The arrest of the Wall Street Journal’s Russia-based correspondent for allegedly engaging in espionage solidifies the West’s view that Putin is a totalitarian monster, but also exposes the West’s shameless hypocrisy. This was a stupid move by the Russians (I will explain in a bit) but the reaction of Western politicians and media types exposes the grotesque double standard that has become the operating procedure in Washington and London.
Let me state my view on the First Amendment and the rights of journalists. No journalist should ever be arrested and prosecuted for trying to obtain or publish classified information. NONE!! One of the keys to freedom is that a government should never be able to hide behind the claim that something is “classified” and that the people that government supposedly represents are not entitled to that information. Daniel Ellsberg’s leak of the Pentagon Papers involved reporters handling and publishing classified information. Does anyone reading this piece want to argue those damning documents should have remained hidden?
I can think of several scenarios other where classified information should be or has been put in the hands of journalists. Sy Hersh received classified information from sources in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community in 2014 alerting him to the fact that the Obama Administration lied about the provenance of an alleged nerve gas attack in Syria in August 2013. The Obama folks claimed it was the Syrian Government. That was a lie; the act was carried out by Islamic radicals with ties to British Intelligence, among others.
What happens if an analyst or contractor in the intelligence community discovers that the President has authorized illegal spying on American citizens? Is that worth the public knowing. Absolutely. Just ask Edward Snowden.
The very folks in Washington, DC vilifying Russia for arresting a journalist just trying to do his job in Moscow are the same degenerates demanding that Julian Assange be sent to America, tried for treason and punished with a life time in prison.
I will make this simple. What Moscow is doing to Evan Gershkovich is the same thing that London and Washington are doing to Julian Assange. Both Russia and the West are guilty of egregious conduct with respect to investigative journalists.
I think the FSB made a stupid mistake in arresting Gershkovich because it feeds the Western narrative that Putin is an authoritarian and eager to recreate the horrors of the former Soviet Union. Putin and his team need to understand that the West, especially the media, have no clue about the prowess of Russia’s defense industry. It would actually work to Russia’s favor if all reporters were given access to the defense plants so that they could accurately report on Russia’s ability to produce tanks, artillery, artillery shells, cruise missiles, and armored vehicles.
The U.S. Intelligence Community certainly is not providing an accurate picture of Russian military manufacturing capabilities. Getting a cold shower of reality from Western press reporting from Moscow might force the Washington decision makers to throw away their Ukrainian fantasies and come to grips with the fact that Russia can out produce the United States and NATO countries combined. That could be a real wake up call for the war party in Washington, D.C.
Let me suggest another possibility regarding the arrest of Mr. Gershkovich — he was used, unwittingly, to bait the Russians in hopes that the Russians would shoot themselves in the foot. They took the bait and blew a big hole in their boots.
If I was Putin, I would order the immediate release of Gershkovich and then have Medvedev give him a personal tour of the tank factory. That would shut up the mob in Washington. As long as Julian Assange remains incarcerated and facing charges of treason, the West has no moral standing to lecture Russia on how to deal with reporters “suspected” of espionage.
By the way, a retired CIA officer who served overseas reminded me of this:
The agency can’t use American journalists for anything, by law. The use of any American in the private sector requires the personal approval of the CEO of the company, in this case the CEO of WSJ; and DCIA’s approval. On the common sense side of things, only a nitwit would use an American to collect inside Russia or any other denied area.
Ravi Venkataraman says
For the first time, U have to disagree with you. I don’t know the details of the accusation, but if the reporter was trying to get military secrets at a time of war, secrets that could potentially help the enemy, then I think the arrest was justified.
And why should Russia care what the West thinks of it? Even without this arrest, the Western sheeple would still think of Russia as an authoritarian state. I rest my case by arguing that even after WNBA player Britney Griner confessed to possessing drugs while entering Russia, there are many people in the US who believe that the confession was coerced from her. Even though, after a few months of being in the US, she has not retracted her confession, people still see her as innocent!
If this reporter is suspected of espionage, he should be arrested no matter how it is portrayed in the West.
Larry Johnson says
Then you support prosecuting Assange. Real simple.
the blame-e says
No. It’ not simple. It’s crisis overload. Oh, great. Here we go again. You simply cannot tell the difference anymore about anything.
