While we have gotten used to the neo-McCarthyite tactics employed by the Clinton campaign linking Donald Trump to the Kremlin, the whole disgraceful operation has reached a new low with the introduction of US law enforcement agencies into the mix. According to a report by Michael Isikoff – who has become the Judy Miller of this smear campaign – the feds are moving in on the Trump campaign:
“U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials — including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue.”
US citizens have no right to question or attempt to change American foreign policy, and any effort to do so will result in the FBI swinging into action:
“The activities of Trump adviser Carter Page, who has extensive business interests in Russia, have been discussed with senior members of Congress during recent briefings about suspected efforts by Moscow to influence the presidential election, the sources said. After one of those briefings, Senate minority leader Harry Reid wrote FBI Director James Comey, citing reports of meetings between a Trump adviser (a reference to Page) and ‘high ranking sanctioned individual’ in Moscow over the summer as evidence of ‘significant and disturbing ties’ between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin that needed to be investigated by the bureau.”
The War Party would love to outlaw private efforts to eliminate vindictive and mutually harmful sanctions, and target those of us trying to build a peaceful relationship with the Russians: however, such activities are entirely legal, and Sen. Reid has no basis in law for his rather scary request. Americans have the right to travel: they also have the right to speak their minds – except, of course, in Harry Reid’s world, which is an alternate universe in which we don’t want to live.
Yet the authoritarian mindset of Reid and his co-thinkers in the Clinton campaign is apparently shared by the “intelligence community,” according to Isikoff’s unnamed sources:
“U.S. officials in the briefings indicated that intelligence reports about the adviser’s talks with senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin were being ‘actively monitored and investigated.’
“A senior U.S. law enforcement official did not dispute that characterization when asked for comment by Yahoo News. ‘It’s on our radar screen,’ said the official about Page’s contacts with Russian officials. ‘It’s being looked at.’”
Let’s take a look at who apparently didn’t make it onto their radar screen, and so wasn’t looked at:
- Dahir Adan, the Somali immigrant who stabbed nine people at a Minneapolis mall and was claimed by ISIS as “a soldier of Islam.”
- Omar Mateen, who shot up an Orlando gay nightclub, killing 49 people, who was twice interviewed by the FBI and then written off as harmless.
- Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tasfeen Malik, the two jihadists who killed 14 people in San Bernardino.
And then there’s the latest entry in the jihadi sweepstakes, Turkish immigrant Arcan Çetin, who shot and killed five people in a Burlington, Washington, mall.
Was the FBI was too busy “probing” Carter Page and the Trump campaign to bother investigating the many leads that would’ve caused suspicion to fall on at least three of these people?
This is the same FBI whose leader scotched the prosecution of Hillary Clinton for setting up her own private email server while Secretary of State, sending and receiving thousands of pages of classified material and endangering national security – a felony.
Now we see that they are trying to embroil the Trump campaign in an “investigation” that is clearly political. While Isikoff describes Page’s alleged meeting with former Russian official Igor Sechim as “problematic,” what’s really problematic is the intervention of the US “intelligence community” into the US election.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff, two California Democrats on the Senate and House intelligence committees, have issued a joint statement declaring without proof that the Russians are trying to “influence” the election – presumably in Trump’s favor. The Kremlin, they aver, is making a “concerted effort” on Trump’s behalf – and yet the only “concerted effort” in evidence here is one by the Democrats and the government agencies they control to target their political opponents. We haven’t seen anything quite like this since the days of J. Edgar Hoover.
If and when Hillary Clinton is elected President, it’s not hard to envision a crackdown on “pro-Russian” activities in the US, including any effort to improve relations between the US and the Russian Federation. Instead of going after jihadists, active and potential, they will be “investigating” the peaceful legal actions of private US citizens like Carter Page, and perhaps this writer, who agree with Trump when he opines that “Wouldn’t it be nice if we got along with Russia?”
The logical next step in this campaign of calumny is the revival of the House Committee on “Un-American” Activities and its Senate counterpart: one can imagine public hearings – a traditional ritual in all official witch-hunts – targeting groups and individuals who oppose the new cold war. “Experts” who have found a lucrative new way to make a living will be called to testify. The parade of witnesses will no doubt be a who’s who of professional Russia-haters: Michael Weiss, whose “journalistic” activities are funded by the son of Russian oligarch — and accused embezzler and murderer — Mikhail Khodorkovsky; Cathy Young, a Russian immigrant who, when she isn’t hyperventilating over alleged phony rape charges, is sounding the alarm about “Putin’s American fan club“; and Julia Ioffe, another Russian immigrant who has spent a good part of her journalistic career maligning her mother country, and whose latest jeremiad is a remarkably murky piece for Politico that asks: “Was [Carter] Page the shadowy messenger between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin …?” All that’s missing is scary music audio.
The propaganda campaign targeting Russia as the root of all evil is part of the political class’s effort to switch gears when it comes to defining the principal enemy of the US on the world stage. Our eternal “war on terrorism,” as useful as it has been in shoring up and expanding the national security state, has provoked – from their perspective – some unfortunate blowback. Instead of ginning up yet more wars, at this point it’s inspiring some considerable pushback from the peons in flyover country, who are sick and tired of futile wars in the Middle East when they see their own country falling to pieces. This has led to the rise of the alleged “isolationist” Trump and his “America First” foreign policy perspective, both of which are a mortal threat to the Washington crowd and their journalistic camarilla.
The push is on, therefore, to substitute Russia for the jihadists as the new bogeyman: there’s more money in it, and they think they can sell it to the American people. And so we see this extraordinary campaign by the Clinton campaign and the Washington crowd to, first, use it to swing the election, and, in terms of longer range goals, to shift the focus of American ire away from the radical Islamist terrorists and home in on the man they consider the real enemy: Vladimir Putin.
The neocons have been at war with Putin ever since he refused to go along with the Iraq war: leading war advocate Richard Perle called for Russia to be thrown out of the G-8 as long ago as 2003. Ever since then there have been an escalating series of accusations aimed at the Russian leader that have only gotten more fantastic over the years, from blaming him for the death of every Russian “dissident” who so much as stubs a toe to hacking the Democratic National Committee and revealing information embarrassing to the Clinton political machine. Indeed, the default “explanation” for each and every hacking of a computer system is “The Russians did it!” This in spite of the fact that it is next to impossible to attribute such incursions with any degree of accuracy.
Now the new cold warriors are taking their campaign one step further by involving the nation’s law enforcement agencies – an ominous turn of events that could have dire implications for our already precarious civil liberties. The last time the national security state turned its gaze on Russia, we had a wholesale assault on free speech and freedom of association in this country. Are we in for a repeat? The answer is: I’m afraid so.
What makes it more dangerous this time around is that leading “liberals” are in the vanguard of the new cold war: together with their new-found neoconservative allies, they will make the next chapter in the long history of American witch-hunting even darker than the previous one.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN