It’s Time to Stop Celebrating Criminals


The constant stream of lies, disinformation, and misinformation has many people supporting and praising establishment figures responsible for criminal acts.

In recent weeks a trend has emerged which finds activists, journalists, and news pundits showing their true state-worshiping colors as they celebrate political figures with their own dark past. Individuals who once questioned and challenged the political establishment of both parties have now become so enamored with partisan division they are willing to sell their integrity in order to be seen giving thanks to men who do not deserve the praise of anyone with a conscience, let alone anyone with access to the Internet.

Most recently, this trend has showed itself in the parade of celebrations for the now-deceased former U.S. Senator John McCain and former CIA director John Brennan. On Saturday, McCain finally succumbed to terminal brain cancer, leading to a barrage of commemorative tweets from individuals claiming to care about freedom and justice (and George Soros).

Even the new darling of the socialist left, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, got in on the fun, calling McCain an “unparalleled example of human decency”. The tweet was not well received by Ocasio-Cortez’s supporters, with many angrily tweeting disappointment in her.

Beyond empty platitudes and biased obituaries lies the truth about John McCain. Plenty has been written about the man’s years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. However, McCain was more than just a victim in the hell of war. Upon returning to the U.S. and becoming a politician, John McCain joined the ranks of former soldiers turned war hawks.

“McCain did not simply thunder for every major intervention of the post-Cold War era from the Senate floor, while pushing for sanctions and assorted campaigns of subterfuge on the side,” Max Blumenthal writes for Consortium News. “He was uniquely ruthless when it came to advancing imperial goals, barnstorming from one conflict zones to another to personally recruit far-right fanatics as American proxies. In Libya and Syria, he cultivated affiliates of Al Qaeda as allies, and in Ukraine, McCain courted actual, sig-heiling neo-Nazis.”

McCain was instrumental in pushing for war in Libya and bombing in Syria. In May 2013, McCain infamously went on a secret trip to Syria where he met with the CIA-backed Free Syrian Army. McCain’s calls for war and intervention directly empowered the most violent sectarian groups in Syria. The actions of McCain and other war hawks have contributed to the Syrian humanitarian crisis.

(For More truth about John McCain, please see this, this, and this.)

Former CIA Director John Brennan is also receiving love from the media due to his recent loss of security clearance at the hands of Donald Trump. Brennan, who earlier this year joined NBC News and MSNBC as a contributor and senior national security and intelligence adviser, has been a vocal critic of Trump. I dislike Trump as much as anyone else with a brain, but the disingenuous corporate media is choosing to take the side of Brennan simply because they have a desire to remove Trump from office. So, as with John McCain, Brennan is now being given a pass for his former crimes. In a recent appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher, a progressive, praises Brennan as a real American patriot. Even the audience gives the former CIA director a standing ovation.

So why should we be critical of John Brennan instead of celebrating his opposition to Trump? For starters, Brennan is the architect of former President Obama’s disposition matrix, aka the presidential kill list. The spymaster also played a vital role in the torture programs of George W. Bush. At the time of Obama’s nomination of John Brennan to the CIA, the American Civil Liberties Union wrote that “the Senate should not move forward with the nomination of John Brennan until it is clear that he is committed to making sure that the CIA will end its targeted killing program, and agree to work with the Senate Intelligence Committee on the declassification review and disclosure of the committee’s report on the CIA’s past role in torture and abuse.”

The Atlantic described the situation a bit more bluntly, asking, “Are the American people being asked to entrust our clandestine spy agency and its killing and interrogation apparatuses to a man who was complicit in illegal torture?”. Brennan was also implicated in lying to the U.S. Senate regarding the CIA’s use of torture and a subsequent spying operation on the Senators tasked with investigating the torture.

Of course, Brennan also offered condolences to John McCain – from one criminal to another – calling McCain “a man of tremendous courage, patriotism, and integrity”.

(For those who want to understand more about Brennan’s past, see this.)

The moral of the story is that the corporate media and the politicians and pundits are happy to come together to celebrate war mongers and condemn anyone who challenges their squeaky clean, Disney version of events. John McCain and John Brennan both had very public feuds with Donald Trump, so now it has become fashionable to celebrate and cheer on the enemies of Trump, even if they are despicable war mongers and professional spies. Unfortunately, for the individual striving to make sense of this crazy world – with it’s endless wars of aggression, mass surveillance, targeting of activists and journalists, and so much more tyranny to dismantle – the public conversation is stuck on stupid.

The only way to navigate this sea of lies and propaganda is to develop critical thinking skills and refuse to blindly accept the proclamations of the state and their lackey corporate media. We must focus our energies on empowering ourselves and our communities. Rather than celebrating governmental criminals we should honor and celebrate our own heroes. We should take time to remember those who have served in our communities and our neighborhoods. The real heroes lie in your own backyard, not in the federal government. Once the American people have accepted this and stopped swallowing the false narratives we will finally see a shift in power. Until then, can we at least stop celebrating these criminals?

Oh, and just in case anyone thinks this piece is somehow a defense of Donald Trump, let me remind you: Trump is also a war criminal.

Derrick is the founder of TCRN, where this article first appeared.


Comments are closed.