2016 Presidential Election: Part 1 ~ Russia, hacking, false news stories & federal Investigations ~ Connecting Up the Dots btw

by faithgibson on March 29, 2017

Prologue:

I personally know and admire more than a dozen Russians families who are working in Silicon Valley tech companies under H1-b visas and have sought out midwifery care from me. I other Russians who immigrated permanently to the US and are now proud to be naturalized US citizens. For this and other reasons, I’ve had more than the ordinary interest in the Russian hacking scandal other interference in the 2016 presidential election and have done the considerable reading (Winter is Coming by Garry Kasparov) and research. 

I am convinced that it’s not “The Russians” who are the ‘problem’, but the Russian government — a small number of politically influential people with the legal authority and temperament to use force whenever and wherever they want. Based on recent behavior, it seems that the goal of Russia’s current government is world domination.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, Russian Defense Minister and Army General Sergei Shoigu, left, and Victory Parade Commander and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces, Colonel-General Oleg Salyukov

But my transcript of Mr. Watts Congressional testimony and interview on MCNBC must start with the critical distinction btw the Russia’s government (as ruled by Mr. Putin for the last 17 years) and the wonderful Russia people. 

Unfortunately, when the media reports on Russian hacking and other covert intrusions in the 2016 election, it’s too easy to think the entire population of Russia is anti-American and that President Putin was just “playing to his base”  when he ordered the Russian military intelligence agency (GRU) to hack and distribute the personal emails of politicians and propagate false news stories to undermine trust in our democratic institutions. However, electronic meddling in our democracy by Russian hackers does not represent the popular will of the country.

I’ve have done considerable research on the current political topic — books (Winter is Coming by Garry Kasparov), articles by journalists and policy advisors, and newsfeeds for investigative journalism. 

Nor are the Russian people responsible for the collision course that President Putin has put our two countries on; if maintained, there is an increasing probability that harm will come to the citizens of both our countries, as well as considerable “collateral damage” to people living in other parts of the world.

Many large public demonstrations by the Russian people against its corrupt officials in the last several years make it clear that the goals of the people are very different than those of Russia’s not freely or fairly-elected government. So far, the Putin regime has ordered the assassination of more than a dozen journalists and opposition leaders, outlawed political demonstrations, jailed and abused protesters and used trumped-up criminal charges against potential candidates to keep them from running against him in the upcoming presidential election in Russia.

The civilian population of Russia is not engaged in espionage or sabotage against the people of the United States. In fact, Russians want what we Americans want — free & fair elections, a politically effective government, an economically stable society, reasonable prosperity for everyone, and a personally peaceful and satisfying life.

While the Russian people are not our enemy, we must be acutely aware that the current Russian government is not our friend and not a trustworthy political partner internationally.

I think I speak for a large percentage of Americans when I say our hopes and prayer for the Russian people is that they regain control over their government in the near future and are able to correct its current course.

Interesting ASIDE ~ 

Based on recent estimates by United Nations, the current population of the Russian Federation is approximately 143.4 million people or 1.91% of the world population.

When all countries in the world are listed by population, Russia ranks 9th. Their country is so large that it has 11 time zones. The median age of Russia’s population was 38 years.

By comparison, the United States has 325.8 million people and represents 4.34% (2.5 X greater) of the world’s population and we rank 3rd in the list of countries by population. Our median age is 38.1 years. 

A side-by-side comparison of Russia & the US:

  • Russia has 143 vs. 325 million people in the US
  • 9th vs. 3rd largest population in the US
  • 11 vs. 3 time zones
  • The average age of its citizens is the same in both countries –> 38 years-old

Synopsis of “What’s Known” about the Russian government’s cyber and other electronic intrusions into the 2016 presidential election

According to the best sources currently available (including the testimony of Mr. Watts), there is no doubt about these basic facts:

1. The Russian government collected private and privileged information via espionage and then used it to tamper with our electoral system. A credible witness for the House of Representative’s investigation (but not identified in this post), reported that Russian hacking into our electoral process started in 2014 and targeted both the primary and the general presidential election.

2. Russian hackers acting employed by the Russian government attempt to tamper with electronic voting machines and other computed-based systems for recording, counting and reporting the outcomes of elections. Fortunately for us they failed (at least so far).

Let me repeat for emphasis and clarity: Russain hackers acting under orders from the Russian government (i.e. approved by President Putin) tried but failed to electronically control the outcome of our 2016 presidential election via direct interference with the actual voting process by changing electronic data after people voted.

The goal of these Russian cyber-attacks operation employed intrusive strategies that successfully influenced and negatively disrupted the democratic processes, at the level of both primary and the general election. In other words, to influence public opinion and influence Americans to think and do things they otherwise have NOT have thought or acted upon.

Part Two of this post provides a transcript of Congressional testimony provided by Clinton Watts, a former FBI agent & counterterrorism expert on the Russian Govt’s covert operations in the presidential campaigns and general election (2014-2016) 

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