How a Decorated War Hero becomes a Traitor

THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

Twitter has ‘become the president’s war room’ as supporters take aim at colonel

Days after a decorated Army lieutenant colonel offered damaging testimony about president Donald Trump’s conduct on a July phone call with Ukraine’s leader, Trump stood on the South Lawn and issued a vague but ominous warning.


“You’ll be seeing very soon what comes out,” Trump said, referring to the officer, lieutenant colonel Alexander Vindman.


The US president was not more specific. But an attack on Mr Vindman’s character and motives was already making its way from the dark corners of Mr Trump’s social media following to the front lines of the impeachment battle.


One day earlier, right-wing commentator Jack Posobiec had retweeted a lengthy thread by a Florida man — a fan of QAnon, a fringe conspiracy about the “deep state” — claiming to have witnessed Mr Vindman “bash America” in a conversation with Russian officers during a joint military exercise in Germany in 2013.


That accusation was unsubstantiated and has been rejected by some of the colonel’s colleagues. Even so, Mr Posobiec’s post was retweeted by Trump’s son and chief defender, Donald Trump Jr, driving it through conservative social media circles and onto pro-Trump websites, whose stories the younger Mr Trump promoted to his 4 million followers.


...It is hard to discern how the 6-year-old comments attributed to the officer affect the veracity of his testimony on Capitol Hill, which aligns with that of numerous other witnesses.


But by questioning the colonel’s loyalties, partisans who are spreading the story uncritically to millions of Americans leave the impression he is somehow not to be believed.


The attack emerged late on Halloween night, when a retired Army officer, Jim Hickman, claimed he had overheard Vindman — a major at the time who was chatting with Russian soldiers during a military exercise — laugh “about Americans not being educated or worldly” and talking up “Obama and globalism to the point of uncomfortable”.


Mr Hickman said he took the major aside and reprimanded him.


Through his lawyer, Michael Volkov, Mr Vindman declined to comment.


Mr Hickman, a former lieutenant colonel whose service record indicates he served in Afghanistan and earned a Purple Heart, at some point took an interest in QAnon.

A review of his past tweets found more than 100 in which he recirculated or commented on QAnon-related theories, including hoaxes about Satanism and paedophilia, and until recently he had the hashtag #Q in his profile.


Reached for comment, Mr Hickman said he did not believe in QAnon but found it “interesting.”


“I do think it’s actually been pretty accurate on predicting a lot of things,” he said.

He has also tweeted strident pro-Trump, anti-Democratic themes, writing, “It’s incredible how evil the Democrat party is”.

SaveComment21Like1
Comments (21)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

A week before going public with his story about Vindman, he retweeted a Trump supporter urging “STOP IMPEACHMENT! STOP THIS COUP!”

In a Twitter thread, Mr Hickman, who said he was disabled from combat injuries and living in Florida, said he had helped manage joint exercises in Germany involving US and Russian soldiers.

He met Mr Vindman there in 2013, he said.

Mr Vindman referred to himself as a patriot during closed-door testimony in the house last month and said he had reported concerns about the president and his inner circle’s conduct out of a “sense of duty”.

The colonel received a Purple Heart after being injured by an improvised explosive device in Iraq.

Several officials have publicly defended Mr Vindman since his testimony emerged. General Joseph Dunford, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has called the colonel “a professional, competent, patriotic and loyal officer”.

Michael McFaul, the former ambassador to Russia, has said he had worked with the colonel “and interacted with him in front of Russian officers. He never once said anything near what this ‘retired Army officer’ claims”.

As the tale gained attention on Twitter and received pushback from some users who questioned it, a new Twitter account popped up with the name Thomas Lasch, tweeting that he had worked with Mr Hickman and remembered the 2013 episode.

Mark Hertling, a retired general who was suspicious of the pair and contacted them through direct messaging, later tweeted: “They are who they say they are.” But he added that “LTC Hickman and I agreed to disagree on LTC Vindman and many other things.”

In an interview, Mr Hertling, who commanded the US Army in Europe, said that a number of things about Mr Hickman’s recollections did not add up, including his claim of hearing what Mr Vindman, who was born in Ukraine, said to Russian soldiers.

“Vindman would’ve been speaking to Russian soldiers in Russian, not English,” he said. “Russians, when they come to these exercises, they don’t speak English — they take pride in it.”

Mr Hertling added: “I asked Hickman about that, and he said, ‘Well, they were going back and forth between Russian and English.’”

An effort to reach Mr Lasch was unsuccessful. At his home in Homosassa, Florida, Hickman said, “All I want is the truth to get out”.

Within a day of Mr Vindman’s testimony, conservative media figures on Fox News and elsewhere, as well as Republican surrogates like Rudy Giuliani, raised questions about whether the Ukrainian-born colonel had “dual loyalties”. Some even pushed innuendo that he could be some sort of spy for Ukraine.

