Marcos Moulitsas: Man of Mystery
Marcos Moulitsas spent 6 months in 2001 interviewing with the CIA. He was accepted by the CIA, went through the entire interview process (talking to dozens of people including “psychologists and people in the leadership” ) and given his first assignment to work in clandestine services. His assignment, he says was to act as a “spy” in Washington D.C. for the CIA. He was told by the CIA that this particular assignment in Washington D.C. would last for at least 6 years before he would be given the overseas assignment he preferred. Moulitsas spoke to the CIA about his “blog”.
Moulitsas had been an active blogger at the time of his 6 month CIA interview process with My DD. He discussed his blogging with the CIA and the viewpoints he expressed in posts in what he referred to as “his blog”. He said he found the CIA receptive, and in general, in agreement with his views.
Moulitsas started Daily Kos on May 26th, 2002.
Mouitsas believes that the CIA is a “liberal” organization. An organization made of up liberals who are opposed George W. Bush
Moulitsas commenting on the CIA says, ”Of course they have their dirty ops and this and that right? ...But as an institution itself the CIA is actually interested in a stable world, that’s what they are interested in… and stable worlds aren’t created by destabilizing regimes and by,...by starting wars... they (The CIA) have done so by other methods…. assassinating labor leaders…..no, I’m kidding….....but that was really surprising to me”…(that the CIA was liberal) and of course I think a lot of conservatives would take that as evidence that the CIA was out to undermine Bush because they (the CIA) are a bunch of liberals”…Keep in mind that I came to this country in 1980…so a lot has to do with historical hostility to the CIA by the left…but it’s before my time so….I… maybe I’m missing nuances…. but from a modern perspective, obviously things are a little different.
All of the above quotations are Moulitsas's own words quoted from a speech he gave to the Commonwealth Club of California on June 7th 2006. It is available HERE under the title: Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots and the Rise of People-Powered Politics and his discussion of his association with the CIA begins at 13:08.
Several early contributors to MyDD became prominent in politics on the Internet. Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, founder of the most-visited political blog in the world, Daily Kos, began commenting on MyDD before starting his own blog in May of 2002, and refers to MyDD as his "blogfather.”
Moulitsas decided not to take the assignment to be a spy in Washington. Moulitsas says he did not want to work in Washington D.C. He hated Washington D.C. he says.
Moulitsas says he was between jobs and wondering how he would pay his bills. It was during this time he applied for work at the CIA.
Moulitsas says that “every single person I talked to in the CIA (during the 6 months he was being interviewed) was liberal, every single one”.
Moulitsas says: As an organization, “their hearts in the right place”.
Moulitsas lived in El Salvador from age 4 to age 8 or 9. He is 35 years old. He has lived in the United States for about 30 years and El Salvador as a small child for 4 or 5 years.
ALLAN NAIRN: In El Salvador and not just Salvador, but about three dozen other countries, the U.S. government, in an integrated effort involving the C.I.A., the Pentagon, and the State Department, backed the creation of military units that targeted civilian activists. In Salvador, I interviewed many of the officers involved in running these squads. For example, General “Chele” Medrano, who was on the C.I.A. payroll, described how they picked their targets. He said, they targeted people who speak, and these are his words: “…against yankee imperialism, against the oligarchy, against military men. These people are traitors to the country. What can the troops do, when they found them this he kill them. …I was given a chance to see the archives of the Salvadoran National Police, the intelligence archives and you could see they have filed marked, union, student, religious….Something on the order of 75,000 Salvadoran civilians were killed by the Salvadoran military, most of them during the 1970's. And the majority of these were targeted by these death squad type forces. So one point is, these were not combatants who were being killed. These were not armed guerrillas. They were sometimes engaged by the Salvadoran military in combat, but the death squad operations, which the Pentagon according to Newsweek is now talking about using for Iraq, these went after civilians.
The war in El Salvador is said to have begun in 1980. But according Nairn around 75.000 had been killed prior to that. Nairn seems to be saying that many more deaths occurred prior to 1980 than were reported.
One of the people Moulitsas has most admired is Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was central to American involvement in El Salvador.
