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Everything Is Definitely Russia, Or So It Seems

Euromaidan Press

Anyone reading a newspaper, watching the news, or spending any amount of time on the internet lately has probably noticed that, for Democrats and liberals, everything is Russia. What’s more, when everything is not Russia, a throng of frenzied Democrats and liberals demand not only that the media get back to the story — the real story, #TrumpRussia — they also demand that everyone on the Left fall in line. This week I have been told that talk of single-payer, minimum wage, Bernie Sanders, Civil Rights, and mass incarceration is not important at this time, and right now, I need focus my energy on “resisting Trump” and “Russia.”  Any media questioning the veracity of this conspiracy is deemed “Russian propaganda,” or I am just an unwitting dupe of Putin, and just last night, an otherwise seemingly sweet grandmother told me to “go back to Saint Petersburg.” The hell you say?

Notwithstanding the fact that the FBI is pursuing no less than three separate investigations related to Russia, and that the FBI and other intelligence officials have found no direct link between Trump and Russia, many Democrats and liberals have placed the full force of their energy on ousting Trump by way of this “Russian collusion” theory.  Certainly, it is important to uncover the extent to which Russia may or may have not “interfered” in our democratic processes, and yes, it’s understandable that voters are concerned about such a possibility. Many Americans are also concerned that Trump is using his presidency to enrich his businesses.  All of these are rational concerns.  However, media-induced Russia hysteria has become so all-encompassing and frenetic that it seems to be the singular crutch holding up a disillusioned and fractured segment of #TheResistance.

Without a doubt, Trump’s policies are shockingly bad, and seeing him impeached is something that millions of Americans would applaud. But, does resisting Trump actually require Democrats and liberals to turn themselves into crazed McCarthyites who align themselves with the type of neoconservative thinking they once vehemently rejected?  A rationally thinking person certainly wouldn’t think so, but rational thinking seems to be at a premium among our Democratic politicians and some of their supporters these days.

Russia is being blamed for the Democrats’ loss in November. Russian trolls are being blamed for tricking Americans into voting for Sanders in the primaries. Russian interests have been insinuated in the Keystone pipeline. Jill Stein has been accused of having ties to Putin. Trump’s connections to Russia have become MSNBC’s bread-and-butter. American journalists have been accused by a U.S. politician of being paid by the Russian government and one U.S. Senator has accused another Senator of working for Putin. Another U.S. Senator has called for an investigation of RT America. WikiLeaks has become a current favorite among purveyors of the “Russian ties” fictive, and just as the hysteria appeared to be subsiding, The New York Times granted the bulk of its op-ed page to noted Conservative conspiracy theorist and Rupert Murdoch employee Louise Mensch over the weekend.  So how the hell did we get here?

Clearly, this story begins with allegations of “Russian interference” in our elections, by way of the DNC “hack” or “leak” (depending on which expert’s version you believe). Many U.S. intelligence experts believe that state-sponsored Russian hackers were responsible for stealing DNC emails. These are the reports that have been widely circulated via mainstream media, and these are the reports that have been used to justify sanctions against the Russian government by the Obama administration. However, less reported are the many intelligence experts who do not agree with the evidence the U.S. government has offered up. In fact, dozens of former U.S. Intelligence professionals have argued that the DNC email disclosures were the product of a leak, not a hack. In other words, an inside job having absolutely nothing to do with Russia or Russian agents. Additionally, cyber security experts have argued that even if it was a hack, those responsible would not have left data that could be traced back to them, stating, “if it looks like the Russians did it, then I can guarantee you it was not the Russians.” Despite WikiLeaks’s latest Vault 7 data dump, the ability of hackers to impersonate others by falsifying their location is not a new revelation.

In fact, this is not even the first time the U.S. has accused a foreign government of hacking, based on reports from the intelligence community and the FBI, only to find out later that they may have been incorrect. In 2014, the Obama administration concluded that the North Korean government was responsible for hacking Sony Pictures Entertainment. Similar to the allegations of Russian hacking, U.S. intelligence reached their conclusions about North Korea’s involvement rather quickly, and without seeking opinions outside of their own agencies. At the time, many respected experts in the anti-hacking and cyber security fields voiced concerns that U.S. intelligence officials had not presented enough evidence to draw firm conclusions about the source of the leaked information. Those experts were ignored.

