Thursday’s hearing on Russia was reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition – a nation and its leadership on trial, spurious accusations featured, made-for-television witch-hunt proceedings.
McCarthyism is back on steroids. Intense bipartisan Russia bashing risks possible military confrontation.
Fabricated claims about Russian US election hacking persist – despite no evidence suggesting it. Congress is spoiling for a fight.
The Thursday Senate Select Committee on Intelligence open hearing was Orwellian titled “Disinformation: A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns.”
A Committee statement read like a grade B, CIA-financed, Hollywood propaganda film script, claiming “Russian disinformation operators…left behind more clues and traces than ever before” – without naming any because none exist.
“(E)vidence implicating Russian intelligence in hacking-and-leaking operations over the past two years is also more granular than ever before.”
“This digital forensic evidence can only adequately be assessed by looking at the wider picture of the 2016 influence campaign against the US election.”
“Russia’s intelligence services pioneered dezinformatsiya in the early twentieth century.”
“(I)n the past 20 years, aggressive Russian digital espionage campaigns became the norm.”
“(I)n the past 2 years, Russian intelligence operators began to combine the two, hacking and leaking – or digital espionage and active measures.”
“(I)n the past year… (Russia) targeted at least 109 Clinton campaign staffers…(including her) personal email account…”
“The publicly available evidence that implicates Russian intelligence agencies in the 2016 active measures campaign is extraordinarily strong” – again accusation without evidence.
“(U)witting agents” were used, including “WikiLeaks.”
Fact: No evidence suggests Russian US election hacking.
Fact: No evidence suggests any hacking.
Fact: Credible evidence points to disgruntled Democrat party insider leaks – a topic not raised during congressional or FBI investigations, focusing solely on fabricated claims of Russian hacking.
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Richard Burr (R. NC) and ranking Virginia Democrat Mark Warner lied, claiming an “outside foreign adversary effectively sought to hijack” the 2016 presidential election.
RT and Sputnik News were wrongfully accused of reporting fake news about the election to US audiences, influencing the results – utter nonsense, not a shred of evidence suggesting it.
Claiming “Russian ‘propaganda on steroids’ was designed to poison the national conversation in America” was a malicious Big Lie.
Former US National Intelligence Council official Eugene Rumer turned truth on its head, saying “fake news” and “trolls” are an “integral part of Russian foreign policy.”
“It is the totality of Russian efforts in plain sight – to mislead, to misinform, to exaggerate – that is more convincing than any cyber evidence.”
Neocon Senator Marco Rubio (R. FL) lied, claiming
“(f)ormer members of my presidential campaign team who had access to the internal information of my presidential campaign were targeted by IP addresses with an unknown location within Russia. That effort was unsuccessful.”
“I would also inform the committee within the last 24 hours, at 10:45 AM…a second attempt was made, again, against former members of my presidential campaign team who had access to our internal information – again targeted from an IP address from an unknown location in Russia. And that effort was also unsuccessful.”
King’s College London Department of War Studies professor Thomas Rid called WikiLeaks, Twitter and “over-eager journalists” “unwitting Russian agents.”
Moscow was falsely accused of interfering in European and other elections – again no corroborating evidence because there is none.
In early March, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denounced what he called “hysteria in official Washington and in the American media,” strongly denying Russian US election interference.
“This is unimaginable and someone has to say all this is not true,” he stressed.
During a panel discussion at Thursday’s Arkhangelsk, Russia International Arctic Forum, Putin called accusations about Russian US election hacking “lies…used for domestic American political agendas.”
When asked directly if Russia interfered with last year’s campaign, he borrowed the phrase once used by GHW Bush, saying:
“Read my lips. No” – the first three words in Russian, the last one with emphasis in English.
In days earlier House Select Committee on Intelligence testimony, FBI director James Comey and NSA head Michael Rogers said no evidence of Russia influencing the 2016 presidential election results was found.
Instead of stressing no further investigation is justified, they said an active one remains ongoing.
Given intense bipartisan congressional and media hostility toward Russia, chances for improved bilateral relations are virtually nil.
US-instigated direct confrontation is more likely, possible nuclear war, madness if launched.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.