The Lincoln Project (2 minutes):
A most interesting article from Thursday’s Guardian explores the deep ties between the former president and Kremlin associates with current leader Vladimir Putin. This is information that has been circulating in the cyber world for a long time – since before the 2016 election – but this article really helps to tighten the bonds.
Putin had and still has a plan to overthrow the world order and end Western-style democracies. Using disinformation campaigns and helpful minions in various Western democracies, Putin would be able to slowly, almost imperceptibly to some, turn democracies into autocracies. He would also be able to break through Western alliances that fiercely opposed what he was doing in Russia.
The tools were friendly sources of information around the world and wide-open social networks where wild lies could gain credence. As author Rebecca Soling describes it set in the United States:
In 2014, Putin’s regime invaded Ukrainian Crimea. In 2016, the same regime invaded United States. The first was conducted as a conventional military operation; the latter was a spectacular case of cyber war, including misinformation that it was happening and the promulgation of many talking points still devoutly repeated by many. It was an extensive social media influencer project that took many shapes as he was trying to sow discord and confusion even try to dissuade Black voters to vote.
In addition, Russian intelligence services have targeted electoral lists in all 50 states, which would have had no consequences, but demonstrated the scope and ambition of online interference. This weekend, British investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr said on Twitter: “We have not acknowledged that Russia staged a military attack on the West. We called it “interference”. We used words like “interference”. This was not the case. It was war. We have been under military attack for eight years now.
As she notes, Putin’s henchmen weren’t just directing their attention to the United States, they included pro-Brexit efforts and support for France’s far-right racist National Front party. American interference – you might call it cyber warfare or informational invasion – has taken many forms. Surprisingly, a number of left-leaning news sources and pundits have been dedicated to denying the reality of the intervention and calling those who were hostile to Putin’s regime the right-wing cold war red scare, as if contemporary Russia were a glorious socialist republic. rather than a country ruled by a dictatorial ex-KGB agent with a history of murdering journalists, jailing dissidents, embezzling tens of billions and first a global revival of neo-fascist white supremacy. By discrediting the reports and attacking critics of the Russian government, they provided crucial cover for Trump.
What is striking in retrospect is that all of this was made possible by corruption and amorality inside the United States. It was the mercenary amorality of Silicon Valley that created weapons and vulnerabilities and sat pocketing the profits as they were exploited for destructive purposes. It was corrupt Americans – from Manafort to Trump himself – who gave Putin his influence. It was international players such as WikiLeaks and Cambridge Analytica who helped. It was the corruption of 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 misinformation.
The Republican Party met its new leader by matching his corruption, covering up his crimes and shielding 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 fomented 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 the truth itself. As author Rebecca Soling describes it set in the United States:
Speculation since Putin’s open assault and invasion of Ukraine is that, just like in 2016, he has his social media minions working for a Trump victory. Was Putin also working behind the scenes in the January 6 attempt to overthrow the US government and force Trump back into power? Hopefully these questions will be answered at the January 6 committee.
If Trump had been reinstated, would he have looked away as Putin invaded Ukraine?
Iowans should be aware of the connection between Trump and Putin. They also need to understand that most of the leading Republicans in Iowa are Trump cronies. Mariannette Miller-Meeks will not yet answer who won the 2020 election, thus playing the misinformation game. How hard can it be to admit the truth?
Besides Miller-Meeks’ bizarre refusal to answer a direct question, Iowans had the sight of Republican leaders from Iowa — Grassley, Reynolds, Hinson and Miller-Meeks welcoming Trump to Iowa last October. At that rally, all four paid their respects to Trump – who in turn endorses what he has done. Shameful!