Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Dr. Charles Cogan Interview

Thursday, September 24th, 2020
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An  interview by Paul Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Gould and Bob Nesson filming with Dr. Charles Cogan former Chief of the Directorate of Operations for the Near East, South Asia Division of the CIA from 1979 to 1984 discusses the CIA’s Afghanistan Operation against the Soviet Union in detail; including the Zbigniew Brzezinski “Trap” admission. The 1 hour 30 minute interview was filmed February 8, 2015.


A Grand Illusion of Imperial Power: Part 1

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

veteranstoday.com

VT Classic – How Neocon dream for everlasting Hegemony turned America into a nightmare


 “All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but those dreamers of the day are dangerous men for they act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”  Lt Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)  “
A Grand Illusion of Imperial Power: Part 1 
Few Americans today understand how the United States came to be owned by a London-backed neoconservative/right-wing alliance that grew out of the institutional turmoil of the post-Vietnam era. Even fewer understand how its internal mission to maintain the remnants of the old British Empire gradually overcame American democracy and replaced it with a “national security” bureaucracy of its own design.

We owe the blueprint of that plan to James Burnham, Trotskyist, OSS man and architect of the neoconservative movement whose exposition of the Formal and the Real in his 1943 The Modern Machiavellians justified the rise of the oligarch and the absolute rule of their managerial elite. But Americans would be shocked to find that our current political nightmare came to power with the willing consent and cooperation of President James Earl Carter and his National Security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski; aided by intelligence agencies in Europe and the Middle East.

A straight line can be drawn between today’s political hysteria and the 1970s era of right-wing Soviet hysteria as Russia stands accused of “meddling” in American democracy. The merits of those charges have been discussed in depth elsewhere. According to the dean of American intelligence scholars Loch K. Johnson as reported in the New York Times, the United States has done extensive meddling in other nation’s elections.

And then there is that hidden “meddler” behind the meddling; Britain. The extent of British meddling in American politics – at least since – the beginning of the 20th century would shock even the most devout cheerleaders of ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele and his “dirty dossier”. In a case reminiscent of America’s current hysteria over Russia, British intelligence even meddled with its own government back in the mid-1970s when right-wing elements of the military plotted a coup d’état of Labor Prime Minister Harold Wilson based on information generated by their own disinformation campaign about Soviet influence.

The 1917 Zimmerman telegram and the creation of the British Security Coordination in 1940 directly intervened in American politics on behalf of Britain. But the 1970 Creation of the Institute for the Study of Conflict (ISC) by British secret agent Brian Crozier marked a key turning point in the transformation of officially sanctioned propaganda.

As presented by Edward Herman and Gerry O’ Sullivan in their 1989 study, The Terrorism Industry, “The London-based Institute for the Study of Conflict (ISC) provides an especially well-documented case study of the use of a purportedly ‘independent’ institute as a front for propaganda operations of hidden intelligence agency and corporate sponsors.” The purpose of ISC was to give discredited right-wing, anti-Communist and anti-union clichés in Britain the cover of legitimacy.

The “Institute” got off to a quick start in the U.S. by forging an alliance with the National Strategy Information Center, NSIC a right-wing neoconservative think tank founded by Frank Barnett, William Casey and Joseph Coors in 1962. ISC’s first major triumph came in collaboration with the ultra-right-wing Pinay Cercle when Crozier and his protégé Robert Moss produced an ISC Special Report attacking the legitimacy of détente with the Soviet Union called

European Security and the Soviet Problem.

The study, financed by the Pinay group made no bones about its “Soviet problem” actually being the old “Russia problem” that European Imperialists had been hoping to solve since Napoleon’s disastrous march on Moscow in 1812.

As a devoted acolyte of James Burnham, Crozier brought to his secret world of rightwing businessmen, intelligence, police and military officials a strategic plan to use the media to move the West’s democracies to the ideological right by fabricating threats of Communist subversion.

Determined to undermine détente, Antoine Pinay was so delighted with Crozier’s double-speak he presented the study in person to President Nixon and Henry Kissinger and by 1975 the group was staged to make their move on Washington. Less than two months before the fall of Saigon, the US Committee of the ISC (USISC) was launched which would act as the parent body of the Washington Institute for the Study of Conflict (WISC).

In the vacuum created by Vietnam Crozier and Pinay’s extremism was no longer viewed as extreme. Despite the public scandal over the CIA’s use of Crozier’s Forum World Features as a London-based fake news service, Washington elites were rolling out the red carpet to welcome them, including Zbigniew Brzezinski and George Ball. Under Ball’s Chairmanship WISC appeared a veritable who’s who of high-level ex-CIA, neoconservative and right-wing influencers.

