Mohsen Abdelmoumen: Your Twitter account has just been closed. Why?
Daniel McAdams: In August I was watching a segment of the Sean Hannity program while at a friend’s house and noticed that despite an hour of Hannity ranting against the “deep state” in the US, he was wearing a lapel pin bearing the seal of the US Central Intelligence agency, which most would agree is either the center or at least an important hub of the US “deep state” itself. I tweeted about this strange anomaly and as a comment to my own Tweet on it I happened to say that Hannity is “retarded.” Twitter informed me that I had committed “hateful conduct” for “promoting violence against or directly attacking or threatening other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.” It is clear on its face that I did none of these. I used a non-politically correct term to ridicule Hannity for attacking the “deep state” while wearing the symbols of the deep state on his very lapel.
It is clear that Twitter is deeply biased against any voices outside the mainstream, pro-empire perspective. As a leading Tweeter in opposition to interventionist US foreign policy, I had long been targeted by those who enable and enforce Twitter’s political biases. Look at who Twitter partners with and you will understand why I was banned for a transparently false reason: the US government-funded Atlantic Council and other similar organizations are working with Twitter to eliminate any voices challenging US global military empire.
In your opinion, what exactly is the role of the CIA in the regime changes of some countries around the world?
From its creation by the National Security Act of 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency carried the dual role of analyzing intelligence for its customers in the Executive Branch of the US government and conducting covert actions and operations in pursuit of (claimed) US foreign policy goals. The history of CIA action in post-war Europe is extensive and includes founding front organizations to prop up socialist and far-left publications and institutions as a challenge to Soviet communism as well as backing far-right groups and political parties and even violent terror organizations to directly confront communism and overturn elections where communists made gains.
After the Cold War and the defeat of Soviet Communism, where one would expect a reduction if not elimination of such a global secret warfare organization, the CIA only ramped up its operations overseas. Today the CIA is merely one arm in a multi-faceted US “regime change” apparatus that includes the US State Department, USAID, and, very importantly, US government-funded “non-governmental” organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy and its sub-grantees. This “regime change apparatus” uses CIA methods developed during the Cold War (by “experts” like Gene Sharp and others) such as mobilization, training, subterfuge, agitation, and propaganda. We saw this apparatus at work in events like the “Arab Spring” and before it in the overthrow of the Milosevic government in Yugoslavia. We saw it in the Ukraine coup of 2014 and we see it in Venezuela and in Hong Kong today.
The practical value to the United States of such operations is less than zero, the costs to the American taxpayer are enormous, and the immorality of manipulating the globe toward an outcome preferred by Washington’s elites is self-evident.
When we see the generalized NSA surveillance, do you think we live in a democracy or a tenebrous fascist regime?
Americans have been manipulated by the elites in government and its allies in state propaganda (otherwise known as the “mainstream media”) to accept, particularly post-9/11, the deeply anti-American proposition that we must yield our privacy and Constitutionally-guaranteed civil liberties to a government that promises it will not abuse its increased power over us but will only use it to keep us safe. These promises have been over and over again proven to be lies. Government is not targeting terrorism or terrorists: they are targeting average American citizens.
Americans were told that only terrorists’ phone calls would be intercepted, but then Edward Snowden revealed that all of our phone calls are intercepted. Americans were mad for a few weeks but then Washington promised “reform” of the PATRIOT Act in the form of the FREEDOM Act and everybody calmed down. Even though the FREEDOM Act is actually worse than the PATRIOT Act because it legalized all of the illegal activities that were taking place under the PATRIOT Act. “Reform” in Washington means obfuscation and perception manipulation.
Likewise, Americans seeking to travel within their own country have been forced to allow strangers to invade and touch the most private areas of their bodies – and their children’s bodies! American sheep just bow to the authorities and keep watching their freedoms stolen from them, murmuring to themselves as they are raped by the authorities, “well…I have nothing to hide…”
You mentioned one time Operation Mockingbird, where the CIA manipulated journalists in the 1950s. In your opinion, does the CIA continue to use these same practices today?
