Much was made this week in the US media about Michael Flynn’s recent guilty plea to making false statements to the FBI, as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s never-ending “Russia probe.” Beyond the political window dressing however, there’s a much bigger and more profound story lingering in the background.
Although court documents show Flynn has admitted to giving false statements in reference to his ‘reaching out’ to Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak – the mere act of initiating contact with any foreign official is neither illegal nor is it a violation of ethics. Putting the current Red Scare aside, this would normally be viewed as standard statecraft for members of any incoming US administration. Even if Flynn had promised the Russian Ambassador, as claimed this week by Resistance leader Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, that a Trump government would “rip-up sanctions,” such a promise by Flynn would not be unlawful. Anyone can make a promise, we should point out here that neither Flynn, nor Donald Trump would be in any position to make good on such a promise without the blessing of the US Congress and Senate. Just look at what happened when Trump took office. Were any sanctions lifted?
That said, after 18 months of fabricating fake news about Russian hacking, Russian meddling and Russian collusion, it’s not surprising that the New York Times would get the Flynn story wrong, too, and on an even bigger scale than many of their past made-up stories about Trump scandals. Here we have yet another hand-wringing Resistance writer, Harry Litman, claiming that Flynn’s testimony will go in down history next to Watergate and Iran-Contra:
“The repercussions of the plea will be months in the making, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that the events to which Mr. Flynn has agreed to testify will take their place in the history books alongside the Watergate and Iran-contra scandals.”
He might be right, if only the media coverage and the federal hearing would focus on the correct country with whom the Trump team was colluding, which unfortunately was not Russia. Funny how partisan writer Litman did not even mention the word Israel once in his report. Perhaps this is why certain persons in Washington like Adam Schiff, Chuck Schumer, John McCain and others, along with their corrupt media counterparts like CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times have been incessantly pushing their fictional “Russia did it” narrative for the last 18 months – because Russiagate serves as a convenient overlay for Israelgate.
Mehdi Hassan from The Intercept writes:
“… Why aren’t more members of Congress or the media discussing the Trump transition team’s pretty brazen collusion with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to undermine both U.S. government policy and international law?
Shouldn’t that be treated as a major scandal? Thanks to Mueller’s ongoing investigation, we now know that prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, members of his inner circle went to bat on behalf of Israel, and specifically on behalf of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, behind the scenes and in opposition to official U.S. foreign policy. That’s the kind of collusion with a foreign state that has gotten a lot of attention with respect to the Kremlin – but colluding with Israel seems to be of far less interest, strangely.”
Yes, you heard that right.
This was at minimum collusion with Israel. But it goes much deeper than that. If this story is accurate, and we have every reason to believe it is (especially by the large silence in the American media, usually a positive indication of media avoidance), this would indicate that the then President-elect’s close advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was clearly acting as a foreign agent – on behalf of the state of Israel.
The fact the US media are not taking this story more seriously should serve as a reminder as to how much power the Israeli Lobby wields in the US, not just over politicians, but over mainstream media as well.
Granted, this is a very serious charge – which comes with some serious consequences if Kushner would ever be indicted, but the facts clearly demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt, that then President-elect’s son-in-law was using his proximity to the incoming Commander and Chief to execute a series of highly sensitive foreign policy maneuvers at the request of a foreign country.
The history of Israeli spying and outright meddling in US affairs is no secret to anyone willing to research it (unofficially a forbidden topic in US mainstream media), but this latest episode with Trump and Kushner is even more disturbing considering this week’s controversial East Jerusalem announcement (21WIRE warned about an East Jerusalem provocation 12 months ago).
Beyond this, many will argue that the radical fundamentalist Zionist agenda which Kushner is aggressively pursuing on behalf of Tel Aviv is not in the interest of the wider Middle East, nor is it good for America’s European partners, and may even contribute to a further destablization of the region – as evidenced by recent violence which has erupted following Trump’s provocative move. The result is not necessarily in America’s interests, even if it is certainly in Israel’s interests.
