Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Which Washington Crimes Matter Most? by David Swanson + Flynn’s Head Rolls. Is Trump’s Next? by Finian Cunningham

Which Washington Crimes Matter Most? by David Swanson + Flynn’s Head Rolls. Is Trump’s Next? by Finian Cunningham

Michael Flynn - Caricature
Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr
Michael Flynn participated in mass murder and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, advocated for torture, and manufactured false cases for war against Iran. He and anyone who appointed him to office and kept him there should be removed from and disqualified for public service. (Though I still appreciate his blurting out the obvious regarding the counterproductive results of drone murders.)
Many would say that prosecuting Al Capone for tax fraud was a good move if he couldn’t be prosecuted for murder. But what if Al Capone had been funding an orphanage on the side, and the state had prosecuted him for that? Or what if the state hadn’t prosecuted him, but a rival gang had taken him out? Are all take-downs of major criminals good ones? Do they all deter the right activities by up-and-coming criminals?
Michael Flynn was not removed by public demand, by representative action in Congress, by public impeachment proceedings, or by criminal prosecution (though that may follow). He was removed by an unaccountable gang of spies and killers, and for the offense of seeking friendlier relations with the world’s other major nuclear-armed government.
Now, in a certain sense, he was taken down for other related offenses, just as Bill Clinton was not technically impeached for sex. Flynn lied. He may have committed perjury. He may have obstructed justice. He supposedly made himself susceptible to blackmail, although the logic of Russia wishing to reveal its own secret and punish those who help it seems weak. Flynn also dealt with a foreign government on behalf of an election campaign.
Some of these are very serious charges. If you removed all liars from the U.S. government, you’d suddenly have room in their empty offices to house all the homeless, but even the selective punishment of lying has a certain merit. And electoral campaign dealings with foreign governments has a nasty history including Nixon’s sabotaging of peace in Vietnam, Reagan’s sabotaging of the release of U.S. hostages in Iran, etc.
But what did Flynn supposedly talk about with the Russian ambassador, before or after the election? Nobody accuses him of trying to keep a war going or people locked up. He’s accused of talking about removing sanctions, possibly including sanctions used to punish Russia for things it did not do. The notion that Russia was the aggressor in Ukraine or invaded Ukraine and conquered Crimea on the model of the U.S. invasion of Baghdad is simply false. The idea that Russia hacked Democratic Party emails and gave them to WikiLeaks is a claim for which we have not been shown credible, non-ludicrous evidence. Despite somebody leaking it every time Donald Trump blows his nose, nobody has yet leaked actual evidence of this supposed Russian crime.
Then there’s what members of the U.S. public tell you that it’s obvious Flynn simply must also have talked about. Supposedly he must have arranged for Russia to steal the U.S. election for Trump, either by informing the U.S. public of the crimes and abuses of the Democratic Party in its members own words, which supposedly swayed huge numbers of voters — though there’s no evidence Russia did this or that it had this impact, and a better informed electorate is a stronger democracy, not one that has been “attacked” — or by somehow directly altering vote counts or manipulating our minds or something. If anything along these lines were proven it would be serious indeed, although it would be one of a great many fatal flaws in the U.S. electoral system alongside legalized bribery, corporate media, the electoral college, gerrymandering, unverifiable counting, open intimidation, purging of rolls, etc.
And then, finally, there’s what journalists and members of the public will tell you Flynn’s offense consists of, once it’s been established that Russia is evil. He was friendly with Russia. His colleagues in the White House love Russia. They’ve visited Russia. They’ve met with other U.S. business tycoons in Russia. They’re planning business deals with Russians. And so on. Now, I’m opposed to corrupt business deals, if they are corrupt, anywhere. And if Russian fossil fuels, like Canadian and U.S. fossil fuels, don’t stay in the ground, we’re all going to die. But the U.S. media treats U.S. business deals in other countries as ordinary respectable plundering. Any association with anything Russian has become a sign of high treason.
Coincidentally or not, that is exactly what weapons profiteers say they want. Is what they want good for us? Is there a legitimate reason to be taking their route toward punishing people in power, when other routes stand wide open with plush red carpets unrolled from massive golden doorways?

