymaking”. Citing “Bellingcat’s MH17 investigation,” Higgins declared that” a relatively small team of analysts is able to derive a rich picture of a conflict zone” using online information and social media.

    Higgins extolled the virtues of this “new evidence base” of “open source” information”, and entirely sidestepped the countless opportunities for deceptive information to be planted in these media from not-so-open sources.

    The “overarching point” concluded Higgins, is that “there is a real opportunity for open source intelligence analysis to provide the kind of evidence base that can underpin effective and successful foreign and security policymaking. It is an opportunity that policymakers should seize.”

    President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other US policymakers definitely have seized the opportunities provided by deception operatives like Higgins.

    The “pseudo-intelligence” war propaganda generated by Higgins and Bellingcat is being broadcast on all media channels.

    Just this past weekend, All Things Considered, the flagship news program on the American network National Public Radio (NPR), promoted Higgins and Bellingcat.

    Corey Flintoff, All Thing’s Considered’s “international correspondent” based in Moscow, joined NPR in 1990. In 2005, he became part of the NPR team covering the Iraq War, where he embedded with U.S. military units. Flintoff has unquestioningly repeated propaganda while covering the conflicts in Libya, Syria and Ukraine.

  6. E Wright
    May 9, 2016 at 06:33

    Very interesting article. I agree that the corporate media have become tamer but I suspect Hillary Clinton is unable to think on her feet and her defense mechanism is to ignore discordant information. She is dangerous because she can be manipulated by the same type of people who surrounded GWB. Her hawkish stance is a cover for not being able to think fast enough.

    Mind you, quick repartee is no guarantee of a good leader. If anything, it marks out the narcissist. Between a rock and a hard place I think.

    I would much prefer if Sanders started a new party rather than accept a VP nomination.

  7. michael lacey
    May 9, 2016 at 02:12

    “He’s become a Christian antiwar leftist who goes around bearing witness.” Well I’m not a christian but I do remember a quote from a long dead socialist who said ‘ socialism is like Christianity it failed because people did not actually practice it!’ Ray actually is trying to make the world a better place by practicing Christianity. Maybe the elites who claim to be christian both in the republican party and the democratic party practice it as well!
    In Libya this is what Christians have done!

  8. RogerT
    May 9, 2016 at 00:24

    Bernie Sanders seems to offer the American people a far better future. Assuming he loses out on his Democratic nomination for the Presidency, could he be persuaded to stand as an independent? The World would be so much safer with him in the White House.

  9. Zachary Smith
    May 8, 2016 at 21:16

    Hillary Clinton:

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared a laugh with a television news reporter moments after hearing deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had been killed.

    “We came, we saw, he died,” she joked when told of news reports of Qaddafi’s death by an aide in between formal interviews.

    That’s what the Hillary-Bots voted for, whether they knew it or not.

  10. Loretta Holscher
    May 8, 2016 at 16:37

    Mr McGovern, I admire your courageous spirit. I read the article with rapt attention and appreciate your life experiences with honest reflection. The “Emperor Has No Clothes”! How many times do we need to witness lies and be discounted and invisible. A co-dependent country of automatons making no waves.
    An Old Vietnam War Protester,
    Loretta Holscher

  11. J'hon Doe II
    May 8, 2016 at 16:02

    J’hon Doe II
    May 8, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Ray McGovern, you are a treasure in your own right, as you offer praise to Phil and Dan Berrigan and their real life dedicated stand for justice and against war. —–

    Today in America the focus is Hillary and Trump and Daniel Berrigan’s passing presents a whisper-of-history, a silent scream overwhelmed by an ideological presence that is in reality, a misappropriation of focus. It takes me back to Rachel Corrie’s brutal death and the horrid shaming of Cindy Sheehan – and to your own humiliations as you bravely stood against the powers-that-be and called them out for their deceptions.

    I regard you a Champion in the league of the Berrigans, Thomas Merton, MLK, Dorothy Day and many others who exist in the shadows of history, being usurped/displaced by the Generals of War and their Profiteering Political Supporters.

  12. May 8, 2016 at 11:10


    I have tried so many times to get in touch with you, to share a bit of my own protest story/history
    as an anti war Army Lieutenant in 1968…but without success.

    I think I can add something to the picture we are all painting of where we are now…and also make a contribution to any
    discussion re “Wither From Here?”

    2LT Dennis Morrisseau USArmy [armor – Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR retired.
    POB 177 W Pawlet, VT 05775
    802 645 9727 [email protected]

  13. Erik
    May 8, 2016 at 10:52

    Thank you for your efforts, Ray. You are an inspiration to the young and a “ray” of hope to us oldsters. Even as we all live on in the spirits and minds of others, the Berrigans live on in the activism of new generations, which you continue to inspire. Thanks very much.

