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Donald Trump picks anti-Muslim intel officer to be national security adviser

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Donald Trump has tapped an immigration hardliner and a former intelligence officer to be top members of his administration. President-elect Trump’s transition team announced today that Senator Jeff Sessions will be his attorney general, and that Michael Flynn, the anti-Muslim former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, will be his national security adviser.

The moves signal that Trump is rewarding those who remained loyal to him during his tumultuous presidential campaign–and that he has no intention of backing down from his hardline positions on Muslims and immigrants.

Sessions is perhaps the most anti-immigrant senator in Congress. And he will have to face a Senate confirmation process that will dig up past allegations that once felled his bid to be a federal judge–accusations that he called a Black prosecutor “boy,” that he said a white lawyer who represented Blacks was maybe a disgrace to his race and that he called the ACLU and NAACP “un-American.”

Sessions has also associated with virulent Islamophobes. He has accepted accolades from the David Horowitz Freedom Center and from the Center for Security Policy, both of which are Islamophobic think tanks. Sessions has expressed support for Trump’s proposals to limit Muslim immigration to the U.S, and has come out against accepting Syrian refugees.

Still, Sessions has a good shot of being confirmed, especially since the Republicans have a Senate majority.

Flynn would have had a tougher job of being confirmed, in part because he has been paid by the Russian government and a close ally of Turkey’s president. But Flynn is serving as national security adviser–a position that is not a cabinet pick, though it is one of the more powerful positions in the national security bureaucracy. As national security adviser, Flynn will run the National Security Council, a powerful internal division in the White House that coordinates national security policy.

Flynn will take his strident beliefs on Islam and war into the Oval Office. Flynn has said that “Islamic ideology” is “sick,” that Islam is like “cancer,” and that “fear of Muslims is rational.” He also said, “I’ve been at war with Islam, or a component of Islam, for the last decade.”

Flynn is an adviser to ACT For America, an anti-Muslim group that has pushed anti-Sharia laws and built ties with anti-Muslim politicians. And he is a harsh critic of the Iran nuclear deal, and has also called for “regime change” in the country. In Congressional testimony, Flynn said “Israel lives under the threat of total annihilation from Iran and other Islamic radical elements in the region—something the United States must never allow.”

Flynn is not just an anti-Muslim ideologue, though. He was the director of intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command, the shadowy elite military unit credited with decimating al-Qaeda in Iraq and went on to kill Bin Laden. He’s also the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Flynn will now get to fuse his anti-Muslim beliefs with his deep experience in intelligence and the military to meld Trump’s thinking on U.S. foreign policy and national security.

That has human rights groups worried about what the Trump administration will do on issues like detention, torture and drones–a lethal and shadowy architecture that the Obama administration will now hand over to Trump.

Human Rights Watch today criticized Flynn for not condemning Trump’s repeated calls to torture terrorist suspects and kill the family members of terrorists. When asked about these statements, Flynn has said he believes in leaving open all options.

But the human rights group said in doing so, “Michael Flynn has shown a stunning contempt for the Geneva Conventions and other laws prohibiting torture. By offering this key post to Flynn, President-elect Trump is undermining US commitments to international laws that have been broken to America’s detriment.”

Alex Kane
About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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19 Responses

  1. Bandolero
    November 18, 2016, 5:35 pm

    With well-known blogger Jennifer Rubin Trump also raises red flags with his Flynn pick. She writes:

    Flynn’s personal testiness, unhinged zealousness, rash judgment and anti-Muslim hysteria echo Trump’s deficiencies.

    As far as I remember Jennifer Rubin was always a great friend of Muslims, wasn’t she?

    So, what’s going on? Maybe with his statement that the creation of an ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq happened due to a “willful decision” in Washington he hasn’t made himself not only friends? I think that he wants to talk with Russia couldn’t be it, because virtually nobody I know would prefer throwing nuclear missiles at each other instead.

    For people not familiar with Flynn I think an interview with Flynn by Sophie Shevardnadze from about a year ago can give some answers on what kind of worldview Flynn holds:

  2. Bandolero
    November 18, 2016, 9:00 pm

    Trumps pick of Flynn not only raised red föags with Jennifer Rubin, but with the Washington Post “Editorial Board” aka Fred Hiatt, too. The Post’s View it’s called, the title is “Trump has made some dangerous appointments,” under the title is a picture of Flynn and then the Washington Post states:

    Mr. Flynn has attracted attention with his rhetorical assaults on Islam and Muslims. He has described Islam as not a religion but a “political ideology” that hides “behind what we call freedom of religion.” He once tweeted that “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” … the appointments of Mr. Flynn and Mr. Pompeo suggest a turn toward policies that could deeply alienate U.S. Muslim allies, including Sunni states whose assistance is critically needed to forge political alternatives to the terrorists in Iraq and Syria … The general … has accepted payment from the Russian propaganda network RT, and his consulting firm has lobbied for a businessman close to Turkey’s autocratic president.

