Imagine a Convention of Village Idiots holding a never-ending hunt for a non-existent needle in an ever-expanding haystack. Every once in a while one of them finds a twig, or an old sock, or a marble, and with a look of sheer delight on their face they look up and squawk, “I’ve found it”. And all the other VIs gather round to marvel at the needle, and the news is published in the press across the country that they’ve got it, and there is much rejoicing. Until that is, someone points out that what they’ve found is not a needle at all, but a twig or an old sock or a marble, and before you know it they’ve quietly put it to one side, and resumed the hunt.

The Convention, which sometimes goes by the name Russiagate, has been going on for more than a year now, and despite its participants claiming on multiple occasions to have found the needle, sadly for them they’ve still to locate it. You might think that after still not finding it after this long, they’d be discouraged enough to give up, go home, and tend to their gardens, or some other such useful endeavour. But not a bit of it. The fact that they keep finding things in the haystack that aren’t needles only convinces them that there must be a needle in there somewhere. And so with a squawk of excitement and a cry of “On with the hunt”, off they go again looking for it with more enthusiasm than ever, ready to unearth yet more non-needles.

What have they actually found? Well, there was the indictment of Paul Manafort. Surely that was a needle, wasn’t it? Well, only in the same way that a needle resembles a brick, the charges against him being utterly unrelated to Russia, but instead about dealings he had in Ukraine years before Donald Trump ever announced he was standing for election. How about the indictment of George Papadopolous by the Mueller inquiry? Well, given that the charge against him is again nothing to do with collusion with Russia, but rather about lying to the FBI, that’s not very needle-like either, is it?

Ah, but what about the “fact” that all 17 US intelligence agencies signed off on the January 6th document claiming that Russia hacked the DNC and Podesta computers? That’s surely the needle, isn’t it? Well, apart from the fact that the report contained no evidence to back up the claim of hacking, and apart from the fact that it was signed off by four, not 17 agencies, and apart from the fact that the NSA expressed only “moderate confidence” in the report’s conclusions, and apart from it containing the following hilarious disclaimer: “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact” — apart from all that, yes it’s just like a needle.

But my favourite needle claim was the revelation that the Russian state swayed the US election by paying for advertising on social media. To those at the Convention it looked so much like the needle they’d been looking for, except for a few small details. Like the fact that the gargantuan sums involved turned out to be a few tens of thousands of dollars. Like the fact that no evidence has ever been shown to the public that these adverts were paid for by the Russian Government. Like the fact that Facebook admitted that most of the adverts appeared after the election. And like the fact that the adverts covered subjects that had nothing whatsoever to do with the election, including adverts about “adorable puppies”. Guys, I have to break it to you: needles are small, thin, sharp objects. Puppies are much bigger, much softer and you can’t use them for sewing. Granted, they both have eyes (well one in the case of the needle), but apart from that they have far more dissimilarities than likenesses.

Having said that, over the course of their more than 12-month needle expedition, they have found something rather more interesting. Right in the middle of the haystack there’s an elephant. A humungous elephant in fact. So big you can’t miss it. Yet like the blind men in the famous Buddhist tale, they each touch a part of it and instead of recognising it for what it is, completely miss its actual significance (okay, that’s a charitable view. There is a school of thought  that says it’s not blindness that stops them seeing it, but rather wilful deception). But anyway, let’s look at the parts of the elephant in the haystack.

There is the fact that the so-called “Trump Dossier” was funded by the Democratic Party who commissioned a company called Fusion GPS to write it. There is the fact that the FBI never even verified the claims made in the “Trump dossier”, even though it increasingly appears to have been the catalyst for all the allegations of collusion that followed. There is that fact that the claims of Russian state involvement in the hacking of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers originated from the DNC itself, and from the company they themselves paid to investigate, making the alleged victim — the DNC — the counsel for the prosecution for its own claims. There is the fact that the firm the DNC paid to undertake the investigation – Crowdstrike – is owned by one Dmitri Alperovitch, a Senior Fellow at the rabidly anti-Russian think tank, Atlantic Council, which makes them not exactly what you would call “impartial”. There is the fact that the FBI have never even examined the DNC’s or Mr Podesta’s computers to verify the claims they have made, but have instead relied wholly on the findings of Crowdstrike — the company paid for by the DNC. There is the fact that the FBI has never interviewed the two key witnesses in the whole affair, Britain’s former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, and Wikileaks’ Julian Assange – both of whom have stated that they know the identity of the individual(s) who leaked (not hacked) the emails.

