President-elect Donald J. Trump has offered the post of nationalsecurity adviser to retired three-star Gen. Michael T. Flynn, aneoconservative war hawk with anti-muslim views.
The National Security Advisor is a president’s main foreign policy person and plays a key role as coordinator of implementing thepresident’s foreign policy decisions. Bearing that in mind, Gen. Flynn, seen as one of Trump’s closest and most trusted advisors, takes the view that the U.S. is in a global war, not just against Islamic jihadists but against Islam itself. It’s not really a religion, Flynn argues, but a dangerous political ideology. Flynn has called Islam a “cancer” and has said, “Fear of Muslims is rational.” In April 2015 he told Fox News, “I’ve been at war with Islam, or a component of Islam, for the last decade.”
According to Dana Priest in the New Yorker, “The greatest accomplishment of Flynn’s military career was revolutionizing the way that the clandestine arm of the military, the Joint Special Operations Command, undertook the killing and capture of suspected terrorists and insurgents in war zones.”
The position of National Security Advisor has been held in the past by among others Henry Kissinger, who was responsible for numerous war crimes and the death of millions under President Richard Nixon. Under President Ronald Reagan, National Security Advisor John Poindexter was convicted of lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair along with another Reagan National Security Advisor, Robert McFarlane, who later pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress regarding arm sales to Iran and was spared being scarred by that conviction record only thanks to a pardon by President George H.W. Bush in 1992.
Gen. Flynn as Trump’s National Security Advisor will be a “critical gatekeeper for a president with little experience in military or foreign policy issues” according to the New York Times. Flynn, a registered Democrat, served as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama but was reportedly fired for his ultra-right pro-war views aimed at Iran at a time when the Obama administration was negotiating a deal with that nation on shutting down its uranium enrichment program. Flynn is a bitter enemy of Iran and has advocated toppling Iran’s government as the only way toprevent that nation from becoming a major power in the Middle East.
Flynn argues that the U.S. shouldn’t be restrained by human rights,international law, rules of engagement, or other forms of “political correctness” but should ruthlessly fight this “existential enemy.”
Ominously for the rights of Americans, Flynn has said that the fight against Islam should begin in the United States itself. In his book The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, co-authored with arch-neocon Michael Ledeen, Flynn declares: “If we cannot criticize the radical Muslims in our own country, we cannot fight them either in America or overseas.”
As a darling of the neoconservative fascists Flynn has called for aggressive actions against Iran in particular. Moving beyond the Bush/Cheney administration’s “Axis of Evil.” he targets an “enemy alliance that runs from Pyongyang, North Korea, to Havana, Cuba and Caracas, Venezuela”—and that includes “Iran, al Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic State.” At times, Flynn includes Russia in this expansive “Enemies List.”
Flynn opposed the Obama peace agreement with Iran, testifying before Congress that “regime change in Tehran is the best way to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program” (even as all 16 US intelligence agencies were saying that that country’s efforts to develop a nuclear weapon had been halted years ago). The fear-mongering Flynn also warns that Israel supposedly faces a surprise attack from Iran and that the US must fear all Muslims as part of an amorphous hate-filled anti-American force.
So who is General Flynn? Where did he come from and what does he represent within the power structure of the United States?
The search begins by looking into his relationship with Ledeen, an academic neocon and hard-core war-monger who has haunted U.S. politics for decades.
Ledeen has supported U.S. war and interventionism from the CIA-backed Contra wars in Central America during the 1980s to a “war on terror” aimed at the people he calls “Islamofascists.” His politics are often in line with Israel’s right-wing Likud Party and he is known for his unrelenting advocacy of a U.S. war against Iran.
Ledeen has accused President Obama of being anti-American and supporting terrorists. He told a conservative radio host that Obama “doesn’t like America and he doesn’t like us.” The reason for this vitriolic hatred, he argues, is that “We have a war to fight and this president isn’t going to fight that war. This president is, if anything, on the other side.”
Ledeen has also sought to link the Islamic State (or ISIS) with Iran (despite the fact that Iran is actively supporting the Iraqi government and the Assad regime in Syria in those two countries’ battles against ISIS). No matter. Undeterred by realities on the ground, Ledeen claims in his blog: “It seems that Iran gave ISIS support, in keeping with its well-documented practice of supporting all sides in other countries’ internal conflicts.” Ledeen argues that
regime change is the only way to stop Iran’s supposed nuclear activities. Iranian opposition groups, he says, are “willing to fight” and “we should help them.”
Ledeen also played a major role in advising the White House after the invasion of Iraq. The Washington Post highlighted his influence within the George W. Bush administration, citing him as one of several elites consulted by powerful White House advisor Karl Rove. The Post reported that Ledeen said Bush told him at a meeting after his election that ,”Anytime you have a good idea, tell me.”
Ledeen has seen his ideas, faxed to Rove, become official policy or rhetoric” more than once. In May 2003, Brown University professor William Beeman drew attention to Ledeen’s clout, writing: “Most Americans have never heard of Michael Ledeen, but if the United States ends up in an extended shooting war throughout the Middle East, it will be largely due to his inspiration.”
“Regime change,” or installing US puppet governments, has a history as long as the CIA, beginning with the overthrow of Iran’s Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 and his replacement by the Shah, a widely loathed leader later overthrown during the Iranian revolution.
In 1954 the CIA was involved in Central America, this time funding the overthrow of Guatemala’s elected President Jacobo Árbenz and setting in motion America’s addiction to dominating countries through Psychological Operations. Psyops use a mix of naked force and slick media manipulation and are responsible for decades of war in Southeast Asia, the 1980s covert wars in Africa and Afghanistan and wars against progressive forces struggling for freedom and independence in Central America. Ledeen was especially involved in the Iran-Contra affair, in
which it was revealed in 1986 that appointees of President Ronald Reagan had run a secret operation out of the White House to illegally and secretly sell US stinger shoulder-fired anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles to Iran in exchange for for American hostages held in Lebanon.
The complex scheme was financed by an underground network of Central American drug traffickers linked with the CIA. The Agency would transport, on CIA-owned Air America, their cocaine and and sell it in the United States, with the profits being used to by weapons for the Congress, illegally bypassing a Congressional ban on aid to Contra
forces seeking to topple the Nicaraguan Sandinista government.
After the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagonnthese same associates from the Iran-Contra days resurfaced in articles about Ledeen’s push for regime change in Iran. The Australian Sydney Morning Herald reported that Ledeen worked with Pentagon staffers to redevelop the channel to arms dealer Ghorbanifar in an effort to assist resistance groups in Iran. Reported the Herald: “[Harold] Rhode recently acted as a liaison between [Douglas] Feith‘s office … and Ahmed Chalabi, a former Iraqi exile being groomed for leadership (of Iraq) by the Pentagon.”
Rhode is a protégé of Michael Ledeen, who was a National Security Council consultant in the mid-1980s when he introduced Ghorbanifar to Oliver North, then a NSC (National Security Council) aide, and others in the opening stages of the Iran-Contra affair. It is reportedly Ledeen who reopened the Ghorbanifar channel with Mr. Feith’s staff.
Feith was appointed Undersecretary of Defense for Policy for President George W. Bush in 2001, creating the Office of Strategic Influence to support the War on Terror. One of Feith’s most famous reports in that role falsely linked al-Qaeda with Iraq under Saddam Hussein. False intelligence reports from the government during the run-up to the Iraq invasion lured many Americans into supporting the war in Iraq as retaliation for the 9/11 attacks, though in truth Iraq had no role in them.
In 2009, Feith became one of several Bush Administration officials considered for investigation of possible war crimes in a court headed by Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzón. The case had reportedly still been active as recently as 2011.
With the appointment of Lt. General Michael T.Flynn as National Security Advisor, and the inevitable return of this neocon coterie of his mentors and acolytes to positions of influence, it is likely the future Trump regime will pursue their agenda chaos in the Middle East and possibly with Iran more recklessly than ever.
Meanwhile, with the NSA and various US intelligence agencies, federal state and local, far more powerful and omnipresent in American life, the rights of citizens to speak out against these crimes and their perpetrators will likely be increasingly at risk.
Teacher and freelance writer PAUL DeRIENZO won a grant from the George Polk Awards to write about his father’s experiences as a nuclear engineer in the 1960s. Co-author of the Ibogaine Story and former editor in chief of High Times, the pro-marijuana monthly, his public access TV show “Let Them Talk” is broadcast every Tuesday at 8 on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network. He wrote this article exclusively for ThisCantBeHappening!