That the American left is morally and intellectually bankrupt is hardly breaking news, at least to my longtime readers: I reported it way back in 1999, when “leftists” were cheering on the bombing of Serbia. I updated this critique when our vaunted “progressives” attacked Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald for exposing the depredations of the Surveillance State during the reign of Barack Obama. Of course, there have been – and continue to be – exceptions. Yet the old-style liberals, of the sort exemplified by, say, Alexander Cockburn, who never waffle when it comes to questions of war and civil liberties, are few and far between. With Cockburn’s death, in 2012, the species became as rare as an albino redwood – and, yet, not quite extinct.
The “Russia-gate” hoax now being perpetrated by the anti-Trump “Resistance,” in league with elements of what we call the intelligence “community,” has given fresh impetus to the ongoing degeneration of the American left – while highlighting the fact that pockets of healthy dissent remain. Consumed by hatred for President Trump, most of what passes for the “left” today has rushed to embrace the story – concocted by former CIA director John Brennan and a gaggle of still-serving intelligence officials – that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian intelligence to “steal” the 2016 election from Hillary Rodham Clinton. This was done, they claim, by “hacking” the Democratic National Committee’s email system and exposing the profound corruption at the heart of the Clinton campaign. Ancillary to this operation was a concerted effort by the Russians to broadcast “fake news” denigrating Hillary and promoting Trump. All this was done, according to the official intelligence reports and the liberal media, on direct orders from none other than Vladimir Putin himself.
The problem with this narrative is that there’s no evidence for it. The two reports made public by our spooks are laughably bereft of any proof, forensic or otherwise, consisting mainly of bare assertions. The actual evidence, we are told, is classified top super-duper secret, and we’re given the old we-must-protect-sources-and-methods run-around. In short, the intelligence community that told us Saddam Hussein most certainly had weapons of mass destruction ready to launch is now telling us that we just have to trust them.
And while a disturbing proportion of self-avowed liberals and “progressives” are doing just that, this phenomenon is not universal. Over at The Nation, Russia scholar Stephen Cohen has been warning about the dangers of the new Russophobia, and James Carden has been asking why the CIA narrative about the alleged “hacking” of the DNC is being taken at face value. Now a new study by cyber-war experts has challenged the forensics – or lack of them – behind the official narrative: the investigation is conducted by a group of independent researchers and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). I covered their findings here, but to reiterate I quote the VIPs report:
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