Michael Hudson explains that the Senate hearings on Russia are an effort by Democrats to torpedo improvements in Russia-US relations and lack any real evidence of Russian meddling.
KIM BROWN: Welcome to The Real News Network in Baltimore. I’m Kim Brown.
On Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee held its first hearing, as part of an inquiry as to whether or not there was collusion between Russian officials, and the Trump campaign of 2016, along with the subsequent transition team into the White House. There’s been a lot of speculation –- a lot of leaks –- coming from the intelligence community, about whether or not Donald Trump and his associates had extensive contact with Russian officials, and this Senate Intelligence Committee hopes to try to get to the bottom of that.
But, is this much to do about nothing? Or is there actually smoke, and subsequent fire? Well, to discuss this, we’re joined today with Michael Hudson. Michael is a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics, at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He’s also the author of many books, including, “The Bubble and Beyond, and Finance Capitalism and its Discontents,” “Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy,” and most recently, “J is for Junk Economics: A Survivors Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception.” He joins us today from New York.
Michael, welcome back to The Real News.
MICHAEL HUDSON: Good to be here.
KIM BROWN: Michael, this committee hearing seems to culminate weeks now, of a lot of speculation, not just from the left, or not just from Democrats, rather, about whether or not there was collusion between members of the Trump campaign, and his transition team, and Russians, in order to propel him into the Oval Office.
Your thoughts about today’s opening hearing, and whether or not the premise behind this hearing, is valid in the first place?
MICHAEL HUDSON: The premise is not valid. It’s fake news, and the one thing that the Senate committee does not want to find is where these leaks come from. The one thing they do not want to do is have any discussion of the actual evidence. The evidence itself is notoriously fake.
You remember when the DNC ostensibly hired somebody to find out who got their information. They hired a propaganda organization … a lobbyist. They hired CrowdStrike, which is not only connected to the DNC, but to the pro-war neocon Atlantic Council, which is the lobbyist pushing for military confrontation with Russia.
KIM BROWN: Michael, I’m sorry… Not to cut you off – really quick, but you’re saying that this particular firm hired by the Democrats, that they hired this firm to look into the hacking of the DNC over the summer of 2016 – is that what you’re referring to?
MICHAEL HUDSON: Yes. But that’s not what they tried to do. They didn’t want them… the one thing they did not want CrowdStrike to do was look into the so-called hacking and who got the information. They hired CrowdStrike as a propaganda organization, to make accusations against Russia that had no evidence whatsoever. And James Clapper, of The Deep State, himself has said there is no evidence.
So, CrowdStrike was hired because it’s part of the neocon establishment, the Atlantic Council, and represents the Ukraine, also… the neo-Nazis in the Ukraine, they hired a propaganda organization. And the FBI said they also went to the FBI, to Mr. Comey, who is a Democrat, and said we don’t want the FBI to look into it because if the FBI looks into it, they’ll find that probably there wasn’t Russian hacking. And so, what happened was that you had the Democrats come out, and say something obviously false on the surface of it, 17 intelligence agencies have all believed that there is Russian hacking.
The 17 – this would include the Coast Guard Intelligence and other things. The reality is, there were only three intelligence agencies involved: the National Security Council, the CIA and the FBI. None of these organizations came out with any evidence whatsoever. WikiLeaks, who actually got the information, said that it came from a DNC member who didn’t hack it, who just copied the information, delivered it to him. And the hint that they told me when I was in London, was that the hacker was the DNC worker who was mysteriously killed, in an unsolved crime two days… a few days later, walking in the park.
So, what should be asked is: how did WikiLeaks get the information from the DNC? Nobody’s asking that. They don’t want to look at it, because they want to make the unjustified claim that this was a Russian hacking, and the intelligence professionals all sort of agree that anybody could’ve done the hacking. There’s no evidence of one person or another -– if indeed there was hacking -– neither the FBI, nor the NSC, nor the CIA have examined every computer to try to find out.
Only the propaganda lobbyist organization that the DNC hired, essentially to fight Trump, and not only fight Trump, but to fight Trump’s attempt to make a rapprochement with Russia. To try to fight against the ISIS, and Al-Nusra that the Obama administration was backing in Syria and in Libya. The Russians have met with the Americans and said, look, let’s have a meeting between the Justice Department and the Russia Prosecutor General on cyber-crime. We want an international treaty against it.
The United States refused it. They said, we can’t sign any international treaty, because then we would have to obey its rules. And we have no intention whatsoever of obeying any rules of any international treaty, when it comes to cyber-crime. In other words, America can do cyber-crime and hack foreign countries, but claims that they’re hacking us, when there’s no evidence at all.
