In the U.S., the big news lately has been the expulsion last week of 35 Russian diplomats in retaliation for alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee that revealed a corrupt leadership. The claimed hacking was on May 16, 2016 and the information released just prior to the Democratic Convention held July 25 – 28, 2016. How it interfered with the November election would require a mystic to explain.
The leak and/or hacking divulged that instead of neutrality, the Democratic Party leadership (including the chairperson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz) led a concerted effort to hobble Bernie Sanders while at the same time pushing forward Hillary Clinton. The information gleaned was released just before the Democratic Convention, and as a result Debbie Wasserman Schultz was so roundly booed that she was promptly replaced as Convention chair and left.
Under these circumstances, shouldn’t President Obama, as a Democrat and as the party’s most influential leader, be more concerned about reforming his own party rather than punishing the messenger? Indeed the intelligence evidence presented to buttress the President’s claims fails to demonstrate any link between Russia and the hacking. All it shows is essentially a tentative assessment of Russian capacity and capability, and an explanation of a phishing attack.
No less a cyber security familiar than John McAfee, co-founder of the eponymous computer protection software firm, in an interview with Larry King stated he did not believe it was the Russians based on his experience. What’s more, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange himself has disclosed the leaks did not come from Russia. And a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan and former university Rector, Craig Murray, in an interview with the Guardian, asserted categorically he had met the leaker who was not Russian but an insider. Thus there is clear evidence of a leak, not a hack for the main information.
So what was the purpose of this churlish discomfiture of 35 Russian diplomats and their families during the Christmas season? According to Lisa Monaco, Special Assistant to the President, who asserted on National Public Radio, we must ” … maintain the integrity of the election process.” But it was not the Russians who made it disreputable; it was the Democratic National Committee leadership and Hillary Clinton who colluded in the numerous shenanigans.
The Obama administration’s hysteria began with the selection of the pro-Russian former CEO of Exxon, Rex Tillerson, as the new Secretary of State. It signaled Trump’s intention to improve relations with Russia, a move that is anathema to the unholy neocon and military industrial complex alliance — one seeking unchallenged U.S. hegemony, the other simply the dollar stream from military spending. Of course, it helps to have a president who is more than annoyed at seeing his agenda about to be dumped into the dustbin of history.
Add to all this a losing year where the election has been lost, Obamacare is being called Obamasnare as insurance companies opt out reducing competitiveness, the U.S. is side-lined in Syria, while long time ally Turkey cozies up to the Russians. One can understand the frustration if not the tactics. Trying to poison the well for the incoming administration just smells bad, and the adroit response from Vladimir Putin portends its pointlessness. It is as if a novice challenged a chess Grand Master with predictable results.
Dr Arshad M Khan (http://ofthisandthat.org/index.html) is a former Professor. A frequent contributor to the print and electronic media, his work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in the Congressional Record.