From Georgetown University came WISC’s first President James Theberge whose books on Soviet influence in the Caribbean – helped provide the pretexts for overthrowing Chile’s legitimately elected leftist president Salvador Allende. And then there was Richard Pipes, the anti-Soviet history professor from Harvard University, who would soon be hand-picked to lead a neoconservative attack on the CIA known as Team B.In the words of Lawrence J. Korb, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and assistant secretary of defense from 1981 to 1985, Pipes and the Team B were the real reason for the intelligence failures represented by 9/11 because of their biases and unbalanced judgement. But in the end the Team B view gained influence.With the appointment of fellow WISC member Zbigniew Brzezinski as President Carter’s national security advisor, British intelligence agent Brian Crozier’s plan to subvert the détente process with the Soviet Union was complete. Crozier’s belief “[T]hat the entire security apparatus of the United States was in a state of near collapse,” provoked yet another move to interfere in American politic
His solution was a secret off-the books “Private Sector Intelligence agency, beholden to no government, but at the disposal of allied or friendly governments for certain tasks which, for one reason or another, they were no longer able to tackle…” including “[S]ecret counter-subversion operations in any country in which such actions were deemed feasible.” Brian Crozier and Zbigniew Brzezinski were of one mind when it came to disbelieving in “mutual coexistence” or power-sharing with the Soviet Union and Brzezinski’s membership in WISC proved it.  Thanks to WISC member Richard Pipes and the Team B, Brzezinski could now bring Britain’s radical right-wing formula for social change right into the Oval Office.Brzezinski devised a structure that channeled all executive decisions into two committees, the Policy Review Committee (PRC) and the Special Coordination Committee (SCC) chaired by him. Carter then elevated the national security advisor to cabinet level and the palace coup was complete. As recalled by the neoconservative author David J. Rothkopf in Charles Gati’s 2013 book ZBIG, “It was a bureaucratic first strike of the first order. The system essentially gave responsibility for the most important and sensitive issues to Brzezinski.

Another operation initiated by Brzezinski in 1977 was the Nationalities Working Group (NWG), dedicated to inflaming ethnic tensions among the Islamic populations of the South Asia region. Brzezinski then continued on into nuclear policy where he altered the SALT structure and then rigged the negotiations against Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. With Brzezinski expanding nuclear targeting options from 25,000 to 40,000 and covert action teams sabotaging behind Soviet lines from early 1977 onward the message was clear; SALT and Détente were getting ripped up as well as the very assumptions both were based on.

By 1978, Brzezinski’s plan to use China as a weapon against the Soviets was playing out in Afghanistan. The April, 1978 Marxist coup against the King’s cousin, Mohammed Daoud played into Brzezinski’s “predictions” of a Soviet plan to incorporate Persia and South Central Asia into the Soviet sphere and ultimately take-over The Middle East. Vance rejected Brzezinski’s argument.

The coup had caught both the Soviets and the State Department by surprise and the coup leader, Hafizullah Amin raised doubts on both sides of the fence as an unpredictable agent provocateur. Amin had taken money from the CIA and headed up the Afghan Student Association at a time when it was being used as a CIA recruitment tool for future Third World leaders. Amin was now one of those leaders and Vance was sending a tough and savvy American Ambassador to Kabul named Adolph “Spike” Dubs to deal with him. The outcome would change the world and end in tragedy for all.

In an interview we conducted in 1993 with Selig Harrison – former Washington Post foreign correspondent and Carnegie Endowment Senior Associate – Ambassador Dubs came to Kabul in the summer of 1978 with a mission: Bring Afghan leader Hafizullah Amin over to the American side and keep the Russians out.

President Carter’s national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski had engineered a grander mission: Pressure Amin to draw the Soviets in through destabilization and then keep them tied down and give them their own Vietnam. By the time Ambassador Dubs arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan had become ground zero for a long anticipated anti-Soviet destabilization campaign organized by Brzezinski and carried out by an off the books intelligence operation known as the Safari Club.

The “club” represented the true essence of the CIA ethos; an autonomous covert action organization with global reach, beyond the jurisdiction of American oversight and responsible to no one. A spinoff of the right-wing Pinay Cercle, the Safari Club had been active informally in the Middle East and Africa for years. But the club found its true calling following Watergate and the Church Committee hearings on 30 years of CIA coups, cover-ups and assassinations.

Managed by France’s Count Alexandre de Marenches chief of French external intelligence, the club included the Shah of Iran, King Hassan II of Morocco, President Anwar al-Sadat of Egypt, Kamal Adham, head of intelligence for Saudi Arabian King Faisal and Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein. More to the point, by 1976 the Safari Club had become the real CIA, covertly funded by Saudi Arabia’s chief of intelligence Kamal Adham through the Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI) and run out of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.   Copyright © 2018 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved

The Grand Illusion of Imperial Power: 2 Part Series


VT Classic: We’re all CIA Assets! What can be done, a personal story

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020
By VT Editors  

CIA sabotaged the anti-war movement through its music

[ Editor’s note: The more things change on the surface, the more they stay the same. Perhaps a useful question would be, how can you have a liberal democracy without it being derailed by popular arts that are rooted in a profane culture, with its consistent goal of social disintegration and reinvention? Will there be an era when the ‘barbarians’ take over, as Americans are molded by covert methods and can not seem to fathom how bad things can get? To the WWII generation, the raucous 1960s generation seemed headed for disaster, and the older gen attempted to push back with their “America–Love it or Leave it” slogan, parrying the youth liberation movement and civil rights. Now seemed like a good moment to revisit a VT Classic by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould where they examine the tension between war and peace. ]

– First published 6 December 2018 by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

“Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger. It works the same way in any country.” — Hermann Goering, Nazi Reichsmarshall, Luftwaffe-Chief and founder of the Gestapo, at the Nuremberg trials

The CIA and the 1960s West Coast Music Scene

We had written an article about mind control that included the role of a top-secret CIA research project known as Project MK-ULTRA. MK-ULTRA operated from the early 1950s through the1960s by using Americans, (without their consent) as guinea pigs in an illicit research project to alter mental states and brain function.

