Debunking Russiagate, Part 2

Caitlin Johnstone
Jun 7, 2017 · 13 min read

This is the second of a three-part series of arguments from the crowdsourced journalism project, The Big Fat Compendium of Russiagate Debunkery, which I have now divided into segments for ease of loading and viewability.

Part 1 is here.

Part 3 is here.

10. This hilarious three-minute video, comprised entirely of mainstream media clips.

11. Even if Russia did hack the Democratic party, that doesn’t justify all the hysteria and McCarthyism that has engulfed America today.

I think at this point we can comfortably say the narrative that Russia hacked Democratic documents and gave them to WikiLeaks has about as much credibility as the ramblings of your average street schizophrenic, and the fact that the public has yet to be shown a single, solitary shred of proof for this inflammatory accusation means it should be treated with nothing but general disdain.

But none of that ultimately matters. It is technically possible that the Democratic emails may coincidentally have been hacked by the very country Clinton was saber-rattling at throughout the entirety of her campaign and yet left no trace that the public has been able to see, but even if they did, so what? The US government’s own data shows that it deliberately meddled in the elections of 81 foreign governments between 1946 and 2000 (including Russia), and that isn’t even counting the coups and regime changes it facilitated. If Russia meddled in the elections by showing the American people the truth about their government, that would just be the US getting a small taste of what it’s been shamelessly dishing out for decades.

It is only the confident-sounding assertions of the official-looking people in nonstop media coverage which leads anyone to believe that the source behind the DNC leaks and Podesta emails matters at all. What actually matters is the shocking and incriminating content of those leaks, and the resulting revelation that one of the parties in a country with a rigidly-enforced two-party system feels entitled to manipulate its primaries and sabotage progressive candidates. Compared to the revelation that democracy does not exist in America, the notion that some icy potato patch on the other side of the world may have partially tagged the US back for meddling in the reelection campaign of Washington puppet Boris Yeltsin is insignificant.

12. The Clinton camp was building the Russia narrative long before it was sold to the public, and long before allegations of Trump-Russia election collusion surfaced.

13. Hillary Clinton was pushing for escalations with Russia throughout the entirety of her campaign, long before any leak drops or hacking allegations.

Russia, Russia, Russia. What are the odds that everything that goes wrong keeps coming back to this one country that your average American hardly ever thought about less than a year ago? And what are the odds that it’s the same country Hillary Clinton has been pushing for horrifying escalations with for years?

Here is an article from early 2015 in which Clinton calls for increased US military support in Ukraine. Here is an article from September 2015 about Russia beginning airstrikes in Syria at Assad’s request. Here is an article from October 2015 about bloodthirsty neocon John McCain’s support for Hillary Clinton’s proposed no-fly zone in Syria, which is unquestionably an act of war and which would by that point have involved a direct confrontation with the Russian air force to implement. Here is a New York Times article from 2013 revealing that this no-fly zone would have required 70,000 ground troops to invade and dismantle Assad’s anti-aircraft capabilities before the US could take control of Syria’s air space.

Here is an article from June 2015 titled “Hillary Clinton’s hawkish position on Russia troubles both sides of aisle,” which says explicitly, “Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton has pivoted left on domestic issues but stands out on foreign policy as more hawkish than some of her GOP rivals, even stoking fears that she’s ready to put the U.S. on a warpath with Russia.”

She was heating things up with Russia prior to the hacking allegations, she heated them up even more after the hacking allegations, and she and her fellow establishment loyalists are continuing to find excuses to heat things up with Russia long after the hacking allegations. This same country is now on the receiving end of sanctions and provocative troop amassment along its border, escalated by the outgoing Obama administration in response to this alleged election meddling.

What are the odds? What are the odds that the country which is alleged to have both “hacked the election” and colluded with Trump is the same country that has long been the center of Hillary Clinton’s hawkish foreign policy? It’s just very interesting to note that there has been a hawkish agenda against Putin at the top of the US power establishment since long before the establishment media turned him into the national boogieman that he is today.

