There is absolutely no upside to any conflict with Russia when it comes to 99.9% of us. The fact so many pundits, anonymous intelligence officials and Hillary Clinton cultists are encouraging such an outcome based on zero publicly available evidence that Russia hacked the DNC/John Podesta and provided it to Wikileaks for the purpose of electing Trump, should be seen as the gigantic red flag that it is. So what’s actually going on? As is so often the case, it is all about money and power.
The best and most concise article I have read thus far explaining the driving influences behind all the anti-Russia/Putin hysteria was written a couple of weeks ago by Robert Parry of Consortium News. The post is titled, Making Russia ‘The Enemy’, and here are some key excerpts:
The rising hysteria about Russia is best understood as fulfilling two needs for Official Washington: the Military Industrial Complex’s transitioning from the “war on terror” to a more lucrative “new cold war” – and blunting the threat that a President Trump poses to the neoconservative/liberal-interventionist foreign-policy establishment.
Indeed, this is primarily about a failed establishment trying to maintain power in the face of repeated public catastrophes and pervasive corruption.
By hyping the Russian “threat,” the neocons and their liberal-hawk sidekicks, who include much of the mainstream U.S. news media, can guarantee bigger military budgets from Congress. The hype also sets in motion a blocking maneuver to impinge on any significant change in direction for U.S. foreign policy under Trump…
All of this maneuvering also is delaying the Democratic Party’s self-examination into why it lost so many white working-class voters in normally Democratic strongholds, such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Rather than national party leaders taking the blame for pre-selecting a very flawed candidate and ignoring all the warning signs about the public’s resistance to this establishment choice, Democrats have pointed fingers at almost everyone else – from FBI Director James Comey for briefly reviving Clinton’s email investigation, to third-party candidates who siphoned off votes, to the archaic Electoral College which negates the fact that Clinton did win the national popular vote – and now to the Russians.
Democrats now are excitedly joining the bash-Russia movement, making it harder to envision how the party can transition back into its more recent role as the “peace party” (at least relative to the extremely hawkish Republicans).
The potential trading places of the two parties in that regard – with Trump favoring geopolitical détente and the Democrats beating the drums for more military confrontations – augurs poorly for the Democrats regaining their political footing anytime soon.
If Democratic leaders press ahead, in alliance with neoconservative Republicans, on demands for escalating the New Cold War with Russia, they could precipitate a party split between Democratic hawks and doves, a schism that likely would have occurred if Clinton had been elected but now may happen anyway, albeit without the benefit of the party holding the White House.
The first test of this emerging Democratic-neocon alliance may come over Trump’s choice for Secretary of State, Exxon-Mobil’s chief executive Rex Tillerson, who doesn’t exhibit the visceral hatred of Russian President Vladimir Putin that Democrats are encouraging.
As an international business executive, Tillerson appears to share Trump’s real-politik take on the world, the idea that doing business with rivals makes more sense than conspiring to force “regime change” after “regime change.”
Over the past several decades, the “regime change” approach has been embraced by both neocons and liberal interventionists and has been implemented by both Republican and Democratic administrations. Sometimes, it’s done through war and other times through “color revolutions” – always under the idealistic guise of “democracy promotion” or “protecting human rights.”
But the problem with this neo-imperialist strategy has been that it has failed miserably to improve the lives of the people living in the “regime-changed” countries. Instead, it has spread chaos across wide swaths of the globe and has now even destabilized Europe.
Yet, the solution, as envisioned by the neocons and their liberal-hawk understudies, is simply to force more “regime change” medicine down the throats of the world’s population. The new “great” idea is to destabilize nuclear-armed Russia by making its economy scream and by funding as many anti-Putin elements as possible to create the nucleus for a “color revolution” in Moscow.
To justify that risky scheme, there has been a broad expansion of anti-Russian propaganda now being funded with tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money as well as being pushed by government officials giving off-the-record briefings to mainstream media outlets.
However, as with earlier “regime change” plans, the neocons and liberal hawks never think through the scenario to the end. They always assume that everything is going to work out fine and some well-dressed “opposition leader” who has been to their think-tank conferences will simply ascend to the top job.
Remember, in Iraq, it was going to be Ahmed Chalabi who was beloved in Official Washington but broadly rejected by the Iraqi people. In Libya, there has been a parade of U.S.-approved “unity” leaders who have failed to pull that country together.
In Ukraine, Nuland’s choice – Arseniy “Yats is the guy” Yatsenyuk – resigned amid broad public disapproval earlier this year after pushing through harsh cuts in social programs, even as the U.S.-backed regime officials in Kiev continued to plunder Ukraine’s treasury and misappropriate Western economic aid.
Robert goes on to describe his observations from a recent trip to Moscow, providing readers with an important lesson in “perception management,” which is just a fancy name for propaganda.
I also undertook a limited personal test regarding whether Russia is the police state that U.S. propaganda depicts, a country yearning to break free from the harsh grip of Vladimir Putin (although he registers 80 or so percent approval in polls).
During my trip last week to Europe, which included stops in Brussels and Copenhagen, I decided to take a side trip to Moscow, which I had never visited before. What I encountered was an impressive, surprisingly (to me at least) Westernized city with plenty of American and European franchises, including the ubiquitous McDonald’s and Starbucks. (Russians serve the Starbucks gingerbread latte with a small ginger cookie.)
