The AP reported on Saturday, February 17th, that the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, achieved on Friday, indictments of Russian-Government or affiliated organizations that used deceptive practices in order to send out to America’s Blacks and Muslims social-media messages to persuade them not to vote. CBS news had reported on Friday the following examples:
In Oct. 2016, one month before the election, the operation allegedly used one of their Instagram accounts, “Woke Blacks,” to post this message: “[A] particular hype and hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’d surely be better off without voting AT ALL.”
Days before Election day, on Nov. 3, 2016, the Internet Research Agency, according to the indictment, bought an Instagram ad for its “Blacktivist” account that said, “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.”
Also in November 2016, their “United Muslims of America” accounts posted messages like this, according to the indictment: “American Muslims [are] boycotting elections today, most of the American Muslim voters refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton because she wants to continue the war on Muslims in the middle east and voted yes for invading Iraq.”
On or around Nov. 2, 2016, days before the election, the indictment claims, the defendants used a fake @TEN_GOP account to claim allegations of “#VoterFraud by counting tens of thousands of ineligible mail in Hillary votes being reported in Broward County, Florida.”
The election-related hashtags allegedly used included “#Trump2016,” #TrumpTrain,” #MAGA,” “#IWontProtectHillary,” and “Hillary4Prison.”
The BBC posted, on February 16th, the “Full text of Mueller’s indictment” and opens by noting that, “The US has charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian firms for meddling in the US 2016 election.”
One may put aside one’s views about the election, or about how intelligent were any U.S. voters who might possibly have been swayed in their voting-decisions by such undocumented and basically stupid messages or ‘arguments’ as are alleged in the indictments to have been made there by Russians, and yet still acknowledge that any attempt, by any Government, to persuade the voters under a different Government to vote or not to vote, or whom to vote for or against, is wrong, especially if the sender of the message (such as these alleged social-media ones) hides behind some fake name that’s intended to deceive viewers who read the tweet or whatever. Any deceit, is bad, regardless of how intelligent the deceived person is. But deceit in America’s (and perhaps in most countries’) elections is commonplace, and almost all of it is domestic, not foreign (either Russian or otherwise).
However, what I find actually far more remarkable about these reported indictments by Mueller is how embarrassing they are for his office, and for all who were pushing for the appointment of a Special Counsel, in the first place.
These indictments allege relatively minuscule Russian-Government attempts to increase Americans’ dissatisfaction with America’s Government. The U.S. CIA and NATO etc. are constantly engaging in vast and well-funded efforts to increase Russians’ dissatisfaction with Russia’s Government. If Russia’s Government has been doing the same to us, that’s bad; but, if Russia has been doing it to us less than we’ve been doing it to them, then the complainant here ought to be Russia complaining against our Government, not the U.S. complaining against theirs. What’s alleged in these indictments seems to be tiny by comparison to what the U.S. Government routinely has done, around the world, for decades. Even if all the accusations that Mueller has gotten indictments on thus far become proven or judged true in the courts, the Special Counsel’s office should receive no further federal funds — Mueller’s ‘findings’ thus far have been stunningly puny. Where, now, are the Democrats (and until recently I was one, but after Hillary stole the nomination from Bernie, I’ve became an independent)? Where are they in their accusations that Putin made Trump the U.S. President? Democrats’ charges on this are unproven and are at least exaggerated if not entirely bogus. So, now, they’re being replaced by petty indictments like those by Mueller yesterday.
According to the AP’s report,
“The idea wasn’t necessarily to help one political party over another, but to sow as much discord as possible,” said Melissa Ryan, a Democratic social media marketing expert who now keeps track of right-wing online activity. “This was America that was attacked.”
The U.S. Government and its NATO allies are constantly doing the same thing, and far worse, in order to reduce amongst Russians the electoral support for Vladimir Putin. The U.S. actually perpetrates many coups, overthrowing governments that are allied with, or even merely friendly toward, Russia’s Government. That’s vastly worse than anything which even Democrats have accused against Russia’s involvement in our 2016 elections.
Mueller seems to be coming up with ridiculously minor accusations whose only real purpose (other than to keep his investigations going) is to smear Russia’s Government — yet more American-government propaganda: Americans are drowning in it.
America’s Democratic Party — and some far-right Republican U.S. Senators — had pushed for and got the Special Counsel to be appointed. They seem now to be willing to do anything to get Trump thrown out, and his even more right-wing Vice President, Mike Pence, to become the U.S. President instead.
This entire affair seems to me to be a political witch-hunt, to smear not only President Trump but Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. Irrespective of what type of person either of them is, any such effort is ultimately an attempt to get Pence into the U.S. Presidency as soon as possible, and to get Putin out of the Russian Presidency as soon as possible.
Only fools are supporting it any longer, but there seem to be plenty of those still around. And any such people are likely to support continuation of this Special Counsel’s investigation. Lies and bluster don’t die; they just get ignored by people who aren’t persuaded by them. But the people who do get fooled by them continue to support the very people who are deceiving them and abusing their trust. How pathetic the whole thing is.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.