A Lawless Plan to Target Syria’s Allies

Exclusive: Official Washington’s disdain for international law – when it’s doing the lawbreaking – was underscored by ex-CIA acting director Morell voicing plans for murdering Iranians and maybe Russians in Syria, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern says.

By Ray McGovern

On Aug. 17, TV interviewer Charlie Rose gave former acting CIA Director Michael Morell a “mulligan” for an earlier wayward drive on Aug. 8 that sliced deep into the rough and even stirred up some nonviolent animals by advocating the murder of Russians and Iranians. But, alas, Morell duffed the second drive, too.

Morell did so despite Rose’s efforts to tee up the questions as favorably as possible, trying to help Morell explain what he meant about “killing” Russians and Iranians in Syria and bombing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad into submission.

Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell.

Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell.

In the earlier interview, Morell said he wanted to “make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. … make the Russians pay a price in Syria.”

Rose: “We make them pay the price by killing Russians?”

Morell: “Yeah.”

Rose: “And killing Iranians?”

Morell: “Yes … You don’t tell the world about it. … But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.”

In the follow-up interview, some of Rose’s fretful comments made it clear that there are still some American non-neocons around who were withholding applause for Morell’s belligerent suggestion.

Rose apparently has some viewers who oppose all terrorism, including the state-sponsored variety that would involve a few assassinations to send a message, and the notion that U.S. bombing Syria to “scare” Assad is somehow okay (as long as the perpetrator is the sole “indispensable” nation in the world).

Rose helped Morell ‘splain that he really did not want to have U.S. Special Forces kill Russians and Iranians. No, he would be satisfied if the U.S.-sponsored “moderate opposition” in Syria did that particular killing. But Morell would not back away from his advocacy of the U.S. Air Force bombing Syrian government targets. That would be “an okay thing” in Morell’s lexicon.

The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” That would seem to cover Morell’s plan.

But Morell seems oblivious to international law and to the vast human suffering already inflicted in Syria over the past five years by government forces, rebels, terrorists and outside nations trying to advance one geopolitical goal or another.

What is needed is a serious commitment to peace talks without unacceptable preconditions, such as outside demands for “regime change.” Instead, the focus should be on creating conditions for Syrians to make that choice themselves through elections or power-sharing negotiations.

Morell prefers to think that a few more U.S.-directed murders and some more aerial-inflicted mayhem should do the trick. Perhaps he thinks that’s the sort of tough-guy/gal talk that will impress a prospective President Hillary Clinton.

A Slight Imprecision?

Charlie Rose begins the “mulligan” segment with the suggestion that Morell might have slightly misspoken: “Tell me what you wanted to say so we understand it … Tell me what you meant to say … perhaps you did not speak as precisely as you should have or I didn’t ask the right questions.”

TV interviewer Charlie Rose.

TV interviewer Charlie Rose.

Morell responded, “No, no, Charlie, you always ask the right questions,” and then he presented his killing plan as a route to peace, albeit one in which the United States dictates “regime change” in Syria: “So there’s not a military solution to this, there is only a political solution. … And that political solution is, in my view, a transition of power from Assad to a, a, a transitional government that represents all of the Syrian people.

“That is only going to happen if Assad wants it to happen, if Russia wants it to happen, if Iran wants it to happen.  So … we need to increase our leverage over those … three people and countries, in order to get them more interested in having a conversation about a transition to a new government.

“And sometimes you use military force for military ends. Sometimes you use military force to give you political leverage. … So what I tried to say was, Look, we need to find some ways to put some pressure on Assad, or put some pressure on Russia, and put some pressure on Iran. Now, with regard to Russia and Iran, what I said was, what I wanted to say was: Look, the moderate opposition, which the United States is supporting (everybody knows that, right?), the moderate opposition is already fighting the Syrian government, and they’re already fighting Russians and Iranians. …

“So … the Syrian military, supported by Russia and the Iranians, is fighting the moderate opposition. And the moderate opposition is already killing Iranians and Syrians. What, what I said is that’s an okay thing, right, because it puts pressure on Iran and Russia to try to see some value in ending this thing politically. And what I said is that we should encourage the moderate opposition to continue to do that and perhaps get a lot more aggressive.” (Emphasis added)

Rose: “You weren’t suggesting that the United States should do that, but the moderate forces on the ground.”

Morell: “And I think I came across as saying U.S. Special Forces should go in there and start killing Iranians and Russians. I did not say that. …

“So that’s Russia and Iran. Now, Assad. How do you put some pressure on Assad, right? And here I did argue, Charlie, that the U.S. military itself should take some action, and what I would see as valuable is limited, very, very, very limited U.S. airstrikes against those assets that are extremely important to Assad personally. So, in the middle of the night you destroy one of his offices; you don’t kill anybody, right, zero collateral. … You do this with the same rules of engagement we use against terrorists. … (Emphasis added)

“You take out his presidential aircraft, his presidential helicopters, in the middle of the night, right, just to send him a message and get his attention that, that maybe your days are numbered here, just to put some pressure on him to think about maybe, maybe the need to think about a way out of this.

