This Monday, the House Intelligence Committee held it's hearing on the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 Presidential Election. In the opening remarks to this much-awaited hearing, the Democratic Congressman from California, Adam Schiff, set the tone; establishing the case for why Russia is America's adversary, and how they're interfering in American democracy, and democracies across the world. He laid out the case for Russian interference in the election.
This is a rush transcript.
ADAM SCHIFF: Last summer, at the height of a bitterly contested, and hugely controversial presidential campaign, a foreign adversarial power intervened in an effort to weaken our democracy, and to influence the outcome for one candidate, and against the other. That foreign adversary was, of course, Russia; and it acted through its intelligence agencies and upon the direct instructions of its autocratic ruler, Vladimir Putin. In order to help Donald J. Trump become the 45th President of the United States. The Russian active measures campaign, may have begun as early as 2015, when Russian intelligence services launched a series of spear-phishing attacks designed to penetrate the computers of a broad array of Washington-based Democratic, and Republican Party organizations, think tanks and other entities. This continued at least through the winter of 2016. While at first the hacking may have been intended solely for the collection of foreign intelligence, in mid-2016 the Russians weaponized the stolen data; and used platforms established by the intel services, such as DC Leaks, and existing third-party channels, like WikiLeaks, to dump the documents.
DHARNA NOOR: With us to discuss all this is Glen Ford. Glen is joining us from Plainfield, New Jersey. He's the co-founder, and Executive Editor, of the Black Agenda Report. And he's also the author of the book, "The Big Lie: An Analysis of the U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion." He's also a regular contributor to The Real News Network. Thank you so much for joining me, Glen.
GLEN FORD: Thanks for having me.
DHARNA NOOR: Glen, can we get your response to that clip from Adam Schiff?
GLEN FORD: Well, my response is that there's no proof of any of that. And even the statement that came from the U.S. intelligence agencies, basically in intel-speak, amounted to saying that -- well, that's a plausible theory, it hangs together -- but there is no proof. So this, what Mr. Schiff is spouting off, is propaganda, a fantasy that has no basis in provable fact. And if we're going to have hearings that are based on fantasies, I don't know which committee really ought to be holding these hearings. Do we have a committee on fantasy?
DHARNA NOOR: Let's take another look at what Adam Schiff continues to say.
ADAM SCHIFF: Ours is not the first democracy to be attacked by the Russians in this way. Russian intelligence has been similarly interfering in the internal and political affairs of our European, and other allies, for decades. What is striking here is the degree to which the Russians were willing to undertake such an audacious, and risky, action against the most powerful nation on Earth. That ought to be a warning to us. That if we thought that the Russians would not dare to so blatantly interfere in our affairs, we were wrong. And if we do not do our very best to understand how the Russians accomplished this unprecedented attack on our democracy, and what we need to do to protect ourselves in the future, we will only have ourselves to blame. The stakes are nothing less than the future of our democracy, and liberal democracy, because we're engaged in a new war of ideas. Not communism versus capitalism, but authoritarianism versus democracy, and representative government.
DHARNA NOOR: What's your response to this? Are these so-called interferences unprecedented? And what do you make of his accusation that Russia is working against democracy with its support for authoritarianism?
GLEN FORD: Well, they're not just unprecedented, they're non-existent, at least as far as the evidence goes. But there is a great precedent in the world for interfering in other people's governments, and other people's right to order their own internal affairs as they see fit. And the biggest example of that interference -- the great interferer -- is the United States of America. Nobody holds a candle to the United States, when it comes to interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. Nobody even comes close. And we only get a sense of the scope, and sheer size, and the unique character of U.S. interference in the rest of the world, by taking in the totality of history, and the whole wide range of meddling in other people's rights to self-determination that the United States is guilty of. The U.S. has absolutely no respect for anybody else's right to self-determination, except its own. It overthrows governments. It overthrew most of the governments of Latin America, and still threatens to do so. It has participated in the overthrow of emerging governments in Africa, and now, basically is an occupier of Africa, through its Africom. It annexes whole countries, and that begins with the beginnings of the United States, the annexing of all the original people, the original nations of the United States into the United States. And goes on to include, oh, about half or more of Mexico, and all of Puerto Rico and the Philippines. And they damned near took Cuba several times, including at the turn of the 20th Century. The United States blackmails and coerces nations to form governments that will go along with the United States' wishes. And they use the threat of force to do that. They fund political parties all over the world. They do that covertly, and they do that overtly. And they do it to people, to governments, that are supposed to be their friends. Most notably, right after World War II, they subverted and tried to guide the course of politics in France and Italy, when communist parties were very strong in those countries. It arms opposition groups -- that is, wages proxy wars. And it's been doing that in the Muslim world for some time, going on 40 years now. Starting with Afghanistan, and most recently with Libya, and with Syria, and with the cumulative loss of millions and millions of lives. It imposes sanctions at the drop of a hat on countries all over the world. And sanctions are, and are meant to be, interference in the internal affairs of other countries. And it wages ceaseless propaganda wars for the purposes of regime change. And in this regard, it's certainly not just the U.S. government; the U.S. corporate media is not a junior partner, a full partner in these propaganda wars. And they start off when you hear a government being referred to as a, "regime," rather than a government. That's when you know that the crosshairs are on that government's neck.
