In the World of Truth and Fact, Russiagate is Dead. In the World of the Political Establishment, it is Still the New 42 127

Douglas Adams famously suggested that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42. In the world of the political elite, the answer is Russiagate. What has caused the electorate to turn on the political elite, to defeat Hillary and to rush to Brexit? Why, the evil Russians, of course, are behind it all.

It was the Russians who hacked the DNC and published Hillary’s emails, thus causing her to lose the election because… the Russians, dammit, who cares what was in the emails? It was the Russians. It is the Russians who are behind Wikileaks, and Julian Assange is a Putin agent (as is that evil Craig Murray). It was the Russians who swayed the 1,300,000,000 dollar Presidential election campaign result with 100,000 dollars worth of Facebook advertising. It was the evil Russians who once did a dodgy trade deal with Aaron Banks then did something improbable with Cambridge Analytica that hypnotised people en masse via Facebook into supporting Brexit.

All of this is known to be true by every Blairite, every Clintonite, by the BBC, by CNN, by the Guardian, the New York Times and the Washington Post. “The Russians did it” is the article of faith for the political elite who cannot understand why the electorate rejected the triangulated “consensus” the elite constructed and sold to us, where the filthy rich get ever richer and the rest of us have falling incomes, low employment rights and scanty welfare benefits. You don’t like that system? You have been hypnotised and misled by evil Russian trolls and hackers.

[Whether Trump and/or Brexit were worthy beneficiaries of the popular desire to express discontent is an entirely different argument and not one I address here].

Except virtually none of this is true. Mueller’s inability to defend in person his deeply flawed report took a certain amount of steam out of the blame Russia campaign. But what should have killed off “Russiagate” forever is the judgement of Judge John G Koeltl of the Federal District Court of New York.

In a lawsuit brought by the Democratic National Committee against Russia and against Wikileaks, and against inter alia Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Julian Assange, for the first time the claims of collusion between Trump and Russia were subjected to actual scrutiny in a court of law. And Judge Koeltl concluded that, quite simply, the claims made as the basis of Russiagate are insufficient to even warrant a hearing.

The judgement is 81 pages long, but if you want to understand the truth about the entire “Russiagate” spin it is well worth reading it in full. Otherwise let me walk you through it.

This is the crucial point about Koeltl’s judgement. In considering dismissing a case at the outset in response to a motion to dismiss from the defence, the judge is obliged to give the plaintiff every benefit and to take the alleged facts described by the DNC as true. The stage of challenging and testing those facts has not been reached. The question Koeltl is answering is this. Accepting for the moment the DNC’s facts as true, on the face of it, even if everything that the Democratic National Committee alleged happened, did indeed happen, is there the basis for a case? And his answer is a comprehensive no. Even the facts alleged to comprise the Russiagate narrative do not mount up to a plausible case.

The consequence of this procedure is of course that in this judgement Koeltl is accepting the DNC’s “facts”. The judgement is therefore written entirely on the assumption that the Russians did hack the DNC computers as alleged by the plaintiff (the Democratic National Committee), and that meetings and correspondence took place as the DNC alleged and their content was also what the DNC alleged. It is vital to understand in reading the document that Koeltl is not stating that he finds these “facts” to be true. Doubtless had the trial proceeded many of them would have been challenged by the defendants and their evidentiary basis tested in court. It is simply at this stage the only question Koeltl is answering is whether, assuming the facts alleged all to be true, there are grounds for trial.

Judge Koeltl’s subsequent dismissal of the Russiagate nonsense is a problem for the mainstream media and their favourite narrative. They have largely chosen to pretend it never happened, but when obliged to mention it have attempted to misrepresent this as the judge confirming that the Russians hacked the DNC. It very definitely and specifically is not that; the judge was obliged to rule on the procedural motion to dismiss on the basis of assuming the allegation to be true. Legal distinctions, even very plain ones like this, are perhaps difficult for the average cut and paste mainstream media stenographer to understand. But the widespread failure to report the meaning of Koeltl’s judgement fairly is inexcusable.

The key finding is this. Even accepting the DNC’s evidence at face value, the judge ruled that it provides no evidence of collusion between Russia, Wikileaks or any of the named parties to hack the DNC’s computers. It is best expressed here in this dismissal of the charge that a property violation was committed, but in fact the same ruling by the judge that no evidence has been presented of any collusion for an illegal purpose, runs through the dismissal of each and every one of the varied charges put forward by the DNC as grounds for their suit.

Judge Koeltl goes further and asserts that Wikileaks, as a news organisation, had every right to obtain and publish the emails in exercise of a fundamental First Amendment right. The judge also specifically notes that no evidence has been put forward by the DNC that shows any relationship between Russia and Wikileaks. Wikileaks, accepting the DNC’s version of events, merely contacted the website that first leaked some of the emails, in order to ask to publish them.

