Intel Vets Call ‘Dissent Memo’ on Syria ‘Reckless’

A group of U.S. intelligence veterans urges President Obama to resist the “reckless” call for a wider Syrian war from 51 State Department officials in a recent “dissent memo.”

MEMORANDUM FOR:  Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Subject:  Beware Foggy Bottom Dissent

Dissent and disagreement within the foreign policy and national security bureaucracy only comes to the public’s attention when there are deep and fundamental differences of opinion about the execution and objectives of a U.S. policy.  Instances of dissent emerged during the war in Vietnam and have reappeared periodically, e.g., during the Contra War in Central America in the 1980s and the Cold War with the Soviets. We can now add Syria to this list.

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice briefs President Barack Obama on foreign policy developments during Obama's summer break on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, on Aug. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice briefs President Barack Obama on foreign policy developments during Obama’s summer break on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, on Aug. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The latest media buzz came with the leak that 51 “State Department Diplomats” signed a dissent letter advocating direct U.S. bombing as a tool to force Syria into submission to our government’s dictates.  U.S. Foreign Service Officers are a unique collection of highly educated people, who take great pride in having passed the Foreign Service Exam.  Yet even among such “bright people,” some succumb to the forces of careerism and the pressures to politicize intelligence.   

Unfortunately the dissent signers are calling for America to threaten, and if our bluff is called, commit acts of overt, aggressive war against the forces of a sovereign nation on its own territory. One whose supporters include Russia, the world’s other big nuclear power.

The line of thought — that it is America’s right and duty to employ large-scale death to enforce its leaders’ will on other peoples — adheres to the noxious notion that the U.S.A. enjoys uniquely privileged standing as the “sole indispensable country in the world.” If this was ever an arguably legitimate position, that time is long gone — and today demonstrably blinds its adherents to common sense.

Such thinking is not new. Theodore Roosevelt popularized it as we went to war to annex Spanish territories in the Philippines and Caribbean — at the cost of over half a million indigenous lives — more than a century ago. We saw it, in spades, with the “Best and the Brightest” — those responsible for destroying Vietnam.  Three million Vietnamese people died in that war (according to former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara), and another two million or so in its Indochina spin-offs. After this slaughter and the deaths of scores of thousands of its own troops, the U.S. endured a complete and humiliating defeat, one affecting its foreign policy and domestic politics to this day. Their bright successors supported the attack on Iraq in 2003, the catalyst for an outbreak of violence that has brought death reaching into the millions — again — in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and other neighboring locales we’ll eventually read about. This aggression has created millions more traumatized refugees.

The memo, a draft of which was provided to The New York Times (and Wall Street Journal), presumably by one of the State Department employees who authored it, claims American policy has been “overwhelmed” by the unrelenting violence in Syria and calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”  Furthermore, per the NYT

“In the memo, the State Department officials wrote that the Assad government’s continuing violations of the partial cease-fire, officially known as a cessation of hostilities, will doom efforts to broker a political settlement because Mr. Assad will feel no pressure to negotiate with the moderate opposition or other factions fighting him. The government’s barrel bombing of civilians, it said, is the ‘root cause of the instability that continues to grip Syria and the broader region.’ 

“The memo acknowledged that military action would have risks, not the least of which would be increased tension with Russia, which intervened in the war on Mr. Assad’s behalf last fall.  Russia subsequently helped negotiate the cease-fire. Those tensions increased on Thursday when, according to a senior Pentagon official, Russia conducted airstrikes in southern Syria against American-backed forces fighting the Islamic State.”

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisior Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisior Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The dissenters were smart enough to insist they were not “advocating for a slippery slope that ends in a military confrontation with Russia,” but rather a credible threat of military action “to keep Mr. Assad in line.” Easier said than done! The 51 are silent on this point of major importance. 

The foundational premise of their dissent is that Assad’s “barrel bombing” (followed by chemical attacks) on civilians provoked civil war in Syria. It’s true that the initial phase of the Syrian Spring seems to have been largely spontaneous. Facts show, however, that outside interveners — primarily the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia — cooperated in lighting the match that brought the inferno of civil war. Covert funding and provision of weapons and other material support to opposition groups for strikes against the Syrian Government provoked a military reaction by Assad — which created a pretext for our enlarged support to the rebel groups.

 A large body of evidence also suggests that it was the U.S.-backed rebel forces that employed chemical weapons on civilians, and then blamed Assad, in a propaganda effort to advance international public support for overt American intervention.

U.S. actions against Syria have been widely perceived to be part of a broader proxy battle with Iran, being pursued to push back against its expanded influence in the Middle East. But Iran’s emergence as a regional power was not the result of a magical event. It was a direct consequence of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and our subsequent decision to eradicate every vestige of the Baathist party and to install Iraqi Shia leaders with close ties to Iran in the positions of leadership. 

We have thus helped start a war and then have the audacity to pretend to be shocked at the consequences of our own action. 

The State Department dissenters were not the first to land a blow in this new PR battle over the course of U.S. policy in Syria. The Department of Defense and CIA appear to have entered the fray two weeks ago. According to a report in The Daily Beast, DOD and CIA are in a “cat fight.”

Two Department of Defense officials told that media outlet that they are not eager to support rebels fighting in the city of Aleppo because they are believed to be affiliated with al Qaeda in Syria, or Jabhat al Nusra. The CIA, which supports those rebel groups, rejects that claim, saying alliances of convenience in the face of a mounting Russian-led offensive have created marriages of battlefield necessity, not ideology. 

“It is a strange thing that DOD hall chatter mimics Russian propaganda,” one U.S. official, who supports the intelligence community position, wryly noted about Pentagon claims that the opposition and Nusra are one in the same. 