“Now these issues that I’m talking about here, right, are talked about in the sit room. They’re talked about in national security circles all the time, right. These are debates that people have, and I certainly understand that there are people on the other side of the argument from me, right. But I wasn’t talking about the U.S. starting a major war with Iran and Russia, and I think that was the way people interpreted it.”

Acts of Illegal War

Not to put too fine a point on this, but everything that Morell is advocating here violates international law, the rules that – in other circumstances, i.e. when another government is involved – the U.S. government condemns as “aggression” or as an “invasion” or as “terrorism.”

Video of the Russian SU-24 exploding in flames inside Syrian territory after it was shot down by Turkish air-to-air missiles on Nov. 24, 2015.

Video of the Russian SU-24 exploding in flames inside Syrian territory after it was shot down by Turkish air-to-air missiles on Nov. 24, 2015.

Remember, after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in February 2014, when Russia intervened to allow Crimea to hold a referendum on splitting away from the new regime in Kiev and rejoining Russia, the U.S. government insisted that there was no excuse for President Vladimir Putin not respecting the sovereignty of the coup regime even if it had illegally ousted an elected president.

However, regarding Syria, the United States and its various “allies,” including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, have intervened directly and indirectly in supporting various armed groups, including Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, seeking the violent overthrow of Syria’s government.

Without any legal authorization from the United Nations, President Barack Obama has ordered the arming and training of anti-government rebels (including some who have fought under Nusra’s command structure), has carried out airstrikes inside Syria (aimed at Islamic State militants), and has deployed U.S. Special Forces inside Syria with Kurdish rebels.

Now, a former senior U.S. intelligence official is publicly urging bombing of Syrian government targets and the killing of Iranians and Russians who are legally inside Syria at the invitation of the internationally recognized government. In other words, not only does the U.S. government operate with breathtaking hypocrisy in the Syrian crisis, but it functions completely outside international law.

And, Morell says that in attacking Syrian government targets — supposedly without causing any deaths — the United States would employ “the same rules of engagement we use against terrorists,” except those rules of engagement explicitly seek to kill targeted individuals. So, what kind of dangerously muddled thinking do we have here?

One can only imagine the reaction if some Russian version of Morell went on Moscow TV and urged the murder of U.S. military trainers operating inside Ukraine – to send a message to Washington. And then, the Russian Morell would advocate Russia bombing Ukrainian government targets in Kiev with the supposed goal of forcing the U.S.-backed government to accept a “regime change” acceptable to Moscow.

A Fawning Audition

Rather than calls for him to be locked up or at least decisively repudiated, the American Morell was allowed to continue his fawning audition for a possible job in a Hillary Clinton administration by extolling her trustworthiness and “humanity.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

Morell offered a heartwarming story about how compassionate Clinton was as Secretary of State when he lost out to John Brennan to be the fulltime CIA Director. After he was un-picked for the job, Morell said he was in the White House Situation Room and Clinton, “sat down next to me, put her hand on my shoulder, and she simply said, ‘Are you okay?’ There is humanity there, and I think the public needs to know.”

And, Clinton was a straight-shooter, too, Morell explained: “You know, it’s interesting, Charlie, I worked with her for four years. Leon Panetta, David Petraeus worked with her for four years. We trusted her word; we trusted her judgment. You know, [CIA] Director Panetta, [CIA] Director Petraeus, I provided her with some of the most sensitive information that the CIA collects and she never gave us one reason to doubt how she was handling that. You know, she spoke to us forthrightly. … I trust her word and I trust her judgment.”

Can Morell be unaware that Clinton repeatedly put highly sensitive intelligence on her very vulnerable private email server along with other data that later investigations determined should have been marked SECRET, TOP SECRET, CODEWORD, and/or SPECIAL ACCESS PROGRAMS?

FBI Director James Comey, in announcing that he would not recommend prosecuting Clinton for compromising these secrets, called her behavior “extremely careless.”

For his part, Charlie Rose offered a lament about how hard it is for Clinton to convey her “humanity” and how deserving she is of trust. He riffed on the Biblical passage about those who can be trusted in small matters (like sitting down next to Morell, putting her hand on his shoulder, and asking him if he is okay) can be trusted on big matters, too.

My Travails With Charlie

Twelve years ago, I was interviewed by Charlie Rose, with the other interviewee (who participated remotely) James Woolsey, former head of the CIA (1993-95), arch-neocon, and self-described “anchor the Presbyterian wing of JINSA” (the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs).

The occasion was the New York premier of Robert Greenwald’s full-length film version of his documentary, “Uncovered: the Whole Truth About the Iraq War,” in which I had a small part and which described the many falsehoods that had been used by President George W. Bush and his neocon advisers, to justify invading Iraq. Woolsey did not like the film, and Greenwald asked me to take the Rose invitation that had originally been extended to him.

