“Architect of bin Laden raid: Trump ‘threatens the Constitution’ when he attacks the media.” That was the title of a CNN story by Jake Tapper and Devan Cole on November 18, highlighting statements of retired Admiral William H. McRaven (shown). “I stand by my comment that the President’s attack on the media is the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime,” McRaven stated, referring to remarks he made in February 2017 to journalism students at the University of Texas in Austin. “When you undermine the people’s right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression, then you threaten the Constitution and all for which it stands,” the four-star admiral told CNN.
CNN’s broadcast of Admiral McRaven’s jabs at President Trump was echoed by all the usual media suspects: the New York Times, NBC, ABC, the Washington Post, Yahoo, AOL, etc. Many of them were reposts of the Huffington Post article entitled “Osama Bin Laden Hunter Slams Trump Behavior As ‘Greatest Threat To Our Democracy.’” But as we will see below, there is much more to the admiral’s attack than appears on the surface. It was part and parcel of an ongoing effort by military and intelligence flunkies of the Deep State shadow government to undermine the president.
Admiral McRaven had turned his University of Texas speech back in 2017 into an op-ed that was widely circulated by the anti-Trump media as a stern rebuke to the president for his criticism of much (but not all) of the media. In his opinion piece, McRaven told of speaking to “bright aspiring young journalists” who “were troubled by the President’s recent Tweet describing the news media as ‘the enemy of the American people.’” The admiral assured them “that not only did I disagree with that sentiment; I viewed it as perhaps the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”
“In my sixty years, most of the serious threats to our nation have come from the outside: the Cold War, the Vietnam War, terrorism and the wars that followed,” McRaven told the students. However, he warned darkly, “never has the government openly challenged the idea of a free press.”
It’s not a surprise, then, that 24/7 anti-Trump CNN prominently promoted an op-ed by Professor David Wheeler, entitled “McRaven for president in 2020.”
Since this charge, that President Trump wants to subvert the U.S. Constitution and eviscerate the First Amendment, has been thrown at President Trump repeatedly — and continues to be endlessly recycled by the media elites — it is worth reminding ourselves of the actual text and context of the president’s tweets and comments in this regard.
The Trump tweet that launched his famous attack on Fake News was unleashed on February 17, 2017. No fair reading of it can mistake it for a blanket assault on freedom of the press or the First Amendment, as his attackers claim. Here is the verbatim tweet that launched a thousand editorials and heated denunciations: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” Very clearly, the president was singling out specific media culprits, not the entire Fourth Estate, for spreading fake news. Of course, the list could have been much longer, since dozens of additional “news” platforms — Newsweek, Time, PBS, NPR, Associated Press, Vox, Daily Beast, etc. — repeatedly have been shown to be not only enemies of the American people, but enemies also of truth, decency, civility, and the Constitution.
President Trump has reiterated and clarified his attacks on the purveyors of Fake News many times since. On August 2, 2018, for instance, President Trump tweeted: “They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people. She correctly said no. It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!” he tweeted.
But from the continuing screeches and wails from the media moralists one would assume that President Trump is about to round up reporters, editors, and pundits for imprisonment, thumbscrew torture, and summary execution. It was to be expected that the establishment media herd would close ranks and dishonestly attempt to portray the president’s criticism of specific media outlets as a dangerous attack on the First Amendment. Trump’s charge resonates with so much of the American electorate because it is so obviously true, and any sentient being can see it confirmed many times daily in broadcasts and print stories across the “mainstream” media universe.
Photo: AP Images
This article appears in the December 24, 2018, issue of The New American. To download the issue and continue reading this story, or to subscribe, click here.
