Yves here. The reverberations continu from the clearly-planted New York Times article on what were likely only some of the CIA operations in Ukraine. Mind you, Russia probably knew about all of it and more. But the piece did make clear that the CIA was already well ensconced before the 2014 Maidan coup.

Rob Urie uses that story as his point of departure. Urie argues that the CIA is not merely a secret army for the President but is now in charge of US foreign policy. Urie is far from alone in that view. Scott Ritter, in his latest Judge Napolitano talk, describes how the CIA from its origins was set up to run secret foreign policy (see starting at 14:30).

 By Rob Urie, author of Zen Economics, artist, and musician who publishes The Journal of Belligerent Pontification on Substack

‘For Many Ukrainians, It’s Been a 10-Year War, Not a 2-Year One’ headline, The New York Times.

While the Washington Post has long been considered the mouthpiece of the CIA, the New York Times has been more effective at carrying water for it in recent years. The recent longish Times article entitled The Spy War: How the C.I.A. Secretly Helps Ukraine Fight Putin contains  recitation of CIA-friendly talking points that portrays it as indispensable to ‘our’ ability to commit pointless, petty atrocities against Russia as the US  sacrifices more Ukrainians in its misguided war. Missing from the piece is any conceivable reason for the US to continue the war.

The oft ascribed motive (and here) for the CIA’s existence is to act as the US President’s secret army abroad. The wisdom of this arrangement has been debated over the years. Former US President Harry Truman, who oversaw the founding of the CIA from its predecessor, the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), later regretted the decision and argued that the CIA should be brought to heel. Later, the Cold War presented cover for the CIA to act badly under the cover of national defense.

In Stephen Kinzer’s book, All the Shah’s Men,  the CIA paid people to pretend to be communists so as to convey the fiction that the CIA’s effort was about ‘fighting communism’ rather than stealing Iran’s oil. Similarly, in the US coup that ousted Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz for daring to raise the minimum wage paid by foreign-owned industries in Guatemala, also featured fake communists intended to convince the American press that the CIA was fighting for freedom and democracy rather than to steal wages from poor people for the benefit of rich Americans.

Together, these imply that fake communists had been more effectively demonized by Federal agencies than other available out groups because of the threat they didn’t pose to American capital. Recall, in 1919 Woodrow Wilson sent the American Expeditionary Force to join the Brits, French, and Japanese in trying to reverse the Russian Revolution. Later, through the Five Eyes Alliance, ‘the West’ spent the post-War era attacking the Soviets while alleging that they were responding to political violence that they (Five Eyes) started.

Oddly, given recent history, the claim that the CIA is the President’s secret army still appears to be the received wisdom in Washington and New York. This is odd because while the CIA appears to be acting as Joe Biden’s secret army in Ukraine and Israel, it went to war with (the duly elected President of the US) Donald Trump for his entire four years in office. While Mr. Trump played the victim of the US intelligence agencies to perfection, he didn’t do what many normal humans would have done in his circumstance— clear out the top few levels of management at CIA, the FBI, and NSA and see where this leaves ‘us.’

Implied is a reversal of political causality whose proof can only be deduced. Is Biden directing the CIA, or is the CIA directing Biden? For instance, while Biden was Barack Obama’s point-man in Ukraine before, during, and after the US-led coup there in 2014, Mr. Obama was publicly arguing that Ukraine was of no strategic value to the US. With Donald Trump following Mr. Obama as President, the CIA likely saw its 2014 coup in Ukraine going to waste. This interpretation sheds a different light on the Hunter Biden laptop fraud perpetrated by 51 current and former CIA employees.

(FBI informant Alexander Smirnov has been convicted of nothing related to the new charges of ‘Russian interference.’ As was proved with Russiagate, charges are easy to make, difficult to prove. No one— not a single person, was convicted on the now antique charges of Russian collusion. Those who were convicted were convicted on process charges unrelated to the collusion charges. This use of the law as a political weapon is called lawfare).

The view in this piece is that Donald Trump was elected in 2016 because Barack Obama threw several trillion dollars at the malefactors on Wall Street who blew up the global economy while he pissed on the unemployed, the foreclosed upon, and every working person in the US. In so doing, an income and wealth chasm was rebuilt between the public welfare recipients who run Wall Street and Big Tech and the former industrial workers whose jobs were sent abroad as the final solution to the ‘problem’ of organized labor.