True to form, Charlie Rose knew on which side his bread was buttered, and it wasn’t mine. He was his usual solicitous self when dealing with an “important” personage, such as Woolsey. I was going to count the minutes apportioned to me and compare them with those given to Woolsey, but I decided to spare myself the trouble.

The last time I checked the Aug. 20, 2004 video is available for purchase but I refuse to pay for it. Fortunately, a friend taped and uploaded the audio onto YouTube. It might be worth a listen on a slow summer day 12 years after my travails with Charlie.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990 and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

52 comments for “A Lawless Plan to Target Syria’s Allies

  1. Eric Bischoff
    August 31, 2016 at 08:33

    As long as lawless nut jobs like Morell are funded and allowed to operate, our elections will continue to be useless and a giant waste of time and money. We need to purge the government of that mentality and ideology. Then if we finally manage to get money out of politics we may end up with more higher quality choices of people running to be elected at all levels. Only then do we stand a chance to have real change and a real democratic process. Imagine! No more wars, no more empire building and money out of politics! Keep imagining that.

  2. Blake
    August 30, 2016 at 22:13

    US Peace Council Representatives on Syria – Press Conference
    Quote I took from a delegate: “We are fighting a mass of propaganda that has demonized the Syrian govt/leaders – an effort that precedes every other intervention that US has made over the course of many many decades that’s its okay to overthrow a govt for “humanitarian reasons” and to replace it with whatever – US prefers a government that is not independent it prefers a govt that is a willing participant with whatever US policy is.”

  3. Pat McClung
    August 28, 2016 at 07:56

    As to Mike Morell’s suggestion “…that the U.S. military itself should take some action, and what I would see as valuable is limited, very, very, very limited U.S. airstrikes against those assets that are extremely important to Assad personally.”, in order to “scare” al-Assad, I am reminded of the remarks of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on July 8, 2012, as reported by Reuters US State Department correspondent:

    “Clinton: Syria must end violence to avoid “catastrophic assault”
    Sun, Jul 8 2012

    By Arshad Mohammed

    TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday Syria’s opposition forces are growing more effective and the sooner the violence ends, the higher the chances of sparing the Syrian government from a “catastrophic assault.”

    It appeared clear that Clinton was referring to the possibility of Syrian rebels launching such an assault on state institutions – a court and a broadcaster have been recent targets – rather than to any outside intervention.

    “The sooner there can be an end to the violence and a beginning of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there is a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region,” Clinton said at a news conference.”


    As we all know, ten days later, a carefully planned, highly effective covert assassination of high Government officials occurred in Damascus. al-Assad’s wife Asma is a Sunni Arab Muslim. Her brother, Assef Shawkat, then Deputy Secretary of Defense, along with Syria’s head of military intelligence were assassinated by a covert operation in a highly secured military planning conference room, Damascus, 18 July 2012. al-Assad, who was to attend the meeting, missed the explosion by 30 minutes.

    So we can see that Bashar al-Assad doesn’t scare so easily.

  4. Brad Benson
    August 22, 2016 at 06:05

    Look at that picture–evil incarnate. Give that guy a little moustache and a black uniform designed by Hugo Boss and you’ve got a pretty good likeness of Heinrich Himmler.

  5. wayne johnson
    August 22, 2016 at 00:07

    this is not a war for protection of its citizens the us wants to put a pipe line through syria without its approval and the us government
    this pipe line will cause a war i am also sure that hillary wont be pulling the strings it will be the war hawks in the military that will do this hillary has been wanting this and there will be a lot of money paid into the clinton foundation you can be sure of that and it will start ww3 this does not need to happen

    • wayne johnson
      August 22, 2016 at 00:10

      everyone has to stand up to these warmongers that pipe line will cause untold harm to countries supplying europe

  6. Abe
    August 21, 2016 at 13:17

    A lawless plan to target Syria and its allies was prepared twenty years ago by a study group led by arch neoconservative Richard Perle for Benjamin Netanyahu, the then Prime Minister of Israel.

    The plan to secure Israel’s position of dominance in the Middle East was articulated in “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”.

    The 1996 report was written by the Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000, which was a part of the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS), an Israel-based think tank with an affiliated office in Washington, D.C.

    The report advocated a much more aggressive policy that included the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, and the containment of Syria by engaging in proxy warfare and highlighting its possession of “weapons of mass destruction”.

    Former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense Perle was the “Study Group Leader,” and the final report included ideas from Douglas Feith, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser.

    Implementation of the lawless plan under the neocon-dominated US administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama has included efforts to directly (via US and allied regular military and special forces operations) and indirectly (via proxy forces incorporating the Al Qaeda network) “break” Iraq, Libya and Syria. These efforts have met with varying degrees of “success”.

    Implementation of the lawless plan under the sure to be neocon-dominated US administration inaugurated in 2017 will include direct and indirect efforts to “break” Iran and Russia.

    • Bill Bodden
      August 21, 2016 at 13:38

      Implementation of the lawless plan under the sure to be neocon-dominated US administration inaugurated in 2017 will include direct and indirect efforts to “break” Iran and Russia.

