United States

Nov 9, 2017

Razer: oh, those anti-Russians …

There is no evidence of orchestrated “misinformation”. But it has become accepted alternative fact that “Russia” interfered in the US election.

Helen Razer — Writer and broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and broadcaster

A year ago today, the US eagle flew beak-first into a pile of lurid muck. Happy Birthday, Mr President, and may I be among the very first to bemoan your improbable landing, one made possible in no small part by the campaign of your nominated rival. Certainly, there is hard evidence that the Clinton campaign actively sought to elevate Trump. Still, there’s really not much evidence about the Kremlin.

The Clinton campaign’s so-called pied-piper strategy, detailed here in a leaked document sent to the Democratic National Committee in 2015, urged that the press be instructed to take Trump, and two other Republican candidates with bigoted views, seriously. The reasoning went: if “communities of color, millennials, women” heard from a sexist, racist, ageist candidate often, they would be more likely to vote for Clinton.

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57 thoughts on “Razer: oh, those anti-Russians …

  1. George

    I’ve sometimes wondered about the arcane thought processes that lead to some of the meanderings of these columns but it’s becoming even harder to make out the logic in them. Russian foreign policy is a little like that of the USA, my enemy’s enemy is my friend, as dumb as that it. So it’s not that ‘Russia likes Trump’ rather that Putin appears to hate Clinton. It really doesn’t take much to understand that but that would eliminate the need to write all the wasted words in this particular display of journalistic excellence.
    No fake news here!

    1. Iskandar

      Well George, what you call “meandering” I would call “investigative journalism”, something which our MSM is abysmally short of. Try going through the links in the article one at a time so you can come to understand the “arcane thought processes”. As to your comment about “Russian foreign policy”, please provide evidence to back up your assertion.

    2. Draco Houston

      “Russian foreign policy is a little like that of the USA, my enemy’s enemy is my friend, as dumb as that it.”
      You’re putting words in Helen’s mouth.

    3. Helen Razer

      Nobody’s foreign policy is like the US kind. Are you an old-fashioned realist? The hegemon can have a foreign policy all its own.
      That’s just maths, mate.
      And you could argue rather than saying that I have missed something obvious. But I guess it’s easier to call someone stupid that do that. Just as it’s easier to say that Russia did it, due to the odd conviction that Putin “hates” Hillary.

  2. Iskandar

    Hear! Hear! An occasional voice of reason in the miasma of neo-McCarthyist hysteria which is our mainstream media, including dear old Aunty, if Monday’s Four Corners is any indication. Its otherwise laudable coverage of the Paradise Papers leak just had to have a short irrelevant intro which claimed they showed a “Russia Dunnit” connection when there clearly was nothing of the sort. But going back to “Russian interference”, just this morning there was a piece (not MSM) where ex-NSA whistleblower William Binney claimed that forensic analysis of data transfer speeds indicated that the “DNC hack” was in fact a “leak”. Meaning a local download to a portable storage device. To add to the story, CIA Director Mike Pompeo is “under fire” for meeting with Binney. It seems the “Russia Dunnit” edifice is riddled with cracks and falling apart.

  3. campidg

    With a choice of Trump or Clinton, foreign interference was a relatively minor problem for the 2017 election. Whether it happened or not is kind of beside the point when the was no way to vote for a reduction in poverty and inequality and a return(?) to meaningful democratic representation. Having this argument is real deck chairs on the Titanic stuff.

    1. Iskandar

      Agreed. The real overall story is that there was no one worth voting for. Trump at least made some noises about “making America great again”, though of course has now been totally absorbed into the neocon camp.

  4. Jackol

    I am torn on this.

    I agree that whatever influence the Russian state may have had on the US 2016 election would not have been a major factor by itself – in more run-of-the-mill elections there would have been no discernible effect on the outcome – but in a finely balanced election, as 2016 turned out to be, then I can see Russian meddling via a troll-bot army could well have been one of many factors that tipped the election. We’ll probably never really know.

