Medina del Campo, Spain - August 17, 2013: Several people take part in a reenactment of a burning witches. Photo: iStock
Medina del Campo, Spain - August 17, 2013: Several people take part in a reenactment of a burning witches. Photo: iStock

When I was 16 and turning the pages of my state-curriculum history book, I swept past the section on McCarthyism. It wasn’t particularly emphasized on our European curriculum. Looking at the black-and-white pictures of a US society gripped by a perpetuated miasma of hysteria was something I couldn’t relate to.

Thinking about the “McCarthyism era,” where anything even remotely divergent from the hysteria was antithetical to “these United States” made me summarize the entire period: witch-hunt.

It seemed absurd to me how such an environment could exist. Where anybody that questioned, suggested a different perspective, or cautioned against irrationality was labeled a spy, a traitor, or a dreaded “communist.” The pejorative word used to vilify anybody not swept up in the cascade of hysteria and the bandwagon effect.

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Now “Russians” is the regurgitated word of hysterical public officials, and media mouthpieces, trying to outdo each other to become the most authoritative figure within the neo-McCarthyist US.

The return of McCarthyism

What we are watching in the US is a hysteria being orchestrated by parties and members of the US corporate and political establishment to rally “America” against the “commie Soviets” again, except there are no “commie Soviets.” The push for Russophobia is like nothing Western audiences – yes, audiences because this is theater – have seen before, even during the Cold War.

Night and day, the press wheels churn any and all content warning that the Russians are coming, linking Russia to everything dubious and malevolent. The US corporate media has desensitized and drained the public’s tolerance in being able to take any more indoctrinating daily shows on Russia. The media pundits have actually polarized American society regarding President Donald Trump and Russia.

The hysteria has made people suspicious of anyone who “knows or has reason to believe is of Russian nationality or descent,”April Doss, the former head of intelligence law at the National Security Agency, and senior counsel to the Democrats of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in an email obtained by The Young Turks (TYT).

The neo-McCarthyist hysteria has allowed lawmakers to restrain RT America, an organ operated by Americans critiquing their own government – whose narratives can’t survive RT’s scrutiny – with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This clampdown on journalists and Westerners critical of their own society is a repeat of the 1950s. Why hasn’t FARA been used against the state-run BBC or France 24? Their failure to deconstruct or challenging the US state narrative comes to mind.

But why isn’t the influence of the Saudi Arabian lobby, the UAE lobby, as well as AIPAC, the Israeli lobby, which act to the detriment of the US public, also placed under FARA?

While the media has chased those pesky Russians directing Trump from the shadows in grainy carparks, there’s been a black-out on Yemen despite a cholera epidemic, and 130 children dying every day from the Saudi-orchestrated war, supported by the US. There’s no brave discussion on the Saudis supporting al-Qaida-linked groups in Syria. No major discussion on increased strikes in Iraq and Somalia or the presence of US soldiers in Syria when Daesh has now been defeated.

What has the cost been for the American public?

TAmerican journalism truly shamed itself in 2017. There were multiple retracted stories left seeping into the American societal conscious. There were also multiple leaks of CNN members admitting the consistent Russian narrative was hollow.

Worryingly, the need to lead and steer this neo-McCarthyism hysteria promoted a journalistic culture that made sweeping mistakes in a hurried fashion to add to the McCartyite public discourse. CNN has most prominently fallen afoul of this with two very prominent failings. In January last year, it falsely reported on the existence of classified documents that said Russia had compromising personal and financial information concerning Trump. Later, in June, CNN investigative journalists Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau and Lex Harris resigned after incorrectly connecting Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci to a $10 billion Russian investment fund.

Even Democracy Now is covering and prioritizing Russiaphobic stories, even interviewing disgraced journalist Kurt Ichenwald, the Newsweek reporter who had to retract and delete seven discredited articles that provoked a libel lawsuit.

The Democratic Party has used Russiagate to distract from their inherent corruption, their status quo resistance to change by their corporate-sponsored hierarchy, and the collusion against presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders

The propagation of “Russiagate” distracted US society from budgetary woes, a failing US dollar, and a ream of other issues, and has exacerbated the polarization of the US, as Russiagate has been used as a reason to ignore and omit real issues. The Democratic Party has used Russiagate to distract from their inherent corruption, their status quo resistance to change by their corporate-sponsored hierarchy, and the collusion against presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. Democrats don’t want to have to talk about universal healthcare, raising the minimum wage, ending student loans, getting corporate money out of US politics, or how they also support foreign wars, so they would rather irresponsibly propagate a false discourse.

