North Korea, Iran and U.S. Intelligence that Neither Hears Nor Sees

A recent Worldwide Threat Assessment issued by the U.S. intelligence community exaggerates threats posed by North Korea and Iran, ignoring well-known realities and downplaying the U.S.’s own previous intelligence assessments, notes Ted Snider.

By Ted Snider

On February 13, the American intelligence community issued its Worldwide Threat Assessment for 2018. It is a frightening document to read, but perhaps not for the reasons you would expect. It is not frightening for the threat to America or the world that it reveals, but rather for its failure to hear or see what U.S. adversaries say or do.

On North Korea, for example, the agencies that hear everything cannot seem to hear anything North Korea has said; on Iran, the agencies that see everything cannot seem to see what they have long known.

The Worldwide Threat Assessment is a regular ritual of the intelligence community in which it shares a declassified summary of threats to U.S. national security with Congress. The current assessment is published under the name of Daniel R. Coats, Director of National Intelligence. In theory, the assessment is the result of input from all of America’s sixteen intelligence agencies.

Worldwide Threat Assessments, according to Ray McGovern, are not as important as National Intelligence Estimates, but they are not unimportant. McGovern, a former CIA analyst who prepared and briefed the President’s Daily Brief for Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, explained to me that, though they are less important for shaping policy, they are no less important for shaping public perception.

When it comes to North Korea and Iran, Congress exaggerates the truth, and, according to McGovern, Worldwide Threat Assessments serves the interests of those who benefit from exaggerating the truth. When Congress misleads the public on North Korea and Iran, it can claim support from the intelligence community by referencing the Threat Assessment. Neocons and irresponsible journalists can all quote its exaggerated and unsupported claims.

North Korea

North Korea receives a scant three paragraphs. North Korea is identified as “a complex and increasing threat to U.S. national security and interests.” That threat cannot be removed by negotiations, it is always said, because North Korea is not willing to negotiate away their nuclear weapons program. That is the Trump administration’s justification for bypassing diplomacy or even talking with North Korea. That premise is asserted when the Worldwide Threat Analysis insists that “repeatedly stating that nuclear weapons are the basis for its survival, suggests that the regime does not intend to negotiate them away.”

But the intelligence community that can hear everything you say apparently cannot hear anything North Korea is saying. The North Koreans do say that their nuclear weapons program is the basis of its survival—a deterrent—but they have repeated many versions of the formulation that if the threat to its survival were removed, the deterrent to the threat would be removed.

North Korea’s position is not a refusal, it’s a conditional: North Korea is not saying it will not negotiate over its nuclear program; it is saying it will not negotiate away the deterrent until there are guarantees that they no longer need the deterrent. To change North Korea’s undesirable behaviour, America has to change its undesirable behaviour.

It is well known – or would be well known if the essential role assigned to historians and journalists in a democratic society had not been appropriated by propagandists – that both times the United States seriously engaged in diplomatic discussions with North Korea – in 1994 and in 2005 – when the U.S. promised to stop threatening to attack North Korea, North Korea promised to stop its nuclear weapons program.

But, it is not necessary to appeal to distant history or to previous North Korean leaders. The same conditional formulation of abandoning the deterrent when the need for the deterrent is abandoned has been articulated repeatedly in very recent history.

North Korea’s Deputy Ambassador Kim In-ryong put it this way to UN Secretary-General António Guterres in August of 2017: “As long as the U.S. hostile policy and nuclear threat continue, the DPRK, no matter who may say what, will never place its self-defensive nuclear deterrence on the negotiating table.” Ju Yong Chol, a North Korean diplomat, expressed the formulation exactly the same way.

The same conditional North Korean formulation was expressed by Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho in August of 2017. Ri said “We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table. . . . unless the hostile policy and nuclear threat of the U.S. against the DPRK are fundamentally eliminated.” The next month, RI Yong-ho explained to the U.N. that its nuclear program is “to all intents and purposes, a war deterrent for putting an end to nuclear threat of the U.S. and for preventing its military invasion, and our ultimate goal is to establish the balance of power with the U.S..”

Most importantly, Kim Jong Un, himself, has also expressed this conditional formulation. Kim has stated that “Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military options.”

And despite the Worldwide Threat Assessment’s assurance that “the regime does not intend to negotiate [its nuclear weapons] away,” North Korea has not ceased to assure the world that it would. Investigative journalist Gareth Porter has recently reported on the possibility of an “intra-Korean” agreement between North and South Korea.

Porter says that in a South Korean proposal that has never been reported by the U.S. media, the U.S. and South Korea would “discuss reducing the South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises if North Korea suspends its nuclear weapons and missile activities.” South Korean President Moon Jae-in has further suggested that the U.S. and South Korea could refrain from including aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines during their joint military exercises.”

Kim Jong Un has responded in a way that suggests that this proposal satisfies the conditional formulation of North Korea’s terms. He called for a détente with South Korea and requested that South Korea “discontinue all the nuclear drills they have staged with outside forces,” meaning the U.S., and “refrain from bringing in nuclear armaments and aggressive forces of the United States.” Separating nuclear cooperation with the U.S. during the drills from the mere existence of drills, suggests, as Porter points out, “that Kim was signaling [his] interest in negotiating an agreement along the lines that [South Korea] had raised.”

The Worldwide Threat Assessment’s position on North Korea is not based on real world intelligence. An intelligence community that can hear everything cannot seem to hear anything that North Korea is saying. Or it can but is using its Worldwide Threat Assessment to shape public perception in a way that serves the way the U.S. government wants the public to perceive North Korea.


Iran receives a lot more space in the Worldwide Threat Assessment than North Korea. And, although there are a number of incredible claims made in the Iran section, the most incredible claims about Iran are made in the section on terrorism. In that section, two unsupportable claims are stated as accepted fact. The first reverberates out of the Washington echo chamber: “Iran remains the most prominent state sponsor of terrorism.” The second is that “Lebanese Hizballah” – which is lumped together with Iran – “has demonstrated its intent to foment regional instability by deploying thousands of fighters to Syria”

The American intelligence agencies that can see everything apparently cannot see what they have long known. They know Iran is not “the most prominent state sponsor of terrorism” for two reasons: they know it’s not Iran, and they know who it really is.

