RussiaJanuary 25 2023, 10:03 am

Former Senior CIA Analyst Turned Russia Propagandist Participates in Webinar with Convicted Terrorism Supporter

On Jan­u­ary 19, 2023, Ray­mond McGov­ern, a for­mer senior CIA Ana­lyst and Chair of the US Intel­li­gence Esti­mate turned polit­i­cal activist, par­tic­i­pat­ed in a webi­nar about the “US Empire and the Future of the World Order” that was host­ed by the Istan­bul Cen­ter for Islam and Glob­al Affairs (CIGA). The event was mod­er­at­ed by CIGA direc­tor Sami Al-Ari­an, a con­vict­ed ter­ror­ism sup­port­er. Accord­ing to intro­duc­to­ry remarks to the live-streamed con­ver­sa­tion:

Hel­lo, As-sala­mu alaykum, and wel­come to CIGA ­­– the Cen­ter for Islam and Glob­al Affairs at Istanbul’s Saba­hat­tin Zaim Uni­ver­si­ty. Today, we are joined with [sic] a very esteemed guest along with our friends of the cen­ter and stu­dents and staff online for a 57th webinar.

Watch the webi­nar here.

The webi­nar also fea­tured ques­tions and con­tri­bu­tions by CIGA Senior Research Asso­ciate Üveys Han.

Join­ing the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency in 1963, Ray­mond McGov­ern served as an ana­lyst for 27 years. He advised US Sec­re­tary of State Hen­ry Kissinger and, dur­ing the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, became Chair of the US Intel­li­gence Esti­mate and pre­pared the President’s Dai­ly Brief. After retir­ing from the CIA in 1990, McGov­ern became a com­men­ta­tor on intel­li­gence-relat­ed and anti-war issues. He has become known for his harsh crit­i­cism of CIA meth­ods, includ­ing its use of tor­ture and the agency’s role in the lead-up to the Iraq War. McGov­ern was among the pas­sen­gers of a 2012 Gaza flotil­la seek­ing to break the Israeli block­ade of Hamas-con­trolled Gaza that before­hand was forced to turn around by the Greek author­i­ties. In 2018, McGov­ern was one of a num­ber of pro­test­ers who inter­rupt­ed the Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing of des­ig­nat­ed CIA leader Gina Haspel. McGov­ern was forcibly removed by Capi­tol Police and charged with dis­rup­tion and resist­ing arrest. McGov­ern has embraced a pro-Russ­ian posi­tion and, in recent years, has appeared as a con­trib­u­tor to the Russ­ian state broad­cast­er RT. A 2022 report by the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment list­ed him as a “speak­er who pro­motes nar­ra­tives con­so­nant with Russ­ian propaganda.”

CIGA head Sami Al-Ari­an plead­ed guilty in 2006 to con­spir­ing to make or receive con­tri­bu­tions of funds, goods, or ser­vices to or for the ben­e­fit of the ter­ror­ist group Pales­tin­ian Islam­ic Jihad. In 2015, he was deport­ed to Turkey as part of his plea agreement.

CIGA has part­nered with sev­er­al Euro­pean Islamist and fun­da­men­tal­ist groups in spon­sor­ing a crit­i­cal report on the US War on Ter­ror that was co-edit­ed by Al-Ari­an. CIGA also co-spon­sored an “Inter­na­tion­al Wit­ness Cam­paign” com­mem­o­rat­ing the 20th anniver­sary of the War on Ter­ror, whose part­ner asso­ci­a­tions includ­ed a host of Islamist orga­ni­za­tions from sev­er­al Euro­pean coun­tries. In August 2021, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed that CIGA had orga­nized an aca­d­e­m­ic con­fer­ence in Turkey named “Chal­leng­ing Apartheid in Pales­tine” that fea­tured promi­nent Islamist and Turk­ish fig­ures as well as US aca­d­e­mics with close ties to the GMB as speak­ers. CIGA also has a his­to­ry of host­ing debates with cur­rent or for­mer mem­bers of the US gov­ern­ment crit­i­cal of coun­tert­er­ror­ism poli­cies in order to assist in dele­git­imiz­ing US coun­tert­er­ror­ism efforts. In Octo­ber 2021, the GIOR report­ed that Col. (Retired) Lawrence B. Wilk­er­son, the for­mer Chief of Staff of the late US Sec­re­tary Of State Col­in Pow­ell, had par­tic­i­pat­ed in a vir­tu­al CIGA dis­cus­sion about US for­eign pol­i­cy and the War on Terror.



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