Alarm Over Russian Interference Is Beyond Silly

 

Of course, the Russians (and Chinese and others) tried to interfere with our elections. They have been doing it since the origination of the KGB in 1954. In his seminal book on the history of Russian intelligence, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and The Secret History of the KGB (1999), Christopher Andrew sites dozens of examples of KGB interference including some fun tidbits about KGB covert operations against former President Ronald Reagan, which began five years before he became president.

What has happened to our educated classes in America? As kids, we learned in Mr. Lafontaine’s 6th grade Social Studies class that the Russians were causing street demonstrations, placing false op-eds, and buying off journalists to try to get Richard Nixon elected because Kennedy was touting the Missile Gap, back in 1960.

We had to read The Ugly American by Lederer Burdick, which was filled with countless stories of the Russians using disinformation (we’d send wheat to some African nation, and upon its arrival, the Russian bureaucrats would stamp the bags “A gift from Russia,” before distributing them). These tales are etched in our brains.

My parents and their friends believed that the Free Speech Movement was fomented by the Soviet Union (“outside agitators”), as Betina Apthecker (Mario Savio’s eventual wife) was an avowed Communist.

The reason the Warren Commission was formed to investigate the Kennedy assassination was because we all thought that it was the Russians (perhaps in “collusion” with LBJ) who assassinated President Kennedy.

My uncle, the late John Charles Daily, while originally a newscaster, ran Voice of America for a couple of years in the ’60s. What do you think Voice of America and Radio Free Europe were, disinformation outlets for American ideals and values?

VOA was using the advanced technology of the time (radio, which could cross international boundary lines) to spread our “propaganda” and influence policy in the old Soviet Union.

When we do it, it is good – but when they do it, it is evil?

Back in the ’50s and ’60s when the Russians interfered with our institutions, they used the technology of the time – radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, placards during protest marches. Like back then, today the Russians are using the latest in communications technology – social media.

J. Edgar Hoover was apoplectic about Communist (Russian) intervention in our internal affairs. He was convinced the Communists were behind the Civil Rights protests and financing Martin Luther King.

We all remember the details of the Red Scare and McCarthyism. Some of it was true. Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers were actual spies and the Rosenbergs (despite denials), as proved by documents produced after the fall of the Soviet Union, really aided our enemies.

Gary Powers was shot down spying for us.

Yet, people say that social media is much more ubiquitous and powerful. Not true. Radio was much more powerful (comparatively) than print when it was used to influence other countries’ internal affairs.

And here’s the one that really kills me. We all know that 90 percent of 14-year-old girls have used disinformation on Facebook, by publishing pictures or statements designed to make their friends, enemies, or ex-boyfriends jealous and/or envious about something that never happened – an overnight they never had or party they never attended – but they make it look like it happened (just for spite) on Facebook.

And it took 18 US Intelligence Agencies to conclude that Russia used disinformation on Facebook to try and influence our elections? That they placed false ads and false stories?

Wait until they discover that there is gambling in Casablanca!

If everything written above is true, how can any adult with a straight face feign angst over Russia meddling in our affairs? They have never not meddled in our affairs–and we have never not meddled in theirs.

It is the way of the world and has been since Sun Tzu described the five kinds of spies, or Agamemnon loosed the pièce de résistance of disinformation, a wooden horse on the gullible citizens of Troy.

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  1. Misthiocracy, Joke Pending Member
    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending
    @Misthiocracy

    < devil’s advocate mode = on >

    Current Democratic Party alarm over Russian interference is convenient, but is it silly?

    The fact that the Democratic Party only cares about a problem when there’s a Republican in the White House does not necessarily reduce the severity of the problem.

    If one argues that alarm over Russian interference is silly in 2018, does it not then follow that one is also arguing that Barack Obama was right when he berated Mitt Romney for being overly-concerned about Russia in 2012?

    < devil’s advocate mode = off >

    I think a much better argument would be to argue from the ineffectiveness of Russian interference, rather than the ubiquity of it.  Yes, it’s a cause for concern that foreign nationals try to interfere with US elections, but if you compare what Russians organizations spent on the US election, it’s orders of magnitude less than what the political parties and other US third-parties spent.

    Plus, they got caught. So, not just ineffective, but incompetent as well.  A blunder, even.