Judge Koeltl also notes firmly that while various contacts are alleged by the DNC between individuals from Trump’s campaign and individuals allegedly linked to the Russian government, no evidence at all has been put forward to show that the content of any of those meetings had anything to do with either Wikileaks or the DNC’s emails.

In short, Koeltl dismissed the case entirely because simply no evidence has been produced of the existence of any collusion between Wikileaks, the Trump campaign and Russia. That does not mean that the evidence has been seen and is judged unconvincing. In a situation where the judge is duty bound to give credence to the plaintiff’s evidence and not judge its probability, there simply was no evidence of collusion to which he could give credence. The entire Russia-Wikileaks-Trump fabrication is a total nonsense. But I don’t suppose that fact will kill it off.

The major implication for the Assange extradition case of the Koeltl judgement is his robust and unequivocal statement of the obvious truth that Wikileaks is a news organisation and its right to publish documents, specifically including stolen documents, is protected by the First Amendment when those documents touch on the public interest.

These arguments are certainly helpful to Assange in the extradition case. But it must be noted that the extradition request has been drafted to try to get round the law by alleging that Wikileaks were complicit in the actual theft of documents by Chelsea Manning. Judge Koeltl does not address this question as he was presented with no evidence that Wikileaks had contact with the “hackers” prior to their obtaining the documents, so the question did not arise before him. In the extradition request, the attempt is to argue that Assange encouraged and abetted Manning in obtaining the material. This is supposed to be a different argument.

In fact this attempt to undermine the First Amendment has no merit. Cultivation of an insider source is a normal part of journalistic activity, and encouraging an official to leak material in the public interest is an everyday occurrence in such cultivation. In the “Watergate” precedent, for example, the “Deep Throat” source, Mark Felt of the FBI, was cultivated and encouraged over a period by Woodward. In addition to which, Manning’s access to the documents could not be characterised as “theft”. Leaking of official secrets by an insider is a very different thing to a hack from outside.

And in conclusion, I should state emphatically that while Judge Koeltl was obliged to accept for the time being the allegation that the Russians had hacked the DNC as alleged, in fact this never happened. The emails came from a leak not a hack. The Mueller Inquiry’s refusal to take evidence from the actual publisher of the leaks, Julian Assange, in itself discredits his report. Mueller should also have taken crucial evidence from Bill Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, who has explained in detail why an outside hack was technically impossible based on the forensic evidence provided.

The other key point that proves Mueller’s Inquiry was never a serious search for truth is that at no stage was any independent forensic independence taken from the DNC’s servers, instead the word of the DNC’s own security consultants was simply accepted as true. Finally no progress has been made – or is intended to be made – on the question of who killed Seth Rich, while the pretend police investigation has “lost” his laptop.

Though why anybody would believe Robert Mueller about anything is completely beyond me.

So there we have it. Russiagate as a theory is as completely exploded as the appalling Guardian front page lie published by Kath Viner and Luke Harding fabricating the “secret meetings” between Paul Manafort and Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy. But the political class and the mainstream media, both in the service of billionaires, have moved on to a stage where truth is irrelevant, and I do not doubt that Russiagate stories will thus persist. They are so useful for the finances of the armaments and security industries, and in keeping the population in fear and jingoist politicians in power.


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127 thoughts on “In the World of Truth and Fact, Russiagate is Dead. In the World of the Political Establishment, it is Still the New 42

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  • Michael Droy

    There is only one thing that has changed. Trump isn’t going to be impeached, Hillary isn’t going to run, China has been uncovered as the enemy all along, so there really is no longer any need for the pretence of Russiagate.

    I really doubt anyone ever believed in it – least of all the Dems or the Brits creating the provocations of Skripal and MH17. Any more than people believe 1 million Ujghurs are locked up.

    Just too much effort to carry on. Moreover in true nursery story fashion, no one is believing anything nowadays. Try telling a Frenchman that the demonstrations in Hong Kong and Russia are going to lead to regime change! Or anyone who speaks Spanish that Venezuela has misbehaved and is not being starved to death by US Economic sanctions. Or that Corbyn is an anti-semite and that the Houthis are the bad guys, not the Saudis.

    We will have a nice couple of years where confusion will be the name of the game, nobody will understand anything without putting much more effort into it that the average BBC news editor. And then we will be grateful again to those in authority for telling us how “it is”.

    • Joseph Ali

      Being cynical doesn’t help. Russiagate is continuing today in the open… which is the point. Trump may be impeached. The Republicans engaged in significant voter suppression which is antithetical to democracy. A million Uighurs are being reconditioned while locked up.

