Caitlin Johnstone: US Again Tries Passing Off Government Assertions As Evidence

The invisible evidence presented by the United States that Russia is plotting a provocation to justify an invasion of Ukraine is that the government says so. 

State Dept. spokesman Ned Price. (U.S. State Dept.)

By Caitlin Johnstone

The western media are still blaring headlines on Friday about a “revelation” by the U.S. government which does not actually reveal anything because it contains nothing but empty narrative fluff.

“U.S. reveals Russian plot to use fake video as pretense for Ukraine invasion,” reads a headline from CBS News.

“U.S. reveals Russia may plan to create fake pretext for Ukraine invasion,” claims another from The Hill.

The claim is that the Russian government is plotting to fabricate a false flag operation using a graphic video with crisis actors in order to manufacture a pretense for a full-scale military invasion. State Department Spokesman Ned Price and AP reporter Matt Lee had an exchange about this claim at a Thursday press conference that you simply must watch if you haven’t already. 

Lee pointed out that claims about false flags and crisis actors were “getting into Alex Jones territory” and asked for the evidence for these extraordinary claims, which one would think is reasonable since extraordinary claims are generally considered to require extraordinary evidence.

Price said that the evidence is “intelligence information that we have declassified,” and when Lee asked where the declassified information was Price looked at him like he just asked the stupidest question in the world and said, “I just delivered it.”

The exchange goes on to reveal that Price really did mean that the completely unverified government assertion he’d just regurgitated is the evidence for the claim being made, meaning the evidence of the government assertion is that assertion itself.

Refusing to relent, Lee kept hammering the point that a completely unsubstantiated assertion is not the same as evidence especially given all the government assertions that have proved not to be true over the years. [Lee pointed out that the U.S. had said there were WMD in Iraq and that Kabul would not fall.]

“Matt, you said yourself you’ve been in this business for quite a long time,” Price replied. “You know that when we make information, intelligence information public, we do so in a way that protects sensitive sources and methods.”

Ahh, so the evidence is secret. It’s top secret evidence, to protect “sensitive sources and methods”. It sure is convenient how all the evidence of immensely consequential claims made by a government with an extensive history of lying is always far too sensitive for the public to be permitted to scrutinize.

This is the kind of evidence you can’t see. The evidence is invisible.

“You also know that we do so, we declassify information only when we’re confident in that information,” Price continued. “If you doubt the credibility of the U.S. government, of the British government of other governments and wanna, you know, find solace in information that the Russians are putting out, that’s for you do to.”

So if you doubt the credibility of governments with a very well-documented history of lying about exactly this sort of thing, you’re at best a useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and at worst a Kremlin operative yourself.

Yep, sounds legit. That’s definitely the sort of thing government officials say when they feel like they’re being truthful.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted about the exchange, “This is wild. The State Department’s spokesman can’t comprehend why the Associated Press feels the need to distinguish between a claim and a fact, and becomes visibly offended—and then angered—by the suggestion that his claims may require evidence to be accepted as credible.”

Wild indeed. Assertions are not evidence. A government declassifying itself making an unsubstantiated assertion is not “declassifying” anything. This is not the sort of behavior anyone would accept from anyone else, except perhaps a televangelist or a cult leader, but it’s already being treated as truth by U.S. and British politicians.

If I got on here for example and began drumming up publicity with claims that I have evidence that extraterrestrials are visiting this planet, and then after racking up millions of views and lots of publicity my evidence turned out to be a video clip of me saying “Extraterrestrials have been visiting this planet,” I would be called a liar, a scammer, and a clickbait grifter, and rightly so. I could then claim that I can’t provide any further evidence beyond my own assertion without compromising my sensitive sources and methods, but I’d still quite rightly be called a liar, a scammer, and a clickbait grifter.

But if I’m the most powerful institution in the world and have an extensive history of lying about exactly the sort of claim I just made, that’s considered fine and normal within the mainstream western orthodoxy.

Wild. Just wild.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.  Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative MatrixRogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

13 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: US Again Tries Passing Off Government Assertions As Evidence

  1. Me Myself
    February 5, 2022 at 08:37

    This would be a great (Ski) Conversation for Saturday Night Live.

  2. robert e williamson jr
    February 4, 2022 at 19:03

    Apparently the democrats have become what the republicans are. Fascist.

    The White House should be above being dragged into a conflict using NATO as an excuse, even NATO disagrees among themselves on this.

    Biden has admitted as much by saying words to the affect that he and Mitch may have differences but that is different with their personal lives. Live on the tube at that.

    But Biden is caught being no different than 41, 43, Clinton or Obama. D.C. is officially off the rails when it comes foreign policy.

    They all talk support the troops but show no inkling of tiring of war or lying about maintaining the peace.

    I think all they know they have collectively failed and don’t know what to do.

