#019 – Is Flynn a “White Towel?”

The “White Towel”?

I do not like General Flynn, in my opinion he is an Iran hater, anti-Islamic and a “shoot first ask questions later” type guy. That said, he became the first casualty in the intelligence community’s (IC) soft coup against Trump. Leaking SIGINT 1 information of Flynn’s conversation with a Russian diplomat was a vindictive targeting of a political foe. This whistleblowing was a political assassination and not an action of noble intent.

We have just witnessed the first round of a heavy weight boxing match. The two heavy weight contestants throwing punches to feel each other out. The IC began with a few jabs connecting Trump’s Presidency to Russian influence. Trump counters with a flurry of threats to cut $80 billion per annum intelligence budget, (larger than Russia’s defense budget) talks of rooting waste out of the Pentagon’s almost trillion-dollar budget, spending less on NATO, and ending some of America’s imperial wars and the Cold War. Trump has even made a comparison between the CIA and the NAZI’s.

The IC, reeling from this exchange, delivered a low blow. The leaking of highly classified SIGINT intercepts is devious but affective. It heightens our awareness and fear of Russian spying while curtailing Trump’s initiatives towards Russia. It also conceals the hypocrisy in Washington over alleged Russian espionage and manipulation. This is all accomplished while portraying our intelligence community as a protectorate of the American people.

The US intelligence community has been “protecting” the American people buying and manipulating foreign governments since 1945. They were recently caught tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone and just this past week WikiLeaks issued an actual intercept, not hearsay, on CIA spying and manipulation of France’s 2012 election. Silence!

The Russian skeptics continues to do whatever they can to disrupt any attempt to improve the relationships between Washington and Moscow. The anti-Russian hysteria has demonization Vladimir Putin, as other bullies like Netanyahu get a pass. These skeptics are obsessed with associating Trump and his administration to a diabolical plot with Russia.

Rules do not matter when you hold the perspective that Moscow’s hacking determined the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and guilt is determined by association. The “Russians did it” threat is on par with Sen. Joe McCarthy’s Cold War pursuit of “communists” that infiltrated the U.S. government and those that encourage a better working relationship with Putin are “Russian apologist” or “Moscow stooges.”

Flynn’s firing/resignation may have been a defensive move by Trump Administrations to survive the first round. Flynn took one for the team, he fell on his sword like all loyal general are expected to do. What surprises me is Trump’s strategy. Why did he choose not to appeal the low blow? Has he given in to the powers of the intelligence community? Or will he come out swinging in round 2?

The IC has not released the tapes so we are relying on hearsay. Besides, it is not clear that Flynn lied. In his resignation letter, he stated that when talking to Vice President Pence, he did not deliberately leave out elements of his conversations with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. And besides the future National Security Advisor talking to diplomats from foreign counties just might be in Flynn’s job description.

Reports indicate that the conversations with the the Russian ambassador raised the Obama’s sanctions to Flynn. Flynn responded that the Trump administration would be taking office in a few weeks and would review Russia policy and sanctions. That does not sound to be neither illegal nor improper. Attempting to temper Russia’s response to new seems to be diplomatic and not treasonous.

Senators like John McCain and Lindsey Graham salivate at any opportunities to threaten military action or economic sanctions against Russia. The media has been making on an anti-Putin binge ever since his actions aimed at Georgia’s in 2008. Since then the rhetoric has increased with every new event that finds the US and Russia on opposite sides. Whether it’s in Ukraine, Syria or the annexation of Crimea the media constantly encourages a re-escalation of the Cold War.

The Intelligence Community has an incurable case of Russophobia. They believe that we should return to the way it was in the old days with the Soviet Union. Washington views Russia as our enemy. Obama played along with this belief, right up until his final days in office, by imposing more sanctions and expelling Russian diplomats. Akin to planting an IED in the White House for the Trump Presidency as a welcoming present.

