Pepe Escobar: The Swamp Strikes Back

Pepe Escobar in Sputnik International:

The tawdry Michael Flynn soap opera boils down to the CIA hemorrhaging leaks to the company town newspaper, leading to the desired endgame: a resounding victory for hardcore neocon/neoliberalcon US Deep State factions in one particular battle. But the war is not over; in fact it’s just beginning.
Even before Flynn’s fall, Russian analysts had been avidly discussing whether President Trump is the new Victor Yanukovich – who failed to stop a color revolution at his doorstep. The Made in USA color revolution by the axis of Deep State neocons, Democratic neoliberalcons and corporate media will be pursued, relentlessly, 24/7. But more than Yanukovich, Trump might actually be remixing Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping: “crossing the river while feeling the stones”. Rather, crossing the swamp while feeling the crocs.
Flynn out may be interpreted as a Trump tactical retreat. After all Flynn may be back – in the shade, much as Roger Stone. If current deputy national security advisor K T McFarland gets the top job – which is what powerful Trump backers are aiming at – the shadowplay Kissinger balance of power, in its 21st century remix, is even strengthened; after all McFarland is a Kissinger asset.
This call won’t self-destruct in five seconds
Flynn worked with Special Forces; was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); handled highly classified top secret information 24/7. He obviously knew all his conversations on an open, unsecure line were monitored. So he had to have morphed into a compound incarnation of the Three Stooges had he positioned himself to be blackmailed by Moscow.
What Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak certainly discussed was cooperation in the fight against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, and what Moscow might expect in return: the lifting of sanctions. US corporate media didn’t even flinch when US intel admitted they have a transcript of the multiple phone calls between Flynn and Kislyak. So why not release them? Imagine the inter-galactic scandal if these calls were about Russian intel monitoring the US ambassador in Moscow.
No one paid attention to the two key passages conveniently buried in the middle of this US corporate media story. 1) “The intelligence official said there had been no finding inside the government that Flynn did anything illegal.” 2) “…the situation became unsustainable – not because of any issue of being compromised by Russia – but because he [Flynn] has lied to the president and the vice president.”
Recap: nothing illegal; and Flynn not compromised by Russia. The “crime” – according to Deep State factions: talking to a Russian diplomat.
Vice-President Mike Pence is a key piece in the puzzle; after all his major role is as insider guarantor – at the heart of the Trump administration – of neocon Deep State interests. The CIA did leak. The CIA most certainly has been spying on all Trump operatives. Flynn though fell on his own sword. Classic hubris; his fatal mistake was to strategize by himself – even before he became national security advisor. “Mad Dog” Mattis, T. Rex Tillerson – both, by the way, very close to Kissinger – and most of all Pence did not like it one bit once they were informed.
A “man of very limited abilities”
Flynn was already compromised by his embarrassingly misinformed book co-written with neocon Michael Ledeen, as well as his juvenile Iranophobia. At the same time, Flynn was the point man to what would have been a real game-changer; to place the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff under White House control.
A highly informed US source I previously called “X”, who detailed to Sputnik how the Trump presidency will play out, is adamant “this decision makes Trump look independent. It is all going according to script.”
“X” stresses how “the NSA can penetrate any telephone system in the world that is not secure. Flynn was a man of very limited abilities who talked too much. You never hear from the real powers in intelligence nor do you know their names. You can see that in Flynn’s approach to Iran. He was disrupting a peace deal in the Middle East relating to Russia, Iran and Turkey in Syria. So he had to go.”
“X” adds, “the Russians are not stupid to talk among themselves on unsecured lines, they assumed that Flynn controlled his own lines. Flynn was removed not because of his Russian calls but for other reasons, some of which have to do with Iran and the Middle East. He was a loose cannon even from the intelligence perspective. This is a case of misdirection away from the true cause.”
In direct opposition to “X”, an analytical strand now rules there’s blood on the tracks; the hyenas are circling; a vulnerable Trump has lost his mojo; and he also lost his foreign policy. Not yet.
In the Grand Chessboard, what Flynn’s fall spells out is just a pawn out of the game because the King would not protect him. We will only know for sure “draining the swamp” – the foreign policy section – is doomed if neocons and neoliberalcons continue to run riot; if neoliberalcons are not fully exposed in their complicity in the rise of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh; and if the much vaunted possibility of a détente with Russia flounders for good.
What’s certain is that the fratricide war between the Trump administration and the most powerful Deep State factions will be beyond vicious. Team Trump only stands a chance if they are able to weaponize allies from within the Deep State. As it stands, concerning the Kissinger grand design of trying to break the Eurasian “threat” to the unipolar moment, Iran is momentarily relieved; Russia harbors no illusions; and China knows for sure that the China-Russia strategic partnership will become even stronger. Advantage swamp.


