When in Doubt, Blame the Russians: How the Democrats Distract From Their Email Leak

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When in Doubt, Blame the Russians: How the Democrats Distract From Their Email Leak

As the DNC scrambles to control the damage inflicted by the trove of internal emails released by Wikileaks, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager took the opportunity to whip up some more anti-Russian sentiment going into the general election.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Robby Mook leveled a baseless charge against Moscow, namely that the DNC email leak was a Russian conspiracy designed to shore up Donald Trump’s campaign.

“What’s disturbing to us is that experts are telling us Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, and other experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump,” he said. “I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention.”

He followed that bit of claptrap up with an assertion that Donald Trump has a pro-Russian bias, pointing specifically to the Republican nominee’s common-sense argument that the U.S. pays too great a percentage of NATO’s budget, and moreover that the alliance itself is obsolete.

Does Mook have any proof with which to back up his allegation? Of course not. He does have anonymous “experts,” however, which is surely good enough for anyone already convinced that Vladimir Putin poses an immediate existential threat to the entire world.

When pressed for evidence, Mook had this to say:

“It’s been reported on in the press that the hackers who got into the DNC are very likely to be working in coordination with Russia.”

To talking head Jake Tapper’s credit, he did push back again and imply (subtly, as talking heads are prone to doing) that Mook’s words were irresponsible and quite frankly, stupid.

“Well this isn’t my assertion,” Mook backtracked. “There are a number of experts that are asserting this. I think we need to get to the bottom of these facts, but that is what experts are telling us. A number of experts have said that it was in fact the Russians that went in and took these emails.”

Experts, experts, and more experts—none of them, mind you, have names; nor do they work with any known organizations. Note also that Mook uses the word “facts” when referring to the baseless accusations. This is textbook Cold War doublespeak.

Mook’s bullshit has a very clear function: diverting attention and ire away from DNC corruption and onto supposed Russian mischief against the U.S. As if Russian responsibility for the leak somehow exculpates Debbie Wasserman Schultz (good riddance) and her slimy cohorts.

Here’s how it works:

Citizen #1: “Hey, did you see those email leaks? The DNC had its thumb on the scale for Clinton all along.”

Citizen #2: “You mean those emails that the Russians hacked? Another one of Putin’s machinations. Trying to get Trump elected because he knows he can’t push Hil around.”

Citizen #1: “Nevertheless, the emails are real, and they prove that the DNC was actively trying to undermine Sanders’ campaign.”

Citizen #2: “Sanders is done. Get over it. He lost. Old bastard. The real story here is Russia’s cyber warfare, and Trump’s fascism. Are you a fascist? Do you want a pro-Russian president? Don’t let this email shit distract you from the real issues.”

Citizen #1: “Yeah, I guess you’re right. Let’s go watch Samantha Bee.”

Rest assured, the mass media will soon “confirm” the accusations, citing various experts and officially blaming Putin’s people for the breach. And the public will swallow it whole. That’s what happened when the DNC’s opposition file on Trump was hacked and leaked; CrowdStrike was hired by the DNC to conduct an “independent investigation,” and, lo and behold, Russia was found guilty.

The source of the leak, according to Wikileaks (not an organization sympathetic to Putin), has not been disclosed, and anyone who claims to know said source is full of shit.

“Clinton campaign pushing a lot of ‘Russia’ spin to divert from #DNCLeak. We have no revealed our sources and no one disputes veracity,” they wrote on Twitter.

“Note on sourcing #DNCLeaks. We have, as usual, not revealed our sources. Anyone who claims to know who our source is has no credibility,” read another tweet.

Unsurprisingly, Google, Facebook and Twitter have all been accused—with evidence—of taking steps to censor distribution of the DNC emails. For a brief period following the leak, Google designated Wikileaks a “dangerous” website, while Facebook and Twitter blocked email links from being shared (they were supposedly “unsafe”). Some users on Reddit and Twitter argue it was due to malware, but Facebook soon claimed the censorship was a “mistake”—no further explanation—and stopped blocking the links. You can judge for yourself whether the timing was coincidence.

Anyway, the fact that Clinton’s campaign found it expedient to implicate Moscow in the latest security breach says much about the Democratic nominee’s intentions. She clearly intends to expand, not bridge, the divide between the U.S. and Russia. This is an insane policy, based in part on Russia’s alliance with Iran, and it could very well get us all killed.

