Interview with Philip Geraldi by Hasan Mesut Önder for OCAKMedya Jan. 17, 2018

How does the US foreign policy making process work? What are the implications of the CIA, the Pentagon, and the non-state actors in politics and on the decision-making process?

All decision making is now in the hands of the White House. The agencies and departments advise but they do not decide. There is considerable resentment in the bureaucracy over their being largely ignored.

What can you say about the structure that is defined as the US deep state? Is this structure a homogeneous force or is it made up of different consortia? What is the role of economic organizations, such as multinational corporations, financial circles, oil companies, ideological neo-cons and esoteric organizations in American deep state structuring?

It includes all of them as the American Deep State is actually the Establishment. It operates largely in the open to support status quo economic and political policies which benefit it greatly. The money that it generates keeps everyone under control, rewarding politicians and senior government officials so they continue to support the system that benefits all of them. It is not, however, very beneficial for most Americans, only for the elite.

In your papers, you write that the Middle East policies of the United States are influenced by the Jewish Lobby and Israel. It is also seen that the US support for the PKK and YPG overlaps with Israel’s interests in Syria. How would you evaluate the US support towards a terrorist organization, despite Turkey which is an important regional power?

The United States coordinates its policy in Syria with Israel and Israel wants to see Kurdish independence because it will further break apart the Arab nations and also damage Turkey. Israel sees all Muslim majority states as potential enemies. Washington does not support the PKK but its support of other Turkish groups is a legitimate concern for Turkey.

Doesn’t it show that being influential in the decision-making process of the lobbies like United States do, is far from being a national deep state? Why is the United States under the influence of Israel instead of developing cooperation that would prioritize its own national interests? For example, in one of your papers, you said that Trump’s influence in Jerusalem was influenced by Sheldon Adelson. You are also referring to the work of the UN Representative of the United States, Nikki Halley, in favor of Israel. Isn’t there any actor in America that would limit Israel’s influence and power? What can you say about this?

No there isn’t. The Israel Lobby has a powerful grip on the media as well as on the mostly corrupt politicians. The public is gradually becoming aware that Jewish Power in America is overwhelming, but there is little that they can do about it. Jewish power translates into unlimited support for Israel and its perceived interests.

 

It is known that Israel spies in the United States (there are several names that serve as, Jonathan Pollard). You have also emphasized this in one of your an articles. Ali Hassan Salameh, one of the leaders of the Black September organization used as a source of Duane R. Clarridge, with the assertion that MOSSAD was responsible for Munich’s actions was killed. In this context, how do you interpret the Israeli intelligence’s actions, despite America? Do you think that MOSSAD does not listen to any ally when there is a matter of national interest? In addition, MOSSAD is an organization that can not be defeated, as it is perceived in the public opinion. What is your opinion about this?

 

No one talks about Mossad but it operates fairly freely in the United States. Again, it is a question of power and money. Israel routinely steals American national secrets and also technology but no one is willing to confront the problem. FBI agents who have investigated the problem and recommended further action are not promoted, for example.

Regarding the mistakes of American foreign policy towards Syria, doesn’t/didn’t CIA warn the American decision-makers? The regime could be liquidated if a moderate government was established after Syria was controlled by Assad and before Russia intervened. Instead of this the international actors stretch this point and Syria turned into a big training camp for the radical terrorist organizations. What are your evaluations about this situation?

CIA knew that removing Assad would create a vacuum, but the policymakers and White House wanted him gone ever since 2004. This was largely at the urging of Israel but under Obama there was a false impression that Assad alone was responsible for the violence in his country. This led the Administration to seek to protect Syrian civilians, or at least that was the excuse for intervention. The result has been what might be expected – terrible.

How does the intelligence services establish the subdivision of the area to mobilize all layers of society while operating the regime change with street movement? How are produced the high-profile resources for the creation of a post-coup leadership? How does this whole process work in summary?

It doesn’t work and has never worked, that is the problem. To change regime and come out with a good result you have to find a replacement for the government that is both credible and respected. They have not been able to do so in Afghanistan after 17 years of trying and they have also failed in Iraq. That is why it is best to leave Assad alone.

What should be done in the fight against the “lone wolf” terrorist that emerged in the last period? How can be identified the terrorists in this category that only act with ideological triggers, without being in any organizational hierarchy?

The only way to combat them is to give the government the power to invade the privacy of all its citizens to learn what they are thinking and doing. That is an unacceptable price. We will have to live with lone wolf terrorists, I am afraid.

How should the features of a strong intelligence service be? In addition, what do you say about the politicization of the intelligence product by the managers? So what should service managers do to prevent the habit of telling the decision maker what he wants to hear to protect his chair?

Senior government officials should be forbidden from taking jobs as lobbyists or media consultants after they retire because they are then involved in politics, which must be avoided. That process whereby they sell their knowledge is referred to as a revolving door. Also Congress must exercise its power to oversee the intelligence and law enforcement agencies to make sure that they are not involving their employees in political actions. It has failed to do that.

Today, with the development of communication technologies, there are evaluations of decreasing the importance of human intelligence. In your opinion, in terms of gathering intelligence, the most important method is the technical or the human one?

Technical is most important because it provides quick answers to some questions and is easier to accomplish, but human is more critical because it can tell you the intentions of a leader of another country. For example, we have a lot of technical intelligence on North Korea but no idea what they intend to do. That is an intelligence failure.