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Neoconservatives And Clinton Manufacture Fear Of Russian Influence In Election

There has been no specific evidence put forward by anyone in any of the United States security agencies or the Democratic National Committee to prove the Russian government was behind a hack, which led to WikiLeaks publishing incredibly embarrassing emails from the DNC. But that has not stopped the Democrats and Hillary Clinton from pushing this conspiracy theory.

Clinton said one week ago on “Fox News Sunday,” “We know that Russian intelligence services hacked into the DNC and we know that they arranged for a lot of those emails to be released, and we know that Donald Trump has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin, to support Putin.”

Her campaign published five questions “every voter should ask about Donald Trump’s bizarre relationship with Russia.” They include: “what’s behind Trump’s fascination with Vladimir Putin”; “why does Trump surround himself with advisers with links to the Kremlin”; “why do Trump’s foreign policy ideas read like a Putin wish list”; “do Trump’s still-secret tax returns show ties to Russian oligarchs”; and “why is Trump encouraging Russia to interfere in our election.”

Still, there is no specific evidence of Russian involvement.

Former CIA director Mike Morell recently penned an endorsement for Clinton published by the New York Times, which touted her strength as a foreign policy hawk. It went on to assert that Trump is almost a kind of Manchurian candidate in the election—that Russian President Vladimir Putin has somehow influenced him and “played upon his vulnerabilities.”

Again, there is no evidence of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election. The Clinton campaign just seems to want voters to believe propaganda that the Russians are trying to help Trump win the election.

On this week’s “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast, Robbie Martin, co-host of Media Roots radio and creator of the three-part documentary, “A Very Heavy Agenda,” joins the show to talk about Hillary Clinton’s alliance with neoconservative Republicans and address this stunning new Cold War rhetoric from Democrats and those supporting Clinton.

Martin discusses the wild allegations around Russia hacking the DNC, which the Democrats have actively promoted. He highlights former CIA director Mike Morell’s endorsement of Clinton, and his claims about Trump and Putin. Host Rania Khalek and Martin also talk about what they witnessed at a fundraiser for Clinton, which featured neocon Robert Kagan.

The episode is available on iTunes. For a link to the episode (and also to download the episode), go here. A page will load with the audio file of the interview that will automatically play.

Or listen by clicking the below player:

GOSZTOLA: In the past weeks, we’ve heard about this hack of the Democratic National Committee. Would you summarize what has been alleged about Russia’s involvement in the DNC hack? And then, if you would, please debunk some of what has been spread about this hack so we can get to what is really true and what we really do know about this hack so far.

MARTIN: Immediately, when WikiLeaks put up all these new emails and announced the hack, I think that the Democratic Party and sort of the Democratic establishment panicked. They were trying to figure out a way to spin it to their advantage. Surprisingly, other than throwing Debbie Wasserman Schultz under the bus, they went all the way to—if you were looking at this from a scale of one to ten—they went all the way to a ten in terms of what propaganda they used to spin it, which is basically saying this was a Russian government operation hack.

It didn’t just have Russian fingerprints on it; that it actually came from the Russian intelligence services, and then on top of that, not only was it a Russian hack but that it was done specifically because Putin loves Trump and that he actually wants Trump to win and that this is Putin some kind of coup d’tat in our country by using cyberterrorism. That’s what I was describe as a ten in terms of the propaganda that was used in the wake of the DNC leak.

GOSZTOLA: And so, what do we know? What can we actually say for certain about the nature of this hack into the DNC?

MARTIN: For me, personally, I don’t think that it is conclusive yet about how it happened. The words of Julian Assange and some of the other people involved and who have handled this material—They actually just said it was not received through a hack.

This is the interesting thing. This came out [August 5]. So, Julian Assange and others were kind of beating around the bush and saying they wouldn’t reveal anything about their sources, which allowed the media and of course these people spinning this theory about Russia to say, “Look, he’s not saying it’s not Russia.” But what he said today, or maybe it was yesterday, is that these emails were actually not received from that hack that happened because the DNC servers were hacked several months ago. And apparently these emails didn’t come from there at all.

I think that puts a new perspective on what these emails were and who they came from. They may have even come from an insider. There’s plenty of people who would have had access to these emails on the inside of the DNC. But then, what’s really suspicious to me is, just like MH17, there was several independent investigations done by these “independent” cybersecurity firms within the first 24 to 48 hours of this DNC leak news basically saying they had already proven this was a Russian hack and that it had all these Russian fingerprints all over it.

I always find that suspicious when these “forensic investigations” are done so quickly because it allows for this obvious rush to judgment. Just like MH17, even though the Dutch investigation kind of eventually concluded similar things, the U.S. media within the first 24 hours went out and told us it was a Buk. Putin knew the Russian separatists shot it down. Basically Russia shot down a plane. That’s kind of what we’re seeing now, a similar rush [to judgment]. And now the narrative is already out there and it’s kind of solidified, and I think this information Julian Assange admitted to kind of puts a whole new spin on it and makes it even more discredited.

