Ray McGovern, a retired CIA officer turned political activist, discusses the anti-Russian propagandists working to pin the Malaysian airlines disaster on Vladimir Putin – whether he was responsible or not.
Alright you guys welcome back to the show, The Scott Horton Show, I’m Scott Horton. You know that hardly ever happens, it’s on a random kind of thing on the playlist, the computer picks, but so that’s kinda nice playing Stiff Little Fingers for our Irish friend Ray McGovern on the phone here, Irish American.
He’s a former CIA analyst for 27 years, and he’s a co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals For Sanity and no this isn’t a re-run this is a brand new interview live here today July the 21st 2014, Ray McGovern fromÂ www.raymcgovern.comÂ and alsoÂ www.consortiumnews.com, welcome back to the show Ray, how’s it going?
RM: Well the top of the morning to you Scott.
SH: (laughs) Very happy to have you here, thank you very much for joining us. And so here is the big deal. You got this friend Robert Parry over there at consortiumnews.com he’s a famous journalist from Newsweek and AP back in the days of the Iran contra and ever since, writing about them damn republicans and the neocons especially, and he’s got this placeÂ www.consortiumnews.com and you write there too, and he has an article called:
What Did US Spy Satellites See In Ukraine?
And in this article he sights a source that sights CIA analysts saying what?
And what can you tell us about his source and what he knows and whether you know it too, etc …
RM: Well Scott, I can tell you this, that there are, I was going to say a handful, there are two handfuls of reputable investigative journalists left in this country, Bob Parry is at the top of that list. He quit because they wouldn’t let him tell the truth: newsweek, AP, Frontline the whole shmeer.
He has his own website now and he does not publish stuff that is frivolous, now we knew back last September, when the last time war loomed on the near horizon, namely a US attack on Syria, we knew that some of our former colleagues in the CIA disputed John Kerry when he said no fewer than 35 times on August 30 at the state department, quote ‘we know’ end quote, ‘we know’ quote, end quote. Okay?Â Â
‘We know there was Bashar al-Assad and the government forces that launched that chemical attack on August 21st, nine days ago, ‘we know’.
Okay, now, you don’t have to be a Shakespearean scholar to be a little suspicious of people protesting so much right?
Now we looked at the evidence and we heard from our friends, and this is important. These were friends who weren’t going to do the reducts of the fraudulent intelligence served up to quote ‘justify’ end quote the war on Iraq in February, March, that’s when it started, March 2003, so they said ‘no, no deal We are not going to prepare an intelligence assessment for you to Kerry to support yourself on saying ‘we know’ because, we don’t know.’ Okay?
We didn’t know then, we think we know now, the evidence is pretty conclusive that it was not, well pretty conclusive, to me I am persuaded, that it was not the Bashar al-Assad government that perpetrated those attacks, rather it was the rebels.
We knew the rebels had sarin gas, we also knew that the evidence served up later by The New York Times, even Human Rights Watch did not bear close scrutiny, so, the point here is simply that not only did m former colleagues and I’m very proud to say this after some of the fiascos of former years stand up to Kerry, but Kerry had to have something unique in my experience prepared, and that was quote ‘government assessment’ end quote -bereft of any verifiable detail.
So he couldn’t get an intelligence assessment, he put out a government assessment which is full of lies and bereft of any detail. So, that’s really important background here.
We’re hearing from some of the same folks, who are warning us that you know, they’ve told the president, they’ve served up the ambiguous but sort of persuasive evidence, and the president has decided in his wisdom to do exactly what Reagan did back in 1983, recalling that the Russians shot down an intruding aircraft that turned out to be KAL 007 – Korean Airlines, it strayed off course it went overÂ Kamchatka, it was in Siberia, it refused instructions to land, it was dark and they didn’t know it was an airliner, they thought, and it is very clear from their own intercepted communications, they thought it was an intelligence air force plane that wouldn’t heed instructions, and so they shot it down, deliberately. They shot it down.
Now what was the mantra that Shultz and Reagan and Weinberger all recited for the next three weeks?: ‘Russia deliberately shot down a civilian plane over Siberia’. Now, half-truth right? Half-truths are worse than full falsehoods in my view, yeah, it was deliberate, but they DIDN’T know it was KAL 007. There had been an RC 135 intelligence collector in the same area just hours before.
Why do I mention that? Because it is directly relevant to the situation now.
