It is ironic that Trump, who reveled in the manufactured birther controversy – Obama was born in Kenya and therefore not eligible to be the US President – should be so upset by the dirty dossier charging Trump with corruption and sexual peccadilloes. The story of Trump hiring prostitutes for bedwetting, specifically the bed that President Obama and Michelle Obama slept on, in Ritz Carlton, Moscow, has now become a worldwide sensation. Trump's angry response was that he was a germophobe, and therefore this could not be true, is a testimony to his low credibility. This is the only believable defence he could mount!
People may have short memories, but they have not as yet forgotten his unguarded “p*ssy” grabbing boast, captured on tape for posterity. There cannot be much sympathy for a misogynist, racist, money grubbing figure, even if he has won the elections to the most powerful seat in the world. After all, it was he and a large number of his alt-right fellow travelers, who refused to recognise the legitimacy of the first black president of the US, and therefore launched their birther campaign.
Yet there is a huge risk for the left following in the footsteps of the alt-right. The major campaign being built on de-legitimising Trumps' victory, is based on the claim that Russia stole the US elections. Such claims are being promoted by forces who want to revive the old cold war, thought to have been buried with the fall of the Soviet Union, and even revving it up to a near shooting war in Eastern Europe and Syria. It also means the US and its allies allying with fascist remnants in Ukraine and other Eastern European states, and bringing NATO forces right to the border of Russia.
The other danger is NATO putting in place an anti-missile shield against Russia in Poland and Romania. Lest people forget, the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty was the recognition that nuclear war is not winnable. The US and NATO scrapping of the ABM treaty is returning to the position of winnable nuclear wars, and an enormous danger to all of us. Making Trump a laughing stock is a worthy cause. Precipitating a new cold war and a possible nuclear exchange with Russia is too high a price to pay. Yet, that is the meaning of the slogan of Russia stealing the US elections for Trump.
Even the US intelligence agencies – Intelligence Community consisting of a number of US spook agencies – accept that the emails that WikiLeaks published were authentic. The leaked emails show that Podesta, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair conspired with Hillary Clinton's team to steal the primaries from Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton's emails showed her cozy links with Goldman Sachs and Wall Street, Clinton Foundation was raising money from Saudi and other Gulf monarchies, the same sources that were acknowledged in these emails as supporting ISIS and al Qaeda in Syria. The Clinton camp never claimed that these emails were fabricated. Instead they argue that as Russia was behind the leaks, and this somehow absolves her of any wrongdoing. Instead of defending her emails, her sleight of hand is that it is “Russia has done it to help Trump”. Not different from Trump's defence of the leaked audio tape of his sexual attacks on women: it was only a plot by his enemies.
All parties agree that the emails that WikiLeaks published were authentic. The only contentious issue is who leaked these to WikiLeaks. Assange and others have asserted that this was not a cyber hack but a leak from within the DNC. The DNC and its hired security company claim that the DNC server was hacked by Russians, a claim that has been widely disputed by cyber security experts. This is the claim being repeated by the intelligence agencies.
Even if Russia hacked into the DNC servers, there is no evidence that others did not do so as well, and no evidence that the ex-filtrated files from the DNC server reached the WikiLeaks. According to Snowden, this would be easy for NSA to trace. The fact that they have not done so is telling.
NSA's confidence regarding the Russian hack also appears to be considerably lower than CIA's or FBI's. In the de-classified Intelligence Assessment Report (ICA), the actual wordings are interesting. It says that they “...assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances...CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.”
After the de-classified report failed to get any traction, the US intelligence agencies seem to have come to a conclusion that they needed more ammunition to weaken Trump. Trump is unpredictable on foreign affairs, and has a mishmash of strategic beliefs. He has talked about normalising relations with Russia, not wanting wars in West Asia, enmity to China, everlasting love for Israel. None of it adds up to a coherent foreign policy. What is dangerous for the current security state is his desire to normalise relations with Russia, a big no no for the US military-security complex.
The dirty dossier is the consequence of their continued attempts to weaken the Trump presidency. They did not prepare this 35-page dossier. The material was put together by an ex-MI6 operative, Christopher Steele, who spent some time in Russia in the 90's. He was paid first by anti Trump Republicans and then Democrats to dig out some dirt on Trump. What he produced was essentially unverified gossip; its provenance is that Steele heard it from some people in Russia who heard it from some “reliable” sources deep within the Russian establishment circles. To make it “authentic” and Russian, he called it “Kompromat” (compromising material), apparently a well-known Russian spy jargon. This material was presented to John Mccain, who in turn passed it onto FBI. Steele was not happy with FBI's handling of the material and decided to shop it a number of news sources. Only Newsweek carried a story on the dossier. All others refused to publish it. But even if they did not publish it, they did believe that parts of the dossier could indeed be true. Trump was after all a businessman with a history of shady deals and questionable sexual tastes.
What the US intelligence agencies did, is to take this dirty dossier – the bundle of conjecture, third hand rumours, without any provenance – and claimed that Russia may be having “compromising” material of a sexual nature on Trump. This was the two-page summary extracted out of the dirty dossier that they used to brief Trump and Obama. After it was presented, they promptly leaked it to various new agencies. CNN carried the story of the intelligence agencies briefing Trump over this sexually compromising material, and the reason of Putin backing Trump.
Trump believes the intelligence agencies sided with Clinton in the elections, and backed the Putin helping Trump meme. The intelligence agencies have continued with Putin hacking the US elections theme, and that is why Trump's public spat with Brenan, the current CIA head.
If Trump wants these attacks to stop, he has to accept the current neocon narrative – the US needs to expand the wars in Asia and Africa, and confront Russia militarily in Eastern Europe. Any other course is to buck the military-industrial-security complex. If he does do so, he will be discredited, possibly paving the way for an impeachment and Mike Pence takeover.
The problem of focusing on the dirty dossier and Russia stole the elections meme, is that it turns the entire Trump debate from his highly dodgy deals, his conflict of interests, his refusing to come clean on his tax returns, his misogyny and his patently racist views, on to “Putin stole our elections”. Trump is not the issue, but Putin and Russia is.
We now appear to have only two choices in the US, both in favour of war, though different wars. Of being anti-Trump, and therefore war with Russia; or being pro-Trump, and war against Muslims, blacks, Hispanics. The left in the US has to carve out a different choice, how to oppose the vicious racist, misogynist, new right, and combine it with fighting against imperialist wars abroad. Not the sterile binary choice of either with Trump or against Trump.
For the rest of the world, the politics in the US provides a curious spectacle. A country that has militarily intervened in all parts of the globe, overthrown a number of duly elected governments, interfered in every elections in the world, propped up a corrupt and drunken Yeltsin in Russia, even helping him to rig the elections in 1996, is now waxing eloquent against foreign interference in domestic politics! This self-righteous charge against Russian interfering in the US domestic politics, is derived from the US unstated claims of exceptionalism – only “we” have the god given right to interfere anywhere and anyhow in the world; that is why “we” sing God Bless America; God has blessed only “us”; He in Heaven watches over only “us”!
If indeed Russia did hack into the DNC server and distribute its contents, in what way is it wrong when the US claims the right to interfere any-which-way all over the world? Particularly when Russia, going by the US accounts, distributed material that was true; unlike the lies that the US helped Yeltsin peddle against the communists in 1996. May be now the US will agree to observe the existing international laws on non-interference in the affairs of sovereign countries? Including military interventions? By the way, that is the international law, which the US refuses to recognise.
Thumbnail Image Courtesy: TiltschMaster