I have no doubt that the CIA continues to maintain a close relationship with both mainstream and independent journalists. This is critical to establishing and controlling the narrative in each foreign “crisis.” It is no accident that each mainstream media outlet – regardless whether left-wing or right-wing or any wing - has the exact same perspective on events like the Ukraine coup or the Venezuela attempted coup, or Hong Kong protests. Part of this is the US “deep state” or “national security state” and part of it is the increasing integration of US corporate entities into the US government. Major media outlets are owned by US corporations that also own weapons manufacturing companies and cannot be trusted to report on events objectively. Similarly, virtually every US mainstream media outlet employs “former” members of the US intelligence community to “explain” foreign events to their viewers.
When is the last time a credible non-interventionist or pro-peace analyst has been featured in any mainstream media outlet? As in Soviet times, any view at odds with Washington’s “party line” is simply disappeared. When independent media outlets begin gaining traction and challenging the narrative, they are “de-platformed” on social media and even from their Internet service providers under the recommendations of US government-funded NGOs like the Atlantic Council or the German Marshal Fund.
Is not what is currently happening in Hong Kong a CIA manipulation targeting China in the context of the Trump administration's economic war?
There is plenty of evidence of US government involvement in the Hong Kong protests. That does not mean that every single body out in the street is in the pay of the CIA. That is the red herring argument of those who are determined that we never see the US government hand in unrest overseas. Or to ridicule as “conspiracy theorists” those who point out obvious US government involvement.
It is undeniable that the US government has been involved in grooming, training, and funding the anti-Beijing movement in Hong Kong for years. They don’t even hide it: you can easily find on USAID and National Endowment for Democracy website the level of funding the US government provides these organizations and political parties. And when these party leaders come to Washington, they are received by the US Vice President, Secretary of State, Speaker of the House, and other high-ranking US government officials. Which foreign opposition movements that Washington does not support are given such treatment?
Imagine a movement dedicated to overthrowing the US political order that was funded by the Chinese, whose activists regularly went to Beijing for training in organization and mobilization, and whose leaders met with leading members of the Chinese Communist Party. How would such a movement in the United States be viewed by the US government? How would it be portrayed by the US mainstream media?
You mentioned a US-supported coup when you talked about Venezuela. In your opinion, does the US administration continue the same interventionist policy to destabilize Latin American countries?
Any Latin American government not in Washington’s constellation has been and is targeted for destabilization and overthrow. We saw this with the 2009 coup in Honduras, whose architect was then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We see it in Cuba. We see it in Venezuela. We saw it with Ecuador, where a government wary of US persecution of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was “changed” in favor of a regime that handed Assange over to the authorities in exchange for a few billion dollars from the IMF. Do what Washington says and get paid; oppose Washington and get overthrown. That is the foreign policy of the US empire. And like the Soviet empire that preceded it, it is a policy doomed to failure.
Why in your opinion does the United States always need an enemy? Is not there a danger of world war when we see the multitude of US imperialist interventions around the world?
The US has ceased being a republic and has become a national security state. The US national security state enriches its elites – be they in the military-industrial complex, the think tanks, or the media – at the expense of middle class and working-class America. It does this by promoting an “enemy scenario” whereby the American people are made to believe that if they ever challenge the US military budget – larger than the next seven military budgets combined – they are not only putting themselves and their families at risk, but they are deeply unpatriotic and anti-American. The US national security state fought an 18-year “war on terror” which only seemed to generate more terrorists! Intervention in Iraq and Libya and Syria to “fight terrorism” resulted in more, not less, al-Qaeda and ISIS. It was not until Russia and Iran stood up in 2015 and began fighting these US-backed groups that there was a reduction in their power.
