Donald Trump Cabinet: Establishment Insiders & Neocons

Picking up where Bush and Obama left off?

On Sunday The New York Times published a list of potential Trump administration cabinet picks. All of the candidates are establishment insiders and neocons left over from the Bush administration.

Over the weekend the Trump transition teamed announced Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff. Priebus is about as establishment as it gets. The chairman of the Republican National Committee previously served as RNC general counsel and is the former chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, where he brought nationally known figures such as Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, and Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, to national prominence. Priebus is responsible for taming Wisconsin’s tea party and merging it with the Republican party.

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“The pick signals that Trump may look to build bridges in Washington and keep continuity with longtime Republican agendas, as opposed to make waves from the beginning,” reports CNN.

The "longtime Republican agendas” include the never-ending war on manufactured terror, ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, and a police surveillance state at home.

The Trump team headed up by vice president Mike Pence also announced Stephen Bannon as Chief Strategist and Senior Advisor. Bannon is executive chairman of the alt-right news outlet Breitbart News. He heads up the group Government Accountability with Peter Schweizer, a former William J. Casey Research Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Casey was Reagan’s director at the CIA. He played in key role in arming the Afghan mujahideen that would later become al-Qaeda and the Taliban. He was also a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal.

After earning a master's degree in national security studies from Georgetown University, Bannon served as an assistant in the Pentagon. He worked for Goldman Sachs. He used his experience in the entertainment industry to produce political propaganda, including the films The Face of Evil, Border War, Battle for America, and the Sarah Palin documentary The Undefeated.

There are a number of people under consideration for secretary of state. Most notable on the list is John Bolton, George Bush’s combative recess appointed ambassador to the United Nations. He is now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the neocon think tank responsible for drumming up support for Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq. He is also involved with the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Council for National Policy, and the Gatestone Institute, an organization at the forefront of anti-Muslim propaganda. He is a former board member of the Project for the New American Century, another neocon organization that pushed for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In the 1980s prior to his recess ambassador appointment, Bolton held a series of posts at USAID before joining a team of Federalist Society lawyers under Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese. Eva Golinger notes USAID is the principal entity that promotes the economic and strategic interests of the US across the globe as part of counterinsurgency operations.

In March, 2105 Bolton penned an op-ed for The New York Times calling for bombing Iran. “The United States could do a thorough job of destruction, but Israel alone can do what’s necessary. Such action should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran,” he wrote.

Other candidates for secretary of state include Bob Corker, Newt Gingrich, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Stanley A. McChrystal, the former senior military commander in Afghanistan. Khalilzad is a staunch neocon. He served as ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the United Nations during the Bush administration. He is now a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a congressionally funded organization that does what the CIA did in the 1950s through the 1990s—overthrow governments. NED was established to create a “soft side” image for CIA fronts. It works with USAID.

Trump is looking at Stephen J. Hadley to possibly become defense secretary. Hadley was Bush’s national security adviser. He was at the center of the neocon coterie that dominated foreign policy and played an instrumental role in pushing a series of bogus claims about Iraq and Saddam Hussein. He said Mohamed Atta met with Iraqi intelligence agent Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani in the Czech Republic several months before the 9/11 attack, a claim later debunked as war propaganda. In 2009 he was elected to sit in the board of the mega-military contractor Raytheon.

Trump is also looking at Kelly Ayotte, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Arizona senator Jon Kyl, and Alabama senator Jeff Sessions for secretary of defense.

Sessions may also head up the Department of Homeland Security. He is interested in keeping the wars going and voted twice against redeploying troops out of Iraq. He also voted against investigating awards to contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan (military contractors have defrauded the US government for more than a trillion dollars).

Rep. Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is also being considered. McCaul has sponsored a number of war on terror related bills, including H.R. 5471, the Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act. The legislation further integrates the federal government in state and local law enforcement operations and creates a new Counterterrorism Advisory Board in the federal government. He also supported H.R. 159, Condemning the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the 1988 massacre of political prisoners and calling for justice for the victims. The bill supports the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), an Iranian Marxist political–militant organization. MEK was considered a terrorist organization by the European Union until 2009, and by Canada and the United States until 2012. The Islamo-Stalinist-terrorist cult group is supported by the neocons, including Max Boot and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an Israeli lobbying group.

