On January 8, 2023 the US has to release a federal prisoner who is known as one its most notable opponents of treatment of Cuba since its revolution. She is Ana Belén Montes, and she will be freed after over 21 years in a federal military prison.
She was a top official on Latin America in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) who, solely out of moral conviction, gave Cuba information on top secret US military plans and operations. Unrepentant in her trial, she defended herself saying, “I obeyed my conscience rather than the law. … I felt morally obligated to help the island defend itself from our efforts to impose our values and our political system on it.”
Ana Belén is one of the many Americans who have taken a moral stance in opposition to the actions of their government, and who were subsequently hunted as traitors or spies. Edward Snowden was another such figure, having exposed how the National Security Agency’s spying on the US population and leaders of other countries. Rather than spend much of his life in a federal prison, Snowden has opted to live in exile in Russia.
While the US movement in defense of Cuba did not champion the case of Ana Belén as with the very similar situation of the Cuban Five, she is recognized as a hero in Cuba. In 2016, the famed Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez dedicated a song to her, explaining, “The prisoner I mentioned yesterday… is Ana Belén Montes and she was a high official of the US secret services. When she knew that they were going to do something bad to Cuba, she would pass on the information to us. That is why she is serving a sentence of decades…Much evil did not happen to us because of her. Freedom for her.”
Silvio Rodríguez le dedicó esta canción a la presa política del imperialismo Ana Belén Montes, quien saldrá libre este fin de semana después de pasar 20 años de prisión en aislamiento total #FreeAnaBelen #FreeLeonardPeltier #FreeJulianAssange #FreeAlexSaab pic.twitter.com/4OphzkUXVp
— Roi Lopez Rivas (@RoiLopezRivas) January 4, 2023
Ana Belén did not receive any money from Cuba for her 16 years of work. Knowing the dire risks she faced, she acted out of a belief in justice and solidarity with Cuba. For over 60 years, the country has suffered under a US blockade – repeatedly condemned by the United Nations – imposed in retaliation for choosing national sovereignty over continued neocolonial status. US supported terrorism against Cuba has killed 3,478 and caused 2,099 disabling injuries over the years.
One of the charges brought against Ana Belén was having helped assure Bill Clinton and George W. Bush that Cuba represented no military threat to the US, and therefore contributed to avoiding another US regime change war that would have meant the death of countless Cubans. She also acknowledged having revealed the identities of four American undercover intelligence officers working in Cuba.
“The Queen of Cuba” hailed from a family of feds
Born in West Germany on February 28, 1957, a Puerto Rican citizen of the United States, and a high official in the Defense Intelligence Agency, Ana Belén was convicted as a spy for alerting Cuba to the interventionist plans that were being prepared against the Cuban people.
In 1984 while working as a clerk in the Department of Justice, Ana Belén initiated her relationship with Cuban security. She then applied for a job at the DIA, the agency responsible for foreign military intelligence to the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The DIA employed her in 1985 until her arrest at work 16 years later. She became a specialist in Latin American military affairs, was the DIA’s principal analyst on El Salvador and Nicaragua, and later Cuba.
Because of her abilities, Ana Belén became known in US intelligence circles as “the Queen of Cuba”. Her work and contributions were so valued that she earned ten special recognitions, including Certificate of Distinction, the third highest national-level intelligence award. CIA Director George Tenet himself presented it to her in 1997.
“She gained access to hundreds of thousands of classified documents, typically taking lunch at her desk absorbed in quiet memorization of page after page of the latest briefings,” which she would later write down at home and convey to Cuba.
Avoiding capture through discretion, until the intercept came
On February 23, 1996, the Cuban Ministry of Defense asked visiting American Rear Admiral Eugene Carroll to warn off Miami Brothers to the Rescue planes that planned to again fly over Havana. Carroll immediately informed the State Department.
Instead of ending the provocations, the US let the planes fly, and two “Brothers to the Rescue” planes were shot down over Cuba the next day. The US exploited the flare-up to sabotage the growing campaign to moderate the US blockade of the island. The US official who arranged Admiral Carroll’s meeting was Ana Belén. Her explanation that the date was chosen only because it was a free date on the Admiral’s schedule was accepted.
Nevertheless, a DIA colleague reported to a security official that he felt Ana Belén might be under the influence of Cuban intelligence. He interviewed her, but she admitted nothing. She passed a polygraph test.
Ana Belén had access to practically everything the intelligence community collected on Cuba, and helped write final reports. Due to her rank, she was a member of the super-secret “inter-agency working group on Cuba”, which brings together the main analysts of federal agencies, such as the CIA, the Department of State, and the White House itself.
The Washington Post reported, “She was now briefing the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Security Council and even the president of Nicaragua about Cuban military capabilities. She helped draft a controversial Pentagon report stating that Cuba had a ‘limited capacity’ to harm the United States and could pose a danger to U.S. citizens only ‘under some circumstances.'”
Rolando Sarraff Trujillo, a US agent in Cuba’s Ministry of Interior that Cuba had uncovered and imprisoned, was released and traded for three of the Cuban 5 in 2014. He had “provided critical information that led to the arrests of those known as the “Cuban Five;” of former State Department official Walter Kendall Myers and his wife, Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers; and of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s top Cuba analyst, Ana Belén Montes.”
In 1999 the National Security Agency intercepted a Cuban communication. It revealed a spy high in the hierarchy, who was associated with the DIA’s SAFE computer system. It meant the spy was likely on staff of the DIA. The suspect had also traveled to Guantánamo Bay in July 1996. Coincidentally, Ana Belén worked in the DIA and had traveled to the Bay on DIA business. The spy was using a Toshiba laptop, and it was discovered she had one. A decision was taken to break into her flat and copy the hard drive.
Since the case being put together indicated she was providing information to Cuba, she was arrested by FBI agents on September 21, 2001 while in her DIA office. She was charged with conspiracy to commit espionage for Cuba. “She told investigators after her arrest that a week earlier she had learned that she was under surveillance. She could have decided then to flee to Cuba, and probably would have made it there safely.” But her political commitment made her feel “she couldn’t give up on the people (she) was helping.”
Nigerian commentator Owei Lakemfa presented ten reasons he thought Ana Belén Montes avoided detection during her 16 years in the DIA. Among the most important was that she was extremely discreet and kept to herself. She lived alone in a simple apartment north of the US capital, and memorized documents, never taking any home. And she never received unexplainable funds.
Ironically, her brother was an FBI special agent, and her sister an FBI analyst who “played an important role in exposing the so-called Wasp Network of Cuban agents [the Cuban 5 and 7 others] operating in Florida.”
Ana Belén avoided the death penalty for high treason, highly likely in the post September 11 atmosphere, by pleading guilty before the US federal court handling her case. Since she acknowledged her conduct, and told the court how she worked, she was sentenced to “only” twenty-five years. However, she was imprisoned in conditions designed to destroy her, as the case with Julian Assange today. She was sent to special unit of a federal prison for violent offenders with psychiatric problems.
“I obeyed my conscience rather than the law”
In her October 16, 2002 trial statement, she declared that she obeyed her conscience:
“There is an Italian proverb that is perhaps the one that best describes what I believe: The whole world is one country. In that ‘world country’, the principle of loving your neighbor as much as you love yourself, is an essential guide for harmonious relations between all our ‘nation-neighborhoods’.
This principle implies tolerance and understanding for the different ways of others. It mandates that we treat other nations the way we wish to be treated – with respect and compassion. It is a principle that, unfortunately, I believe we have never applied to Cuba.
Your Honor, I got involved in the activity that has brought me before you because I obeyed my conscience rather than the law. Our government’s policy towards Cuba is cruel and unfair, deeply unfriendly; I feel morally obligated to help the island defend itself from our efforts to impose our values and our political system on it.
We have displayed intolerance and contempt for Cuba for four decades. We have never respected Cuba’s right to make its own journey towards its own ideals of equality and justice. I do not understand how we continue to try to dictate how Cuba should select its leaders, who its leaders cannot be, and what laws are the most appropriate for that nation. Why don’t we let Cuba pursue its own internal journey, as the United States has been doing for more than two centuries?
My way of responding to our Cuba policy may have been morally wrong. Perhaps Cuba’s right to exist free of political and economic coercion did not justify giving the island classified information to help it defend itself. I can only say that I did what I thought right to counter a grave injustice.
My greatest wish would be to see a friendly relationship emerge between the United States and Cuba. I hope that my case in some way will encourage our government to abandon its hostility toward Cuba and work together with Havana in a spirit of tolerance, mutual respect and understanding.
Today we see more clearly than ever that intolerance and hatred – by individuals or governments – only spreads pain and suffering. I hope that the United States develops a policy with Cuba based on love of neighbor, a policy that recognizes that Cuba, like any other nation, wants to be treated with dignity and not with contempt.
Such a policy would bring our government back in harmony with the compassion and generosity of the American people. It would allow Cubans and Americans to learn from and share with each other. It would enable Cuba to drop its defensive measures and experiment more easily with changes. And it would permit the two neighbors to work together and with other nations to promote tolerance and cooperation in our one ‘world-country,’ in our only world-homeland.”
Brutal prison conditions aimed to destroy Ana Belén
Jürgen Heiser of the German solidarity Netzwerk-Cuba reported that “Ana Belén has been isolated in conditions that the UN and international human rights organizations describe as ‘cruel and unusual punishment.’ and torture. Her prison conditions were further exacerbated after her trial, when she was placed in the Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Carswell, outside of Fort Worth, Texas. The FMC is located on a US marine compound and previously served as a military hospital… It includes a high security unit set aside for women of “special management concerns” that can hold up to twenty prisoners. A risk of “violence and/or escape” are specified as grounds for incarceration in the unit. This is where the “spy” Ana Belén is being held in isolation, in a single-person cell.”
Her cell neighbors have included one who strangled a pregnant woman to get her baby, a longtime nurse who killed four patients with massive injections of adrenaline, and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, the Charles Manson follower who tried to assassinate President Ford.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram has regularly covered the abuses against the women inmates at Fort Carswell Carswell prison, which has also housed two other political prisoners Reality Winner and Aafia Siddiqui. Detainees have suffered gross violations of their human rights, including documented cases of police abuse, suspicious deaths where the investigations into them have been blatantly obstructed, deaths due to the denial of basic medical attention, rape of prisoners by guards, and exposure to toxic substances. In July 2020, 500 of the 1400 prisoners had Covid. The Star Telegram reported “the facility showed a systemic history of covering misconduct up and creating an atmosphere of secrecy and retaliation…”
Ana Belén wrote, “Prison is one of the last places I would have ever chosen to be in, but some things in life are worth going to prison for, or worth doing and then killing yourself before you have to spend too much time in prison.”
She has been subjected to extreme conditions in that prison, akin to those imposed on Assange. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has reported that:
She can only have contact with her closest relatives, since her conviction is for espionage.
No one can inquire about her health or know why she is in a center for people with mental problems, when she does not suffer from them.
She cannot receive packages. When her defenders sent her a letter, it has been returned by certified mail.
Only people on a list (no more than 20 who have known her before her incarceration and have been approved by the FBI) can correspond, send books, and visit Ana. Few people have visited her besides her brother and niece.
She cannot interact with other detainees in jail, and was always alone in her cell.
She is not allowed to talk on the phone, except to her mother once a week for 15-20 minutes.
She could not receive newspapers, magazines or watch television. After a dozen years in prison, the restrictions were slightly relaxed.
Karen Lee Wald noted in 2012, “If she is taken out of her cell in the isolation unit for any reason, all other prisoners are locked in their cells so they cannot speak to her. Basically, she has been buried alive.”
David Kovics, the renowned leftist songwriter, was moved to pay tribute to her in song. Oscar Lopez Rivera, who was jailed by the US during his fight for Puerto Rican independence, said, “I think that every Puerto Rican who loves justice and freedom should be proud of Ana Belén. What she did was more than heroic. She did what every person who believes in peace, justice and freedom and in the right of every nation to govern itself in the best possible way and without the intervention or threat of anyone, would have done.”
On December 15, the night that the Biden administration released some of the remaining JFK files while withholding others with another half-assed excuse, Tucker Carlson, the most-watched cable news television host, delivered a monologue about the JFK assassination. It garnered a great deal of attention.
Although I don’t watch Carlson’s television show, I received messages from many friends and colleagues, people I highly respect, about his monologue’s great significance, so I watched that episode. And then I watched it many more times.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a man whom I hold in the highest esteem, tweeted that it was “the most courageous newscast in 60 years. The CIA’s murder of my uncle was a successful coup d’état from which our democracy has never recovered.”
While I completely agree with his second sentence, I was underwhelmed by Carlson’s words, to put it mildly. I thought it was clearly “a limited hangout,” as described by the former CIA agent Victor Marchetti:
Spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting, sometimes even volunteering, some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further.
Or listens carefully.
Carlson surely said some things that were true, and, as my friends and many others have insisted, he was the first mainstream corporate journalist to say that “the CIA was involved in the assassination of the president.”
But “involved” is a word worthy of a lawyer, a public relations expert, or the CIA itself because it can mean something significant or nothing. Or a little of both. It is a weasel word.
And the source for Carlson’s claim was an anonymous source, someone who he said “had access” to the JFK files that were never released. We know, of course, that when The New York Times and its ilk cite “anonymous sources,” claiming that they have told them this or that, this raises eyebrows. Or should. Anyone who closely follows that paper’s claims knows that it is a CIA conduit, but now, those who know this are embracing Tucker Carlson as if he were the prophet of truth, as if a Rupert Murdock-owned Fox TV host who is paid many millions of dollars, has become the Julian Assange of corporate journalism.
In a 2010 radio interview, Mr. Carlson said, “ I am 100 % his bitch. Whatever Mr. Murdoch says, I do.”
The obvious question is: Why would Fox News allow Carlson to say now what many hear as shocking news about the JFK assassination?
So let me run down exactly what Carlson did say.
For five minutes of the 7:28 minute monologue, he said things that are obviously true: that Jack Ruby killed Oswald and that the claim that both acted alone is weird and beyond any odds; that the Warren Commission was shoddy; that the CIA weaponized the term “conspiracy theory” in 1967 according to Lance De Haven-Smith’s book Conspiracy Theory in America; that the CIA’s brainwashing specialist psychiatrist Louis Jolyon West visited Jack Ruby in jail and declared him insane, contrary to all other assessments of Ruby’s mental state; and that the 1976 House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded that there was probably a conspiracy in the president’s assassination.
All of this is true but not news to those knowledgeable about the assassination. Nevertheless, it was perhaps news to Carlson’s audience and therefore good to hear on a corporate news site.
But then, the next few minutes – the key part of his report, the part that drew all the attention – got tricky.
Carlson said that just that day – December 15, 2022 – when all the JFK documents were due to be released but many were withheld, “we spoke to someone who had access to these still hidden CIA documents.” Who would have such access, and how, is left unaddressed, but it is implied that it is a CIA source, but maybe not. It is strange to say the least.
Carlson then said he asked this person, “Did the CIA have a hand in the murder of John F. Kennedy?” And the answer was “I believe they were involved.” Carlson goes on to say, “And the answer we received was unequivocal. Yes, the CIA was involved in the assassination of the president.”
Note the words “hand,” “believe,” “involved,” and then “unequivocal.”
“Hand” can mean many things and is very vague. For example, in front of his wife, a man tells his friend, “I had a hand in preparing Christmas dinner.” To which his wife, laughing, replies, “Yes, he did, he put the napkins on the table.”
To “believe” something is very different from knowing it, as Dr. Martin Schotz, one of the most perceptive JFK assassination researchers, has written in his book, History Will Not Absolve Us: Orwellian Control, Public Denial, and the Murder of President Kennedy
On Belief Versus Knowledge
It is so important to understand that one of the primary means of immobilizing the American people politically today is to hold them in a state of confusion in which anything can be believed but nothing can be known, nothing of significance that is.
And the American people are more than willing to be held in this state because to know the truth — as opposed to only believe the truth — is to face an awful terror and to be no longer able to evade responsibility. It is precisely in moving from belief to knowledge that the citizen moves from irresponsibility to responsibility, from helplessness and hopelessness to action, with the ultimate aim of being empowered and confident in one’s rational powers.
“Involved,” like the word “hand,” can mean many things; it is vague, slippery, not definitive, and is used by tabloid gossip columnists to suggest scandals that may or not be true.
“Unequivocal” does not accurately describe the source’s statement, which was: “I believe.” That is, unless you take someone’s belief as evidence of the truth, or you wish to make it sound so.
Note that nowhere in Carlson’s report does he or his alleged source say clearly and definitively that the CIA/National Security State murdered President Kennedy, for which there has long been overwhelming evidence. Such beating-around-the-bush is quite common and tantalizes the audience to think the next explosive revelation will be dispositive. Yet no release of documents is needed to confirm that the CIA killed Kennedy, as if the national security state would allow itself to be pinned for the murder.
Waiting for the documents is like waiting for Godot; and to promote some hidden smoking gun, some great revelation is to engage in a pseudo-debate without end. It is to do the killers’ bidding for them. And it is quite common. There are many well-known “dissident” writers who continue to claim that there is not enough evidence to conclude that the CIA/national security state killed the president. And this is so for those who question the official story. Furthermore, there are many more pundits who maintain that Oswald did the deed alone, as the Warren Report concluded and the mainstream corporate media trumpet. This group is led by Noam Chomsky, whose acolytes bow to their master’s ignorant conclusions.
Maybe we’ll know the truth in 2063.
While it is true that some people change dramatically, Tucker Carlson, the Fox Television celebrity, would be a very unlikely candidate. He defended Eliot Abrams and praised Oliver North; supported the Contras against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua; went to Nicaragua to support those Contras; smeared the great journalist Gary Webb while defending the CIA; supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq; and much more. Alan MacLeod chronicled all this in February of this year for those who have known nothing of Carlson’s past, including his father’s work as a U.S. intelligence operative as director of the U.S. Information Agency (USIA), the body that oversees government-funded media, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio and TV Martí and Voice of America – all U.S. propaganda outlets.
Now we are being asked to accept that Carlson is out to show how the CIA is “involved” in the murder of JFK. Why would so many fall for such rhetoric?
No doubt any crumb of national news coverage about the CIA and the assassination by a major corporate player elicits an enthusiastic response from those who have tried for many years to tell the truth about JFK’s murder. One’s first response is excitement. But such reactions need to tempered by sober analyses of exactly what has been said, which is what I am doing here. I, too, wish it were a breakthrough but think it is more of the same. Much ado about nothing. A way to continue to foster uncertainty, not knowledge, about the crime.
I see it as a game of false binaries in the same way the Democrats and Republicans are portrayed as mortal enemies. Yes, there are some differences, but all-in-all they are one party, the War Party, who agree on the essential tenets of U.S. imperial policy. They both represent the interests of the upper classes and are financed by them. They both work within the same frame of reference. They both support what Ray McGovern, the former CIA analyst, rightly calls the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex (MICIMATT).
If one asks a dedicated believer in the truthfulness of The New York Times Corporation or NPR, for example, what they think of Tucker Carlson, they will generally dismiss him with disdain as a right-wing charlatan. This, of course, works in reverse if you ask Carlson’s followers what they think of the Times or NPR. Yet for those who think outside the frame – and they are all non-mainstream – a different picture emerges. But sometimes they are taken in by those whose equivocations are extremely lawyerly but appeal to what they wish to hear. This is exactly what a “limited hangout” is. Snagged by some actual truths, they bite on the bait of nuances that don’t mean what they think they do.
Left vs. right, Fox TV vs. The New York Times, NPR, etc.: Just as Carlson’s father Dick Carlson ran the CIA-created U.S. overseas radio propaganda under Reagan and George H. W. Bush, so too the present head of National Public Radio, John Lansing, did the same under Barack Obama. See my piece, Will NPR Now Change its Name to National Propaganda Radio. Birds of a feather disguised as hawks and sparrows in a game meant to confuse and create scrambled brains.
Lastly, let me mention an odd “coincidence.” On December 6 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., nine days before the partial JFK files release and Tucker Carlson’s monologue, the Mary Ferrell Foundation, an organization devoted to JFK research, gave a presentation showcasing what was advertised as explosive new information about the Kennedy assassination. The key presenter was Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post reporter and prominent JFK assassination researcher who has sued the CIA for documents involving Lee Harvey Oswald and CIA operative George Joannides.
On November 22 Morley had published an article titled “Yes, There is a JFK Smoking Gun.” It was subtitled: It will be found in 44 CIA documents that are still “Denied in Full.” The documents he was referring to allegedly concern contacts between Oswald and Joannides in the summer and fall of 1963 in New Orleans and in Mexico City. “They [the CIA] were running a psychological warfare operation, authorized in June 1963, that followed Oswald from New Orleans to Mexico City later that year,” wrote Morley.
Well, the “smoking gun” documents were not released on Dec 15, although on November 20 and then again at The National Press Club on December 6, Morley spoke of them as proving his point about the CIA’s involvement with Oswald, which has been obvious for a long time. Although he said he hadn’t seen these key documents but was awaiting their release, he added that even if they were not released that will still prove him correct. In other words, with this bit of legerdemain, he was saying: What I don’t know, and may not soon not know, supports what I’m claiming even though I don’t know it. And even if the files were released, he writes, “As for the conspiracy question, the massive withholding of documents makes it premature to draw any conclusions. The undisclosed Oswald operation was not necessarily part of a conspiracy. It might indicate CIA incompetence, not complicity. Again, only the CIA knows for sure.” So the smoking gun is not a smoking gun and the waters of uncertainty roll on and on into the receding future.
CIA incompetence, not complicity. Of course. It ain’t necessarily so. Or it is, or might be, or isn’t.
Morley is one of many who still cannot say that the CIA killed the president. Tucker Carlson can speak of its “involvement” just like Morley. We need more information, more files, etc. But even if we get them, we still won’t know. Maybe by 2063.
My question for Tucker Carlson: Who was your anonymous source? And did your source see the documents that were never disclosed? What specific documents are you referring to? And do they prove that the CIA killed Kennedy or just suggest “involvement”?
Finally, as I said before, even as there has long been a mountain of evidence for the CIA’s murder of JFK (and RFK as well, although that is never mentioned), many prominent people continue to play as if there is not. Listen to this video interview between Chris Hedges and former CIA officer John Kiriakou. It is all about the nefarious deeds of the CIA. Right toward the end of the interview (see minutes 32:30-33:19), Hedges says, “So I have to ask [since he has to answer] this question since I know Oliver Stone is convinced the CIA killed JFK … I’ve never seen any evidence that backs it up …” and they both share a mocking laugh at Stone as if he were the village idiot when he knows more about the JFK assassination than the two of them put together, and Kiriakou says he too has not seen such evidence. It’s a disgusting but typical display of arrogance and a “limited hangout.” Criticize the CIA only to make sure you whitewash them for one of their greatest achievements: the murder of President John F. Kennedy. This is straight from Chomsky’s playbook.
Beware double-talkers and the games they play. They come in different flavors.
Since 2008, we have lived in a western world shaped by the ‘permanent state’ or by our managerial technocrats – label to choice.
Since 2008, we have lived in a western world shaped by the ‘permanent state’ or by our managerial technocrats – label to choice.
This ‘creative class’ (as they like to see themselves) is particularly defined by its intermediary position in relation to the wealth-controlling oligarchic cabal as ultimate big money overlords on one hand, and the dullard ‘Middle Class’ below them – at whom they sneer and deride.
This intermediary class didn’t set out to dominate politics (they say); It just happened. Initially, the aim was to foster progressive values. But instead, these professional technocrats, who both had accreted considerable wealth and were tightly congregated into cliques in America’s large metro areas, came to dominate left-wing parties around the world that formerly were vehicles for the working class.
Those who coveted membership in this new ‘aristocracy’ cultivated their image as one of cosmopolitan, fast-moving money, glamour, fashion, and popular culture – multiculturalism suited them to perfection. Painting themselves as the political conscience of the whole of society (if not the world), the reality was that their Zeitgeist reflected primarily the whims, prejudices and increasingly psychopathies of one segment of liberal society.
Into this milieu arrived two defining events: In 2008, Ben Bernanke, Chair of the Federal Reserve, gathered together in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, a room-full of the wealthiest oligarchs, ‘locking them in’ until they found the solution to the unfolding systemic bank failure.
The oligarchs did not find a solution but were released from their lock-up anyway. They opted instead, to throw money at structural problems, compounded by egregious errors of judgement about risk.
And to finance the resulting massive losses – which were over $10 trillion in the U.S. alone – the world’s central banks began printing money – since when they have never stopped!
Thus begun the era in the West where deep problems are not solved, but simply have freshly-printed money thrown at them. This methodology was whole-heartedly adopted by the EU also, where it was called Merkelism (after the former German Chancellor). Underlying structural contradictions were simply left to accumulate; kicked down the road.
A second defining characteristic of this era was that as the great oligarchs retreated from industrial production and threw themselves into hyper-financialisation, they saw advantage in adopting the burgeoning Metro-Élite agenda centred around utopian ideals of diversity, identity and racial justice – ideals pursued with the fervour of an abstract, millenarian ideology. (Their leaders had almost nothing to say about poverty or unemployment, which suited the oligarchs perfectly).
So, espying advantage, the Oligarchs too, turned radical. Led by such as the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, Big Philanthropy and Business, they adopted woke speech and thought codes. And endorsed putting wealth directly into the hands of those who have been systematically victimized, through history. But again, deep structural change in society was addressed superficially – as simply moving money from ‘one pocket to another’.
The real problem flowing from the 2008 crisis however, wasn’t essentially financial. Yes, the losses were shifted from failing institutions balance sheets to the Fed’s, but the real structural problems were never addressed. So, people soon believed that almost every problem could be solved by speech and thought codes – married to the printing press.
Political trade-offs were no longer to be considered a requisite. Costs no longer relevant. In this environment, no problem was too big to solve through behavioural management techniques and the central bank. And if there wasn’t a crisis to mandate and ‘liquify’ agenda change, then one could be invented. And, sure enough, as soon as the U.S. Fed began to return to ‘normal’ policies in 2018 and 2019, a new, even bigger crisis was found.
Not surprisingly, in the context of what was seen as failed Civil Rights and New Deal reforms, the activist movements being funded by the Oligarchic ‘wealth funds’ turned more radical. They adopted a revolutionary cultural activism deployed to “solve problems once and for all” – aimed at bringing about deep structural change within society.
This meant shifting power once again away from the liberal Middle Class ‘who were so often white and male’ – and were therefore part to society’s structural injustice. Put simply, the western Middle Class became seen by the technocrats as a pain in the backside.
The point here is what was missed in all the talk of ‘positive discrimination’ paths in favour of ‘victims’ was the other side to the coin: Negative harmful discrimination practiced against those ‘blocking the path’ – those failing to get out of the way.
Scott McKay’s Revivalist Manifesto calls this hostile discriminatory process, ‘weaponised Government Failure’ – such as the induced government dysfunctionality in U.S. cities to drive the Middle Class away. “‘White flight’ is a feature. It’s not a bug”, its advocates preached. The urban socialist Left wants a manageably small core of rich residents, and a teeming mass of pliable poor ones, and nothing in between. That’s what weaponized governmental failure produces, and it’s been a wide-scale success.
New Orleans votes 90 percent Democrat; Philadelphia is 80 percent Democrat; Chicago is 85 percent. Los Angeles? Seventy-one percent. None of those cities will have a Republican mayor or city council again, or at least not in the foreseeable future. The Democrat Party barely exists outside of the ruins that those urban machines produce.
The bigger message is that ‘induced dysfunctionality’ can produce a society that can be ruled over (made compliant through unpleasantness and hurt) – without having to govern it (i.e. make things work!).
This process is evident too, in the EU today. The EU is in crisis because it has made a hash of its governance in respect to sanctions on Russian energy. The leadership class thought the effects of EU sanctions on Russia to be ‘slam dunk’: Russia would fold in weeks, and all would return as it was before. Things would go back to ‘normal’. Instead, Europe faces melt-down.
Yet, some leaders in Europe – zealots for the Green Agenda – nonetheless pursue an approach parallel to that in the U.S. – of ‘weaponised failure’, conceived as a strategic asset to achieve Green Net Zero ends.
Because … it forces their societies to embrace de-industrialisation; accept carbon footprint monitoring and the Green Transition – and to bear its costs. Yellen and certain EU leaders have celebrated the financial pain as accelerating Transition, like it or not, even if it pushes you out of employment, to the edge of society. Dysfunctional European airports are one example to discourage Europeans from travel and adding to the carbon load!
Put simply, this is another noxious trait that has emerged with the 2008 ‘turn’. Sociopathy refers to a pattern of antisocial behaviours and attitudes, including manipulation, deceit, aggression, and a lack of empathy for others that amounts to mental disorder. The defining characteristic of the sociopath is a profound lack of conscience – an amorality however, which may be hidden by an outwardly charming demeanour.
‘Nudging’ us to compliance through cost, or making life intolerable, is the new way to rule. But our world is rapidly fracturing into potted zones of ‘old normal’ and surrounding pools of disintegration.
Which brings us to the big question: As the West skirts economic systemic failure again, why not then call together the billionaire Oligarchs, as in 2008, and lock them in a room, until they find a solution?
Yes, the Oligarchs may hold themselves in high regard (being so rich), but their last effort gave no solution, but rather was an exercise in self-preservation, achieved through throwing freshly printed money at broad structural problems, thus easing the transition of their empires into their new financialised identity.
However, something does seem to have changed around 2015-2016 – a reaction began. The latter originates not from Oligarchs but from certain quarters in the U.S. system who fear the consequences, were the mass psychological dependency on the printing of ever more money not to be addressed. Their fear is that the slide to societal conflict as wealth and wellbeing distortions explode apart, will become unstoppable.
The Fed however, may be attempting to implement a contrarian, controlled demolition of the U.S. bubble-economy through interest rate increases. The rate rises will not slay the inflation ‘dragon’ (they would need to be much higher to do that). The purpose is to break a generalised ‘dependency habit’ on free money.
The only question from market participants everywhere is when does the Fed pivot (back to ‘printing’) … when? They want their ‘fix’ and want it quickly.
So many are ‘dependent’: The Biden Admin needs it; the EU is dependent on it; the Re-set requires printing. Green requires printing; support for the Ukrainian ‘Camelot’ requires printing. The Military Industrial Complex needs it, too. All need a free cash ‘fix’.
Perhaps the Fed can break the psychological dependency over time, but the task should not be underestimated. As one market strategist put it: “The new operating environment is entirely foreign to any investor alive today. So, we must un-anchor ourselves from a past that is ‘no longer’ – and proceed with open minds”.
This period of zero rates, zero inflation and QE was an historical anomaly – utterly extraordinary. And it is ending (for better or worse).
A small Fed ‘inner circle’ may have a good grasp of what the new operating environment will mean, but any detailed implementation simply can’t extend faithfully down a long trickle-down chain of command oriented to the obverse ‘Growth’ paradigm pleading for ‘pivot’. How many of the people currently involved with this transition understand its full complexity? How many concur with it?
What can possibly go wrong? Starting the shift at the top is one thing. However, the cure for ‘induced governance dysfunctionality’ as an operating strategy in a ‘permanent state’ staffed by sociopath Cold Warriors and technocrats selected for compliance is not obvious. The more sociopathic may tell the American public F*** you! They intend ‘to rule’ – ruin or not.
Stella Assange, wife of Julian Assange, talks about his incarceration in Belmarsh maximum security prison
Matt Kennard sits down with Stella Assange, wife of Julian Assange, to talk about his incarceration in Belmarsh maximum security prison, his case against extradition to the U.S., his persecution by Washington and the state of the UK judiciary.
In the first part of this essay, I gave my interpretation of the background of the current confrontation in Korea. I argued that, while the past is the mother of the present, it has several fathers. What I remember is not necessarily what you remember; so, in this sense, the present also shapes or reshapes the past.
A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.
In my experience as a policy planner, I found that only by taking note of the perception of events as they are differently held by the participants could one understand or deal with present actions and ideas. I have tried to sketch out views of the past as we, the North Koreans and the South Koreans, differently view them in Part 1 of this essay.
Now I want to undertake a refinement of the record I have laid out. I want first to show how our perception, the interpretation we place on the events that swirl past us, adds a new and formative element to them. Whether consciously or not, we tend to put events into a pattern. So the pattern itself becomes part of the problem we face in trying to understand events. Staking out a path – an interpretation or a theory of what random bits and pieces mean or how they will be interpreted and acted upon by others — is a complex and contentious task.
Getting it wrong can lead us astray or even be very dangerous. So the interpreter, the strategist, must always be tested to see if his interpretation makes sense and the path he lays out is the one we want to travel. I will make this explicit below.
My experience in what was certainly the most dangerous situation America ever experienced, the Cuban Missile Crisis, led me to believe that at least in a crisis how we think about events and what we remember of the past often determines our actions and may be the deciding difference between life and death. So here I will begin with the mindset that underlay American policy for the last half century.
Anyone who reads the press or watches TV is beset with countless scraps of information. In my experience in government service, the deluge of information was almost paralyzing. Some of my colleagues joked that the way to defeat our adversaries was to give them access to what passed over our desks every day. It would immobilize them as it sometimes immobilized us.
How to separate from the flow the merely interesting from the important and how to relate one event to others were demanding tasks. Making them useful has been undertaken by strategists time after time over the last several thousand years. Machiavelli is the best known among us, but he was far from the first. [I have dealt with these issues in detail in Neighbors and Strangers: The Fundamentals of Foreign Affairs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).]
Theory of Deterrence
The latest and arguably the most persuasive recent attempt to develop a sort of framework or matrix to bring some sense of order and some ability to understand events has been the theory of deterrence. While “just a theory,” it set American policy toward the Soviet Union in the Cold War. It was developed to understand and deal with the Soviet Union in the Cold War, but it will determine much of what America tries to do with North Korea today.
President John F. Kennedy addressing the nation regarding the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
To simplify and summarize, Cold War strategists led by such men as Henry Kissinger, Thomas Schelling and Bernard Brodie believed that ultimately relationships among nations were mathematical. Deterrence thus meant gathering the elements that could be added up by both sides. If country “A” had overwhelming power, country “B” would be deterred in its own interest from actions that were detrimental to them. Failure to “do the sums” correctly in the “game of nations” was to “misplay.”
Emotion and even politics had no role; in the real world. It was realpolitik that governed. Put another way, the weak would add up their capabilities and would necessarily give way to the strong to avoid being destroyed.
The great Greek historian Thucydides long ago set the tone: “Right, as the world goes,” he wrote, “is only in question between equals in power; the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” Only by acting in this mindset would the national interests, the real interests, of each country be preserved and peace among nations be achieved.
Deterrence worked reasonably well up to and including the Cuban Missile Crisis. But during that crisis, as some of the theory’s critics had long held, a potentially fatal flaw became evident.
The flaw is that “national interest” – what can be added up or quantified as the assets and what gives it its strength — is not necessarily always coincident with “interest of government.” That is, governments may not always be guided by a rational calculation of national interest. There are times when leaders cannot afford, even if they precisely add up the figures, to act according to such slow-moving impulses as national interest. They may be subject to quite different and more urgent impulses. They may be emotional or otherwise be irrational, fearful of their lives or worried that they would lose their positions, or they may be driven by public opinion or by the different calculations of such other centers of power as the military. Being guided by the abstract calculation of national interest may then be impossible.
Let me illustrate this from my experience in the Cuban Missile Crisis, then in a war game the Department of Defense (DOD) organized to reexamine the Missile Crisis and finally in a meeting in Moscow with my Russian counterparts.
