It has been a long journey, and I hope either in this post or in the next one to finally deliver the punchline. Below I will leave the links to the posts I’ve written on this subject, not in the order written, but in the order that (I think) will make the most sense for a new reader to read them in.
In my post entitled “All warfare is based on deception.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War, I learned so much from an ex-mercenary named Sean McFate, that I’m rethinking several aspects of my world view. Until I read that post, I largely felt that mercenaries were dangerous (and likely they are, let’s face it, if someone has that on their resume, and have lived to tell the tale, that person is likely not a pushover), but my understanding of why and how they are dangerous was (and likely still is) uninformed and a little naive.
Before, I thought of mercenaries as mostly brutes, willing to do whatever it took to earn a profit and survive. Without honor, willing to change sides for a larger bid, willing to loot, rape, and flee in the face of superior fire power, leaving innocent women and children to die or starve as fate wills it.
I’ve been struggling a lot lately with depression, discouragement, chronic fatigue. I say this, neither as apology nor as excuse. I just wish to let the community know (I received my 91st follower recently). This post will be a relaunch into the battle, a continuation of my series on the connection between Oklahoma politics and the current rise in mercenary activity, specifically, Erik Prince.
This post will simply establish a link in the chain. I’m going to introduce you to a gentleman named Michael Flynn.
But I’ve already gone too deep down the rabbit hole. I’m not here to tell you what to think, or what is right or wrong. I’m trying to share the context of why the things I’m about to share matter. I’m going to trace the line from Prince to Oklahoma.
Let’s begin. As always, the sites I will rely on for information are listed below. Feel free to let me know if I have missed anything.
Michael Flynn, the Very Model, according to my Overpaid Assistant Cassie, of a Modern Major General.
There were quite a few dots to connect on this one. If I didn’t have inside help, I would have never been able to figure this fiasco out. We’ll start with Michael Flynn, the head of our list (after Erik Prince) of dramatis personae.
Michael Flynn is a person of interest for several reasons. His tenure as NSA director was competitive with the reign of the Lady Jane Grey of England (you know, the shortest reigning monarch of English history). He did outlast her by almost two weeks, and he also didn’t lose his head. At least, not literally.
So who is General Flynn? Honestly, it depends on what you read whether he is a hero or a villain. As usual, I suspect the truth is somewhere in between.
According the biography.com “Michael Flynn began his 33-year Army career as a second lieutenant in military intelligence. After three years as intelligence chief of the JSOC in Iraq, he returned stateside for top bureaucratic posts but was forced out as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014. Flynn emerged as a strong supporter of presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016, and was named Trump’s national security adviser in November. He resigned after 24 days in office over the revelation of his contact with the Russian ambassador, and subsequently faced legal problems related to his lobbying interests and failures to disclose information. In December 2017, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.” Most of my digging has simply led me confused. Why would it matter if he talked to an ambassador, even a Russian one? What lies did he tell the FBI. And if if he pled guilty, how is it he is hanging out with a fellow Tulsan?
As a boy he was disruptive and a bit rebellious, but he learned discipline in sports. While he became a general, he did not climb the standard political path of a West Point graduate. Instead he “enrolled at the University of Rhode Island, where he joined the ROTC program and earned a degree in management science in 1981.”
“After graduation, Flynn joined the U.S. Army and was commissioned a second lieutenant in military intelligence. He was assigned to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, from where he was deployed as a platoon leader to Grenada in 1983.”
Flynn and Islam
In The Providence Journal we read of how the Iranian Hostage crisis of the late seventies had an enormous impact on the mindset of the young cadet (honestly, I think it left a mark on nearly all of us who remember it).
“An unprecedented act of terrorism with a presidential response some criticized as weak, the Iran hostage crisis undoubtedly influenced Flynn. Elements of his later conviction that “radical Islam” and ISIS pose deadly threats to America are found in an article in the Nov. 25, 1980, Good 5 Cent Cigar, the school newspaper.