    There is, as described in this article, a disturbing desire on the part of many establishment entities to try to focus blame on a few narrow factors that they choose as being the easiest to demonize – Russian interference being a very soft target, and an unwillingness to take a good hard, deep look at all the various factors at play.

    So, yes, the Clinton camp, the Democrats, the neo-liberal establishment all have questions to answer that they are avoiding answering honestly, and they are definitely loading much more responsibility than is deserved onto Putin and ‘collusion’ with Trump.

    However, I find the opposing camp of Putin apologists just as frustrating and just as unwilling to look honestly at internal and external Russian behaviour.

    Putin, and the Russian state, clearly have an agenda – it’s not to support Trump because they love him per se, but supporting Trump is the best way to serve their actual agenda. Destabilizing the USA and the West in general, and discrediting liberal democracy, is a prime strategic goal, and goodness knows assisting Trump to get elected is a master stroke.

    Certainly states of all persuasions have meddled in the affairs of other countries for as long as there have been states and countries and will continue to do so into the future – there’s nothing we can do about that, and the US, as noted by others, has been a prime culprit. It is something I think that should be discouraged and disapproved of whoever is perpetrating it, but getting all ‘het up’ about it is not going to solve anything – the only recourse I can see is to try to inoculate one’s own citizens as best as possible through ensuring a decent standard of living for all, and a good education for all. But that doesn’t seem enough anymore, and I don’t have any good ideas on where to go from here to counter fake news and deliberate stirring from whichever quarter it may come from.

    Focusing on Russia (and on Trump for that matter) is certainly to be distracted from the significant real issues at play in the modern structures underpinning our Western economies and failures of democracy. But ignoring Russian behaviour is not sensible either. Keeping things in perspective, keeping an open mind, keeping an eye on what evidence there is and what it points to … that’s what I would ask of the media, and of the public in general.

    Sadly, as Razer has pointed out in previous articles, this is an appeal to enlightenment ideals, and clearly that has no weight in this day and age.

    1. Cruuze

      I always have to laugh at the statement of Russia “destabilising the west, or the world for that matter”. The statement in itself is laughable if only due to the fact that we are not dealing with the Soviet Union anymore and Russia, aside from Syria and border squabbles is actually in Russia. Compare that to the Anglo-American empire which has been and still is destabilising the world since WWII through non-stop intervention, peacekeeping any other new euphemism that comes up with for starting a war. Obama inherited 2 wars and started another 5 to rightfully win a Nobel peace prize – what a guy! Count the US military bases around the world, vs the Russian one and tell me the score…

  5. mikeb

    You can put your fingers in your ears and go “nyah nyah nyah” as much as you like but the (not alternative) fact is that Russia did indeed meddle in the election and generate fake Facebook/Twitter/etc noise. Argue as much as you like on what effect it had but bear in mind that Trump fell in with around 100k votes across three states and 3m less votes overall. That noise might just have been enough to tip him in. The reason they did it is pretty logical really. Anything that causes chaos in the US helps Russias foreign standing.

    1. Draco Houston

      Russia didn’t make it a tight race, maybe the fact it was a tight race where one of the candidates was literally Donald Trump should be looked into?

      1. Richard

        Which meaning of “literally” are you using?

        1. Draco Houston

          I mean it in the literal sense that one of the candidates, in fact the successful candidate, in the previous US presidential election was Donald Trump. Donald Fucking Trump, in the concrete, real sense, and not figuratively or metaphorically, won an election and this is not a Simpsons joke but something that happened in real life. It does not take 100000 bux of socmed ads to make that not absurd!

