January 28th 2017

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Company tax proposal just made for Trump

EDITORIAL Trump installed but the left refuses to accept it

CANBERRA OBSERVED Greens' footprints all over travel claims

U.S. POLITICS Team Trump to implement new President's agenda

INTELLIGENCE Lame report on Russian interference in U.S. poll

ENVIRONMENT The scientific myth within the Murray-Darling Basin Plan

EUTHANASIA Case for assisted suicide "not made": Daniel Mulino

OPINION Submission is the fit word, Tim, not humility

OBITUARY WA loses NCC founding member, Frank Malone

GENDER POLITICS Safe Schools Coalition versus child safe schools

RURAL LIFE Sandalwood a balm for forgotten farmers

MUSIC Swing low and deep: it don't mean a thing if it don't have that

BOOK REVIEW The tyranny of the offended

BOOK REVIEW Not quite perfect but worth a revisit

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Lame report on Russian interference in U.S. poll

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, January 28, 2017

The widely publicised report by America’s CIA, FBI and the National Security Agency into Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election is a disappointing document, which tells us nothing that was not well known during the presidential campaign.

The publicly released document, issued on January 6, 2017, reaches the same conclusions as the classified version ordered by the retiring President, Barack Obama.

Anyone who has ever watched RT’s television network overseas knows it is Russian propaganda. In this, it is no different from the Chinese TV network, CCTV, which is run by Beijing, or Al Jazeera, which is funded by the House of Thani, which runs Qatar, or the BBC, which publishes left-wing propaganda. And we have our own ABC!The key conclusions are to be found on pages 6 and 7, and the supplementary pages are largely devoted to the activities of the Russian news agency RT (previously known as Russia Today), which publishes Russian propaganda.

The fact that RT backed Donald Trump is no surprise; nor was it surprising that Russia was blamed for hacking the Democratic Party National Committee, and giving the material to Wikileaks.

These allegations were widely publicised during the election campaign. In fact, both Hillary Clinton and President Obama repeatedly accused Mr Trump during the campaign of being the candidate of Vladimir Putin, and of undermining U.S. security by refusing to denounce the Russian president.

The American people were well aware of all this when they cast their votes on November 8 last year.


The question is: did the RT network have any impact on the U.S. election, particularly in light of the overwhelming support given by U.S. media – print, TV and electronic – to denigrate Mr Trump and secure the election of Mrs Clinton? The answer is clearly no.

The report contains no evidence that any of the 35 Russian diplomats whom Mr Obama recently expelled from the United States had anything to do with the pro-Trump campaign.

Its explanation for Russia’s hostility to Hillary Clinton is laughable. It says: “Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.”

There were at least three very obvious reasons why Russia has long resented Hillary Clinton, other than personal animosity. Most importantly, the Russian Government blamed the Obama Administration for the overthrow of the pro-Moscow government in Ukraine in 2014, breaking Russian influence over a country of about 50 million that formerly belonged to the Soviet Union.

The pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovych, who had been elected in a popular vote in 2010, was overthrown in a popular uprising in 2014, and he fled to Russia, where he continues in exile. The Russian Government has repeatedly said that Mr Yanukovych was overthrown in a coup organised by the United States.

The second issue was the expansion of NATO into former Soviet states in Eastern Europe, particularly Poland. Russia repeatedly denounced this as a security threat.

It does not matter whether the Russian fears are real or, as this writer believes, imaginary. The fact remains that Russia has long feared the expansion of the American-backed security alliance into territory that, for two generations, had been within Russia’s sphere of influence.

The third was the role of the Obama Administration in the war in Syria. There is no doubt that the U.S., under President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, played a key role in encouraging, and providing weapons to, the armed uprising in Syria following the Arab Spring. Both Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton justified their action in supplying arms to the Syrian rebels on the basis that the existing Government, led by Bashar al Assad, was a dictatorship – which is true.

But the fact is that almost every regime in the Middle East is a dictatorship, and faced popular uprisings. Only in Syria and Libya did the U.S. intervene to overthrow the existing regime, no doubt hoping that regime change would lead to pro-Western governments.

This was utterly naive, and caused the four-year war that has devastated Syria and led to millions of refugees flooding into Europe, not to mention the destruction of the Libyan regime and its replacement by anarchy.

Russia had every reason to want to defeat Mrs Clinton, but the report itself (unwittingly) reveals that the Russians did not believe Mr Trump would win.

It says: “When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign then focused on undermining her expected presidency … undercutting [her] legitimacy and crippling her presidency from its start, including by impugning the fairness of the election.”

It is ironic that the only people now impugning the fairness of the election are President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the intelligence agencies whose top officials they appointed.

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