DHARNA NOOR: Yeah, the hypocrisy here is kind of dumbfounding. But even, supposing that Russia did interfere with the election, how does that interference compare with say, the interference of the DNC, in the Democratic Primary in 2016?
GLEN FORD: Well, you know, that is an internal U.S. affair, one that Americans should be righteously upset about, instead of being upset at the Russians. And the Russians certainly don't have the capability to create the kind of corruption that WikiLeaks revealed inside the Democratic Party. Where are the Russian operatives creating the corruption itself? And I think, if we're going to make comparisons, the real comparison is between what the United States does in Russia, and what Russia does here. In terms of what Russia is alleged to have done during the past election, there is no proof of it whatsoever. But the United States has spread money around, offered scholarships, distributed computers -- blatantly interfered in elections in Russia, in 1996, in order to prop up the drunken U.S. stooge Yeltsin, and in two elections, in which Vladimir Putin was involved in the 21st century, in Russia. Are there any Russians roaming around New York City, or Washington D.C., with millions of dollars, and with all kinds of computers and other incentives for dissident groups in the United States? I'm a dissident, and most of my friends are dissidents, so if there were such incentives being offered by Russians, I think I'd know about it. They don't exist, and yet, they certainly have existed in abundance -- that is, U.S. monetary incentives for dissidents in Russia.
DHARNA NOOR: And what the Russians are actually being accused of is leaking some official Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks. So, why is it that so little is being made of the actual content of the leaked emails in this hearing?
GLEN FORD: It's a great diversion, and you know, Americans are super nationalist people. You know if you just watched American television, and you superimposed the words, German over American, you'd be scared of the United States, and its super nationalism. And so, Americans can be quickly diverted in their attentions, by pointing out a foreign threat, even if it doesn't exist. It used to be that the Democrats were the least hawkish of the two duopoly parties. But now surveys show that when it comes to the Russians, a majority of Democrats now are treating the Russians as some kind of existential threat. While only a minority of Republicans feel that way. So, this propaganda coming from the Democratic Party, related of course to the election, has been quite effective.
DHARNA NOOR: Before you go, Glen, I'd like to have us listen to another clip from the hearing. This is from AndrÃ© Carson, a Representative from Indiana.
ANDRÃ‰ CARSON: There's a lot at stake here for Russia. This is big money, big strategic implications. If they can legitimate their annexation of Crimea, what's next? Are we looking at a new Iron Curtain descending across Eastern Europe? You know, most in our country recognize what is at stake in how the United States, as the leader of the free world, is the only check on Russian expansion.
DHARNA NOOR: So, he says, "Are we looking at a new Iron Curtain descending across Eastern Europe?" Speaking of Crimea. What's your response to this, Glen?
GLEN FORD: The Iron Curtain has been erected within the American bubble. It's only visible to Americans. It only reflects the internal developments in American politics. It does not really exist in the real world. You know, back in 2015, when the Russians intervened in Syria, and did the world a favor by tipping the scales against the American-financed, and trained and armed jihadists, Vladimir Putin was still referring to the United States as, "our partners." If there is one thing about the current government in Russia that should be obvious, it's that it tries to create less tensions, and open up avenues of cooperation at every opportunity -- despite the hostility, and imperial attitude of the United States. This Iron Curtain has been erected by U.S. administration.