Tuesday June 27, 2017

Trump a ‘useful idiot’ or mole trained and run by Russians?

Donald Trump.Reuters/Dominick Reuter

MUTUMA MATHIU* – My high school buddy, Mr Koome Marangu, whom I assume is now a greying, solid headmaster somewhere in Kenya, once told me a native witticism that demonstrated how farsighted he was.

He told me that he was a man who sees the glint of the enemy’s spears all the way from Muri.

This requires an explanation. Mr Marangu comes from a village called Kithirune in Imenti Central.

ELECTION RIGGING

Muri is a neighbouring village. It meant he sees things from far, a giraffe of the Jaramogi sense.

On the matter of President Donald Trump, I want to declare that I also see the spears all the way from Ntumburi, on the edges of civilisation.

Mr Trump’s administration is under investigation by special counsel, former FBI director Robert Mueller, to establish if his campaign cooperated with Russia to rig the US election.

FAKE NEWS

US intelligence believes that Russia “interfered” with the election to help Mr Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

Russian intelligence, or hackers associated with it, broke into the computers of Mrs Clinton’s campaign, stole emails and used Wikileaks to leak them.

They also spread fake news and other propaganda against her.

It has been suggested that the Russians see Mr Trump as “a useful idiot”, some gullible fool that can be manipulated to achieve their ends.

His attitude towards Moscow has been markedly un-American, to say the least.

FOREIGN POLICY

He does not view Russia as a mortal ideological and strategic rival of the US, but as a harmless and misunderstood giant to be befriended with a hug.

A remark, reported in Huffpost  – and which was apparently given in jest – by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, that’s like the Aden Duale of Mr Trump’s Republican party, that Mr Trump was in the pay of Russian President Vladimir Putin, got me thinking.

Suppose he was not just a “useful idiot” but a fully fledged, secret radio-operating, cipher-book adept, KGB-trained and run, Russian mole? Then a lot pieces would fall in place.

CRIMEA
First, Mr Putin is loathe to criticise Mr Putin even when the Russian strongman so richly deserves it.

Mr Putin annexed Crimea, Ukrainian territory and fomented a war in that beautiful land, which has left it devastated.

Instead, Mr Trump has used every opportunity to heap encomiums on Mr Putin.

Two weeks ago, he received in the Oval Office of the White House Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador to Washington Sergey Kislyak.

The Obama administration had frozen extending that apparent honour to the Russians and it is something Mr Putin desperately wanted in order to demonstrate to the folks back home that he was being taken seriously by the Americans.

MEDIA BLOCKED

At Mr Putin’s “suggestion” – or instruction depending on how you look at it – Mr Trump not only received the Russians, he locked the US media out of the meeting (they had to be fed by Russian State media) and gave them highly classified information.

But it is on the matter of Lt-Gen Mike Flynn, sacked by former President Barack Obama as director of Defence Intelligence Agency in 2014 but became Mr Trump’s adviser during the campaigns and later his National Security Adviser, that his puzzling conduct becomes epic.

Mr Flynn had entanglements with Russia, where he was once paid more than $30,000 to speak at a meeting organised by a government-allied TV station.

His company, Flynn Intel Group, was paid $600,000 for three-month lobbying to discredit Turkish cleric Fethulla Gulen, viewed by the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as a deadly rival.

ARMING OF KURDS

The Dutch firm that hired Mr Flynn, Inovo BV, is owned by Mr Ekim Aplekin, who has close links to the Turkish Government.

Mr Flynn, who previously had no time for Mr Erdogan, is reported to have suddenly changed his tune and aligned his policy decisions to serve those of Turkey.

For example, he was reported to have vetoed a request by the Obama administration to the incoming Trump team to authorise the arming of Kurds to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa, which ISIS uses as its headquarters.

Turkey, which has battled Kurdish separatism for decades, is opposed to the arming of the ethnic group, wherever it is.

SECRET COMMUNICATION
Yesterday, Reuters reported that the Trump campaign exchanged 18 calls and electronic messages between April and November 2016 with the Russian embassy, when Russian hacking of the US election was in full swing.

In addition, 12 calls, emails or texts were exchanged between the Trump campaign advisers and Russian officials or people believed to be close to Mr Putin.

Mr Flynn’s calls with Mr Kislyav discussed the setting up of secret communication between Mr Trump and Mr Putin, one that would be undetected by US intelligence, according to US media.

UNLIMITED ACCESS

Even though Mr Flynn was under investigation over his work for foreign interests and despite Mr Obama warning Mr Trump not to appoint him as his National Security Adviser, he went ahead and did it anyway.

That gave Mr Flynn access to all of America’s secrets. Is it a glint of the spears or am I losing my sight?

* This opinion first appeared on The Nation


NOTE: The Opinions expressed herein are entirely for the author of the article. The Upper Nile Times has no authority on the contents published here.

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