The Biden-Harris Transition Team released names of people who are on their "agency review teams," which will prepare Biden and his Cabinet for their administration.

Let's examine some of the individuals who are notable because of their backgrounds. #BidenTransition Image
Matt Olsen is former Obama administration official. He was National Counterterrorism Center director, briefly the NSA general counsel, and executive director for Gitmo Review Task Force.

Olsen is volunteer for Intelligence Community group. Image
In 2018, Olsen went to work for Uber as the corporation's chief security officer.

Uber joined with other corporations & spent hundreds of millions of dollars to pass Prop 22 in California. It ensures drivers and couriers are exempt from minimum wage. readsludge.com/2020/10/06/how…
Olsen has contended what NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed had little to do with privacy and civil liberties, a talking point former officials have repeated to discredit him. He also insists terrorists changed their behavior to avoid detection.

Olsen defended backdoor searches of Americans' internet communications.

"...[N]o principled or logical limit to view of critics that FBI should have to establish probable cause & get permission of judge to look at information it has already obtained..."

justsecurity.org/47470/warrantl…
As deputy AG for DOJ's National Security Division from 2006-2009, Olsen helped break barriers preventing prosecutors from using info collected through clandestine operations and warrantless surveillance in criminal cases. He crafted expansion of FISA. theatlantic.com/politics/archi…
Greg Vogle is a partner for the McChrystal Group, which was founded by Stanley McChrystal, former commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He was the CIA head of station in Afghanistan.

Vogle is a volunteer for Intelligence Community group. Image
Vogle was an adviser for DGC International, a US military contractor founded and headed by Afghan businessman Mustafa Zamani.

Examples of some of the services DGC provides so US military can maintain its dominating presence in the Middle East: ImageImageImageImage
Eric Velez-Villar spent 30 years at FBI and eventually was a senior executive for Intelligence Branch. He left to become head of security for Disney's parks and resorts and protect corporation's "sensitive information."

He is volunteer for Intelligence Community Group. Image
Carmen Middleton also has worked for Disney. She is former deputy executive director of CIA. She was CIA's highest-ranking Latina and showed women like her can destabilize the world in the name of American democracy too.

Middleton is volunteer for Intelligence Community group. Image
Bob Litt is the former general counsel for the Office of Director for National Intelligence (ODNI). He worked with James Clapper and was involved in US intelligence response to Snowden's whistleblowing.

Litt is volunteer for the Intelligence Community group. Image
Here is Litt defending Clapper after the New York Times published an editorial suggesting Clapper lied to Congress about the collection of Americans' phone metadata:

dni.gov/index.php/news… Image
When any American newspaper revealed some new aspect of mass surveillance program operated by US government—for example, how NSA stored location data for "hundreds of millions of devices"—it was Litt who deployed to make sure it did not erupt into a scandal which led to reform. Image
Comment: I don't think this group of "intelligence community" advisers will support dropping the charges against Edward Snowden or Daniel Hale. They may not even object to prosecuting Assange, even though Obama Justice Dept declined to charge him.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield was US assistant secretary of state for African affairs and has been the senior vice president for Albright Stonebridge Group's Africa section.

Thomas-Greenfield is a volunteer and team lead for State Department group. Image
As developer and manager for US policy toward sub-Saharan Africa, was a cheerleader for President George W. Bush's Millennium Challenge Account.

The MCA is neocolonialism. It is designed to privilege US corporations and enable exploitation of emerging African economies. ImageImage
That is Thomas-Greenfield is the lead for State Department agency review group may be one of clearest indications Biden will nominate Susan Rice to serve as Secretary of State.

When Rice was attacked in pages of New York Times for "diplomatic disasters," she defended her. ImageImage
Albright Stonebridge Group is global consulting firm chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who in 1990s defended the policy of US sanctions against Iraq in spite of the fact that a half million children died.