People like Tucker Carlson do their little shows, express their little outrage, and then come back the next day and do it all over again like nothing ever happened. Journalism has become a hygienic act, like Pontius Pilate washing his hands of the whole Jesus Christ affair. Meanwhile, there just aren’t enough crosses.
And quite frankly I’m tired of it. Sick to death of it quite frankly. Putin would be doing Americans a favor by dropping five (5) 25-megaton nukes on DC. The CIA, the FBI, the US Capitol Building, the White House, and the Pentagon.
Finally, some peace and quiet. Bet we could balance the budget in week.
you forgot the City of London 😉
I dont think we can compare the Assange case with this one, its like you compare a tactical Nuke with the Zsar bomb
This case may be political but at a much smaller level, and lets wait what the russians will show us what they have against him and then judge it
If Putin exchanges him for Assange everybody will be happy🙂
I want some peace and quiet too
Have you seen the first episode of the show ‘Designated Survivor’?
Alex Thrace says
My wife liked that show. I thought it was stupid. Nearly the entire federal swamp was destroyed and all everyone wanted to do was rebuild it.
Where were the celebrations afterwards?
Made no sense
I have to go with your next to last paragraph. There are many people who feel that way. I’d like to see who the real life “designated survivor” is.
But was acting on behalf of an enemy or conducting pure journalism?
I think there is a valid distinction to be made.
Larry Johnson says
Remember all of the Republicans and Tulsi Gabbard who were accused of being controlled by the Russians? The Russians should have arrested the source providing the information, not the journalist.
Do we know the factory worker(s) he talked with did anything wrong? Maybe they are the ones who turned him in.
There you go! Let us suppose that Medvedev invites the Heads of 5 intelligence agencies of the West for a guided tour of the defense production set up in Russia and their jaw drops at seeing the scale of production and they jointly write a report telling their bosses the reality of what they saw. What do you think will happen? The war party will simply claim that the evil Russians have used advanced brainwashing technology to damage their intelligence chiefs and they know better. Their own more reliable sources in Russia (staying in Florida for the last ten years) have provided testimony that the guided tour was just a psyops using crisis actors in the role of factory workers and the finished tanks were really inflatable rubber dummies.
Your article is based on three assumptions which are empirically known to be false.
1. The decision makers of the war party are interested in truth but are unable to obtain it because of incompetence of their intelligence agencies. For people who believe in men giving birth to babies and encouraging drag shows on military bases, truth is just an inconvenience, like constipation, nothing that a simple laxative won’t help with. Hence the attitude towards Assange, Snowden, Manning et al. The post-truth Western society couldn’t care less about the real state of affairs in Russia. They only want to peddle what suits their narrative in support of their irrational policies.
2. Being a journalist is sufficient license to steal any information regardless of its end use. The use of journalists as spies by intelligence agencies destroys this assumption as the person is now playing a double role. It would be different if Russians had arrested this man for writing an article based on classified information as USA has done to Assange. They caught this man in his role as a spy. His job as a WSJ reporter was rightly treated as cover for espionage.
3. The other countries of the world be negatively influenced by this arrest. This assumes that decision makers in the other countries you have in mind are simpletons with short memories who take everything being said in the West as a gospel truth. They are in reality exposed to several decades worth of Western double standards /hypocrisy carefully explained to them by their own very competent experts. They will simply ask their experts for an opinion and the experts will explain the whole umpteen yards of background to them and advise them that a spy has been caught causing tummy ache in the West
Interesting perspective. What about a CIA agent undercover as a journalist? Does the journalist part grant immunity?
Assange was spying on no one. He was basically publishing classified documents that came his way.
Eric Newhill says
Not sure I 100% agree.
The ability of Russia to produce tanks and the rate of production are, indeed, legitimate journalistic questions; especially when we have an administration and their media mouthpieces telling us that Russia is running out of tanks and ammo and that fact will contribute in a big way to an impending defeat of Russia – AND we need to keep sending tax payer money and weapons to ensure that Ukraine can hold out until that day.
Of course the above is also a prime military intelligence target.
So a temporary arrest was necessary to:
1. Assess the damage – how what info – and what quality – had been garnered by the journalist?
2. Determine if Gerskovich really is merely a journalist
3. Discover who the journalist had contacted, who in Russia was providing info, etc. Who are these people? What motivates them to assist an American – basically is there a network working against Russia, or is this just a few one-offs?