    So, if I may summarize that stance of the Washiongton Post. Mike Flynn is so anti-islamic, that he “could deeply alienate U.S. Muslim allies, including Sunni states whose assistance is critically needed to forge political alternatives to the terrorists in Iraq and Syria” – and his biggest sins are being on RT and lobbying for Erdogan – who happens to be the president of the most important U.S. Muslim ally, and of course Turkey is a Sunni majority state.

    The Washington Post can’t decide: is Flynn ugly because he’s anti-muslim or is he ugly because he’s too cozy with muslim president Erdogan. It seems to me proof that the neocon Washington Post is hiding why they are really against Flynn.

    But I think I know a part of why the Washington Post is so much against Flynn. It’s this story, and all what’s linked with it: Former DIA Chief Michael Flynn Says Rise of Islamic State was “a willful decision” and Defends Accuracy of 2012 Memo. Flynn didn’t shut up on this, even when pressed.

    Whether it is criminal to aid Al Qaeda terrorists – who also happen to be the enemy in the war on terror – may be a decision for courts. But I remember well the chants of “Lock her up” and it looks to me some people are scared it could happen – and not only to her.

    • Sibiriak
      November 20, 2016, 9:53 pm

      Bandolero: But I think I know a part of why the Washington Post is so much against Flynn. It’s this story, and all what’s linked with it: Former DIA Chief Michael Flynn Says Rise of Islamic State was “a willful decision” and Defends Accuracy of 2012 Memo. Flynn didn’t shut up on this, even when pressed.

      Good point.

      And there is this as well:

      (CNN)During a 2015 trip to Russia, Donald Trump’s pick to be national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, said he didn’t know whether the 2013 sarin gas attack in Syria was conducted by the Syrian Army or by other forces in an attempt to draw the United States into the conflict.

      Flynn not ruling out the possibility of a “false flag” attack raises questions about how the Trump administration will approach the Syrian conflict. The Obama administration, the Arab League, NATO, and many western governments have pointed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime as being responsible for the attack. A United Nations investigation didn’t assign blame, but evidence from the report pointed to the Assad regime being responsible.

      * * *
      […]In a 2013 op-ed in the New York Times, Putin wrote, “No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists.”

      The questioner’s claim might be grounded in a 2013 article by journalist Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books, which claimed the jihadist rebel group al-Nusra was behind the attack. The New Yorker and Washington Post both declined to publish the report, saying it didn’t meet their standards. A follow up report from Hersh claimed the Turkish government supplied the chemical weapons for the attack.

      * * *
      […] At the event, Flynn cautioned the situation on the ground in Syria was complex and deception was being use.

      “What I know is that the complexity of the situation on the ground right now is beyond anybody’s wildest imagination,” he said. “[The panel moderator] highlighted it in one of her questions. I think her question was a very good one. It’s all of the things that are happening, not just in Syria. This is happening in the region in a big way. The things that you’re talking about, there’s this tit-for-tat or there’s this give and take. People are doing things. There is deception being used.”

      There is false information being used,” he added. “This slide that I have up here is a component of that false information or how false information is applied. […]

      [emphasis added]

  3. echinococcus
    November 19, 2016, 1:54 am

    He really sounds rather horrible.

    But then, as you say:

    He was the director of intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command, the shadowy elite military unit credited with decimating al-Qaeda in Iraq and went on to kill Bin Laden. He’s also the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

    Starting under Bush, then the highest and probably most criminal posts among them under Obama and his merry Democratic administration:

    Wikipedia says:
    “…director of intelligence, Joint Staff from July 2008 to June 2009, then the director of intelligence, International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from June 2009 to October 2010.
    In September 2011, Flynn was promoted to Lieutenant General and assigned to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

    On April 17, 2012, President Barack Obama nominated Flynn to be the 18th director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.[22][23] Flynn took command of the DIA in July 2012.”

