Seventy-five-year-old McGovern is a former CIA analyst (1963 – 1990), turned activist/political critic/social justice advocate.
On October 30, he was brutally and lawlessly arrested in New York. For exercising his constitutional rights.
Attempting to attend an event featuring former CIA head General David Petraeus, former right-wing Center for a New American Security president Lt. Col. John Nagl, and neocon foreign policy commentator Max Boot.
Charged with criminal trespass, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. It bears repeating. For exercising his constitutional rights.
Tickets cost up to $45. McGovern had one. He had every right to attend. Stopping him reflects police state lawlessness. In the so-called land of the free and home of the brave.
Guards blocked his entry. At the 92nd St. Y venue. Calling itself “a world-class cultural and community center.”
Connecting people “through culture, arts, entertainment and conversation. For 140 years.”
“(H)arness(ing) the power of arts and ideas to enrich, enlighten and change lives, and the power of community to repair the world.”
Not on October 30. Principled ideas were absent. Tyranny replaced them. 92nd St. Y officials have lots of explaining to do.
Why McGovern was denied entry. Brutalized for trying. Why neocons were featured.
Militarists. Spokesmen for imperial power. Permanent war. Extremist views demanding open challenge.
Activists from The World Can’t Wait, the Granny Peace Brigade, Brooklyn for Peace and Veterans for Peace urged people to protest police state harshness.
McGovern planned challenging Petraeus the way he questioned former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2006.
About false statements on Iraq’s WMDs and nonexistent Al-Qaeda ties.
He was arrested. Jailed overnight. Saying he was warned “as soon as (he) got to the ticket-taker. ‘Ray, you’re not welcome here,’ ” he was told.
Video footage showed him screaming in pain as police pinned his left wrist behind his back. During arrest, lots of blood was visible on his pants.
Given out-of-control violence and human misery in Iraq, McGovern planned asking Petraeus if he’d “come out of retirement and try to do it better this time to train the Iraqi forces?”
He’s “no saint,” he said. “(N)o great strategist. (A)n embarrassment to the US Army in which (McGovern) used to be proud to have served.”
In April 2011, he wrote about “Petraeus at CIA – Can He Tell the Truth?” Saying Obama’s choice “raise(d) troubling questions.”
“What if CIA analysts assess(ed)” his Iraq and Afghanistan performance as failure? Would he accept or punish “critical analysis?”
“The Petraeus appointment also suggests that the President places little value on getting the straight scoop on these key war-related issues.”
“If he did want the kind of intelligence analysis that, at times, could challenge the military, why is he giving the CIA job to a general with a huge incentive to gild the lily regarding the ‘progress’ made under his command?”
McGovern compared Petraeus to the “ghost of Westmoreland Past.” His Southeast Asia record included “deliberate distortion and dishonesty.” Intelligence analysts proved it.
Progress he touted was failure. Petraeus was Westmoreland redux. Lots of evidence confirmed it.
He’s gone. Critics debate whether by resignation or sacking. For sure, not for extramarital sex. Unless state secrets were compromised.
He wasn’t an Obama favorite. His loyalties were suspect. His departure removed the last Bush administration neocon holdover.
An unnamed administration source said “some key figures close to the President wanted (him) out, and there was no sadness” to see him go.
Media reports said FBI investigations began months ago into a “potential criminal matter.” Not specifically focused on Petraeus.
Information surfaced about a potentially compromised computer he used. Security concerns were raised. FBI agents discussed this with him.
An unnamed congressional official briefed on the matter urged him to fall on his sword and leave. Whether he did or was pushed who knows.
John McCain once called him “one of (our) greatest generals.” His judgment leaves much to be desired.
He’s not Capitol Hill’s best and brightest. He graduated near the bottom of his Naval Academy class.
White House and media spin praised Petraeus’ performance. As Iraq commander, CENTCOM head, commander US Forces Afghanistan and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) chief.
Falsified hype and then some. Failure defined his performance. Mythology turned it into successes.
Time magazine named him 2007 runner-up Person of the Year. As meaningless a designation as Nobel Peace awards.
Before he fell from grace, he was called aggressive in nature. An innovative thinker on counterinsurgency warfare. A talisman. A white knight. A do-or-die competitive legend. A man able to turn defeat into victory.
His record was polar opposite. Competence didn’t earn him four stars. He was more myth than man. His Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria commands failed.
His former commander, Admiral William Fallon, called him “a piece of brown-nosing chicken shit.”
Former peers accused him of brown-nosing his way to the top. Hoping to get there by manufacturing successes.
Concealing failures. Supporting Washington’s imperial agenda. Advancing through super-hawkishness. Brown-nosing superiors.
Lying to Congress. Hyping a fake Iranian threat. Supporting Israel’s worst crimes. Even though suggesting the longstanding special relationship at times does more harm than good.
In March 2013, he joined the American Corporate Partners. An NGO “assisting veterans in their transition from the armed services to the civilian workforce.”
At the same time, he became honorary OSS (Office of Strategic Services/CIA’s predecessor organization) Society chairman.
A City University of New York (CUNY) visiting professor. A University of Southern California Judge Widney professor.
A UK University of Exeter Strategy and Security Institute honorary visiting professor. Students are advised to avoid him.
He chairs investment firm Kiohlberg Kravis Roberts’ KKR Global Institute. Harvard’s JFK School of Government Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs named him non-resident senior fellow. He belongs to various other organizations.
After arrest, McGovern was transferred to the 100 Center Street police station. Placed in central booking ahead of arraignment.
He’s on the State Department’s Diplomatic Security “Be on the Look out” (BELO) list. In 2011, he turned his back on then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at George Washington University.
According to former State Department foreign service officer Peter Van Buren:
“University cops grabbed McGovern in a headlock and by his arms and dragged him out of the auditorium by force, their actions directed from the side by a man whose name is redacted from public records.”
“Photos of the then-71 year old McGovern taken at the time of his arrest show(ed) multiple bruises and contusions he suffered while being arrested.”
“He was secured to a metal chair with two sets of handcuffs. (A)t first refused medical care for the bleeding” they caused.
At the time, disorderly conduct charges were dropped. FOIA documents obtained showed State Department investigations for his “political beliefs, activities, statements and associations.”
He sued the State Department for violating his First Amendment rights. Winning an injunction against inclusion on its BELO list.
His treatment now and earlier reflects America’s abysmal state. More police state than democracy.
More battleground than homeland. More tyrannical than free. More unfit to live in than ever.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”. www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html Visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com.