    2. Helen Razer

      Let’s leave aside that there is no compelling evidence that the Kremlin dunnit. And that we will probably never know, given that $100,000 is an amount so small, it could never be audited. I think spies can get that in petty cash.
      I am not denying that “Russia” (and, again, this seems to mean a lot of things, particularly in the case of the Podesta hacks—which were far more likely to be leaks, not hacks—which have only ever been shown to be “consistent with Russian hacking methods”. Which means “consistent with hacking methods”) did something. I am merely pointing out that there is no compelling evidence that there was, per wide claims, an “orchestrated” government attempt at disinformation.
      The prevalent idea that this is just like the Russians and that it is a Russian speciality they have been doing it forever is plain, dumb bigotry.
      And, again, yes. There may have been a Kremlin order. But, FFS. Like there is any nation with a reasonable GDP (Russia’s is about the same modest size as Italy’s) that does not do this.
      The true experts in election interference and regime tinkering have been American.
      I have little doubt that there are a bunch of dodgy Trump mates who have benefited from deals with Russian oligarchs. But, please, ask yourself who made these oligarchs possible? It was Clinton’s husband. There are very clear records of Yeltsin being elevated by Bill, and then very murky records of where those billions went.
      And Hillary Clinton? Who permitted and even celebrated the murder, by anal rape with bayonet, of the leader of oil rich Libya? She said “we came we say he died” on television, thereby approving the act of Libya’s Islamic fundamentalists. Which we hate when they kill children in Manchester, but are fine to stir up by invasion. I mean, that’s some foreign tampering, right?
      All of which is to say, yes (as I did clearly) it is entirely possible that Putin ordered a little chaos. And this is not good. Then again, nor is Clinton giving money to an independent operative who then gave it to the Kremlin. How is this not also an outrage? Clinton gave money to the Kremlin to research her opponent?
      Yes, yes yes. IF “Russia” did some of what has been claimed (and a lot of it has already been disproved) then that’s bad. But, we must also say that this is, regrettably, business-as-usual, and a business perfected by the USA.
      The obsession, which has now been going on for over a year, is ludicrous. I mean, look at US foreign policy on Russia? If Trump is, as claimed so cosy with Putin, why does he have so many troops at their border?
      The primacy of the obsession is what concerns me. When there is a new president, either Dem or GOP (and anti-Russian sentiment still runs deep in that party) the USA will be committed to hostility toward Russia. A nuclear power. And largely because the effing press won’t quit with this Russia Russia Russia nonsense.
      And to anyone here who says I am naive etc. Whatever. I have read broadly and often and for more than a year on the matter. I have spoken with other journalists and international relations scholars about it. That I come to a different assessment about the important of “Russian hacking” to you doesn’t mean I’m thick. It just means we disagree.

      1. Damon

        Thanks for that clarification, Helen. Having not followed this as closely as others (such as yourself) I’ve been willing to accept some degree of Russian malfeasance. But when the paltry figure of $100,000 was quoted, my response was as yours: “Is that it?”

        If that’s all it takes to buy an election then I’m liquidating my term deposit and investing in anti Malcolm Turnbull social media today.

        1. mikeb

          That paltry sum should make us all worried rather than cynical. Media barons like Murdoch spend countless millions trying to influence the population into voting his way when they could have saved their dosh.

          1. Helen Razer

            FFS, Mike. You really have bought this whole “Russia decided the election” garbage, haven’t you.

          2. mikeb

            Hey Helen. For some reason I can’t reply to your last post but for the record i haven’t “bought” anything. Show me where I have please. Anyhow what does it matter because no-one is invested in what I think and very few in what you think. FFS. Over and out.

          3. Helen Razer

            Hi, Mike. I do genuinely apologise for my snappy tone. It was wrong.
            I still disagree with your assessment though. (And, I do care what you think, because you often make useful contributions here.)
            You have said several times that we *should* be worried about Russia. And while I have said, both in the article and in the comments, that, yes, it is wrong if Russia did this, my chief concern is the absolute primacy given to these allegations. It’s been more than a year since Trump was elected and a lot longer since “the Russians” were being blamed for fiddling with the election. There is still no compelling evidence that they did.
            Yes. Again. It’s a worry. As you keep saying. I am not saying it’s not. I am, however, interested to make the case that this matter, which has now seen two major public DC investigations and continues to dominate headlines, needs to be set aside.
            There’s no compelling evidence. After more than a year of looking for it, it’s still not appeared. What has emerged, though, is a very broad agreement that it did, in fact, take place.
            So, what happens if that is the case? A bunch of Clintonites get to say “And that’s why we lost the election!” And if it is shown not to be? Well, Trump looks better to voters. Both results will be bad.
            Again. It is only the blind insistence that this took place before evidence suggests it does that I am criticising. This is terrible for journalism and for politics. Much worse than the allegations.

