Robert Mueller’s crusade against internet trolls and Russian meddlers just claimed its third victim – 28 year old internet scammer Richard Pinedo. He confessed to identity fraud and on October 10th was sentenced to 6 months in Federal prison. The courts found that Pinedo had been selling the bank account information of over 200 people, to cut corners on PayPal’s payment verification. But one has to wonder – what does some corrupt American businessman’s internet scam have to do with potential Russian election meddling?
Well, Mueller’s investigation seems to be most concerned with the fact that some of the buyers may have been Russians. The same Russians and Russian companies, in fact, that were accused of attempting to «sow discord in the U.S. political system» back in February. And their suspected weapons of choice – internet trolling and ad purchasing on social media. Conveniently enough, Mueller’s first indictments reside in Russia and would never be extradited to face trial. And although Mueller probably expected nothing to follow, one of the companies, Concord Management & Consulting, appealed their indictment. Of course, the U.S. Court of Appeals denied it, as the mainstream media condemned these «Russian troll farms» that would never damage Robert Mueller’s authority. At any rate, it would be difficult to imagine a world in which a D.C. Federal court didn’t protect a former FBI director against a bitter rival of the Washington elites – Russia. But while Mueller is officially supposed to look into a potential Russian meddling plot connected to the 2016 presidential elections, the investigation has already begun to take a different form. Previous indictments have made it seem more like a witch hunt against anyone who simply had contact with a Russian or didn’t see Russia as the hostile force projected in western propaganda.
Let’s go back to Robert Mueller’s first fall guy – a Dutch lawyer named Alex Van Der Zwaan. The investigation didn’t exactly explain how Van Der Zwaan participated in election meddling, but he was sentenced to 30 days in prison and given a $20,000 fine for lying to Federal agents anyway. Interestingly enough, Washington’s distrust for Van Der Zwaan dates back to his work with Skadden Arps International Law Firm in 2012. After the election of Victor Yanukovych as Ukrainian President, Van Der Zwaag’s team had put together a legal report for the embezzlement trial of his opponent – Ukrainian Nationalist Yulia Tymoshenko. Despite U.S and E.U. denunciation of her sentencing as unfair, the report concluded that «Tymoshenko overstepped her authority» with regard to the law, and that they «did not believe that Tymoshenko has provided specific evidence of political motivation that would be sufficient to overturn her conviction by American standards». Washington had already done a bit of its own meddling back in 2006 by supporting Tymoshenko’s «Orange Revolution», when they didn’t like the election results. Therefore, it came as little to no surprise when she was released in 2014, amidst the chaos of another U.S. backed coup d’etat called Euromaiden. Van Der Zwaan caught the short end of Washington’s neoliberal stick not because he was involved in some convoluted Russian election meddling ad campaign, but because he didn’t think it appropriate to criticize an opponent of aggressive U.S. foreign policy without proper legal reason to do so.
Then there’s 31-year-old George Papadopoulos, sentenced nearly a month before Pinedo on to 14 days in prison, and given a $9,500 fine. Similar to Van Der Zwaan, Papadopoulos confessed to lying to Federal investigators, but about a meeting he had with a Russian professor who claimed he had «dirt» on Hillary Clinton and her campaign. Perhaps the dirt was real, as Papadopoulos’ emails were dated right after Clinton deleted over 31,000 potentially official emails stored in her personal account. Regardless, Papadopoulos admitted that he did not lie to cover up a Russian plot or obstruct the investigation – but because of what he called a «perhaps misguided loyalty» to Trump.
The Mueller Investigation has managed to uncover an identity fraud scam, punish a lawyer who dared to dissent from NATO foreign policy, and imprisoned a Trump campaign aide – but still no clear links to a Kremlin meddling plot. And the unlikelihood that Mueller will find any evidence of a plot is only magnified by this paradox: the United States has meddled in other countries’ internal affairs more consistently and effectively than any other sovereign nation in modern history. Those who study U.S. history know it takes a bit more than just purchasing less than 1% of all campaign related social media ads to sow discord throughout civil society or change the course of an election. It could just require funding political opposition, maybe even a coup d’etat, and, if you’re desperate, all out war. The U.S. has meddled in countries all over the world using these tactics, leaving destruction in their wake, in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, and even Russia in the 1990s, but the list goes on and on. Based on the sheer amount of CIA and U.S. military operations against independent nations in the past, not to mention the growing modern surveillance state, it’s hard to believe some Russian trolls were responsible for Trump’s rise to power or social unrest.
However, creating artificial hysteria against Russia in the United States serves a very real purpose for the American ruling class – redirecting tensions arising from growing political polarization within the country. Increasingly, the U.S. is dividing not as it has historically between left and right, but between those who support imperialist/globalist interests and those who oppose them. With issues of police brutality, stagnant job opportunities, and racial tensions, among others, going unchecked in the United States, the ruling class is setting society up for disaster. Political street violence, school shootings, and tensions between races and sexes have, in recent years, become so commonplace in the U.S., that many people barely even flinch when they hear about it. The liberal elites in Washington, as well as on Wall Street, aren’t able to find solutions to these problems without forgoing their expansionist policies, which harm the rest of the world as well as American working taxpayers who are forced to fund them. So Russia is scapegoated for discord in American society. They’ve been accused of everything from promoting a rally called «Support Hillary. Save American Muslims» to putting together a petition titled «Disavow the Clinton Political Dynasty». They’ve even apparently supported Black Lives Matter and pro police groups. Because without the myth of a mysterious foreign enemy, people may just begin organizing against their true oppressors on the home front.