In the Missile Crisis, both President Kennedy (certainly) and Chairman Khrushchev (probably) were under almost unbearable pressure not only in trying to figure out how to deal with the events but also from the warnings, importuning and urging of their colleagues, rivals, supporters and from their military commanders. Whether either leader was in danger of overthrow of his regime or assassination is still unknown, but both were at least potentially at risk because the stakes were, literally, the fate of the world and opinions on how to deal with the possibility of ruinous war were strongly held.
Obviously, the loss to both of their nations in the event of a nuclear exchange would have been catastrophic so the national interest of both was clear: it was to avoid war. But how to avoid it was disputatious. And it was not nations that were making decisions; it was the leaders, and their interests were only in part coincident with national interest.
We were lucky that at least Kennedy realized this dilemma and took steps to protect himself. What he did is not well understood so I will briefly summarize the main points. First, he identified General Lyman Lemnitzer, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), as the main hawk. Lemnitzer was pushing him toward a nuclear war and had shown his hand by presenting a “black” plan (“Operation Northwoods”) to be carried out by the JCS to trigger war with Cuba.
[Curiously, “Operation Northwoods” is hardly known even today. It was described by the eminent scholar on intelligence James Bamford in Body of Secrets (New York: Doubleday, 2001), 82 ff, as the “launching [of] a secret and bloody war of terrorism against their own country in order to trick the American public into supporting an-ill-conceived war they intended to launch against Cuba.” Provocations were to be manufactured: hijacking of aircraft, murders and the explosion of the rocket that was carrying astronaut John Glenn into space. Lemnitzer lied to Congress, denying the plan’s existence, and had many of documents destroyed. Although he was dismissed as chairman of the JCS by Kennedy, the organization he formed within the JCS continued to plan covert actions. It would have been surprising if Kennedy did not worry about a possible attempt on his government.]
Fearing a Coup d’Etat
Apparently realizing that the plan could easily have been turned into a coup d’état, Kennedy removed Lemnitzer as far from Washington as he could (to Europe to be the NATO commander). Kennedy also assembled a group of elder statesmen, most of whom had served under the Eisenhower and Truman administrations in positions senior to the current military commanders and were identified as conservatives — far from Kennedy’s image as a liberal.
President John F. Kennedy meeting with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev on June 3, 1961, in Vienna. (State Department photo)
Ostensibly, he sought their advice, but in practice what he sought was their approval of his decisions. He also was careful to instruct the public in his speech on the Monday, the first public acknowledgement of the crisis, that he was firmly in control and was determined to protect American interests.
Then, in the solution to the crisis, removing the American missiles from Turkey, he pretended that their removal was not a price he had to pay to end the crisis. Thus, in several ways, he neutralized potential critics, at least during the crucial time of the Crisis. But, not long afterwards, he was assassinated by persons, forces, or interests about whom and whose motivation there is still much controversy. At minimum, we know that powerful people, including Lemnitzer, thought Kennedy had sold out national interest in pursuit of the interest of his administration.
At the same time in Moscow, Mr. Khrushchev probably risked his life by accepting the humiliation imposed on his regime by the forced withdrawal of Russian missiles from Cuba. Apparently, for of course we do not know, he felt less immediate danger than Kennedy because the Soviet system had always distrusted and guarded against its military commanders. A Lemnitzer there would probably have been “disappeared,” not just sent into a polite exile. And hovering beside each of the senior officers of the Soviet army was a political commissar who was responsible to the civilian administration – that is, to the Communist Party leadership – for the officer’s every move, every contact, almost every thought. The military did what the civil leadership told it to do.
I presume Khrushchev believed that he had his colleagues with him, but that cannot have been very reassuring given the record of the Politburo. And, when he died, Khrushchev or at least his reputation paid a price: he was refused the supreme accolade of Soviet leadership; he was not buried with other Soviet heroes in the Kremlin Wall. That we know; what we cannot know is whether or not he thought he was, or actually was, in danger of being overthrown.
What is clear is that he was strong enough – and faced with no blatant or destructive action by America – that he was able to surmount the “interest of government” to protect “national interest.” In short, he was not backed into a corner.
Were it not for the strength and bravery of both men, we might not have survived the Missile Crisis. Obviously, we cannot always be so served. Sometimes, we are apt to be dependent on weaker, more timorous and less steady men. This is not an abstract issue, and it has come back to haunt us in the Korean confrontation as it surely will in other confrontations. Understanding it may be a matter of our survival. That was not just my view but was also was even then the nagging worry of the DOD.
Thus, in the aftermath of the crisis, the DOD sought reassurance that deterrence had worked and would continue to work. That is, it sought to test the theory that leaders would add up the sums and be governed by what they found rather than by political, emotional or other criteria.
A Nuclear War Game
To this end, the DOD commissioned the conflict strategist Thomas Schelling to design and run a politico-military war game to push the experience of the Missile Crisis to the extreme, that is to find out what the Russians would they do if they were dealt a severe, painful and humiliating nuclear blow?
A scene from “Dr. Strangelove,” in which the bomber pilot (played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its target in the Soviet Union.
Schelling’s game pitted two small teams of senior, fully-briefed U.S. government officers against one another in the Pentagon. Red Team represented the USSR and Blue Team the U.S. Each was provided with all the information Khrushchev would have had. Shortly after assembling, we were told that Blue team destroyed a Red Team city with a nuclear weapon. What would Red Team do?
Since it was far weaker than the United States, by the deterrence theory it would cave in and not retaliate.
To Schelling’s exasperation, the game proved the opposite. It showed that action only in part depended on a rational calculation of national interest but rather in circumstances of crisis, would be governed by the political imperatives faced by the government. I have discussed this in detail elsewhere, but in brief, the members of Red Team, who were among the most experienced and gifted men from the State Department, the White House, the CIA and the DOD, chaired by the very conservative admiral who was Chief of Naval Operations, decided unanimously that Red Team had no option but to go to general war as fast and as powerfully as it could.
Shelling stopped the game, saying that we had “misplayed” and that if we were right he would have to give up the theory of deterrence. We laid out the reasons for our decision.
That decision was taken on two grounds: the first was that acquiescence was not politically possible. No government, Russian or American or other, could accept the humiliation of the loss of a city and survive the fury of those who felt betrayed. Even if at ruinous cost, it would strike back. This is a lesson apparently still unlearned.
Indeed, it could cause the death of each person reading this essay if applied in real life in a nuclear first strike as I will shortly make clear in discussing the Korean crisis.
The second basis for the decision was that, despite Kissinger, Schelling and other “limited nuclear war” advocates, there is no such thing as limited nuclear war in the real world. A nuclear strike would inevitably lead to retaliation, nuclear if possible, and that retaliation would lead to counter-retaliation.
In the war game, Red Team realized that if Mr. Khrushchev were to retaliate for America’s destruction of Baku by incinerating St. Louis, it would have posed a challenge, regardless of who was at fault or what the odds of success were, that Kennedy could not have ducked. He would certainly have been overthrown and almost certainly assassinated if he had not responded. He almost certainly would have destroyed a second Russian city.
Tit-for-tat had no stopping point. Each response would lead to the next and quickly to general war. So Red Team went immediately to the best of its bad options: hitting back immediately with everything it had: in short, we opted for general war.
Fortunately that scenario was not tested. In the real Cuban Missile Crisis, no city was incinerated. Neither Kennedy nor Khrushchev was pushed beyond “calculation.” But it was a very close call. My own hunch, from having been one of the 25 or so civilians closely involved in the real-life crisis, is that Kennedy and his team could not have held firm much longer than the Thursday or Friday of that terrible week.
The implications are clear – and terrifying – but neither Shelling nor other Cold Warriors have accepted them. We are still today approaching the conflict in Korea with the mindset that our war game showed was fatally flawed.
The last test of the result of the war game came when I lectured on strategic planning and participated in a seminar on the Missile Crisis with the members of the then principal advisory group to the Politburo, the Institute of World Economy and International Affairs of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. In a word, my opposite numbers there agreed with the analysis I have just laid out: Khrushchev could not have accepted an American nuclear attack. He would have responded even though he realized that the overwhelming advantage – the “numbers” – were against him.
They also agreed that in practical terms there was no such thing as limited nuclear war. A “limited” nuclear strike would be, inevitably, the first step in a general war.
Lacking Wise Leaders
I will speculate below on how the actual events of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the result of the war game might apply to the current conflict in Korea. Here let me anticipate by saying that we have no reason to believe that the men who will decide the issue are of the caliber of Kennedy and Khrushchev.
President Donald Trump, speaking in Warsaw, Poland, on July 6, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)
Both Kennedy and Khrushchev were strong, pragmatic, experienced and well supported men. In today’s conflict between the United States and North Korea, neither Donald Trump nor Kim Jong Un evince similar attributes. Some critics even question their sanity. But, they will make the decisions, so I focus on them, their motivations and their capacities. I begin with Mr. Trump.
I have never met Mr. Trump and our backgrounds are very different so I am driven to two, admittedly incomplete and questionable, ways of understanding him. The first of these is his own description of his thought process and way of acting. The three characteristics that seem to me most germane to foreign affairs and particularly to the confrontation in Korea are these:
–On November 12, 2015, Mr. Trump declared, “I love war.” In fact, as the record showed, he went to considerable trouble to deny himself the pleasures of going into harm’s way during the Vietnam War. And, now, should he decide to take America to war, he would not put his own life in danger.
In my time in Washington, such “war-lovers from afar“ were often referred to as “chicken-hawks.” They loved to talk about war and to urge others to get into it, but, like Mr. Trump, they never volunteered for action and never, in their pronouncements, dwelt on the horror of actual combat. For them war was another TV episode where the good guys got a bit dusted up but always won.
Mr. Trump presumably meant by the word “war” something very different from real war since he explained, “I’m good at war. I’ve had a lot of wars on my own. I’m really good at war. I love war, in a certain way but only when we win.”
For Mr. Trump, as his actions show, every business deal was a sort of war. He conducted it as what military strategists call a zero-sum game: the winner took all and the loser got nothing. There was little or no negotiation. “Attack” was the operational mode and his opponent would be driven to defeat by the threat of financial ruin. This was the “certain way” he called his many “wars on my own.”
The record bears him out. He overwhelmed rivals with lawsuits against which they had to defend themselves at ruinous cost, convinced them that if they did not acquiesce he would destroy them and was unrelenting. He was very good at it. He made his fortune in this form of “war.” He seems to believe that he can apply his experience in business to international affairs. But nations are not so likely to go out of business as the rivals he met in real estate transactions and some of them are armed with nuclear weapons.
–On several occasions, Mr. Trump set out his understanding of the role of nuclear weapons. In 2015, as a candidate, he was quoted as saying, “For me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.” But I find no evidence that he realizes what “devastation” really means. It is one thing to drive a business rival into bankruptcy and quite another to oversee the burning to death of hundreds of thousands or millions of people and relegating still more to homelessness and starvation in a ruined environment.
One supposes that he is aware of what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but they are misleading. Modern nuclear weapons are far more powerful: a one megaton weapon, for example, is about 50 times as powerful as the weapon that destroyed Hiroshima. Those of us who dealt with the threat of nuclear war in the Cuban Missile Crisis were aware of the effects of such “standard” weapons.
I see no evidence that Mr. Trump knows what a nuclear war would actually do. Indeed, he is quoted as saying, “what is the point of having nuclear weapons if you don’t use them?” He will find advisers who will tell him that they must be used. The ghost of General Lemnitzer hovers near the Oval Office.
Proud of Unpredictability
–Mr. Trump prides himself on unpredictability. Unpredictability was his business strategy. As he told an interviewer from CBS on January 1, 2016, “You want to be unpredictable … And somebody recently said — I made a great business deal. And the person on the other side was interviewed by a newspaper. And how did Trump do this? And they said, he`s so unpredictable. And I didn`t know if he meant it positively or negative. It turned out he meant it positively.”
Graphic for “The Celebrity Apprentice” when it was starring Donald Trump.
Another time Trump said on TV “I want to be unpredictable.” The record shows his use of the ploy, but perhaps it is more than just a ploy. Perhaps it is a manifestation of his personality, so I want to probe its meaning.
Years ago, I was informed that the CIA maintained a staff of psychoanalysts to profile foreign leaders. If the office still exists, the doctors presumably do not practice their arts on American officials, and certainly not on the President. As part of their professional code, psychiatrists are not supposed to diagnose anyone they have not personally examined, and I doubt that anyone will be able to get Mr. Trump to lie down on the coach.
But, as psychiatrists Peter Kramer and Sally Satel have pointed out, Mr. Trump has shown himself to be “impulsive, erratic, belligerent and vengeful” so “many experts believe that Mr. Trump has a narcissistic personality disorder.” Reacting to having such a leader with his hand on the nuclear trigger, Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin introduced a bill to establish an “Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity” (H.R. 1987) as authorized by the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. It has not been acted upon and it allows the President latitude to “pardon” himself.
Since his actions and the efforts of others do not offer much insight, I suggest his actions lend themselves to a perhaps instructive analogy, the game of “chicken.”
–In “chicken,” two drivers aim their speeding cars at one another. The one who flinches, turns aside, or (as Secretary of State Dean Rusk put it to me during the Cuban Missile Crisis) “blinks,” is the chicken. The winner is the driver who convinces the loser that he is irrational, deaf to all appeals and blind to danger. He cannot get out of the way.
In Mr. Trump’s strategy of war, the irrational man wins because he cannot be reached with any warning, argument or advice. Knowing this, the other man loses precisely because he is rational. Three things follow from this analogy. They seem evident in Mr. Trump’s approach to the issues or war or peace:
The first is that irrationality, ironically becomes a rational strategy. If one can convince his opponents that he is cannot be reasoned with, he wins. This has worked for years in business for Mr. Trump. I see no reason to believe that he will give it up.
The second is that the driver of the car does not need information or advice. They are irrelevant or even detrimental to his strategy. So, we see that Mr. Trump pays no attention to the professionals who man the 16 agencies set up by previous administrations to provide information or intelligence.
One example where his professed plan of action flies in the face of the intelligence appreciation is Iran. As the former deputy director of the CIA David Cohen found “disconcerting,” Mr. Trump has repeatedly said that Iran was not abiding by the terms of the Iranian-American deal on nuclear weapons before “finding the intelligence to back it up.” But that is inherent in Trump’s strategy of confrontation. He surely knows – but does not care — that the entire intelligence community holds that Iran has abided by the deal.
In Trump’s mind, intelligence analysts are “back seat drivers” and should keep quiet. By questioning his blindness, they suggest to the driver of the other car that Mr. Trump might swerve aside. Thus, they threaten to destroy the irrationality that is the essence of his strategy.
And, third, what Mr. Trump, the “driver” of the car in the “chicken” confrontation, does need is absolute loyalty. Those who sit beside him must never question how he is driving. Any hint of their trying to dissuade his actions threatens to destroy his strategy. So, as we see almost daily, at any hint of disagreement, he pushes his copilots out of the car. Indeed, at least one hardly even got into the “car” before being pushed out the door.
His actions both in business and in the presidency illustrate these points. He takes pride in irrational actions, shifting from one position to another, even its opposite, on what appears to be a whim. He disdains advice even from the intelligence services and also from presumably loyal members of his inner circle. What he demands is absolute loyalty.
Finally, it seems to me that Mr. Trump has understood, far better than most of us, that the public likes to be entertained. It is bored by consistency. It doesn’t pay much attention to explanation or analysis. And as the financially successful record of the TV industry and the sorry record of the book publishing industry show, the public wants entertainment. Mr. Trump caters to popular taste: every episode is new; every remark, simple; every threat, dramatic; and, perhaps most powerfully of all, he echoes angers, disappointments, hurts, desires that many of his supporters also feel.
This mode of operation worked for Trump in the business world. His image of ruthlessness, determination and even irrationality caused some of the biggest potential rivals to get out of his way and many others to accept his terms rather than risk a collision. It is not Trump or his mode of operation that has changed but the context in which he operates. Citibank with which he clashed did not have nuclear weapons; North Korea does. So how does Kim Jong Un measure up?
Measuring Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un is the third generation of the North Korean leadership. That position is almost beyond the comprehension of modern Westerners. Ruling dynasties went out of fashion in the First World War. But perhaps consideration of “dynasty” can be made to yield useful insights. One who tried to learn what dynastic succession could tell us was the great medieval North African philosopher of history, Ibn Khaldun.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Observing Berber and Arab societies, Ibn Khaldun found that the first dynasty, sweeping in from the desert, was made up of men who were rough and vigorous; their sons still remembered times of struggle and retained their hardihood, but the third generation grew use to ease and settled into luxury. Its leaders kept power by relying on outside forces. The fourth generation lost it all.
The fit to Korea is far from exact, but it is provocative. Kim Il-sung was a guerrilla warrior, not unlike the warring tribal leaders with whom Ibn Khaldun dealt. Sweeping in from Siberia he took power (admittedly with Soviet help), ruled for nearly half a century and established the dynasty; in the second generation, his son Kim Jong-Il came seamlessly to power on his death in 1994. While he shared little of his father’s war-like experiences, he seems to have been a hard man, as Ibn Khaldun expected. But he gives just a hint of the growth of the enjoyment of the new environment. The luxury he enjoyed was exactly what Ibn Khaldun would have predicted. He took as his mistress a beautiful dancer. From this union came Kim Jong Un, the personification of the third dynasty.
Young Kim Jong Un grew up in what was, in Korean terms, the lap of luxury and as a child was allowed to play the child’s game of soldiers. His soldiers, however, were not toys; they were real. There is no certain information, but it is believed that he was made a senior officer in the North Korean army when he was just a child. When he was 12 years old, his father sent him to a private school in Switzerland. Being provided with a personal chef to cook Korean dishes as well as a tutor and a driver/bodyguard, he does not seem to have really been “in” Europe.
He was taken out of the Swiss school when he was 15 and put into a public school in Korea. Those few who knew him have commented that he was intensely patriotic. At his father’s choice, although he was not the elder son, he was singled out as the successor, the man of the third generation.
Despite this unusual background he seems remarkably like an ordinary American schoolboy: he loved sports, particularly basketball, spent a lot of time watching movies and was an indifferent student. This is just about all know about his background. He did not emerge in public until about the time his father was dying.
In 2009, he is thought to have married a beautiful young women who has been variously described as a singer in a popular music group, a cheerleader in a sports event and a doctoral candidate in a Korean university. When his father finally died in 2011, the 32-year-old Kim Jong-un became North Korea’s leader. But on assuming power, he showed himself a more ruthless, determined and absolute ruler than Ibn Khaldun would have predicted.
Almost immediately, he purged his father’s top general among other senior officials, and allegedly he ordered or tolerated the murder of his elder brother whom he must have seen as a potential rival. More generally, he proved himself skillful in organizing the bitter memories of the Korean War among his people to support his regime.
To explain in part the inconsistency of what he did and what was expected of the third generation, I suggest that that he must have constantly had before him lesson of Saddam Husain who lacked nuclear weapons, could not defend himself and was hanged. Watching these events as a young man, Kim Jong Un must have been convinced that he could not afford to give himself up to luxury. As his opponents charge, he may have many vices but sloth is not one of them.
From this sketchy background of the two men whose hands are on the nuclear trigger, I turn to what their choices are. That is, what is the range of policies they must be considering or enacting to accomplish what they say are their objectives.
A map of the Korean Peninsula showing the 38th Parallel where the DMZ was established in 1953. (Wikipedia)
As I understand his objectives, the ruler of North Korea is determined to protect his regime (and of course his own life) and believes he can do so only if he has the capacity to deliver a blow sufficiently painful to any attacker that would deter him.
As Siegfried Hecker, the former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory who has visited North Korea seven times and toured its nuclear facilities, has written (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 7 August 2017), Kim Jong Un “is determined to develop an effective deterrent to keep the United States out.” His answer is a missile-carried nuclear weapon.
Contrariwise, President Trump’s announced objective (which in general echoes that of previous administrations) is to get the North Korean government to stop its development of both nuclear weapons and missiles. He has, theoretically, a range of policies to effect his objective.
Taking back my former role as a policy planner, I would divide the possible courses of American action, the cost of each and its likelihood of being accomplished as follows:
–The first possible policy is what could be called “bluster and threat without armed action.” This is what President Trump is doing today. His outbursts apparently go over well with his loyal supporters but his words have not apparently at least so far affected Kim Jong Un.
However his words have delivered the worst possible result: it has increased North Korean fear of U.S. invasion, has increased Kim Jong Un’s determination to develop a deliverable nuclear weapons capability and has probably stoked the war fever of the Koreans.
Thomas Schelling, with whom I disagreed on other issues, got this one right. As he wrote in The Strategy of Conflict, “madmen, like small children, can often not be controlled by threats” and “if he is not to react like a trapped lion, [an opponent] must be left some tolerable recourse. We have come to realize that a threat of all-out retaliation gives the enemy every incentive, in the event he should choose not to heed the threat, to initiate his transgression with an all-out strike on us; it eliminates lesser courses of action and forces him to choose between extremes.”
In making that choice, Kim Jong Un hears President Trump. threatening “fire and fury, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” (Kim responded with the threat to bomb America’s air base on Guam island “to teach the U.S. a severe lesson.”)
Mr. Trump said America was “locked and loaded” and its “patience is over.” And, in addition to remarks on the internet and to audiences all over America, he authorized a simulated war exercise (known as Foal Eagle 2017) by some 300,000 troops armed with live ammunition in and around South Korea which, of course, the government of the North regarded as provocative. But the U.S. did not alert its troops in South Korea nor its aircraft on Guam nor its ships at sea that an outbreak of hostilities was imminent. In short, the threat appeared all talk but no action.
Sen. John McCain, a man with some experience in combat, commented that President Trump’s recent fiery rhetoric on North Korea would only ratchet up the heat for a possible confrontation but nothing else.
As the conservative political commentator Anthony Cordesman wrote on August 5, 2017, “One would hope that the North Korean ‘crisis’ is moving away from bluster and counter bluster … [since] gross overreaction and issuing empty threats discredits the U.S. in terms of allies support and is not a meaningful bargaining tool in dealing with fellow blusterers like Kim Jong Un.”
Conclusion: the likelihood of this line of action accomplishing the stated objective of American policy is near zero, but the costs are twofold: first, the threat of intervention forces the North Korean government to accelerate its acquisition of the very weapons America wishes it to relinquish and serves to keep its armed forces on alert lest the Americans convert threat to attack or stumble into war; the second cost is that such a policy undercuts the image Americans wish to project as the upholders of peace and stability even if not always of democracy and independence.
The Limited Strike Option
–The second possible policy would be to attack selected targets, including members of North Korea’s government, with Special Forces and/or drones. Employment of such tactics even in less organized societies, such as Somalia, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, have created chaos but have not produced what their advocates predicted.
Near the ceasefire line between North and South Korea, President Barack Obama uses binoculars to view the DMZ from Camp Bonifas, March 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
North Korea is a regimented state with a high level of “security” comparable to China. In the 1960s, I once was ordered to find out what the CIA might be able to do with this or a similar option to slow down Chinese nuclear development. The CIA was then sending agents into China from secret bases on Quemoy and Matsu. I asked what they found out. The responsible CIA officer replied that he did not know because none ever returned. That experience would probably be repeated in Korea.
Conclusion: the likelihood of such action accomplishing the stated objective of American policy is near zero, but the cost could be catastrophic: An American attack, even if denied and covert, almost certainly would trigger a North Korean response that might provoke an American counterstroke that could escalate to nuclear war.
–The third possible policy would be to encourage North Korea’s neighbors to attempt to coerce it to disarm and/or to scale back its military policy. Such a policy could aim to get China to control the North Koreans and possibly then encourage or allow Japan and/or South Korea to acquire nuclear weapons and so, themselves, pose a threat to North Korea and indirectly to Chinese interests.
Mr. Trump has several times called on the Chinese to effect the American policy on North Korea and has expressed his disappointment that they have not done so. When their own interests were at stake, the Chinese did impose sanctions and cut back on the import of Korean coal, iron ore and seafood. But China can hardly be expected to lend itself to be a tool of American policy. It too has memories of the Korean War and of attempts to weaken or overthrow it. Today, it also sees the U.S. as its rival in the Pacific. So, it is unlikely that Mr. Trump’s saying that “they do Nothing for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue” — will win Chinese support.
If not the Chinese, what about the Japanese? As I have pointed out in Part 1 of this essay, Japan is tarred by the nearly half century of its brutal regime in Korea. Korean “comfort women,” sexual slaves, are still seeking compensation for the misery inflicted on them and their plight is standard fare in Korean media.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has been pushing for Japanese rearmament and is known for his hard line on North Korea, is not a good choice to convince North Korea to cooperate with America. Encouraging militarism in Japan will raise bitter memories all over East Asia.
Moreover, were Japan to rearm itself with nuclear weapons or were South Korea to be given them, as Mr. Cordesman thinks Mr. Trump may feel forced to do, the overall and long-range objectives of the United States would be severely damaged: the “cure would be worse than the malady.”
We don’t need more nuclear weapons powers; the political history of South Korea gives little assurance of a “responsible” nuclear policy; and there is no reason to believe that a nuclear-armed South Korea or a nuclear-armed Japan would be more successful than a nuclear-armed America.
Worse, if South Korea and Japan were to develop or acquire nuclear weapons, such action might set off a scramble by other nations to acquire them. The world was already deadly dangerous when only two states had nuclear weapons; the danger of use by design or accident was multiplied when five more states acquired them and if the number keeps on growing accidental or deliberate use will become almost inevitable.
To spread weapons further is against America’s national interest although some of President Trump’s advisers apparently discount the danger and believe enhanced nuclear power at home and selective spread aboard is to the interest both of the nation and of his administration.
Conclusion: the likelihood of getting others to successfully accomplish American objectives vis-à-vis North Korea is near zero. Faced with nuclear-armed South Korea and Japan, North Korea would logically accelerate rather than cut back its weapons program. China has its own policies and is unlikely to serve as an American proxy. Moreover, the costs of giving South Korea and Japan nuclear weapons is potentially enormous.
The Nuclear Option
–The fourth theoretical policy option would be an American or American-led “coalition” attack on North Korea similar to our two attacks on Iraq and our attack on Afghanistan. America could hit the country with almost any level of destruction it chose from total annihilation to targeted demolition. Knowing that they could not prevent attacks, the North Koreans have adopted a policy that sounds very like America’s Cold War strategy against the Soviet Union, mutual assured destruction or MAD. What would this amount to in the Korean conflict?
North Korean missile launch on March 6, 2017.
The cost of war to North Korea would be almost unimaginable. If nuclear weapons were used, much of North Korea would be rendered unlivable for a generation or more. General Douglas MacArthur had wanted to use the nuclear bomb during the first Korean War in the early 1950s, but even with only conventional weapons used in that conflict, the Koreans suffered casualties, reportedly, of about one in each three persons.
If the U.S. used nuclear weapons this time, millions, perhaps as many as 8 million to 12 million, would be killed and many of the rest of the 26 million inhabitants would be wounded or afflicted with radiation sickness. Once initiated, the attack would have done this damage in minutes or hours. So how would the North Koreans respond?
Their government would order them to retaliate. That is what they are constantly being trained to do. As the Korean War demonstrated, the North Koreans are determined fighters. It would be foolish to expect them to surrender.
The North Korean army is said to be the fourth largest in the world, roughly 1 million men, and is backed up by an active reserve about 5-6 times that many from a potential enrollment of about 10 million. This force is equipped with perhaps 10,000 tanks and self-propelled cannon.
The numbers are impressive but, as in chess, it is position that counts in war. The North is believed to have about 12,000 cannon and roughly 2,300 rockets within range of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Seoul has a population of somewhat more than 10 million people and, in the event of an American attack on North Korea, the North Koreans have said they would obliterate it.
As David Wood wrote on April 18, 2017, “In a matter of minutes, these heavy, low-tech weapons could begin the destruction of the South Korean capital with blizzards of glass shards, collapsed buildings and massive casualties that would decimate this vibrant U.S. ally and send shock waves through the global economy.”
In addition to the South Koreans who would suffer and die, there are about 30,000 US troops in the armistice zone. They, and the hundreds of thousands of dependents, supporters and families of the troops living in Seoul, are hostages to U.S. policy. They also would suffer terrible casualties.
Could the North Koreans carry out such massive counterstrikes? There seems little or no doubt that they could, even if they were subjected to massive first strikes even with nuclear weapons. The North Koreans learned from the first Korean War to use mobile, hard to detect or target, launchers and to go underground to prepared firing points.
Probably many of the North Korean weapons would be destroyed, but there are so many that the surviving pieces could inflict massive casualties. Almost incredible photos, from North Korean television, published in The Sun on April 26, 2017, showed demonstration by hundreds of North Korean artillery pieces and rocket launchers firing into the sea. In the event of war, they would be firing into Seoul.
Then there are the missiles. Japan generally and U.S. bases in Japan and on the island of Guam are within the range of North Korean mid-range rockets. And Alaska and the U.S. West Coast are either already or soon will be within range. Would North Korea use them as a counterstrike? On August 7, as Business Insider reported, “North Korea issued a stark warning to the US: If you attack us, we will retaliate with nuclear weapons.”
Judging from my experience in the Cuban Missile Crisis, I am sure that we would have done so. It is unlikely that Kim Jong Un would do less than John F. Kennedy.
Losing Los Angeles
If in reply to an American attack, the North Koreans struck the United States what would be the result? Loren Thompson speculated in the August 30, 2017 issue of Forbes on “What a Single North Korean Nuclear Warhead Could Do To Los Angeles.” He picked Los Angeles because it is or soon will be in range of North Korean missiles and would be an obvious choice against which to threaten retaliation. With a population of more than 13 million, it is the second largest city in America.
Illustration by Chesley Bonestell of nuclear bombs detonating over New York City, entitled “Hiroshima U.S.A.” Colliers, Aug. 5, 1950.
As I write this, North Korea appears to have demonstrated a somewhat less powerful thermonuclear weapon, about seven times the power of the bomb that obliterated Hiroshima, but Thompson speculates on the result of Los Angeles being hit by a bomb that North Korea presumably will soon have, about 33 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb.
Hit by it, all structures, no matter how securely built with reinforced concrete, within a radius of half a mile from ground zero “would be either totally destroyed or rendered permanently unusable.” The enormous pressure created by the fireball would heavily damage the adjoining circle of 2½ to 3 miles. Virtually all civic facilities (electrical grids, water mains, transport facilities, etc.) would be rendered inoperative and civil services (fire departments, police, hospitals, schools) would be destroyed or severely damaged.
A cloud of radioactive materials would be spread over a far larger area. And perhaps as many as a million people would have been burned to death immediately with many more grievously wounded and unable to get help. And that would be only in the first hours or days. In the following days, the wounded, often suffering from burns, hungry, thirsty, terrified and desperate, would limp out of the core area into the suburbs and surrounding towns, overwhelming their facilities.
Los Angeles would be only one target. North Korea would have nothing to lose by using all of its missiles and bombs. Some might go astray or malfunction, but some might hit San Francisco, Seattle, perhaps Denver and more remotely St. Louis, Dallas and perhaps Chicago. If one reached New York, the damage would be far greater than in Los Angeles.
Conclusion: As Steven Bannon, President Trump’s former “Chief Strategist” is quoted as saying, “There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”
That may explain why he was fired. And retired Lt. General James Clapper, who as the former Director of National Intelligence was not in danger of losing his job, told CNN, we must “accept the fact that they are a nuclear power.”
An attack on North Korea, while almost certainly devastating to North Korea, would be prohibitively expensive for America. Moreover, while it would temporarily prevent North Korea from posing a nuclear threat, it would create another area of chaos, like those created in Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Afghanistan. Attacking North Korea is not a rational policy choice.
Trying to Talk
–The remaining policy option is negotiation. What would be negotiable and what not? What would be the modalities? What would constitute success and what would be the result of failure? How could a result be made believable and how could it be enforced?
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres (left) addresses the Security Council ministerial-level meeting on the nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs of North Korea. At right is U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, Behind Tillerson is U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)
I think we must begin by recognizing that it would be irrational for North Korea to give up missiles and nuclear weapons. Despite the horror with which I view nuclear weapons, they are very attractive to small nations. They level the playing field. A Texas saying from my youth sums it up: Mr. Colt’s invention of the cowboy’s pistol “made all men equal.” The nuclear weapon is pistol writ large. It is the ultimate defense.
For Kim Yong Un to give up his nuclear weapons, while we keep ours and have announced that we intend to overthrow his regime, would be tantamount to his committing suicide. He may be evil, as many believe, but there is no reason to believe that he is a fool.
Could not America offer in the course of negotiations a series of graduated steps in which over time a slow-down and ultimate elimination of missiles and nuclear weapons could be traded for ending of sanctions and increased aid? The answer, I think, is “yes, but.” The “but” is that Kim Yong Un would almost certainly insist on three things: the first is that he would not give up all his weapons and so would insist that North Korea be recognized as a nuclear power; the second is that he not be humiliated in the negotiated cut; and the third is that some formula be worked out to guarantee the deal. I have dealt with the first two issues above; I turn now to the third, how to guarantee the agreement.
The Bush administration invasion of Iraq in 2001 showed that America could create excuses to void any commitment it might make and provide excuses for any action it wished to take. The current push by the Trump administration to renege on the treaty made with Iran and written into American law by the Senate must convince the North Koreans that a treaty with America is just a scrap of paper. He must be convinced that America cannot be trusted.
But, if China and Russia were prepared to guarantee the deal and Japan and South Korea acquiesced to it and also gave up their option to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, that could be the first step in a phased series of steps that might be productive. At the same time, America would have to give up its ineffective sanctions, stop such provocative acts as the massive war game on the frontier and the barrage of threats and undertake a sort of Marshall Plan to lift North Korea out of poverty and hunger.
Conclusion: I am convinced that it will not be possible in the foreseeable future to get Kim Jong Un or any conceivable successor to give up deliverable nuclear weapons. Thus, there can be no “success,” as described in current policy statements by the Trump administration. But, arrangements can be created – by enlisting China and Russia as partners in negotiations and by renouncing threats and such damaging (and ineffective) policies as sanctions – to gradually create an atmosphere in which North Korea can be accepted as a partner in the nuclear “club.”
Failure to move in this direction will leave us, at best, in the limbo of fear and the possibility of stumbling into war. This is obviously a gambit that may fail. What is clear, however, is that none of the alternatives has worked or is likely to work. To embark on this path will require a degree of statesmanship, which we may not have.
How to Do It
If the United States government should decide to try this option, I think the following steps will have to be taken to start negotiations:
First, the U.S. government must accept the fact that North Korea is a nuclear power;
Second, it must commit itself formally and irrevocably to a no-first-strike policy. That was the policy envisaged by the Founding Fathers when they denied the chief executive the power to initiate aggressive war;
Third, it must remove sanctions on North Korea and begin to offer in a phased pattern aid to mitigate the current (and potentially future) famines caused by droughts and crop failures; helping North Korea to move toward prosperity, and reducing fear; and
Fourth, stop issuing threats and drop the unproductive and provocative war games on the DMZ.
Will, or even can, any American administration move in this direction? I think the answer will depend in large part on the education of the government leaders and the public among both of whom the level of ignorance of the real costs of war, especially nuclear war, is politically crippling.
As I have suggested, Mr. Trump has shown no comprehension of the costs of war in a nuclear context. Nor has the general public. The pictures of children on Guam being told not to look at the flash of the fireball reminds one of the ridiculous advice to school children in America in the Cold War to take refuge under their desks.