With the current panic in the US over the rise of the BRICS (China and Russia), the same politicians and economists who thought it wise in 1995 to gut the industrial base with NAFTA are now busy launching WWIII. These people never learn from their mistakes. For instance, it apparently never occurred to them that outsourcing military production might come back to bite when geopolitical tensions inevitably flared again. Likewise, just-in-time production and inventory management produced economic brittleness / fragility that created problems when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Biden was a known quantity when he was appointed by Barack Obama to be President in 2020. The CIA, acting in league with the FBI, had spent prior years softening up the American public with lies about US foreign policy, lies about American history, lies about Donald Trump and his supporters, lies about their own roles in rigging American elections, lies about the American-led coup in Ukraine, lies about Russian military ambitions, and lies about US plans for the destruction of Ukraine. To be clear, these American agencies weren’t lying to the Russians. They were / are lying to the only people who believe their bullshit— Americans.

So, where is this going? With the CIA’s and FBI’s undermining of the elected President’s (Trump) political agenda and its open efforts to rig the 2020 election in favor of his opponent (Biden), it certainly appears that the CIA is now running the US. Biden’s foreign policy team—Antony Blinken, Jake Sillivan, and Victoria Nuland emerged from the Clintonite death cult buried deep within the bowels of the American foreign policy establishment, That they appear to be as uninformed and arrogant as their policy outcomes to date suggest they are is only a surprise inside Washington and New York.

However, this is at best a partial explanation. What is surprising about US foreign policy is how ignorant of world history, US history, basic diplomacy, military tactics, economic relations, and basic human decency the American political leadership is. It’s almost as if the answer to every foreign policy conundrum of the last century has been to bomb civilian populations, kill a whole lot of people, and then pretend it never happened. Vietnam? Check. Nicaragua? Check. Syria? Check. Iraq? Check. Ukraine? How can the body counts be hidden from beleaguered, clueless, citizens so effectively?

Some recent history: the US launched a war against Russia when it (the US) invaded Ukraine in an unprovoked coupthere in 2014 (see here, here, here) and ousted its elected government. The Russians had taken issue with the US / NATO surrounding it with NATO-allied states (maps below). Years earlier, as Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in his recent interview with Tucker Carlson, Mr. Putin had approached former US President Bill Clinton about Russia joining NATO. Mr. Clinton ‘spoke with his people’ before telling Mr. Putin no to joining NATO as he reneged on George H.W. Bush’ s promise to keep NATO away from Russia’s border.

A bit of additional history is needed here. The USSR was dissolved in 1991 to be replaced by non-communist Russia surrounded by former Soviet states. Ukraine is one such state. The political – economic reference point of post-Soviet Russia was an anachronistic form of neoliberalism. Recall, Americans had been told since at least the early twentieth century that ‘communism’ was the ideological foe of Western liberalism. Current Russian President Vladimir Putin is proudly anti-communist. But the US MIC (military-industrial complex), of which the CIA is a part, needs enemies to justify its existence.

Following the dissolution of the USSR (1991), there was discussion inside the US regarding a ‘peace dividend,’ of redirecting military spending inflated by the Cold War towards domestic purposes like schools, hospitals, and civilian infrastructure. However, the CIA had been so hemmed in by Federal budget constraints that it had inserted itself into the international narcotics trade forty years prior (link above) in apparent anticipation of just such an event. With the (Geroge H.W.) Bush recession of 1991, an election year, the peace dividend was rescinded.

Maps: the phrase ‘NATO expansion’ is an abstract way of stating the US policy of surrounding Russia with hostile forces by which its people will live in perpetual fear of nuclear Armageddon being launched mere minutes from major Russian cities. The not-usefulness of threatening an opposing nuclear power with nuclear annihilation while leaving it only minutes to decide whether or not to launch a counterattack virtually guarantees an accidental launch. The American architects of this scheme would do well to study the history of prior nuclear non-proliferation pacts to understand the illogic of doing this. Source: CNBC.

While this is well-trodden territory for the few who have been paying attention to the details of the US war against Russia, it is completely unknown to American Democrats, whose party Mr. Biden nominally leads. With Biden having claimed for the two years since February 24, 2022 that the Russian move into Ukraine was ‘unprovoked,’ the Russians had made it clear over the prior thirty-one years that continuing to expand NATO to Russia’s border was a provocation. Biden apparently depended on the fact that the US ranks 125th in adult literacy to offer up  ‘unprovoked’ as the veil placed between the truth and his supporters.

In terms of his political acumen, Biden was recently let-off-the-hook on felony charges related to the classified documents that he stole when he was Vice President. Federal agents decided against charging him based on Biden’s mental incompetence. The clever Biden immediately asserted that he was plenty competent to be charged. Readers who imagine this to be evidence of cognitive decline needed to have been there when Mr. Biden was at the peak of his game. While he has long been skilled at lying to his constituents, his inability to separate truth from fiction is as old as he is.