      America’s new leaders will need to be insane to embark on a plan to “break” Iran and Russia who will undoubtedly be aided by China. We are not talking now about militarily-limited Iraq, Libya and Syria. If Clinton and her neocon/neoliberal foreign policy teams prove to be so mad, this march of folly will end with World War III – or the First and Last Nuclear World War.

  7. Edward
    August 21, 2016 at 12:22

    Something similar happened in Libya. I think I read somewhere that Gaddafi was captured by U.S. forces leaving his hometown and handed over to the rebels for execution. I wonder what Morrel thinks about the recent assassination of Iranian scientists. Right after the U.S. invasion of Iraq there was a pogrom against Iraqi academics.

    • Rob Roy
      August 21, 2016 at 16:31

      Those five Iranian scientists were assassinated by Israel. They can’t wait for Hillary or Donald to bomb Iran as they’ve planned for many years. All governments know through their own intelligence agencies that Iran decided in 2003 to never make a nuclear weapon; yet the propaganda rolls on in order to justify the coming war. Also, Hillary (who is incapable of any kind of learning curve) thinks she can effect regime change in Russia as well as Syria and Iran. She’s extremely dangerous.

  8. Tobin Paz
    August 21, 2016 at 11:25

    I think war has become inevitable. When Democracy Now interviews Dr. Zaher Sahloul, former president of the Syrian American Medical Society and does not question any of his assertions there is little hope of turning back. I hold Amy Goodman in very high regard, but this interview was shameful. Amy and Juan Gonzalez dropped any pretense of journalism and allowed the good doctor to make many statements that at the very least should have been questioned.

    I had heard Dr. Sahloul on NPR in the previous week and was very interested in the Democracy Now interview. As a side note, the only reason I have been listening to NPR is to see why some of my friends have such a slanted view on anything related to Syria, Ukraine, Russia, and Hillary Clinton. In many respects it is like watching Fox News.

    They had an excellent opportunity to bring to light much of the propaganda that is being distributed by the west. I don’t want this to be framed in a one side is right and the other is wrong, but at the very least we should be having an open debate. The most shameful aspect of the interview is that they provided next to no context. That the United States and it’s allies are not only illegally in the country, but they have been covertly and indirectly arming the “rebels”. Not only is it illegal, but they have been directly funding terrorism through the likes of Al-Qaeda and it’s affiliates. And those are just the most basic points.

    In case anybody is interested, you can watch the interview at the following link:

    Ten Times Worse Than Hell: A Syrian Doctor on the Humanitarian Catastrophe in Aleppo

    It would be interesting to look into Dr. Zaher Sahloul the Syrian American Medical Society.

    • Edward
      August 21, 2016 at 12:25

      I was also disappointed with that interview. Democracy Now has also been uncritical in interviews with Pussy Riot. They are good but not perfect.

      • incontinent reader
        August 22, 2016 at 08:15

        Democracy Now has rarely been balanced in its reporting on Syria – it seems to be a blind spot. I’ve tried to figure out why. Is it because they are buying into the media propaganda and/or the HRW and Amnesty International propaganda? or has their funding by Soros influenced it, even though DN has remained independent on a plethora of other issues?

  9. Raheem Taiwo
    August 21, 2016 at 09:19

    A Yoruba,one of the most highly educated and informed tribe in Africa, proverb literarily translates to mean “poverty does not kill but stupendous wealth does”. A curious look at various tendencies towards the precipice shows that its the rich nations like USA and its allies on one hand and Russia along with its,not so well defined,allies that are responsible for the race towards the fulfillment of the impending apocalypse. They are all so rich that assembling mutually destructive weapons is now their major preoccupation.While onthe otherhand the poor nations are majorly preoccupied with economic survival

  10. Adele Roof
    August 21, 2016 at 09:18

    I keep wondering to what other country I can move at this stage of my life. I’m so ashamed of America and its brutal hypocrisies.

    • Pissedoffales
      August 21, 2016 at 22:03

      I tried Belize for six years, a country we haven’t even ufcked with yet, and they STILL hate us. Maybe we should have gone to the Falklands or Iceland, tho’ they probably hate us too. Thing about Belize is they only have weekly newspapers and the tv news is mostly focused on local, yet they’re STILL better informed than most USA people. However, things may be changing–cable tv, doncha know, with CNN and all the other channels of horsesh1t. Easier than reading a weekly newspaper. Still, maybe they just see us as rich a$$hole targets and loudmouths.

      So, good luck, Adele. I left in 2007, and came back in 2013. Belize is supposed to be the friendliest place on Earth, which they are, until you MOVE there; then the daggers come out.

    • Pissedoffales
      August 21, 2016 at 22:21

      Oh, and I was in Mexico for a year when I was 14 in 1979. They hated us there, even then, although that’s pretty understandable.

      Even in UK, in 1994, I was getting some hairy eyeballs, so I think you’re out of luck. Americans abroad tend to be such jerks that it poisons the well, so to speak. In UK, sitting on a train at the end of June, there was an obnoxious couple of Yanks sitting across from some Brits. Question by stupid Yanks, “And what to YOU do to celebrate the 4th of July?” Cringe. Thought to myself, “Kill ufcking Yanks.”

