The “declassified” version of the Intelligence Community’s “assessment” of “Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” – might have been described by Shakespeare as “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury…signifying nothing.”

It (take note) contains conclusions that “are identical to those in the highly classified assessment,” but “does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.” It does, however include lots of nifty graphics, charts and bullet points. However, if you are looking for substantive evidence, keep looking.

Interestingly, while the document still fails to provide any irrefutable evidence of Russian interference or influence on the recent elections, it is chock-full of “assessments,” “judgments” and opinions made with “confidence,” along with terms such as “probable” and “likely” – but as the document itself admits, is “not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.” In short – NO facts whatsoever.

Can you say “weasel words”?

Instead of anything resembling proof, the report does contain a lot of information about RT American and its “messaging” – very little of which has anything to do with alleged Russian interference in the recent elections.

The implication is that RT spreads propaganda intended to influence the American public through social media as the corporate mainstream media loses credibility. Here is an example of the horrific sins committed by RT:

RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts of public health.

So it does. But so do many other citizen journalist and alternative news outlets, including the Ring of Fire Network. What does this have to do with meddling in the American electoral process?

Well, about that:

“This is likely reflective of the Russian government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s (a Russian-based energy company) profitability.”

Note the word “likely.” Yet more speculation…but again, where is the proof? And is this supposed to be “evidence” of the aforementioned allegations?

The document goes on to mention RT’s opposition to Western involvement in the ongoing Syrian civil war (particularly propaganda against the Syrian government) as well as Chief Editor Margarita Simonyan’s statements comparing the existence of the channel to having a military in times of war. It speaks to RT coverage of the Occupy Wall Street, its characterization of the US as a “surveillance state,” and its criticism of the US economic system.

According to this report, the primary objective of RT is to undermine the faith of the American people in their government and institutions. But many of us who have seen the mess our country can put itself into without the “help” of the Russians might note that the bozos in CONgress are doing a fine job of that all by themselves, thank you very much.

In all of this, RT is hardly unique. There is the implication that RT is actually a propaganda arm of the Kremlin – but again, the evidence is circumstantial. While the channel does receive funding from the Russian government, it is an independent organization under the laws in that country – and it isn’t talking about any issues that haven’t been covered at other sites such as Huffington Post, Daily Kos and The Ring of Fire.

Overall, this document looks less like an intelligence report and more like a slick sales presentation or piece of commercial advertising.  However, there is one aspect to the report that is quite sinister: it implies that any criticism of official US policy is tantamount to treason – one of the hallmarks of a fascist, totalitarian state.

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.