The reality of a modern war must be explained and taught. I do not know if Korean children are so taught, but their parents or grandparents knew it firsthand. This generation of Americans has never seen war up-close in America although some of their fathers saw it in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, memories fade and Americans today do not want to be informed of the danger of a new war. Escapism is one of the great dangers we face.
In the American tradition, the President is the nation’s teacher. We must insist he perform that task or we could pay the supreme price of falling off the edge into the dark void of nuclear war.
William R. Polk is a veteran foreign policy consultant, author and professor who taught Middle Eastern studies at Harvard. President John F. Kennedy appointed Polk to the State Department’s Policy Planning Council where he served during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His books include: Violent Politics: Insurgency and Terrorism; Understanding Iraq; Understanding Iran; Personal History: Living in Interesting Times; Distant Thunder: Reflections on the Dangers of Our Times; and Humpty Dumpty: The Fate of Regime Change.
- Nazi “hero” of Ukrainian nationalists murdered 100,000 Poles
- The Banderites’ unspeakable torture and mass murder of civilians
- US supports neo-Nazis resurrecting Bandera’s reign of terror
“The Snake From His Lair.” Ukrainian poem. Photo credit: Public domain
**“The Snake from his Lair”
Do you recognize this snake?
The bloody devouring beast is crawling.
His protection is a spidery sign,
His name is Stepan Bandera.
His name is Judas, Cain.
These are the deeds of his snaky hands:
Fires and blazes over our land,
The spilled blood of innocent children.
And the people stood up to defend.
The country gave its verdict:
To crush the serpent in his lair
And pull out his sting and fangs.**
The above poem, written in Ukrainian on a poster in the years following World War Two, provides only dark glimpses of a time many in this age appear to have forgotten.
Generations after the end of that bloody war, which claimed an estimated 27 million Soviet lives, the fangs of the murderous Nazi, Stepan (or Stefan, or Stephan) Bandera maintain their venomous grip on Ukraine.
Even Bandera’s Wikipedia page, at the time of this writing, still notes that Bandera, a leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), was a mass murderer, though his devotees, the Banderites, seem to be doing all they can to scrub information about his pogroms from the internet.
Screen-print of Stepan Bandera’s Wikipedia page.
Indeed, today Bandera is practically worshipped by Ukrainian nationalists, who have named streets after him and erected statues in his honor, in some cases on the very pedestals where statues once memorialized the Soviets who gave their lives driving the Nazis back to Berlin. Bandera’s cold eyes even gaze out from Ukrainian postage stamps, a fact not missed by purveyors of internet memes.
Ukrainian postage stamp featuring Bandera, used in a meme.
Statue of Bandera in Ukraine. Photo Credit: The Times of Israel
This may not mean much to you if you are American or even western European. But to those in many former Soviet republics whose grandparents and great-grandparents sacrificed everything to rid the land of Bandera’s ilk, and to Jewish descendants of Holocaust survivors, the honoring of this Nazi collaborator said to be responsible for the mass murder of 100,000 people in Poland is offensive beyond words.
The poorly-reasoned argument that “Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is a Jew, so how can he be a Nazi,” is a figurative slap in the face of Jews outraged about the resurrection of Nazi heroes in Ukraine. A simple cursory search on Google reveals reams of horrified headlines in Israeli media concerning the rise of nationalism in Ukraine and the honoring of Bandera and other Nazi leaders.
In 1941, Bandera mobilized Ukrainian troops, outfitted them in standard Wehrmacht infantry uniforms with the blue and yellow ribbon of Ukraine on their shoulders, and followed them as they rolled into Poland on June 22, 1941, launching Operation Barbarossa.
And that was only the beginning of Bandera’s reign of terror.
Polish victims of a massacre committed by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in the village of Lipniki, Wołyń, 1943. Photo credit: Public domain
Between 1943 and 1945, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (abbreviated UPA in Ukrainian) slaughtered thousands of Poles in towns and villages throughout Wołyń, a region in Nazi-occupied Poland that is now part of present-day Ukraine.
It’s estimated that during this period, more than 100,000 Poles died at the hands of radical Ukrainian separatists, members of Bandera’s OUN and its military arm, the UPA. Their goal was simple: Eradicate all non-Ukrainians from future Ukrainian lands.
On June 16th, 1944, the UPA attacked a train carrying women and children. Few survived. Photo credit: IPN
Victims of the train attack taken away to be buried. Photo credit: KARTA Center
The most horrific genocidal massacre, known as “Bloody Sunday,” was carried out on July 11, 1943 when right at dawn, Ukrainian insurgent detachments, aided by local Ukrainians, simultaneously surrounded and attacked 99 Polish villages in the Kowel, Włodzimierz Wołyński, Horochów and Łuck districts. They brutally slaughtered Polish civilians and destroyed their homes.
Whole villages were burned to the ground and property was looted. Investigators estimate that as many as 8,000 people — mostly women, children, and elderly — were killed on that day alone.
Their remains are still being found today.
The remains of an estimated 300 people were found by archaeologists in 2011 at a mass grave in the village of Ostówek in Ukraine where they were massacred in 1943 by the UPA. Photo credit: Darek Delmanowicz/PAP
And it didn’t end there.
It didn’t even end when Hitler’s armies withdrew in 1944.
The mass murders continued. Between 1943 and 1945, Poles were murdered in 1,865 different places in the Wołyń region. Hundreds of Poles were murdered in each of the communities of Wola Ostrowiecka, Gaj, Ostrówki and Kolodno.
The murders were carried out with shocking brutality. People were burned alive or thrown into wells. Axes, pitchforks, scythes, knives and other farming tools were used instead of guns to make the massacres look like spontaneous peasant uprisings.
The Ukrainians tortured their victims with a cruelty scarcely imaginable. People were scalped. Their noses, lips and ears were chopped off. Their eyes were gouged out, hands cut off, heads squashed in vices. Women’s breasts were sliced off and pregnant women were bayonetted in the belly. Men’s genitals were cruelly hacked off with sickles.
The Polish “Association of Memory of Victims of Crimes of Ukrainian Nationalists” (SUOZUN) is putting together a forensic reconstruction of the events surrounding the Wołyń Massacre. The evidence they have collected is shocking, revealing children that were run through with stakes, people’s throats sliced open, their tongues pulled out through their necks. People sawn in half with a carpenter’s saw. A child nailed to a door.
One woman, in an advanced stage of pregnancy, had her abdomen cut open, the fetus removed and replaced with a live cat, which was sewn inside of her. Another pregnant woman’s uterus was cut open and filled with broken glass.
According to some Polish historians, even the German butchers were shocked by these atrocities and began to protect the Poles from the Ukrainian “axe.”
The bloody frenzy of torture and murder continued well after the Nazis had left the region, only now the Ukrainian militants attacked citizens of Soviet Ukraine, specialists such as agronomists, engineers, doctors, and teachers sent in by the government to restore the republic after the war. Though the majority of these people were ethnic Ukrainians, the nationalists killed them and any villagers who cooperated with them.
These atrocities were ordered by the head of the UPA, a former Wehrmacht captain named Roman Shukhevich, who is now idolized by many Ukrainians. “The OUN should act so that all those who recognized the Soviet government are destroyed. Not intimidated, but physically destroyed! Do not be afraid that people will curse us for cruelty. Let half of the 40 million Ukrainian population remain — there is nothing terrible in this,” he wrote.
Wołyń is a region that was once part of Nazi-occupied Poland and is now part of present-day Ukraine. Photo credit: Public domain
Stepan Bandera. Photo Credit: Public domain
Polish President Andrzej Duda lays a wreath at the Wołyń Massacre memorial in Warsaw, 2019. Photo credit: Tomasz Gzell/PAP
In July of 2019, Polish President Andrzej Duda laid a wreath at the Wołyń Massacre memorial in Warsaw and gave a speech about the future of Polish-Ukrainian relations:
“If we are talking today about the building of relations between our nations, between the Polish and Ukrainian people, between our states — and let me stress here, that we want […] these to be the best possible relations — there is one thing known for sure. We need remembrance so that what happened then, will never repeat itself between our nations and our people.”
He added: “The Ukrainian side should permit the exhumations, which are necessary to mark the graves, so that the descendants [of victims] can know the places, where they can go to light a candle. And this is the condition under which the massacre could be commemorated in Wołyń.”
Bandera’s Vile Legacy Continues
Ukrainian nationalists today are not exhuming the victims of Bandera, they are resurrecting Bandera himself, perpetuating his sadistic crimes upon the blood-stained fields and communities of Eastern Ukraine.
Russian media and independent journalists have reported a wide range of atrocities committed against Russian-speaking civilians and Roma people as well as the tortures inflicted upon Russian prisoners of war.
There is video evidence of Russian captives screaming in pain as they are shot in the legs and left to bleed out and die with no medical assistance. One Russian soldier was crucified and then burned alive. The luckier ones have returned to Russian-controlled lands bearing the scars of their torture, like swastikas carved or burned into their flesh, and nightmarish memories which will never fully fade away.
The footage of these atrocities is only shocking to those unfamiliar with the brutal and inhumane tactics of the Banderites, who are picking up from where they left off in the 1950’s after the Soviet occupation of Ukraine forced their movement underground.
Civilians in the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk have been struggling for independence from their Banderite overlords since 2014, when the coup known as Maidan tore Ukraine apart. The Russian-speaking population which makes up the majority in the region known as the Donbas, in Eastern Ukraine, have been under attack for eight years by the neo-Nazis in Western Ukraine, who spread the ideology of Bandera and the Nazis, with support from the United States and other NATO countries.
If you want evidence of US involvement, there is no lack of that to be found. You can begin with the leaked conversation, intercepted by Russian intelligence, of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, where they plan the Maidan coup as casually as you might plan a dinner party.
Western media reacted to Victoria’s explosive comment, “Fuck the EU,” but ignored the real meat of the conversation, which was the naming of the puppet leaders subsequently installed in Kiev.
And there was certainly nothing casual about the bloodletting inflicted on minorities of Ukraine once the Banderites seized power.
Anti-government protesters clash with police at Independence Square on February 19, 2014 in Kiev. Photo credit: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images
The initial Maidan protests were violent and terrifying. Video footage and photographs from the so-called “Revolution of Dignity” show police bullied and attacked, in some cases shielded by medics who were trying to prevent the mob from massacring them. A TV channel captured another medic, a supporter of the revolutionaries, refusing to allow people to call an ambulance for a police officer who had lost an eye in the fighting.
Kiev journalist Sergey Rulev described his brutal torture at the hands of the Banderites:
“Four people beat me. There was a woman in a headscarf with them, who kicked me in the groin without saying a word. Then they dragged me to the occupied Ministry of Agriculture, where they searched me, took away my documents, a press pass, accreditation to the Verkhovna Rada, business cards, two phones, and two cameras. When they dragged me back to Khreshchatyk, I started screaming and calling for help. I fell to the ground and was kicked again, but no one reacted. At about noon, I was dragged into the burned-out House of Trade Unions. In the lobby, I was immediately beaten up. In the courtyard, unknown people in camouflage fatigues bound my hands, stripped me to my underwear, and continued to beat me… After that, the four of them pinned me to the floor, injected something into my arm again, and said, ‘Now you’re going to talk to us, bitch! Which special services do you work for?’”
While he was tied up, a woman began ripping out Sergey’s nails with pliers. He later identified her as Amina Okuyeva, a medic in the “Eighth Hundred” who was later awarded the title “People’s Hero of Ukraine,” after she joined what Ukrainian nationalists refer to as the “Anti-Terrorist Operation” and fought for the neo-Nazi Kiev-2 and Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalions.
Young people take part in a nationalist march on Stepan Bandera’s 109th birthday, in Lvov. Photo Credit: Sputnik/Stringer
From the first days of its existence, horror stories emerged about the so-called “Anti-Terrorist Operation” and atrocities committed by the Banderites in Donbas. Though authorities and media ignored these stories at first, eventually the cries of international human rights organizations could no longer be silenced and some of the most egregious cases had reached the courts.
Though there were some convictions in those days, a lot of people got away with serious crimes on the grounds that they were “Patriots of Ukraine.” For example, a “Right Sector” nationalist named Sergey Sternenko who was convicted of abducting one man and killing another, had his seven-year sentence reduced to one year probation on the merits of his “patriotism.”
Given this climate, it’s not surprising that 48 people were burned alive in the Trade Union Building in Odessa in May of 2014. And those responsible still await justice.
Perhaps the most horrifying crime committed by the Banderites was the creation of a “prison” in the refrigerator of the airport in Mariupol in June of 2014, which jailers referred to as “the library.” Inside, residents of Mariupol were raped, beaten or tortured to death if they were suspected of harboring any sympathies for Russia or the unrecognized republics in Donbas. The “library” was run by members of “Right Sector” and “Svoboda” (Freedom) party. One of them named Yuri Mikhalchishin, a nationalist who goes by the pseudonym “Nahtigal88” (referring to the letters “HH,” denoting Heil Hitler), openly asserts that he has followed the teachings of Mein Kampf since he was 16.
The United States’ decades-long support of the Banderites
The US political agenda in Ukraine is no secret. You can read all about it in a study produced by RAND Corporation, a DC think-tank which explored how NATO could over-extend Russia by applying economic sanctions and using Ukraine, Syria and other countries to stage proxy wars. You can download the extensive 354-page study for free, directly from RAND Corp’s site, or you can download the 12-page briefing here.
Cover of the RAND Corporation briefing “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia.” Photo credit: RAND Corp.
An excerpt from the RAND Corporation briefing “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia.” Photo credit: RAND Corp.
Bear in mind that this study was published in 2019, well before Russia began its “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine in February of this year, and yet it explores the possibilities of providing lethal aid to Ukraine.
But US support of neo-Nazis in Ukraine goes back much further, to the years following World War Two. And you can find the evidence of that on the CIA’s own website.
Secret documents declassified in 2007 tell of the Banderites’ association with the CIA in the years following the war, of the CIA’s early interest in retaining Bandera as an asset followed by their eventual discard. His followers’ blatant loyalty to the recently-defeated Nazis of the Third Reich was a political millstone around the CIA’s neck, which in those days was not as robust and muscular as it is now, to brazenly support neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
The entire sordid story of the CIA’s affair with Bandera is encapsulated in a thirty-three-page “draft working paper,” which is great late-night reading if you enjoy having nightmares about Nazis.
I leave you with the following screen prints taken from that document, and I will continue this investigative report on Stepan Bandera in my next article.
To be continued…
About the author:
Deborah Armstrong currently writes about geopolitics with an emphasis on Russia. She previously worked in local TV news in the United States where she won two regional Emmy Awards. In the early 1990’s, Deborah lived in the Soviet Union during its final days and worked as a television consultant at Leningrad Television.
Far from being a war against “white supremacy,” the Biden administration’s new “domestic terror” strategy clearly targets primarily those who oppose US government overreach and those who oppose capitalism and/or globalization.
In the latest sign that the US government’s War on Domestic Terror is growing in scope and scale, the White House on Tuesday revealed the nation’s first ever government-wide strategy for confronting domestic terrorism. While cloaked in language about stemming racially motivated violence, the strategy places those deemed “anti-government” or “anti-authority” on a par with racist extremists and charts out policies that could easily be abused to silence or even criminalize online criticism of the government.
Even more disturbing is the call to essentially fuse intelligence agencies, law enforcement, Silicon Valley, and “community” and “faith-based” organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, as well as unspecified foreign governments, as partners in this “war,” which the strategy makes clear will rely heavily on a pre-crime orientation focused largely on what is said on social media and encrypted platforms. Though the strategy claims that the government will “shield free speech and civil liberties” in implementing this policy, its contents reveal that it is poised to gut both.
Indeed, while framed publicly as chiefly targeting “right-wing white supremacists,” the strategy itself makes it clear that the government does not plan to focus on the Right but instead will pursue “domestic terrorists” in “an ideologically neutral, threat-driven manner,” as the law “makes no distinction based on political view—left, right or center.” It also states that a key goal of this strategic framework is to ensure “that there is simply no governmental tolerance . . . of violence as an acceptable mode of seeking political or social change,” regardless of a perpetrator’s political affiliation.
Considering that the main cheerleaders for the War on Domestic Terror exist mainly in establishment left circles, such individuals should rethink their support for this new policy given that the above statements could easily come to encompass Black Lives Matter–related protests, such as those that transpired last summer, depending on which political party is in power.
Once the new infrastructure is in place, it will remain there and will be open to the same abuses perpetrated by both political parties in the US during the lengthy War on Terror following September 11, 2001. The history of this new “domestic terror” policy, including its origins in the Trump administration, makes this clear.
It’s Never Been Easier to Be a “Terrorist”
In introducing the strategy, the Biden administration cites “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists” as a key reason for the new policy and a main justification for the War on Domestic Terror in general. This was most recently demonstrated Tuesday in Attorney General Merrick Garland’s statement announcing this new strategy. However, the document itself puts “anti-government” or “anti-authority” “extremists” in the same category as violent white supremacists in terms of being a threat to the homeland. The strategy’s characterization of such individuals is unsettling.
AG Merrick Garland: “In the FBI’s view, the top domestic violent extremist threat comes from racially or ethically motivated violent extremists specifically those who advocate for the superiority of the white race.”
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 15, 2021
For instance, those who “violently oppose” “all forms of capitalism” or “corporate globalization” are listed under this less-discussed category of “domestic terrorist.” This highlights how people on the left, many of whom have called for capitalism to be dismantled or replaced in the US in recent years, could easily be targeted in this new “war” that many self-proclaimed leftists are currently supporting. Similarly, “environmentally-motivated extremists,” a category in which groups such as Extinction Rebellion could easily fall, are also included.
In addition, the phrasing indicates that it could easily include as “terrorists” those who oppose the World Economic Forum’s vision for global “stakeholder capitalism,” as that form of “capitalism” involves corporations and their main “stakeholders” creating a new global economic and governance system. The WEF’s stakeholder capitalism thus involves both “capitalism” and “corporate globalization.”
The strategy also includes those who “take steps to violently resist government authority . . . based on perceived overreach.” This, of course, creates a dangerous situation in which the government could, purposely or otherwise, implement a policy that is an obvious overreach and/or blatantly unconstitutional and then label those who resist it “domestic terrorists” and deal with them as such—well before the overreach can be challenged in court.
Another telling addition to this group of potential “terrorists” is “any other individual or group who engages in violence—or incites imminent violence—in opposition to legislative, regulatory or other actions taken by the government.” Thus, if the government implements a policy that a large swath of the population finds abhorrent, such as launching a new, unpopular war abroad, those deemed to be “inciting” resistance to the action online could be considered domestic terrorists.
Such scenarios are not unrealistic, given the loose way in which the government and the media have defined things like “incitement” and even “violence” (e. g., “hate speech” is a form of violence) in the recent past. The situation is ripe for manipulation and abuse. To think the federal government (including the Biden administration and subsequent administrations) would not abuse such power reflects an ignorance of US political history, particularly when the main forces behind most terrorist incidents in the nation are actually US government institutions like the FBI (more FBI examples here, here, here, and here).
Furthermore, the original plans for the detention of American dissidents in the event of a national emergency, drawn up during the Reagan era as part of its “continuity of government” contingency, cited popular nonviolent opposition to US intervention in Latin America as a potential “emergency” that could trigger the activation of those plans. Many of those “continuity of government” protocols remain on the books today and can be triggered, depending on the whims of those in power. It is unlikely that this new domestic terror framework will be any different regarding nonviolent protest and demonstrations.
Yet another passage in this section of the strategy states that “domestic terrorists” can, “in some instances, connect and intersect with conspiracy theories and other forms of disinformation and misinformation.” It adds that the proliferation of such “dangerous” information “on Internet-based communications platforms such as social media, file-upload sites and end-to-end encrypted platforms, all of these elements can combine and amplify threats to public safety.”
Thus, the presence of “conspiracy theories” and information deemed by the government to be “misinformation” online is itself framed as threatening public safety, a claim made more than once in this policy document. Given that a major “pillar” of the strategy involves eliminating online material that promotes “domestic terrorist” ideologies, it seems inevitable that such efforts will also “connect and intersect” with the censorship of “conspiracy theories” and narratives that the establishment finds inconvenient or threatening for any reason.
Pillars of Tyranny
The strategy notes in several places that this new domestic-terror policy will involve a variety of public-private partnerships in order to “build a community to address domestic terrorism that extends not only across the Federal Government but also to critical partners.” It adds, “That includes state, local, tribal and territorial governments, as well as foreign allies and partners, civil society, the technology sector, academic, and more.”
The mention of foreign allies and partners is important as it suggests a multinational approach to what is supposedly a US “domestic” issue and is yet another step toward a transnational security-state apparatus. A similar multinational approach was used to devastating effect during the CIA-developed Operation Condor, which was used to target and “disappear” domestic dissidents in South America in the 1970s and 1980s. The foreign allies mentioned in the Biden administration’s strategy are left unspecified, but it seems likely that such allies would include the rest of the Five Eyes alliance (the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand) and Israel, all of which already have well-established information-sharing agreements with the US for signals intelligence.
The new domestic-terror strategy has four main “pillars,” which can be summarized as (1) understanding and sharing domestic terrorism-related information, including with foreign governments and private tech companies; (2) preventing domestic terrorism recruitment and mobilization to violence; (3) disrupting and deterring domestic terrorism activity; and (4) confronting long-term contributors to domestic terrorism.
The first pillar involves the mass accumulation of data through new information-sharing partnerships and the deepening of existing ones. Much of this information sharing will involve increased data mining and analysis of statements made openly on the internet, particularly on social media, something already done by US intelligence contractors such as Palantir. While the gathering of such information has been ongoing for years, this policy allows even more to be shared and legally used to make cases against individuals deemed to have made threats or expressed “dangerous” opinions online.
Included in the first pillar is the need to increase engagement with financial institutions concerning the financing of “domestic terrorists.” US banks, such as Bank of America, have already gone quite far in this regard, leading to accusations that it has begun acting like an intelligence agency. Such claims were made after it was revealed that the BofA had passed to the government the private banking information of over two hundred people that the bank deemed as pointing to involvement in the events of January 6, 2021. It seems likely, given this passage in the strategy, that such behavior by banks will soon become the norm, rather than an outlier, in the United States.
The second pillar is ostensibly focused on preventing the online recruitment of domestic terrorists and online content that leads to the “mobilization of violence.” The strategy notes that this pillar “means reducing both supply and demand of recruitment materials by limiting widespread availability online and bolstering resilience to it by those who nonetheless encounter it.“ The strategy states that such government efforts in the past have a “mixed record,” but it goes on to claim that trampling on civil liberties will be avoided because the government is “consulting extensively” with unspecified “stakeholders” nationwide.
Regarding recruitment, the strategy states that “these activities are increasingly happening on Internet-based communications platforms, including social media, online gaming platforms, file-upload sites and end-to-end encrypted platforms, even as those products and services frequently offer other important benefits.” It adds that “the widespread availability of domestic terrorist recruitment material online is a national security threat whose front lines are overwhelmingly private-sector online platforms.”
The US government plans to provide “information to assist online platforms with their own initiatives to enforce their own terms of service that prohibits the use of their platforms for domestic terrorist activities” as well as to “facilitate more robust efforts outside the government to counter terrorists’ abuse of Internet-based communications platforms.”
Given the wider definition of “domestic terrorist” that now includes those who oppose capitalism and corporate globalization as well as those who resist government overreach, online content discussing these and other “anti-government” and “anti-authority” ideas could soon be treated in the same way as online Al Qaeda or ISIS propaganda. Efforts, however, are unlikely to remain focused on these topics. As Unlimited Hangout reported last November, both UK intelligence and the US national-security state were developing plans to treat critical reporting on the COVID-19 vaccines as “extremist” propaganda.
Another key part of this pillar is the need to “increase digital literacy” among the American public, while censoring “harmful content” disseminated by “terrorists” as well as by “hostile foreign powers seeking to undermine American democracy.” The latter is a clear reference to the claim that critical reporting of US government policy, particularly its military and intelligence activities abroad, was the product of “Russian disinformation,” a now discredited claim that was used to heavily censor independent media. This new government strategy appears to promise more of this sort of thing.
It also notes that “digital literacy” education for a domestic audience is being developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Such a policy would have previously violated US law until the Obama administration worked with Congress to repeal the Smith-Mundt Act, thus lifting the ban on the government directing propaganda at domestic audiences.
The third pillar of the strategy seeks to increase the number of federal prosecutors investigating and trying domestic-terror cases. Their numbers are likely to jump as the definition of “domestic terrorist” is expanded. It also seeks to explore whether “legislative reforms could meaningfully and materially increase our ability to protect Americans from acts of domestic terrorism while simultaneously guarding against potential abuse of overreach.” In contrast to past public statements on police reform by those in the Biden administration, the strategy calls to “empower” state and local law enforcement to tackle domestic terrorism, including with increased access to “intelligence” on citizens deemed dangerous or subversive for any number of reasons.
To that effect, the strategy states the following (p. 24):
“The Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Homeland Security, with support from the National Counterterrorism Center [part of the intelligence community], are incorporating an increased focus on domestic terrorism into current intelligence products and leveraging current mechanisms of information and intelligence sharing to improve the sharing of domestic terrorism-related content and indicators with non-Federal partners. These agencies are also improving the usability of their existing information-sharing platforms, including through the development of mobile applications designed to provide a broader reach to non-Federal law enforcement partners, while simultaneously refining that support based on partner feedback.”
Such an intelligence tool could easily be, for example, Palantir, which is already used by the intelligence agencies, the DHS, and several US police departments for “predictive policing,” that is, pre-crime actions. Notably, Palantir has long included a “subversive” label for individuals included on government and law enforcement databases, a parallel with the controversial and highly secretive Main Core database of US dissidents.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made the “pre-crime” element of the new domestic terror strategy explicit on Tuesday when he said in a statement that DHS would continue “developing key partnerships with local stakeholders through the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) to identify potential threats and prevent terrorism.” CP3, which replaced DHS’ Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention this past May, officially “supports communities across the United States to prevent individuals from radicalizing to violence and intervene when individuals have already radicalized to violence.”
The fourth pillar of the strategy is by far the most opaque and cryptic, while also the most far-reaching. It aims to address the sources that cause “terrorists” to mobilize “towards violence.” This requires “tackling racism in America,” a lofty goal for an administration headed by the man who controversially eulogized Congress’ most ardent segregationist and who was a key architect of the 1994 crime bill. As well, it provides for “early intervention and appropriate care for those who pose a danger to themselves or others.”
In regard to the latter proposal, the Trump administration, in a bid to “stop mass shootings before they occur,” considered a proposal to create a “health DARPA” or “HARPA” that would monitor the online communications of everyday Americans for “neuropsychiatric” warning signs that someone might be “mobilizing towards violence.” While the Trump administration did not create HARPA or adopt this policy, the Biden administration has recently announced plans to do so.
Finally, the strategy indicates that this fourth pillar is part of a “broader priority”: “enhancing faith in government and addressing the extreme polarization, fueled by a crisis of disinformation and misinformation often channeled through social media platforms, which can tear Americans apart and lead some to violence.” In other words, fostering trust in government while simultaneously censoring “polarizing” voices who distrust or criticize the government is a key policy goal behind the Biden administration’s new domestic-terror strategy.
Calling Their Shots?
While this is a new strategy, its origins lie in the Trump administration. In October 2019, Trump’s attorney general William Barr formally announced in a memorandum that a new “national disruption and early engagement program” aimed at detecting those “mobilizing towards violence” before they commit any crime would launch in the coming months. That program, known as DEEP (Disruption and Early Engagement Program), is now active and has involved the Department of Justice, the FBI, and “private sector partners” since its creation.
Barr’s announcement of DEEP followed his unsettling “prediction” in July 2019 that “a major incident may occur at any time that will galvanize public opinion on these issues.” Not long after that speech, a spate of mass shootings occurred, including the El Paso Walmart shooting, which killed twenty-three and about which many questions remain unanswered regarding the FBI’s apparent foreknowledge of the event. After these events took place in 2019, Trump called for the creation of a government backdoor into encryption and the very pre-crime system that Barr announced shortly thereafter in October 2019. The Biden administration, in publishing this strategy, is merely finishing what Barr started.
Indeed, a “prediction” like Barr’s in 2019 was offered by the DHS’ Elizabeth Neumann during a Congressional hearing in late February 2020. That hearing was largely ignored by the media as it coincided with an international rise of concern regarding COVID-19. At the hearing, Neumann, who previously coordinated the development of the government’s post-9/11 terrorism information sharing strategies and policies and worked closely with the intelligence community, gave the following warning about an imminent “domestic terror” event in the United States:
“And every counterterrorism professional I speak to in the federal government and overseas feels like we are at the doorstep of another 9/11, maybe not something that catastrophic in terms of the visual or the numbers, but that we can see it building and we don’t quite know how to stop it.”
This “another 9/11” emerged on January 6, 2021, as the events of that day in the Capitol were quickly labeled as such by both the media and prominent politicians, while also inspiring calls from the White House and the Democrats for a “9/11-style commission” to investigate the incident. This event, of course, figures prominently in the justification for the new domestic-terror strategy, despite the considerable video and other evidence that shows that Capitol law enforcement, and potentially the FBI, were directly involved in facilitating the breach of the Capitol. In addition, when one considers that the QAnon movement, which had a clear role in the events of January 6, was itself likely a government-orchestrated psyop, the government hand in creating this situation seems clear.
It goes without saying that the official reasons offered for these militaristic “domestic terror” policies, which the US has already implemented abroad—causing much more terror than it has prevented—does not justify the creation of a massive new national-security infrastructure that aims to criminalize and censor online speech. Yet the admission that this new strategy, as part of a broader effort to “enhance faith in government,” combines domestic propaganda campaigns with the censorship and pursuit of those who distrust government heralds the end of even the illusion of democracy in the United States.
Why I believe the Nature Medicine Authors were longstanding government agents, in addition to having real science jobs.
Probably the reason I looked at the Nature Medicine paper carefully was that I knew 2 of its authors. I had contacted Robert Garry about 22 years ago, when he and Pam Asa were claiming that squalene had caused Gulf War syndrome and was the cause of the illnesses that followed anthrax vaccinations. I purchased a vial of a novel vaccine adjuvant from Fisher Scientific (this was when the adjuvant was owned by a small company, before these adjuvants were traded off to Glaxo and Novartis for $billions) and had it shipped to Garry to see if soldiers had antibodies to it. I think the adjuvant was MF59, but I am not positive. Garry told me the sera he had were negative for antibodies. Looking back, I doubt he did the experiment. It cost me about $100, but now I have the story to tell.
Later, Garry's co-investigator Pam Asa accused me of being an "agent" in her interactions with soldiers and veterans, which got back to me. I didn't talk to Garry after that.
Then, in 2014, I found out that the same Bob Garry was running a Lassa/Ebola lab in Kenema before and during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. Kenema was ground zero for the Ebola outbreak. Soon his grant was cancelled. Hmmm. To get the lab out of there before questions were asked?
One more Garry connection. He has no real history with human vaccines, he is not an MD, yet Bob Garry joined a Brighton Collaboration committee to evaluate eighth nerve disorders as a side effect of vaccines. This group sets vaccine safety standards (or lack thereof) they want the whole world to adopt. Brighton is funded by CDC and recently moved to Atlanta. Is Garry there to help control the narrative on vaccine side effects? Truly bizarre.
Then in 2020 I learned that although Garry is a professor at Tulane, in New Orleans, he had formed a biodefense company in Maryland, halfway between Washington, DC and Fort Detrick (which is in Frederick, Maryland). Okay. By this time I felt pretty convinced that Bob Garry was an undercover agent who got called on to carry out unusual operations, while masquerading as a microbiology professor.
He was sought for the Feb 1-2 calls with Fauci/Farrar/Collins but could not be reached. Still, he signed the Nature Medicine article.
Ian Lipkin, MD was the other name I knew. Lipkin had done research and published lots of papers on chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme disease. But somehow he never got the right answers, no treatments ever worked, he never contributed any new understanding. Yet he was extremely well funded. I think his work was central to the false narratives about those 2 conditions, which officially have no accepted treatments.
Lipkin had been in China at the start of the pandemic. He is very close to the Chinese, as is Eddie Holmes--both teach and are celebrated in China. In March 2020 Lipkin came down with Covid after he was home. He caught it in New York. He was interviewed for TV while he was sick, and probably was too impaired to lie well. By chance I caught the interview. He said he had been offered convalescent serum by his Chinese counterparts, but instead decided to take hydroxychloroquine, at the suggestion of his doctor.
Lipkin was the mastermind of the Judy Mikovits research published in Science that got retracted. Basically, Judy's story is that he double-crossed her: after initially collaborating on the research, he destroyed her and it.
By chance, I once spent time with Lipkin's ex-lover at an immunology conference, and got an earful. Lipkin too seemed like an agent, while he holds an authoritative position at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia U.
What about the other 3 authors, all of whom I believe came from the UK? When I mentioned this story to my friend Ed Hooper (the author of the acclaimed book The River), both of us were shocked to learn that he had had run-ins with Garry, Rambaut and Holmes himself! The plot thickened. Holmes and Rambaut had disputed the theory of the origin of AIDS as coming from a polio vaccine grown on monkey kidneys in Africa, many years ago. Might Fauci have put them up to it back then?
Every one of the authors (except Andersen, the youngest) seemed to me to have been a scientist plus 'operative' for many years.
And how did these 5 come together to write this paper? Holmes is in Sydney, Andersen in California, Garry in New Orleans, Lipkin in NYC and Rambaut in Edinburgh. Garry and Lipkin weren't in the same field as the others. The tie that bound them seemed to be that all were willing to carry out nefarious schemes. And all were apparently trusted to carry out the coverup by Fauci, Farrar and Collins.
Here is what I wrote about this topic in May 2020:
Friday, May 1, 2020
Spooky history: 3 scientists who tried to silence debate on the possible lab origin of COVID-19, previously tried to kill debate on the origin of AIDS
Ed Hooper took a very deep dive into the origin of AIDS in his highly lauded book, The River. How did HIV jump species from monkey to man? While blamed by some on the consumption of bush meat, Hooper suggested that the use of monkey kidneys to manufacture live polio vaccines, in the Belgian Congo, was a much more likely explanation. Today, the consumption of bat meat has been offered as the route by which SARS-CoV-2 leapt to humans.
Nature Medicine ran a highly cited (including by the Director of the NIH, Francis Collins) article on March 17 which insisted that it was the final word on the subject of COVID'S origin, and should "end any speculation about deliberate genetic engineering." Yet the argument was full of holes.
While there are many curious things about that article, which I and others have noted, Ed Hooper discovered an astonishing coincidence. Three of the five authors of the Nature Medicine paper had tried to influence him regarding the origin of AIDS, separately, many years earlier. Two of them had debated him and published papers insisting they had disproved the oral polio vaccine theory of AIDS origin. The third author, a virologist who frequently strays from virology, had 2 peculiar encounters with Hooper, and claimed AIDS had been around for hundreds of years.
This coauthor, Robert Garry, also had some run-ins with me about 21 years ago. His research partner on the issue of anti-squalene antibodies in anthrax vaccine, Pam Asa, claimed to a number of sick soldiers and veterans, who then related the story to me, that I (Meryl Nass) was an intelligence asset.
Garry and Asa attempted to misdirect the discourse on the cause of anthrax vaccine's toxicity. They reported it was exclusively due to squalene. Had their claim been accepted, anthrax vaccines that omitted squalene would have been wrongly deemed safe.
