“The capitalists divide the world, not out of any particular malice, but because the degree of concentration which has been reached forces them to adopt this method in order to obtain profits. And they divide it ‘in proportion to capital’, ‘in proportion to strength’, because there cannot be any other method of division under commodity production and capitalism.”-Vladimir Lenin
Did Trump “collude” with “the Russians” to “steal” the 2016 election? Is everything I’ve mentioned thus far just window dressing to the basic fact that Trump is actually Putin’s Puppet and some people merely report this incorrectly? The shortest answer is, according to Robert Mueller, the expert tasked with answering this question by the “establishment” Trump supposedly antagonized, is no. However, this didn’t stop numerous news outlets from depicting the Mueller report as finding definitive proof that Trump, at the least, “welcomed foreign influence into our election and then compromised themselves with the Russian government by covering it up.” This moves the goal posts so far from the original accusations of “Russian collusion” that it’s a completely different argument.
The initial thrust of Russiagater accusations was that “Russian hackers” snuck into the DNC’s servers and also stole private information from Hillary Clinton’s emails that were then given to the Trump campaign for the specific purpose of making Hillary lose. But as I demonstrated in the previous sections, Russian bureaucrats repeatedly expressed no preference for either party and even if the Russian government did give Trump some kind of support, Hillary and Bill Clinton have a long history of taking money from foreign governments and monopoly-capitalists, including Russians,which appeared to influence their approach to governance. Furthermore, I’ve demonstrated that Trump’s campaign had far more moral support and direct assistance from figures in Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia yet, apart from brief scandals involving the persecution of Fetullah Gulen and a subsequent purge in Turkey and the disappearance and probable murder of Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi government, the Russiagaters did not apply the same scrutiny. This is likely because these nations are important allies of the United States who each have robust foreign lobbies in Washington far surpassing anything Russia could even dream of.
There’s even more problems with the development of the Russiagate narrative. As mentioned, much of the initial coverage framed the story as a matter of Russians “hacking” the election. This quickly became the claim “Trump colluded with Russia”, with this collusion manifesting in a myriad of ways which were either proven to be false, wildly exaggerated, irrelevant, or unprovable to begin with. As Glenn Greenwald (who I will remind the reader I do not believe to be correct in his ultimate conclusions regarding Russiagate either) wrote on September 28, 2017:
“LAST FRIDAY, most major media outlets touted a major story about Russian attempts to hack into U.S. voting systems, based exclusively on claims made by the Department of Homeland Security. ‘Russians attempted to hack elections systems in 21 states in the run-up to last year’s presidential election, officials said Friday,’ began the USA Today story, similar to how most other outlets presented this extraordinary claim.
This official story was explosive for obvious reasons, and predictably triggered instant decrees – that of course went viral – declaring that the legitimacy of the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election is now in doubt. This official story was explosive for obvious reasons, and predictably triggered instant decrees – that of course went viral – declaring that the legitimacy of the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election is now in doubt. This official story was explosive for obvious reasons, and predictably triggered instant decrees – that of course went viral – declaring that the legitimacy of the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election is now in doubt…So what was wrong with this story? Just one small thing: it was false. The story began to fall apart yesterday when Associated Press reported that Wisconsin – one of the states included in the original report that, for obvious reasons, caused the most excitement – did not, in fact, have its election systems targeted by Russian hackers…So what was wrong with this story? Just one small thing: it was false. The story began to fall apart yesterday when Associated Press reported that Wisconsin – one of the states included in the original report that, for obvious reasons, caused the most excitement – did not, in fact, have its election systems targeted by Russian hackers.”
As Greenwald chronicles, there was a case in June 2017 when three CNN journalists were forced to resign over fake news regarding Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci’s nonexistent ties to a Russian investment fund. This was accompanied by stories claiming Russia had hacked into the US electricity grid during winter to shut off power to freezing American cities, a report from Slate claiming that Trump had a secret server with a Russian bank, and a suggestion from Fortune that Kremlin-owned American news station Russia Today had hacked into and taken over C-SPAN’s network. All of these reports were false.