Author Mehdi Hassan continues:
Here’s what we learned last week when Mueller’s team unveiled its plea deal with Trump’s former national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn. In December 2016, the United Nations Security Council was debating a draft resolution that condemned Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied territories as a “flagrant violation under international law” that was “dangerously imperiling the viability” of an independent Palestinian state.
The Obama administration had made it clear that the U.S. was planning to abstain on the resolution, while noting that “the settlements have no legal validity” and observing how “the settlement problem has gotten so much worse that it is now putting at risk the … two-state solution.” (Rhetorically, at least, U.S. opposition to Israeli settlements has been a long-standing and bipartisan position for decades: Ronald Reagan called for “a real settlement freeze” in 1982 while George H.W. Bush tried to curb Israeli settlement-building plans by briefly cutting off U.S. loan guarantees to the Jewish state in 1991.)
Everyone expected that the upcoming UN vote on illegal Israeli settlements was going to be a divisive issue, but with only weeks before Trump’s fast approaching inauguration, Israel had its trojan horse in position. Hassan goes on to explain Tel Aviv’s covert mechanism for manipulating the UN vote:
“On or about December 22, 2016, a very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team directed Flynn to contact officials from foreign governments, including Russia, to learn where each government stood on the resolution and to influence those governments to delay the vote or defeat the resolution,” reads the statement of offense against Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. “On or about December 22, 2016, Flynn contacted the Russian Ambassador about the pending vote. Flynn informed the Russian Ambassador about the incoming administration’s opposition to the resolution, and requested that Russia vote against or delay the resolution.”
BFFs: Donald Trump talks to his chief foreign policy advisor, Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu.
So who was this very senior member of Trump’s team who sought to execute orders from the office of Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu? Hassan explains:
Who was the “very senior member” of the transition team who “directed” Flynn to do all this? Multiple news outlets have confirmed that it was Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and main point man on the Middle East peace process. “Jared called Flynn and told him you need to get on the phone to every member of the Security Council and tell them to delay the vote,” a Trump transition official revealed to BuzzFeed News on Friday, adding that Kushner told Flynn “this was a top priority for the president.”
According to BuzzFeed: “After hanging up, Flynn told the entire room [at the Trump transition team HQ] that they’d have to start pushing to lobby against the U.N. vote, saying ‘the president wants this done ASAP.’” Flynn’s guilty plea, BuzzFeed continued, revealed “for the first time how Trump transition officials solicited Russia’s help to head off the UN vote and undermine the Obama administration’s policy on Middle East peace before ever setting foot in the White House.”
Even during the height of the Neocon era, with multiple Israeli loyalists in the cabinet (including some dual passport holders) shaping White House Middle East policy – ultimately into a ditch with Iraq, the level of manipulation wasn’t this overt. Trump’s decision to reverse successive US administrations’ new policy on East Jerusalem is inconceivable, if not for some other x-factor which the PNAC-dominated George W. Bush could not even manage.
The facts of the case against Kushner have not been contested, and in fact Kushner has even been gloating out on the speaking circuit, with his doting wife Ivanka proudly advertizing her husband’s ‘accomplishment’ on behalf Israel.
“None of this has been contested. In fact, on Sunday, Kushner made a rare public appearance at the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C., to discuss the Trump administration’s plans for the Middle East and was welcomed by the forum’s sponsor, the Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban, who said he “personally wanted to thank” Kushner for “taking steps to try and get the United Nations Security Council to not go along with what ended up being an abstention by the U.S.” Kushner’s response? The first son-in-law smiled, nodded, and mouthed “thank you” to Saban.
Meanwhile, the Israelis have been pretty forthcoming about their own role in all of this, too. On Monday, Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. and a close friend and ally of Netanyahu, told Politico’s Susan Glasser that, in December 2016, “obviously we reached out to [the Trump transition team] in the hope that they would help us,” and “we were hopeful that they would speak” to other governments “in order to prevent this vote from happening.”
