The Russiagate narrative has collapsed but its consequences are still with us

This article was originally published in German on

The very name “Russiagate”, a combination of Russia and the Watergate affair, which forced US President Nixon to resign in 1974, is emotionally charged. The establishment of the Democratic Party has been using this systematically for years to insinuate large-scale Russian influence in US politics. In the last few weeks and months, the doubts about this narrative that have always existed have intensified and have led to arrests and charges against some of the protagonists.

In the summer of 2016, during the US presidential election campaign, the platform Wikileaks published several tranches of emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which showed the obstruction and sabotage of their internal party opponent Bernie Sanders by Hillary Clinton and her apparatus. Furthermore, it was about astronomically high remuneration for speeches that Clinton gave at private events, and other incidents that did not coincide with Clinton’s image as a “clean” candidate to oppose Donald Trump. DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz resigned from the post, but is still sitting in Congress as a Florida representative for the Democrats.

Speculation soon emerged that the e-mails had been stolen by Russian hackers and passed on to Wikileaks in cooperation with Trump. This is denied by Trump, Wikileaks and the Russian side to this day, although Trump had sometimes said apparently contradictory things. Wikileaks refers to source protection and to the fact that the names of informants are on principle not disclosed. According to this article, Scottish journalist Craig Murray claims to have received the data carrier in Washington from an insider, but in the same article Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is quoted as unwilling to comment.

There are indications that the data was copied by an insider onto a CD-ROM or USB stick and smuggled out of the DNC’s office. Whistleblower Bill Binney says that the time signatures on the emails indicate a speed that cannot be achieved with hacking on the Internet.

The fact that one of the hackers, who calls himself Guccifer 2.0, once made a mistake that made him locatable in a certain office space in Moscow could also be a forgery by the US secret services. It is very difficult to judge precisely because if you can fake an IP address in Russia, then you can probably also falsify the metadata of emails. It is actually more important that the Democrats try to “stop the thief” fashion to distract from their grave misconduct.

In addition, further examples of alleged Russian influence in US politics were cited or launched, and a latently anti-Russian climate arose not only in the USA, but also in allied countries such as Great Britain, Germany and the entire EU, which reached a preliminary climax a few months ago in the EU Parliament in a harsh resolution.

Interestingly, the DNC, the victim of the alleged attack, did not allow the Federal Police FBI access to its servers, but only the private IT company Crowdstrike, which passed on “images” of the server to the FBI. It would be interesting to know why the DNC did this.

The Obama administration used the police and law enforcement apparatus to target Trump campaign workers, which the courts later described as unlawful.

The liberal corporate-controlled media in the USA joined forces to report on the alleged Trump-Russia-Wikileaks conspiracy and also used the so-called Steele dossier, named after its author, the British ex-agent and current operator of a type of private detective agency, Christopher Steele, after initially being rather skeptical about the dossier.

It was only when BuzzFeed News released an excerpt from the dossier that other US media took up this allegedly explosive report. There was talk of contacts and meetings between Trump employees and Russian secret agents and a so-called “pee video” to blackmail Trump. It is supposed to show Trump and sex workers in a Moscow hotel while they are engaging in unusual sex practices or while Trump is enjoying them with them. He himself said about it a few weeks ago, “golden showers are not his thing”. As a cabaret artist, you don’t get rich with Donald Trump. This dossier was intended to show that the President-elect could be blackmailed.

It has since emerged that the Steele dossier was commissioned by Hillary Clinton and the DNC through the private detective agency Fusion GPS. You should stop here for a moment. The “damaged” party hires a British (i.e. foreign) ex-secret agent with apparently good connections to the British establishment to investigate alleged influences from other foreign (Russian) secret services and their governments.

It has recently become known that many of the allegations in the Steele dossier are fictitious and that some of the informers who were later questioned by the Robert Mueller investigative committee are now being prosecuted for false statements.

A meeting of Trump aide Michael Cohen in Prague, at which he allegedly handed over cash to Romanian hackers who are said to have worked on behalf of the Russian secret service, did not take place. The “pee video” does not seem to exist and the Steele informant Igor Y. Danchenko is charged with false testimony. When asked what was left of his dossier, Steele replied that while not everything was 100 percent accurate, he “remains confident that at least 70 percent of the claims in the dossier are true”.

Steele was quoted as saying that the information from Russia usually contained a large amount of deliberately disseminated misinformation. When BuzzFeed News distributed the Steele dossier shortly before Trump took office, it sounded different.

If you look at the English-language Wikipedia page on the Steele dossier today, December 6, 2021, you will find a long list of the alleged collaboration between Trump and Russian agencies. Wikipedia claims that the veracity of the allegations made in the Steele dossier varies widely, but that none of Steele’s claims have been proven false.