There was also the creation of a Russiagate propaganda apparatus which fed anti-Kremlin talking points to the Democratic Party by way of Louise Mench, a former Conservative member of British parliament (how’s that for allowing authoritarian foreigners to influence American politics?). Mensch’s, partner in crime John Schindler, is a former counterintelligence officer at the National Security Agency. The two were joined by a “handful of websites, like Palmer Report, that seem devoted nearly exclusively to spreading bizarre assertions like the theory that [Paul] Ryan and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell funneled Russian money to Trump .” The latter site’s founder, Bill Palmer, previously operated a similar website called the Daily News Bin. A 2017 study from the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University found Daily News Bin’s content was “comparable to that of InfoWars or The Gateway Pundit during the 2016 United States presidential election.”
Another bit of highly misleading (if not outright false) “news” is the mantra of “17 US intelligence agencies” verifying that significant evidence of “Russian hacking” existed in the aftermath of the 2016 election. In fact, the study referenced in the “17 intelligence agencies” canard, was conducted by a committee of feds from only three intelligence agencies. These were the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA. Furthermore, these analysts were handpicked by President Obama’s own Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. The Associated Press published four stories with this piece of misinformation at their center before issuing a correction, with The New York Times being forced to correct the record itself not long after.
Such inaccurate and patently false news coverage can partially be traced to the notorious “Steele Dossier.” From 2016-2017, this document was assumed to be reputable by a large part of the mainstream media (examples here, here, here, here) and, after some lighte scrutiny, was even defended by Hillary Clinton herself. It is now accepted as an irrelevant fabrication and the very same newspapers which formerly sung the Dossier’s praises now concern troll that it did damage to the “legitimate” Russia investigation. The Steele Dossier, named after the man who compiled it, British M16 spy and private security capitalist Christopher Steele, provided the bedrock of most popular Russiagate narratives, although it also possessed even spicier elements such as an alleged videotape of a Russian prostitute pissing on Donald Trump.
In 2016, Steele was hired by “opposition research” firm FusionGPS. This firm had first worked with “anti-Trump” conservatives in the Republican Party, such as Paul Singer, one of Marco Rubio’s top financial backers. Singer is a hardline Zionist who, in 2012 spent $20 million creating an organization known as Start-Up Nation Central (SUNC), which is tied directly to Israel’s military intelligence Unit 8200. Maty Zwaig, a lieutenant colonel in Unite 8200, was hired to direct SUNC’s human capital programs while Inbel Arieli, a former lieutenant in 8200 and the founder of the 8200 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support Program (EISP) became SUNC’s Vice President of Strategic Partnerships.
Also in 2012, Singer donated $100,000 to a Tea Party SuperPAC which received even heftier donations from Peter Thiel and Robert Mercer. In 2019, long after the narrative that Trump was a unique phenomenon that had real opposition from the few remaining “good” Republicans like Singer had crystallized, Thiel gave a lecture at the Manhattan Institute, of which Singer is the CEO (Singer even introduced Thiel). Once again, there is no clear separation between the supposed enemies of the “Trump Regime” and its allies nor any indication that “Bad Republicans” worked with “the Russians” to make Trump president while “Good Republicans” fought with the Democrats (who are intrinsically good in this situation just by virtue of not being Republicans) to “stand up for American democracy.”
In fact, we can diffuse Russiagate entirely by presenting this fact and then asking one simple question: what exactly would men such as Peter Thiel have to gain by frustrating their business with men such as Paul SInger and why would men such as Singer risk losing millions in efforts to “dethrone” Trump that would eventually fail? One possible response is that Trump, Thiel, Singer, and so forth are irrational actors who have the resources to indulge their irrationality. But does this really hold for everyone who peddled the clearly false narrative that Trump is an outsider threatening the establishment, whether this was said in disgust by liberals or in ectsasy by “alternative” conservatives? In October 2017, The Washington Post reported (in the midst of the Russiagate deluge that The Post was itself engaging in) that FusionGPS had received money from the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee:
“Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research. After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community…Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.
The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day…US intelligence agencies later released a public assessment asserting that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to aid Trump. The FBI has been investigating whether Trump associates helped the Russians in that effort.”