The project remained secret for two decades until 1975 when the Church Committee Hearings revealed the CIA’s illegal activities. We knew that MK-ULTRA was involved in experiments in sensory deprivation and sexual abuse. But what really got our attention back then was the confirmation that MK-ULTRA had infiltrated the New Age anti-Vietnam War Movement to undermine its legitimacy which included the widespread distribution of psychedelic drugs.

As teenagers growing up in the 1960s, the San Francisco and Laurel Canyon music scenes and the antiwar movement were synonymous. A new age was dawning and our generation wanted to believe that we could keep war from becoming part of it. What we didn’t know until recently was how much influence military intelligence and the CIA had in forming what we believed was an organic outgrowth of popular  sentiment.

The Laurel Canyon Connection      

Before bands such as The Mothers of Invention, The Byrds, The Mamas and The Papas and The Doors became famous; the songwriters, musicians and singers who would form those bands flocked from all over North America to Laurel Canyon. What was strange about this sudden migration of musical talent to Laurel Canyon was the absence of a music industry in the area at the time.

What it did have though was Vito Paulekas and the Freaks; a regular feature of the Sunset Boulevard Club scene starting in 1964. Paulekas became well known for supplying a corps of wildly frenzied dancers to stir up interest in the new Laurel Canyon bands and is credited with their early success. Having materialized a musical revolution out of thin air, he has also been credited as the inspiration for the Hippie movement, its fashion and its free love communal lifestyle.

Another oddity of the Laurel Canyon phenomenon was that a large percentage of the artists who arrived descended from America’s most influential ruling families, came with military or intelligence backgrounds or were somehow connected to high ranking military personnel or intelligence operatives.

One example of this unusual confluence of talent is Frank Zappa, (Mothers of Invention) who spent his youth at the Edgewood Arsenal Chemical Biological Center where his father worked as a chemical warfare specialist. It also happens that the Edgewood Arsenal was connected to MK-Ultra’s chemical mind control program.

Major Floyd Crosby, father of David Crosby (Crosby, Stills and Nash) was an Annapolis graduate and WWII military intelligence officer descended from a prominent New York elite founding family, the Van Rensselaers. Crosby’s mother’s family the Van Cortlandts started their American adventure in 1637.

And then there were The Doors. According to Wikipedia, keyboardist Ray Manzarek served in “the highly selective Army Security Agency as a prospective intelligence analyst in Okinawa and then Laos” in the run up to the Vietnam War. The Doors producer for their first five albums, Paul Rothchild also served a stint in the same elite Military Intelligence Corps in 1959.

When the Music’s Over Turn out the Lights

The most enigmatic of all, Jim Morrison, was the son of U.S. Navy Admiral George Morrison.

In August of 1964, U.S. warships, under Admiral Morrison’s command, claimed to have been attacked while patrolling Vietnam’s Tonkin Gulf. Although the claim was false, it resulted in the U.S. Congress passing the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which provided the pretext for an immediate escalation of American involvement in the emerging Vietnam quagmire.

Jim Morrison

Morrison never spoke publicly of his father’s role in creating the “false flag” that was used to deceive the American people into accepting a war against Vietnam.More intriguing still was Morrison’s apparent lack of interest in music until he suddenly transformed himself into one of the most glorified rock stars of all time!

Along with becoming the Door’s lead singer, Morrison also played a major role in forming the band’s identity.

He chose the band’s name from one of his favorite books, Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception. It turns out that Huxley’s “doors” opened through the use of psychedelic drugs. Not so coincidentally it also happens that Huxley was a key player behind MK-Ultra as one of the original promoters of the use of psychedelic drugs for social control. In a letter to George Orwell in 1949 Huxley described their use as “more efficient…than prisons.”

As an avowed acolyte of the Greek god Dionysus and the Dionysian Mysteries – the most famous religious rites of ancient Greece – Morrison reveled in the use of drugs, drink and frenzied dancing. Morrison was so enamored of this Greek god he almost named the band after him, until settling on The Doors.

MKUltra’s objectives had much in common with the Dionysian Mysteries  and with Jim Morrison’s philosophy of life who once said of his own behavior “I believe in a long, prolonged, derangement of the senses in order to obtain the unknown.” Morrison was also described by those who knew him as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Doors Manager Paul Rothchild explained it this way, “You never knew whether Jim would show up as the erudite, poetic scholar or the kamikaze drunk.” Given his lineage, the question remains; was Jim Morrison in control of his own mind?

In view of current New Cold War plans to mount a full scale global war against China and Russia, Americans need to look back and reconsider the turning points that brought our country to this crossroads

How did we as Americans come from being so much against war in Vietnam in the 1960s into preparing for a world war against just about everyone on the planet today?

Was the Laurel Canyon scene the only operation subtly sabotaging the legitimacy of the anti-war movement by co-opting its message?

Or was the CIA responsible for another popular piece of counter-culture showmanship intended to permanently wrap the anti-war movement and public dissent in a beaded cloak of freaked out hippies, communal sex and acid trips on LSD?

