Those hapless individuals who run the United States are again slipping into a fantasy world where Americans are besieged by imaginary threats coming from both inside and outside the country. Of course, it is particularly convenient to warn of foreign threats, as it makes the people in government seem relevant and needed, but one might recommend that the tune be changed as it is getting a bit boring. After all, there are only so many hours in the day and Russian President Vladimir Putin must pause occasionally to eat or sleep, so the plotting to destroy American democracy must be on hold at least some of the time.
Yes, anonymous sources and the guys and gals who made the Iraq war a reality are now claiming that the Kremlin is at it again! Hints over the past year that Putin might try to replay 2016 in 2020 only do it better this time have now been confirmed! Per one news report the enemy is already at the gates: “U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign by aiming to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote and boost President Donald Trump’s re-election.”
And there’s more! In a New York Times article headlined “Same Goal, Different Playbook: Why Russia Would Support Trump and Sanders: Vladimir Putin is eager both to take the sheen off U.S. democracy and for a counterpart who is less likely to challenge his territorial and nuclear ambitions,” it was revealed that the Kremlin is intending to also help Bernie Sanders, so whichever way the election goes they win.
According to the Times Bernie has been “warn[ed]… of evidence that he is the Russian president’s favorite Democrat.” The article then goes on to explain, relying on its anonymous sources, that “…to the intelligence analysts and outside experts who have spent the past three years dissecting Russian motives in the 2016 election, and who tried to limit the effect of Moscow’s meddling in the 2018 midterms, what is unfolding in 2020 makes perfect sense. Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders represent the most divergent ends of their respective parties, and both are backed by supporters known more for their passion than their policy rigor, which makes them ripe for exploitation by Russian trolls, disinformation specialists and hackers for hire seeking to widen divisions in American society.”
The Times article was written by David Sanger, the paper’s venerable national security correspondent. He is reliably wedded to Establishment views of the Russian threat, as is his newspaper, and strikes rock bottom in his assessment when he cites none other than “Victoria Nuland, who in a long diplomatic career had served both Republican and Democratic administrations, and had her phone calls intercepted and broadcast by Russian intelligence services.” Nuland, clearly the victim of a nefarious Russian intelligence operation that recorded her saying “fuck the EU,” opined that “Any figures that radicalize politics and do harm to center views and unity in the United States are good for Putin’s Russia.” Nuland is perhaps best known for her role in spending $5 billion in U.S. taxpayer money to overthrow the legitimate government of Ukraine. She is married to leading neoconservative Robert Kagan, which Sanger fails to mention, and is currently a nonresident fellow at the liberal interventionist Brookings Institution. She also works at former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s consultancy, presumably for the Benjamins. Albright, one might recall, thought that killing 500,000 Iraqi children through U.S. sanctions was “worth it.”
Given the fact that Russia will have very limited resources in their effort to corrupt American democracy, which is, by the way, doing a very good job of self-destruction without any outside help, how exactly will they do it? Sanger explains “As they focus on evading more vigilant government agencies and technology companies trying to identify and counter malicious online activity, the Russians are boring into Iranian cyberoffense units, apparently so that they can initiate attacks that look as if they originate in Iran — which itself has shown interest in messing with the American electoral process… And, in one of the most effective twists, they are feeding disinformation to unsuspecting Americans on Facebook and other social media. By seeding conspiracy theories and baseless claims on the platforms, Russians hope everyday Americans will retransmit those falsehoods from their own accounts. That is an attempt to elude Facebook’s efforts to remove disinformation, which it can do more easily when it flags ‘inauthentic activity,’ like Russians posing as Americans. It is much harder to ban the words of real Americans, who may be parroting a Russian story line, even unintentionally.”
So those wily Russians are making themselves look like Iranians and they are planning on “feeding disinformation” to “unsuspecting Americans” consisting of “conspiracy theories” and “baseless claims.” Sounds like a plan to me as the various occupants of the White House and Congress have been doing exactly that for the past twenty years. That we had a national election in 2016 in which a reality television personality ran against an unindicted criminal would seem to indicate that the effort to brainwash the American people has already been successful.
The usual bottom feeders are also piling on to the Russian interference story. Jane Harman, former congresswoman who once colluded with Israeli intelligence to lobby the Department of Justice to drop criminal charges against two employees of AIPAC in exchange for Israel’s support to make her chair of the House Intelligence Committee, warns “How dangerous it would be if we lose the tip of the spear against those who would destroy us.”
Former CIA Director John Brennan also has something to say. He is “very disturbed” by his conviction that Russia is actively meddling in the 2020 campaign in support of President Trump. He said “We are now in a full-blown national security crisis. By trying to prevent the flow of intelligence to Congress, Trump is abetting a Russian covert operation to keep him in office for Moscow’s interests, not America’s.” Brennan is best known for having orchestrated the illegal campaign to vilify Trump and his associates prior to, during and after the 2016 election. He also participated in a weekly meeting with Barack Obama where he and the president would add and remove names from a “kill list” of U.S. citizens residing overseas. He and his boss should both be in prison, but they are instead fêted as American patriots. Go figure.
Time to take a step back from the developing panic. As usual, the U.S. government intelligence agencies have produced no actual evidence that Moscow is up to anything, and there are already reports that the Office of National Intelligence briefer “overstated” her case against the Kremlin in her briefing of the House Intelligence Committee. Sure, the Russians have an interest in an American election and will favor candidates like Trump and Sanders that are not outright hostile to them, but to claim as the NY Times does that Russia has incompatible “territorial and nuclear interests” is a stretch. And yes, Moscow will definitely use its available intelligence resources to monitor the nomination and election process while also clandestinely doing what it can to improve the chances of those individuals they approve of. That is what intelligence agencies do.
In American Establishment groupthink there is one standard for what Washington does and quite a different standard for everyone else. Does it shock any American to know that the United States has interfered in scores of elections all over the world ever since the Second World War, to include those in places like France and Italy well into the 1980s? And in somewhat more kinetic covert actions, actually removing Mohammed Mossadeq in Iran, Salvador Allende in Chile, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and Mohamed Morsi in Egypt just for starters, not even considering the multiple plots to kill Fidel Castro. And it continues to do so today openly in places like Iran and Venezuela while also claiming hypocritically that the U.S. is “exceptional” and also a “force for good.” That anyone should be genuinely worrying about Russian proxies buying and distributing a couple of hundred thousands of dollars’ worth of ads in an election in which many billions of dollars’ worth of propaganda will be on the table is ridiculous. It is time to stop blaming Russia for the failure of America’s ruling class to provide an honest and accountable government and one that does not go around the world looking for trouble. That is what the 2020 election should really be all about.