Even if one does not doubt it, this is a very flimsy argument, because according to this logic one could spread rumors endlessly. The more eccentric, the better. Because then not only is it difficult to prove, but it is even more difficult to prove the opposite. How is Trump supposed to be able to prove 100 percent that no “peeing video” exists? That is logically impossible. There is also a presumption of innocence that Wikipedia seems to throw overboard with this article.

I don’t mean to say that I sympathize with Trump in any way, and I rather share the opinion of Julian Assange, who said during the 2016 US election campaign that choosing between Clinton and Trump is like choosing between gonorrhea and cholera. It is more about the fact that the allegations of the collaboration between Trump and Russia, which have since turned out to be either untenable or exaggerated, have noticeably worsened the climate between the US and its so-called allies and Russia.

Since the things mentioned in the Steele dossier have been thrown into public discussion, it is enough to whisper something about Russian participation and influence, and your eyebrows go up and the evil Russian is painted on the wall. This is a powerful manipulation method. English colleagues told me two years ago that the subject of “Russia” in the United Kingdom is so poisoned that hardly anyone dares to write anything positive or understanding about Russia and its politicians.

It is only natural that Russia too wants to see its interests in the world protected. The country is rich in resources and the population density is low. As a Russian politician, of course, one is afraid that this wealth will arouse desires, and since the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO has expanded further and further towards Russia and not the other way around. If Ukraine and Georgia are now to be incorporated into NATO, then of course people in Russia will get nervous.

Western politicians should try to put themselves in the shoes of their Russian colleagues. It remains to be seen whether Annalena Baerbock can or wants to do this …

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, 350,000 Russian soldiers were withdrawn from East Germany within 5 years, while the US armed forces continue to maintain extensive bases in Germany from which wars in other countries are waged. There are no signs that these troops will withdraw one day, and on the contrary, the British have recently been relocating heavy equipment to “their” base at Sennelager.

So you can see influence in other countries too. Which, of course, would not make illegally influencing US politics any better.

During his tenure in office, Trump was not particularly pro-Russia anyway, when you think of arms control treaties that were terminated, and Julian Assange was dragged out of the embassy asylum during Trump’s tenure before his extradition to the USA was requested.

It really looks like the whole “Russiagate” complex is either fictitious or greatly exaggerated. At least that is how many observers in the USA see it, such as Consortium News, which published the “Russiagate Obituary” mentioned at the beginning last week. According to Patrick Lawrence, the Steele dossier is completely discredited and the narrative it contains died a slow death.

“The characteristic of the company’s own press – and of the so called progressive press, as just indicated – that strikes me the most now is their department for omission.

Think about it: lengthy hearings on Capitol Hill where Democratic Party leaders admit under oath that they never had the evidence they long claimed are not reported. The failure of the Steele dossier goes unmentioned in the New York Times and other major newspapers.

It is only a small step to everything else that is newsworthy but is left out – the collapse of the Julian Assange trial (against whom the Russiagate rage was fueled), the collapse of the chemical weapons trial in Syria, all of the covert conspiracies mentioned above.

This is now a major breach of duty, and it was Russiagate who paved the way for this betrayal.”

The article assumes some basic knowledge of the Russiagate narrative and it also contains numerous links with further details.

This article by Aaron Maté examines the role of the media and identifies five corrections to the Trump-Russia Pact that are needed now, “just to start with”. Here are some quotes:

“In response to what the news site Axios has called” one of the most egregious journalistic mistakes in modern history, “the Washington Post has republished at least a dozen articles related to Steele. In two of these, Swiss Post removed entire sections, changed the headings and added extensive editorial comments.”

“In addition, some journalists received the highest award in their profession for this incorrect reporting. Helderman and Hamburger, who co-authored articles that were nearly withdrawn from the Post, share an increasingly uncomfortable honor with more than a dozen other colleagues at the Post and the New York Times: a Pulitzer Prize. In 2018, the Pulitzer Committee honored the two newspapers for 20 articles that it described as ‘thoroughly researched, ruthless reporting in the public interest that underscores the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its links to the Trump campaign, to the transition team of the President-elect and his subsequent administration’ ”.

Last but not least, a report on the 2020 US elections. According to Telepolis, there were no signs of Russian influence in this election, although this had previously been rumored or expected. Is it because this time the “right” side has won and research for the Washington Post and New York Times mentioned above is not “worth it”? This time, Trump complained about election fraud and almost no one listened or it was dismissed as a conspiracy theory. There may also be new findings here in a few years.

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