4. Discourage others from prying around in Russian security affairs
I understand that Putin himself has intervened and demands the journalist be released. Probably it has been determined that Gerskovich really is just a journalist.
I would have used a different approach from an arrest. I would have sent an agent to the journalist under the guise of being a willing source, for money. Then the agent would work the journalist to obtain answers to the above questions as well provide misinformation, but that’s just me. The local Russian authorities apparently are heavy handed and failed to contact Moscow to let them know what was happening and request direction on how t handle it.
Stephen Kelly says
Does this mean Larry that there is no such thing as a spy anymore.
Adrian Postel says
Adrian Postel says
Couldn’t of said it better myself my brother!!!
Convict the Wall Street Journal’s reporter then offer to exchange him for Julian Assange.
Bazza McKenzie says
Hey larry, guess who vladimir can trade for ger, wh9 has a weird ukrainian khazarian sounding name like nuland s non american name.
We will trade em for assange and that guy in romania. Juat keep arresting more dark state goons and trading em for our guys. This is how war works larry.
Sorry Larry, as much as I respect your intellect and ethics, on this point I cannot agree.
Put simply, there is obviously no first amendment right in Russia, but that isn’t the question. The question is was this WSJ guy a spy?
I am generally in agreement with what you write but what you are saying here is a false equivalence. The WSJ reporter was in Russia actively seeking information about Russian weapons manufacturing while his own country, the US, is actively in support of and pursuing an extremely violent proxy war against Russia in Ukraine with a publicly declared objective of hurting Russia. On its face that is classic spy stuff for which people could realistically be executed, and we all know that journalism is frequently used as cover for spying activity. Obviously you know a lot more about that than I do.
Russians are being murdered within Russia by Ukrainian operatives (Daria Dugina). Attacks on Russian infrastructure within Russia are a regular event. In the circumstances they have an absolute right to arrest spies, or those suspected of spying.
Wikileaks was supplied with compromising information revealing US war crimes from whistle-blowers. Assange did not actively seek out military secrets, he was sought out by whistle-blowers and published the information they gave him – after vetting it thoroughly to ensure that no individuals’ lives would be threatened by what was published. Those who supplied him with the information such as Ashley Manning (though not Edward Snowden) have been forgiven. The hypocrisy is stunning. Assange is accused of espionage and Manning is not? We can all recognise that is bullshit.
I am an Australian who is truly disgusted by the treatment of Julain Assange, a man who is innocent of any crime, by the UK and US governments. I am even more disgusted by the pathetic lack of support of an Australian by the perpetually servile Australian government that consistently shows itself to have no principles .
Supposedly fundamental tenets of western democracy and the rule of law are now falling apart. As every day passes countries of the western alliance are looking more and more like the Soviet Union. The future frightens me as people with power and authority, particularly in your country, wake up to how far things have fallen and lash out in fear and anger.
It is no wonder that global dedollarization, BRICS and SCO are rapidly accelerating.
Michael56 – “Put simply, there is obviously no first amendment right in Russia, but that isn’t the question. ” Why “obviously?” Because the local media told you?
Article 29 of the Russian Constitution –
“1. Everyone shall be guaranteed the freedom of ideas and speech.
2. The propaganda or agitation instigating social, racial, national, or religious hatred and strife shall not be allowed. The propaganda of social, racial, national, religious or linguistic supremacy shall be banned.
3. No one may be forced to express his views and convictions or to reject them.
4. Everyone shall have the right to freely look for, receive, transmit, produce, and distribute information in any legal way. The list of data comprising state secrets shall be determined by federal law.
5. The freedom of mass communication shall be guaranteed. Censorship shall be banned.”
“4. Everyone shall have the right to freely look for, receive, transmit, produce, and distribute information in any legal way. THE LIST OF DATA COMPRISING STATE SECRETS SHALL BE DETERMINED BY FEDERAL LAW”
Antonin explain the issue of what is written on paper very well
Bazza McKenzie says
Point 2 immediately countermands point 1. One man’s statement of fact readily becomes a prosecutor’s claim of propaganda or agitation.
The US Constitution is unambiguous on the right to free speech, which is not encumbered by the authority of government to countermand in any way.
Of course that has been nonetheless destroyed by the US government and by its fascist media allies. So, in truth Russia is now no worse than the US has become. In fact it is arguably better, since you are not also going to be suppressed for contradicting woke nonsense.