The exploitation of the Flynn was an opportunity to disruptive Trump’s attempt to get on better terms with a nation that has nuclear weapons pointed us and our allies. Avoiding squabbles and preventing misunderstandings over mundane issues should be a national objective.

Is it wrong to have a working relationship with Russia? A reset with Moscow should be the No. 1 national security objective. The Russophobes will continue to look for reasons to beat up Russia and Putin. The media will cooperate with their reports on Russian spy ships off the coast of Connecticut, Delaware and Virginia, Russian jets buzzing a U.S. warship in the Black Sea and Russian violations of the INF treaty.

The IC and the President should be in the same corner. They are not, they have begun to slug it out while shirking their responsibility to the US citizens. Who wins and who loses from the Cold War paradigm? Ramping up tensions with Russia divert taxpayer’s money into the Military-Industrial Complex to build a nuclear arsenal capable of an Armageddon that could eliminate life on the planet.

Stay tuned for Round 2: Will Trump answer the bell? or was Flynn’s firing the “white towel”?

*information taken from articles written by Philip Giraldi, a former CIA office of 18 years: Eric Margolis, and Eli Lake, Bloomberg; Robert Parry, Consortiumn News

 

  1. (intelligence derived from electronic signals and systems used by foreign targets, such as communications systems, radars, and weapons systems)

#018 The Washington D.C. Brain

Dysfunction of the Washington D.C. Brain

NATIONAL security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, resign on Monday night. He was caught lying about whether he discussed sanctions in a December telephone call with a Russian diplomat.

We learned about Flynn’s lie because of a whistleblower(s). Someone inside the U.S. government committed a criminal act. They leaked the contents of Flynn’s “intercepted communications”, classified SIGINT information, “captured by routine U.S. eavesdropping targeting the Russian diplomats.” This is a crime.

Who will demand that the leaker(s) step forward to “face the music”, criminal prosecution? It will not be the Democrats. They will claim that officials leaking this information acted justifiably, despite the fact they violated the law. Their version will probably be supported by the network news, the mainstream media and Hollywood.

It will be the Republicans. Those that are promising investigations to find the leakers. Their noise will be amplified by Fox News and right-wing radio hosts, like Laura Ingraham, who are demanding to know why the leakers weren’t being hunted.

The truth is that the leaks revealed that a high government official, Gen. Flynn, blatantly lied to the public about his conversations with a Russian diplomat. The public has the right to know this.

Is it justified? The fact that the whistleblowing is illegal should not be used a reason to conceal information from the public. Many laws prohibit just acts. The revealing of this information is a just act. The only way to educate the public of powerful officials wrongful or deceitful actions is through information.

Lying to the public is a common practice in Washington. In D.C. lying is not viewed as a sin but it’s seen more as a job requirement. So, we should celebrate an illegal leak such as this. Whistleblowers should be protected so that we will be informed about “the work” of those who wield the greatest power.

Trump-supporting Republicans are insisting that the only thing that matters is rooting out the criminal leakers. Trump himself has echoed the Obama-era Democrats. He claims that “the real story” isn’t the lies told by his national security adviser but rather the fact that someone leaked information exposing them.

In the past month, with Trump as president, leaks have achieved some good. Leaks are illegal and hated by those in power because they want to hide evidence of their own wrongdoing. The ability to lie to the public with impunity and without detection is not something new.

Where have you been for the past eight years when President Obama was very vindictive and aggressive on prosecuting whistleblowers. As Leonard Downie, the Washington Post claimed that, “The [Obama] administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration.”

Those that choose whistleblowing put themselves at great risk. Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Tom Drake, were all Obama-era leakers. They were put in jail or forced to live in exile for leaking sensitive, classified information.

A similar case involving a government official happened during the Obama administration. President Obama’s top national security official, James Clapper, lied to the public and to Congress about a domestic surveillance program that courts ruled was illegal. Lying to Congress is a felony, but Clapper kept his job until the very last day of the Obama presidency.