The 1950s and 60s saw the United States in direct competition with the Soviet Union not only for military superiority but also for the world’s hearts and minds. With an emphasis on “freedom of expression”, the Cultural Cold War waged by Washington embraced a broad swath of cultural activities that were intended to outshine anything done by its communist rival.Given the nature of this cultural competition in literature, music and the arts, is it so surprising that the American intelligence community should have had a hand in the creation of uninhibited performance, free from the rules and strictures of the past? A successful psychological warfare campaign to break down traditional patterns of behavior would require a willingness to participate and the blueprint had already been laid out in 1953 by the CIA’s Psychological Strategy Board’s comprehensive doctrine for social control known as PSB D-33/2.  With an emphasis on the strange and the avant-garde, the CIA began bringing artists, writers and musicians into what was known as its “Freedom Manifesto”.

The CIA would come to view the entire program, beginning with the 1950 Berlin conference, to be a landmark in the Cold War, not just for solidifying the CIA’s control over the non-communist left and the West’s “free” intellectuals, but for enabling the CIA to secretly disenfranchise Europeans and Americans from their own political culture in such a way they would never really know it

As historian Christopher Lasch wrote in 1969 of the CIA’s secret co-optation of America’s non-communist left,  “The modern state … is an engine of propaganda, alternately manufacturing crises and claiming to be the only instrument that can effectively deal with them. This propaganda, in order to be successful,    demands the cooperation of writers, teachers, and artists not as paid propagandists or state-censored time-servers but as ‘free’ intellectuals capable of policing their own jurisdictions and of enforcing  acceptable standards of responsibility within the various intellectual professions.”

While declaring itself as an antidote to communist totalitarianism, one internal CIA critic of the program, PSB officer Charles Burton Marshall, viewed PSB D-33/2 itself as frighteningly totalitarian, interposing “a wide doctrinal system” that “accepts uniformity as a substitute for diversity,” embracing “all fields of human thought — all fields of intellectual interests, from anthropology and artistic creations to sociology and scientific methodology.” He concluded: “That is just about as totalitarian as one can get.”

The evidence that the birth of the psychedelic 1960s West Coast New Age music scene was guided by the invisible hand of military and intelligence operatives is well documented. But what about the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical HAIR that swept the world from its debut in 1968 after opening to rave reviews on Broadway?

We lived our personal experience with HAIR when we became a part of the Boston production in 1970 while college students. HAIR was on the front lines of the anti-war movement and we waved the banner every night for a year before sold-out audiences. To us, the Vietnam War was nothing more than what Daniel Ellsberg described as a neocolonial enterprise repeating France’s mistakes.

A 2011 production of HAIR; the wildly popular 1968 anti-war American Tribal Love-Rock Musical. Was the CIA behind HAIR too?
America’s Winter Soldiers applauded our efforts and joined us on stage to celebrate our right to dramatize the undoing of American society by the terror being inflicted on Southeast Asia. Boston’s old guard wanted the production shut down. The challenge went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Their effort failed but in the end our victory was not what it appeared.

HAIR was a worldwide phenomenon with original casts in every major U.S. city and nineteen productions outside North America. Its main theme was strongly anti-war and was shared by the millions of Americans who watched and participated in it. Every HAIR cast was local to the city it performed in and established new standards for racial diversity unheard of at the time.

Almost 50 years on we still receive letters from people whose lives were profoundly changed by the performance. HAIR made the war and its impact on human beings personal in ways that nothing else could. But that impact and the anti-war momentum it had accrued was soon lost and within a short time channeled away from the universal peace we believed was possible.

Was HAIR’s popularity just a fluke; the beneficiary of some temporary anti-war fad? Or was it part of a cultural cold war experiment to influence public opinion that succeeded beyond expectations and was then made to go away? A post-Vietnam 1977 revival at the Biltmore Theatre where it had run for 1750 consecutive performances from 1968 to 1972 was attacked by the New York Times as “too far gone to be timely; too recently gone to be history or even nostalgia.”

With its antiwar message derided and dismissed as reminiscent of “something of the old battles re-fought quality of an American Legion reunion,” and with President Carter’s Russophobic  National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski taking over foreign and national security policy at the Carter White House, the new message was clear. The antiwar movement would not be coming to power in Washington in 1977 and never would be.

When the film version of HAIR by Czechoslovakian New Wave director Milos Forman was released in March of 1979 – completely rewritten and fundamentally detached from the original Broadway version – the show’s passionate and prominent anti-war theme was gone. With LBJ, Richard Nixon and Vietnam disposed of; the West’s endless war against Russia could be put back on the fast track.By the time Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, the anti-Vietnam War movement had been reduced to a “Syndrome” and cured with an unprecedented World War II size defense budget that transformed the U.S. from a creditor to a debtor nation.

The earmarks of a PSB D-33/2 cultural operation are hidden in plain sight. HAIR may even have been used as a prototype for the so called color revolutions and Arab Springs that followed in the breakdown of the old Soviet bloc. Alongside authors Jim Rado and Jerry Ragni the celebrity arm of the non-communist left was well represented at our February 22, 1970 HAIR opening night in the presence of Peter, Paul and Mary’s Peter Yarrow and the Broadway show’s executive producer Bertrand Castelli; a member of Europe’s cultural cold war elite that hobnobbed with the likes of Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso.