      In Mexico at the market, IN English, very loudly and slowly ‘cuz it makes the STUPID natives understand a foreign language better, “How much does this cost in REAL money?”

      This kind of sht just psses people OFF. And it’s on and on and on. Every time other people are exposed to fat, loud, blabbering idiots from USA, the picture of us SOLIDIFIES, even without our warmongering hypocrisies. USA, USA, USA!!!

      Those fool swimmers from the Olympics define us. Ugly. Crass. Stupid.

      • Dennis Merwood
        August 22, 2016 at 20:34

        Adel and P’doff,

        I moved to New Zealand this last Xmas. Like Adel I became so ashamed of America and its brutal hypocrisies, and just could not put up with it anymore. I sold all my worldly possessions and left.

        Guess what? New Zealand is almost as bad. Terrible newspapers with aggregated articles from the Washington Post, USA Today, and other right wing rags. The TV News is dominated by neoliberal commentators. The current right wing government is destroying the great socialist society built by New Zealander’s in days gone by. Privatized Prisons. Increasing income inequality. Unaffordable housing for the average blue collar Kiwi family.. ( average home price in Auckland: $900,000. >Ten times the average Kiwi salary.) Underfunded healthcare and schools. Deteriorating infrastructure. etc etc.

        And the New Zealanders have sent their Army soldiers to train troops in Iraq, and want to increase their military spending to support Obombers Pivot to Asia. The Kiwi’s think the Yanks are great. Saved us from the Japs in WWII you know! The US “Five Eyes” spying data collection antenna’s are in New Zealand. The Kiwi’s would jump over a cliff if The Yanks told them to. Eagerly awaiting to lose their sovereignty by signing the TPP……. I could go on!

        And sadly, you cannot escape the USA. Trump and Killary on the TV every night. Trump bad…Hillary good! Every Kiwi asks you about the US Presidential election. When you offer your facts and perspective (mostly derived from Consortium News) they tell you are wrong…..even though they don’t live in the US.

        It’s so discouraged. As they say……”You can run, but you can’t hide”.

      • August 25, 2016 at 07:20

        Surprisingly enough, many British people do celebrate the 4th of July. I first noticed it in London around the time of the bicentennial. I suppose it’s a way of paying homage to our masters. Back then I remember thinking that it was about as ridiculous as the French celebrating the Battle of Waterloo each year.

  11. Raheem Taiwo
    August 21, 2016 at 08:41

    The likes of Morrell of this world are so full of themselves and ultimately beleive they enjoy absolute monopoly of violence. By the time Russians and iranians begin to be killed in Syria,does the likes of Morrell naively or mischievously believe the Russians and Iranians respective secret agencies will be oblivious of whos behind such acts ? Does Morrell never considered likely American reactions if it were to the other way round ?
    Limiting prevailing situation to Syria,can the likes of Morrell denie the culpability of the USA in instigating the crises ? Only that America miscalculated this time around thinking Russia would just sit and watch. Nay,the Russians are determined to ward this away no mater the cost. After all there is ,more than necessary, Mutual Assured Destruction capabilities on both sides to guarantee no victor no vanquish but mutual losers.

  12. Andrew Nichols
    August 21, 2016 at 04:48

    IMorrellity big time. Very American.

  13. Realist
    August 21, 2016 at 01:50

    Since Morrell and his ilk support a “moderate opposition” carrying out wholesale murder and mayhem to effect political change (which is really none of our business), why did everyone on his side get so lathered up when they imagined (or pretended) that Donald Trump called for the assassination of Hillary Clinton (which he did not)? It’s just political change his followers are after. Why the double standard? Or, was there an asterisk and an accompanying footnote to the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” that all the rest of us seemed to have missed?

    Thou shalt not kill.*

    *Unless thou art an agent of the United States government, in which case thou mayest kill whomever the Commander-in-Chief designates for extermination, including whole tribes, villages, cities and peoples, combatants and non-combatants alike, believers and non-believers, men, women and children of all ages and abilities. For the wrath of POTUS manifests the wrath of JHWH Himself.

    • John
      August 21, 2016 at 06:00

      Careful !!! That’s the deepest rabbit hole in 3D 4D space time……

  14. Bill Bodden
    August 20, 2016 at 22:26

    Given the hypocrisy, disregard for international law, and lust for more wars after heinous crimes against humanity surely some psychologist has a clinical term to define the pathology of our national establishment.

    • Gregory Herr
      August 21, 2016 at 00:07

      That Morell guy is creepy. Sociopathy comes to mind, particularly as it pertains to criminality and the lack of a real sense of moral responsibility. Looks to me like the narcissism that often plays a role in sociopathic personalities comes through in him as well. At least he is able to express a sense of “humanity” when it is directed at himself. That shoulder hug from Killary must have been touching…particularly from one who he is trying to impress with his sociopathic traits.


