Glenn Greenwald
Politics • Writing • Culture
Warmongering Neocons Smitten with Biden, Havana Syndrome Conspiracy Theory Crumbles
March 05, 2023
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Note From Glenn Greenwald: The following is the full show transcript, for subscribers only, of a recent episode of our System Update program, broadcast live on Wednesday March 1, 2023. Watch the full episode on Rumble or listen to the podcast on Spotify

One of the most fanatical neocons in American media, The New York Times Bret Stephens converted his column today into a homage to the greatness of Joe Biden – his moral courage and clarity, his strength of character, his steadfast support for what is right when it comes to the war in Ukraine. Stephens favorably compared Biden not only to French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz – he said Biden was far better than even Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Stephens’s hatred for Donald Trump, shared by most neocons, is too well-known for him to have even bothered to argue that Biden is superior to Trump. For neocons, everyone is superior to Trump. And most amazingly of all, Bret Stephens in The New York Times essentially endorsed Joe Biden's reelection in 2024, directing him on how to ensure that he wins the second term, which this neocon extremist believes this country desperately needs. 

If it were just an example of a single neocon kind of losing his mind temporarily and writing a baseline to the greatness of Joe Biden, it would be worth noting more for entertainment purposes but this is something far more significant. All of this illustrates one of the most important yet under-discussed political transformations of the last decade, namely, the full-scale union between the country's most fanatical neocons on the one hand and the Democratic Party on the other. And while many liberals like to tell themselves the pleasing fairy tale that this happened only due to their common contempt for Trump, the reality is exactly the opposite. The migration of neocons back to the Democratic Party was well underway long before anyone even imagined such a thing as President Donald Trump. And more importantly, this alliance is based not on shared hatred for any one individual, but on the perception of the neocons, the very well-grounded and accurate perception, that the Democratic Party is now far more hospitable to core neocon values of endless war and sacrificing the lives and well-being of ordinary Americans for an agenda that serves foreign nationals and a sliver, of American elites and nobody else. We will examine in depth this ever-deepening alliance and what it means for American politics. 

Plus, the corporate media suffers yet another humiliating debacle, this time by having their melodramatic script about what they called the Havana Syndrome blow up in their faces in the most humiliating possible way. We would love, I promise, to be able to have just one episode where we don't have to cover the systemic rot at the heart of the U.S. corporate media, but their constant embarrassments, errors, and deceit make that very difficult for us to accomplish. 

As a reminder, System Update episodes are now available on every leading podcast platform, including Apple and Spotify the day after they air, live, here on Rumble. Simply follow System Update, if you like, while listening to episodes in podcast form. 

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update starting right now. 



One of the surest ways to know that your country's political discourse is irretrievably broken is when the most important news events, the ones that matter most, are the least discussed. Such is the case for the radical political transformation that I regard as the single most important in the last decade: the re-migration of neoconservatives back to the Democratic Party, where they began decades ago, and the resulting full-scale enduring alliance between the most fanatical neocons and Democrats, the unholy alliance that I would argue, has become the single most dominant political faction in the United States. 

Like many commonly used political terms, neocon lacks a very precise and universally accepted definition. But – as Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said about the long failed attempt by the Supreme Court to define obscenity, “I know it when I see it” – we are able to use that standard to recognize many neocons. And while we will, in just a few minutes, spend some time defining neoconservatives and reviewing their lowly and destructive trajectory in American public life, one of the people who is indisputably a neocon using the Justice Stewart standard, someone who exudes its core values and tactics from every pore of his body, is New York Times columnist Bret Stephens. 

Prior to being hired by The New York Times, in 2017, as a columnist, Stephens has spent almost two decades as a foreign policy columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and for a few years as editor-in-chief of the Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post. His writings throughout all those years were of along classic neoconservative ideology: he was an ardent supporter of the invasion of Iraq; he was a very vocal cheerleader for the most extreme abuses and civil liberties assaults carried out under the banner of the War on Terror – someone whose only criticisms of Bush-Cheney militarism was that it failed to go far enough by failing to carry out regime change operations in Syria and Iran, for instance; and he has always been driven by a virtually binding, absolute allegiance to the government of Israel – that translates not only as an endless demand for always greater U.S. financial and military aid to Israel but also as a reflexive defense of virtually everything that that foreign nation does. 

Among American liberals, it has become one of their favorite pastimes to explode with indignation every time the Times publishes a new column by Bret Stephens, complaining that the paper is giving him a platform, something they regard as proof of the New York Times tolerance for or even the support of far-right-wing fascism and white supremacy or whatever their favorite insult of the week is. Every time there's a Bret Stephens column, liberals react that way. 

When the Times announced its hiring of Stephens in 2017, the rage-driven reaction of liberals surprised even me. While accustomed as I have become to the liberal belief that newspapers should only hire journalists whose views perfectly adhere to liberal pieties. Watching that orgy of outrage over his hiring, I actually wrote an article that very week, the week of Stephens’s hiring, trying to warn liberals that the far more significant hiring that week by the Times was not Bret Stephens, but his Wall Street Journal colleague and protégé, Bari Weiss, whose hiring was announced just two days after his. But few had heard of Bari Weiss at the time and they were far too fixated with collective rage over Stephens and his hiring to hear anything else. 

Here, for example, is an Intercept headline accompanying an article by reporter Zaid Jilani that reflected the typical liberal anger over Stephens’ hiring “New York Times Promises Truth and Diversity, Then Hires Climate-Denying Anti-Arab White Guy”. The subheadline: “Readers have flocked to the New York Times after it reasserted its principles in the Trump era. Then it hired the Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens”. 

The left-wing media watchdog group, FAIR, published an article during that week headlined “Three Reasons Bret Stephens Should Not Be a New York Times Columnist”. Their  reasons: 1) he's a climate denier; 2) he advocates crimes against humanity, meaning the War on Terror abuses such as torture and the due process for the imprisonments of the Bush-Cheney era, and – no left-liberal article would be complete without it – 3) he's a racist, citing a long line of derogatory statements that Stephens had written over the years about Arabs and their culture as a means of defending Israel, such as, “The Arab world's problems are a problem of their mind or, to be more specific, the “disease” of their mind”. 

As so often happens, the liberal script when it came to the rage over Bret Stephens’s hiring, was nearly identical. Here, for example, is the headline from Vox that reads “The New York Times Should Not Have Hired Climate Change Bullshitter Bret Stephens' '. 

Here, from The Huffington Post: “The New York Times Publisher Writes To Those Who Ditched Subscriptions Over Bret Stephens” – because liberals were canceling what the Huffington Post said was a mass exodus, but really just a few hundred or a couple of thousand ditched subscriptions, in protest. 

To be very clear, I am the opposite of a Bret Stephens fan. I agree with a lot of the criticisms I just referenced. I regard neoconservatism of the kind that Bret Stephens advocates as the most toxic and destructive ideological force in America. It's the ideology of Bill Kristol and David Frum and Dick and Liz Cheney, a bloodthirsty and sociopathic mentality that seeks to keep the U.S. in a posture of endless wars, one after the next, for the benefit of everyone and everything except the lives of ordinary American citizens. That they are just fanatical about ensuring that it is other families and almost never their own that have to fight in those wars and die in those wars that they cheer, makes them even more morally repellent to me than ever. And this disgust for neocons has been central to my worldview since I began writing about politics in 2005, largely motivated by contempt for the war-mongering and regime change fixations and civil liberties assaults that this small but very influential faction of neocons had architected for America and deceived ordinary Americans through propaganda into believing that it was in their interest to support it. 

So, my contempt for neocons began very early on and endures to this very day. For decades this intense disgust of neocons was shared by virtually everyone who identified as a Democrat, a liberal or a leftist, or something similar, as reflected by the rage when Bret Stephens was hired by the New York Times. My contempt for neocons and their ideology has never wavered. But now the opposite is true for most liberal pundits and liberal elites who now regard neocons not only as tolerable but deeply admirable, even heroic. Liz Cheney was named one of America's heroes for 2022 by Mother Jones. That the leftwing magazine named after a socialist activist famous for civil disobedience in pursuit of far left-wing causes. Their hero is now Dick Cheney’s daughter, the Wicked Neocon Witch of the West.

The factor that caused liberals and so many leftists to so radically change their views of neocons from unbridled hatred to respect, affection and admiration is the same fact that dictates all of their views, namely whether someone likes or hates Donald Trump. And since neocons viewed Donald Trump almost immediately as a grave threat to their agenda, they converted themselves into Trump's sworn enemy, devoting themselves with a single-minded fixation to doing everything possible to sabotaging, maligning and destroying Trump. That obviously wasn't true of all neocons. People like John Bolton ended up being hired by the Trump administration and working within it, although he eventually got fired, it was certainly true of most. 

And that was all it took for Liberals to immediately abandon their long standing view of neocons as monstrous war criminals with an insatiable thirst for wars that are totally unrelated to the welfare of the American people and almost overnight view them as the opposite, as valued allies and wise thought leaders. That's why David Frum, George W. Bush's speechwriter, who penned so many of Bush's most harmful lies, doesn't write for National Review or Fox News. He writes for The Atlantic. It's why Bill Kristol's social media exploded due almost entirely to new liberal followers and why he regularly has the red carpet rolled out for him as though he's some honored, wise statesman by MSNBC. It's why Liz Cheney lost her GOP primary by a humiliating and record setting 35 points while liberal columnists write pieces to her greatness and moral character. 

While it is the neocons’ hatred for Trump that made liberals revere neocons, that is not why neocons have migrated back to the original petri dish from which they first emerged. What explains that is that neocons tend to be much more shrewd and clever than the liberals whom they have deceived into reversing them. They understood well before Trump's emergence on the scene that the Republican Party was becoming increasingly hostile to their unlimited militarism and their thirst for wars. Wars come at the expense of ordinary working-class Americans who pay for those wars and die in them, that receive no benefits from them. Starting in the second term of the Obama administration, neocons could see through things like the success that Ron Paul had with an anti-interventionist message deep in the primaries of Iowa and South Carolina, and who believed that Hillary Clinton would likely succeed Obama and could barely contain their excitement over the prospect of a Hillary Clinton administration. Neocons, before Trump, began signaling their intention to abandon the Republican Party, which had served as their host body for the entire War on Terror and reinfect the Democratic Party, which they had decided to make their home for the near future at least. 

Despite this union, many liberals who have been trained to love those neocons still do harbor animus toward Bret Stevens. And that's partly due to his heresies on culture war issues, other kinds of religion, liberal religious beliefs, a church that touches his opposition to some planks of gender ideology, and his long-standing skepticism of climate change – though neocons, if nothing else, always know where their bread is buttered, and Bret Stephens recently announced after taking a trip to Greenland that he's now largely on board with the liberal view of climate change, acknowledging that it really is the crisis that liberals have long been insisting it is. So, there are very few reasons left for liberals to hate Bret Stephens other than his occasional opposition to the most extremist planks of gender ideology. At this point, their dislike of Stephens is basically just reflexive, a kind of learned behavior they never unlearned. But all of that is highly likely to change. Stephens may very well now lose his status as one of the very few neocons liberals have not yet ineffectually passionately embraced as a result of his decision today to write what is not so much a political column in the New York Times as it is a homage, a passion to the moral courage and general greatness of Joe Biden. 

To those paying little attention to U.S. politics over the last decade, or for those who have little capacity for thinking critically, it may seem surprising, shocking even, that a lifelong neocon would not only revere Joe Biden as our modern-day Winston Churchill, but basically endorse his reelection as president in 2024, something not even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has yet willing to do when asked. Writing under the headline “On Ukraine, Biden Outshines Macron, Scholz – and DeSantis,” Stephens gushed about Biden with such adolescent fanboy fervor that it would even embarrass Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert or the Washington Post team of fact-checkers. 

We offer you just a few of the most illustrative paragraphs of the reverence Bret Stephens penned today for Joe Biden. He began by condemning French President Macron and German chancellor Scholz for the crime of trying to find a diplomatic resolution to the war in Ukraine, which Stephens finds so glorious and exciting. About those diplomatic efforts, Stephens writes, “These are preposterous suggestions.” And then he unleashes his love and respect and homage to Joe Biden:


That's the point. Those who now argue that President Zelenskyy of Ukraine needs to be “realist” or “pragmatic” – that is, that he should stop short of pursuing a complete Russian withdrawal from all occupied Ukrainian territories – are proposing a solution they would never countenance for their own countries under ordinary circumstances, let alone during a struggle for national survival. That's why, as the war in Ukraine entered the second year, I feel grateful for Joe Biden. Fault him all you want on many issues, particularly his gradualist approach to arming Ukraine, but on the most consequential question of our time, he has the big thing right (The New York Times. Feb. 28, 2023). 


In other words, the one criticism Bret Stephens recognizes as valid of Joe Biden is that he has not armed the Ukrainians enough – not quickly enough or aggressively enough. But, he says, he got what, in Bret Stephens’s mind, is the most consequential question of our time, whether Russia or Ukraine will rule various provinces in Eastern Ukraine or whether they will be independent. That's a real privilege talking. Being a New York Times columnist and believing that the most important issue is who rules various provinces in Eastern Ukraine. For Bret Stephens, the fact that Joe Biden has gotten this right more than any other world leader means that he deserves a second term. He goes on:


As for prudence, musing openly about the need for eventual negotiation harms Ukraine's solidarity and morale, both key factors for survival and success. An overwhelming majority of Ukrainians want to retake all the territories seized by Russia, including Crimea. That political fact should weigh in the mind of Biden's foreign policy team. Public support for Ukraine is eroding, particularly among Republicans and conservatives who know better, including Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, who are shamefully hedging their bets. President Biden likes to say that the United States will support Ukraine for as long as it takes, but that promise can expire on January 20, 2025, if he doesn't win a second term, he owes it to his own legacy, not to hazard what is potentially the most historic accomplishment of his presidency on next year's race. (The New York Times. Feb. 28, 2023). 


There's a lot packed in there, into those claims, beginning with the fact that he says a majority of Ukrainians, an overwhelming majority, want not only to have the war end but instead want to expel Russia from all Ukrainian territory, including Crimea. The idea that NATO is going to support Ukraine for it to successfully expel every last Russian troop, including from the areas of Eastern Ukraine where overwhelmingly people identify far more with Moscow than with Kyiv, where far more would rather either be independent or under the rule of Putin than under the rule of Zelenskyy is utter madness. But even more unhinged is the idea that Russia would just stand by and allow Ukraine and NATO to take back Crimea. And Bret Stephens’ assertion – and that's all it is, is an assertion – that the vast majority of people support Biden's vision, that they want to fight until the very end, until every last bit of territory is recovered, including in Crimea, you'll note, has no citation. He doesn't say the poll. He doesn't link to a study. That's just something that he wants to believe. It's a nice fairy tale to believe. And so, he just asserted it. All Ukrainians are behind me and Joe Biden: they want to fight this war until the very end. 

It's very hard in a war zone to take accurate polls. It's very hard in a country under martial law, which is what Ukraine is, to get people to speak openly. Even before the war began, when Russia invaded Ukraine, President Zelenskyy had already proven himself very willing to engage in anti-democratic and authoritarian tactics, not in 2022, but in 2021. He had shut down three opposition television stations. He had begun attacking opposition parties and even questioning whether or not they had a right to exist. But one of the pieces of evidence that we can use in assessing whether or not Bret Stephens’s assertion has any remote validity to it, namely, that the vast majority of Ukrainians want to fight this war until the very end, or whether that's something only Bret Stephens wants because he gets to say that while he and his family are far removed from the battlefield, is the fact that President Zelenskyy is not using a volunteer army. He's not using a huge group of Ukrainian men who step forward to say, we want to fight the Russian army until the very end, even if it means risking our own lives to do so. The exact opposite is true. Over the last several months, there has been increasingly compelling evidence of the fact that more and more and more Ukrainian men are unwilling to fight this war. They're unwilling to die in this war. That's why Zelenskyy has to rely on a draft army and a conscription army the way the United States had to do when it wanted to fight a war in Vietnam, that most Americans had a great deal of difficulty understanding what relevance it had to their lives, who ruled the southern part of Vietnam, whether it was going to be right-wing U.S. allies or communist or anyone else. You didn't have Americans lining up around the block to volunteer to fight in Vietnam the way you had Americans lining up to fight after 9/11 when they realized that, in fact, their own country had been attacked, because people are willing to fight for a cause they believe in, in the end, to die for a cause they believe in. But if they don't think the war is worth it, that's when conscription is needed. And not only has Zelenskyy had to rely on conscription, on the draft, on forcing people who don't want to fight to actually fight, it's become increasingly difficult to prevent people from deserting, to prevent people from exploiting the grave corruption that has always governed Ukraine by paying people to get them out of Ukraine. 

