Impeachment, Brought to You by the CIA

Photograph Source: Master Steve Rapport – CC BY 2.0

For the first time in half a century, the political left in the U.S. is ascendant. Bernie Sanders is holding his own in the primaries. A group of well-considered programs to save the environment and provide good jobs and health care for all is gaining political traction. And the need is dire. The climate is warming, the seas are polluted and fished out and industrial agriculture threatens to end life on the planet. So, it’s time to change the subject?

Despite occasional warm gas passed in a leftish direction, establishment Democrats never had any intention of allowing a left political program to move forward. After four decades of asserting that they ‘believe’ climate science, the moment has arrived when the only political path forward is to take on their donors. Whatever your assessment of their motives, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have no intention of doing this.

Following the electoral fiasco of 2016, the DNC defended itself in court by arguing that it has no obligation to provide a fair and open primary. In fact, the DNC ran a disinformation campaign against Bernie Sanders, used Superdelegates to overturn primary results, miscounted and misplaced ballots in crucial state primaries and violated its own charter in the allocation of funds to the candidates. In other words, they stole the primary election.

Whatever one thinks of Donald Trump and impeachment, it is the political establishment that is trying to bring him down. That the ‘whistleblower’ is a CIA officer who has since returned to active duty at the agency isn’t lost on Mr. Trump’s supporters. As much as the NPR tote bag set believes that it is the fount of wisdom and truth, they, along with the CIA, inflicted three years of the cynical farce of Russiagate on us and came up empty handed.

The CIA was the central protagonist in Russiagate. The origins of the New Cold War are found in Bill Clinton’s first term, when administration neo-cons looted, plundered and moved NATO against a prostrate Russia in contradiction to explicit guarantees not to do so made by the George H.W. Bush administration. Vladimir Putin’s apparent crime was to oust the Clintonites from Russia and restore Russian sovereignty.

Proponents of impeachment want none of the geopolitical back-and-forth that ties the CIA to U.S. actions in Ukraine, Russiagate and now to impeachment. But considered in context, the charges against Mr. Trump are almost arbitrary. Russiagate was a declaration of war by the ‘intelligence community’ against a duly elected President. As argued below, the CIA’s motive is to move its own foreign policy agenda forward without even the illusion of democratic consent.

If you get your news from NPR or the New York Times, Joe Biden’s threat to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine until Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, fired the prosecutor who was investigating Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma Holdings, was ‘looked into’ and no wrongdoing was found. Of course, the U.S.— the Obama administration, controlled the government that found no wrongdoing. Even still, the charge that the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was ‘corrupt’ was later retracted in private.

Rather than questioning why the Obama administration chose to overthrow the democratically elected President of Ukraine to install a puppet government hostile to Russia, American liberals simply accepted the Cold War mindset as it was handed to them. The official reason given, that Viktor Yanukovych was corrupt, was premised on the fact that he owned a hot tub. But how ‘corrupt’ was it for Mr. Obama to overthrow a democratically elected president in the first place?

In other words, if elections grant legitimacy to political leaders and a political order, how is it legitimate for a foreign power— in this case the U.S., with advance logistics provided by the CIA, to simply charge in and install a new government that answers to it, and not the electorate? In fact, with the CIA  planted in the White House, this seems remarkably like what the CIA is attempting to do against the Trump administration.

During the Clinton years, American economic advisors were sent to Russia to advise the Russian government on how to reorganize the Russian economy along neoliberal lines. As true neoliberals, the American advisors looted the country. The result was the worst economic catastrophe in Russia since WWII. Lest this come as a shock, this is what America does. The CIA is the logistical arm of American smash-and-grab. Out of this crisis, Vladimir Putin rose to power.

Hillary Clinton was Barack Obama’s Secretary of State when the Ukrainian adventure was being conceived. Russia was supplying Ukraine with oil and gas and was making a play to supply greater Europe. The Clintonites in the Obama administration saw Ukraine as a steppingstone to oust Mr. Putin and control the distribution of Russian oil and gas to benefit American ‘interests.’ So, they sent in the CIA to affect that outcome.