Though senior executives, politicians, policymakers, and oligarchs were shaken by the defeat of the US establishment candidate Hilary Clinton, they won’t concede that the American public rejected the establishmentarian narratives, blaming Russia for it instead.

The American public has become more misinformed in an already unaware nation. The corruption in politics has continuously evaded the stage light, and while we watch the US implode on several fronts, the planet has moved on, with global mass infrastructural projects to actually create a layout for a more unified planet, slowly materializing.

Where has the ‘Russiagate’ investigation gone?

Frankly, not very far. FBI Director Robert Mueller has indicted a group composed of four former Trump advisers, 13 Russian nationals, three Russian companies, one California man, and one London-based lawyer. Four of these people have already pleaded guilty – guilty to giving a false statement – with the latest being lawyer Alex van der Zwaan.

Yet, the indictment has said that no Americans colluded with Russia.

Former Trump advisers Paul Manafort and Rick Gates have been indicted on an array of financial crimes. Former Trump advisers Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos have agreed to a plea deal, after making false statements about their contacts with Russians to investigators, but Flynn is reconsidering his decision.

None of the charges have anything to do with the US establishment’s confidently propagated narrative of Vladimir Putin or the Russian government interfering with the US presidential election. Yet the TV networks of America won’t question this gaping hole in the Russiagate story. Yet again, the US corporate media has acquiesced to the McCarthyite hysteria, and so many American journalists have gone along with it.

The 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies indicted, chiefly the Internet Research Agency (IRA), were charged with one broad count of “conspiracy to defraud the United States,” one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and six counts of identity theft. Ad buys by the IRA in Michigan, a swing state, amounted to $852, and 56% of their ads in the US were after the election. Those kinds of truths cannot swing the multi-billion dollar US election. Plain and simple, this story is porous and false. The agency had no influence on the election.

However, Cambridge Analytica, a private British data-mining and analysis company, partially owned by billionaire Ron Mercer, himself a Trump donor, did work with the Trump campaign, and also influenced the Brexit referendum outcome. So, I’m waiting for Mulleur to indict these British operatives. I’ll be waiting, because Russiagate isn’t about the Russian interference, it’s about creating an outside actor to blame, and distract from the truths of the election, the corruption, the corporate money and domestic woes. It’s these domestic woes that Trump’s campaign grabbed onto and galvanized the public, aside from his demagogy, because he repeated the widely believed realities that contradicted the establishmentarian narrative about the US’s economic health, among other things.

The hard truth

Former CIA director James Woolsey was recently on Fox News laughing as he stated that the US only interferes in other countries’ elections “for a good cause.” The 81 elections influenced between 1946 and 2001 by the US all being ‘”or a good cause” – and that excludes the last 17 years and all military coups – are hard to validate.

Yes, the US has meddled in other countries’ elections, especially during the Cold War, according to US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. But lest we forget, accompanied by US ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Payette, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland rushed to Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine, to hand out sandwiches and talk to the protest leaders. Is that not interference?

McFaul himself, together with an assistant state secretary, met with the Russian opposition at the beginning of his tenure in Moscow. The meeting came at the height of a protest movement. Is that not interference? There’s no clear evidence of Russian governmental interference in the US. It’s possible, but there’s clear evidence of the mounds of dead from US interventions across the Middle East.

Trump is a corrupt business man with possible connections to criminal cartels, but he’s not a Manchurian candidate. A Russian puppet doesn’t arm Ukrainians, doesn’t try to indefinitely stay in Syria, a Russian ally, or send a fleet of naval ships into the Black Sea, a Russian marine arena.

Russia didn’t rig an already rigged system; you get to elect, not select the candidates in this corruptible system. Obsessing about this issue allows Trump gets away with real adverse domestic and foreign policies.

Andrew Brennan is a dual Irish/American citizen who was educated in Ireland. He holds two Master of Arts degrees from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He has experience in radio, research, and domestic television, and also currently contributes to Forbes and Global Times.

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