Here, for example, is one of the most recent articles on the problems Zelenskyy is facing, from The Economist, on February 26 – so, just a few days ago – and, remember, this is in the context of a New York Times columnist today asserting that vast, vast majority of Ukrainians not only want to fight to get Russia out of the parts they invaded, but to fight to get them out of all parts, including Crimea, which would be a years’ long war, that Russia would do everything in its power to prevent. Why is it that The New York Times columnist is able to make an assertion so dubious without any evidence presented when in fact the evidence strongly suggests that what he said was false? 

Here, for example, The Economist’s headline reads “Ukraine Finds Stepping Up Mobilization is Not so Easy. Military recruiters are accused of rough tactics as they try to boost the headcount”. 

Here's an anecdote that illustrates how aggressive and even violent Zelensky's kind of forces have to be to get people willing to go fight against the Russians on the front line: 

Ruslan Kubay was surprised to receive a draft notice in late January. Registered as seriously disabled since childhood – Mr. Kubay is missing both hands – he falls under a list of automatic exemptions from service. Even more surprising, however, was the reaction of officials at the local registration office in Drohobich, near Lyiv. Far from admitting their error, they doubled down and declared him fit for service. Someone who didn't want to fight and someone who had no hands, Mr. Kubay’s case was an extreme, but far from an isolated incident. 


Ukraine has visibly stepped up mobilization activities in the first two months of this year. For unclear reasons, officials in western Ukraine have been the most aggressive, but the trend is clear across the country. There have been reports of draft notices issued and sometimes violently enforced at military funerals, checkpoints in Kharkyiv, shopping centers in Kyiv and on street corners In Odessa. Popular ski resorts lie deserted despite the first proper snows in the winter – footage of military officials snooping around at the slopes were enough to keep the crowds away. In every town and city across the country, social media channels share information about where recruitment officers might be lurking. Previously, only members of Ukraine's draft commission were allowed to issue notices and only at home addresses. Now a wider group of officials can issue the two-part document, and there is no geographical limitation. Another difference is who is being called up. In the first wave most of the recruits were voluntary; queues outside draft offices where a frequent sight. Now officials are recruiting from a much less enthusiastic crowd. 


In a country like Ukraine, there are inevitably less-than-legal ways to escape the call-up too. “It's a dialectic of nature”, said Colonel Kevlyuk, who worked in the general staff until 2021. “Whenever there is demand, you'll always find someone to supply it”. Some arrange fictitious marriages with mothers of three or four or more children. Others get corrupt military doctors to issue a medical exemption. For a few thousand dollars, one can pay to be smuggled across the border. 

Government officials say excesses are being addressed as they come to light. But with the Army set on achieving a military breakthrough before the summer, recruitment of less-motivated Ukrainians [by “less motivated”, they mean people who don't want to fight] will surely be stepped up and scandals will probably continue. 


The armed forces may respond to legal challenges by improving their bureaucracy, but there are other ways to deal with them too. Informed sources say that at least two lawyers disputing draft orders have abruptly been called up themselves. As the Army well knows, mobilized lawyers are automatically barred from practicing (The Economist. Feb 26, 2023). 


Again, this is not the first time we have heard that Ukraine and Zelenskyy are having a great deal of difficulty in getting their own citizens to fight in a war that people like Bret Stephens keep telling us is of the utmost importance – a very easy thing to say when it's not you or your family who have to go and fight in that war. 

Back in early February, we had another Politico article entitled “Ukraine Army Discipline Crackdown Sparks Fear and Fury on the Front. Critics say new legislation that punishes deserters and rule-breakers more harshly contravenes human rights and demotivates military personnel”. The article states:


President Zelenskyy refused to veto a new law that strengthens punishments for wayward military personnel on Thursday, rejecting a petition signed by over 25,000 Ukrainians who argue it's too harsh. “The key to the combat capability of military units and ultimately of Ukraine's victory is compliance with military discipline”, Zelensky said in his written response to the petition. Ukrainian soldiers have stunned the world with their resilience and battlefield successes withstanding a year-long onslaught from Russian troops.


But among Kyiv's forces, made up largely of fresh recruits lacking previous military experience or training, some are struggling to cope. There are those who have rebelled against commanders’ orders, gotten drunk, or misbehaved; others, running low on ammunition and morale, have fled for their lives, abandoning their positions.


Seeking to bring his forces into line, Zelenskyy in January signed into force a punitive law that introduces harsher punishments for deserters and wayward soldiers and strips them of their right to appeal (Politico. Feb 5, 2023). 


For me, this is classic neocon behavior. They feel so powerful and purposeful and compensate for their feelings of lifelong internal weakness, typically as men, by getting to write columns that glorify war and all of the courage that's required, the way in which we all get to be Winston Churchill, not by actually going to the frontlines and fighting, but by publishing columns condemning people whose backbone isn't quite as solid as people like Bret Stevens. 

But that's what neocons have always done. That's what they're notorious for, is they love to send other people's families to war. They love to demand that other people risk their lives in wars while they can find themselves writing articles with pretty language that elevates the cause and, most importantly of all, elevates themselves. And so, Bret Stephens can sit in the New York Times office and claim that a war over who controls the Eastern provinces of Ukraine is the single most consequential question of our time; that Joe Biden deserves reelection for getting this utmost question so correct when the people who actually have to go and fight in that war are seeking increasingly desperate ways to avoid doing so. But that is what neocons have been doing for the last 20 years. Almost none of them or their family members, their children, their siblings, or their relatives volunteered to fight in the wars that they were such fervent supporters of. 

To me, that is a classic attribute of neoconservatism, and few people illustrate that and embody it more than Bret Stephens. So, not only is his claim false, apparently, that the vast majority of Ukrainians are eager to fight to the very end, even to take back Crimea from Russia, but it reflects such a grotesque moral failing that year after year, decade after decade, someone like him uses nothing more than his pen and the safety of his life as a journalist to send people – millions, thousands and thousands and hundreds of thousands after the next – to wars, that they go die. And so that he gets to feel strong and purposeful. 

But note that this is what the Democratic Party, in his view, has welcomed. He realizes that if you look at where resistance to the war in Ukraine is growing, where there's anger over the fact that we're sacrificing the lives of our own citizens, not yet by sending them into the war zone, but by sacrificing their economic future – when people in East Palestine cannot get anyone to pay attention to their crisis when people are without healthcare coverage and the ability to send their kids to college or treat Fentanyl addiction, that we're sending hundreds of billions of dollars to this foreign war that not even the people of that country seem willing to fight in so that the neocons of the world can feel good about themselves. And they recognize that there's growing opposition to that mentality over the years in the Republican Party and that is why they've decided, quite wisely, that if you want support for endless warfare, you have to basically go to the Democratic Party. The vote back in May, just three months into the war over whether to send $40 billion to Ukraine, reflected that reality, reflected the correct perception by neocons that the Democratic Party is the place to go if you believe what they believe. 

Every single member of the Democratic Caucus and the House and the Senate voted yes. Not a single one had the courage to vote no, whereas at least seven or eight dozen Republican members of the House and Senate voted no. And there's clearly now growing reluctance, growing resistance among Republicans who now control the House in order to place strong limits on how much more aid we're willing to give to fuel this proxy war. Whereas I don't see any evidence of any resistance, let alone significant resistance on the part of the Democratic Party. And when you go down the list of neoconservative priorities, one after the next, you find exactly the same thing - the desire to change the regime of Bashar Assad, to bomb Libya and remove Muammar Gadhafi all found great support within the Democratic Party. There are a lot of Republicans who supported it, too, but at least there was a lot of opposition in the Republican Party because – going all the way back to Ron Paul, and the success he had, and then this new MAGA movement that emphasizes the need to avoid unnecessary wars – the fact that Trump boasts, as he should, of being the first president in decades not to involve the U.S. in a new war shows how hostile the Republican Party, long the host for neocons, has now become to neocons. And that is the reason that neocons are aligning with the Democratic Party. 

As I said, this is not a new development. This became very obvious from the early moments of the Trump presidency. Back in July of 2017, just six months into the Trump presidency, there was a creation of a new foreign policy group that was designed to essentially promote hawkish policies toward Russia and beyond. And the people who formed this group and the people who were financing it were essentially the who's who of the hawkish wing of the Democratic Party and neocons led by people like Bill Kristol. They were in a complete alliance. And that's why in July 2017, I wrote an article about this new group. It turned out this group was the group that sponsored and created the Hamilton 68 database that purported to be able to identify which themes were being pushed by Russian accounts on the Internet, a device that the Twitter Files just proved was completely fraudulent. But the evidence for me was very clear early on that what we were seeing was this brand new alliance between the Democratic Party and neocons that had to do with things far beyond their shared dislike of Trump. 

The headline under which I wrote was, “With New D.C. Policy Group Dems Continue To Rehabilitate And Unify With Bush-Era Neocons”. And the reason that was so amazing to me was that when I began writing about politics, there was nobody more hated by Democrats, leftists, or liberals. Then these Bush-era neocons. And so, to watch them form groups with these very same people and to cheer them and to buy their books and to applaud them on social media and to formalize this union was amazing to me as somebody who, again, had never watered down my contempt for neocons the way seemingly every Democratic liberal has. The subheadline here is “This union is far more than a marriage of convenience to stop Trump; it reflects a broad-based agreement on U.S. hawkishness toward Russia and beyond”. The name of the group was the Alliance for Securing Democracy. And here you can see the first paragraph of my article where I draw the conclusion that I was seeing,

One of the most under-discussed yet consequential changes in the American political landscape is the reunion between the Democratic Party and the country's most extreme and discredited neocons. While the rise of Donald Trump, whom the neocons loathe, has accelerated this realignment, it began long before the ascension of Trump and is driven by far more common beliefs than contempt for the current president. 

You know, I was constantly being asked by liberals and leftists of this time “What happened to you?”,  constantly being accused of having changed my core views. And I was being asked that and accused of that while I was watching those very same people obviously enter into an enduring and ideologically based alliance with the neocons, who they had long claimed were the most malicious force in American life. So, for sure they were right that someone had changed but it would seem clear to me that it wasn't me since my view of neocons had remained steady and unchanged. 

It was a very hard thing for liberals to start to justify and explain how is it the people that you most hated are people that you're now embracing and their excuse, the only one they could really offer, was “Look, we're not in agreement with neocons. We don't have any more in common with them than we ever did before. It's just an alliance of pragmatism. It's just an alliance of convenience. So, it's very temporary and that will disappear the minute Trump is gone”. 

The reason I knew that was a lie – and you can see that it ends up being a lie now that it is as strong as ever even without Trump anywhere near Washington – is that the movement toward creating this alliance between neocons and Democrats began well before Trump was even on anyone's mind as a major political actor. 

Here, for example, is an article in the New York Times, in 2014 – so, a year before Trump even announced his candidacy. The headline of it is “The Next Act Of Neocons”. It's by Jacob Heilbrunn, who's one of the most attentive and scholarly students of neocon behavior. And you can see here on the screen two figures: on the left is Hillary Clinton and on the right is Robert Kagan. Robert Kagan is a classic neoconservative. His entire family, the Kagan's, are all neocons, very influential neocons. And Robert Kagan also so happens to be married to Victoria Nuland, another neocon who is also highly influential and who ended up working both in Hillary Clinton's State Department as well as in John Kerry’s State Department, after serving as Dick Cheney's primary advisor on the War on Terror. 

Here is what the article is describing: 

After nearly a decade in the political wilderness, the neoconservative movement is back, using the turmoil in Iraq and Ukraine to claim that it is President Obama, not the movement's interventionist foreign policy that dominated early George W. Bush-era Washington, that bears responsibility for the current round of global crises. Even as they castigate Mr. Obama, the neocons may be preparing a more brazen feat aligning themselves with Hillary Rodham Clinton and her nascent presidential campaign, in a bid to return to the driver's seat of America's foreign policy. Other neocons have followed Mr. Kagan's careful centrism and respect for Mrs. Clinton. Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, noted in The New Republic this year that “It is clear that in administration councils she was a principled voice for a strong stand on controversial issues, whether supporting the Afghan surge or the intervention in Libya. And the thing is these neocons have a point. Mrs. Clinton voted for the Iraq war; supported sending arms to Syrian rebels. likened Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler; wholeheartedly backs Israel; and stresses the importance of promoting democracy (The New York Times. July 5, 2014). 


In other words, Hillary Clinton is and long has been a full-fledged supporter of virtually every key plank of neoconservative ideology. 

So, the article concludes, “It's easy to imagine Mrs. Clinton's making room for the neocons in her administration. No one can charge her with being weak on national security with the likes of Robert Kagan on board”. 

This is exactly what happened. There were all sorts of policies that the Obama administration supported what neocons also supported, including things like allowing the CIA to try and unseat Bashar Assad in a regime change operation, the bombing of Libya in order to remove Muammar Gadhafi and all sorts of other aggressive actions that Obama took in terms of bombing multiple Middle Eastern countries with drones. But one of the most aggressive critics of Obama for failing to do enough inside the administration was Hillary Clinton. And she was particularly scathing when it came to criticizing Obama for failing to confront Russia aggressively enough in Syria and in Ukraine. And the neocons saw that Hillary Clinton and her allies were not just hospitable to their agenda, but in many ways had become the most vocal and effective and devoted, and passionate advocates of the neoconservative worldview. That is when neocons began realizing that their future lay not with the Republican Party with it, but with the Democratic Party. And, again, while the emergence of Trump may have accelerated that – surely it did – it was a much broader and more fundamental shift in the dynamics of what these parties were that led neocons to believe, correctly, that they ought to align most with the Democratic Party. 

Just to give you an idea of how these neocons had been discussed by liberal media outlets, including people like Robert Kagan, who was on board with Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy, here's an article in The Guardian, from April 2008, so, during the Bush years, entitled “A neocon by any other name.” It's basically an article explaining that Robert Kagan, though trying to deny that that neocon title belongs to him, is in fact a classic neocon. The article says, 


Robert Kagan, author, essayist, former diplomat, pre-eminent thinker of what is called ‘neoconservatism’ – and now foreign policy adviser to Republican presidential nominee John McCain – would like it to be known that there are many things that he is not.  A hate figure for large sections of the left, Kagan has been blamed for many things, prominent among them being one of the intellectual authors and cheerleaders for the U.S.-led war in Iraq. So, when it comes to Kagan, the gloves are off. He has been denigrated for being a writer on Middle Eastern issues who knows no Arabic; an expert on military affairs who has not served in the military. Others have been stronger still, accusing him of ‘spewing out one falsehood after another’ about the progress of the war in Iraq.


But these days, Kagan is to be found in Brussels in the house provided by the U.S. State Department to his wife, Victoria Nuland, America's permanent representative to NATO, a pretty place with cherry trees blossoming in the extensive garden. It was these years that would shape Kagan's political thinking, which he would define in a seminal essay, written with William Kristol and published in the influential journal Foreign Affairs, in 1996, calling for a neo-Reaganite foreign policy. Writing in the middle of the Clinton presidency, they argued that U.S. conservatives were adrift. 


“Today's lukewarm consensus about America's reduced role in a post-Cold War world," they wrote, “is wrong." Conservatives should not accede to it; it is bad for the country and, incidentally, bad for conservatism. Conservatives will not be able to govern America over the long term if they fail to offer a more elevated vision of America's international role. What role would that be? Their answer was this: “Benevolent global hegemony. Having defeated the” evil empire” the United States enjoys strategic and ideological predominance. The first objective of U.S. foreign policy should be to preserve and enhance that predominance by strengthening America's security, supporting its friends, advancing its interest, and standing up for its principles around the world (The Guardian.  April 27, 2008). 