      • August 21, 2016 at 11:49

        I used ‘Hitlery’. ‘Killery’ is even better.

        • Gregory Herr
          August 22, 2016 at 17:28

          I like Killary too, but it is borrowed. One I thought of without seeing it anywhere else is “Hilligula”.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 21, 2016 at 12:50

      The type of psychologist who would be best to diagnose Mike Morell would be a prison psychologist. Our prisons are filled with people who have the rational that Morell shows signs of having. In fact Hillary’s showing affection towards Morell, in my mine, is another strike against her. If Charlie runs out of interviewees like the likes of Morell, he could find more of his kind if Rose were to go on a federal penitentiary tour, but then that would mean Charlie will aire on MSNBC’s weekend programming, and I’m sure that this would be far beneath his stature.

    • Bill Bodden
      August 21, 2016 at 13:20

      Having given this aspect of US foreign policy additional thought, probably barbarism and barbarians are appropriate labels to apply to the likes of Michael Morell, our necons and neoliberals and their schemes. Most people will agree that al-Baghdadi and his ISIS thugs are barbarians but, other than weapon technology, what is the difference from a moral point of view when we compare ISIS slaughter with the mass carnage perpetrated by our forces and those of our friends? ISIS chops off the heads of dozens of people. Our drones blow up families at weddings. Israel using American weapons slaughters a couple thousand defenseless Gazans then our Congress gives its approval and arranges an express delivery to replace the expended materiel. Then there are the Saudis, also using weapons made in the USA, bombing the hell out of some Yemenis.

      Going back in history European settlers in the American colonies imported some of their more barbaric traditions that would be applied in the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans and continued with what would prove to be an unending expansion of the American empire. Were the many massacres of Native Americans not acts of barbarism? How about My Lai and lesser My Lais in Vietnam? Was not shock and awe in Iraq in 2003 an act of barbarism?

      • Gregory Herr
        August 21, 2016 at 15:32

        I was struck by the following excerpt from Robert Parry’s article yesterday. If this doesn’t represent barbarism, I don’t know what does:

        For instance, there was the case at the start of the Iraq War when Bush mistakenly thought Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein might be eating at a Baghdad restaurant so U.S. warplanes leveled it, killing more than a dozen civilians, including children and a young woman whose headless body was recovered by her mother.

        “When the broken body of the 20-year-old woman was brought out torso first, then her head,” the Associated Press reported, “her mother started crying uncontrollably, then collapsed.” The London Independent cited this restaurant attack as one that represented “a clear breach” of the Geneva Conventions ban on bombing civilian targets.

  15. August 20, 2016 at 21:56

    I believe we are in hands of war maniacs. I also believe if there was a functioning justice system they would be arrested. Instead they cavort on the world stage and break laws with impunity. See links below for more info.

  16. F. G. Sanford
    August 20, 2016 at 21:23

    Leave aside for a moment the abject lunacy Ray illuminates here. Morell’s strategy, or what passes for one, is an attempt he truly believes will win the heart or cajole the ego of a candidate he desperately seeks to serve. Keep in mind, he affirms intimate knowledge of that candidate’s judgement, ability and personal ideology. In order to flatter that personality, he has chosen to advocate war crimes, murder and terrorism. Some have asked, and others have debated, “Who should we vote for if Bernie Sanders doesn’t get the nomination?” In some circles, Noam Chomsky gets significant praise for his rationalized Clinton advocacy. The sentinel event which defines modern American “deep state” politics is, and will remain, the JFK assassination. Chomsky rejects any deviation from the “official” narrative, earning him the apt designation, “left gatekeeper”. I could explore a cornucopia of strained historical, political and ideological arguments offered by various pundits and analysts regarding Trump’s “fascist” leanings. All of these ignore the monumental corporate, finance and neocolonial/globalist consensus arrayed behind Hillary Clinton. The confluence of these interests represents the very essence of “fascism”. To believe otherwise is frankly delusional. She is also not without significant fundamentalist religious convictions, leaving in some doubt her real commitment to potential Supreme Court nominations. William Blum and Stephen Cohen have not necessarily endorsed Trump, but they have offered legitimate arguments based on nuclear annihilation and human survival which favor a vote for Trump. Jill Stein is simply not going to win. In the meantime, legal considerations could devastate both Trump and Clinton. Nobody has discussed a third Obama term yet, but that’s not necessarily impossible. I don’t know if I can bring myself to vote at all. But I do know what it’s like to die of radiation sickness. Based on that knowledge, I’m leaning toward pulling the lever for Trump. I’m not the only progressive so inclined, either. I’d suggest reading this article, and consider saving yourselves. Or, vote for Jill, which is still a vote for Trump.


    • incontinent reader
      August 21, 2016 at 13:12

      Well stated, and thanks for referring us to Zuesse’s article in the UNZ review.

    • Abe
      August 21, 2016 at 16:36

      We are golden
      Caught in the devil’s bargain

    • Bill Cash
      August 21, 2016 at 18:11

      I’d think again about voting for Trump. He says climate change is a hoax perpetrated by China and climate change will be the single most important issue.

