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‘We’ve Seen This Before’: CIA Veterans Suggest U.S. Is On The Brink Of Collapse, Compare Trump To Saddam, Bashar, Qaddafi

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CIA veterans who monitored crackdowns overseas say that they see troubling parallels in Trump’s handling of protests with those of Sadam Hussian in Iraq, Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and Muammar Al-Qaddafi in Lybia just before those countries collapsed.

Citing interviews and posts on social media in recent days, The Washington Post reports that “current and former U.S. intelligence officials have expressed dismay at the similarity between events at home and the signs of decline or democratic regression they were trained to detect in other nations.”

The scenes in the United States have been disturbingly familiar to CIA veterans accustomed to monitoring scenes of societal unraveling abroad — the massing of protesters, the ensuing crackdowns and the awkwardly staged displays of strength by a leader determined to project authority.

“I’ve seen this kind of violence,” said Gail Helt, a former CIA analyst responsible for tracking developments in China and Southeast Asia. “This is what autocrats do. This is what happens in countries before a collapse. It really does unnerve me,” he added, according to The Post.

Helt, now a professor at King University in Tennessee, said the images of unrest in U.S. cities, combined with President Trump’s incendiary statements, echo clashes she covered over a dozen years at the CIA tracking developments in China, Malaysia and elsewhere.

From the report:

Other former CIA analysts and national security officials rendered similarly troubled verdicts.

Marc Polymeropoulos, who formerly ran CIA operations in Europe and Asia, was among several former agency officials who recoiled at images of Trump hoisting a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington after authorities fired rubber bullets and tear gas to clear the president’s path of protesters.

“It reminded me of what I reported on for years in the third world,” Polymeropoulos said on Twitter. Referring to the despotic leaders of Iraq, Syria and Libya, he said: “Saddam. Bashar. Qaddafi. They all did this.”

The impression Trump created was only reinforced by others in the administration. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper urged governors to “dominate the battlespace” surrounding protesters, as if describing U.S. cities as a foreign war zone. Later, as military helicopters hovered menacingly over protesters, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, toured the streets of the nation’s capital in his battle fatigue uniform.
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“As a former CIA officer, I know this playbook,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) said in a tweet. Before her election to Congress last year, she worked at the agency on issues including terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

One U.S. intelligence official even ventured into downtown Washington on Monday evening, as if taking measure of the street-level mood in a foreign country.

“Things escalated quickly,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitive nature of his job. He emphasized that he went as a concerned citizen, not in any official capacity. After seeing tear gas canisters underfoot, he said, he “knew it was time to go” and departed.

Former intelligence officials said the unrest and the administration’s militaristic response are among many measures of decay they would flag if writing assessments about the United States for another country’s intelligence service.

They cited the country’s struggle to contain the novel coronavirus, the president’s attempt to pressure Ukraine for political favors, his attacks on the news media and the increasingly polarized political climate as other signs of dysfunction.

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NEWS

If You Thought Kamala Harris Was Tough On Brett Kavanaugh, Just Wait Until She Debates Mike Pence

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday selected Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate. Following the news of Biden’s selection, MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace called into her network while on vacation to point out that Harris will mop the floor with Vice President Mike Pence during debates.

“The other piece of reporting I’ve picked up in the past week was from the Trump team, that from their viewpoint, because Donald Trump has no capacity to understand that this is the selection of a person to run the government with the president, he only saw this in terms of casting for the night of primetime coverage that is the vice presidential debate, and this was the pick that scared them the most,” Wallace told MSNBC’s Brian Williams.

“They thought she would more than go toe-to-toe with [Mike] Pence, they thought she could chew him up and spit him out and pointed to her cross-examination of one Bill Barr,” she explained.

“I don’t know that there’s a better debater or questioner on the political field right now,” Wallace said. Her skill-set is unmatched in terms much being able to articulate an argument, to patiently wait to make her point and look at the argument that the democratic ticket has to make.”

Take a look at the video clip below:

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