Editor’s Note: in the many long months that I have been writing about the McCarthyist, neoliberal fever dream that has become known as the “Russiagate” scandal, I have frequently been accused of all manner of absurd partisan positions by uninformed troglodytes who are indeed, themselves often outrageously myopic partisans. To say that this situation is frustrating would be a mild understatement but until now, I have done my best to ignore it; after all, how seriously can you take someone who is telling a post-op transwoman anarcho-syndicalist that she sekretly loves swine emperor Trump and Vladimir fucking Putin?
Unfortunately however, as time has gone on I’ve found myself subconsciously responding to these ridiculous criticisms by writing longer and longer paragraphs explaining my political positions in reference to the issues surrounding the “Russiagate scandal.” As the proposed conspiracy has grown to include Wikileaks, these paragraphs have now become even longer – and that’s without even discussing the paragraphs I have to write assuring outraged leftists that just because I’m certain Donald Trump has committed crimes that could result in a demand that he be impeached, that does not mean I believe the Cold War era spy novel Democrats are selling in the media to manufacture consent for a proxy war with Russia.
This shit is in a word, exhausting and at this point all of the explaining is starting to clutter up my writing. As a result I’ve decided to write this article explaining my political positions surrounding various aspects of this now preposterous scandal and include it in the editor’s note of every single article touching on Russiagate I write from here on out. Where possible, I will include links to my work that objectively prove I’ve been writing from these perspectives the entire time and while I sincerely doubt it will stop random Twitter trolls from shitting up my mentions online, at least I won’t have to keep wasting paragraphs explaining that I am neither a nazi nor a Clinton hagiographer. Consider this the “Russiagate” version of my Bull Durham speech.
I’d like to start by pointing out that I really shouldn’t have to write an article like this. As an independent analyst my work primarily consists of heavily sourced, academic essays, editorials and long form writing about US politics with a focus on corruption, austerity, imperialism and propaganda in the corporate media. A simple search of the archives at ninaillingworth.com will quickly reveal that I frequently criticize both the Republican and the Democratic “sides” of the American corporate duopoly.
In short, I am writing this piece under protest because I feel my work and the extensive sourcing I provide with each piece, more than stands up on it’s own merits; my political positions shouldn’t and in fact don’t really matter as long as I’m writing about the truth and providing hyperlinked citations to confirm that truth if readers so desire. There used to be a time in what passed for a free and democratic society where telling the truth without the filter of party loyalties was a valued commodity and I genuinely resent having my integrity portrayed as evidence that I support either morally bankrupt political party in the United States.
Swine Emperor Trump, the Trump Administration & the Republican Party: I am not, nor have I ever been a supporter of Donald Trump. I have written articles that prove Trump is an actual goddamn fascist, articles that repeatedly examine the bountiful harvest of evidence that he’s a white supremacist and articles that discuss the methods by which his family is profiting off his presidency. I have also written extensively about the dangers created through Trump’s disastrous foreign policy decisions and open warmongering. I am furthermore not a supporter of those who continue to support President Trump despite all of the available evidence that he’s a hateful, bigot fascist serving elite capital at the expense of the common American. I am additionally not, nor have I ever been a supporter of Trump’s nightmare neo-feudalist administration; who in some ways I regard as more dangerous than Trump himself. Over the past year, I have written a tremendous number of highly unflattering articles about the Trumpet’s openly bigoted government with a particular focus on the activities of gibbering hate goblin and current US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Finally I do not and quite simply will not ever support the monstrous bigoted shit-weasels in the Republican Party; although I write about fascism and imperialism more often than the GOP, the various articles that I have written are once again highly unflattering.
Russia, Russian Hacker Bots & Vladimir Putin: frankly, I don’t give a good god damn about Russia or Vladimir Putin one way or another but I do recognize that Russia is an imperialist power that (like the United States) has been known to persecute and even murder, those who get in their way politically. I highly doubt that Vladimir Putin’s origins as a KGB officer made him a kinder, more transparent leader; just as I highly doubted that George HW Bush’s former role as the head of the CIA would produce a kinder, more transparent America. I don’t write about Russia very often for two obvious reasons; I’m only one person with a limited amount of energy to write each day and because I simply don’t have the time, or interest necessary to become versed enough in Russian politics to discuss the matter credibly. Despite the behavior of mainstream news outlets, it takes more than compiling and repeating Russophobic propaganda from elements of the US government to call yourself an expert on a foreign country and personally, I feel that it’s somewhat hypocritical of barely informed American observers to rail against human rights violations in Russia without ever discussing human rights violations that regularly occur at home.
