News Release

Issues with Mueller: Was There a Russian “Attack”? Why Didn’t He Question Assange?

STEPHEN F. COHEN, sfc1 at nyu.edu
Available for a limited number of interviews, Cohen is professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at New York University and Princeton University. A Nation contributing editor, he is the author, most recently, of War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate.

He just wrote the piece “Mueller’s Own Mysteries,” which states: “Mueller begins, on Page 1, with this assertion: ‘The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.’ Maybe so, but Mueller, who is not averse to editorializing and contextualizing elsewhere in the report, gives readers no historical background or context for this large generalization. In particular, was the interference — or ‘meddling,’ as media accounts characterize it — more or less ‘sweeping and systematic’ than was Washington’s military intervention in the Russian civil war in 1918 or its very intrusive campaign to re-elect Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1996 — or, on the other side of the ledger, the role of the Soviet-backed American Communist Party in U.S. politics in the 20th century? That is, what warranted a special investigation of this episode in a century of mutual American-Russian interference in the other’s politics? …

“Nor does Mueller consider alternative scenarios and explanations, as any good historical or judicial investigation must do. For example, he accepts uncritically the Clinton/Democratic National Committee allegation that Russian agents hacked and disseminated their emails in 2016. Again, maybe so, but why did he not do his own forensic examination or even mention the alternative finding by VIPS [Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity] that they were stolen and leaked by an insider? Why did he not question Julian Assange, who claimed to know how and through whom the emails reached WikiLeaks?”

Note: Julian Assange of WikiLeaks had a hearing today in Britain and is facing extradition to the U.S. for having published material such as the “Collateral Murder” video of U.S. soldiers killing journalists in Iraq. His source for that video, Chelsea Manning, is also being detained in the U.S. See piece today from Consortium News: “Assange to Extradition Court: I Won’t Surrender to the U.S. for Doing Journalism.’” May 3 is World Press Freedom Day.

Cohen’s past pieces include “Will the Mueller Report Make the New Cold War Even Worse?” “The Fictitious ‘Russian Attack’ vs. the ‘Real Imperative to Cooperate With Russia.'”