But those who know and have worked with Mr Vindman have provided a different account.

They said that Mr Vindman, then a military attache, was assigned to meet with Russians and gather whatever intelligence he could. He spoke to the Russians in Russian, did not denigrate the US and reported back everything he heard, according to a person briefed on the episode, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the colonel had not publicly testified.

3 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

Mr Vindman did not have dealings with Hickman in relation to his work during the exercise, the person said, and was not reprimanded for it.

Peter Zwack, a retired brigadier general who was Mr Vindman’s commanding officer during the joint exercise, said he was sceptical of Mr Hickman’s account.

“If there was something egregious that occurred, believe me, we would have had our ears rapped in Moscow,” said Mr Zwack, who served as the United States’ senior defence official and attache to Russia.

“The bottom line is, where there are Russians in an exercise in and among our units and people, we have an attache that coordinates with them,” the general said. “It’s all just a part of an attaches' job.”

Attaches are expected to overtly collect information on what is happening in the country in which they are posted, as well as collect information from unsuspecting foreign officials through casual conversation. The allegations made by Hickman may simply describe Vindman playing his assigned role.

The New York Times

4 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Wants to Grow

Hi Thor, Vindman plotted with others to overthrow a duly elected President. Additionally, he leaked classified information. This is what a traitor looks like.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

plotted with others to overthrow a duly elected President

The impeachment process explicitly described in the US Constitution for removing a civil officer from office for high crimes is now overthrowing the President.

BTW, 'duly-elected' Vice President Pence would become president if IMPOTUS were removed.

5 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

The impeachment clause is in the US Constitution precisely to provide the process to remove a sitting president.

The GOP leadership is traitorous in denying that the removal of a president is provided for in the US Constitution.

8 Likes Save     Thanked by THOR, Son of ODIN
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

From the heavens above, and from the earth below, the same answer!

5 Likes Save     Thanked by THOR, Son of ODIN
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

California is pretty close to Heaven.
(I don't visit CA nearly enough.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Nana H

How easily characters are destroyed because Trump says so it's truly shocking....or maybe it isn't.

7 Likes Save     Thanked by THOR, Son of ODIN
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.

4 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ziemia(6a)

There are several conservatives and centrists here who are not Trump Fans. Just a reminder.

4 Likes Save     Thanked by THOR, Son of ODIN
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chipotle


4 Likes Save     Thanked by THOR, Son of ODIN
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Joaniepoanie

The only traitors are the Trumps and the Republicans. If you listen to them, everyone and their grandmother was plotting a coup. The FBI, the military, the Dems. It’s laughable. It’s Trump and the R’s who clearly want to turn the country into a dictatorship. And it has begun with Trump seeking revenge and retribution against those who dared cross him.

7 Likes Save     Thanked by THOR, Son of ODIN
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Kathy

Everyone is corrupt except Trump? How many of his associates have been convicted and are in jail? Barr shut down 12 of Muellers investigations the day the report came out. Coverup!

9 Likes Save     Thanked by THOR, Son of ODIN
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
leona_2008

Thank you for starting this thread, Thor. I don't know how much lower you can go than to try to destroy a decorated war hero's reputation.

10 Likes Save     Thanked by THOR, Son of ODIN
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

The moral squalor of Trump and his administration is unparalleled.

The more we tolerate it, the more we normalize it.

The more it’s normalized, the less we are able to see it.

When we no longer see it, we become morally blind.

15 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cattyles

Moral squalor. What a perfect description.

7 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ohiomom

They can go lower Leona, they haven't even hit bottom yet. But by all means let them keep talking and talking and posting QAnon sources ... please continue (^_^)


6 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lurker111

“You’ll be seeing very soon what comes out”

We already know a lot of what he did. We all witnessed it. Can't wait to hear the rest.

Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
leona_2008

Vindman served his country valiantly. he appeared before Congress to speak the truth at great cost to himself and his family. Shriek! The audacity of telling the truth! Truth is still good. Lying is still bad. All those lies trump tells doesn't make lying good. It makes him bad.

1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
THOR, Son of ODIN(2)

They start with an unverifiable smear from someone with a grudge.

Then amplify the lies through the RW echo chambers where it is picked up and spread to every nook and cranny of social media.

2 Likes Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Nana H

He was subpoenaed and testified under oath. Apparently the new laws of the land say you can ignore subpoenas and lie under oath if it protects Trump.

2 Likes Save    
Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Community Decorated Houses Help Save a Detroit Neighborhood
By Houzz
Art's a start for an inner-city community working to stave off urban blight and kindle a renaissance
Full Story
Most Popular From Queasy Colors to Killer Tables: Your Worst Decorating Mistakes
Houzzers spill the beans about buying blunders, painting problems and DIY disasters
Full Story
Features A Home for a Hero
In Washington, D.C., Frederick Douglass’ Cedar Hill honors a life passionately devoted to freedom
Full Story