Although I have written repeatedly about the absurdity of claims that Russia “hacked” the DNC and that Russian social media operatives “rigged” the 2016 Presidential election against Hillary Clinton with low quality Facebook posts that nobody read and schemes to trick people into naming their Pokemon after Mike Brown; there are still two major points I feel it’s necessary to reiterate here:
- First and foremost, the public technical evidence that Russia hacked the DNC is both completely insufficient to declare who used a simple spear-phishing attack to trick John Podesta into entering his own password and based entirely on technical data from a single firm (Crowdstrike) the DNC itself hired with the intention of blaming the hack on Russia; to this date the FBI has never been allowed to examine the “hacked” servers or made any additional efforts whatsoever to verify Crowdstrike’s accusations against Russia. Although many people who are completely ignorant of even very recent history seem content to accept the declaration of American Intelligence Agencies that Russia definitely hacked the DNC for “reasons” – I myself am not comfortable taking the CIA’s word for it when surely if they had more evidence of Russian hacking, they would have produced it by now (a full year into the investigation.)
- The simple truth is that it doesn’t matter who hacked the DNC or if there was even a hack at all because the recovered Clinton campaign emails and the damning revelations found inside them were all 100% real and unaltered in any meaningful way. You cannot “rig” an election by telling people the truth and exposing the uncomfortable facts about powerful people is called journalism, not “spreading propaganda.” Furthermore, the argument that such activity would represent “an act of war” or a “digital 9/11” is quite simply spurious at best when you consider the known fact that American intelligence continues to engage in cyber intrusion activities and online opinion manipulation on social media in precisely the same manner we’re accusing Russia of doing today.
Julian Assange & Wikileaks: frankly my opinion of Julian Assange and Wikileaks as a whole is completely irrelevant to this discussion for the same reason it simply doesn’t matter if Russia hacked the DNC; an informed public has literally no reason to care if the Podesta emails were delivered by Ivan the Terrible himself, as long as they’re real. For the record however, I’ll note that while I have some concerns about Assange personally, Wikileaks itself has never given me any reason to doubt the veracity of it’s work; in its entire existence, the transparency organization has never released a fake “leak” or a document altered in any meaningful way. There are certainly times I question Assange’s motives, the exact nature of his potentially terrifying social views and what precisely a fair trial would reveal about the sexual assault allegations against Assange in Sweden. What no reasonable person can question however, is the veracity of the incriminating videos, diplomatic cables and internal emails from US officials the Wikileaks organization has released regularly since 2006; in that regard, Julian Assange’s personal politics are largely beside the point – there is simply no universal law saying that disliking a woman who allegedly once threatened to launch a drone strike on you or being less interested in Russian corruption than American corruption, automatically makes the completely authentic documents you release less relevant or explicitly fraudulent in some largely-undefined way.
Hillary Clinton, “Liberal” Corporate Media & the Democratic Party: to put it politely, I wouldn’t describe myself as a fan of Hillary Clinton, her husband Bill or their monstrous allies inside the powerful American intelligence community. I have written extensively on the subject of why Hillary Clinton would be a terrible president (even if Trump is also a terrible choice as president) as well the farcical travesty of justice that was the Clinton unauthorized, private email server investigation and the corrosive effect it had on the rule of law thanks to the clearly-compromised Loretta Lynch-led Department of Justice. Although I have long-past given up on “conservative” media entirely, over the past couple of years I’ve grown increasingly critical of a faux-left, corporate “liberal” media class that willingly engages in irresponsibly wild speculation, coordinated smears and even bald-faced lies on behalf of powerful neoliberal elites; seeming out of an (at times) entirely unearned sense of smug moral superiority. The mainstream “liberal” media’s coverage of the Russiagate scandal however has actually somehow exceeded my expectations for dishonesty, sensationalism and open ratfuckery; I’d laugh, but frankly the brazen lunacy of accusing a foreign nuclear power of an act of war against America for clicks and viewers has all too terrifying potential consequences. Although I have supported Democratic Party candidates in the past (namely in 2004 & 2008) these last eighteen months in particular have diminished whatever fleeting hope I still had for the establishment “center-left” and have left me completely disillusioned with Democrats as a whole. At this point in my life, I have little use for a McCarthyist, psychologically abusive political party that has just spent the past year lying to, gaslighting and smearing me and my friends for telling the truth about crooks, rapists and lying cheats.