This is not only because all of the recent attempts to link Iran to terrorism have failed, but because their own reports on terrorism don’t list Iran as the leading state sponsor of terrorism. The State Department’s Patterns of Global Terrorisms rarely identifies terrorist incidents as carried out on behalf of Iran. And, the most recent Global Terrorism Index from the Department of Homeland Security clearly states that, not Iran, but “ISIL, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Qa’ida” are the biggest terrorist threats. None of these four groups is Shiite and none is aligned with Iran, but combined they are “responsible for 74 per cent of all deaths from terrorism.” The Index also clearly identifies “ISIL,” not Iran “as the deadliest terrorist group.”

The intelligence community also knows that Iran is not the leading state sponsor of terrorism because it knows that Iran’s enemy, Saudi Arabia, is. As early as December of 2009, the State Department already knew that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban . . . and other terrorist groups.” A 2012 classified Defense Intelligence Agency Information Intelligence Report that made the rounds through the US intelligence community identified the “supporting powers” of ISIS to be “Western countries, the Gulf States and Turkey.”

In 2014, Vice President Biden admitted that “[O]ur allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. . . . They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis.”

Point 4 of a memo written by Hillary Clinton on September 17, of the same year confesses that based on “western intelligence, US intelligence and sources in the region,” the U.S. knew that “the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia . . . [were] providing clandestine financial and logistic support to Isis and other radical groups in the region.” And, in 2015, President “Obama and other US officials urged Gulf leaders who are funding the opposition to keep control of their clients, so that a post-Assad regime isn’t controlled by extremists from the Islamic State or al-Qaeda.”

In other words, the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the American intelligence community does not reflect what the American intelligence community has known for at least eight years: Iran is not the leading state sponsor of terrorism, Saudi Arabia is.

As the intelligence community cannot see what it has long been shown about terrorism, so it cannot see what it has long known about Iran’s role in the region. Iran and Hezbollah are not “foment[ing] regional instability by deploying thousands of fighters to Syria.” Iran is in Syria to fight the Islamic State and al-Qa’ida. According to the very same Worldwide Threat Assessment, “Sunni violent extremists – most notably ISIS and al-Qa’ida – pose continuing terrorist threats to US interests and partners worldwide.”

So, Iran is fomenting, not regional instability, but regional stability by playing a leading role in the fight against the most destabilizing terrorist organizations in the region. The Worldwide Threat Assessment identifies al-Qu’aida and the Islamic State as destabilizing forces in the region but simultaneously identifies Iran—whose role in the region is to combat those destabilizing forces—as destabilizing.

Ever since Iran tried and failed to mediate the dispute in Syria in an attempt to avoid the conflict, Iran and Hezbollah have backed Assad against the Islamic State, al-Qa’ida and the other rebel forces. Iran’s role against destabilizing forces in the region has not been a trivial one. Iran and Hezbollah have played a crucial role in defeating the rebels. For many people who are being threatened by al-Qa’ida and the Islamic State, Iran has surpassed the United States as their most important ally.

And it is not like the authors of the Worldwide Threat Assessment don’t know this. Ayatollah Khamenei has authorized his top commander to coordinate military operations with the U.S., and the Israeli media reported in 2014 that Iranian F-4 Phantoms that have bombed Islamic State targets were “most likely” working in “coordination with the U.S. military.” Patrick Cockburn has suggested that advances by Iranian-controlled Shia militias against the Islamic State on the ground have been made possible by coordination with U.S. airstrikes on Islamic State positions.

On both Iran and North Korea, the Worldwide Threat Assessment is a terrifying document to read – terrifying for the incompetence it reveals. The best briefing that the U.S. intelligence community can offer Congress is an assessment based on incomplete information and logical inconsistency. The ears of America cannot hear what North Korea is saying; the eyes of America cannot see what Iran is doing.

Ted Snider writes on analyzing patterns in U.S. foreign policy and history. This article originally appeared at Reprinted with permission.

71 comments for “North Korea, Iran and U.S. Intelligence that Neither Hears Nor Sees

  1. March 12, 2018 at 14:25

    Why would we allow conditions. Nuclear weapons are not survival unless you mean harm with them. How stupid are you? Do you give your children conditions of survival or conditions to leave fire well enough alone. Do you say to your children go ahead touch the fire if it burns you so be it you were told. No you idiot, you tell your children under no certain circumstances will we deal with fire under any conditions if it will hurt you. Why should American be any different to a psychopath. How stupid are you.

  2. March 3, 2018 at 02:27

    As I was reading this my adult son was watching on demand the second episode of this season’s “Blindspot.” The main threat in the show was that a hacker had taken down a nuclear shield that the U.S. has that it keeps secret and so North Korea was getting ready to launch a nuclear missile on Los Angeles that would kill millions.

    No explanation was needed in the show to explain why North Korea would do other than they now had an opportunity to accomplish it, despite how the U.S. would retaliate to destroy that nation down to rubble. All the good guys, who are so obviously sincere, honest, great people were very worried and had to work their tails off to stop the hacker before the evil North Koreans would take advantage.

    We are swamped with propaganda like this against North Korea, Iran, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela in all our fiction. Is it any wonder so many USAians are deluded?