      • pretzelattack

        when you say russiagate is continuing in the open i assume you mean the propaganda is continuing, and cynicism about it is obviously warrented.

      • Deb O'Nair

        “A million Uighurs are being reconditioned while locked up.”

        What is happening to the Uighurs (i.e. the Chinese systematically questioning/interrogating almost the entire population) is a response to the 10,000 that transited through Turkey on their way to Syria where they were trained by NATO backed forces in head-chopping, murdering homosexuals and other forms of ‘asymmetrical warfare’ behavior before being quietly sent back to China.

      • John2o2o

        Would the impeachment of Trump really achieve anything anyway? Bill Clinton was impeached, but his presidency survived.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ John2o2o August 5, 2019 at 16:43
          Impeachment is a two-stage process. The Congress voted to impeach Clinton, but the final say was the Senate, who rejected it.

  • Ort

    Thanks for this informative and insightful commentary on Judge Koetl’s decision and order.

    Incidentally, even RT News reports (so far) reflect the misunderstanding you discuss, insofar as they complain that Judge Koetl endorsed or validated the plaintiff’s preposterous and discredited allegations of “Russian interference”. It’s a good example of the way quoted excerpts taken out of context give a distorted and wholly inaccurate impression of their true meaning and implications.

    Sadly and infuriatingly, there is not much chance that this lucid dose of juridical truth will quench the Russophobic hysteria, or serve as more than a bump on the road to the political and mass-media charlatans who created and sustain the multi-national propaganda campaign that animates it.

    But decisions like Judge Koetl’s and commentaries like yours are candles in the flatulent Russophobic winds.

  • Tatyana

    Thank you, Mr. Murray.
    There are good consequences of Russiagate. Now Russia understands better who are enemies and who are friends. Probable “attack vectors” are known and it is clear where to “aim weapon” and which “holes need reinforcement”.
    I try to be optimistic about the world 🙂

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Pretty obvious from Nordstream Ii sanctions that the US needs some serious repercussions. None of its senators and almost none of its Congressfolk believe in Free Trade, I would certainly tell US to get off German territory for good so they cannot make excuses about Nordstream II.

      If Mr Putin really does want to invade West (or more likely a madcap successor funded by US to create war), his gas revenues will dry up jolly quick. The US can move their garrisons to Poland who do want protection from dastardly Russkies.

      The British people are not enemies of Russia. Many faceless officials who we do not elect nor do we select as voters are enemies of Russia, notably senior levels of the Forces, the Security Services, the BBC, various cretins in the FCO etc. Then of course the puppets in Westminster, who represent no-one but themselves and shady unaccountable lobby groups, grandstand profusely because US and Israel pressure them to.

      If Russia does retaliate, please be surgical and target those who are worthy of targeting. Citizens are not acceptable collateral damage.

      • Blissex

        «If Russia does retaliate, please be surgical and target those who are worthy of targeting.»

        In the “John Titor” transcripts of the near future in an alternate timeline there is mention of an USA civil war with a very interesting profile and where Russia fights in alliance with one of the sides. “02-08-2001 09:40 AM” and “02-05-2001 11:28 AM” post in particular.

      • Tatyana

        Rhys Jaggar, you may contact russian army and ask them to add you to the exclusion list 🙂
        Seriously, publish an open letter.

        Poland is so strange. They are going to celebrate the beginning of World War II on September 1. Germany is invited to the feast! Not Russia, as we violated international law in 1939 🙂 Do you know 573 of 2000 ‘hitler’s pensioners’ live in Poland?

      • Deb O'Nair

        “The US can move their garrisons to Poland ”

        That is what Poland was created for after WW1, as a country that was a client of UK/US geopolitical interests, to be used as a piggy in the middle of Germany and Russia in the event that at some point in the future (and that future is now) those two nations might enter into some form of ‘entente cordiale’ or worse a political alliance.

          • Deb O'Nair

            I am not referring to the nation of people but the geographical entity. The modern nation of Poland did not exist until post-WW1. Prior to this the last time a recognisable country called Poland existed was The Kingdom of Poland which ceased to exist in 1772, and that country was mostly in what today is Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine. The post WW1 Poland exists in what was mostly pre-WW1 Germany, so most of the modern nation of Poland does not even occupy the same land as when the Kingdom ceased to exist in 1772.

      • John2o2o

        ” I would certainly tell US to get off German territory for good so they cannot make excuses about Nordstream II. ”

        Rhys I’d tell them to get their hides off UK territory as well, but I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon!

        As for Mr Putin, I agree with you. Russia is already by far the world’s largest country. It needs new territory for what exactly? I long for the day when our country offers a genuine hand of friendship to Russia.

        And it is we who are causing trouble in the Black Sea, Russia does not invade our waters.

