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Oliver Stone Warns of ‘Group-Think’ in Accepting Russian Hacking Claims

Variety logo Variety 12/30/2016 Ted Johnson
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Oliver Stone is warning of Cold War-like hysteria over claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind hacking in order to give Donald Trump an advantage over Hillary Clinton.

In an essay titled “The Russians Are Coming” posted on his Facebook page, Stone acknowledged that “I never thought I’d find myself praying for the level-headedness of a Donald Trump,” but warned of what he called “group-think” in accepting the conclusion that Russia was behind the pre-election hack of the Democratic National Committee and of Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

He linked to stories that cast doubt on the conclusions of intelligence agencies that Russia was responsible.

“My God, the ghost of Izzy Stone is back from the 1950s!” Stone wrote. “For that matter, so is Tom Clancy from the ’80s. False thrillers will now be written about the Russians hacking the American elections. Money and TV serials will be made. I’ve never read such hysterical junk in the New York Times (call it what it is — ‘fake news’), in which the editorials have become outrageous diatribes of alleged crimes by Russia, many of them presumably written by Serge Schmemann, one of those ideologues who still looks for Russians under his bed at night; they were called ‘White Russians’ in the old days and, like right-wing Cubans in Miami, are unable to live down past grievances. Schmemann is obviously riding high at the NYT edit board. This type of thinking has clearly influenced the Pentagon and many of our Generals’ statements, and has pervaded MSM reporting. When one group-think controls our national conversation, it becomes truly dangerous.”

He warned that the rush to blame Putin could have consequences for the way that Trump responds.

“As much as I may disagree with Donald Trump (and I do) he’s right now target number one of the MSM propaganda — until, that is, he jumps to the anti-Kremlin track because of some kind of false intelligence or misunderstanding cooked up by CIA,” he wrote. “Then I fear, in his hot-headed way, he starts fighting with the Russians, and it wouldn’t be long then until a state of war against Russia is declared.”

He urged readers to stay “calm in your thinking.” He also accused the New York Times of “evaded any contrary evidence” that others may be to blame for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, such as an insider who was “disgusted” by the way the party apparatus was being run.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama announced a series of sanctions against Russia stemming from the intelligence committee conclusions. Trump, meanwhile, praised Putin on Friday for not immediately responding to the new sanctions. “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!” Trump tweeted.

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