Now we have a situation where we don’t know all the facts, they’re very ambiguous, and what the US administration has decided to do before the evidence is in, before the inspection team has a reasonable chance to look at what happened, they’re serving up propaganda – outright propaganda: “Putin bad, Putin bad, very bad, no shirt on sometimes when he rides on horses, Putin really bad, he’s responsible for the whole thing”, well, the evidence is not in, and it’s not persuasive and to their credit some of my former colleagues are saying, “kick the tyres McGovern, kick the tyres on this one’, because it is very similiar to what we faced on Syria back last fall.
You’ll recall that Obama reversed his decision to attack Syria within 24 hours after John Kerry said on the 30th August, “we know, we know it was Bashar al-Assad who violated the red line that the president set against the use of chemical weapons”, so we’re in that interim period now. Who is lying now on the Ukraine thing? John Kerry is lying? You know why? Because he says, “we know, we know” and he doesn’t know okay?
So is Putin lying? Well what has Putin said? He said, “Hey, let’s wait for the investigation for Pete’s sake, let’s get this thing underway and meanwhile let’s have a ceasefire”. Now one of the things the president said over the weekend was that there should be an international investigation team and there should be a ceasefire. Now, why is that relevant? Because Washington has endorsed Kiev’s offensive in the east until now, refusing to join the Russians, the French and the Germans in calling for a ceasefire.
So Obama has now called for a ceasefire. I thought that was a really good sign, and I wake up this morning, and I see that Kiev forces are raising hell out there in the eastern Ukraine not very far, 50 miles they say, from the crash site, raising hell and attacking the rebel forces there, so you know, this couldn’t be more cynical.
I mean Washington could simply call up Yatsenyuk and say, ‘Look, knock it off, knock it off at least until we can find out what happened there, when that plane was shot down’, and Washington will not even do that. You know I’ve never seen the like of it Scott and I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff.
SH: Alright so, let’s rewind to the beginning here, again everybody we’re talking with Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst, Veteran Intelligence Professionals For Sanity – that’s the name of the group, professionals in there with the plural there. And well they try to truth us out of war all the time, that’s basically what they do, and so now back to, well first of all the sources and what it is that they’re saying, ah crap and now the music is playing already.
Ray hold it right there, yes, I’m terrible at doing radio okay, but I’m interested in what is going on and so, you all tolerate me, the few of you who listen..we’ll be back in just a few minutes with Ray McGovern.
SH: Alright you guys welcome back to the show, I’m me, Scott Horton, this is my show The Scott Horton Show, I’m the Liberty Radio Network,Â www.scotthorton.org, stop by the chat room, talking with Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst now a peacenik, co-founder of the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals For Sanity, and writer forÂ www.consortiumnews.com.
We’re talking about his colleague Robert Parry’s article, What Did US Spy Satellites See In Ukraine? and from the way you talk Ray, it sounds like his sources are yours, or he says source singular here, can you be any more specific? Or are you saying to us, cos you know how it is with the news, a former CIA officer says something, that kind of is a news story in itself because the implication is he knows because he is talking to people that have the classified information and they’re telling him, that ‘hey man this is what you should say to the people’ and so in this case are we correct then to infer that what’s going on here is that there are current CIA analysts who are leaking to you Ray McGovern and to Robert Parry your colleague that, uh, what exactly now, because what you said was, “Hey Ray, you ought to kick these tyres and make sure”, you know the implication being the car is going to fall apart if you do, Parry is much more specific here in what he claims y’all are being told so, please explain?
RM: Sure, well there was a little irony there, perhaps unintended, when you say that a previous CIA analyst with all kinds of awards and stuff like that, is news, well ironically it’s news in Russia. I’m in Evening Moscow today on the front page of their print paper and gave them an interview early Sunday morning, but I don’t get…
SH: Well listen if you were pro-war you would be the expert on CNN, there is no shortage of former CIA guys willing to spout war party talking points paraded on TV all of the time …that’s all I meant, that you know, if they wanted to quote you, the fact that your former CIA and you know something would count as you yourself, as a retired officer are credible as a source to cite.
RM: Sure and I was just playing with you there Scott …
SH: I get it …
RM: I’ve been sickened by Bob Baer and some of the people who know better but get really well paid by CNN and other places, it’s really kind of, really really sad, anyhow …(laughs)
What you asked has to do with sources and I can tell you this, that Bob Parry is a professional journalist he would not go with a source unless he had very good experience with this person. I happen to know that he does have good experience with her, and I can’t say any more than that other than the fact that it is his source, but I, you know, on Friday as soon as I learned about all of this stuff, I wrote that article, I think we talked about it on the phone, from some kind of a bust, that the important thing here was to kick the tyres of any truck that is carrying sophisticated intercepts or other information showing that the rebels or the Russians did it.
