"Russian Hacking" Narrative on its Last Legs: Mueller Commission Backfires, Focus Shifts to US Meddl
In the US, the topic of alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election in 2016 is still in the headlines. The commission of Special Counsel Mueller did not produce any evidence of the decisive impact. Instead, it provoked an internal debate in the US. Isn't America interfering in other countries' elections? There are plenty of proven cases. The CIA officials don't even conceal their involvement. They've been doing it for decades and the majority of cases were quite successful.
Alexander Khristenko with the details.
The former Director of the CIA knows and remembers so much that even his silence or, in James Woolsey's case, mumbling says a lot. Or rather everything.
— Have we ever tried to interfere in the other countries' elections?
James Woolsey, former CIA director: Well, perhaps. But we did it for the sake of our state to not let communists win. For example, in Europe in 1947, 1948, and 1949 in Greece and Italy.
— But currently, we aren't interfering?
— Well… am-nam-nam… only when the cause is noble.
Former CIA Director Woolsey basically admitted the US interference in the foreign elections. Realizing that, he instantly came up with an excuse. One can interfere in the foreign affairs when the cause is noble enough. The CIA has been doing that since it was founded 70 years ago. 80 coup attempts. It's a proven fact that the CIA portfolio contains political murders, blackmailing bribery, and disinformation.
«We've been doing this kind of thing since the CIA was created in 1947. We've used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners — you name it. We've planted false information in foreign newspapers. We've used what the British call 'George's cavalry': suitcases of cash».
The last one rings a bell especially if we think about the new charges against the head of Trump's campaign's office Paul Manafort. According to the investigation, six years ago Manafort was working for Yanukovych and paying former high European officials who positioned themselves as independent. They were paid to seek benefits for Ukraine in the EU and US. Their group was mockingly called «Grabsburgs» after the famous dynasty. They were talking about the values that Ukraine shared with the West the benefits of Kiev's Euro-Atlantic integration and tucking $2,000,000 into their pockets transferred from Manafort's off-shores. According to the Guardian, former Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer and ex-head of the European Commission Romano Prodi are also under a cloud. They both deny everything.
However, Moscow gets blamed for interfering in foreign affairs. Special Counsel Mueller continues searching for the Russian traces in the US elections and trying to prove Trump's collusion with the Kremlin.
Meanwhile, the US President defends his internal policies and is ready to launch an offensive against Kim Jong Un. It was hard for the White House to wait for the Olympic pause to end. Now, it's going to impose new even stricter sanctions against the DPRK.
Donald Trump, US President: «If the current sanctions against the DPRK fail, we'll launch a new phase».
It's unclear what he means by that but we should expect more threats. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the journalists how Trump phrases them.
Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to UN: «He had to give a speech at the General Assembly. He called me that morning and I told him: 'Mr. President, serious people will gather there and it's not going to be fun. Don't get me wrong but treat it as a church service.' And he says: 'I need your advice. What if I call him a little rocket man in my speech?' I told him that he'd better use that phrase in front of the less formal audience. But he told me it was so catchy.»
The White House is once again beset by protestors. A series of demonstration across the country demanded to ban the sale of semi-automatic assault rifles. The movement was formed after another brutal school shooting this time in Florida. 17 people were murdered by an expelled student Nikolas Cruz. Prior to the accident, the sheriff received dozens of complaints. The FBI was also aware that Cruz was going to shoot up his school. But nobody stopped the 19-year-old murderer. Now, even the seasoned officers are crying on the TV.
«My wife and kid were there. By the grace of God, they managed to escape».
Classes are interrupted by the alarm. It's not fire. An armed man has infiltrated the building. Teachers lock the doors students hide in a corner and cover their faces with books. It's an exercise that prepares kids for the worst case scenario. Such trainings are conducted regularly all across the States. In the US, school shootings have ceased to be something unusual.
Paula Maurer, school supervisor: «The Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown made us realize that the same thing can happen to all of us».
This school in Indiana calls itself the safest in the US. Teachers received panic buttons and reinforced doors were installed in classrooms. The building was stuffed with cameras and sensors. The police can receive a shooter alarm within seconds and dispatch a squad. The system allows the operator and the squad to see the exact location of the shooter without entering the building. However, the equipment costs $300,000. The town of Westlake in Texas found another way. A police base is opened within school walls. And this school in Colorado allows teachers to carry guns. This science teacher has a special lesson for the kids.
«I've got a gun hidden in my boot. It's a 9-mm Glock handgun. We're not allowed to put the clip in but it's loaded».
There are several armed teachers whose names are kept in secret. They regularly practice with instructors at a shooting range and go through psychological training. The toughest question is whether the teacher can shoot their own student
Carl Donnelson, teacher: «If they threaten other students with a gun then I'll shoot».
Currently, there are a few such teacher-bodyguards in the US but Donald Trump liked the idea. He urged to arm all teachers of all types of schools.
In the US, more than 250,000,000 handguns and rifles are privately owned. Arms have always been an acute political issue. A year ago, a powerful organization called National Shooting Association provided Trump with the votes of its activists helping him to occupy the White House. But every new tragedy changes the public opinion. Now, the majority of Americans demand to restrict the sale of arms.
Many teachers and professors are not willing to take up arms. Even the teachers from the infamous Florida school opposed Trump's initiative. Schools already have locks, surveillance cameras, and bars. Armed staff would turn them into prison.
Alexander Khristenko, Nikolay Koskin Vesti: News of the Week, the USA.