Back Channels and Back to the Bad Old Days

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The recent reporting on Jared Kushner and the alleged attempt to set up a back channel to the Russians is reading less like news and more an attempt to develop a plotline for an Ian Fleming novel. To put things in perspective we must first define back channel communications. We have two definitions first from the online Business Dictionary:

            “’Grapevine’ or informal communication that travels parallel to (and sometimes ahead of) official channels in an organization or society.”

Next from Dictionary.com:

 “noun 1.a secret, unofficial, or informal channel of communication as used in politics or diplomacy: sensitive information passed on through a back channel.” 

The term “Back Channel” was coined in the 1950’s, during the cold war, by government and foreign policy officials and intelligence operatives to refer to alternative methods for communicating across borders by using lines of communication not available to traditional official governmental and diplomatic entities or to covert international intelligence agents.

This last come from a Wikipedia Synopsis of the film “Back Door Channel: The Price of Peace.” A film documenting the process that made the 1979 Israeli/Egypt peace treaty posable. To put a point to all of this, back channels are not unheard of or unusual in either business or government.

So why all the hubbub, because its Trump, and the Russians are involved. Why are the Russians such bogymen in all things Trump, well, let us see! Toward the end of the book “Shattered,” by journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, there is a passage that is not getting a lot of press:

 “Within 24 hours of her concession speech,” the authors report, campaign manager Robby Mook and campaign chair John Podesta “assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.” -Published on Monday, May 01, 2017 by Common Dreams “How the Russia Spin Got So Much Torque”  by Norman Solomon-

It was the Russians who had engineered the defeat, and the new talking points and all arguments from this point forward would paint a Trump/Russia connection, and facts be damned. It is understandable that democratic politicians took up the call, after all the orders came from on high, but the mainstream media as well reported all as fact without checking sources. Now we have sources that are plentiful, many not even able to know what they are reporting on. By this last I mean the “former government officials” that report the happenings of private meetings. But worst are the leakers, revealing reports that should never leave the confines of the government. This brings us back to Kushner.

The report apparently came from an intelligence intercept of a diplomatic message sent by the Russian Ambassador to Moscow describing the meeting. This means one of two things, we just told the Russians we have broken their diplomatic code, or the message was sent in the clear. From what I can gather it was sent in the clear. Which makes it likely a disinformation campaign, as the Ambassador knows that all his messages are read by the US. That is not to say that there was no discussion of a back channel, but that it was not nefarious or to be designed in the way the message was sent. As we have seen above back channel communications is standard stuff. In fact one of the best examples of how this works was when the Kennedy White House used ABC reporter John A. Scali was used as a go between for the Executive Committee (excomm) and the Soviet Union.

“Scali was contacted by Soviet embassy official (and KGB Station Chief) Fomin about a proposed settlement to the crisis, and subsequently he acted as a contact between Fomin and the Executive Committee. However, it was without government direction that Scali responded to new Soviet conditions with a warning that a U.S. invasion was only hours away, prompting the Soviets to settle the crisis quickly.”

This back channel likely helped prevent a nuclear war. This is the kind of unofficial line of communication that was likely discussed with the ambassador. This is not a conspiracy or any type of collusion, this is statecraft 101. When you read these stories PLEASE THINK about the democratic party made up narrative and how the world really works.  If you have the time research “Disinformation Campaign.” I will be writing on this in the future.

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