That's a really important reminder of how far back this history goes. Remember, as we've shown you before when George Bush ran against Al Gore in 2000. His critique of the Clinton foreign policy was not that it wasn't hawkish enough, but that it was too hawkish, that the U.S. was involved in too many wars, including in places like the Balkans, and that, in the words of George Bush, “a more humble foreign policy was needed’. Obviously, 9/11 changed that radically But this was already a fight going on in Republican Party politics. And people like Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan and his wife, Victoria Nuland, were already deeply concerned back then that Republicans were abandoning this posture of endless war. And we're starting to see in the likes of Madeleine Albright and Samantha Power and Hillary Clinton that, in many ways, Democrats were more hospitable to the neocon agenda. This has been an alliance long in the making. It now clearly culminated in what is very sturdy, and I would suggest a very enduring alliance. And it is based on something very real, which is that if you want to find anti war or anti-interventionist sentiment in Washington among elected officials, you need to go to the right-wing, populist wing of the Republican Party. But if you want to find a party that is a guaranteed vehicle for neoconservative aggression, that place is the Democratic Party. That's the reason why neocons are so closely aligned with Democrats now. It's the reason why people like Bret Stephens write in The New York Times that Joe Biden is one of the greatest moral leaders of our time and that a second term for Joe Biden is so urgent – something unthinkable a decade ago, or even a little longer, has become our reality: that neocons are not just part of the Democratic Party coalition, but when it comes to foreign policy, are its most influential thought leaders. 

These are the implications of today's New York Times op-ed. The reason why I wanted to spend so much time on it is that it sheds light on that history. We do want to turn to another story, which, as I mentioned at the top, is something we almost have to do because it's yet another instance of a very embarrassing media debacle. We just devoted the show last night to the way in which they essentially proclaimed that the lab leak theory of how COVID began was something that was “debunked” to the point where only crazy conspiracy theorists advocate for it. And it got to the point where people who believe in the lab leak theory were banned from even advocating that online only for it to turn out that at least major parts of the U.S. government, their most elite scientific teams believe. Although nobody knows for sure, in their view that the lab leak theory is not just viable, the more likely explanation for how COVID began. 

We have today another similar media debacle where the corporate media spent three years hyping this thing that they called the Havana Syndrome, which began with diplomats in Cuba claiming that their brains were being targeted and harmed by some kind of new sonic weapon that nobody had ever heard of. The media ultimately claimed that it was almost certainly Russia that was behind it in the attempt to pent up American anger and hostility toward Russia only for the parts of the government that actually want to gin up hostility toward Russia, admitting what we've seen evidence of for quite a long time now, which is that the whole thing, all along, was essentially a scam. 

Here we have from The Washington Post a new article today headlined, “Havana Syndrome Not Caused By Energy Weapon Or Foreign Adversary. Intelligence Review Finds”. The Post explains, 


The mysterious ailment known as a “Havana Syndrome” did not result from the actions of a foreign adversary, according to an intelligence report that shatters a long-disputed theory that hundreds of U.S. personnel were targeted and sickened by a clandestine enemy, wielding energy waves as a weapon. The new intelligence assessment caps a years-long effort by the CIA and several other U.S. intelligence agencies to explain why career diplomats, intelligence officials and others serving in U.S. missions around the world experience what they describe as strange and painful acoustic sensations. The effects of this mysterious trauma shortened careers racked up large medical bills and in some cases caused severe physical and emotional suffering.


Seven intelligence agencies participated in the review of approximately 1000 cases of “anomalous health incidents”, the term the government uses to describe a constellation of physical symptoms, including ringing in the ears, followed by pressure in the head and nausea, headaches and acute discomfort. Five of those agencies determined it was “very unlikely” that a foreign adversary was responsible for the symptoms, either as a result of purposeful actions – such as a directed energy weapon – or as the byproduct of some other activity, including electronic surveillance that unintentionally could have made people sick, the officials said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the findings of the assessment, which had not yet been made public (The Washington Post. March 1, 2023). 


Like everybody knows, who watches my show or has followed my journalism, I'm somebody who strongly believes that skepticism is warranted when the U.S. intelligence community makes claims. And this is a case where the Washington Post is reporting the findings of the intelligence community that essentially none of this happened. So, the question could be reasonably posed to me: Why am I willing to place faith in this conclusion of an intelligence community assessment given my long-standing skepticism toward reports by the intelligence community?

I have several answers to that I think is dispositive of the question. First of all, we have to distinguish, as every rational field of discipline does, between assertions that somebody makes that advance or promote their interests versus assertions that they make that undermine their own interests. So, for example, if the CIA makes a claim about an enemy of the CIA – Russia interfered in our elections; Russia was controlling Vladimir Putin; It was Russia that sabotaged its own pipeline – you should have a huge amount of skepticism because that's a case where the intelligence community is making assertions that advance its foreign policy agenda, its interests. 

But when the intelligence community makes statements that undermine their interests, when they admit that there's no evidence for a long-standing theory that accuses a U.S. enemy of some dastardly deed as they're doing here, then it's entitled to a lot more faith and confidence, because this is a case where the intelligence community is making claims contrary to their interests. And as I said, this is a concept that should be self-evident, logically. If someone says something that undermines their interest, that seems more trustworthy than someone making a claim that promotes their interest. But it's also recognized in the law, for example, most of you are likely familiar with the concept of hearsay, which is when a witness or somebody makes a claim outside of the courtroom and is unavailable to testify themselves about whether they said it. Someone is prohibited – under the rules of hearsay – from getting up on the stand and saying, so-and-so said this outside of the courtroom because it's so easy for a party to a lawsuit to make up claims that advance their own interest by claiming that somebody said something when the witness isn't there to say whether or not they actually said it. 

There's an exception, though, for when hearsay is actually admissible. There are several exceptions, but one of them is called a declaration against interest. I won’t delve deeply into the technicalities of what this means but, essentially, it's what I just said, that the law regards a statement by a witness as being more credible if that statement undermines the interest of the person saying it, then if it advances the interest of the person saying it. It's just a very common logical principle that we should be more skeptical of self-interested statements and more believing in ones that undermine our self-interest. 

But the evidence that all of this is fake has been available for years and comes from many more sources than just the U.S. intelligence community. I've been reporting on this story for years now and it's been very clear that there's no evidence for it. 

Here, in October 2021, for example, we did an in-depth video, I believe it was something like 90 Minutes, and the title of it was “The Latest CIA/Media Fraud: Claiming Cricket Mating Sounds Are A Russian Sonic Microwave Attack”. And this was in the wake of a study that had captured some of the noises that these diplomats claim they were hearing that they believe constituted the sonic attack. And they were able to prove that the noises that they were hearing were identical to the mating sounds that crickets make which are commonly found in the Caribbean, in places like Cuba.

In this video, we examined all kinds of evidence, including what became a publicly available, non-classified study that essentially said the reason that so many diplomats began reporting the same symptoms is that they were all hearing the media reports that this danger existed and that the media, by spreading this story, essentially created a form of mass psychosis, kind of a psychosomatic complex where people began believing that they were suffering from this disease, even though it didn't really exist, because the more people who claimed it, the more paranoia they experienced.

The report about the crickets is from the Colorado Spring Harbor Laboratory (Jan 4, 2019). The title of it is a “Recording of sonic attacks on U.S. diplomats in Cuba spectrally matches the echoing call of a Caribbean cricket”.

While the temporal pulse structure in the recording is unlike any natural insect source, when the cricket call is played on a loudspeaker and recorded indoors, the interaction of reflected sound pulse yields a sound virtually indistinguishable from the AP sample. 


The AP, Associated Press, had collected a sample of what these people were claiming they heard, and when they compared it to the cricket sound, it became indistinguishable.


This provides strong evidence that an echoing cricket call, rather than a sonic attack or other technological device is responsible for the sound and the released recording. Although the causes of the health problems reported by the embassy personnel are beyond the scope of this paper, our finding highlights the need for more rigorous research into the source of these ailments, including the potential psychogenic effects as well as possible physiological explanations unrelated to sonic attacks.

 So, in other words, what they were basically saying was – they were doing it very delicately because there were diplomats who were actually claiming that they were hearing these sounds. They wanted to take it seriously, and they were basically saying that the sounds are exactly the same as the crickets. That almost certainly came from the crickets. 

But let's remember as well just how implausible this whole story was from the start. The U.S. government had within its vast, sophisticated range of knowledge from employing some of the most sophisticated scientists on the planet, but they had no concept of what kind of technology would enable a country like Russia to go around the world with a little portable weapon, a sonic weapon, that would enable it to target the brains of American diplomats and disable and debilitate and cripple these brains. This is like a technology from the 25th century. It would have required a leap of centuries in technological advance on the part of the Russians to be able to do this in a way that the American government not only was unable to detect with their scientists but also with all of the surveillance instruments, they had no concept of how this possibly could have happened. 


Here now is a report from a group that was compiled by the U.S. government that was called JASON. It ended up being declassified. It's entitled “Acoustic Signals and Physiological Effects on U.S. Diplomats in Cuba” and they too essentially concluded the same thing: 

No plausible single source of energy (neither radio/microwaves nor sonic) can produce both the recorded audio/video signals and the reported medical effects [In other words, there's no technology that could do this]. We believe the recorded sounds are mechanical or biological in origin rather than electric. The most likely source is the Indies’ short-tailed cricket. 

The most likely source is a cricket. They have a picture of the cricket. And they go on to say, 


The call of the animal matches, in nuanced details, the spectral properties of the recordings from Cuba once room echoes are taken into account. 


A possible explanation for the reported symptoms is psychogenic illness, in part because the science is weak to declare any causal links from RF or acoustic weapons to brain injury without prior baseline measurements and a control group of similar background. 


It is also worth noting that psychogenic effects on vestibular function are common and the symptoms can be chronic. Although the JAMA paper dismisses such a “dizziness” theory, JASON believes psychogenic effects may serve to explain important components of the reported symptoms. 

Psychogenic effects is very polite - an euphemism for basically saying that these people imagined what it was that they were experiencing as a result of social influences, such as what we're about to show you.

It's hard to overstate how all of this is in the hands of the most fanatical disinformation agents in the country who are not QAnon, members who are not on Fortune, who are not operating within pro-Trump Facebook groups, but who work instead very tragically at the largest media corporations in the world, in their hands, watch what they did with this story that never had any evidence to it. 

Here is the first story. It was from NBC News and it was in 2019. And you're about to hear Andrea Mitchell and other top NBC News luminaries not only give greater credence to this story but place the blame in the lap of a nuclear-armed country. 


(Video 01:14:10) 

MSNBC: The mystery who or what caused American officials living in these Havana homes and several hotels to suffer headaches, dizziness and some serious brain injuries similar to a concussion? Last year, Cuban investigators told us they would never allow their territory to be used that way. But now Russia is the leading suspect, NBC News has learned, according to three U.S. officials and two others briefed on the investigation. Evidence they say, backed up by highly secret communications intercepts collected during a lengthy and ongoing investigation involving the FBI, CIA and other agencies. U.S. officials also tell NBC News investigators now believe the Americans were deliberately targeted. 


Juan Zarate, Senior National Security Analyst: This is not an accident. And those who think this is some sort of rogue operation I think are operating in a fantasy world. 


MSNBC: The State Department says it is still investigating. 


State Department Spokesperson: We have not assigned any blame and we continue to look into this. 


MSNBC: Why would Russia target American officials? [The] leading theory to disrupt President Obama's opening to the Cuban leader Raul Castro? No comment tonight from the Cubans or the Russians.  

I mean, it's – I almost want to play that for you again, because every single sentence is not just false, but incredibly dangerous and inflammatory and sensationalistic. And it's offered with almost no questioning or doubt at all. They acknowledge the CIA and the FBI are telling them this. They do what they always do, which is they take what they're told by individuals inside these agencies who are trying to gin up anger toward Russia. And the subtext always is that Russia is our enemy and President Trump is doing nothing about it because he's the victim of blackmail and can't, he's beholden to Putin. And they – for two straight minutes – just repeated over and over that it was basically proven that the Russians had developed an extremely advanced sonic weapon and were using it to target American diplomats and debilitate their brains. 

I've seen that many times and every time I watch it, it's just amazing, in part because these are the same people who will tell you every day and who really believe that the greatest threat to American democracy and all the values we hold dear in the West is disinformation. And these are the people who go and sit on panels where they talk about disinformation and how evil that is and how we can recognize it and how we can fight it. These are the people who want to censor the Internet and then aim to protect you from disinformation, even though some of these people are just so dumb that they'll believe anything the government tells them with no critical thought of any kind, while others are just malicious. They're purposely disseminating disinformation because it advances their political agenda to do so. 

I could show you clips like this all day, not just from NBC, but from CNN and many other places. But I'm just going to show you one more. Watch how the tone of this clip was manufactured, the kind of urgency of it and the certainty that they invoke, this authoritative tone. Anybody watching this who doesn't deeply distrust these people already would automatically assume it's true, given how authoritative they are in speaking and how little questioning or doubt they include in the report. Let's watch that. 


(Video 01:17:57] 

NBC News: Exclusive new reporting this morning from NBC News. Intelligence agencies investigating attacks on U.S. diplomats in Cuba and China now strongly suspect that Russia is to blame. 26 government workers in Havana had mysterious brain injuries starting in late 2016. And then this year, one U.S. worker in China was diagnosed with similar symptoms. Joining me now with more on this with NBC News intelligence and national security reporter Ken Dilanian. 

And so, this has been a mystery. The CIA, the FBI, other intelligence agencies have all been working to try to figure out what exactly happened here. Why do they suspect Russia now and what's the evidence that they have? 


K. Dilanian, intelligence and national security reporter: Well, it's still partially a mystery, Chris, but they have more and more evidence, they say. Three U.S. officials tell us, pointing to Russia, including communications intercepts that suggest that the Russian intelligence agency was involved now. And really, there were only three suspects from the beginning here, Russia, China and the Cubans. The Russian and Chinese intelligence services operate in force in Cuba. And it's still believed that it's possible that some element of the Cuban intelligence services cooperated with this. The other interesting thing we're reporting here is that one of the technologies used to injure these American spies and diplomats was some kind of microwave weapon that is so sophisticated, the Americans don't even fully understand it. And they've been testing some kinds of aspects of this technology. 


NBC News: So, kind of reverse engineering, is that what they're trying to do? 


K. Dilanian: Absolutely, Because, you know, the U.S. military has worked on microwave technology and tried to deploy it as weapons over the years. Apparently, the Russians have as well. And it can make people think they're hearing sounds. That's why initially this was thought to be a sonic attack of some sort, Chris.


NBC News: What do we know about the people? Were individuals targeted? Was it just a group that was targeted? And do we have any idea about a motive why these people – 


K. Dilanian: And then, again, these are only theories. But what our sources are telling us is that this was an intentional attack because initially people thought it could be a byproduct of some spying technology gone awry. But it's now believed that this was meant to hurt these spies and diplomats, some of whom have suffered serious brain injuries. And if this is confirmed that it was Russia, Chris, it would be a game changer because the sort of unwritten rules of the spying game are you don't go after the other person's spies and diplomats. You don't try to hurt them. You. I'm out of the country. But you don't. 


NBC News: So where are they in this investigation? I mean, are they close? Do they feel like they're at a place where they will have a definitive answer? 


K. Dilanian: They do believe that eventually they will be able to go down the track of possibly even indicting people. But they are far from that right now. They're not even willing to say within the U.S. government that they are 100% sure it was Russia. 


I mean, where do you start? None of that ever happened. They spent two and a half minutes talking about something that did not exist. And not just that, but they were explaining in great detail the evidence that proved that Russia did it, even though the “it” was made up and fabricated. 

And they're so dumb too. Did you see when she said, “So it's like kind of like reverse engineering, the microwave oven”? And he's like, “yeah, I mean, essentially that”. As I said, I really wish that there were times when we could just not have to talk about these people and not have to dissect the propaganda that they spew. But it's impossible because of how often they do it and because of how destructive it is when they do. NBC News is one of the most influential media outlets on the planet, even though nobody watches MSNBC primetime shows, NBC News itself has all sorts of gigantic ways of influencing not just American discourse, but discourse globally. And so the fact that they are spew – you could just watch them in real-time with the most serious and earnest faces spewing outright lies about things that don't even exist. 

You know, you run out of words at some point to just describe the contempt that they deserve. But to me, what it always comes down to is the same thing, which is if they had gone on the air yesterday and said, Hey, do you remember when we spent the first 18 months of the COVID pandemic mocking the people who were wondering whether this came from a lab leak, who thought that perhaps it's more than a coincidence that the exact lab where these kinds of viruses are studied and manipulated happens to be the exact place in the world where the virus began and maybe there's a connection… And we told you that the only people who were suggesting that were people who were insane conspiracy theorists because that had already been debunked and disproven and that scientists knew for sure that this had come from a zoonotic cause by leaping species. Do you remember when we told you that night after night after night and ruined the reputations – or tried to – of the people who were suggesting the lab leak might be viable only for us to now learn that even the most elite scientific units inside the United States government, at least some of them, not only believe that that lab leak theory we mocked and told you had been disproven is, in fact, not just viable but the most likely explanation. Well, we want to tell you we're really sorry for having misled you, so fundamentally misled you in the world. Here's what happened. Here's why we did that. Here are the steps we're going to take to ensure it doesn't happen again. We're, of course, retracting everything we said, and we apologize profoundly for having done so. And here's the accountability that is being brought to those most responsible. 