co-founding editor of OffGuardian (retired)

Filed under: empire watch, latest


co-founding editor of OffGuardian (retired)

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I didn’t find this article, and terminology, to be useful.


Because you didn’t read it. You just trolled it


On the Grand Chessboard – did the King sacrifice the pawn – or did the pawn sacrifice himself to save the King?
You are not telling me that Trump sacrificed his ‘hero’ Flynn, the supposed cornerstone of his intended foreign policy, nor that Flynn was acting of his own volition. To my mind, it is much more likely the other way round – Flynn was fully briefed and acting on superior orders. By all accounts, he’s not the sharpest tool in the box – he’s not a strategist or policy maker – he’s an ‘Action Officer’ (much like a modern Ollie North) – and like a good soldier, he’s taken one for the team to protect his Commander-in-Chief. IMO.
Like Pepe Escobar, I think it is a bit early to call game, set, and match in favour of the globalists/neocons (as a few commentators did yesterday – including an article I read by the Saker.) The billionaire hedge fund ‘activists’ (the Mercers[Robert and Rebekah], Sheldon Adelson, Steve Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross etc.); the Goldman Such$ and the Kissinger axes are still in play. Oh, and Bannon. Not a popular call round here, but it was reading Escobar’s earlier articles that alerted me to his Machiavellian potential. As Escobar put it Bannon is “a man to be underestimated at your own peril.” He may be a Deep State target, but he’s still in play. Indeed, he could be the play?
(Call it confirmation bias, but I have found nothing to disabuse me of the fact the far from being his own man – Trump may yet prove to be a Mercer/Bannon ‘Stalking Horse.’)
Part of the thrust of the Saker article was that this is not about Flynn’s phone calls at all – after all, the CIA/NSA/’Team Hillary’ have had the transcripts since December. So, in this FUBAR political fantasy world, this maybe a little closer to the ‘truth’ (which, in its current metamorphic definition, is whatever TPTB want to make it.) According to the Saker, ‘Flynngate’ is a revenge attack for the National Security Council remodel. Except, it seems unlikely to me that Flynn engineered a seat at the top table for himself – more likely, Bannon did. If there is any truth to the Saker’s article, the main target is still in play. As such, these power plays could run and run – tit-for-tat – and in a way, they are playing to Trump’s advantage.
As the like of Thom Hartmann have pointed out; the unintended (or intended, if you want to go really leftfield) consequence of the weaponized ‘chaos’ and Deep State powerplays is to strengthen Trumps political base. Only 27% of Americans voted for Trump – the more he gets attacked or impeded – the better they think he is doing. According to Trump tonight, despite the bad press, his administration is “running like a well oiled machine.” Right.
Pepe calls it ‘advantage swamp’ – I say fifteen-love – settle down, this could yet turn into a five setter?


Oooh dear, I’d like to have that parenthesized sentence back – as in “I’ve found nothing to disabuse myself from the fact that far from being…”


I always thought the “swamp” referred to being in need of draining was the Washington inbedded neocons. Obama had a terrible time because he didn’t clean out the Bush detritus left behind within government agencies when he occupied the White House. Trump must clean them out . The State Department must be cleared of the likes of Victoria Nuland, Samantha Power, Susan Rice etc. before they destroy Trump’s foreign policy plans before they are even formulated.