The question of why Barack Obama and the CIA appointed Biden to be President in 2020, given his tenuous relationship with ‘our’ shared reality, his long history of not just supporting every bad idea that is run through Washington, but his proposing most of them (see here, here, here), and his apparent ignorance of world history, American history, basic diplomacy, healthcare economics (ACA), industrial policy, and basic canine etiquette, would be a mystery if it were one. Those angry about the US genocide in Gaza need to understand that his willingness to slaughter millions of innocents in US wars is why he was appointed to be President.

(The low caliber of American politicians comes through control of the ballot box exercised by the political parties. While fewer than half of Americans believed the US to be ‘a democracy’ in surveys a year or two back, in one newer survey this number is now about one-quarter. While initial blame for this was explained away by citing TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome), Joe Biden has now been President for three-plus years, and it continues to drop. During this time, American liberals have asserted that the CIA and FBI are ‘saving’ democracy. Apparently, the other 75%+ of the US disagrees.

The implausibility of assertions that the US is ‘supporting’ Ukraine by provoking Russia into killing and / or dispersing its citizens and leveling its industrial infrastructure would be bizarre without the accompanying propaganda and censorship campaigns. In dozens of conversations that have taken place around the US, American liberals have stated straightforwardly to yours truly that they simply avoid facts— such as those regarding the actual history of US actions in Ukraine prior to 2022, because they don’t want to sully the purity of their ignorance. This is not a mischaracterization. Most were friendly when saying it, and some are friends.

It took the US-led genocide now underway in Gaza to shock American liberals into confronting the consequences of their politics. In the US, it was the youth vote— citizens who were born too late to have experienced the neoliberal, neoconservative, ‘revolution’ of 1973 – present through the serial forever wars that were launched. To date, Joe Biden has only slaughtered around 600,000 – 800,000 human beings in Ukraine and Gaza. But he helped George W. Bush murder another million in Iraq. While all leaders of large states engage in political violence, Mr. Biden’s wars-of-choice in Iraq, Ukraine, and Gaza exist in a category apart.

For instance, those horrified by the slaughter in Gaza may wish to look into the siege of Falluja (Iraq). Unlike the Soviet heroes of the Battles of Leningrad and Stalingrad, the American willingness to use outlawed chemical weapons(white phosphorous) against the civilian population of Falluja annihilated the entire population. This happened in real time, on cable news, with full disclosure by American reporters that the US was using illegal chemical weapons to slaughter a captive population during the American occupation of Iraq. While cover-up lies quickly followed, this was a time before total state control of the ‘free press’ had been sealed.

At any rate, Joe Biden was brought to power in 2020 to propel the CIA’s war against Russia forward. Recall, Donald Trump sent the US foreign policy establishment into conniptions when he (publicly, openly) asked the Russians to share emails that had been leaked from Hillary Clinton’s (illegal) home-based server after she was Secretary of State. The CIA ran with it, asserting from about that point forward that DNC emails had been hacked by Russian intelligence when they had been leaked.

To the point made by journalist Aaron Mate, neither Clinton’s people (CrowdStrike) nor anyone else has demonstrated that the emails were hacked. It was understood before Donald Trump won election in 2016 that the emails had been leaked by a DNC insider. The bet here is that the CIA saw an opportunity to move its war against Russia forward using Trump’s impolitic joke against him. As I heard the comment, Trump didn’t assert that the Russians obtained the emails themselves. He was asking for help obtaining them, but not really. It was a joke.

As horrific as the US / Israeli genocide in Gaza and war in Ukraine are, anyone paying attention to US foreign policy since WWII would know that this is what America does. To understand the tactic, Benjamin Netanyahu was showing maps of Israel cleared of Palestinians in the weeks before October 7th. While in office, the George W. Bush administration held international critics of Israel at bay through several iterations of Israel ‘mowing the grass,’ meaning bombing Gaza with the express purpose of murdering as many Palestinian civilians as they could.

To those who voted for Biden without knowing this history, perhaps you want to educate yourselves before voting again. Understand, horrific slaughters being carried out by the US were on American television for most of the eight years that George W. Bush was in office. The Collateral Murder video, the release of which is a major reason why Julian Assange is being persecuted by the US / Brits, offends the powers-that-be because it exposes the truth of the war against Iraq, and not because it is a lie.

A tangential question is why liberal Democrats are the target audience for state propaganda? Beginning with the (George W.) Bush / Biden / Clinton war in Iraq, the PMC saw its role as functionaries for the oligarchs develop. ‘Liberal hawks’ in New York suddenly had the power to sit in comfortable chairs while calling for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people they had never met. And they were allowed the fantasy that the Bushies cared what they thought. Selling American wars and state-sponsored lies once again became the business of the bourgeois press.

