I don’t like Donald Trump. If I was pressed to explain why, I suppose I’d say that part of the reason is that he’s a loathsome racist misogynist lying war criminal. Also, I don’t like people who POST THEIR OPINIONS ALL-CAPS.
I feel I should mention this before explaining why I have a degree of sympathy with Trump supporters who feel that their man is treated unfairly by the mainstream media purveyors of ‘fake news.’ I think they’re quite right. The double standards, hypocrisy, and dishonesty of the media are absolutely breathtaking. That’s true in general, and it’s certainly true in relation to Donald Trump.
A recent example is the alleged hack of Solarwinds, an American software company. Solarwinds’ own report on the alleged hack makes no claim that Russia was responsible, yet within hours the entire mainstream media were pointing the finger at Russia. In a flash, the coverage moved seamlessly from speculating that Russia – not merely Russian hackers, but the Russian state – was behind it, to asserting this as a proven fact, to demanding swift and hard retaliation.
And then President Trump, always the spoiler, chimed in with his own speculation that maybe it was China, not Russia, that was behind it. And anyway, he said, it’s not such a big deal: the U.S. security apparatus is quite capable of handling this kind of thing.
The media were outraged. Shocked! Appalled! Every mainstream media outlet that I saw (and I look at more than is probably good for me) inserted the words “without evidence” in front of Trump’s speculation about China. True enough. There is no evidence whatsoever that the Chinese state was behind it.
But – here’s the thing – there is no evidence whatsoever that the Russian state was behind it, either. The only evidence of any kind is a report from Solarwinds that someone hacked them, along with an assertion that whoever it was had to be technically sophisticated to be able to pull it off.
Trump has a point: China also has a sophisticated cyber-espionage apparatus. So do a number of other states, as well as some other criminal organizations. (Criminal organizations can be divided into three categories: States, Corporations, and Other.)
One of the states capable of mounting this kind of hacking operation is Israel, which has been involved in a number of espionage operations and cyberattacks against other countries, including those which are nominally allies. When it suits them, the media run admiring reports about Israel’s cyberwarfare capabilities, for example when describing Israel’s cyberattacks against Iran. In this context, however, not a word of speculation about any other potential hackers. It’s all Russia, Russia, Russia.
I have no idea who was responsible, assuming the alleged hack even happened. If I were going to join the media pack and speculate without evidence, I might speculate that the hackers may have been working for the security services that are far and away the most powerful and sophisticated in the world: those of the United States of America. Edward Snowden’s revelations exposed the immense reach of the U.S. security agencies, as well as their willingness to lie, and break the law, in pursuit of their agendas. Launching an operation, and then blaming it on Russia, would be entirely in keeping with their way of operating.
Here are some things that I think are worth keeping in mind:
1) Every state that has the capability to do so is engaged in trying to spy on other rival states and explore weaknesses in their systems. That includes Russia, China, Israel, Saudi Arabia, India, Turkey, and, far ahead of everyone else, the United States of America. It also includes Canada, which, along with Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, is part of the “Five Eyes” intelligence consortium controlled by the U.S. Spying is normal, and only people as naive or dishonest as mainstream journalists could possibly be surprised or shocked to find that it is going on.
2) The security services, and the people who speak for them in public, and the governments they are nominally answerable to, have a long, long record of lying. They don’t just occasionally lie, they lie all the time, day after day, year after year, decade after decade. Disinformation and progaganda are key parts of their work, and lying is the essence of propaganda. The people who run the state, and who run the security services, are professional liars. We should never forget that.
3) Every war and intervention that the U.S. has started in the last 75 years has been prepared and justified by lies. That includes the Korean War, the war against Vietnam (and Laos and Cambodia), the invasions of the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Panama, the 1991 Gulf War, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq after September 11, 2001, and the war against Libya in 2011.
4) Significant elements of the American state apparatus are seeking confrontations, up to and including war, with Russia and China. They are willing to risk nuclear war, and in fact think that the U.S. would ‘win’ a nuclear war, especially if it launches a surprise attack.
5) When professionals liars make statements that are designed to increase the chances of confrontation and war, it’s best not to believe a word they say, unless they present rock-solid evidence for what they are saying. If they do present rock-solid evidence, it’s best to assume the evidence is fabricated.
6) When they tell you that the evidence is secret and can’t be revealed, assume that, once again, they are lying.
December 22, 2020
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