Which brings us to our next point:

14. The US power establishment stands everything to gain by lying to the American people about Russia.

America’s unelected power establishment has been trying to gain control of Syria for a long, long time, and Russia’s direct military involvement in that strategically crucial nation has thrown a major monkey wrench in those plans. The fact that Putin is taking such bold actions, as well as annexing the strategically valuable Crimean peninsula from America’s puppet regime in Ukraine and collaborating with China to undermine the hegemony of the US dollar in the east means the US power establishment must push for regime change not just in Damascus, but in Moscow as well. And it is openly admitting to its desire to do this; Congressman Eric Swalwell told Fox’s Tucker Carlson in March that the plan for Russia is to “squeeze their economy” with “tougher sanctions” to the point that it “cuts off Russia from the rest of the world” in order to “hurt [Putin’s] popularity”.

In order to escalate tensions with a nuclear superpower for nothing but geopolitical power that benefits nobody other than a few plutocrats, America’s power establishment needs to manufacture the consent of the governed. Without that consent, they’d be dealing with 320 million angry, heavily-armed Americans who’ve got a problem with the way their government is risking their lives by playing nuclear brinkmanship with NATO troop amassment along the Russian border and a needless military presence in Syria.

If you look at these things in light of the rhetoric and behavior coming from Hillary Clinton and the Washington establishment both before and after the hacking allegations surfaced, all you see is a pre-existing agenda being justified and advanced. You see “Saddam has WMDs”.

Which takes us to our next point:

15. This is the same power establishment that lied to us about WMDs.

“So at this point, the American people themselves need to take some responsibility in terms of understanding that we have had such a history of this being the status quo, the way that the United States justifies and launches wars. Our premise should be — they’re going to lie to us. And our burden of real proof should be through the roof.”
~ Debbie Lusignan

There was a right side of the debate and a wrong side of the debate on the issue of whether or not US and coalition forces should invade Iraq and depose Saddam. These same Russiagaters would have been demonizing us as subversive, treasonous monsters for expressing skepticism over the “weapons of mass destruction” narrative and the value of regime change in Iraq. We would’ve been on the right side of the debate, and these neocon establishment loyalists swallowing the official narrative of the mass media would have been on the wrong side.

Whenever people try to tell me I’m a paranoid conspiracy theorist for saying the entire political establishment and its corporate media mouthpieces could all be brought on board with the task of selling the American people on a lie, I tell them that this is literally exactly what happened with Iraq. When you’ve got a corporatist system wherein just a handful of extremely powerful plutocrats own virtually all media in the United States, this isn’t difficult to do. The media-owning plutocrats who benefit from the status quo hire people who will advance that status quo. If anyone with an ounce of integrity happens to slip through their screening system, as Phil Donahue did, they are fired and replaced by someone who will toe the establishment line.

Donahue had MSNBC’s highest-rated show in 2003, and yet he was let go in the leadup to the invasion of Iraq. A leaked MSNBC internal memo revealed that he was let go because he would be a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war…. He seems to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and skeptical of the administration’s motives.” The memo warned that the Donahue show could become “a home for the liberal anti-war agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity.”

So it’s actually extremely unreasonable to believe that these media outlets don’t promote hawkish agendas when given the chance, and the wide bipartisan support for the Iraq invasion shows that this support for those agendas enjoys fertile ground in Washington as well. These people will lie to us. These people do lie to us. These people are lying to us to manufacture support for a geopolitical power grab and regime change in Moscow and Damascus.

16. The US power establishment is lying about the threat Putin poses.

One of the leading arguments for a “strong” stance against Russia is that Putin poses a threat to surrounding countries, citing Russia’s “invasion” of Crimea in 2014 as evidence that he may “invade” other nations. Stephen F. Cohen is arguably the foremost American authority on US-Russia relations, and he says there is “no evidence” that Russia has any intention of invading anybody.

