Debunking RussiaGate, attempts to stop the new Cold War

Summary: So far the evidence (& lack of it) shows that RussiaGate is one of the most successful propaganda campaigns in American history, supporting the great goal of starting a new Cold War. The first Cold War provided vast benefits to our elites, and they will do whatever necessary to achieve a second harvest. Debunking RussiaGate is our best and last opportunity to stop it.

“Mr. President, if that’s what you want there is only one way to get it. That is to make a personal appearance before Congress and scare the hell out of the country.”

— Senator Arthur Vandenberg’s advice to Truman about starting the Cold War. Truman did so in his famous speech on 12 March 1947. From Put yourself in Marshall’s place by James Warburg (he helped develop the US WWII propaganda programs).


Fake news, warm-ups of the big RussiaGate narrative

“No one in this world, so far as I know – and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”
— Journalist H. L. Mencken in “Notes On Journalism” in the Chicago Tribune, 19 September 1926.

Here is a sample of the fake news about the Ruskies which was eagerly spread and easily debunked. As a reminder of how gullible we are, see The Big List of Lies by our Leaders. We do not learn, no matter how times they lie to us.

Before the election, some Democrats tried an “October Surprise” with the help of Slate’s Franklin Foer, as anonymous experts ask “Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?“. Setting a precedent for future fake news about Trump, they were bold rumors. Slate doubled-down with “Trump’s Server, Revisited.” Hillary excitedly tweeted about it (Sixteen months later there is still no evidence. Even the good Leftists at Snopes cannot buy the story; see their analysis.)

WaPo exposé: “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say“, 24 November 2016. It was quickly revealed as based on a fringe group that made wild baseless claims. See the sad but inadequate note added by its editors (they think the story was truthy, so did not retract it).

Exposé by The Guardian: Assange “long had a close relationship with the Putin regime”, 24 December 2016. It was quickly debunked (even the interview did not support the claim). See the retractions they added, unseen by the millions who retweet and shared its false claims.

WaPo exposé: “Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility, showing risk to U.S. electrical grid security, officials say“, 30 December 2016. US leaders go hysterical. Story eventually collapses and retracted. See the sad details.

Fortune reports exciting news: “C-SPAN Confirms It Was Briefly Hacked by Russian News Site.” Of course, they eventually added a note retracting the claim — the local power company did it.

CNN exposé linking Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci to investigations into a Russian investment fund, 22 June 2017. The next day CNN retracted the story and fired 3 reporters.

CNN Journalists Resign: Latest Example of Media Recklessness on the Russia Threat” by Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept, 27 June 2017.

U.S. Tells 21 States That Hackers Targeted Their Voting Systems“, NYT, 22 September 2017. The story slowly broke down, as many States refuted the story (e.g., Wisconsin, California).

Nice summary of the propaganda barrage: “Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet?” by Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept, 28 September 2017.

NBC exposé: “U.S. intel: Russia compromised seven states prior to 2016 election” according to 4 reporters who pass on stories from anonymous sources. It was weak, and quickly debunked.

Work of the Russian Trolls that we’re told hacked the election.

Army of Jesus - Russian Troll Hacking

Rebuttals to the evil Ruskies attacking America narrative

“There’s really no question about Trump/Putin collusion, and Trump in fact continues to act like Putin’s puppet.”
— Typical thinking from inside the Left’s bubble, by Paul Krugman at the NYT on 17 November 2017.

Every aspect of the RussiaGate narrative has been thoroughly debunked. Perhaps Mueller will reveal stunning new information. But so far, after roughly 18 months, there has been almost no supporting information for the major elements of the RussiaGate narratives.

Russiagate Narrative Undercut by Nunes Memo” by Philip Giraldi at Consortium News, 9 February

“The key allegations of election meddling at the heart of Russiagate continue to lack supporting evidence, while on the other hand, evidence of overreach by investigators undermines the narrative of Trump-Russia collusion.”

Why ‘Russian Meddling’ is a Trojan Horse” by Rob Urie at Counterpunch, 17 February. Excerpt…

“Prior to the 2016 presidential election, if one were to ask what single act could seal a new Cold War with Russia, align liberals and progressives with the operational core of the American military-industrial-surveillance complex, expose the preponderance of left-activism as an offshoot of Democratic Party operations and consign most of what remained to personal invective against an empirically dangerous leader, consensus would likely have it that doing so wouldn’t be easy.”

The ‘Russian Influence’ in the Mueller Indictment Is A Commercial Marketing Scheme” at the Moon of Alabama, 17 February — “What is described and denounced as such was instead a commercial marketing scheme which ran click-bait websites to generate advertisement revenue and created online crowds around virtual persona to promote whatever its commercial customers wanted to promote.”

