Yes, the Russians. Wake up and smell the vodka.
OK, I’ve had enough with these disingenuous demands from the likes of Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Jeremy Scahill, etc. that the CIA "show us the evidence," and the frankly absurd charges of "McCarthyism," which is simply reading the politics of this mess backwards. I know not a blessed thing about digital forensics, but all the political logic here points to Russia being behind the hacks in an intentional strategy to throw our election to Donald Trump. All these "leftists" abetting the fascist takeover of the country like this (whether cluelessly or cynically) have me pulling my damn beard out. Please follow this.
For starters... After the Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning affair, I was as enthusiastic for Wikileaks as the next guy. The first thing that woke me up to the fact that something is not right there was the revelation that one of its self-declared operatives was the notorious neo-fascist and anti-Semite Israel Shamir (the Jewish name is part of his wacky schtick), who openly boasted that he had provided intelligence from the Wikileaks cables to the dictatorship of Belarus, which was then unleashing a wave of repression.
Folks may recall that Alexander Lukashenko's regime has been in power for over 20 years now, is Putin’s closest ally in the ex-Soviet sphere, and is known as “Europe's last dictatorship”—although I would argue that Putin by this point has also established a dictatorship. After Lukashenko stole the 2010 elections, there was a popular protest movement, put down wth mass arrests. Shamir was accused of giving the regime Wikileaks intelligence on who were the key activists to round up (and boasted in Counterpunch of how Wikileaks info revealed the protests as "orchestrated" by the US). In other words, Wikileaks likely played the same role in Belarus in 2010 that the CIA played in Chile in 1973—and Julian Assange has never given us a clear accounting on the affair.
Then we fast-forward to the 2016 US elections. The political connivance between Putin and Trump first became obvious with the latter's call for the US to abandon its NATO commitments, and statements that Crimea "would rather be" with Russia. And his lavish praise of Putin as an "absolute leader" (no irony intended, apparently) in contrast to weak Obama. Now, this could have just been Trump talking out his ass like he always does. But this possibility was dispelled when the RNC platform was prepared in the prelude to the Cleveland convention, and the Trump team (notoriously lax about policy positions) specifically intervened to remove one, and only one, plank: That calling for military aid to Ukraine.
All this as Russia, having annexed Crimea and de-facto annexed eastern Ukraine, was escalating its massive military intervention in Syria, turning the tide against the rebels (who had been on the brink of toppling the genocidal Assad dictatorship when Russia first intervened last September), and preparing to reduce Aleppo to rubble to achieve this aim. (Now accomplished.) In other words, Russia is embarking on a campaign of imperial aggression not seen since Catherine the Great, let alone the Cold War, and having a compliant president in Washington is critical for this expansionist project to continue.
And then the leaks... Two of them, first of the DNC then of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. Obviously partisan in intent. Not one damn syllable was released from the Trump camp. Clinton couldn't even keep the debate focused on policy (and say what you want about her, she actually is a policy wonk) because the supposed "revelations" in the leaks dominated every news cycle.
The Kremlin official state media especially hyped the "revelations"—and not always accurately. One passage about Benghazi falsely attributed to Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal in an (intentionally?) garbled Sputnik account was actually read from the stage by Trump at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., mere hours before Sputnik scrubbed it. Are we really expected to believe this was not coordinated?
And yes, it swung the election. I’m not letting Clinton off the hook for being an uninspiring mediocrity—not in the slightest. But precisely because that reality made for a close race, it was possible for the leaks to swing the election. As Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times: "Did the combination of Russian and FBI intervention swing the election? Yes. Mrs. Clinton lost three states—Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania—by less than a percentage point, and Florida by only slightly more. If she had won any three of those states, she would be president-elect. Is there any reasonable doubt that Putin/Comey made the difference?"
And mind you, these were private emails. The DNC is not a government agency. If you support the KGB (or whoever) spying on and releasing private emails, then you should reconsider treating Edward Snowden as a hero. If it's bad when the NSA does it, it's bad when the KGB does it. (Although the actual Russian agency in question is probably the GRU, like the FSB née KGB, a holdover from Soviet times.)
And now the disingenuous demands for "evidence"—as if the objective political realities delineated here do not constitute evidence! What they are really demanding is proof—and, as with the 9-11 "Truthies," it is a dishonest demand. There is no proof that would satisfy the skeptics.
CrowdStrike, the firm hired by the DNC to investigate the first hack, has apparently uncovered forensic traces indicating that the party behind it was the same as that which engaged in cybernetic sabotage against the power grid in Ukraine last December, plunging much of the country into darkness. This is unlikely to have been carried out by some 400-pound guy in pajamas, as Trump speculated about the DNC hack and as so many "leftists" are so eager to believe. This is presumably the same evidence the CIA now has, and will be revealed soon enough in the Congressional hearings. And, we may safely assume, will be dismissed by those who have everything invested in denying the obvious.
The skeptics fall into two broad categories. First, there are those who have simply not been paying close attention. This is forgivable, and I hope that I have filled in some gaps in your knowledge. Then there are those (the real loud-mouths on the question, like the inevitable Greenwald), who are consciously siding with Putin. (And, if less consciously, with Trump.)
This is not forgivable. These supposed "leftists" are objectively (and perhaps subjectively) on the side of fascism. Putin's intervention in the US election is but his most ambitious ploy. He has been avidly pouring money into the campaigns of far-right xenophobes and neo-fascists across Europe: Marine Le Pen in France, the Golden Dawn in Greece, Attack in Bulgaria, Jobbik in Hungary, etc. Certainly, Russian Cossacks (their equivalent of the KKK, if you know your history) have been joining Le Pen and her ilk in openly celebrating Trump's victory.
This is what makes the talk of "McCarthyism" so utterly, maddeningly wrong. There is nothing remotely communist about Putin. He is far closer to fascism, and he is supporting not the political left in the US but the extreme right.
Except, perhaps, those ultra-deluded sectors of the left that have revived the "Red-Brown" politics of the Hitler-Stalin Pact period, and united with fascism in a common hatred of what they think is "liberalism" (a word now so ill-defined that it should be abandoned). But that's a whole other discussion...