Or if they were, then the next day, go on the air and say, hey, do you remember when we were telling you for three years that Russia was way over every conceivable ethical line when it comes to international relations because they had developed a 25th-century sonic weapon that was beyond anyone's comprehension and they were using it to go around the world, destroying the brains of our diplomats? And then we learned today that even the aid agencies that we told you were the ones confirming this for us now have concluded and admitted that all along it was false, that everything we spent day after day after day after day telling you is a complete fairy tale and was total fiction. And we would like once again to apologize because this is now the 430th time in the last two years that we did exactly this. And here are the steps we're going to take. 

It's the fact that, of course, they don't do any of that. That is what causes the deepest form of my contempt because what that shows is not that they're so embarrassed about their failures that they want to pretend that it didn't happen, something they get away with because they live in a completely closed and insular system where the only people they care about and to whom and for whom they speak are liberals who want them to lie this way. It's not just that. It's something much more nefarious. It's that this kind of lying is their job. They're actually doing their job successfully and effectively by doing all of this. So that they know that's their job. So why would anyone ever apologize for having done their job well? Why would you implement steps to change the way that you're doing something when in fact you're doing exactly what it is that you're paid to do? This is another way of saying that the real agents of disinformation, the real people whose job it is to use the resources of the richest and most powerful corporations, are not the people that they claim are the disinformation agents. It's these people right here. And so, the fact that polling shows that the public holds these people in contempt and doesn't trust them and has come increasingly to see them as malicious influences in the world is something that I cheer that's urgent, that they're seen for what they are. And that's why I say that more of that is necessary. So, the reason we spend time dissecting these stories is in part because, as I said last night, it's a very important form of journalism to debunk journalistic deceit and journalistic propaganda. But another major reason is that it is healthy and important to identify the malicious actors in your society and to assemble in contempt for them and in opposition to them. And I think that is one of the most important functions independent media serves, is that independent media and only independent media have the ability to do that. And that's the reason why they are so intent on maligning and discrediting any of us who have large audiences in independent media, and if that fails, ultimately trying to use the power of the state and big corporations to have people in independent media censored because they know that their ability to get away with what they're doing depends upon their ability to either discredit dissent or – if that doesn't work as it's not working – to stamp it out altogether. And that is the war over information that is currently underway. 

And the thing that gives me the most optimism is the ability that independent media has, as evidenced by the success of our show after just two months, to have a very large audience that grows each week and each month and other shows in independent media as well. There clearly is a shift in power and influence out of the hands of these large media corporations and into the hands of the people who want to debunk propaganda rather than fortify it. And that's the reason why I decided to do this show, notwithstanding the fact that it's not easy to produce a show every single night, live, at a quality that I feel is necessary to do. It's because I believe this work is really necessary as the only real way to undermine people like this and to get the public to really regard them with the contempt that they so richly deserve and have really earned through their behavior. 


So that concludes our show for this evening. Thank you, as always. To those of you who watch, as we remind you, every Tuesday and Thursday, we have our aftershow live on Locals where we take your questions and feedback from our audience and comment on what it is that you have to say in reaction to our show. We take your ideas as well about topics to cover and guest interviews. And the fact that our journalism is now appearing there exclusively is all the more reason for you to join. It also helps the show, the more members that we have. So, the join button is right underneath the video on this page. It's in red, and if you click that, you'll be able to join our community. It helps strengthen the reporting that we're doing. It allows you to be a part of all the other things we're doing as well. 

Thanks, as always, to everybody who has watched. I hope to see you back tomorrow night and every night. 7 p.m. EST, live, exclusively here on Rumble.


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A Few Thoughts on Gratitude -- and Our Family's Ongoing Health Crisis

Despite the fact that my life has been dominated over the last eight months by my husband's ongoing health crisis, I have tried hard to avoid writing about it. In part it is because I'm well-aware that everyone's lives, at some point, will entail significant suffering and (except to us) there's nothing uniquely important or interesting about ours. In part it is because – especially ever since we began raising children – I have always tried to maintain at least some separation between the public and private parts of my life. In part it is because I strongly dislike the pervasive form of narcissistic "journalism" that entails little more than a desire to talk about oneself and one's feelings, dramas, and "traumas" dressed up as something more profound. And in part it is because I know that reporting and political commentary – and not personal reflections – is what my audience principally seeks, expects and desires.

Ever since David – on August 6, 2022: close to eight months ago – was very suddenly and unexpectedly hospitalized in ICU with a life-threatening illness, I have made exceptions on a couple of occasions by writing about all of this (the last article of any length that I wrote, back in November, contains details about his illness and trajectory and ours, for those interested). I had continued to post concise updates about his health online largely because I believe we owed updates to the Brazilian public about David, a then-Congressman seeking re-election, before we petitioned a court to withdraw his re-election campaign last October on health grounds. And even after we withdrew his candidacy, I have continued to post short updates because David, as an elected official, inspires a lot of love and support and people often ask about his recovery process.

But the primary reason I have also occasionally written or otherwise spoken about our family's situation (as I did with Megyn Kelly when she asked in January) is it is just impossible for me not to do so. None of us is a machine. I believe a major part of my ability to maintain a large and loyal audience for so many years is that they trust that -- even when they don't agree with particular views -- I'm speaking as honestly and authentically as I can. And there's just no way to maintain any form of authenticity if one is steadfastly concealing the singular event shaping every day and affecting essentially everything: from my sometimes-reduced work output to my energy levels to my emotional state.

But I have tried hard to avoid writing about our family's ongoing crisis unless I believe I have something worthwhile to say about it. That was what caused me to write about this the last time back in November, on the three-month anniversary of his hospitalization, when a Brazilian news outlet published a lengthy profile of how our family has navigated this deeply difficult process. I felt I had a couple of thoughts to share then that were worthwhile for others to hear. That was not because I believed these insights were unique epiphanies which I and I alone have had (they are not). It was because some core truths can really be understood – not rationally comprehended but viscerally ingested – only from an intense form of emotional suffering and pain of the kind my family and I have endured since August. 

While I have had my fair share of sad experiences of the kind most people encounter – the loss of my grandparents and parents being chief among them – the unexpected and repeated flirtation with death over the last eight months by my 37-year-old, previously healthy, and very physically fit and strong spouse is unlike anything I have ever imagined I would have to face. Nothing is close. This is a different universe of despair, fear and sadness than anything I have previously known. It continues to permeate every physical and emotional pore of my life.

And all of that is, in turn, made more difficult by the fact that I have the responsibility to do everything possible to support our children as they have had to endure the absence and contemplate the loss of a parent at time when kids of their age (now young teenagers) most need parents, all while I have to accept that there are major limits on my ability to protect them because I cannot fix the core cause of their suffering. I have not yet encountered a pain worse than having to watch your own children suffer without having the ability to stop it and I hope never to do so.

At the same time, the responsibility to do everything to support our kids through all of this has been the most potent source of motivation and energy for me. Mine and David's kids, and the responsibility to care for them, has been what has provided the most comfort and strength. The moments when I have been able to lessen their pain or when they provide to me moments of relief and levity, and when I could see our family strengthening and unifying through this and as a result of it, have been some of the most gratifying of my life.


I am choosing to write about this again now only because I have a couple of new thoughts from the events of the last several months that may be interesting or even helpful to others. To start with the bottom-line and relatively good progress report: each month that David has been hospitalized, his condition, on net, has improved as compared to the previous month. In other words, after arriving at the hospital on August 6 in an extremely grave condition from a suddenly inflamed and infected abdominal region that quickly spread via his blood to multiple organs, he has made some progress each month toward recovery.

But that progress is invariably slow, incremental, arduous and almost always spiked with setbacks and complications that are alarming, devastating, exhausting and at times potentially fatal. Even with all of these improvements, he is still in ICU – he has not left since his arrival almost eight months ago – and nobody can or will say that his survival is fully guaranteed. But nothing is guaranteed in life – that is most definitely one of the lessons this has forever drummed into my head – and his prognosis is now good, certainly far better than at any time since this began.

Starting in the first week, there have been three occasions when his doctors called me and told us to prepare for the worst, that his chances for survival over the next 48 to 72 hours were very low, close to impossible. That is independent of the multiple times when the news was grim but did not descend to that level. I won't even bother trying to explain what it's like to have to tell your children and your husband's family and best friends that it is time to go to the hospital for what is likely to be the last time, nor will I try to put into words what it is like to simultaneously have to endure it yourself while doing everything you can to help your kids get through moments like that. But somehow – for reasons even the best doctors in Rio de Janeiro admit they cannot explain – he navigated past each of those. And each time, he has somehow found a way to continue to improve.

The most important part of David's ongoing recovery is that he is now almost always fully awake, communicative, alert, aware, interactive and increasingly strong. Other than the first six weeks -- when he was basically in a medically induced coma – there have been some moments when he was mildly awake and communicative. But it is only in the last eight weeks when this is his normal state. Although his verbal communication is still impeded by his need to depend sometimes on a ventilator for breathing assistance, that is less and less the case. When he is off the ventilator, which is now most days, he is able to speak with the use of a device that captures enough air to allow him to be heard in his normal voice (even when he is off the ventilator, the machine remains connected to him through the tracheostomy in his windpipe, which is why he needs a device to speak). 

None of David's problems has ever been neurological or cognitive, and so I always believed he would have no impairments of that kind despite months of heavy sedation and disorientation. And that, very thankfully, has turned out to be the case. There is a mountain of studies on the long-term psychological trauma of prolonged ICU stays (which means a few weeks, not 8 months and counting), and the radical personality changes that often result. I have seen little to no evidence of that in David. His personality, his sense of humor, his recollection, even the way he playfully insults me the way only a spouse of 17 years can are all remarkably constant. While I have no doubt that all of us, but especially he, will have long-term work to do in treating the psychological impact from all of this, I don't feel, when I'm in his ICU room, that I'm speaking to an altered or partial version of David but rather to David himself, as I have always known him.


And that leads to the primary point I want to emphasize. Over the last four or five weeks, I have been able to spend both weekend days with David for up to twelve hours each day. I try to ensure the kids do not stay longer than an hour or two because I try to keep their lives as normalized as possible. I go there when he wakes up and is communicative and only leave to eat, exercise, and then when he falls asleep. 

There's obviously not much we can do in his ICU room. Sitting at his bedside and talking, or watching films and series together, are essentially the only two options. So that is what we do: sometimes together with our kids, usually just the two of us. And the amount of joy and happiness and gratification and fulfillment which that provides is absolutely impossible to express. It is unlike the joy anything else has ever provided me in my life. 

There were months when I was very doubtful about whether I would ever again have this simple pleasure: just sitting and talking to him. During those first particularly excruciating months, I found myself wanting nothing other than that: just the ability to sit next to him again and talk. And now I have that, at least for now.

I still do not know for sure how much longer I will have it: is it just yet another stage of the cruelty that this process has entailed of making me repeatedly believe he was getting better only to receive one gut punch after the next that made me believe the opposite was happening? Is there some new infection lurking around the corner or some virus returning that cannot be managed without a regime of toxic medication that imposes more burden than his liver and bone marrow can sustain? I do not know for how long what we have now will last.

But that was always true. We just never realized it before. Every day since 2005 that David and I woke up and went to sleep and shared and built our lives and careers together and then began raising our children together, we assumed – due to our age and health and hubris – that we would have that for decades to come, as if it were a guarantee, as if the universe had provided us with some enforceable contract that entitled us to assume this belonged to us and could not be taken away. And because we assumed it, we took it for granted. And because we took it for granted, we often ceased valuing it the way it deserved to be valued.

These days, especially on the weekends, I wake up excited and eager. That is not because I have anything exotic or glamorous or unique planned. It is because, at least for the moment, I get to do something that I – before last August – had been able to do every day for seventeen years but just treated as banal, ordinary, and thus unworthy of celebration: just sitting and talking to the person I was born to share my life with, my soul-mate, my best friend, the one love of my life. 

There is nothing anyone could offer me – no amount of money, no career opportunity, no trip, no gift, nothing – that would come close to the intensity and depth of the joy I get from just sitting for hours and talking to David about anything and everything, from recalling past memories, reminding ourselves of future plans (including adopting a girl in 2023 for our kids to have a younger sister), hearing his ample views on my Rumble program that he is only now able to see (mostly positive though with some pointed stylistic, fashion and substantive critiques), to discussing how best to handle our kids' various issues, to bickering over his grievance that I excessively praised certain films and shows I was eager for him to see and thus made him watch. There is nothing anyone could offer me that would even tempt me to consider as an alternative to spending the day with David in his ICU room - something I do not out of burden or obligation or with a sense of dread (as happened many times in the last seven months when things were so much worse and he was barely conscious and often unstable) but out of excitement and joy and connection.

It is extraordinary how often we spend so much of our lives chasing things we have been told to value and desire all while, right under our nose, the things that actually make us happiest and most fulfilled are just sitting there, often devalued because they seem too simple or too familiar or already acquired. It should not take the fear of losing something for us to take the time to realize how much we value it. 

One day, a year or so after we adopted our kids, I had spent about an hour just randomly sitting on the floor of the oldest one's room chatting and laughing aimlessly with both of them, interspersed with a few mildly serious discussions of the future. None of what was said was particularly memorable, though that is the point. As I was leaving the room to return to work, I felt a joy and fulfillment and deep purpose I had not really felt before – not despite the simplicity of what had just happened but because of it. Humans are social animals and those of us lucky enough to develop and enjoy deep and genuine human connections possess that which is most valuable in the world, even if we fail to realize the value of it.

One of the inherent, centrally defining and universal attributes of being human is that nothing in our lives is permanent. We know rationally that we will eventually lose everything – including the things and people we most love and value, culminating in our own lives on the planet –  but we never know how or when it will happen. Yet that knowledge somehow fails to prevent us from falsely assuming that the things we have that we most value – starting with life itself, our health, our family and friends – will be with us forever, and there is thus no reason to go out of our way on any given day to embrace them or honor them or feel gratitude for them or to be present to how beautiful they are.

There is an emerging body of neurological studies proving that the affirmative act of seeking gratitude – as opposed to just passively experiencing gratitude – produces positive and healthy chemical reactions in our brains. When good things happen to you – you get a new job you want or earn a raise; someone you like expresses reciprocity; you receive praise or recognition for what you have done – gratitude comes easily and passively. It is automatic: one does not need to search for it.

But even in the most difficult moments, we still have things which merit gratitude. And remembering that and then going on a hunt for them, though often hard, is immeasurably helpful.

For the first two months of David's illness, the worst part of each day was waking up. In those two to three second after awakening -- before my defenses were up, before I could even orient myself to the state of being awake -- the renewed agony washed over me as I realized what was happening. That was often immediately compounded by looking at the empty space in the bed which he had always occupied. There were many days back in August, September and October where I never recovered from the sadness and fear of the first several seconds of my day. It shaped everything that followed for the remainder of each day, including my physical and mental state.

That only changed when -- following some wise advice -- I deliberately began seeking gratitude as my first act after awakening. Instead of wallowing in despair and fixating on what was bad (David's absence and life-threatening illness), I chose instead to focus on what was good: David is alive; our kids are healthy, and they are amazing, well-adjusted, happy, loving kids; I have my health and the ability to do everything that could be done for David and our kids. When I say seeking gratitude was a choice, that's what I mean. It was something I pushed myself to do as soon as I felt that dread and misery returning. It was never easy. Defaulting to a focus on the bad parts of life is always effortless; it is where inertia and inaction will take you. Rejecting that requires force, determination and struggle. Though it is a bit cliché, it is nonetheless true that we cannot control many events in our lives but we can always choose how we interpret and view them.

When I started to do that, it changed everything. Wallowing in despair helps nobody. It weakens and depletes, prevents you from doing what you can to take all the actions possible to support those whom you most want to support. Seeking, finding and embracing gratitude for the things in my life that merit it even gave me more physical strength: I was able to work out more and more, to do more and more exercise, to pay far more attention to my diet. And all of those phsyical activities and the strength that it produced, in turn, strengthened my emotional state, for reasons now demonstrated by multiple neurological studies. None of that meant there were no more hard days. There were many, some close to unbearable. There still are. But there are no days any longer when I wonder whether I can or should be doing more for those I love most – especially David and our kids. You can't transmit positive energy and optimism and encouragement and faith and strength to someone unless you actually have and feel it yourself.

