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Peril Claims Gen. Milley Acted To Take Military Control from Trump

Sept. 15, 2021 (EIRNS)—Veteran Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and Washington Post national political reporter Robert Costa have written a book Peril, which, among other things, claims that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley was so fearful that President Donald Trump’s actions might spark a war with China, that he moved urgently to avert armed conflict. In a pair of secret phone calls, General Milley allegedly assured his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army, that the United States would not strike, according to the book. One call took place on Oct. 30, 2020, four days before the U.S. Presidential election day, and the other on Jan. 8, 2021, two days after the notorious Jan. 6 events on Capitol Hill.

That Milley acted in this fashion to try to execute a de facto coup d’état against Trump and the Constitution is confirmed by numerous other sources available to EIR. The implausible tale that it was because Milley feared that Trump would launch a conflict with China is not borne out by the facts, however; rather, it was motivated by Trump’s decision to fully pull out of Afghanistan and put an end to the British policy of perpetual wars, which Milley has assiduously defended throughout his career.

Milley’s first call was purportedly prompted by Milley’s review of intelligence suggesting the Chinese believed the United States was preparing to attack, according to a review of the book published in the Washington Post yesterday. That belief, the authors write, was based on tensions over military exercises in the South China Sea, and deepened by Trump’s belligerent rhetoric toward China. “General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay,” Milley told him. “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”

In the book’s account, Milley went so far as to pledge he would alert his counterpart in the event of a U.S. attack, stressing the rapport they’d established through a backchannel. “General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.” In the second call, placed to address Chinese fears about the events of Jan. 6, Li wasn’t as easily assuaged, even after Milley promised him, “We are 100 percent steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.”

According to the Woodward-Costa account, Milley believed that Trump suffered a “mental decline” after the election, a view he shared with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a phone call to her on Jan. 8. Milley agreed with her evaluation that Trump was unstable, according to a call transcript obtained by the authors. The phone call was reported on by the Washington Post at the time and confirmed by a spokesman for Milley. Pelosi had said in a letter to the House Democratic Caucus that Milley had assured her that there were safeguards in place to prevent Trump from launching a nuclear attack out of the blue.

But Milley didn’t limit his conspiring to Pelosi. Sometime in early January, the exact date is not reported, Milley also called the commander of Indo-Pacific Command to recommend postponing upcoming scheduled military exercises. He also summoned senior officers in the National Military Command Center to review the procedures for launching nuclear weapons, saying the President alone could give the order—but, crucially, that he, Milley, also had to be involved. Looking each in the eye, Milley asked the officers to affirm that they had understood, the authors write, in what he considered an “oath.” Milley had similar conversations with the director of the CIA Gina Haspel, as well as with the head of the NSA, Paul Nakasone. “We are on the way to a right-wing coup,” Haspel reportedly told Milley.

Crucial in this process is the role of sometime Trump advisor Steve Bannon. “According to the book, a key figure from Trump’s earliest days as President reemerged: former White House adviser Steve Bannon,” reported CNN.

“The authors write that Bannon, who had been indicted in April 2020 and later pardoned by Trump, played a critical role in the events leading up to January 6. On December 30, Bannon convinced Trump to come back to the White House from Mar-a-Lago to prepare for the events of January 6, the date Congress would certify the election results.... ‘We’re going to bury Biden on January 6th, fucking bury him,’ Bannon said.”

The book, entitled Peril is said to be based on interviews with 200 people, all of whom spoke on condition that they not be named. The book is set to be released Sept. 21.

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