Posts Tagged ‘RUSSIA’
Right-wing websites and networks are gleefully buzzing with theories about the state of Hillary Clinton’s health.
The former First Lady, New York U.S. Senator and Secretary of State collapsed after briefly attending a memorial ceremony on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The unsubstantiated theories include stroke, brain damage, Multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
But there’s one theory Right-wingers scrupulously refuse to offer: That Clinton might be a victim of poisoning by Donald Trump’s well-known admirer, Vladimir Putin.
It’s a theory that has been offered by no less than Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu, the Nigerian-American physician, forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who was the first to discover and publish findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in American football players.
Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu
His struggle to alert the National Football League to that danger met with hostility and derision. Finally, amid growing scrutiny from Congress, the NFL was forced to take the concussion issue more seriously.
NFL owners banned players from striking opponents with the crowns of their helmets. Meanwhile, the NFL is facing concussion lawsuits from nearly 4,000 former players.
On September 11, a Clinton rep stated that she was suffering from pneumonia–and Omalu warned on Twitter: “I must advice the Clinton campaign to perform toxicologic analysis of Mrs. Clinton’s blood. It is possible she is being poisoned.”
And he followed this up with a second tweet: “I do not trust Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump. With those two all things are possible.”
At this point, there is no evidence that Hillary Clinton is the victim of KGB “wet” methods. And it would take lengthy, sophisticated toxicology tests to hopefully learn the truth.
But there is plenty of evidence that Vladimir Putin has used murder–especially poison–to eliminate his opponents.
Putin came to power in 2000. Since then, at least 34 journalists have been murdered in Russia, according to the Moscow-based Glasnost Defense Foundation. Many of the suspected killers are military officials, government officials or political groups.
Being a political opponent of Vladimir Putin can also be dangerous. Among the casualties:
Viktor Yushchenko: In 2004, he was running for president of the Ukraine against Putin’s chosen candidate, Victor Yanukovych.
As the campaign neared its climax, Yushchenko suddenly fell ill–with dioxin poisoning. Flown to Vienna’s Rudolfinerhaus clinic for treatment, he survived, but his face was left greatly disfigured. He went on to win the election, serving as Ukraine’s president from 2005 to 2010.
Aleksandr Litvinenko: A former KGB officer, he had accused Putin of wholesale corruption. Even worse, he charged that–as a pretext for a second war with Chechnya–Putin ordered the bombings of Moscow apartment buildings, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people.
Litvinenko died on November 23, 2006 in London from a dose of Polonium-210 in his tea. At the time, he was meeting with two Moscow agents, one of whom is now a member of the State Duma.
Boris Nemtsov: An official with a liberal opposition group, he had been arrested several times for speaking against Putin’s government.
Nemtsov had been scheduled to lead an opposition rally in Moscow. But on February 27, 2015, two days before the event, he was shot dead as he walked home from dinner. The killing happened a short distance from the Kremlin.
If Hillary Clinton proved to have a serious medical condition such as Parkinson’s or Multiple sclerosis, the results would be tragic but strictly national.
Mounting pressure within and outside the Democratic party would force her to drop out of the race.
There would be a brief, furious struggle within the Democratic party for the nomination–most likely between Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Tim Kaine, Clinton’s choice for Vice President. The winner would face Donald Trump in the coming debates and fall election.
And the Clintons–a force in American politics since 1992–would finally leave the national stage.
But if Hillary is a victim of a KGB assassination attempt, as Dr. Bennet Omalu suspects, then the consequences would be national and international.
Nationally, such a discovery would almost certainly generate huge sympathy for Clinton–a woman singularly unable to arouse sympathy among voters. That alone could ensure her election as President.
And even Americans who hate Clinton would never forgive Russia for daring to interfere with an American Presidential election. They would demand severe retaliation–even all-out war.
For Trump, it would prove a nightmare. He’s made too many admiring statements about Putin to disavow them now and be believed.
National outrage followed in July when Trump invited Putin to “find the 30,000 emails that are missing” on the private server that Clinton used as Secretary of State.
If Clinton died–or was simply injured–because of a KGB plot, few would believe Trump wasn’t a party to it.
