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Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at 1:51 AM
A major theme of the 2016 US presidential campaign has been the campaign to depict Russia as intent on manipulating the election through cyber warfare.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton declared in this week’s final debate that “the Russian government has engaged in espionage against Americans” and “given that information to WikiLeaks for the purpose of putting it on the Internet.” She said the operation has “come from… Putin himself, in an effort… to influence our election.” She accused Republican candidate Donald Trump of being a “puppet” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Clinton presented her accusations as incontrovertible facts, citing as supposed proof the October 7 declaration of James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, who declared that the “US intelligence community” was “confident” that the Russian government was responsible for hacking Democratic Party and Clinton campaign computers and passing on the information for publication by WikiLeaks.
No evidence has been presented to the public by the US government or any other source to substantiate the claims of Russian hacking. Clapper’s word is worthless. He is a perjurer, having lied under oath to the US Senate Judiciary Committee in March of 2013 when asked point blank whether the government was carrying out large-scale surveillance of private communications.
Clinton and her surrogates, including the New York Times, seem to think that the American people have forgotten the lying claims of the US “intelligence community,” promoted uncritically by the same media organizations that are retailing the anti-Russian narrative today, about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Ultimately, whether or not Russia is involved in the leaking of emails exposing the corruption and dishonesty of Clinton is a secondary question. Clinton, the Democratic Party and the media have seized on this story and made it central to 2016 election campaign because it serves definite political ends.
First, the charge of Russian espionage has allowed the Clinton campaign, together with the great bulk of the corporate-controlled media, to downplay the highly compromising, if not incriminating, contents of the emails released by WikiLeaks. (Her groveling speeches to Wall Street, her campaign’s connivance with the Democratic Party leadership to subvert the primary challenge by Bernie Sanders, the efforts to influence official investigations into her illicit use of a private email account for official State Department business, the corrupt relations between the Clinton Foundation and various organizations and governments, etc.).
It is a classic example of seeking to discredit the message by attacking the messenger.
But there are more fundamental issues involved in the Russia-baiting. Washington deems Russia to be an obstacle to its drive for hegemony over Eurasia. Moreover, the whipping up of tensions with Moscow serves to keep America’s allies in Western Europe lined up behind the geo-strategic and economic agenda of US imperialism. A major function of the Cold War was to maintain US political supremacy in Europe by cultivating an external threat on the European imperialist powers’ eastern flank. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union 25 years ago, this role has been transferred to capitalist Russia—still the second biggest nuclear power in the world.
It is worth noting that today marks the 54th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s speech announcing to the American people that the Soviet Union had stationed nuclear missiles in Cuba and that the US government had instituted an embargo to intercept and search all Russian ships heading for Cuba. The Cuban missile crisis was the closest human civilization came to nuclear destruction.
The reckless and incendiary war program of the United States has today brought the world closer to nuclear annihilation than at any time since those 13 days in 1962. The US proxy war for regime-change in Syria and other bloody interventions in the Middle East, and the US-led militarization of Eastern Europe have once again brought Washington and Moscow perilously close to war. The current demonization of Putin by the presidential front-runner Clinton only heightens the danger.
The Cold War was accompanied by a fanatical anti-communist ideology that affected all aspects of American politics and society. The US obsession with the USSR was driven by the hatred and fear of the American ruling class for the legacy of revolutionary socialism expressed in however distorted form by the continued existence of the Soviet Union. But the Cold War was also about securing the dominant position in the global geopolitical order of the United States, by means of NATO and other institutions, vis a vis Washington’s imperialist allies.
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