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Glenn Greenwald: How Democrats Use ‘Russia Sympathizer’ to Smear Rivals

Posted on Aug 14, 2016

 

    A portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Nikolay Volnov / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept points out that Clinton loyalists have given Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and even Julian Assange a “turn in the Kremlin seat” and puts this form of “Red-baiting” into historical context.

From The Intercept:

A frequent weapon for Democrats in the 2016 election is to publicly malign those they regard as critics and adversaries as Russia sympathizers, Putin stooges, or outright agents of the Kremlin. To put it mildly, this is not a new tactic in U.S. political discourse, and it’s worth placing it in historical context. That’s particularly true given how many people have now been targeted with this attack.

Strongly insinuating that the GOP nominee, Donald Trump, has nefarious, possibly treasonous allegiances to Moscow has migrated from Clinton-loyal pundits into the principal theme of the Clinton campaign itself. “The depth of Trump’s relationship with the Kremlin is revealing itself by the day,” her website announced yesterday, and vital “questions” must be answered “about Trump’s cozy relationship with Russia.” The Clinton campaign this weekend released a 1-minute video that, over and over, insinuates Trump’s disloyalty in the form of “questions” – complete with menacing pictures of Red Square. Democrats cheered wildly, and really have not stopped cheering, ever since the ex-Acting CIA Director (who, undisclosed by the NYT, now works for a Clinton operative) went to The New York Times to claim “that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

But this smear tactic extends far beyond Trump. It is now used to vilify anyone perceived to be an impediment to Clinton’s victory. When WikiLeaks published thousands of DNC emails shortly before the Democratic Convention, which ultimately forced the resignation of four top officials, it was instantly asserted that it was The Russians who gave them those emails (even though The Washington Post cited an intelligence official as saying that “the intelligence community ... has not reached a conclusion about who passed the emails to WikiLeaks” and “We have not drawn any evidentiary connection to any Russian intelligence service and WikiLeaks — none”). Democrats not only treated this evidence-free conspiracy theory as Truth, but – following the Clinton campaign – proceeded to smear WikiLeaks as a Kremlin operation ... When Bernie Sanders looked earlier this year to be the one who was standing in Clinton’s way, slimy suggestions began emerging of his dark connections to Russia. In January, Clinton’s Senate ally Claire McCaskill went to The New York Times to warn of ads “with a hammer and sickle” if Democrats nominate Sanders (smearing opponents by pretending to be concerned about how they’ll be attacked by the GOP is a Clinton speciality: it’s how her 2008 campaign justified inflaming the Obama-is-a-Muslim falsehood by being the first to circulate the now-infamous picture of Obama in Muslim garb while in Indonesia) ... [recently] it was Jill Stein’s turn in the Kremlin seat. As the Green Party candidate rises in the polls, it was only a matter of time before Democrats turned their Russia-smearing eyes toward her. One of the most widely-shared tweets of the weekend was this one from Andrew Weiss of the Carnegie Endowment: a total fabrication that was nonetheless heralded by dozens of Clinton-support journalists because it did the job of smearing a Hillary dissenter as a Russian tool. ...

Read more.

— Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata


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