The Russian Threat?

by Berry Friesen (January 5, 2017)

Dear reader, how can I convince you?  The American people are being scammed by all the talk in the mainstream media about Russian interference in our election.

It shouldn’t be that difficult to persuade you.

1. Simply recall the progression of events, how the Obama Administration showed little concern about “Russian hacking” until the final month of the election, when it became clear that Clinton was in a tight race. It’s only since Trump’s victory that the “Russian hacks” became big news.

2. Next, acknowledge that computer hacking is the way most espionage happens these days.  All the leading nations do it, including the US.  So yes, most any week of the year, those “17 intelligence agencies” of the US can gravely announce they have uncovered new evidence of “Russian hacking.”  It’s always going on, always being discovered, always there to be talked about. Why make such a big deal about it now?

3.  Then point out how the story of this "Russian hack” has morphed over the past ten weeks from an explanation of how WikiLeaks was able to publish correspondence from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and one of its key staff (John Podesta) to a scary allegation that the Russians hacked our election.  Yet there are no facts to justify this transformation of a small and specific story into a big and broad one that undermines the very foundation of our political system.  Dig through the record and all you will find is WikiLeaks informing the public of what Democratic Party leaders sound like when they don’t think we are listening.  How does that undermine our democracy?

4.  Remember that evidence of “Russian hacking” is not the same as evidence that Russia is the source for WikiLeaks.  Those are two separate things.  There is solid evidence that WikiLeaks obtained the DNC and Podesta files from an insider “whistle-blower,” not the Russians.  That could be true (I think it is) without negating the claim of the “17 US intelligence agencies” that there is evidence of “Russian hacking” of the DNC and Podesta files.  Both allegations could be true, in other words.

5.  In light of this ambiguity, conclude by asking yourself why the mainstream media is speaking endlessly about the Russians interfering with our voting.  Obviously, the Russians did not do that.  So this entire “hacking” story is being used to “other” the Russians and entrench them as the enemy of the empire.  That way President-elect Trump will have no choice but to continue the Cold War that the empire has renewed by its coup in Ukraine, its positioning of NATO forces on Russia's borders and its deployment of Salafist terrorists in Syria.

So why are so many jumping on this “Russia-is-a-threat” bandwagon?  Is it because they don’t like Trump?

As anti-imperialists, we can’t allow ourselves to be deceived and emotionally ensnared by this cheap partisanship.  While we may be dreading what President Trump has in store for us, would we have dreaded President Clinton’s agenda any less?  As anti-imperialists, we expect trouble—not deliverance—from the empire, no matter who’s in charge.

How to proceed from here requires wisdom and good judgment and I’m not claiming to have it figured out.  But I’ll not forget that we have two war parties in the US—the Democrats and the Republicans.  They play the public like stooges, keeping us confused and begging for security through more fear, more Pentagon spending, more war.

And I’ll fully support improved relations with Russia, even if that puts me in the same camp as President-elect Trump on that issue.

What about the reports of Russia hacking the electrical grid in the US?   Or using propaganda outlets to generate fake news? Glenn Greenwald responds to those reports here; as he documents, those reports are bogus.  I urge you to read it for yourself.

After detailing how these bogus reports are endlessly republished by social media (especially Twitter), Greenwald makes this observation:  “The most ironic aspect of all this is that it is mainstream journalists—the very people who have become obsessed with the crusade against Fake News—who play the key role in enabling and fueling this dissemination of false stories. They do so not only by uncritically spreading them, but also by taking little or no steps to notify the public of their falsity.”

As I said, we’re being scammed.

For a broader perspective on how the empire uses partisanship and "the Russian threat" to confuse and divide us, I strongly recommend Ajamu Baraka's essay in Black Agenda Report, "Trump's Neo-Fascism."

January 6 update:  I recommend "Emails were leaked, not hacked" by William Binney and Ray McGovern and published Jan. 5 by the Baltimore Sun.  Binney is a retired senior NSA technical manager and the creator of many NSA surveillance tools currently in use. McGovern is a retired CIA analyst who served as a presidential security briefer during the administration of President George H.W. Bush.