There are two more people from ASG on this team.
Roberta Jacobson is a former US ambassador to Mexico and describes herself as expert on "Latin American business and politics." She has worked for Albright Stonebridge Group.

She is a volunteer for the State Department group. Image
In 2014, US-backed right-wing opposition seized on void left by Hugo Chavez's death to oust Nicolas Maduro.

They setup guarimbas (blockades) on streets, resulting in a number of deaths.

Jacobson joined other officials in ignoring their tactics and backing their efforts. ImageImage
Tom Sullivan is the director of international tax planning at Amazon—and the younger brother of Jake Sullivan, a Biden national security adviser.

It doesn't look like he has any experience in State Department (or federal government), but he's part of that agency review group. Image
Derek Chollet and Ellison Laskowski are both affiliated with the German Marshall Fund.

GMF spent the Trump administration supporting a project called the Alliance For Securing Democracy.

Both Chollet and Laskowski are on the State Department group. ImageImage
Alliance For Securing Democracy developed a "tracker" that it claimed could identify "Russian influence operations."

In practice, popular discourse that didn't fit US foreign policy agenda could easily be targeted for censorship on social media.

thenation.com/article/our-ru…
Dana Stroul is a fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). It was founded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) or the Israel lobby.

Stroul is a volunteer for the State Department group. Image
Stroul was part of the bipartisan Syria Study Group that Congress appointed, which plotted out the next phase of US regime change policy in Syria.

Here is Stroul saying US maintained military presence to control Syria's resources and "influence a political outcome."
For @TheGrayzoneNews, @BenjaminNorton covered this and outlined four-pronged plan for Syria that Stroul championed

Occupying this section of Syria and imposing sanctions would result in massive suffering and civilian deaths.
thegrayzone.com/2019/11/05/us-…
Chris Lu was deputy secretary of labor for President Barack Obama and cheerleader for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

He was vice chair of 2020 Democratic National Convention Rules Committee.

Lu is a volunteer and team lead for Labor Department group.

Image
Neil MacBride was US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia. He was chief counsel for Biden when he was a US senator.

MacBride is a volunteer for the Justice Department group. Image
MacBride oversaw grand jury investigation against WikiLeaks until he resigned from his position as US Attorney in August 2013. He prosecuted CIA whistleblowers @JohnKiriakou and Jeffrey Sterling (@S_UnwantedSpy).
Here is MacBride in July 2013 at an Aspen Security Forum event. He's asked about Obama administration's record number of leak prosecutions under Espionage Act.

"Have you gone overboard, Neil?"

"No, I don't believe we have," MacBride replies.
MacBride defended a subpoena issued against NYT reporter James Risen in Sterling case. He argued government should be able to compel a journalist to reveal their confidential sources by threatening them with jail if they don't cooperate.

Here is a clip of him dodging the issue:
Marty Lederman is a Georgetown Law professor. He was deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2009 to 2010 (during the Obama administration).

He is a volunteer on the Justice Department group. Image
Lederman helped draft 2010 "drone memo" that set out "legal basis" for executing American terrorism suspect without charge or trial—Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

ACLU's Jameel Jaffer offered a critique of memo after Obama admin was forced to release it. msnbc.com/msnbc/drone-me…
Barbara McQuade is a University of Michigan law professor and was a US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, which includes Dearborn, Detroit, and Flint. She was an MSNBC contributor.

McQuade is a volunteer for the Justice Department group. Image
As US Attorney in Michigan, McQuade's office was implicated in racial profiling and intrusive surveillance against Arab, Muslim, & Sikh communities.

She faced blowback after it became known Dearborn was labeled by security agency as "terrorist hotspot."

theintercept.com/2014/08/05/wat… Image
McQuade's response was to lash out at The Intercept's journalism. She called release and publication "unfortunate and irresponsible," and even said she was "very skeptical of its accuracy." michiganradio.org/post/muslim-co…
This year, McQuade spoke at UofM after play based on NSA whistleblower Reality Winner's case. She repeated prosecution's talking points, referring to texts out of context.