And several of Trump’s closest associates have had ties to Putin, such as his former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Even many Republicans have already declared they can’t support Trump in abandoning NATO–much less his clear admiration for Putin, a dictator who got his start as a KGB agent.
At his first press conference upon becoming President, Ronald Reagan harshly denounced Soviet leaders: “They reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat.”
A KGB plot against Hillary Clinton would convince many Americans that Republican leaders have become as corrupt as those in the Kremlin.
Donald Trump has changed Presidential campaigning–perhaps forever.
First, He has made angry and brutal attacks on a wide range of persons and organizations–including his fellow Republicans, journalists, news organizations, other countries and even celebrities who have nothing to do with politics.
Among those groups–and the insults Trump has leveled at them:
Second, he has weaponized social media. He has made Twitter an essential arm of his campaign, swiftly insulting his opponents and keeping them constantly off-balance. He has proved himself a master at the tabloid news culture and thoroughly in tune with his target audience.
Third, since announcing his candidacy on June 16, 2015, he has gotten a year’s worth of free media publicity. This has nothing to do with a networks’ conspiracy to favor Trump.
Instead, it owes to the media’s lust for sensational copy. And scenes of conflict–such as making brutal attacks on others–generate huge viewership.
This has been most apparent in debates, during which he belittled his Republican opponents with insulting nicknames.
- “Little Marco” – Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
- “Goofy” – Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren
- “Lyin’ Ted” – Texas U.S. Senator Rafael Eduardo “Ted” Cruz
And looking beyond the Republican primary cycle, he created one for his future Democratic antagonist: “Crooked Hillary”–Hillary Clinton, former First Lady, U.S. Senator from New York and Secretary of State.
Political pundits have marveled at Trump’s ability to cast aside the long-held niceties of political discourse and not have to pay an electoral price for it. But that time may be coming to an end.
On July 22, Wikileaks released 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments hacked from computers of the highest-ranking officials of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Cyber-security experts believe the hackers originated from Russia–and that Russian President Vladimir Putin may well have authorized it.
The emails revealed the DNC’s bias for Clinton for President. And they showed clear animosity toward her lone challenger, Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.
Sanders’ supporters had long charged that the DNC and its chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, were plotting to undercut his campaign. Now thousands of them were descending on the Democratic nominating convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as furious protesters.
Five days later, on July 27, Trump held a press conference in Doral, Florida. Always ready to pounce on any perceived sign of weakness, he aimed yet another attack on Clinton:
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Trump hoped to score points on Hillary Clinton’s using a private email server as Secretary of State. Instead, he ignited criticism–of himself–on both Left and Right.
“This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” said Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s chief foreign policy adviser. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was equally quick to react: “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug,” said Brendan Buck, Ryan’s spokesman. “Putin should stay out of this election.”
“If he is talking about the State Department emails on her server, he is inviting a foreign intelligence service to steal sensitive American government information,” said Michael Hayden, head of the CIA under President George W. Bush.
“In addition to its implications for national security today,” wrote Benjy Sarlin, political reporter for MSNBC, “the incident raised disturbing questions about how Trump would govern as president. If a leader is willing to turn to ask foreign spy agencies to target a political opponent, what would he ask of his own spy agencies?”
The avalanche of criticism has led Trump to claim: “I was only being sarcastic.”
Only his most hardcore followers seem to believe it.
Since the end of World War II, the Republican party has taken an intensely anti-Communist stance. Now its nominee for President has not only exchanged compliments with an ex-KGB agent but has even invited him to target his Democratic opponent.
For at least one normally conservative newspaper, that’s simply too much. In a July 27 editorial, The Dallas Morning News declared:
“Words have meaning. The world is listening. And what the world is hearing is a man demonstrating that he is unfit to sit in the Oval Office.”
The ancient Greeks believed hubris–overweening pride–to be the greatest of sins. And, they warned, it was usually punished by divine wrath.
In his book, The World of Herodotus, Aubrey de Selincourt writes that the Greek historian filled his book, The Histories, with “stories of the perils of pride–pride of wealth, pride of power, pride of success, and, deadliest of all, the pride which leads a man to forget that he is a nothing in the sight of the gods.”
Trump has long boasted of his wealth, power and success. Perhaps his time of reckoning has finally arrived.