Archive for the ‘General Flynn’ category

Russian Reactions To Flynn’s Resignation

February 21, 2017

Russian Reactions To Flynn’s Resignation, MEMRI, February 21, 2017

(Please see also, Is a Trump-Putin Detente Dead? — DM)

While part of Russian officialdom dodged comment on Michael Flynn’s resignation from the post of national security adviser or downplayed its importance, the consensus view was that this represented a negative signal for Russia. Russia would have to retrench its hopes for improved Russia-US relations under President Trump as the new president was finding it difficult to exercise control over an anti-Russian establishment. Some commentators believed that an anti-Russia cabal was behind Flynn’s ouster and that Flynn was merely the appetizer with Trump being the main course. These rogue officials backed by the media would not rest till they had ousted Trump and set back Russian-American relations.

We present a sampling of official and press reactions to the Flynn resignation.

trumpandflynn1Source: Gazeta.ru)

Senator Pushkov’s Tweetstorm

Senator Alexey Pushkov, a member of the Russian Federation Council’s Committee on International Affairs and an avid tweeter, took to Twitter to present his categorical assessment of the forces behind the resignation and their motivation:

“Flynn ‘was forced out’ not due to his missteps, but due to a vast aggressive campaign. “Russian –get out ” clamored the newspapers. This is paranoia and witch hunt.”

(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, February 14, 2017)

“Flynn leaves, but the Russian problem at Trump’s White House persists” – his enemies write. Flynn’s banishment was only the first act. Now – Trump is the target.”

(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, February 13, 2017)

“Flynn’s departure is probably the earliest resignation of a US National Security Advisor in history. Yet, Flynn was not the target, relations with Russia were.”

(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, February 13, 2017)

“It’s not going to end  with Flynn’s resignation. Trump’s enemies with the help of the security special services and media will eradicate him ( Trump) until the impeachment. Trump himself is now the objective.”

impeach(Twitter.com, February 14, 2017)

“Lots of money invested in the new cold war against Russia. Those who oppose the war are at high risk. Flynn’s massacre is clear evidence.”

(Twitter.com, February 14, 2017)

push-shove(Alexey Pushkov, Source: Pravda-tv.ru)

Senator Kosachev: ‘Russophobia Has Already Engulfed The New Administration From Top To Bottom’

Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev, who chairs the Russian Federation Council’s Committee on International Affairs, wrote on his Facebook page: “Dismissing the national security adviser for contacts with Russia’s ambassador (ordinary diplomatic practice) is not just paranoia, but something much worse.” He then added: “Either Trump has not gained the desired independence and he is being consistently (and not unsuccessfully) pushed into a corner, or Russophobia has already engulfed the new administration from top to bottom.”

(Tass.com, February 14, 2017)

kosKonstantin Kosachev (Source: Rt.com)

Valery Garbuzov, Director of the Institute for US and Canada Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Russian news agency TASS: “I believe the Russian issue is one of the most difficult for the U.S. administration in the sense that it has not yet developed recipes for tackling the Russian issue in general and in particular. These are the issues of sanctions, the issue of Ukraine, Crimea and so on.” He then said: “The U.S. president’s national security adviser is a significant figure who, along with the US secretary of state, takes part in shaping the country’s foreign policy. Flynn’s resignation indicates that internal contradictions, perhaps, internal struggles, begin to appear in the emerging US administration. Flynn’s resignation was a manifestation of this struggle. He was considered if not a pro-Russian member of Trump’s team, then a person who was committed to resuming pragmatic dialogue with Russia.”

(Tass.com, February 14, 2017)

The Deputy Chair of the Duma’s International Affairs committee, Alexey Chepa: “Flynn has just begun working, he did not have an opportunity build himself a reputation. Before the inauguration he’d had some consultations with our ambassador Kislyak. I don’t know to what extent he informed his superiors regarding the consultations. I don’t know either how it could lead to a possible blackmailing… In general, there was not enough time to arrange improved contacts, so I think this [resignation] won’t strongly affect [our relations with the US]”

(Ria.ru, February 14, 2017)

Presidential spokesperson Dmitri Peskov declined comment on Flynn’s resignation: “We do not want to comment on it in any manner. It’s America’s internal affair, the Trump administration’s internal affair. It’s not our business.”

