As was easily predicted, with every passing day the tissue of nonsense which is the Trump Dossier falls apart further.
Its many factual errors made that inevitable.
Perhaps the most interesting refutation of some of the facts it claims appears in an article in The Guardian by Andrei Soldatov
[T]he FSB unit named as responsible for gathering material on Hillary Clinton – Department K – has nothing to do with eavesdropping or cyber investigations. It was, however, much in the Russian news recently because it was tasked with “supervising” the banking and financing system and its officers were involved in a major scandal that ended with an Interior Ministry official jumping out of a window during interrogation. There is another Department K in the Interior Ministry and it is this that is in charge of cyber investigations. The dossier names Igor Diveikin, a senior official in the political department of Putin’s office, as tasked to deal with the US election. He was indeed in charge of elections, but in Russia, not the US. Last October, a month before the US elections, he was moved to the apparatus of the state Duma.
I am sure that as the Trump Dossier gets examined ever more closely more factual errors of this sort will come to light.
What is completely remarkable is that notwithstanding the fact that the Trump Dossier is littered with such errors and makes a claim about an alleged meeting between Donald Trump’s attorney and a Russian government agent in Prague which is demonstrably untrue, the Western media still refuses to admit that it is a fake. Instead we continue to read that though it is “unverified”, in spite of its many factual errors it is “plausible”.
A good example is the article by Andrei Soldatov from which I have just quoted. Whilst Soldatov himself identified some of the errors in the dossier, and whilst he also pointed out in his article some of the inherent implausibility of its claims, eg.
There are big questions too about the sources: high-placed Kremlin officials seem a little too keen to talk to a former British spy, and feed him damaging information about the most sensitive Kremlin operation in the 21st century – right in the middle of the operation.
Soldatov nonetheless continues to claim that the Trump Dossier is in some way a truthful account of the way the Kremlin conducts itself, and should therefore by implication be taken seriously
Though many of the report’s elements appear hastily compiled, overall it reflects accurately the way decision-making in the Kremlin looks to close observers. There’s been much focus on the shakier elements but what is plausible about this episode? The leaked document paints a picture of groups of hackers all over the world hired to attack western targets. And that sounds about right.
(bold italics added)
Similar claims have been made by others, for example by David Aaronovitch in The London Times.
That’s why in normal times I’d be inclined to see the Trump dossier as very suspicious. There is every reason to be sceptical when evaluating lurid claims about links between Donald Trump and the Russians, not least because the parties involved would know that they might be discovered. It would be an absurd risk, as the president-elect said at his press conference yesterday. And, as yet, this is merely the uncorroborated account of a supposed former MI6 officer talking to some anonymous Russian sources.
But these are not normal times — Russia has altered them. Russian internet troll factories are not a figment of a sci-fi writer’s imagination but are established fact. A strategy of disruption aimed at Europe and America is discernible and overrides any assumptions about great power behaviour.
(bold italics added)
That this is a totally wrong approach to take to a document like this should not need explaining. Either the document is true or it is not, and if it is not true no reliance should be placed on it however plausible to some people it might appear. David Aaronovitch elsewhere in his own article actually says as much, when he draws attention to the danger of simply accepting the truth of something one wants to believe in
Things that seem too good to be true usually are. The dossier full of allegations about Donald Trump contains a detail so salacious and Caligulan that I found myself almost yelling “Let it be so, please God!” at the computer. When the desire for something to be true is that strong, you need to step back from yourself.
As Aaronovitch’s article, and Soldatov’s, and indeed countless others all show, that is precisely the trap – of believing in something one wants to believe even if it cannot be true – that far too many people are falling into.
I would add that Craig Murray has made the very valid point that it is simply wrong that the Trump Dossier could not be verified or refuted in the weeks of its existence.
…..contrary to the claims of the Guardian and Washington Post that the material is “unverifiable”, the veracity of it could be tested extremely easily by the most basic journalism, ie asking Mr Cohen who has produced his passport.
On the subject of the factual truth or otherwise of the Trump Dossier’s contents, I would also point out one point that could also have been quite easily researched about the Moscow sex orgy story.
The sex orgy is supposed to have taken place in the Presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Moscow. The Ritz Carlton Hotel is American owned by a company headquartered in Boston, which is why Americans like US President Obama and Donald Trump like to stay there. So far as I know no-one has consulted this company about the plausibility or otherwise of the sex orgy story, or about whether it is likely that the Presidential suite at one of its leading hotels is fitted out by the FSB with hidden cameras.
In fact the many factual untruths and inaccuracies in the Trump Dossier show that no serious attempt was made to verify it in the weeks of its existence, whether by the US intelligence agencies or by anyone else.
On the contrary this grossly defamatory dossier was allowed to circulate for weeks without anyone making any serious attempt either to verify or refute it. That is a very disturbing fact, which points to the agenda of those who were in possession of it.