I think the thing I find the most interesting about Michael Flynn is that he wasn’t always a total and complete puss-filled-sore on America’s ass. There was a time, back in 2012, when he was named head of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama Administration. Before that, he was a United States intelligence officer, responsible for tracking down some of the most extremist factions in the world.
He was one of the good guys.
It certainly appeared that way, at least. Some, by his appointment in 2012, might have described him as an underdog—a success story about what the military can do for young men who can’t quite seem to find their place in the world.
It’s clear that General Michael Flynn, for his part, certainly felt that way.
In his book, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies(2017), Flynn describes himself as a bit of a rebel. He had a misspent youth, was a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and although his record was eventually expunged, he was even arrested once as a teenager. But he got his shit together, joined the ROTC at the University of Rhode Island, and went on to rise through the ranks of the military.
But all good things must come to an end, and General Flynn was ousted from the DIA in 2014, after a few disagreements with the White House about their approach to terrorism. He believed that the approach was too soft, too slow. And he voiced that opinion. Loudly. He was apparently great in the field, but not quite as good at making careful decisions and overseeing those in his employ. He was terminated for “mismanagement.”
General Flynn (2017) described his exit from the DIA this way: “I was fired as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency after telling a congressional committee that we were not as safe as we had been a few years back.”
That seems benign enough. Disagreements about how a country should govern the military, can be a contentious subject. It makes sense that if General Flynn could not reach an agreement with the Obama Administration about how his agency should be managed and carry out operations, that Flynn would eventually be replaced.
Happens all the time. Nothing to see here. Moving on.
Except that’s not quite the whole story. According to an L.A. Times piece written by Chris Megerian in December of 2017, the people Flynn worked with had a bit of a different take. They described General Flynn as “out of his depth” managing thousands of people and that he had a penchant for narrating unreliable theories (this part will be important later). His colleagues at the agency even had a phrase for these theories—“Flynn Facts.” Not only was he quick to spin his own truths, but he also asked others to chase down evidence to corroborate them. His final strike arrived when he clashed with James Clapper, who was the Director of National Intelligence at the time.
Honestly, none of this would ever have mattered to anyone outside the government, had Flynn not continued to seek notoriety in government. He could have retired quietly, maybe even published his book, and at best, there might’ve been a few articles about it that most people would have eventually forgotten about. Quite frankly, I don’t really care that General Flynn was ousted from his position. He was once a high-ranking military official, now he’s not, and it’s not necessarily my business why. Thank you for your service, sir. Have a lovely life.
Of course, that’s not how any of this played out, and now his history of service to his country has become a matter of public opinion, and it’s not at all lost on me that this service was, at least in part, an important prequel to what was coming next for General Flynn.
Somewhere around 2015, after Donald Trump declared his bid for the presidency, he and Flynn were introduced to each other. In that same 2017 L.A. Times article, Megerian writes:
“The bond gelled at the Republican National Convention, when Flynn delivered an angry speech denouncing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and led the crowd in chants of “Lock her up.” At the time, Trump was under attack from veterans in the U.S. national security community, who worried about Trump’s lack of any military or government experience and his unconventional policies. Flynn’s 33 years in the military and battlefield experience helped deflect criticism. A former Trump campaign policy advisor said Flynn was so close to Trump during the fall campaign that he rarely interacted with other members of the national security team. “Both shared a similar worldview, and I believe were driven at least in part by sheer condescension from people like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush,” the former advisor said. Like Trump, Flynn warned about the dangers of “political correctness” in America and stoked fears of “radical Islam” at home and abroad.”
It’s at this point where it begins to become apparent that General Flynn had already started to align himself with far right and extremist views. He regularly made the rounds on conservative talk shows, and he made it perfectly clear he was no fan of President Barack Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. His military experience made Trump more experienced by proxy. In short, he was the perfect match for Trump.
Flynn’s new relationship with Trump, however, wasn’t the beginning of his problems—it was merely a sordid stop along the way to becoming one of the most infamous military generals of all time.
In between being ousted at the DIA and becoming one of Trump’s advisors, Michael Flynn had some preeeeetty shady business dealings, several of which he did not disclose to the government in order to apply for security clearance. One of those trips was to Egypt in 2015, which entailed a plan to build nuclear reactors across the Middle East built by the United States and Russia but funded by Saudi Arabia (Graham, 2017). Flynn continued to push this arrangement within the Trump administration, all the while, not disclosing that he’d actually been paid by the plan’s backers. Another trip Flynn “forgot” to disclose was to Russia, where he dined with Vladimir Putin at a party for a Kremlin propaganda news channel. Flynn was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for various work overseas that he conveniently did not disclose, including a deal with the Dutch that actually benefited Turkey, for which he was paid more than half a million dollars.