Yarrow’s famous song, “Puff, the Magic Dragon” became the anthem of the pot smoking 60s hippie movement and whether by design or coincidence his Ukrainian born father Bernard was a charter member of the CIA’s European cultural front organization known as the National Committee for a Free Europe.

Having served during World War II in the OSS (with distinction)  and after joining no less than Sullivan and Cromwell, the Dulles brothers‘ law firm, Bernard helped to found the CIA-funded Radio Free Europe and became its senior vice president.

Along with numerous members of the early 1960s music scene who wound up in Laurel Canyon, Peter Yarrow played an early and active role in the civil rights and peace movements. He even acted as referee between the Old Left’s Pete Seeger and the New Left at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when Bob Dylan decided to move from “folk” music to rock and roll. In a famous confrontation over what many considered Dylan’s sellout, Seeger threatened sound engineer and future Doors’ Manager Paul Rothchild that he would cut the cable with an axe if he didn’t turn off “that” distortion; but the distortion stayed.

Following Vietnam, Yarrow transferred his antiwar activism to the issue of Soviet Jewry and their emigration to Israel – a major component of the rising neoconservative agenda. Through Yarrow’s leadership, by the 1980s the issue had become a key platform of the Reagan administration to use against any détente with the Soviet Union.

As for HAIR, stripped of its antiwar message, it was reduced to being the poster child of a 1960s debauched hedonism. Or as Bertrand Castelli, the executive producer of the original Broadway production labelled a revival in 2008, “It’s though everything in ‘Hair’ turned into a nightmare, …“Everything that was joyful and harmless became dangerous and ugly.”

Everything must be rethought
Dangerous and ugly is not the way we remember our year-long experience with HAIR. Nuclear war and Vietnam were dangerous and ugly and in the intervening 50 years that danger and ugliness has returned to haunt us.
If HAIR was part of a top secret psychological warfare campaign to energize the youth of America and the world to political action in the pursuit of peace, flowers, freedom and happiness it succeeded. But if the ultimate objective of this Hobbesian campaign was to then crush that freedom and numb us to the growing danger of permanent war in a haze of disease, opioid addiction and suicide, it too has succeeded.
At the time, HAIR’s success helped us believe that we had changed our future for the better. The war ended, the troops came home and life resumed. But we now accept that as of 2018 that new age we sought was nothing more than an illusion.

War is Insane, Endless War is Suicide

President Eisenhower warned us what would happen if our country dedicated itself to war. War makes you mad. Endless war puts you in a hell of madness from which there is no escape. The madness of that war on the world has come full circle and is now in our schools, parks, bars and homes.

It was of course always there as part of our nature, but we have given in to it. We have given in to that part of our nature that should have matured and been processed but instead has remained aloof and separate from our humanity. That part of our nature has remained unlearned and untamed. We are the victims of our own design and therefore we can change it.

Through various means the CIA did succeed in redirecting the American peoples’ anti-war sentiment towards accepting permanent war (clearly illustrated by the longest war ever in American history in Afghanistan).

To paraphrase Hermann Goering’s 1946 observation:People don’t want war, nobody does, but people can easily be brought to the bidding of their leaders by instilling fear or denouncing the pacifists for exposing the country to danger, no matter where or when and works the same way in any country.

Our only course is to step outside today’s war narrative and see where we are in the paradigm.

The false narratives that control our thinking will fall away as we replace them with the deep knowledge and acceptance of what we have actually lived through. As the past finally becomes prologue; we can imagine the genuine future we truly want and start to make it happen!


Copyright © 2018 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved

A Webinar with Paul & Liz

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

Watch our 9/11 Mt Diablo Peace and Justice Center presentation here.
 

‘Magical Thinking’ has Always Guided the US Role in Afghanistan

Friday, August 14th, 2020

Photograph Source: The U.S. Army – CC BY 2.0

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

– The Queen of Hearts from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The best way for us to understand Afghanistan is to look at the record of American involvement going back four decades and to look at the record requires a reexamination of President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski. From the start, U.S. policy formation surrounding Afghanistan has lived in a realm of magical thinking that has produced nothing but a catastrophe of nightmarish proportions. Brzezinski impacted the future of American foreign policy by monopolizing the Carter administration in ways that few outside the White House understand. In his role as national security advisor he put himself in a position to control information into and out of the White House and when it came to Afghanistan – to use it for whatever purposes he saw fit.

According to numerous studies Brzezinski transformed the role of national security advisor far beyond its intended function. In a planning session with President Carter on St. Simon Island before even entering the White House he took control of policy creation by narrowing access to the president down to two committees (the policy review committee PRC, and the Special coordinating committee SCC). He then had Carter transfer power over the CIA to the SCC which he chaired. At the first cabinet meeting after taking office Carter announced that he was elevating the national security advisor to cabinet level and Brzezinski’s lock on covert action was complete. According to political scientist and author David J. Rothkopf, “It was a bureaucratic first strike of the first order. The system essentially gave responsibility for the most important and sensitive issues to Brzezinski.”

