Politics is a pretty interesting game.
In the United States, almost everyone, except the President, thinks that Russia interfered with the 2016 US Presidential elections.
In the UK, there is a report – that the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to release – on Russian interference in British politics, with some accusing Johnson of a coverup.
Likely in both cases, there are additional agendas.
There is a British election this week after Johnson was unable to get Parliament to agree to his plan for leaving the EU (sound familiar? The last British PM lost her job for the same reason). And since politics is a full contact sport everywhere, Johnson’s competitor for the job, Jeremy Corbyn, released some documents that say that Johnson would offer to sell Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) to United States corporations in a trade deal with President Trump. In Britain, the NHS is considered a national treasure and offering to privatize it to a foreign company is not considered a route to getting yourself elected. Corbyn “declined” to say where he got the documents and the British government says that they think the documents are real.
One of the places these documents were posted was the social media site Reddit.
Reddit said this past week that the document leak was part of a Russian influence operation known as Secondary Infektion. It is likely that Secondary Infektion is part of the Russian hacking group Sandworm (if you are interested in this kind of intrigue, I highly recommend the book Sandworm), which is part of Russia’s military Intelligence known as GRU. As a result of their investigation, Reddit has banned 61 accounts. Of course, there is nothing to stop the Russians from creating new accounts.
The combination of Johnson’s refusal to release the report on past Russian hacking of British elections and the posting of and Corbyn’s use of these new documents indicates that Russian interference in worldwide politics has not stopped or slowed down.
It also means that, short of a miracle, Russia will likely interfere with the US elections next year. Using cyber theft (DNC emails, Clinton Emails, Boris Johnson documents) is far easier than hacking into a whole bunch of election machines and changing votes, so that is likely the route the Russians will take next year.
Whether Russia’s release of the Boris Johnson documents will affect this week’s British Prime Minister’s election is unknown and even if Johnson loses, he can blame many factors other than Russia for his loss.
Still, is shows that politics remains a full contact sport – a reality that is not likely to change anytime soon.
Information for this post came from the Guardian.