What remains most astounding to me is that – after all these years, these decades, of running and chasing and striving and reaching and grabbing and struggling and pursuing – everything that I actually need for core happiness, fulfillment and gratitude are things I already have and have had for a long time. That starts with my ability to just share moments of lucid, connected, genuine and loving conversations, whether simple or complex, with my life partner and now with our kids. 

And while I don't know how many days or weeks or months I will have this - I don't even know if I'll have it tomorrow when I wake up or whether the doctor's daily morning call will contain news of some unexpected negative development  – that's true of everything. That was true long before David was hospitalized. Nothing is guaranteed. The only difference is that while I am now painfully aware of this, I spent most of my life being unaware of it, of taking it for granted. 

And the lack of permanence of those things that provide us the greatest happiness does not make them less valuable. That is what makes them valuable. Their impermanence is the reason to grab them, hold them, appreciate them, and honor them every day that we have them and are thus able to do that.

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Who Radicalized the Nashville Shooter? Plus: New “Anti-TikTok” Law Could Censor ALL Social Media
Video Transcript: System Update #61


Note From Glenn Greenwald: The following is the full show transcript, for subscribers only, of a recent episode of our System Update program. Watch the full episode on Rumble or listen to the podcast on Spotify

Police have identified the suspect who carried out a gruesome mass shooting spree at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee. The massacre resulted in the deaths of six people, including three young children. Police say the likely killer, 28-year-old Audrey Hale, attended the school as a biological female and now identifies as a transgender male. We have repeatedly condemned the now pervasive media practice of leaping to instant conclusions before the bodies are even cold about the motives of killings of this type in order to heap blame on their political opponents, always by claiming that right-wing ideology inspired the shooter to act. We will do the same tonight - condemn that. But in order to illustrate how rotted this tactic is and in the hope that one day it will cease being used, we will apply that framework to this massacre in order to ask the following questions: who and what radicalized this shooter in Nashville to carry out such an atrocity? What ideology was responsible for it? And which advocates of that ideology tonight have blood on their hands? 

Then we'll revisit the topic we reported on last week, the Biden administration's demand that it be vested with the power to ban the social media app TikTok. We won't repeat the various arguments for and against that ban, but we will instead urge you to really consider the implications of the actual law that they are trying to enact, one that extends far, far beyond TikTok, as well as to look at the possible First Amendment implications of banning an app which 150 million Americans are voluntarily choosing to use. 

We'll also examine MSNBC's bizarre exploitation of antisemitism last week as a means of barring discussion of George Soros’ very ample political donations, as well as look at a highly revealing new video from 2014 from Jen Psaki, when she was the State Department spokesperson, about the role of the U.S. in facilitating regime change in Ukraine. 

As a reminder, every episode of System Update is now available in podcast form on Spotify, Apple and every other major podcasting platform. In order to listen to it in that forum, which airs 12 hours after our show airs live here on Rumble, simply follow us on those podcast platforms.

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update starting right now. 


There was a truly horrific attack today carried out at a private school in Nashville, Tennessee. The facts are still emerging, but what is known is the following. There were six people, innocent people who were murdered by the mass shooter, three of them young children, two of them nine years old, the other eight years old, as well as three employees of the school including a custodian and a substitute teacher and apparently one of the heads of the school. According to the Nashville Police Department, they know who the killer is – who died as part of the police operation. 

From the local newspaper, The Tennessean, you have the headline, “Nashville School Shooting Updates: shooting suspect identified.” The article reads:


Metro Nashville police say a former student carrying two assault rifles and a handgun killed three students and three adults at the Covenant School in Nashville, Monday, March 23. The suspect, who police have identified as a 28-year-old transgender man, entered the school through a side entrance and began shooting. Shortly before 10:30 a.m., police responded to the school and were able to locate the suspect on the second floor of the school in a lobby where they fatally shot him (The Tennessean. March 27, 2023).


We have a video we want to show you from the chief of police of the Nashville Police Department talking about the episode, and whom they identify as the person responsible for this incredibly tragic massacre. 



Nashville PD: Yes, we have identified the suspect as a 28-year-old female white, actually a Nashvillian [or who] lives in the Nashville area. We have an ongoing investigation as it pertains to her. 


Reporter: [Have you] located her place, where she lived? Do you have officers there?


Nashville PD: We have. We have.


Reporter: Was she wearing body armor? 


Nashville PD: I can’t say that far into the investigation. I don't remember saying it, but I can't say for certain if she had body armor or not. 


Reporter: Does she have any connection to the church?  


Nashville PD: From my initial findings – is that at one point she was a student at that school but unsure what year, all of that. But that's what I've been told so far. 


Reporter: Did she have any social media or has her media been examined at this point? 


Nashville PD: The investigations are still ongoing at this point. Our federal partners, our state partners, we're all looking into that to see exactly. This is still fluid at the time, but we're looking at everything. 



You notice in that clip, the police chief repeatedly referred to the killer as she and her. That appears to be what is commonly known as misgendering, because later in the press conference, the police chief acknowledged that the shooter identifies as a male, identifies as a trans male, numerous social media postings and other profiles from the person who is the shooter also identifies himself as a trans man. 

One of the most despicable media practices, which we have very often, is that every single time there's a shooting of this type, the media instantly seeks to politicize it in accordance with their own agenda. And that means one of two things happens. If there is some way to suggest that the shooter is in any way an adhering to or a believer in conservative political ideology before anything is even known about the motive, the media narrative will instantly arise that it isn't just the killer, but also people who identify or who advocate that ideology who are the people to blame for the massacre. This has happened over and over and over again to the point that we have written about it many times before. 

Here is the article – back in May of last year, you probably remember – that a white shooter went to a neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, where he knew that there was a large population of black people and walked into a grocery store and shot up the grocery store and killed several innocent people and overnight, or even before the night was over, the media had decided that the person to blame was not only the shooter but also Tucker Carlson, the Fox host, as well as a variety of other conservatives who have expressed concerns about immigration in the United States and the levels of it. And the argument, the rationale that they used was the shooter had left the manifesto in which he invoked what he referred to as “the great replacement theory”, namely the concern in his view that the United States was being radically and purposely, fundamentally altered because there was an attempt to import into the United States nonwhite immigrants in order to replace the white population. And since he believes that there is no such thing as a legitimate nonwhite American citizen, he believes he was justified in murdering those that he regards as illegitimately in the United States, namely all nonwhite people. 

What was so despicable about the attempt to keep the blame on people like Tucker Carlson and those who have expressed concerns about immigration in the past, or even people who have noted the truthful observation that Democratic Party strategists have long celebrated the fact that immigration was demographically changing the United States in the favor of the Democratic Party, as they perceived it because nonwhite voters were more likely to vote for Democrats. That was the argument of Democratic strategists. They wrote books about it.  Immigrants were replacing the prior demographic makeup of the United States, and that would lead to a permanent Democratic majority. Anybody who noted that was what Democrats were saying they wanted to do was instantly blamed for that shooting in Buffalo, even though the killer in Buffalo left a manifesto identifying by name the people who he said had influenced him in his worldview that caused him to go and do that shooting. And it was a very long list. Not one person on Fox News or any conservative in mainstream American conservative politics was on the list. The only mention of Fox News in that manifesto was one that criticized and blamed Fox for being part of the establishment, the killer in Buffalo thought was responsible for all of those problems. But none of that mattered. There was at least a weeklong coverage of an attempt to say that Tucker Carlson and those who thought like him were the actual murderers because he and those like him had radicalized the Buffalo shooter. 

So, we wrote this article, “The Demented – and Selective – Game of Instantly Blaming Political Opponents for Mass Shootings”. And the subheadline there says, “All ideologies spawn psychopaths who kill innocents of its name. Yet only some are blamed for their violent adherents: by opportunists cravenly exploiting the corpses while they still lie on the ground”. Because that's exactly what happened in Buffalo and it's what happened in many other cases. 

The reason I said it was selective is that every political faction produces people who carry out violent acts. I reviewed the case of James Hodgkinson, who, in 2017, went and deliberately shot as many Republican members of this Congress as he could, almost murdering Steve Scalise. And it turned out he was an ardent fan of Rachel Maddow and of Bernie Sanders and carried out those attacks explicitly in the name of the arguments, which both regularly advanced, that the Republican Party is racist and fascist and a white supremacist party and is connected to Russia. He left all kinds of documents

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Mask-Off: US Reveals Real Intentions in Ukraine. Plus: Reporter Anya Parampil Confirms NSA Spied on Tucker

We finally have clarity and honesty about the real motives and goals of the U.S. proxy war in Ukraine. For more than a year, Biden officials and supporters of their war – in both parties – have insisted that the decision of when to end this war and under what terms lies solely with President Zelenskyy in Ukraine; the United States has no role to play at all in that decision. Even though the U.S. and its NATO allies are providing the bulk of the arms and money to fuel this war, Biden officials have been maintaining the pretense that they have no say when or how the war ends. They're simply there to help Ukraine. But now, with opposition growing in both the world and within the Republican Party and with China increasingly playing an effort to forge a peace deal, as they just did with Saudi Arabia and Iran, U.S. officials are panicking and becoming increasingly explicit and candid that they are indeed the one driving these decisions and that their goals - which have been telegraphed for years, we will show you - that they not only oppose any efforts to end this war diplomatically, but insist that it continue indefinitely, precisely because their real goal is and always has been not to protect and defend Ukraine, but to sacrifice it. 

Then, Fox News host Tucker Carlson created controversy and provoked widespread media mockery when he claimed in 2021 that he had proof his communications were being spied on by the NSA. That mockery happened because our wise and savvy media lead us to know that the NSA would never abuse its spying powers for political lines or to spy on journalists. But now a left-wing journalist promptly has come forth with confirmation of Carlson's claims. We'll talk to her about her role in this story, what she knows, what she's telling for the first time this week, and how and why she's appeared on his platform despite her longstanding foreign policy views often associated with the left. 

For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update starting right now. 


The war in Iraq, or rather, Ukraine - is now more than a year old. The war in Iraq is on my mind because the 20th anniversary is coming up and many of the same arguments that were assembled to justify it are the same ones now assembled to justify the U.S. proxy war in Ukraine. 

In fact, I was looking at a video earlier today of George Bush and others saying that the reason we had to go fight in Iraq and invade Iraq is that we'd rather fight them over there than fight them over here. And I saw a video earlier today of California Democrat Adam Schiff saying exactly the same thing about the U.S. proxy war in Ukraine. Namely, the reason we must fight Russia over in Ukraine is that, if we don't, we'll have to fight them over here. Presumably, the Russian army is on the verge of attacking the American homeland right after it gets done trying to hold a town or two for more than three months in Ukraine, confident that it can conquer the American homeland, despite spending 1/15 in its military of what the United States spends. 

in any event, ever since that war began in Ukraine, more than a year ago, there have been two primary claims emanating from Washington, from defenders of this war policy who are the majority wings of both political parties. Yet again, we have complete bipartisan support with only some dissidence in the Republican Party and a few on the left, but not in the Democratic Party. Washington is united, as it usually is on such matters, and those two arguments have been the following. 1) the United States has no role whatsoever in the war in Ukraine in terms of deciding how this war will end and under what terms it will end. That decision is left solely to the Ukrainians and to President Zelenskyy because, after all, it's their country, not ours. And “we're just here to help” like we always do. We just want to help Ukraine and whatever Ukraine decides is best for them – having a diplomatic solution to the war, to end the war, continuing the war for as long as they want, that's totally their decision. We have no say at all in any of that because we're not interfering in that region. We're just helping. We're just helping. We're providing them with aid and assistance. We don't even have a position; we’re agnostic, whenever Zelenskyy wants, that's what we do. That's been the position.

Unfortunately, for people who have been claiming that, it's no longer tenable because China is now in that region trying to forge a peace agreement like it just did two weeks ago between Iran and Saudi Arabia, one of the most consequential peace agreements in that region in years in which the United States had absolutely no involvement because it was so focused on Ukraine, a country that Washington forever has said is not a vital interest to the allied states. But now our focus is so overwhelmingly on Ukraine and our money, and our weapons are going exclusively to that region that China waltzed into this much more important region and forged a peace deal. And now that they're trying to do so with President Xi in Moscow, U.S. officials are starting to panic and becoming much more candid about the reality that, of course, it's the United States that decides if and when a peace deal will be accepted and if and when this war will end. And as we're about to show you, what has been clear from the start is now made explicit, which is that the United States has no interest in having this war end because the goal is not it never was to protect Ukraine, but instead to destroy Ukraine, to offer it as a pawn, to sacrifice it at the altar of our real geostrategic goal of weakening Russia by entrapping Russia in Ukraine. And that only works if we entrap them in a war as long as possible. If that war ends too early, before Russia is destroyed, before we achieve regime change, we haven't really achieved our goal. So, we want to keep that war going and we're going to use our power over Zelenskyy, which we've had not since the war began, but way long ago, since 2014, in order to ensure that war continues. And we can show you the proof now that the U.S. officials are losing control of their message, finally revealing the truth inadvertently. 

The other claim that has been emanating from the bipartisan defenders of Biden's war policy in Ukraine is that 2) the United States has no role to play whatsoever in Ukraine. Never did. We had no role there. We're just minding our own business. Ukraine is this totally independent, thriving democracy, bravely fighting for its core civil liberties and independence from Russia and one day Vladimir Putin decided he was going to invade Ukraine for totally imperialistic and malicious ends, having nothing to do with the United States or NATO or the West. We only got involved because we needed to help this democracy because that's what we do. We defend democracy. We arm, fund and support people who believe in democracy and we vanquish tyranny. And we're very, very opposed to wars of aggression of the kind Vladimir Putin launched, even though the current president, Joe Biden, like pretty much everybody who wields power in Washington,

of the invasion of Iraq, of the bombing of seven Muslim countries over the last 15 years. We took our army, we packed it up, we sent it to the other side of the world, we invaded a country of 26 million people that wasn't remotely threatening our own and we stayed there and destroyed it for over a decade. And then we left. 

And now the very people who did that look in the camera and they say, we're in Ukraine because we believe in the rules based international order. The very same people who tell you that send arms and money to the world's worst despots, including Saudi Arabia, with whom President Biden exchanged an affectionate fist bump with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. We send arms to General Sisi in Egypt, to the United Arab Emirates, to Jordan, to Qatar, and to despots all over the world. And yet they still tell you we have no role to play whatsoever in Ukraine. We're just there to help save democracy and vanquish authoritarianism and despotism because we like democracy and dislike despotism. 

And yet, some newly uncovered videos by several independent journalists, including Michael Tracey and others that are incredibly interesting, where Chris Murphy, the Democrat from the very blue state of Connecticut, who's regarded as a liberal, went in 2014 with the pro-war wing of the Republican Party, John McCain, in particular, not only to support the people overthrowing the democratically elected government of Ukraine because that government was too hostile to the West and too favorable to Moscow - not only did they go and do that - but the things Chris Murphy said at the time are incredibly revealing. This is because he didn't realize that one day the United States government was going to have to claim the exact opposite. So, we're about to show you those videos that are incredibly revealing, along with a few others that really put together the story in a very comprehensive and compelling way. 

The entire concept that the U.S. had no role to play in Ukraine, that it wasn't involved in the governance right on the other side of the border of Russia, in fact, the most vulnerable part of the Russian border – the part of the border that West Germany specifically twice invaded. Russia used that part of the border during the 20th century, killing tens of millions of Russians. They're pretty sensitive about that region. They're particularly sensitive when it comes to Western tanks and even German tanks rolling up to that part of the border, which is now happening as a result of Germany's decision to send German tanks to Ukraine to use against Russia, something that Germans swore would never happen again, that they would never send their military up to the Russian border. That was supposed to be the whole premise of the post-World War II order when it came to both Eastern and Western Europe and yet we have that again, along with German re-militarization and French re-militarization. Imagine what that looks like from Moscow's perspective. 

