Monday, January 16, 2017

An Inauspicious Start

Whether he lasts a full term in office, Donald Trump is sure to provide no end of firsts in the presidential history books.

Here's one. He will become the first incoming commander in chief utterly distrusted by his intelligence and security agencies. He doesn't trust them but far more importantly they don't trust him.

The Israeli news service, Ynet, reports that American intelligence types have warned their Israeli counterparts against telling the US anything they don't want Putin and Iran to know. It's "mum's the word" at least for the immediate future while Trump's and his cabinet's true relationships with the Kremlin are sorted out.

Donald Trump’s upcoming inauguration as the next president of the United States is causing Israeli intelligence officials to lose sleep as well. Discussions held in closed forums recently raised fears of a leakage of Israeli intelligence top-classified information, clandestine modus operandi and sources, which have been exposed to the American intelligence community over the past 15 years, to Russia – and from there to Iran.

The Americans implied that their Israeli colleagues should “be careful” as of January 20, Trump’s inauguration date, when transferring intelligence information to the White House and to the National Security Council (NSC), which is subject to the president. According to the Israelis who were present in the meeting, the Americans recommended that until it is made clear that Trump is not inappropriately connected to Russia and is not being extorted – Israel should avoid revealing sensitive sources to administration officials for fear the information would reach the Iranians.

If Israel’s secrets are indeed not kept confidential, this is a serious danger to the state’s national security: Since the early 2000s, the cooperation between the Israel and US intelligence communities has been intensified. It was led by the head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate (AMAN) at the time, Aharon Ze’evi Farkash (who even received a citation from the NSA Chief General Michael Hayden), late Mossad chief Meir Dagan and his successor, Tamir Pardo, who served earlier as the commander of one of the secret operational units that cooperated with the Americans.

British intelligence reportedly considers itself in the same boat as the Israelis. If his own intelligence experts don't trust president Trump no one else will either - Vladimir Putin possibly excepted.


Owen Gray said...

It's remarkable, Mound. The bull is in the china shop. And he insists that others -- like the Mexicans -- will pay for the damage.

Scotian said...

You know, I wonder how Mossad and its Likudites component are feeling right now. How long ago it was that Bibi got to speak in front of their Congress for Israeli interests without having to worry overmuch about true backlash beyond the superficial given the long and deep political affiliations at the top of the foreign policy political structures, a decades long bipartisan on until Bibi made that speech in point of fact. Now they have genuine grounds to fear that the top foreign policy and security Office in America is now under Russian control, and worse, they saw Russia's puppet openly exposed in the debates as such and still manage election. Just think about what that has to be doing not just to their peace of mind, but their own very sense of reality. The relationship there was powerful and truly bipartisan, it was I think perhaps the last of the true bipartisanships left in American federal politics to fall, really. Having a domestic white supremacist/anti-Jew element a la Bannon et al from that element of Trumps core cannot be helping that one either.

Getting back to the point of your post though, I'm not surprised, nor will I be surprised to find other former allies IC's reporting to their home governments real Russian intersections here (what kind they are is too generalized for me to dare try to claim, that there clearly are real and near intersections, we already know enough to know THAT *IS* real/true) and from there entering public awareness. I really do not think most of those whose main interests in security issues comes grounded from the political/policy side truly realizes just how wildly out of profile unpredictably dangerous Trump and his people are to this world. We are NOT dealing with business as usual.

I always railed at people for equating Harper with Martin or Chretien back in the day, especially those that did so from the left. I was aghast that they could not see the vast difference within Harper, he and his mindset truly was alien to our political culture. It was enough so even within his element that Manning had problems with him and it from early on, that wasn't just about ambition, it really was also about core values. He may have made some peace with it later on with Harper's rise, but there were always core differences there, if only in the right of the citizen to be involved in public policy creation, let alone even be a consideration.

Trump versus not just HRC but any of the standard GOP Primary candidates is still placing Trump wildly outside norms, and when you consider just how domestically extreme the GOP base and representatives have become (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul albeit in his following a much older and well known strain within the conservative element, and having John Kasich as one of the finalists being the "moderate/centrist/liberal" of the group given his domestic, especially on womens rights issue) that is really saying something. So whenever someone tries equating any Dem with Trump I am truly mindboggled, especially on security and foreign policy issues. And no small part of that boggle comes directly out of the mindnumbingly obvious Russia links running rampant and have been for a good year now in all this!

to be concluded:

Scotian said...


Now that we are finally in the days where President Trump in full reality and truth has come we are seeing in actions like these the beginnings of the destruction of the international security web that has kept the world as relatively stable as it has been post WWII. This is not like when GWB came to Office after the 2000 election. No this has a much different and far more dangerous look and feel to it. I try to avoid using the level of language I am for topics like this, but I am literally forced to because reality itself has forced it. We are seeing all kinds of these signs, and if this is what we are getting to see openly out of the IC world, the realities going on being that "black" curtain must be breathtaking, especially given that the reactions of those that have seen this seem to mostly come out very sure something is wrong and going on here, and not just the Dems either, if far fewer GOPers than there should be.