          4. Iskandar

            The longer I live the more I am convinced that the grandest historic events are the simplest of human emotions magnified exponentially. There’s the basic psychological principle of deflection. If you’re caught doing something wrong or are embarrassed about, quickly point at someone else and make lots of noise. Quite simple and childish even, though grownups in suits and in grand oaken chambers and on television do so with straight-faced conviction. Sad really, but if you want to establish guilt, then look at who is doing the finger-pointing.

          5. mikeb

            No worries Helen. Rock on.

      2. George

        It’s interesting that you write that ‘there is no compelling evidence’ as the start of your reply but then write ‘I have come to a different assessment as to the significance ..’. Which is it? Was there interference, significant or not, or was there not? The inconsistency in your stance is rather obvious. You really can’t have it both ways although old style Marxists and western capitalists all try. Russia, the USA and China, as well as every other powerful country, or countries that think they are, as well as rich people and organisations meddle in each other’s internal affairs. To single out the actions of the USA and ignore those of Russia and China sounds more like the prattle of the 50’s and 60’s Marxist left than anything I have read for a long time and that is just as intellectually lazy as justifying ‘capitalism’.

        1. Iskandar

          George, you’re sounding exasperated. If you don’t agree with Helen’s arguments then don’t be intellectually lazy, present a reasoned counter-argument. Your reply consists of unsubstantiated opinions, and borders on personal abuse because Helen’s opinion differs from yours. That said, if Helen sounds like a 1950’s Marxist to you, then you sound like a 1950’s McCarthyist to me. Both of you please calm down.

  6. Richard

    Interesting handshake… Trump is taking the inferior position during it.
    Ain’t body language interesting?

  7. Peter Wood

    The issue isn’t “Russia”. The issue is Putin and the government that he leads. I’m sure that historians will continue to debate the relative roles of different factors that put Trump into power, including the incompetence of the DNC, clever social media strategies from Mercer and Cambridge Analytica, the US’s messed up electoral college system, and collusion between Putin and Trump. But over the past year, evidence has built up that Steele’s Trump Dossier is credible, and if half of it is true, that raises very big questions about the role that Putin played in putting Trump into power.
    Razer’s complaints about “liberals” having concerns about “the Russians” ignores the very issues presented by Putin. These include persecution of the LGBTIQ community in Russia, and in Chechnya (whose Government has murdered and tortured many people because of their sexuality); support for far-right groups in the Ukraine as part of Russia’s hybrid warfare approach to destabilising the Ukraine; and the crucial role that the Russian military has played in keeping Assad in power in Syria, despite Assad’s regime killing even more people than Daesh.
    Razer claims that there is there is no evidence of orchestrated misinformation. Razer must be unaware of (or believe) the regular misinformation that comes from sources like RT, Sputnik, South Front, and ANNA news. The most striking example of this misinformation happens every time that Assad launches a chemical weapons attack (including the 2013 attack in Damascus and the 2017 attack in Khan Sheykun that each killed hundreds of people with sarin gas, and many more smaller attacks that have received very little attention). In each instance, Russian-backed media has either claimed that these attacks are staged “fake news”, or are a cleverly orchestrated attack by Syrian rebels on their own people. In many cases these sources have made both claims. This sort of misinformation is very serious because it enables these attacks to take place more often by reducing the risk of ramifications to the Syrian regime.
    It seems to me that Razer is more interested in the failings of US “liberals”, and making straw-man arguments against them, than she is in issues such as LGBTIQ rights in Russia and Chechnya, or the human rights of people suffering from war in Syria and the Ukraine.