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize NomineeWar Is A Lie: Second Edition, published by Just World Books on April 5, 2016. I’ll come anywhere in the world to speak about it. Invite me!
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Flynn’s Head Rolls. Is Trump’s Next?
by Finian Cunningham
Writer, Dandelion Salad
East Africa
Crossposted from Strategic Culture Foundation
February 15, 2017
Just three weeks into the Trump presidency, and his political enemies in the Washington establishment have scored big, with the forced resignation of Trump’s National Security advisor Michael Flynn. The establishment includes state intelligence agencies and aligned corporate news media, who have been gunning for Trump ever since his shock election last November.
It’s a hugely damaging blow to the inner circle of the Trump White House. The US media reporting on Flynn’s resignation this week had the unmistakable air of victory-crowing. Like sharks in a pool, they smell blood.
Flynn had to go after the Washington Post and others reported that he wasn’t telling the truth about phone calls he had been holding with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition to the Trump administration. Flynn hadn’t denied the calls in late December, but he had maintained that the subject of US sanctions on Russia were not discussed.
Persistently the US media did not give up on the charges against Flynn, which shows that their confidence on the subject was underwritten by intelligence sources. Or put another way, this was an intelligence-led witch-hunt which was based on the illegal disclosure of private information.
Flynn had told the US Vice President Mike Pence that sanctions were not discussed and that the conversation with the Russian diplomat was only about seasonal pleasantries and making arrangements about a forthcoming phone call between President Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin – that call was finally made on January 28.
Pence stood by Flynn initially, telling media outlets that there was nothing untoward in the phone calls.
Legally, a private US citizen – which Flynn was at that stage before Trump became inaugurated on January 10 – is not permitted to talk about government policy with a foreign state in a presumptive official capacity.
Apparently now, as it turns out, sanctions were discussed between Flynn and Kislyak, according to FBI investigators and US officials quoted by the Washington Post. Russia has refused to comment on the nature of the phone calls.
What was Flynn thinking of? At one stage during the Obama administration, he had served as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency – one of the 16 US federal spy organizations. It seems incredible that given his expertise in matters of US state surveillance practice, Flynn could have been so reckless as to hold phone conversations with Russia’s top diplomat in Washington on national security issues outside of his then remit.
Especially considering too that Flynn was shortly about to assume office as a senior national security advisor to the new president, Donald Trump, who was already under intense media scrutiny over his alleged links to Russia.
Not only hold phone conversations, but as seems likely, Flynn broached the subject of how US sanctions levied by Obama might be lifted under the Trump administration. For Flynn not to realize that every word would be tapped by US intelligence seems an incredible lapse of judgment on his part.
The suspect phone contact occurred at the time Obama sanctioned several Russian diplomats over allegations that Russian hackers had interfered in the presidential elections. Those allegations of Russian state-sponsored hacking have never been proven.
The way the Washington Post tells it, US intelligence officials were surprised when Russian President Vladimir Putin did not reciprocate with Obama’s sanctions announced on December 29, instead choosing to respond by wishing Americans a Happy Christmas.
According to the Post, US intelligence began searching for a possible explanation for Putin’s unexpected response, and they found their putative answer in Flynn’s call to the Russian ambassador. It is claimed that Flynn indicated to the Russian diplomat that the new sanctions imposed by the outgoing Obama administration would be duly reversed by Trump.
It seems more plausible, however, that the US intelligence agents did not engage in some retrospective random search for a mole, but rather they had Flynn in their sights all along, having listened into this phone call with the Russian ambassador.
And as the Washington Post pointedly noted this week, Trump promptly praised Putin for not taking retaliatory action to Obama’s sanctions.
The inference here is that Flynn was acting as mediator with the Russians under instruction from Trump.
“The current and former officials said that although they believed that [Vice President] Pence was misled about the contents of Flynn’s communications with the Russian ambassador, they couldn’t rule out that Flynn was acting with the knowledge of others in the transition”, reports the Washington Post.
Trump’s administration had already caused deep consternation among the Washington establishment of State Department, foreign policy think-tanks, intelligence-military apparatus and aligned corporate news media. Trump’s avowed intentions of normalizing relations with Russia before and after his election on November 8 have collided with Washington’s long-term geo-strategic agenda of fomenting hostility with Moscow.
The forced resignation of Michael Flynn, who was an influential advocate in the Trump White House for normalizing relations with Russia, can be seen as a much-desired blow against Trump over Russia – inflicted by the US Deep State operatives.
There seems little doubt that Flynn was set up in a sting operation. The only wonder is that he seemed to walk right into the trap.
It seems very likely that having procured Flynn’s scalp, the political enemies of Trump will not stop there. The big prize is Trump himself and his ousting from the presidency through impeachment on charges of conspiring with an enemy state.
All the hoopla over Flynn in the US media is just the beginning of a campaign to finger Trump as the person who gave him clearance to illicitly contact the Russians.
A soft coup against Trump by the US Deep State has been speculated for some time now, especially over his “friendly” Russia policy being at odds with the powers-that-be who are hellbent on hostility towards Moscow. And it seems that incompetence within the Trump administration is playing straight into that agenda to oust him from the White House.

Finian Cunningham, is a columnist at the Strategic Culture Foundation and a Writer on Dandelion Salad. He can be reached at cunninghamfinian@gmail.com.
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