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,
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.