    1. Iskandar

      Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No need to answer point by point as this is just a rehash of spin from the Murdoch media, channels 7/9/10 and ABC/SBS to a lesser degree, and of course CNN, MSNBC, Sun, Guardian etc etc etc. Heard it all before. So discredited after the “weapons of mass destruction” lies that many to go alternative sources these days for other points of view, like those you mention. Their reportage is, frankly, more credible. Incidentally, I’ve never heard of ANNA news. I’ll check it out. Thanks for the tip. By way of thanks I refer you to GlobalResearch. Bit edgy at times but they were the first to carry an analysis of the first chunk of MH17 found on the ground below the point at which it was hit. A photo of the panel from the port side of the cockpit strongly suggests the cockpit was blown apart by a fusillade of 30mm machine gun bullets, not a mythical peripatetic BUK. Most likely from a jet fighter. As was reported by eyewitnesses on the ground. Fighter pilots are trained to go for the opposing pilot, not the plane. In war, planes are easily replaced, whereas pilots less easily so. If you want credibility, go outside the main stream. Cheers.

      1. Peter

        I didn’t find out about Khan Shaykhun chemical weapons attack from Murdoch, 7/9/10, ABC, SBS, CNN or the Guardian. I found out about it from videos posted on YouTube, hours after it happened.

        Your comment about GlobalResearch is pretty funny – the site you refer to peddles stories about vaccines causing autism. That says a lot about its credibility.

        You refer to “weapons of mass destruction” lies. I’m not quite sure what you are referring to, but you seem to be suggesting that the use of chemical weapons by Assad did not take place. Unfortunately I can assure you that it did, and there is widespread (and weak) campaign of misinformation to deny this, because it is embarrassing to Assad and Putin. This enables chemical attacks to continue.

      2. Peter

        As long as people claim that Assad’s chemical weapons attacks did not take place, I will counter these claims with evidence. So here is some evidence (viewer discretion is advised – it’s pretty horrific). I would rather not post videos that show children suffocating from sarin gas, but I would also rather that massacres like this didn’t happen again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGPa0k3J4vI

        1. Iskandar

          Good Morning Peter

          Re “weapons of mass destruction lies”: I refer to late 2002 when the US and its allies were preparing to invade Iraq. Perhaps I have a better memory than you and so remember the hysterical drumbeat of “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction” as the pretext. I had read Scott Ritter’s little book on the subject and it convinced me that this pretext was a pack of lies. A nation destroyed, a million casualties and the reactive rise of Daesh later, it seems Ritter was right.

          Re: GlobalResearch: Like other sites of this sort it is a hub for innumerable articles that can’t get into MSM. I do not recall any article of the sort you refer to, but here is a link to one that is relevant to this exchange: https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-syria-chemical-weapons-attacks-un-joint-investigative-mechanism-report-on-khan-shaykhun-proven-inaccurate-politically-biased/5617363

          Have a nice day.

        2. David Thompson

          Ah, so Peter, Youtube videos are ‘evidence’ now, are they? Perhaps if you had pressed on gathering evidence, from beyond Youtube, you might have managed to come across some rather serious, unexplained anomalies and contradictions in the report from the OPCW -UN Joint Investigative MECHANISM (WTF? – somebody sure as hell didn’t want their fingerprints on that).
          This is but one question any critical thinking person would ask of those from The Mechanism – “why is it your report states nearly a 1/4 of the victims are recorded as being admitted to various hospitals in the surrounding area well BEFORE the alleged attack took place?”
          Why bother with Youtube videos? Just read the report, and then come back and tell me how that would sail straight through any properly constituted legal process and conclude with “guilty’.
          It wouldn’t, not a hope in Hades, which is why it will never go beyond where the Russians called it out, and pulled it up – the UN Security Council.
          And, yes, Global Research does publish the odd nutter who writes about vaccines and autism.
          They also publish people like John Pilger, Chris Hedges, Christopher Black (former practitioner at the International Criminal Court), Robert Parry, Dr Binoy Kampmark (from RMIT in Melbourne), F. William Engdahl, and a whole lot more who are way more worthy of my time (and yours) than those who spew forth the dross that comes via Murdoch, Fairfax, and ‘experts’ on the radio and telly here.