    I think these dates are relevant to the discussion: he had been committing his crimes and being promoted under the Dems; now he (additionally) brings some more of his so-called thinking into the open. His crimes are the Demolicanorepublican administration’s crimes. And thanks to the two-party system, there is no end in sight for Palestine, or the rest of the world. Let’s see if by Jan. 20, his new boss remembers the isolationist noises he made.

    • echinococcus
      November 19, 2016, 2:06 am

      PS. Also mention that hyper-racist Flynn is a registered Democrat, according to Wikipedia. Also a relevant piece of info.

  4. gingershot
    November 19, 2016, 4:58 pm

    ‘The End of Political Judaism and the Israel Lobby/Jewish Lobby Alt Right Movement’ –

    The Israel Lobby’s famous ‘Islamophobia Cottage Industry’ IS the ‘Alt Right’ birthplace – and Steve Bannon is a poster child for a ‘Alt Right Pro-Israel’ fascist

    Why do Steve Bannon and Frank Gaffney and other Israeli Firsters/Kahanists/Neocons get along so famously? Because they are both ‘Alt Right’…everybody clear? ‘Alt Right Pro-Israel’ targets MUSLIMS not Jews. Everybody got it?

    ‘Alt Right Pro-Israel’ IS the Islamophobia cottage industry of the Israeli Lobby/Jewish Lobby/Neocons in the US – they promote racism TOWARDS Muslims, not Jews

    Dermer is having to explain Bannon to the rest of the Diaspora and America because they don’t get it – Bannon ain’t anti-semitic, he’s ‘Alt Right Pro-Israel’ – in fact he LOVES Israel – just like Breivik Anders Breivik or Mike Huckabee or Gaffney or John Bolton or Pam Geller or Chuck Krauthammer or Naftali Bennett or Yvet Lieberman etc, etc

    Time to break America’s trance …SNAP! SNAP!

    Israel itself is ‘Alt Right’ – as well as all the Neocons

    David Horowitz, Pam Geller, Frank Gaffney, Cliff May, Anders Breivik, Charles Krauthammer, Geert Wilders, and Neocons writ large are all part of it and they have one thing in common – they target Muslims NOT Jews and love Israel

    The Islamophobia industry is worldwide now and heavily promoted by the Israeli Lobby and Israel.
    (David Horowitz donated $20K to Geert Wilder’s party in 2014, Anders Breivik blogged at Pam Gellers site/Gates of Vienna and admired Avigdor Lieberman and Israel)

    The ‘Alt Right’ movement is a part of the Islamophobia Cottage industry of the Israel Lobby of the US and they identify with extreme Right Wing Israel (Bibi, Bennett, Lieberman and the rest of the true blue Kahanists)

    This new fascism is CREATED by the Jewish Lobby/Israel Lobby/Neocons (and Israel) and targets Muslims NOT Jews.

    Yes Virigina, it’s Israeli Lobby-CREATED fascism towards Muslims, NOT Jews. The Israeli Lobby is famous for it – Gaffney is a poster child for it.

    International ‘Alt Right’ fascists like Wilders and Breivik hate Muslims NOT Jews
    Israel is ‘Alt Right’ – they hate Muslims NOT Jews
    Neocons like Frank Gaffney are ‘Alt Right’ – they hate Muslims not Jews

    Why do Steve Bannon and Frank Gaffney get along? Because they are both ‘Alt Right’
    ‘Alt Righters’ LOVE ‘Neocons’, these are INTERCHANGEABLE TERMS in my mind, or perhaps even clearer, Alt Right is synonymous with ‘Kahanist’

    Why is the Trump appointments/campaign getting stuffed with ‘Alt Right’ type and ‘extreme right wing Pro-Israel’ appointments? Yep, you got it…

    The American Israel Lobby/Jewish Lobby/Neocons target Muslims (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Palestine) NOT Jews
    The Israelis target Muslims (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Palestine, the rest of their Clean Break targets) NOT Jews
    The International Islamophobes (LePen, Geert Wilders, Breivik, etc) target Muslims NOT Jews

    Trump appointments are STUFFED with both the ‘Alt Right’ Gen Flynn, Mike Pompeo, Bannon – as well as the Kahanist/extreme Right Wing Israeli Kahanist-type picks like David Friedman, Greenblatt, maybe Frank Gaffney, etc.

