The Trump card of the little man?

The newly elected American President has shocked the world with his first speech. But the neo-liberal establishment is particularly shocked, because it fears that the healed neoliberal world will be questioned.

Perhaps he really means what he says! Following the succession of tweets, which were held last Friday to form the inauguration speech of the new American president, political shock waves are spreading around the world. We are shocked collectively, we are horrified that someone is swarming to question everything that has become sacred and expensive to us in the forty years of neoliberalism and globalization. The German media has given a detailed account of every single American who is against Trump, and even the greatest anti-revolutionaries (DIE WELT, ZEIT and Spiegel-Online) hope that there is already a revolution in the US that spooks and established the establishment again.

If one takes seriously what the man said in his first words as a US president to ordinary citizens, one can be really frightened and afraid.

“The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories were not your victories, their triumphs were not your triumphs; While they were celebrating in our capital, there was little to celebrate for the faltering families all over the country. (The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country, their victories have not been your triumphs; And while they are celebrated in our nation’s capital, there is little to celebrate. Too many of our citizens have a different reality. Mothers and children in our cities are trapped in poverty; Rusted factories are scattered across the country like grave stones (a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; … one factory after another was closed, leaving our country without even thinking about the millions of millions of American workers left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been torn out of their houses, and then spread over the whole world. (One by one, the factories, and the rest of the world .(My translation)

Indeed, this is radical, which is dangerous. If he was not a billionaire, one would think he was a socialist. The man accuses poverty and is responsible for the establishment. This is where the German establishment completely goes through, even forgets its great love for America and is poisoning in a way against the elected American president as it has never been seen before.

The safe world of neoliberalism

We had so beautifully arranged ourselves in the healing world of neoliberalism. The prices were always stable, the unemployment was always so high that the workers could not be cheeky. The central banks were independent and the guarantee that there was never full employment, which would have brought us only anger with the trade unions. Taxes have been cut down significantly for companies, and the state has been systematically pushed back by means of debt phobia generated in the media. We did not need politics for poor regions and breaking structures anymore, the market has managed everything wonderfully. The little man and the little woman, the comrade of the bosses and the red-green, were eternally grateful, “alternately” shut down with Hartz IV (for Germany) and so many low-wage jobs that they could not even come up with stupid thoughts.

But the most important thing was the free trade, in which we deserved golden and diamond noses, but not everyone has to know. After all, we were ready to talk openly about inequality, as long as it had no concrete consequences. Even the global summit of lack of interest in Davos could devote itself to the inequality in the past week, so that the citizen notices that we have not forgotten him.

Everyone who deviates from this sacred canon of neoliberalism is a populist. He promises the citizens things that can not exist, because one has to adapt to the laws of the market. They simply demand discipline, flexibility and the willingness of the small man to bravely even longer periods of thirst and hunger. Should all the manipulations of the last forty years have been in vain, simply because a billionaire who has not understood our economics doctrine says the opposite?

The mercantilists complain about protectionism

Populism is dangerous, but protectionism on the other side of the Atlantic, which is simply unbearable. Have not the US been doing well for almost forty years of a year’s current account deficit of a few hundred billion dollars? Have we not adequately served their wishes for good cars and good machines? Did we complain that they bought us more than 50 billion euros every year? No, we have willingly given them credit, they have praised the fact that they are the consumer of last resort for the whole world and have not even spared them their occasional criticism of German surpluses of current account surpluses.

The attack on the free trade has, of course, especially the German economists on the plan called. The highly indignant Dennis Snower, President of the Institute for World Economy in Kiel, was able to say in every microphone, which has dreadful consequences for the whole world, even if one wasted only one idea of entering the “free trade” as a state. Also internationally, the eternal defenders of the free trade, such as Alan Beattie, immediately took the lead in the Financial Times and told the reader that Trump had not understood that free trade was not a zero-sum game (Trump has picked up the idea Find).

The Badenische Zeitung gave an immense amount of space to Freiburg’s professor of theoretical economics, Oliver Landmann, in an interview (here), in order to explain that the theory of free trade by David Ricardo still applies almost unreservedly today. Even mercantilism, which Ricardo had overcome, was to occur in it. “According to mercantilist doctrine, the sole object of foreign trade was to obtain trade surpluses in order to bring as much gold and foreign exchange into the country as possible A source of permanent international conflicts, with the surplus countries as winners and the deficit countries as losers “). Unfortunately, the professor had just failed to notice that David Ricardo, of course, assumed that free trade was a balanced trade (see a piece here). The journalist did not, of course, have any reason to ask whether the high and rising surpluses in German performance might be the result of mercantilism.