More importantly, the notion that Russia “invaded” Crimea is one of the most ridiculous and easily-debunked lies being promulgated by the US power establishment today. Russia didn’t “invade” Crimea anymore than my friend “invaded” my home when I invited her over for tea; the Crimeans held a referendum asking whether or not they wanted to be a part of Ukraine or Russia, and they overwhelmingly chose Russia. This is an indisputable fact, by the way: American polling found that the overwhelming majority of Crimea’s residents favored the Russian annexation and believed Ukraine should honor it, and a year later a German polling company found that this had not changed.

That’s it. That’s the full extent of the big, scary “Russian expansionism” being touted by people who want you to desire a conflict with Russia. Crimea found itself at odds with Ukraine’s ousting of its president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, its people wanted to go to Russia, and Russia made that happen. Crimea is a strategically and culturally significant location, and its people saw themselves as Soviet/Russian more than Ukrainian but lost in the shuffle of the shifting borders of that region, so it was a mutually beneficial arrangement for both Crimea and Russia. And yet corporate media frequently tries to compare the annexation to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. That is stupid.

Do you believe that the state of Texas should be returned to Mexico, regardless of what the people of Texas want? Because exactly the same thing happened with Texas; the overwhelming majority of Texans wanted to be part of the US, and the US made it happen, despite Mexico’s angry objections and refusal to acknowledge Texas’ sovereignty. Forcing the Crimeans to go back to Ukrainian rule regardless of what they want would be exactly as insane as forcing Texans to go back under Mexican rule regardless of what they want, right down to the way they don’t even speak the same language; just as most Texans speak English instead of Spanish,most Crimeans speak Russian instead of Ukrainian.

Most of the promoters of anti-Russia vitriol don’t even know how to pronounce Crimea (Russiagate queen Maxine Waters called it “Korea” in February), let alone understand these basic dynamics. If you object to the Crimean annexation, you are just plain wrong. The notion that the people of Crimea shouldn’t be allowed to determine their nationality is just as much a depraved American supremacist neocon position as thinking it’s okay for the US to depose a sovereign nation’s leaders through military force. The Russians were right to honor the will of the Crimean people, and there is no reason to believe it means they’ll be “invading” anything.

Rob Snyder writes:

[T]he US is the aggressor in Ukraine and all of the middle east and Africa, and Russia has finally opposed this aggression, in Crimea, and Syria. So American policy (hegemony) is to go to war with Russia (no power can exist that limits American power). The Russia-gate media project is part of the war against Russia, which the US will escalate, particularly if the media/propaganda war is allowed to continue unchallenged. Therefore these links are relevant:

(1) Seumas Milne, It’s not Russia that’s pushed Ukraine to the brink of war, The Guardian, 30 April, 2014

(2) Seumas Milne, In Ukraine, fascists, oligarchs and western expansion are at the heart of the crisis, The Guardian, 29 January, 2014

(3) Robert Parry, What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis, Consortium News, 2 March, 2014

(4) Christopher Booker, Fresh evidence of how the West lured Ukraine into its orbit, The Telegraph, 9 August, 2014

(5) Ukraine: far-right extremists at core of ‘democracy’ protest, Channel 4, 24 January, 2014

(6) Remarks at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation Conference, US Department of State, 13 December, 2013

(7) Ukraine crisis: Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call, BBC News, 7 February, 2014

(8) House grilled Nuland over US’ Cooperation with Neo-Nazis in Ukraine, NSNBC International, 9 May, 2014

(9) Ukraine Coup: Obama Admits to ‘Brokering Power Transition’ in Kiev, The Pontiac Tribune, 2 Feb, 2015

(10) Tony Cartalucci, West visits newly installed regime in Kiev, New Eastern Outlook, 23 April, 2014

(11) US vice president Joe Biden meets Ukraine’s acting prime minister Arseny Yatseniuk in Kiev, ABC News, 23 april, 2014

