Robert Mueller obtained indictments of Russians for interfering in American elections. Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian people and three Russian companies accuses them of conspiring to interfere with “US political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.” Later in the day, he also announced a California man named Richard Pinedo had pleaded guilty to an identity fraud charge and become a cooperator, apparently in connection with the Russian charges. The indictments’ main emphasis, however, is on the propaganda efforts of one Russian group in particular: the Internet Research Agency. That group’s operations — which included social media posts, online ads, and organization of rallies in the US — were, the indictment alleges, often (but not exclusively) aimed at denigrating Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy, and at supporting Donald Trump’s.
Oddly enough, the Special Investigator’s indictments made it clear that NO Trump campaigners were involved in this Russian action against the American election process. Also important to note is that the Russian attempts occurred beginning in 2014 — long before there was even a Donald Trump Presidential candidate.
Government intrusion into other countries’ election processes is nothing new. It has been underway worldwide for many, many years. And it may surprise you, but the superior, moral, ethical, and better-than-any-other-country: the United States of America — has been pretty much the “Colluder in Chief” when it comes to attempted foreign election intrusion. I bet you didn’t know that.
U.S. Foreign Election Tampering History
The U.S. has a long history of attempting to influence presidential elections in other countries – it’s done so as many as 81 times between 1946 and 2000, according to a database amassed by political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University. That number doesn’t include military coups and regime change efforts following the election of candidates the U.S. didn’t like, notably those in Iran, Guatemala and Chile. Nor does it include general assistance with the electoral process, such as election monitoring. Levin defines intervention as “a costly act which is designed to determine the election results [in favor of] one of the two sides.”
These acts, carried out in secret two-thirds of the time, include funding the election campaigns of specific parties, disseminating misinformation or propaganda, training locals of only one side in various campaigning or get-out-the-vote techniques, helping one side design their campaign materials, making public pronouncements or threats in favor of or against a candidate, and providing or withdrawing foreign aid. In 59% of these cases, the side that received assistance came to power, although Levin estimates the average effect of “partisan electoral interventions” to be only about a 3% increase in vote share.
The U.S. hasn’t been the only one trying to interfere in other countries’ elections, according to Levin’s data. Russia attempted to sway 36 foreign elections from the end of World War II to the turn of the century – meaning that, in total, at least one of the two great powers of the 20th century intervened in about 1 of every 9 competitive, national-level executive elections in that time period.
Italy’s 1948 general election is an early example of a race where U.S. actions probably influenced the outcome. “We threw everything, including the kitchen sink” at helping the Christian Democrats beat the Communists in Italy, said Levin, including covertly delivering “bags of money” to cover campaign expenses, sending experts to help run the campaign, subsidizing “pork” projects like land reclamation, and threatening publicly to end U.S. aid to Italy if the Communists were elected. Levin said that U.S. intervention probably played an important role in preventing a Communist Party victory, not just in 1948, but in seven subsequent Italian elections.
Throughout the Cold War, U.S. involvement in foreign elections was mainly motivated by the goal of containing communism, said Thomas Carothers, a foreign policy expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The U.S. didn’t want to see left-wing governments elected, and so it did engage fairly often in trying to influence elections in other countries,” Carothers said. This approach carried over into the immediate post-Soviet period.
In the 1990 Nicaragua elections, the CIA leaked damaging information on alleged corruption by the Marxist Sandinistas to German newspapers, according to Levin. The opposition used those reports against the Sandinista candidate, Daniel Ortega. He lost to opposition candidate Violeta Chamorro.
In Czechoslovakia that same year, the U.S. provided training and campaign funding to Vaclav Havel’s party and its Slovak affiliate as they planned for the country’s first democratic election after its transition away from communism. “The thinking was that we wanted to make sure communism was dead and buried,” said Levin.
Even after that, the U.S. continued trying to influence elections in its favor.