You have to scratch your head. Are these scientists longstanding members of a "clean-up" crew, whose role is to misdirect us from a potential laboratory contribution in the two most deadly epidemics of modern times? And to misdirect us about potential safety issues in vaccines?
The Bible says, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
Here are Ed Hooper's thoughts on the debate regarding the origins of COVID-19 and AIDS.
You know, as I write these things down, I can hardly believe that I have crossed paths with so many people who were involved with the anthrax letters and Covid coverups. I think it is because there is a fairly small biodefense fraternity. And while I was never a member, I did important independent research, and a lot of people respected that, and were happy to talk to me. I was on the outside looking in. And I soon learned that when you were dealing with anthrax and bioterrorism, a number of scientists moonlighted as spooks. My first paper on biodefense was published 30 years ago, so there has been a lot of time to accumulate encounters.
Everything I write here is the truth, and I provide details so it can be checked. I am trying to leave a record for humanity in this blog.
Did CIA Director William Casey Really Say ‘We’ll Know Our Disinformation Program Is Complete When Everything the American Public Believes Is False’?
– CIA Flashback: “We’ll Know Our Disinformation Program Is Complete When Everything the American Public Believes Is False.” (Truthstream Media, Jan 13, 2015):
William Casey, CIA Director 1981-1987
“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
(Truthstream Media) That creepy quote above has been widely attributed to Former CIA Director William Casey.
Casey was the 13th CIA Director from 1981 until he left in January 1987. He died not long after of a brain tumor in May 1987. Dead men tell no tales, as they say.
But did William Casey really say this quote?
The quote itself has been passed around extensively on the Internet, and some people claim Casey never really said it because the only main source it traces back to is late political researcher and radio show host Mae Brussell.
Brussell was the host of the radio show Dialogue: Conspiracy. She got her start when, as a radio show guest, she questioned the official JFK assassination story and the Warren Commission Hearings by suggesting that Lee Harvey Oswald wasn’t the only person involved in Kennedy’s murder. Perhaps the propagandized label of “conspiracy theorist” is the reason why people question the quote Brussell often repeated.
However, Brussell is not the only person that can be attributed to this sharing quote.
Someone posted this meme on Quora back in 2013 with the note, “A disclaimer: I just like Quorans debunking or showing the stupidity behind some of the worst FB memes.”
This is a new trend lately, people trying to debunk old (and most especially, establishment damaging) quotes.
This time, however, someone who claims to have been there when Casey said it showed up to validate the quote:
“I am the source for this quote, which was indeed said by CIA Director William Casey at an early February 1981 meeting of the newly elected President Reagan with his new cabinet secretaries to report to him on what they had learned about their agencies in the first couple of weeks of the administration. The meeting was in the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing of the White House, not far from the Cabinet Room. I was present at the meeting as Assistant to the chief domestic policy adviser to the President. Casey first told Reagan that he had been astonished to discover that over 80 percent of the ‘intelligence’ that the analysis side of the CIA produced was based on open public sources like newspapers and magazines. As he did to all the other secretaries of their departments and agencies, Reagan asked what he saw as his goal as director for the CIA, to which he replied with this quote, which I recorded in my notes of the meeting as he said it. Shortly thereafter I told Senior White House correspondent Sarah McClendon, who was a close friend and colleague, who in turn made it public.”
Not only does Honegger claim he said it, but apparently he said it in response to what he saw as his goal as CIA Director!
This statement was further backed by an email posted by Quora user Greg Smith from Honegger regarding the quote which is consistent and apparently prompted her to tell the story above:
“Seriously — I personally was the Source for that William Casey quote. He said it at an early Feb. 1981 meeting in the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing of the White House which I attended, and I immediately told my close friend and political godmother Senior White House Correspondent Sarah McClendon, who then went public with it without naming the source… “
So there you go. Guess it boils down to he said she said, except when she says it, it’s because she was actually there…
The year 1981 was an interesting one for Director Casey. He just so happened to be under investigation and fighting to keep his new job over various seedy dealings that came to light; among them were claims he approved a plan to overthrow Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi to instill a shadow government. (Oh I know, our government would never do that, would they?)
The agency’s plan, according to an article in the July 27, 1981 Gettysburg Times, involved toppling Qaddafi via what else?
“Newsweek Magazine reported the covert operation was designed to overthrow Khadafy through a ‘disinformation’ campaign to embarrass him, creation of a counter government to challenge his leadership and a paramilitary campaign.”
(Wow. A lot of that sounds eerily familiar… 2011, anyone?)
That same year, investigative journalist Jack Anderson published this piece in the September 22, 1981 Santa Cruz Sentinel discussing the troubling CIA disinformation campaign being waged against Americans:
Anderson points out the CIA’s “triple assault on the public’s right to know” included 1) trying to shut off channels of information to the electorate, 2) seeking criminal penalties against reporters whose stories might identify CIA operatives, and the third which Anderson called most troubling, 3) spreading “disinformation” to news agencies.
And who else does Anderson specifically call out in this disinfo campaign but new CIA Director William Casey:
“Now along comes Bill Casey, the dodering CIA director, with the argument that the government has the right to mislead the public by planting phony stories in the press.”
Oh really? So the good director not only talked about his disinformation campaign but actually argued for the government’srightto wage it against the American people?
The plan involved getting around the ban on CIA operations on domestic soil by planting disinfo stories in foreign news outlets that were routinely picked up by American mainstream media agencies. Anderson also points out the various rumors and false stories going around surrounding the goings on in Libya at the time…
The bottom line here is, if anyone in our government was going to make the above disinformation statement and specifically in 1981, all available evidence points to no better person who would have likely said it than Casey.
Finally on an aside, there seems to be this mission lately to memory hole quotes or muddy the water about who said what and change history.
In this particular instance, someone who was there when William Casey said the line in question and claims to have literally heard the words come out of the man’s mouth with her own ears as he said it is vouching that this quote is true.
Then again, this is the same agency on record behind the government’s MKUltra mind control program, an illegal project in which the CIA experimented on Americans for over two decades (that we know about) to manipulate mental states and brain function with everything from drugs to microwaves — the kind of stuff DARPA is openly working on today — all of which makes the piddly quote in question here seem like mere child’s play by comparison.
Even so, people still went into the Quora thread afterwards to claim — with absolutely no evidence whatsoever as they were not personally there — the quote is false.
So, in a bitter twist of the saddest irony possible, it would seem the contents of the quote itself are also true.
Last Wednesday, President Biden was widely praised in mainstream and health-care–focused media for his call to create a “new biomedical research agency” modeled after the US military’s “high-risk, high-reward” Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. As touted by the president, the agency would seek to develop “innovative” and “breakthrough” treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes, with a call to “end cancer as we know it.”
Far from “ending cancer” in the way most Americans might envision it, the proposed agency would merge “national security” with “health security” in such as way as to use both physical and mental health “warning signs” to prevent outbreaks of disease or violence before they occur. Such a system is a recipe for a technocratic “pre-crime” organization with the potential to criminalize both mental and physical illness as well as “wrongthink.”
The Biden administration has asked Congress for $6.5 billion to fund the agency, which would be largely guided by Biden’s recently confirmed top science adviser, Eric Lander. Lander, formerly the head of the Silicon Valley–dominated Broad Institute, has been controversial for his ties to eugenicist and child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and his relatively recent praise for James Watson, an overtly racist eugenicist. Despite that, Lander is set to be confirmed by the Senate and Congress and is reportedly significantly enthusiastic about the proposed new “health DARPA.”
This new agency, set to be called ARPA-H or HARPA, would be housed within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and would raise the NIH budget to over $51 billion. Unlike other agencies at NIH, ARPA-H would differ in that the projects it funds would not be peer reviewed prior to approval; instead hand-picked program managers would make all funding decisions. Funding would also take the form of milestone-driven payments instead of the more traditional multiyear grants.
ARPA-H will likely heavily fund and promote mRNA vaccines as one of the “breakthroughs” that will cure cancer. Some of the mRNA vaccine manufacturers that have produced some of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines, such as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, stated just last month that “cancer is the next problem to tackle with mRNA tech” post-COVID. BioNTech has been developing mRNA gene therapies for cancer for years and is collaborating with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create mRNA-based treatments for tuberculosis and HIV.
Other “innovative” technologies that will be a focus of this agency are less well known to the public and arguably more concerning.
The Long Road to ARPA-H
ARPA-H is not a new and exclusive Biden administration idea; there was a previous attempt to create a “health DARPA” during the Trump administration in late 2019. Biden began to promote the idea during his presidential campaign as early as June 2019, albeit using a very different justification for the agency than what had been pitched by its advocates to Trump. In 2019, the same foundation and individuals currently backing Biden’s ARPA-H had urged then president Trump to create “HARPA,” not for the main purpose of researching treatments for cancer and Alzheimer’s, but to stop mass shootings before they happen through the monitoring of Americans for “neuropsychiatric” warning signs.
Still from HARPA’s video “The Patients Are Waiting: How HARPA Will Change Lives Now”, Source: http://harpa.org
For the last few years, one man has been the driving force behind HARPA—former vice chair of General Electric and former president of NBCUniversal, Robert Wright. Through the Suzanne Wright Foundation (named for his late wife), Wright has spent years lobbying for an agency that “would develop biomedical capabilities—detection tools, treatments, medical devices, cures, etc.—for the millions of Americans who are not benefitting from the current system.” While he, like Biden, has cloaked the agency’s actual purpose by claiming it will be mainly focused on treating cancer, Wright’s 2019 proposal to his personal friend Donald Trump revealed its underlying ambitions.
As first proposed by Wright in 2019, the flagship program of HARPA would be SAFE HOME, short for Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes. SAFE HOME would suck up masses of private data from “Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo, and Google Home” and other consumer electronic devices, as well as information from health-care providers to determine if an individual might be likely to commit a crime. The data would be analyzed by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms “for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence.”
The Department of Justice’s pre-crime approach known as DEEP was activated just months before Trump left office; it was also justified as a way to “stop mass shootings before they happen.” Soon after Biden’s inauguration, the new administration began using information from social media to make pre-crime arrests as part of its approach toward combatting “domestic terror.” Given the history of Silicon Valley companies collaborating with the government on matters of warrantless surveillance, it appears that aspects of SAFE HOME may already be covertly active under Biden, only waiting for the formalization of ARPA-H/HARPA to be legitimized as public policy.
The national-security applications of Robert Wright’s HARPA are also illustrated by the man who was its lead scientific adviser—former head of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office Geoffrey Ling. Not only is Ling the main scientific adviser of HARPA, but the original proposal by Wright would have Ling both personally design HARPA and lead it once it was established. Ling’s work at DARPA can be summarized by BTO’s stated mission, which is to work toward merging “biology, engineering, and computer science to harness the power of natural systems for national security.” BTO-favored technologies are also poised to be the mainstays of HARPA, which plans to specifically use “advancements in biotechnology, supercomputing, big data, and artificial intelligence” to accomplish its goals.
The direct DARPA connection to HARPA underscores that the agenda behind this coming agency dates back to the failed Bio-Surveillance project of DARPA’s Total Information Awareness program, which was launched after the events of September 11, 2001. TIA’s Bio-Surveillance project sought to develop the “necessary information technologies and resulting prototype capable of detecting the covert release of a biological pathogen automatically, and significantly earlier than traditional approaches,” accomplishing this “by monitoring non-traditional data sources” including “pre-diagnostic medical data” and “behavioral indicators.”
While nominally focused on “bioterrorist attacks,” TIA’s Bio-Surveillance project also sought to acquire early detection capabilities for “normal” disease outbreaks. Bio-Surveillance and related DARPA projects at the time, such as LifeLog, sought to harvest data through the mass use of some sort of wearable or handheld technology. These DARPA programs were ultimately shut down due to the controversy over claims they would be used to profile domestic dissidents and eliminate privacy for all Americans in the US.
That DARPA’s past total surveillance dragnet is coming back to life under a supposedly separate health-focused agency, and one that emulates its organizational model no less, confirms that many TIA-related programs were merely distanced from the Department of Defense when officially shut down. By separating the military from the public image of such technologies and programs, it made them more palatable to the masses, despite the military remaining heavily involved behind the scenes. As Unlimited Hangout has recently reported, major aspects of TIA were merely privatized, giving rise to companies such as Facebook and Palantir, which resulted in such DARPA projects being widely used and accepted. Now, under the guise of the proposed ARPA-H, DARPA’s original TIA would essentially be making a comeback for all intents and purposes as its own spin-off.
Silicon Valley, the Military and the Wearable “Revolution”
This most recent effort to create ARPA-H/HARPA combines well with the coordinated push of Silicon Valley companies into the field of health care, specifically Silicon Valley companies that double as contractors to US intelligence and/or the military (e.g., Microsoft, Google, and Amazon). During the COVID-19 crisis, this trend toward Silicon Valley dominance of the health-care sector has accelerated considerably due to a top-down push toward digitalization with telemedicine, remote monitoring, and the like.
One interesting example is Amazon, which launched a wearable last year that purports to not only use biometrics to monitor people’s physical health and fitness but to track their emotional state as well. The previous year, Amazon acquired the online pharmacy PillPack, and it is not hard to imagine a scenario in which data from Amazon’s Halo wellness band is used to offer treatment recommendations that are then supplied by Amazon-owned PillPack.
Companies such as Amazon, Palantir, and Google are set to be intimately involved in ARPA-H’s activities. In particular, Google, which launched numerous health-tech initiatives in 2020, is set to have a major role in this new agency due to its long-standing ties to the Obama administration when Biden was vice president and to President Biden’s top science adviser, Eric Lander.
As mentioned, Lander is poised to play a major role in ARPA-H/HARPA if and when it materializes. Before becoming the top scientist in the country, Lander was president and founding director of the Broad Institute. While advertised as a partnership between MIT and Harvard, the Broad Institute is heavily influenced by Silicon Valley, with two former Google executives on its board, a partner of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Greylock Partners, and the former CEO of IBM, as well as some of its top endowments coming from prominent tech executives.
The Broad Institute, Source: https://www.broadinstitute.org
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who was intimately involved with Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and who is close to the Democratic Party in general, chairs the Broad Institute as of this April. In March, Schmidt gave the institute $150 million to “connect biology and machine learning for understanding programs of life.” During his time on the Broad Institute board, Schmidt also chaired the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, a group of mostly Silicon Valley, intelligence, and military operatives who have now charted the direction of the US government’s policies on emerging tech and AI. Schmidt was also pitched as potential head of a tech-industry task force by the Biden administration.
Earlier, in January, the Broad Institute announced that its health-research platform, Terra, which was built with Google subsidiary Verily, would partner with Microsoft. As a result, Terra now allows Google and Microsoft to access a vast trove of genomic data that is poured into the platform by academics and research institutions from around the world.
In addition, last September, Google teamed up with the Department of Defense as part of a new AI-driven “predictive health” program that also has links to the US intelligence community. While initially focused on predicting cancer cases, this initiative clearly plans to expand to predicting the onset of other diseases before symptoms appear, including COVID-19. As noted by Unlimited Hangout at the time, one of the ulterior motives for the program, from Google’s perspective, was for Google to gain access to “the largest repository of disease- and cancer-related medical data in the world,” which is held by the Defense Health Agency. Having exclusive access to this data is a huge boon for Google in its effort to develop and expand its growing suite of AI health-care products.
The military is currently being used to pilot COVID-19–related biometric wearables for “returning to work safely.” Last December, it was announced that Hill Air Force Base in Utah would make biometric wearables a mandatory part of the uniform for some squadrons. For example, the airmen of the Air Force’s 649th Munitions Squadron must now wear a smart watch made by Garmin and a smart ring made by Oura as part of their uniform.
According to the Air Force, these devices detect biometric indicators that are then analyzed for 165 different biomarkers by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency/Philips Healthcare AI algorithm that “attempts to recognize an infection or virus around 48 hours before the onset of symptoms.” The development of that algorithm began well before the COVID-19 crisis and is a recent iteration of a series of military research projects that appear to have begun under the 2007 DARPA Predicting Health and Disease (PHD) project.
While of interest to the military, these wearables are primarily intended for mass use—a big step toward the infrastructure needed for the resurrection of a bio-surveillance program to be run by the national-security state. Starting first with the military makes sense from the national-security apparatus’s perspective, as the ability to monitor biometric data, including emotions, has obvious appeal for those managing the recently expanded “insider threat” programs in the military and the Department of Homeland Security.
One indicator of the push for mass use is that the same Oura smart ring being used by the Air Force was also recently utilized by the NBA to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks among basketball players. Prior to COVID-19, it was promoted for consumer use by members of the British Royal family and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for improving sleep. As recently as last Monday, Oura’s CEO, Harpeet Rai, said that the entire future of wearable health tech will soon be “proactive rather than reactive” because it will focus on predicting disease based on biometric data obtained from wearables in real time.
Another wearable tied to the military that is creeping into mass use is the BioButton and its predecessor the BioSticker. Produced by the company BioIntelliSense, the sleek new BioButton is advertised as a wearable system that is “a scalable and cost-effective solution for COVID-19 symptom monitoring at school, home and work.” BioIntelliSense received $2.8 million from the Pentagon last December to develop the BioButton and BioSticker wearables for COVID-19.
BioIntelliSense CEO James Mault poses with the company’s BioSticker wearable. Source: https://biointellisense.com
BioIntelliSense, cofounded and led by former Microsoft HealthVault developer James Mault, now has its wearable sensors being rolled out for widespread use on some college campuses and at some US hospitals. In some of those instances, the company’s wearables are being used to specifically monitor the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine as opposed to symptoms of COVID-19 itself. BioIntelliSense is currently running a study, partnered with Philips Healthcare and the University of Colorado, on the use of its wearables for early COVID-19 detection, which is entirely funded by the US military.
While the use of these wearables is currently “encouraged but optional” at these pilot locations, could there come a time when they are mandated in a workplace or by a government? It would not be unheard of, as several countries have already required foreign arrivals to be monitored through use of a wearable during a mandatory quarantine period. Saint Lucia is currently using BioButton for this purpose. Singapore, which seeks to be among the first “smart nations” in the world, has given every single one of its residents a wearable called a “TraceTogether token” for its contact-tracing program. Either the wearable token or the TraceTogether smartphone app is mandatory for all workplaces, shopping malls, hotels, schools, health-care facilities, grocery stores, and hair salons. Those without access to a smartphone are expected to use the “free” government-issued wearable token.
The Era of Digital Dictatorships Is Nearly Here
Making mandatory wearables the new normal not just for COVID-19 prevention but for monitoring health in general would institutionalize quarantining people who have no symptoms of an illness but only an opaque algorithm’s determination that vital signs indicate “abnormal” activity.
Given that no AI is 100 percent accurate and that AI is only as good as the data it is trained on, such a system would be guaranteed to make regular errors: the question is how many. One AI algorithm being used to “predict COVID-19 outbreaks” in Israel and some US states is marketed by Diagnostic Robotics; the (likely inflated) accuracy rate the company provides for its product is only 73 percent. That means, by the company’s own admission, their AI is wrong 27 percent of the time. Probably, it is even less accurate, as the 73 percent figure has never been independently verified.
Adoption of these technologies has benefitted from the COVID-19 crisis, as supporters are seizing the opportunity to accelerate their introduction. As a result, their use will soon become ubiquitous if this advancing agenda continues unimpeded.
Though this push for wearables is obvious now, signs of this agenda were visible several years ago. In 2018, for instance, insurer John Hancock announced that it would replace its life insurance offerings with “interactive policies” that involve individuals having their health monitored by commercial health wearables. Prior to that announcement, John Hancock and other insurers such as Aetna, Cigna, and UnitedHealthcare offered various rewards for policyholders who wore a fitness wearable and shared that data with their insurance company.
In another pre-COVID example, the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article in August 2019 that claimed that wearables “encourage healthy behaviors and empower individuals to participate in their health.” The authors of the article, who are affiliated with Harvard, further claimed that “incentivizing use of these devices [wearables] by integrating them in insurance policies” may be an “attractive” policy approach. The use of wearables for policyholders has since been heavily promoted by the insurance industry, both prior to and after COVID-19, and some speculate that health insurers could soon mandate their use in certain cases or as a broader policy.
These biometric “fitness” devices—such as Amazon’s Halo—can monitor more than your physical vital signs, however, as they can also monitor your emotional state. ARPA-H/HARPA’s flagship SAFE HOME program reveals that the ability to monitor thoughts and feelings is an already existing goal of those seeking to establish this new agency.
According to World Economic Forum luminary and historian Yuval Noah Harari, the transition to “digital dictatorships” will have a “big watershed” moment once governments “start monitoring and surveying what is happening inside your body and inside your brain.” He says that the mass adoption of such technology would make human beings “hackable animals,” while those who abstain from having this technology on or in their bodies would become part of a new “useless” class. Harari has also asserted that biometric wearables will someday be used by governments to target individuals who have the “wrong” emotional reactions to government leaders.
Unsurprisingly, one of Harari’s biggest fans, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, has recently led his company into the development of a comprehensive biometric and “neural” wearable based on technology from a “neural interface” start-up that Facebook acquired in 2019. Per Facebook, the wearable “will integrate with AR [augmented reality], VR [virtual reality], and human neural signals” and is set to become commercially available soon. Facebook also notably owns the VR company Oculus Rift, whose founder, Palmer Luckey, now runs the US military AI contractor Anduril.
As recently reported, Facebook was shaped in its early days to be a private-sector replacement for DARPA’s controversial LifeLog program, which sought to both “humanize” AI and build profiles on domestic dissidents and terror suspects. LifeLog was also promoted by DARPA as “supporting medical research and the early detection of an emerging pandemic.”
It appears that current trends and events show that DARPA’s decades-long effort to merge “health security” and “national security” have now advanced further than ever before. This may partially be because Bill Gates, who has wielded significant influence over health policy globally in the last year, is a long-time advocate of fusing health security and national security to thwart both pandemics and “bioterrorists” before they can strike, as can be heard in his 2017 speech delivered at that year’s Munich Security Conference. That same year, Gates also publicly urged the US military to “focus more training on preparing to fight a global pandemic or bioterror attack.”
In the merging of “national security” and “health security,” any decision or mandate promulgated as a public health measure could be justified as necessary for “national security,” much in the same way that the mass abuses and war crimes that occurred during the post-9/11 “war on terror” were similarly justified by “national security” with little to no oversight. Yet, in this case, instead of only losing our civil liberties and control over our external lives, we stand to lose sovereignty over our individual bodies.
The NIH, which would house this new ARPA-H/HARPA, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars experimenting with the use of wearables since 2015, not only for detecting disease symptoms but also for monitoring individuals’ diets and illegal drug consumption. Biden played a key part in that project, known as the Precision Medicine initiative, and separately highlighted the use of wearables in cancer patients as part of the Obama administration’s related Cancer Moonshot program. The third Obama-era health-research project was the NIH’s BRAIN initiative, which was launched, among other things, to “develop tools to record, mark, and manipulate precisely defined neurons in the living brain” that are determined to be linked to an “abnormal” function or a neurological disease. These initiatives took place at a time when Eric Lander was the cochair of Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology while still leading the Broad Institute. It is hardly a coincidence that Eric Lander is now Biden’s top science adviser, elevated to a new cabinet-level position and set to guide the course of ARPA-H/HARPA.
Thus, Biden’s newly announced agency, if approved by Congress, would integrate those past Obama-era initiatives with Orwellian applications under one roof, but with even less oversight than before. It would also seek to expand and mainstream the uses of these technologies and potentially move toward developing policies that would mandate their use.
If ARPA-H/HARPA is approved by Congress and ultimately established, it will be used to resurrect dangerous and long-standing agendas of the national-security state and its Silicon Valley contractors, creating a “digital dictatorship” that threatens human freedom, human society, and potentially the very definition of what it means to be human.
Transcript of video (45 min) at the website. The video has some specifics specific to Netherlands media and politics, but apart from the names, the exact same processes and relationships exist in all advanced western states. The last section corresponding to "The Danger We are in Now" section on the World Economic Forum is especially important to see in the light of the financial relationships tracing all corporate ownership up to Vanguard, shown in the first part.
If you’ve been wondering how the world economy has been hijacked and humanity has been kidnapped by a completely bogus narrative, look no further than this video by Dutch creator, Covid Lie.
What she uncovers is that the stock of the world’s largest corporations are owned by the same institutional investors. They all own each other. This means that “competing” brands, like Coke and Pepsi aren’t really competitors, at all, since their stock is owned by exactly the same investment companies, investment funds, insurance companies, banks and in some cases, governments. This is the case, across all industries. As she says:
“The smaller investors are owned by larger investors. Those are owned by even bigger investors. The visible top of this pyramid shows only two companies whose names we have often seen…They are Vanguard and BlackRock. The power of these two companies is beyond your imagination. Not only do they own a large part of the stocks of nearly all big companies but also the stocks of the investors in those companies. This gives them a complete monopoly.
A Bloomberg report states that both these companies in the year 2028, together will have investments in the amount of 20 trillion dollars. That means that they will own almost everything.
Bloomberg calls BlackRock “The fourth branch of government”, because it’s the only private agency that closely works with the central banks. BlackRock lends money to the central bank but it’s also the advisor. It also develops the software the central bank uses. Many BlackRock employees were in the White House with Bush and Obama. Its CEO. Larry Fink can count on a warm welcome from leaders and politicians. Not so strange, if you know that he is the front man of the ruling company but Larry Fink does not pull the strings himself.
BlackRock, itself is also owned by shareholders. Who are those shareholders? We come to a strange conclusion. The biggest shareholder is Vanguard. But now he gets murky. Vanguard is a private company and we cannot see who the shareholders are. The elite who own Vanguard apparently do not like being in the spotlight but of course they cannot hide from who is willing to dig.
Reports from Oxfam and Bloomberg say that 1% of the world, together owns more money than the other 99%. Even worse, Oxfam says that 82% of all earned money in 2017 went to this 1%.
In other words, these two investment companies, Vanguard and BlackRock hold a monopoly in all industries in the world and they, in turn are owned by the richest families in the world, some of whom are royalty and who have been very rich since before the Industrial Revolution. Why doesn’t everybody know this? Why aren’t there movies and documentaries about this? Why isn’t it in the news? Because 90% of the international media is owned by nine media conglomerates.
Covid Lie asks, “Who sponsors the organization and press agencies that produce our news? With Project Syndicate, we see the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Open Society Foundation and the European Journalism Centre. The organizations that bring the news get paid by non-profit organizations, of the same elite that also owns the entire media but also a part of taxpayers money is used to pay them.”
Or, as George Carlin said, “It’s a small club and you ain’t in it.”
So when Lynn Forester de Rothschild wants the United States to be a one-party country (like China) and doesn’t want voter ID laws passed in the US, so that more election fraud can be perpetrated to achieve that end,what does she do?
She holds a conference call with the world’s top 100 CEOs and tells them to publicly decry as “Jim Crow” Georgia’s passing of an anti-corruption law and she orders her dutiful CEOs to boycott the State of Georgia, like we saw with Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball and even Hollywood star, Will Smith. In this conference call, we see shades of the Great Reset, Agenda 2030, the New World Order.
The UN wants to make sure, as does Schwab that in 2030, poverty, hunger, pollution and disease no longer plague the Earth. To achieve this, the UN wants taxes from Western countries to be split by the mega corporations of the elite to create a brand new society. For this project, the UN says we need a world government – namely the UN, itself.
And it is clear that the “pandemic” was orchestrated in order to bring this about. This video does an incredible job of explaining how it is all being done.
As you are watching millions fall into poverty because of the corona measures of the past year, even if the greatest economic crisis in history has not affected you yet, it will only be a matter of time until the rippling effects will hit you, as well
This is not fear-mongering but it’s a harsh reality. I also think we might mitigate the damage and may even do better, provided we are informed correctly about our situation. This is why I would like to show you a few facts you can easily check facts that are of crucial importance.
Less than a handful of big corporations dominate every aspect of our lives. That may seem exaggerated but from the breakfast we eat to the mattress we sleep on and everything we wear and consume in between is largely dependent on these corporations.
Those are huge investment companies that determine the course of money flow. They are the main characters of the play that we are witnessing. I know your time is valuable, so I summarize the most important data.
How does it work?
THE FOOD INDUSTRY
Let’s take Pepsico as an example. It is the parent company of many soda companies and snack companies. The so-called competitive brands are from factories from a few corporations who monopolize the entire industry. In the packaged food industry, there are a few big companies, like Unilever, the Coca-Cola Company, Mondelez and Nestlé.
In the picture, you see that most brands in the food industry belong to one of these corporations. The big companies are on the stock market and have the big shareholders in the board of directors.
On sources like Yahoo Finance, we can see detailed company info, such as who the biggest shareholders actually are. Let’s take Pepsico again, as an example. We see about 72% of stock is owned by no less than 3,155 institutional investors. These are investment companies, investment funds, insurance companies, banks and in some cases, governments.
Who are the biggest institutional investors of Pepsico? As you can see, only 10 of the investors own together nearly one third of the stock. The top 10 of investors together amount to a value of $59 billion dollars but out of those ten, only three own more stock than the other seven. Let’s remember them and look up who owns the most stocks of the Coca-Cola Company, the biggest competitor of Pepsi.
The biggest lump of stock is again owned by institutional investors. Let’s look at the top 10 and start at the bottom six of them. Four of these institutional investors we also saw at the bottom six of Pepsico. These are Northern Trust, JPMorgan-Chase, Geode Capital Management and Wellington Management. Now, let’s look at the four biggest stock owners. They are BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street. These are the world’s biggest investment firms, so Pepsico and Coca-Cola are not competitors, at all.
The other big companies that own a myriad of brand names, like Unilever, Mondelez and Nestlé are from the same small group of investors. But it’s not only in the food industry that their names come up. Let’s find out on Wikipedia, which are the biggest tech companies.
Facebook is the owner of Whatsapp and Instagram. Together with Twitter, they form the most popular social media platforms. Alphabet is the parent of all Google companies, like YouTube and Gmail but they are also the biggest investor in Android, one of the two operating systems for nearly all smartphones and tablets. The other operating system is Apple’s IOS. If we add Microsoft, we see four companies making the software for nearly all computers, tablets and smartphones in the world.
Let’s see who are the biggest shareholders of these companies. Take Facebook: we see that 80% of the stock is owned by institutional investors. These are the same names that came up in the food industry; the same investors are in the top three. Next, is Twitter. It forms with Facebook and Instagram the top three. Surprisingly, this company is in the hands of the same investors, as well. We see them again, with Apple and even with their biggest competitor, Microsoft.
Also, if we look at other big companies in the tech industry that develop and make our computers, TVs, phones and home appliances, we see the same big investors, that together own the majority of the stock. It’s true for all industries. I’m not exaggerating.
THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY (AND ENERGY & MINING)
One last example, let’s book a holiday on a computer or smartphone. We search for a flight to a sunny country on Skyscanner or Expedia. Both are from the same small group of investors. We fly with one of the many airlines. Many of which are in the hands of the same investors and of governments, as is the case with Air France, KLM. The plane we board is, in most cases a Boeing or an Airbus, also owned by the same names. We book through Booking.com or AirBnB and when we arrive we go out for dinner and place a comment on Tripadvisor.
The same big investors show up in every aspect of our trip and their power is even bigger, because of the kerosene is from their oil companies or refineries. The steel from which the plane is made comes from their mining companies. This small group of investment firms and funds and banks are namely also the biggest investors in the industry that dig for raw materials.
Wikipedia shows that the biggest mining companies have the same big investors that we see everywhere. Also, the big agricultural businesses, on which the entire food industry depends; they own Bayer, the parent company of Monsanto, the biggest seed producer in the world but they are also the shareholders of the big textile industry. And even many popular fashion brands who make the clothing out of the cotton are owned by the same investors.
Whether we look at the world’s biggest solar panel companies or oil refineries, the stocks are in the hands of the same companies. They own the tobacco companies that produce all the popular tobacco brands but they also own all big pharmaceutical companies and the scientific institutions that produce medicine. They own the companies that produce our metals and also the entire car, plane and weapons industry, where a great deal of the metals and raw materials are used. The own the companies that build our electronics, they own the big warehouses and online markets and even the means of payments we use to buy their products.
To make this video as short as possible, I only showed you the tip of the iceberg. If you decide to research this with the sources I just showed you, then you will see that most popular insurance companies, banks, construction companies, telephone companies restaurant chains and cosmetics are owned by the same institutional investors we have just seen.
BLACKROCK & VANGUARD
These institutional investors are mainly investment firms banks and insurance companies. In turn, they, themselves are owned by shareholders and the most surprising thing is that they own each other’s stocks
Together, they form an immense network comparable to a pyramid. The smaller investors are owned by larger investors. Those are owned by even bigger investors. The visible top of this pyramid shows only two companies whose names we have often seen by now. They are Vanguard and BlackRock. The power of these two companies is beyond your imagination. Not only do they own a large part of the stocks of nearly all big companies but also the stocks of the investors in those companies. This gives them a complete monopoly.
A Bloomberg report states that both these companies in the year 2028, together will have investments in the amount of 20 trillion dollars. That means that they will own almost anything
Bloomberg calls BlackRock “The fourth branch of government”, because it’s the only private agency that closely works with the central banks. BlackRock lends money to the central bank but it’s also the advisor. It also develops the software the central bank uses. Many BlackRock employees were in the White House with Bush and Obama. Its CEO, Larry Fink can count on a warm welcome from leaders and politicians. Not so strange, if you know that he is the front man of the ruling company. But Larry Fink does not pull the strings, himself.
BlackRock, itself is also owned by shareholders. Who are those shareholders? We come to a strange conclusion. The biggest shareholder is Vanguard. But now he gets murky. Vanguard is a private company and we cannot see who the shareholders are. The elite who own Vanguard apparently do not like being in the spotlight but of course they cannot hide from who is willing to dig.
Reports from Oxfam and Bloomberg say that 1% of the world, together owns more money than the other 99%. Even worse, Oxfam says that 82% of all earned money in 2017 went to this 1%.
Forbes, the most famous business magazine says that in March 2020, there were 2,095 billionaires in the world. This means that Vanguard is owned by the richest families in the world. If we research their history, we see that they have always been the wealthiest. Some of them, even before the start of the Industrial Revolution, because their history is so interesting and extensive, I will make a sequel.
For now, I just want to say that these families of whom many are in royalty are the founders of our banking system and of every industry in the world, these families have never lost power but due to an increasing population, they had to hide behind firms, like Vanguard, which the stockholders are the private funds and non-profits of these families.
NGOs AND FOUNDATIONS AND THEIR OWNERSHIP OF BIG PHARMA
To clarify the picture, I have to explain briefly what non-profits actually are. These appear to be the link between companies, politics and media. This conceals the conflicts of interests a bit. Non-profits, also called “foundations” are dependent on donations they do not have to disclose who their donors are they can invest the money in the way they see fit and do not pay taxes as long as the profits are invested again in new projects. In this way, non-profits keep hundreds of billions of dollars among themselves according to the Australian government, non-profits are an ideal way of financing terrorists and of massive money-laundering.
The foundations and funds of the families that are the richest stay in the background as much as possible. For issues that get much attention, the foundation of philanthropists are used that are lower in rank but very rich.
I want to keep it short, so I will show you the three most important ones that connect all industries in the world. They are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Open Society Foundation of the controversial multi-billionaire, Soros and the Clinton Foundation. I will give you a very short introduction to show you their power.
According to the website of the World Economic Forum, the Gates Foundation is the biggest sponsor of the WHO. That was after Donald Trump quit USA financial support to the WHO in 2020. So the Gates Foundation is one of the most influential entities in everything that concerns our health. The Gates Foundation works closely with the biggest pharma companies, among which are Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Biontech and Bayer.