The greatest joke at all is that German politicians of the SPD and Greens, who are directly responsible for the violation of all principles of sound international trade, are now vigorously deploring the possible American protectionism and defending German mercantilism in the same breath with teeth and claws. Even the Federal Minister of Economics, who is still proud of the political operation of Red-Green, which opened the door wide to mercantilism, is indignant at this attack on “free trade.”

The SPD and the Greens now want to set European standards

The meeting of European nationalists in Koblenz, who celebrate the victory of Trump, is just right. The SPD deputy Jo Leinen warns against nationalism and a drift in Europe. “The nationalists of several countries want to destroy the European Union,” he said on Saturday in Saarbrücken with a view to the congress of right-wing populists. European history had taught that nationalism led to conflicts between the peoples and ultimately to the war. The SPD politician pleaded for “a stronger and more determined European Union” and warned of “disputes in Europe” (here).

Well, but why did not one hear of Jo Leinen when it came to the question of who caused the European crisis and the drifting? Why does not he ask why the nationalists are so successful? What is a stronger and more determined European Union? One that also puts Germany under control? Why does not he say that?

The Prime Minister of Rhineland Palatinate, Malu Dreyer, wanted to put a European flag to the right in Koblenz! But why did they and their SPD have not set any European signs all those years before nationalism arose? A sign that the entire world would have seen and understood would have been set by the SPD if it had announced the great coalition precisely when Schäuble wanted to drive Greece to the wall. What would not have been spared Greece (here a recent report from the Financial Times). To drive to Koblenz, to put a European sign in a demonstration against rights, is cheap and hypocritical.

The SPD and the Greens could also directly take up the AfD’s fear of the truth. The party makes its homepage with the slogan “courage to the true

What Trump says and what he does

It would also be wrong, however, to conclude from the only stupid reactions in Germany that everything that Trump had planned was correct and justified. This is certainly not the case and it is also very uncertain that he will implement what he announces. But there are a number of things that he could do if he wanted to. Then the neoliberal world would sink, but nothing else.

The US can at any time, without serious international conflicts, make it clear that they are no longer the country with the greatest current account deficit or even surplus. Trump can pursue a rigorous full-employment policy by means of massive public investment, without hindering anyone or anything. Industrial policymaking and structural policy are also part of the arsenal of intelligent governance. All of this would sooner or later bring advantages to those who have hardly benefited from economic upswing under Obama as well as among the presidents. If he were to do wise social policy, he could even stop the increase in inequality.

The secret hope that is making the round in Germany, the American Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, will slow it down in the implementation of such a policy is likely to prove a huge mistake. He will not just be slowed down by technocrats. If it is wise, it can even combine the full employment policy with an ecological rebuilding of the economy, which in spite of the economic growth leads to less, rather than to more environmental pollution.

Whether he does all this, you can not say at the moment. It is amazing, however, that his tone of last Friday almost does not differ from his election campaign. On the other hand, the team he has chosen is not a bold economic reorientation.

If he were to do so, however, he would immediately show to the Left of all the world what they had done in their neoliberal delusion. Tragically this would only be for Bernie Sanders, who had promised to resolutely break away from neoliberalism and just missed the nomination of the Democrats. The part of the left, however, which, like the SPD in Germany, gave birth to neo-liberalism, opened the way for rights with its failure. It may deplore the victory of the Right, but it should be very cautious with the word populism. It has left the mass of people who now give their voice to the other side. Nor will it return any voters if it does not abandon itself in full conviction of neoliberalism.

Alfons

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Duke University Professor Says: Think Twice About New ODNI Report

ELLEN MICKEWICZ(ACEWA)January 9, 2017

ACEWA Board Member and Duke University Professor Ellen Mickewicz casts a critical eye on the new ODNI report on Russia’s alleged “influence” on the US presidential election…

“The Report from the U.S. Intelligence Community is notable for its factual mistakes and misleading conclusions. Whether misleading is deliberate or simply lack of information they could have accessed is not known. What is known is that the report is so far from factual, that much of it cannot be useful to any U.S. administration. The report also reflects badly on the state of intelligence generally. I say this, because for a long time, now, I have been researching RT, one of the chief, if not the chief, sources of threat to U.S. security as detailed in the DNI report.