The U.S. political conversation is not and probably never was driven by Russian social-media bots” by Philip Bump at the WaPo, 20 February.

The Fundamental Uncertainty of Mueller’s Russia Indictments” by Masha Gessen at The New Yorker, 20 February. Valuable context to the RussiaGate fears and hysteria. She is the author of The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin.

Mueller’s Comic Book Indictment: How to Prosecute A Great Big Nothingburger” by David Stockman at his website, 20 February. Summary…

“Mueller’s 37-page comic book indictment actually unmasks – inadvertently to be sure – the distinctly un-terrifying essence of the whole Russian meddling narrative. In fact, the crude social media emissions (ads and posts) of the so-called troll farm were generally lame, often laughable and sometimes downright ludicrous…”

How The Media Enable Rep. Adam Schiff’s Russian Bot Conspiracy Theories” by Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist, 21 February — “For more than a year, Adam Schiff has been hopping to all the TV stations claiming, without benefit of specifics, the existence of a vast conspiracy between President Trump and Russia.”

A So-Called Expert’s Uneasy Dive Into the Trump-Russia Frenzy” by Adrian Chen at The New Yorker, 22 February — By one of the first U.S. journalists to report extensively on  Internet Research Agency, the St. Petersburg-based “troll farm” named in an indictment by Robert Mueller. ” It’s 90 people with a shaky grasp of English and a rudimentary understanding of U.S. politics shitposting on Facebook. {On Twitter.}”

Hyping the Mueller Indictment” by Aaron Maté at The Nation, 22 February — “Do the charges against Russian individuals and organizations really describe the “second-worst foreign attack on America”?” Betteridge’s Law of Headlines: the answer to any headline that ends in a question mark is “no.”

Russiagate Revisited” by Jackson Lears at the London Review of Books, 22 February —

“The anti-Russian hysteria in Washington has slipped beyond self-parody. We now have front-row seats in a theatre of the absurd …

“One of the most bizarre aspects of Russiagate is the magical transformation of intelligence agency heads into paragons of truth-telling – a trick performed not by reactionary apologists for domestic spying, as one would expect, but by people who consider themselves liberals. There is something genuinely absurd about a former director of the FBI – which along with the CIA and NSA has long been one of the gravest threats to democracy in America – solemnly warning of the threat to democracy posed by Russian meddling in the election. …

“So what is the point of these sham indictments? It is fair to speculate that there is more going on here than a simple search for truth. Early on in the 37-page document that was released to such fanfare, the FBI makes a revealing assertion, claiming that the Russians aimed ‘to sow discord in the US political system’ – as if vigorous debate were not an appropriate state of affairs for a democratic polity; as if the normal expression of democracy is bland conformity to policies fashioned by elites. By explicitly linking the Russians with support for the Sanders and Trump campaigns, Mueller’s pseudo-indictments identify dissent from the Washington consensus with foreign subversion. They reinforce the reigning orthodoxy and tighten the boundaries of permissible public discourse.”

Another perspective: “Christopher Steele: Putin’s unwitting puppet in the campaign to shake America” by James Durso, an op-ed at The Hill, 23 February. Many are suspicious that Steele was a cooperative or unwitting conduit for Russian disinformation.

Stop Blaming Russian Bots For Everything” by Miriam Elder and Charlie Warzel at Buzzfeed, 28 February — “I’m not convinced on this bot thing,” said one of the men behind the Russian bot thing.”

What Mueller Has and What He’s Missing” by Peter van Buren at The American Conservative, 28 February — “So far there’s little of the former and a lot of the latter. Absent more evidence, skepticism remains a healthy stance.”

The Grammar of Russiagate” by Sheldon Richman at Counterpunch, 2 March — “Closely observing the grammar of the Official Russiagate Narrative is revealing and instructive. It provides clues to the (language-) game being played.”

The New Blacklist” by Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone, 6 March — His dislikes RussiaGate now that it is targeting not just his political foes, but his friends as well.

“Russiagate may have been aimed at Trump to start, but it’s become a way of targeting all dissent. …

“{In 2016} From Trump to Bernie Sanders to Brexit to Catalonia, voter repudiation of the status quo was the story of the day. The sense of panic among political elites was palpable. The possibility that voters might decide to break up the EU, or put a Trump, Corbyn, or Sanders into power, led to a spate of “Do we have too much democracy?” essays by prominent think tankers and national press figures.

“Two years later, the narrative has completely shifted. By an extraordinary coincidence, virtually all the “anti-system” movements and candidates that so terrified the political establishment two years ago have since been identified as covert or overt Russian destabilization initiatives, puppeteered from afar by the diabolical anti-Western dictator, Vladimir von Putin-Evil.”