The motive here, with General Flynn, is probably vindictive rather than noble but any leak that results in the exposure of high-level wrongdoing should be praised and not scorned or punished. It appears that this action is the intelligence community’s “shot across the bow” of the Trumps Presidency.

Some Washington politicians understand the powers and politics of the “deep state” more than they understand their own jobs. This was clearly demonstrated when Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer warned Trump that he was being “really dumb” to criticize the intelligence community because “they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.” Ah, yes JFK lost that battle.

Those in power regard leaks as a crime, while those out of power regard them as righteous. Democrats have suddenly re-discovered the virtues of illegal leaking, while Trump’s people believe them to be criminal.

People often take opposite views based exclusively on whether it helps or hurts their party or their leaders. Thus, the very same Democrats who three months ago viewed illegal leaking as a sin today view it as an act of merit. Morals and principles should not change based upon which political party controls the White House.

  • Much of this is taken from Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

#017 Happy Birthday George!

Happy Birthday George!

To celebrate Presidents Day, I decided to re-read George Washington’s Farewell Address. Our country’s first President, warned of the “continual mischiefs of the spirit of party” making it the “interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.” In 1796, President Washington cautioned against the dangers of political parties. We did not see what he knew.

Goethe said: “We See Only What We Know,” in other words, perception depends upon your knowledge.

When I look at a page of sheet music, I see a bunch of lines, dots, dashes, and other symbols that have no real meaning to me. When a musician looks at the same sheet music they see notes, chords, tempos, melodies, harmonies, etc. Why do I perceive nothing more than markings on a page while a musician perceives music? Because I lack the knowledge concerning sheet music.

The playing card paradigm

At Harvard in 1949, subjects were shown playing cards and asked to call out what they saw. They identified the cards correctly. After a while, the experimenters slipped in “incongruous cards” in which the colors red and black were switched, such as black hearts or diamonds and red clubs or spades.

The subjects did not perceive the incongruous cards, they saw normal playing cards, the cards they were expecting to see, they did not notice the incongruity. For example, when shown a black six of hearts, they called out, “six of hearts” or “six of spades,” neither of which was correct.

They misperceived something per the paradigm in which they were operating, “the playing card paradigm.” Their responses were based upon something that they already knew about playing cards. They called out the cards that they were looking for not what they were.

Only when subjects were forced to look at the incongruous cards for very long times did they “get” what was going on and saw what they were looking at. Suddenly, they realized that “the playing card paradigm” did not apply. They finally knew that reality included non-traditional cards. They thus became open to a new paradigm (that included black hearts etc.), and thereafter saw what was in front of their eyes.

The false paradigm

How does this apply to politics? Our paradigms cause us to see the world in ways that reinforce our beliefs. Some of our beliefs are reality based but many of our beliefs are perception. Most people’s perceptions are established by a combination of nature and nurture.

Liberty is not hard to sell or even difficult to understand: What is difficult is how to get people to unlearn their prevailing paradigm, that is a two-party paradigm, in which Republicans and Democrats together cover the full range of political space, while broadly opposing each other.

This paradigm is false: the two main parties are philosophically aligned on most issues. The rhetoric may differ but their actions do not. Both parties: grow government in the interest of their favored groups or worldview, promote security at the expense of liberty, militaristic interventionism, massive political gifting to interests with lobbyists and money, neglect of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and abuse the force of the State to impose its worldview, repress individual sovereignty and have no conscience when it comes to harming others.

Political paradigms, like all paradigms are utterly pervasive because it’s impossible to see anything except through one. When an old paradigm fails, as in the playing card experiment, people have no choice but to see the world in a whole new way. When paradigms do become unstuck, people become extraordinarily open and things become possible that at normal times can barely even be conceived of.