And of course, there’s the biggie—lying to Vice President Pence about conversations he had with Russia’s US Ambassador about sanctions the Obama Administration placed on Russia. This is actually what got him arrested, because even after acting Attorney General Sally Yates informed Trump’s lawyers that Flynn was potentially compromised and could possibly end up being blackmailed by Russia, Trump kept him on staff.
Imagine—you’re told that Russia, a country ruled by an oligarch who may or may not have (absolutely had) run a smear campaign against your opponent, compromised one of your closest contacts, someone who is on the payroll, and completely ignoring it until you are absolutely forced to acknowledge it.
Everyone, including Trump, thought that now disgraced General Flynn would be sentenced in 2018, but because the judge in the case “had more questions,” his conviction was stayed (Ewing, 2018). This eventually gave way to Flynn hiring a new team to represent him, including batshit QANON conspiracy theorist lawyer Sidney Powell, and he attempted to revoke his guilty plea. The Justice Department moved to dismiss the case against him in 2020.
All of that brings us to November 2020, a month where President Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection and despite propagating lies about actually winning, has begun to, in many ways, act as the Lame Duck President he is by pardoning those closest to him.
Enter General Michael Flynn, who was officially pardoned by Donald Trump on November 25th.
This is not a surprise to anyone, and I’m sure it was no surprise to Flynn. I expect there will be a flurry of pardons from Trump in the next few weeks, including pardons for Rudy Giuliani, Paul Manafort, Ivanka, Eric, Trump Jr., and even for himself if he can get away with it. I find the prospect of preemptively pardoning anyone quite interesting, since Manafort is the only one in that list to have actually been convicted of committing a crime. Wouldn’t a preemptive pardon suggest guilt? Wouldn’t you have to note exactly which crimes are being pardoned?
Anyway, that’s a bit off topic. Back to Flynn.
In the years since Trump won the 2016 election and the beginning of his legal troubles, Flynn has become one of those loudmouth conspiracy theorists we all love to hate. Instead of fading into the floral background (seriously, can’t this guy take a hint??), General Flynn continues to espouse ridiculous QANON garbage via his Parler and Twitter accounts.
Garbage like this:
And finally, this:
It’s this last one that I really want you to pay attention to.
On December the 1st, General Flynn shared this link from an organization called We the People Convention (WTPC). This is a press release written by Tom Zawistowski, and is, essentially, a call for President Trump to, “Invoke Limited Martial Law to Hold New Election and Protect our Vote, in Full Page Washington Times Ad, if Legislators, Courts and Congress Do Not Follow the Constitution.”
This “press release” appeared as a full-page ad in the conservative newspaper, The Washington Times. The release goes on to compare Donald Trump to Abraham Lincoln and what’s happening right now with this election to the Civil War.
A few other gems from this release:
“We have well-funded, armed and trained marxists in ANTIFA and BLM strategically positioned in our major cities acting openly with violence to silence opposition to their anti-American agenda.”
“Then there are admitted Democrat/Socialist federal officials plotting to finish gutting the US Constitution after 100 years of trying. They promise to take away critical individual rights like free speech, religious freedom and the 2nd Amendment; destroy states rights by eliminating the electoral college and more; pack the Supreme Court with activist anti-constitutionalist judges who will make law from the bench; give the right to vote to tens of millions of non-Americans; and open our borders to more illegals which will reduce wages.”
“The Socialist Left has been openly working to destroy the United States since Obama promised and tried to “transform” America in 2008-16, and having been stopped by the will of the American people, they openly staged a four year long coup attempt to remove the duly elected President…There is no doubt that this attempted stealing of these elections again, is a case of rebellion…in fact, a clear, flagrant, and gigantic case of rebellion” that requires exercising extraordinary authority to preserve our Union.”
Finally, they wrap it up with this:
“We will also have no other choice but to take matters into our own hands, and defend our rights on our own, if you do not act within your powers to defend us.”
Tom Zawistowski is the president of WTPC, which is also Tea Party affiliated, and executive director of the Portage County, Ohio, Tea Party (according to the release).
This is Tom’s LINKEDIN profile:
And this is his company’s, TRZ Communications, Linkedin profile:
Oh, and his profile from the North Royalton Republican Club:
Obviously, Mr. Zawistowski leads a very full life, and I guess he’s not afraid to make thinly veiled threats about taking matters into his own hands if he doesn’t get his way.
In an article published on December 2nd in the Military Times, the call to arms and to suspend the Constitution was met with disdain from military scholars and military officials alike. One military defense official was quoted as saying that the idea of the military overseeing a United States presidential election under martial law ordered by President Trump is, “insane in a year that we didn’t think could get anymore insane.”