I stand corrected. Thanks for that.
I was not intentionally being critical of Russia, I was simply ignorant of the Russian constitution as I imagine many others are too.
There is certainly no constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech or a bill of rights in Australia.
Lika: Here’s another source for the Russian Constitution – the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation:
I sought out this alternative when I spotted a glaring error — re ’48 hours detention’ — in Article 22 of your (Garant-Internet) link.
The Supreme Court version contains a correct translation for that.
I’m not aware of *any* other errors in Garent’s version, including the parts you cited. But I thought I’d pass this along to you for comparison.
And thanks very much for the lead.
Rebel Wop says
Oh, and there is a first amendment right in the US? I was tried for First Amendment protected free speech. They put the message content on trial under the guise of a technical issue. SCOTUS in McIntyre v Ohio clearly recognized the protection but prosecutors know the process is the punishment.
The prosecutors want to put me and my friend in jail for up to a year. Thankfully the jury nullified the law and voted not guilty.
Beat me, Daddy, 8 to the bar says
“I am … truly disgusted by the treatment of Julain Assange, a man who is innocent of any crime, by the UK and US governments. I am even more disgusted by the pathetic lack of support of an Australian by the perpetually servile Australian government that consistently shows itself to have no principles.”
Au contraire, mon ami. Successive Australian governments have shown themselves consistently to have the overaching principle of sticking their collective heads up the American ass (in all senses) and then announcing it’s a good smell.
Conversely, and perhaps a little (more) vulgarly, one can describe the Australian Strategic Posture as bent over, cheeks spread, waiting for insertion – oops, I meant instruction.
Julian Assange *is* guilty of a most serious crime – that of angering the government of an important, allied country. As everyone knows, he did that by telling the truth. His ‘crime’ causes his government embarassment and they just wish he would go away (dying in prison awaiting trial would be ideal).
Compared to the (estimated) $358 BILLION payment to the USA & UK to park their nuclear (armed!) subs in Australia, Julian Assange is of no importance – except to those who believe in the public’s right to know what government is actually doing.
I’ll stop ranting now – this is a matter about which I feel strongly. Best wishes.
CATACLYSMIC DUCK says
So true Micheal56 and Beat me, Daddy, 8 to the bar
“Conversely, and perhaps a little (more) vulgarly, one can describe the Australian Strategic Posture as bent over, cheeks spread, waiting for insertion – oops, I meant instruction.”
I always thought choking on coffee was a movie thing, until it happened to me on seeing Australia’s Attorney General Robert McClelland at the time demonstrating the Australian Strategic Posture to the children of the World when questioned by a MSM TV reporter on Assange’s arrest stating he was, “waiting on advice from his American counterpart before commenting.”
I’m not sure if he introduced the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Torture Prohibition and Death Penalty Abolition) Act 2010, aligning Australia’s criminal code with the UN Convention Against Torture to end impunity for torture globally, making torture an extraterritorial offence before or after Assange’s arrest in 2010.
Any way the law is irrelevant, vindictive politicians with the blood of millions of dead innocents on their hands receive Nobel Peace Prizes, fat pensions, millions for public appearances and ten book sales, while after thirteen torturous years, the horror continues for Assange on reporting USA War Crimes and political intrigue.
Larry, I totally agree with Michael56. Unfortunately, this time your view is wrong, on this issue. As Michael has very well explained: Assange is not a spy case. The WSJ-journalist is possible a spy case. That’s the crucial difference.
Jon Liddle says
Absolutely! (I live in Australia)
Top Gum says
Very good explanation of true facts. It shows us one thing thou … rules are only for us common folks to follow, not for those in power. This principle has never changed. Governments are not some democratic elected representatives of the people. They are all professional “politicians” that serve the interest of entirely different societies.
This is all smoke and mirrors to calm us down and make us what we truly are to those in power, working class that only exists to support all those “democratic” regimes with our tax money and our work force to produce stuff and services to those high societies.
Michael56, As a rule, here in Larry’s space, I limit myself to reading the articles and, with the same interest, also the comments. I have this rule, because little is known about geopolitics and my limited knowledge is restricted to my country, Brazil. But in the present article I understood your argumentative fragility already in the first paragraphs and you put in text what I understood; Well, you see, Russia is at war with the USA and its NATO/EU and UK doormats and obviously in such situations the national security laws themselves become more draconian and if an American is caught trying to obtain confidential information about defense, nothing fairer and more obvious than arresting him and if in the end everything is proven, condemning him to many years in a Siberian prison or using him as a bargaining chip in pertinent negotiations, but never and at no time even considering doing what Larry suggests.
