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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Flynn's finale: Implications (Added notes)

In the preceding post, I predicted that Michael Flynn would weather his crisis.

Errrrr... Ummm.... Well....

So much for my tiny reputation as a prophet. My usual tactic is bet on the worst possible outcome in any given situation. If that strategy has finally failed -- good. The great thing about habitually predicting a horrible outcome is that when you're wrong, you feel terrific.

Flynn was forced to exit because the spooks eavesdropped on his chats with the Russians. They have him dead to rights; I presume that a truly delightful transcript has been floating around. The Trumpers could not get out of this one by screaming "FAKE NEWS!"

Hell, we all knew that there must have been communication between Moscow and Team Trump when Trump -- ever the blabbermouth -- offered those heavy-handed congratulations to Putin for his measured response to Obama's sanctions. Donnie always reveals more than he intends; that's his fatal flaw. 

Question: Why did nine intelligence community sources wait until very recent times to tell the WP about Flynn's damning communications? They knew much earlier.

Now let's take the story further. If the former head of the DIA practiced such lousy tradecraft in his communications with the Russians, then we may presume that others on Trump's team were just as careless. Take, for example, Boris Epshteyn, identified by one of my readers as a source for the Orbis dossier (and by the way, that dossier looks better and better with each passing day). If my reader's identification is correct -- and I suspect that this "guess" was something more than a guess -- the NSA probably listened in on his Russian phone frolics.

I'm starting to wonder: What did Obama know and when did he know it? Did he allow Trump to become president? If so, why?

Maybe Obama was not among those in the know. Maybe the intelligence community learned about what Trump was up to and decided not to tell the president. Why would they keep mum? Who made that decision? 

Regrets? He's had a few. Foreign Policy says Putin is starting to have second thoughts about Trump. That note has been sounded before -- in fact, it is sounded in the Orbis dossier.

The dossier reveals that, after Trump behaved in such an inane fashion following the Democratic National Convention, some on Team Putin decided that Der Donald was unreliable, so they weighed their options vis-a-vis Hillary. The only real dirt that the Russians had on her was the fact that her stated positions often conflicted with what she would say in behind the scenes. (File that one under D for "Duh." The same is true for nearly all politicians on that level.) The dossier hints that she was potentially amenable to a rapprochement with Russia.

Of course, there's a world of difference between "potentially amenable to a rapprochement with Russia" and "Hurrah! We have a puppet in the White House!" Putin went for the latter -- and now he's sorry. Or so says Foreign Policy.

That FP story is pretty damned important. Since you have to sign in to read it, I'll give you the most interesting bits:
Now that Trump is in power, political elites in Moscow have stopped cheering. They recognize that Russia’s position has become abruptly and agonizingly complex.

It’s true that Trump’s accession opens up the possibility of “normalizing” Russia’s relations with the West, beginning with a reduction or even elimination of sanctions. It also validates many of Russia’s ideological criticisms of the liberal order and may perhaps foreshadow policy reversals that Moscow has long hoped for: from Washington’s disengagement from the Ukraine crisis to its dissolution of the Cold War Western alliance. Russians also celebrate Trump’s unfiltered stream-of-consciousness diatribes as signaling a welcome end to America’s hypocrisy and condescension.

But Trump’s revolution is also ushering in a period of turmoil and uncertainty, including the likelihood of self-defeating trade wars. Still traumatized by the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia’s present leadership has no appetite for global instability.

With Trump in the White House, moreover, Putin has lost his monopoly over geopolitical unpredictability. The Kremlin’s ability to shock the world by taking the initiative and trashing ordinary international rules and customs has allowed Russia to play an oversized international role and to punch above its weight. Putin now has to share the capacity to keep the world off balance with a new American president vastly more powerful than himself. More world leaders are watching anxiously to discover what Trump will do next than are worrying about what Putin will do next. Meanwhile, using anti-Americanism as an ideological crutch has become much more dubious now that the American electorate has chosen as their president a man publicly derided as “Putin’s puppet.”

What the Kremlin fears most today is that Trump may be ousted or even killed.
(Emphasis added.) Woah.

To the best of my recollection, that's the first time anyone has mentioned the possibility of a presidential assassination in such a mainstream venue. Let's not kid ourselves: Neither "the Kremlin" nor FP is talking about a lone nut scenario. This article is saying that the Kremlin fears that American spooks will finally decide that enough is enough.