          1. James O'Neill

            Hear hear, David. There have also been scientific rebuttals by Ted Postol, a renounced scientist that even the NY Times has quoted favourably on in the past. But when it came to his demolition of the Khan Shakhoun alleged sarin attack by Assad’s forces, the msm suddenly find him persona non grata. Fortunately his analyses can be readily found on sites such as Moon of Alabama, Consortium News and elsewhere.
            The UN report, that the Russians rightly vetoed in the Security Council, was not even based on site visits, despite both the Russian and the Syrians guaranteeing their safety. What sort of forensic examination is it that does not have the locus examined? One that is not worth a tin of fish.
            Our msm is so biased that it will not even print admissions by US military forces that their “moderate allies” used chemical weapons against civilians and others.
            I could cite literally dozens of examples of biased reporting by our msm on the Syrian (and Iraqi) wars, and note also that they are entirely unresponsive to documented complaints. They just go on repeating the same BS ad nauseum, and perhaps just as significantly, failing to report key developments.
            To the best of my knowledge, the ABC have never raised the question of the legality of Australia’s involvement in Syria beyond asking Julie Bishop a question on the subject the day after an article of mine was published in New Matilda. That Bishop lied in her answer was simply accepted and never raised since. That was two years ago.

    2. David Thompson

      Putin’s supporting far-right groups in Ukraine?!?!?!
      What arrant nonsense – do you even know of Stephan Bandera and his legacy, a legacy that endures through the likes of Svoboda & Right Sector?
      Victoria Nuland? “Yats is our guy”?
      What the West calls the “annexation of Crimea”, people who understand human rights call “a popular vote”.
      As for Syria, who in the hell do think armed and organised the Al Qaeda variants, and ISIS? It sure waddn’t Putin.
      How many Syrians would be dead, or in Europe, if Putin hadn’t heard Killary mention ‘no fly zone’ and ‘Syria’ in the one sentence, then reflect on how that worked out for Libyans?
      And, my, my, wasn’t there just so much ‘evidence’ of Russian human rights abuses and war crimes, while they were trying to assist the sovereign government liberate Aleppo? Odd how all those righteous minds dropped straight off when Aleppo WAS liberated, the 100,000+ citizens were freed, and only a fraction of the numbers ‘estimated’ turned out to be casualties.
      The Syrian people’s response to Putin’s Russia supporting the RECOGNISED government of Syria was for a whole lot of them to name their newly born PUTIN!
      Who was able to herd the cats named Turkey, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia etc, into Astana, a herding that resulted in De-Escalation Zones and, ultimately, the demise of ISIS in Syria, and a rolling liberation of Syrian people?
      That’d be Putin’s Russia, again.
      All just part of the joint Russian Chinese push to create a multipolar world, a world that no longer needs to wait and fret for the US of A to launch their next Chile, or Iraq, or Libya, or Afghanistan, Honduras – I haven’t got enough time to list all 60+ evidenced by the great John Pilger.
      The US of A has been at war, somewhere, of one type or another, for 222 of the last 239 years – 93% of the time.
      And, Russia has been invaded more times than any other nation, lost around 25M people defeating Hitler (Hitler had a similar ‘thing’ for Russia, which is why he committed 75% of his military capacity to defeating Russia. Meanwhile, the US of A, fresh off their corporations, including Ford, GM & GE, using slave labour IN Germany in the ’30’s, took the opportunity to stay out of the war, and build an industrial base supplying both sides of the conflict).
      And, you seem to think the Russians are the problem?

      1. Peter

        The Syrian government “liberated” Aleppo by dropping barrel bombs and chlorine gas https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/02/13/syria-coordinated-chemical-attacks-aleppo

        1. James O'Neill

          Peter, you really need to widen your reading. Fox News is not a reliable source. Incidentally, do you have a similar degree of concern for the US-Australia demolition of Mosul et al?