    If any of these people are truly worthy they need to form the National STSH Party. Stop the Shit Heads party.

    It would be no larger joke than what we re dealing with now.

  3. Robert Emmett
    February 4, 2022 at 13:59

    I’m a little leery of following ol’ Ned down the so-called intelligence rabbit hole. Does this mean the U.S. now can give NATO the green light to invade Ukraine to save it from a fake Russian invasion, filmed as a faked U.S. incursion?

    Or is Intelligence just getting out in front by blaming Russia first in the false flag sweepstakes so that when they run their own op it will be truth-proof since Russia already will have been imprinted on the public’s mind as false flag central (casting, that is)?

    Or maybe they’re still in editing and weren’t quite ready for a sneak peak of the proof?

  4. ScienceABC123
    February 4, 2022 at 11:55

    Translation: State Department Spokesman Ned Price: “You are to accept what I say without question. I will NOT be questioned by you!

  5. Altruist
    February 4, 2022 at 10:38

    Reminds me of William Shirer’s Berlin Diary, describing what he called a typical headline in the German press (in this case, the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung) on the first day of World War II, in connection with Germany’s “counterattack” against Poland and the UK and France entering the war: “GERMAN MEMORANDUM PROVES ENGLAND’S GUILT.”

    Looks like the U.S. and Western sheeple are today as naive and gullible in believing their leadership’s party lines as the Germans were back then.

    • veritas_in_bello
      February 5, 2022 at 12:36

      That document was a coded transmission from Warsaw intercepted on August 31, 1939 by the Reich’s Air Ministry, ordering Polish ambassador in Berlin Lipski to reject all German offers for a solution to their border dispute. Later that day Goering called a conference with British attaché Henderson and Swedish mediator Berger Dahlrus to reveal Minister Beck’s refusal to negotiate with Germany. Henderson wrote to Lord Halifax, “here was proof to the German government of Poland’s delaying tactics and refusal to negotiate seriously.”

      That morning, the British ambassador Sir George Ogilivie-Forbes had attempted to present a copy of Germany’s Marienwerder proposal to Lipski. Lipski refused to accept it, stating to Ogilvie-Forbes, “in the event of war, civil strife will break out in this country [Germany], and Polish troops will march successfully to Berlin.” The proposal contained sweeping concessions to most Polish demands, outlining the basis for resuming the negotiations which had been broken off by the Polish military dictatorship. It proposed the return of Danzig to Germany, the construction of an autobahn linking East Prussia to the rest of the Reich, the contested area Gyndia to remain under Polish sovereignty, with a treaty protecting the civil rights of the ethnic German minority there, and a plebiscite for the people of the northern corridor region to vote on which country they wished to belong to.

  6. Big Stu
    February 4, 2022 at 09:53

    Words have meaning, and one plus one equals two.
    Unproduced evidence is an oxymoron. If it’s not produced, it’s not evidence. How can NOT producing anything make something EVIDENT? Likewise, an unnamed source is an oxymoron. To NOT identify the author of a story is to NOT provide a source. The emperor insists he is clad in invisible evidence from invisible sources, but the truth is he has no clothes. Narratives born of such garbled non sequitur nonsense are constructed out of diaphanous nothingness.

  7. Stephen
    February 4, 2022 at 08:36

    The Government, which lied us into a 20 year war quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan, has lost the “presumption of truthfulness.”

    If it wants me to believe that Russia, or China, or Cuba, or Venezuela, or any other country in the world, poses an imminent threat to the U.S., it is going to have to show me the evidence.

    Until it does, I am presuming that it is LYING . . . AGAIN!!

    • Stephen
      February 4, 2022 at 08:50

      And sorry about the very old pro-Democratic avatar. I can’t figure out how to change it.

      I started commenting on ConsortiumNews back during the Bush II administration, when I was a proud Democrat. Times have changed, and so have I.

  8. John F Murtha
    February 4, 2022 at 06:59

    An excellent article.

  9. Sadeeq
    February 4, 2022 at 05:44

    Well, *if* Ukrainian fascists attack the Donbass later, and *if* anyone makes a video of it, the finest politicians on Eart may say: “Fake pretext! I told you so!”

    A (not so) clever preparation…

    • Daniel
      February 4, 2022 at 13:05

      Great point. This is the trap that these people unknowingly set for themselves with their “trust me” schtick, which you can apply to all things that the government does in our names today. “We’re smarter than you and we don’t have to prove it.” Except they’re not, and they do. Their failures from the last 20 years alone should have taught us that.

  10. Andrew Peter Nichols
    February 4, 2022 at 05:41

    Yet thanks to the stenographers of our state friendly corporate western media, the masses will believe it. This Monty Python skit masquerading as a US State Dept briefing should be viewed by EVERYONE.

Comments are closed.