Sunday, July 24, 2016

US fears over Donald Trump's connections with Vladimir Putin's Russia

US fears over Donald Trump's connections with Vladimir Putin's Russia

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Fears Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump may be pursuing a Russian agenda with his candidacy have triggered a wave of alarm in the US.
A series of links between Mr Trump's circle of advisers, his policy positions on the future of NATO, his statements of admiration for Russian president Vladimir Putin and even the overlap between his supporters and those touting pro-Russia views online have contributed to this view.

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A mural in Lithuania depicting Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump locking lips goes viral.
The concerns have prompted a series of high-profile American commentators and analysts to suggest Mr Trump may be getting backing from Russia for his US campaign.
Respected publications such as Slate, economist Paul Krugman writing in The New York Times, andThe Washington Post have commented on the convergence between Mr Trump's statements and geopolitical positions that Russia has long sought, with worrying implications should Trump become president.
"Trump is making it clear that, as president, he would allow Russia to advance its hegemonic interests across Europe and the Middle East," wrote Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic.
"His election would immediately trigger a wave of global instability."
Fairfax Media was among the first outlets to report on the overlap between Russian online support and the Trump campaign. The nature of the sometimes virulently anti-Semitic attacks on journalistswho have written critically about Trump, the support of anonymous bloggers and voices, and even the use of confusion and violence at rallies match the kind of fear and intimidation tactics used in Eastern European campaigns. 
However, online support is just one aspect where Russia is suspected in having a hand. Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has worked for Putin's Ukrainian ally, Viktor Yanukovych. 
US Lieutenant-General Michael Flynn, who spoke for Trump at the Republican National Convention, appeared at an event with Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, Trump's discussion of backing away from a key NATO guarantee has sent shudders through capitals around Europe. 
Trump's campaign even sought a change of language for US support for Ukraine, a country locked in a "frozen conflict" after Moscow annexed Crimea and began backing rebels in Ukraine's east.
More recently, the WikiLeaks release of Democratic Party data related to the Clinton campaign alsosuggests a Russian link.
Three independent groups verified that the hack of the information from the Democratic National Committee was committed by groups using techniques and identities with close links to Russia – despite denials of the alleged hacker, Guccifer 2.0.
The information now being pumped out by WikiLeaks is clearly pitched to divide the Democratic Party before the Democratic Convention, beginning on Monday in the US (Tuesday morning AEST).
The Clinton campaign has already said Russia hopes to affect the outcome of the election.
"What appears evident is that the Russian groups responsible for the DNC hack are intent on attempting to influence the outcome of this election," the Clinton campaign said in June, when news of the hacking was revealed.
At the time, the time WikiLeaks had pledged to release information on the Democrats' campaign... 

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