Over the course of four years Brzezinski often took actions without the knowledge or approval of the president; intercepted communications sent to the White House from around the world and carefully selected only those communications for the president to see that conformed to his ideology. His Special Coordinating Committee, the SCC was a stovepipe operation which acted solely in his interest and denied information and access to those who might oppose him, including Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and even CIA Director Stansfield Turner. As a cabinet member he occupied a White House office diagonally across the lobby from the Oval Office and met so often with the President, the in-house record keepers stopped keeping track of the meetings. He used this unique authority to single himself out as the primary spokesman for the administration and a barrier between the White House and the president’s other advisors and went so far as to create a press secretary to convey his policy decisions directly to the Mainstream Media. He was also on the record as singlehandedly establishing a rapprochement with China in May of 1978 on an anti-Soviet basis which ran counter to U.S. policy at the time while renowned for misleading the president on critical issues to falsely justify his positions.

So how did this work in Afghanistan?

Central to that issue is the claim that Brzezinski intentionally lured the Soviet Union into invading in order to trap them in their own Vietnam. And central to that claim is the now infamous January 1998 Nouvel Observateur interview with Brzezinski in which he admits to luring the Soviets into an Afghan trap with a secret program.

From the moment Brzezinski’s interview appeared in 1998 there has been a fanatical effort by observers on both the left and the right to deny its validity as an idle boast, a misinterpretation of what he meant, or a bad translation from English to French and back to English. Brzezinski’s admission is so sensitive, the CIA’s former chief of the directorate of Operations for the Near East and South Asia from 1979 to 1984, Charles Cogan felt it necessary to come out for a Cambridge Forum discussion of our book on Afghanistan (Invisible History) in 2009 to claim that even though our view of the Soviet invasion was authentic, the Nouvel Observateur interview could not be right.

But of all the articles that have been published by “experts” and academics refuting Brzezinski’s claims, none comes close to a recent article by University College Dublin scholar Conor Tobin, titled “The Myth of the Afghan Trap.”

In his article Tobin argues that based “almost solely” on the Nouvel Observateur interview the Brzezinski “trap” thesis doesn’t hold up and complains that it has filtered uncritically into the works of several reputable historians. He even cites our work as an example of this uncritical acceptance while failing to note that our use of the interview is but one piece of a wealth of evidence of Brzezinski’s involvement in the Afghan issue.

Tobin discounts Brzezinski’s life-long “reputation,” for ideological bias against all things Russian then moves on to base his debunking mandate solely on the veracity of the interview, declaring: “That if this one unreliable interview is discounted there is very little legitimate evidence to back up the trap thesis…” and then concludes that “This article will demonstrate that the ‘trap’ thesis has little basis in fact.”

Based solely on his wish fulfillment rather than the facts, Tobin rejects the very idea that Brzezinski would ever advise Carter to actively endorse a policy that would risk SALT and détente, jeopardize his election campaign and threaten Iran, Pakistan and the Persian Gulf to future Soviet infiltration—because to Tobin “it is largely inconceivable.”

As proof of Brzezinski’s belief in the Soviet’s long term ambitions to invade the Middle East through Afghanistan, Tobin cites how Brzezinski “reminded Carter of ‘Russia’s traditional push to the south, and briefed him specifically on Molotov’s [supposed] proposal to Hitler in late 1940 that the Nazis recognize the Soviet claims of pre-eminence in the region south of Batum and Baku.’” But what Tobin fails to mention is that what Brzezinski presented to the president was a well-known misinterpretation of what the Nazis had proposed—not Molotov—and which Molotov rejected. In other words, the very opposite of what Brzezinski had presented.

To others who had a personal experience in the events surrounding the Soviet invasion, there is little doubt that Brzezinski wanted to draw the Soviets into an Afghan trap and had been doing it since April of 1978 through a program of destabilization. The record indicates that U.S. Afghan ambassador Adolph Dubs and Brzezinski came to blows over Brzezinski’s destabilization program at least a year before the Soviet invasion if not sooner. Afghan expert Selig Harrison, who’d gone to Kabul and interviewed Dubs in the summer of 1978 writes in his book with Diego Cordovez Out of Afghanistan, “Brzezinski emphasized in an interview after he left the White House that he had remained strictly within the confines of the President’s policy at that stage not to provide direct aid to the Afghan insurgency. Since there was no taboo on indirect support, however, the CIA had encouraged the newly entrenched Zia Ul-Haq to launch its own program of military support for the insurgents. The CIA and the Pakistani Interservices Intelligence Directorate (ISI) he said, worked together closely on planning training programs for the insurgents and on coordinating the Chinese, Saudi Arabian, Egyptian and Kuwaiti aid that was beginning to trickle in. By early February 1979, this collaboration became an open secret when the Washington Post published an eyewitness report that at least two thousand Afghans were being trained at former Pakistani Army bases guarded by Pakistani patrols.”

David Newsom, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs who’d met the new Afghan government in the summer of 1978 told Harrison, “They struck me as very ideological but they were still Afghan nationalists… From the beginning, Zbig had a much more confrontational view of the situation than Vance. He thought we should be doing something covertly to frustrate Soviet ambitions in that part of the world. On some occasions I was not alone in raising questions about the wisdom and feasibility of what he wanted to do.” CIA Director Stansfield Turner for example “was more cautious than Zbig. Zbig wasn’t worried about provoking the Russians, as some of us were.”

