Real Purpose Of U.S. Government’s Report On Alleged Hacking By Russia

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Above Photo:  A detail of a page in the declassified report. (Jon Elswick / AP)

Some thoughts on “Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election,” the newly released declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

1. The primary purpose of the declassified report, which offers no evidence to support its assertions that Russia hacked the U.S. presidential election campaign, is to discredit Donald Trump. I am not saying there was no Russian hack of John Podesta’s emails. I am saying we have yet to see any tangible proof to back up the accusation. This charge—Sen. John McCain has likened the alleged effort by Russia to an act of war—is the first salvo in what will be a relentless campaign by the Republican and Democratic establishment, along with its corporatist allies and the mass media, to destroy the credibility of the president-elect and prepare the way for impeachment.

The allegations in the report, amplified in breathtaking pronouncements by a compliant corporate media that operates in a non-fact-based universe every bit as pernicious as that inhabited by Trump, are designed to make Trump look like Vladimir Putin’s useful idiot. An orchestrated and sustained campaign of innuendo and character assassination will be directed against Trump. When impeachment is finally proposed, Trump will have little public support and few allies and will have become a figure of open ridicule in the corporate media.

2. The second task of the report is to bolster the McCarthyist smear campaign against independent media, including Truthdig, as witting or unwitting agents of the Russian government. The demise of the English programming of Al-Jazeera and TeleSur, along with the collapse of the nation’s public broadcasting, designed to give a voice to those not beholden to corporate or party interests, leaves RT America and Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! as the only two electronic outlets with a national reach that are willing to give a platform to critics of corporate power and imperialism such as Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Ralph Nader, Medea Benjamin, Cornel West, Kshama Sawant, myself and others.

Seven pages of the report were dedicated to RT America, on which I have a show called “On Contact.” The report vastly inflated the cable network’s reach and influence. It also included a few glaring errors, including the statement that “RT introduced two new shows—‘Breaking the Set’ on 4 September and ‘Truthseeker’ on 2 November—both overwhelmingly focused on criticism of the US and Western governments as well as the promotion of radical discontent.” “Breaking the Set,” with Abby Martin, was taken off the air two years ago. It could hardly be tarred with costing Hillary Clinton the election.

The barely contained rage of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper at the recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on foreign cyber threats was visible when he spat out that RT was “promoting a particular point of view, disparaging our system, our alleged hypocrisy about human rights, et cetera.” His anger was a glimpse into how the establishment seethes with hatred for dissidents. Clapper has lied in the past. He perjured himself in March 2013 when, three months before the revelations of wholesale state surveillance leaked by Snowden, he assured Congress that the National Security Agency was not collecting “any type of data” on the American public. After the corporate state shuts down RT, it will go after Democracy Now! and the handful of progressive sites, including this one, that give these dissidents space. The goal is censorship.

3. The third task of the report is to justify the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization beyond Germany, a violation of the promise Ronald Reagan made to the Soviet Union’s Mikhail Gorbachev after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Expanding NATO in Eastern Europe opened up an arms market for the war industry. It made those businesses billions of dollars. New NATO members must buy Western arms that can be integrated into the NATO arsenal. These sales, which are bleeding the strained budgets of countries such as Poland, are predicated on potential hostilities with Russia. If Russia is not a threat, the arms sales plummet. War is a racket.

4. The final task of the report is to give the Democratic Party plausible cover for the catastrophic election defeat it suffered. Clinton initially blamed FBI Director James Comey for her loss before switching to the more easily demonized Putin. The charge of Russian interference essentially boils down to the absurd premise that perhaps hundreds of thousands of Clinton supporters suddenly decided to switch their votes to Trump when they read the leaked emails of Podesta. Either that or they tuned in to RT America and decided to vote for the Green Party.

The Democratic Party leadership cannot face, and certainly cannot publicly admit, that its callous betrayal of the working and middle class triggered a nationwide revolt that resulted in the election of Trump. It has been pounded since President Barack Obama took office, losing 68 seats in the House, 12 seats in the Senate and 10 governorships. It lost more than 1,000 elected positions between 2008 and 2012 nationwide. Since 2010, Republicans have replaced 900 Democratic state legislators. If this was a real party, the entire leadership would be sacked. But it is not a real party. It is the shell of a party propped up by corporate money and hyperventilating media.

The Democratic Party must maintain the fiction of liberalism just as the Republican Party must maintain the fiction of conservatism. These two parties, however, belong to one party—the corporate party. They will work in concert, as seen by the alliance between Republican leaders such as McCain and Democratic leaders such as Sen. Chuck Schumer, to get rid of Trump, silence all dissent, enrich the war industry and promote the farce they call democracy.

Welcome to our annus horribilis.

  • BeUtahful

    Amen!

