A report published by Reuters detailed the few current and former military officials responsible for pushing the Big Lie. Many of the tendrils of conspiracy spiraling out from the election seem to have starting points with these four men. And while it may be that some of these stories weren’t started entirely by them, the fact that they were military, lent some credence to the claims that were made. From a quote in the article,
“If you’re talking to an audience that cares what General Flynn thinks, and you tell the audience, ‘I did this in this military,’ then they’re more likely to be impressed.”Pauline Shanks Kaurin, a professor of military ethics at the U.S. Naval War College
I think this is the crux here. We on the left side of the spectrum are liable to be less impressed by what military officials have to say about anything. But, a right-leaning aggrieved audience that just lost a bitter election, high on copium from their Facebook feeds? Oh you better believe it. Trump had a few bad men in his corner and from them, I daresay there was a kraken with tendrils coiling out from under.
Disgraced NSA Director Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, pardoned by Trump for lying to the FBI about conversations had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, pushed for Trump to deploy the military(!) in December 2020 to overturn the election. Using information from his co-conspirators, Flynn went on a public speaking tour sowing doubts about the election. He would also be involved in the Arizona election audit. Doug Logan the head of Cyber Ninjas, the team that ran the audit, was with Flynn at Lynn Wood’s meeting following the election. The Arizona Senate audit cost $5.7 million and it was largely funded by Flynn’s team and partially by his non profit America’s Future
Phil Waldron who worked with Flynn at DIA, was involved in PSYOP work targeting foreign adversaries “to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately, the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals”. Waldron was interviewed for the piece and insists what he’s doing isn’t a psyop. Apropos of nothing, He made contact with Rep. Louie Gohmert and Kraken Lawyer Sidney Powell making claims about a server in Frankfurt, Germany where internet traffic and votes could be re-routed.
Waldron is chiefly responsible for the 36 slide powerpoint presentation “Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN” that Mark Meadows handed over to the Jan. 6 Committee. Among the options he laid out were to “Declare National Security Emergency” and “Declare electronic voting in all states invalid.”
Ivan Raiklin is an Army Reservist, a “constitutional lawyer” and occasional investor. Raiklin is one of the leading promoters of pushing the Pence Card, i.e., that Pence had the authority to de-certify ballots on January 6th. Raiklin has been swimming around in Flynn’s circle for a while since at least 2014. Notably, he showed up with Flynn’s son, Mike Flynn Jr. at Alex Jones’ Free Speech Rally in March of 2020, shilling for “conservative search engine” Yippy.
Finally, there’s Seth Keshel, a former army captain who reached out to Flynn on LinkedIn(?).Keshel provided several statistical models that claimed that there was wide spread data irregularities. These models, despite being binned rather spectacularly by political scientists, helped fuel calls for election audits throughout the country. Keshel has remained outspoken on these “irregularities”. In August, he released an analysis that he claimed showed Trump won seven states that went to Biden. Trump would later call him a “highly respected Army intelligence captain”.
Taken together, Waldron’s pitch, Flynn’s calls for martial law, Keshel’s bogus statistical analyses, and Raiklin’s brazen views on inherent powers in the Constitution, it’s hard not to see the shape of the last year in conspiracy. All of these would later be mirrored in arguments made by Trump. These ideas didn’t come from nowhere, there was a plan. And but for the grace (cowardice?) of Pence, it may well have played out. Imagine Pence pulling through, Trump calling a national emergency, and they start tossing out these bogus models. The media would have eaten it up before we knew what was happening. It’s frightening.
And they’re all still out there, further eroding faith in our elections and worse, it’s working. Keshel was at an “election integrity” in Manchester, NH where he received a standing ovation. It feels like gaslighting when Waldron says this isn’t a psyop. Every thing they threw out there is emotionally and psychologically damaging Trump’s supporters and putting this country in danger. I’m not sure where the Committee goes at this point. But it sure seems like this seditious nonsense needs to be brought to heel.
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