But the entire idea that we weren't involved in Ukraine intimately and directly and aggressively since the change of government in 2013 is long been so preposterous that it's amazing that anyone could say it with a straight face, in part because let's remember the scandal of Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and Burisma energy – not the part of the scandal that people like to talk about, the part of the scandal that even Biden administration supporters admit is genuine. Namely, you have this energy company, Burisma, that was facing serious legal problems with a prosecutor in Ukraine and another legal jeopardy as well and they did what American companies often do when they're facing legal jeopardy, which is they thought to themselves, let's try and get on our side, by paying them, someone with access to power so that we're protected. That's a common thing for a company to do. But no, the Burisma did not go looking for the son or a relative of a Ukrainian official, which is what you would do if Ukrainian officials were running Ukraine. They instead went and looked for the son of the United States Vice-President Joe Biden. Why would Burisma, an energy company facing legal problems in Ukraine, try and curry favor with Joe Biden to protect itself from prosecutorial pressure if Ukraine is a sovereign and democratic country in which the United States plays no role? Obviously, they did that because the real country running Ukraine for the last eight years, right on that side of the Soviet mob, the Russian border, has been the United States. And anyone who knows anything about that series of events knows that that's true. And that alone proves it, that Burisma's actions reflected their recognition of who the real power in Ukraine was. It wasn't Ukraine. It wasn't the elected leaders of Ukraine. It was the United States. 

In case anyone had any doubts about that, all we have to remember is that Victoria Nuland, who worked in the Clinton administration and then ended up as Dick Cheney's top adviser on the Iraq war – obviously, did a smashing job there – and then, despite being a neocon involved in what the Democrats claim was a criminal war, ended up waltzing right into the Obama administration at the highest levels of Hillary Clinton’s State Department, when President Obama replaced George Bush as president, in 2008, and ultimately ran European policy for John Kerry State Department and specifically Ukraine, and she got caught on tape – the top official in the State Department in charge of Ukraine, Victoria Nuland, who's still running Ukraine for the United States and the Biden administration – picking the Ukrainian leader. It had nothing to do with any democratic processes in Ukraine. The Ukrainians had already chosen their president. That was the president who won a five-year term in 2010 and was supposed to serve until 2015 but, instead, Americans like John McCain and Chris Murphy and almost every other official, as we're about to show you, traveled to Kyiv to work with those trying to overthrow the government of Ukraine and replace the democratically elected leader with one far more amenable to being a puppet to the two states and NATO. That's the history of Ukraine. 

And here is Victoria Nuland, just the relevant part of the clip in which she did it, it can never be heard enough times. This – remember when they tell you that Ukraine is a democracy we’re there to protect – is how the actual leaders of Ukraine are selected (Feb.4, 2014). 


This is the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt speaking on a phone call with Victoria Nuland in a conversation that leaked and that we all now get to listen to.


Geoffrey Pyatt:  Yeah. I mean, I guess. Well, in terms of him not going into the government, just let him sort of stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I'm just thinking in terms of, sort of the process moving ahead, we want to keep the moderate and democrats together. The problem is going to be [Oleh] Tyahnybok and his guys. And, you know, I'm sure that's part of what [President Viktor] Yanukovych is calculating on all of this.  


Victoria Nuland: I think Yats is the guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the guy, you know. what he needs is Klitschko and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitschko going in, he's going to be at that level, working for Yatsenyuk. It's just not going to work.  


Geoffrey Pyatt:  Yeah, no, I think that's – I think that's right. Okay, good. Would you want us to try to set up a call with him as the next step? 


Victoria Nuland: My understanding from that call, but you tell me, was that the big three were going into their own meeting and that Yats was going to offer in that context, a three-way, you know, a three-plus-one conversation or three-plus-two with you. Is that not how you understood it? 


Geoffrey Pyatt:  No, I think I mean, that's what he proposed. But I think just knowing the dynamics, it's been with them where […] 


What a weird democracy, isn't it? – where Victoria Nuland and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine picked the leader of the country. 

By the way, that plan they laid out, the one Victoria Nuland endorsed, ended up being exactly what happened. That's exactly how the Ukrainian leaders were chosen. These Ukrainian leaders were meeting with the United States intelligence agencies, to try and convince them that they should be the person who should lead of Ukraine. And that's exactly what happened. So, this entire narrative that Ukraine is a democracy, they're fighting for their sovereignty, they want to be free of foreign influence, the whole thing is a joke and a lie given that we get to listen to Victoria Nuland choose exactly how you claim was going to be run and Burisma obviously recognized that for the reasons I just described. 

Not only that, but the claim that, oh, it's just Ukraine that decides when this war ends, that the United States has no role to play, that we just listen to President Zelenskyy – if he wants to end the war, we honor that; if he doesn't want to end the war, we honor that – listen to what John Kirby, who used to be the Defense Department spokesperson until a few months ago, now works at the White House, and his senior national security role had to say on CNN about whether or not that's, in fact, true. When he was asked whether or not it would be acceptable for Ukraine and Russia to agree to a cease-fire, if that's something that the Chinese got each side to agree to, 


(Video. March 20, 2023)


John Kirby: We'll see. But as you know, we've been very, very public about any concerns about some sort of a cease-fire announcement right now. We all want to see peace. We all want to see this war end. It could end today if Mr. Putin did the right thing, but a cease-fire called right now would basically just ratify Russia's conquest and give Mr. Putin more time to reequip and retrain and restart operations at a time and a place of his choosing. 


So, note that when asked about a cease-fire, John Kirby was not even pretending to say, “That's for President Zelenskyy to decide; that's for the Ukrainians to decide.” He offered his argument about why he and the United States would be opposed to a cease-fire. It would give the Russians time to consolidate their gains. It would allow the Russians to rebuild. Maybe it would actually foster a diplomatic resolution. That's the idea of a cease-fire: it's much easier for parties to negotiate in good faith when they're not trying to destroy each other. That's why the first step of diplomacy is often a cease-fire. But John Kirby just explained very emphatically why he, a U.S. official, opposed to it. And his argument was not because Zelenskyy is, but he has his own reasons for being opposed to it. And then he makes it even more explicit. 


CNN:  If they call for a cease-fire, you believe Ukraine should and will reject that? 


John Kirby: Yes, we do. And we would reject it as well. We think that's […]


  Ok, that's the key phrase. So, she asked him, you think Ukraine would reject a cease-fire and say, yeah, but we would reject it, too? So, we have a separate position from Ukraine. That's what matters, that we would reject it. The United States, that's the ultimate decision maker. Of course, the United States is the ultimate decision-maker. It's been running in Ukraine since 2013. It picked its government in 2014. It has been providing all of its arms and all of its funding from the beginning of its new government that the United States helped install. And, obviously, since the war began. So finally, this pretense that Ukraine is a sovereign, independent country that makes its own decisions is all crumbling down because they're in panic mode, that China may be able to negotiate an end to this war. And they're making very clear we, the United States, are not going to allow this. We, the United States, are opposed to it. Who cares if Zelensky wants it? It's not acceptable to us. He said that in several interviews, most explicitly right here. 

Now, what's really interesting is that if you go back and look at history, which is incredibly easy to forget, especially – even when it’s very recent history – so often the real truth lies in just having a small amount of historical context. A small historical memory is invaluable in understanding the truth and being able to navigate and critically evaluate the propaganda that you're being asked to ingest. 

So, let's recall that 2013, at the end of 2013, when there was an uproar in Ukrainian civil society when the Ukrainian president – that was elected still had two years in his own term – that groups funded by the United States and supported by the State Department began organizing and demanding the ouster of their elected president. That happens all the time. Liberals marched against Trump, even though he won; here in Brazil, there were marches all the time against Bolsonaro. Just the fact that there are marches and protests against an elected government doesn't mean you get rid of the government. The people voted for that leader. There's a constitutional term, but the U.S. funded groups in Ukraine to agitate violently to remove that leader because the U.S. preferred a different leader, because that leader was more amenable to Moscow right across the border than to the United States all the way on the other side of the world.

In the history of the United States government, if you know anything about American history, is that when there's a government that’s more loyal or closer to countries we regard as our enemies and not as close to us, our solution is first to warn those countries and threaten them. And then, if they don't heed that warning, we overthrow them. That's what the United States does, what the CIA exists to do, and it's what happened here. 

So here, in late 2013, we always hear how Democrats and Republicans agree on nothing, how conservatives and liberals are so different. They're at each other's throats all the time. In this case, Senator John McCain, one of the most pro-war members of the Republican Party, and Chris Murphy, the young, newly elected liberal from the blue state of Connecticut, traveled jointly and they, in the open, gathered with the protesters, the anti-Ukrainian government protesters. That's what these U.S. officials did. Imagine if, say, Chinese officials came or Russian officials came and just openly marched with anti-Biden protesters or Occupy Wall Street – that's what they did. They just interfered openly in Ukrainian domestic politics by joining with these protesters. 

There you see The Washington Post headline: “In Ukraine, Senators McCain, Murphy Addressed Protesters and Promised Support”. 


KYIV, Ukraine – A showdown between Russia on one side and the United States and the European Union on the other drew closer here Sunday, as two American senators told a crowd of hundreds of thousands of protesters that Ukraine's future lies to the west, not the east (Washington Post. Dec 15, 2013). 


It sounds a lot like interference in another country's politics to me. 


“We are here”, said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), “to support your just cause: the sovereign right to determine [Ukraine's] own destiny freely and independently and the destiny you seek lies in Europe” (Washington Post. Dec 15, 2013).  


They had just chosen their own destiny in the election three years ago but because we didn't like it, we were there to tell them it was time to pick a new destiny, one that lies in Europe, not Moscow. 


Added Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn): “Ukraine's future stands with Europe and the U.S. stands with Ukraine.”


Murphy, McCain and European politicians who addressed the crowd in Kyiv on Sunday turned up the pressure on Yanukovych, promising that their governments will consider individual financial sanctions against responsible Ukrainian officials if there is any further outbreak of police violence against the protesters who come and go at the semi-permanent encampment on Kyiv’s Independence Square (Washington Post. Dec 15, 2013).


You can go back and look at Occupy Wall Street and the way that disappeared. It disappeared because the police came and crushed those movements. I spent a year going around the United States visiting various encampments in, I think, 15 different cities and it was a real movement against the Wall Street bailout. It was similar to the one on the right, the Tea Party, before it got co-opted by the Republican Party, that they had very common views which were in opposition to the dominance of Wall Street and the ability of Wall Street to get a bailout when they were gambling and getting rich with their wins and then socializing their losses. And the reason that movement disappeared is that the U.S. government and various local governments used the police force to crush it. And so here we are in Kyiv telling them if they do the same, we're going to support a change of government – which we then engineered – and pick their president. 

At the time, Chris Murphy –  who, again, is a young senator, he was 39 when he was elected just a year earlier –went on C-SPAN to talk about his role with John McCain in engineering all kinds of instability in Ukraine and trying to work with the Republicans and other Democrats in the administration to change the government of Ukraine. And he made some amazing admissions that are really worth watching in retrospect. Let's watch a couple of those. 


Sen. Chris Murphy: I will admit to you that I have not been involved, as involved, in what's happening in Venezuela over the last week, because I've been focused, as the chairman of the Europe Subcommittee, on Ukraine. But […] 


Time off from trying to change the government in Venezuela. He was a little bit absent from that, he said, because he was so focused instead on changing the government in Ukraine. 


Sen. Chris Murphy: With respect to Ukraine, we have not sat on the sidelines. We have been very much involved. Members of the Senate who have been there, members of the State Department who have been on the Square, the administration, the Obama administration passed sanctions. The Senate was prepared to pass its own set of sanctions. And as I said, I really think that the clear position of the United States has in part been what has helped lead to this change in regime. [...] 


I mean, did you hear what he said there? We have not been on the sidelines. We have been very active there. And our active role played a key role in the change of regime, meaning we helped topple the democratic government, the democratically elected government in Ukraine, and replaced it with one chosen by Victoria Nuland. It's just an explicit admission probably from the Senate are too inexperienced to understand how you couched these things in euphemisms. You don't go on CNN or I'm sorry, on C-SPAN and admit these things. 


Sen. Chris Murphy: I know that there is merit in the claim that the United States sort of has these principles, and then we selectively apply them. We get involved in certain places, and then we don't get involved in other places. But I think if ultimately this is a peaceful transition to a new government in Ukraine, it'll be the United States on the streets of Ukraine who will be seen as a great friend in helping make that transition happen. 


Oh, wow. So, apparently, it turns out that even back then we were willing to admit that the United States should get the credit for the change in government in Ukraine, which apparently is not a sovereign democracy, but one that we radically shaped for our own interest. And we're even boasting of it at the time. 

Now, let's look at this next clip. They're all amazing. Let's look at what he says next. 


Caller, on C-SPAN:  Thank you for taking my call. 


Sen. Chris Murphy: Sure. 


Caller, on C-SPAN:  All right. You know, my concern of being a child of the Cold War is always a threat from, you know, the East. And I was concerned with how this moving forward could lead to some type of global conflict. Whenever we seem to have these elections that are monitored, or the United States is involved or Europe's involved but seems to eventually end with some type of violence. I was concerned with that violence escalating on a global scale between Russia and the European Union, or with the United States’s involvement in a potential conflict between those two superpowers. 


Okay. So that person said: look, seems to me, knowing the Cold War that I lived through and then whenever we do this sort of thing, whenever we start changing other countries’ governments, start interfering in their political affairs, especially when it involves the attempt to rule countries in Russia's neighborhood, that is a danger to escalate and to turn into a real war between Moscow and the West or Moscow and Ukraine in which the West gets involved. 

That was that caller's concern that he posed to Senator Murphy, who's apparently an expert in Ukraine, given that he's now over there trying to pick their new government and change their politics for the better. He got elected by the people of Connecticut and immediately goes with John McCain to start fiddling with Kyiv. So, let's listen to what Chris Murphy told that caller about those concerns. 


Sen. Chris Murphy: There certainly is some concern about what Russia is going to do over the course of the next week or month. I think it's irresponsible to talk about the potential for Russia to move some kind of offensive force into Crimea, which is the coastal region of Ukraine that has a Russian military base and a lot of the important ports. That would be a fundamental, grave mistake on behalf of the Russians. And I think they know that that would essentially lead it to a descent to madness. So, I don't worry that this is going to result in any kind of military confrontation between the U.S. and Europe and Russia. 


Well, so just a few months after he assured everybody that, of course, Russia would never do something so stupid as to take Crimea, Crimea was part of Russia. And, of course, he's not concerned that this one day might lead to confrontation between Europe and the U.S. on the one hand and Russia on the other, because he's not the one whose house is going to be bombarded, who's going to fight in those wars. It's just going to be the Ukrainians getting bombed and the Russians dying. So, of course, he's not concerned. But here is this genius – who obviously can't even run the United States, the country where he's elected to be an elected official – who decided he was going to interfere in Ukraine instead, making all kinds of predictions about the future, all of which proved to be the exact opposite of what ended up happening. These are geniuses who are not only running our country but trying to run every other. 

Let's listen to this next one. I'll just pick a few key excerpts from it. But these really are amazing. 


C-SPAN: […]  McLean, Virginia, Independent Line for Senator Chris Murphy. 


McLean:  Hi. I just have a few points and thank you for allowing me to call C-SPAN, by the way. […] So I'll just have three quick points and then I'll take my answer off the air. The first one is, isn't it true that Yanukovych was elected for the first time in 2010 for one five-year term, that elections were scheduled for 2015? So, the second point is, why is it okay for foreign ministers from other countries to show up during protest movements – so, let's say in Ukraine – like the foreign ministers of Poland and Germany and support the protesters against the current government there? Wouldn't it be something similar to the foreign ministers of, let's say, Mexico and Canada showing up during the Occupy Wall Street movement and saying, yes, we agree that your government is corrupt? And the third point is, why isn't the West and America talking about the fact that a large or significant portion of the Ukrainian opposition right now is made up of far-right politicians, including the party supporter, which openly is fascist and xenophobic, and they said that they don't want to join the EU because they considered the EU to be a bunch of gays and Jews just as well as they say that they don't want to join the imperialist Moscow regime? 


Do you see how the random callers who just call C-SPAN and hope to get on because they have no credentials, are infinitely smarter than the people who are running all these policies? So, he said: you keep talking about democracy. Doesn’t the democratically elected president of Ukraine that you're trying to overthrow have a five-year term until 2015, and, also, like, by the way, isn't it kind of inappropriate for you, for foreign officials and foreign ministers, to go join protest movements in other countries to overthrow their governments? And, also, by the way, aren't we supporting the part of Ukrainian society that's filled with a bunch of neo-Nazis? Isn't that kind of like a concern? 

Let's listen to his answers. 