Caitlin Johnstone at Medium has some mostly fact-rich, well-reasoned articles.

What Happens When A Russiagate Skeptic Debates A Professional Russiagater“, 26 December 2017. “In a recent Real News interview we received an extremely clear answer to that question, and it was so epic it deserves its own article.”

The One Fact Which Disproves Russiagate, But Nobody Wants To Talk About“, 14 January. Actually it gives quite a few examples of facts that disprove the narrative.

A Year Ago, Maddow Explained How MSM Would Use Russiagate To Escalate Cold War“, 23 January.  — “A year into the Trump administration and we can see plainly that this new president is already demonstrably more hawkish toward Russia than his predecessor.

Russiagate Isn’t About Trump, And It Isn’t Even Ultimately About Russia“, 27 January.

Russia Conspiracy Theorists Have Failed To Meet Their Burden Of Proof“, 20 February.”

“The establishment Russia narrative is soul-wiltingly dull. Oh hey a shocking shocking bombshell revelation about something Russia did, everyone freaks out, then people actually look into the nature of the allegation and it turns out it’s nothing. Lather, rinse, repeat. An interminable addition of zeros, day after day after day after day.”

Two sources of disinformation

There are shadowy forces seeking to manipulate us. Feel the money in motion, working to start a new Cold War in our minds. Here are two examples, both active in RussiaGate. Starting a new Cold War is a lucrative gig.

The Alliance for American Security.

Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept explains who they are: “With New D.C. Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons,” 17 July 2017. See their website.

Here the AAS announced their process for detecting Ruskies at work: “Hamilton 68: A New Tool to Track Russian Disinformation on Twitter” by Laura Rosenberger and J.M. Berger of the  Alliance for Securing Democracy, 2 August 2017. How does it work? That is a secret which we must take on faith. Of course, only fools would believe Bill Kristol without hard evidence.

Committee to Investigate Russia.

Reiner, Frum headline group to publicize Russia probes” by Daniella Dia at CNN, 17 September 2017. See their website.

Here is an interesting question (with an obvious answer): “Why doesn’t the Committee to Investigate Russia have any Russia experts?” by Leonid Bershidsky in an op-ed the NY Post, 22 September 2017.

Here is their introductory video: “We are war.” It’s quite mad.


For More Information

The big picture about US – Russia relations: We ended the Cold War by lying to Russia. They remember, even if we don’t.

Ideas! For some shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about Russiaabout RussiaGate, and especially these…

  1. Exposing the farcical claims about Russian hacking of the election.
  2. What Trump told Russia, why it matters, and why journalists ignore the smartest man in Washington.
  3. Trump and the Democrats stumble into a ‘Wilderness of Mirrors’.
  4. Debunking the Reality Winner leak about Russia hacking the election.
  5. The verdict on the stories of Russian hacking in the 2016 election.
  6. The WaPo strikes another blow for the Deep State against Russia.
  7. The bottom line about RussiaGate: no explanation makes sense.
  8. A review of Russiagate, its propaganda and hysteria.
  9. Secrets untold about the DNC hack, the core of RussiaGate.
  10. The exposés in the Nunes memo: big, but not as advertised.

Two new books about the new Cold War.

Return to Cold War by Robert Legvold.

Who Lost Russia?: How the World Entered a New Cold War by Peter Conradi.

See Tony Wood’s review of these new books in the London Review of Books.

Return to Cold War
Available at Amazon.
"Who Lost Russia? How the World Entered a New Cold War" by Peter Conradi.
Available at Amazon.


11 thoughts on “Debunking RussiaGate, attempts to stop the new Cold War

  1. It’s the biggest brain-eating meme since WMD in Iraq / that man tried to kill my pappy / etc. You would like to think Americans would know better. But we know better than that.

  2. Thing is, it seems to be a confluence where both left and right have decided they stand to gain from creating a ‘great Satan’ bogey man. The problem is that Russia has prior and current form, and Putin *is* clearly out to cause as much mischief as he can to reinstate Russia’s influence to cold war levels.

    The sad thing is that all this anti Putin nonsense is being manipulated by Putin to be anti Russia sentiment.
    I’ve recently heard BBC interviews with Russians where they clearly think we’re anti Russia and out to get them. So all of this nonsense is entrenching Putin in power and making him seem more powerful than he is. Which is just what he wants.

    Despite the best efforts of many, climate change, Islamic terrorism and drugs are clearly not going to be enough to give us sufficient fear to keep us in our places, silent and compliant. Putin looks like a good bet, but there’s always Xi Jinping waiting in the wings…

    1. Steve,

      “clearly out to cause as much mischief as he can to reinstate Russia’s influence to cold war levels.”