Jose Rodriguez, a primary architect of Bush’s illegal torture program, is being considered to head up the CIA. “Rodriguez, the former director of the National Clandestine Service, helped developed the CIA black sites, secret prisons operated in foreign countries where interrogators used a range of torture tactics, including the use of ‘waterboarding,’ the simulated drowning technique once used by the Khmer Rouge and Nazi agents to glean information from detainees,” writes Lee Fang for The Intercept. Rodriguez also played a key role in the destruction of CIA video tapes documenting the torture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Rodriguez was CIA station chief in Panama, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, and ultimately director of the Latin American Division. The track record of the CIA in Latin America is well-known.

Trump targeted the Iran nuclear deal framework during his campaign. His advisors have also hinted President Trump will recognize Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital and move the US embassy there.

“It was a campaign promise and there is every intention to keep it,” Trump’s Mideast adviser David Friedman told the Jerusalem Post. “We are going to see a very different relationship between America and Israel in a positive way.” The Israeli right is using Trump’s promise to recognize the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which mandated the embassy be moved by May 31, 1999, as cover to expand illegal settlements in Palestinian occupied territory.

The selection of government insiders and neocons discredits Trump’s claim he is anti-establishment and opposed to US intervention in the Middle East. His choices for secretary of state, secretary of defense, and homeland security demonstrate the Trump administration will more or less pick up where Bush and Obama left off.

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Kurt Nimmo, Newsbud Producer & Analyst, is a writer, editor, producer and researcher based in New Mexico. His research centers on international geopolitics and national politics in the United States. He is the former lead editor and writer for Infowars and now edits Another Day in The Empire. His most recent books are Donald Trump and the War on Islam and Another Day in the Empire: The Reign of George W. Bush and the Total War Neocons.

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  1. Kurt, I have no idea who Trump will appoint to his cabinet. But I would like to point out that there are those who are saying that Chris Christie was replaced by VP Pence as transition chairman because he was filling posts with neocons and lobbyists. We will see how this plays out. In any case, it has been admitted by the NYT that their reporting on the election and Trump has been little more than propaganda. As for CNN, it wasn’t disingenuous to rename them the ‘Clinton News Network’ during the election. In any case, I don’t think of them as credible sources for news stories. Their demonization of Trump obscures the truth just as their does their deification of HRC. The MSN wants us to see all news through the lens they provide and the election is just an obvious case of how inaccurate their narrative has been . In the case of the election they got everything wrong. Newsbud didn’t report much on the election. If you are going to report on domestic news going forward please use care in how you use MSN as sources.

    Thank you,

  2. tonywicher says:

    Why believe the New York Times? They are obviously doing everything possible to make Trump look bad. They are a propaganda rag, and this article is a perfect example.

  3. Michael Flynn is an interesting figure to look at:

    2004-07 Head of intelligence of JSOC
    2009-09 Head of intelligence in Afghanistan, reporting to McChrystal
    2012-07 Director of the DIA (which includes the NSA)
    2012-08-12 Responsible for the DIA memo on the situation in Syria that Judicial Watch released in 2015.
    ………….. The memo notes that:
    ………….. 1. There’s a possibility of a new salafist state emerging
    ………….. 2. Such a state is desired by the external powers fighting Assad,
    ……………… (specified as Turkey, The West, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states)
    ………….. 3. That such a state would likely become a center of terror
    2014-04 Kicked out of the DIA directorate, stays on till 2014-08

    2015-08-13 Interview on al-jazeera where he insinuates that allowing the rise of ISIS was a conscious decision by the Obama/Clinton admin
    2015-09 Starts advising various presidential candidates, including Trump
    2015-12-10 Attends RT’s 10th anniversary gala, apparently seated next to Putin
    2016-01-07 Seymour Hersh mentions him in “Military to Miliary”, mentioning that
    ………… pentagon personnel funneled information via Germany and Russia to Assad
    ………… without notifying the administration
    2016-05 Flynn is VP candidate for Trump
    2016-07-12 Co-author of book with neocon Michael Ledeen
    2016-11-08 Writes article in The Hill declaring Gülen to be a terrorist, promoting Turkey as a NATO ally.

