Election 2016 and “Russian Hacking”: Pointing Fingers at the Wrong Culprit —What’s Behind the Justice Department’s Witch-Hunt

By the Editorial Board of The Organizer Newspaper

On Feb. 16, the U.S. Justice Department indicted 13 Russian nationals and three organizations for allegedly entering into a conspiracy to “interfere in the U.S. political system.” The indictments are the first charges related to the 2016 elections filed by the investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the former head of the FBI.

At least 20 U.S. citizens were listed as “unindicted conspirators” because they allegedly “interacted” with the Russians at one point or another during the 2016 presidential campaign. According to the New York Times, the Justice Department uncovered “a sophisticated network designed to subvert the 2016 election and to support the Trump campaign.”

What kind of meddling was this exactly?

According to the indictment, the Russian government is alleged to have spent about $100,000 in ads on Facebook and Twitter during the 2016 election campaign to promote the Trump candidacy.

Whether these charges are true or not has not been proven – but even if they were true, the $100,000 is a paltry sum when you consider that an estimated $6.5 billion were spent in the 2016 U.S. elections. How such an insignificant sum could have altered the outcome of the U.S. presidential election defies all logic.

CzZrussia gateIntervening in the internal affairs, or elections, of other countries — which the U.S. government has done without interruption for more than a century to promote U.S. corporate interests — cannot be countenanced in any form. But what needs to be exposed for all to see is the shady use of this alleged “Russia-gate” operation for political aims contrary to the interests of the U.S. working class majority and to all elementary democratic rights.

“Woke Blacks”

In announcing the indictment, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein declared that, “Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy.”

According to the Justice Department, the main U.S. co-conspirators involved in promoting this “discord” operation are Black advocates of independent politics and a break with twin parties of Big Business. A New York Times article by Charles Blow on Feb. 18 quotes Mueller’s document as follows:

“In or around the latter half of 2016, defendants and their co-conspirators, through their personas, began to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election or to vote for a third-party U.S. presidential candidate. … They used the Instagram account ‘Woke Blacks’ to post the following message: ‘Particular hype and hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’d surely be better off without voting AT ALL.’”

Ignoring the real crime

Glen Ford commented on this New York Times hit piece in the Feb. 22 issue of Black Agenda Report, of which he is executive director:

“For Blow, it is heresy and devilment to urge Black people to vote for third parties, or to refrain from voting. … Blacks that refuse to forgive the Clintons for mass incarcerating and dehumanizing our people are guilty of Black voter suppression and deemed dupes of both Trump and the Kremlin.

“[B]oth Trump and Hillary Clinton are corporate capitalist politicians and warmongering racists that don’t deserve the vote of any decent person. But, saying so can now be construed as giving ‘aid and comfort’ to a foreign ‘enemy’ – either directly to Putin or to his “surrogate,” Trump. It must be a crime, because ‘the Russians’ were indicted for it, right?”

Glen Ford goes on to point out, correctly, that Mueller, the Democrats and their pundits in the corporate media have all failed to note the real crime committed against democratic rights in this country: the massive suppression of Black votes in the 2016 presidential. He writes:

“Funny thing, though: the Democrats refused to cite the Republicans’ systematic, mass suppression of Black voters through the Cross Check scheme, which caused 400,000 heavily Black votes to disappear in Michigan. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein called for a recount in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and found that Black voter suppression was a major factor, particularly in Detroit.

“But the Democrats have never confronted the GOP’s blatant theft of elections through massive suppression of Black votes. They are bound, apparently, by a gentleman’s agreement among the two parties.”

“They are preparing the landscape for a regime of permanent austerity and war, and plan to suppress all opposition on the Left. That’s why Black Agenda Report and a dozen other Left web sites were named and defamed as Russian fellow travelers and purveyors of ‘fake news’ by the Washington Post.”

The U.S. ruling class is pointing its fingers at the wrong culprit to hide its own failed two-party system and to hide its own real crimes against working people and against basic democratic rights.

It is time to build a growing and united movement to stop this witch-hunt and to proclaim, loud and clear, that the struggle for independent Black politics and independent working class political action are not only legitimate, but are urgently needed means to advance the interests of the working class majority and all the oppressed.

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