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    I hope this will translate into good news for Julian Assange.I trust you will be visiting him in Belmarsh. For what it is worth. please assure him that there is support ‘out there’> hope his health is picking up.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Alternative analysis; it suits the Deep State that the case hasn’t gotten off the ground. If Mifsud is a “liable”, “second-level participant”, then Mifsud the “evil Russian agent” could have ended up in the witness stand and it would have become apparent that far from being an agent of Russia, Mifsud is an agent of the West.
    The Russiagate nonsense has dogged a bullet by the dismal of the case.

    • daydreamer

      Not having the Russiagate stuff tested in court certainly removes the potential risk of it being shown in court to be completely made up.

  • Walter Cairns

    Excellent article as usual by Mr Murray. The Russophobia now running rampant in our media is only matched by the hysteria that currently marks the CIA-supported counter-revolution currently being launched in Hong Kong.

  • Blissex

    «But the political class and the mainstream media, both in the service of billionaires, have moved on to a stage where truth is irrelevant»

    To a very large extent, and because of the usual “propaganda science” (founder E Bernays) experimental result that there is a common cognitive bias where most people accept as reliable gossip that has come to them from seemingly independent sources, even without any evidence.

    If in a small community one person tells you “I saw Bill and Jane kissing!” that’s by itself not believable, but if four other seemingly unrelated people say the same, that’s believable, and if ten people say the same, over some days, then is is quite believable.

    That’s why “talking-points memos” are common and powerful. Most people cannot/won’t delve into the background of stories, so they judge them by repetition by multiple sources, so maintaining the impression that they are unconnected works pretty well.

    • Royd

      That’s exactly the technique knowingly being used by the MSM – and it is proving to be very effective I fear. There’s a colloquial term, which I believe goes something like ‘keep ’em in the dark and feed e’m bulls**t’. Mushroom management communication technique!

  • Brendan

    I wasn’t aware that the DNC sued Mifsud along with Wikileaks and Trump until I read Craig’s post. Mifsud was a trusted partner of the western establishment, including its intelligence agencies and the Clinton team. The fact that the DNC were prepared to throw him under the bus is a sign of how desparate it is.

  • Crispa

    In the world of truth and fact, Russiagate might be dead. Unfortunately the UK government amongst others chooses to operate in the world of fiction and phantasy, and with the aid of its media, expecting, and often succeeding in doing so, that the population at large will buy into its false beliefs. I see no way out of this, except to put trust in a truly independent justice system which is asking a lot from what is known so far. We can only wait and see.

  • Goose

    The Democrats have built a whole mythology around the Russians the DNC server and leaked Podesta emails. It’s easier than accepting the (awful) truth; namely, that they picked the wrong candidate and consolidated her position unfairly by undermining her chief rival Bernie Sanders.

  • George

    In the World of Truth and Fact, almost everything the media spout is dead and indeed never existed in the first place. But they’ll go on about it till the end of time.

  • Gavin C Barrie

    Julian Assange is the last straw for me regards the UK’s integrity. Sure we had, over the years “Daily Mail” reports on the bad guys in Kenya, in Malta, in Ireland. And then the internet arrived.
    In the UK we have an individual apparently innocent of any sex crime in Sweden, detained in a UK prison, why?

    • Royd

      I think, quite simply, he’s been branded an ‘enemy of the State’. His character is to be demonised, his reputation destroyed and his life made unbearable simply because he shone a light on the establishment/PTB and their heinous activities. My eyes have been well and truly opened.

  • Goose

    In 2012 there was hardly any Russia -US antagonism. Barack Obama facing off against Mitt Romney in the Presidential TV debate that year scolded Romney for saying Russia was the top priority: “The Cold War’s been over for 20 years ” Obama Hit back in one exchange.

    Then in 2013 something extraordinary happened: a US – UK plan for regime change was thwarted after MPs refused to support attacking Syria causing a chain reaction that led to the US having to back down.

    Why did Putin jump in so heavily in behind Assad? This is what respected ME-based journalist Robert Fisk’s piece alleged. The OPCW were first on the scene after the dreadful the Ghouta chemical attack which killed 1600 poor souls. The OPCW took pictures of the rockets that were buried nose first in the ground (google the OPCW’s pictures) The rockets are a type that don’t explode but belch out their noxious contents. On the casings of the rockets the serial code numbers are clearly visible. Russia checked their archives and found that type were never sold to Assad , but they were sold to Gaddafi where his CW stockpiles were being decommissioned by .. can you guess? This was the evidence Fisk claimed the Russians allegedly presented at the UN.

    If true you can see why Putin is enemy no1 for the west.