(Ria.ru, February 14, 2017)

The Resignation Reduces Russia’s Confidence In The Trump Administration

According to Leonid Slutsky, chair of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee: “The situation regarding the resignation of national security advisor Michael Flynn, bears a provocative character. This is a form of negative signal concerning the building of a Russia-US dialog. It’s obvious that Flynn was forced to write the resignation announcement under pressure. Trump received this resignation. The excuse, which was chosen, is contacts with the Russian ambassador, though it’s common diplomatic practice.  In these circumstances, the conclusion arises that the Russia-US relations were the set target. This erodes confidence in the US administration”.

(Ria.ru, February 14, 2017)

The TASS agency quotes Slutsky a bit differently: “Flynn’s resignation might be a provocation – it could well be that he will pop up again in US public administration. At the moment, it looks like a thrust and a sort of  negative signal towards Russia, implying that we had discussed something improper with the US national security advisor, for which he paid for with his job … It’s an incredible assumption that Flynn, a very experienced person, divulged some state secrets”. According to Slutsky, “the whole buzz is aimed at Russia’s positioning as a strategic opponent amongst the American establishment”.

(Tass.ru, February 14, 2017)

slutLeonid Slutsky (Source: Polytika.ru)

According to Vladimir Batyuk, head of the Center for Military-Political Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ US and Canada Institute and professor of world politics at the Higher School of Economics :

“Flynn’s resignation is a powerful blow to the US administration. Flynn, as a national security advisor, was one of the key figures. Given that this man turned out to be undisciplined and incompetent, it’s a definite blow to the administration’s authority and to US-Russia relations. Moscow, from now on, will have far less confidence in the new administration and its ability to conduct confidential negotiations on delicate international matters and problems of bilateral relations. It will have negative consequences for the future Russo-American dialog.”  Representatives of the Russian Federation will now fear approaching Trump administration officials. “When Ambassador Kislyak communicated with Flynn he was completely sure that he was talking to the Trump’s representative, rather than to private person, Mr. Flynn. Now, it’s not the case as it turns out and this is a blow to Moscow’s trust in the new administration. This trust usually carries high importance in diplomacy.”

(Ria.ru, February 14, 2017)

The Russian government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta published an article by Igor Dunaevsky, where the author assumes that Flynn’s resignation was initiated by the secret services:

“It can’t be excluded that Flynn was “taken out” by the secret services. His Russian connections presented themselves as an excuse and were not the real reason. According to local media publications, Flynn, who headed MOD intelligence department in the Obama administration, was not popular in the American intelligence community and he reciprocated this attitude.  Flynn’s resignation will not extensively affect White House’s approaches towards a dialog with Russia, but rather it will prove instrumental for those who want to impede that process.”

(Rg.ru, February 14, 2017)

In Russia, hunkering down over Flynn affair

February 14, 2017

In Russia, hunkering down over Flynn affair, American ThinkerMonica Showalter, February 14, 2017

(Russia has become disenchanted with Iran and wants to have better ties with America, particularly in fighting terrorism. Please see, Pro-Kremlin Pravda.ru: ‘ Iran Is Becoming A Major Problem, First And Foremost For Russia’s Interests’. What’s wrong with having strong ties with Russia in areas where our interests coincide?– DM)

The political backbiting behind the sudden ouster of retired general Michael T. Flynn from the National Security Council is worth watching.

So is the reaction from Russia.  Kicking Flynn out as a security risk – complete with unsubstantiated claims of his supposed vulnerability to Russian blackmail – seems to be a calculated move to trash President Trump’s effort to improve relations with Russia to fight terrorists.  It has a look of the Cold War status quo reasserting itself.

For Russia, which is tired of constant conflict with the West, it’s a huge disappointment.  The initial response has been to lash out.  Back in Moscow, one Russian politician was not pleased:

“The resignation of Michael Flynn was probably the speediest for a national security advisor in all history. But the target is not Flynn, but rather relations with Russia,” Senator Aleksey Pushkov tweeted.

Russians like that, with domestic constituencies, have no reason not to tell it like it is.  Higher up, the response from the Kremlin has been to hunker down into a defensive crouch.  State-owned RT News reports that rather than swing back as the Russian politician did, Russia at the federal state level is suddenly going quiet.  The hilariously peppery, out-there Twitter site of Russia’s London embassy has flatlined, with only a couple of sarcastic recent tweets about Russian hackers – nothing about Flynn.  And up until now, they’ve commented about what they want to comment about, not just London-related doings.  According to RT News, Russia’s foreign ministry now says it considers the Flynn affair none of its business and plans to say nothing about it.