      I assume you are kidding. Russia’s large buffer zones have disappeared, as the footprint of western influence has moved almost to their borders. If this happened to the US, we’d be at DEFCON ONE.

      Russian global military ops are a tiny fraction of those of the US, and microscopic compared to Cold War levels.

      The papers overflow with daily threats by US leaders at Russia. Very rarely the other direction. They are, however, beginning to respond — as would any nation under such pressure.

    2. Joking? No, not at all. The current Russiagate shouldn’t be allowed to distract us from the threat that Putin genuinely poses. Intervention in Syria, invasion of Crimea, funding, supporting the occupation of part of Ukraine. Increased levels of penetration of Russian aircraft in to European airspace. There *are* misinformation campaigns, for instance that surrounding the downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight in 2014 or the murder of Litvinenko in 2006.

      Putin needs to do something to keep himself running Russia. His chosen route has been to crush opposition and exercise complete control over Russian media. He’s then able to push whatever line he likes. That the West hates Russia and wants to destroy it, that the cold war never went away, that Russia needs to reassert itself militarily to show it it’s not ‘beaten’ or ‘humiliated’ and needs to be taken seriously as an actor on the world stage.

      > Russia’s large buffer zones have disappeared
      Buffers? From what? The evils of rapacious EU capitalism and our militaristic desires to invade the Russian homeland? ROFL.

      States formed when the Soviet Union broke up have their own governments. Some looked at Putin’s Russia, looked at the EU and decided that the EU was socially and economically a better bet. They then looked at their borders and started to wonder if being part of NATO mightn’t be a bad idea.

      Do we turn to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and say, sorry guys, you may be a democracy, you may *want* to join the EU to improve the lives of your people, but unfortunately, you’re part of Russia’s buffer zone, so you’ll have to forget it.

    3. Steve,

      Your comment is another demo that propaganda works!

      How many States has the US destabilized, invaded, occupied? Far more than Russia.

      The Russian military is a shadow of what it was, and far weaker than those of the nations around Russia — and a joke compared to ours.

      “Buffers? From what? The evils of rapacious EU capitalism and our militaristic desires to invade the Russian homeland?”

      Wow. Invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Interventions in Syria, Libya, and Ukraine. Endless threats to Iran, plus assassination programs and economic attacks.

  3. That Russiagate is completely made up is no longer in dispute by any serious person. There’s some question as to the motive, uit I don’t think it was to start a new Cold War for the simple reason that a new Cold War had already been started by America’s lunatic involvement with the former Soviet Republics, and it was done more or less without discussion or debate. The Athenian expedition to Sicily ended badly, but at least they voted on it first. The Bush 2 and Obama Administrations just thought this up and did it, and Congress just went along. So I don’t think that’s what it was about, but if you think that Cold War 2 is a dangerously stupid idea, then you won’t get an argument from me.

    The real motive, I suspect was either a cover up for something else, sedition, or some combination of the above. The something else might have been Obama Administration political espionage by the security agencies or it might have been Uranium One. It’s hard to say.

    1. The Man,

      “That Russiagate is completely made up is no longer in dispute by any serious person.”

      I get news summaries from major newspapers (NYT, LAT, The Times) and Liberal/Left sources (Naked Capitalism, Alternet). Every single day they have multiple stories about some aspect of RussiaGate. Every single day.

      “There’s really no question about Trump/Putin collusion, and Trump in fact continues to act like Putin’s puppet.”
      — Typical thinking from inside the Left’s bubble, by Paul Krugman at the NYT on 17 November 2017.

  4. Rather than with collusion or anything nefarious, my fear with Trump all along has been that the combination of being unscrupulous, self-interested, stupid, and politically inexperienced makes him susceptible to getting played like a fiddle by other countries with competent leadership. I honestly don’t know if that has been the case to any degree or not so far.

    1. Buzz,

      That’s a logical fear. But far more likely is that he is being manipulated by powerful US interests.

      It’s quite made that the Democrats and media are selling the idea that Trump’s almost all-general foreign policy team tilts to Russia. I know that we’re foolish and gullible, but there must be some limits!

      Since this propabanda is working quite well, it looks like they were right and I was wrong.

      “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
      Banker David Hannum, assessing P. T. Barnum’s success (bankers understand this quite well).

      “No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”
      — H. L. Mencken in “Notes On Journalism” in the Chicago Tribune, 19 September 1926.

    2. I don’t doubt that possibility. I want to stress that I have formed no confident opinions on this matter. I am well aware of how much I do not know/understand yet. There are only so many hours in the day, and so many issues to tackle. One thing that has continually amazed me has been the breadth of topics on which you are knowledgeable.

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