  • wrubles

    Rather ironic (but to be expected) that all the “hack” did was to reveal emails and communications/actions that actually occurred – in other words the truth – and if it is a problem that the voters of the USA are not supposed to have access to the truth before they vote, then that is the REAL problem… it is a problem within the system that pretends to be democratic. I am amazed that the content of the “hacks” is never discussed. As a citizen and a voter I wish to have as much access to the truth as possible, I don”t care where it “comes from” , It is simply the truth. Bring it on! We are all in this together. Increasing polarization could potentially be our demise, given human’s destructive capabilities (nuclear for example).
    Humans should get real about the fact that humans need the earth/ the biosphere, to continue in some similar fashion for us to exist at all. “Save the Earth” is bullshit. The earth and some other life forms will carry on without us NO problem, after partying on the available biomass of our dead bodies.

  • John Schoonover

    Hedges misses the target in this piece. The real push, and it has been since the USSR collapsed, is for control of Eurasia. For that, Russia must be beaten into submission. https://popularresistance.org/us-intel-agencies-try-to-strong-arm-trump-into-war-with-russia/

  • Robert H. Stiver

    Hmm…there are other “targets,” and worldwide Zionism is in my crosshairs as the REAL PUSH(ER) for manipulation, division, control and domination. (“Worldwide” centering on the ever-volatile and -vulnerable Middle East and the never-ending tragedy befalling the “holy” land and its indigenous residents, the Palestinians.)

  • Robert H. Stiver

    I’m no fan of Trump, but this analysis is right on! Kudos to Mr. Hedges. McCain, and — in particular, in my mind — the Graham Cracker are dangerous zealots who need to be outed and ostracized/excommunicated from the body politic.

    Oddly, I’m drawn to the (surely searchable) comments of the otherwise-terminally-execrable Hillary Clinton several years ago that Al-Jazeerah’s media presence in the WashDC Beltway provided a refreshing, and enlarging, perspective on news of the day. Today, Iran’s Press TV and RT (as I give parallel and fulsome credit to alternative blogs and sources such as The Real News Network) provide equal, and probably better, service to the few stalwarts of the viewing public who value truth, no matter how uncomfortable, over faux news. I admit that I don’t access them adequately via the Internet or other portals….

  • chetdude

    Indeed, to understand the true motivations of USAmerica, INC “Follow the Money”…

  • DHFabian

    The primary purpose of saying that “the election was hacked” is to give the false impression that voting machines were hacked. To my knowledge, they were not. What happened is that someone — and Wikileaks themselves say it was not Russia — accessed the email server (the DNC’s? Clinton’s? Podesta’s?), and released those emails… somewhere. If anything, those emails only shone a light on the Clinton wing of the party. In fact, we don’t know who did the hacking, but the Clinton wing use this to distract public attention from the information that was revealed.

    And yes, we have clearly been seeing a McCarthy-style “influence” over both MSM and the media marketed to liberals, with the latter being more subtle since the 1990s.

    As for the election, many pointed out from the start that if Clinton were selected, a Republican would be elected. Nevertheless, Clinton won the majority of the popular vote, the Electoral College chose Trump, and that’s what we got.

  • DHFabian

    I’d strongly advise Americans against pursuing war. Reality: Following 9/11, the US pursued the longest, most expensive war in this country’s history. We’ve been drained out economically and militarily, and are at a historically weak point as a nation. Because the US shut down/shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, we no longer have the means to rebuild. Meanwhile, Americans have been deeply divided, pitted against each other by class, race, and ideology. At this point, it would take very little for the US to collapse.

  • DHFabian

    THAT is the key point! It was not a “smear campaign,” but simply shone a light on the facts — facts that every American theoretically has a right to know.

  • DHFabian

    The US doesn’t have the power to do that. We’re drained out, and Russia, China, etc., have decades of resentment against the US and its reckless military/corporate agenda..

  • DHFabian

    Chasing a fantasy. I assume you don’t even know what Zionism is. It’s not complicated. Zionism is “a movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the
    development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel.” The same agenda every nation has for itself. Now note that Israel is a tiny, tiny country — roughly the size of New Jersey — surrounded by vast, oil-rich Arab lands that seek a 100% “pure” Moslem Mideast. It takes all that Israel has got, just to survive. Bigots persist in clinging to the old “magic Jews” notion that, as history shows, defies all logic.

  • John Schoonover

    Whether they have the power or not, that is the policy.

  • John Schoonover

    Brzezinski’s The Grand Chessboard lays out the policy in great detail. The motivation is expand and consolidate the empire.

  • John Schoonover

    That’s ridiculous, at best. The Zionists are a mere satrapy, just like their predecessors were under the Turks and the Romans.

  • Robert H. Stiver

    Ridiculous, you write? Satrapy, you write? This “satrapy” occupies WashDC via AIPAC and the USrael “entangling alliance”; the perils of such entanglement were outlined by President Jefferson long, long ago.

    Read Alison Weir’s “Against Our Better Judgment.” And then, if you’re a patriotic, America-first US citizen, mourn the subservience that has befallen our country.