The intelligence community, which backed opposition forces in Aleppo, believes ISIS cannot be defeated as long as Assad is in power. The terror group, they say, thrives in unstable territories. And only local forces — like the ones backed by the CIA — can mitigate that threat. 

“The status of the opposition is resilient in the face of horrendous attacks by the Syrian and Russian forces,” a U.S. intelligence official explained to The Daily Beast. “The defeat of Assad is a necessary precondition to ultimately defeat [ISIS]. As long as there is a failed leader in Damascus and a failed state in Syria, [ISIS] will have a place to operate from. You can’t deal with ISIS if you have a failed state,” the U.S. official observed. 

This unnamed official conveniently ignores the fact that the U.S. is working aggressively to facilitate Syria’s failure. We are astonished. After 15 years of strident rhetoric about waging a war on Al Qaeda, we have now come full circle to witness the CIA and a vocal bloc within the State Department advocate to arm and train an Al Qaeda affiliated group.   

It’s impossible to know whether or not the eruption of this dispute is a slap to the face of President Obama simply because the President appeared to support the overthrow of Assad but then backed away from the precipice of militarily taking him out.     

The influence of Saudi Arabia in helping push and promote “regime change” in Syria cannot be underestimated. The Saudis also have reportedly funneled significant money into key sectors of the U.S. foreign policy establishment and, it would appear, have obtained considerable influence over our national security policy. More evidence is coming to light that the Saudis have given significant amounts to the Clinton Foundation.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


A recent report on the Petra News Agency site (which was subsequently taken down and claimed to have been a “hack”) raises some important concerns. On Sunday a report appeared on that website that included what were described as exclusive comments from Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The comments included a claim that Riyadh has provided 20 percent of the total funding to the prospective Democratic candidate’s campaign.  Although the report did not remain on the website for long, the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs later re-published an Arabic version of it, which quoted Prince Mohammed as having said Saudi Arabia had provided with “full enthusiasm” an undisclosed amount of money to Clinton. 

In light of Hillary Clinton’s strong advocacy for imposing a No Fly Zone in Syria, which would put us on track for stepped up intervention in Syria  and a military confrontation with the Russians, it is natural to wonder if Saudi donations had any influence over the direction of U.S. policy in Syria and support for rebel groups?

In sum, the latest memo from the 51 State Department officers is just one more alarming indication of disarray and failure within the U.S. foreign policy establishment.  Notably, most of their children and grandchildren will not be in the military ranks of those called on to fight this war. They are too smart and too “valuable” to engage in such ridiculous endeavors. So something called a “Volunteer Army” was assembled, populated by “volunteers” — mostly from the inner-cities and the small towns of our country, where jobs and education are elusive.   

This almost unprecedented dissent letter from 51 emboldened State Department hawks is an alarming new sign of the reckless direction that well-organized elements of the U.S. foreign policy establishment seek to take us. Thus, we appeal to you, as Assistant to the President for National Security, to help President Barack Obama stand firm against such institutional destructiveness and to sort out the disarray and bureaucratic contention among his “Team of Rivals.” If the 51 are sincere in their advocacy of a let’s-try-some-more-of-the-same-but-tougher policy, we would expect them to welcome the personal risks involved in being sent off to bash Bashar with “standoff” — or — “closer-quarter” weapons. This could provide them initially with a sense of affirmation — then later, an education.

(Also see earlier remarks by individual VIPS members: by Ann Wright, here, by Elizabeth Murray and Ray McGovern here; by Philip Giraldi, here.)

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Intelligence Officer, USAF (ret.); former Master SERE Instructor.

John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.) 

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

J. Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA

Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned in opposition to launching of Iraq War)

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63 comments for “Intel Vets Call ‘Dissent Memo’ on Syria ‘Reckless’

  1. June 25, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    IS THE “51 DISSENTERS” SO-CALLED LETTER EVEN REAL???

    LET’S SEE THE NAMES OF THE PEOPLE WHO SUPPOSEDLY SIGNED IT.

    2LT Dennis Morrisseau USArmy Officer [Vietnam era] ANTI-WAR, retired.
    POB 177 W Pawlet, VT 05775 802 645 9727 dmorso1@netzero.net

    • Bart Gruzalski
      June 25, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      dennis morrisseau,
      You’ve asked an extremely important question which puts this whole dissenting letter in a very different light. I’ll try to pick up here sometime tomorrow before noon. Meanwhile, I’ll be on the Google search for those 51 names.

      The only commentator who picked up on your lead, or as likely developed it himself, is Edward Peck below. Also, looking at this from a different perspective, at least one of the comments below looks like an ops person who does the email thing.

      Thanks again! Hopefully I’ll get back with more tomorrow.

      • Bart Gruzalski
        June 26, 2016 at 7:34 pm

        I’ve come back after a pleasant day with friends to finish my brief comment (just above). It’s a big temptation not to jump to “The Brexit Rejection of Neoliberal Tyranny,” since that is a terribly significant topic and Pilger will do it justice. BUT NOTICE: THIS ARTICLE ABOUT THE DISSENTING STATE DEPARTMENT INTEL is not only extremely important (and independent of Brexit), BUT the memo story is very very queer indeed. For one thing, do we have any facts?

        dennis morrisseau, the first commenter, was very provocative. “IS THE “51 DISSENTERS” SO-CALLED LETTER EVEN REAL???” Edward Peck also saw the slippery nature of the “memo” and seems to be as quasi-skeptical as dennis. Edward writes: “As far as I am aware, no one appears to know anything about the 51: who they are, where they work, what they do, their rank, their organization (GS or FS), or even if there actually are 51, or actually work for State.”