There is all manner of possibility to falsify, to toy with this, and we saw that in the KAL affair that I mentioned before from 1983, we saw it with Colin Powell’s presentation justifying war with Iraq on February 5th 2003 so you know every 20 years we get a chance that says “Hey NSA delete the sections that are exculpatory and make sure you make out the Russians to be evil incarnate‘, and that’s what they’re doing so far to the degree they serve up satellite information.
I’d be really interested to see whether it bears close scrutiny, and all I’ll say about Bob’s latest article is that it makes eminent good sense to show the pictures, everyone knows that we have pictures, there are sophisticated ways of disguising the resolution that we get, if we can read license plates, well that’s pretty good resolution, you can downgrade that resolution to the point where people, enemies cannot find out how precise, how precisely detailed your information is.
The other thing I’ll say is that there is ample precedent forÂ releasing sensitive information. Now Ronald Reagan back when the Libyans were doing terrorism galore, and blew up a Berlin bistro killing I think 4 or 5 American soldiers and many other civilians, he knew from an intercepted message that it was the Libyans, and so he, I don’t justify killing grandsons and that kind of thing but he did attackÂ Gaddafi’s compound and killed one of his sons I believe, and did all manner of other things for which he wasÂ excoriatedÂ by the world.
So he came to us and he said, “Look you know, we have to release this intercept, otherwise nobody is going to believe me”, and we all said of course, “no no you can’t do that, please please you’ll blow our source, this is a great source we have, intercepting this kind of communications”, and he said, “‘Do it”, and we did it.
We have other ways of collecting the same information and there was no real harm to the national security but there was great repair to the national image. So what I’m saying here is that if they have satellite photography, proving as they claim, that there was a whole convoy of trucks including these kinds of missiles that left the Ukraine, go back into Russia after this incident they ought to show those photos, and if they don’t well, we need to kick the tyres even harder.
SH: Alright well, for benefit of the audience, what Parry writes here today, again the article is:
What Did US Spy Satellites See In Ukraine?, and Parry’s says,Â
Â “What I’ve been told by one source who has provided accurate information on similar matters in the past”, the source that you just vouched for as credible to you as well, “is that US intelligence agencies do have detailed satellite images of the likely missile battery that launched the fateful missile, but the battery appears to have been under the control of Ukrainian government troops dressed in what look like Ukrainian government uniforms”,Â
Â and he goes on to say:
“the analysts are not ruling out the possibility that the troops were eastern Ukrainian rebels in similar uniforms but the initial assessment was that the troops were Ukrainian soldiers”.
So you know, that is a huge story that you know, exists nowhere in cable TV news or in any newspaper that I’ve heard of, other than that, so that’s a lot more specific than just you know, keep asking tough questions Ray.
RM: Yeah, and besides that you know you have to kick all the tyres, including the Russian tyres, but the Russian defense ministry has issued a statement saying Kiev is lying again. Kiev, the Ukrainian government is saying, “we had no radar, we had no missiles within range to down that civilian aircraft’, okay. “That’s a lie”, says the Russian defense minister, “We not only know that they had a radar in the area, but it was active, it was active at the time of the shoot down and we know they had at least two missile batteries in position, in range to be able to shoot it down”, so again, and actually some of the Russian diplomats close to calling Poroshenko and others liars, what they say is that their record for telling truthful things over the last month or so is not, is not very good, and that happens to be the truth.
But right now I think, the only sensible, honest answer, is we don’t know. Kerry doesn’t know. Piling up all this evidence he still uses a little bit of the subjunctive mood, but when you look at what he did last September, when he said on the 30th of August 35 times ‘we know it was the government of Syria that did these chemical attacks’ then on the 3rd of September he goes before the senate foreign relations committee and he says the same thing in more graphic detail and guess what, on the 4th of September, Putin, and this is highly unusual, Putin comments on Kerry’s testimony before the senate foreign relations committee the previous day on Syria and Putin says Kerry is a liar.
Now I haven’t heard Putin, I can’t recall any other president or prime minister of another country calling somebody a liar and particularly in this heavily charged emotionally charged situations. So when Putin is listening to all this stuff, he knew, and of course Lavrov and others, actually Lavrov the foreign minister has quoted Veteran Intelligence Professionals For Sanity because we served up a memorandum to the president that said Kerry didn’t know -Â we are hearing from our colleagues that it is quite the opposite, so the bottom line here is that we should keep our powder dry, and our hope, my hope at least is that the europeans will be more sensible than Kerry. They know that Kerry is inclined to play fast and loose with the truth ….we hope that maybe that they can talk some sense into Washington.
SH: Thanks very much, Ray McGovern everybody.