“Headlined “Iran revolt due to return of Islam,” the article summarized a lecture by a visiting professor who discussed the 1980 revolution in which the Shah was overthrown.
“A deep-seated resentment to the monarchy and the West” had developed, the professor said.
“Having defeated liberal Democrat Jimmy Carter in the November 1980 election, conservative Republican Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, as Flynn was starting his final semester.”
The Journal continues: “Flynn’s first assignment, as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., was the beginning of many others around the U.S. and in Grenada, Haiti, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan. Flynn would receive the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star Medal, among many other decorations. He would rise to lieutenant general.”
Biography.com shares “Flynn received a steady string of promotions as he rotated from posts at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, Fort Polk in Louisiana and Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Additionally, he was named chief of joint war plans for the American invasion of Haiti in 1994.”
Then 9/11 hit. Biography.com continues: “He served as director of intelligence for Joint Task Force 180 in Afghanistan until 2002, and commanded the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade for another two years.
“In 2004, Commander Stanley McChrystal appointed Flynn director of intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in Iraq. Taking advantage of technological resources, Flynn mined cell phone data and utilized drones to infiltrate terrorist cells, and was credited with largely disrupting Al Qaeda activity in the area.
“Returning stateside after three years, Flynn became director of intelligence for United States Central Command and then the Joint Staff. In 2009, after McChrystal took command of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, he again placed his old colleague in charge of intelligence. Flynn followed with a report that criticized American operations in the region, a move that rankled supervisors.
The End of the Innocence
“After a stint in the office of National Intelligence, Flynn became director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012. He attempted to reorganize the agency but instead alienated many subordinates, and was informed he would not remain for the normal three-year term. In August 2014, he retired after 33 years in the military, with the rank of lieutenant general.”
Various sources tell various stories. Some say that he was set up by angered subordinates who did not share his vision of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Others say he had upset his superiors, including Obama. In the end, it didn’t matter. An illustrious career was ended in forced retirement, whether for good or ill.
Biography.com continues: “Back in the private sector, Flynn formed the Virginia-based Flynn Intel Group, which offered private intelligence and security services, and he signed on with a speakers’ bureau. He also made the rounds as a television analyst, including appearances on the Russian state network RT. In late 2015, he sat next to Russian president Vladimir Putin at an RT banquet.
“After three decades spent largely behind the scenes, Flynn surprised former colleagues with his sudden outspokenness and turn toward more extreme positions. He tweeted “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL” in February 2016, and that summer he co-authored a book, The Field of Fight, on how to combat radical Islam. At the 2016 Republican National Convention, he whipped the crowd into a frenzy over the transgressions of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, leading the chant of “lock her up!”
“After serving as Republican nominee Donald Trump’s go-to man for national security issues over the final months of the campaign, Flynn was rewarded with the post of national security adviser in November 2016.”
So we have two men, deep in the military, deep in the spook world of intelligence, both dishonored in the eyes of the world, both enormous Trump supporters, both with Private security companies. So what is the big deal?
After Obama disgraced him, and Colin Powel wrote some scathing opinions of Flynn’s alleged abuses of his subordinates, he got right with God, and became an energetic crusader for Trump. He was one of the earliest to chant “Lock her up” about Hilary Clinton. He was so deep into the campaign many felt he would be Donald Trump’s pick for Vice President.
In typical spook fashion, both Prince and Flynn have confusing ties to the Russian Intelligence organizations. This was the cause of General Flynn’s rather precipitous fall from grace, yet again, only this time from a President he had helped elect.
The new National Security Advisor “Flynn came under fire almost immediately after the election, beginning with a report that he had lobbied for Turkish interests during the U.S. presidential campaign. It was soon revealed that, prior to taking office, he had contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak over President Barack Obama‘s recently issued sanctions. Flynn subsequently resigned on February 13, 2017, after just 24 days as national security adviser, the shortest tenure in the history of the position.”