So to recap: a committee staffed by representatives of only three (not “all 17”) American intelligence agencies infused into the public psyche the “confirmation” that Trump had helped “Russia hack the election.” The three agencies did this after an “opposition” research firm received money from an “anti-Trump Republican” (who happens to regularly work with major figures from the Trump campaign and Israeli intelligence) and the Clinton Campaign/DNC, issued a dossier compiled by a former British fed. This dossier alleged that Trump helped Russia “steal” the 2016 election because, among other things, the Russians had a videotape of Trump taking a “golden shower” from a prostitute…a Russian prostitute!
Unsurprisingly, “the DNC did not allow the FBI to examine its computer server for clues about who may have hacked it – or even if it was hacked – and instead turned to CrowdStrike, a private company co-founded by a virulently anti-Putin Russian.” Within a day, CrowdStrike blamed Russia using evidence which was dubious at best. Equally unsurprising is the fact that CrowdStrike’s co-founder (and a frequent media gadfly in the early days of Russiagate) Dmitri Alperovitch, was a Senior Fellow for the Atlantic Council from 2012-2020. That means that one of the main sources used by Russiagaters joined a major producer of NATO agitprop one year before Euromaidan and stayed there throughout the entirety of the initial Russiagate panic.
Another curiosity from this period is the rapidity with which James Comey went from being one of the figures who helped cost Hillary Clinton the election (before this was blamed unilaterally on “Russian meddling”) to a hero “standing up” to Presidential tyranny. According to his actual track record as a lawyer, a former head of the FBI (succeeding Bob Mueller), and a Republican donor, Comey doesn’t mind tyranny so long as he gets a share of its proceeds. As for Mueller, who is reportedly “joned at the hip” with Comey, I have already mentioned his role in helping William Barr cover up BCCI. His investigation finding “no collusion” and only tenuous connections between Russia and the Trump campaign that subsequently had to be spun as actual evidence that Trump had “colluded” with Russia. The specific accusation that Russian agents hacked into the DNC’s servers was never proven.
So what happened here? Well, as I’ve shown in every installment up to this point, it would require us to go against all available evidence to believe that Trump actually did have some kind of change of heart in the last 20 years and wen’t from raping teen girls with his good friends Jeffrey Epstein and Bill Clinton and suddenly decided to “stand up” to the deep state where all of his best friends have always resided. More to the point, even if Russia had helped Trump win, there’s nothing that he actually did while in office which can be pointed to as a net positive for Russia. The Brookings Institution (certainly not an organization that can be described as pro-Trump) noted the numerous sanctions Trump’s administration either renewed, expanded or decreed against Russia since they allegedly helped him win in 2016. In his last year in office alone, Trump sanctioned Russia seven times and, overall, the administration took 52 “policy actions” to weaken Russia in some way.
There’s also the fact that from the first day of his campaign, even when Trump was at his most “populist”, he argued for a trade war with China that just so happens to compliment the “pivot to Asia” begun under Obama. China is part of BRICS and the Chinese Communist Party and Putin’s government have aligned their interests with one another considerably since the turn of the century. As a nefarious Kremlin bureaucrat, what benefit comes from having a US president who is willing to accelerate the preexisting decline of global growth by starting an official trade war with one of your major allies? By the way, the same Democrats and Republicans ostensibly opposed to Trump because of his “anti-globalist” agenda recently reached a bipartisan agreement to continue this trade war. Why the supposed lovers of “free trade” have signed off on such “isolationist” measures despite no longer needing to is only confusing if you miss the macroeconomic, geostrategic forest for the trees and think Trump’s administration harmed “the establishment” at the heart of American imperialism in some fundamental way.
To concude this series, I will give a very rough sketch of what I think may have actually happened in the years leading up to Trump’s administration and why Russiagate (and its conservative cousin, QAnon) emerged as a narrative taken seriously by so many Americans. I admit this may oversimplify and imply a degree of “collusion” among different “segments” of the American bourgeoisie and State apparatus that is, to some readers, unrealistic. However, I believe my interpretation of the facts makes way more sense than either “Russia helped Trump win in 2016 and then he immediately caved to the neoconservative imperialists he has always been in good standing with” or “Trump is a legitimate threat to the deep state yet is so weak as an antagonist that he was forced to give them everything they wanted.”