If you believe The Guardian, documents leaked by the Kremlin prove that the Russian state has hatched a secret plot to elect Donald Trump as President of the United States. However, based on the evidence, it just seems to be more than a little skeptical.
From 2016 to 2020, only one story with two elements dominated the American headlines: Russiagate. The first part of the narrative was the claim that the Russian government had used a range of tools, including disinformation, to ensure Trump landed the highest office in his country. The second was that Trump had knowingly colluded with Moscow to achieve this goal.
After endless repetitions, these affirmations have become something close to sacred “truths” to some people. And yet, as we now know, it all started with a lie, or more accurately a single document containing a whole series of lies.
It was the infamous “Steele File”, assembled by former British intelligence bureau Christopher Steele, as part of a Democratic Party strategy to dig up dirt to tarnish Trump’s reputation.
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The file contained a number of inflammatory stories about Trump’s dealings with Russia. He also claimed that his information came from sources close to the upper echelons of the Kremlin. It was wrong. As we now know, the information was hearsay, gathered second or third hand by someone who was not even living in Russia. In short, it was an almost total fabrication.
Unfortunately, Russiagate has prompted many journalists to abandon all efforts of critical thinking and to treat all anti-Russian allegations with some gullibility. Among them is The Guardian’s Luke Harding, who even published a book called “Collusion,” exposing the case against the Russians and Trump. His logic was often quite bizarre. For example, Harding “proof” that an associate of a Trump associate was a Russian spy is that he used emojis in an email.
I am not joking. You use emojis, you are a Russian spy. This gives an idea of the quality of Harding’s argument.
Indeed, Harding has what the British call “form”. In another case, he claimed that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, as well as “Russians”, had met WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Unfortunately, the story turned out to be wrong. It was never retracted.
In short, there are reasons some might want to treat what Harding says with a generous pinch of salt.
All this is necessary for his last item in The Guardian, which details confidential documents he claims to have seen, allegedly showing “That Vladimir Putin personally authorized a secret spy operation to support a mentally unstable Donald Trump” in the 2016 US presidential election “. The article is co-authored by two other reliable Anti-Russian Guardian hacks, Dan Sabbagh and Julian Borger.
The documents in question are said to be the minutes of a meeting of Russia’s National Security Council, which reportedly concluded that Trump’s election was desirable, as it would. “Lead to the destabilization of the socio-political system of the United States”. To this end, the meeting would have resolved to “Use all possible force to facilitate his election”, including the introduction “’Media viruses’ in American public life, which … would alter the consciousness of the masses. “
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Unfortunately, Harding fails to provide full copies of the documents in question, limiting themselves to a single extract. He also does not say where he got the papers. The only corroborating evidence is that “The Guardian has shown the documents to independent experts who say they appear to be genuine.” Of course a lot “Independent experts” also believed in the Steele file, Hitler’s diaries, Zinoviev’s letter, and many other questionable or entirely fabricated documents. A call to the anonymous “experts” is not particularly useful.
Indeed, there are some reasons to treat history with some skepticism.
First, the documents are like the perfect, gold-plated proof that Russiagate storytellers have been looking for for years. The story is a little too good to be true.
Second, if these papers are real, either someone in the Kremlin decided to divulge the top secret of the top secret documents, or the British intelligence service has a spy there and then passed the information on to Harding, at risk. to expose it himself.
The two options do not correspond to the past. Leaks from Putin’s team are very rare, to the point of being almost non-existent, and, to our knowledge, neither the British, nor any Western intelligence agency, has ever had a spy at heart. of the Kremlin. We cannot exclude it, but we must have doubts.
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Third, the alleged motivation to support Trump described in the documents is reminiscent of what Westerners now think retroactively, rather than what likely would have been on the minds of Russian officials at the time.
In 2016, the main reason the Kremlin might have wanted Trump elected was the perception that he was not as hostile to Russia as his rival Hillary Clinton. Indeed, he had said in speeches that he was in favor of better relations with Moscow. But this is not mentioned in Harding’s documents. Instead, the focus is on “destabilizing” United States by sowing confusion by electing a mentally unstable president.
These are not ideas that anyone in authority in the Kremlin has ever expressed publicly. Instead, these are ideas that gradually became dogma among conspiracy theorists between 2016 and 2020. In other words, the documents read like what Western Russiagate theorists imagine to be what Russians think. , rather than what they really think.
And fourth, it turns out that the short extract published with Harding’s article has a number of linguistic and grammatical errors, suggesting that it was written by a non-native Russian speaker and then translated. Of course, this is far from solid proof of forgery – it could be that the Kremlin note takers just don’t write very well. But it is food for thought.
A common method of intelligence assessment is an alphanumeric system in which the letters measure the reliability of the source (from A, “Reliable” to E, “Unreliable” and F, “Reliability unknown”), and the numbers measure the reliability of the information (from 1, “Confirmed by other sources”, to 5, “Unlikely” and 6, “The validity of the information cannot be determined”). In this case, one would probably have to classify Harding’s story in D6. The reliability of the source – Harding – is questionable and the validity of the information cannot be confirmed.
This does not mean that the documents are forgeries. D6 does not mean false. But, at the same time, it’s not exactly A1 either – you should treat the information in question with extreme caution.
Maybe the Russian National Security Council actually plotted to put Trump in the White House. Or maybe not. We are not in a position to say. Either way, but you shouldn’t take the Guardian at their word.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.