  14. J. Wong
    May 8, 2016 at 08:47

    I’ll be making a contribution to Consortiumnews this month as a token of appreciation to you & what you do. May I also ask you a question:
    In the general election, assuming a contest between Trump & Clinton, should one vote (a) to keep Trump out at all cost; (b) to punish Clinton because she has so much to answer for; or (c) stay at home because both C & T are damaged goods?

    • Regina Schulte
      May 8, 2016 at 10:56

      To J. Wong: I sincerely hope that Ray McGovern will answer your question and that it will be made available here.
      In the event that he offers an opinion different from mine, I will certainly bow to his more informed one.

      If voters who are conscientiously conflicted by voting for either of the two (presumptive) candidates, I believe that refraining from voting altogether may be interpreted by analysts as indifference, laziness, lack of political engagement, etc. in the political process altogether. Therefore, I suggest voting for a “default” candidate–a write-in, an independent, the Green candidate–to indicate refusal of both major candidates.

      • J. Wong
        May 8, 2016 at 11:41

        is that a lot different from staying home?

        • SFOMARCO
          May 8, 2016 at 13:58

          YES – IMHO a LOT different. Whether you vote Green or leave blanks by Clinton and Trump, you will be voting on down-ballot elective offices and propositions. Therefore, you will be counted as “engaged in the political process”.

    • Bill Bodden
      May 8, 2016 at 12:39

      For what it is worth I have been in an anybody-but-the-Clintons-mode primarily, and for other reasons, because of their long pro-war history and consequent death and destruction. Accordingly, I could see Trump as the lesser evil, but I caught part of his Spokane (WA) speech, and it turned me off. Unfortunately, as the recent history of lesser-evil voting has shown, you still get evil, and the choices have become progressively worse. A vote for Trump will most likely bring on the chaos we can expect from Hillary but at a later date and in a different form. From Ray’s essay referencing Daniel Berrigan, we can safely conclude this great man would oppose both Clinton and Trump. What we need to be effective is a movement to encourage a massive vote in November with write-ins for a civilized third candidate or “none of the above.”

    • Abbybwood
      May 8, 2016 at 14:43

      Can’t speak for Ray, but Eric Zuesse is recommending a vote for Trump to stop Hillary Clinton’s march toward more wars:

      My feeling is that Comey, Lynch and Obama will refuse to bring an indictment against Hillary Clinton regardless of where the facts may lead. For me, there is so much more than the email scandal to indict her over.

      So, I say, let Trump spend the next five months indicting her and then WE THE PEOPLE can convict her on Election Day.

      I really want to hear her make her concession speech to Trump. Her punishment will have to be the people’s rejection of her at the ballot box.

      I would like to see her behind bars (and others of her ilk), but just watching her and her “supporters” bawling on Election Night will be good enough for me.

      • Bill Bodden
        May 8, 2016 at 19:14

        In your link the author made a case for voting for Trump as against Hillary that was similar to mine prior to Trump’s Spokane speech. The author said this: “A proven catastrophe is far worse than a merely possible catastrophe;…” I might have agreed with that had I not heard a key part of Trump’s speech. Now I would revise the preceding quote: A proven catastrophe is only slightly worse than a highly probable catastrophe.

        From some reason, I’m reminded of the McCarthy hearings that were an American nightmare six decades ago. To a great extent they were brought to a merciful end by Joseph Welch’s comment to Senator McCarthy: “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency? ”

        It is time for people to address the rest of the nation similarly: Let us not degrade this nation further. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency citizens, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

      • Zachary Smith
        May 8, 2016 at 21:21

        The belief that Hillary will ‘walk’ is a widely held and probably accurate one.

    • Patricia Patterson Tursi
      May 9, 2016 at 07:00

      What happened to Bernie? Why is he not considered? Those of us who are Bernie or Bust supporters don’t believe a choice of Trump or Clinton is all we have. Having livied in AR when the Clintons were there, I have never voted for them and won’t start now.

      I cried when I heard Daniel Berrigan died. Another hero from the sixties passes. At age 80, I’m down to a a very few heroes. Ad thanks Ray, I heard you speak when you were in Springfield, MO.

    • Patricia Patterson Tursi
      May 9, 2016 at 07:02

      What happened to Bernie? Why is he not considered? Those of us who are Bernie or Bust supporters don’t believe a choice of Trump or Clinton is all we have. Having lived in AR when the Clintons were there, I have never voted for them and won’t start now.

      I cried when I heard Daniel Berrigan died. Another hero from the sixties passes. At age 80, I’m down to a a very few heroes. Adn thanks Ray, for what you have done and are doing. I have heard you speak when you were in Springfield, MO.

    • John Jadryev
      May 11, 2016 at 08:35

      Perhaps vote for a 3rd party candidate like Jill Stein, if she is on the ballot in your state. I think this might be a good year for 3rd party recognition.

  15. Gregory Kruse
    May 8, 2016 at 08:38

    The Pax Americana will make the Pax Romana seem childish in the comparison of its violence.

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