  3. david
    March 2, 2018 at 21:10

    1) Bush’s National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft pointed out in the 1999 book “A World Transformed”, co-authored with George H.W. Bush, when Iran’s Rafsanjani personally facilitated the release of the Lebanon hostages in late 1991, the Bush administration “didn’t do anything.” Goodwill, as it turns out, did not beget goodwill (In other words, Bush welched on a promise to Iran, and there goes the trust)……2) May 2nd 2003, Iran, through the Swiss Ambassador, presents the US State Dept. with a “Roadmap” to mending Iran/US relations. Everything for both sides was on the table to be negotiated. US Top State Dept. officials decided not to reply (Ignored) to Iran’s offer to normalize relations….. 3) The downing of Iran Flight 655 in July 1988 by the US Navy…… 4) 1953 overthrow of their democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh complements of the CIA’s Operation Ajax…. 5) Multiple times sanctions place on Iran lead by the US……. 6) November 2001, Iran assisted the USA (via the 6+2 meeting at the UN) in the taking of Kabul with a plan of freeing up the Northern Alliance. Iran’s plan succeed for the US to take Kabul from Taliban. Then in a January 29th 2002 speech George W Bush labels Iran a part of the “Axis of Evil” thus worsening relations….7) 2017, Iran is found to be certified by the US government to be COMPLIENT with the multination nuclear agreement, yet more sanctions are imposed on Iran by the USA. JCPOA, noting that “according to Article 29, the US is committed to refrain from any policy intended to affect ‘the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran.” Also, President Donald Trump is reported to dissuaded other foreign leaders from doing business with Iran at the 2017 G20 summit, thus a violation of the agreement …….8) 2010 to 2012, Israeli Intelligence assassinates 5 Iranian scientist. Oct 2011, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich supported “taking out [Iranian] scientists,” and presidential candidate Rick Santorum called the killings “A wonderful thing”…….. 9) Four fairly recent wars just outside Iran’s borders, twice in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria….. 10) Continued bad mouthing by the goons in the Trump administration…… 11) December 2011 US CIA Drone flying in Iran airspace then falls out of sky..….12) 2010 Cyberattack called “Stuxnet” on Iran by Israel and the US July 18th ….. 13) The US has up to 42 military installations surrounding Iran (My count, I could be wrong). I provided a link for a map to verify, or do your own search: this does not count Israeli military or ships at sea in the area..…. Now who are the real terrorists? (As I study this, the list keeps getting bigger and bigger)….. 14) US support of SADAM’S INVASION of Iran in Iran/Iraq war (Sadam used chemical weapons on Iran and no world condemnation)…….. 15) On March 14th, (2016) Iran announced that it will never pay the $10.5B that a U.S. court demanded it pay for the 9/11 attacks. The same Bill-Clinton-appointed judge who had ruled, on 29 September 2015, that Saudi Arabia has sovereign immunity for 9/11 and so can’t be sued for it, ruled recently, on March 9th that Iran doesn’t have sovereign immunity and fined Iran $10.5 billion to be paid to 9/11 victims and insurers; but, on March 14, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Iran won’t pay, because, as the Ministry’s spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari put it, “The ruling is ludicrous and absurd to the point that it makes a mockery of the principle of justice while [it] further tarnishes the US judiciary’s reputation.” Source: by Eric Zuesse March 16th 2016

  4. March 2, 2018 at 17:13

    Of is known by just about every international policy maker that it is not incompetence but intentional lies that the assessment contains. I really liked Putin’s remark in his State of the Nation speech: We are not looking for enemies, we are looking for friends. Would that be true of America.

  5. Lois Gagnon
    March 2, 2018 at 16:28

    What we’re experiencing I believe is the logical end game of expansionist colonial capitalism that has been ongoing for over 500 years. The fact that the intelligence report has to lie to justify ongoing US policy with regards to North Korea and Iran is just another in a long list of examples of the desperation on the part of the practitioners US hegemony.

    Nothing the US is doing globally or domestically for that matter is legitimate in terms of supporting life. Western colonialism is on its last legs and the cretins who profit off this poisonous system know it. They just refuse to admit it no matter the cost to every other living being on the planet. They need to be confronted in a legal setting to answer for their crimes. The pressure brought to bear for this will of course have to come from outside the country since as we know, the domestic population is far too brainwashed to understand why this is necessary.

    Perhaps Russia which has paid such a steep price for daring to defy the western aggressors could be the setting and lead the effort. That would be so fitting.

  6. March 2, 2018 at 13:16

    Splendid ! Truth on steroids.

  7. michael crockett
    March 2, 2018 at 02:52

    Good article Ted Snyder. It never ceases to amaze me that the MIC and MSM, who carry their water, keep telling Americans that the missile defense shield placed in Romania and Poland are to protect Europe from an attack by Iran. For years most of our citizens have swallowed this propaganda hook, line, and sinker. Thankfully President Putin and Russia have not. The operative term here is Mutually Assured Destruction. Now that the playing field is level, how about some serious discussion and diplomacy between the two super powers that leads to peace in the Middle East. This may be wishful thinking on my part. However, I do not know how the US can forever afford to pay to play this game of one upmanship. US debt is at 100% of GDP with private sector debt at an all tjme high. The dollar will soon be displaced as the world reserve currency and this alone will significantly drive up costs for food and energy. Time to stand down on empire and take a seat at the negotiating table. Lets hope for a soft landing. The world has suffered enough from the heavy foot print of our hegemony.

    • mike k
      March 2, 2018 at 10:43

      Putin’s recent speech describing their advanced weapons systems, has given America notice, in stronger terms than Kim Jong Un, that Russia is not going to be threatened and bullied by the United States. Let’s hope our “leaders” can hear him loud and clear.

      • mike k
        March 2, 2018 at 10:45

        Declining Empires become more and more out of touch with reality.

    • Jose
      March 2, 2018 at 12:55

      You are correct again. Sadly, these war hawks won’t see the light until they feel the heat up their behinds.

  8. Kalen
    March 2, 2018 at 01:02

    As this article correctly states nobody asks in MSM asks what Boy Un wants, which is the same as his father namely PEACE TREATY, with SK and Japan and that includes war reparations for 35 years of occupation, US military get out and then reunification first under two systems like China and HK under common international representation, later democratic rule via common elections.

    Every time even when proposed by SK US vetoes it, US does not want equitable settlement and Japan to pay for war crimes against Koreans who are united in that matter.

    Who is a provocateur here, who from 7000 miles away meddles in affairs of the region that want to end horrible chapter of war and establish peace missing on Korean Peninsula for over 107 years now.

    And nobody sits at negotiating table after surrendering his strongest argument which should be subject of negotiations.

    • mike k
      March 2, 2018 at 10:37

      Exactly. Many want only peace, but the US does not want peace. The US hates peace, and will do anything to destroy it. The USA lives the BIG LIE that WAR IS PEACE. Orwell tried to wake us up to BIG BROTHER’S LIES, but we have preferred to continue sleeping as our world drifts towards the Precipice……………..