        Where does that leave us? Are there any facts? Or is it all Down the Rabbit Hole?

        But as I read down the comments, the plot thickens. Bill Cash tells that it was reported that “8 of the 51 met with John Kerry but, again, no names were given. The names should be released. We should know whom we’re dealing with and know their agenda.” Bill is right about releasing the facts to us, but what do we have in the way of facts? “It was reported” but when and by whom and where and was John Kerry really involved?

        Further down the Rabbit Hole and we come to this excellent question by Akech: “What the heck is the value of electing the POTUS if this individual can be over-ruled by 51 unelected individuals working at the State Department? If the POTUS has no power to implement the policies he promised the citizens he would advance, why waste time and money holding expensive elections? If Congress is merely a venue for housing paid-off button-pushers or signatories meant to authorize the killing and displacing thousands and thousands humans abroad on behalf of these bloody special interest elites, why do we call these people ” law-makers representing citizens”? To me it looks like the phantom authors have achieved a pretty potent goal: now reasonable folk seem to think that by sending this memo they are implementing foreign policy.

        Joe Tedesky veers off into the wider issue of accountability. “While I was reading your comment,” Joe writes, “the word accountability, keep coming up in my mind. We American citizens should have regret for not holding our political leaders accountable for many, many terrible events which have occurred over the years.” That is true. Obama should have prosecuted War Criminals Bush II, his criminal VP Cheney, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. [Question: did Rice, Clinton, and now Kerry become pathological liars after the job? Or is that part of the skill set required before applying for the job of Secretary of State?] As far as Obama coming down on any of the serious War Criminals drawing top dollar for speaking jigs, I know I’m naïve in thinking that even though the Nuremberg trials were last century, their precedents should apply today

        Still… no hard facts. Phantoms, numbers (8 and 51), the name “John Kerry,” righteous indignation, and Joe Tedesky comes up with a the name of a man who seems to have both backbone and chutzpah. “About these ’51 dissenters,” Joe writes,”if Obama were to go public and ask for the resignations (suspension) of these 51 Ambassadors, due to their cowardly outwardly showing that they are not willing to follow their Commander in Chef’s orders, and or plans, and for the Citizens right to be protected, not to mention this country’s National Security, Obama would at that point let these people go. He could do a Trump…your fired.”

        Sorry Joe, he couldn’t. Obama doesn’t have either courage or chutzpah. Obama is spineless, as he proved early in his first term. Even much worse, he willingly sent 30,000 American human beings into the Valley of Death we know as Afghanistan. My best friend was the best friend of the late Howard Zinn who said that Obama would be an extremely mediocre president and therefore would be very very dangerous. Zinn didn’t mean that Obama would pose any danger to the Military Industrial Establishment or to its crown princess.

        Very few facts. Is this much ado about nothing? Jim Hartz doesn’t think so. He points out:

        1) These phantoms are asking for what Hillary got in Libya, beginning with a no-fly zone that ended up with Hillary chortling (and I the only person who finds her chortle disgusting?) when she heard that Gaddafi had been killed? “Chortle, we came, chortle, we saw, chortle chortle, he died [chortling so loud she breaks wind].” Jim is absolutely right: the content of this memo has the fingerprints of Hillary Clinton or one of her sycophants all over it. Jim continues: “Then there’s the not-so-implicit challenge to Russia to either let this next spate of fascism–ever so “robust” and “resilient”–go forward or not, Hillary already having referred to Putin as “Hitler,” and the massive (and nuclear first-strike capable) build up along Russia’s Western border, don’t forget; Kerry, as usual, wagging his forked tongue–this time–in Hillary’s direction, a bid to be kept on as her Secretary of State, at least for a while; and those Harpies in cheerleader outfits, red, white and blue pom-poms aflutter (Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Victoria “Bride of Chuckie” Neuland) on the sidelines to cheer their gal on as she “goes forward.””

        Jim just hit a home run with bases loaded. And on his next time at bat, he knocks it out of the park: “Trump might be a bigoted narcissistic buffoon, but Hillary is a bloodthirsty neoliberal pig. It always annoys me when people recite Hillary’s comment about Gaddafi’s murder, “We came, he saw, he died,” without adding in her heartless laugh following that comment.”

        Jim, are we related? “But listen closely to that laugh: not a speck of compassion; ABSOLUTE ZERO on the empathy meter.” I think I used the wrong word above. Not “chortle” but her “laugh” is much more accurately called a “cackle,” like an old hen who doesn’t even know that the roster isn’t interested any more. Jim goes on… but I’d like to put in my two cents and check out Pilger.

        Trump is not a Hitler, not even a young Hitler early in his career. Trump WOULD NOT go toe-to-toe with missiles against Putin and Russia. The Neocons are scared sh*()>#ss that Trump will be the next POTUS and the war machine will get rusty. Jill Stein? Having written about ten articles supporting Jill Stein four years ago, contributing from overseas, volunteering to help, and exchanging emails with a “heavy” on her staff—I’d recommend waiting until the Democrats choose a candidate. Don’t give up on Bernie. And, if Clinton is the candidate, after you vomit remember that even if it is Trump vs Clinton, Trump WILL drop the global cop role, stop regime change, and more. Hillary will push on Russia and the rest will be a hundred thousand suns.

        As for the 51 phantoms?

        FACTS: reports allegedly exist.

        SLANT: the neocon formula that worked so well for Hillary in Libya.

        So is there a memo signed by 51 career State Department folk? We really don’t know.

        Question: who benefits from this phantom memo being in the news?

        Not Obama, as some of you point out below.

        The neocons? Were they maybe trying out a test message?