      July wasn’t just hot it was the hottest month ever recorded, according to NASA. And this year is likely to be the hottest year on record.

      Fourteen of the 15 hottest years have occurred since 2000, as heat waves have become more frequent, more intense and longer lasting. A study in the journal Nature Climate Change last year found that three of every four daily heat extremes can be tied to global warming.

      Trump doesn’t seem to be in contraception, at least for the general audience and population is going to a very important issue.

      I’d prefer Bernie but, at least, Hillary believes in these issues. I will also make the point that you can’t trust Trump. He swings wildly from one position to another. He lies constantly and is very easily offended.

      • F. G. Sanford
        August 21, 2016 at 21:54

        Climate change will be the single most PROFITBLE issue of the current century. Why do you think nobody among the power elite gives a damn? It doesn’t pay to do anything about it, and at this point, the efforts would probably be futile. Wealth accumulation will permit some to remain in Davos or San Moritz while the rest of us succumb to epidemics, starvation and displacement. Every port facility in the world will be affected. It’s not that they don’t believe. They see it as an opportunity with depopulation as a beneficial side effect. Hillary is no more likely to do anything than any of her cohorts. Keep dreaming if you think Hillary is a philanthropist.

      • F. G. Sanford
        August 22, 2016 at 02:38

        For an excellent review on incessant lying, flip-flopping on policy, supporting initiatives that lead to global warming (support for fracking and oil sand extraction), TiSA and TTP initiatives, shilling for corporate interests and investment banks, please see this article. At best, a comparison between Trump and Clinton reveals only a gender difference…unless one factors in her collusion with Neocon warmongers and the subsequent insertion of a Nazi regime in Ukraine and destabilization of Syria, Libya and Honduras. There’s a lot to be said for a track record with actual consequences as opposed to an admittedly boorish egomaniac who will say anything to get elected. The more “effective evil”, to borrow Glen Ford’s apt terminology, is Hillary Clinton.


  17. Bill Bodden
    August 20, 2016 at 21:08

    No, he would be satisfied if the U.S.-sponsored “moderate opposition” in Syria did that particular killing.

    Something like the Bay of Pigs, Mike?

  18. jfl
    August 20, 2016 at 19:06

    C’mon, Ray, The business of the CIA is illegal operations. Crime is their business, always has been. The intelligence part is just a front. The CIA was founded as a rogue agency, run by Wall Street wiseguys, Truman didn’t know it, but Truman didn’t know a lot of things. Ike gave them all the leash they needed, never asked too many questions, certainly never got too many answers. He believed that rich people were different than us. They are. They’re criminals. They whacked Jack Kennedy. LBJ was on their side, who knows what they had on him. They whacked RFK. By then they were invincible … or that’s the myth. OBama/Clinton are certainly putty in their hands. The enemy is not Asaad, or Iran, or the Russians. The enemy is the CIA, the NSA, the FBI … pirates, not pilots, in the wheelhouse. They’re all gone rogue. Been rogue for decades.

    • Erik
      August 21, 2016 at 07:12

      Morrell and Graham Fuller should be invited to explain on this website, precisely why the US must, in their opinion, provoke other large powers by disrupting nations on their borders, overthrow all nations with socialist economies, disrupt investment of China in the resources of Africa, and promote Israeli fascism by destabilizing and regime change in the Mideast.

      Premises like that cannot be neglected. Such foreign policy goals much appear to come from corrupt sources, not the people, let alone a considered analysis of goals, results, and options. Advocates of such policies refuse to give any reason beyond fear propaganda, and threaten everyone who disagrees. That is totalitarianism. Such persons should not have any public office, let alone the command of secret agencies.

      I would like to hear them attempt an in-depth analysis of goals, results, and options, responding to all moderated challenges by their opponents.

      • Peter Loeb
        August 22, 2016 at 06:17

        Thanks Ray McGovern for this article.

        I can only recommend (many times over) the profound
        essay by Nicolas S. B, Davies (dated 8/15 but
        printed shortly thereafter).

        It is entitled:


        —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

        • alexander
          August 22, 2016 at 07:16

          Ditto to Ray Mcgovern for the fine article,

          What happens to a nation when its leaders are acutely culpable of horrific crimes and are never held to account ?

          Isn’t this kind of impunity a recipe for even more criminality in the future ?

          Doesn’t it merely encourage a continuous expanding repertoire of criminal behavior ?

          If you know will never be prosecuted for murder ,torture or terrorism, why not become a thief or a rapist too ?

          Is it possible for our country to retain the basic and essential characteristics of human decency and justice when our leaders are continuously spared any accountability for their abhorrent and lawless behavior?

          What happens to the good in all of us, when we witness such evil forever escaping justice, and ever more richly rewarded for its transgressions ?

    • Erik
      August 21, 2016 at 07:40

      I had always been very skeptical of JFK assassination involvement of US agencies. Perhaps you know more detail, not merely oddities of the shooting itself. I do not wish to divert discussion into the cloud of unverifiable possibilities.