After the Russian and Iranian success in beating back the jihadist threat in Syria, the 2017 US national security strategy did an Orwellian about-face and abandoned the “war on terror” in favor of a declaration that our new enemies were again our old enemies: China and Russia. It is literally Orwell’s 1984: “we are at war with Eastasia. …We had always been at war with Eastasia.”
What do you think about the North Korean and Iranian case, where the Trump administration lacks a clear vision and where some neoconservatives are pushing for a war?
There are few consistencies in President Trump’s foreign policy. One emerging consistency, however, is that he seems genuinely reluctant to take the country into a bona fide war. He’s happy with sending a few dozen Tomahawk missiles into the Syrian countryside, but when faced with an actual robust response to any US strike, he to this point has chosen de-escalation. This may be a function of his keen eye for politics rather than any philosophical or moral concerns, but it to this point seems thematic. The problem is that by surrounding himself with neoconservatives – and make no mistake his replacement for Bolton is at least as much a neocon as the Mustached One himself – the president is isolating himself from any inputs advising military constraint when facing crises overseas. That is why many of us were so much hoping that Bolton would be replaced with a Realist like Col. Douglas Macgregor. There is a big danger that the president will be cornered by a lack of non-war options to the next crisis simply because he gives no quarter to non-war voices in his administration.
When we consider the plight of activists and whistleblowers, such as Assange, Snowden, etc. can we still talk about freedom of speech and human rights? Shouldn't we mobilize more to support these activists and others around the world?
The plight of Snowden and Assange and all of the persecuted whistleblowers and truth-tellers is the plight of what is life of our liberty, freedom, and even Western civilization. When all dissent is quashed, imprisoned, tortured, we are left with only the Total State. The Total State, as we know from history, brooks no dissent because it can only maintain power by continuing the illusion that it alone is the source of truth. Thus any voice challenging the Total State, as the embodiment of truth, must on its face be a lie. Why would truth allow lies to undermine it? Why would any sane person oppose “the people” as represented in their Soviet government? Surely such a person would be insane and need of treatment rather than a citizen raising a legitimate question or differing opinion.
This is what we are facing in the US today. A Total State, where opposing views are de-platformed and disappeared. Where truth-tellers are jailed and tortured – pour servir d’avertissement aux autres (to serve as a warning to others).
What is your assessment of the Trump Presidency and what do you think of its foreign policy?
The Trump Presidency thus far has been an enormous disappointment. The president had the opportunity to name a top-notch foreign policy and national security team that would reflect and carry out his stated policies as a candidate – getting along with Russia, NATO skepticism, opposition to endless war, etc – but once in power he has again and again drawn from that same neoconservative cesspool that no matter who is elected always find its way to positions of power and influence. He did not chart a wise course in building a solid administration of professionals who agree with him – and there are plenty to choose from – and instead he actually hired an entire team of people who not only disagree with his stated positions, but they actually publicly ridicule them and work against them. It is unprecedented in my memory to see those who serve the president publicly undermining his stated positions, yet Bolton and Pompeo never hesitated or hesitate to do just that. This is an enormous missed opportunity for President Trump and for the United States.
You have been an advisor to Congressman Ron Paul and you are doing an excellent job as Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Can you explain to our readers what the missions of this institute are?
Our mission as a non-profit educational institution is to make the case for a non-interventionist foreign policy and the restoration of our civil liberties at home. We are the continuation of the Ron Paul liberty movement. To that end, we publish thousands of articles making the case for non-interventionism on our website, we broadcast a daily Ron Paul Liberty Report, and we hold conferences throughout the country bringing together a broad coalition of Americans – and non-Americans – to learn and promote peace and prosperity!
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Daniel McAdams is executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and co-host of the “Ron Paul Liberty Report,” a daily live broadcast. He served for 12 years on Capitol Hill as foreign affairs and national security advisor to former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. From 1993-1999 he worked as a journalist based in Budapest, Hungary, and traveled through the former communist bloc as a human rights monitor and election observer.