The hacking story occupies a relatively limited part of the report. Previous experience studying media suggests that the shelf life is nearing its end: the election is over, and we can hardly expect President-elect Trump to support conclusions that undermine his own legitimacy. So, this slice of the report is sewn to a larger part on Russian propaganda, in general, said to be ‘weaponized’ and more dangerous–leading to the implosion of American institutions and the democratic process.

RT, the Russian-government-backed cable and online program, and RT’s ‘success’ on YouTube are now the focus. It is patently absurd and contradicts facts. I say this as a research scholar, with a fully explained and footnoted chapter on it coming out in the Oxford University paperback edition of my book, ‘No Illusions: The Views of Russia’s Future Leaders.’

For now, here are specific ways in which the Intelligence Community’s Report goes wrong. Annex A of the report focuses primarily on the CONTENT of what is on RT. If a handful of people turn it on, only THOSE FEW will ever access any content at all. So, the content tells us nothing at all about who is watching and with what effect. The report after pages on content goes on to quote what Russian editors of RT INTEND to ACCOMPLISH–again, with nothing about what they DO accomplish with RT [if anything]. Pages report RT’s ties to government. Again, no connection whatever to what if any EFFECT on exactly WHAT AUDIENCE in US.

We come to that last 3 pages of this Annex: two of them [one of which is entirely graphs] touch on possible EFFECT and they are very misleading and downright inaccurate.

  1. RT’s TV audience: The report uses RT’s OWN estimate of audience and then ends the sentence “it does not publicize its actual audience.” Before this mild disclaimer, the report gives RT’s estimate of 550 million people worldwide and 85 million in the US. THIS IS WHOLLY IMAGINARY. IT REFERS TO POTENTIAL AUDIENCE: HOUSEHOLDS THAT CAN RECEIVE A SIGNAL ***IF AND ONLY IF**THEY BOTHER TO TURN IT ON.

They do not. Nielsen analyzed the top 94 cable news programs from December 2014 through March 2015 [these are cable news exclusively, excluding the big news giants] RT did not even make it onto the list, which ended with a fraction of a hundredth of a percent.]

In Europe, the audience is less than 0.1%. The Report seems unaware of or chooses not to show these data. Instead it shows “growth”, which is really meaningless. When the numbers are low, very small changes can be big percentages.

  1. It’s YouTube that seems to be the shocker in the Report–such large numbers! Sure, unless you know [as the Report seems not to know] that 81% of the most popular RT videos over 5 years were created by foreign countries and have nothing to do with Russia or any propaganda campaign. RT goes after foreign videos of disasters [Fukushima nuclear plant or volcanoes] and violence catastrophes and buys the rights, gets the videos to the largest search engines and puts its logo at the top. ONLY 1% OF RT’S TOTAL EXPOSURE ON YOUTUBE ARE POLITICAL VIDEOS.

THAT’S IT! a report that is very short on facts, prone to leave the wrong impression among readers, and searching for a longer, fuller story than the fact of election-time hacking. Why did the Intelligence Community avoid the facts–which, after all, are not classified. Some neutral oversight body needs to check this out. Meanwhile, let’s have more information, more views, more research with much more stringent methods.”

Alfons

US Aristocracy Panics that Maybe Trump Is Serious

BY ERIC ZUESSE

On January 2nd, the U.S. Republican Party’s Wall Street Journal headlined «Tensions Within GOP Rise Over How to Handle Russia», and reported that the policy toward Russia by the incoming Republican President Donald Trump is being opposed not only by Democrats in the U.S. Congress, but also by some Republicans, and perhaps even by enough Republicans to jeopardize confirmation of his nominee for U.S. Secretary of State, as well as some nominees for other crucial diplomatic and military positions.

A key insightful passage in that news-report was: «‘What you are seeing on Russia within the Republican Party is in some ways more a symptom of realignment across the board within American political parties,’ said Matthew Rojansky, director of the Washington-based Kennan Institute. ‘This speaks to something very critical that’s going on in our political system right now.’»