Moreover, despite the fact that private cyber security firms found no credible connection between the North Korean government and the Sony hack, and discovered that reported leads to North Korea were actually “red herrings and dead ends,” the federal government continued to insist that the cyber attacks were the work of North Korea. Therefore, just as revelations of potential Russian interference led the Obama administration to impose sanctions on Russia, U.S. intelligence reporting of alleged North Korean involvement in hacking Sony led to economic sanctions against North Korea. Regardless of credible findings that placed responsibility for the hack on a disgruntled former Sony employee, the government’s version of events is the version mainstream media pushed.

We are now seeing a similar a situation unfolding with regard to the Russian hacking story. James Comey reported in January that the DNC never allowed the FBI access to their servers, or to John Podesta’s smartphone, in order to investigate the hack. Instead, The DNC hired the private cyber security firm CrowdStrike to carry out the investigation, and the FBI used the data provided by CrowdStrike to make their conclusions. It is still unknown why the DNC denied repeated requests by the FBI to investigate the original devices, or why the FBI decided to make any assumptions based on CrowdStrike’s report without access to the original devices. However, some experts are calling this report into question, and are now claiming that the very premise on which the report was based is flawed.  In reviewing the case, cybersecurity expert Jeffrey Carr has determined that

Part of the evidence supporting Russian government involvement in the DNC and related hacks (including the German Bundestag and France’s TV5 Monde) stemmed from the assumption that X-Agent malware was exclusively developed and used by Fancy Bear. We now know that’s false, and that the source code has been obtained by others outside of Russia.”

Not too surprisingly, then and now, the media is pursuing the version of events that sells, and right now, it seems pretty clear that Russian conspiracies are a cash cow. So while there is still no hard evidence to support the claim that Russia was responsible for hacking the DNC, the story has become… Russia hacked the DNC; here’s the evidence. But, when you scrutinize what is being sold as “evidence,” what you find is the same innuendo and purposefully vague statements issued by anonymous “experts” that have always been the foundation of this story. The ever-present appearance of an inevitably nonexistent smoking gun.

But, what if Russia did indeed hack the DNC? If so, the question is not how that connects to Trump, at least not if you believe the FBI, who has already cleared him of any connection to alleged Russian hacking. The questions should be, how does the potential of such a breach affect all of us, what is the government doing to protect us, and who can we trust to provide reliable evidence in the face of such attacks?

Rather than focusing even the slightest energy on a system that allows for the warrantless collection of every single communication made by Americans, one that conceivably allowed a foreign government to gain access, the Democratic party and the media have chosen to partake in a “Commie” witch-hunt. One would think that if these allegations were actually true, the public, the media, and the government would be making our safety a topic of discussion. Instead, red-baiting “journalists” are making a fortune accusing Trump, the Left, journalists, and WikiLeaks of being Russian agents or stooges.

Now, “Russian ties” are everywhere we look. Everyone close to Trump, including his aides, have connections to Russia. Politico has even been gracious enough to break these connections down in seven easy charts for their readers. It doesn’t matter if those “connections” make sense, or if they prove collusion with the Russian government, it’s just a batsh*t game of six degrees of separation. A similar, albeit less detailed, chart can be found on Congressman Eric Swalwell’s webpage. Again, this chart doesn’t have to make any sense at all, it just has to be available as “proof” to ratchet up the hysteria.

A photo of Jill Stein sitting at a table with Putin during an RT event in 2015 has been deemed evidence enough for Rachel Maddow to declare that there’s something fishy going on between Stein and Putin. That claim doesn’t have to make sense. Maddow didn’t have to prove her suspicions, she just had to say it and let her viewers post it all over social media. Of course, Maddow conveniently ignored the speech Stein gave at the event. A speech in which Stein admonished both Russia and the U.S. for pursuing needless decades-long militaristic agendas at the expense of their people’s well-being. Similarly, when establishment sycophant Howard Dean pondered, “Would be interesting to find out if the Intercept gets money from Russia or Iran” to his 80K+ Twitter followers, he didn’t have to make any sense. Dean did not have to justify his bull sh*ttery; he just had to post it and let it take flight.

