Macron blames ‘Russian hackers’ for his problems

Emmanuel Macron, like loser Hillary Clinton, is apparently the latest victim of "Russian hackers". He being targeted by a parallel "Russian hacking and fake news campaign", according to his digital campaign manager.

Published: March 5, 2017, 12:10 pm

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    But neither could offer any evidence of such hacking.

    Mounir Mahjoubi claims “Russians” are behind continued “high level attacks” with Russian state-sponsored media as the “first source of false information”. Mahjoubi told Sky News: “Let’s be precise on that.”

    “We are accusing Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik News (of being) the first source of false information shared about our candidate and all the other symbiotic ways of working with all these fascist organisations or extreme right news organisations.”

    The so-called “hacking” accusations can’t explain Macron’s lacklustre show in the polls however as Mahjoubi admitted that the “hacking” had had no effect: “We have been the targets of multiple attempts of hacking but we succeeded to stop all of them.”

    Mahjoubi spoke to Sky News at the headquarters of Macron’s voterless movement, En Marche. Mahjoubi added: “At the same time, during the same period, with the same rhythm, we are the victim, the target of hackers on our servers.

    Macron, 39, the former chief of staff and economy minister for incumbent French President Francois Hollande, and former investment banker is trying to blame Russia for failing poll figures in his bid for the French presidency.

    Assuming Macron makes it through to the second round of the two-stage process, he is using the same excuse of “Russian hacking” as Hillary Clinton did during the US elections last year. Her false claims eventually cost her the win.

    Mahjoubi believes Macron is a target of “state-sponsored hacks” because he is a globalist, pro-Europe, pro the euro, interventionist and liberal – all stances which many voters in several EU countries as well as the US have already rejected.

    “These ideas of a more open Europe, of a stronger Europe, of a more progressive France, these ideas for certain countries in the world and for certain private organisations are ideas to fight against.” Mahjoubi said.

    But his staff at En Marche were unable to offer any concrete evidence for the attempted hacks, citing the “invisible and anonymous” nature of the hacking process.

    They say their donations website have been disabled temporarily, impacting their fundraising. “The only thing we can say is that half of all the attacks come from Ukraine, but Ukraine is a pass through country, used as a proxy,” Mahjoubi said.

    He says the campaign of “misinformation” has been very damaging, illustrating the problem with a chart showing how news about his candidate can spread in hours. Reports about Macron’s sexuality and his connections to the US banking industry, forced Macron to address the allegations in public, acknowledging that the “rumours” were not without substance.

    But Mahjoubi called reports casting Macron in an unfavourable light, “fake news” and insisted that the alleged hacks of which he could offer no proof, have continued and give an advantage to Macron’s main opponent, Marine Le Pen.

    “Marine Le Pen is our main enemy… Not only her but the ideas of the Front National,” Mahjoubi said. “She now has the support of new media like Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik and that wasn’t the case before. She has the support of the galaxy of people online which we call the social sphere. She has the most effective online troops.”

    RT and Sputnik have both strenuously denied the baseless allegations. “The accusations are false and lack any evidence,” Sputnik said in a statement. RT said they “adamantly reject any and all claims that it has any part in spreading fake news in general and in relation to Mr Macron”.

    Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the RT channel and the Sputnik news agency rejected the allegations, saying that Macron’s team is building its election campaign on untruthful “fake news” accusations against the Russian media outlets.

    “We are flattered that Macron’s team continues to build the election campaign solely on lies about RT and Sputnik. Not in good taste but quite funny,” Simonyan said Saturday.

    In February, Macron’s ally and the secretary general of En Marche! Richard Ferrand suggested that RT and Sputnik were spreading false rumors about the candidate and favoring other participants of the presidential race.

    The fake news were later “used, quoted and influence our democratic life,” he said. Ferrand also claimed that his party was subjected to numerous cyberattacks emanating from Russia as party candidate Macron wanted a “strong Europe in the face of Russia”.

    Ferrand also drew parallels between the situation in France and the campaign against Democratic US presidential loser Clinton.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov calling these accusations “absurd”, also drawing a parallel with the 2016 US Russian hacking rumours. The spokesman added that Sputnik and RT have not run any negative stories about Macron and Ferrand’s words appeared to be some sort of mantra.

    WikiLeaks pointed out the ties between Macron and Hillary Clinton’s entourage, in an interview that its founder Julian Assange gave to Russian newspaper Izvestia.

    Macron’s supporters nevertheless blamed Russia for French voter sentiment. “We are looking at an unprecedented investment [by Moscow] in France, which is part of a broader Russian effort to advance its interests in the West,” said Julian Nocetti, a Russian analyst at the leftist Institut Français des Relations Internationales. “Moscow’s strategic doctrine advocates a hybrid approach combining diplomacy, shaping the media narrative and feeding the beast with documents obtained from hacking.”

    But Nocetti’s IFRI colleague Tatiana Kastoueva-Jean, had a different view: “The objective is not necessarily to lie, but to combat the dominant narrative.”

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