Reasons for the Attacks
The desperation of the media elites is understandable. Not only did they shamelessly flack for Hillary Clinton and demonize Donald Trump during the 2016 elections, they also arrogantly forecast a Clinton landslide victory. To say they had egg on their faces is an understatement. A national survey of more than 2,000 adults in 2016 by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute found that only six percent said they have a lot of trust in the media. By contrast, polls have consistently shown that Americans have a high degree of trust in the U.S. military. A Gallup poll earlier this year, for instance, found 74 percent of Americans express a “great deal” of confidence in the armed services, and 20 percent express “some” confidence. Only five percent expressed having “very little” or no trust in the military.
According to Gallup and other polls, our military enjoys positive ratings far above the presidency, Congress, religious institutions, and the media. This military trust factor is the reason why we see military men such as McRaven being put forward to attack President Trump and to promote the liberal, globalist agenda. While stories about Admiral McRaven play up his Navy SEAL career and his role as the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command overseeing the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, they usually fail to mention another very important point in his vita: his leadership position in the un-American, globalist-minded Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Admiral McRaven is not merely a member of the council, but also sits on its board of directors, as well as being a director of its Committee on Foreign Affairs and its National Program Committee.
Does that matter? Let’s look at some of the reasons why it does, and how it plays into his attacks on President Trump. Millions of Americans already familiar with the notorious history of the council recognize the CFR as the premier brain trust of the organized forces promoting world government and the destruction of national sovereignty. The council, which was founded in 1921, will soon celebrate its centenary. For the past century, its members have been extending their influence in the federal government, academia, the media, business, finance, think tanks, activist NGOs, the military, and intelligence agencies.
The late Admiral Chester Ward denounced the CFR as a clique of “one-world-global-government ideologists” formed for the “purpose of promoting disarmament and submergence of U.S. sovereignty and national independence into an all-powerful one-world government.” Admiral Ward was not criticizing the CFR as an outsider. He had been invited to join the CFR in 1959. He did join the prestigious and influential “study group,” and he maintained his membership for the better part of two decades. However, he became convinced that the organization was dangerous and subversive. In his 1975 book, Kissinger on the Couch, co-authored with Phyllis Schlafly, he charged that the “lust to surrender the sovereignty and independence of the United States is pervasive throughout most of the membership.” Moreover, he added: “In the entire CFR lexicon, there is no term of revulsion carrying a meaning so deep as ‘America First.’” This was back in 1975, keep in mind. Did Donald Trump know he was going to be taking on the entire CFR establishment if he adopted a true America First agenda?
Although currently numbering only 5,095 members, the organization’s reach and influence is formidable. According to the CFR’s 2018 Annual Report (its latest, released in October), its members are strategically placed in government (457 members), media and news services (319), education (1,107), financial institutions (768), and nonprofit and international institutions (999), as well as law and consulting, information technology, medicine and healthcare, and other important sectors. The annual report does not give a separate listing for the number of its members that are active and retired military officers, but as we will see, it is beyond merely “significant.” Indeed, it is appalling that the organization whose members “lust to surrender the sovereignty and independence of the United States” has been so successful in placing many of its members as top officers of our uniformed services.
Admiral Ward described the council’s modus operandi, as he had witnessed it from his vantage point. “Once the ruling members of CFR have decided that the U.S. Government should adopt a particular policy,” he wrote, “the very substantial research facilities of CFR are put to work to develop arguments, intellectual and emotional, to support the new policy, and to confound and discredit, intellectually and politically, any opposition.”
“The most articulate theoreticians and ideologists prepare related articles, aided by the research, to sell the new policy and to make it appear inevitable and irresistible,” Admiral Ward continued. “By following the evolution of this propaganda in the most prestigious scholarly journal in the world, Foreign Affairs, anyone can determine years in advance what the future defense and foreign policies of the United States will be. If a certain proposition is repeated often enough in that [CFR] journal, then the U.S. Administration in power — be it Republican or Democratic — begins to act as if that proposition or assumption were an established fact.”
In his important 1995 exposé Changing Commands: The Betrayal of America’s Military, John F. McManus methodically detailed the decades-long process by which the CFR elites have politicized our military services by insinuating their members into top command posts and service academies, as well as by recruiting officers as “military fellows” to study under CFR tutelage.