What if the CIA decides to party like it's 1963? What happens to Russia then? Last time a "lone nut" took out a president, the CIA's head of counterintelligence tried very hard to pin the blame on Moscow.

(By the way, if Donald Trump really wants to upset "the Deep State," he can release this document and a few more like it. Smoking gun stuff, if you know the context.)

Let us return to the FP piece:
His ouster, Kremlin insiders argue, is bound to unleash a virulent and bipartisan anti-Russian campaign in Washington. Oddly, therefore, Putin has become a hostage to Trump’s survival and success. This has seriously restricted Russia’s geopolitical options. The Kremlin is perfectly aware that Democrats want to use Russia to discredit and possibly impeach Trump while Republican elites want to use Russia to deflate and discipline Trump. The Russian government fears not only Trump’s downfall, of course, but also the possibility that he could opportunistically switch to a tough anti-Moscow line in order to make peace with hawkish Republican leaders in Congress.
Jeez, Vladimir! You should have thought of all that beforehand. Honestly, Mr. Putin, I was under the impression that you Russians were really good at chess. Don't you know that you have to think five or six moves ahead?
What is especially dangerous from the Kremlin’s perspective is that certain nationalistic circles in Russia are falling in love with Trump’s insurrectionary approach. In January, for the first time since Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012, Putin was not the most frequently cited name in the Russian media; Trump was. And although most of Trump’s Russian admirers, such as Alexander Dugin, are loyal to Putin personally, they also dream of purging the globalist elites who occupy the rooms adjoining their president’s.
"Globalist elites": That's code for "powerful Jews." I had heard that Dugin and Putin fell out. Maybe that rift was bogus, like the fake Trump/Stone spat. Whatever.

It is becoming clear that both Trump and Putin are replaceable players in an even larger game -- an international fascist movement of which Aleksandr Dugin may be considered the Chief Philosopher. As they say of Hydra in Marvel comics: "Cut off one head and two more shall take its place."

Added notes: I've been catching up with MSNBC's coverage. Looks like there is a transcript of Flynn's conversations with Sergey Kislyak; I have little doubt that it will pop up online soon. One question keeps coming up: How could Flynn not have known that his little chats were being intercepted? The guy was head of the DIA. How dense could he be?

Here's a possibility: Maybe Flynn and Kislyak thought that they were using a secure method of communication, and maybe they were wrong. There are rumors that the NSA no longer considers Tor much of an obstacle. Or -- who knows? -- maybe both of the rooms in which the two men sat were physically bugged. Maybe the two transcripts have been edited together, thereby conveying the impression that the NSA intercepted a digital communication.

It is even being reported that Flynn talked not just to Kislyak but also Putin himself. It also seems very likely that Sally Yates was fired because she offered a warning about all of this.

I just saw Brian Williams talk to a reporter -- I forget his name -- who indicated that Flynn is but Step One, and that we will probably soon have more. Names were mentioned: Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and even (YES!!) Roger Stone.

!!!YES!!!YES!!!YES!!!

Please please please please let there be a transcript of Roger Stone cutting slimeball deals with the Russians. Please please please please let it be the case that Alex Jones has been palling around with a traitor.

If that happens, dear friends, then I -- even I, agnostic that I am, cynic that I am -- will go to church for the first time since boyhood and offer tearful, grateful Hosannas to the All-Highest. And I promise not to duck out until someone asks for money.

Team Clinton's response to all of this is pretty funny. They're making Pizzagate jokes.

Josh Marshall says 
Tonight's revelations (by which I mean those which preceded Michael Flynn's resignation) make it even more clear that there is much more going on out of view than we realize.
Damn straight.
The role of Russia in the 2016 election and the President's relationship to Russia has been the un-ignorable question hanging over President Trump for months. Flynn's resignation does not come close to resolving it. It is highly likely that the Flynn/Russia channel was authorized by the President himself. There's much more to come.
In other words, Trump could be on his way out, and it could happen with surprising rapidity. Let's have no more dissing of the Orbis dossier; it has been and will be justified and verified. Even on that very first day, as I was putting the thing through OCR, I sent this text message to my ladyfirend: "If this is real, no way Trump survives it."

