Ukrainian Roulette: the ‘Ukrainegate’ Gamble

By Enzo Calandra, published on Black Agenda Report, December 4, 2019

Liberals have enlisted the CIA to repudiate a clearly obscene and grotesque president because they themselves are obscene and grotesque in many of the same ways.

“Trump’s more serious violations are not pursued as crimes because they are common practice by both the liberal and conservative parties.”

By allying with the intelligence community, national security state, and corporate media to engineer a soft coup against Donald Trump, liberal democrats have signaled allegiance to our nation’s most antidemocratic and unaccountable forces. “Ukrainegate” is not a progressive push for justice and equality under the law, but an expression of a divide among our ruling class between a neoconservative foreign policy wing (to which establishment Democrats and Republicans belong) and an “America First” xenophobic isolationism represented by Donald Trump and his supporters in Washington.

Trump’s advocacy for détente with Russia during his campaign represented a break from the neoconservatism which dominates US foreign policy and led him to be perceived as an uncontrollable threat by establishment elites. Trump’s isolationist foreign policy made him an enemy of the intelligence community and national security state leading to 2016’s “Russiagate,” what Professor Stephen Cohen deemed  “the worst and (considering the lack of actual evidence) most fraudulent political scandal in American history.” This Russiagate narrative, concocted by intelligence agencies and proliferated by corporate media, was intended “to damage, if not destroy, first the candidacy and then the presidency of Donald Trump.” Throughout his term, insiders loyal to former CIA director John Brennan have been leaking  confidential  information  to the press.

Ukrainegate is not a progressive push for justice and equality under the law, but an expression of a divide amongst our ruling class.”

Corporate media and the intelligence community have a shared financial interest in permanent war and have found a political ally in the scorned Democrats. Crucial to understanding this interrelation between the state, intelligence agencies, media, and the military industrial complex is the recognition of state monopoly capitalism , in which “private and state monopolies are interwoven;… both but separate links in the imperialist struggle … for the division of the world.” The “threat of Russia” gives the multitrillion dollar defense complex, an interwoven private and state monopoly, a reason to exist.

The intelligence community has increasingly fused with the private sector since its creation in WWII: Tim Shorrock of The Nation points out  that “five corporations together employ nearly 80 percent of the private-sector employees contracted to work for US spy and surveillance agencies.” The fusing of private and state power has created a tripartite relationship in which private intelligence agencies are dependent on constant warfare by the state to justify their existence, and superprofits to be had in the defense industry motivate constant imperialist wars. Private contracting companies, such as Booz Allen Hamilton, “which is partly owned by the Carlyle Group, the politically connected private-equity firm” represent this pernicious trend, serving the “the Director of National Intelligence, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, National Intelligence and Civil Agencies, and Military Intelligence.” The Carlyle Group both profits as contractor to the intelligence community through Booz Allen Hamilton and manufactures weapons and technology which are used on the basis of the findings of that intelligence. This confluence of profit making interest explains false, war drum intelligence narratives such as Saddam’s “WMDs,” and, more recently, “Russian interference in the 2016 elections.”

Five corporations together employ nearly 80 percent of the private-sector employees contracted to work for US spy and surveillance agencies.”

The media has an important role in this warmongering by proliferating narratives received through links to intelligence agency officials. The US media, like the private intelligence industry, has monopolized. The media’s centralization and merging with elements of the state apparatus have given the state and intelligence community a unified mouthpiece. Not inconsequentially, former intelligence officers as well as former members of the military are among the most common guests  on political talk shows.

The “Ukrainegate” narrative arose when a CIA official, whose agency daily participates in and overlooks impeachable offenses such as war crimes , decided to call foul when Trump threatened the candidacy of Joe Biden by investigating his and his son’s shady behavior in the Ukraine. Biden is the darling of the fourth estate and fourth branch of government, viewed as someone who will usher in a return to “business as usual.” While Trump’s alleged beckoning of a foreign government to involve itself in our political process is indeed impeachable, this narrow pursuit ignores the grander and more serious issues with Trump such as his brazen imperialist pillaging of Syria, which violates UN law and is itself an impeachable war crime. The warmongering liberals save their complaints not for war crimes against Syria– but for the withdrawal of US troops, perhaps the one good thing Trump has ever done, because it was carried out contrary to the wishes of the military intelligence sectors described above. Trump’s more serious violations are not pursued as crimes because they are common practice by both the liberal and conservative parties, and would have resulted in the impeachment of every single postwar US president . Liberals have found the need to enlist the institutional support of the CIA to repudiate a figure who is clearly obscene and grotesque because they themselves are obscene and grotesque in many of the same ways. Another possibility behind the timing of impeachment could be intimately related to the Ukraine itself. Was Trump getting too close to discovering the true origins of Russiagate, which lie in Ukraine as he suspects?

The warmongering liberals save their complaints not for war crimes against Syria– but for the withdrawal of US troops.”

The CIA and broader intelligence community are unelected, composed of strictly hierarchical institutions whose behavior is hidden by a veil of secrecy; whose members outlast administrations and serve multiple presidents across partisan lines. Speaking at an event at the Michael V. Hayden Center and Schar School of Policy and Government, former acting CIA director John McLaughlin was asked  whether or not the deep state (intelligence community) was trying to take Trump out:

“Thank God for the deep state… It doesn’t surprise me — with all of the people who knew what was going on here, it took an intelligence officer to step forward and say something about it… Now why does that happen? This is the institution in the U.S. government, that with all of its flaws and it makes mistakes, it is institutionally committed to objectivity and telling the truth. It is one of the few institutions in Washington that is not in a chain of command that makes or implements policy. Its whole job is to speak the truth, it’s engraved in marble in the lobby.”

Anybody with a basic knowledge of how the CIA operates knows that it is far from institutionally committed to objectivity and telling the truth. In fact, former CIA director Mike Pompeo admitted  as such in a lecture at Texas A&M:

“I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses…it reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”

The CIA, whose expertise lies in undemocratic government takeovers , are being empowered by Democrats to have greater domestic political power, a karmic reversal which would be humorous were it not so dangerous.

It is transparent that these impeachment proceedings are a grab for power by one elite political wing against the other, and nothing more; a last ditch effort to ensure Trump isn’t reelected. By pursuing the CIA’s Ukrainegate narrative Democrats are playing with fire — if the putsch fails they will have given Trump more than enough ammunition to win in 2020. Rather than engaging with the grassroots opposition which flowered immediately after Trump’s election and those who are actually put at risk by Trump’s racist nationalism, elitist liberal Democrats have instead allied with and empowered fascistic elements such as the FBI and CIA, agencies which are totally unaccountable and operate secretly and unilaterally. Who are the real fascists?


Enzo Calandra is a political analyst and film critic focused on political economy and international relations.

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