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Monday, November 06, 2017

Flynn, Kushner

A fair amount of wishful thinking has colored recent stories about Michael Flynn and his son. From NBC:
Flynn's son, Michael G. Flynn, who worked closely with his father, accompanied him during the campaign and briefly worked on the presidential transition, could be indicted separately or at the same time as his father, according to three sources familiar with the investigation.

If the elder Flynn is willing to cooperate with investigators in order to help his son, two of the sources said, it could also change his own fate, potentially limiting any legal consequences.
Everyone is forgetting about Trump's pardon power. Unless Mueller has found a state charge against the younger Flynn -- or unless investigators have found a way to circumvent the pardon problem -- I see no reason for Flynn the elder to come to sonny-boy's rescue.

Nevertheless, Louise Mensch (whom I decided to scope out today for the first time in weeks) has melodramatized -- and very nearly televisualized -- this scenario:
Sources stated that senior officials told General Flynn that they had what they needed to prosecute him and his son, and that they would seek the death penalty. Separate sources reported that General Flynn broke down and wept, asking that the death penalty for espionage not be sought for his son.

Sources with links to law enforcement and the justice department stated that at first, senior officials declined to offer a deal of any sort. Later, they became amenable, these sources said. General Flynn was offered a stark choice; co-operate and spare your son execution, but no such promise was made as regards his own trial.
My own sources report that the elder Flynn -- tears streaming down his face -- blamed everything on his son's evil twin, who looks identical in every respect except for the goatee. Investigators didn't buy that story, so the elder Flynn hired Agent Dale Cooper to go back in time and prevent the younger Flynn from getting involved with the Russians in the first place.

John Schindler of the 20 Committee (a.k.a. the XX Committee, a.k.a. the Double-Cross Committee) offered an alternative scenario of his own:
Since Big News in #KremlinGate is looming, it's time for a brief tweetstorm on what's really going on behind scenes with Team Mueller. If you're surprised that #MoscowMisha is cooked, you've not been paying attention. Sr & Jr are both going down on a bunch of charges. Flynn, like Manafort, desperately wanted a deal from Mueller, but they had 0 to offer that DoJ didn't already have. So, they're screwed. The Team Mueller + FBI/IC joint investigation here is truly massive; a CI inquiry this expansive hasn't been seen in DC since VENONA. Together, they're investigating HUNDREDS of targets for poss ties to Russian spies & mobsters. Public will be shocked when it comes out. These CI targets include WH officials; Trump associates, friends & family; journalists and lobbyists; even bloggers. It's a wide net.
In case you don't know your spy history, VENONA was the code name of an eavesdropping operation which supposedly "proved" that Alger Hiss was guilty. I question that: What VENONA really proves is that the winners write the history. So why would anyone place such faith in a DOJ and an intelligence community headed by Trump appointees?

Let us now exit Fantasyland and pay a visit to Speculationland...

The Kushner/Saudi affair. Why did a coup or a purge (choose the term you like best) occur in Saudi Arabia so soon after Jared Kushner paid that land a secret visit? I'm still not sure, but I suspect that the answer must have something to do with Kushner's white elephant of a building at 666 5th Avenue. He needs a whole lotta bail-out money and soon. If he wants to fulfill his ambition of knocking the place down and building anew, he'll need billions from an investor who doesn't mind losing money.

Normally, a would-be real estate tycoon in that situation might turn to a Russian oligarch who needs some money laundered. But Russia is a no-go, since the heat is on. Fortunately, the Saudis are in a position to play Santa Claus.

For their own part, SA is fixing to go to war not just in Yemen but in Lebanon:
Saudi Arabia said on Monday that Lebanon had declared war against it because of attacks against the Kingdom by the Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah.

Saudi Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan told Al-Arabiya TV that Saad al-Hariri, who announced his resignation as Lebanon’s prime minister on Saturday, had been told that acts of “aggression” by Hezbollah “were considered acts of a declaration of war against Saudi Arabia by Lebanon and by the Lebanese Party of the Devil”.
And there's also the very grim possibility of war with Iran:
Saudi Arabia charged Monday that a missile fired at its capital from Yemen over the weekend was an “act of war” by Iran, in the sharpest escalation in nearly three decades of mounting hostility between the two regional rivals.

“We see this as an act of war,” the Saudi foreign minister, Adel Jubair, said in an interview on CNN. “Iran cannot lob missiles at Saudi cities and towns and expect us not to take steps.”

The accusation, which Iran denied, came a day after a wave of arrests in Saudi Arabia that appeared to complete the consolidation of power by the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, 32. Taken together, the two actions signaled a new aggressiveness by the prince both at home and abroad, as well as a new and more dangerous stage in the Saudi cold war with Iran for dominance in the region.
That's a whole lotta boom-boom being planned by a country which has traditionally eschewed the path of boom-boom. Taken altogether, it would seem that Saudi Arabia's leadership is -- or was -- divided between a pro-war faction and an anti-war (or limited-war) faction. The War Party won out.
I too have always had my doubts about the guilt of Hiss. Chambers and the pumpkin papers just seemed too melodramatic for reality. It just doesn't seem the way life really happens.
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