The Lincoln Project (2 minutes):
A most interesting article in Thursday’s Guardian explores the deep ties between associates of the former president and the Kremlin with current leader Vladimir Putin. This is information that has been out in the cyber world for a long time – since before the 2016 election – but this article really helps to pull the ties together.
Putin had and still has a plan to overturn the world order and bring an end to western style democracies. By using disinformation campaigns and useful stooges in various western democracies Putin would be able to slowly, almost imperceptibly to some, transform democracies to autocracies. He would also be able to break up western alliances that stood in stark opposition to what he was doing in Russia.
The tools were friendly news sources throughout the world and wide open social networks where wild lies could gain credence. As author Rebecca Soling describes it taking place in the US:
In 2014, the Putin regime invaded Ukraine’s Crimea. In 2016, the same regime invaded the United States. The former took place as a conventional military operation; the latter was a spectacular case of cyberwarfare, including disinformation that it was happening at all and promulgation of a lot of talking points still devoutly repeated by many. It was a vast social-media influencing project that took many forms as it sought to sow discord and confusion, even attempting to dissuade Black voters from voting.
Additionally, Russian intelligence targeted voter rolls in all 50 states, which is not thought to have had consequences, but demonstrated the reach and ambition of online interference. This weekend, British investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr said on Twitter, “We failed to acknowledge Russia had staged a military attack on the West. We called it ‘meddling.’ We used words like ‘interference.’ It wasn’t. It was warfare. We’ve been under military attack for eight years now.”
As she notes, Putin’s minions were not only directing their attention to the United States, and included pro-Brexit efforts and support for France’s far-right racist National Front party. The US interference – you could call it cyberwarfare, or informational invasion – took many forms. Stunningly, a number of left-wing news sources and pundits devoted themselves to denying the reality of the intervention and calling those who were hostile to the Putin regime cold-war red-scare right-wingers, as if contemporary Russia was a glorious socialist republic rather than a country ruled by a dictatorial ex-KGB agent with a record of murdering journalists, imprisoning dissenters, embezzling tens of billions and leading a global neofascist white supremacist revival. In discrediting the news stories and attacking critics of the Russian government, they provided crucial cover for Trump.
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What’s striking in retrospect is that all of this was made possible by corruption and amorality inside the United States. It was Silicon Valley’s mercenary amorality that created weapons and vulnerabilities and sat by pocketing the profit as they were exploited to destructive ends. It was corrupt Americans – from Manafort to Trump himself – that gave Putin his influence. It was international players such as WikiLeaks and Cambridge Analytica that helped. It was corruption of media outlets such as Fox News that continued – in Tucker Carlson’s case until last week’s invasion of Ukraine caught up with him – to defend Putin and spread disinformation.
The Republican party met its new leader by matching his corruption, and by covering up his crimes and protecting him from consequences, including two impeachments. The second impeachment was for a violent invasion of Congress, not by a foreign power, but by right-wingers inflamed by lies instigated by Trump and amplified by many in the party. They have become willing collaborators in an attempt to sabotage free and fair elections, the rule of law, and truth itself. As author Rebecca Soling describes it taking place in the US:
Speculation since Putin’s open aggression and invasion of Ukraine has been that just as in 2016, he had his minions working the social media for a Trump victory. Was Putin also working behind the scenes in the January 6th attempt overthrow the US government and have Trump returned to power by force? Hopefully, such questions will be answered by the January 6th committee.
Had Trump been reinstalled would he have looked the other way as Putin overran Ukraine?
Iowans need to be aware of the Trump connection to Putin. They also need to understand that most of Iowa’s leading Republicans are acolytes of Trump. Mariannette Miller-Meeks will not answer yet who won the 2020 election, thus playing into the disinformation game. How hard can it be to admit the truth?
Besides Miller-Meeks strange refusal to answer a straight forward question, Iowans had the sight of Iowa’s Republican leaders – Grassley, Reynolds, Hinson and Miller-Meeks welcoming Trump to Iowa last October. At this rally all four paid homage to Trump – which in turn gives approval to what he has done. Shameful!