To some members of the Carter White House who interacted with Brzezinski during his four years at the wheel from 1977 to 1980 his intention to provoke the Russians into doing something was clear. By early 1979 events had grown so unstable in Afghanistan, the ambassador had to confront his own CIA station chief and demand answers about CIA interference. According to John Helmer an NSC staffer who was tasked with investigating two of Brzezinski’s policy recommendations to Carter, Brzezinski would risk anything to undermine the Soviets and his operations in Afghanistan were well known.

“Brzezinski was an obsessive Russia-hater to the end. That led to the monumental failures of Carter’s term in office; the hatreds Brzezinski released had an impact which continues to be catastrophic for the rest of the world.” Helmer wrote in 2017, “To Brzezinski goes the credit for starting most of the ills – the organization, financing, and armament of the mujahideen the Islamic fundamentalists who have metastasized – with US money and arms still – into Islamic terrorist armies operating far from Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Brzezinski started them off.”

Helmer insists that Brzezinski exercised an almost hypnotic power over Carter that bent him towards Brzezinski’s ideological agenda while blinding him to the consequences from the outset of his presidency. “From the start… in the first six months of 1977, Carter was also warned explicitly by his own staff, inside the White House… not to allow Brzezinski to dominate his policy-making to the exclusion of all other advice, and the erasure of the evidence on which the advice was based.” Yet the warning fell on deaf ears.

In 2015 we began work on a documentary to finally clear the air on such sophistic arguments as Conor Tobin’s and reconnected with Dr. Charles Cogan for an interview. Soon after the camera rolled, Cogan interrupted the interview to tell us he had talked to Brzezinski in the spring of 2009 about the 1998 Nouvel Observateur interview and been shocked to learn that the “Afghan trap thesis” as stated by Brzezinski in the Novel Observateur interview was legitimate. Brzezinski had done it with intent and wanted Cogan to know it. As one of the highest level CIA officials to participate in the largest American intelligence operations since WWII it was a devastating blow to learn that the CIA hadn’t won the Cold War against the Soviet Union fair and square. Brzezinski had tricked them and they had fallen for the bait.

Yet Cogan’s willingness to recount his conversation with Brzezinski on camera has given us a vital piece of evidence that will change history and we are all fortunate that he chose to leave his testimony with us that you can now view for the first time here.

For Brzezinski, getting the Soviets to invade Afghanistan was an opportunity to shift the Washington consensus toward an unrelenting hard line against the Soviet Union. Without any oversight for his use of covert action, he created the conditions needed to provoke a Soviet defensive response which he’d then used as evidence of unrelenting Soviet expansion and used the media, which he controlled, to affirm it. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was Brzezinski’s self-fulling prophecy. However, once his Russophobic system of exaggerations and lies about his covert operation became accepted, they found a home in America’s institutions and we live with them today. US policy since that time has operated in a delusion of racist triumphalism that both provokes international incidents and then capitalizes on the chaos.

From its origins in 1977 as Brzezinski’s covert program to destabilize the Soviet Union through ethnic violence and radical Islam, a straight line can be drawn to the current American quagmire in Afghanistan today. The time has come to see it for the lie it always was. And end it.

Copyright © 2020 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved.


Magical Thinking and the US War in Afghanistan

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

-Watch Paul and Liz’s 8/11/20 discussion on Magical Thinking and the US War in Afghanistan.  -Watch the interview clip with Dr. Charles Cogan former Chief of the Directorate of Operations for the Near East, South Asia Division of the CIA from 1979 to 1984 admitting that Zbigniew Brzezinski told him that the “Afghan Trap Thesis” is authentic.  -Read Valentine Moghadam’s summary of the discussion.

August 11 @ 7:00 pm8:00 pm

A discussion on magical thinking underlying US policy in Afghanistan featuring video-journalists Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald and moderated by Prof. Valentine Moghadam.  Sponsored by Massachusetts Peace Action’s Middle East Working Group.  Register here.

Our discussion will focus on a paper authored by University College Dublin scholar Conor Tobin. Titled “The Myth of the ‘Afghan Trap,’ Brzezinski and Afghanistan 1978-79,” it claims that there is no proof that President Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski lured the Soviets into the December 27, 1979 invasion. Even Brzezinski’s infamous interview in a 1998 Nouvel Observateur article boasting about the Soviets falling into his ‘Afghan Trap’ is now in doubt. Having trailed the Afghan story as journalists for decades we already had the research to connect the US quagmire in Afghanistan back to Brzezinski’s scheme. In addition to providing evidence validating the ‘Afghan Trap’ claim, we will reveal a technique favored by ideologues that uses ‘magical thinking’ to wantonly remove facts that contradict the narrative they wish to create. ‘Magical thinking’ literally means, “If I think it’s real, it is real and you have to prove it’s not.” Tobin’s paper is a jaw-dropping example of how the context of the U.S./Afghan record is being stripped down to a fantasy based on ‘magical thinking.’ The practice of rewriting historical records through an ideological lens has resulted in generations of policy failures that will continue until there is a complete transformation from magical to conscious thinking.

 

 


Eyes Wide Open: Will the ‘Masters of the Universe’ Notice No One Takes Them Seriously Anymore?

