A Look Back At Russiagate

8 November 2021 — Moon of Alabama

The Steele dossier about Trump and Russia has now been fully debunked as a collection of made up stories that it had obviously always been. That it took nearly five years to be officially acknowledged as such points to undue power of media who had pushed it.

Today I went down into the Moon of Alabama archive to look up when and what I had first written about it. I am quite happy to have found that I had been on top of the issue.

But first a recap from Thursday’s story to bring everyone up to speed:

The 2016 Clinton campaign paid the legal firm Perkins Coie to produce dirt about Donald Trump. A Perkins Coie lawyer hired Fusion GPS, a shady ‘research’ firm run by a former Wall Street Journal reporter. Fusion GPS hired the British private spy company Orbis to find (or makeup) the Trump dirt it needed. The ‘former’ British MI6 spy Christopher Steele of Orbis was tasked with developing a dossier about Trump. Steele hired Igor Danchenko, a Russian living in the United States, to come up with Trump-Russiagate stories. Danchenko’s problem was that he had no sources. But he also worked for Chuck Dolan, a Clinton operative who was also working to hold a business conference in Moscow and knew some Kremlin related people.

Clinton operative Dolan fed Danchenko several stories which Danchenko then dramatized and sent to Steele. Steele revised those stories and put them into his ‘dossier’. This was then peddled by Fusion GPS and Steele to the media and the FBI. Some of the tales Dolan fed to Danchenko were simply taken from media reports.

In October 2016 The FBI used the Steele dossier to get a wiretap application to snoop on the Trump campaign. It continued to use the Steele dossier to renew its snooping application even when it already knew that the dossier was nothing but nonsense.

The media had loved the dossier and used it as a weapon against Trump. See Aaron Maté writeup for the details on that.

Russiagate has no rock bottom

The indictment of the Steele dossier’s key source newly humiliates the Clinton campaign, FBI, and US media.

The dossier was first published by Buzzfeed on January 10 2017, ten days before Trump’s inauguration. It was not a single sensation but part of a much larger campaign.

Even before it came out there was already a flurry of rumors and media screeds about alleged Russian involvement in the U.S. election. On January 6 2017 I had found that all those claims had on thing in common: There was zero evidence to support them and they had, all together, a ‘higher’ political purpose.

New Intelligence Report Adds No Evidence Of “Russian Hacking” (Updated)

When Hillary Clinton was defeated in the U.S. presidential election the relevant powers launched a campaign to delegitimize the President elect Donald Trump.

The ultimate aim of the cabal is to kick him out of officeand have a reliable replacement, like the Vice-President elect Pence, take over. Should that not be possible it is hoped that the delegitimization will make it impossible for Trump to change major policy trajectories especially in foreign policy. A main issue here is the reorientation of the U.S. military complex and its NATO proxies from the war of terror towards a direct confrontation with main powers like Russia and China.

The current emphasis of the campaign is on the release of emails and papers from the Clinton campaign through Wikileaks. It is alleged that some releases were gained through hacking, planned and executed by the Russian government. Trump had announced that he plans to seek good relations with Russia, the power that the cabal had earlier chosen as the new enemy de jour.

But there is a problem. There is no real evidence that a “hack” ever happened. There is no evidence that Russia is involved. None at all.

Then came the Steele dossier. A day after it was published I again pointed to the lack of evidence and called it a fake:

The Deep State Versus Donald Trump – New Smears And The Ukrainian Connection

The deep state campaign against Trump opened new grounds today with the publication of completely fake and thereby unverifiable anonymous assertions which include the smear that Trump had some fun in a Moscow hotel and that Russian secret services are using that to manipulate him.

The anonymous former British operator hears from an anonymous asserted compatriot that two anonymous sources, asserted to have access to inner Russian circles, claim to have heard somewhere that something is happening within the Kremlin.

They assert that Trump was supported and directed by Putin himself since five years ago while even a year ago no one would have bet a penny on Trump gaining any political significant position or even the presidency.

There is a lot more of such nonsense in these new Hitler diaries. It is bonkers from a to z.

It was easy to see that the dossier was a bunch of nonsense. There was no evidence for any of its claims and one part of it had already been proven to be false. The dossier claimed that Trumps lawyer/advisor Michael Cohen had been in Prague to hire hackers. Cohen had never been to Prague.

But the media had been given its orders and irresponsibly acted on them. As Craig Murray wrote at that time:

Michael Cohen has now stated he has never been to Prague in his life. If that is true the extremely weak credibility of the entire forgery collapses in total. What is more, contrary to the claims of the Guardian and Washington Post that the material is “unverifiable”, the veracity of it could be tested extremely easily by the most basic journalism, ie asking Mr Cohen who has produced his passport. The editors of the Washington Post and the Guardian are guilty of pushing as blazing front page news the most blatant forgery to serve their own political ends, without carrying out the absolutely basic journalistic checks which would easily prove the forgery. Those editors must resign.

As forgeries go, this is really not in the least convincing. It was very obviously not written seriatim on the dates stated but forged as a collection and with hindsight.

There were a few others, who like Craig and me, could see the reality and talked about it:

Mark Ames @MarkAmesExiled – 15:31 UTC · 13 Jan 2017

One more time kids: the piss-Trump “kompromat” is 100% American: ordered by Americans, targeting an American, planted in American press

It was the media that played the most malicious role in the whole affair. Make no mistake – the editors knew that the dossier was fake. Steele and Fusion GPS had been peddling it to them for months. They had tried to verify it and failed. But they did not tell their readers about it. They instead hyped what the various deep-state actor whispered to them about it. It was like the fake ‘Weapons of Mass Distructions in Iraq’ stories in the run up to the Iraq war. Only worse.

On January 12 2017 I wrote another post about the dossier nonsense which looked deeper into the political motives behind the fake:

President Obama, major U.S. intelligence heads, neoconservatives, the British government, Ukrainian “nationalist (aka fascist) circles and the Clinton campaign conspire against Trump and try to derail his announced policy changes. Trump has argued for better relations with Russia and for a concentrated fight in Syria and Iraq against ISIS and other Takfiris and Islamists. This endangers Obama’s legacies of starting a new cold war with Russia and of pampering al Qaeda and ISIS to overthrow the Syrian government.

The fight as it is waged now is an attempt to redirect Trump’s foreign policies and to generally lesson his foreign policy power.

Back then I was optimistic that the campaign would fail to achieve its aims. While I did get most of Russiagate right it have unfortunately been wrong with that judgment. Trump survived the permanent ‘Russiagate’ onslaught but his policies towards Russia were seriously hampered and he ended up with creating more hostile relations with Russia.

Meanwhile the deep state actors who had pushed Russiagate all ended up in lucrative positions at CNN and elsewhere. The ‘journalists’ who ran the fake stories got promoted.

Those who had been right were given no recognition.

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