Though senior Russian officials proved unwilling to meet with me, an American reporter, at this time of tensions, Russia had little appearance of a harshly repressive society. In my years covering U.S. policies in El Salvador in the 1980s and Haiti in the 1990s, I have experienced what police states look and feel like, where death squads dump bodies in the streets. That was not what I sensed in Moscow, just a modern city with people bustling about their business under early December snowfalls.
The police presence in Red Square near the Kremlin was not even as heavy-handed as it is near the government buildings of Washington. Instead, there was a pre-Christmas festive air to the brightly lit Red Square, featuring a large skating rink surrounded by small stands selling hot chocolate, toys, warm clothing and other goods.
Granted, my time and contact with Russians were limited – since I don’t speak Russian and most of them don’t speak English – but I was struck by the contrast between the grim images created by Western media and the Russia that I saw.
It reminded me of how President Ronald Reagan depicted Sandinista-ruled Nicaragua as a “totalitarian dungeon” with a militarized state ready to march on Texas, but what I found when I traveled to Managua was a third-world country still recovering from an earthquake and with a weak security structure despite the Contra war that Reagan had unleashed against Nicaragua.
In other words, “perception management” remains the guiding principle of how the U.S. government deals with the American people, scaring us with exaggerated tales of foreign threats and then manipulating our fears and our misperceptions.
As dangerous as that can be when we’re talking about Nicaragua or Iraq or Libya, the risks are exponentially higher regarding Russia. If the American people are stampeded into a New Cold War based more on myths than reality, the minimal cost could be the trillions of dollars diverted from domestic needs into the Military Industrial Complex. The far-greater cost could be some miscalculation by either side that could end life on the planet.
So, as the Democrats chart their future, they need to decide if they want to leapfrog the Republicans as America’s “war party” or whether they want to pull back from the escalation of tensions with Russia and start addressing the pressing needs of the American people.
Meanwhile, cybersecurity experts continue to throw cold water all over the Russia hacking story that is being swallowed whole by the billionaire-owned mainstream media with little to no skepticism.
In that regard, here are some excerpts from Robert Carr’s must read, FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report: A Fatally Flawed Effort:
The FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report (JAR) “Grizzly Steppe” was released yesterday as part of the White House’s response to alleged Russian government interference in the 2016 election process. It adds nothing to the call for evidence that the Russian government was responsible for hacking the DNC, the DCCC, the email accounts of Democratic party officials, or for delivering the content of those hacks to Wikileaks.
It merely listed every threat group ever reported on by a commercial cybersecurity company that is suspected of being Russian-made and lumped them under the heading of Russian Intelligence Services (RIS) without providing any supporting evidence that such a connection exists.
Unlike Crowdstrike, ESET doesn’t assign APT28/Fancy Bear/Sednit to a Russian Intelligence Service or anyone else for a very simple reason. Once malware is deployed, it is no longer under the control of the hacker who deployed it or the developer who created it. It can be reverse-engineered, copied, modified, shared and redeployed again and again by anyone. In other words — malware deployed is malware enjoyed!
If ESET could do it, so can others. It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as Crowdstrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will.
If the White House had unclassified evidence that tied officials in the Russian government to the DNC attack, they would have presented it by now. The fact that they didn’t means either that the evidence doesn’t exist or that it is classified.
If it’s classified, an independent commission should review it because this entire assignment of blame against the Russian government is looking more and more like a domestic political operation run by the White House that relied heavily on questionable intelligence generated by a for-profit cybersecurity firm with a vested interest in selling “attribution-as-a-service”.
While we’re at it, Sharyl Attkisson provided some much needed additional perspective on the entire saga in her piece, Eight Facts on the “Russian Hacks,” where she notes:
4. It seems a difficult task to prove the hacks somehow “affected the election” or “helped Donald Trump win.” For example:
– One would have to show that tens of thousands of Trump voters were planning to vote for Clinton but changed their mind based solely on the WikiLeaks emails.
– One would have to believe the emails somehow managed to only affect the electoral vote but not the popular vote (which Clinton won).
– One would have to believe the emails somehow selectively swayed voters in key swing states, but not voters in states where Clinton won.
7. There have been many serious cyberattacks reported against U.S. government institutions, but no comparable news coverage or announced U.S. retaliatory measures. For example:
– In 2015, Russian hackers attacked the State Department email system in what was called the “worst ever” cyberattack against a federal agency.
– Also in 2015, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management reported 5.6 million Americans’ fingerprints were stolen in a malicious cyberattack.
– Last March, China government hackers continued a malicious pattern of cyber attacks on U.S. government and private networks, according to U.S. Cyber Command chief Mike Rogers. China has been linked by U.S. intelligence agencies to wide-ranging cyber attacks aimed at stealing information and mapping critical computer networks for future attacks in a crisis or conflict.
Despite the Chinese hacking activity, the Obama administration has taken no action against China for years of large-scale cyber attacks that officials say have cost the nation billions of dollars in stolen intellectual property and compromised networks.
To conclude, I suppose my thoughts on the matter can be best summarized with the following tweet:
When World War 3 is on the line, “sources and methods” must be revealed.
Otherwise, don’t make the claims.
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) December 30, 2016
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Contributed by Michael Krieger of A Lightning War for Liberty.