From where I sit on the outside, there is no 1st amendment right in the US either, in practical terms.
Has no one noticed thus reporter’s last name? He is not related to people who came over on the Mayflower.
Not at all! This is a false analogy. I don’t support prosecuting Snowden or Assange but I accept Russia arresting this guy if there is sufficient evedence that he was indeed spying.
OK, in USA he is innocent until proven otherwise but the charge is serious crime.
Who says he is innocent?
I would not jump so fast to automatically condemn Russia, they have not been murdering, invading, and renditioning all over the world like the lawless Empire of Chaos. Perhaps they should be in some cases.
“OK, in USA he is innocent until proven otherwise…”
You apparently have missed yesterday’s tweet by Nancy Pelosi, who assures us that President Trump has the right to proves his innocence in court.
Just yesterday, presumption of innocence died in Amurka. RIP.
From my poppa's knee says
Uh, screw Pelosi. Innocent until proven guilty is the code. It’s the prosecution’s burden to prove guilt, not the defendant’s burden to prove innocence. At least not in this country, my daddy once told me. Did he lie?
Where do we find these people? They’re turning the USA into a third-world dictatorship, slowly but surely.
Dont think Assange was poking around factories – or anywhere else.
Even a guided tour of munition factories et al, do you honestly think that info would be allowed to be published with all the effort invested in ‘Russia is running out of xxx’.
Agree, there’s a whole world of difference between a sniff around a factory and uncover murders.
It’s illegal these days to take photos of any US military installation or equipment – that includes a selfie from a sailboat in front of a Carrier in San Diego Bay.
Law was changed a decade ago.
Peter VE says
In November 2021 I was in Hawaii, We took the USS Arizona tour in Pearl Harbor, While we were on the ferry over, we were told not to look or take any pictures off the port (left for you landlubbers) side of the ferry. Of course we all looked, and saw a tug bringing the USS Connecticut into port for repairs, after it ran into an “unkown undersea mountain” in the South China Sea. I never accidentally took any pix of my wife in that direction anywhere on the Memorial.
Exile: That is a good point. Maybe Gershkovich was not up on his Soviet/Russian history or too young to know it?
A Closed City (Yekaterinburg) and Its Secret Archives: Notes on a Journey to the Urals
If I were a Western journalist there is no way I would have gone anywhere near Yekaterinburg, DURING AN SMO, even if my editors demanded it. Likewise, if I were working for TASS, there is no way I would get anywhere near the Skunk Works / Nevada Test Site. That is just asking for trouble in so many ways. Minimally, there was a common sense chip missing here. IMHO
The Story of the Sacrificial Lamb says
I just heard second-hand, that the reporter was very reluctant to go on this assignment. If true, it’s all the more reason to suspect that the WSJ sent him on another mission entirely, and it’s not hard to guess what that was.
Ravi Venkataraman says
No, I do not support persecuting Assange, His Wikileaks information was curated before being put on the web, making all efforts to ensure that it would not harm anyone. Therein lies the difference. This WSJ reporter could have tried to gain access to sensitive information that could lead to adverse events for the Russian military. It is not the title of a person that make him a journalist or a spy, but his actions, If Evan’s actions amounted to spying, he should be prosecuted.
No, it’s not quite easy. When I hear something like that, I am frightened. The totalitarian – I’m right syndrome – should not enter here. Your readers are also intelligent, perhaps they don’t have the experience you do. Andrei Martyanov is sometimes like that too. Also below I saw another defiant reply, Larry Johnson. I think that’s really childish, especially since you can answer that in a different way. Admit you got up on the wrong side of the bed with this morning. Most of your readers’ responses to your text are good food for thought.
It would be something to demand an exchange with Julian Assange. Then the story would look a bit different again.
Sorry Larry, much as I admire you, I must disagree. To find out what a putative enemy is doing in a time of war is espionage, whatever profession you assign to yourself. A press card is not a defence. IF Gershkovich were roaming the battlefield looking for evidence of Russian war crimes, yes, if he was arrested for that, we could make that argument. But he was not. As for the CIA guy’s argument, c’mon! “By law”? When did the CIA abide by “the law”? You know more than I, that the CIA considers itself above any law! But I will always love you, Larry.