Why is this fake story coming out? It’s come out in order to discredit any attempt that President Trump may have to wind down the confrontation with Russia, to try to do what Ronald Reagan did, and disarm the atomic warfare, to stop the build-up of atomic weapons around Russia, and basically to wind back the military-industrial complex.
The neocons and the military-industrial complex are all a unit, because the military-industrial complex needs an enemy. It needs bases to put all these weapons it is producing at enormous profits in. The only place to put them, logically, is around Russia and China. But when you put the weapons that close to these countries, you’re increasing the risk of war. Trump wanted to wind that down, but the neocons, the Democratic Party, the Atlantic Council, and the Senate Committee are the pro-war, anti-Russian group, so you…
KIM BROWN: Well, Michael… Michael… Let me ask you about… in your opinion, what is the difference between the so-called Russian reset of the earlier part of the Obama administration, when Barack Obama was sending Hillary Clinton, and then eventually John Kerry, out to negotiate with the Russians, particularly about nuclear treaties in order to draw down the amount of nuclear weapons in each country’s respective stockpiles.
Now, the Russian reset has been largely touted as a failed diplomatic attempt, because of different relationships, the dynamic I suppose, between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. But so, what’s the difference between the Obama-Russian reset, and what Donald Trump is attempting to do?
MICHAEL HUDSON: Just the names attached to them. The Russian reset wasn’t a reset at all. It was really a new Cold War. He appointed a virulent anti-Russian as the ambassador to there. Someone who was trying to promote an orange revolution and local protest movements within Russia…
KIM BROWN: Ambassador Michael McFaul.
MICHAEL HUDSON: Michael McFaul. Yes. Notorious anti-Russian. Just the kind of person you would not want to have as a serious ambassador. When Kerry tried to make some agreements with Russia in Syria, the military immediately worked against them. So, sending Kerry was just sort of a distraction, because it was really very early in Obama’s administration, he gave in to the NSA and the CIA and said, “Okay, boys, I’ll do whatever you want, just tell me what to do.”
There was never any intention of dismantling the military build-up, but just the opposite: to build up. That is exactly what occurred. Trump wanted to reverse the new Cold War pressure of the Democrats, the Obama administration. But you see what they’re trying to do: They say that if you oppose the Atlantic Council and the neocons, we’re going to wreck your career. That’s what the House Committee is doing.
The attention you should be focusing on is not the Senate investigation, but the House investigation under Nunes. That’s trying to say wait a minute, who leaked all this national security information about Trump? Trump used an obsolete word, saying, “They wiretapped me,” and people don’t wiretap anymore. When I grew up, we were wiretapped by J. Edgar Hoover. He wiretapped politicians to put together his notorious blackmail files.
But the NSA is now computer hacking. They go right into the server, and they hack, not wiretap. If they don’t do it, they ask the British to do it. So they can say, “We didn’t do any hacking.” We’re not saying that the British didn’t. The House Committee wants to see who leaked this information on Trump.
This is like the Russians used to do under Stalin, called “Kompromat”. The Secret Police would get blackmail information, and they’d leak it to political enemies. That’s what’s happening in the United States. The CIA, NSC and the FBI, now have the equivalent of J. Edgar Hoover’s blackmail files, and if you don’t have real blackmail, you’ll make it up. I think that’s what they’re doing against Trump. They’re making it up that there’s smoke with the Russia connection, and there isn’t any smoke that anybody’s found.
Clapper has even acknowledged there’s nothing that they’ve found, so this is purely a propaganda effort to make Trump too politically unable, to make a real reset with Russia. Or, a real wind-down of the military confrontation with Russia, not only directly on its borders, but also in Syria, Libya, and elsewhere in the Near East.
KIM BROWN: Well, if it’s a propaganda mission, whoever is initiating it, is doing a bang-up job, because there’s a hell of a lot of smoke floating around in the news about these alleged connections between Russia and the Trump administration and the Trump White House.
So, we will certainly keep an eye on the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, as well as the House Intelligence Committee hearings when they resume under Congressman Nunes, who has been under fire himself for his very close relationship with the Trump White House. So, there’s a lot going on here, Michael, and we appreciate your analysis today.
We’ve been speaking with Michael Hudson. He is a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics, at the University of Missouri, at Kansas City. Michael, thank you again, as always.
MICHAEL HUDSON: Good to be here. Thank you for the discussion.
KIM BROWN: And thanks for watching The Real News Network.