  9. mark
    March 1, 2018 at 17:39

    A corrupt and politicised intelligence establishment normally ends in disaster for the country it serves.
    Sometimes this can take bizarre forms.
    During WW2, German intelligence were aware that a member of Hitler’s staff was sanitising their reports and halving their threat assessments before they were presented to Hitler.
    So if they supplied information that Allied forces in the West could field 40 divisions, they would reduce this to 20.
    So German intelligence doubled their estimates to compensate for this. They would give a figure of 80 divisions, knowing that this would be reported to him as the correct figure of 40.
    Unfortunately, they were not aware when this official was later moved, and continued to supply doubled up figures in their reports, wrongly expecting them to be halved to the correct level.
    This was one reason why the Normandy landings were misinterpreted as a diversionary attack. Hitler was waiting for the real invasion from phantom forces that never existed.

  10. Free Truth
    March 1, 2018 at 15:42

    The US is nothing but an Israeli lapdog, has been for over 100 years. To quote Charles Lindbergh:
    “The Jews are one of the principal forces attempting to lead the US into war. The Jews’ greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our Government. I am saying that the leaders of the Jewish race is ah to involve us in the war for reasons that are not American.” 9/11/1941

    • Free Truth
      March 1, 2018 at 15:43

      Wish* to involved us

    • Deniz
      March 1, 2018 at 16:17

      Are you saying that the leaders of the Jewish race want to involve us in war and the leaders of the White American race would prefer to send flowers instead of bombs? They prefer not to take the money, but what can they do, their Jewish overload is standing over them with a gun.

      Let’s look at the Board of Directors of Lockheed Martin: Daniel Akerson, Nolan D. Archibald, David B. Burritt, do these name sound like a bunch of Semites?

      This White Angel, Foreign Devil binary worldview is tiresome.

      • Free Truth
        March 2, 2018 at 13:07

        I had no idea Lockheed Martin comprised the folllowing: ‘their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our Government.’

        Please review who owns the above and get back to me. This is not to excuse any Gentiles involvement in foreign wars, but we are talking about the main driving force behind such wars. If you look at every country the US has attacked or vilified since 9/11, all have bad or no relations with Israel, including: North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc.

        • Deniz
          March 2, 2018 at 17:16

          “The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), An Instrument of “Regime Change” Financed by Wall Street
          By Tony Cartalucci”

          Corporate Power and Globalization in US Foreign Policy edited by Ronald W. Cox

          US: Lockheed Stock and Two Smoking Barrels by Richard Cummings, January 16th, 2007

          The Impact Of Geopolitics On Lockheed Martin on SeekingAlpha

          Lizzie Cheney – The Pride of Lockheed Martin – Speaketh By Larisa Alexandrovna 01/23/2007 04:02 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

          Making Money on Terrorism The Bush Administration’s apparent motto: “Leave no defense contractor behind.”
          By William D. Hartung FEBRUARY 5, 2004 The Nation

          Who is the dog and who is the tail is an open question, but criminality is not. .

  11. Realist
    March 1, 2018 at 14:57

    Anticipating a Democratic “wave” at the polls this November, Senator Chuck Schumer has just commissioned a piece of “entrance music” for the office of Senate Majority Leader, which he expects to occupy.

    Listen to the preview:

  12. Deniz
    March 1, 2018 at 13:19

    It is somewhat hopefull that our truth, that N. Korea and Iran are not terrorist threats, is shared within the intelligence community, despite their need to politicisize their intelligence assessments.

    This indicates that the distortions are coming from the IC interface with the political process, rather than eminating from an ideological apparatus that lives in its own reality.

  13. MA
    March 1, 2018 at 12:42

    “Ayatollah Khamenei has authorized his top commander to coordinate military operations with the U.S.”

    Iran denies the above:

    “However, Iran’s foreign ministry officially denied it would co-operate with the US against IS.
    Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham told Iran’s Press TV the report was not correct.”

  14. mike k
    March 1, 2018 at 12:16

    Putin’s recent speech is a game changer re: nuclear war!

  15. mike k
    March 1, 2018 at 11:28

    My experience dealing with drug addicts tells me what those having a family member who has gone over to the dark side, and become a dangerous criminal need to do. They must detach from and set aside their preferential feeling for the one they knew before addiction took them over, and act towards this new person that they have become, and act in the interests of all sane people, turning them in or stopping them from hurting others.

    The same goes for our power and war addicted leaders; we must detach from them and their pretenses to be sane, and treat them like the unrepentant criminals that they are. When we view films of family intervention meetings done for drug addicts, the main obstacle to their success is that the friends and family of the addict keep treating the addict as if they are in their right mind. Similarly, when you try to awaken someone to the insanity of our leaders, they keep trying to alibi for them, and refuse to see how hopelessly insane they have become.

    • mike k
      March 1, 2018 at 11:34

      Unfortunately, for the deeply addicted their way out is usually either long term incarceration or death. With our power addicted leaders, these may now be the only options for ending their murderous sprees – before they kill us all in their madness.

      • mike k
        March 1, 2018 at 11:36

        And if these options are not possible – then we are doomed to die at their hands, as they pursue their impossible dream of world domination.

  16. john wilson
    March 1, 2018 at 11:25

    When the head choppers in Syria and elsewhere cut off a mans head or the head of 12 year old boy, they are rightly called terrorists. However, when American butchers drop a bomb and cut hundreds of people to pieces in one go, they are called brave pilots or even more bizarre, men who deserve medals who carry out their terrorism using a joy stick somewhere in a heated office in the USA.

    • David G
      March 1, 2018 at 12:34

      But those U.S. bombs aren’t “barrel bombs”. Only barrel bombs, like the Syrian Arab Armed Forces uses, are wicked and terroristic (albeit less lethal than the U.S. arsenal).

  17. Babyl-on
    March 1, 2018 at 10:49

    One and only one goal: “Global full spectrum domination.” All foreign policy is to further that goal nothing else is considered. No human life matters, nature itself does not matter.