In a narrow sense, oil and gas is just a business. But in a geostrategic sense, if you control the energy, you control the country. In an instance of poor timing, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was negotiating an ‘association agreement’ with the EU just as the Obama administration decided to use Ukraine as a springboard into Russia.

Many Ukrainians bought the Western propaganda that the road to prosperity was through business ties with the West. When Yanukovych, with apparent help from Vladimir Putin, got cold feet regarding the association agreement, a popular rebellion was set in motion. Obama / Clinton saw an opportunity and took it. The CIA, with a century of practice using the façade of popular rebellion to affect foreign coups, stepped in and Yanukovych was ousted.

The Obama administration’s charges of corruption against Ukraine’s Yanukovych strain credulity, even amongst American liberals. Mr. Obama had saved Wall Street without prosecuting a single person for one of the most egregious bouts of looting in world history. Obama Vice-President Joe Biden was made the point person inside Ukraine.

As in Russia in the 1990s, the influx of American ‘advisors’ represented a feeding frenzy of self-dealing. The Ukrainian Minister of Finance, Natalie Jaresko, was given instant Ukrainian citizenship even though she continued to work for the U.S. government.

Ms. Jaresko’s story is relevant because she so conspicuously used her position to enrich herself. In fact, she appears to have done so on both the American and Ukrainian dime (see link above). The point: the contention Joe Biden fired the Ukrainian prosecutor (Viktor Shokin) who was investigating Hunter Biden’s $50,000 per month job with Burisma Holdings because of corruption is not credible. Looting is the American way. And that explanation is contradicted by the facts.

Given the link between control of global oil and gas distribution and American power abroad, how likely is it that establishment Democrats will give up this power for the sake of ending climate change? And given Joe Biden’s role in the ‘liberation of Ukraine,’ how likely is it that he sees his lot tied to ending oil-based American political dominance? The problem isn’t simply that profits from oil and gas accrue to the oligarchs. Energy is tied to the base conception of American power.

An explanation of Russiagate that ties establishment Democrats to the CIA and the U.S. adventure in Ukraine should be emerging. When, during his 2016 campaign, Donald Trump began making friendly noises toward Russia and Vladimir Putin, the neocons / CIA saw their geopolitical game vis-à-vis Russia going up in smoke. The entire point of the U.S. project in Ukraine was to weaken Mr. Putin in order to do to Russia what the Clintonites did to Ukraine.

Then consider, Joe Biden is the establishment candidate for president for a reason. He tied his lot to the Clintonite / CIA program of regime change to control the global distribution of oil and gas a long time ago. But how likely is it that a President Bernie Sanders would go along with this program? He would be in the same position that Donald Trump is in. Furthermore, how plausible is it that any left programs will be passed and implemented if the CIA has the final say?

This is where Russiagate / impeachment stands today: national security and surveillance state liberals have joined with a not-so-bright left to oust a not-neocon / not-CIA insurgent (Trump) from power. In other words, Mr. Trump may be everything that the not-so-bright left claims he is, but that has nothing to do with why he is being ousted from power. Impeachment is to bring Joe Biden to power to go after Russia.

The CIA’s overthrow formula can be found in Stephen Kinzer’s All the Shah’s Men. Step 1: pose an unimaginably horrific boogeyman— let’s call it communism; and align the leader / government to be ousted with it. Step 2: overthrow said leader / government while marching paid operatives playing communists in front of the American press. Step 3: install a puppet government sympathetic to American interests, declare a victory for freedom, and call it a day.

For those who may have forgotten, the CIA’s ‘achievements’ include the U.S. war in Vietnam that left 4,000,000 Vietnamese dead, ‘Iran-Contra’ that had Oliver North running a global cocaine smuggling ring out of the basement of the White House to raise money to fund right-wing militias that terrorized Central America in the 1980’s, and the crack epidemic that devastated poor neighborhoods across the U.S. in the early 1990’s.