Of course, never without their short memories and hypocritical irrationality, the Democratic party and their media mouthpieces have turned their red-baiting attention toward WikiLeaks. Many of us remember the adamant support WikiLeaks received from Democrats and liberals when they published documents detrimental to the Bush administration. Back then, Democrats and liberals had a great deal of praise for the work WikiLeaks was doing. In fact, liberal media often defended Assange, and even argued that leakers like “Edward Snowden should be hailed as a hero.” Clearly, those opinions have changed a bit since WikiLeaks published information that proved detrimental to the Democratic party. Now, some of those once proud defenders of transparency in government (as long as it harms Republicans) work diligently to discredit WikiLeaks and attempt to show Assange in the light of a “Russian puppet”. Apparently, it is their belief that WikiLeaks should only publish information that makes their political enemies look bad.

To claim that Assange is in cahoots with the Russian government, or any government for that matter ignores the fact that WikiLeaks has published millions of documents related to Russia, China, and Syria over the years. It also ignores the fact that U.S. officials have long acknowledged that Assange has no direct ties to Russia. Mainstream media and the Democratic party have simply decided the best course of action is to delegitimize them. This attempt is two-pronged: first, paint Assange as somehow connected to Russia, and second, always reference WikiLeaks documents as “stolen” first and foremost. It’s an interesting tactic. But, if I steal a cookie from my local grocery store, it is still legitimately a cookie when I eat it.

Of course, leaks showing the cock-ups of the U.S. government naturally benefit Russia, exactly in the same way Bush revelations naturally benefited Democrats, and Clinton revelations…wait for it…naturally benefited Republicans. But, pushing the “Russian hacking” scandal to explain Clinton’s loss is just completely illogical. The emails merely validated the suspicions many voters already had about the DNC’s bias and willingness to participate in all manner of chicanery to get the candidate they wanted.  Moreover, why would the Russian government seek to antagonize the very person that every poll and every media outlet, forecasted would become the next President of the United States? Even Trump assumed that he was going to lose the election given the polls and media reports.  It seems very unlikely that Putin would take such a gamble.

It is long past time for the Democratic party to take a step back and acknowledge what most of us already know. It’s not Russia…It’s you. When our Democratic leaders are more willing to find common ground with Republicans than they are with their progressive base, it is unequivocally the Democratic party that is the problem. When the Democratic party is willing to destroy an already precarious relationship with a foreign power simply because they fucked up and are unwilling to admit it, Democratic voters need to bring them to heel, not follow them down the rabbit hole.  

Nevertheless, this appears to be the goal of the Democratic party, to completely delegitimize anyone who challenges the narrative they started after losing the election.  Anything to divert attention away from their unethical behavior during the primaries, their failures over the last 8 years, and their ineffectiveness as a party; no matter the consequence. As noted by Robert Parry, “This Russia-bashing and Russia-baiting have been accompanied by false narratives presented in the major U.S. newspapers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, to justify increased tensions.”  And, given the tone of Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing on alleged Russian hacking, it seems likely that Democratic politicians and the media are perfectly content with riding this gravy train no matter where it takes us.

So while the media pretends to ferret out “dirty Commie-loving traitors”, which in our current climate appears to be anyone Right or Left of the Democratic party, very few people are considering the deleteriousness of ratcheting up tensions between two nuclear powers who share a tumultuous history. Then again, our politicians and media have very little to lose by ramping up these tensions, in fact, they both profit enormously when our nation is at war.  

