By Patrick Martin in the USA:
24 February 2020
The victory of Bernie Sanders in the Nevada caucuses has escalated the anti-Sanders hysteria of the Democratic Party establishment and Democratic-aligned media outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC. This has taken the form of fabricated allegations of Russian intervention into the 2020 elections to support Sanders’ candidacy.
This fable is elaborated on the front page of Sunday’s New York Times in a lengthy article by David Sanger, the newspaper’s most reliable stenographer for whatever story the military-intelligence apparatus wants floated in the newspaper. Under the headline, “Seeking Chaos, Moscow Places Its Bets in US,” Sanger smears Sanders as the beneficiary of supposed Russian support in the 2020 elections.
Sanger has a long record of fraudulent “analyses”. Stories that appear under his byline are generally based on unnamed intelligence sources whose allegations are presented as unimpeachable. The hallmark of a typical Sanger analysis is that it lacks any identifiable factual basis. He is less a reporter than a frustrated writer of third-rate spy stories with poorly constructed plots.
In this latest thriller, Sanger does not produce a single fact in support of the contention that Russian President Vladimir Putin backs Sanders or has done anything to assist his campaign.
Besides numerous unnamed “outside experts” and “intelligence analysts”, Sanger quotes three current and former intelligence officials by name, including Angela Stent, national intelligence officer for Russia, now a professor at Georgetown University and author of Putin’s World: Russia Against the West and With the Rest, who actually says nothing about Sanders.
Victoria Nuland is also cited. Nuland is certainly an expert on foreign subversion of elections, having played, as she boasted, a central role in 2014 in the $5 billion US effort to destabilize and oust the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine.
Nuland does not present any evidence to support Sanger’s storyline, beyond asserting, “Any figures that radicalize politics and do harm to center views and unity in the United States are good for Putin’s Russia.” In other words, Sanders is functioning as a Putin stooge because his policies are to the left of the Democratic Party candidates favored by the CIA.
Sanger finds the hand of Putin in Sanders’ support for “a drastic expansion of taxes and government programs like Medicare,” claiming that this divides American society in a way favorable to Moscow.
Also named by Sanger is Christopher Krebs, head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Department of Homeland Security. Sanger cites his role in “documenting how Russian operatives are becoming stealthier, learning from the mistakes they made in 2016.” These Russki agents are so devilishly clever that they successfully conceal all traces of their insidious manipulation of American elections.
In Sanger’s make-believe world, the very absence of evidence of Russian interference is proof of their subversion. His storyline is a modern-day version of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anticommunist invocations of a “conspiracy so vast”.
No American is safe from Putin’s tentacles. Sanger claims that Russia is “feeding disinformation to unsuspecting Americans on Facebook and other social media.” He continues: “By seeding conspiracy theories and baseless claims on the platforms, Russians hope everyday Americans will retransmit those falsehoods from their own accounts.”
He concludes, with apparent regret over the existence of freedom of speech, “It is much harder to ban the words of real Americans, who may be parroting a Russian storyline, even unintentionally.”
The anti-Russia narrative has the most ominous implications for the democratic rights of the American people. The New York Times implies that any expression of social discontent in the United States, and, above all, the growing anger over mounting social inequality, can be delegitimized as “parroting a Russian storyline” and outlawed.
The claims by the intelligence agencies that Sanders is the beneficiary of Russian support have been taken up by leading figures in the Democratic Party establishment. Appearing on the ABC News Sunday interview program “This Week”, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as chief of staff in the Obama White House, said that Sanders’ rise in the Democratic presidential contest was a case of Putin and Trump picking the weakest possible opponent in order to ensure Trump’s reelection.
These reactions are not merely the expression of the virulent hatred of socialism on the part of the Democratic leadership, even in the … version that Sanders advances under the label “democratic socialism”. A Sanders campaign, with its emphasis on economic inequality and appeals to popular hostility to billionaires and corporate America, would cut across the political agenda of the Democratic leadership.
The Democratic Party establishment has long wanted to conduct the 2020 election campaign against Trump as a continuation of the anti-Russia campaign that produced the Mueller Report and then the impeachment of Trump for delaying military aid to Ukraine for its war with Russia, which ended in his acquittal in the Senate. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi never tires of repeating, “All roads lead to Russia.”
The Democratic Party wants to center the 2020 presidential campaign on the claim that Trump is an agent or stooge of Russian President Vladimir Putin and to present the Democrats as the defenders of “our” intelligence agencies and “our” diplomats and generals against the interference of Moscow in American politics.
In the event that such a campaign succeeded in ousting Trump, the result would be portrayed as a popular mandate for military escalation against Russia, as well as China, threatening the prospect of open warfare between the world’s main nuclear powers. Regardless of the outcome, however, a campaign focused on anti-Russian hysteria would serve to suppress the mounting social tensions in America and block any political expression of the seething anger in the working class.
The reaction of the party establishment to the rise of Sanders only underscores the central political reality that the Democratic Party is controlled by the intelligence agencies and the financial elites, not the millions who vote in primaries and caucuses.
BLADES OUT FOR BERNIE Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), now the clear front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination, has continued to make gains with voters in South Carolina, especially among Black voters who make up nearly two-thirds of the party there. His Democratic rivals are expected to focus on Sanders at Tuesday’s primary debate in Charleston amid growing angst from the party establishment about a self-described democratic socialist being the nominee. [HuffPost]
JOE BIDEN’S LAST STAND Former Vice President Joe Biden badly needs a primary victory to keep alive his chances of winning the Democratic nomination, and his firewall state of South Carolina is finally heading to the polls this week. Biden once looked unassailable (with support as high as 46% at one point), but is now facing a competitive fight as other candidates in the race continue to make inroads with Black voters, his core constituency. [HuffPost]
Critics of Sanders repeat again and again that Trump cannot be beaten from his (Sanders’) all-too-leftist platform, and the main thing is to get rid of Trump. To this we should just answer that the true message hidden in this argument is: if the choice is between Trump and Sanders, we prefer Trump: here.