Monday, June 01, 2020

They're Back

For six days, we were spared hearing from Glenn Greenwald. Alas, all good things must come to an end:

This was not lunacy, of the sexual intercourse variety or any other. On March 10, The New York Times had reported

The Russian government has stepped up efforts to inflame racial tensions in the United States as part of its bid to influence November’s presidential election, including trying to incite violence by white supremacist groups and to stoke anger among African-Americans, according to seven American officials briefed on recent intelligence.

Russia’s lead intelligence agency, the S.V.R., has apparently gone beyond 2016 methods of interference, when operatives tried to stoke racial animosity by creating fake Black Lives Matter groups and spreading disinformation to depress black voter turnout. Now, Russia is also trying to influence white supremacist groups, the officials said; they gave few details, but one official said federal investigators are examining how at least one neo-Nazi organization with ties to Russia is funded.

Other Russian efforts, which American intelligence agencies have tracked, involve simply prodding white nationalists to more aggressively spread hate messages and amplifying their invective. Russian operatives are also trying to push black extremist groups toward violence, according to multiple officials, though they did not detail how.

Russia’s more public influence operations, like state-backed news organizations, have continued to push divisive racial narratives, including stories emphasizing allegations of police abuse in the United States and highlighting racism against African-Americans within the military.

We don't know to what extent, and in exactly what manner, the Kremlin has interjected Russia into USA politics. However, on February 13, intelligence officials informed members of the House Intelligence Committee that Russia was involved in trying to influence the 2020 general election and the Democratic Party's primary process.

We know that Putin's government was involved in 2016, which even Donald Trump acknowledged when a year ago he tweeted in part “I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected.” Things went swimmingly for Vladimir's henchmen in 2016, and they had every reason to return.

There are many possible avenues for disruption and inflaming racial tensions is a ripe target. If we do as Glenn Greenwald suggests and dismiss out-of-hand the influence of Russia and other outside forces on exacerbating racial discord, President Trump will be quite relieved in his second term.

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