        What was all this about? In my view it’s a FALSE FLAG op to distract us from what’s really going on as well as to introduce us to the strategy Hillary will follow in starting WWIII as she “contains” and “restrains” Russia.

        Yes, this is a VERY serious false flag operation. I, for one, don’t want to be nuclear toast, or, perhaps worse, hanging on without electricity, flushing toilets, potable water, toilet paper, and food (other than cockroaches, leaves, and grass).

        If the contest is between Clinton and Trump, remember that Trump would pretty much follow the foreign policy of George Washington, our nation’s first president and he won’t blow our television programs our of existence with a nuclear war. If the “contest” is between Sanders and Trump as I think it will be, then read up on each candidate and pay attention to the VP choice and any others that they might announce. (As soon as Obama seated his first cabinet pick—Geithner—we knew we’d been flushed.) Me, I’d work for and vote for Bernie. But remember: Trump is a lesser of two goods. The only name brand evil is the crown princess.

        Good luck to all of us. And don’t forget the uselessness of diving under your desk if you see a huge flash as bright as a hundred thousand suns. Heck, you won’t even have time for 1/100th of a short prayer.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 25, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      Dennis you raise a good question, and one that maybe hard to prove otherwise. Although, have any State Department diplomats come forward to deny, or refute the narrative of this dissent letter? I am not aware of any statement or letter of non-coauthor-ship of this letter by anyone. So would every diplomat be suspect? I would say yes, since none are presenting any denial to their participation. But, Dennis, please don’t read into my comment here as being a harsh critique of your question, no, on the contrary I think your question is original, and well worth an answer. It would not be the first time that someone penned something like this, and included more allies than thier cause could rally. Like my sixth grade nun would do, I say, punish them all.

    • W. R. Knight
      June 26, 2016 at 10:29 am

      The letter was reported in the New York Times on June 16 (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/17/world/middleeast/syria-assad-obama-airstrikes-diplomats-memo.html) and a purported copy of the draft letter was presented. It was reported that most of the signatories were mid-level State Dept. careerists, but no names were given. I suspect the report about the draft letter is true, but I also suspect that it was never approved and signed by any senior official.

  2. Kathryn A. Wood
    June 25, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly with the views expressed in this article. The only victors will be the arms dealers who ply their trade on the backs of the poor and misinformed. War must be declared obsolete. I will not be voting for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. We are in surreal times.

  3. Sfomarco
    June 25, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    The “Intelligence” Community always errs on the side of war. The criminal investigation of HillBillious’ sketchy ventures needs to be doubled down.

    • W. R. Knight
      June 26, 2016 at 10:34 am

      I disagree. Most intelligence analysts don’t advocate war, but often the political appointees at the top (who know little about real intelligence work) will override the recommendations of the worker bees for political expediency.

      The State Department, however, is riddled with war mongers who also know little about intelligence work and demonstrate little intelligence themselves.

  4. Charles E. Carroll, USN Retired
    June 25, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I agree with Mr. Morrisseau. Let’s see the names of these worthless armchair warriors that keep sending Americans into combat.
    They should not be anonymous.

  5. David Smith
    June 25, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    “It’s true that the initial phase of the Syrian Spring seems to have been largely spontaneous.” How did the VIPS let that howler slip in, or did “the company” hack this article??? Go ahead, shoot yourself in the foot, so the rebellion was the “will of the people”? After that admission any amount of aid, including “stand-off weapons” can be justified because Assad is “illegitimate”. Even I can see this is an invasion by US-funded mercenaries out of Jordan and Turkey. This is the first time I have heard of a “Syrian Spring”, is that like a “Libyan Spring”? (mercenaries out of Tunisia/Egypt). Madison Ave invented the term “Arab Spring”. There is no fight against ISIS, the USA bankrolls ISIS. Get off the fence, show some spine and speak some truth. And you failed to mention that No Fly Zone that HRC squeeks about requires a Security Council Resolution(that will never happen). And “Susan Rice” has sub-mediocre dolt written all over her face, she does not fool me, she just reads out loud papers written by others, a fake, a phony created by affirmative ac…..oops, I’m not allowed to say that.

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      June 25, 2016 at 6:45 pm

      It was spontaneous – the first protesters protested in solidarity with ant-Gaddafi forces then turned against Assad, and then 12 children were arrested protesting against the regime. I know because at the time it was happening, I was reading the constantly-updated Wikipedia article on Syria, along with all of the articles on the Arab Spring (but I always hated that term. It ruined the music of the name “Prague Spring”).

      • David Smith
        June 25, 2016 at 7:53 pm

        RRT, thank you for your honesty in citing your source, others would simply repeat a narrative and insist it is true. Wikipedia is not an encyclopedia written by scholars, and in this case the Wiki would be written by disinformation specialists who tow the CIA line and have the reliability(and paymasters) of Bellingcat/Eliot Higgins.

        • TruthTime
          June 25, 2016 at 10:22 pm

          Correct. Never go to Wikipedia in an attempt to obtain firsthand information during a developing situation.

        • Kiza
          June 26, 2016 at 8:15 am

          The worst is that this character actually believes in the objectivity of Wikipedia. That is how misinformed he is. Wikipedia is as objective as the Facebook or Google search engine.

        • David Smith
          June 26, 2016 at 10:19 am

          RRT eschewed his usual “you are an idiot” opener, so he is improving. He did try informal argumentation, albeit by unsound premises. Perhaps he will begin to apply critical thinking to his habitual sources.

  6. spike53
    June 25, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    There appears to be an ethnic component here. A brief perusal of the last names here presents a start contrast to those State Department “experts” last names. It would appear there is a cultural war going on in our State Department and Intelligence services. It is unbelievable on its’ face. But there it is, in black and white. The press is aware of it and yet refuses to even mention it. WTF?