      • Kempe

        In which he admits the Russians have provided no evidence although he does admit that “even if the Assad regime was not responsible for the 21 August attacks, its forces have committed war crimes aplenty over the past two years. Torture, massacre, the bombardment of civilian targets have long been proved. “

        • Goose

          From Feb 2018 : The U.S. has no evidence to confirm reports from aid groups and others that the Syrian government has used the deadly chemical sarin on its citizens, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday.

          “We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. “We do not have evidence of it.”

          Mattis offered no temporal qualifications, which means that both the 2017 event in Khan Sheikhoun and the 2013 tragedy in Ghouta are unsolved cases in the eyes of the Defense Department and Defense Intelligence Agency.

          The Guardian and all other media largely ignored this rather striking admission. Seemingly asserting they know better than the Pentagon.

        • Laguerre

          “its forces have committed war crimes aplenty over the past two years. Torture, massacre, the bombardment of civilian targets have long been proved.”

          I’m sure they have to a degree. It happens in war. However you curiously fail to mention that the US and their proxies do the same – indeed bombardment of civilians by the US has been far worse in Raqqa and Mosul.

          • Kempe

            Fisk didn’t mention it either for the simple reason that it’s irrelevant to the subject under discussion.

            Curious that you dismiss Syrian war crimes as just “something that happens in war” but seem keen to talk up war crimes committed by the US and its proxies.

          • Goose


            All deaths of innocent civilians in war are terrible.

            But Mosul illustrates perfectly our western journalists’ collective hypocrisy and indifference to death, so long as the ‘right people’ are doing the killing; an estimated 10,000 died in the heavy US-led air campaign bombing, to ‘liberate’ the major city in northern Iraq from the grip of IS. Yet all we had was breathy reports from excited ’embedded journalists talking about freeing the people from terrorists. Compare this to reports on Syrian and Russian forces actions.

          • Laguerre


            I was referring to your really extremely curious failure to take an even-handed stance, excusing the US’s jihadis by silence, but being so heavy on the Syrian government. You’re doing a Johnson on me, blaming anyone else but yourself.

          • Kempe

            ” excusing the US’s jihadis by silence ”

            I was doing no such thing. To begin with I was quoting Robert Fisk from the article in the link and secondly it’s irrelevant. It doesn’t weaken Assad’s guilt or render criticism of him invalid.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Laguerre August 5, 2019 at 12:44
            ‘…You’re doing a Johnson on me, blaming anyone else but yourself…’
            Maybe he’s aiming for No. 10. If so, he won’t have my vote. A lighthouse-keeper in the Falklands, now that would be a different matter..

      • David Macilwain

        But none of it was true Goose! There is no evidence of even one death from Sarin in Ghouta in 2013, as not one autopsy was done. All the physical tests were done in Moadamiyah, where no Sarin was found in the environment, and none was positive except for breakdown products. The fact is that the SAA never used Sarin against even the terrorists, as it has zero military value. The children whose corpses we saw in videos were gassed by terrorist groups near Lattakia earlier in August and videos made somewhere between. That the UN even claims there have been 300 CW attacks by the SAA shows how they are totally corrupted.

        I always believed that Russia stood by Syria because of international law primarily, and still do now, I think it is long proven.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ David Macilwain August 5, 2019 at 09:05
          Far more likely they supported Syria because of their bases, especially Naval, there. But they are certainly in the right legally.

    • michael norton

      Goose “Why did Putin jump in so heavily in behind Assad?”
      1) Navy base in the Mediterranean within easy reach of the Suez Canal and oversight of the Eastern Mediterranean Methane Basin.
      2) Air base in Syria.
      3) Possibility of constructing Methane pipeline through ex-Soviet Central Asia/Russia/Persia/Iraq/Syria/Lebanon and on to Cyprus/Greece.
      4) Chance to turn Turkey away from America and towards Russia.
      5) possibility of enlarging CIS and thus the GDP of Russia
      6) to stick two fingers up to the U.S.A.

      • goose

        Yes, all those reasons too, no doubt.

        But if you ‘know’ an ally is being wrongly accused of something so heinous as the use of sarin, you’d that extra mile in their defence.

        If the reports are true and Putin does hold Soviet -era archive records proving it wasn’t Syria’s sain, that goes a long way prove the attack wasn’t by Assad’s forces.

    • Dungroanin

      Ha ha … You mean a certain and ubiquitous Col HDBG being an alumni of our dear Tank Regiment? Who’s fellow cadre have their sticky fingers all over the chaos of the Syrian White Helmets via their creator? Also the Skripal controller? And the BBC mouthpiece? The dodgy dossier creator? … the chain going all the way to the top and back down to the II/IoS?

      Yup the can of worms carries on exploding in slow-mo.

      More popcorn!