    • mike k
      March 1, 2018 at 11:09

      Yes. This is the face of power addiction. Morality and human lives mean less than nothing to those in the grip of this power obsession.

  18. Michael Kenny
    March 1, 2018 at 10:26

    The relatively scant attention to North Korea ought to be regarded as a good sign. The main focus of the Assessment is on Russia and in particular, but not exclusively, on Putin’s actions in Ukraine and the other European ex-Soviet Republics. That’s where the real threat lies

  19. Joe Tedesky
    March 1, 2018 at 10:20

    So N Korea and Iran are teaming up, plus according to the NYT N Korea is supplying Syria with nuclear weapon parts, and with this reporting the urgency of now picks up speed for America’s war planners. Once again diplomacy is replaced with military war talk, and once again America points to it’s adversaries as having WMD. The threat of WMD freaks us Americans out, and with that we Americans look to our ever corrupt leaders to save us from an invaders missiles. Come on now we all know that Saddam Hussein was hiding something, right?

    It is a workable process our U.S. leadership relies on, as to put fear into the American public’s heart, and by doing this our leaders pick up the public support their planned propaganda had been made for. Call the American citizen Pavlov’s dog, or maybe you picture a lab mouse running through the halls of a maze, but never the less each example is suitable to describe the governments control through the media of us citizens. Americans patriotism is always peaked at the mention of war, and even more peaked when America’s Homeland is said to be in an enemies crosshairs.

    It’s a hopeless situation to wait for the average American citizen to raise up against this tormenting news of demonizing targeted nations for American justice, as the news deficiency of the average American is astounding. And if the citizens is up on the news, then what news do they believe in a land where all news is fake. Well it’s fake for everyone else except the reader. In other words we’re screwed people, so write your congressperson, or for sure call the White House, but after that just enjoy the life you have while you still may enjoy it.

    Seriously I don’t know what more to say. You can’t make an impression on a leadership who really doesn’t want your input but only demands your approval. Your patriotism will be questioned if you question the leadership, as your closest friends and family will become your biggest inquisitors. This is your reward for keeping up on the news. Funny how people get patriotism mixed up with stupidity.

    You always had an interest in current events, and you searched high and low for the truth, but none of this is very convincing to a neighbor who believes otherwise, merely because that neighbor bought what the Deep State was selling..,.but there is no Deep State, and Oswald alone killed Kennedy, period.

    • Bob Van Noy
      March 1, 2018 at 10:57

      Very well said Joe. Thanks for being here and thanks for your clarity!

    • mike k
      March 1, 2018 at 11:06

      Yes Joe, it is pathetic how the average American’s desire to believe his/her country is good and noble has been twisted by those at the top to conceal their evil deeds and intentions. We so want our country to be a beacon of goodness and truth, but those at the top have a very different agenda, and use our naive hopes against us. To trust them is to abet their crimes…….

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 1, 2018 at 14:40

        You know mike if I had the talent of Oliver Stone & Peter Kuznick I would produce a documentary for Americans to see, that would rip their American hearts open to their understanding to just how bad our government has been in regard to war for over the last seventy years.

        I would show film footage of a devastated N Korea after Curtis LeMay bombed them back into the Stoneage. I would go into detail about Operation Phoenix and again describe the ugliness of the My Lai Massacre. I’d continue with each war, and conflict, to allow my fellow Americans to see to just exactly how bad our country’s wars of aggression have been.

        No more showing off of our military’s expensive war hardware, or staging of missiles being launched from a Naval destroyer. Let’s show the U.S. flag draped coffins, and while we are at it let’s show the innocent civilians who have suffered under our American hegemony for war, like children and babies, with all of the disgustingness that these wars have produced.

        My documentary if done right would be comparable to when the Allies after WWII opened up the Germany concentration camps for every German to see, as they passed by each exhibit with tears streaming down their regretful faces.

        You heard the saying mike, ‘get your head out from within the clouds’, well this would be my aim, as to introduce every red blooded American to see the reality of our war making, and hopefully to bring this climate of ignorance to an end with it. Joe

    • Dave P.
      March 1, 2018 at 18:50

      Good post Joe. Below is the link for the comments of Paul Craig Roberts on President Putin’s State of Union Address today. As usual PCR expresses in concise summary the essence of the problem. There is going to be lot of hue and cry in the West – Media and Political Circles – regarding this Putin’s address though he spent only four minutes on this nuclear deterrence remarks during his two hour long speech.

    • Dave P.
      March 1, 2018 at 21:18

      Very good posts Joe.

      ” . . . according to the NYT N. Korea is supplying Syria with nuclear weapon parts”.

      Well it may be that we are getting very close to some big nasty and dangerous event. With all these senators like Cardin, Feinstein, Schumer, and others egging on everyday, and with the Media beating the drums louder and louder, something has to happen. Judy Woodruff starts her evening recitation everyday with this Russia meddling in our Democracy. Others like Rachel Maddow and Wolf Blitzer have spent two years beating up on Russia. And Netanyahu is coming to Washington for a working visit. He is going to address the Congress about Iran and get all that standing applause.

      How can Trump get out of it now, not doing anything. They will force his hands. I wonder if he has real power to make these decisions; it does not seem like it.

      The Ruling Establishment in Washington, and these lackeys in Media hired by the Oligarchy who owns it, are deranged. They are completely out of touch with reality, and are doing the bidding of their Masters who are behind the scenes of this Grand Project of Full Spectrum Dominance.

      In the Western Europe, it does not look hopeful either. That is why, President Putin in his State of Union message, and Sergei Lavrov at the Conference delivered these veiled warnings of the consequences, if situation gets out of control.

      The vast majority of population in the country is just about completely brainwashed and mostly uninformed and ignorant. They can sell to them again, WMD’s, Nukes in Iran, and Russia destroying our democracy, or any other garbage they throw at them.

      We are not living in sane times. The country is almost like a lunatic asylum.