It was telling at the time that these people, bourgeois Democrats who spend their days kowtowing to power, or more specifically, laboring for it, would serve as a reactionary force for their lords and masters in the American oligarchy. With finance and technology directly and indirectly funded by the American state, the jobs that pay are in the service of the war and surveillance sectors. The negative value that they provide as advocates for mass destruction is evidence of the deeper and true nature of capitalist imperialism.

Further, with the US recently funding the salaries, pensions, and healthcare of Ukrainians and Israelis, the deeper nature of capitalist democracy begins to look quite different from its explanations. As stated above, the US ranks 125thinternationally in adult literacy. The US healthcare system is the most expensive in the rich world by a large measure, with the worst outcomes in the rich world by a large measure. Only a rapidly shrinking sliver of the US believes that the country is ‘a democracy.’  The answer from officialdom: find a bunch of CNN-looking newsreaders skilled at making declarative statements and set them to lying for officialdom on the air.

Map: statistics can be informative or misleading, sometimes both. The concentration of low life expectancy (at birth) in the ‘Black belt’ of former slave states illustrates an American conundrum. A national healthcare system such as those that exist in civilized nations could go far in bringing healthcare to all Americans. Neither capitalism nor weak efforts at reform like the ACA (Obamacare) have produced such a system. That Barack Obama didn’t understand that the residual Tory governments that rule the American South would preclude Medicaid expansion for political reasons is why he shouldn’t have left it to their discretion if he actually cared about healthcare outcomes. Source: CDC.

The youth who are in the streets protesting the US / Israeli genocide in Gaza are on the right side of history. But where have they been for the last two years with respect to the US war against Russia in Ukraine? As will be clear in retrospect, the US and Israel are clearing Gaza of Palestinians to replace them with Zionist settlers. This is called ethnic cleansing when other nations do it. American youth have correctly concluded that everything Biden says regarding Israel / Palestine is a lie. Why then are similar lies regarding the US war against Russia still being taken at face value?

For those who may have missed it, Russiagate is being revived in time for the 2024 election. Implied is that Democrats can’t win an election without help from the CIA and FBI. Understand the context: after abandoning his campaign promises to raise the minimum wage and ‘support labor,’ Joe Biden funded the salaries and pensions of Ukraine for two years while goading the Russians into killing at least half-a-million Ukrainian conscripts. The American politicians bragging that Ukrainian youth are dying for their benefit best resemble the German industrialists bragging about the benefit they received from Concentration Camp labor supplied it by the Third Reich.

The reason why Russiagate is being revived by the CIA is that it ‘worked’ in the senses of 1) producing serial accusations that halted alternate discourses until they are disproved, 2) the  jobs of the urban bourgeois are a function of their fealty to power 3) the post-9/11 surveillance state has continued to be built out with the apparent purpose of censoring politically inconvenient views, 4) the political establishment has lost its credibility, and with it, its political legitimacy, 5) there is no chance that the US will prevail in its stated military ambitions in Ukraine, and 6) the American genocide in Gaza makes the US a rogue nation by international standards.

Looking forward, Americans face a tricky proposition with any establishment politician. The questions are: who are they lying for, and who are they lying to? While Russiagate consumed a plurality, a majority even, of Trump’s political agenda and the West’s discursive space for four years, it has been systematically disproved (and here, here, here, here). However, Russiagate proponents obviously see a receptive audience for any nonsense they can fabricate. Remember when Democrats were calling for nuking Russia over $65K of internet memes that ran after the 2020 election? The word is i-n-s-a-n-e. Welcome to an empire in free-fall.

What should be clear at this point is that the CIA isn’t the ‘the President’s secret army.’ If it were, it would have been Donald Trump’s secret army in his first term. That it went to war with Trump suggests that it is a political actor that is advancing the interests of powerful insiders, not those of the President, or even those of the US. In a human sense, the CIA is a large bureaucracy that is being pulled in multiple directions at any one time. As people, I’ve liked the CIA folks I’ve met. Some— those who did field work in Reagan’s Dirty War in Central America in the 1980s, were the most broken people I’ve ever met. (I publicly opposed Reagan’s war in real time).

The apparent working hypothesis of officialdom, that domestic political repression will revive the political and economic fortunes of the US, reeks of ignorance and desperation. George W. Bush’s war against Iraq demonstrated to the world that the American ruling class was / is reckless and murderous to the point of being unhinged. The Wall Street debacle of 2007 – 2009 demonstrated that finance capitalism is a mechanism for putting all of a society’s resources into its least capable hands. The inability to rethink these, followed by the studied implausibility of Russiagate and the open insertion of the CIA into domestic politics, looks er, um, unlikely to yield constructive results.

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