The Reagan years was a period of devastation and disaster in El Salvador. Maybe seventy-thousand people were slaughtered. The decade began with the assassination of the archbishop. It ended, rather symbolically, with the brutal murder of six leading Latin American intellectuals, Jesuit priests, by an elite battalion, trained, armed, run by the U.S., which had a huge, bloody trail of murders and massacres behind it. The priests are also shown in the picture along with their housekeeper and her daughter, who were also murdered by the same elite battalion, and in between tens of thousands of the usual victims. That was El Salvador. And, as I say, people south of the border know what it is; people north of the border haven’t a clue.
[From common dreams
What began as an odd remark by Dick Cheney in the vice presidential debate has now become a pattern. Conservatives have repeatedly cited the Central American nation of El Salvador as a model for building democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan…. and drawing a parallel to Iraq, the secretary echoed the comments of Cheney in his Oct. 5 debate with John Edwards. The vice president argued that in 1980s El Salvador "a guerilla insurgency controlled roughly a third of the country, 75,000 people dead. And we held free elections. I was there as an observer on behalf of the Congress. ... And as the terrorists would come in and shoot up polling places as soon as they left, the voters would come back and get in line and would not be denied their right to vote. And today El Salvador is ... a lot better because we held free elections."
This kind of “understanding” of the conflict in Iraq and El Salvador seems to be shared by many.
One of Marcos Moulitsas heroes is Archbishop Oscar Romero who was allegedly killed on orders from Roberto D'Aubuisson, one time head of intelligence in El Salvador and the founder of death squads in El Salvador.
D'Aubuisson was funded and supported by CIA. The CIA was fully aware of his activities and described him as a disturbed personality in their own evaluations. The CIA continued to work with him however.
ALLAN NAIRN: Archbishop Romero was killed as part of the -- according to later investigations, he was killed by an offshoot of the operation of Roberto D’Aubuisson who ran the ARENA party, which was one of the death squad operations or one of the smaller one, actually. The larger came from the regular Salvadoran armed forces and police. He also had U.S. backing. In fact, D’Aubuisson launched his career as a major figure in Salvador by going on TV and making a speech. He had a video role as he spoke with an illustrated death list of union people and religious figures and others who he said should be killed as traitors to the country. And the data for the list were supplied to him by American intelligence, again according to the officers there I interviewed.
Markos Moulitsas says in his speech before the Commonwealth Club, “I have never had a problem with the CIA which is why I’d have no problem working for them.”
In an interview with Brian Lamb, Moulitsas says he was born in Chicago and the family moved to El Salvador and stayed there for “about 5 years”. The family returned to the U.S. in 1980. So it seems he moved from “Chicago” in or around 1975 when he would have been 4 years old and stayed in El Salvador until he was 9 years old when he returned to “Chicago”.
Moulitsas says “I was raised in El Salvador and lived there until civil war forced our family back to the states in 1980.”
Moulitsas often speaks of himself as a “war refugee” and as a person who “came to this country (U.S.A.) in 1980”.
When diehard Democrat Markos Militias Zuniga was just a kid, long before he became the political writer behind Daily Kos (www.dailykos.com), the world’s most popular political blog, he sat in front of his television set in El Salvador and watched armed men take over a local university. They lined up professors and students, and then began shooting them. “I remember the bodies, sort of flopping around as they were being executed. I was seven, I think,” remembers Moulitsas, who was born in Chicago, but moved briefly with his parents to El Salvador. It was the now 34-year-old’s first political memory and one that has colored his view of politics long after his parents took him back to Chicago to escape the civil war in the country of his mother’s birth. “I learned very early on,” he says via phone, “that politics wasn’t just a game.”
Marcos in response to an attack from advertisers upset over his comments about having no sympathy for U.S. contractors who were killed in Iraq says:
"I actually grew up in a war zone," he wrote. "I witnessed communist guerillas execute students accused of being government collaborators. I was 8 years old, and I remember stepping over a dead body, warm blood flowing from a fresh wound. ... Dodging bullets while at market. I lived in the midsts of hate the likes of which most of you will never understand (Clinton and Bush hatred is nothing compared to that generated when people kill each other for politics or race or nationality). There's no way I could ever describe the ways this experience colors my worldview.
