Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Barack Obama Sanctions Russia Over Election Meddling

WASHINGTON ― President Barack Obama sanctioned top Russian officials on Thursday in response to Moscow’s reported hacking during the U.S. presidential election.

“All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions,” the president said in a statement.

Obama’s successor, president-elect Donald Trump, has cast doubt on the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia was responsible for unearthing and releasing material damaging to Trump’s Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. On Wednesday, Trump said it was time to “move on” and repeated that he believes it’s impossible to know who targeted Clinton.

But Obama appears committed to proving Russia’s responsibility. His administration wants Congress to receive intelligence reports showing the proof before Trump enters office and is able to call off such investigations.

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI released a 13-page joint report on Thursday that provided some details of what the agencies know about the Russian actions. Officials may release more public details on its findings soon, according to The New York Times.

The Intercept reported Thursday morning that the National Security Agency has successfully tracked Russian hacking in the past; its capabilities may be the key to the intelligence community’s confidence in Russia’s meddling.

“These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government,” Obama said on Thursday. “Moreover, our diplomats have experienced an unacceptable level of harassment in Moscow by Russian security services and police over the last year. Such activities have consequences.”

Obama’s sanctions target the Russian intelligence agency believed to be responsible for the hacking, and they place Trump in a bind: It could be politically difficult for him to waive the sanctions once he is in office, particularly because many on Capitol Hill, including members of his own party, are keen to signal toughness against Moscow.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) issued a statement commending Obama’s plan soon after the president announced it. “Russia does not share America’s interests. In fact, it has consistently sought to undermine them, sowing dangerous instability around the world,” he said, though he criticized the president’s past handling of Moscow.

The Trump transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Original Article
Author:  Akbar Shahid Ahmed 

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