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      June 25, 2016 at 6:47 pm

      Why do you say that? What are the names? It doesn’t say in the link.

      • J'hon Doe II
        June 26, 2016 at 3:26 pm

        Perpetuation of weapon sales is concomitant with US based Chaos Theory of domination and control.

        The uncontrolled massive flow of weapons into disparate groups of “rebels”, governments, and government sponsored “rebels” constitutes the purposed creation of Disorder.

        Disorder is the desired effect for They who initiate the conditions for Chaos, then, place blame upon the “rebels.”

        US history will report that 9/11 initiated the GWOT.

        I insist it was the PNAC insanity of US world dominion, based on a weapons rich bellicosity of arrogant power, that opened the doors of Rational government policy (we the people) into apoplectic delusions of World Supremacy.

        Chaos is maintained in the US creation and recruitment of an enemy called Al Qaeda which morphed into ISIS and also now “Moderates” who assist the US in “regime chance” operations where Mass Murders from car bombings or Hellfire missiles from drones become mundane (ho hum) occurrences in our economically profitable GWOT.

        The US national consensus Belief in Lies (or abject apathy) allows Chaos Theoreticians a competency within THE MEDIA to broadcast Their version of events as means of our pacification while millions of human beings world wide suffer needlessly from the Insecurity and Chaos we instigate and propagate.

        When will those of us who believe in truth and justice arise ?? !

  7. M.
    June 25, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Well put. They have no shame. I would also like to see the names and “bios” of the dissenters.

    Isn’t it scandalous for a politician, especially one running for the presidency of the U.S., to accept money from foreign governments? How can that be legal, even if it is to a foundation? Are we then not a sovereign nation? What constitutes treason?

  8. Edward Peck
    June 25, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    As far as I am aware, no one appears to know anything about the 51: who they are, where they work, what they do, their rank, their organization (GS or FS), or even if there actually are 51, or actually work for State.

    To the extent that my lack of knowledge is because the information is not known, the tsunami of coverage is as worthless as it is deplorable. My extensive association with the Agency during my FS career was rewarding, and left me with respect and admiration for its members, and I have had the privilege of knowing some of the VIPS listed.

    Nonetheless, the references to “diplomats” and “officials’ are at a minimum misleading. Brexit is significant; the Dissent message is not.

    If you wish to publish this, go ahead.

    • Bart Gruzalski
      June 25, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      Edward Peck, you are raising the same incredibly important issue that dennis morrisseau raised in the first comment above. I’m inclined to believe this Dissent message isn’t a fluke so it has some significance.

      Tantalizing bits from your email:
      1) no one appears to know anything about the 51: who they are, where they work, what they do, their rank, their organization (GS or FS), or even if there actually are 51, or actually work for State.

      2) Nonetheless, the references to “diplomats” and “officials’ are at a minimum misleading.

      It’s very late where I am, so till tomorrow

    • Erik
      June 26, 2016 at 9:18 am

      The NYT and WSJ were given the “memo” but no names are listed in their articles.
      “SputnikNews” claims here http://sputniknews.com/politics/20160617/1041541184/usa-no-plans-urge-syria-strikes.html that a State Dept spokesperson Kirby has refused to release “the names,” and will not investigate how it was “leaked,” and that it is being used to pressure Russia on Syria. But that source may not be legitimate, I don’t know them.

  9. Bill Bodden
    June 25, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    It’s impossible to know whether or not the eruption of this dispute is a slap to the face of President Obama…

    It may also be a backdoor application for a job with the presumed Hillary Clinton administration. They appear to be Hillary’s kinds of guys.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 25, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      There ya go…you nailed it!

  10. Bill Bodden
    June 25, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    In sum, the latest memo from the 51 State Department officers is just one more alarming indication of disarray and failure within the U.S. foreign policy establishment.

    So, what does that say about Secretary of State John Kerry?

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 25, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      It says he is confused to who his boss is. For now it’s Obama, for the most part, but who knows with this guy. I mean after all isn’t his stepson in business with Joe Biddn’s kid in some Ukraine energy business? At this moment though, I think he is just warming the seat for The Cookie Lady.

  11. Xun Pomponio
    June 25, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    It is an excellent letter to let the admistration know what is going on. Thank you for all of your hard work and real sense of resposibility for peace of this nation and the world. Thank you. I admire all of you of your courage, your dedication and your tireless attitudes to right the wrong.

  12. Joe Tedesky
    June 25, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    This VIP letter made mention of the terribleness that went on with the Vietnam war. When I go shopping with my wife to the department stores I like to occasionally look at the country of origin tags. It appears today that the Vietnamese manufacturer much of what is today found on the retailers racks. I’m okay with that, I mean come on now everybody needs to eat. What does get me going, is why couldn’t we have not done this with the Vietnamese from the get go? Think about it for a moment. After all it wasn’t like we won the war in Vietnam, but yet here we are today doing business with them anyway. I think that is a good thing, that we can now trade with this one time foe, but please tell me once more why we had to go to war there.

    Like Bill Bodden said, these 51 State Department officials are just filling out their job application for there soon to be new War Monger & Chief. Add these clowns to the DOJ employees who donated 75k to the Hillary Victory Fund, and there you have it …I think it’s called ass kissing the new boss! If, and probably when Hillary takes over she will more than likely live up to everyone’s expectations (or at least most who frequent this sites expectations), and this will put Obama in between a Bush and a Clinton. As bad as DroneThemObama has appeared he will look tame when viewed in the middle of these other two bookend deciders. This 2016 presidential election has nothing to do with the American people, but it has everything to do with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Imagine donating 20% of the funding for an American presidential election…it just makes me dizzy, and disgusted, all at the same time.