Also, in program for event, she questioned whether Intercept was media deserving of DOJ protections. ImageImage
McQuade's office targeted Palestinian American woman named Rasmea Odeh, who was pillar of her Chicago community. She was deported to Jordan after political prosecution—detailed here:

shadowproof.com/2017/03/24/pol…
McQuade was involved in the embarrassing prosecution against the Hutaree militia that collapsed because evidence largely came from a paid FBI informant and infiltrator.

The case raised several First Amendment questions that McQuade largely dismissed and downplayed.
As US Attorney, McQuade was in charge of prosecuting officials in Michigan, including then-Gov. Rick Snyder, who poisoned the water in Flint. But no one was charged before she resigned after Trump took office.

McQuade boosted Snyder's endorsement of Biden in September. Image
As @sarahlazare reported, of 23 appointees to Pentagon review team, at least a third recently worked for "orga­ni­za­tions, think tanks, or com­pa­nies that either direct­ly receive mon­ey from the weapons indus­try or are part of this indus­try."

inthesetimes.com/article/joe-bi…
Kath Hicks was principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy in Obama admin. She is a senior vice president, Henry Kissinger Chair, & director of International Security Program at Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).

Hicks is leader for Pentagon team. Image
CSIS is funded by Bank of America, Chevron, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Exxon Mobil, Lockheed Martin, Saudi Aramco, Bechtel, Citigroup, General Dynamics, Raytheon, BAE Systems, Royal Dutch Shell, ConcoPhillips, and JPMorgan Chase. Image
Hicks favors economic sanctions against Iran to force the government to comply with America's global agenda.

As detailed here, sanctions have been responsible for a major humanitarian crisis (and it's become worse during COVID-19 pandemic).

thenation.com/article/world/…
Susanna Blume was deputy chief of staff for programs and plans to the deputy secretary of defense during Obama admin. She is director of defense program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

Blume is on Pentagon review team. Image
CNAS is funded by Northrop Grumman, State Department, Pentagon, Bank of America, Chevron, Facebook, Google, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Booz Allen Hamilton, BP America, JPMorgan Chase, Palantir, Raytheon, and Office of Director of National Intelligence.
Sharon Burke was an official in the Defense Department during Obama administration. She is part of New America Foundation. She was at State Department during President George W. Bush's administration, and she was vice president at CNAS.

Burke is on the Pentagon review team. Image
The New America Foundation receives funding from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Apple, Comcast, Boeing, General Atomics, Microsoft Defense & Intelligence, and Walmart.
Burke focuses on climate change's impact on the US military and its ability to wage war. But what seems absent from her focus is a recognition that US military is a big threat to the climate. The Pentagon is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than up to 140 countries. Image
Melissa Dalton was at the Defense Department during the Obama administration. She is a deputy director of the CSIS International Security Program. She often focuses on US military policy toward the Middle East.

Dalton is part of the Pentagon team. Image
It seems Dalton viewed the push in Senate to end military support for Saudi Arabia's bombing of Yemen as counterproductive. Dalton supports core objective—to challenge Iranian support for Houthi rebels.

She backs training Saudis to kill less civilians.
csis.org/analysis/us-su… Image
John Estrada was ambassador to Trinidad & Tobago under Trump. He was senior manager for Lockheed Martin Training Solutions. He was highest-ranking enlisted US Marine during height of Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

Estrada is on the Pentagon review team. Image
Andrew Hunter was a senior official at Defense Department under Obama. He is the director of defense-industrial initiatives group for CSIS.

Hunter is on the Pentagon review team. Image
As an expert for #1 think tank funded by war profiteers, Hunter is kind of military industrial-complex sales representative.

