No Evidence In Mueller’s Indictment Of 12 Russians – Release Now May Sabotage Upcoming Summit

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Above Photo: Latin American Herald Tribune/Flickr

The Special counsel Robert Mueller issued an indictment (pdf, 29 pages) against 12 Russian people alleged to be officers or personal of the Russian Military Intelligence Service GRU. The people, claims the indictment, work for an operational (26165) and a technical (74455) subunit of the GRU.

A Grand Jury in Washington DC issued 11 charges which are described and annotated below. A short assessment follows.

The first charge is for a “Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the United States” by stealing emails and leaking them. The indictment claims that the GRU units sent spearfishing emails to the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party organizations DNC and DCCC. They used these to get access to email boxes of John Podesta and other people. They are also accused of installing spyware (X-agent) on DNC computers and of exfiltrating emails and other data from them. The emails were distributed and published by the online personas DCLeaks, Guccifer II and later through Wikileaks. The indictment claims that DCLeaks and Guccifer II were impersonations by the GRU. Wikileaks, “organization 1” in the indictment, is implicated but so far not accused.

Note: There is a different Grand Jury for the long brewing case against Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Assange has denied that the emails he published came from a Russian source. Craig Murray, a former British ambassador, said that he received the emails on a trip to Washington DC and transported them to Wikileaks.

The indictment describes in some detail how various rented computers and several domain names were used to access the DNC and DCCC computers. The description is broadly plausible but there is little if any supporting evidence.

Charge 2 to 9 of the indictment are about “Aggravated Identity Theft” for using usernames and passwords for the personal email accounts of others.

Charge 10 is about a “Conspiracy to Launder Money”. This was allegedly done “through a web of transaction structured to capitalize on the perceived anonymity of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin”. It is alleged that the accused mined bitcoins, channeled these through dozens of accounts and transactions and then used them to rent servers, virtual private network access and domain names used in the operation.

Note: The indictment reinforces the author’s hunch that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are creations and playgrounds of secret services just like Tor and other ‘cool’ internet ‘privacy’ stuff are. Its the very reason why one should avoid their use.

Charge 11 of the indictment is a “Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the United States”. It claims that some of the accused hacked into state boards of elections and into U.S. companies providing elections related software.

Note: Other reporting found that the alleged attack resulted in no changes to the election results or other damage.

The Unites States will seek forfeiture of the valuables the accused may have within the United States as part of any sentencing of the accused.

Assessment:

  • It is not by chance that this indictment was published now,  a few days before the first summit between Donald Trump and the Russian President Vladimir Putin and shortly before the successful soccer world championship in Russia ends. The release intends to sabotage the talks.
  • The indictment describes a wide ranging operation but includes zero proof of anything it alleges.
  • Mueller likely hopes that the indictment will never come in front of a court. The alleged stuff would be extremely difficult to prove. Any decent lawyer would ask how the claimed information was gained and how much of it was based on illegal snooping by the NSA. Something the U.S. would hate to reveal.
  • It is unlikely that there will ever be a trial of these cases. The indicted persons are all Russians in Russia and none of them is likely to be stupid enough to follow an invitation to Las Vegas or to Disney World.

But who knows?

In February Mueller indicted the Russian Internet Research Agency, a clickbait farm run for commercial purpose, of influencing the U.S. election. The expectation then like now was that there would never be trial. In a surprise move one of the accused Russian companies, Concord Management, took up the challenge and demanded discovery. Mueller then tried to delay the hand over of evidence (which he probably does not have.) A judge rejected the attempt. The case is pending.

Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, who announced the indictment, also made three points that will likely get little coverage. He said (video) that there are no allegations in the indictment that:

  • any American knew that they were in contact with Russians or with a Russian operation,
  • any American committed a crime in relation to this,
  • that the operation changed or influenced the election.

The indictment, which may well be made up and is unlikely to ever be tested in court, will reinforce the “Russia is an enemy” campaign which was launched way before the 2016 election. It will reinforce the believe of some Democrats that Russia, and not the selection of a disgusting candidate, cost Hillary Clinton the presidency.