It is real. We are all living in a story about an MI6 agent who saves the world. Somewhere in heaven, Ian Fleming is smiling.
Comments:
It's not essential to look six moves ahead in chess -- only to get the next one right. To achieve this it is important to bear in mind a fundamental analytical principle: structural defects tend to persist and are nearly always determinative of the final outcome. If you are a rook down and the positions are generally equal then you are done. No amount of "if he does this and then I do that" can redress the imbalance. The principle has universal application. Trump is unstable and is going to fuck up. He will piss off many. If we tie ourselves to him we are toast.
 
There is so much to consider here.

"Still traumatized by the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia’s present leadership has no appetite for global instability."

Crap. Russia, the US, Germany, Britain, and China are preparing for the form of "instability" called war.

"With Trump in the White House, moreover, Putin has lost his monopoly over geopolitical unpredictability. The Kremlin’s ability to shock the world by taking the initiative and trashing ordinary international rules and customs has allowed Russia to play an oversized international role and to punch above its weight."

"Monopoly over geopolitical unpredictability"? That's a lot of syllables, but who did the Arab Spring?

The US doesn't respect international rules (sorry, "rules and customs" - must keep that syllable count up), and Russia does not "punch above its weight". Russia eventually sorted out Chechenia and won in Georgia; the US fucked up in Afghanistan and Iraq but let some torture pictures out from Abu Graibh, managed to defend their compounds, and shone a torch in Saddam Hussein's mouth.

As for "shock the world", is Foreign Policy a tabloid or what? Russia wasn't the only player in the Ukraine, as anyone with a proper memory will recall. It was obvious that the Russians wouldn't allow a pro-US or pro-EU fascist Kiev-based government to take over Sevastopol and then invite the US navy in. The referendum in the Crimea was fair too. To talk of the annexation of the Crimea as if it were the USSR invading Hungary or Germany occupying Denmark is to talk shit.

"The Russian government fears not only Trump’s downfall, of course, but also the possibility that he could opportunistically switch to a tough anti-Moscow line in order to make peace with hawkish Republican leaders in Congress."

"Of course" often hides a lack of argumentation. It's not at all clear why the Russian government should fear Trump's downfall.

However, a "tough anti-Moscow line" - no, sorry, I can't keep up the tabloid speak... But it's true that there could be a rapid deterioration in US-Russian relations and a military confrontation, probably in the Levant or the Baltic. The flashpoint in the latter is likely to be Kaliningrad. Russia could take out the electronics in the three states in about five minutes flat and would only need to invade to defend that exclave. Strengthened NATO fortification along the Baltic states' eastern borders would be far more inflammatory than the arrival of the Iskander missiles. War is viewed as inevitable, and Putin isn't going to be sobbing "Oh Donnie, and we trusted you".

There seems to be NO grown-up genuinely peace-respecting talk in any of the journals or media about MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF SECURITY CONCERNS in the Baltic region. The course is towards war and the strategists in all the world's great powers know it.

"And although most of Trump’s Russian admirers, such as Alexander Dugin, are loyal to Putin personally, they also dream of purging the globalist elites who occupy the rooms adjoining their president’s."

Of course that means Jewish power. They don't dream of any such thing. That really would be "punching above theie weight"!

If the Foreign Policy crew really wanted to gain respect, they might look at France. Dugin's pals Alain Soral and Dieudonné M'bala M'bala are backing the "left-wing socialist" Benoît Hamon. Rather than trying to help him become president, this is a more subtle "chess" move. Even those who can't see much further than the end of their noses realise that Hamon would be an ideal opponent for Le Pen in the runoff round. That's if there is one. Haaretz recently published an article saying there might not be. Attention should be focusing on the Netherlands and France.

 
I am still stunned that 45 had the gall to fill the front of the crowd at the CIA Memorial Wall with his trained monkeys, clapping and yelling at his idiotic remarks. The only thing that would have been more insulting would have been if he'd unzipped his pants and pissed directly on the wall.

Many of the stars on the wall were American officers tortured, then killed by the KGB. How are the professionals at the CIA going to feel about a real-estate con-man lecturing them on "national security" when they know, better than anyone, that the KGB/FSB got him elected?
 
Trump has said he won't remove sanctions unless Crimea is returned, which it won't be. Maybe it will be the Russians who have had enough. It might also smooth things out with Belarus, who are quickly leaving Moscow's sphere of influence, after their despot claimed Putin controls Trump.


 
Lost the source but I did read that Flynn did think he was speaking over encrypted app, used text messages to arrange encrypted calls, not good enough to defeat targeted monitoring of NSA but his problem has always been arrogance combined with stupidity. Transcripts will have been a surprise to him.
 
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