The implication from the above statement is that he may have been an eyewitness to the communist guerillas killing students. But in Hispanic Magazine and in Guernica the authors of the article states that Marcos is saying he saw this murder on TV. He was around 7 or 8 years old. Under most circumstances an 8 year old usually receives an interpretation of such a grisly event with the assistance of an adult.
This nationally televised murder of students and professors by communists is an event for which I can find no record. There are a number of videos on U-tube that show violence in El Salvador. Since it was shown on national TV, presumably it would have been video readily available and historically notated. This event presumably would have occurred perhaps in 1978, 1979 or 1980. At that time Moulitsas would have been around 8 years old having been born in 1971. During and around this time Universities were often heavily guarded by police and army. Police and army often monitored entrance and exits to the Universities. There ARE records of the government invading the university and killing students and professors.
Joan Didion, who traveled to El Salvador during this time and interviewed students and teachers, writes in her book “Salvador”:
“In 1980 Duarte moved troops onto the campus (National University of El Salvador) of 30,000 leaving 50 dead, offices and laboratories smashed.
Didion writes about meeting in secret many teachers and students. Their stories about other students and professors who have been disssapeared and the fear of the few remaining teachers and intellectuals who feared any comments they made might get them arrested.
Marco Moulitsas says his uncle was part of the government at some time as Education Minister. It's not clear when.
Moulitsas says the army “protected my family”. The Washington Monthly describes the situation in which his family is on the right wing side of the war between the government and the communist rebels. Moulitsas does not dispute this characterization of his family. He did dispute other items in the interview.
The family moved back to El Salvador when Moulitsas was four and was on the right-wing side of the Cold War proxy fight there. But as that war's intrusions became unbearable—Moulitsas talks about stepping over dead bodies—the family returned to Chicago, where he grew up, in his own words, “a loudmouthed nerd.”
The Center for Justice and Accountability states that the government committed 95% of the war crimes committed in El Salvador. 3.5% to 5% of the crimes are attributed to the guerilla forces.
An Education Minister in El Salvador is a cabinet level position. The role of an Education Minister during the years of repression by various Juntas and right wing governments was, among other things, to monitor leftist activity among students and professors and to report that to the government, a government that utilized death squads.
Antonio Herrera Rebollo" Minister of Education was killed by rebels in revenge after 37 people were killed by government forces in May 1979. (El Salvador: The Face of Revolution by Robert Armstrong)
The most famous Education Minister in 1980 was Salvador Samayoa. He was a professor of Philosophy. He quit the cabinet and joined the guerilla movement in protest of government injustice.
One of the civilians, Minister of Education Salvador Samayoa, in front of the TV cameras, simultaneously announced his resignation and his enlistment with a guerrilla group.
Moulitsas refers to his experience as a 4 to 8 year old in El Salvador as being central to his current world view.
From the San Francisco Chronicle
The experience actually made him a hawk, he said, because he appreciated how the military "protected my family." After returning to Chicago in the early 1980s and enduring his "humiliating" high school life, he joined the Army at 17. The idea was partly to improve his self-esteem and serve his country and partly to burnish his resume for a career in politics.
Ronald Reagan promoted U.S. involvement in all of Central America during the 1980's.
The United States was supporting the government of El Salvador, said President Ronald Reagan, because it was trying "to halt the infiltration into the Americas, by terrorists and by outside interference, and those who aren't just aiming at El Salvador but, I think, are aiming at the whole of Central and possibly later South America and, I'm sure, eventually North America."
Moulitsas claims he was a Reagan Republican and he worked for the campaign of Henry Hyde who was honored by the Jesse Helms center before his retirement.
While supporters and many longtime aides to Hyde mingled before dinner, David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, described Hyde as "one of the giants, not just of Congress and the Republican Party but of the conservative movement."
