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Russians Target Fracking, Too

Among some liberals, two contentions have become virtual articles of faith:

1. The Russians elected Donald Trump president.

2. Hydraulic fracturing science is settled, and the practice is bad for human beings and our environment.

But you can’t have it both ways. What if the Russians have been involved in “settling” the question of fracking?

Assume for a moment that Vladimir Putin’s computer hacking conspiracy was effective enough to get Trump elected. It wasn’t, but we’ll get back to that in a moment.

By that reasoning, the Kremlin is powerful enough to influence millions of American minds. What if Putin and company have been doing that very thing, more intensively than any effort they made regarding the election, in regard to fracking?

They have.

For more than two years, the Russian government has been running a propaganda campaign intended to convince both Europeans and Americans the practice is dangerous and ought to be banned.

Among the overlooked sections of the report U.S. intelligence agencies prepared on Russian involvement in the November election was information about that initiative. RT America, part of Moscow’s propaganda machine, “runs anti-fracking campaign, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence reported. “This is likely reflective of the Russian government’s concern about the impact of fracking and U.S. natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability,” the office added. Gazprom is the Russian government energy conglomerate. Much of the cash Putin relies on comes from Gazprom.

RT has $190 million a year at its disposal, by the way.

This is nothing new. Don’t believe me? How about Hillary Clinton?

Last fall, it was reported Clinton, in a June 2014 speech, complained about the Russians. She cited “phony environmental groups” she said were “funded by the Russians to stand against any effort. ‘Oh, that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you,’ and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia.”

Though Clinton’s speech was made behind closed doors, to a private Canadian group, what she said was leaked by, you guessed it, WikiLeaks.

We in the United States aren’t the Russians’ only targets. For at least two and a half years, their phony environmentalism has targeted Europe, too. There, the stakes are higher than money; Putin has only to threaten to shut off the valves on gas lines from Russia to convince several European leaders not to oppose him.

In September 2014, then NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen complained that, “Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called nongovernmental organizations working against shale gas, to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas” in Europe.

Bottom line: The Russians have been doing a lot more to keep us from drilling for gas than they have to keep us from having Hillary Clinton as president. If you accept that their interference in our affairs is effective — as some liberals do regarding Clinton and Trump — you have to wonder how much of the anti-fracking hysteria can be traced to Moscow.

Back to alleged Russian interference in the election: Regardless of where the hacking originated, what did it accomplish?

It released some information embarrassing to the Clinton campaign, especially among Bernie Sanders loyalists, but it probably didn’t change many voters’ minds. There certainly was no actual tampering with ballots.

What came from the hackers really was nothing that any good newspaper wouldn’t report, if it had access to the information. It amounted to no more than a round of juicy political gossip of the kind seen all the time — but never credited with swaying an election.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.


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