Monday, 9 January 2017

Trump, Putin, Hacking and US Elections

The weekend US political programmes continued the meme about Russia hacking the Democrats e-mails, as well as intervening in the US elections in a variety of other ways, such as the support for fake news websites and so on.  What a load of hyperbole and hypocrisy.

Did Russia hack into e-mails sent by Hillary Clinton and other Democrats?  I don't know, possibly, even probably.  But, so what?  No one claims that Russia actually hacked into US voting machines, so as to rig the result of the vote.  The issue for US workers was not that Russia or someone hacked into the Democrats computer systems, but that the Democrats' apparatus acted to undermine Bernie Sanders so as to support the doomed candidature of Hillary Clinton!  Whoever uncovered that underhand, bureaucratic and ultimately disastrous course of action by the Democrats establishment did US workers, and Democrats supporters a big favour.  Its that activity by that establishment that US workers and rank file Democrats should be concerned with, not some wild goose chase over who may or may not have been responsible for hacking.

What this overblown hacking scandal does is to divert attention for the benefit of the US establishment, both Democrats and Republicans.  It diverts attention from the question of how a buffoon, a racist, misogynist, narcissist like Trump could become elected to the most important position in the world.  It diverts attention from the collapse of the political centre, which ruled the roost for the last thirty years, but whose policies have brought the economies of the US, UK and EU to a position of severe financial crisis, as asset price bubbles have been inflated, at the cost of restraining economic growth, and have only been able to prevent the bursting of those financial bubbles by ever more extreme monetary intervention, again at the cost of the real economy.

After all, such hacking is nothing new.  The US has admitted hacking Angela merkel's mobile phone, for example.  The US is the world's leading technological country; most of the world's computer and communications systems are driven by software produced in the US; and US companies also own and control most of the hardware.  If any computer hacking for national strategic advantage is taking place, it is far more likely that it is the US rather than Russia that is able to be undertaking it.

And, of course, that would only be a modern version of the interference in the economies and politics of foreign countries that the US has long undertaken, just as the UK and other imperialist powers undertook such action in the past.  The US, via the CIA, for example, organised a coup to overthrow the democratically elected Mossadegh government in Iran, in the 1950's, just as they organised a coup to overthrow the democratically elected Allende government in Chile in 1973.  The US overtly intervened in the affairs of Latin America, and even more visibly in Vietnam.  In the 1970's, it said openly that if the Italian Communist Party was elected to government, the US would destabilise the country.

I do not doubt that Russia probably did hack US computers, but it is small fry compared to the way the US has interfered in the affairs of other countries in the past, and no doubt the present too.  The same is true about the complaints about fake news, and the propaganda activities of RT.  Again, it is small fry compared with the capacity of huge US media companies such as Fox to spread lies and disinformation, not just during an election period, but as a steady, continuous drone that continues hour after hour, day after day, year after year.  And, US officials have made no secret that billions of dollars was pumped into countries such as Ukraine and elsewhere, where the so called colour revolutions took place, to create and finance movements hostile to the existing regimes, and favourable to the US.

And watching the coverage over the weekend, and last week the problem for the US establishment becomes clear.  A range of intelligence agencies come forward to offer "proof" that Russia was responsible for the hacking, but these are the same intelligence agencies that gave "proof" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction ready to be fired off within 45 minutes.  Watching some of the coverage over the last few days, it reminded me of how embarrassed I felt, for Colin Powell, back in 1973, watching him set out a case using grainy, meaningless satellite photos, backed up with cartoon drawings of what Iraqi WMD facilities might look like.  Anyone watching that presentation back then, with an ounce of intelligence, would have known that no real evidence existed for Iraqi WMD.  Yet, politicians and others in the US and UK, assured us on the basis of this stuff that it was undeniable, and took us into a war that resulted in hundreds of thousands of Iraqis being killed, tore the country apart, and destroyed its economy, and which opened the door for the growth of Islamist extremists across North Africa and the Middle East.

Today is even more dangerous.  Every day, the news media, itself having been turned into an entertainment industry, and in search of sensationalism to boost ratings, goads and drives politicians to provide them with a new story, a new spectacular event to cover on their "shows".  "What are you going to do about this attack by Russia?", the media ghouls ask.  Iraq had no WMD and no capacity to strike back at those that declared war on it.  Russia does have WMD.  It has lots of them.  If the media keep goading politicians into providing them with some new sensational story, by attacking Russia, they should bear in mind that they will be vaporised in any resultant nuclear blast along with the rest of us.

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