Foreign Policy reports the same strategic retreat. In its latest analysis, its writers, one of whom is Eastern European, pointed out that Trump and his interest in improving ties with Russia are immensely popular in Russia, with even the dissidents wild about Trump.  Such a broad sentiment means high hopes – and likely a lot of disappointment as the Washington status quo reasserts itself.  It also should give domestic political cover for the Putin government to swing back and defend the right of its ambassador to talk to Flynn.  Because if you can’t talk to the ambassador, whom can you talk to?  Yet the Kremlin is showing every sign of pulling back as it finds itself playing the unwanted role of the bogeyman in the Trump-CIA-Justice Department infighting.

A Russian media source I talked to inside Russia just now cautiously says she really, truly hopes the situation will be resolved amicably.  On background, of course, speaking only for herself.  That’s pretty funny behavior, as it shouldn’t be that hard to go on the record to express such a pablummy statement.

Meanwhile, a gander at the untranslated Russian pages of TASS, the state government news agency, which chiefly serves to keep the Kremlin informed, quite unlike RT, which seeks to influence the West, shows that the story – of this magnitude, with Russia at the center of the action – was last night covered from its New York, not its Washington, office.  It seems as though they didn’t want to risk or perhaps sacrifice their longtime correspondents in the capital by having them ask questions about the matter that involves their ambassador.  As Obama showed in his last weeks in office, anyone can be thrown out for “espionage” with no evidence to back it these days.  To make peace with the CIA, Trump’s hand could be forced.  And once again, they will be the bogeyman.

The whole thing is disturbing to me because it represents a wasted opportunity to forge better ties with Russia.  Should it really be “poison” for Russians and Americans to talk to each other and say what we think?  Why is it so taboo to talk freely with them?  Flynn was ousted for that, and now the Russians are exhibiting their old paranoid behaviors and avoiding talk, too, probably with good reason.

With that the case, it signals that Russia being held hostage by the establishment, and it knows it, and it’s all because the Beltway can’t quite get control of Trump.

 

US-Russian steps vs Iran await new NSC chief

February 14, 2017

US-Russian steps vs Iran await new NSC chief, DEBKAfile, February 14, 2016

flynnout_eng_480

Michael Flynn’s abrupt resignation as National Security Adviser Monday night, Feb. 13, was a crippling blow to Donald Trump’s foreign policy strategy, less than a month after he entered the White House. Flynn was the architect and prime mover of the president’s plans for close cooperation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was brought down by misinforming Vice President Mike Pence – and very likely the president too – on the content of the conversation he held with the Russian ambassador before Trump’s inauguration.

Although retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg takes over as acting NSA, the White House is urgently considering a permanent replacement to fill Flynn’s large shoes. Former CIA Director David Petraeus’ name has come up, but his indiscretions over state secrets still count against him. Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a former Navy SEAL, is a strong contender, although more may emerge.

Even before picking his next national security adviser, Trump will need to determine how to proceed with his détente with Putin, the highly sensitive details of which were managed personally and confidentially by Mike Flynn as the centerpiece of the new administration’s foreign policy.

His contacts with Moscow were under heavy fire from the president’s friends and foes alike, both before and after the November election. It was defended stalwartly by Trump himself, Pence and Flynn. However, neither the president nor the vice president can tell exactly what Flynn promised the Russians and to what deals he committed them. Therefore, his successor will be required to start building Washington’s ties with Moscow from scratch.

While Flynn’s departure has caused havoc in the Trump administration, it is a catastrophe for the Middle East, because a core objective of the US-Russian partnership, which he shaped as a model for other regions, was to have been to clip Iran’s wings and cut down its standing down as premier Middle East power conferred by Barack Obama.

(How the Flynn mechanism was to work plus detailed analysis of the fallout from his departure will be covered exclusively in the coming issue of DEBKA Weekly out next Friday).

Flynn alone was privy to arrangements concluded with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman, President Putin in Moscow, Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisis in Cairo and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

Some of his output began taking shape on the day he stepped down, when Syrian rebel groups led by Jordanian special operations officers attacked Syrian army positions in the southern town of Daraa. This was the start of an operation to drive Syrian government forces and their Iranian and Hizballah allies from the lands bordering on Jordan and Israel.

In Cairo, too, President Michel Aoun of Lebanon and his host, El-Sisi were hashing out a plan for the Egyptian army and Gulf forces to go into action against Hizballah in Syria and Lebanon.

Wednesday, Feb. 15, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is to visit the White House for his first meeting with Trump as president. They too were scheduled to discuss US operations against Hizballah and the role Israel would play.

In the coming hours, Trump will have to decide whether to go ahead with these initiatives in the absence of Flynn and his detailed knowledge of how they should go forward, or simply put them on hold until his successor is in place and has time for a full study of their complicated ins and outs. At the same time, a different national security adviser in the White house might have different plans to those laid out by his predecessor.

