‘Flynn sacrificed to prevent Trump from recalibrating US relations with Russia’

Annie Machon
Annie Machon is a former intel­li­gence officer for MI5, the UK Secur­ity Ser­vice, who resigned in the late 1990s to blow the whistle on the spies’ incom­pet­ence and crimes with her ex-partner, David Shayler. Draw­ing on her var­ied exper­i­ences, she is now a pub­lic speaker, writer, media pun­dit, inter­na­tional tour and event organ­iser, polit­ical cam­paigner, and PR con­sult­ant. She has a rare per­spect­ive both on the inner work­ings of gov­ern­ments, intel­li­gence agen­cies and the media, as well as the wider implic­a­tions for the need for increased open­ness and account­ab­il­ity in both pub­lic and private sectors.
The scandal that led to Michael Flynn's resignation is a part of a campaign to present Russia as the “eternal enemy of America,” while the ultimate goal of this “deep-state conspiracy” is to delegitimize Donald Trump’s presidency, believes former MI5 agent Annie Machon.

RT: Who do you think is going to win the battle between President Trump and the corporate media and intelligence community combined?

Annie Machon: It’s a tough one to call. Very few presidents have ever tried to take on the American intelligence community. Although of course, they should have because they’ve been flagrantly breaching the terms of the constitution, as we know of it from Edward Snowden, for over a decade now. So yes, they should be held to account. And Donald Trump did say before he was even actually elected that if he were elected he would clean out the CIA, he would replace the leadership. He said they were too politicized too close to the government. And of course that very closeness, that politicization, had let them to make the most appalling errors most notably, of course relying on fake intelligence that took the USA into the illegal war in Iraq in 2003. So there’s need to try and reform them, there’s need to hold them to account and to make them answerable for their demonstrable crimes. So it really is, I think, in this case a clash of the titans, it’s a heavyweight fight, bare-knuckle fight.

RT: Doesn’t this make Donald Trump’s usage of Twitter even smarter, because you’ve got the intelligence community feeding the media, they are working together. And Trump needs that outlet to get his side of the story across using social media?

AM: Yes, I don’t think he would be a president in any era pre-Twitter. Because of course that gives him a direct communication to the people, who read what he actually thinks or what he says. I know from personal experience all too well how controlling the intelligence community can be over the mainstream corporate media in the West. Their methods of controlling it both by soft power, where they feed them juicy stories, give them scoops and the journalists become always addicted to these very juicy stories and scoops because it builds their careers. But it’s also the hard power as well where the intelligence community can legally threaten the mainstream media if they do try to investigate what the intelligence community is doing.

RT: There seem to be some pretty obvious double standards here? Snowden, Assange, Manning, who leaked information are branded ‘traitors,’ while those who leak information on Donald Trump have been called in some publications ‘shadow warriors.’

AM: I know, and this is flagrant hypocrisy. We have a situation where public-minded whistleblowers are leaking information very much in the public interest and actually some of that information has already led to reform of the American law in terms of how they govern the intelligence community. And yet they are called traitors, they are not their heroes when they did a public service. And yet people who are actually briefing against President Trump, which is uncontainable if you think about it, surely by the very definition committing treason. So it is flagrant hypocrisy.

What makes the situation even worse, is that now General Flynn has resigned, one of his possible successors has been mooted as General David Petraeus. Now people may remember that a few years ago Petraeus handed over highly classified documents to his then mistress and biographer. And he was never actually prosecuted in the full sense. I mean he admitted his guilt, he paid a $100,000 fine but he never even went to prison. And yet again that’s a flagrant breach of national security and now they are talking of putting him in as the national security advisor. You couldn’t make this up.

READ MORE: Trump ‘told me to go out and talk more’: Flynn’s final interview before resignation

RT: Could this be a part of large-scale attempt to make Donald Trump to back off from the idea to improve relations with Russia?

AM: Very much so. We’ve seen this all the way through even before the elections when we had the so-called ‘hacking’ of the DNC, which was blamed on Russia, even though WikiLeaks said the source was not a state actor and the UK former Ambassador said that he received the leaks himself. Through to that morphing into hacking voting computers, hacking the election, none of which has any basis and fact, not a shred of evidence has been brought forward. And this is continuing narrative followed on, of course, by Obama expelling 35 Russian diplomats before Christmas and imposing sanctions for these so-called ‘crimes against America’ and ‘hacking the election.’ All this is bogus, all this is designed to reinforce the fact that Russia is the eternal enemy of America and to trying to delegitimize the presidency of Donald Trump even before it was really up and running, and to break any meaningful possibility of cutting deals with Russia and between Russia and America.

So it smacks very much of a deep-state conspiracy against someone who was actually supposed to be the head of state in America.

RT: The campaign against General Flynn was quite effective. Do you think the media will use such a tactic again to go after other members of Trump’s team?

AM: I’m sure they will try, whether it will be effective is moot. I mean, obviously General Flynn did attend the 10th anniversary of RT in Moscow in 2015, so he certainly has some sort of connections. But, you know, it would be disingenuous for anyone in the American administration to think that such backchannel conversations don’t go on routinely. So why they single out Michael Flynn for this is the interesting question.

He is obviously friendly towards the idea of cutting deals and building a better relationship with Russia, that’s why he had to be sacrificed. I think what we’re seeing, perhaps, is a sort of a deep-state attempt to pick-off Donald Trump’s chosen advisors who might be Russia-friendly and perhaps trying hitch him in with people who can’t be more hawkish. That is if they can’t impeach Trump and get rid of him altogether. So that’s probably the strategy going on here.

RT: It seems that anybody who looks forward to making any contact with Russia is demonized to an extent. Is it even possible for any US politician to try and have a positive relationship with Russia without becoming a victim of negative press?

AM: I think it is very difficult, because having a good working relationship between the two superpowers, of course, will be good for world peace. It will be very bad for some of the key American businesses, and we’re talking here about the arms trade, which needs a state of perpetual war to make its sales, we are talking about security surveillance trade, which is now massive, it exploded since 9/11. And so it’s the military industrial and security complex. So these have vested interest in trying to ensure there’s no workable relationship between America and Russia, and they will do that dauntless to try and derail any approach towards that.

However, Donald Trump is a self-financed President, he is fairly unpredictable, he seems to be fairly bullish as well and knows his own mind. So I think if any American President has ever had a chance to try and recalibrate effectively the relationship between America and Russia it might well be Donald Trump, he is a fighter.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.