And we have just seen who their biggest shareholders are. Bill Gates was not a poor computer nerd who miraculously became very rich. He’s from a philanthropist’s family that works for the absolute elite. His Microsoft is owned by Vanguard, BlackRock and Berkshire Hathaway. But the Gates Foundation, after BlackRock and Vanguard is the biggest shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway. He was even the member of the board there.
We would need hours if we wanted to uncover everything in which Gates, the Open Society Foundation of Soros and the Clinton Foundation are involved. They form a bridge to the current situation, so I had to introduce them.
THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA
We need to start the next topic with a question. Someone like me, who never makes videos can, with an old laptop objectively show that only two companies hold a monopoly in all industries in the world. My question is, why is this never talked about in the media?
We can choose daily between all sorts of documentaries and TV programs but none of them cover this subject. Is it not interesting enough or are there other interests at play? Wikipedia, again gives us the answer. They say that about 90% of the international media is owned by nine media conglomerates. Whether we take the monopolist Netflix and Amazon Prime or enormous concerns that own many daughter companies, like Time-Warner, the Walt Disney Company, Comcast, Fox Corporation, Bertelsmann and Viacom, CBS, we see that the same names own stocks.
These corporations not only make all the programs, movies and documentaries but also own the channels on which those are broadcast. So, not only the industries but also the information is owned by the elite.
I will show you briefly how this works in the Netherlands. To start with, all the Dutch mainstream media are owned by three companies. The first one is De PersGroep [DPG Media], the parent company of the following brands (. Apart from the many newspapers and magazines, they also own Sanoma, the parent company of some of the big commercial Dutch channels. Many media outlets from abroad, like VTM are also owned by the De PersGroep.
The second one is Mediahuis, one of Europe’s biggest media concerns. In the Netherlands, Mediahuis owns the following brands. Until 2017, also Sky Radio and Radio Veronica were owned by Mediahuis, as were Radio 538 and radio 10.
And then there is Bertelsmann, which is one of the 9 biggest media firms. This company owns RTL, that owns 45 television stations and 32 radio stations in 11 countries. But Bertelsmann is also co-owner of the world’s biggest book publisher, Penguin Random House.
The stocks of these companies are owned by private funds of three families. Those are the Belgian Van Thillo family, the Belgian Leysen family and the German Bertelsmann-Mohn family. All three families sided with the Nazis in the War.
According to Wikipedia, for this reason, the Telegraaf, the Leysen newspaper was temporarily forbidden in the Netherlands after the war.
THE FAKE NEWS
To complete this overview, look at where the news comes from. The daily news of all these media outlets the diverse news media do not produce news. They use information and footage from the press agencies, .ANP and Reuters. These agencies are not independent. .ANP is owned by Talpa, John de Mol. Thomson-Reuters is owned by the powerful Canadian Thomson family.
The most important journalists and editors working for these agencies are members of a journalism agency, like the European Journalism Centre. These are one of the biggest European sponsors of media-related projects. They educate journalists, publish study books, provide training spaces and press agencies and work closely together with the big corporations, Google and Facebook.
For journalistic analysis and views, the big media use Project Syndicate. This is the most powerful organization in the field. Project Syndicate and organizations like I mentioned are together with the press agencies. The link between all worldwide media outlets when news anchors reap from their autocues [teleprompters], chances are that the text stems from one of these organizations. That is the reason that worldwide media shows synchronicity in their reporting.
And look at the European journalism center, itself. Again, the Gates Foundation and the Open Society Foundation. They are also heavily-sponsored by Facebook, Google, the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Who sponsors the organization and press agencies that produce our news? With Project Syndicate, we see the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Open Society Foundation and the European Journalism Centre. The organizations that bring the news get paid by non-profit organizations, of the same elite that also owns the entire media but also a part of taxpayers money is used to pay them.
In Belgium, there are protests regularly, since Mediahuis and De Persgroep receive millions of euros from the government, while many are abroad…
THE DANGER WE ARE IN NOW
Well, this was a lot to chew on and I tried to make it as short as I could. I only used examples that I thought were necessary to create a clear overview. This helps to better understand our current situation, that can shed new light on past events
There will be enough time to dive into the past, but now let’s talk about today but my goal is to inform you about the danger we are in now. The elite governs every aspect of our lives, also, the information we get and they depend on a coordination, cooperation to connect all industries in the world to serve their interests. This is done through the World Economic Forum, among others, a very important organization.
Every year in Davos, the CEOs of big corporations meet national leaders, politicians and other influential parties, like UNICEF and Greenpeace. On the supervisory board of the WEF is former Vice President, Al Gore, our own minister, Sigrid Kaag, Feike Sijbesma, Chairman of the Royal Dutch State Mines and the Commissioner of the Dutch bank, Christine Lagarde, the Chairwoman of the European Central Bank. Also, politician, Ferdinand Grapperhaus’ son works for the WEF.
Wikipedia says that the annual fee for members is 35,000 euros “but over half of our budget comes from partners who pay the cost for politicians who otherwise could not afford membership.”
According to critics, the WEF is for rich businesses to do business with other businesses or with politicians. For most members, the WEF would support personal gain instead of being a means to solve the world’s problems. Why would there be many world problems if the industry leaders, bankers and politicians from 1971 onwards have gathered every year to solve the world’s problems?
Isn’t it illogical, that after 50 years of meetings between environmentalists and the CEOs of the most polluting companies, nature is gradually doing worse, not better; that those critics are right, it’s clear, when we look at the main partners that together make up more than half of the budget of the WEF. Because these are BlackRock, the Open Society foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many big companies, from which Vanguard and BlackRock own the stocks.
Chairman and founder of the WEF is Klaus Schwab, a Swiss professor and businessman. In his book, The Great Reset, he writes about the plans of his organization. The coronavirus is, according to him a great “opportunity” to reset our societies. He calls it “Build Back Better”. The slogan is now on the lips of all Globalist politicians in the world.
Our old society must switch to a new one, says Schwab. The people own nothing but work for the state to have their primary needs met. The WEF says it’s necessary for the consumption society the elite forced upon us is not sustainable anymore. Schwab says in his book that we will never return to the old normal and the WEF published a video recently to make clear that by 2030, we will own nothing but we will be happy.
THE GREAT RESET = THE NEW WORLD ORDER
You probably heard of the New World Order. The media wants us to believe that this is a conspiracy theory, yet it has been talked about by leaders for decades. Not just George Bush Senior, Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela but also world-famous philanthropists, like Cecil Rhodes, David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and even George Soros.
The UN presented in 2015 their controversial Agenda 2030. It is almost identical to the Great Reset of Klaus Schwab. The UN wants to make sure, as does Schwab that in 2030, poverty, hunger, pollution and disease no longer plague the Earth.
Sounds nice but wait till you read the small print. The plan is that Agenda 2030 will be paid by us, the citizens. Just like they ask of us now to give away our rights for public health, they will ask us to give away our wealth to battle poverty. These are no conspiracy theories. It is on their official website. It comes down to this: The UN wants taxes from Western countries to be split by the mega corporations of the elite to create a brand new society. The new infrastructure, because fossil fuels are gone in 2030.
For this project, the UN says we need a world government, namely the UN, itself.
The UN agrees with Schwab that a pandemic is a golden chance to accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2030.
It is worrisome that the WEF and the UN openly admit that pandemics and other catastrophes can be used to reshape society. We must not think lightly about this and do thorough research.
In March of last year as the coronavirus panic was starting, I wrote a somewhat flippant article saying that the obsession with buying and hoarding toilet paper was the people’s vaccine. My point was simple: excrement and death have long been associated in cultural history and in the Western imagination with the evil devil, Satan, the Lord of the underworld, the Trickster, the Grand Master who rules the pit of smelly death, the place below where bodies go.
The psychoanalytic literature is full of examples of death anxiety revealed in anal dreams of shit-filled overflowing toilets and people pissing in their pants. Ernest Becker put it simply in The Denial of Death:
No mistake – the turd is mankind’s real threat because it reminds people of death.
The theological literature is also full of warnings about the devil’s wiles. So too the Western classics from Aeschylus to Melville. The demonic has an ancient pedigree and has various names. Rational people tend to dismiss all this as superstitious nonsense. This is hubris. The Furies always exact their revenge when their existence is denied. For they are part of ourselves, not alien beings, as the tragedy of human history has shown us time and again.
Since excremental visions and the fear of death haunt humans – the skull at the banquet as William James put it – the perfect symbol of protection is toilet paper that will keep you safe and clean and free of any reminder of the fear of death running through a panicked world. It’s a magic trick of course, an unconscious way of thinking you are protecting yourself; a form of self-hypnosis.
One year later, magical thinking has taken a different form and my earlier flippancy has turned darker. You can’t hoard today’s toilet paper but you can get them: RNA inoculations, misnamed vaccines. People are lined up for them now as they are being told incessantly to “get your shot.” They are worse than toilet paper. At least toilet paper serves a practical function. Real vaccines, as the word’s etymology – Latin, vaccinus, from cows, the cowpox virus vaccine first used by British physician Edward Jenner in 1800 to prevent smallpox – involve the use of a small amount of a virus. The RNA inoculations are not vaccines. To say they are is bullshit and has nothing to do with cows. To call them vaccines is linguistic mind control.
These experimental inoculations do not prevent the vaccinated from getting infected with the “virus” nor do they prevent transmission of the alleged virus. When they were approved recently by the FDA that was made clear. The FDA issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for these inoculations only under the proviso that they may make an infection less severe. Yet millions have obediently taken a shot that doesn’t do what they think it does. What does that tell us?
Hundreds of millions of people have taken an injection that allows a bio-reactive “gene-therapy” molecule to be injected into their bodies because of fear, ignorance, and a refusal to consider that the people who are promoting this are evil and have ulterior motives. Not that they mean well, but that they are evil and have evil intentions. Does this sound too extreme? Radically evil? Come on!
So what drives the refusal to consider that demonic forces are at work with the corona crisis?
Why do the same people who get vaccinated believe that a PCR test that can’t, according to its inventor Kary Mullis, test for this so-called virus, believe in the fake numbers of positive “cases”? Do these people even know if the virus has ever been isolated?
Such credulity is an act of faith, not science or confirmed fact.
Is it just the fear of death that drives such thinking?
Or is it something deeper than ignorance and propaganda that drives this incredulous belief?
If you want facts, I will not provide them here. Despite the good intentions of people who still think facts matter, I don’t think most people are persuaded by facts anymore. But such facts are readily available from excellent alternative media publications. Global Research’s Michel Chossudovsky has released, free of charge, his comprehensive E-Book: The 2020-21 Worldwide Corona Crisis: Destroying Civil Society, Engineered Economic Depression, Global Coup D’Etat, and the “Great Reset.” It’s a good place to start if facts and analysis are what you are after. Or go to Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s Childrens Health Defense, Off-Guardian, Dissident Voice, Global Research, among numerous others.
Perhaps you think these sites are right-wing propaganda because many articles they publish can also be read or heard at some conservative media. If so, you need to start thinking rather than reacting. The entire mainstream political/media spectrum is right-wing, if you wish to use useless terms such as Left/Right. I have spent my entire life being accused of being a left-wing nut, but now I am being told I am a right-wing nut even though my writing appears in many leftist publications. Perhaps my accusers don’t know which way the screw turns or the nut loosens. Being uptight and frightened doesn’t help.
I am interested in asking why so many people can’t accept that radical evil is real. Is that a right-wing question? Of course not. It’s a human question that has been asked down through the ages.
I do think we are today in the grip of radical evil, demonic forces. The refusal to see and accept this is not new. As the eminent theologian, David Ray Griffin, has argued, the American Empire, with its quest for world domination and its long and ongoing slaughters at home and abroad, is clearly demonic; it is driven by the forces of death symbolized by Satan.
I have spent many years trying to understand why so many good people have refused to see and accept this and have needed to ply a middle course over many decades. The safe path. Believing in the benevolence of their rulers. When I say radical evil, I mean it in the deepest spiritual sense. A religious sense, if you prefer. But by religious I don’t mean institutional religions since so many of the institutional religions are complicit in the evil.
It has long been easy for Americans to accept the demonic nature of foreign leaders such as Hitler, Stalin, or Mao. Easy, also, to accept the government’s attribution of such names as the “new Hitler” to any foreign leader it wishes to kill and overthrow. But to consider their own political leaders as demonic is near impossible.
So let me begin with a few reminders.
- The U.S. destruction of Iraq and the mass killings of Iraqis under George W. Bush beginning in 2003. Many will say it was illegal, unjust, carried out under false pretenses, etc. But who will say it was pure evil?
- Who will say that Barack Obama’s annihilation of Libya was radical evil?
- Who will say the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the firebombing of Tokyo and so many Japanese cities that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians was radical evil?
- Who will say the U.S. war against Syria is demonic evil?
- Who will say the killing of millions of Vietnamese was radical evil?
- Who will say the insider attacks of September 11, 2001 were demonic evil?
- Who will say slavery, the genocide of native people, the secret medical experiments on the vulnerable, the CIA mind control experiments, the coups engineered throughout the world resulting in the mass murder of millions – who will say these are evil in the deepest sense?
- Who will say the U.S. security state’s assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X, MLK, Jr., Robert Kennedy, Fred Hampton, et al. were radical evil?
- Who will say the trillions spent on nuclear weapons and the willingness to use them to annihilate the human race is not the ultimate in radical evil?
This list could extend down the page endlessly. Only someone devoid of all historical sense could conclude that the U.S. has not been in the grip of demonic forces for a long time.
If you can do addition, you will find the totals staggering. They are overwhelming in their implications.
But to accept this history as radically evil in intent and not just in its consequences are two different things. I think so many find it so hard to admit that their leaders have intentionally done and do demonic deeds for two reasons. First, to do so implicates those who have supported these people or have not opposed them. It means they have accepted such radical evil and bear responsibility. It elicits feelings of guilt. Secondly, to believe that one’s own leaders are evil is next to impossible for many to accept because it suggests that the rational façade of society is a cover for sinister forces and that they live in a society of lies so vast they the best option is to make believe it just isn’t so. Even when one can accept that evil deeds were committed in the past, even some perhaps intentionally, the tendency is to say “that was then, but things are different now.” Grasping the present when you are in it is not only difficult but often disturbing for it involves us.
So if I am correct and most Americans cannot accept that their leaders have intentionally done radically evil things, then it follows that to even consider questioning the intentions of the authorities regarding the current corona crisis needs to be self-censored. Additionally, as we all know, the authorities have undertaken a vast censorship operation so people cannot hear dissenting voices of those who have now been officially branded as domestic terrorists. The self-censorship and the official work in tandem.
There is so much information available that shows that the authorities at the World Health Organization, the CDC, The World Economic Forum, Big Pharma, governments throughout the world, etc. have gamed this crisis beforehand, have manipulated the numbers, lied, have conducted a massive fear propaganda campaign via their media mouthpieces, have imposed cruel lockdowns that have further enriched the wealthiest and economically and psychologically devastated vast numbers, etc. Little research is needed to see this, to understand that Big Pharma is, as Dr. Peter Gøtzsche documented eight years ago in Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare, a world-wide criminal enterprise. It takes but a few minutes to see that the pharmaceutical companies who have been given emergency authorization for these untested experimental non-vaccine “vaccines” have paid out billions of dollars to settle criminal and civil allegations.
It is an open secret that the WHO, the Gates Foundation, the WEF led by Klaus Schwab, and an interlocking international group of conspirators have plans for what they call The Great Reset, a strategy to use the COVID-19 crisis to push their agenda to create a world of cyborgs living in cyberspace where artificial intelligence replaces people and human biology is wedded to technology under the control of the elites. They have made it very clear that there are too many people on this planet and billions must die. Details are readily available of this open conspiracy to create a transhuman world.
Is this not radical evil? Demonic?
Let me end with an analogy. There is another organized crime outfit that can only be called demonic – The Central Intelligence Agency. One of its legendary officers was James Jesus Angleton, chief of Counterintelligence from 1954 until 1975. He was a close associate of Allen Dulles, the longest serving director of the CIA. Both men were deeply involved in many evil deeds, including bringing Nazi doctors and scientists into the U.S. to do the CIA’s dirty work, including mind control, bioweapons research, etc. The stuff they did for Hitler. As reported by David Talbot in The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, when the staunch Catholic Angleton was on his deathbed, he gave an interviews to visiting journalists, including Joseph Trento. He confessed:
He had not been serving God, after all, when he followed Allen Dulles. He had been on a satanic quest….’Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars,’ he told Trento in an emotionless voice. ‘The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you would be promoted…. Outside this duplicity, the only thing they had in common was a desire for absolute power. I did things that, looking back on my life, I regret. But I was part of it and loved being in it.’ He invoked the names of the high eminences who had run the CIA in his day – Dulles, Helms, Wisner. These men were ‘the grand masters,’ he said. ‘If you were in a room with them, you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell.’ Angleton took another slow sip from his steaming cup. ‘I guess I will see them there soon.’
Until we recognize the demonic nature of the hell we are now in, we too will be lost. We are fighting for our lives and the spiritual salvation of the world. Do not succumb to the siren songs of these fathers of lies.
Another good column. Don’t let the criticism get you down. There are many who pretend they are left ,but are anything but. Don’t waste your time on them.
The original critics of the Warren report were people like Bertrand Russell and M.S.Aroni.
Louis N Proyect says:
“I have spent my entire life being accused of being a left-wing nut, but now I am being told I am a right-wing nut even though my writing appears in many leftist publications. Perhaps my accusers don’t know which way the screw turns or the nut loosens. Being uptight and frightened doesn’t help.”
You don’t seem to get that you are a conspiracy theorist. As for being a left-wing nut, the real question is your utter lack of familiarity with a Marxist class analysis. Off-Guardian has pretty much evolved into a wing of the Trumpist right, following its propaganda on COVID-19. By writing for it, you are helping to shore up Tucker Carlson and all the other nut-jobs that helped make it possible for a half-million Americans to die from the illness. It could have been a much lower number if Trump hadn’t been saying the same thing as the dingbats who put out Off-Guardian. “It was just a cold…” “Masks don’t work…” “Our liberties are being suppressed…” Blah-blah-blah. Do you think that your articles don’t line up with the far right? Then, you need to develop a sense of self-awareness that is typically absent in tenured professors.
I, too, think that Ed and some others on the more radical left have gotten this pandemic wrong. A long string of deep state/mass media deceptions from the killing of JFK to and through the World Center Atrocity created a comfortable framework in which the pandemic was understandably viewed, at least at first, as just the latest plutocratic plot to entrench and expand their interests. And there was indeed evidence that could be marshalled in this direction. At some point in the pandemic’s progress, however, it should have become apparent that we were dealing with a real phenomenon that threatened the entire world including the plutocrats, who while exploiting the pandemic to get ever more obscenely rich and powerful, were also scared shitless on a personal level that they too (or their loved ones) could get sick and die. That said, I think you’re being disrespectful to a man who has stuck his neck out for a lifetime in telling us the truth (as he saw it) about the machinations of entrenched evil in our midst, so often doing its dirty work behind the scenes. With regard to the Off-Guardian, you are engaging promiscuously in guilt by association, a favorite way in which the left has eaten its own since its inception. The real tragedy here IMHO is that the pandemic and the neoliberal destabilization and paralysis it has brought (and will likely continue to bring) may well offer a genuine revolutionary/evolutionary opening, one which the marginalized radical left could never have generated on its own. Thus many who should be at the forefront of “seizing the time” are instead missing it entirely and unwittingly lending credence to reactionary forces, who want nothing more than a speedy end to the pandemic so that we can return, pedal to the metal, to exploitative and ecocidal neoliberal capitalism.
I don’t know much about Karl Jung, but his idea of the shadow includes the notion that if you don’t recognize your own shadow, if you don’t develop “an imagination for evil” then you project it outward (as Sanjoy said above), and you remain innocent, but your very “innocence” (which is really just denial) enables the shadow, or the evil, to take hold in bigger ways. Paul Levy says it better than I just did:
“We still go on thinking that we are “simplex and not duplex,” to use Jung’s words. We thus imagine ourselves to be “innocuous, reasonable and humane.” We don’t deny that terrible things are happening, but since we regard ourselves as harmless, Jung points out, “it is always ‘the others’ who do them.” When we are not in touch with the potential evil that dwells within us, we project it outside of ourselves in a futile attempt to disown it, thereby falling prey to and unknowingly acting out in the external world the very evil that we are turning away from within ourselves. Evil thrives on our turning a blind eye towards it.” https://www.awakeninthedream.com/articles/carl-jung-imagination-evil
This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t put the billionaires etc on trial for crimes against humanity (they absolutely should be on trial) or that we can’t organize (oh except we can’t because everyone’s afraid to come out of the house), but I think it’s important to realize that each of us has a kind of totalitarian inside, and we need to understand that. Or we’ll never defeat the madness. That’s not at all a popular stance in a world view without shade (or shadow).
It reminds me of Father Zossima in _Brothers Karamazov_ who said something like (i’m paraphrasing) Everytime there’s a crime, tell yourself that YOU are responsible for that crime. That’s also not a popular stance because it’s seen as defeatism, or “acceptance”. But it isn’t.
Anyway, obviously your article resonated a lot–this is something I’ve been thinking about recently–calling evil what it is. But not thinking that I’m particularly innocent.
ALBERT L ROSSI says:
Well said, Lorie. Whether inflected through Jung or Dostoevsky, or Sartre’s _mauvaise foi_, we are indeed all guilty. The very bad faith which lay unacknowledged, or better, purposely suppressed, in my own daily armchair criticism (perhaps whining is more precise), was one of the realizations that shook me to the core when reading «Seeking Truth». And yes, an examination of conscience is only the first step, as all lapsed Catholic atheists like myself know.
ALBERT L ROSSI says:
Brilliant and powerful, even moving––everything I have come to expect since I discovered Ed’s writing. «Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies» was a real highlight of my pandemic year reading list.
I just wanted to address one particular thing Ed brings up in this essay: the way critics who once classified him as a left-wing nut now call him a right-wing nut.
This hits solidly home. It has long been for me a struggle to reconcile (at least for my dogmatic colleagues) my own progressive-to-radical views (if those labels truly denote anything, or ever did) with those I hold concerning the assassinations of the 60s, let alone the more recent instances of “pure evil” noted here. How, indeed, did claiming JFK was assassinated by the National Security State come to be a specifically “right-wing” conspiracy theory?
But this is nothing compared to how that label has been weaponized to shut down discussion of the pandemic among a broad sector of the populace.
I have been saying for some time now that this was, among other things, an ingenious ploy to get the “opposition” (the “so-called Left”, as Douglas Valentine would say) on board. You can’t really fool them too much any more with the threat of Islamic terrorism (though many of them seem to be lapping up the China/Russia b.s.). But a humanitarian crisis? Perfect! In the interest of humanity, we will simply look the other way when it comes to corporate malfeasance and profiteering, and totalitarian strictures, even censorship. (Don’t be distracted by conspiracies: we need to fight the system as a whole. That has to be one of the most hackneyed false oppositions in political and social science.)
And isn’t it funny how the “anti-science” shibboleth, once aimed at supporters of the megalithic fossil-fuel industry, is now aimed at critics of the megalithic pharmaceutical industry?
It has long been a goal of our intelligence community to build an “acceptable”, controllable Left. Seems like that goal has finally been achieved.
Allen Dulles is laughing his burning ass off in hell.
Condolences from another former left-wing transformed to a right-wing nut. It’s really laughable once you stop crying.
I’m trying to get into this but I’m not getting anywhere. What does it do for us to think of this regime as evil instead of criminal? At war crimes tribunals you don’t get hanged for evil. You don’t get nuked for evil. You… go to hell? I do not see these assholes shaking in their boots. Angleton’s just bragging.
They’re certainly unencumbered by ethical or moral structures. But to avoid the fundamental attribution error we ought to look for a circumstance that elicits that sort of misbehavior. And one jumps out at you right away. Impunity.
They do what they want because they can get away with it. In this case crime pays.
That’s the way the outside world sees this. Bolton, certainly one of the poster boys, carried out a massive neoSoviet obstruction campaign to keep the word impunity out of the relevant sections of the World Summit Outcome Document. He would have loved to substitute evil because that’s not a term of art. Impunity is. Arbitrary conduct is. Hostis humani generis is.
This government’s the enemy of everyone on earth. When we depose them and make a pyramid of their skulls, that will be why.
Hi ab, I love your post. As an atheist I tend to agree with your premise:
“What does it do for us to think of this regime as evil instead of criminal?”
One answer, perhaps overly simple, is that the concept of “crime” is often created by criminals. The Gulag Archipelago has hundreds of stories of innocent civilians getting arrested by the police for “crimes” against the Soviet. They would then spend ten or twenty years getting worked to death in a labor camp for their “criminal” behavior.
It’s interesting that organized religion, for all its faults, at least offers meta-governmental view of morality. The American founding fathers recognized this and tried to create a government free *from* religion, not because they were atheist (although some were) but because they knew the dangers of ascribing moral authority to government.
Skip Scott says:
The problem with using the word criminal instead of evil is that it implies that we have “rule of law” that punishes criminals. In fact for the evil ones who have all the power, there is no justice; it’s JUST US. Raw power is all they react to or understand. Although the word “evil” has religious connotations for some, I believe it is more accurate. To be a criminal there has to be effective “rule of law” for them to violate. In fact for the truly powerful evil ones there is no effective “rule of law.” They will never face prosecution by the current system. My hope is that Karma is real, and they will engender their own punishment by the evil ways sometime soon. “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”- MLK.
Gary Weglarz says:
I quite agree Skip. Sadly over the last 500+ years of the West’s rule over the entire planet, much of the absolute barbarity and genocide and plunder undertaken has all been completely – “legal” – rather than being considered – “criminal” except by those on the receiving end. I find that the concept of “evil” touches more closely the presence of an amoral abyss so vast that it can defend bringing about the “legal” deaths of a half-a-million Iraqi children as worth it – and then today claim concern for the welfare of Syrian children in order to justify yet another – “legal” – “humanitarian regime-change war” – while simultaneously facilitating the mass starvation of children in Yemen all in the same breath. The West is now basically a large interconnected criminal enterprise desperately attempting to retain power over the planet.
Chrystia Freeland: Rhodes Scholar Trustee of the WEF, Deputy PM of Canada and the Failure of the ‘Super Elite’
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has become a bit of a living parody of everything wrong with the detached technocratic neo-liberal order which has driven the world through 50 years of post-industrial decay.
As the February 2, 2021 National Post coverage of Freeland’s leading role as trustee of the World Economic Forum makes clear: Her role as Deputy Prime Minister of Canada (which is nominally a position devoted to protecting the interests of Canadians) creates more than a small conflict of interest. The WEF Great Reset agenda is, after all, nothing more than a dystopic program aimed at deconstructing industrial civilization under the cover of COVID-19 and this is not something which benefits any nation.
It is also important to keep in mind that the technocratic globalists whom Freeland represents have worked hard to undo the aberration of Donald Trump which profoundly altered the sacred script which had been obeyed for so many decades without much resistance. Even though Biden was imposed onto the American people this year, it is vital to recall that the script is profoundly flawed, and Trump’s 2016 victory was but one display of that.
Having been set up as a counterpart to the steely Hillary Clinton who was supposed to win the 2016 election, Freeland and her ilk have demonstrated their outdated thinking in everything they have set out to achieve since the 2014 coup in Ukraine. Certainly before that, everything seemed to be going smoothly enough for End of History disciples promoting a script that was supposed to culminate in a long-sought for “New World Order”.
The Script up until Now
Things were going especially well since the collapse of the Soviet system in the early 1990s. The collapse ushered in a unipolar world order with the European Union and NAFTA, followed soon thereafter by the World Trade Organization and the 1999 destruction of Glass-Steagall (1). The trans-Atlantic at last was converted into a cage of “post-sovereign nations” that no longer had actual control of their own powers of credit generation. Under NATO, even national militaries were subject to technocratic control. This cage was perfect for the governing elite “scientifically managing” from above while the little people bickered over their diminishing employment and standards of living from below.
Even though the former Soviet bloc nations were in tatters by 1992, their sovereign powers could only be undone by applying the liberalization process which took 30 years in the west in a short space of only a decade. This was done under the direction of such monetarist “reformers” such as Anatoly Chubais and Yegor Gaidar under Yeltsin. Similar privatization and liberalization reforms were applied viciously to Ukraine and other Warsaw pact countries during the same period. Those pirates that became the “nouveau riche” of the west were joined by such contemporary modern oligarchs such as Oleg Deripaska, Boris Berezovksy, Mikhail Fridman, Roman Abramovich in Russia, alongside Petro Poroshenko, Rinat Akhmetov, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Viktor Pinchuk of Ukraine (to name a few). Not to forget their spiritual roots, many of these oligarchs soon purchased houses in the swank upmarket sections of London which has come to be known as “Moscow on Thames.” (2)
By the end of the 1990s a new phase of this de-nationalization was unleashed with the unveiling of the Blair doctrine explicitly calling for a “post-Westphalia” world order which unleashed a wave of hellish regime change wars in the Arab World beginning with 9-11, and with a long term intention to target Libya, Syria, Iran, and Lebanon while expanding NATO’s hegemony against the potential re-emergence of Russia and China.
The Economic Meltdown Was Always the Intention
Let’s be clear: the whole point of the post-1971 world was directed with the intention of destroying the moral-political and economic foundations for western society. The belief in scientific progress and industrial growth was the cause of all true progress from the 15th century Golden Renaissance to the assassinations of the 1960s. The intended consequences of this post-1971 (zero growth) policy were:
1) The destruction of the productive forces of labor vis a vis outsourcing to “cheap labour markets” driven by shareholder profit.
2) The consolidation of wealth into an ever smaller array of private multi-billionaire owners under a logic of Darwinian survival of the fittest.
3) The creation of a vast speculative bubble supported by ever greater rates of unpayable debt and totally detached from the physically productive forces of reality.
Just like 1929, after years of speculation known as the roaring twenties, the “plug could be pulled” on the bubble in order to impose a bit of shock therapy onto a sleeping population who would beg for fascism as a solution if only it would put bread on their tables. Though this plan failed 80 years ago due to the American rejection of fascism under President Roosevelt, the belief that the formula could succeed in the 21st century was adhered to most closely as long as America was brought firmly under control of the City of London and their Wall Street lackies (3).
Although the fascist “solution” to their manufactured crisis was put down during WWII, this new attempt was premised upon the policy that a new system of Global Government managed by draconian regulation would be imposed under a “Green New Deal” framework whereby the instruments of banking regulation, state directed capital and centralized government (not evils unto themselves), would be directed only to green, low energy flux density forms of energy which inherently lower the population of the earth. This is very different from the protectionism, bank regulation, state credit and central authority exerted by America during the 1930s New Deal (or Eurasian New Silk Road policy today). The difference is that one system empowers sovereign nations, and increases the productive powers of labor and energy flux density of humanity while increasing quality of life, the other “Green” agenda has the opposite effect whereby monetary incentives are tied to decreasing the “carbon footprint” of the earth. The image of a drug addict getting paid heroine as an incentive to bleed himself to death is useful here.
With the slow collapse of first world economies after the assassination of nationalist leaders in the 1960s, the plan for depopulation and global government seemed to be unfolding without serious opposition.
The Role of Chrystia Freeland
Freeland’s bizarre role in this whole affair was to do what every good Rhodes Scholar is conditioned to do upon their completion of their indoctrination at Oxford: facilitate the tough transition of the “pre-collapse” world economy into a new operating system that was meant to be the “green post-collapse” world economy. It wasn’t going to be easy to tell a new “pirate class” of billionaires that they would have to accept losing much of their wealth (less population equals less money), and operate under a strict new global operating system of regulation necessary to contract the society. The Rhodes Scholarship program begun in 1902 to advance a re-organized British Empire and had worked alongside the Fabian Society for over a century producing more than 7000 scholars who have permeated across all fields of society (media, education, government, military and corporate).
In his 1877 will, Cecil Rhodes said this group should be “a society which should have its members in every part of the British Empire working with one object and one idea we should have its members placed at our universities and our schools and should watch the English youth passing through their hands just one perhaps in every thousand would have the mind and feelings for such an object, he should be tried in every way, he should be tested whether he is endurant, possessed of eloquence, disregardful of the petty details of life, and if found to be such, then elected and bound by oath to serve for the rest of his life in his Country. He should then be supported if without means by the Society and sent to that part of the Empire where it was felt he was needed.”
After leaving Oxford in 1993, Chrystia Freeland learned the ropes of “perception management” by working for the London Economist, Washington Post, Financial times and Globe and Mail and Reuters. After serving a stint as editor-at-large of Reuters, the time had come for her to play the role of Valery Jarrett to the “Barack Obama” of Canada then being prepped for Prime Ministership of Justin Trudeau.
She was perfect.
As an asset of the global propaganda system, Freeland had made high level contacts with those Ukrainian, Russian, and Western oligarchs mentioned above including Viktor Pinchuk and Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Larry Summers, George Soros and Al Gore, were just a few players in the west whom she considered her “close friends” and whom she was happy to bring into Canada during the period of re-organization of the Liberal Party (2011-2014) as it prepared to take power under the banner of the Canada 2020 think tank. What made Freeland even more special was that she was bred from a zealous family of Ukrainian nationalists under the patriarchy of her Nazi grandfather Michael Chomiak. This network was brought to Canada after WWII by Anglo-American intelligence and cultivated as a force with ties to pro-Nazi Ukrainian counterparts ever since.
Freeland’s admission into politics was managed by another Rhodes Scholar named Bob Rae who served as interim controller of the Liberal Party during several of the Harper years and was a major player in Canada 2020. Rae, who had been the NDP Premier of Ontario from 1990-1995 was happy to abdicate his seat to Freeland ensuring her entry into Trudeau’s inner circle and thus becoming his official handler (4).
Freeland Promotes the New Global Elite
Freeland has made it clear that she understands well that there is a fundamental difference in cultural identities of the “new rich” relative to the older oligarchic families which she serves. In the 2011 Rise of the New Global Elite, she describes it as follows:
“To grasp the difference between today’s plutocrats and the hereditary elite, who “grow rich in their sleep” one need merely glance at the events that now fill high-end social calendars.”
Freeland then breaks down the categories of “new plutocrats” into two subcategories: the good, technocratic friendly plutocrats who are ideologically compatible with the New World Order of depopulation, such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, George Soros, et al and the “bad” plutocrats who tend not to conform to the British Empire’s program of global governance and depopulation under the green agenda. In Freeland’s world “good oligarchs” are those who adhere to this agenda, while “bad oligarchs” are those who do not. Trump is a terrible Plutocrat, and – Viktor Yanukovych was a good plutocrat until he decided to not sacrifice Ukraine on the altar of the collapsing European Union and chose to throw Ukraine’s destiny into the Eurasian Economic Union in October 2013.
In the same paper, Freeland wrote:
“if the plutocrats’ opposition to increases in their taxes and tighter regulation of their economic activities is understandable, it is also a mistake. The real threat facing the super-elite, at home and abroad, isn’t modestly higher taxes, but rather the possibility that inchoate public rage could cohere into a more concrete populist agenda– that, for instance, middle-class Americans could conclude that the world economy isn’t working for them and decide that protectionism… is preferable to incremental measures.” Quoting billionaire Mohamed El-Erian, the CEO of Pimco she wrote: “one of the big surprises of 2010 is that the protectionist dog didn’t bark.”