      • Joe Tedesky
        March 1, 2018 at 23:47

        So Dave this morning my wife on her phone reads of how Putin threatens us Americans with somekind of supersonic missile, ‘what-a ya think about that, Mr I love Putin’? You get that too don’t you Dave? So Mr Putin lover here finally gets to read Putin’s State of the Union Address of the Russian Federation, and to my utter shock Putin is calmly stating that since the year 2000 when the U.S, decided to pull out of the SALT Agreement, that Russia who was perfectly find with the agreement and wanted to expand upon the agreements core elements of de escalation that when the Russians saw a change in U.S. attitude well then Russia got busy to elevate their own defensive weaponry. I realize I’m a Putin stooge but Dave from one Putin apologist to another why does Russia’s defensive strategy sound all but to reasonable? I mean why wouldn’t a country being totally engulfed by another country’s or countries (NATO) be intimidated enough to ramp up their own threatened country’s defenses? This is standard Caveman defensive strategy, this is nothing new to the art of preparedness, except Putin’s response to American aggression is considered 10 times more aggressive on Putin’s part….what’s that about projected guilt Dave?

        Putin said this….

        “I hope that everything that was said today would make any potential aggressor think twice, since unfriendly steps against Russia such as deploying missile defences and bringing NATO infrastructure closer to the Russian border become ineffective in military terms and entail unjustified costs, making them useless for those promoting these initiatives.

        It was our duty to inform our partners of what I said here today under the international commitments Russia had subscribed to. When the time comes, foreign and defence ministry experts will have many opportunities to discuss all these matters with them, if of course our partners so desire.

        For my part, I should note that we have conducted the work to reinforce Russia’s defence capability within the current arms control agreements; we are not violating anything. I should specifically say that Russia’s growing military strength is not a threat to anyone; we have never had any plans to use this potential for offensive, let alone aggressive goals.

        We are not threatening anyone, not going to attack anyone or take away anything from anyone with the threat of weapons. We do not need anything. Just the opposite. I deem it necessary to emphasise (and it is very important) that Russia’s growing military power is a solid guarantee of global peace as this power preserves and will preserve strategic parity and the balance of forces in the world, which, as is known, have been and remain a key factor of international security after WWII and up to the present day.”

        That very last sentence I quoted of Putin’s could of been said by the late great Bertrand Russell who the West celebrated for his genius, but in today’s America’s MSM News Speak it is taken as Hitleristic Putin making veiled mysterious subliminal threats, and America should be on guard… very scared America, the Russians are coming to get ya.

        Just as a side note if the Trump Administration has been co-opted by a foreign government I would tell you to look no further than Jared and Nikki Haley for their ties to Adelson and Netanyahu, but as I was saying America’s corporate Class just got it in for Putin. Ah, the exciting days of western capitalism triumphs over the Russians of the 90’s is what these Wall St creeps are longing for a rival of, and we average Americans aren’t hearing that side of this insane equation of war planning story. In addition to all that what better way to increase nuclear weapon spending budgets, but to have Russia on your agenda of villains to guard against?

        So Dave what will it be tomorrow, an insane Presidential Tweet, an opportunistic congressperson with a scandalous memo laced with Russian intrigue, a Kim Jung un missile test, an Iranian civil defense drill, you think about that Dave, and then give the wife a kiss before she tells you the Breaking News of the day. Always good to hear from you Sir. Joe

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 1, 2018 at 23:52

          Here’s Putin’s whole speech….

        • Dave P.
          March 2, 2018 at 03:46


          It is a very balanced and appropriate speech by Putin at this particular time, way the things are going.

          It is not contest among the leaders. No leader is perfect. We are not fans of President Putin or anything like that. However, we are appreciative and thankful for all his efforts to keep the civil dialog going among the Nations, playing the lead role in keeping the World in peace in these very dangerous times. Russia is quite behind the West in many ways. And the Russian Leader is focused on improving the living conditions of citizens of his country. The last thing Russia wants is trouble with other Nations.

          These are not your normal times; the West is in a way trying to colonize again with force, this time the entire planet. Russia has to build up their nuclear defenses, they have been repeatedly attacked by The West for more than two centuries ; and have suffered untold destruction. And now again NATO forces are menacing their border.

          I read Economist John Kenneth Galbraith’s book “The Affluent Society” (1958) during 1960’s. Starting in 1934 during depression, Galbraith served in Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations. In the book, he writes that the U.S. society has already reached a stage of over-consumption. In other words, the consumption could be cut back, and still the country will have a great standard of living. Now in these times, we are consuming may be twice the level of 1950’s. I cannot understand why they – our Ruling establishment – are waging all these wars on the Vulnerable Nations to plunder their resources.

          Those of us who have had different lives with very minimal consumption when growing up understand much better that the West is enormously rich in land, resources, and other productive forces. And they are importing lot of talent from all over the globe including from Russia. And more, all this Capital inflow from those countries to The West; hundreds of billions of dollars every year – elites and rich people from those countries transferring their wealth to The West. More, The West has well established institutions. The appropriate thing to do was populations in the West should have been cutting down their consumption here just by a little amount, and helping the poor countries genuinely in developing their education and health facilities, and the industries suitable for their country. We still can do it. Instead we are waging wars and wreaking destruction on those helpless countries to steal whatever we can.

          Since the end of World War II, seventy years have been wasted. And there is no end in sight. The Oligarchy controlling the entire System here is not going to change, they are after the riches of the whole World. And they are busy cutting the safety net here as well – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. and other programs. All the Oligarchy wants is to spend on Weapons, Intelligence and other War Making Infrastructure to make more wars. Under such conditions, there isn’t going to be peace in the World; only Wars, and may be end of the World as we know it.

        • Dave P.
          March 2, 2018 at 04:15


          About Bertrand Russell, if he was alive today, he would be demonized everywhere in the West as Putin stooge. During the World War I, he vehemently opposed that War. He was almost killed by a mob in a church where their For Peace Organization was meeting. He spent some time in jail during the First World War – for opposing that War.

          I read some of his books at young age. I think, he was the greatest Englishman of The Twentieth Century.

