Brandon Martinez / Non-Aligned Media
As the Western mainstream media and, particularly, the Hillary Clinton campaign in the United States focuses more and more scrutiny on Putin’s Kremlin (mostly as a distraction from their own faults), alt-media sheeple are reacting with euphoric embrace of everything Russian.
This is what I call the “pendulum swinging” phenomenon, where people recoil to certain rhetoric coming from sources they perennially distrust by embracing its polar opposite; in this case, the view that Russia and Putin are faultless moral demigods, bastions of resistance against the “New World Order” led by America.
The flawed thinking behind the euphoria goes thusly: if bad people are pointing fingers at other bad people, the accused must be “good” since their accusers are “bad.” Why can’t both be “bad”? Gangs and mafias war with each other all the time, battling for territory and prestige. The elites of various nations engage in similar turf wars. Some elite factions may be worse than others, but none are “virtuous” actors who care about the little man.
The Clinton campaign has played up revelations that Donald Trump’s top campaign manager, Paul Manafort, did extensive political consulting work for Ukraine’s ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, effectively helping choreograph Yanukovych’s rise to power through a Ukrainian-based branch of his firm. The New York Times’ investigative report on the matter cites an internal Ukrainian investigation which uncovered a ledger found in Yanukovych’s party offices harboring Manafort’s name. The ledger is said to show a number of off-the-books payments – totaling $12.7 million – ostensibly sent to Manafort by Yanukovych’s party henchmen.
There’s no denying that Manafort worked for Yanukovych’s campaign in Ukraine – that’s a fact. What hasn’t been yet confirmed is if Manafort actually received the millions of dollars that the ledger indicates was directed to him by Yanukovych’s party cronies. The Manafort-Yanukovych connection has focused scrutiny on the Trump campaign in light of the Republican candidate’s markedly pro-Russia and Putin-friendly pronouncements, prompting charges from some that Trump is an ‘unwitting agent’ of the Kremlin.
What goes unmentioned by the Clinton camp is that Hillary herself has Russian ties, something the Trump campaign has also brought up. During her stint as secretary of state under Obama, Clinton’s State Department oversaw the takeover of US uranium assets – amounting to 20% of the industry – by a Russian government owned company called Uranium One. Various owners and stakeholders in that company donated millions to the Clinton Foundation over a number of years, with some of the funds coming in during the time the deal went through. The Wall Street Journal noted:
The $610 million sale of 51% of Uranium One to a unit of Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear agency, was approved in 2010 by a U.S. federal committee that assesses the security implications of foreign investments. The State Department, which Mrs. Clinton then ran, is one of its members.
A New York Times investigation revealed:
At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.
Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
During her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton also urged US tech giants to bankroll the Russian version of Silicon Valley as part of the broader US-Russia “reset” rapprochement in 2009. That initiative went forward as planned with US companies, at Clinton’s explicit advice, investing billions in Russian tech start ups. “Mrs. Clinton’s State Department worked aggressively to attract U.S. investment partners and helped the Russian State Investment Fund, Rusnano, identify American tech companies worthy of Russian investment,” wrote Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash, in a Wall Street Journal report. The Russian tech enclave is called Skolkovo Innovation Center, and is headed by Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian-Jewish billionaire.
The impervious pro-Kremlin hack pontificating under the pseudonym “Willy Loman” is trying to pooh-pooh the Manafort allegations with his usual one-dimensional skepticism. He does this not because Manafort is adversely affected by the story, but rather his hero Yanukovych, the deposed Ukrainian leader living in exile in Russia under Putin’s protection. Wayne Madsen, an “alternative” journalist based in Washington who has a history of Putin apologism, is also responding to the “Cold War” rhetoric from some Washington politicians by putting out Russian exoneration articles. He claims that because the American CIA has in the past exaggerated threats posed by Russia (something the Kremlin also does in reverse), then therefore the Russians must be dovish peaceniks, innocent of all charges that critics lay at their feet.