(12) Tony Cartalucci, Ukraine and the Battle for South Stream, New Eastern Outlook, 27 June, 2014

17. The US power establishment is lying about Syria.

Another thing establishment loyalists cite as evidence of “Russian expansionism” to justify their xenophobia and McCarthyism is Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict. Their narrative, if you really examine it closely, boils down to a bizarre notion that both Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad have a strange fetish for the gratuitous killing of civilians, but Bashar didn’t want to hog all the butchery to himself so he invited his buddy Vlad over to join in the bloodbath. Putin, for whatever reason, didn’t feel like dropping bombs on any of the civilians closer to home, so he obliged. This is seriously their underlying premise. A lot of them haven’t examined it very closely — they just espoused it without thinking too hard about it — but this is really the only way their “Putin and Assad are vicious killers who’ve teamed up to slaughter civilians” narrative makes any sense.

In reality, Russia and Syria are longtime allies, and the Russian military is in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government. Here is a video clip of award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh telling Democracy NOW that his sources had been telling him that any moderate rebels in Syria had been “overrun”, and that this was known since the “beginning of the year.” This interview was in 2013.

Since the only forces left fighting the pro-Assad coalition are extremist jihadist factions, Putin argues that Russia is in Syria to prevent Syria from becoming another Libya — another collapsed state ruled by terror and chaos. That’s his stated agenda; surely Putin also wants to keep the US from taking control of yet another key strategic location via regime change intervention, but that isn’t what Americans are being told, because the American people would never consent to another war over fossil fuels and resources.

So they lie. They tell you it’s about protecting children.

CNN’s collaboration with the Bana Alabed psy-op is enough to completely destroy any notion that the mainstream media is telling the truth about Syria. The fact that such a mainstream news organization knowingly staged a fake interview featuring a seven year-old girl who can’t speak English reading scripted war propaganda to CNN’s unsuspecting audience necessarily means there’s no valid reason for anyone to ever believe these horrible people ever again. The fact that CNN knowingly participated in such a profoundly deceitful, manipulative, and morally evil thing means that there is nothing you can put past them.

Watch this video. The girl is definitely not speaking in the conversational way that a child speaks or using words and concepts that a child would use. You know that this is true. Watch her eyes; she certainly appears to be reading from a teleprompter and sounding the words out syllable-by-syllable. Why would a seven year-old girl be using a teleprompter? Or even if you don’t believe she’s reading from a teleprompter and just reciting from memory while moving her eyes back and forth, who gave her those words to say? Who fed her that script, and why does CNN’s Alisyn Camerota have the other half of it? Why is CNN pretending they’re interviewing a little girl when they’re following a script authored by adults? Why is the host pretending she’s engaging in a real back-and-forth dialogue when she’s spouting scripted lines just like the little girl is?

And when I say that Bana does not understand the sounds she is being made to sound out, I mean she does not understand even the simplest English sentences, let alone the complex scripted ones she recited syllable-by-syllable for CNN. Look at this video shot sometime after her arrival in Istanbul a few months ago where she doesn’t understand a simple question about what food she likes to eat, so she begins reciting a line she’d been fed earlier about saving the children in Syria:

They are lying to you. They’re using small children to manipulate you into supporting military interventionism for the benefit of a few plutocrats. When you have time, please watch this interview with Vanessa Beeley, who explains the elaborate network of lies and propaganda that the west is being fed to manufacture support for intervention in Syria. It’s not happening the way the corporate media liars insist it is happening. They are lying. We know that they are lying to us about Syria, so there is no reason to believe them about Russia, either.

Click here for Part 3 of the Debunking Russiagate series.

Click here for the Index of Russiagate Debunkery.

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Caitlin Johnstone

Written by

Rogue journalist. Bogan socialist. Anarcho-psychonaut. Guerrilla poet. Utopia prepper.

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