  20. mike k
    March 1, 2018 at 10:10

    Let’s be clear: The USA is the number one terrorist nation in the world today. No other group is even close. Just take the “shock and awe” attack on Iraq, that left more than a million dead, millions wounded or displaced, and their infrastructure destroyed. This was an unprecedented, unprovoked act of terror. The US decrying others for terrorism rings hollow, and constitutes a gross act of hypocrisy, and an outrageous lie. We are the King of all terrorists, the world champion of naked aggression on others. The CIA, American military, and all branches of it’s government constitute one vast terrorist Mafia bent on dominating and enslaving the entire world population.

    • mike k
      March 1, 2018 at 10:20

      An Empire is by definition a huge terrorist operation. The US is an Empire. Ergo, what does that make us? If you deny this, you are a brainwashed zombie. In that case, I feel sorry for you, even as you mindlessly carry out the programing of your controllers, and go about destroying those appointed as “enemies” of the American Empire. I marvel at the power of propaganda to make people believe that evil is good, and then have them go forth and destroy the lives of others under the delusion that they are doing something “heroic.”

    • Virginia
      March 1, 2018 at 12:49

      Exactly, Mike K — “Let’s be clear: The USA is the number one terrorist nation in the world today. No other group is even close.” The US with its co – conspirators Israel and Saudi Arabia. They are in it together with Israel’s interests in mind, hastening on to the One World Order

      Two excellent articles on RT today: one by Venessa Beeley on the media’s propagandistic support of the White Helmets; the other on Putin’s state of the union address in its fuller meaning. Excellent quality journalism!

      Thanks to Ted Snider for this thorough piece. Hope to see more from you.

  21. Sam F
    March 1, 2018 at 08:47

    It is astounding that the “Worldwide Threat Assessment” pretends not to know that “Iran is not the leading state sponsor of terrorism, Saudi Arabia is.” Another “funny” lie from the disturbed adolescents hiding among the secret agencies. To assert that an NK threat “cannot be removed by negotiations” despite repeated NK statements that “if the threat to its survival were removed, the deterrent to the threat would be removed” indeed shows inability to hear the opposition or to tell the truth, and completely disqualifies the source from debate. In the process of cleaning up the secret agencies, such a WTA should help identify the abusers of public office who need to be fired and denied pensions, or imprisoned for criminal abuse of public office.

    • Bob Van Noy
      March 1, 2018 at 10:48

      “Another “funny” lie from the disturbed adolescents hiding among the secret agencies.”

      So true Sam F. Also it is incredibly frustrating when the “Microphone” is being managed by such huge behind the scenes power. At the very least a counter narrative should always be included in all official foreign policy. Kind of like a minority report. So that the general population knows that a singular policy is simply that, in isolation, one set of opinions.

      From, at least, PNAC forward, America has been subjected to a very formal and developed “narrative” that is not only irrational but is unchallenged

    • robjira
      March 1, 2018 at 20:44

      Truth be damned, Sam; the Lords of Capital have an agenda. What is morbidly amusing is that they themselves (or at least their progeny) probably won’t even survive the agenda’s long term effects. But then, neither will the population at large.
      Guess it’ll be the roaches that’ll have the last laugh.

    • nonsense factory
      March 2, 2018 at 01:30

      That threat assessment is just PR monkey speech. If they were honest about what they really viewed as the North Korean threat, in some secret classified internal document, here’s how I think it would go:

      “The greatest current threat to our continued military dominance of the Asian-Pacific region is clearly the risk of peace talks between South Korea and North Korea, in which North Korea agrees to a nuclear freeze in exchange for South Korea halting joint military exercises with the US military and scaling back our presence there. Our ‘pivot to Asia’ strategy relies heavily on a large continued military presence in South Korea and therefore it is in our interest to keep the pot boiling, and act by any means available to disrupt peace talks between North and South Korea.”

      Likewise, with Iran:
      “We believe Iran intends to revive the economic deals with Syria and Lebanon that were disrupted by our regime change operation, initiated c. 2009 and which almost managed to gain NATO member support for a bombing campaign in 2013 (see the covert chemical weapons cover story / black propaganda operation of sarin gas attacks); unfortunately, due to the Russian intervention, ISIS and Al Qaeda proxy forces have largely been destroyed and our only option left for continuing with our disruption agenda is to use Kurdish proxy forces for the same goal; this is problematic, however, as they may begin to realize it is in their best interests to cut deals with Assad and Iran as well. At that point, we would have to withdraw US troops from the region and the economic program tying Iran, Syria and Lebanon together would be reinvigorated; another fear is that EU member countries and China would rush in to cut more deals with Iran if sanctions on Iran are lifted, greatly harming our economic agenda in the area.”

      • Sam F
        March 2, 2018 at 20:17

        Yes, perhaps there are internal reports and assessments that reflect diverse opinion, although in the organizational world the views of management are seldom contradicted. When the winds of groupthink are strong, even the best supported dissent is seldom safely voiced. For that reason, the secret agencies must be caused to make their information as public as possible, and the assessments must come from the public debate of experts, based upon that and other information.

        We need an independent College of Policy Debate, to textually debate all policy matters among thousands of experts in all disciplines and regions, preserving all points of view, and not forcing any consensus. It must produce debate summaries commented by all sides, available to the public and to Congress.with automatic quizzes and proficiency scores. Only such broader processes can properly inform congressional debate.

        • Bob Van Noy
          March 3, 2018 at 09:01

          Enlightened Sam F., many thanks for describing it. I see it as Organized Open Source, free, deeply studied and analyzed, safe, comment encouraged, and even safe for voting. Democratic???

  22. Michaelwme
    March 1, 2018 at 08:07

    The author hasn’t been reading the Washington Post or the Guardian.

    In 2003, Bush, jr explained that the Iranian ayatollahs ordered 9/11 and it was perpetrated by their co-religionists in Afghanistan (led by Mullah Omar, a common Shi’a name, popular with the Ayatollahs), Iraq, Libya, Syria, the DPRK, and Cuba. Don’t let facts get in the way of the official US doctrine, accepted by Obama and Trump. Official US doctrine trumps any and all facts.