    FYI the Broadway play ‘Hamilton’ just donated their matinee proceeds to the Hillary Victory Fund. Did they know about the Saudi Prince? Dummy’s !

    • Bill Bodden
      June 25, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      when Hillary takes over she will more than likely live up to everyone’s expectations (or at least most who frequent this sites expectations)

      Joe: Should that not be “live down to everyone’s expectations”?

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 25, 2016 at 11:51 pm

        Correction; ‘live down’

    • Sfomarco
      June 26, 2016 at 11:33 am

      Do they really know about Alexander Hamilton?

    • Bluesky
      June 27, 2016 at 10:39 am

      The money transferred to Israel comes right back to support their warmonger of choice . Quite the game they have going there.

  13. Bill Cash
    June 25, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    It was reported that 8 of the 51 met with John Kerry but, again, no names were given. The names should be released. We should know whom we’re dealing with and know their agenda.

  14. Akech
    June 25, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    (a) These 51 State Department officials must start putting their own lives on the line to advance the policies they feel the US must implement abroad; They and/or their offspring must put on those military combat gears and head off to Syria or wherever part of the world they wish to depopulate by killing citizens! Otherwise, they have to cease and desist from causing the deaths, the maiming and the dislocation of thousands and thousands of innocent lives and destroying infrastructures of country after country by giving dubious excuses why people other than themselves must be sacrificed!

    (b) As brilliantly articulated in this article, these wars are being waged using young men and women from financially distressed American families. Additionally, the bloody desire to be masters controlling every corner of the globe have created the incentive to recruit young fighters ravaged with poverty and joblessness from other distant lands and involve them these wars. In cases where these young people are not killed in the combat arenas, super predators are created and sent back home to their communities to wreak havoc on their families, friends and neighbors! Killing a human being is not a cake walk; that is why the controlling decision makers avoid placing themselves or their children in combat theatres.

    (c) To these 51 State Department thinkers or people they represent, neither the lives of these financially entrapped American young men nor the lives of those distant fighters nor the lives of the victims their furies reign on are given any thought! From the safety and the comfort of their gated communities, their decisions to destroy other people anywhere on earth are made by these elites!

    (d) What the heck is the value of electing the POTUS if this individual can be over-ruled by 51 unelected individuals working at the State Department? If the POTUS has no power to implement the policies he promised the citizens he would advance, why waste time and money holding expensive elections? If Congress is merely a venue for housing paid-off button-pushers or signatories meant to authorize the killing and displacing thousands and thousands humans abroad on behalf of these bloody special interest elites, why do we call these people ” law-makers representing citizens”?

    (e) How come these policy makers do not get fired when their decisions result in massive destruction of lives and properties? Why are they allowed to continue acting with impunity? How did they manage to carve these positions in which they can decide the fate/happiness/demise of millions and millions of humans beings on planet earth without flinching and still remain unscathed? Do they have nightmares; or are the PTSDs only placed on the backs of the poor young plebeian fighters and their families?

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 26, 2016 at 12:05 am

      Akech I think what you wrote here is pretty deep, and I agree with you. While I was reading your comment, the word accountability, keep coming up in my mind. We American citizens should have regret for not holding our political leaders accountable for many, many terrible events which have occurred over the years. Why, aren’t more of us Americans questioning why after 15 years of fighting terrorism, we not only still have terrorism, but way more of it? I could write a list of things needing an answer for some kind of accountability, but I think you understand what I’m talking about. Good comment Akech

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 26, 2016 at 2:40 am

      About these ’51 dissenters’ if Obama were to go public and ask for the resignations (suspension) of these 51 Ambassadors, due to their cowardly outwardly showing that they are not willing to follow their Commander in Chef’s orders, and or plans, and for the Citizens right to be protected, not to mention this country’s National Security, Obama would at that point let these people go. He could do a Trump…your fired. President Obama’s sound bite would be sounding like this…’When Ambassaors start sounding like Generals, well I say, let them go’…ha,ha! These 51 are not Ambassadors of any goodwill towards our fellow nation neighbors, no instead they cowardly loudly call out for war, more war, no peace…These people are military strategist not ambassadors of goodwill,…will I, the president next have to call the Pentagon to find an Ambassador? And if these state people feel up to it they shouldn’t mine us investigating that their 51dissent NYT article didn’t break any National Security Laws since they published military strategy in the public domain NYT , but I (I’m still being the prez) Obama will go easier on you, than I did on Chelsea Manning and just fire you…now get on out of here!’ Obama could do a Trump, and just as say, your fired. Oh, and if I had known your names, I wouldn’t have fired you, I would have scheduled you a meeting.

      Do you think it would work with our news media….this would be red meat by the ton.

      • Realist
        June 26, 2016 at 5:01 am

        These are the kind of people that your mom warned you about when you were eight years old–the ones that would jump in the lake just because everyone else did. This is basically a bunch of mindless numbnuts trying to impress HRC by being as psychotically murderous as she is. They want so much to be a part of her club.

        • Joe Tedesky
          June 26, 2016 at 11:07 am

          I agree.

    • June 27, 2016 at 11:00 am

      Fareed Zakaria asked Putin why he said that Trump was a talented and smart candidate.

      Putin lectures Zakaria on US Elections here:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBTBBNOtbhM

  15. Bill Bodden
    June 25, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    Someone in the state department should make out a purchase order for 51 copies of “Diplomacy for Dummies” and give a copy to each of the signatories of this dissenting memo.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 25, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      Yes, someone should do that, and hand it to them on their way out the door, after we the people fire their asses!