          1. Peter

            Here’s another source, which is also not Fox News. I don’t watch Fox News. Come back when you can actually respond to the contents of the source.
            On Khan Sheykhun, Assad supporters can’t make up their mind whether the chemical attacks were “fake news”, a fiendish plot by al-Qaeda or HTS to make Assad look bad (like he needs their help), or an accident from bombing an ammunition depot.
            But there have been many more chemical attacks before and after the Khan Sheykhun attack. The Arms Control Association has documented nearly 80 incidents since July 2012 where the Syrian government has used chemical weapons (see https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Timeline-of-Syrian-Chemical-Weapons-Activity)
            Most of the chemical attacks have been smaller than 2013 attack in East Ghouta or the 2017 attack on Khan Shaykhun, and have not received much media attention (which can lead to inconvenient bombings of Syrian airbases). This highlights the ridiculousness of claims that chemical weapons were used by rebels on their own people to create bad publicity for Assad.

        2. Iskandar

          Hey Peter. Are you suggesting there are “good bombs” and “bad bombs” in the context of a brutal civil war? That some bombs are nicer than other bombs? Really! But aside from that if you’re quoting HRW as a source, is that the HRW that George Soros is alleged to have put a 100 million dollars into, and which receives donations from the Saudi’s? Totally unbiased of course. Well, one good link deserves another, so here’s one for you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Human_Rights_Watch

          1. Peter

            Soros is a good man.

          2. mikeb

            Ah George Soros. Has his hand in just about everything supposedly. Couldn’t get Hillary over the line somehow despite pulling all the strings.

          3. David Thompson

            Iskandar, it’s worth checking out what’s unfolding in Hungary. In brief, an Orban opponent (meaning a Soros ‘friend’) won a transfer from Hungary to a Beltway ‘think tank’, immediately after Raytheon & General Dynamics ‘hosted a show’ in Hungary, and within a week the Amerikans announce bucket loads of cash will be sent to some (friendly, perhaps?) Hungarian media outlets to promote ‘democracy and freedumb’.
            All occurring concurrently with demands Rt register as a “Foreign Agent” in Amerika, lest their assets be seized and their employees gaoled (ah, but will they slot Larry King, because he’s a Foreign Agent?).
            A lot of folks seem to be having trouble recognising inconsistencies, much less screaming hypocrisy.

        3. David Thompson

          Peter, any chance you could provide information on where those ‘charges’ re Aleppo went?
          I’ll tell ya – nowhere. Why? No evidence. When the Syrians & Russians had liberated Aleppo, and were in the process of getting the 100,000+ people to where they wanted to go (incl the ISIS and Al Nusra variants to Idlib), they invited HRW & other ‘righteous’ outfits to come and talk to those who had been liberated, and they guaranteed their safety. Oddly, they could not be bothered, or found the prospect too scary – just didn’t fit the narrative.
          Yet, when HRW did hit the ground (it was either Mosul or Raqqa, can’t recall), post some ‘coalition’ liberation bombing, gathered evidence, interviewed survivors, and concluded the coalition had busted international law covering such efforts, resulting in numerous civilian deaths, all the Amerikans said was ‘no evidence’, and HRW went home without a peep.
          Here’s an example of just how ridiculous this “Russia did it (whatever ‘it’ was)” has become.
          Given that’s emerged in the last day, or so, it’s obvious we have not yet reached ‘peak farce’. Surely we must be close.

  8. Duncan Lannan

    While driving my truck at work I’ve been listening to the audiobook of David Cay Johnston’s ‘The Making of Donald Trump’. It’s a straightforward, fact-packed book on Trump’s criminal career, spanning many decades. It demonstrates, again and again, that Trump will work with anybody, no matter how shady or crooked, in order to make money. And that includes Russian oligarchs and crims. That is the more convincing connection for me. Like Razer, I have my doubts about Russia’s ‘interference’ in last year’s election, but doing dodgy deals with the Russkies? Most likely. It’s not the DNC hackers we should be following, but the money. That’s a better way to get to Trump, and perhaps the Paradise Papers will bring us closer to catching the bastard.