    In 2014, the Washington Post reported that, from 2003 until 2009, Bush, jr incarcerated about 100,000 secular Baathists in Camp Bucca and subjected them to ‘enhanced interrogation.’ They were convinced All_h was punishing them for being secular, and became jihadi. In 2009, Obama released all who swore they’d go to Syria, overthrow the evil regime, and never return to Iraq. This group became the start of ISIL, took over Raqqa in Syria, and, in ’14, took over most of eastern Syria and western Iraq.

    In 2016, the Washington Post and the Guardian began writing that ISIL was created by the evil regimes of Syria, Iran, and Russia to justify their brutal murder of 600,000 innocent, peaceful, pro-democracy activists.

    So now Iran is responsible for all terrorism, not as the actual perpetrators, but as the controllers. Just look at the 9/11 hijackers:

    Note that all were followers of the Ayatollahs from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, the DPRK and Cuba, and none came from Saudi Arabia.

    • mike k
      March 1, 2018 at 08:33

      That’s one way of putting it! LOL……..

    • MA
      March 1, 2018 at 12:25

      What is difference between suspected hijackers and confirmed hijackers. The above CIA list describes them suspected hijackers.

    • mijkmild
      March 2, 2018 at 12:32

      Of the nineteen listed, one is Egyptian, two are from the United Arab Emirates, one is Lebanese, and the fifteen others are from Saudi Arabia…

      …Kind of contradicts everything you just said?

  23. mike k
    March 1, 2018 at 06:55

    The article makes it seem as if the US was a helpless bystander and witness to the terror activities of Saudi Arabia, which they carried out independently, while we tried to stop them. I had expected the article to point out that the number one sponsor of terrorism in the world is the United States of America. Our pretense of fighting terrorists in Syria, for instance, conceals our massive support and use of those same terrorists. Saudi Arabia is not capable of engaging in major actions on the world stage without the support of the US, they are simply a cat’s paw for the US funneling arms to our proxy terrorists seeking to overthrow Assad for the sake of Israel, and as a prelude to attacking Iran, and then Russia.

    • Michaelwme
      March 1, 2018 at 08:18

      The article says the US asked the GCC to fund moderates, not al-Qaeda. Wrong. al-Qaeda in Syria are all peaceful, pro-democracy activists, funded heavily by the US and the GCC to overthrow the evil regime, to drive out the Russians who are squatting on NATO military bases, and to also drive out the evil Iranian and Lebanese terrorists. They are Cameron’s ‘70,000 moderates’. They showed the US reporter Theo Padnos their hospitality for years (when he’d only wanted to stay for a week or two). (al-Qaeda’s marketing branch calls itself the Free Syrian Army).

      • MA
        March 1, 2018 at 10:44

        And CIA/Mossad’s deception branch calls itself Al-Qaeda according to Sibel Edmond’s Gladio B.

        • March 1, 2018 at 13:18

          MA – thanks for referencing Operation Gladio. Too few people are aware that Western governments in Europe spent decades killing their own citizens and blaming the bombings and shootings on “communists” or “the left,” all under a CIA organized NATO program referred to as “Gladio” in its Italian version, and now simply known as Operation Gladio. The single fact of the existence of this program should alone be enough to destroy all public confidence in Western governments and their non-stop war propaganda. For those unfamiliar with this history Dr. Ganser’s book on Gladio is well worth the read:

      • Jim Meeks
        March 2, 2018 at 19:15

        Great satire

    • March 1, 2018 at 12:08

      “Our pretense of fighting terrorists in Syria, for instance, conceals our massive support and use of those same terrorists.” True, Mike,…the expansion into Syria and Yemen also deflects from the nucleus of the problem. A recent interview on RT with Norman Finkelstein hones in on just how bad the situation has become in Gaza.

    • Jose
      March 1, 2018 at 15:05

      You are correct Mike: examples are abundant to back up your contention that US is not an innocent bystander. On the contrary, it has both promoted and participated enthusiastically in worldwide terrorism with disastrous consequences for the victims. Cuba, Libya, Nicaragua, and Syria have been victimized by US terror. The historical record is a clear testament to this genocidal foreign policy. The evidence is out there for anybody to see. Moreover, it takes a conscious effort not to see the obvious.

    • March 1, 2018 at 23:00

      Very good piece, Ted. Thanks.

      Ray McGovern

    • nonsense factory
      March 2, 2018 at 01:20

      Apparently the only thing Saudi intelligence has ever done is distribute funds to proxy jihadist forces, be it the mujahideen in Afghanistan (in cooperation with the CIA and Pakistani ISI) in the 1980s, or to Al Qaeda in the late 1990s (the 9/11 money trail is interesting, as are the Saudi intelligence agents who facilitated the movements of some of the 9/11 hijackers), or more recently to ISIS groups in first Iraq (2009?) and then in Syria (c.2011 onwards).

      Some of that is laid out nicely in Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars, the definitive record of CIA/Saudi/Pakistani cooperation in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and of the debacle that followed, leading up to 9/11. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on his recent Directorate S, which covers the period from about 2001-2016.

      The US seems to have taken a very active role in financing and arming terrorists in Syria, though, much more active, with the CIA training camps sent up in Turkey and Jordan and a budgetary outlay as large as the Afghanistan project in the 1980s, at least – much more directly involved, it appears; the CIA rat line from Libya to Syria is of considerable interest, as are the CIA training camps, with the ones in Jordan feeding money and fighters to ISIS in collaboration with the Saudis, and the ones in Turkey more involved with the Al Qaeda jihadists in the northeast and east of Syria.

      Any honest observer would admit, that if Russia hadn’t intervened, beginning with the destruction of the ISIS oil convoys to Turkey that were financing so many ISIS operations, then Syria could have become an Islamic State stronghold – and, as Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon actually admitted in public, that was the outcome they were hoping for!

      What they really didn’t foresee, at all, was that ISIS would break out of Syria and Iraq, go global, and start killing people in Europe and Britain (and see also that US nightclub attack). Nor did they seem to foresee the exodus of millions of refugees via Libya and from Syria, which radically impacted Europe, causing their NATO allies so many problems, driving Brexit and the rise of far-right political parties in eastern Europe.

      All told, what a pack of idiots and bloodthirsty psychopaths.

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