It’s hardly incidental that the former president of Poland sits on the Board of Burisma Holdings. On the day that impeachment was announced the current President of Poland was signing the papers to replace Russian with American-supplied gas to Poland. And Ukraine was inking a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to do the same— to cut Russia out of the oil and gas supply chain. The CIA’s Cofer Black joined the Board of Burisma in 2017.

So, along comes accidental President Donald Trump, who apparently has no idea who in the CIA is trying to screw him or why. In NPR / New York Times world, having a CIA officer planted in the White House is legitimate because, you know, Trump! However, they didn’t appear to agree when the CIA spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee and tried to blackmail it into ignoring reports of illegal torture.

Speaking of torture, Nancy Pelosi, who announced the impeachment investigation against Mr. Trump, was explicitly told of the CIA’s illegal torture regime in 2002. As a Senior Member of the House Intelligence Committee, Ms. Pelosi was herself legally culpable when she announced that impeachment of George W. Bush was ‘off the table.’ Had that impeachment proceeded, she could have been prosecuted and sent to prison.

So, Mr. Trump, politically astute domestically, but the intellectual equivalent of Joe Biden when it comes to technology, smells a rat in the CIA’s use of Ukraine as the launch site for the nefarious machinations of Russiagate. Apparently not knowing that Ukraine in toto is a CIA ‘asset,’ Trump stupidly asks the Ukrainian president for political dirt on Joe Biden. A quick bet is that Langley is the ‘whistleblower’s’ source for the complaint.

Given the CIA’s history of overthrowing democratically elected leaders and governments for the benefit of connected oligarchs, why is it a good idea to have the CIA within a million miles of domestic politics? Again, how would the CIA treat Bernie Sanders, or even liberal doyen Elizabeth Warren, if it is given the power to oust elected political leaders at will?

Nancy Pelosi, who saw how easily the ‘reality based community’ was rolled with Russiagate, apparently believes that she can thread the needle to simultaneously 1) end the momentum of left political ascendance, 2) bring the Democrats’ donor base back into the fold, 3) raise Joe Biden to the top of the 2020 heap, and 4) end talk of a Green New Deal, Medicare for All and a Job Guarantee. Early reports suggest the bourgeois left is on board with her program.

However, the other left, the part of the country that supports Donald Trump because they despise the manager class that has spent the last five decades dispossessing them for the benefit of the oligarchs, doesn’t get its news from NPR or the New York Times. Both of these sources heavily promoted both the George W. Bush administration’s WMD lies and charges of Russian interference in the 2016 election— Russiagate, which turned out to be wholly fraudulent.

Mr. Trump could have spent five minutes on the internet and found so much dirt on Joe Biden— such as his actual record of public ‘service,’ that he could easily win the 2020 election if Mr. Biden is his Democratic opponent. But rather than put up a political program to entice voters, establishment Democrats have spent the last three years being not-Trump. By keeping the contest in the realm of political marketing— blue versus red, Democrats hope to win the election while keeping their donor base happy. God help everyone else.

Here is the problem: Bernie Sanders’ electoral chances and the entirety of the left political program require taking on the Democrat’s donor class— and the Republican’s. Mr. Sanders has made inroads by broadening the electorate and crossing the traditional left / right divide. This, plus Mr. Trump inserting himself into the CIA’s turf in Ukraine to bring Joe Biden down, explain the sudden establishment interest in impeachment.

Without impeachment, the primary process proceeds apace, and voters have a real choice for President for the first time in five decades. With it, the marketing divisions of blue v. red drive unaffiliated voters away while solidifying the lines of division along Party lines. The establishment goal is to crush the left and stop its momentum. Impeachment is the tool of convenience toward this end.

Let the electoral process play out.

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.