    Both Flynn and Trump keep pounding on Iran as the ultimate danger, trying to wind down the tensions with Russia.

    If I remember correctly, the Bush clan didn’t push Russia that much, just concentrated on Israel’s enemies.

    When Obama/Clinton/Nuland came in, Brzenzinski’s old plan was restarted: Squeeze the Russians, become friends with Iran.

    Hypothesis: It would seem that there is an A-plan and a B-plan plan within the neocon club:

    A = (PNAC/Bush/Flynn?Ledeen) Focus on Greater Israel, bash Iran, don’t push Russia, Central Asia, Gülen and the like.
    B = (Clintons/Nuland/Brzezinski) Ukraine part of the core of Europe, needs to be in NATO, screw the Russians where you can.

    Not completely consistent since Perle’s friends (presumably PNAC) were advocating the invasion of Afghanistan.

  4. Given the line that the Bush, clinton and obama admins have followed over the past decades, and that these have resulted in unprecedented illegal killings and destruction. What would Hillary have done if she had been elected? Would it be better or worse?
    Trump was probably not chosen for his qualities but for the miserable reason that Hillary appeared to be the puppet of the chemicals industry, MIC and, not to forget, central bankers.
    Maybe what is happining is that Trump, inexperienced as he is, is an easy prey for the hegemonic role of the ‘clan’ of central bankers with their offspring and allies. The observations are illustrative, and keen to hear more ‘educated speculation’ about why this is happening!

    • i don’t think the concept of “central bankers” being a problem is particularly widely discussed, so it wouldn’t really have influenced national elections.

      The article below to me seems to be a reasonable (and conspiracy-free) speculation about what got him elected:

      • Thank you for your reply, an illustrating article you refer to. This article appears quite generalizing, stigmatizing: a world with only two sides, nothing in between, elite vs. poor. The attiture in the USA is indeed based on and limited to black & white views. everything is either good or bad, exactly as in your reference. Differentiating and dialogue have disappeared: choose A or B, not expand thougts on both. This method allows to keep the electorate divided in 2 camps, about the same size, it does not matter which one is bigger. On purpose or not, the result is a polarization, if you will as is the driver of the MIC, of the dollar, of materialistic egoism and ‘rights’ instead of ethics and ‘responsibilities’. This type of politics was shaped by Germans as Heidegger, Nietzsche, Hegel, and Machiavelli and embraced by some who have for ages searched for a way to create a system of political stability out of the multifaceted philosophies inside the French and German socio-political frameworks that they fail to understand. The works of the university of Chicago, of the students of Strauss, give ample insight in this rationale. Americans only see a set of antitheses, Europeans see a viariety of colors and different perspectives. This desire to understand, to reshape it into a stable political framework is bound to fail, it was not ‘built’ to do so because it originates from people being discoverers of the subjective ‘good’, not merely creators of an artificial, objective ‘good’.
        The media is a powerful means to direct the public opinion, and it is used as such in the running up and after the elections. As for using the term ‘conspiracy’, the central banks are unauditable. NATO, the Pentagon, CIA have undisclosed budgets, no accountability. The power of owning a monopoly on creating debt is enormous, its consequences hard to estimate and predict, for sure these influence (in)directly which information reaches the MSM and which information receives the ignorance. This is the reason why Newsbud exists.
        My question remains: would Hillary not have been the perfect puppet to export the dollar, weapons and chemicals? People did not vote for Trump. They voted against Hillary, which is something totally different.

  5. Oh my god. Why is anyone even bothering with the idea that Trump is an outsider? He hangs out with Jeffrey Epstein. Nuff said. Didn’t he just get a massive boost financially from some hothsot usurer billionaire?

    There is no change at the core of the deep state. Even Zbignew has given up on overt U.S. dominence.

    And the squeeze Russia plan is over 100 years old. Kovacevic poinyed yhat out once. I forgot what tue plan as called.

    Whatever is done it will involve more usury, more death, more corporate influence and more lies.

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