The detente with Russia which U.S. president Donald Trump tries to achieve will now be more difficult to implement and to sustain.

 

  • Wacanta

    I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure indictments don’t ever offer any evidence or proof; that is what is presented at trial. And the so-called “summit” should have been prevented, but now that it’s over, our dear leader should be indicted for treason, and all the proof is there for anyone to see.

  • chetdude

    You’re right about the “indictments”. There will NEVER be any trials. It’s all PR. The timing of the announcement does appear to have been designed to sink any chances of detente at Helsinki…

    Define “treason”…

    If you mean treason against the “state” to mean not looking out for the interests of those who own the country and who most benefit from neoliberalism, wars and our ponzi-scheme financialized capitalist Oligarchy — Donald’s doing fine. This latest “faux-pax” was a divine smokescreen to cover their crimes and generate warm and fuzzies for some of the more egregious enablers of the USAmerican national security police state…

    If you mean treason against We the People, the conspiracy of the Plutocracy designed to fleece us and destroy our only Home Planet and any semblance of democracy or Community to feed their profit machine (Powell Memo of 1971), then let the arrests begin…

    Let’s start with the Forbes 500 list and their enablers including nearly every republican and democrat politician in Congress and most State Houses and City Halls… There’s plenty of room to warehouse them if we empty out the private prisons of Asylum seeking families, other victims fleeing the damage done by our Oligarchy…

  • kevinzeese

    Why should the meeting have been stopped? The US and Russia should be talking. We are entering into an arm race, especially for nuclear weapons. That is what should be stopped and that can only be stopped by negotiation. We are in a conflict in Syria with Russia, that war should end and the US should leave Syria. Russia should agree to leave once the US does so. And, Russia borders on North Korea, shouldn’t the US be talking to Russia about North Korea? Iran is another nation where Russia and the US are on opposite sides, diplomacy is needed there to prevent wars. The US and Russia are also on opposite sides on Venezuela and Nicaragua — shouldn’t the nations be talking?

    What treason are you talking about? Talking to Russia not treason. Denying Russiagate is not treason.

  • Wacanta

    I was talking about the treasonous actions (looks up the definition in the dictionary and tell me that dump didn’t commit treason) of dump and the Mueller indictment, but since you’re talking about everything that’s wrong with ameriKKKa, let’s give Turtle Island back to the Indigenous People’s, give the descendants of slaves their 40 acres (starting with plots in San Francisco, Manhattan, and Martha’s Vineyard) and a really nice mule, feed the hungry, house the homeless, end drug addiction, jail all the heads of Big Pharma, give free healthcare to every citizen of Unci Maka, solve ACD, provide free college education to all who want it, get the kids who were kidnapped from their parents back with them, end war, destroy all the nukes, get rid of the 300,000,000 guns in ameriKKKa, etc, ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

  • chetdude

    I’ve already punctured your delusional bubble of “treason”… Treason against whom? Read it again for comprehension this time…

    As for the rest of your stream of lack of consciousness irrelevant drivel-fest;

    A guaranteed living wage annual income, tuition free college, Effective Affordable Medicare for All and an end to the Forever War (and nukes) and spending our energy and treasure preparing for a much tougher post-AGW Planet, all perfectly achievable right now – would go a long way toward a better world…