 The Donald and Bernie Experiment

The election of Trump can be the beginning of an awakening to the fact that the old paradigm has failed. His election exposed the cracks in the D-R liberal-conservative partisan paradigm. An authoritarian shook the partisan paradigm of the American electorate. Many voted for a party that they had not previously identified with.

This same phenomenon was also happening in the Democratic Party. However, the Democrats “took out” Bernie and choose to back a corrupt, connected and deplorable candidate, thus losing many of the Bernie voters that they could not afford to lose.

The voters had turned away from the political circus tents of elephants and donkeys but were still stuck with the choices that the duopolistic party paradigm offered. The two-party system, is weaker than it has been for generations. The two-party system has failed millions of Americans but will the American people listen to George Washington?

People mistakenly believe that their political allegiances follow their values. The reality is that people identify with politicians that they have an affinity of personality, appearance, culture or social. When they connect, the people are inclined to adopt the values of those leaders, groups or parties.

Judgment and justification are entirely different processes the former should precedes the latter, yet we experience the exact opposite. The processes are closely intertwined and the latter precedes the former.

Political allegiance means an allegiance to the Republican or Democratic Party and the political paradigm that goes with the territory. Neither party is committed to the freedom and rights of the individual. These alliances may be hard to break but are necessary to save our nation.

A paradigm of values

Question your political allegiance. Now is the time to look at a paradigm of values.  Do not follow a blind allegiance, open your minds to assessing arguments and options based on core principles and human experiences without bias toward a political tribe or mediation by a felt political identity.

The election of 2016 exemplifies the failure of our two-party system. Now is the time to “open up” to a new way of seeing. It is up to us to unlearn what we have been “taught”, reject partisanship and learn the paradigm of values.

The “perception of incongruity” was only correctly amended when the students examined and studied the incongruous cards. Maybe our perception of the political party will be amended when we examine and study their incongruence in liberty.

A birthday present for George

George Washington is our nations first National Hero. It stands to reason that we listen to the wisdom he imparted to his “Friends and Citizens” in his Farewell Address, of 1796.

President Washington warned that the party will become “potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” Happy Birthday!

*much of this blog is from an article written by Robin Koerner

#016 – A Cycle of Stupidity

 

A Cycle of Stupidity

“We are officially putting Iran on notice,” with that Gen. Michael Flynn drew the line in the sand. Translation: “Iran we are looking for reasons to bomb you!” The cycle of stupidity continues.

Is it a crime for Iran to test ballistic missiles within its borders? No! Is it a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (the Iran Nuclear Treaty)?  No! So, why are we threatening Iran? Maybe history can shed some light.

Like other U.S. Presidents, Donald Trump and his “boys” are cherry picking historical events to support further hostilities, most recently Iran. The Saudi’s and Israelis understand this and take full advantage of our historical amnesia.

Israel with a “never let a good crisis go to waste” policy and the Saudi’s with the US petro-dollar connection are the first to push us into open conflict with the Iranians. After all, “Iran is the principal source for world terrorism and regional disorder.”

Our relationships with Israel and Saudi Arabis is amplified by the fact that President Trump choose to surround himself with Israeli-Saudi cheerleaders. Both Flynn and “Mad Dog” Mattis, are full pledged belligerents towards Iran.

General Flynn keeps repeating that Iran’s clerical regime cannot be reformed and that the only way to deal with it is to bring about a regime change.

Meanwhile Mattis calls Iran the “most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East,” and “the single most belligerent actor in the Middle East”. Mattis also has described Iran as “not a nation state (but) a revolutionary cause devoted to mayhem.”

Can Flynn’s and Mattis’ hatred be trace back to the he 1983 Beirut Barracks Bombings that killed 241 of Mattis’ fellow US Marines? After all the suicide driver of that explosive laden truck was an Iranian national.  It is believed that the “newly formed” Islamic Republic of Iran (1979) was heavily involved in this bomb attack.