“Got that? The Trump transition team — in the form of key Trump advisers Kushner and Flynn — reached out to the Russian government in order to undermine the U.S. government because the Israeli government asked them to.”
According to these reports, Kushner was using his position in the transition team to act on Israel’s behalf – outside of any governmental framework of accountability. If Flynn inadvertently found himself in a Russian trap, it was because Israel and its in-house operative demanded it.
If Flynn is guilty of anything, it would be going along with Kushner’s Israel First scheme ahead of the United Nations vote. What is odd though, is why the entire US mainstream media is not interested in this part of the story. Even the Never Trump “Resistance” seem to be afraid of taking this narrative on. I guess even the Resistance has its limits. Rather than go for a case where the evidence is sitting right there on a silver Salva, instead they will go for the Russian conspiracy theory. Alas, old habits die hard.
This series of events is all the more pertinent when considering this week’s announcement by President Trump that the US is to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and will be moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to East Jerusalem. Many are already calling this “the kiss of death” to the Israel-Palestine peace process. In a predictable succession of events, the Jerusalem provocation was a fait accompli after Trump had announced in October that the US would be withdrawing from support for UNESCO, the UN body which is meant to help maintain the neutrality of Jerusalem as an internationally protected area. The Trump administration justified its resignation from the key UN agency on the grounds that it is “biased against Israel.” But the neutrality of Jerusalem is an essential policy for maintaining peace in a less than ideal situation with Palestine still under a brutal military occupation by an illegitimate and illegal (by international law and successive UN Resolutions) Israeli jackboot.
In addition to all this, this past summer the United States announced the establishment of a permanent military installation inside of Israel. What’s scary is how many people do not know this has happened.
So Trump’s éminence grise, the wunderkind, who some people have called the President In-Law, is really Israel’s man inside the White House.
Landed on his feet: ‘President In-law’ Jared Kushner.
So what exactly are Jared Kushner’s credentials in international relations and diplomacy that he has been charged with negotiating Middle East affairs for the United States of America? Without sounding too cruel here, it’s difficult to find anything to say in his defense. In the end, his only visible qualification is that he’s married to the President’s daughter, and that’s he’s “a good friend” of Netanyahu. That’s really it.
Credit where credit’s due though. Aside from marrying into the dynasty, Kushner is also the former owner of a mediocre website, The New York Observer, and has also managed to parlay his family status to help finance a number of high-profile New York City property deals with foreign buyers (no doubt with the help of his father-in-law).
Isn’t that what Kushner is doing right now – using his inherited clout to help “close friend” Benjamin Netanyahu broker property deals (highly illegal by international law) in the Middle East, only this time with his Uncle Sam acting as the guarantor? It certainly looks that way. The question is, will anyone in the US do anything about it?
When this latest episode of hubris by the White House and Israel eventually unravels, the public and the media might then turn on Kushner and Trump, but by then the damage will have already been done.
Meanwhile, men like Jake Tapper and Wolf Blitzer will still be chasing those illusive Russian hackers clear into the 2020 election cycle, which is probably a stupid move for the Resistance, but if the last 18 months have taught us anything it’s that there isn’t much clear thinking going on in that corner of the galaxy.
Until then, Netanyahu can feel safe in the knowledge that Israel, not Washington, is currently in control of US foreign policy.
One final note to the brave Never-Trump Resistance: if a foreign state actor is blackmailing this President or the White House, it’s probably not Russia.
Author Patrick Henningsen is an American writer and global affairs analyst and founder of independent news and analysis site 21st Century Wire, and is host of the SUNDAY WIRE weekly radio show broadcast globally over the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR). He has written for a number of international publications and has done extensive on-the-ground reporting of the conflict Syria, Iraq and the Middle East.
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