Recently, at Russia’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin spoke to a group of journalists about his exasperation with NATO’s military provocations, as well as the Western media’s apologies for them. His comments are worth quoting at length:

The ‘Iranian threat’ does not exist, but the NATO Missile Defense system is being positioned in Europe…. As you [journalists] should know, these missiles are put into capsules, which are used in the Tomahawk long range missile system. These are being loaded with missiles that can penetrate territories within a 500 km range. But we know that technologies advance, and we even know in which year the U.S. will accomplish the next missile. This missile will be able to penetrate distances of up to 1000 km, and then even further. And from that moment on, they will start to directly threaten Russia’s nuclear potential. We know year by year what’s going to happen, and they [the U.S.] know that we know. It’s only you that they tell tall-tales to, and you buy it, and spread it to the citizens of your countries. Your people in turn do not feel a sense of the impending danger; this is what worries me. How do you not understand that the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction? I don’t know how to get through to you anymore.

Putin is not being a shrewd, deceptive politician here; he’s not obfuscating. These are the words of a man who is struggling to come to terms with the extent of Western hubris. NATO has been steadily expanding eastward for decades, surrounding a still-very-powerful Russia with political enemies. For what purpose? It’s actually difficult to say, which is exactly Putin’s point. Do the U.S. and its European allies seriously want military conflict with Russia? Because that’s the message they’re sending.

Of course, the narrative is distorted in our mass media, and Russia is portrayed, over and over again, as the rogue imperialist state that threatens our existence. This is a campaign of blatant propaganda, and it’s predictably working. The cant words suffixed by “phobia” are usually misnomers, but “Russophobia”—an irrational fear of Russia—is an appropriate term to use in this context.

We should not fear Russia; we should fear ourselves.

The reality of the danger involved in continuously provoking Russia was presented in a memorandum by three Russian military analysts living in the U.S. Their goal is simply to remind us that actions have consequences—even for the infallible United States. The chickens rarely if ever come home to roost in the U.S. Typically, we instigate reckless wars that mutilate entire societies, countries and regions, but face minimal blowback ourselves (9/11 is the obvious exception).

In the case of a military conflict with Russia, however, the direct blowback would be shattering, and it is this obvious point that Eugenia Gurevich, Dmitri Orlov, and the anonymous Saker attempt to get across in their memo. That it even had to be written is worrying, because it means the basic logic underpinning its thesis is absent from our political discourse.

“We strongly believe,” they write, “that a conventional war in Europe runs a strong chance of turning nuclear very rapidly, and that any U.S./NATO nuclear strike on Russian forces or territory will automatically trigger a retaliatory Russian nuclear strike on the continental U.S.”

And what might the result look like?

At a minimum, there would no longer be an electric grid, no internet, no oil and gas pipelines, no interstate highway system, no air transportation or GPS-based navigation. Financial centers would lie in ruins. Government at every level would cease to function. US armed forces, stationed all around the globe, would no longer be resupplied. At a maximum, the entire landmass of the US would be covered by a layer of radioactive ash.

And make no mistake: this unthinkable circumstance remains a possibility because of “the extremist views of the neoconservative movement, whose members have infiltrated the U.S. federal government, and who consider any country that refuses to obey their dictates as an enemy to be crushed.”

This is not crazy talk or fearmongering; it’s merely common sense. Before the neocons got their hands on the Middle East, Islamic terror was confined to an obscure corner of Afghanistan. Now it’s everywhere, with huge concentrations of power in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and Nigeria (did I miss some? Probably).

In other words, never underestimate the neocons’ capacity for destruction—it’s infinite.

At the 2015 NPT Review Conference (which our dear leader didn’t judge significant enough to attend), John Kerry attributed the following words to President Obama:

The United States remains committed to all three pillars of the NPT—disarmament, nonproliferation, and encouragement of peaceful uses of the atom—and we are prepared to go further in meeting our obligations under the Treaty. We continue to lead efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and reduce the role and number of our own, and we are dedicated to global efforts preventing proliferation. There are no shortcuts in this endeavor, and each step must be carefully taken to ensure that the security of all is increased along the way.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, our government is planning to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years to upgrade and modernize our nuclear arsenal—in flagrant violation of the NPT. Curiously, or perhaps not, nobody seems particularly interested in this. It was never brought up during the primary debates, and Obama, to my knowledge, has not been asked to explain his truly staggering hypocrisy.

But then why worry about our own nuclear psychosis when we can project it onto Vladimir Putin?