Many believe that this attack was “blowback” orchestrated from Iran for two reasons. First, Iran suffered greatly from America’s support of Iraq in the 1980 Iran–Iraq War.  Thats right, back in the day we aided and abetted Saddam Hussein against Iran. Secondly, during that war the U.S. extended a $2.5 billion trade credit to Iraq while halting the shipments of supplies, arms and other needed exports to Iran.

In the 1980’s the US’s policy was heavily influenced by the 1979 Iranian revolution when Iranian students protested that the US allowed the  “Shah” to enter the US for medical treatment.

The students protests culminated with the taking of more than 60 US hostages for 444 day. The students demanded that the leader of the tyrannical Pahlavi (Shah) Regime be extradited to stand trial for crimes committed against the people of Iran.

This demand put the US in a dilemma, a “Catch-22″,  after all, the Shah was installed into power after a 1953 US/CIA backed coup that overthrew the very popular Prime Minister Mosaddegh’s government.

In 1951, Mosaddegh was overwhelmingly elected prime minister in a fair democratic process. However, he quickly fell out of favor when he proposed to nationalize the Iranian oil industry. So, in 1953 he was out. History, you cannot ignore it.

Examining the 3 reasons for Flynn putting “Iran on Notice.”

Reason #1 “Recent Iranian actions, including a provocative ballistic missile launch.” The reference here is that Iran is in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Resolution 2231 was the result of the negotiations between six world powers – (the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany) and Iran. There was never any linkage between Iran’s nuclear program and its ballistic missile programs.

The limiting of Iran’s missiles was discussed early in the proceedings but after Iran balked at the proposed restriction of domestic ballistic testing the United States dropped the matter. It did not seem to be a problem, since the United Nations and other international organizations already had some missile restrictions in place.

However, Resolution 2231 rescinded six previous resolutions aimed at Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. It negated Resolution 1929, which instructed that “Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology, and that States shall take all necessary measures to prevent the transfer of technology or technical assistance to Iran related to such activities.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency—the organization responsible for monitoring Resolution 2231—has confirmed this. The Iranian foreign ministry statement indicates that missile tests “are an integral component” of Iran’s self-defense.”

The Security Council resolution enacted after negotiation of the nuclear agreement did include a hortatory clause “calling” on Iran to lay off the missile tests.  This is at best a stretch to call the latest test a “violation” of this resolution, and it certainly is not a violation of the nuclear agreement or any other agreement that Iran has signed.

Logically, it makes sense that country should be allowed to develop their ballistic missile defensive capabilities. I do believe that Iran has one or two enemies in the Middle East and beyond.

Besides, if the nuclear agreement is upheld and Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, the Iranian ballistic missiles are of minor importance because they do not pose a threat to U.S. interests. All indications support the fact that Iran has, to date, complied with Resolution 2231.

Iran has a large missile arsenal with no long-range ballistic missiles; three of its regional neighbors do. Iran has no nuclear warheads for its missiles; two of its regional neighbors do. Iran does not have a large and modern air force as an alternative means of projecting force as do Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Reason #2 “an attack against a Saudi naval vessel conducted by Iran-supported Houthi militants

The Saudis have been bombing the Houthi rebels and Yemen since March of 2015, when a coalition of Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia, supported by the United States, began an aggressive campaign, known as Operation Decisive Storm, aimed at restoring their “guy” back into power.

The Saudi’s blockades and bombings have devastated the Yemeni people. The Saudi’s bombing campaign destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure. They have destroyed bridges, roads, schools, hospitals, water wells and reports indicate that even farms and orchards have all been targeted.

The Saudi Arabian coalition enforcement of a naval blockade on Yemen has shut down its imports. Ninety percent of food and medicine required by the Yemeni has virtually disappeared. The United Nations estimates that more than 80 percent of Yemen’s population of 23 million are in immediate need of humanitarian assistance.