Certainly, this isn’t the first time that politicians, the intelligence community, and the media have lied to the American people to avoid public opposition to current and future wars. In fact, in 1971 Daniel Ellsberg leaked top-secret information (The Pentagon Papers) to the media exposing how the U.S. government had been using lies and propaganda for decades under the administrations of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson to promote public support for war. Moreover, are our memories so short that we have forgotten that it was dubious intelligence reports and Bush administration lies that were used to sell us the war in Iraq? While the U.S. media acted as pro-war cheerleaders for our government, one million people perished in Iraq, and nearly three million were displaced.  All because of a lie sold to the American public. These lies have grown into a perpetual global war on terror, causing the deaths of more than four million fellow human beings, and displacing 65 million more.  

The sense of urgency that many people feel about removing Trump from office is something that most people on the Left can understand. Recklessly demonizing Russia in the process is not something that well-intentioned Democrats should be participating in. Moreover, in perpetuating the notion of a yet unproven “attack” on the American people, Democrats are validating the rationale Trump and neoconservatives use to justify massive increases to America’s already bloated military budget. And as we have learned, that will always come at the expense of the nation’s most underserved.

Undoubtedly, this Russia-hype will fade away relatively soon. But, those in the media and the government who perpetuated this myth will simply quietly shift gears, never taking responsibility for their role in turning Americans against one another, or for potentially promoting another needless military intervention.  After all, none of them have taken the slightest responsibility for their role in the Iraq War. In fact, liberal media and Democrats seem to have so little regret for the deaths of millions of people, they have seen absolutely no issue with attempting to turn war criminal George W. Bush into a media darling over the last few weeks.  

I’ll admit, it has been somewhat jarring to witness the rapid deterioration of the Democratic party, from an anti-war party to a party of voracious neoconservatives. Many Democrats seem to have lost grip on the values they once held. They have forgotten that our government, the media, and our intelligence community have earned our skepticism.  Instead, Democrats and liberals simply parrot their talking points without much regard for the consequences. Watching Democrats accuse politicians, journalists, and fellow Americans who disagree with them of being Russian operatives is one of the most bizarre things I have witnessed in my adult life. Unfortunately, asking Democrats what purpose it serves to accuse their allies to the Left, or their opponents to the Right, of such nonsense, yields no fruitful insight. They seem completely contented, maybe even validated, by the conspiracy itself.  

The most worrying aspect of all of this is that it is very likely that Democrats are simply being lured into supporting a “regime change project in Syria” and into escalating hostilities with Russia by the very same individuals who were key architects of the Iraq war. 

… the so-called “#Resistance” to Trump’s presidency and President Obama’s unprecedented use of his intelligence agencies to paint Trump as a Russian “Manchurian candidate” gave new hope to the neocons and their agenda.

It has taken them a few months to reorganize and regroup but they now see hope in pressuring Trump so hard regarding Russia that he will have little choice but to buy into their belligerent schemes.

As often is the case, the Family Kagan has charted the course of action – batter Republicans into joining the all-out Russia-bashing and then persuade a softened Trump to launch a full-scale invasion of Syria. In this endeavor, the Kagans have Democrats and liberals as the foot soldiers.” – Robert Parry, Consortium News

Unfortunately, it seems that many Americans are unwilling to learn from the past, and they are equally unwilling to question the information they receive from the media and the government. Rather than making it very difficult for our government to gain public support for war, we have become willing participants in it, to the needless deaths of countless human beings, and to the massive global refugee crisis that America and her allies have caused.  The only way to end a perpetual war is to stop making it so easy for our government to participate in one. Perhaps this is what #TheResistance should be dedicating itself to.

Written by Beth Lynch

Beth Lynch

Mother, advocate, activist, academic, unapologetic Feminist and Progressive. Beth is a Writer for Progressive Army.
Follow Beth on Twitter @BethLynch2020.

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[…] Everything Is Definitely Russia, Or So It Seems – this March 2017 long form piece by Beth Lynch on Progressive Army explores the obvious McCarthyite aspects of the Trump-Russia scandal and discusses how the conspiracy is being used by mainstream Democrats as a cudgel to silence criticism from the left. The author also touches on the sobering reality that the Democratic party has adopted traditional neoconservative tactics in the wake of it’s 2016 election loss. By looking at both the technical evidence used to support the Trump-Russia theory and examining the ways in which the whole story has been… Read more »
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Everything Is Definitely Russia, Or So It Seems