Trump is being significantly opposed by both Parties regarding his foreign policies, even though his domestic policies are being opposed on a far more partisan basis, by Democrats, and have a higher chance of congressional passage than his international initiatives do, because of the almost-solid support for his domestic policies on the part of Republican members of Congress — and because Republicans control both the Senate and the House.

The «realignment across the board within American political parties» is actually a realignment only in the field of foreign policy — not at all in domestic policy. What used to be «Republican foreign policy» ever since the time of Richard Nixon, has been called «neoconservatism» — referring to a hard line against communism and then against Russia and any country that’s friendly toward Russia — but the incoming Republican President Trump campaigned consistently against neoconservatism, and now Democrats are almost solidly neocons, while some Republicans are actually joining the Republican President in condemning neocons.

Whereas Trump is generally called «conservative» on his domestic policy statements, he could possibly turn out to be more of a «progressive» than his Democratic Party predecessor, President Barack Obama, was, regarding foreign affairs. And this terrifies the U.S. aristocracy in both of the political Parties, because the U.S. aristocracy — both its Republicans and its Democrats — has been solidly neoconservative: they are virtually united, on this, against Trump.

The U.S. aristocracy control not only the major American corporations, but all influential ‘news’ media, and their respective ‘news’media; and their shared fear and loathing for incoming U.S. President Donald Trump is clear, even though he himself is one of them. Nobody knows what will happen to the U.S. government under his stewardship, but the fear amongst almost all of the other aristocrats is that maybe Trump hasn’t only been pretending to want a ‘populist’ government — they fear that he might really have such revolutionary intentions. They are consequently afraid: might it really be the case that a revolution — especially one transforming America’s foreign policies, which are the policies that are of the greatest interest to aristocrats (more even than domestic policies are) — will be led by a member of their own class? Is the ruling class — the thousand or so of them in the U.S. — perhaps now splitting, in a way that is far more meaningful than the merely superficial (rhetorical) distinctions that still remain between America’s two major political Parties, the Republicans and the Democrats?

The old ideological political alliances within the United States have now utterly broken down, and the reason is that in recent decades, both the right and the left had been controlled behind the scenes, by America’s billionaires and centi-millionaires, who are virtually unanimous on some policy-issues (so that the U.S. has a one-party government on these matters), with no significant ideological dissent amongst the U.S. aristocracy on those key issues, especially about continuing the old ideological Cold War against communism, switched now into a purely nationalistic and increasingly hot war against Russia, as allegedly an evil and imperialistic nation in ways that the United States itself is supposedly not (but actually is even more so than Russia or any other nation in the world, and widely recognized as such, except inside the United States itself, where the aristocracy’s ‘news’ media hide this ugly nationalistic fact about the land they control — the fact of America’s being the world’s most aggressive nation).

America’s super-rich have no objection against the government that they control conquering others, like the Iraq-invasion in 2003, and the U.S. coup overthrowing and replacing the democratically elected and Moscow-friendly President of that country in 2014, and aiding jihadists in Syria to overthrow Syria’s pro-Russian secular government; and the phone-tapping of all Western leaders including Angela Merkel and generally practicing cyber-invasions everywhere in the world — but they and their agents allege that Russia is doing these things even worse than America is, and needs to be punished by the ‘virtuous’ U.S. government for (allegedly) doing what the U.S. actually does far more than any other nation in the world.

Though Trump has reversed himself on many things that threaten the U.S. aristocracy, such as by his saying he won’t, after all, prosecute Hillary Clinton for her crimes (which were never really investigated under Obama’s regime — and protecting the legal immunity of aristocrats is crucial to the aristocracy of both political Parties), Trump still hasn’t — now just days before entering the White House — reversed himself regarding his intention to improve relations with Russia.

Becoming even more hostile toward Russia is almost a unanimous goal of the U.S. aristocracy. They’re thus rebelling against him, in their ‘news’media, and they won’t stop trying to cripple his Presidency unless and until he relents on this, turns around, and continues, ever-hotter than before, their (under Obama, increasing) ’Cold War’ against Russia: going beyond even what President Obama has been doing (coups, invasions, sanctions, etc.), aiming to replace the Russian government’s allies by the American government’s allies, and thus to isolate and weaken Russia, ultimately to take over Russia itself.

