While failing utterly to provide evidence (let alone persuasive evidence) that Russia intruded into the DNC’s email system, today’s intelligence report is not without interest. The most notable sections of the report are those that tie Russia’s government to a series of left-wing propaganda campaigns in the U.S. No member of the Occupy movement, for instance, can read the report without squirming. If true, it vindicates what we conservatives have been saying for decades, going back to the unilateral disarmament and nuclear freeze movements of the 1950s through 1980s.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union used intelligence officers, influence agents, forgeries, and press placements to disparage candidates perceived as hostile to the Kremlin, according to a former KGB archivist.
Like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. It would have been useful to have the information supporting this conclusion several decades ago, when Democrats ridiculed suggestions that the Kremlin was behind various left-wing movements in the Free World. It would be interesting to see what our intelligence agencies know about Soviet efforts to influence the elections of 1968, 1980 and 1984.
The Russians haven’t stopped trying since the presumed end of the Cold War:
Russia, like its Soviet predecessor, has a history of conducting covert influence campaigns focused on US presidential elections that have used intelligence officers and agents and press placements to disparage candidates perceived as hostile to the Kremlin.
Like, how about 2012, when Mitt Romney said that Russia was our number one geopolitical rival, and Barack Obama responded that the 1980s want their foreign policy back? Undoubtedly the Russians wanted Obama to win in 2012, as in 2008 (when they publicly celebrated his victory on the ground that as president, he would not pursue American interests). Did they “meddle” in the 2012 election on Obama’s behalf?
From August to November 2012, RT ran numerous reports on alleged US election fraud and voting machine vulnerabilities, contending that US election results cannot be trusted and do not reflect the popular will.
Remember the anti-Diebold campaign from the Democrats in 2012? That propaganda effort may have been inspired, and was supported, if today’s report is credible, by Russia’s government.
Today’s report describes Communist subversion efforts exactly as conservatives have contended for decades:
By their nature, Russian influence campaigns are multifaceted and designed to be deniable because they use a mix of agents of influence, cutouts, front organizations, and false-flag operations.
This is the kind of thing conservatives were disparaged for saying for several decades. Now let’s get specific. Occupy Wall Street was, evidently, a Russian front operation:
RT aired a documentary about the Occupy Wall Street movement on 1, 2, and 4 November. RT framed the movement as a fight against “the ruling class” and described the current US political system as corrupt and dominated by corporations. RT advertising for the documentary featured Occupy movement calls to “take back” the government. The documentary claimed that the US system cannot be changed democratically, but only through “revolution.”
Putin’s government also took concrete steps to help advance the Occupy movement:
RT created a Facebook app to connect Occupy Wall Street protesters via social media. In addition, RT featured its own hosts in Occupy rallies.
Russia’s support for Occupy Wall Street was consistent with the left-wing tenor of its efforts to influence politics in the U.S.:
RT Editor in Chief Margarita Simonyan recently declared that the United States itself lacks democracy and that it has “no moral right to teach the rest of the world.”
A theme that we hear all the time from the Left. Another left-wing theme that the Russians have promoted is that America’s two-party system doesn’t represent many of our people:
In an effort to highlight the alleged “lack of democracy” in the United States, RT broadcast, hosted, and advertised third- party candidate debates and ran reporting supportive of the political agenda of these candidates. The RT hosts asserted that the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a “sham.”
Jill Stein, anyone? Was she a Russian tool?
Finally, today’s report acknowledges that Russian involvement in American political issues does not begin and end with elections. Russia has supported environmental groups to try to suppress fracking, which strikes at the heart of Russian economic strength:
RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health. This is likely reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.
I personally think that the anti-fracking movement is mostly a creation of the Russian government. That view is at least consistent with today’s report.
So, while it is pathetically inadequate as support for the claim that Putin’s regime somehow influenced our 2016 presidential election, today’s report provides interesting and long-overdue perspective on Soviet and Russian efforts to influence American politics through the decades.