McManus points out that the CFR was formally (but quietly) brought in to help manage the U.S. State Department in 1939, by Assistant Secretary of State George Messersmith, a CFR member. World War II was already raging, but the United States had not yet gotten in. The joint DOS/CFR effort was known as the War and Peace Studies Project and was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. By 1940, they had fellow CFR members Henry Stimson and John J. McCloy (later chairman of the CFR) brought in as Roosevelt’s secretary of war and assistant secretary of war. “Stimson and McCloy began a transformation within our military which saw leadership of the Armed Forces pass from men who were primarily military professionals to men who could justly be classified politicians in uniform,” McManus related.
Prominent CFR “politicians in uniform” who have served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, McManus noted, include General Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, General Maxwell D. Taylor, Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., and General Colin L. Powell. Since his book was published, additional CFR members who have occupied that top U.S. military position include General Richard B. Myers and Admiral Michael G. Mullen. Other prominent CFR members in military leadership include General David H. Petraeus, General Stanley A. McChrystal, General Wesley K. Clark, Admiral Jay L. Johnson, Admiral Gary Roughead, and Admiral James G. Stavridis (a current CFR director), to name but a few.
The CFR 2018 Annual Report informs us (on page 10) that “another way the Council has impact is by developing talent. One way we do so is through our fellowship programs.” The CFR’s International Affairs Fellowship (IAF), established in 1967, “aims to create more scholar practitioners,” and now boasts adjunct IAFs in Canada, Japan, and India. In addition, the CFR has an Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship “for distinguished foreign correspondents or editors,” and a National Intelligence Fellowship for senior intelligence officers. “The Council also has a military fellowship program,” the report states, “which brings an officer from each of the five service branches to CFR for a year.” “The Council has now hosted some 150 Military Fellows, seventy Murrow Fellows, and twenty Intelligence Fellows,” the report notes, and then boasts: “Among the Council’s military fellowship alumni, more than half have gone on to be promoted to admiral or general.”
The annual report also provides a photograph from the CFR’s Robert B. McKeon Endowed Series on Military Strategy and Leadership featuring CFR member Admiral John M. Richardson, chief of naval operations, U.S. Navy; General David L. Goldfein, chief of staff, U.S. Air Force; Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, commandant, U.S. Coast Guard; and General James C. McConville, vice chief of staff, U.S. Army. Helping lead panel discussion was NPR international correspondent (and CFR member) Deborah S. Amos.
Consider the following remarkable statement made by President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor General James L. Jones at the 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy on February 8, 2009 (which was published on the web page of the Council on Foreign Relations). “Thank you for that wonderful tribute to Henry Kissinger yesterday,” General Jones said. “Congratulations. As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger, filtered down through General Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger, who is also here. We have a chain of command in the National Security Council that exists today.”
Keep in mind that Henry Kissinger is now, and was at the time of General Jones’ comment, a private citizen. He is the éminence grise of the CFR, a longtime member and former director. The CFR has honored him by establishing an endowed Henry A. Kissinger Chair in U.S. Foreign Policy. This is the same Henry Kissinger who, as secretary of state, commented, when informed that a policy he was contemplating was illegal: “The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.” Unfortunately, as his actions showed, he was not joking. Much the same can be said for General Scowcroft, also a former CFR director. A protégé of Kissinger’s in the Nixon administration, he became one of the political generals who has carried out the betrayal of America’s military through several administrations. He has been rewarded financially by being made vice chairman of Kissinger Associates, which helped him launch his own business consulting firm, The Scowcroft Group.
Admiral McRaven’s attacks on President Trump should be seen in the context of the relentless Deep State efforts, led by CFR minions in the media, academia, government, business, and elsewhere, to stymie and discredit every attempt by the Trump administration to roll back any part of their program for what they call the New World Order.
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