In Haiti after the 1986 overthrow of dictator and U.S. ally Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, the CIA sought to support particular candidates and undermine Jean-Bertrande Aristide, a Roman Catholic priest and proponent of liberation theology. The New York Times reported in the 1990s that the CIA had on its payroll members of the military junta that would ultimately unseat Aristide after he was democratically elected in a landslide over Marc Bazin, a former World Bank official and finance minister favored by the U.S.
The U.S. also attempted to sway Russian elections. In 1996, with the presidency of Boris Yeltsin and the Russian economy flailing, President Clinton endorsed a $10.2-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund linked to privatization, trade liberalization and other measures that would move Russia toward a capitalist economy. Yeltsin used the loan to bolster his popular support, telling voters that only he had the reformist credentials to secure such loans, according to media reports at the time. He used the money, in part, for social spending before the election, including payment of back wages and pensions.
In the Middle East, the U.S. has aimed to bolster candidates who could further the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In 1996, seeking to fulfill the legacy of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the peace accords the U.S. brokered, Clinton openly supported Shimon Peres, convening a peace summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheik to boost his popular support and inviting him to a meeting at the White House a month before the election. “We were persuaded that if [Likud candidate Benjamin] Netanyahu were elected, the peace process would be closed for the season,” said Aaron David Miller, who worked at the State Department at the time. In 1999, in a more subtle effort to sway the election, top Clinton strategists, including James Carville, were sent to advise Labor candidate Ehud Barak in the election against Netanyahu.
In Yugoslavia, the U.S. and NATO had long sought to cut off Serbian nationalist and Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic from the international system through economic sanctions and military action. In 2000, the U.S. spent millions of dollars in aid for political parties, campaign costs and independent media. Funding and broadcast equipment provided to the media arms of the opposition were a decisive factor in electing opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica as Yugoslav president, according to Levin. “If it wouldn’t have been for overt intervention … Milosevic would have been very likely to have won another term,” he said.
Obama’s Foreign Election Tampering
The Obama State Department paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers grants to an Israeli group that used the money to build a campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015’s Israeli parliamentary elections, a U.S. congressional investigation concluded. Some $350,000 was sent to OneVoice, ostensibly to support the group’s efforts to back Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement negotiations. But OneVoice used the money to build a voter database, train activists and hire a political consulting firm with ties to President Obama’s campaign — all of which set the stage for an anti-Netanyahu campaign, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a bipartisan staff report. In one stunning finding, the subcommittee said OneVoice even told the State Department’s top diplomat in Jerusalem of its plans in an email, but the official, Consul General Michael Ratney, claims never to have seen them. Netanhahu survived that election — regardless of Obama’s efforts to defeat him.
Here are my thoughts on all the hype in the U.S. for the last 18 months of “Collusion:”
- When someone screams loudly about someone else doing something incorrigible, those screams are often to hide the fact that the screamer is actually guilty of exactly what they are blaming someone else for. Listening to the Left’s cries against Trump for Russian collusion, it now appears that Democrats (and probably the Obama Administration) where certainly involved with the Russians in their quest to prevent a Trump election and subsequent presidential administration;
- American political hypocrisy is leaking from the very pores of the Nation as the Media continuously beat the “nothing-burger” drum of “Russian Collusion.” And America is becoming the laughing stock of the World because of it.
- The nonstop barrage of Collusion attack is numbing the nation to the realities of American life under this President that, on the most part, are improving the lives of middle class Americans in demonstrative fashion;
- The Left is clawing at the very fiber of America in desperation to somehow maintain some vestige of dignity and honor of what they feel is the superior philosophies they espouse. Their attempts are having less and less effect.
That great eagle called “America” is slowly awakening and appears to be readying itself to fly at its former lofty heights across the Globe once again. Leftists are gnashing their teeth at that probability. Their painstaking and deliberate attempts to thwart the current unprecedented return of the wealth and prosperity to the middle class that the Left stealthily stole over years have been exposed. Daily more and more of those in the American middle class are seeing the lies that they accepted from Democrats for years and that democracy and a free market really are the best thing for the American middle class.
It is beginning to look like for America “The Best is Yet to Come!”