WHY MICHAEL FLYNN MATTERS
The duty of a true Patriot is to protect his country from its government.”
Maxims and clichés enter language as insights with bromide potential. Just as often, repetition turns a platitude into a cultural virtue. Indeed, many a cliché is just an asserted conclusion masquerading as wisdom.
For the American Intelligence Community, the perennial virtue signal is usually some version of the need to “speak truth to power.” Alas, hearing a spy master pontificate about truth today is a little like hearing about chastity from a hooker.
Intelligence agencies, and their contractors, foreign or domestic; lie, distort, cheat, steal, kill, misrepresent, deceive, or even perjure while draped in the flag or the Kevlar of national security.
Nearly all of what contemporary Intelligence does anywhere is illegal, if not immoral, somewhere. Spies and analysts lie because it’s what they are trained to do. It’s what they get paid to do. It’s what they get rewarded for doing.
James Angleton, a legendary CIA station chief, made his bones and career at Langley by orchestrating a regime change operation in Italy after WW II. Rome at that point was an American ally. And yes, we are talking about the same James Jesus who subsequently wined and dined double agent Kim Philby during the Cold War at the Army Navy Club in Washington. CIA has been running regime change campaigns ever since. Ukraine and Libya are just two of the most recent.
Intelligence is not a profession where morals or legality matters anyway. The only ethic that counts today is political loyalty. Albeit, what’s good for the foreign goose is not necessarily good for the domestic gander.
Double agents Robert Hanssen (2001) at the FBI and Aldrich Ames (1994) at CIA are echoes of the Angleton mole hunt in the wake of the Philby caper. The FBI and CIA are perpetually vulnerable because they are too large, too naïve and, too unprofessional. Russians shoot double agents for prudent reasons. Neither side can trust a double. Dead men tell no tales.
Hansen and Ames now get three hots, cots, and indefinite celebrity at American taxpayer expense, hardly a prophylaxis for sleepers or future traitors.
Lying to a foreigner or enemy is just another tactic in the IC playbook. Intelligence operatives also lie to domestic audiences; say a cops, legislatures or courts. There mendacity becomes a personal hazard. You can go to jail for lying to the FBI. Just ask Mike Flynn. The FBI can fabricate or deceive at will and have little to fear from the law or courts. The various domestic plots against Donald Trump will never be aired or tried because the American left has a bigger apparatchik constituency and thus a bigger thumb on federal scales.
Deceit or perjury is just a “misunderstanding” for a federal cop with a law degree in any case. Truth today is political play dough, a shape shifter; any ruse you can get away with – or believe. National Intelligence and federal police apparatchiks are literally above the law, raising the perennial question of “who polices the police?” at the federal level.
The honest answer is, nobody.
Congress is, by statute, the agent of oversight and accountability. In practice, with rare exception, the US Congress seldom has the access (not to be confused with security clearances) to understand, no less police, any Intelligence operation or top cop-shop like the FBI. The Intelligence Community is just too big, too compartmented, too opaque, too well-funded, and, these days, too partisan to be restrained.
In practice, American agencies and cabinet departments don’t trust Congress with sensitive information because the people’s representatives are free to leak at will, with little fear of prosecution.
IC briefings on the Hill and congressional delegations (CODELs) to far-flung bases are often characterized as “feeding the animals.” Nothing gives a station chief, base, or installation heartburn quicker than an alert with a subject line that reads “CODEL inbound”.
Congressional travel at taxpayer expense is called a “junket” for a reason. Oversight is a fig leaf, usually just serial boondoggles on the public dime. Adding insult to injury, Intelligence czars deceive either house of Congress in open session and still kept their jobs.
Just ask General Jim Clapper.
For years, under J. Edgar Hoover, the Congress was hostage to dirty federal cops. The Hoover “dossier” threat against leading politicians was the worst kept secret in Washington. Given the recent PRISM and “unmasking” revelations, it’s safe to assume that the capability, if not content of NSA/FBI “dossiers” today is light years ahead of Hoover’s paper files.
The FBI cannot open your Christmas cards. But, NSA can capture and archive your emails and search history for future reference. Out in Utah, at Bluffdale, troves about your personal or private life are called “metadata.”
And when attributable dirty tricks might be too embarrassing, the contractor (aka cutout) card is played, again at taxpayer expense. The creation and/or dissemination of weaponized scat is a kind of official misinformation. The Steele dossier is just the most recent example of manufactured smut pedaled to a gullible Congress and partisan media by CIA and the FBI.
Intelligence is fond of barnyard metaphors. Chickenfeed is innocuous or phony data; bullshit is weaponized chickenfeed.
Contractors usually get the call when IC oligarchs need “plausible deniability” for black ops at home or abroad. Fake news is officially underwritten by fake Intelligence inside the Washington Beltway today.
General Michael Flynn is the exception that proves the new rule, or should we say deficit, of truth in Washington.
Alas, Flynn’s hot water was at a boil prior to 2016. Recall those late Obama years, when Flynn was a candor casualty at the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Apparently, Flynn believed that Islam should be judged on the behavior of its adherents, not the selective reading of history, the Koran, or Hadith. Flynn saw Islam as politics wearing the burka of religion and dared to say as much. He saw the various global wars, so-called “small wars” on terror, to be part of larger war with Islam, an existential kinetic and cultural clash of civilizations.