GOSZTOLA: On this issue of Julian Assange being involved, the fact that WikiLeaks was the organization that put out these emails—I just want to insert something into our conversation that was said by an expert, a former lawyer for the National Security Agency, who is now with the Brookings Institution, and her name is Susan Susan Hennessey. I come by this because it’s in this PolitiFact piece.

And I want to ask you about something that you’ve addressed before in your work, which is she says that she believes the Russians were somehow involved in this. Part of her argument involves the fact that the Russian government is likely a WikiLeaks source, and because “Assange and the Russian government have a well-documented relationship, for example the fact that Assange has hosted a television show on RT, a state-owned network,” if you add that together, it’s logical that the Russians are giving documents to WikiLeaks. And she even says, “Circumstantial, yes, but strong enough to be the operating assumption for the intelligence community.”

I hear you laughing. Please tell us all why this is ridiculous.

MARTIN: I mean, it’s just such paranoid McCarthy-style thinking in my mind. Using that same logic you could say the things Abby [his sister, Abby Martin, a journalist] and I are reporting are somehow given to us by the Russian government or we’re somehow Russian agents of some kind just by proxy of her working for Russia Today. So, it’s ridiculous.

What was this woman’s name again?

GOSZTOLA: Her name is Susan Hennessey, and she was a lawyer for the National Security Agency at one point. And now she is with the Brookings Institution, a Beltway think tank.

MARTIN: Yeah, and Brookings Institution, the president of it is Strobe Talbott, who if people out there don’t know he was largely responsible for the NATO expansion under Bill Clinton. After the Soviet Union collapsed, we expanded NATO at least two times over and brought in all these former Soviet satellite countries. I would argue he’s one of the main people on the Democratic side of the spectrum, who is driving this new Cold War mentality.

Brookings is actually putting out most of this stuff right now. The Atlantic Council is another one. But one of the interesting things I thought of while you were mentioning her ridiculous paranoid statements—And I would even say that she doesn’t believe what she was saying, if I was going to be honest. I think that she’s obviously lying. The whole point of what they’re doing is they’re trying to dumb down the rhetoric to people into these camps—whether you’re pro-Putin or anti-Putin. Which is frankly ridiculous because most people in this country aren’t either one. They don’t have much of an investment in it.

If Russia was going to do some kind of hack and give something to Julian Assange, they would give him something way better than what’s in the DNC leaks. Just thinking about it that way I don’t even think it would make sense that Russia would—Because what effect did it really have besides embarrassing the Democratic Party? Ultimately, I don’t think it really hurt Hillary Clinton all that much. I just don’t see how that even makes sense.

KHALEK: To be fair, nothing could hurt Hillary Clinton. I’m pretty sure at this point she could strangle a baby on national TV, and it somehow it would be conspiratorial and sexist to call her mean. But that said, Robbie, you and I were at an interesting event a few weeks ago. We went to that foreign policy fundraiser held by the Hillary Clinton campaign, and it was hosted by our good friend, Robert Kagan.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Robert Kagan, he is the neoconservative thinker, one of the most sophisticated neoconservative leaders, who has basically inserted himself in the Clinton campaign. He was headlining that foreign policy fundraiser, and what everybody kept talking about, including Kagan, as well as the liberal hawks who were out of the State Department—They were talking about Russia a lot.

Between the way they were posturing about her being way more aggressive toward Russia and then the exploitation of the DNC leaks as a way to gin up hysteria about Russia, it seems to me that these people want a war with Russia, like Clinton wants a war with Russia. And maybe I’m crazy for saying that so your turn. What do you have to say?

MARTIN: No, I don’t think it’s crazy to say that. I think that these people are so detached emotionally or even spiritually from just like what a normal human being feels that I think to them it is so important to them to posture aggressively toward Russia. Everything else doesn’t matter—fears of nuclear war, fears of getting into this intense back-and-forth, tit-for-tat posture like we had in the Cold War. They are not worried about that. They are way more concerned that America will somehow lose ideological and symbolic ground in this quest to keep America at the top of the hill, the king of the hill in sort of the foreign policy landscape.

I would even argue that Robert Kagan and other neocons from D.C., the smarter savvier ones, were angling for a Hillary Clinton presidency as far back as 2014, maybe even 2013. I say that because there was this interesting dynamic going on, where once Hillary Clinton left the Obama administration she had people like Robert Kagan and other neocons kind of going around to press saying, look, in Hillary Clinton’s autobiography, she admits that she wanted to go harder on Syria. She thought Obama was soft on these certain things. So, I really admire Hillary Clinton, and I’m comfortable with her foreign policy.

It was sort of like the pieces were being set in place years ago for sort of making Hillary Clinton seem like she was this hawkish Democrat that could be appealing to neoconservatives and that she thought Obama was kind of weak. If you read her book, that is what she is saying. So, I think that it’s not just that because Trump is so awful and non-neoconservative or whatever, which is arguable. I think that Hillary Clinton is extremely appealing to neoconservatives on a foreign policy level, especially with Ukraine, which is scary.

Obama at the very least as decided not to follow through with fully funding the Ukrainian Army for whatever reason, and it seems like his reasoning was caution at best. It is hard to say. I don’t know, but that is what my guess would be.

For the rest of the interview, go here.

Chase Bank. Photo by thomashawk on Flickr.
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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."