Once again, what is the big deal? Why would you resign after talking to an Ambassador? I know if I ever attain to a Cabinet position, I won’t resign for anything short of somebody finding out that the skeletons in my closet are all (censored).
This is where the story gets thorny and very difficult for a Tired Blogger to share much more than conjecture.
I present to you exhibit A, the website to the Flynn Intel Group that has been taken down, and is no longer on the Internet Archive:
There are other sites that I’m seeking, I am hoping some of my readers who have some vague ideas about where all of this is going would be willing to lend some tech support and scour the internet for other lost sites, but I found this one, anyway.
According to the website, the company partnered with “the best, brightest, and most elite companies in the world.” I tried to discover a link between the company and Blackwater. What I found instead was this:
The Best and the Brightest
According to Huffpost.com: “While serving as a top campaign adviser to Donald Trump, Flynn worked with firms linked to NSO Group — which develops spyware and sells it to governments.”
Huffpost continues: “Nor was Flynn’s work with foreign entities while he was advising Trump limited to his Ankara deal. He earned nearly $1.5 million last year as a consultant, adviser, board member, or speaker for more than three dozen companies and individuals, according to financial disclosure forms released earlier this year.
“Two of those entities are directly linked to NSO Group, a secretive Israeli cyberweapons dealer founded by Omri Lavie and Shalev Hulio, who are rumored to have served in Unit 8200, the Israeli equivalent of the National Security Agency.
“Flynn received $40,280 last year as an advisory board member for OSY Technologies, an NSO Group offshoot based in Luxembourg, a favorite tax haven for major corporations. OSY Technologies is part of a corporate structure that runs from Israel, where NSO Group is located, through Luxembourg, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S.
“Flynn also worked as a consultant last year for Francisco Partners, a U.S.-based private equity firm that owns NSO Group, but he did not disclose how much he was paid. At least two Francisco Partners executives have sat on OSY’s board.”
So he works with some bad guys? Does that make him a bad guy? Does this PROVE he worked with Erik Prince? Not yet. But does anyone else remember the cell phones Prince was selling? I’ll share a link to refresh your memories.
Ok, so on that note….”Many government and military officials have moved through the revolving door between government agencies and private cybersecurity companies. The major players in the cybersecurity contracting world ― SAIC, Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI Federal and KeyW Corporation ― all have former top government officials in leadership roles or on their boards, or have former top executives working in government.
But it’s less common for former U.S. intelligence officials to work with foreign cybersecurity outfits. “There is a lot of opportunity in the U.S. to do this kind of work,” said Ben Johnson, a former NSA employee and the co-founder of Obsidian Security. “It’s a little bit unexpected going overseas, especially when you combine that with the fact that they’re doing things that might end up in hands of enemies of the U.S. government. It does seem questionable.”
“What is clear is that during the time Flynn was working for NSO’s Luxembourg affiliate, one of the company’s main products — a spy software sold exclusively to governments and marketed as a tool for law enforcement officials to monitor suspected criminals and terrorists — was being used to surveil political dissidents, reporters, activists, and government officials. The software, called Pegasus, allowed users to remotely break into a target’s cellular phone if the target responded to a text message.
“Last year, several people targeted by the spyware contacted Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity research team based out of the University of Toronto. With the help of experts at the computer security firm Lookout, Citizen Lab researchers were able to trace the spyware hidden in the texts back to NSO Group spyware. After Citizen Lab publicized its findings, Apple introduced patches to fix the vulnerability. It is not known how many activists in other countries were targeted and failed to report it to experts.”
Going back to technologyreview.com “Unplugged’s day-to-day technology operations are run by Eran Karpen, a former employee of CommuniTake, the Israeli startup that gave rise to the now infamous hacker-for-hire firm NSO Group. There, Karpen built the IntactPhone, which the company called a “military-grade mobile device.” He’s also a veteran of Israel’s Unit 8200, an agency that conducts cyber espionage and is the country’s equivalent of the NSA.”
