This week saw renewed effort by US politicians and media to ramp up the information war against Russia. The impetus came from the US-based social media network, Facebook, declaring that it had identified “coordinated political influence campaigns”.
Never mind that the internet giant admitted that it did not know the actual identify of the organizers, that did not stop US news media and senior Washington politicians jumping to conclusions that Russia was guilty (again) of interfering in US politics.
Facebook’s head of cybersecurity Nathaniel Gleicher was quoted as saying: “At this point in our investigation, we do not have enough technical evidence to state definitively who is behind it.”
Somehow this baseless information was miraculously turned into “evidence” pointing to Russian “malign activity”.
Mark Warner, a member of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, reacted to the non-issue with the following categorical words: “Today’s disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation.”
It’s rather astounding that a senior US lawmaker who is running the “intelligence community” can make such a preposterous assertion based on no facts.
Even the Trump White House, which is caught up in a web of contradictions, was impelled to jump to wrong conclusions. A spokesperson said President Donald Trump “will not tolerate foreign interference in our electoral process from any nation state or other malicious actors.”
It is a clear sign of how collectively paranoid the US political and media establishment have become whenever they make such wild extrapolations based on infantile innuendo and fatuous reasoning.
In the following editorial comment in a New York Times report it was stated: “Like the 2016 Russian interference campaign, the recently detected campaign sought to amplify divisive social issues, including through organizing real-world events.”
There is no credible evidence that Russia interfered in the US 2016 presidential election. None whatsoever. Moscow has repeatedly affirmed that it had nothing to do with US internal affairs. President Vladimir Putin reiterated the position earlier this month during his summit in Helsinki with Trump. Trump even appeared to agree, only to do a U-turn under fierce pressure from political opponents back home labelling him a “traitor”.
Nevertheless, in spite of no evidence, the NY Times, like the rest of the corporate American news media and politicians in Washington, has converted fiction into fact, which is then used to provide “evidence” to substantiate further fiction as fact.
Pertinent facts are excluded, however. Such as: Facebook is a global company with a claimed membership of two billion users – more than a quarter of the world’s population. Those figures indicate that the US population (310 million) represents only about 15 per cent of Facebook’s total users. Facebook seems to be happy to make billions of dollars in advertising profits from having all its non-US foreigners. But when some of those foreigners post messages or information concerning American politics and society then that is construed as “interference” in US affairs.
The point is that Facebook and other US-based social media platforms are global entities. They can’t have it both ways. If their predominantly foreign members want to join in conversations, agitation or even erroneous rumors, then that’s the way it is. It seems prissy and precious for American online capitalists and politicians to go into hissy fits about “foreign meddling”. It’s all the more ludicrous to extrapolate such activity to precisely “Kremlin influence campaigns”.
Another fact is that modern US politics and society is riven with divisions and acrimony over numerous issues that stem from its own inherent problems. President Trump is at war with large sections of the Congress and news media. The claims about “Russia collusion” are just a stalking horse with which to attack him.
In the wider US society there are growing bitter disputes between, for example, conservatives and liberals, far-right nationalists and anti-fascists, anti-immigration nativists and pro-immigration advocates, religious evangelicals and secularists, pro-war and anti-war, gun rights groups and abolitionists, pro-police and anti-police, climate-change deniers and environmentalists. The list goes on and on.
For US media and politicians to cite “internet organizers” taking up any one of these issues as “evidence” of “sowing division” in American society, and specifically to attribute that “effort” to “Russian interference”, is a case of living in spectacular denial about the onerous challenges confronting that nation – from within.
“Sowing division” in the US is an intrinsic function of its own erosion as a monstrously unequal society under a failing corporate-finance capitalist economy, which seems to only prop itself up by waging illegal wars around the world and demonizing “foreigners”.
Blaming Russia or any other “foreign actor” for its own internal failing and floundering is a denial by those – Washington politicians and news media – who do not want to be held to account democratically.
The alarming thing is that as the US mid-term elections in November approach over the next three months we can expect an intensification of the information war against Russia as a “malign actor”. That is a dangerous slippery slope descending into hysterical claims that Russia is committing “acts of war”. Already such unhinged claims have been made by certain US politicians and media pundits. As the social divisions in the US become ever more desperate, so too will the anti-Russia rhetoric from its paranoid politicians and news media.