  9. Hamis Hill

    It got the rock’roll and blue jeans ages ago, what Russia needs now is lots of foreign investment to build up the economy.
    And just for the sake of ordinary Russians, many of whom live in Australia, shock-horror, and are actually our Pacific neighbours.
    Politicians cannot go there because of the opportunist shitstorm which would descend on them care of the religiously inspired Cold War McCarthyists eg Abbott and company.
    But for the rest of us? What the fuck is wrong with Russians? answer: nothing.

    1. Iskandar

      Agree and disagree. Russia is a fabulously wealthy country and does not need foreign investment. Her last experience with such “investment” was during the 1990’s when “investors” of the William Browder/Hermitage Capital came in, carpetbaggers who looted the place shamelessly until a certain strong leader came in who put a stop to it. Get a copy of “The Killing of William Browder”. Russia wants friendly relations with other countries, trade and otherwise, but a certain envious superpower is trying to thwart this at every turn. As regards rock’n’roll, that came and went in the 1990’s. The novelty wore off and home-grown talent is back in fashion. Look up “Pelagea”. As for Russians being ordinary people, I can vouch for that as though I am a good Aussie, I am also of Russian extraction, and am sick to the gills of hearing my ancestral homeland constantly trashed like this.

      1. Helen Razer

        Fabulously wealthy is perhaps overstating it. GDP is less than half that of the UK. (Where many of the oligarchs invest their wealth.) The BRICS economic bloc, and Russia’s proximity to Europe, is likely to be perceived as more of a problem.
        But, yes. I can’t imagine how Russians might feel in this moment. It seems to be perfectly acceptable in Western press to restate old racist stereotypes about mendacity, corruption, brutality etc. “The Russians have always done this sort of thing” is a foul thing to say, and it is often said.

        1. Iskandar

          There are different ways of measuring national wealth, GDP is only one. Bhutan, I think, uses Gross National Happiness. Russia remains the largest country on earth and contains vast natural resources; agricultural land, forests, huge rivers, oil, gas, minerals, all 100% sovereign and beholden to one. Was Obama or Kerry who in a fit of pique called Russia “a gas station masquerading as a country? The people of Russia are diverse, intelligent and educated, and know full well what is said of them in the west, since western MSM output is rebroadcast on Russian media without comment. None is needed; they form their own opinions and you can imagine what those opinions might be. Russian attitudes have been forged by their harsh climate and their thousand years of history which included enduring and overcoming foreign invaders and periodic internal strife. This has bred a national character of stolid resignation, an acceptance that life is hard, and to be content with what by western standards is very little. Along the lines perhaps of the saying attributed to Ghandi: “The earth can supply every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” This type of “national wealth” cannot be quantified.

  10. James O'Neill

    Thank you Helen for some long overdue common sense on this topic. Unfortunately you have not persuaded everyone as some of the comments indicate. There is actually a lot of real evidence emerging in the US that it was the Clinton camp that had significant contact with Russian “elements” including the much under reported (in this country) the so-called Uraniumgate affair; and the fact that the Clinton campaign paid for the manifestly fake Steele dossier, among many other dubious practices.
    The evidence is also now overwhelming that Clinton was hated and mistrusted by ordinary Democratic Party voters who either abstained or held their noses and voted for Trump. Her book is a prime example of blaming everyone other than herself for the defeat. Donna Brasile’s book, also much underreported here, offers further insights into just how corrupt and self-serving Clinton is.
    I highly recommend Robert Parry’s excellent website Consortium News for updates on this ongoing saga.

    1. David Thompson

      I’d throw Counterpunch in with Parry’s Consortium News, James. The 2 who started it, Jeffrey St.Clair and Alexander Cockburn, tailed Parry (Iran Contra) and Gary Webb (Dark Alliance) with a devastating compilation of investigative writing, called “Whiteout: The CIA Drugs and the Press”.
      The 2 roustabout authors found one Bubba Clinton’s performance in the field to be particularly noteworthy.
      Ever seen the picture of a very young Bubba slouching in his chair at the Bush family table, at a very lavish garden party? “Picture’, “1000 words” etc.

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