During the early years of the Cold War, America’s Republican Party and their ‘news’ media, especially insisted upon increasing the war against the Soviet Union; but, now, in the purely nationalistic war against Russia, it’s instead Democratic Party politicians and ‘news’ media, who are especially fervid to conquer Russia. Republican Party ‘news’ media, such as Fox ‘News’, are now considerably less hateful toward Russia, no longer obsessed against it, like the Democratic Party’s ‘news’ media have become — thereby switching political roles.

Consequently, too, for example, the Democratic Party’s Washington Post is doing everything they can to encourage U.S. conquest of Russia, such as by spreading fake ‘news’ stories against the few small independent Western newsmedia that are pointing out the lies (especially the ones against Russia) in such media-giants; and some of the Republican Party’s ‘news’media now are even doing in-depth actual news-reporting about the fraudulence of the Democratic Party’s ‘news’media, on these matters that are of such intense interest to America’s aristocrats.

Excellent examples of this phenomenon are provided by the various ‘news’media of the rightwing-populist Alex Jones, which featured, on New Year’s Day, the video «Dems Want War With Russia To Stop Trump», and an associated investigative news report from their Mikael Thalen, «Washington Post Stirs Fear After False Report of Power Grid Hack by Russia», exposing the WP’s lying propaganda for «War With Russia» — Democrats’ (and a few Republicans’) lies basically to promote unsubstantiated allegations by the Obama regime, that ‘Russian hacking’ is a danger both to American ‘democracy’, and to American national security.

That «War With Russia» video (at 5:00-) presents the futurist, Gerald Celente, discussing liberal Democrats who were saying, totally without evidence, such things as »Vermonters and all Americans should be both alarmed and outraged that one of the world’s leading thugs, Vladimir Putin, has been attempting to hack our electric grid, which we rely upon to support our quality of life, economy, health, and safety.» The infamous 1950s Republican, Joseph R. McCarthy, has thus non-ideologically returned from the grave, now, in the guise of liberal Democrats (or should that instead be ‘Democrats’?), as part of the U.S. aristocracy’s war to force the Republican President, Donald Trump, to join the tradition that the Republican President George Herbert Walker Bush established, on 24 February 1990, of treating Russia as being America’s enemy, no longer communism as being America’s enemy.

These people simply can’t draw enough of other people’s blood. Bram Stoker might be shocked that reality has thus produced ghouls who would make Stoker’s own legendary vampires seem like angels by comparison. Will Trump perform the role of Stoker’s hero, Abraham van Helsing here, or instead become just another of the vampires himself (which all of America’s major, and most of its minor, ‘news’media are demanding)?

Alfons

 

CIA was directly involved in Syria

CIA Director John Brennan has for the first time acknowledged that the CIA is directly involved in the fighting in Syria: He told NPR that he felt “some responsibility for the cruel bloodshed in the Syrian war”: “We would like to say that We could have made the difference, in a way that would prevent the situation from developing. It is not possible to say emotionally and mentally about these situations in which you played a role. ”

Most of the international and Islamic mercenaries fighting in Syria are either directly supported by the Gulf States or Western secret services allied to the West. The CIA had considered attacking the Syrian airports with covert operations just before the US election.

Brennan told NPR that he did not believe that with the end of the siege of Aleppo by the mercenaries the violence in Syria was over: “The case of Aleppo is not a sign that there is an end to this conflict. I am convinced that many, many of these opposition leaders will continue to fight, those who want to regain their country for their families, their neighbors and children, and will therefore continue to fight. “#

This statement is a classic disinformation: the war in Syria was instigated externally, as the Indian Ambassador had declared in an impressive report. The “oppositionists” or “rebels” are, as a rule, precisely those groups sent by foreign states to Syria.

It is unclear whether the CIA can continue to play an active role alongside the Islamic and international mercenaries: the US president, Donald Trump, had announced the Syrian president to be an ally in the fight against the IS. The apparent “remorse” of Brennan should also be related to the fact that the US government will not continue the course of the CIA in Syria as it has done so far.

Already two years ago Barack Obama had admitted that the concept of mercenary wars had failed. Obama, however, did not have the strength to turn this realization into political acts.

One of the reasons for the CIA’s verbal withdrawal lies in the fact that the intelligence services and military operations have to try to get their mercenaries out of the combat area after the defeat at Aleppo. They must also reckon with the fact that the mercenaries are now in the public eye – and it is anything but glorious. After the complete conquest of Aleppo, Moscow and Damascus accused the mercenaries of the Syrian city, who had been expelled from the eastern part of the Syrian city, to the civilian population . “Several mass graves with dozens of corpses were discovered,” declared the Russian Ministry of Defense on Monday. Moscow also announced an even stronger cooperation with Iran – both countries support Syrian state Bashar al-Assad.