      • Sharp Ears

        Where is HDBG now? He tells us. In Delhi boasting of his Salisbury exploits. He even boasts of wearing his 77th Brigade hat.

        He has also been in Idlib with Dr David Nott. Praise for Eliot Higgins too in dealing with those pesky ‘Assad apologists’.

        What a creature. Is he a suitable case for treatment?

        • Sharp Ears

          Here is the very same Higgins having a go at Tulsi Gabbard. The piece is on his blog apparently.

          ‘Joining the chorus of bashers on Sunday was Elliot Higgins, the founder of the UK-based ‘citizen investigation’ outlet Bellingcat, who wrote a whopping 4,000-word piece attacking Gabbard’s negative attitude toward regime change wars. In particular, Higgins didn’t like her skepticism over chemical weapons attacks in Syria reflected on her campaign website. The attacks were used by Washington to justify missile attacks against the country’s government – and by extension continued illegal US military presence in the country.’

          Bellingcat unloads 4,000-word piece on Tulsi Gabbard over her questioning Syria chemical attacks

  • lysias

    A minor nitpick. The judge’s name is Koeltl. He was a year ahead of me in my high school in New York City.

    [ Mod: Amended, thanks. ]

    • HappyDiggerUK

      This judge has to be one of the most ironic sides to this story. When you consider two aspects of his past there can be little doubt that he followed the law, and no bias he might have.

      He was on the prosecution team in the Watergate saga, so no special allegiance to the Republicans.

      But best of all, he was nominated to his current position by President Bill Clinton in 1994…_

  • Rhys Jaggar

    This is all hardly surprising, when the biggest test of ‘soundness’ in Western Establishments is faithfully parroting the official line without questioning it too deeply.

    Getting at the truth is the very last characteristic the West wants of its subservient ambitious minions. MH17? It was the Russians wot dun it. Lockerbie? Whoever dun it, it woz won of them fuzzy wuzzy terrorist bunches. 9/11? Eighteen alcoholic, prostitute-consorting wackos armed with box cutters. Oh and it is always best not to understand the laws of physics if you are a star media hack: that way, you will not have red flags screaming cover up when you start printing the official propaganda. Especially about climate change (by the way, all of European Russia is mighty cold right now: the second time this summer, but David Shukman never reports on Russian cold….)

    Oh and by the way: Bellingcat is a source of unimpeachable truth, nearly as truthful as Colin Powell, the White Helmets, Alastair Campbell and mike Pompeo.

    Oh and one other thing: never ask five years later whether politicians told absolute whoppers to try and bribe voters. We all understand that is how life works. All politicians lie, you should never expect one to tell the truth. That is why voting is such an ethical responsibility. You must sleep calm in the knowledge that you voted for the most palatable form of lying.

    And as for journalists, well the bigger whoppers you tell, the higher up the Google search engine lists you appear. 99% of search engine results now lead to MSM dross, which is a marvellous confirmation that the priceless resource of the internet has been thoroughly debased by the Establishment.

    • John2o2o

      I concur with your sentiments Rhys, but some of us understand better the truth of what is happening in the world.

      We are not mainstream, but a powerful voice for truth anyway.

      I do my best to remain optimistic despite the horrors that surround me.

  • Hatuey

    “Wikileaks is a news organisation and its right to publish documents, specifically including stolen documents, is protected by the First Amendment when those documents touch on the public interest.”

    As I have said all along, it’s on the above basis that Assange must defend the right of Wikileaks to publish. CIPA will be invoked to prevent him from using the leaked information in his defence but if his argument is that the law in inapplicable (jury nullification route), then he has a good chance.

    I don’t think he would be able to use this argument to thwart extradition, though.

    And I am not sure that a non-US citizen can claim first amendment rights — does it follow that anyone brought before a US court, foreign or otherwise, would inherit rights guaranteed in the US constitution?

    • Blissex

      «And I am not sure that a non-US citizen can claim first amendment rights »

      That’s a common myth: the better reading is that the USA constitution does not so much grant rights to citizens, but limits the powers of the USA state, for example forbidding the state from doing certain things, among them punishing or limiting free speech (to a very large extent). That means that the USA state in theory cannot punish or limit the free speech of *anybody*. That was part the argument used to argue that corporations can spend as much as they want to support candidates. Because the USA “establishment” is constantly trying to erode the constitution, the fiction has been created that it limits the power of the state only if that power is applied to citizens, and that fiction is popular, because many USA citizens want their state to be beastly to non-citizens.

      All this is quite irrelevant to the position of J Assange, he can simply be disappeared in the system for decades. He could even be declared an “enemy combatant”. In practice in the USA more than in most countries the enforcement of your legal rights depends on how popular you are, not what a piece of paper says. J Assange is not popular…

    • Reg

      The problem with that is Christopher Steele when sued for defamation was given first amendment protection as a non US citizen by a a judge in Washington DC, so they often intepret the rules selectively.

