Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Chewbacca defense -- or: With Flynns like these, who needs frenemies?

I'm glad someone is paying attention to the right's strenuous efforts to make Michael Flynn look like a saint. That someone is, of course, Marcy Wheeler.

Flynn's lawyers have been demanding, and receiving, all sorts of materials which (they claim) exonerate their client. None of it actually is exonerative.

Take, for example, the polygraph test that Flynn passed in April of 2016. "Horseshit," says Marcy. "How does passing a poly exonerate you from committing a bunch of crimes after you pass it?"

Unfortunately, if you pile up enough horseshit, you can make a mighty fort. See here and here. Most on the left aren't paying attention to what's happening on the right side of the aisle.

What are the Fox Newsers and their ideological compatriots hoping to accomplish? Obviously, they are preparing the way for a presidential pardon of Michael Flynn.

The right is using what South Park fans call a Chewbacca defense -- a confusing mish-mash of non-sequiturs and irrelevant details -- to divert us from the basic facts of the case. And they'll get away with it, too -- because most Americans have forgotten what Flynn actually did. I'm quite certain that most of the talking heads on MSNBC don't have a secure grasp on the story.

Here's a brief reminder of just part of that story.

While Michael Flynn was Trump's foreign policy adviser, he took a cool half-million bucks to lobby on behalf of Turkey. Flynn was not a registered agent at the time. There's a law against that.

This fine New Yorker article gives us to lowdown. In July of 2016 -- note the date, polygraph fans -- Flynn gave a speech excoriating Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whom Flynn accused of being an Islamist. There was a coup against Erdoğan going on at that moment; Flynn supported it.

The coup failed; Erdoğan solidified power. He blamed the coup on a cleric named Fethullah Gülen, who now lives in the U.S. changed hands.

Ah, the magic of money! All of a sudden, Flynn became  Erdoğan's biggest supporter in the US. And Flynn now hated this Gülen fellow, whom he had supported just weeks earlier.
A week later, an op-ed appeared in The Hill, a Washington, D.C., newspaper, authored by Flynn. It heralded Turkey as “our greatest ally” against the Islamic State; accused Obama of “keeping Erdogan’s government at arm’s length”; and described Gülen as a “false façade,” a closet supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood—the Islamist political movement founded in Egypt—and “Turkey’s Osama Bin Laden.”
That characterization of Gülen isn't accurate -- but even if it were, we must not miss the larger point. The point is this: Flynn had supported that coup as it was happening. He's on tape. He can't deny what he said. Flynn changed his views 180 degrees the moment Turkey paid him.

Moreover, he even participated in a plot to kidnap Gülen and hand him over to certain death.

That's the utterly corrupt, money-obsessed creep Trump chose to be National Security Adviser. A mercy-free money-grubber. The moment Flynn got his cash, he was willing to help the Turks kill someone he (Flynn) once supported. As Marcy put it in a tweet:
Again, those defending Flynn are defending him hiding that he was working for a frenemy govt while getting Top Secret briefings as Trump's top Natsec advisor during the campaign.
Moreover, Flynn backed a plan to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia -- a country which absolutely should not have such capability. Why are we so terrified of Iran getting the bomb when Saudi Arabia is even more corrupt and less democratic?
The proposal, which involved enlisting the U.S. nuclear power industry to build nuclear plants across the Middle East, was backed by a group of retired generals who formed a firm called IP3. Flynn described himself in financial disclosure filings as an "advisor" to a subsidiary of IP3, IronBridge Group Inc., from June 2016 to December 2016 — at the same time he was serving as Trump's national security adviser during the presidential campaign and the presidential transition, the report says.

The report quotes one senior Trump official as saying that the proposal was "not a business plan," but rather "a scheme for these generals to make some money," and added, "OK, you know we cannot do this."
The Saudi nuclear deal would have been completely illegal, for reasons outlined here.

Of course, Flynn pled guilty to making false statements to the FBI. All of that nonsense about an earlier polygraph test is completely irrelevant. It is, in a word, horseshit

So many scandals have happened during this presidency, we forget the details. Most of us have forgotten what Flynn actually did. Frankly, if I wanted to go into all of it, I would have to write a much longer post.

Flynn's lawyers and defenders are using trickery and casuistry to bamboozle the public. Alas, this tactic will probably succeed. Flynn's pardon is in the bag.

Despite the utter hopelessness of it all, I encourage you to read Marcy's point-by-point takedown of the current right-wing efforts to rehabilitate Flynn. Compare her masterful argument to this shit from Fox:
UK memo warned about dossier author’s 'credibility,' Flynn team alleges in explosive filing
The dossier? The freakin' dossier? What the hell does the dossier have to do with Turkey? With Saudi Arabia? With lying to the FBI? What does it have to do with anything relevant?

Folks, what the right is dishing out really is a classic example of the Chewbacca defense. "If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit!" That's what it comes to. Nothing more.
Regarding Flynn, or at least Flynn-adjacent, check out this new article about Dogu Perincek. It may help to explain Flynn's "flip-flop" on Turkey in 2016.

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