The Moscow Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, told the masses that the people had been “cruel tortured and tortured”. Exact investigations should now follow. However, these would certainly lead to the West being obliged to recognize “its responsibility for the cruelty” of the Syrian rebels. According to Independent, who writes of a “massacre”, Konaschenkow said that the crimes of the mercenaries in Syria must be made public “so that European protectors of the so – called Oppositionals in London and Paris will be well aware of who are their proteges and thus their responsibility for The atrocities of the opposition. ”

The official Syrian news agency Sana reported that the rebels had killed at least 21 civilians on their retreat from East Aleppo. The corpses of the victims, among them at least five children and four women, had been discovered in prisons of the “terrorist groups” which had now been expelled, Sana quoted the senior court medics in Aleppo, Saher Hadscho. They had been “shot through shots from a very short distance”.

The “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” near the Muslim Brotherhood explained that several bodies had been found on the streets of East Aleppo. But she could not give any information about how people died. This source is to be enjoyed with caution because it is essentially a one-man operation in Coventry, the background of which is largely unknown.

On Thursday, the Syrian government forces had once again fully controlled Aleppo with a Russian support. They are also charged with atrocities. According to UN figures, they had killed at least 82 civilians in the days before the reconquest of the eastern part of the city. The victims had been dealt with properly.

“The victory of the Syrian Armee send the message that the terrorists can not achieve their goals, “said Iranian President Hassan Ruhani, according to Iranian state media on Saturday night in a telephone conversation with the Kremlin chief. Moscow and Tehran are allies of the Syrian leader Assad and call all rebels in Syria as “terrorists”. The cooperation between Russia and Iran in Syria will continue, said Putin. He and Ruhani announced peace talks for Syria to be held in Kazakhstan. Details they did not call. In addition to Russia, a US-led military coalition also flies in Syria. Their efforts now called on Turkey to fight for the city of Al-Bab in the north of the country. “The international coalition must fulfill its responsibilities, especially by means of air raids,” said the President of the Republic of Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday. Since the end of August, Turkey has been carrying out an offensive against the IS in Nordsyria together with Syrian rebels. The fighters supported by Ankara conquered several localities. In Al-Bab, which is about 25 kilometers from the Turkish-Syrian border, IS fighters but fierce resistance, several Turkish soldiers were killed. On Sunday, Ankara strengthened the march on the border with Syria – apparently with a view to the battles around Al-Bab. In addition, the Turkish army accused the IS fighters of having killed at least 30 civilians in the attempt to flee the city.

by Alfons

Hawkish US Republican Senator John McCain has once again accused Moscow of waging a war against the United States.

McCain said on Wednesday Russia’s alleged cyberattacks against US political organizations to influence the 2016 presidential election amount to an “act of war.”

“It’s an act of war,” McCain, a staunch opponent of Russia, told reporters on the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

“If you try to destroy the fundamentals of democracy, then you have destroyed a nation,” said McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“I’m not saying it’s an atomic attack. I’m just saying that when you attack a nation’s fundamental structure, which they are doing, then it’s an act of war,” he continued.

McCain also accused Moscow of committing an “act of war” against the United States last week, and demanded stronger sanctions against Russia over the hacking,  which the US intelligence community claims amounted to meddling in the US election.

McCain has been a virulent critic of Russia and President-elect Donald Trump, who has repeatedly cast doubt over the claim that Russia launched cyberattacks on the US.

On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee, led by McCain, is to hold the first public hearing in Congress on the alleged hacking.

McCain and other top congressional leaders have pledged to press legislation on sanctions against Russia in addition to those announced by President Barack Obama last month.

On December 22, Obama announced a series of economic sanctions against Russia, as well as expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, over allegations that it interfered in the 2016 presidential election through cyberattacks.

McCain has criticized the sanctions as insufficient and overdue.

However, Trump, the incoming US president, has repeatedly questioned the accuracy of US intelligence pointing to Russia’s responsibility for the hacks and has said it was time to “move on.”

The US claim has been rejected by Moscow. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, which published the stolen emails, has also denied that the Russian government provided the files.

Alfons