Freeland ended her article with this message:
“The lesson of history is that, in the long run, super-elites have two ways to survive: by suppressing dissent or by sharing their wealth… Let us hope the plutocrats aren’t already too isolated to recognize this”.
But what does Freeland really think of the technocratic management under a plutocratic governance of society? In Plutocrats vs. Populists (Nov. 2013), Freeland lets her pro-plutocratic worldview out of the bag when she gushes:
“At its best, this form of plutocratic political power offers the tantalizing possibility of policy practiced at the highest professional level with none of the messiness and deal making and venality of traditional politics… a technocratic, data-based, objective search for solutions to our problems”
Since a technocratic managerial class committed to a common ideology must be solidified for this system to work, Freeland goes on to make the case to recruit young people to the imperial civil service:
“Smart, publicly minded technocrats go to work for plutocrats whose values they share. The technocrats get to focus full time on the policy issues they love, without the tedium of building, rallying– and serving– a permanent mass membership. They can be pretty well paid to boot.”
The End of a Delusion?
Now that Russia and China’s new operating system shaped by the Belt and Road Initiative has created a force of opposition to this British-run Deep State design, nothing which those would-be gods of Olympus have attempted to achieve has succeeded. Syria has continued to resist regime change while Arab nations are increasingly joining China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Venezuela has failed to fall the way so many regimes have done before 2014. Trudeau’s usefulness has withered away and now the decision appears to be seriously humored whether Freeland will take the reins of Canada after Trudeau is eliminated in order to impose a dystopic Great Reset of world government, depopulation and the dream of Cecil Rhodes. While the universe may be organized by a principle of reason, no one can say the same applies to the mind of an oligarchic.
(1) The separation of speculative from commercial banking was the bedrock of financial regulation since its implementation in 1933. Its destruction as Clinton’s last act in office resulted in the creation of the largest bubble in history amounting to a $1.5 quadrillion derivatives time bomb now ready to explode.
(2) When Putin began exiling many of these unrepentant oligarchs, they quickly made their way to London where many became disposable playthings of the British Empire.
(3) The self-professed “Fabian Society of Canada” was set up in the height of the Depression by five Rhodes Scholars in order to create a Canadian fascist regime in 1932. This organization known as the League of Social Reconstruction, set up a political party called the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) which later changed its name to the New Democratic Party (NDP) in 1961. While good people have found themselves members of the NDP and Liberals over the years, it is useful to keep in mind that this rotten core tied to the highest echelons of the British oligarchy are real.
(4) It is a useful point to make here that as Premier of Ontario Bob Rae brought in Maurice Strong as President of Ontario Hydro from 1992-1994 during which time Canada’s nuclear sector was nearly shut down and a prototype for a “green New Deal” was applied. Strong had famously described a “fiction book he wished to write someday saying: “What if a small group of world leaders were to conclude that the principal risk to the Earth comes from the actions of the rich countries? And if the world is to survive, those rich countries would have to sign an agreement reducing their impact on the environment. Will they do it? The group’s conclusion is ‘no’. The rich countries won’t do it. They won’t change. So, in order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
Matthew Ehret is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Patriot Review , Senior Fellow at the American University in Moscow, BRI Expert on Tactical talk, and has authored 3 volumes of ‘Untold History of Canada’ book series. In 2019 he co-founded the Montreal-based Rising Tide Foundation.
The FULL Snowden Interview
Here's my full interview with NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden — it’s the longest interview I've ever posted. [John Stossel]
I once was unsure if Edward Snowden -- who leaked documents showing that the NSA spied on Americans -- was a hero, or a traitor who made us all less safe.
Now I've done my research, and I think he's a hero. What do you think? Our full interview, above, will help you decide.
“The CIA and the media are part of the same criminal conspiracy,” wrote Douglas Valentine in his important book, The CIA As Organized Crime.
This is true. The corporate mainstream media are stenographers for the national security state’s ongoing psychological operations aimed at the American people, just as they have done the same for an international audience. We have long been subjected to this “information warfare,” whose purpose is to win the hearts and minds of the American people and pacify them into victims of their own complicity, just as it was practiced long ago by the CIA in Vietnam and by The New York Times, CBS, etc. on the American people then and over the years as the American warfare state waged endless wars, coups, false flag operations, and assassinations at home and abroad.
Another way of putting this is to say for all practical purposes when it comes to matters that bear on important foreign and domestic matters, the CIA and the corporate mainstream media cannot be distinguished.
For those who read and study history, it has long been known that the CIA has placed their operatives throughout every agency of the U.S. government, as explained by Fletcher Prouty in The Secret Team, The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World__; that CIA officers Cord Myer and Frank Wisner operated secret programs to get some of the most vocal exponents of intellectual freedom among intellectuals, journalists, and writers to be their voices for unfreedom and censorship, as explained by Frances Stonor Saunders in The Cultural Cold War and Joel Whitney in Finks, among others; that Cord Myer was especially focused on and successful in “courting the Compatible Left” since right wingers were already in the Agency’s pocket. All this is documented and not disputed. It is shocking only to those who don’t do their homework and see what is happening today outside a broad historical context.
With the rise of alternate media and a wide array of dissenting voices on the internet, the establishment felt threatened and went on the defensive. It therefore should come as no surprise that those same elite corporate media are now leading the charge for increased censorship and the denial of free speech to those they deem dangerous, whether that involves wars, rigged elections, foreign coups, COVID-19, vaccinations, or the lies of the corporate media themselves. Having already banned critics from writing in their pages and or talking on their screens, these media giants want to make the quieting of dissenting voices complete.
Just the other day The New York Times had this headline:
Robert Kennedy Jr. Barred From Instagram Over False Virus Claims.
Notice the lack of the word alleged before “false virus claims.” This is guilt by headline. It is a perfect piece of propaganda posing as reporting, since it accuses Kennedy, a brilliant and honorable man, of falsity and stupidity, thus justifying Instagram’s ban, and it is an inducement to further censorship of Mr. Kennedy by Facebook that owns Instagram. That ban should follow soon, as the Times’ reporter Jennifer Jett hopes, since she accusingly writes that RFK, Jr. “makes many of the same baseless claims to more than 300,000 followers” at Facebook. Jett made sure her report also went to msn.com and The Boston Globe.
This is one example of the censorship underway with much, much more to follow. What was once done under the cover of omission is now done openly and brazenly, cheered on by those who, in an act of bad faith, claim to be upholders of the First Amendment and the importance of free debate in a democracy. We are quickly slipping into an unreal totalitarian social order.
Which brings me to the recent work of Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi, both of whom have strongly and rightly decried this censorship. As I understand their arguments, they go like this.
First, the corporate media have today divided up the territory and speak only to their own audiences in echo chambers: liberal to liberals (read: the “allegedly” liberal Democratic Party), such as The New York Times, NBC, etc., and conservative to conservatives (read” the “allegedly” conservative Donald Trump), such as Fox News, Breitbart, etc. They have abandoned old school journalism that, despite its shortcomings, involved objectivity and the reporting of disparate facts and perspectives, but within limits. Since the digitization of news, their new business models are geared to these separate audiences since they are highly lucrative choices. It’s business driven since electronic media have replaced paper as advertising revenues have shifted and people’s ability to focus on complicated issues has diminished drastically. Old school journalism is suffering as a result and thus writers such as Greenwald and Taibbi and Chris Hedges (who interviewed Taibbi and concurs: part one here) have taken their work to the internet to escape such restrictive categories and the accompanying censorship.
Secondly, the great call for censorship is not something the Silicon Valley companies want because they want more people using their media since it means more money for them, but they are being pressured to do it by the traditional old school media, such as The New York Times, who now employ “tattletales and censors,” people who are power hungry jerks, to sniff out dissenting voices that they can recommend should be banned. Greenwald says:
They do it in part for power: to ensure nobody but they can control the flow of information. They do it partly for ideology and out of hubris: the belief that their worldview is so indisputably right that all dissent is inherently dangerous ‘disinformation.’
Thus, the old school print and television media are not on the same page as Facebook, Twitter, etc. but have opposing agendas.
In short, these shifts and the censorship are about money and power within the media world as the business has been transformed by the digital revolution.
I think this is a half-truth that conceals a larger issue. The censorship is not being driven by power hungry reporters at the Times or CNN or any media outlet. All these media and their employees are but the outer layer of the onion, the means by which messages are sent and people controlled. These companies and their employees do what they are told, whether explicitly or implicitly, for they know it is in their financial interest to do so. If they do not play their part in this twisted and intricate propaganda game, they will suffer. They will be eliminated, as are pesky individuals who dare peel the onion to its core. For each media company is one part of a large interconnected intelligence apparatus – a system, a complex – whose purpose is power, wealth, and domination for the very few at the expense of the many. The CIA and media as parts of the same criminal conspiracy.
To argue that the Silicon valley companies do not want to censor but are being pressured by the legacy corporate media does not make sense. These companies are deeply connected to U.S. intelligence agencies, as are the NY Times, CNN, NBC, etc. They too are part of what was once called Operation Mockingbird, the CIA’s program to control, use, and infiltrate the media. Only the most naïve would think that such a program does not exist today.
In Surveillance Valley, investigative reporter Yasha Levine documents how Silicon valley tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google are tied to the military-industrial-intelligence-media complex in surveillance and censorship; how the Internet was created by the Pentagon; and even how these shadowy players are deeply involved in the so-called privacy movement that developed after Edward Snowden’s revelations. Like Valentine, and in very detailed ways, Levine shows how the military-industrial-intelligence-digital-media complex is part of the same criminal conspiracy as is the traditional media with their CIA overlords. It is one club.
Many people, however, might find this hard to believe because it bursts so many bubbles, including the one that claims that these tech companies are pressured into censorship by the likes of The New York Times, etc. The truth is the Internet was a military and intelligence tool from the very beginning and it is not the traditional corporate media that gives it its marching orders.
That being so, it is not the owners of the corporate media or their employees who are the ultimate controllers behind the current vast crackdown on dissent, but the intelligence agencies who control the mainstream media and the Silicon valley monopolies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. All these media companies are but the outer layer of the onion, the means by which messages are sent and people controlled.
But for whom do these intelligence agencies work? Not for themselves.
They work for their overlords, the super wealthy people, the banks, financial institutions, and corporations that own the United States and always have. In a simple twist of fate, such super wealthy naturally own the media corporations that are essential to their control of the majority of the world’s wealth through the stories they tell. It is a symbiotic relationship. As FDR put it bluntly in 1933, this coterie of wealthy forces is the “financial element in the larger centers [that] has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson.” Their wealth and power has increased exponentially since then, and their connected tentacles have further spread to create what is an international deep state that involves such entities as the IMF, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, those who meet yearly at Davos, etc. They are the international overlords who are pushing hard to move the world toward a global dictatorship.
As is well known, or should be, the CIA was the creation of Wall St. and serves the interests of the wealthy owners. Peter Dale Scott, in “The State, the Deep State, and the Wall Street Overworld,” says of Allen Dulles, the nefarious longest running Director of the CIA and Wall St. lawyer for Sullivan and Cromwell:
There seems to be little difference in Allen Dulles’s influence whether he was a Wall Street lawyer or a CIA director.
It was Dulles, long connected to Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, international corporations, and a friend of Nazi agents and scientists, who was tasked with drawing up proposals for the CIA. He was ably assisted by five Wall St. bankers or investors, including the aforementioned Frank Wisner who later, as a CIA officer, said his “Mighty Wurlitzer” was “capable of playing any propaganda tune he desired.” This he did by recruiting intellectuals, writers, reporters, labor organizations, and the mainstream corporate media, etc. to propagate the CIA’s messages.
Greenwald, Taibbi, and Hedges are correct up to a point, but they stop short. Their critique of old school journalism à la Edward Herman’s and Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing of Consent model, while true as far as it goes, fails to pin the tail on the real donkey. Like old school journalists who knew implicitly how far they could go, these guys know it too, as if there is an invisible electronic gate that keeps them from wandering into dangerous territory.
The censorship of Robert Kennedy, Jr. is an exemplary case. His banishment from Instagram and the ridicule the mainstream media have heaped upon him for years is not simply because he raises deeply informed questions about vaccines, Bill Gates, the pharmaceutical companies, etc. His critiques suggest something far more dangerous is afoot: the demise of democracy and the rise of a totalitarian order that involves total surveillance, control, eugenics, etc. by the wealthy led by their intelligence propagandists.
To call him a super spreader of hoaxes and a conspiracy theorist is aimed at not only silencing him on specific medical issues, but to silence his powerful and articulate voice on all issues. To give thoughtful consideration to his deeply informed scientific thinking concerning vaccines, the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, etc., is to open a can of worms that the powerful want shut tight.
This is because RFK, Jr. is also a severe critic of the enormous power of the CIA and its propaganda that goes back so many decades and was used to cover up the national security state’s assassinations of his father and uncle, JFK. It is why his wonderful recent book, American Values: Lessons I Learned from My Family, that contains not one word about vaccines, was shunned by mainstream book reviewers; for the picture he paints fiercely indicts the CIA in multiple ways while also indicting the mass media that have been its mouthpieces. These worms must be kept in the can, just as the power of the international overlords represented by the World Health Organization and the World Economic Forum with its Great Reset must be. They must be dismissed as crackpot conspiracy theories not worthy of debate or exposure.
Robert Kennedy, Jr., by name and dedication to truth seeking, conjures up his father’s ghost, the last politician who, because of his vast support across racial and class divides, could have united the country and tamed the power of the CIA to control the narrative that has allowed for the plundering of the world and the country for the wealthy overlords.
So they killed him.
There is a reason Noam Chomsky is an exemplar for Hedges, Greenwald, and Taibbi. He controls the can opener for so many. He has set the parameters for what is considered acceptable to be considered a serious journalist or intellectual. The assassinations of the Kennedys, 9/11, or a questioning of the official Covid-19 story are not among them, and so they are eschewed.
To denounce censorship, as they have done, is admirable. But now Greenwald, Taibbi, and Hedges need go up to the forbidden gate with the sign that says – “This far and no further” – and jump over it. That’s where the true stories lie. That’s when they’ll see the worms squirm.
While war corporations, or so-called “defense contractors,” make billions in profits, Wall Street is the ultimate beneficiary of today’s nonstop wars. The prosaic nature of war profiteering—far from the work of a shadowy cabal—is precisely why the collusion is so destructive and should be outlawed.
The U.S. ruling class deploys the military for three main reasons: (1) to forcibly open up countries to foreign investment, (2) to ensure the free flow of natural resources from the global south into the hands of multinational corporations, and (3) because war is profitable. The third of these reasons, the profitability of war, is often lacking detail in analyses of U.S. imperialism: The financial industry, including investment banks and private equity firms, is an insatiable force seeking profit via military activity.
The war industry is composed of corporations that sell goods and services to the U.S. government and allied capitalist regimes around the world. Investment banks and asset management firms hold most shares of every major public war corporation.
The best-known financial firms holding the stock of war corporations include: Vanguard Group, BlackRock, State Street, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Wellington Management.
Consider Parsons, a corporation that sells goods and services pertaining to construction, command and control, espionage, and day-to-day military operations. Parsons’ initial public offering in May 2019, valued at roughly $3 billion, earned it an industry Corporate Growth Award. The top holders of Parsons stock are investment banks and asset management firms—including the familiar Vanguard Group, BlackRock, and State Street.
BlackRock offices on “the street.” [Source: fortune.com]
Cyber Wars and Intelligence Go Mainstream as Emerging Corporate Frontiers
New business sectors of war are created and then flooded. For example, the provision of “cyber” was virtually nonexistent in U.S. military contracting until roughly four years ago. A war industry push to militarize IT infrastructure has yielded a bonanza in cyber contracts. Today, “cyber” goods and services are sold stand-alone or as additions to previous contracts.
Nearly every major war corporation sells cyber goods and services.
The top public war corporations include Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, L3Harris, Textron, SAIC, Booz Allen Hamilton, Leidos, CACI, Honeywell, PAE, Accenture, KBRWyle, Amentum, Jacobs, and AECOM.
They all sell cyber. The main exception is Huntington Ingalls, a major shipbuilder, which does not sell stand-alone cyber goods, although it does mandate cybersecurity as part of its supply chain. The top private war corporations—Sierra Nevada Corp. and General Atomics, run by the billionaire Ozmens and Blue Brothers, respectively—also sell cyber goods and services.
This single business sector of war, cyber, is worth billions annually. Claims of Chinese and Russian cyber hacks, fabricated or hyped by war industry think tanks and media affiliates, fuel government purchases of cyber goods and services. For its part, the U.S. government—first to use devastating new weaponry, from atomic weapons to cyber weapons, and first to attack Moscow with cyber weapons—positions its aggression as purely defensive.
Accusations of Russian hacking lend support to huge investment in cyber-security. [Source: theintercept.com]
In November 2018, Parsons—whose leadership is packed with bankers, career war profiteers, military and intelligence retirees, and a coal tycoon—was contracted for cyberspace operations mission planning in Centerville, Virginia. In May 2019, Parsons was contracted with nine other corporations to expand the cyberspace backbone of the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific of San Diego, California, a military unit whose mandate is to dominate all forms of space (cyberspace, airspace, and Earth’s orbit).
In January 2020, Parsons and other corporations were contracted by the same unit to further develop, oversee, and employ broad cyber technology integral to that mandate, from the continental United States, to Guam, Japan, Australia, and Singapore, to Bahrain, Djibouti, and Italy. This is just one example of one corporation. Corporate America blankets U.S. military cyber operations worldwide.
Parsons Corp. executives at New York Stock Exchange for launch of firm’s public listing. [Source: enr.com]
No business sector of war is off limits.
As recently as the early 1990s, it was considered sacrilege for corporate employees (“contractors”) to be involved in intelligence matters. Not anymore. U.S. intelligence (both civilian and military) is corporatized.
Consider the Defense Intelligence Agency. DIA was established in the 1960s to consolidate the military’s disparate intelligence activities. It did not consolidate much, as the individual military branches continued to run distinct military-intelligence operations.
Since the 1960s, DIA has expanded dramatically in size. Corporations carrying out DIA’s activities during the most recent fiscal year included work in its Science & Technology Directorate (five years, $990,000,000), its National Media Exploitation Center, and its Missile & Space Intelligence Center (MSIC).
Parsons carries out modeling and simulation and analysis within DIA’s MSIC. Corporations also run planning and analysis of DIA’s workforce, sell technical support to DIA, conduct employee vetting and background investigations, and work on technology transfer analysis and assessment.
Corporations like CACI, whose stocks are owned mostly by financial firms, functionally run U.S. military-intelligence. [Source: bizjournals.com]
Corporations even develop and run software that aids “in the identification of intelligence requirements, management of priorities, planning and production of intelligence products, enterprise data analytics, communication and other associated processes,” offering further opportunities for profit-hungry entities to steer the espionage ship. Corporations (e.g., Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI, General Dynamics, Leidos, L3Harris, ManTech, PAE and SAIC, whose stocks are owned mostly by financial firms) functionally run U.S. military-intelligence, the operations of which ultimately enrich the U.S. ruling class.
Wall Street: the Ultimate War Profiteers
Wall Street plays the foundational role in the war industry by outright owning war corporations. Consider PAE, a subtle, potent corporation, which operates such diverse business sectors of war as vehicle maintenance, base operations, military construction, and military training. Gores Holdings III acquired PAE from Platinum Equity in early 2020. Gores then adopted the name PAE and took PAE public. PAE has since acquired the corporations CENTRA and Metis Solutions, which further increase PAE’s operations carrying out former governmental tasks within the U.S. military establishment and espionage agencies.
PAE CEO John Heller (right) accepting an award in 2016 as an “influential leader” in the area of government contracting. [Source: govconexec.com]
Again, all military and intelligence activity is up for grabs, even the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC), a military range for testing and evaluating the war industry’s technology (e.g., anti-submarine weapons, sonar tracking, and communications). Some have nicknamed AUTEC the “Navy’s Area 51” because of the testing of high-tech unconventional weapons. [Area 51 is a testing range in Nevada where classified programs are worked on and experimental aircraft are flown.]
The Navy established AUTEC on Andros Island in the Bahamas to take advantage of the deep oceanic trench that runs along the east coast of the island. PAE is traditionally the go-to corporation that operates and maintains AUTEC, though a newly formed corporation known as Amentum recently took over some of these functions.
Aerial map of the Navy’s Area 51 in the Bahamas operated primarily by PAE. [Source: mysterywire.com]
The private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg owns Amentum, which was created in 2020 when AECOM, a massive engineering and project management firm, sold its management services business. Amentum now directs this business. Overseas, this management services business has recently transported equipment, cargo, and personnel around Europe; run logistics for prepositioned matériel in Germany, Kuwait, and Qatar; supported drone operations in the Middle East; and repaired support equipment and helped with maintenance at Navy sites in Comalapa, El Salvador. These operations now all belong to Amentum.
Virginia class submarine under construction for the Navy. [Source: lindsaygoldberg.com]
In November 2020, Amentum made another move: It acquired DynCorp, a corporation reported to have a deep history of mercenary activity in Latin America and the Middle East.
DynCorp CEO Lewis “Lou” Von Thaer (featured with DynCorp cap) visits with security contractors and soldiers in Afghanistan. [Source: twitter.com]
According to contract announcements, DynCorp has recently overseen war reserve matériel in the U.S., Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE; maintained military aircraft around the world, including in Honduras, Germany, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait; sold aircraft maintenance to Sweden and Saudi Arabia; and run substantial worldwide training and equipping of forces, emergency construction, and logistics.
Big Finance wheels and deals war corporations, viewing bases, troops, and warzones as numbers through which to profit.
Another prominent financial player is Veritas Capital, which once owned DynCorp and now owns such corporations as Alion and Peraton, the latter of which is about to acquire Northrop Grumman’s IT business. Peraton’s recent sales to the U.S. military establishment have included: portable systems to foil radio-controlled explosive devices that sundry groups use to attack Western military forces that invade or occupy their countries; work on undersea drones; work to ensure nuclear missiles reenter Earth’s atmosphere properly; IT work that “directly supports American national security interests on the continent of Africa,” according to the contracting announcement; cyber activities for the Air Force Research Lab; and commercial satellite communications for Central Command. All is fair in profit and war.
Satellite device manufactured by Peraton. [Source: breakingdefense.com]
Big Finance sits at the top of the war industry by purchasing most shares of war corporations and by owning war corporations. Insatiable demand for profit places immense structural pressure on the Pentagon and Capitol Hill for sky-high U.S. military and intelligence budgets, broad deployment of troops overseas, and the opening up of governmental jobs to corporations.
The most well-known industry pressure comes in the form of lobbying both political parties and funding their congressional campaigns (with extra focus on members of pertinent committees, such as Armed Services, Intelligence, Appropriations, and Foreign Relations).
This produces tangible results. As Steven Semler of the non-corporate Security Policy Reform Institute calculated, Democratic votes on the National Defense Authorization Act
correlate strongly with the campaign cash members accepted from the war industry. On average, House Democrats who voted for the NDAA accepted four times the amount of war industry cash as those who voted against it. In the Senate, Democrats who cast supporting votes took in six times as much industry cash.
The Executive Branch is not exempt. Rapacious financiers—including hedge fund chiefs and venture capitalists—top the list of donors to the Biden Administration, though dark money groups prevent a full understanding of the overall campaign finance picture. Between July and September at least 67 billionaires and their spouses made contributions of more than $100,000 to committees supporting Joe Biden and the Democratic Party, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Biden’s campaign received over $9 million from Donald Sussman, CEO of Palmora Partners, a multi-billion dollar hedge fund, which has more than 260,000 shares in Raytheon, a preeminent weapons manufacturer and supplier of weapons to Saudi Arabia, which recently won a $100 million contract for Afghan Air Force training.
Donald Sussman [Source: businessinsider.in]
Another of Biden’s top donors, Jim Simons, who gave over $7 million, founded Renaissance Capital, which owns 1.2 million shares in Raytheon worth over $75 million, and 130,000 shares in Lockheed Martin worth $50 million.
Hedge fund billionaire and war profiteer James Simons was one of Biden’s top campaign donors. [Source: Mother Jones]
Big Tech is positioned prominently among donors to the Biden inauguration celebration. Biden has been clear on the campaign trail that he does not intend to cut the military budget, even going so far as stating, “I’ve met with a number of my advisors and some have suggested in certain areas the budget is going to have to be increased.” Biden’s advisors are part and parcel of the military-industrial-congressional complex. Cozying up to wealthy donors, Biden infamously assured them that “nothing would fundamentally change” in a Biden presidency.
Remnant of a Raytheon laser-guided bomb that killed 31 civilians in September 2016 in Yemen. [Source: masspeaceaction.org]
Corporate Media Kool-aid
Corporate media prevent the public from understanding the nature of the problem. A handful of business interests owns media outlets in the United States. Profit drives corporate media. U.S. corporate media (e.g. CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews) share the same business model: air what attracts the highest ratings in order to get more advertising revenue.
Corporate media air info-tainment, designed not to inform or foster critical thinking. Informing the public is not a priority. Maintaining the existing economic order is.
To the extent that corporate media air any information at all, the information reflects the opinions of the ruling class and the dogma of Corporate America.
Politically conditioning the U.S. public, corporate media never blame the military-industrial-congressional complex or capitalism for any of the problems in the world. Aiming for high ratings and lucrative advertising revenue, corporate media self-censor and taper the spectrum of acceptable foreign policy debate. War corporations purchase advertisements on corporate “news” shows to further confine the debate. Corporate pundits and newscasters do not speak out against advertisers.
Corporate media hire career militants (e.g. former CIA Director John Brennan, MSNBC; former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell, CBS News; retired General Jack Keane, FoxNews) who further confine the debate. Retired generals and admirals regularly contribute to all forms of corporate media, often without disclosing existing ties to war corporations or financial investments in war.
The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 allowed government to increase its propaganda in corporate media. Drawing funding from the wealthy donor class and large corporate interests, National Public Radio is similarly confined. NPR’s new CEO as of September 2019 is John Lansing, who recently led U.S. propaganda at the U.S. Agency for Global Media.
John Lansing, NPR’s new CEO, recently led U.S. propaganda at the U.S. Agency for Global Media. [Source: [npr.org]](https://www.npr.org/about-npr/758067452/npr-names-john-lansing-president-and-ceo)
Other industry pressure comes in the form of funding and running pressure groups [e.g. National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), Association of the United States Army (AUSA)] to dominate the Pentagon, administer arms fairs, and push favorable policies; funding think tanks to keep the narrative neoliberal and pro-war; recruiting retired generals and admirals (e.g. Dunford at Lockheed Martin, Mattis at General Dynamics, Winnefeld at Raytheon) to leverage their knowledge for financial gain; and flooding the Pentagon’s civilian offices with corporate executives (e.g., Esper and then Austin, Secretary of Defense; Lord, Undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment; McCarthy, Secretary of the Army).
War profiteers serve their interests by getting their board members and executives on television to advocate for higher military budgets and war. [Source: nytimes.com]
Wars must be created and expanded, and military bases, through which to route goods and services, must be established and entrenched to satisfy investors. Notwithstanding, ending the wars first requires addressing the embedded profit motive, otherwise it is business as usual.
Christian Sorensen is an Air Force veteran and author of the new book entitled Understanding the War Industry. See CAM’s review of the book: Wars R Us: A Review of Christian Sorensen’s New Book.
The devastating hack on SolarWinds was quickly pinned on Russia by US intelligence. A more likely culprit, Samanage, a company whose software was integrated into SolarWinds’ software just as the “back door” was inserted, is deeply tied to Israeli intelligence and intelligence-linked families such as the Maxwells.
In mid-December of 2020, a massive hack compromised the networks of numerous US federal agencies, major corporations, the top five accounting firms in the country, and the military, among others. Despite most US media attention now focusing on election-related chaos, the fallout from the hack continues to make headlines day after day.
The hack, which affected Texas-based software provider SolarWinds, was blamed on Russia on January 5 by the US government’s Cyber Unified Coordination Group. Their statement asserted that the attackers were “likely Russian in origin,” but they failed to provide evidence to back up that claim.
Since then, numerous developments in the official investigation have been reported, but no actual evidence pointing to Russia has yet to be released. Rather, mainstream media outlets began reporting the intelligence community’s “likely” conclusion as fact right away, with the New York Times subsequently reporting that US investigators were examining a product used by SolarWinds that was sold by a Czech Republic–based company, as the possible entry point for the “Russian hackers.” Interest in that company, however, comes from the fact that the attackers most likely had access to the systems of a contractor or subsidiary of SolarWinds. This, combined with the evidence-free report from US intelligence on “likely” Russian involvement, is said to be the reason investigators are focusing on the Czech company, though any of SolarWinds’ contractors/subsidiaries could have been the entry point.
Such narratives clearly echo those that became prominent in the wake of the 2016 election, when now-debunked claims were made that Russian hackers were responsible for leaked emails published by WikiLeaks. Parallels are obvious when one considers that SolarWinds quickly brought on the discredited firm CrowdStrike to aid them in securing their networks and investigating the hack. CrowdStrike had also been brought on by the DNC after the 2016 WikiLeaks publication, and subsequently it was central in developing the false declarations regarding the involvement of “Russian hackers” in that event.
There are also other parallels. As Russiagate played out, it became apparent that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and a foreign power, but the nation was Israel, not Russia. Indeed, many of the reports that came out of Russiagate revealed collusion with Israel, yet those instances received little coverage and generated little media outrage. This has led some to suggest that Russiagate may have been a cover for what was in fact Israelgate.
Similarly, in the case of the SolarWinds hack, there is the odd case and timing of SolarWinds’ acquisition of a company called Samanage in 2019. As this report will explore, Samanage’s deep ties to Israeli intelligence, venture-capital firms connected to both intelligence and Isabel Maxwell, as well as Samange’s integration with the Orion software at the time of the back door’s insertion warrant investigation every bit as much as SolarWinds’ Czech-based contractor.
In the month since the hack, evidence has emerged detailing the extent of the damage, with the Justice Department quietly announcing, the same day as the Capitol riots (January 6), that their email system had been breached in the hack—a “major incident” according to the department. This terminology means that the attack “is likely to result in demonstrable harm to the national security interests, foreign relations, or the economy of the United States or to the public confidence, civil liberties, or public health and safety of the American people,” per NextGov.
The Justice Department was the fourth US government agency to publicly acknowledge a breach in connection to the hack, with the others being the Departments of Commerce and Energy and the Treasury. Yet, while only four agencies have publicly acknowledged fallout from the hack, SolarWinds software is also used by the Department of Defense, the State Department, NASA, the NSA, and the Executive Office. Given that the Cyber Unified Coordination Group stated that “fewer than ten” US government agencies had been affected, it’s likely that some of these agencies were compromised, and some press reports have asserted that the State Department and Pentagon were affected.
In addition to government agencies, SolarWinds Orion software was in use by the top ten US telecommunications corporations, the top five US accounting firms, the New York Power Authority, and numerous US government contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton, General Dynamics, and the Federal Reserve. Other notable SolarWinds clients include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Credit Suisse, and several mainstream news outlets including the Economist and the New York Times.
Based on what is officially known so far, the hackers appeared to have been highly sophisticated, with FireEye, the cybersecurity company that first discovered the implanted code used to conduct the hack, stating that the hackers “routinely removed their tools, including the backdoors, once legitimate remote access was achieved—implying a high degree of technical sophistication and attention to operational security.” In addition, top security experts have noted that the hack was “very very carefully orchestrated,” leading to a consensus that the hack was state sponsored.
FireEye stated that they first identified the compromise of SolarWinds after the version of the Orion software they were using contained a back door that was used to gain access to its “red team” suite of hacking tools. Not long after the disclosure of the SolarWinds hack, on December 31, the hackers were able to partially access Microsoft’s source code, raising concerns that the act was preparation for future and equally devastating attacks.
FireEye’s account can be taken with a grain of salt, however, as the CIA is one of FireEye’s clients, and FireEye was launched with funding from the CIA’s venture capital arm In-Q-tel. It is also worth being skeptical of the “free tool” FireEye has made available in the hack’s aftermath for “spotting and keeping suspected Russians out of systems.”
In addition, Microsoft, another key source in the SolarWinds story, is a military contractor with close ties to Israel’s intelligence apparatus, especially Unit 8200, and their reports of events also deserve scrutiny. Notably, it was Unit 8200 alumnus and executive at Israeli cybersecurity firm Cycode, Ronen Slavin, who told Reuters in a widely quoted article that he “was worried by the possibility that the SolarWinds hackers were poring over Microsoft’s source code as prelude to a much more ambitious offensive.” “To me the biggest question is, ‘Was this recon for the next big operation?’” Slavin stated.
Also odd about the actors involved in the response to the hack is the decision to bring on not only the discredited firm CrowdStrike but also the new consultancy firm of Chris Krebs and Alex Stamos, former chief information security officer of Facebook and Yahoo, to investigate the hack. Chris Krebs is the former head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and was previously a top Microsoft executive. Krebs was fired by Donald Trump after repeatedly and publicly challenging Trump on the issue of election fraud in the 2020 election.
As head of CISA, Krebs gave access to networks of critical infrastructure throughout the US, with a focus on the health-care industry, to the CTI League, a suspicious outfit of anonymous volunteers working “for free” and led by a former Unit 8200 officer. “We have brought in the expertise of Chris Krebs and Alex Stamos to assist in this review and provide best-in-class guidance on our journey to evolve into an industry leading secure software development company,” a SolarWinds spokesperson said in an email cited by Reuters.
It is also worth noting that the SolarWinds hack did benefit a few actors aside from the attackers themselves. For instance, Israeli cybersecurity firms CheckPoint and CyberArk, which have close ties to Israeli intelligence Unit 8200, have seen their stocks soar in the weeks since the SolarWinds compromise was announced. Notably, in 2017, CyberArk was the company that “discovered” one of the main tactics used in an attack, a form of SAML token manipulation called GoldenSAML. CyberArk does not specify how they discovered this method of attack and, at the time they announced the tactic’s existence, released a free tool to identify systems vulnerable to GoldenSAML manipulation.
In addition, the other main mode of attack, a back door program nicknamed Sunburst, was found by Kaspersky researchers to be similar to a piece of malware called Kazuar that was also first discovered by another Unit 8200-linked company, Palo Alto Networks, also in 2017. The similarities only suggest that those who developed the Sunburst backdoor may have been inspired by Kazuar and “they may have common members between them or a shared software developer building their malware.” Kaspersky stressed that Sunburst and Kazuar are not likely to be one and the same. It is worth noting, as an aside, that Unit 8200 is known to have previously hacked Kaspersky and attempted to insert a back door into their products, per Kaspersky employees.
Crowdstrike claimed that this finding confirmed “the attribution at least to Russian intelligence,” only because an allegedly Russian hacking group is believed to have used Kazuar before. No technical evidence linking Russia to the SolarWinds hacking has yet been presented.
Samanage and Sabotage
The implanted code used to execute the hack was directly injected into the source code of SolarWinds Orion. Then, the modified and bugged version of the software was “compiled, signed and delivered through the existing software patch release management system,” per reports. This has led US investigators and observers to conclude that the perpetrators had direct access to SolarWinds code as they had “a high degree of familiarity with the software.” While the way the attackers gained access to Orion’s code base has yet to be determined, one possibility being pursued by investigators is that the attackers were working with employee(s) of a SolarWinds contractor or subsidiary.
US investigators have been focusing on offices of SolarWinds that are based abroad, suggesting that—in addition to the above—the attackers were likely working for SolarWinds or were given access by someone working for the company. That investigation has focused on offices in eastern Europe, allegedly because “Russian intelligence operatives are deeply rooted” in those countries.