The article calls this kind of rhetoric “preposterous” and reiterates that martial law has no place in the United States unless there is a complete breakdown of “civil government mechanisms” and that martial law “simply has the military in charge, subject only to military orders, not civilian law.”
Not only does the Military Times scoff at this press release, but it also says that Flynn, and another retired military official, Thomas McInerney, are a “discredit to the uniform” as well as “undermine our democracy and create a real security threat.”
Flynn, as well as McInerney, took an oath to defend the constitution. The Military Times says that calling for martial law to suspend the Constitution is a violation of the oath they took to uphold it.
I think it’s pretty clear that the military has no intention of springing into action to force a redo of the 2020 presidential election, but it’s still disconcerting that Flynn couldn’t even wait a full week after being pardoned before tweeting a treasonous narrative such as this.
Disconcerting, but not at all surprising.
Michael Flynn has proven over and over again that he will go to any lengths necessary to lick the boots of Donald Trump, even if it means leaving his personal life and military career in tatters.
Today, he’s retweeting Rudy Giuliani and using QANON catchphrases like “over the target” which is a virtual fist bump to his bog bobbing brothers on 8kun.
They were talking about this shit on their neckbeard message board as early as November 15th and continuing the thread well into December.
WARNING: The following screenshots include calls for violence and murder.
I know this kind of language may be shocking to some of you, but the reality is that this talk is absolutely common on the 8kun message board. I don’t know if General Flynn or the douche canoes over at the We the People Convention are frequent visitors of such message boards, but let me assure you, they’re in contact with people who are. It’s no coincidence that rally cries for martial law show up on 8kun on November the 15th and are followed in short order by more “mainstream” extremists like Flynn and Zawistowski in early December.
It should be concerning to everyone that Flynn is signaling to his QANON base not only with turn of phrase, but also with his history of posting unfounded conspiracy theories. While it is unlikely that martial law will ever be imposed upon the American people, the likelihood for violence amidst the presidential transition is high, due to the fact that “leaders” in the public eye are giving their virtual blessing by the very nature of the bullshit they post.
Nobody in the White House is willing to condemn this kind of behavior.
Not Donald Trump.
Not Mike Pence.
Not William Barr.
Not Kayleigh McEnany.
To date, General Michael Flynn’s original tweet calling for martial law has 17k retweets, 4.1k quote tweets, and 41.3 likes.
At least many of the replies are in opposition:
Still, what we’re seeing is the real-time creation of a pipeline from the filthy bowels of the internet straight into the mainstream vein of social media.
No more shooting up in private between your toes so nobody sees what you’re really doing on the weekends. We’re injecting that shit right into our eyeballs in the middle of the fucking week.
And it’s dangerous.
And someone needs to answer for it.
I don’t know that Michael Flynn wanted this life for himself. Maybe he started out with honorable intentions. Maybe he got himself in so far that the only path he could follow was the one that lead him into the waiting arms of subversiveness. Maybe he lays awake at night wondering how he got here, but I doubt it.
This is who he is now.
Maybe it’s who he’s always been.
Maybe it’s who we’ve always been.
But I’ll tell you this—if we don’t stand up to this kind of Qconservative nonsense, if we don’t call it out when we see it, even when our closest family members and friends believe it, then we deserve whatever the fuck it is that we get.
Michael Flynn is a traitor.
He knows it.
And now, so do you.
Tiny Blue Dot
Altman, H., Winkie, D., Sicard, S., Myers, M., & III, L. S. (2020, December 02). Calls for martial law and US military oversight of new presidential election draws criticism. Retrieved December 4, 2020, from https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2020/12/02/calls-for-martial-law-and-us-military-oversight-of-new-presidential-elections-draws-criticism/
Flynn, M. T., & Ledeen, M. A. (2017). The field of fight: How we can win the global war against radical Islam and its allies. New York: St. Martins Press.
Graham, D. A. (2017, September 14). The Expanding Investigation Into Michael Flynn. Retrieved December 2, 2020, from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/09/the-surprising-scope-of-michael-flynns-dubious-business-deals/539733/
Megerian, C. (2017, December 01). Michael Flynn grew up breaking the rules. It caught up to him as Trump’s national security advisor. Retrieved December 2, 2020, from https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-flynn-profile-20171201-story.html
Neuman, S. (2020, January 15). Flynn Asks To Withdraw Guilty Plea In Case Stemming From Mueller Probe. Retrieved December 2, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/2020/01/15/796524593/flynn-asks-to-withdraw-guilty-plea-in-case-stemming-from-mueller-probe