Sen. Chris Murphy: Let me take all those very quickly. One at a time. You're right. Yanukovych was elected and I mentioned this before. I understand the difficult position here, which is that Yanukovych was elected, and we are not in the business of encouraging rebellions and revolutions on the streets against elected leaders, because we ultimately think that elections, as you mentioned, are the place in which you should settle your differences […] 


Okay. So just hold that thought, because that's going to be important in just a minute. According to Chris Murphy, the United States is not in the business of interfering with democratically elected leaders and trying to change them or topple them. That is not what we do. What we believe in is democracy. And if a country chooses a government democratically that we dislike, we accept it. That's according to Chris Murphy. The posture of the United States historically. We don't interfere in trying to topple the democratically elected leaders of other countries. Except he is doing exactly that here, he just admitted the government that he was trying to overthrow was democratically elected. And so, he has to explain how to reconcile that. 


Sen. Chris Murphy: The issue here is that Yanukovych lost his legitimacy to govern when he used force to try to break up these protests and the United States didn't go on to that Square in any meaningful way until the president tried to break up the peaceful protests. That's why Senator McCain and I went and we certainly got a lot of grief from people asking why two U.S. senators are going to the Square to support a protest movement against an elected government. 


So, the way democracy works is that countries get to choose their leaders but then if those leaders use more force than Chris Murphy and John McCain, who have no Democratic electability or accountability in those countries, decide is a little excessive –  even though our government constantly uses violence to keep order against protesters here in the United States – as soon as John McCain, Chris Murphy, and others decide they've gone a little too far – somehow the Saudis haven't gone a little too far. We keep supporting them. The Egyptians haven't gone too far. Apparently, they're allowing dissent to a sufficient amount. But the Ukrainians, according to John McCain and Chris Murphy, went a little too far and now their democratic legitimacy is over. They lost their right to serve through the five-year term that the Ukrainian people chose them to serve. 


Sen. Chris Murphy: We did that because we think that there were human rights and civil rights that were violated there. And we've always stood up for that, for that concept. And again, I think that answers your second question as to why you had foreign ministers and foreign leaders who were on that Square. It was because we're standing up for the idea that people should be able to lodge protests against their government. 


Remember, this was 11 years after the U.S. invaded Iraq, set up torture regimes all around the world and continues to hold people in Guantanamo and in the middle of the Indian Ocean, with no charges of any kind. But somehow the United States senators have arrogated unto themselves in the name of human rights, the right to go around changing the governments of the world whenever they decide it's justified by some vague appeal to human rights. No UN decision is needed, and no international bodies. Once the United States decides that's the end of the democratic legitimacy of that country, and that's what happened in Ukraine, the country we're now told as a sovereign democratic leader got government, which is why we're over there. He then finally acknowledged, yeah, there's a lot of Nazis in the movement we supported. But don't worry, they're a minority. There were only a few thousand among the large numbers gathered there. 

Let's look at this last clip. It's just 49 seconds. 

These are all amazing because this is just explicitly acknowledging the truth, not realizing that since he's on C-SPAN in 2014, seven, eight years later, these are going to be incredibly incriminating statements because the entire position in the United States government is to make you forget that all of this happened. 


C-SPAN: So, what is the best way the U.S. can help in this situation? 


Sen. Chris Murphy: Well, I think the United States has a strong voice in support of the peaceful protest movement. This is a big part of the story as to why there is an opportunity now for the Ukrainian people to get what they want. Early on, the United States said that peace should be observed in that Square. We came down hard on Yanukovych when he violated that peace, when he sent his forces into the Square repeatedly to clear it, ultimately, over the course of the last week, resulting in dozens of people killed. And I think it was our role, including sanctions and threats of sanctions that forced in parting Yanukovych from office. […] 


I just need you to hear that again. Let's listen to that last part. 


Sen. Chris Murphy: […] over the course of the last week, resulting in dozens of people killed. And I think it was our role, including sanctions and threats of sanctions that forced in parting Yanukovych from office. 


“I think it was our role that forced him from office.” So, there's no debate that the reason Yanukovych, the elected leader of Ukraine, was removed from office is because of the United States’ role. By the way, the way you determine what the Ukrainian people want is not by inciting a bunch of people to go into street protest. That's not counting what the majority wants. Those are called elections. That's how you determine what the Ukrainian people want. And what the Ukrainian people said they wanted in 2010 was to be led by a leader that the United States played an active role in overthrowing. So, it's an incredible set of admissions here. 

Let me just show you a clip from Jen Psaki, in 2015. In one way, it's a banal clip. It's Jen Psaki at a State Department press hearing, a press briefing that she was giving every day the way she ended up doing when she became Biden's White House press secretary, but it reveals how casually and seamlessly and continuously these people just lie right to your face. There's no limit on what they're willing to say – none – to advance their career. If they're told to say something to justify U.S. actions, they will say it no matter how blatantly, insultingly, stupidly false it is. 

Listen to Jen Psaki do something so extreme that even the journalists covering the State Department couldn't believe she was willing to say it. 


Journalist: President Maduro last night went on the air and said that they had arrested multiple people who were allegedly behind a coup that was backed by the United States. What is your response? 


So that was Nicolas Maduro alleging that the United States was involved in an attempted coup in Venezuela. It's basically an open policy. Remember, the United States went around for years calling somebody, Juan Guaidó, who never got a single vote, the legitimate president of Venezuela. Of course, it's U.S. policy to overthrow the government of Venezuela. It's been U.S. policy for decades to do that, just like it was in Cuba. So, she said, look, Nicolas Maduro said that the United States played a pretty big role in the unsuccessful coup that just happened. Here’s Jen Psaki’s answer: 


Jen Psaki: These latest accusations, like all previous such accusations, are ludicrous. As a matter of longstanding policy, the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means. Political transitions must be democratic, constitutional, peaceful and legal. 



Okay, so she's reading from the press briefing there. She says it in a very moderate way, so, it's easy to lose the evil of it – the evil of how much these people will just lie so easily. I honestly, I honestly, I'm not saying this to be sanctimonious. We're all humans. We all have our flaws. I certainly do. But I can't, for the life of me, understand what leads people like her to be willing to say things like this that she just said with a completely straight face and an obviously conscious, free comportment. The United States, as a matter of policy, does not engage in transitions that are anti-constitutional, only democratic. Even though we just listened to Chris Murphy, six months earlier, admit that the United States openly and successfully caused a coup in Ukraine by ousting the democratically elected leader. And of course, there are dozens or hundreds of examples throughout the Cold War and well beyond in which the United States did exactly what she just got done saying the United States never does as a matter of policy. Just let's listen to that again and the way she says it. 


Jen Psaki: Their response to these latest accusations, like all previous such accusations are ludicrous. As a matter of longstanding policy, the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means. Political transitions must be democratic, constitutional, peaceful and legal. We've seen many times that the Venezuelan government tries to distract from its own actions by blaming the United States or other members of the international community for events inside Venezuela. These efforts reflect a lack of seriousness on the part of the Venezuelan government to deal with the grave situation it faces. 


Journalist: Whoa, whoa, whoa. The U.S. has a long-standing practice of not promoting – what did you say?  How long-standing is that? I would – in particular in South and Latin America, that is not a long-standing practice. 


Jen Psaki: Well, my point here, Matt […] 


Do you see that pause? I mean, even she. It's not that she’s conscious about it that bothered her. It does not bother her at all. She just didn't know what to say. I mean, it's like literally standing up and saying two plus two equals five and someone says, “Wait a minute, are you sure? How can that be? Everyone knows two plus two equals four.” So, she stood up and said, it's the United States's policy in longstanding practice not to engineer government changes in other countries that are in violation of the Constitution. We only do it democratically. And when he said, “Are you joking? Everyone knows that's wrong and dumb, especially in Latin America, where you can point to almost every country that has suffered exactly that. She barely knows what to say. You have this long kind of embarrassed pause, and then she says this: 


Jen Psaki: Well, my point here, Matt, without getting into history, is that we do not support, we have no involvement with, and these are ludicrous accusations. 


Journalist: In this specific case. But if you go back not that long ago, during your lifetime even […]


Jen Psaki:  The last 21 years? (All laugh)


Journalist: Well done. Touché. But I mean, I know that there's long-standing I mean, ten years in this case. I mean […] 


Jen Psaki:  My intention was to speak to specific reports. 


Journalist: But you said […] 



So, there you go. The only valid conclusion from watching this is that she is a sociopath. There's no other explanation. If you can stand up and lie that obviously with such an authoritative tone, with such a straight face, to hide the crimes of the American government, your soul is broken, and you have no moral code. You're a sociopath. That’s the only way to allow somebody – she's only doing this for the most trivial career advancement - there’s no passion behind that. She doesn't stop working for a cause. It's just her job. Her job is to read what she's told without thinking about whether it's a complete lie or not. And so, when I called her out the other day online, I saw a bunch of journalists bristling because, after all, Jen Psaki is nice. Or she's nice when she's an ordinary woman. She, like, lives in the suburbs. She does kickboxing classes, she drinks margaritas. She talks about her young kids. I'm sure she loves her kids, no doubt about that. She's a mom. She likes being a mom. She talks about that a lot. She's friendly with reporters. They're all, you know, she should be a good neighbor. She doesn't look like a sociopath. So, you say that it's like a cognitive disconnect. Sociopaths are like Putin and like evil-looking people from evil-looking countries like Saddam Hussein's. Not Jen Psaki. She's now an MSNBC colleague to all those people who work there. And that's exactly what Hannah Arendt, the German philosopher, called “the banality of evil” when she went to the Nuremberg trials and watched Nazi war criminals, one after the next go on the stand. And she was shocked at how kind of mediocre they were. They didn't have any sense that they had done anything wrong, and they really didn't believe it. They were just basically like I just did my job. And my job was to count the number of Jewish citizens being transported on these trains. And I filled out that report. I don’t have hate in my heart for anyone. I was just doing my job. Evil is banal, and this is the banality of evil right here. 

And the fact you can watch Chris Murphy openly boast of things that he will now tell you are insane conspiracy theories and will vehemently deny to your face because now he has to, that is the kind of sociopathy that dominates our government. Everything that we have been told for the last year and month about the United States’ role in Ukraine, that what Ukraine is and what our goal is, is a completely we have been governing and running Ukraine since at least 2013 when we ousted the government and installed the new one in 2014. We've been running the country right on the other side of the Russian border and we've been running it not for their benefit but for our own, which is the same reason we are fueling this proxy war, not to defend all the nice old ladies in Ukraine who are getting bombed and killed. It's very tragic. And the media will show you that in order to incite your hatred against Putin. We could stop that with the cease-fire, for example, and diplomatic efforts to end the war. But John Kirby told you he's against that. He wants this war to continue. Yeah, of course, if Putin humiliated himself and gave back everything, including Crimea, and told the Americans and NATO you have free reign over Ukraine and then turned himself into The Hague, of course, the war would end – if he was willing to do that. But short of that, they don't want the war to end. They want the war to continue. They're benefiting in every conceivable way from it. They don't care that Ukrainians are dying. That's part of the game for them. There are people in the United States benefiting the people who fund both political parties, the arms dealers, the intelligence agencies. There are all kinds of benefits to go around. And the fact that John Kirby is now finally admitting that it's the United States that continues to run Ukraine and we're running it to keep the war going, not to stop, it is something that you should at least have as your starting point when analyzing this war and all of the propaganda and lies that have been rained down upon us by the U.S. government and their media allies ever since Russia invaded. 



So, you may remember that back in 2021, Tucker Carlson went on the air with a rather extraordinary story, a rather extraordinary claim, which was that the NSA is designed not to spy on American citizens, but to spy on foreign adversaries was, in fact, spying on his communications (Fox News, June 29, 2021). 

This is why Tucker went on the air and said:


Tucker Carlson: But it's not just political protesters the government is spying on. Yesterday we heard from a whistleblower within the U.S. government who reached out to warn us that the NSA, the National Security Agency, is monitoring our electronic communications and is planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air. 

Now, that's a shocking claim, and ordinarily, we'd be skeptical. But is it legal for the NSA to spy on American citizens? It's a crime. It's not a third-world country. Things like that should not happen in America. But unfortunately, they do happen. And in this case, they did happen. The whistleblower – who is in a position to know – repeated back to us information about a story that we are working on that could have only come directly from my texts and emails. There is no other possible source for that information, period. The NSA captured that information without our knowledge and did it for political reasons. The Biden administration is spying on us. We have confirmed that. 


All right. That's a pretty extraordinary claim. I don't think Tucker Carlson is a person prone to just inventing stories, he has been in the media for decades. No one ever has claimed that that's something he's done before. Obviously, he's criticized for all sorts of other things, but he's worked in every media outlet across the spectrum and has never been caught, never been accused of simply fabricating. What he claimed was that he proved that the NSA was spying on him. 

Obviously, the people in the media who have no audience but who specialize in essentially covering Fox News, decided that that was a joke. It was preposterous. The NSA would never do such a thing. And the people who served the U.S. Security State decided to mock it. Here you see the employee for CNN named Oliver Darcy – never broken a story in his life, but is obsessed with Fox News, had an article right immediately after, in June of 2021, entitled “Tucker Carlson claimed the NSA is spying on him. Even his own colleagues don't seem to believe it”. The obvious purpose of this was to mock him. 

Same with this Vox headline from July 1, “Tucker Carlson’s NSA spying claims are evidence-free. Republicans are running with them anyway.” That was by Aaron Rupert, who is the Vox Video guy, the person who does nothing but watch his Fox all day and post distorted clips to the Internet to serve the Democratic Party. He was at Vox then, which is where he earned the name Vox Video Dunn's. He knows nothing about anything, but he decided that this was a false story. The NSA would never do such a thing. Except, then, what happened is something very odd, which is Axios, a part of the corporate media, on July 7, published a story that seemed to confirm at least parts of it, namely, you see their “Scoop: Tucker Carlson sought Putin interview at the time of spying claim”. This is by Jonathan Swan, whom I regard as one of the better journalists in corporate media. Liberals love him because he conducted an adversarial, but I thought fair interview of Donald Trump and generally does a decent job reporting. He reported on July 7, 2021, that somehow people inside the government knew exactly what Tucker Carlson was doing at the time, that he claimed that he was being spied on, namely, he was trying to get an interview with Vladimir Putin, something that all journalists should have been doing, and that obviously gave some credence to the story, and we never really got anywhere else after that. What that article actually said was that there was a ”U.S.-based Kremlin intermediary” that Tucker was using to try and get that interview with Putin. Somehow the NSA had a lot of details, the U.S. government had a lot of details about those conversations, enough to leak Axios, what it was exactly that he was doing that seemed to lend credence to his claim that he had been spied upon by his own government. But it never went anywhere because the media just decided that they had no interest in it and they didn't care and they decided to mock it instead and Tucker basically stopped talking about it.

Yesterday, though, the left-wing journalist, Anya Parampil, who has done some of the best reporting on foreign policy in particular, typically associated with the left, who works at The Grayzone, published an article that was designed to say that she, in fact, has confirmed or can confirm or provide proof that Tucker Carlson, in fact, was spied upon by the NSA. In fact, she self-identified as “the U.S.-based Kremlin intermediary that tried to help Tucker Carlson book an interview with Putin. In other words, that the Axios’ story was true, that she, in fact, was talking to Tucker Carlson about the possibility of interviewing Vladimir Putin. And the fact that Axios knew that certainly strongly suggests that, indeed, what Tucker Carlson claimed is true.

I find it very notable, though, that she has come forward, given again, that she is typically associated with the left, to offer definitive proof of the story. We're about to talk to her about what exactly evidence she's in possession of and how she's able to offer it. And a few other questions as well. As I said, I find her one of the more interesting voices when it comes to foreign policy. She reports for the Grayzone, which is extremely independent, and we are delighted to have her for her debut appearance here on System Update. We're about to talk to her right now for our interview segment. 

The Interview: Anya Parampil



G. Greenwald: Anya, good evening. It's great to see you. How are you? 


Anya Parampil:  Hello. I'm great. How are you? 


G. Greenwald:  Good. I'm happy that you're here for your debut appearance, which I hope won't be your last. You have an extremely interesting story that I want to talk to you about, as well as a couple of other things. You published in Grayzone, an article in which you essentially said that you're able to prove or offer evidence that Tucker Carlson, in fact, was spied upon by the NSA during this period. What is that evidence that you have and how does it come to proof of the veracity of his claims? 