Flynn was brutally honest about the politics and aims of Islamism. He claimed the struggle was global and should be called a war, a war that Flynn thought America and the West was losing by any measure.
With such candor, General Flynn went from apostate to heretic overnight in the “woke” era of snowflakes and global appeasement. Heresy was compounded when Flynn allowed that, with the fall of the Warsaw Pact, the Russians were no longer ten feet tall.
After the 2016 election, Flynn arose again like a vampire, surely a nightmare for team Obama. Flynn could have been a major player in “draining the DC swamp.” With 30 years of experience in the deep state, Flynn knew where the bodies were buried. The surprise election of Donald Trump, however, mobilized like-minded deep state liberals at the White House, National Security Council, the IC, and Justice Department to “get Flynn,” a predicate to discrediting and removing a parvenue president.
As irony would have it, General Flynn provided his critics with the rope from which he would be hung. By all accounts, he was “dangerous,” indeed an alleged traitor on two grounds. Flynn dared finger the Islamic menace whilst diminishing the threat from Moscow. Flynn knew that exorbitant Intelligence, profligate Defense, and a superfluous NATO alliance could not be justified without a perennial Russian threat in Europe, real or imagined.
After 2016, an alarmed national security establishment concluded that the Cold War in Europe had to stay, Islam had to be appeased, and Mike Flynn had to go.
The FBI trapped (trick fu**ed in Intelligence jargon) the general with some insignificant interview contradictions. Flynn and family were subsequently tortured into bankruptcy for three years by a corrupt Justice Department and a cooperating district judge, Emmet G. Sullivan, a Clinton era appointee.
This state sponsored hit squad endorsed by President Barack Obama and led by James Clapper (DNI), James Comey (FBI), and John Brennan (CIA) didn’t try to argue the merits Flynn’s assessments of Russia or Islam. Instead, they sought to shoot the messenger, using a partisan FBI and corrupt Justice Department.
The subject was Flynn, but the target was always Trump.
Ironically, both left the national stage in January. Before too much time passes then, let’s do what team Obama never did, examine the merits of Flynn’s assessments of Russia and Islam.
The Take on Russia
Flynn’s assessment of Russia is self-evident. Muslim militants, not Russians, are killing Americas today. Russians are not bombing newspapers, sporting events, gay bars, or flying commercial airliners into American skyscrapers.
After 1990, Russia ceased to be the Soviet Union, nor was Moscow captive to Communism anymore. The Warsaw Pact, and its combined armed forces were history too, along with any illusions of empire. Vladimir Putin may be an autocrat, but he is not Khrushchev or Stalin.
While national security Russophobes, right and left, sought to resuscitate the Cold War, the unreformed Communist threat, China, stole or bought, the strategic initiative; underlining Flynn’s critique of an unfocused and inept, if not incompetent, US American Intelligence Community.
Indeed, after 1990, Beijing was able to checkmate Washington in just two decades with an assist from imprudent debt, Big Tech dependencies, and a servile Democrat Party distracted and obsessed since 2016 with fake “enemies” like Flynn and Trump. General Flynn understood too well that the Intelligence Community was collecting data omnivorously at the expense of objective and prudent analysis.
Withal, Flynn’s take on Russia was spot on. Moscow, warts and all, makes a better social, cultural, or strategic ally today than either Beijing, Mecca, or Tehran.
The war with Islam
Flynn’s assessment of Islam and Islamists was a veritable cold shower of candor and reality too.
He tried to point out that Islamism was a global religious crusade, not a series of unrelated local terror campaigns. Instead of playing tactical “whack-a-mole,” Flynn suggested that the jihad needed to be seen as a war, a strategic ideological and kinetic threat.
Surely all Muslims are not jihadists, but just as surely, all jihadists are Muslims. Cultural ideology is the strategic problem. Terror is simply a tactic used by militant Islam, those so-called “extremists.”
Alas, if only 15 percent of Muslims world-wide are radicals or Islamists; the army of God, the jihad, has 150-million-foot soldiers worldwide.
The unwillingness of American Intelligence to publicly acknowledge and confront Muslim state sponsors of Islamism, and related terror, has allowed Islamism to flourish, indeed triumph at the nation/state level.
Theocracy, not democracy is trending in the Ummah, the Muslim world.
Strategic disasters since the theocratic coup in Iran in 1979 include Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Afghanistan and a host of north African nations now at risk, all plagued by Islamicist fanaticism or religious terror.
Iran was a lost to theocracy in a single religious coup in 1979. The CIA and Jimmy Carter were clueless or indifferent about Shia Islamism in Persia.
