By Steven MacMillan/New Eastern Outlook: 3 January, 2017
With each passing day, the anti-Russian hysteria in the western world is becoming more absurd and outlandish. For the last few months, we have been told that Russia has been the nefarious force behind numerous political developments over the past year, with the omnipresent Vladimir Putin portrayed as some sort of evil mastermind who possesses superhuman powers, able to control the people of all nations at will.
In the US, after the success of Donald Trump in the presidential election, various individuals and organizations have blamed the election result on Russian hackers. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and certain elements in both the CIA and FBI have been at the forefront of peddling this narrative, with the mainstream media only too happy to regurgitate these baseless claims.
As is the case with numerous other allegations levied against the Russian government, zero evidence has been provided to the public that proves Russia meddled in the US election. In fact, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, has categorically stated that the Russian government was not the source of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) leaked emails which WikiLeaks published back in July.
Yet despite the lack of evidence, the Russian meddling narrative continues to be pushed by many, most notably the US President. The US has just announced that in retaliation for supposed Russian meddling in the election, 35 Russian diplomats will be expelled, two Russian facilities in the US will be closed and more sanctions will be imposed on Moscow.
Russia is not just being blamed for meddling in the US presidential election however, but also for the outcome of the June referendum in Britain over membership in the European Union (EU). Speaking to the House of Commons in mid-December, the ardent remain campaigner and Labour MP, Ben Bradshaw, hysterically tried to argue that Russian hackers were responsible for the British people voting to leave the EU (emphasis added):
“I don’t think we have even began to wake up to what Russia is doing when it comes to cyber warfare. Not only their interference – now proven – in the American presidential campaign, [but] probably in our own referendum. We don’t have the evidence yet, but I think it is highly probable.”
Similar to the narrative that Russia meddled in the US election, Bradshaw’s accusation is backed up by no evidence, as he himself admitted in his outburst. Contrary to Russian meddling, the facts prove that leaders of various other powers interfered in the Brexit vote, albeit unsuccessfully managing to sway the British people.
The German Chancellor for instance, Angela Merkel, publicly urged the British people to vote to remain in the EU, and emphasised the consequences of a Brexit vote. But Merkel’s interference in the referendum was nothing compared to the degree to which Barack Obama attempted to influence the British public.
The US President used his visit to Britain in April to engage in a total media blitz, throwing his weight firmly behind the remain campaign. Obama penned an article (or his speechwriters did) for the Telegraph, in which he strongly argued that Britain was best served remaining in the EU. Obama reiterated his position in a press conference with the then British leader, David Cameron, stating that:
“The Prime Minister and I discussed the upcoming referendum here on whether or not the UK should remain part of the European Union. Let me be clear, ultimately this is something that the British voters have to decide for themselves. But as part of our special relationship, part of being friends, is to be honest, and to let you know what I think; and speaking honestly, the outcome of that decision is a matter of deep interest to the United States because it affects our prospects as well. The United States wants a strong United Kingdom as a partner; and the United Kingdom is at its best when it’s helping to lead a strong Europe. It leverages UK power to be part of the European Union. As I wrote in the op-ed here today, I don’t believe the EU moderates British influence in the world, it magnifies it.”
Contrary to Obama and Merkel however, the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin refrained from taking a public position on the matter. In the words of the BBC journalist, Steven Rosenberg, Russia said “absolutely nothing” during the entire referendum debate in Britain. All the politicians, intelligence agencies and journalists who are peddling the Russian meddling narrative, need to spend more time studying the facts than spreading fake news.
Photo Credits: Pete Souza