Neocon ‘Blasts from the Past’ Threaten to Undermine Trump Presidency
During his uphill campaign for the Republican Party presidential nomination and subsequent race for the White House, president-elect Donald Trump called NATO «obsolete», implied that Russia had not committed «aggression» by re-incorporating Crimea following a popular referendum in that region, and proclaimed he would be an «honest broker» in negotiations between Israel and Palestine. These may be mere words, not backed up by U.S. foreign policy changes, if Trump continues to bring discredited neo-conservatives – neocons – from the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush into his inner circle of advisers and, potentially, into senior national security and foreign policy positions in his administration.
While Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the official chairman of Trump’s presidential transition team, is concentrating on domestic policy appointments, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, the publisher of the New York Observer and someone who is very much aligned with the right-wing Likud Party of Israel, has become the de facto chair of the Trump transition team where national security matters are involved. Already booted from the transition team by Kushner have been New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Global Impact, Inc. CEO Matthew Freedman, a national security adviser to Christie; and Mike Rogers, the former House Intelligence Committee chairman. They were replaced by neocons, such as Frank Gaffney, the head of the Center for Security Policy (CSP) and a major cheerleader for the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and the U.S.-instigated «themed revolutions» in Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.
Although Trump said he looks forward to restoring good relations with Russia after a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in February 2015, Gaffney, ever the war-mongering neocon, wrote the following on his CSP website: «We must not only deter Vladimir Putin’s thuggery. We must also counter his Chinese allies and enablers». That sort of rhetoric certainly does not sound anything like Trump’s stated policy of seeking closer relations with Russia and China.
Like swarms of parasitic insects and other harmful infestations, where one finds the likes of Gaffney, former CIA director James Woolsey - also a member of the Trump transition team - and John Bolton, rumored to be in consideration for either Secretary of State or Deputy Secretary of State, one will find other disreputable neocons who drove the United States into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These include Richard Perle, who claimed U.S. troops invading Iraq would be met with Iraqis throwing «flowers and candy», and America’s chief proponent of political fascism, Michael Ledeen.
Former Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn co-authored a book with Ledeen that was released in July and is titled, "The Field of Flight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies." The book represents typical neocon pabulum more than it does realism. Before its release, Kushner's Observer newspaper, unsurprisingly, published a five-star review of the book. Flynn, who distinguished himself admirably by suggesting that the Obama administration was coddling the Islamic State and its allied jihadists in Syria, appears not to recognize that it has long been the desire of neocons like Ledeen, Perle, Woolsey, and Bolton to divide the Arab nation-states like Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and others into warring factions so that Israel can hold ultimate sway over the entire Middle East. That does not square with Trump’s abhorrence for U.S. nation-building, chief «globalist» policy hallmarks of the Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama administrations.
Ledeen is the most malignant neocon tumor to appear within the nascent Trump foreign policy apparatus. He has been a threat to U.S. national security since the Jimmy Carter administration. Representative Edward Boland of Massachusetts, the first chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), had expressed doubts to the CIA about the veracity of Ledeen, then a journalist, for planting false information in an article in New York Magazine about U.S. intelligence circles worrying about a Soviet «mole» in a senior position within the Carter administration. Ledeen’s article was fatuous and without any basis of truth. Ledeen later became an adviser to Reagan’s National Security AdvisorRobert C. McFarlane and helped to sell the White House on the idea of trading arms with Iran in return for the freeing of U.S. hostages in Lebanon. The affair became known as the Iran-contra scandal and it almost cost Reagan his presidency through impeachment. Ledeen also introduced the CIA, much to their consternation, to a slimy Iranian expatriate named Manucher Ghorbanifar, who trafficked in bogus intelligence.
During the Bush 43 administration, Ledeen again wormed his way into the White House.
Ledeen acted as an unofficial foreign policy adviser to Karl Rove, especially in championing the cause of the Iranian terrorist group Mojahadeen-e-Khalq (MEK). Ledeen also served as an interlocutor between the Bush administration and the long discredited Ghorbanifar. Even after Ledeen's and Ghorbanifar's fingerprints were found on the bogus "yellowcake" uranium documents from Niger, falsely describing Iraq's seeking to procure uranium from the West African nation as a pretext for war with Iraq, Ledeen and Ghorbanifar sought to re-enact the same fiction, this time with Iran being the target. Ledeen and Ghorbanifar sought $25 million from the Bush White House to have the MEK plant Desert Storm-vintage biological and chemical weapons shells, confiscated by U.S. forces in Iraq, on the Iranian side of the Iraqi border. The weapons would be used as «proof» of Iran's plan to "attack" U.S. troops in Iraq, thus prompting a U.S. military strike against Iran and another war for the United States.
While Ledeen and Ghorbanifar were selling Bush 43 on phony Nigerien documents, Woolsey was pushing the fake intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s alleged «mobile biological weapons laboratories». The source of this fake intelligence was Iraqi expatriate Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, known to the CIA as «Curveball», and who remains at the top of the agency’s «burn list» for being one of the phoniest intelligence sources in the history of modern U.S. intelligence.
In 2005, a criminal investigation in Italy yielded copies of the minutes of meetings held at the U.S. Embassy in Rome that same year and that were attended by a «Colonel Franklin» from the United States; leading Italian neo-fascist politicians, including Deputy Prime Minister Giancarlo Fini; and Likud officials from Israel. Air Force Reserve Colonel, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Pentagon Bureau of Near East and South Asian Affairs employee Lawrence (Larry) A. Franklin was later indicted for passing classified information to two American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) employees.
The top Mossad official at the Israeli embassy in Washington and other Israeli agents were also under investigation by the FBI and many fled the United States. While serving his two-week active duty stints, Franklin was intermittently posted to the Air Attaché’s office at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. Franklin, who touted an aggressive military approach toward Iran, also reportedly attended a December 2001 meeting in Rome on opening back channels to Iranian dissidents, including Ledeen’s favorites, the MEK. Attending the meeting, in addition to Franklin, was Ledeen, then with the American Enterprise Institute; the notorious fabricator Ghorbanifar; Italian SISMI military intelligence chief Nicolo Pollari; Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino; and some Iranian dissidents.
The names Ledeen, Gaffney, Bolton, Woolsey, and Perle are synonymous with past American adventurism abroad. If they nest within the Trump administration, Donald Trump can not only be assured of a one-term presidency but never-ending political scandals resulting from backroom deals with unscrupulous foreign interlocutors and a deluge of falsified intelligence.