Afghanistan, after 40 years, is about to go over to the Sunni Taliban, again, in 2021. Iraq, after two wars with the US, is now a permanent sectarian US dependency. Shia Hezbollah now pulls the strings for Lebanon puppets. Turkey, now a neo-Ottoman trojan horse, went from janissary to Sunni theocracy in 2014 without a whimper or demure from Brussels or Washington. Libya went, after an American sponsored regime change, from the wealthiest secular nation in Africa to a sectarian sierra hotel overnight. Yemen is a permanent civil/sectarian basket case. Egypt keeps Al Ikhwan and the theocratic wolf at bay with permanent martial law. The Horn of Africa and North Africa are now persistent religious war zones.
In Europe, the Clinton era sectarian division of Yugoslavia created two new Muslim majority states, Kosovo and Bosnia, the source we might add, of most European born ISIS terrorists and jihadists in the Levant.
Russia, China, Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines are plagued with jihadists of all stripes too, a problem which DOD and the US State Department insists on minimizing as regional insurgencies or isolated civil disturbances.
Losses to theocrats in the Ummah are so bad, that no one inside the Beltway dares keep score anymore. Withal, Michael Flynn’s threat assessment of Islam was prescient. The West, Europe and American are losing the military and ideological war with Mecca and Tehran.
Good luck to us now with an imperial China on the march. Beijing now sponsors a new “ism,” capital Communist colonialism, on several continents.
Many analysts and pundits are euphoric about the recent denouement between Israel and the Arab world. Some might argue that the thaw in the Middle East spikes General Flynn’s assessments of the Ummah and Islam.
Surely any political progress in the Middle East, even at the margins, benefits Israel. Just as surely, Sunni Arab politics and motives are more about survival than cultural or political sea changes.
Islamism is a direct strategic threat to autocratic Muslim regimes, Arab tribal royalty especially.
Israel and the West, at best, are secondary targets. When Arabs Improve relations with Israel, they underwrite good will in Washington. Uncle Sam continues to fight Islam’s battles in all those small wars that threaten the Muslim establishment. The Islamic refugee flow continues to be a one-way street too - at American and European expense.
The great irony of modern history is the spectacle of watching euphonous “free-world” policy energize the Socialist left in Europe and Communist China whilst appeasing the totalitarian Muslim religious right. Schizophrenic foreign policy never ends well. Indeed, Muslim refugee crusaders of the 21st Century may do tomorrow what Suliman’s Ottomans could not do at the Gates of Vienna in 1683.
Europe is at risk again. Terror is just the punctuation for the perennial if not historical jihad narrative.
America now carries both the burden and consequences of all those small wars in the Muslim world. Indeed, the Muslim immigrant/refugee diaspora to Europe, then America, under a humanitarian flag is a bonus for Muslim absolutist and jihadist alike. Islam is exporting its social, ideological, and extremist excesses to the West whilst clinging to authoritarian, if not totalitarian, repression at home.
There are no refugees nor refugee camps in Mecca, Medina, Tehran - or Beijing for that matter.
Washington is cursed by the best and most expensive Intelligence collection and the worst analysis in the developed world, a systemic step-child of entrenched liberal politics and “woke” (nee politically correct) national security analysis.
The purpose of Intelligence today is to confirm the conventional wisdom. Truth is now power’s bitch.
Anything positive about Russians, is likely to be labeled collaboration or treason. Concurrently, anything negative about Islam, worse still religious fascism, evokes knee-jerk charges of bigotry. The Communist Chinese threat is, for the most, ignored or minimized for reasons too obvious to discuss here. Suffice it to say that Beijing now purchases all the American good will necessary to stay under the existential threat radar.
Gaslighting, not National Intelligence Estimates, is the gold standard for analysis in the American Intelligence Community today.
In sum, three streams of modern moral superiority (nee Imperialism) are on the move today. The American/European globalist left is moving East. The Islamic religious right is moving West. When the dust settles from the clash between the two, China, yea capital Communism, is well-positioned to pick over the choice bits that survive.
Surely, being correct about these matters is small comfort to General Flynn and family. Ironically, “speaking truth to power,” was Flynn’s great offense, the mortal sin, the penalty for which is excommunication.
In a culture where truth is toxic, candor is a fatal dish. Albeit, when facts do not alter minds, they do not alter reality either. Intelligence analysis that fails understand or recognize truth, undermines policy designed to deal with realty.
Ignorance, shabby analysis, and even bias have remedies.
Stupidity is incurable.
Any candid discussion of Islam today, like race, is a political, if not social, minefield. Three distinctions are important. Islam is the religion, periodically militant, but often benign. Islamism is the political or imperial propagation of Islam which tolerates no alternatives, sacred or profane. Islamofascism is the kinetic or military incarnation of Islamism that uses jihad (literally “struggle”), terror, coups, insurrections, small or large wars to achieve political goals.
Fascism, even the Islamic variety, is predicated on force, coercion, and violence. Groups like al Qaeda (Muslim Brotherhood), Black September, ISIS, Islamic Jihad, Hizballah (Party of God), and the Taliban are just a few of the many global agents of Islamism and Islamofascism.
All are bound by the same strains of imperial religious zeal, all in God or Mohamed’s name.
G. Murphy Donovan writes about the politics of national security.
Key Words; Michael Flynn, American intelligence, gaslighting, Vladimir Putin, Russia, Islam, Islamism, Islamofascism, Capital Communism.