It is worth pointing out, however, that Israeli intelligence is similarly “deeply rooted” in eastern European states both before and after the fall of the Soviet Union, ties well illustrated by Israeli superspy and media tycoon Robert Maxwell’s frequent and close associations with Eastern European and Russian intelligence agencies as well as the leaders of many of those countries. Israeli intelligence operatives like Maxwell also had cozy ties with Russian organized crime. For instance, Maxwell enabled the access of the Russian organized crime network headed by Semion Mogilevich into the US financial system and was also Mogilevich’s business partner. In addition, the cross-pollination between Israeli and Russian organized crime networks (networks which also share ties to their respective intelligence agencies) and such links should be considered if the cybercriminals due prove to be Russian in origin, as US intelligence has claimed.
Though some contractors and subsidiaries of SolarWinds are now being investigated, one that has yet to be investigated, but should be, is Samanage. Samanage, acquired by SolarWinds in 2019, not only gained automatic access to Orion just as the malicious code was first inserted, but it has deep ties to Israeli intelligence and a web of venture-capital firms associated with numerous Israeli espionage scandals that have targeted the US government. Israel is deemed by the NSA to be one of the top spy threats facing US government agencies and Israel’s list of espionage scandals in the US is arguably the longest, and includes the Jonathan Pollard and PROMIS software scandals of the 1980s to the Larry Franklin/AIPAC espionage scandal in 2009.
Though much reporting has since been done on the recent compromise of SolarWinds Orion software, little attention has been paid to Samanage. Samanage offers what it describes as “an IT Service Desk solution.” It was acquired by SolarWinds so Samanage’s products could be added to SolarWinds’ IT Operations Management portfolio. Though US reporting and SolarWinds press releases state that Samanage is based in Cary, North Carolina, implying that it is an American company, Samanage is actually an Israeli firm. It was founded in 2007 by Doron Gordon, who previously worked for several years at MAMRAM, the Israeli military’s central computing unit.
Samanage was SolarWinds’ first acquisition of an Israeli company, and, at the time, Israeli media reported that SolarWinds was expected to set up its first development center in Israel. It appears, however, that SolarWinds, rather than setting up a new center, merely began using Samanage’s research and development center located in Netanya, Israel.
Several months after the acquisition was announced, in November 2019, Samanage, renamed SolarWinds Service Desk, became listed as a standard feature of SolarWinds Orion software, whereas the integration of Samanage and Orion had previously been optional since the acquisition’s announcement in April of that year. This means that complete integration was likely made standard in either October or November. It has since been reported that the perpetrators of the recent hack gained access to the networks of US federal agencies and major corporations at around the same time. Samanage’s automatic integration into Orion was a major modification made to the now-compromised software during that period.
Samanage appears to have had access to Orion following the announcement of the acquisition in April 2019. Integration first began with Orion version 2019.4, the earliest version believed to contain the malicious code that enabled the hack. In addition, the integrated Samanage component of Orion was responsible for “ensuring the appropriate teams are quickly notified when critical events or performance issues [with Orion] are detected,” which was meant to allow “service agents to react faster and resolve issues before . . . employees are impacted.”
In other words, the Samanage component that was integrated into Orion at the same time the compromise took place was also responsible for Orion’s alert system for critical events or performance issues. The code that was inserted into Orion by hackers in late 2019 nevertheless went undetected by this Samanage-made component for over a year, giving the “hackers” access to millions of devices critical to both US government and corporate networks. Furthermore, it is this Samanage-produced component of the affected Orion software that advises end users to exempt the software from antivirus scans and group policy object (GPO) restrictions by providing a warning that Orion may not work properly unless those exemptions are granted.
Samanage, Salesforce, and the World Economic Forum
Around the time of Samange’s acquisition by SolarWinds, it was reported that one of Samanage’s top backers was the company Salesforce, with Salesforce being both a major investor in Samanage as well as a partner of the company.
Salesforce is run by Marc Benioff, a billionaire who got his start at the tech giant Oracle. Oracle was originally created as a CIA spin-off and has deep ties to Israel’s government and the outgoing Trump administration. Salesforce also has a large presence in Israel, with much of its global research and development based there. Salesforce also recently partnered with the Unit 8200-linked Israeli firm Diagnostic Robotics to “predictively” diagnose COVID-19 cases using Artificial Intelligence.
Aside from leading Salesforce, Benioff is a member of the Vatican’s Council for Inclusive Capitalism alongside Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a close associate of Jeffrey Epstein and the Clintons, and members of the Lauder family, who have deep ties to the Mega Group and Israeli politics.
Benioff is also a prominent member of the board of trustees of the World Economic Forum and the inaugural chair of the WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR), making him one of the most critical players in the unfolding of the WEF-backed Great Reset. Other WEF leaders, including the organization’s founder Klaus Schwab, have openly discussed how massive cyberattacks such as befell SolarWinds will soon result in “even more significant economic and social implications than COVID-19.”
Last year, the WEF’s Centre for Cybersecurity, of which Salesforce is part, simulated a “digital pandemic” cyberattack in an exercise entitled Cyber Polygon. Cyber Polygon’s speakers in 2020 included former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of Russia Mikhail Mishustin, WEF founder Klaus Schwab, and IBM executive Wendi Whitmore, who previously held top posts at both Crowdstrike and a FireEye subsidiary. Notably, just months before the COVID-19 crisis, the WEF had held Event 201, which simulated a global coronavirus pandemic that crippled the world’s economy.
In addition to Samanage’s ties to WEF big shots such as Marc Benioff, the other main investors behind Samanage’s rise have ties to major Israeli espionage scandals, including the Jonathan Pollard affair and the PROMIS software scandal. There are also ties to one of the WEF’s founding “technology pioneers,” Isabel Maxwell (the daughter of Robert Maxwell and sister of Ghislaine), who has long-standing ties to Israel’s intelligence apparatus and the country’s hi-tech sector.
The Bronfmans, the Maxwells, and Viola Ventures
At the time of its acquisition by SolarWinds, Samanage’s top investor was Viola Ventures, a major Israeli venture-capital firm. Viola’s investment in Samanage, until its acquisition, was managed by Ronen Nir, who was also on Samanage’s board before it became part of SolarWinds.
Prior to working at Viola, Ronen Nir was a vice president at Verint, formerly Converse Infosys. Verint, whose other alumni have gone on to found Israeli intelligence-front companies such as Cybereason. Verint has a history of aggressively spying on US government facilities, including the White House, and created the backdoors into all US telecommunications systems and major tech companies, including Microsoft, Google and Facebook, on behalf of the US’ NSA.
In addition to his background at Verint, Ronen Nir is an Israeli spy, having served for thirteen years in an elite IDF intelligence unit, and he remains a lieutenant colonel on reserve duty. His biography also notes that he worked for two years at the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, which is fitting given his background in espionage and the major role that Israeli embassy has played in several major espionage scandals.
As an aside, Nir has stated that “thought leader” Henry Kissinger is his “favorite historical character.” Notably, Kissinger was instrumental in allowing Robert Maxwell, Israeli superspy and father of Ghislaine and Isabel Maxwell, to sell software with a back door for Israeli intelligence to US national laboratories, where it was used to spy on the US nuclear program. Kissinger had told Maxwell to connect with Senator John Tower in order to gain access to US national laboratories, which directly enabled this action, part of the larger PROMIS software scandal.
In addition, Viola’s stake was managed through a firm known as Carmel Ventures, which is part of the Viola Group. At the time, Carmel Ventures was advised by Isabel Maxwell, whose father had previously been directly involved in the operation of the front company used to sell bugged software to US national laboratories. As noted in a previous article at Unlimited Hangout, Isabel “inherited” her father’s circle of Israeli government and intelligence contacts after his death and has been instrumental in building the “bridge” between Israel’s intelligence and military-linked hi-tech sector to Silicon Valley.
Isabel also has ties to the Viola Group itself through Jonathan Kolber, a general partner at Viola. Kolber previously cofounded and led the Bronfman family’s private-equity fund, Claridge Israel (based in Israel). Kolber then led Koor Industries, which he had acquired alongside the Bronfmans via Claridge. Kolber is closely associated with Stephen Bronfman, the son of Charles Bronfman who created Claridge and also cofounded the Mega Group with Leslie Wexner in the early 1990s.
Kolber, like Isabel Maxwell, is a founding director of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. Maxwell, who used to chair the center’s board, stepped down following the Epstein scandal, though it’s not exactly clear when. Other directors of the center include Tamir Pardo, former head of Mossad. Kolber’s area of expertise, like that of Isabel Maxwell, is “structuring complex, cross-border and cross industry business and financial transactions,” that is, arranging acquisitions and partnerships of Israeli firms by US companies. Incidentally, this is also a major focus of the Peres Center.
Other connections to Isabel Maxwell, aside from her espionage ties, are worth noting, given that she is a “technology pioneer” of the World Economic Forum. As previously mentioned, Salesforce—a major investor in Samanage—is deeply involved with the WEF and its Great Reset.
The links of Israeli intelligence and Salesforce to Samanage, and thus to SolarWinds, is particularly relevant given the WEF’s “prediction” of a coming “pandemic” of cyberattacks and the early hints from former Unit 8200 officers that the SolarWinds hack is just the beginning. It is also worth mentioning the Israeli government’s considerable ties to the WEF over the years, particularly last year when it joined the Benioff-chaired C4IR and participated in the October 2020 WEF panel entitled “The Great Reset: Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Start Up Nation Central, an organization aimed at integrating Israeli start-ups with US firms set up by Netanyahu’s longtime economic adviser Eugene Kandel and American Zionist billionaire Paul Singer, have asserted that Israel will serve a “key role” globally in the 4th Industrial Revolution following the implementation of the Great Reset.
Gemini, the BIRD Foundation, and Jonathan Pollard
In addition to Viola, another of Samange’s leading investors is Gemini Israel Ventures. Gemini is one of Israel’s oldest venture-capital firms, dating back to the Israeli government’s 1993 Yozma program.
The first firm created by Yozma, Gemini was put under the control of Ed Mlavsky, who Israel’s government had chosen specifically for this position. As previously reported by Unlimited Hangout, Mlavsky was then serving as the executive director of the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation, where “he was responsible for investments of $100 million in more than 300 joint projects between US and Israeli high-tech companies.”
A few years before Gemini was created, while Mlavsky still headed BIRD, the foundation became embroiled in one of the worst espionage scandals in US history, the Jonathan Pollard affair.
In the indictment of US citizen Pollard for espionage on Israel’s behalf, it was noted that Pollard delivered the documents he stole to agents of Israel at two locations, one of which was an apartment owned by Harold Katz, the then legal counsel of the BIRD Foundation and an adviser to Israel’s military, which oversaw Israel’s scientific intelligence-gathering agency, Lekem. US officials told the New York Times at the time that they believed Katz “has detailed knowledge about the [Pollard] spy ring and could implicate senior Israeli officials.”
Subsequent reporting by journalist Claudia Wright pointed the finger at the Mlavsky-run BIRD Foundation as one of the ways Israeli intelligence funneled money to Pollard before his capture by US authorities.
One of the first companies Gemini invested in was CommTouch (now Cyren), which was founded by ex-IDF officers and later led by Isabel Maxwell. Under Maxwell’s leadership, CommTouch developed close ties to Microsoft, partially due to Maxwell’s relationship with its cofounder Bill Gates.
A Coming “Hack” of Microsoft?
If the SolarWinds hack is as serious as has been reported, it’s difficult to understand why a company like Samanage would not be looked into as part of a legitimate investigation into the attack. The timing of Samanage employees gaining access to the Orion software and the company’s investors including Israeli spies and those with ties to past espionage scandals where Israel used back doors to spy on the US and beyond raises obvious red flags. Yet, any meaningful investigation of the incident is unlikely to take place, especially given the considerable involvement of discredited firms like CrowdStrike, CIA fronts like FireEye and a consultancy firm led by former Silicon Valley executives with their own government/intelligence ties.
There is also the added fact that both of the main methods used in the attack were analogous or bore similarities to hacking tools that were both discovered by Unit 8200-linked companies in 2017. Unit 8200-founded cybersecurity firms are among the few “winners” from the SolarWinds hack, as their stocks have skyrocketed and demand for their services has increased globally.
While some may argue that Unit 8200 alumni are not necessarily connected to the Israeli intelligence apparatus, numerous reports have pointed out the admitted fusion of Israeli military intelligence with Israel’s hi-tech sector and its tech-focused venture capital networks, with Israeli military and intelligence officials themselves noting that the line between the private cybersecurity sector and Israel’s intelligence apparatus is so blurred, it’s difficult to know where one begins and the other ends. There is also the Israeli government policy, formally launched in 2012, whereby Israel’s intelligence and military intelligence agencies began outsourcing “activities that were previously managed in-house, with a focus on software and cyber technologies.”
Samanage certainly appears to be such a company, not only because it was founded by a former IDF officer in the military’s central computing unit, but because its main investors include spies on “reserve duty” and venture capital firms linked to the Pollard scandal as well as the Bronfman and Maxwell families, both of whom have been tied to espionage and sexual blackmail scandals over the years.
Yet, as the Epstein scandal has recently indicated, major espionage scandals involving Israel receive little coverage and investigations into these events rarely lead anywhere. PROMIS was covered up largely thanks to Bill Barr during his first term as Attorney General and even the Pollard affair has all been swept under the rug with Donald Trump allowing Pollard to move to Israel and, more recently, pardoning the Israeli spy who recruited Pollard during his final day as President. Also under Trump, there was the discovery of “stingray” surveillance devices placed by Israel’s government throughout Washington DC, including next to the White House, which were quickly memory holed and oddly not investigated by authorities. Israel had previously wiretapped the White House’s phone lines during the Clinton years.
Another cover up is likely in the case of SolarWinds, particularly if the entry point was in fact Samanage. Though a cover up would certainly be more of the same, the SolarWinds case is different as major tech companies and cybersecurity firms with ties to US and Israeli intelligence now insist that Microsoft is soon to be targeted in what would clearly be a much more devastating event than SolarWinds due to the ubiquity of Microsoft’s products.
On Tuesday, CIA-linked firm FireEye, which apparently has a leadership role in investigating the hack, claimed that the perpetrators are still gathering data from US government agencies and that “the hackers are moving into Microsoft 365 cloud applications from physical, on-premises servers,” meaning that changes to fix Orion’s vulnerabilities will not necessarily deny hacker access to previously compromised systems as they allegedly maintain access to those systems via Microsoft cloud applications. In addition to Microsoft’s own claims that some of its source code was accessed by the hackers, this builds the narrative that Microsoft products are poised to be targeted in the next high-profile hack.
Microsoft’s cloud security infrastructure, set to be the next target of the SolarWinds hackers, was largely developed and later managed by Assaf Rappaport, a former Unit 8200 officer who was most recently the head of Microsoft’s Research and Development and Security teams at its massive Israel branch. Rappaport left Microsoft right before the COVID-19 crisis began last year to found a new cybersecurity company called Wiz.
Microsoft, like some of Samanage’s main backers, is part of the World Economic Forum and is an enthusiastic supporter of and participant in the Great Reset agenda, so much so that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote the foreword to Klaus Schwab’s book “Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” With the WEF simulating a cyber “pandemic” and both the WEF and Israel’s head of Israel’s National Cyber Directorate warning of an imminent “cyber winter”, SolarWinds does indeed appear to be just the beginning, though perhaps a scripted one to create the foundation for something much more severe. A cyberattack on Microsoft products globally would certainly upend most of the global economy and likely have economic effects more severe than the COVID-19 crisis, just as the WEF has been warning. Yet, if such a hack does occur, it will inevitably serve the aims of the Great Reset to “reset” and then rebuild electronic infrastructure.
HART: Homeland Security’s Massive New Database Will Include Face Recognition, DNA, and Peoples’ “Non-Obvious Relationships” | Electronic Frontier Foundation
So why do we know so little about it?
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is quietly building what will likely become the largest database of biometric and biographic data on citizens and foreigners in the United States. The agency’s new Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) database will include multiple forms of biometrics—from face recognition to DNA, data from questionable sources, and highly personal data on innocent people. It will be shared with federal agencies outside of DHS as well as state and local law enforcement and foreign governments. And yet, we still know very little about it.
The records DHS plans to include in HART will chill and deter people from exercising their First Amendment protected rights to speak, assemble, and associate. Data like face recognition makes it possible to identify and track people in real time, including at lawful political protests and other gatherings. Other data DHS is planning to collect—including information about people’s “relationship patterns” and from officer “encounters” with the public—can be used to identify political affiliations, religious activities, and familial and friendly relationships. These data points are also frequently colored by conjecture and bias.
In late May, EFF filed comments criticizing DHS’s plans to collect, store, and share biometric and biographic records it receives from external agencies and to exempt this information from the federal Privacy Act. These newly-designated “External Biometric Records” (EBRs) will be integral to DHS’s bigger plans to build out HART. As we told the agency in our comments, DHS must do more to minimize the threats to privacy and civil liberties posed by this vast new trove of highly sensitive personal data.
DHS Biometrics Systems—From IDENT to HART
DHS slide showing growth of its legacy IDENT biometric database
DHS currently collects a lot of data. Its legacy IDENT fingerprint database contains information on 220-million unique individuals and processes 350,000 fingerprint transactions every day. This is an exponential increase from 20 years ago when IDENT only contained information on 1.8-million people. Between IDENT and other DHS-managed databases, the agency manages over 10-billion biographic records and adds 10-15 million more each week.
DHS slide showing breadth of DHS biometric and biographic data
DHS’s new HART database will allow the agency to vastly expand the types of records it can collect and store. HART will support at least seven types of biometric identifiers, including face and voice data, DNA, scars and tattoos, and a blanket category for “other modalities.” It will also include biographic information, like name, date of birth, physical descriptors, country of origin, and government ID numbers. And it will include data we know to by highly subjective, including information collected from officer “encounters” with the public and information about people’s “relationship patterns.”
DHS slide showing expansion of its new HART biometric and biographic database
HART will Impinge on First Amendment Rights
DHS plans to include records in HART that will chill speech and deter people from associating with others.
DHS’s face recognition roll-out is especially concerning. The agency uses mobile biometric devices that can identify faces and capture face data in the field, allowing its ICE (immigration) and CBP (customs) officers to scan everyone with whom they come into contact, whether or not those people are suspected of any criminal activity or an immigration violation. DHS is also partnering with airlines and other third parties to collect face images from travelers entering and leaving the U.S. When combined with data from other government agencies, these troubling collection practices will allow DHS to build a database large enough to identify and track all people in public places, without their knowledge—not just in places the agency oversees, like airports, but anywhere there are cameras.
Police abuse of facial recognition technology is not a theoretical issue: it’s happening today. Law enforcement has already used face recognition on public streets and at political protests. During the protests surrounding the death of Freddie Gray in 2015, Baltimore Police ran social media photos against a face recognition database to identify protesters and arrest them. Recent Amazon promotional videos encourage police agencies to acquire that company’s face “Rekognition” capabilities and use them with body cameras and smart cameras to track people throughout cities. At least two U.S. cities are already using Rekognition.
DHS compounds face recognition’s threat to anonymity and free speech by planning to include “records related to the analysis of relationship patterns among individuals.” We don’t know where DHS or its external partners will be getting these “relationship pattern” records, but they could come from social media profiles and posts, which the government plans to track by collecting social media user names from all foreign travelers entering the country.
Social media records, even if they are publicly available, can include highly personal and private information, and the fear that the government may be collecting and searching through this information may cause people to self-censor what they say online. The data collected also won’t be limited to information about foreign travelers—travelers’ social media records may include information on family members and friends who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, two groups protected explicitly by the Privacy Act. As the recent, repeated Facebook scandals are showing us, even when you think you have done everything you can to protect your own data, it could easily be disclosed without your control through the actions of your friends and contacts or Facebook itself.
DHS’s “relationship pattern” records will likely be misleading or inaccurate. DHS acknowledges that these records will include “non-obvious relationships.” However, if the relationships are “non-obvious,” one has to question whether they truly exist. Instead, DHS could be seeing connections among people that are based on nothing more than “liking” the same news article, using the same foreign words, or following the same organization on social media. This is highly problematic because records like these frequently inform officer decisions to stop, search, and arrest people.
DHS plans to include additional records in HART that could be based on or impact First Amendment protected speech and activity. Records will include “miscellaneous officer comment information” and “encounter data.” These types of information come from police interactions with civilians, and are often collected under extremely questionable legal circumstances. For example, ICE officers use mobile devices to collect biometric and biographic data from people they “encounter” in the field, including via unauthorized entry into people’s homes and Bible study groups, and in public places where people congregate with other members of their community, such as on soccer fields, in community centers, and on buses. “Encounters” like these, whether they are conducted by ICE or by state or local police, are frequently not based on individualized suspicion that a civilian has done anything wrong, but that doesn’t prevent the officer from stockpiling any information obtained from the civilian during the encounter.
Finally, DHS relies on data from gang databases (its own and those from states), which often contain unsubstantiated data concerning people’s status and associations and are notoriously inaccurate. DHS has even fabricated gang status as an excuse to deport people.
HART Will Include Inaccurate Data and Will Share that Data with Other Agencies
DHS is not taking necessary steps with its new HART database to determine whether its own data and the data collected from its external partners are sufficiently accurate to prevent innocent people from being identified as criminal suspects, immigration law violators, or terrorists.
DHS has stated that it intends to rely on face recognition to identify data subjects across a variety of its mission areas, and “face matching” is one of the first components of the HART database to be built out. However, face recognition frequently is an inaccurate and unreliable biometric identifier. DHS’s tests of its own systems found significantly high levels of inaccuracy—the systems falsely rejected as many as 1 in 25 travelers. As a Georgetown report recently noted, “DHS’ error-prone face scanning system could cause 1,632 passengers to be wrongfully delayed or denied boarding every day at New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport alone.”
DHS’s external partners are also employing face recognition systems with high rates of inaccuracy. For example, FBI has admitted that its Next Generation Identification database “may not be sufficiently reliable to accurately locate other photos of the same identity, resulting in an increased percentage of misidentifications.” Potential foreign partners such as police departments in the United Kingdom use face recognition systems with false positive rates as high as a 98%—meaning that for every 100 people identified as suspects, 98 in fact were not suspects.
DHS Slide Showing Partner Agencies
People of color and immigrants will shoulder much more of the burden of these misidentifications. For example, people of color are disproportionately represented in criminal and immigration databases, due to the unfair legacy of discrimination in our criminal justice and immigration systems. Moreover, FBI and MIT research has shown that current face recognition systems misidentify people of color and women at higher rates than whites and men, and the number of mistaken IDs increases for people with darker skin tones. False positives represent real people who may erroneously become suspects in a law enforcement or immigration investigation. This is true even if a face recognition system offers several results for a search instead of one; each of the people identified could be detained or brought in for questioning, even if there is nothing else linking them to a crime or violation.
In addition to accuracy problems inherent in face recognition, DHS’s own immigration data has also been shown to be unacceptably inaccurate. A 2005 Migration Policy Institute study analyzing records obtained through FOIA found “42% of NCIC immigration hits in response to police queries were ‘false positives’ where DHS was unable to confirm that the individual was an actual immigration violator.” A 2011 study of DHS’s Secure Communities program found approximately 3,600 United States citizens were improperly caught up in the program due to incorrect immigration records. As these inaccurate records are propagated throughout DHS’s partner agencies’ systems, it will become impossible to determine the source of the inaccuracy and correct the data.
HART Is Fatally Flawed and Must Be Stopped
DHS’s plans for future data collection and use should make us all very worried. For example, despite pushback from EFF, Georgetown, ACLU, and others, DHS believes it’s legally authorized to collect and retain face data from millions of U.S. citizens traveling internationally. However, as Georgetown’s Center on Privacy and Technology notes, Congress has never authorized face scans of American citizens.
Despite this, DHS plans to roll out its face recognition program to every international flight in the country within the next four years. DHS has stated “the only way for an individual to ensure he or she is not subject to collection of biometric information when traveling internationally is to refrain from traveling.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg. CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan has stated CBP wants to be able to use biometrics to “confirm the identity of travelers at any point in their travel,” not just at entry to or exit from the United States. This includes creating a “biometric pathway” to track all travelers through airports, from check-in, through security, into airport lounges and shops, and onto flights. Given CBP’s recent partnerships with airlines and plans to collect social media credentials, this could also mean CBP plans to track travelers from the moment they begin their internet travel research. Several Congress members have introduced legislation to legitimize some of these plans.
Congress has expressed concerns with DHS’s biometric programs. Senators Edward Markey and Mike Lee, in a recent letter addressed to the agency, stated, “[w]e are concerned that the use of the program on U.S. citizens remains facially unauthorized[.] . . . We request that DHS stop the expansion of this program and provide Congress with its explicit statutory authority to use and expand a biometric exit program on U.S. citizens.” The senators have urged DHS to propose a rulemaking to clarify its plans for biometric exit. Congress also withheld funds last year from DHS’s Office of Biometric Identity Management.
DHS’s Inspector General criticized the agency last year for failure to properly train its personnel on how biometric systems worked and noted that the agency’s reliance on third parties to verify travelers leaving the country “occasionally provided false departure or arrival status on visitors.” The OIG is again investigating the biometric exit program this year and plans to “assess whether biometric data collected at pilot locations has improved DHS's ability to verify departures.” The Government Accountability Office has also looked into the agency’s programs, criticizing the reliability of DHS’s data and the agency’s failure to evaluate whether a program that collects biometrics from all travelers leaving the country was even feasible.
However, these actions are not enough. DHS needs to end its plans to use its HART database to collect even more biometric and biographic information about U.S. citizens and foreigners. This system poses a very real threat to First Amendment-protected activities. Further, DHS has a well-documented history of poor data management, and face recognition has a high rate of misidentifications. Congress must step in with more oversight and act now to put the brakes on DHS’s broad expansion of data collection.
WASHINGTON — When President Trump unveiled Operation Warp Speed in May, he declared that it was “unlike anything our country has seen since the Manhattan Project.”
The initiative — to accelerate the development of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics — lacks the scale, and the degree of secrecy, of the effort to build the atomic bomb. But Operation Warp Speed is largely an abstraction in Washington, with little known about who works there other than its top leaders, or how it operates. Even pharmaceutical companies hoping to offer help or partnerships have labored to figure out who to contact.
Now, an organizational chart of the $10 billion initiative, obtained by STAT, reveals the fullest picture yet of Operation Warp Speed: a highly structured organization in which military personnel vastly outnumber civilian scientists.
The labyrinthine chart, dated July 30, shows that roughly 60 military officials — including at least four generals — are involved in the leadership of Operation Warp Speed, many of whom have never worked in health care or vaccine development. Just 29 of the roughly 90 leaders on the chart aren’t employed by the Department of Defense; most of them work for the Department of Health and Human Services and its subagencies.
Operation Warp Speed’s central goal is to develop, produce, and distribute 300 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine by January — and the military is intimately involved, according to Paul Mango, HHS’ deputy chief of staff for policy. It has already helped prop up more than two dozen vaccine manufacturing facilities — flying in equipment and raw materials from all over the world. It has also set up significant cybersecurity and physical security operations to ensure an eventual vaccine is guarded very closely from “state actors who don’t want us to be successful in this,” he said, adding that many of the Warp Speed discussions take place in protected rooms used to discuss classified information.
“This is a massive scientific and logistical undertaking,” said Mango. “We are weeks away, at most, a month or two away from having at least one safe and effective vaccine.”
Despite the military’s dominance, the chart also includes Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases who was almost fired by Trump in February for warning the public about the growing Covid-19 pandemic. Public health and drug industry officials told STAT that Messonnier and Gen. Paul Ostrowski, her direct superior, serve as the initiative’s main contacts on all questions related to the distribution of an eventual vaccine. One public health official said that Ostrowksi, an expert on military acquisition, defers to Messonnier on matters of public health.
The military’s extensive involvement in the development and distribution of a vaccine is a departure from pandemics of the past, but it is fitting for Trump, who has gushed about his love for “my military” and “my generals.” While the military was tangentially involved in public health crises like the H1N1 pandemic of 2009, some public health leaders have raised concerns about what they see as their marginalization during the pandemic.
One senior federal health official told STAT he was struck by the presence of soldiers in military uniforms walking around the health department’s headquarters in downtown Washington, and said that recently he has seen more than 100 officials in the corridors wearing “Desert Storm fatigues.”
“Military personnel won’t be familiar with the health resources available in a community,” said John Auerbach, CEO of Trust for America’s Health, a group closely aligned with public health departments. “They don’t know who the doctors are or where the community health centers are located or what resources they have. They don’t know where the pharmacies are. Public health people do know, that’s part of what they do.”
The July 30 Operation Warp Speed organizational chart obtained by STAT details about 90 of the officials involved in the initiative. Roughly 60 work for the Department of Defense.
Military officials, however, contend that the U.S. Army excels at complex challenges — like distributing vaccines that might need to be transported at subzero temperatures.
“You know the old joke about, ‘You and what army,’ right?” said Andrew Hunter, a Defense Department expert at a Washington think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They routinely do things that are more complex, even than this vaccine job, all the time.”
Mango told STAT the operation has kept some key personnel information under wraps out of concerns for the security of the entire vaccine supply chain, from the warehouses storing vaccines to the computer systems being used to coordinate the effort.
“The secretary has given us the order of being as transparent as we possibly can with one caveat: That we are not compromising anything that has to do with national security,” he said.
An HHS spokesperson declined to comment directly on the chart, citing precedent that the agency does not comment on leaked documents. But the spokesperson noted that at least 600 HHS officials are involved in Warp Speed. The majority of those employees are not captured by the chart obtained by STAT. Among the decision makers not included in the chart are Mango and HHS’ Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Bob Kadlec. Mango told STAT that he and Kadlec personally sign off on every business agreement made by HHS for Operation Warp Speed.
Mango also added that the vast majority of scientists working on Operation Warp Speed work for the companies the effort is funding.
“There’s really not a need for anyone to place scores of scientists inside HHS or DOD to get this done,” Mango said. “Quite honestly, we are not conducting any science whatsoever inside the government to support Operation Warp Speed, none.”
He also defended the military’s involvement in the initiative, though he insisted that it is primarily supporting efforts led by public health officials at the CDC.
“There are quite honestly certain logistical elements of this that the CDC has never, ever been asked to do, and why not bring the best logisticians in the world into the equation?” Mango said.
Beyond obtaining the internal document from a federal official, STAT interviewed companies funded by Warp Speed and more than a dozen key officials who have worked closely with the organization’s leaders. The reporting sheds light on the high degree of organization and specialization within the organization, as well as the extreme demands the initiative is placing on the companies it funds.
Operation Warp Speed’s central goal is to develop, produce, and distribute 300 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine by January. The initiative has poured $10 billion into the clinical development and manufacturing of potential vaccine candidates, and it has stockpiled hundreds of thousands of doses of as-yet-unproven immunizations. Warp Speed has deals with six major drug companies hoping to develop Covid-19 vaccines and may seek more, the group’s chief adviser, Moncef Slaoui, told STAT earlier this month.
Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, approvingly called Operation Warp Speed a “talent show.”
“If you go through the organizational boxes of Operation Warp Speed, they’re very, very impressive,” Fauci told STAT in an interview Friday.
Tom Inglesby, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, with whom STAT shared the organizational chart, agreed that the initiative appears well-positioned to achieve its ambitious goals — and under a tight timeline.
“There is deep knowledge of science and on how to manage complex government operations,” said Inglesby. “It’s clearly operating in a challenging pandemic and political environment, and we won’t know if we have a safe and effective vaccine until the trials are finished. But it’s a highly competent group of people working to make it happen.”
Though HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Defense Secretary Mark Esper are at the top, the two key leaders are Slaoui, the formal civilian leader of the project, and Gen. Gustave Perna, the military lead who is the chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed.
Under Slaoui are two major pillars, “Vaccine” and “Therapeutics.” Under Perna are three pillars, for “Plans, Ops and Analysis,” “Security and Assurance,” and “Supply, Production and [Distribution].”
But the complexity of the organization makes it difficult as an outsider to discern who is reporting directly to who, experts in business management who reviewed the chart told STAT.
“It’s confusing for sure,” said Robert Huckman, the chair of Harvard Business School’s health care initiative, who studies health care management and organization. Huckman added that the chart was more complex than most he’s seen. “It is more complex, but it’s a more complex endeavor, too … it may be that it simply reflects the complexity of what Operation Warp Speed is trying to do.”
“I can only imagine the headache that comes with trying to coordinate these different production processes,” said Raffaella Sadun, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School who studies CEO behavior.
Slaoui’s tenure thus far at Warp Speed has been marked by outside concerns over his personal financial stake in some of the companies he is now overseeing. Slaoui, who holds roughly $10 million in GSK stock, is not bound by federal ethics rules because he is employed by an outside contractor, not the federal government. Slaoui has agreed to donate any increase in the value of that stock, although that agreement hasn’t placated critics.
“The first person to be fired should be Dr. Slaoui,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said at a hearing last week. “The American people deserve to know that Covid-19 vaccine decisions are based on science, and not on personal greed.”
But Slaoui knows firsthand, perhaps better than anyone else, what it takes to dramatically speed up the search for a vaccine. He played a pivotal role in GSK’s sprint to develop an Ebola vaccine in 2015. The effort ultimately failed, but he is so well-regarded at GSK that the company named its vaccine research center after him in 2016.
Perna, meanwhile, is a four-star Army general who previously managed virtually all of the Army’s logistics. He was even inducted into the Army’s own logistics hall of fame. He most recently served as head of Army Materiel Command, a sprawling job that handles virtually all of the Army’s equipment. The organization’s slogan is: “If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, communicates with it, or eats it — AMC provides it.”
During his tenure, Perna constantly pushed the Army to move faster, and to be more ready to go to war at a moment’s notice.
Below Perna and Slaoui are a team of military and civilian experts like Ostrowski, a former special forces soldier who handles the supply and distribution of an eventual vaccine, and Matt Hepburn, the initiative’s go-to vaccine coordinator. Hepburn cut his teeth working on high-tech military projects, including an initiative that developed sensors that could be implanted into soldiers to detect certain illnesses before the men and women ever showed symptoms. Hepburn also has a reputation for driving even the most accomplished scientists to work harder than they’ve ever worked before.
“If Matt is still the Matt I know, he will be on these people with a foot on their neck, making them go go go,” said Geoffrey Ling, Hepburn’s former boss at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
There are government outsiders deeply involved in the project, too. Larry Corey, one of the country’s leading AIDS researchers, describes himself as an “ex-officio” member of Warp Speed. Corey runs the Covid-19 prevention network, an assortment of existing HIV trial networks that now are running at least three of the Phase 3 Covid-19 clinical trials. While he’s not formally on the organizational chart, he takes part in thrice-weekly calls with Warp Speed. Corey, who is based in Seattle, is in constant cross-country coordination with one of the NIH’s top vaccine researchers, John Mascola, a formal member of the organization.
“We are sacrificing our time and energy on Operation Warp Speed. We have taken the pivot from everything else that we have done in our lives,” Corey said, regarding him and Mascola. Corey described waking up at 5 a.m. each day to get on calls with Warp Speed leaders at 5:30 a.m., and then enduring a deluge of conference calls until 6 p.m. When the day’s work is done, he turns to planning for the following day, which keeps him working until 11 p.m. He’s in bed by midnight.
“I don’t think his day is any different than my day,” Corey said of Mascola. Both, he was sure, are sleep-deprived.