      “Christopher Steele was sued by three Russian oligarchs who claimed he defamed them by writing that they tried to influence the 2016 US election.”

  • Antonym

    The US swamp – comprising of many Democrats, some Republicans, MSM and FBI / CIA elements – wants to keep dead Russiagate alive, but want to bury live Pakistangate:

    Luke Rosiak was not fooled by the media silence and tracked US court cases on the endless hacking and following blackmailing in the US Senate and House of Representatives by some of their own unvetted IT guys. The US Capital Police (est. 1828) acted like the Keystone Corps from the silent movies and botched all leads, which the compromised senators and representatives loved.
    His new book “Obstruction of Justice: How the Deep State Risked National Security to Protect the Democrats” is an A-bomb ignored by the usual suspects:

  • Piotr Berman

    To give the topic some context, ponder a misleading headline of Craig:

    The Official Skripal Story is a Dead Duck

    As we all know, this story is a very lively duck that walks (like a duck). quacks, and is energetically supported by quacks. Concerning the particular species of this bird, it seems related to canard or bobard. First observations concerned creatures spawned by lazy journalists who could not find as many amusing or appalling stories that would maintain circulation so they created them. But success of many canards was brought to the attention of civil servants who notified their political superiors. Properly bred, canards are invaluable resource in politics and policy, both domestic and foreign. Extensive observations indicate what makes some canards more successful than other — what allows them to proliferate, create large flocks and live long.

    A good canard is unusual and sloppy. Easy to remember because it combines various improbable badly fitting elements, thus illustrating the insidious threat that the nation faces, be it domestically or internationally. In UK, the largest danger to the national survival is Jeremy Corbyn, and the most lamentable feature of Brexit, particularly hard Brexit, is that can bring Corbyn to power. In turn, Russia that caused Brexit to happen is the worst enemy of UK. Of course, the motivation that drives Corbyn and Russia is nothing else but sheer delight in chaos for chaos sake. Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures, and canards are perhaps the first to be deployed (barring measures that we do not know about).

    • J

      ^ Itself an interesting demonstration of badly fitting elements. I’m intrigued that someone with the same name is also agitating for Tulsi on MOA, with equally incongruous reasoning. Above for example the argument ‘Corbyn is bad because Russia because Brexit.’

      Reading too much Cadwalladr? Who simultaneously seems to want a British establishment creation, Cambridge Analytica (care of SCL Group) to be viewed as a Russian plot and a right wing US white supremacist plot at the same time, while her paper wants Jeremy Corbyn, a perceived threat to the British establishment to be viewed as a Russian spy (or a Trotskyist or an anti-Semite or an Irish Republican Army operative depending on public adoption of the narrative.)

      I’d be much more interested in discovering whether Cambridge Analytica had any relationship prior Tory election campaigns but nobody seems to have asked this question.

    • Goose

      @Piotr Berman

      …..the most lamentable feature of Brexit, particularly hard Brexit, is that can bring Corbyn to power.

      Brexit is disastrous for Labour : they are losing Remain support to the Lib Dems and Brexit support to the Brexit party and the Tories.

      Corbyn would prefer a straight fight any day over a Brexit dominated general election. the Tories have been in power 10 years, ‘time for a change’ should be a powerful argument and yet Brexit is taking all the political bandwidth.

  • Keith McClary

    The United States v. INTERNET RESEARCH AGENCY is going to trial in early 2020. See the Jul 31, 2019 entry here:
    It’s funny that the Nuland-Pyatt phone call, hacked by Russia to expose US anti-democratic meddling (just like the alleged DNC hack) , is never mentioned in the Russiagate narrative.

    “The extent of the Obama administration’s meddling in Ukraine’s politics was breathtaking. Russian intelligence intercepted and leaked to the international media a Nuland telephone call in which she and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffey Pyatt discussed in detail their preferences for specific personnel in a post-Yanukovych government. The U.S-favored candidates included Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the man who became prime minister once Yanukovych was ousted from power. During the telephone call, Nuland stated enthusiastically that “Yats is the guy” who would do the best job.
    Nuland and Pyatt were engaged in such planning at a time when Yanukovych was still Ukraine’s lawful president. It was startling to have diplomatic representatives of a foreign country—and a country that routinely touts the need to respect democratic processes and the sovereignty of other nations—to be scheming about removing an elected government and replacing it with officials meriting U.S. approval.”

    • Goose

      Coming when it did, you’ve got to wonder if the US-backed putsch was in response to Russia’s stance over Syria?