By the way Gen. Flynn, we are right there behind the Saudi’s operation. We supply the bombs, the intelligence and the maintenance that allow their aircraft to wreak havoc on Yemen. * Recent history of Yemen

The Houthi and the Saudis are at war. In war the combatants attack each other. A US General knows this, why use “miss-information”. In this war, the Saudis are not immune from any of Yemen’s or Houthi retaliation. In fact, I would be more surprised if the Houthis did not try to go after Saudi forces at sea as well as on land.

Is there evidence that Iran had a role in the Red Sea attack on the Saudi ship?                  

Did Flynn disregard the fact that whatever aid Iran gives to the Houthis pales in comparison to the direct military intervention by the Saudis and Emiratis, which is responsible for most of the civilian casualties in Yemen.

Gen. Flynn you can not disregard that the Houthis are not obedient clients of Iran. In the past the Houthis have ignored Iran when they advised them to restraint their operations and ignored them when they suggested not to attack Sana.

There has not been any evidence whatever, at least not among what is publicly known, that Iran had anything to do the attack on the Saudi ship. Even if Iran supplied the hardware or even the intelligence for the attempted bombing of the Saudi vessel how does this pose a threat to U.S. assets in the area?

Nor was anything said that the major U.S. terrorist concern in Yemen, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is also an enemy of the Houthi.  Nor is there any mention that the former president and longtime U.S. counterterrorist partner Ali Abdullah Salih is allied with the Houthis. Does Flynn understand this quagmire?

Come on man! Pulling the Houthi-Iran card out is ridiculous. Don’t beat around the bush just come out and say it. You can even quote General Curtis LeMay, “they’ve got to draw in their horns and stop their aggression, or we’re going to bomb them back into the Stone Age.”

Reason #3 “Iran’s destabilizing behavior across the Middle East.”

What destabilization? Hezbollah, Hamas, supporting Assad in Syria or is it the Houthi connection? All I can say Israel, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who bitterly opposed the 2015 nuclear agreement, immediately condemned the Iranian missile test on last Monday. He said he would press the Trump administration to renew economic sanctions on Tehran when he visits Washington this month.

Bibi Netanyahu hailed Flynn’s statement, calling Iran’s missile test a flagrant violation of the U.N. resolution and declaring, “Iranian aggression must not go unanswered.” What aggression? Never let a good crisis go to waste, may have been a more appropriate response from Netanyahu.

The Saudi king spoke with Trump last Sunday. Did he persuade the president to get America more engaged against Iran? After all Riyadh and the United States are unquestioningly sided in their rivalry with Iran.

Our relationship has endorsed “A four-decade long, $100 billion global Saudi effort to box in and undermine, a post-1979 revolution Iranian system of government. The Saudi’s see the Islamic Rule of Iran as an existential threat to the autocratic rule of the Al Saud family. The Saud family in turn has funded ultra-conservative political and religious groups has contributed to the rise of supremacism, intolerance and anti-pluralism across the Muslim world and created potential breeding grounds of extremism.”

Meanwhile many of the US neo-cons in Congress like Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and Paul Ryan are delighted with the White House tough talk. How can US Congressmen fail to realize that it is not good diplomacy to back a country into a corner?

A public threat against  Iran, “putting them on notice”, makes it almost impossible for Iran, or Trump, to put the toothpaste back into the tube. Tehran is almost obliged to defy it. Sovereignty allows for nations to test conventional missiles for their defense within their borders.

In 1983, after the Beirut Barracks Bombing, President Reagan realized that we did not belong and he withdrew our troops. He did not submit to escalation, he prudently allowed for extrication. Please review the very brief history of non-intervention and ignore the voice of General LeMay.

Please just step off the cycle of stupidity.

 

* Recent history of Yemen: The country that we have been droning since the 2002; the country that just last week we lost a Navy seal in Trump’s first boots on the ground attack: the country that just last week we killed civilian women and children: the country that we have executed US citizens ranging from ages 40 years old to 8 years old: the country where we bomb the AQAP (al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula) while supporting al Qaeda in Syria.