Operation Warp Speed is much more than a splashy name for an initiative focused on doling out purchase orders. The benefits for companies who land a Warp Speed contract go far beyond just money, according to one of the companies with a contract.
SiO2 Materials Science, an Auburn, Ala.-based company that is making vials for the effort, used its status as an Operation Warp Speed grantee to force a vendor to cut production time from 75 days to just seven. It also leveraged its contract with Warp Speed to get its power turned on in the midst of a massive outage in just minutes — others had to wait days, according Lawrence Ganti, the company’s chief business officer. Operation Warp Speed also covered the costs of installing 32 new security cameras around the company’s facility after an assessment found the company’s physical security was lacking.
SiO2 received $143 million from Operation Warp Speed, a fraction of what larger companies have received, but the company still is required to provide monthly status reports to the government. The reports typically run up to 60 pages and are coupled with a four-hour meeting attended by multiple Warp Speed officials, according to Ganti. That’s in addition to biweekly “risk reports” and weekly site visits from the Army Corps of Engineers.
A second company funded by Warp Speed confirmed similar reporting requirements.
“Everybody has — or at least I had a stereotype of how the government operated. Nine-to-five, slow, kind of what you’d expect at the DMV … this is not that in any way,” said Ganti. “They seem to be working 24/7.”
The organizational chart also underscores which agencies are not as closely involved in the leadership of the effort: namely, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which took a leading role in coordinating vaccine distribution for other past pandemics, like the H1N1 pandemic of 2009. There are at least three staffers from each of the administration’s other major health agencies, like the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority or the National Institutes of Health.
Mango, the HHS deputy chief of staff, said the CDC has a more central role than the personnel chart implies. He personally interacts with Messonier multiple times a week, and there are frequent meetings between the DOD and CDC with 15-20 of her deputies, he said.
“What General Perna says at the start of every meeting, and he means it, is we are here for one reason, to support the CDC,” Mango said. “Anyone who is watching what is going on a daily basis would say the CDC is leading and the DOD is enabling and supporting.”
Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman struck a similar tone.
“The Department of Defense has been clear in its role in Operation Warp Speed: We are providing the bandwidth of logistical expertise, including program management and contracting proficiency to this all-of-America effort,” he said in a statement. “The development and delivery of over 300 million vaccine doses harnesses public-private partnerships, academia, and industry – no one entity can do this alone.”
The Pentagon also declined to comment on the chart obtained by STAT, saying they do not comment on leaked documents.
The Food and Drug Administration is also largely absent from the organizational chart, though that is by design. Most FDA officials are barred from participating formally in Operation Warp Speed over concerns that their involvement would conflict with their mission to impartially review eventual vaccine applications. The one major exception is Janet Woodcock, who took a temporary leave as head of FDA’s drug center to lead the initiative’s efforts on therapeutics.
BARDA plays perhaps the most head-scratching role in Operation Warp Speed. The organization’s acting director, Gary Disbrow, a camera-shy bureaucrat who was catapulted into the job after the ouster of his boss, Rick Bright, is listed as co-leading the vaccine effort alongside Hepburn, and a number of other BARDA leaders are included in the chart.
But three sources told STAT that Disbrow, and BARDA more generally, are playing a marginal role in Warp Speed. “BARDA has been largely sidelined in all of this,” one pharmaceutical industry source told STAT.
Ganti of SiO2, however, told STAT that the company deals primarily with BARDA for all of its Warp Speed-related questions. Mango also told STAT BARDA officials meet with Warp Speed officials daily “to make sure contracts are moving along.”
BARDA also appears to be fronting a large chunk of the funding for the Warp Speed initiative, alongside the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense.
With the first COVID-19 vaccine candidate set to receive an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US government in a matter of days, its distribution and allocation is set to begin “within 24 hours” of that vaccine’s imminent approval.
The allocation strategy of COVID-19 vaccines within the US is set to dramatically differ from previous national vaccination programs. One key difference is that the vaccine effort itself, known as Operation Warp Speed, is being almost completely managed by the US military, along with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA), as opposed to civilian health agencies, which are significantly less involved than previous national vaccination efforts and have even been barred from attending some Warp Speed meetings. In addition, for the first time since 2001, law enforcement officers and DHS officials are set to not be prioritized for early vaccination.
Another key difference is the plan to utilize a phased approach that targets “populations of focus” identified in advance by different government organizations, including the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Characteristics of those “populations of focus,” also referred to as “critical populations” in official documentation, will then be identified by the secretive, Palantir-developed software tool known as “Tiberius” to guide Operation Warp Speed’s vaccine distribution efforts. Tiberius will provide Palantir access to sensitive health and demographic data of Americans, which the company will use to “help identify high-priority populations at highest risk of infection.”
This report is the first of a three-part series unmasking the racist components of the Pentagon-run project to both develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine. It explores the COVID-19 vaccine allocation strategy first outlined by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and subsequent government allocation strategies that were informed by Johns Hopkins.
The main focus of this allocation strategy is to deliver vaccines first to racial minorities but in such a way as to make those minorities feel “at ease” and not like “guinea pigs” when receiving an experimental vaccine that those documents admit is likely cause “certain adverse effects…more frequently in certain population subgroups.” Research has shown that those “subgroups” most at risk for adverse effects are these same minorities.
The documents also acknowledge that information warfare and economic coercion will likely be necessary to combat “vaccine hesitancy” among these minority groups. It even frames this clearly disproportionate focus on racial minorities as related to national concerns over “police brutality,” claiming that giving minorities the experimental vaccine first is necessary to combat “structural racism” and ensure “fairness and justice” in the healthcare system and society at large.
Part 2 of this series will discuss how Palantir, a company currently helping DHS and law enforcement violently target African Americans and Latinos, will be in charge of allocating “tailored” COVID-19 vaccines to those same minorities as well as Palantir’s origins and its executives’ views on race. Part 3 will explore the direct ties between a COVID-19 vaccine front-runner and the Eugenics Society, which was re-named the Galton Institute in 1989.
The Trump administration been criticized for its rush to develop and deploy a COVID-19 vaccine and particularly for installing Monclef Slaoui, a former pharmaceutical executive with ongoing conflicts of interest, as chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed, the Pentagon-run program to produce and distribute the vaccine. Yet, if and when a Biden administration takes power, Operation Warp Speed is set to proceed with little, if any, modification.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (CHS) director Tom Inglesby, who will serve on the Biden Health and Human Services (HHS) transition team, has praised Slaoui, telling Stat News that the longer someone like him can remain in charge of the nation’s COVID-19 vaccine effort, “the better it is for the country.”
Inglesby, who led discussions at the CHS’s Event 201 exercise in October 2019 and who was one of the primary authors of the controversial Johns Hopkins Dark Winter exercise in 2001, is emblematic of the US government’s and the mainstream media’s general reliance on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (of which CHS is part) for pandemic-related matters. Slaoui regularly appears on network TV as a COVID-19 oracle and has been called “one of the nation’s go-to experts on the spread of the coronavirus.” Readers may note that the Johns Hopkins “coronavirus tracker” has been used by virtually every mainstream news source since the beginning of COVID-19 reporting. This relationship is expected to continue, if not intensify, in a Biden administration.
Both Kathleen Hicks, the lead on Biden’s Department of Defense (DOD) transition team, and Alexander Bick, on Biden’s National Security Council transition team, are scholars at Johns Hopkins Kissinger Center for Global Affairs, reflecting the university’s broader influence on a future Biden administration. Yet, the most significant way the Biden transition intersects with Johns Hopkins is through the CHS.
Originally called the Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, the CHS is a think tank within Johns Hopkins that regularly gives recommendations to both the US government and the World Health Organization and, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has emerged as a voice of authority on all matters COVID-19 in the US. The center’s founding director was D. A. Henderson, best known for his role in the WHO-sponsored smallpox vaccination campaign. Henderson also held several government positions, including serving as associate director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy under George H. W. Bush. He was also the longtime dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.
Dr. Tom Inglesby
Another member of the Biden transition team is Luciana Borio, a current member of the CHS steering committee. As both a former FDA scientist and former National Security Council member, Borio signifies the relationship between the national security state and the biosecurity state. She’s currently a vice president of In-Q-Tel, the venture-capital arm of the CIA.
In-Q-Tel’s current executive vice president, Tara O’Toole, who at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak declared that “the best way ever to protect those who are well is with vaccines,” is Inglesby’s mentor and predecessor as director of the CHS. She was also a key player and the lead author of the CHS’s Dark Winter and CladeX bioterror simulations. The Engineering Contagion series published by The Last American Vagabond earlier this year explored the Dark Winter simulation in depth, including how the simulation eerily predicted the 2001 anthrax attacks that followed soon after September 11, 2001, with several participants demonstrating apparent foreknowledge of those attacks.
Ending racism with vaccines?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has consistently referenced materials developed by the CHS in its recent COVID-19 vaccine allocation literature. These CDC-issued materials form the backbone of the various vaccine allocation strategies issued by many state governments. Chief among these is the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook, published at the end of October. A key aspect of that program is the determination of “critical populations for COVID-19 vaccination, including those groups identified to receive the first available doses of COVID-19 vaccine when supply is expected to be limited.”
In August, the CHS published its Inglesby cowritten _Interim Framework for COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution_, which is cited by the CDC as a key reference for its nationwide COVID-19 vaccine-allocation strategy. This report will examine this document, in particular, as well as other related documents that reveal that ethnic and racial minorities, specifically those over sixty-five and those who make up part of the “essential” workforce, are set to be the first to receive experimental COVID-19 vaccines.
The Interim Framework argues there is a need to prioritize ethnic minorities, particularly African Americans and Latino Americans, in order to reflect “fairness and justice.” It states that “a critical difference” between COVID-19 vaccine allocation and the “context envisioned in the 2018 guidance for pandemic influenza vaccine allocation” is the fact that the US is “currently in the midst of a national reckoning on racial injustice, prompted by cases of police brutality and murder.” It goes on to state that “although structural racism was as present in the 2018 and previous influenza epidemics as it is today, the general public acknowledgment of racial injustice was not.”
It goes without saying that police brutality is decidedly unrelated to vaccine allocation as is increased national awareness of racial injustice as it relates to police brutality. This is further compounded by the police, in this document, being removed as a priority group for COVID-19 vaccine allocation, despite having been designated a priority group in all other government vaccine-allocation guidance since the 2001 anthrax attacks. Also odd is that it is only increased access of minorities to the COVID-19 vaccine that is cited as a way to address “structural racism in health systems,” not other policies that would be more likely to address the problem such as Medicare for All.
In addition, the Interim Framework admits that “communities of color, particularly Black populations, may be more wary of officials responsible for vaccine-related decisions due to past medical injustices committed by authorities on Black communities.” There is a long list of these “medical injustices” committed against minority communities by the US government, including the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiments, which are discussed in detail later.
Another odd passage on “justice” and “equity” as it relates to vaccinating ethnic minorities first states:
“In the context of vaccine allocation, treating individuals fairly has sometimes been defined as treating everyone the same or equally, for example, by distributing vaccines on a first-come, first-served basis or by giving everyone an equal chance at getting vaccine via a lottery. Because the impact of the vaccine is different for different people (i.e., some people are at greater risk of death), the straightforward ways of treating people equally are often rejected as unfair or as an inefficient use of vaccine. . . .
In the context of vaccine allocation, promoting equity and social justice requires addressing higher rates of COVID-19–related severe illness and mortality among systematically disadvantaged or marginalized groups. . . .
As a matter of justice, these disparities in COVID-19 risk and adverse outcomes across racial and ethnic groups should be addressed in our overall COVID-19 response.”
This extreme emphasis on the “fairness and justice” of prioritizing minorities for the vaccine is contradicted by other claims made in the same document. For example, the document also states:
“The ultimate safety of an approved vaccine is not completely knowable until it has been administered to millions of people. During clinical trials, tens of thousands of individuals will receive the vaccine but that may fail to show safety concerns that occur with less frequency, such as 1 in a million. This can be a concern for particularly severe adverse effects.”
It also notes: “It is also possible that certain adverse effects may occur more frequently in certain population subgroups, which may not be apparent until millions are vaccinated.”
People wait for a distribution of masks and food from the Rev. Al Sharpton in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, after a new state mandate was issued requiring residents to wear face coverings in public due to COVID-19, Saturday, April 18, 2020. “Inner-city residents must follow this mandate to ensure public health and safety,” said Sharpton. The latest Associated Press analysis of available data shows that nearly one-third of those who have died from the coronavirus are African American, even though blacks are only about 14% of the population. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Notably, African Americans are understood to be at a higher risk for adverse reactions to vaccines. According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, African Americans exhibit a disproportionately higher immune response to certain flu shots. And in 2014, the Mayo Clinic found that African Americans have almost double the immune response to the rubella vaccine as Caucasian Americans. Immune reactions that are too strong can result in more adverse events and inflammatory responses such as transverse myelitis, a debilitating inflammation and paralysis of the spinal cord. A 2010 study in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health showed that African American boys were at significantly greater risk of suffering severe neurological injury from the hepatitis B shot as compared to Caucasians.
This raises the question as to whether African Americans should be prioritized for a poorly tested vaccine when the available science shows that this demographic may be at a higher risk for adverse reactions to vaccines. Previous coronavirus vaccine projects triggered immune responses so strong that the test animals died, and the vaccine projects got scrapped. The Johns Hopkins CHS Interim Framework claiming that vaccinating African Americans and other ethnic minorities first represents “fairness and justice” and would address “structural racism” does not square with its admission that the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine is “not completely knowable” until millions have received it and that “certain adverse effects may occur more frequently in certain population subgroups.”
Who is really to blame for “vaccine hesitancy”?
For a successful rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, the federal government will need to reckon with “vaccine hesitancy,” which the WHO named as one of the top ten threats to global health in 2019 and which is a major concern discussed at length in the August Interim Framework on COVID-19 vaccination strategies.
According to recent polls, such hesitancy is, understandably, most prevalent among African Americans, the group that has most commonly been used as human guinea pigs by the US government and associated scientific and medical institutions. For instance, there are the infamous Tuskegee University experiments, devised by the US Public Health Service (now a division of HHS) and the CDC. The unwitting participants in the study, all of whom who were African American, were told that they were receiving free health-care services from the federal government, while actually they were being intentionally untreated for syphilis so government scientists could study the devastating progression of the disease. Deception was critical to the experiment, as the participants did not know they were part of an experiment at all and were also kept unaware of their true diagnosis. While Tuskegee may be the most well-known example of racist medical experimentation in the US, it’s far from the only one.
For example, during Manhattan Project, the undertaking that produced the atom bomb, the US government contracted dozens of physicians to inject unknowing hospital patients with up to 4.7 micrograms of radioactive plutonium, forty-one times normal lifetime exposure. The goal of this experiment was to pinpoint the dosage at which radioactive elements such as plutonium would cause illnesses like leukemia, and to measure the amount of radioactivity that lingers in the blood, tissues, bones, and urine. Between 1944 and 1994 the Atomic Energy Commission supported thousands of experimental projects sanctioning such radiation on human subjects, most of whom were African Americans.
From 1954 to 1962, the Sloan-Kettering Institute, which receives hundreds of millions of dollars ofNIH funds annually, injected over four hundred African American inmates atOhio State Prison with live cancer cells to observe how the body might destroy them. The primary sponsor for this research was the National Institutes of Health, which also partially sponsored the Tuskegee experiments.
From 1987 through 1991, US researchers administered as much as five hundred times the approved dosage of the Edmonton-Zagreb (EZ) measles vaccine to African American and Latino babies in low-income Los Angeles neighborhoods as part of a vaccine experiment. Consent forms did not inform parents of the increased dosage or of the fact that the vaccine was experimental. Parents were also not informed that the vaccine had already been given to two thousand children in Haiti, Senegal, and Guinea-Bissau with disastrous results. For example, in Senegal, children who received the jab died at a rate80 percent higher than children who did not receive it. The CDC would later characterize the US trials as “clearly a mistake.”
Between 1992 and 1997, Columbia University’s Lowenstein Center for the Study and Prevention of Childhood Disruptive Behavior Disorders conducted studies that sought to establish a link between genetics and violence, focusing on minority children in New York City. These experiments targeted 126 boys between the ages of six and ten, 100 percent of whom were either African American, Latino, or biracial. In exchange for $100 and a $25 Toys “R” Us gift card, the children, selected because their older brothers had come into contact with the juvenile probation system, were taken from their homes, denied food and water, and given a drug called fenfluramine. Prior to these experiments, fenfluramine had never been administered to people under the age of twelve, and it was already known that the drug was associated with heart-valve damage, brain damage, and death.
Such historical facts raise obvious questions about the reasons for “vaccine hesitancy” and how they are currently being approached by the US government and related institutions. While it would make the most sense to combat this problem by holding to account the people responsible for past abuses, such as those described above, the opposite has been the case. Instead, the CHS and other institutions, particularly regarding the coming COVID-19 vaccination campaign, have proposed several other means of combatting “vaccine hesitancy,” ranging from deception to information warfare to economic coercion.
A dark legacy poised to continue
Given the long-standing exploitive relationship between US medicine and ethnic minorities, the August Interim Framework addresses the situation that communities of color, and in particular black populations, “may be more wary of officials responsible for vaccine-related decisions due to past medical injustices.” It states: “Anticipate hesitancy among marginalized populations who may be fearful or wary of seeking vaccination at sites that have historically caused mistrust.”
Another CHS paper, published in July and titled “The Public’s Role in COVID-19 Vaccination,” which is cited heavily in the August framework, acknowledged the US “legacy of experimentation on Black men and women.”
However, the CHS document also notes that more than one COVID-19 vaccine candidate “may be available at the same time” and they “may have different safety and efficacy profiles across different population groups and may have different logistical requirements.” It adds that “it is also possible that certain adverse effects may occur more frequently in certain population subgroups, which may not be apparent until millions are vaccinated.”
It is notable that Palantir, the CIA-linked government technology contractor, has been put in charge of creating the software that will “decide” which “population subgroups” are given what vaccine. Palantir is perhaps best known for its controversial role in targeting undocumented immigrants through its contracts with ICE and its role in predictive-policing efforts that disproportionately targeted African Americans. It is certainly unsettling that those same ethnic groups that Palantir is most controversial for targeting on behalf of the national-security state and law enforcement are the same “critical populations” that the company will initially identify for the US military–led COVID-19 vaccination program, Operation Warp Speed.
In addition, in a move that can only aggravate minority community “vaccine hesitancy,” the August CHS Interim Framework recommends that the CDC transform the current “vaccines adverse-event reporting system” from a voluntary system that relies on individuals sending in reports to the government to “an active surveillance system” that “monitors all vaccine recipients,” possibly via unspecified “electronic mechanisms.”
The Last American Vagabond reported last month that Operation Warp Speed, seemingly having taken a cue from the Interim Framework, plans to utilize “incredibly precise . . . tracking systems” that will “ensure that patients each get two doses of the same vaccine and to monitor them for adverse health effects.” Those systems will be managed, in part, by the intelligence-linked tech giants Google and Oracle.
A woman wears a face mask as she passes by graffiti reading ‘No vaccine, No tracking, No COVID’, in Montreal, Sunday, August 16, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The main stated purpose of these “tracking systems,” referred to in other Warp Speed documents as “pharmacovigilance systems,” is to monitor the longer-term effects of new, unlicensed vaccine-production methods that are being used in the production of every Warp Speed COVID-19 vaccine candidate. These vaccines, per Warp Speed’s own documents, state that these methods “have limited previous data on safety in humans . . . the long-term safety of these vaccines will be carefully assessed using pharmacovigilance surveillance and Phase 4 (post-licensure) clinical trials,” following the administration of the COVID-19 vaccines to the prioritized “critical populations.”
A strategy takes shape
Given the above, the unprecedented facets of the Warp Speed COVID-19 vaccination plan—that is, its focus on ethnic minorities as the first to receive the experimental COVID-19 vaccine, its interest in giving different vaccine candidates to “different population groups,” and studying the largely unknown effects through “tracking systems” and unspecified “electronic mechanisms”— are all things that would obviously further fuel mistrust by those ethnic groups that have historically been targets of medical experimentation by the US government.
Furthermore, that COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution efforts are being spearheaded by the military and national-security apparatus, as well as having the intimate involvement of controversial contractors such as Palantir, will likely exacerbate minority distrust as Operation Warp Speed advances, given that these same groups are those most often found to be on the receiving end of militarized state violence. Also concerning is that law enforcement, military, and Department of Homeland Security officials will no longer be priority vaccine-allocation targets, for the first time since the 2001 anthrax attacks, while no convincing reason for their exclusion is offered.
Yet, instead of honestly addressing these unprecedented recommendations, the effort to get around the “vaccine hesitancy” issue as it relates to minorities plans to rely on tactics that avoid addressing any of these issues directly. In one example, although the August Interim Framework recommends “directly prioritizing” ethnic minorities, it recognizes that doing so “could further threaten the fragile trust that some have in the medical and public health system, particularly if there is the perception that there has been a lack of testing to assess vaccine safety and that they are the ‘guinea pigs.’” The document also states that “the implementation of directly prioritizing communities of color could also be challenging and divisive, as determining how to access specific populations and how to determine eligibility based on race or ethnicity includes many sensitive challenges.”
As a workaround for such concerns, the CHS suggests that “prioritizing other cohorts of the population, such as essential workers or those with underlying health conditions associated with poorer COVID-19 outcomes, could also indirectly help address the disproportionate burden of this pandemic on communities of color” due to the high representation of those minorities in the essential workforce.
The document continues: “While this approach might avoid some of the challenges outlined above, it would also need to be implemented in a way that ensures vaccines are equitably distributed across subcategories of these categories.” Thus, it suggests prioritizing “those individuals and groups who face both severe health and severe economic risks, specifically essential workers at higher risk of severe illness—or whose household members are at higher risk—who will suffer severe economic harm if they stop working.” Those groups at “higher risk of severe illness,” the document later notes, are incidentally ethnic minorities.
In other words, the strategy proposed by the CHS is to specifically prioritize cohorts of the US population that contain high proportions of ethnic minorities without directly prioritizing those minorities in order to, somewhat deceptively, avoid exacerbating “vaccine hesitancy” concerns among those groups by directly singling them out.
The Interim Framework acknowledges the high prevalence of ethnic minorities in the essential workforce and cites a paper published in April 2020 by the Center for Economic and Policy Research that notes that “people of color are overrepresented in many occupations with frontline industries.”
In addition to prioritizing essential workforce cohorts, which have a high percentage of ethnic minorities, the CHS document also suggests that prisoners, another group where ethnic minorities are heavily overrepresented, and “undocumented immigrant communities of color” should also be prioritized. Like the essential workforce strategy, this would ensure increased vaccine uptake by ethnic minorities without prioritizing them directly.
It is also worth noting that, in addition to the focus on ethnic minorities, the Interim Framework also recommends that “differently abled and mentally challenged populations, who can experience difficulties in accessing healthcare and could be in higher-risk living settings, such as assisted living facilities,” be included as a “target population” along with ethnic minorities.
This strategy as laid out by the CHS appears to have been embraced by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which is the official government body that will designate the “target populations” of the COVID-19 vaccination strategy.
Also in August, Kathleen Dooling, a CDC epidemiologist writing on behalf of ACIP’s COVID-19 Vaccines Work Group, stated that “groups for early phase vaccination” should be those that “overlap” the most with, first, those with “high risk” medical conditions, second, essential workers, and, third, adults over sixty-five. As previously noted, the essential workforce is predominantly composed of ethnic minorities.
Notably, the “high risk” medical conditions listed in this same document are conditions that are all significantly more prevalent among ethnic minorities, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, chronic kidney disease, serious heart conditions, and sickle cell disease. Cancer is also listed and, while prevalent across the US population at large, the incidence of cancer is highest among African Americans.
Particularly notable is the inclusion of sickle cell disease, as African Americans in the US have a much higher probability of having that condition than any other group. According to 2010 data analyzed by the CDC, the sickle cell gene, which is necessary in both parents for a child to inherit sickle cell disease, is present in 73 per 1,000 African American newborns, compared to 3 per 1,000 Caucasian newborns.
The “overlap” strategy fits with current CDC ACIP guidelines for vaccine recommendations, which hold that, if vaccination supply is limited, the CDC should “reduce the extra burden the disease is having on people already facing disparities.” The “overlap” strategy as laid out in the recent ACIP COVID-19 Vaccines Work Group document, however, has the inevitable end result of ensuring that the vast majority of those who will first receive the experimental COVID-19 vaccine will be ethnic minorities over the age of sixty-five and ethnic minorities in the essential workforce.
Also noteworthy in relation to the prioritization of ethnic minorities is that in March the government interpreted federal regulations to grant liability immunity to any entity producing, distributing, manufacturing, or administering COVID-19 countermeasures, including vaccines. According to HHS, this move may also “provide immunity from certain liability under civil rights laws,” meaning that those involved with the COVID-19 vaccination campaign may not be liable if found to violate the rights of groups protected under civil rights law, that is, ethnic minorities.
Controlling the narrative
Another tactic promoted by the CHS, as well as the CDC and Warp Speed, to combat “vaccine hesitancy” is aggressive communication strategies that include “saturating” the media landscape with provaccine content while greatly reducing content deemed to promote “vaccine hesitancy.” The national-security state, which is managing Operation Warp Speed, has become increasingly involved in this media effort, particularly by censoring content that is considered to be antivaccine (including, in their view, news outlets critical of the pharmaceutical industry and vaccine manufacturers) by using counterterror tools that have previously been used to disrupt online terrorist propaganda.
After the October 2019 coronavirus pandemic simulation, Event 201, the CHS issued a statement that media companies have a responsibility to ensure that “authoritative messages are prioritized.” The CHS had co-sponsored Event 201 alongside the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
There is much more to this information war than just the rapidly accelerating online censorship effort. For instance, the official Operation Warp Speed document entitled “From the Factory to the Frontlines” notes that “strategic communications and public messaging are critical to ensure maximum acceptance of vaccines, requiring a saturation of messaging across the national media.” It also states that “working with established partners—especially those that are trusted sources for target audiences—is critical to advancing public understanding of, access to, and acceptance of eventual vaccines” and that “identifying the right messages to promote vaccine confidence, countering misinformation, and targeting outreach to vulnerable and at-risk populations will be necessary to achieve high coverage.”
The document also notes that Warp Speed will employ the CDC’s three-pronged strategic framework known as “Vaccinate with Confidence” for its communications thrust. The third pillar of that strategy is called “Stop Myths” and has as a main focus “establish[ing] partnerships to contain the spread of misinformation” as well as “work[ing] with local partners and trusted messengers to improve confidence in vaccines.”
Like the official Warp Speed guidance, the CDC Interim Framework also sees “community outreach” as an essential element for a successful vaccine campaign and suggests funding and training community health workers to promote vaccination specifically to “underserved, disproportionately affected groups.” It details how the US government might engage African Americans, Latino Americans, and lower-income populations to build trust in connection with vaccine recommendations and get around “concerns that they are ‘testing subjects’ for a novel vaccine.”
The CHS document notes, for example, the importance of cultural competence when promoting vaccines, advising that vaccinating at “churches, schools, culturally specific community centers or senior centers” might sit better with marginalized populations and make them feel more at ease. Such considerations were further elaborated on by Luciana Borio in September. That month, the vice president of In-Q-Tel and member of Biden’s transition team, wrote that while it may be appropriate to use US military resources for vaccination efforts, “any such federal engagement must be done in a collaborative manner sensitive to public perceptions that may be engendered by having a public health function fulfilled by individuals in uniform.”
A July CHS paper, “The Public’s Role in COVID-19 Vaccination,” a document Luciana Borio also helped write, argued, “Vaccination sites should not be heavily policed or send any signals that the site may be unsafe for Black or other minority communities.” This CHS paper further states that “trusted community spokespersons” should be utilized for a “communication campaign,” amplifying “vaccine-affirming, personally relevant messages.” Like similar WHO materials, it advocates tailoring the campaign to specific audiences and identifying a network of spokespeople to deliver a “salient and specific message repeatedly, delivered by multiple trusted messengers and via diverse media channels.”
Luciana Borio, former director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats and current member of the Biden/Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board.
The CDC also recommends vaccine administration at places such as university parking lots, soup kitchens, public libraries, and faith-based organizations. An October CDC report reads: “For people living in institutions, consider vaccination at intake; for people attending colleges/universities, vaccinate at enrollment.” It also proposes that US states and territories utilize nontraditional vaccination sites such as homeless shelters and food pantries.
The prospect of red-carpet celebrities, influencers, and “trusted messengers” endorsing public-health policy is not unthinkable. According to NBC New York, New York and New Jersey have already recruited celebrities to urge residents to follow CDC guidelines. Actors including Julia Roberts, Penelope Cruz, Sarah Jessica Parker, Robin Wright, and Hugh Jackman earlier this year joined a coordinated campaign to “pass the mic to COVID-19 experts.”
In addition, this summer the WHO paid PR firm Hill & Knowlton Strategies $135,000 to identify micro-influencers, macro-influencers, and what it calls “hidden heroes” who “shape and guide conversations” to promote WHO messaging on social media and promote the organization’s image as a COVID-19 authority. Hill & Knowlton are controversial for having previously manufactured the false “incubator baby” testimony delivered in front of Congress that propelled the US into the first Gulf War in the early 1990s.
“The Public’s Role in COVID-19 Vaccination” also urges using groups such as faith-based organizations, schools, homeowners’ associations, and unions trusted by “hard-to-reach audiences” to convey positive vaccine messages and to “modulate public perceptions of vaccination.” Accordingly, the July CHS paper notes “the importance of using outside groups who have relationships with the community, instead of direct government involvement.” It should be noted that during the Tuskegee experiments, the US Public Health Service hired Eunice Rivers, a black nurse with a close relationship to the local minority community, to maintain contact with those who were part of the experiment to ensure they continued to participate.
This outsourcing framework as laid out by the CHS is reproduced in the federal government’s own literature. An October CDC report entitled Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations describes the importance of engaging what minority populations would consider “trusted sources” such as union representatives, college presidents, athletic coaches, state licensure boards, homeless shelter staff, soup kitchen managers, and faith leaders to “address hesitancy” in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine.
Operation Warp Speed’s document “From the Factory to the Frontlines,” released the same day as the CDC Interim Playbook, gives more specific examples of the government’s ongoing work with organizations “representing minority populations,” stating that faith-based organizations can be critical. “HHS’s Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives is working with minority-serving faith and community groups . . . and encouraging participation in the vaccination program,” the document reads. It also states that an “information campaign” led by HHS’s public affairs department is already working to “target key populations and communities to ensure maximum vaccine acceptance.”
Of note is that a member of Biden’s Office of Management and Budget transition team is Bridget Dooling. The OMB houses the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which reviews all regulations across the federal government. Dooling previously worked at OIRA, and from 2009 until 2011 worked under the direction of then-OIRA administrator Cass Sunstein. On Twitter, Dooling regularly interacts with Sunstein. She has frequently promoted Sunstein’s work on Twitter, especially this past month.
Notably, in 2008, Sunstein authored a paper encouraging the US government to employ covert agents to “cognitively infiltrate” online dissident groups that promote antigovernment “conspiracy theories” and to maintain a vigorous “counter misinformation establishment.”
Elements of his strategy for tackling antigovernment “conspiracy theories” are analogous to the aforementioned CHS theme of using “outside groups who have relationships with the community” instead of the government directly. “Governments can supply these independent bodies with information and perhaps prod them into action from behind the scenes,” he contended in his paper.
Sunstein was recently made chair of the World Health Organization’s Technical Advisory Group on Behavioral Insights and Sciences for Health to ensure “vaccine acceptance and uptake in the context of COVID-19.”
In September he also wrote an opinion piece for Bloomberg titled “How to Fight Back against Coronavirus Vaccine Phobia,” suggesting that “high-profile people who are respected and admired by those who lack confidence in vaccines” will help sell the public on the safety of vaccines. “Trusted politicians, athletes or actors—thought to be ‘one of us’ rather than ‘one of them’—might explicitly endorse vaccination,” he writes.
When all else fails, coerce
In addition to this information warfare approach to combatting “vaccine hesitancy,” the government also intends to stave off possible hesitancy through economic coercion, that is, by using economic incentives, even linking vaccination to entrance into the workforce, housing assistance, food, travel, and education.
Sunstein’s Bloomberg piece, for example, states that when a vaccine is available, “an economic incentive, such as a small gift certificate, can help” make it easy for “people who are at particular risk. Such gift cards will inevitably be more effective at swaying decisions of the poor.”
Former 2020 Presidential Candidate and United States Representative for Maryland’s 6th congressional district John Delaney recently penned an article in the Washington Post titled “Pay Americans to Take a Coronavirus Vaccine,” in which he argues a way to overcome the “historical level of distrust” in the vaccine development process is to take advantage of the current economic crisis and “pay people to take a COVID vaccine.” Delaney writes “Such an incentive might be the most effective way to persuade people to overcome suspicion or even fear. . .”
CHS’s “The Public’s Role in COVID-19 Vaccination” paper also details how bundling services like “food security, rent assistance, [and] free clinic services” with vaccination can increase vaccine intake. “Local and state public health agencies should explore opportunities to bundle COVID-19 vaccination with other safety net services,” it suggests. One way of doing this is to simply provide “food aid, employment aid, or other preventative health services” that “may be urgently needed” at vaccination sites. “[And] in some cases,” says the CHS, “it also may be acceptable and feasible to deliver vaccination via home visits by community health nurses when vaccination is bundled with delivery of other services.”
This strategy for increasing vaccine intake parallels what the CHS proposes in order to make digital contact tracing technology (DCTT) widespread in the population without mandating it outright. “Instead of making use fully voluntary and initiated by users, there are ways that DCTT could be put into use without users’ voluntary choice,” a recent CHS paper “Digital Contact Tracing for Pandemic Response” reads. It continues: “For example, use of an app could be mandated as a precondition for returning to work or school, or even further, to control entry into a facility or transportation (such as airplanes) through scanning of a QR code.”
Palantir and priority populations
Aside from the troubling aspects of the COVID-19 vaccination strategy as outlined above, there is the separate issue of the way in which these “populations of focus” will be chosen and identified. Palantir, the big data firm with deep and persisting ties to the CIA, has created a new software tool expressly for Warp Speed called Tiberius. Not only will Tiberius use Palantir’s Gotham software and its artificial intelligence components to “help identify high-priority populations,” it will produce delivery timetables and map out the locations for vaccine distribution based on the masses of data it has collected through various contracts with HHS and data-sharing alliances with In-Q-Tel, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, among others.
These data include extremely sensitive information about American citizens and the lack of privacy safeguards governing Palantir’s growing access to American healthcare data has even gotten the attention of Congress, with several Senators and Representatives warning in July that Palantir’s massive stores of data “could be used by other federal agencies in unexpected, unregulated, and potentially harmful ways, such as in the law and immigration enforcement context.”
Given that Palantir, at present, is best known for targeting the same minorities that are slated to be “priority populations” for early receipt of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine, Tiberius and the company behind it, including the obsessive “race war” fears of its top executive, will be explored in Part 2 of this series.
Jeremy Loffredo is a journalist and researcher based in Washington, DC. He is formerly a segment producer for RT AMERICA and is currently an investigative reporter for Children’s Health Defense.
Whitney Webb has been a professional writer, researcher and journalist since 2016. She has written for several websites and, from 2017 to 2020, was a staff writer and senior investigative reporter for Mint Press News. She currently writes for The Last American Vagabond.