Re the CIA’s claimed inability to use a reporter for intelligence, please recall Udo Ulfkotte’s revelation that CIA vetted every article in Der Spiegel for decades. The depth and breadth of CIA’s psyops are astounding.
If they can use illegally media for their psyops, why could they not also for intelligence gathering?
Has no one noticed this reporters name? His is related to no one who came over on the Mayflower.
Adrian Postel says
Love this comment!!
“The agency can’t use American journalists for anything, by law.”
I believe the Congress and Presidential approval is a loophole in the Intelligence Authorization Act.
I don’t know if this loophole was plugged on not but as of 1997 it was valid.
There’s no equivalence between the Assange case and that of Gershkovich, Mr. Johnson, the former revealed an illegal behaviour of the US military, unless one were to argue that the information Gershkovich collected was about an unlawful deed or deeds of the Russian State the analogy fails.
The only thing these two guys have in common is that they are both behind bars, that’s it.
Brendan Holleran says
No, he doesn’t. Assange is not a US citizen not was the alleged offence committed in the US and finally he wasn’t arrested in US.
Mark Matter says
They did the right thing. They’re completely done with the west. It’s like when you’ve been treated like sh*t for years and years and you still try your best. Then at some point you’re done. The Russians are done with the west and don’t care anymore. And the Chinese don’t even really try because Western meadia control is so strong.
My sinking heart says
That’s what’s becoming really dangerous. At some point, you’ve given up caring about launching a thousand nukes too. And I mean that for both sides.
I see it in Medvedev’s face. He was pro-Western for so long. It’s like having a good friend stab you in the back, then cutting himself a bit and accusing you of attacking him and you end up convicted of the crime. What would you do? I wonder myself.
E Bligan says
I’m going to read you more carefully from now on.
The Assange case is order of magnitudes above the concernes you express here.
Assange exposed US state terrorism and murder, which was/is of tremendous importance to the world.
Shithead Gershkovich tried to collect military info
for the UZA neocons, who are so up to the neck
in their selfinflicted shit.
It would be a pitty if you started to tilt Larry.
What if they would just take Gershkovich acreditations and deport him from the country (if he is foreign national). Would that be equal treatment as Assange?
Keeping in mind that so far most of the west media was not banned in RF i’m willing to give a benefit of a doubt and wait for more details.
Anglo-Saxon's burden says
That might have worked had Australia not been in the pocket of Uncle Sam’s kangeroo. But pocketed, it is.
So, the dude was working for US govt under the cover of journalist… allegedly. Somehow that makes him equal to Assange? Did Assange work for any government? What was Assange’s motivation? Since when did the WSJ become the WikiLeaks?
Sorry, Larry, there is no logic in your opinion – you are comparing apples to oranges.
But dont worry, after the trial, the dude will go into exchange pool. He will be treated well and will not rot in jail. On his return home as a journo spy hero, he will write a book full of BS and sell movie rights.
I hope Julian is still alive then…..
harry g says
“Sorry, Larry, there is no logic in your opinion – you are comparing apples to oranges.”
I agree 100 % with this view and…that of Ravi, et alia.
the principle of “turn your left cheek” is good, but not in wartime. It looks like suicide. The US can arrest Assange or someone else, but Russia, China, etc. can, “they should be good and play by the rules, convenient to the Neocons.” It reminds me of my childhood in the style of “your brother is bad, he went for a walk, and you be good, wash the dishes for him and clean up the room.” And so it will always be – one lives as he wants, the other – as a slave, fulfills other sins of people. Ha ha))
There are always three sides to what you look at. The one side you see, the one side I see and the third side none of us sees.
I think this is the case here.
We have, thanks in part to your insights, come to realize that the Russians are not stupid or inept. Following this logic I feel that there is something here that does not add up. I have the funny feeling that this arrest will be used as an opener for negotiation for an off ramp that cannot otherwise happen without causing a major outcry.
If you think this incident is a way to open negotiations on ending the conflict in Ukraine- I think you are delusional.
There can be no negotiations with America over the Ukraine conflict.
America is incapable of honoring any agreement or acting honestly and honorably.
Russia is not looking for “a way out”. They have laid out exactly what they expect.