CIA broke the law to take out its critic General Flynn

February 14, 2017

CIA broke the law to take out its critic General Flynn, American ThinkerThomas Lifson, February 14, 2017

Make no mistake, we have just witnessed an operation by members of the CIA to take out a high official of our own government.  An agency that is widely believed to have brought down democratically elected governments overseas is now practicing the same dark arts in domestic American politics.

Senator Chuck Schumer, of all people, laid out on January 2nd what was going to happen to the Trump administration if it dared take on the deep state – the permanent bureaucracy that has contempt for the will of the voters and feels entitled to run the government for its own benefit:

New Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump is “being really dumb” by taking on the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia’s cyber activities.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

“So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

Or, as the old rueful saying has it, “You’ve got to go along to get along.”  Which means that we the people had better acknowledge that the bureaucrats have turned into our masters, and the old expression “public servant” is as ironic as anything Orwell came up with.  Schumer knows this and likes it, because the deep state wants a bigger more powerful government, just as he does.

Note that the law was broken by whoever leaked the transcripts to the media. Not only is the crime underlying the “scandal” being ignored, the criminals are being hailed. On Morning Joe’s first hour today, the host, a former congressman (i.e., a lawmaker) himself, called the leakers “heroes.”

This interference in domestic politics by the CIA should be regarded as a major threat to our democracy, but of course our Trump-hating domestic media are reveling in a major point scored against the new president.

David P. Goldman (aka, Spengler), writing on PJ Media, explains the level of hatred the CIA has for Flynn for daring to take on its spectacular failures:

gen-flynn

…the CIA has gone out of its way to sandbag Flynn at the National Security Council. As Politico reports: “On Friday, one of Flynn’s closest deputies on the NSC, senior director for Africa Robin Townley, was informed that the Central Intelligence Agency had rejected his request for an elite security clearance required for service on the NSC, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.” Townley held precisely the same security clearance at the Department of Defense for seventeen years, yet he was blackballed without explanation. At DoD, Townley had a stellar reputation as a Middle East and Africa expert, and the denial of his clearance is hard to explain except as bureaucratic backstabbing.

…Gen. Flynn is the hardest of hardliners with respect to Russia within the Trump camp. In his 2016 book Field of Fight (co-authored with PJ Media’s Michael Ledeen), Flynn warned of “an international alliance of evil movements and countries that is working to destroy us….The war is on. We face a working coalition that extends from North Korea and China to Russia, Iran, Syria, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua.” The unsubstantiated allegation that he presides over a “leaky” National Security Council tilting towards Russia makes no sense. The only leaks of which we know are politically motivated reports coming from the intelligence community designed to disrupt the normal workings of a democratic government–something that raises grave constitutional issues.

Flynn is the one senior U.S. intelligence officer with the guts to blow the whistle on a series of catastrophic intelligence and operational failures. The available facts point to the conclusion that elements of the humiliated (and perhaps soon-to-be-unemployed) intelligence community is trying to exact vengeance against a principled and patriotic officer…. The present affair stinks like a dumpster full of dead rats.

Note that the suspicions eagerly being raised by the media center around Trump being a pawn of Putin and Flynn secretly pledging fealty or some such absurd subordination. In other words, suspicions of treasonous behavior by the new president are being cultivated in the general public. We can expect the media to fan these flames at every opportunity.

He also explains why the Logan Act references are insulting:

Senior officials speak to their counterparts in other countries all the time, and for obvious reasons do not want these conversations to become public. The intelligence community, though, was taping Flynn’s discussions, and the transcripts (of whose existence we are told but whose contents we have not seen) were used to embarrass him.

This last point is critical. The entire “scandal” is based on innuendo. Flynn tripped over his own feet by misinforming Vice President Pence on the nature of his call, and allowing the veep to issue a too-sweeping denial of any discussion. If Flynn had said in his conversation with the Russian Ambassador that we will discuss the sanctions after Trump takes office, he might well have told Pence that they did not discuss the sanctions. And the CIA leakers could have used the appearance of the word “sanctions” in their transcript to brand Pence a liar. We don’t know, and for some reason, nobody is gaining access to the actual transcripts so that we may see the content. Perhaps the Congressional investivartions to come will gain access. But Flynn is now gone and media memes have been firmly planted int he public mind.

The Flynn Affair is a huge scandal, all right. But the media are misdirecting our attention toward the lesser dimension while they studiously ignore the real threat to our democracy.