      Euromaidan protests began on the night of 21 November 2013.

  • giyane

    In the world of truth and fact Donald Trump finslly admitted that in regard to white supremacy he himself is mentally ill.

  • Harry Sutherland

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, although this half-century-old depiction of an already stale trope¹ has the distinct advantage of wit.

    While it would be ill-advised to quibble with the “meat & two veg” of mine host’s latest piece (& especially here!) perhaps the deepest distinction between Dahl’s witty screenplay and Murray’s sobersided analysis is indeed levity. Költl’s judgment has hardly been “swept under the carpet” by the international news agencies, although the detail is a pretty dry, even for an avid scholar of jurisprudence. It is also fair to say that for those of a remotely reflective disposition, it’s largely assumed “Russia-gate” is of a similar flavour to the humorous hubris which packed cinémas in the late sixties.

    After that clip in the situation room [“Our man in Edinburgh Japan is working on it now”], the picture segués to Sean Connery having congress with an oriental siren, after which he is ostensibly assassinated. Let’s hope the analogy ends there.

    ¹ stale indeed, as baiting the Russian Bear finds its origins somewhat before the inception of Britain’s Industrial Revolution, and its Empire

  • Phil Pipieri

    Thank you for the clear and understandable explanation which will prepare us for what the broadcast news is bound to twist, if covered at all!

  • HarryT

    The electorate in the U.K. and USA didn’t reject the “triangulated consensus” presented by the elite because that wasn’t on offer in either vote. What they got in both cases is even more of the same, nastier and harsher.

    • lysias

      Jill Stein was on the ballot, as I well know, because I voted for her. So, the voters did have a choice. But Americans, for reasons I do not understand, refuse to vote third party.

      • Paul Barbara

        @ lysias August 5, 2019 at 19:30
        She may have been on the ballot, but she wasn’t in/on MSM or in the debates.
        She got next to no coverage. Had she been in the debates, she would have wiped the floor with the opposing turds.

  • N_

    Most who speak of “Russiagate” have little understanding of psychological warfare, nor of of state strategics. Then they get into minutiae reminiscent of the hairs up O J Simpson’s nose. (Let’s all play “lawyers” as we watch a detective show.) They love their “memes” such as “emails” or “pizza” (simple nouns and short ones too, suitable for Twitter). They love this or that meeting in a hotel room on this or that date, convinced that some politician or businessman or lawyer with a hatchet-like face is in trouble, in danger from all the spectators sharing revelations on their smartphones, in the lead-up to the person being caught out in all their lies before being ritually humiliated. It’s so boring and superficial, and similar to masturb*tion. Best not to argue with porn consumers.

    I don’t care what Hillary Clinton had for breakfast, and if she was a leading figure in a big plan then it wasn’t much of a successful one.

    But @Craig, what’s your explanation for the whole Russiagate discourse? Is it public relations for weapons contracts?

    Weapons contracts sounds like it. Why else worsen relations with Russia? Sure, as the world economy tanks then much of international cooperation will go by the by, a few multi-billionaires will make huge profits as they tighten strangeholds, and Armageddon is approaching, but there still seems to have been a specific effort in the US-Russia department. And a person would have to be very inattentive to miss the big PR effort for the naval department of the warfare state that has been afoot in recent years.

    Have you ever read Richard Shirreff’s book “2017: War with Russia”? The point isn’t so much that someone wrote that book (which is laughably sh*ttily written); it’s who that person was (a recent deputy NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe) and where it was launched (RUSI – Royal United Services Institute). Nice little retirement earner of course, but the reviews…and the Skripals…and Russiagate…and the fact that the British defence review is itself under revision… Let’s never forget the defence review.

    • Blissex

      «Weapons contracts sounds like it. Why else worsen relations with Russia?»

      My favourite explanation is simple and occasionally corroborated by think-tank publications: “first-world” countries are big and rather diverse, and subject to centrifugal forces. The threat of a nuclear attack for decades increased cohesion and centripetal forces: “better together”. A common enemy is needed to recreate those cohesive feeling and centripetal forces, and many candidates have been tried (muslim jihadis, foreign immigrants, russian chemical attackers, …). Consider the right-wing “Remainer” propaganda that since Putin is the enemy the UK should be “better together” with the EU27, or the idea that Scotland should be “better together” with the UK to avoid being subverted by Russia (like Crimea was!).

      Plus the military are (justifiably) horrified by the enormous cuts inflicted on the armed forces and use Russia as the lever for better funding. For example see the huge anti-Russian campaigns by the swedish military and famous invisible russian submarines invading Sweden.

      The advantage of Russia as the common enemy is simply “brand recognition”: fantastic sums were spent on anti-russian propaganda during the cold war, and they have created a strong brand.

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