(NB. For anyone who wants to read a thorough analysis of all this, I highly recommend Alexander Mercouris’s articles for TheDuran here and here.)

These are all facts in contrast to the evidence-free assertions made by the folks at the haystack Convention. Furthermore, whilst each one of these facts by itself might not necessarily point to anything, put them together and you begin to see what looks like a wilful deception and cover up of humungous proportions foisted on the American electorate by the DNC, the US intelligence agencies and the media to stop Mr Trump getting elected, and then to discredit him when he did. That’s what it looks like, doesn’t it? I say that as someone who has no time for Donald Trump, who is a childish, petulant imbecile of a man who ought never be allowed to run a greenhouse, let alone the White House.

I have no idea why every scandal in America has to have the word “gate” annexed to it, as if since Watergate they just can’t think of anything original. I just hope that Bill Gates never becomes embroiled in a scandal involving the illegal sale of alligators, as you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be calling it Gatesgatorgate. Yet since the practice is routinely indulged in, it’s fair to say that given the facts mentioned above (and other incriminating evidence), it looks like there are a bunch of gates that really do need investigating. Like DNCgate and Clintongate and Comeygate and FBIgate and US Intelligence Agencygate and Mainstream Mediagate. Or shall we just lump them all together and call it Elephant-in-the-Haystackgate?

3 thoughts on “Russiagate: A Convention of Village Idiots Holding a Never-Ending Hunt for a Non-Existent Needle in an Ever-Expanding Haystack

  1. I actually agreed with Fox News in a video recently where Sean Hannity and others urge people not to rush to judgment on Roy Moore. This is a slightly similar issue, but mostly separate. But anyway, in the lack of compelling evidence, Rob, can’t it still be true? Just because I don’t see any sharks at the beach, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. And if some random person starts yelling about having seen a shark…it will give me pause. (An imperfect analogy, but good enough) I have no love for Hillary and in fact despise what she has done. Sure, go ahead, if she gets back into politics, and I really hope she doesn’t, investiGate the heck out of her. I will be calling for it with you.

    1. Hi Richard. Long time no comment!

      In the case of Roy Moore, yes of course it *could* be true. But as someone who firmly believes in the rule of law and the presumption of innocence, he is to be seen as innocent, until compelling evidence shows that he is not (and witness statements made to the media, as opposed to witness statements made under oath and with cross-examination, just do not count). However, the fact that these allegations only came out at a very particular time, and the fact that none of those making the allegations have gone to the police about them (going instead to the media), very much give me pause for thought. It is entirely conceivable that he *is* innocent, and so I would continue to treat him as such until it is proven otherwise.

      With Russiagate, it is sort of similar, but sort of very different. The similarity is that the Russian state is to be presumed innocent of “hacking” the DNC and Podesta emails until proven otherwise. They and Donald Trump are also to be held innocent of the collusion claims until proven otherwise. This hasn’t happened. They have been presumed guilty by intelligence agencies, politicians and the media, none of whom have presented to the public any sort of compelling evidence of the sort that would stand up in a court of law.

      The difference — and it is a huge one — is that in something like the Moore case, it is very much a “he said / they said” deal, and even if he did do what he was alleged to have done, there might conceivably be absolutely no trace of evidence to prove it. Not so with “Russiagate”. If the Russian state hacked the DNC or Podesta’s emails, there couldn’t *not* be evidence. Proving that they had “hacked” these accounts would be remarkably easy, and could be demonstrated to the public. The NSA is able to use trace route programs to track “packets” of information back to whoever hacked the computers, and they are able to do this with remarkable accuracy. If the Russian State or even *a Russian* had hacked those emails, the NSA would be able to tell you when it was done, how long it took, and where the hacker was located.

      The fact that they haven’t done so should give rise to any reasonable person to doubt whether they actually have that evidence. Furthermore, the fact that the NSA, out of the four agencies that signed off the 6th January report, only expressed “moderate” confidence in its conclusions, tends only to confirm that they do not have the evidence of the act that they allege to have happened.

      Best wishes,

      Rob

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