    So, yeah, I’m not overly alarmed by foreign nationals using the Internet to comment on US politics, but at the same time I think it would be a strategic error for conservatives en masse to take the position of “nothing to see here”, because we don’t want to hurt our own credibility if/when effective Russian interference helps put an actual commie traitor in the White House.

    • #1
  2. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Jeff,

    An investigation into this trivial nonsense that goes on for 20 months and tries to destroy a sitting President is the scandal. The indictments are absolutely trivial in nature and do not demonstrate any need for a special prosecutor.

    Those screaming Russia Russia for 20 months should go away and hide themselves in shame for this fiasco.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #2
  3. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    All good points, but we should be concerned as we should have been more concerned durning the Cold War.   The Russians and their Cuban friends knew and still know how to manipulate our left and our left leaning and dishonest media.   Their greatest defense was to tout McCarthyism every time anyone pointed out their fronts and fellow travelers and the themes they played.    The problem with McCarthy was that he made stuff up, when there was plenty of real information to have uncovered as we saw when the KGB files were opened up.   The dominant position of the far left in our schools, our foundations and our media isn’t an accident, it’s alluvial but they no longer have to get paid they do it out of love or hate as the case may be.

    • #3
  4. Derek Simmons Member
    Derek Simmons
    @

    Jeffrey Earl Warren:And it took 18 US Intelligence Agencies to conclude that Russia used disinformation on Facebook to try and influence our elections? That they placed false ads and false stories?

    Wait until they discover that there is gambling in Casablanca!

    I’m sure “they” monitor this site so I’ll give “them” a hint: Round up the usual suspects–and start at Rick’s.

    • #4
  5. Jeffrey Earl Warren Contributor
    Jeffrey Earl Warren
    @JeffreyEarlWarren

    Derek Simmons (View Comment):

    Jeffrey Earl Warren:And it took 18 US Intelligence Agencies to conclude that Russia used disinformation on Facebook to try and influence our elections? That they placed false ads and false stories?

    Wait until they discover that there is gambling in Casablanca!

    I’m sure “they” monitor this site so I’ll give “them” a hint: Round up the usual suspects–and start at Rick’s.

    VERY funny Derek.  Well said!

     

    • #5
  6. Number 6 Inactive
    Number 6
    @Number6

    Good points all.  Then why does the President continue to deny something tht has been so obviously true for such a long time?  To say that the Russians were interfering in our election is NOT the same as saying they gave the election to Trump.  A pretty simple distinction, but one our President is incapable of making.

    • #6
  7. Bob W Member
    Bob W
    @WBob

    Number 6 (View Comment):
    Good points all. Then why does the President continue to deny something tht has been so obviously true for such a long time? To say that the Russians were interfering in our election is NOT the same as saying they gave the election to Trump. A pretty simple distinction, but one our President is incapable of making.

    Maybe he thinks they have something on him?

    • #7
  8. Ray Kujawa Coolidge
    Ray Kujawa
    @RayKujawa

    This whole episode is an education about the importance of knowing who is doing the talking. When we know a person is from this country and has an interest and viewpoint in the welfare of the country or their own family/social group welfare, we expect their viewpoint to be passionate at times, but to at least be consistent. When the party is outside the country trying to sow foment, they will — as they did up to the election — prop up an apparently losing candidate (DT). The day after the election, these same people were busy organizing rallies for ‘not my president.’ And these ‘people’ apparently looked like real people, using real or stolen identities, not even pseudonyms.

    From the women’s march in 2017, to promoting Black Lives Matter, to promoting identity politics, to impersonating Muslim groups to push anti-American messages, to focusing Native American groups against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, the Russians have been doing the left’s job, and doing it on the cheap. The left should have no quarrels with Russian involvement in American affairs.

    • #8
  9. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    Number 6 (View Comment):
    Good points all. Then why does the President continue to deny something tht has been so obviously true for such a long time? To say that the Russians were interfering in our election is NOT the same as saying they gave the election to Trump. A pretty simple distinction, but one our President is incapable of making.

    Because if anyone with a camera and film ever caught the President saying “It is true the Russians interfered in our elections, but I was not involved,” the liberal CIA-controlled media would be looping the frame of him saying the first nine words, while somehow losing the footage of the next few words.

    And that is all that ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN would be running with for the next six months. As that film loop was being shown, the pundits would be explaining, “See. He is not yet willing to state that he was in on it, but he knew all about it.” Smirk and smirk again, with the implication he knew of it because he was in on it.

    President Trump is smart enough to know that.

     

    • #9
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