  16. Jim Hartz
    June 25, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    So, the table appears to be set for Libya II, with Hillary shoehorned into the Oval Office, an ongoing “regime change” effort in Syria that will be prosecuted, sooner than later, more aggressively, complete with “no-fly zone,” the Saudis and Turks no doubt licking their chops in anticipation, along with the usual suspects, the American Mind via the Mainstream Media awash in their drool.

    Then there’s the not-so-implicit challenge to Russia to either let this next spate of fascism–ever so “robust” and “resilient”–go forward or not, Hillary already having referred to Putin as “Hitler,” and the massive (and nuclear first-strike capable) build up along Russia’s Western border, don’t forget; Kerry, as usual, wagging his forked tongue–this time–in Hillary’s direction, a bid to be kept on as her Secretary of State, at least for a while; and those Harpies in cheerleader outfits, red, white and blue pom-poms aflutter (Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Victoria “Bride of Chuckie” Neuland) on the sidelines to cheer their gal on as she “goes forward.”

    Trump might be a bigoted narcissistic buffoon, but Hillary is a bloodthirsty neoliberal pig. It always annoys me when people recite Hillary’s comment about Gaddafi’s murder, “We came, he saw, he died,” without adding in her heartless laugh following that comment. I wonder how she’d like a bayonet shoved up her derriere, after being beaten up, shot, stabbed by a mob?
    But listen closely to that laugh: not a speck of compassion; ABSOLUTE ZERO on the empathy meter. That’s as bad, or worse, than Andrew Jackson gloating over the corpse of a skinned Native American warrior, perhaps the most grotesque display of “American Values” on record.

    That Hillary is the “lesser evil” than Trump, even when it comes to the treatment of Latinos or Muslims, is a joke. Just look at her policies outside the United States for a minute: look at the REAL Socialism-oriented governments DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED in Venezuela, Brazil, Honduras, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay–she was, is, and will be hot to undermine those changes; look at the destruction of Iraq, Libya, now Syria, the flood of refugees–she was all for those brutal fundamentally neoliberal and imperialist efforts at “regime change,” cheerleading her husband on in the first of those efforts in Serbia, the prototype.

    She’s a PROVEN “bloodthirsty pig.” Compared to her, Trump is a Big Mouth On A Stick, like Hitler was, before all those Good Catholics and Good Lutherans–those “willing executioners”–enabled his power-hungry and demented world-view, UNITED, and signed on to the cause. But really, look at that video clip of Hillary gloating Gaddafi’s murder by anal rape with a bayonet, and tell me she’s the “lesser of two evils.” Come to your senses. Vote Jill Stein for president, an intelligent, compassionate, decent human being. That “lesser of two evils” ideology is a voice sucking us deeper and deeper, year after year, down the rabbit hole of fascism, our totalized panoptic surveillance society, festooned with “our (tinhorn) values.”

    • Bill Cash
      June 26, 2016 at 9:06 am

      I like Stein but she has no chance of winning. It’s a vote for Trump. I’ll still vote Hillary and see if we can influence her. Bernie was able to do it. Trump has said he will back out of the Paris climate agreement and tear up the Iran agreement. I believe he will lead us into wars. Adelson is backing him with one hundred million dollars. Trump promised something in the mideast to get that pledge. Trump is very thin skinned and perceives insults easily and could lead us to a war just for that reason.
      I consider climate change the biggest single issue of our day and he thinks it’s a farce, a joke. Climate change had a lot to do with the start of the fighting in Syria and it’s going to get a lot worse.
      Water is becoming a resource that people are fighting for. Trump has no awareness of any of these issues.
      His domestic issue are a bunch of right wing talking points. Nothing he says has any meaning because it could and often will change in the next 10 minutes. How does anyone trust him?

      • Dennis Nilsson
        June 27, 2016 at 5:05 pm

        “Water is becoming a resource that people are fighting for.”

        In space it exist endless resources of water in form of ice at the asteroids, specially in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is cheaper to get it from space than steal it from others here at planet Earth.

        Please learn more here, “Asteroid-Mining Plan Would Bake Water Out of Bagged-Up Space Rocks”: http://www.space.com/30582-asteroid-mining-water-propulsion.html

  17. SYED Naqvi
    June 26, 2016 at 1:27 am

    There is a contrast between what people in the greater world think about great American people and values at home, vis a vis its Government policies and alliances abroad e.g. human rights in Yemen vs Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. It stands in principle against Daish and Al Quaida but supports their financial sponsors and weapons suppliers. Gone is the USA that would take principle stands and convince its allies on high morale grounds, and replaced by the one that is dictated by the whims of petro dollars.

  18. Realist
    June 26, 2016 at 4:45 am

    Unfortunately, America has been run by power-hungry psychopaths throughout most of its history. Apparently, this era is no different than most. What Obomber has demonstrated yet again is that he has no control over his own government. These 51 loose canons should have been summarily sacked for insubordination if the man had any courage or integrity. Unfortunately, this country has nothing to look forward to except even worse from either of the two major party candidates for the presidency. If only I were a space alien and my people were on their way to rescue me from this madhouse.