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

By Alastair Crooke  April 6 2020  strategic-culture.org


The intrusion of some wholly extraneous event – like a pandemic – into any given status quo doesn’t necessarily break it, in and of itself. But it exposes cruelly the shortcomings and workings of the existing status quo. It shows them, as not just stark naked, but also with its dark backstage of barely legal, dole-outs to business, and Wall Street friends, suddenly spotlighted.

Fyodor Dostoevsky sets out in The Brothers Karamazov an allegory that can be applied to our times, but was set in Seville, in the most terrible time of the Inquisition, when fires were lighted every day to the glory of God (rather than today’s ‘glory to Mammon’), and in that splendid auto da fé, when wicked ‘heretics’ were burnt alive. It was published in 1880.

Into this city an entirely extraneous (shall we say non-human) event occurs, that deeply unsettles society: Citizens are suddenly snatched-up from their humdrum daily slog to see the status quo afresh – but now with eyes wide open.

The Grand Inquisitor of Seville is outraged. This extraneous occurrence risks spoiling his carefully contrived status quo:“Oh, we shall persuade them [the citizenry of Seville] that they will only become free when they renounce their freedom to us, and submit to us. And shall we be right, or shall we be lying? They will be convinced that we are right … Receiving bread from us, they will see clearly that we take the bread made by their hands from them – [only] to give it back to them … In truth they will be more thankful for taking it from our hands – than for the bread itself! Too well, will they know the value of complete submission! We shall show them that they are weak, that they are only pitiful children, but that childlike happiness is the sweetest of all.“We will indulge them their sins; allow them to occupy themselves with their vices. We will monitor everything, regulate everything, order and legislate for everything – and be their conscience too – so that they do not have to trouble themselves to think, overly; or, to be obliged to make decisions. They exist only to serve us, the élite who rule over them: The millions, numerous as the sands of the sea, who are weak, must exist only for the élite, who rule over them. In this mystery, says the Grand Inquisitor, “lies the great secret of the world”.

Well, here we are: We have an extraneous event: Covid-19. It is different, of course. The Inquisitor literally burnt-out the threat (alive), to the existing order in Seville. Similarly, our ‘Elect’ of today, are equally agog to preserve the status quo. And for reasons very similar to those of the Inquisitor. Full article is here


Pashtun Rights Movement Complicates Pakistan-U.S. Endgame in Afghanistan

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

Michael Hughes
February 19, 2020

A crackdown of Pashtun activists in Pakistan has drawn international opprobrium at an inconvenient time for Islamabad and Washington as they try to shape a public narrative to make a peace pact with the Taliban as palatable as possible.

The Trump administration wants the U.S.-Taliban exit deal to be seen as a victory for peace rather than a humiliating defeat at the hands of rag-tag insurgents who will continue destabilizing Afghanistan and the region.

In order to do this, the United States wants the world to believe that Pakistan has suddenly stopped using its northwest tribal areas as an extremist incubator to “keep the pot boiling” in Afghanistan. However, allegations suggesting otherwise that have recently gone viral threaten to upend Washington’s story line. Read the full article here.

 

 

 


Israel in the Middle East — A Civilisational and Metaphysical War

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

strategic-culture.org 

by Alastair Crooke

President Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ has been published this week. Mostly, it has been examined as a purely political project – whether in terms of the domestic needs of Trump and Netanyahu, or as a maximum squeeze on Palestinians, which may, or may not, work. But there is another (implicit) dimension, lying – a little out of sight – behind these explicit politics.

It has been argued, by at least one US historian, that the U.S. is no ordinary nation-state, but should be understood as a system leader, a ‘civilizational power’ – like Rome, Byzantium, and the Ottoman Empire. The ‘system leader’, historically, has always sought to embed its particular civilizational vision onto those distant ‘lands’ that serve, or abut, its empire: which is to say that the universalistic vision may be bound to one state, but is forcefully unfurled across the globe, as ‘our’ inevitable destiny.

It is not hard to see what we are talking about when it refers to America: politically it is liberal markets, liberal capitalism, individualism and laissez-faire politics – and the metaphysics of Judeo-Christianity, too, if you like. For most Americans, their victory in the Cold War spectacularly affirmed the superiority of their civilizational vision, through the defeat and implosion of communism. It was not just a political defeat for the USSR, more significantly, it represented a triumph for America’s full cultural paradigm: It was a Civilisational ‘win’.

What has this to do with what happened in the East Room of the White House this Tuesday? Well, it gives us a better vantage point to perceive something less obvious than just the explicit politics to the spectacle. Something more often ‘felt’, than explicitly considered. Read full article here.

 


Quantum physics: our study suggests objective reality doesn’t exist

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

by Alessandro Fedrizzi, Professor of Quantum Physics, Heriot-Watt University and Massimiliano Proietti, PhD Candidate of Quantum Physics, Heriot-Watt University  November 14, 2019  theconversation.com  

Alternative facts are spreading like a virus across society. Now it seems they have even infected science – at least the quantum realm. This may seem counter intuitive. The scientific method is after all founded on the reliable notions of observation, measurement and repeatability. A fact, as established by a measurement, should be objective, such that all observers can agree with it.

But in a paper recently published in Science Advances, we show that, in the micro-world of atoms and particles that is governed by the strange rules of quantum mechanics, two different observers are entitled to their own facts. In other words, according to our best theory of the building blocks of nature itself, facts can actually be subjective. Read the article here.


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