The Mueller report didn’t just clear President Donald Trump of colluding with Russia, the New York Times said, it handed Russia’s Vladimir Putin the “ultimate victory.” If you thought otherwise, blame secret Soviet mind games.
In a New York Times op-ed, former FBI agent-turned CNN analyst Asha Rangappa argues that by conflating the terms “collusion” and “conspiracy,” Attorney General William Barr performed a bizarre Soviet trick on the American public, giving Putin his “ultimate victory.”
The trick, Rangappa explains, is called ‘Reflexive Control,’ a “uniquely Russian” concept that, put simply, involves drip-feeding an audience carefully-prepared words to make them reach the conclusion you want them to. That’s basically what PR is – only this time it’s “Russian” and, therefore, bad.
Are you completely confused about the difference between “collusion” and “conspiracy”? If so, congratulations – you’re a victim of an information warfare tactic called “reflexive control,” as I explain here https://t.co/mvtSdxaOEt
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) April 19, 2019
See, Rangappa makes the case that even though the Mueller report “did not establish that the Trump Campaign coordinated with the Russian government,” the real collusion is still spelled out in its pages.
She argues that the contacts between the Trump campaign and a rotating cast of Russian businessmen and fixers – which Mueller deemed not to constitute a criminal conspiracy – are nevertheless “collusion,” because sneaky Russian intelligence operations are undetectable and “not the stuff of which criminal prosecutions are made.”
Except Mueller is a prosecutor, and his report from the outset interprets ‘collusion’ as ‘conspiracy,’ an actual criminal offense. In Mueller’s 2017 appointment letter, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein authorized Mueller to investigate “any links and/or coordination” between the Trump campaign and Russia in the runup to the 2016 election, with a view to a criminal prosecution. ‘Collusion’ has simply become a stand-in word for these links.
Was CNN practising “reflexive control” when it dropped non-stop “collusion bombshells” over the last two years? Was the New York Times using Soviet mind games when it pondered “Is this the collusion we were waiting for?” And was Hillary Clinton somehow doing the Kremlin’s bidding when she told USA Today she was “convinced” that “there was collusion” between Trump and Russia?
That much is unanswered.
To fully ram home the point that there’s Kremlin malevolence afoot, the New York Times’ graphics department, clearly out of ideas after a busy two years, slapped a giant hammer and sickle atop the article. Russia has not been a communist state for 27 years, but when your only frame of reference is James Bond movies, it’ll make the point.
After all this time, the NYT is still publishing columns about Trump/Russia featuring the hammer-and-sickle. Really, what’s there to say anymore? These people are simply beyond reason pic.twitter.com/r8Iz0D4MFA
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) April 20, 2019
Hi @nytimes, just letting you know that Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. There are people aged 27, who have children of their own, who weren’t even alive then. Perhaps time to let it go? pic.twitter.com/tt9xSjTWQ7
— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) April 20, 2019
Of course, being a former FBI agent, Rangappa also warns that Barr’s use of the word “spying” to describe the FBI’s eavesdropping on Trump campaign aide Carter Page is another example of reflexive control. She’d rather we use the cuddly term “electronic surveillance based on probable cause.”
Trump, meanwhile, has vowed to get to the bottom of whether there was “probable cause” backing up the FBI’s spying, sorry, “surveillance.” By all currently available information, the FISA warrant allowing the FBI to do so was obtained on the back of some shaky evidence; namely the notorious and unverified ‘Steele Dossier,’ a collection of anti-Trump gossip compiled by a former British spy, sorry, “intelligence agent,” on behalf of the Clinton campaign.
In the meantime, Rangappa wants the average American to stay vigilant to Barr’s KGB hypno-waves, finishing with a stark warning:
“If we don’t, Mr. Putin has certainly won.”
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