  19. F. G. Sanford
    June 26, 2016 at 4:58 am

    There is no such thing as “casual” mutiny. [Please see my remarks under Ann Wright’s article.] Anyone who has spent time in a bureaucratic institution will recognize these words: “Why don’t you bring that up at the meeting?” In other words, “Give me a mandate.” Or, “If someone were to broach that subject, I’d be compelled to take action.” It’s a trick nearly worn out by Cheney, Rumsfeld and their ilk. I vaguely recall articles and topics floated by the likes of Judith Miller, Bill Kristol, William Saffire, Richard Armitage, Robert Novak, Thomas Friedman and many notable others. They were then referenced by that corrupt administration in support of initiatives fraudulently framed as leadership imperatives. Kennedy used that trick to preemptively announce his suspicions. Truman used it. LBJ advised MLK that he would need a movement to justify his civil rights agenda. “Give me a mandate.” Note that “progressives” are generally hamstrung by the two-edged sword of good intentions absent conviction. They tend toward cowardice. They may use this trick to accomplish “good” things. But corrupt administrations use it to accomplish bad things. Sometimes, it fails to produce the desired result. I came away from this article still wondering, “Who was the ringleader?” Some have proposed Kerry. Others have proposed Nuland or Flournoy. When the captain of a ship takes no umbrage at a mutinous crew, one supposes that even he may be pleased with the course correction. The absence of appropriate disciplinary measures confirms the aphorism: “A fish stinks from the head.” Bernie is now sheep dogging his supporters to Hillary. Brexit’s pathetic 52/48 lack of conviction will dwindle away as even Britain’s sheep dog, Jeremy Corbyn, supports “Remain”. “Progressive” voters are poised to be duped again, and will predictably fall in line behind an agenda that divests them of their rights and privileges. I’ll believe in a “progressive” politician when one finds the courage to stand behind a podium and announce, “John F. Kennedy was assassinated to protect the financial interests of the ruling class of The United States.” Until then, it doesn’t matter who we elect. Toss a coin, because they’re all the same.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 26, 2016 at 11:23 am

      F.G. How right you are, and what a clear day that would be, if a progressive came forward such as you described. You and us, have had this conversation many times before, how the JFK murder was the template for all the rest of the deep state crimes that followed.

      I also think that if there is a people revolution occurring, that this turnover is only at it’s beginning. You are probably more than right, that the Brexit is going to fail. Although, could this be one of those events that will become a starting point? Besides that, I’m not to crazy about having right wingers leads us to the promised land (sorry that ones already been used) replace that with greener pastures. If only the left leaning politicians weren’t so busy herding us up for the slaughter.

      • F. G. Sanford
        June 26, 2016 at 12:59 pm

        Thanks, Joe.

    • Abe
      June 26, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      The Orlando mass casualty exercise prompted Webster Tarpley to renew calls for Obama to “put a mole detector at the door of CIA, FBI, NSA and the rest.” The rest, as they say, is history. 51 Likudniks at the State Department stepped forward to spare Obama the trouble and commend themselves to a coming Clinton administration. Et tu, Petraeus?

  20. Albert
    June 26, 2016 at 8:40 am

    51 VOLUNTEERS for the Front Lines. Get them down to processing for uniforms and weapons.

    • Patrick Penick
      June 26, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Thanks Albert, best comment of them all!

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 26, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Don’t forget to issue these fighting diplomats some adult diapers. They will need them.

  21. Abe
    June 26, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    A Kabbalist cabal in the US State Department. Who knew?

    NUMBER 51

    “This number possesses a strong potency of its own. It’s associated with the nature of the warrior, and promises sudden advancement in whatever one undertakes. It is especially favourable for those who need protection in military or naval life, and for the leaders of any “cause” unrelated to war. Yet, it also brings the threat of dangerous enemies and the possibility of attempted assassination; therefore, it is clearly wise, should the name equal 51, to change the spelling to equal a safer compound number – and forget the glory.” https://wealthymatters.com/2014/07/13/chaldean-hebrew-kabbalah-numerology/

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 26, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Abe, as the saying goes, I got your number, maybe we have theirs. Cool post.

  22. June 26, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Ms Clinton’s gang – chomping at the bit and raring to go. The past 16 years have been bad enough ; I am not looking forward to 20 January 2017….

    Henri

  23. Abe
    June 26, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    As legal scholar Binoy Kampmark has observed:

    While the diplomats do not see merit in an invasion force, they wish for a “more military assertive US role in Syria, based on the judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hardnosed US-led diplomatic process”.

    This is where the necromancy comes in. By using such strikes to press Assad, a miracle will take place, precipitating an end to civilian deaths and human rights violations and pushing disparate parties to the negotiating table. Since the days of the Vietnam War, we know what bombing parties to the diplomatic table looks like.

    All the while, the focus of this strategy is meant to bolster the “moderate rebel groups’ role in defeating Da’esh, and help bring an end to the broader instability the conflict generates.” Such clarity; such cock-eyed confidence, given that a moderate, as Henry Kissinger suggested in discussing Iran’s politicians in 1987, is one who has run out of ammunition.

    Warmongering and Necromancy: The US State Department Dissent on Syria
    By Binoy Kampmark
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/22/warmongering-and-necromancy-the-us-state-department-dissent-on-syria-2/

  24. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    June 27, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    In the 1970’s that very same situation was called The Lebanese Civil War which destroyed Lebanon. It ended only when the Arab League gave Syria a permission to invade Lebanon and stop the killing. Syria ended up occupying Lebanon till the Mid 2000’s when the US pushed the UN security council to force Syria to withdraw.

    The solution to the Syrian tragedy is for the Arab League to form a force made up of units from the armies of the Arab Countries and force a stop of that carnage under UN resolution. Countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia can provide staging grounds for those Arab Forces to enter Syria………..

  25. June 29, 2016 at 7:40 am

    It seems to me that many of the commenters here are former govt employees, and you have such sensible things to say, why don’t you get together and publish memos the way VIPS do? If there is a real reason not to, that would be good to know, too.

    Another good thing to do is write (together if possible) follow-up letters to the same people VIPS write to and demand a response — also write to the NYT and other rags that refuse to publish the VIPS memos.

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