The tribute was sponsored by the Jesse Helms Center, a conservative foundation set up as a legacy of the former North Carolina senator. Hyde aides said private tributes also are planned, including a breakfast arranged by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
While he is most widely known for his role in the Clinton impeachment, Hyde has played a leading role in conservative causes for decades. .
Mouitsas says he voted for George Bush in 1992 but became a "liberal" shortly there after. He, as mentioned above attemped to join the CIA in 2001. His comments about the CIA are from 2006.
Moulitsas’ family was upper-middle-class in a country with virtually no middle class, and so had little sympathy for attempts to overthrow the corrupt ruling party. “I’m still the family communist,” he says. At the time, though, Moulitsas was politically in line with his folks. The family fled back to Chicago when Moulitsas was nine, and he became a fanatical supporter of Ronald Reagan (who backed El Salvador’s government as part of his anti-Communist strategy), even working as a Republican Party precinct captain in high school.
At 17, he enlisted in the Army — partly to pay for college (after leaving El Salvador, Moulitsas’ father worked as a janitor, his mother as a secretary) and partly because he harbored political ambitions and believed military service was a moral prerequisite if one planned on potentially sending others into battle.
Moulitsas, speaking of himself as a teen says, “I was a mess of a human being. I was 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed just 111 pounds, and didn't have a shred of self-confidence. In high school, I had been the short, skinny, Salvadoran war refugee with the funny accent who looked half his age (still do) and read books in the (then) lily-white Chicago suburb of Schaumburg. A deadly combination.”
The racial makeup of the village (Schaumberg) was 78.78% White, 3.35% African American, 0.10% Native American, 14.19% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 1.73% from other races, and 1.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.29% of the population.
Schaumberg is about 45 minutes to one hour from the Downtown Chicago by car and one of the wealthiest suburbs in America. With a median income of $60, 941.00. It is part of Dupage County ranked 19 out of 20 of America wealthiest counties with a median income for the county of over $70.000.00.
Marcos says he like so many others could not have gotten the money to pay for college without the army.
From the American Prospect article “The Soldier in Me: 5/4/06
“It was January 1989, during my senior year in high school. My family was sitting at the dinner table when my mother turned to me: "I was talking to some mothers today, and their kids are all applying for colleges. When are you going to get to it?"
I stared back, "I already told you. I'm joining the Army."
Until that moment, my parents apparently thought my plans for military service were a form of youthful rebellion. Or stupidity. But that night my plans suddenly became real -- the start of a months-long battle to convince them that I knew what I was doing and would not be deterred.
Normally, I wouldn't care what my parents thought. I was a teenager. But at 17, I needed parental approval to enlist, a battle I eventually won. Six weeks shy of my 18th birthday, I reported to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to train as an MLRS/LANCE Operations/Fire Direction Specialist, managing operations and logistics for a missile platoon.”
Moulitsas mentions that it was the army that allowed him to go to college, as his family could not have afforded to send him there.
I've often talked about my story -- how my Army service served as a springboard for my life. It gave me discipline, pride in myself and my country, strength, and self-confidence. Then, as if that wasn't enough, it allowed me to go to college despite coming from a family who never could've afforded that expense.
He came from a family that could not have afforded the expense of sending him to college, but nevertheless his family living in one of the world’s wealthiest suburbs in the United States had urged him to apply to colleges. All the other mothers of the high school he attended were developing their children’s college plans.
Marcos refers to himself as a “war refugee” and being forced back into the United States due to civil war in El Salvador.
The year 1980 in El Salvador was marked by rampant human rights abuses, forced disappearances, arbitrary detention and murder. The Security Forces, working as or with plainclothed "death squads", carried out widespread atrocities against civilians, including opposition political figures, members of labor unions, and people who provided care and education to the public, such as teachers, doctors, rescue workers and priests. Experts estimate that 10,000 to 12,000 unarmed civilians were killed in 1980 alone, including revered Salvadoran Archbishop Romero. CJA filed a separate case against one of the conspirators in the Romero assassination in September 2003.
There is a thread. It seems to be a consistent thread. And it runs consistently throughout this story. It is a conservative thread, not a liberal thread. And that's putting it mildy, very mildly.