What was Russiagate really about?
Russiagate has been debunked time and time again but many do not realize the reason it was pushed.
The Russiagate conspiracy theory was one of the biggest prevailing media narratives during the Trump years. Instead of talking about Donald Trump’s ramping up of drone strikes, rolling back of environmental regulation, or tax cuts for the rich the media pushed nonstop baseless conspiracy theories about Trump being in bed with the Kremlin. But many who discuss Russiagate do not know the real reason behind the propaganda which was to smear Jullian Assange, push pro-war propaganda and increase online censorship.
One of the most overlooked elements of Russiagate was the role it played in the larger smear campaign against Jullian Assange. The media consistently pushed the idea that Assange was an agent of the Russian government and worked with Russia to hack the DNC. In a recent bombshell piece published in Yahoo news about the C.I.A.s plot to kidnap and possibly kill Jullian Assange, there was a massive overlooked revelation. Slipped into the middle of the article the authors report that “The difficulty in proving that WikiLeaks was operating at the direct behest of the Kremlin was a major factor behind the CIA’s move to designate the group as a hostile intelligence service, according to a former senior counterintelligence official.” This proves that there is actually no evidence WikiLeaks was working for or had any connection to Russia. The fact that the C.I.A. could not find a connection between Wikileaks and Russia also calls into question the claim that Russia was WikiLeaks's source for the D.N.C. email story. This claim was first made by a company called Crowdstrike. In a secret testimony to congress, Shawn Henry the CEO of this company admitted they had no evidence of this claim.
Other claims in the mainstream media made about Assange’s connections to Russia were even more absurd, such as a now-debunked article in the Guardian by self-described storyteller Luke Harding that claimed Assange met with Paul Manafort and “Russians” in the Ecuadorian embassy. All of these claims are evidence-free yet many russiagate liberals continue to believe Assange is an agent of the Russian government. This was an intentional propaganda technique to paint Assange in a bad light in order to manufacture consent for his 2019 arrest for reporting on United States war crimes.
Just like the Russigate narrative was used to push the state department’s narrative on Jullian Assange it was also used to push pro-war policies everywhere and silence dissent and skepticism. When campaigning in 2016 Donald Trump rhetorically went against the United States foreign policy establishment. He called for the United States to pull back from NATO and said “We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes”. This is a huge part of what led to the false claim that Trump was a Russian agent, it was a way to attack anyone who went against the Washington D.C. foreign policy establishment. The media would claim anything he did against the foreign policy establishment was proof he was a Russian agent. The best examples of this are a Rachel Maddow segment where she claimed Trump not listening to John Bolton on Venezuela meant he was being controlled by Putin. Another great example of this is a segment where Maddow absurdly claimed that Trump's meeting with Kim Jong-un was because of his supposed connection to Putin. Of course, this smear went well beyond Trump and was used against anyone who even somewhat questioned the United States’ foreign policy goals. Hillary Clinton called Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stien “Russian agents” with no evidence. The F.B.I claimed that Bernie Sanders was being helped by Russia with no evidence. This smear was also used against anyone who questioned pro-war propaganda as well. For example, anyone that pointed out the now proven fact that the west trained members of the neo-nazi Azov battalion in Ukraine was accused of repeating “Kremlin talking points”. Russiagate was also used to continue wars such as when the now-debunked talking point that Russia was paying for “bounties” on American soldiers in Afghanistan was used to prolong the war in Afghanistan.
Because of fear of “Russian interference,” Facebook partnered with the military-industrial complex and NATO-funded think tank the Atlantic Council to counter “disinformation” This led to outlets that report on U.S. imperialism such as TELEsur and Venezuela analysis to be censored. Facebook also appointed Ben Nimmo a NATO press officer and fellow at the same Atlantic Council to fight so-called “influence operations” that led to many anti-imperialists being censored. Ben Nimmo had previously accused real people of being Russian bots such as when he claimed a Ukrainian-American pianist was a Russian troll. Of course infamously a new york post article on now verified Hunter Biden emails was censored because of baseless claims that it was “Russian disinformation. The Washington Post also promoted a shadowy firm called “Prop or Not” which accused some of the biggest independent media outlets such as Counterpunch and Black Agenda Report of being “Russian propaganda”. This led to many of these outlets being de-ranked in the google algorithm making them harder for users to find.
Russiagate was a way for the security state and Washington Foreign policy establishment to manufacture content for their goals. It was used to smear Jullian Assange with evidence-free claims, push for more war and push for more online censorship of anti-imperialists. The left needs to be wary of propaganda campaigns that are targeted towards the left or it will lead many to parrot the establishments’ propaganda as Russia-gate did.