      There are two great anomalies never discussed. One is the fact that Oswald was a US Marines sharpshooter who turned up in the USSR having “defected” and was sidelined into a radio factory, before returning for the assassination. So it seems very likely indeed that he was at some point a US or USSR secret agent.

      The second anomaly is that the Warren Commission and US mass media never considered the fact that he had “defected” to the USSR and come back. This despite the utter hysteria about the USSR that then prevailed. One explanation is that any consideration of secret agent potential would lead right back to the source. Of course he may have been a rogue from either source.

      • August 21, 2016 at 11:47

        The return to ‘the mother of all conspiracies’ holds my sympathy. The unclosure of the JFK murder is they key to ‘making America great again’. Even Trump will agree as he sees the same fate when elected.
        One remark can stop his carreer. ‘His ‘long vacation’ speech was a forecast.

      • david thurman
        August 21, 2016 at 14:35

        In Re, Erik 21 August > The fact that Oswald qualified as a “sharpshooter” while in the Marines is often taken out of context and is generally used by supporters of the Warren Commission to support their bogus conclusions. All Marines at Oswald’s level were periodically required to qualify as riflemen.

        Even after weeks of practice and intensive training, Oswald barely managed to qualify at the level of “Sharpshooter,” the middle of three rifle qualification levels in the Marines. He obtained a score of 212, two points above the minimum for the “Sharpshooter” level. In other words, even after extensive training and practice, and even though he was firing at stationary targets with a semi-automatic rifle and had plenty of time to shoot (even during the so-called “rapid-fire” phase), Oswald narrowly missed scoring at the lowest possible qualification level.

        The next time Oswald fired for the record in the Marines, he barely managed to qualify at all, obtaining a score of 191, which was one point above the minimum needed for the lowest qualification level, “Marksman.” To put it another way, he came within two points of failing to qualify.

        When Oswald went to Russia he was part of a false defector program run jointly by the Office of Navel Intelligence and the CIA; one of the Warren Commission attorneys said, “Oswald had the fingerprints of intelligence all over him.” I have studied the JFK case for over 8 years, imho Oswald didn’t shoot anyone on 22 November 1963. In the months leading up to the assassination it is obvious Oswald was being set up, also he was impersonated numerous times in various locations, e.g. Mexico City.

        • Gregory Herr
          August 21, 2016 at 15:04

          Particularly after ascertaining the factual links to “intelligence”, I think we also have to ask ourselves, does it pass the “smell test”? After all, there was a high-level orchestrated “rush to judgement” perpetrated against Oswald and Oswald in no way acted, in the short time he was under apprehension, before being whacked, in a manner that would indicate lone wolf assassin. He in fact was savvy enough to quickly recognize what was happening with the famous “I’m a patsy” statement. Of course, this “smell test” item is simply circumstantial and in and of itself isn’t indicative of any particular “larger story” narrative. But of course, all in all, the entire weight of what is factually established and “circumstantial” leads to the obvious conclusion that the Warren Report did not establish much in the way of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. As to CIA involvement? Well let’s see if they petition the President to hold scheduled release of still-classified Kennedy material in 2017. They have been covering up a lot for a very long time.

        • SFOMARCO
          August 21, 2016 at 20:24

          @david thurman – Thank you for this information. I achieved sharpshooter designation with an M-14 in boot camp. Strictly middle-of-the-Road.

      • Brad Benson
        August 22, 2016 at 06:02

        For starters, read the book On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison. Then read the fairly new book by James Douglass, which explains the real background reasons as to why Kennedy was whacked. Finally, just for fun, watch Stone’s Movie “JFK”, which is much closer to the truth than anything we ever heard from the government.

        • Gregory Herr
          August 22, 2016 at 17:22

          The Douglass book “JFK and the Unspeakable” is outstanding. The illustration of Kennedy’s back-channel communications with Khrushchev is telling.

      • Erik
        August 22, 2016 at 06:47

        Thanks to all respondents for this information.

    • david thurman
      August 21, 2016 at 10:24

      In Re, to jfl 20 August > Hard to argue with your analysis; How can, ‘We the People’ ever hope to gain control over the rogue actors/organizations you mention?

    • Herman
      August 22, 2016 at 10:48

      If you look at all the positions of Trump and all those of Clinton, the most important difference is on foreign policy. Domestic stuff is important but there are checks and balances that prevent the President from making catastrophic mistakes. That is not true with foreign policy, where our Congress has abdicated and left the President to decide and act. Recall our decider early inn this century.

      On the positions of the two candidates on foreign policy, Trump has at least said some things which makes sense like talking to your supposed adversaries. Although it has made the “crowd” furious, is offers some hope.

      Clinton is just waiting to drop the hammer on Assad and all the risks that entails. She has a ready and willing media and any number of think tanks to urge her on. She won’t create the disaster, she will just perpetuate it.

      So if you feel you must vote, Trump is the right choice. With Trump, we can hope. With Clinton, there is no hope.

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