    They all get along and they all go watch ‘Homeland’ together to get their ‘Alt Right Kahanist’ rocks off (Pompeo just met the ‘Homeland’ producers at Mike Rodger’s house this week- can’t make it up)

    Time to get this one fact clear – these new fascists ALL target Muslims, not Jews. The targets of the Alt Right are MUSLIMS not Jews, and it’s promoted by the Jewish Lobby/Israel Lobby

    The collapse of Political Judaism in Israel (Zionism as practiced by it’s Israeli enthusiasts, which is Apartheid) and in America (the ‘Alt Right Movement and it’s Israeli Lobby/Jewish Lobby/Neocon supporters’) is in motion …

    When America’s High Schoolers find out Trump and his ‘Alt Right are really the ‘Kahanist Alt Right’ it’s gonna happen even faster.

    Humiliations Galore!

  5. Maghlawatan
    November 20, 2016, 3:10 pm

    Trump is American Taliban. But I will say one thing in favour of the Taliban. The Planet is not their enemy. They would never appoint Myron Ebell to a senior position.

  6. Maghlawatan
    November 20, 2016, 3:12 pm

    Flynn, Bannon and Ebell are enemies of the people.

  7. Maghlawatan
    November 20, 2016, 5:59 pm

    Priebus on @ThisWeekABC says Flynn and Trump are in line on Islam: “Clearly there are some aspects of that faith that are problematic.”

  8. Maghlawatan
    November 21, 2016, 12:24 am

    Bill de Blasio

    This week I told President-elect Trump that there are 900 Muslim Americans in the NYPD protecting us every day.

    • Mooser
      November 21, 2016, 1:19 pm

      “‏@NYCMayor This week I told President-elect Trump that there are 900 Muslim Americans in the NYPD protecting us every day”

      Idiot! “900 Muslim-Americans” Are you getting a head start on the registry?

      • amigo
        November 21, 2016, 2:33 pm

        “‏@NYCMayor This week I told President-elect Trump that there are 900 Muslim Americans in the NYPD protecting us every day” Mooser.

        To which Trump replied –“I hope none of these terroreeeests have been sent to Israel on anti terror training.”What would Sheldon say if he found out.

      • Mooser
        November 21, 2016, 5:06 pm

        “To which Trump replied…”

        Please append list of names and badge #s.

  9. Citizen
    November 22, 2016, 12:30 am

    Rachel Maddow has been one-upping the comments here, with the help of an ADL spokesperson. For them, Hitler has indeed taken our highest office, and is surrounding himself with appropriate white supremacist henchmen/women. Except, oddly, neither has mentioned anything else about any other Jewish organizations involved, merely repeating America’s Jews, Muslims, blacks and brown people are targeted victim groups, along with LGBT folks. No mention of ZOA or Israel, for example.

  10. Citizen
    November 22, 2016, 12:48 am

    No mention of “neocons” either. Did roll some film of a recent white nationalist group meeting in a NYC Italian restaurant, which had disguised itself as a private “generic name” family gathering. Rachel pointed out one of the speakers used the term “our struggle,” mirrored Hitler’s Mein Kampf title, and she also pointed out some in at the meeting were raising their hands in the Hitler salute, and were applauding with, she said, not the English “hail,” but the German “heil.” She concluded that segment by chatting with the ADL guy how the restaurant was open to all Americans and had been duped, and now was going to offer that night’s proceeds of $10,000.00 to the ADL. She then went on to ridiculing Sarah Palin and Herr Trump–him for doing three tweets on the latest SNL skit on him.

  11. Theo
    November 22, 2016, 8:25 am

    Although I judged both candidates as not worthy to become the president of this country and like millions of other citizens wished for two others, on the long run I decided that Trump just may be the less evil. However, I still did not vote for him.
    Now watching his picks for important positions I am getting a bit nervous, are we heading back to the McCarthy area, when anything in your past, even voicing a bad joke, could be used against you to ruin your future.
    I hope the Senate and Congress have enough cool headed individuals to keep him on the ground, the world has enough doubt about the validity of our highly praised democracy.

  12. Maghlawatan
    November 22, 2016, 10:50 pm

    Yasmin Levy’s mother used to sing a Persian song in their home in Israel in the 80s

    Yasmin is educated and she isn’t a Cossack so she searched for it

    Judaism does that kind of stuff very well
    Judaism is not good at wars

  13. Maghlawatan
    November 22, 2016, 11:04 pm

    Dehumanising people makes it easier to kill them

    The Farsi for “Rest in Peace” means “may his/her soul be happy”

    روحت شاد

    • echinococcus
      November 23, 2016, 10:07 am

      The way you wrote it is rather sinister, Maghlawatan: it’s in the 2nd person singular, may *your* soul [rest] happy. If that ain’t a threat of the highest order, I wonder what is…

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