Separating Fact from Fiction in the “Russiagate” scandal: As I’ve written in the past, the key to understanding the massive number of problems with the elite “liberal” spin on the Russigate scandal is all about tracking the significant ways in which the narrative has diminished and changed over time. Initially, the two core (shocking) accusations that formed what we now know as “Russiagate” or “Kremlingate” were that Russia had hacked or rigged the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton and that Donald Trump was Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian candidate or a compromised Russian intelligence asset; possibly because of a videotape involving two Russian hookers and human urine. A year after the election however, both of these absurd accusations remain impossible to prove and as a result the “Russiagate” narrative pushed by establishment liberals has changed considerably over that time. As I wrote in a recent letter published on this website, I don’t think it’s an accident that we’ve gone from using words like “treason” “rigged” and “controlled” to far less clearly defined terms like “interference” and “colluded.” Examining the balance of evidence, I believe the two core, scandalous accusations that started off the Russiagate controversy were opportunistically hijacked from the ridiculous Steele Dossier and were part of a cooked-up post election strategy by the Democratic Party to deflect blame away from the Clinton campaign, offer protection to party elites who had just punted a winnable election to a reality TV, rodeo-clown fascist and ultimately help manufacture consent for a more aggressive posture (and likely a proxy war) against Russian allied nations the US establishment already had its eye on in the Middle East.
Despite the propaganda involved and the reality that nobody can prove Vladimir Putin “rigged” the 2016 election or that Donald Trump is a Russian intelligence asset however, a rigorous study of the public evidence that is available does make it clear that the swine emperor and members of his inner circle are in fact guilty of breaking numerous laws; specifically obstruction of justice or tampering with a federal investigation, lying to the FBI, influence trading, accepting bribes and possibly (probably) money laundering. Although I was originally reluctant to accept any Russian involvement whatsoever based on the notably thin initial evidence offered in the public sphere and we’re still waiting for actual proof that anyone actually did accept anything, I believe a fair and reasoned examination of the story now strongly suggests quid pro quo between the highest levels of Trump’s campaign and people (possibly) attached to the Russia government occurred – namely Trump got “dirt” on Clinton and possibly money, various Russian entities (and US corporations like Exxon) were promised Russian sanction relief in return.
I think it’s important to note here that these are in fact very serious charges and I’m not even remotely concerned with the fact that the vast majority of the swine emperor’s wounds were self inflicted blunders in a system literally designed to protect powerful elites from prosecution for these type of transgressions; as was the case in Watergate, the cover-up is almost certainly worse than the crime. What they are not however, are proof that Russia “hacked” the 2016 US Presidential election, or that Vladimir Putin is controlling a Trump administration that quite frankly seems to have enough goddamn trouble controlling itself on a moment to moment basis. It isn’t treason and most importantly, it isn’t an act of war; especially in light of the fact that foreign governments and entities bribe our politicians all the time to affect US policy – do you recall the last time respected media observers called for war against Saudi Arabia? Me neither.
In conclusion, I would just like to state that my coverage of the entire “Russiagate” scandal has been both more impartial and more consistent with the proper ethical standards of professional journalism than literally every Trump-Russia grifter and the vast majority of talking heads on your TV screen; regardless of political affiliation. At every step of the way, I have habitually provided extensive sourcing to back up my observations, incorporated new information into my analysis and even acknowledged the limited number of times I’ve been wrong about some small aspect of the overall story. I have never lied to anyone, sculpted the facts towards any particular preconceived conclusion or ignored aspects of reality that don’t fit my narrative; how many other people writing about this scandal can truthfully claim the same?
If refusing to trust the CIA and recognizing that we’re all being taken for a ride by both the neoliberal #Resistance and proto-fascist propagandists in various forms of “conservative media” somehow makes me a Trumpist neo-nazi or a Hillbot cultist in your eyes; please allow me to heartily encourage you to eat my whole ass like groceries.
- Nina Illingworth