Here he is in 2016 talking about "future investments" the Pentagon needed to make, even as budget for US military was more than a half trillion dollars: Image
Report I compiled for @TheGrayzoneNews on the neoliberal consultants, war profiteers, and national security hawks appointed to the #BidenTransition agency review teams

thegrayzone.com/2020/11/14/bid…

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More from @kgosztola

30 Nov
Neera Tanden, who is Biden's pick for OMB director, is ardent opponent of Medicare For All.

Here is Neera on 2016 DNC Platform Committee rendering "healthcare is a human right" meaningless and redefining words to help Democrats suppress movement for universal health care:
Centrist liberal Neera Tanden, a Hillary Clinton loyalist and think tank president, is exactly who the health insurance industry want in White House to make sure expanding Medicare to cover all Americans never becomes a budget priority for Biden-Harris administration.
Third Way previously received funding from Wall Street and Koch Brothers. The centrist think tank is backed by health care, pharmaceutical, & other corporations and aggressively opposed Bernie Sanders' platform.

They are very pleased with Biden picking Neera Tanden for OMB.
Read 9 tweets
24 Nov
President-elect Joe Biden announced his first batch of appointments.

As I've done throughout #BidenTransition, here's a thread on the national security elites and corporate consultants named to his administration.
Tony Blinken is Biden's pick for secretary of state.

In Obama's administration, he was deputy secretary of state. He was also national security adviser to Biden during Obama's first term.

From 1994 to 2001, he was part of President Bill Clinton's National Security Council.
Blinken is devout believer in American exceptionalism. He sees Biden as president who will put "globe back on its axis" after Trump.

To Blinken, world has little chance of survival if United States doesn't dictate its future.

He expressed this view at USGLC event on Nov. 10:
Read 52 tweets
19 Nov
The Biden-Harris Transition released a list of individuals who are briefing President-elect Joe Biden on national security matters.

Here's a thread examining each of these people.
Lloyd Austin is a retired four-star military general, who was the commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) from 2013-2016 under President Obama. He was responsible for operations in Middle East and central and south Asia. He oversaw campaigns against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
As a bio for him celebrates, Austin was an assistant division commander in the 3rd Infantry Division. He helped "spearhead the invasion into Iraq in March 2003." He boasts about US military forces leaving Kuwait and seizing Baghdad "in a record 22 days."

academyofdiplomacy.org/member/lloyd-a…
Read 45 tweets
4 Nov
The Democratic Party, along with liberal celebrities, media corporations, and polling firms, did it again. Maybe not quite a repeat of 2016 but unbearably close. #Election2020
Democrats and the most congenial news media money could buy sold us all the "safe" and most "electable" candidate, and they seem likely to lose to Trump again. #Election2020
A deadly virus has ravaged United States for past six or seven months, killing around 235,000 Americans so far. #Election2020
Read 19 tweets
30 Oct
When Glenn Greenwald announced resignation from The Intercept, he mentioned one of episodes contributing to decision involved refusal to "report on daily proceedings of Assange extradition hearing because freelance reporter doing an outstanding job was politically distasteful."
At this moment, I do not know if this is me (though I emailed and sent DMs asking Glenn to clarify).

I did ask Glenn multiple times over the past year if The Intercept needed a reporter to cover Julian Assange's case and if they were willing to hire or collaborate with me.
This was a private exchange, but it has become a public issue with Glenn's resignation. So I will add some details. Hopefully, Glenn will confirm at some point who this "freelance reporter" was that individuals at the Intercept found to be "politically distasteful."
Read 19 tweets
28 Oct
Airwars has taken over the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's project of tracking US airstrikes (including drone warfare) in Yemen.

Obama (2013-2017): 138 airstrikes

Trump (2017-present): 230 airstrikes

Obama laid the foundation, Trump greatly expanded on it. Image
Airwars tallied 194 "non-combatant" deaths from actions under Trump.

At least 86 civilians dead - 28 children, 13 women.

Twenty-three killed by CIA or clandestine actions Image
In March 2019, Trump rolled back the requirement to report civilian deaths from US drone strikes or other actions.

The Pentagon declined to reveal how many strikes it conducted in Yemen during 2019.
Read 4 tweets

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