  • Wacanta

    Siding with an enemy of the US over the US is treason, at least according to the dictionary definition of treason, and that is EXACTLY what dump did, or did you not listen to what he said at the presser?! And the meeting should have been stopped since we have no frickin idea what transpired since dump didn’t have anybody but himself there; gee, I can’t imagine why dump didn’t want any witnesses. Follow the $; 100’s of millions of dollars has gone to dump for his golf courses and his condo’s, and I can guarantee you that Mueller has dump’s taxes so he knows where it came from (putin and other oligarchs from russia). dump is NOT a diplomat, and while we, meaning competent negotiators, should absolutely be talking with our enemies, dump should never be let anywhere near these talks. DPRK is a perfect example; dump seemed to think that after meeting with Kim that we could all rest easy, because the stable genius, in just a couple of hours, solved everything. In reality, which is where I live, he did nothing but give Kim everything he wanted and then Kim went home to get back to work on his nukes. dump WOULD have been a stable genius if he got from Kim everything that the Iran deal established, but the frickin idiot withdrew us from that deal. And while I had a lot of problems with the Paris Accords, at least it was something, and now there’s nothing, at least as far as ameriKKKa is concerned. But if you’re happy being an apologist for the worst presidunce ever, please, continue, but I’m going to support every effort to see him and his minions and crime family behind bars, ASAP, before we have no country left, or one that is a fascist state. There are LOTS of things that need to be changed in ameriKKKa for us to even start living up to the ideals of America (see my above comment), but as long as the racist dump and his minions have the reins, we’ll be going back to the 50’s, and I’ve already been there and have no intention of allowing that to happen.

  • kevinzeese

    While there is a lot wrong with the US including the stealing of land and ethnic cleansing of Indigenous Peoples. And, there is a lot wrong with Trump. I do not see how he committed treason. The definition of treason in the US Constitution is “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” You hate for Trump is blinding you to the realities of the law.

  • Wacanta

    The only thing you “punctured” is your own “thinking”, because the manafort trial is coming up soon. And with this “administration”, none of what you “think” is “perfectly achievable now” will ever happen. Have a nice day.

  • Wacanta

    “…adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort” is EXACTLY what siding with putin over your own government is, and if you can’t see that, maybe your love of dump is blinding you to the realities of dump/putin. And if dump ever becomes a judge, I sure hope that if I’m ever indicted and he asks me how I plead, I will “strongly and powerfully” say “not guilty”, and he’ll dismiss all charges. Even the freaks at fox are saying so, but not you. And to get back to my original point, the evidence will be presented at trial and in the final reports, none of which have been held or written yet. However, the over 30 indictments, 5 guilty pleas, and 2 people in jail seems pretty convincing to me, on top of all the lies about meetings that never happened, until they did.

  • chetdude

    Manafort is the sacrificial lamb from the Trump camp who’s being targeted as scapegoat for previous years of HIS version of business as usual (garden variety capitalist fraud) here in USAmerica…

    NOT for “Treason” or even for “collusion with Russia”…

  • kevinzeese

    I have no love of Trump. I am a regular critic of his presidency, his appointments and his policies on taxes, healthcare, the environment, worker rights etc. He is probably the wort president of my lifetime, and that is saying a lot since I have lived through a series of terrible presidents since the 70s.

    I look forward to the evidence in the final report as well as in any trials. So far the only trial, of Paul Manafort, as nothing to do with Russiagate but other crimes he committed.

    That press conference was not treason. I can understand in this insane media environment and your hatred for Trump why you claim it is but he would never be convicted of treason based on that press conference. It is utter nonsense.

  • Jon

    ” then let the arrests begin…” Amen! First we need some courageous prosecutors and attorneys. Applications are now open.

  • joe-god

    Read the article on this site on monetary-sovereignty, for a better understanding of how it technically is achievable.But yes the authoritarian corporate-state will use all it’s power to keep from allowing a sane, rational system to ever exist, but that doesn’t mean anyone should accept it and just give-up-the-ghost.

  • joe-god

    Great! When do you think the trial will start?

  • joe-god

    It isn’t going to happen, as far as I know there aren’t any time-machines available yet. No doubt Trump is one of the worst people to be POTUS and negotiating with adversaries. The knee-jerk, regressive Republicans may hold power for now, but they won’t for long….they are exacerbating problems, not solving any, exposing themselves more everyday as “the Ugly Americans”, and their anti-social, anti-tolerant, anti-Earth agenda is not popular with most people. Yet it is just as disturbing that many Americans still subscribe to this world-view, and when “their guy” goes down, which he will, they’re going to make one hell of a racket.