So…we have two people in two companies trying to market software developed by Israel’s Unit 8200. Still, as we have just read, there is quite a revolving door. It could easily still be coincidence.
And then I finally found, if not a smoking gun, at least an amazing site that has gotten me almost halfway where I am trying to get my readers to.
In case you don’t wish to go there….
So…there is fairly proven established link between Erik Prince, and Michael Flynn. And Flynn, as we all remember, was the big win for David Bennett, the anti Moslem former chairman of the Oklahoma Republican party.
But wait! There’s more! I have at least one, maybe two more people to introduce you to. If you haven’t already made the connections, I promise if I live long enough and get my depression medication renewed, I will beat you over the head with my findings in a last post. But the chronic fatigue is for real, and your Tired Blogger is gonna go to bed (scandalously, it will be with Cassie).
Stay tuned in the next few days for more Tired Blogging!
Interesting, I would love to see more evidence. These days, and in days past, I’ve seen a disturbing trend to stating opinions, as fact. (Not you, this is an accusation against; with evidence of state run, private, and most if not all mainstream media)
In this article, my only real question is, where is the evidence?
The articles cited did a great job of outlining what others believe, but most if not all failed to show evidence of these misdeeds – lots of accusations but…
Here is my issue, (and I detest Trump and his minions, almost as much as I detest the professional politicians themselves)
Through trumps 4 years, all we heard in media was how evil he was… and not a single allegation has been proven that I am aware of. (Evidence is not multiple 3rd hand accounts of what they imagine happened)
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I appreciate the thoughtful comment. Between life being so busy, and desperately trying to do enough research to attempt to do the subject justice, it’s been difficult (not meaning to whine, I picked the subject). I’m absolutely with you when it comes to evidence, though this last post may cause you to doubt that. There is so much “he said this, he said that.” And that’s fine, but we honestly need to find a smoking gun. It’s one of the reasons why I quit writing for a while about Oklahoma politics. I have a few insiders, so I have some vague notions of what is going on. But I only have one source who is willing to be quoted, and they are wisely wanting me to be careful with what I blab, in the hopes that I don’t get them hurt (politically or financially). I have another one who, if I could even just quote them, could blow open some of the Oklahoma scandals wide, but they are afraid of losing their job and having to move out of state to find another. When it comes to Trump, I’m trying to talk about him as little as reasonably possible for three reasons. One, I don’t like him. He irritates me. Making fun of him isn’t even very fun. I won’t say I hate him, but he symbolizes, to me, so much of what is wrong with the country. Which leads me to the second reason. As you mentioned, his political opponents are largely full of gas. The only true proof I’ve seen worth considering is the Mar-A-Lago fiasco of the classified documents being mishandled, but, even with that, the ambiguity over who was responsible for what, and was there documents planted on him, etc, etc. I don’t like Trump, but the left’s anti Trump crusade is largely disingenuous. Any constructive criticism (I will attempt to do better on the next post) is welcome here.
I love your posts. Don’t stop!
One reason I stopped writing political pieces and, for the most part, even participating peripherally is exactly for the reasons you stated.
I detest modern politics and the extreme hold it has on so many humans – the only thing coming from this is more power/money to people who are largely (as in most) felons, criminals themselves
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Thank you! And I love your posts. I’m struggling hard with the next one, but I promise, I won’t quit.
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This is an EXCELLENT “walk me through it piece” — with no wackadoodle, reactionary commentary by the author — just a wonderful “tour guide” of what you’ve discovered.
PLUS those graphics!!! The humor of them makes me go full smirk, every time. (And you actually found a picture of The Joker as Ambassador! 😀 )
“Cassie” is also doing a great job! She’s apparently very smart.
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Cassie is extremely smart. She says working for me is ruff!