Reality at the moment is a very disturbing place to be, even by its own standards, because we have had a massive improbability nexus explode, many low order possibilities have come true with Trump and the means of his election, and we have the open involvement of a major hostile foreign power on one side (its traditional domestic enemy/hater at that!) during the election succeed without so far any real consequences domestically for it. At this point we are wildly off the map, the reservation, the continent, and arguably the bloody planet. Given what we have already seen, given how much of an active role in fueling this dynamic Trump himself has been with his behaviour, anyone usable to understand just how bad it is now,

In some ways Trump being under Russia's control/thumb would be better than the alternative, say what you will about Russia's ambitions, it is going to be very real politik in its approach, not nihilistic nor purely vanity project driven. If Trump truly is a free agent of chaos Russia just hopes will weaken American power and position, then that is of the two scenarios the more terrifying, which says much less about how bad the first scenario is (because that in itself is horrific, but at least you know survivable if very unpleasant as a species) versus someone creating and/or triggering a species ending escalation/first use of force in some manner from convention to unconventional/biological (because these days with what is known and tools available publicly now it is getting near the viral script kiddy ability level for bio-weapons, and given how we know that works with computer coding, that should worry any sane person) for the most banal of reasons, which the second option presents us all.

What really gets me though, is I know I sound a bit crazed, I know I sound like one of those in the past I have cautioned for rhetorical flourishing, the problem for me is I am not using any at all. I am literally describing the world as I am actually seeing it without exaggeration, and given overall I have shown I tend to do a decent job of that as seen by many others in many contexts, I find that causes me more fear for the future than I felt growing up in the entire Cold War period knowingly living in a first strike target and what that meant since I was about 7-8.

Never expected this, I always figured the agent of something like this would be some sort of religious charismatic given American cultural and social history and patterns especially from its right but not limited to it, just stronger there.

We live in very interesting times indeed.

Scotian said...


That Harper/Trump/norms comparison was supposed to finish with making clear that as far outside our norms political speaking Harper was he still at least understood our processes and how to manipulate them to his advantage. He may have loathed them and worked to undercut and destroy them, but he DID get them at the process level, he simply could not have been and done what he did without it. It was also a lifetime's work for him. Trump is so far outside norms that he normalizes Harper for me. I think those regulars as well as MoS here know my views with Harper and how many years I have repeated them before during and after the Harperium well enough to understand just how far that makes Trump in my sight and analysis.

That is why I say that as bad as his being Putin's puppet under control of extortion would be, his being a true free agent of chaos I fear is an even worse and more dangerous potential, not just for the US, but for civilization, or at least human civilization. The tools we have today are simply too powerful, and far too many of our civilian technology is truly dual use capable, which means it is spread far and wide as well as very powerful. We HAVE to be careful in ways we never had to in the last 6000 years or so, we never could before successfully wipe our species off the planet before living memory, hells not even that long really only say 60 or so years at most. That was with massive nuclear weapons incinerating us effectively.

Now though, we have tools that can enable the same end result with far less catastrophic damage and means, and those tools are far too decentralized because of that dual use reality. We have chosen to avoid it, but in a destabilized enough era, what is once unthinkable becomes not just thinkable but acceptable. I'm honestly amazed we have managed as a species to follow the chem/bio weapons treaties as well as we have when you get right down to it. That is one of the main doorways the Trump Presidency creates, and the chances of it staying completely closed are far less than of his winning the nomination were, let alone the Presidency I would submit.

Trump is truly historically significant and unique, assuming history gets to survive, not yet a given I would submit. Not saying it is a given Trump will bring about the fall of civilization, just that he creates a genuine non-trivial possibility/probability for that to be happening. I'm not saying what will be, or even what I think most likely, but rather what I see as one of several reasonable possibilities depending on how things play out. The problem is I've never seen anything like this before, and THAT I do not find comforting at all. This feels to me way too much like the 1930s in terms of potentialities for things to globally go horribly wrong.

The Mound of Sound said...

Scotian, I think all bets are off. As I've written several times, there's nothing to be gained by scrutinizing Trump's words. What comes out of his mouth is so unreliable that it's unhelpful at best. He has to be judged by his actions. A week ago he was welcoming a nuclear arms race with Russia. Now he's talking about a mutual draw down as the guise (my take) for lifting the sanctions against Russia for the Crimea and Syria. He says he wants to see what sort of great deals he can get from Russia which suggests a deeply transactional mode of presidential governance. With America already in the grip of transactional democracy as practiced by its "bought and paid for" Congress, this shouldn't be surprising. It occurred in Rome, just prior to the collapse of that empire.

rumleyfips said...

Just a few days ago Trump was pandering to Israel; move the embassy, expand the settlements, crush the UN for being anti- semetic. The Mossad isn't fooled; they don't believe a word he says . They think he will blurt anything out to get a momentary satisfaction.

Anonymous said...

The first Republican president seems to have foreseen the next one:

Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].

Abraham Lincoln
Letter to Joshua Speed
Springfield, Illinois
August 24, 1855

Replace Catholics with Muslims and you've pretty much got Trump.


The Mound of Sound said...

Well done, Cap. Lincoln would struggle to recognize the Republican Party today. It's been a process of degeneration since the Nixon/Atwater contagion.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think he'd be shocked to learn that the Know-Nothings had entirely taken over the GOP.


Scotian said...


Agreed. That's why I am in probability white-out hell. I need defining actions from him and his core political team once they actually hold power before I can even begin to start constructing possibility/probability patterns. I've never had this happen to me before in my adult life, and never at all in my life for this long a period regarding something this pervasive. Beforehand the combination of words and prior actions would give me something to work with, but what little Trump affords for that on the actions side is scattered, inconsistent, (aside from the self serving and centered nature of the man) and still manages to be terrifying, but better than Hillary and her emails, amirite?