Anya Parampil:  Thanks again for having me, Glenn. Basically, what I explain in this story published at the Grayzone is a timeline that stretches between the end of April and early July 2021. People may recall, as you covered just now, that on, I think it was June 28, Tucker Carlson went public with this story claiming that the Biden administration was spying on him and had actually accessed his private messages, texts and emails in order to leak those messages to the press and that he found out about this because an NSA whistleblower had actually come forward and informed him of the plot. And the reason he believed this person was telling the truth is that they actually met with him in person and repeated back to him information that someone would only know if they had access to Tucker's private messages. And he said at the time that this was all regarding a story he was working on, but he didn't specify the details of the story. 

Now, just a few weeks ago or a few days ago, Tucker did finally talk about this publicly, give us some more information regarding what actually happened. He told the Full Send podcast that this all had to do with his plan to travel to Russia in the summer of 2021, which is really just months before the latest escalation in this war happened when Russia launched its military escalation in Ukraine in February of 2022. So, just a few months before then, this was after Biden had already taken office, Tucker was planning to go to Russia. He wanted to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin and – this is, according to Tucker, what he said in the Full Send podcast – what the NSA and the U.S. government were spying on. And these messages were what they wanted to leak to the press. 

Because this whistleblower came forward and actually warned Tucker he was able to get ahead of them, go public on his show and even though he didn't get any support in the media and virtually no journalist and asked questions about what Tucker was alleging and just took the word of the U.S. government, as you then pointed out, Axios reported a story in which they appeared to actually prove what Tucker was saying was true because they had quoted U.S. officials saying that Tucker was trying to book this interview with Putin around the same time that he made the allegations that the NSA was spying on his communications. 

So how do I fit into the picture? I was actually kind of getting a front-row seat. I was privy to all of what was going on at the time because Tucker had told me, at the end of April 2021, that he was trying to go interview Putin, but he was having difficulties booking the interview. And I – because I had a rapport with Tucker – I trusted him and I also happened to have a really good contact in the Russian government, I tried to help him by putting him in touch with that contact and just assuming that Tucker's team would take it from there and perhaps they'd be able to schedule this interview. 

This contact was the deputy foreign minister, his name is Sergei Ryabkov. He's the second most powerful diplomat in Russia. And I met him in the summer of 2019, when I was in Caracas, Venezuela, on behalf of the Grayszone, covering a meeting of the nonaligned movement. Basically, there were all of – the Iranian foreign minister was there, the Bolivian foreign minister was there – all of these high-level diplomats, including Ryabkov, were there. And I interviewed many of them, and one of the interviewed was him. And he's a very powerful, very important figure in the world. He has negotiated some of the main treaties established between the United States and Russia. 


G. Greenwald:  He's somebody any real journalist would want to talk to. 


Anya Parampil:  Exactly. He actually was spearheading the peace negotiations over Ukraine on behalf of the Russian government. So, he was someone – I interviewed him and I maintained contact with him. Sometimes, I would send him an article and say, what do you think about this? I heard that there was this story about Ukraine negotiations like – and I should just disclose the fact that my main interest here is that I actually would like the peace between Russia and the United States because I am from the United States, and I don't want there to be a nuclear war. And I think it would be in the United States’ interest to just have a reasonable relationship with Russia. 

Anyway, I put them in touch and apparently that was when the NSA began intercepting Tucker's messages, because I didn't think much of it at the time but, when I put them in touch on an email thread, they both replied, within hours, within 12 hours, both of them wrote back to me and to each other. But then a few days later, Ryabkov wrote me back and said that for some reason his email to Tucker would not send. And I thought it had to do with maybe spam or because, yeah, it was a Russian government email. There was something that bounced back. Tucker had a different email service than I did. And I forwarded the messages. I think sometimes I texted Tucker. I asked him, like, did you get this message? And turned out no. Tucker didn't get any of the emails. 

Ryabkov’s email address was sending him, even though I knew that they were both accurate in the thread because they had already both replied to the email. So, I didn't make a mistake in retrospect then. A few weeks later, when Tucker told me that this NSA source had come forward and told him that the U.S. government was spying on his communications, then it kind of clicked, Oh, there was some interference going on there. 

And at the time when this was all going on, this was when Tucker came forward, in June 2021. He didn't offer specifics of the story. I was kind of just so blown away by everything that there was no reason for me to assert myself in the situation and corroborate his story or vouch for him. And then, a few weeks later, in early July 2021, then Axios did this story where they confirmed what he said and claimed, based on the quotes from U.S. officials, that Tucker was dealing with U.S.-based Kremlin intermediaries in order to get an interview with Putin at the time he made these allegations. And so, when that story came out, Tucker and I were talking, and it was like very clear that means they were saying I was the Kremlin based – I mean, they said “Kremlin-based intermediaries”. They used the plural. I would love for the U.S. government to offer specifics as to whom they were talking about there and if there were multiple people. But I can pretty much state, for certain, based on my experience, that they were referring to at least me. And I don't know if they're referring to anyone else. 

And so, again, I didn't talk about the story then – Tucker didn't offer details – but then, when I saw him come out and say, yes, this was happening when I was trying to interview Putin, I was like, Oh, right now we might as well tell the full story and I can tell the full story. So, I just went ahead and put it all down. 


G. Greenwald:  You know, I remember at the time, obviously the NSA happens to be an interest of mine, that the agency put out a statement, knowing how stupid most journalists are, that pretended to deny the story, but actually denied nothing. They said this is preposterous. We can confirm that Mr. Carlson has never been a target of ours, and everyone knows who knows anything about the NSA, that when the NSA says they're not a target, you're not a target of theirs. It doesn't mean they're not eavesdropping on your conversations. All they have to do is proclaim the people with whom you are speaking to be their targets, and then they're free to listen in on your conversation, even though you're an American citizen without warrants because they're just claiming we're not targeting Tucker, we're not targeting this other American citizen. We're targeting these foreign nationals with whom they happened to be speaking. 

That was the whole point of the Bush-Cheney spying program that got revealed by The New York Times in 2005 that won a Pulitzer. The law that was passed in 2008 – that's now up for renewal – was designed to retroactively legalize that, to give the government the power to spy without warrants on the conversations of Americans by claiming they're just targeting foreign nationals. And, of course, the Biden administration is demanding it gets renewed again. And there's a lot of Republicans who want Biden to have that power – because the bipartisan consensus in Washington is that we should be able to spy on our citizens without warrants. 

But what struck me was how stupid journalists were to believe that this NSA denial actually was a denial, and that's what caused them to mock Tucker “Oh, the NSA denies it”. It's amazing that journalists take a denial anyway from the NSA and assume it's true without skepticism. But in this case, it wasn't a denial. And that's what was so obvious to me was, well, they're obviously spying on someone with whom Tucker is speaking. I assumed that meant they were spying on the Russian diplomats with whom he was speaking to set up an interview with Putin until the Axios story came out and made clear that, in fact, he was talking to a United States citizen whom they had proclaimed to be a Kremlin intermediary. 

Just for people who don't know the rules of the NSA, if the NSA wants to spy in a conversation between two American citizens and you are an American citizen, a native-born American citizen, talking to Tucker Carlson, another American-born citizen, they need a warrant in order to do that. That's two Americans talking. Now, you're not talking about a foreign national, which means they would have to go to the FISA court and allege that either you or Tucker is an agent of a foreign government, presumably the Russian government. And that means they have a warrant on you to spy on your communications, or on his, or it means they broke the law. I think we should try and find out. 

Do you have any indication at all that the NSA ever got a warrant to spy on their communications? And is there any ground for the belief that you are a representative of or an agent of the Kremlin? 


Anya Parampil:  No, I mean, that's a very good question. I've had zero indication that my communications have ever been spied on due to a FISA warrant. I mean, I'm a U.S. citizen. As I explain in the story, I did work for R.T. America, which is the Russian state-funded news outlet that was based in Washington, D.C. So, between the years 2015 and 2019, I worked – or 2014, up until December 2018, I worked for R.T. America, I think from 2014 to that point.

And all of my contact with Ryabkov, and all of my contact with Tucker took place long after I ceased working for R.T. America. But even then, it would be ridiculous to claim that an individual who worked for a state-funded media network was actually an intermediary or a representative of that government. Especially, I'm a U.S. citizen. I don't represent the interests of any foreign government. I worked for R.T. America so that I could provide a critical view of my own government that corporate networks would have never allowed me to do. And none of these emails were even sent from an R.T. America-affiliated email account. I can't think of any loophole, and I never – there's obviously any bank payments or statements or anything that they could bring in court to prove the allegation that I'm a Kremlin intermediary, other than the fact that I forwarded an email as or maybe sent a screenshot of an email to Tucker's text, something to ask him whether or not he got these messages. There is no proof that they could come forward with that. That I am a Kremlin intermediary. Absolutely not. 

I think there are there are three explanations here. They had a FISA warrant on me. I doubt that, because I don't think I'm very significant. They had a FISA warrant on Tucker, which is possible, I mean, he's a very powerful and influential figure. We know that the FISA courts offer a rubber stamp on anything, basically. And so just having communication with a government official maybe, and even in my case too, could justify it from their warped illegal perspective. But I don't think that's what happened either. I do think what happened is very similar to what happened to many of other Trump's allies that were all implicated in Robert Mueller's Russiagate investigation. If you recall there were like, I mean, they claim there were 30 people that were indicted as part of Mueller's investigation. Almost half of them were a bunch of Russian nationals that they accused of being like operating a troll farm or something[...] 


G. Greenwald:  They knew they would never get and never be able to prosecute. 


Anya Parampil:  Exactly. But they had 30 people. Yeah, 13 of them were – they would also never get a fair trial. So, the main targets of the Mueller investigation throughout the Trump presidency were Michael Flynn, Trump's national security advisor, who was removed within weeks of his inauguration because of this trend that I'm discussing now. So, there was Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and George Papadopoulos. Now, Manafort and Papadopoulos were both part of the Trump campaign. Michael Flynn was a part of the actual administration but all three of those cases have something in common with my story or, in this case, I think is really Tucker's case, because he was someone that was close to Trump. He was someone that was seen as a threat because as I detail in my article, he was throughout Trump's time in office, Tucker would really challenge Trump to take seriously his America First agenda, criticizing his policy in Syria, criticizing his policies on Venezuela; personally, convincing him not to escalate with Iran. I think the deep state forces that were pushing Trump to do that, Bolton, Pompeo, otherwise really saw Tucker as a threat. 

And so throughout their effort to really create a case against Trump, they tapped Russian government officials. They were trying to, of course, prove that there was some sort of coordination between the Russian government and people around Trump. And they came up with all of these crazy accusations, whether it was Manafort cutting business deals with Ukraine. Back when like when you know everyone. So many U.S. operatives, including members of the Biden family, were cutting business deals in Ukraine. They said that he failed to register as a foreign agent, so they prosecuted him for that. Again, Papadopoulos and Flynn, it all had to do with the fact that they had inadvertently picked up their communications while spying on Russian or foreign officials. And the key here – and this is what you alluded to in your question – is that it is illegal for the U.S. government to spy on Americans directly. But we could assume that, yes, if I'm writing an email to the deputy foreign minister of Russia or if Tucker is writing emails to the deputy foreign minister of Russia, or if Paul Manafort is talking to foreign business officials, or in Michael Flynn's case, he was having a conversation with the Russian ambassador to the United States right before Trump was inaugurated, we can assume those types of communications because they're targeting the foreign officials, are monitored […] 


G. Greenwald:  But just to interject there, I mean, and that's the thing that used to be illegal until Bush and Cheney violated the law. It used to be that the NSA if they were targeting a foreign national, which of course, you expect them to do, that's completely legitimate for the NSA to target Russian officials, that's kind of their job if they discover in the course of that eavesdropping that they're talking to an American citizen, the NSA is now listening in on the telephone conversations of American citizens, reading their emails. They have to stop doing that because they need a warrant under the Constitution to listen in on reading your emails. And they instead invented this theory that was contrary to the law, that, as long as the target is the foreign national and not the American citizen, they're allowed to do it. They made up their own law. But then Congress created this law to say, yes, the NSA can now do that. And of course, the concern always is it's a runaround from the warrant requirement, because, as long as the NSA knows the foreign nationals with whom I'm speaking, they can just claim those are their target, and they can listen to all of my conversations, even though that's not allowed and that's the law that they want to be renewed. Let me just ask you one point. 


Anya Parampil:  And I also want to ask you a question, because you're the legal expert here, not me, but from what I'm –  the point that I was building up to is that, for me, the question is about the unmasking – the concept of unmasking, which is that, yes, if they are spying on a U.S. citizen, that identity of that U.S. citizen, if it's indirectly collected as part of their spying on foreign officials, is supposed to be protected. But for some reason, we know about Michael Flynn's conversation with the Russian ambassador. According to Tucker's NSA source, that's exactly what the U.S. government was trying to do with Tucker's conversation. They wanted to leak his texts. So, when that level of leak happens and when they're actually revealing the identity of a U.S. citizen who let's be honest, as I said in the article, it's not unheard of for journalists to be in contact with government officials, even if they're foreign. And Michael Flynn's case, it definitely is not strange that he, in his capacity as the incoming national security adviser, would have a conversation with foreign officials in order to prepare for his role in the incoming administration. And, in fact, I would venture to argue that Biden officials did the same thing before they officially were sworn in. But the reason that we heard Michael Flynn's conversation and the reason that we hear about Tucker, is contact with Russian officials, or mine is that it was part of a weaponization of the law against targets surrounding Trump. So, I'll ultimately go after Trump but also go after figures such as Tucker. And so, it comes down – What I'm trying to say to this nuance of unmasking and deciding that, oh, look, we're actually going to reveal that this person talked to a foreign government official or we're going to reveal the fact that Michael Flynn was talking. 


G. Greenwald:  Right. I mean. 


Anya Parampil:  Why don't we hear about what Anthony Blinken said? 


G. Greenwald:  I mean, the idea of unmasking is supposed to be that it's only done if it's necessary to understand the context of the conversation that this foreign official who's being targeted is having. So, if you only have the mask identity of the United States, if a person with whom they're speaking and you can't understand the full context, only then is masking necessary. The problem, of course, is if there's no oversight in the NSA. And the bigger problem here is the complete lack of curiosity on the part of the American press corps that the most watched television news personality in the history of cable news clearly ended up having his conversations monitored. Perhaps there's some legitimate explanation for it, although I doubt it and perhaps there isn't. But the reason we don't know any of the details is that there was never any pressure placed on the adversarial press corps on to the NSA to demand answers. And there was really very little effort on the part of the Republican Party that I think wanted to stay away from this story as well. And as a result, we're kind of now here in the dark because that's the media that we have as they hear that a major figure in the American media, whether you like him or not, he's very influential, he has a lot of people listening to him, got spied on by government, and there's zero concern about whether it was even legal or constitutional. And that's why I'm really glad that you wrote your article and I'm glad you were able to join us tonight. 


Anya Parampil:  Yeah. Thanks, Glenn. I totally agree. And the last thing that I'll add is just I brought up the Dominion lawsuit in my article because it represents the same tactic. You know, Tucker's texts were seized as part of that lawsuit. Now they're getting published in The Washington Post. And in order to say that there's some major disagreement between President Trump and Tucker. And it really just seems as though people surrounding President Trump were really targeted. There was a law fair campaign that elements within the Justice Department and the federal government waged in order to criminalize things that every journalist does, or every diplomat does. And it's very selective and it's very concerning for journalists, especially because if they can go after – if of a company can sue major news organizations such as Fox and gain access to the text messages of a private journalist and private citizen and try to bankrupt that company, then for people like me who work in alternative media, it's very dangerous because it's like we're screwed. There is no free press if journalists don't have any right to privacy and if they really want to accuse someone like me of being a Kremlin intermediary, they should have to provide evidence in court and they obviously don't have any. And so, and or […] 


G. Greenwald:  Or they did. And they went to the FISA court, which, as you say, is notorious for being rubber stamping. And I think you're absolutely right. This is all part of the same reason Trump is threatening the establishment, which is why Tucker is threatening the establishment, which is principally that they're among the few people with influence who challenge longstanding pillars of the bipartisan foreign policy consensus. It's the reason you and I both – surprisingly in some ways – often appear on Tucker Show precisely because he's providing some of the only space for dissent to a lot of these orthodoxies. The same reason why Trump was regarded with such antipathy by the establishment as well and was attacked in so many different ways by them. 

Thank you so much for taking the time. We're a little over time, but I thought it was really important to hear the details of this story. Well, absolutely. Continue to follow it and hope to have you back shortly. 


Anya Parampil:  Thanks, Glenn. 


G. Greenwald:  Have a great night. 


So that concludes our show for this evening. Have a great night, everybody. 

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