American intelligence officials have concluded that the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, personally “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” and turned from seeking to “denigrate” Hillary Clinton to developing “a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
The report, a damning and surprisingly detailed account of Russia’s efforts to undermine the American electoral system and Mrs. Clinton in particular, went on to assess that Mr. Putin had “aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.”
Mush for Brains
Anyone who calls the report “damning and surprisingly detailed” has mush for brains.
- Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.
- Beginning in June, Putin’s public comments about the US presidential race avoided directly praising President-elect Trump, probably because Kremlin officials thought that any praise from Putin personally would backfire in the United States.
- Putin has had many positive experiences working with Western political leaders whose business interests made them more disposed to deal with Russia, such as former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
- When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the presidency the Russian influence campaign focused more on undercutting Secretary Clinton’s legitimacy and crippling her presidency from its start, including by impugning the fairness of the election.
- We assess that influence campaigns are approved at the highest levels of the Russian Government—particularly those that would be politically sensitive.
- In early September, Putin said publicly it was important the DNC data was exposed to WikiLeaks, calling the search for the source of the leaks a distraction and denying Russian “state-level” involvement.
- Russia’s state-run propaganda machine—comprised of its domestic media apparatus, outlets targeting global audiences such as RT and Sputnik, and a network of quasi-government trolls—contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.
- Starting in March 2016, Russian Government–linked actors began openly supporting President-elect Trump’s candidacy in media aimed at English-speaking audiences.
- RT and Sputnik—another government-funded outlet producing pro-Kremlin radio and online content in a variety of languages for international audiences—consistently cast President-elect Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional US media outlets that they claimed were subservient to a corrupt political establishment.
- A journalist who is a leading expert on the Internet Research Agency claimed that some social media accounts that appear to be tied to Russia’s professional trolls—because they previously were devoted to supporting Russian actions in Ukraine—started to advocate for President-elect Trump as early as December 2015.
- RT America TV, a Kremlin-financed channel operated from within the United States, has substantially expanded its repertoire of programming that highlights criticism of alleged US shortcomings in democracy and civil liberties.
- RT introduced two new shows — “Breaking the Set” on 4 September and “Truthseeker” on 2 November — both overwhelmingly focused on criticism of US and Western governments as well as the promotion of radical discontent.
- 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 has also focused on criticism of the US economic system, US currency policy, alleged Wall Street greed, and the US national debt.
- RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health.
Anyone who accepts that ridiculous intelligence report at full face value in light of other disasters such as Colin Powell’s embarrassing report to the UN on Saddam Hussein’s alleged but nonexistent WMDs has mush for brains as well.
Once again, it’s possible Russia is involved, there just is no evidence. In contrast there is actual admission of US meddling, with disastrous consequences in the affairs of other countries.
Also note that nothing Wikileaks released on Hillary was false. Have you ever seen so much insanity over actual facts?
“It’s amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.” – Thomas Sowell
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Mike “Mish” Shedlock