The conflict in Ukraine ends when all American, NATO and Ukraine military forces are cleansed from Ukraine territory, and a DMZ is created on the Polish border.
We don’t know, what exaxtly he is charged with. Acquiring target coordinates would be well beyond journalism. Wait for the court process to evaluate. Not guilty until proven otherwise must be valid in this case also for the FSB. The Assange case, OTOH, has shown no substance in lawsuit.
The Russians may have a need to exchange someone of their own from US prisons … Who is left?
I’m 100% with Ravi on this one. There is a clear difference between Assange and a spy.
And the claim that the CIA is bound by the law makes you look naive.
Otherwise, thanks for the great work.
Adrian Postel says
CIA abides by the law?
Top Gum says
Sorry, but it is not at all what he was saying. You seem to have a blind spot here.
Since when does the US government adhere to some local or international laws or the American constitution? You have said it yourself, pointing to the hunt and prosecution of Mr. J. Assange or E. Snowden.
Russia suspended the START treaty, then we had that drone incident near Crimea and now a nosy journalist was caught obtaining secret information. Actions have consequences. We all know that the US would love it when American journalist had the freedom to go wherever they want them to and obtain information that is supposed to be kept a secret, just because they are “journalists” and no one should stop them.
Russia’s reaction is justified and it plays well with the rest of the SMO. People seem to forget that WW3 is happening and soon things will escalate even more. The US is on the ropes here. They feel it that they can’t simply do what they always have done to others. Russia is not just some defenseless country. Actions will have consequences.
Vojkan M. says
No. Absolutely not. It is one thing to expose war crimes or government misdeeds, which is called whistleblowing and for which no one should be prosecuted, it is wholly another to try to obtain top secret military information about armaments in a country with which your government is in all but name at war.
just saying says
US laws do not apply outside US. Russian laws do apply inside Russia. Real simple.
Half right. US laws do indeed apply outside the US, or so the US insists.
Vous êtes à côté de la plaque… dommage comparer Assange avec ce clow …Larry vous nous décevez…
Jack Gordon says
I too think it depends on what the WSJ guy was up to. If, for example, he was trying to discover targeting information (just an example because I don’t know precisely how one would do that), thus allowing NATO’s proxy army to hit something valuable with rockets, that would make his activity significantly different from Assange’s in my mind. I’d like to know what the SBU plans to allege in the charges.
Jack Gordon says
My goof– I meant to say FSB, not SBU!
With allies like that..... says
Well, thank God. If it were the SBU and he were a Russian journalist, they’d just execute him on the spot.
just saying says
No way SBU would bother verifying is someone is journalist or Russian. They just execute anyone on the spot.
Philip Garber says
The other question is how he intended to use the information he did gather. Was it for an article or simply to pass on to the CIA? If the latter, then his journalistic status is irrelevant.
Thomas Malthaus says
“On the common sense side of things [sic], only a nitwit would use an American to collect inside Russia or any other denied area.”
The CIA has American operatives in Russia posing as State Department employees and private business owners. They also use disgruntled Russians. It repeats itself across the world.
Am I missing something?
Wm Stiefel says
Is there not a difference? Assange was not feeding intel to an enemy combatant. He was publishing openly. This reporter was caught “red-handed”, whatever that means. Give it some time and more facts may come out. It is too early to know.
Larry Johnson says
You have no proof that Evan was “feeding intel to an enemy combatant.” Are you really this blind? The United States maintains that Assange was feeding intel to our enemies (the radical Islamists). Jesus!! Some of you are really thick.
Just sayin' says
Just sayin’; In consideration that UA has appealed for weapons to target RF facilities deep within the RF (granted, a stretch to this plant) and the US (at least some factions) seems to have warmed to the idea if the war escalates, wouldn’t any intel on an armaments factory published in a western outlet be considered ‘fodder to an enemy combatant’?
Wouldn’t that be akin to a Russian or Chinese journalist attempting to interview an official or employee of the Watervliet Arsenal?
Top Gum says
It seems your views on this matter differ a lot from the ones of the people reading your blog.
Did the US provide clear evidence, that Assange fed intel to radical Islamists? Not to m knowledge. We are talking about the same “people” who staged many false flags to get their murderous agenda going. The ones that use proxies to fight their dirty and unjustified wars and still lie about it. Yes, someone seems blind here alright.
That is precisely why the UK is holding Assange in a maximum security prison for skipping bale on fake charges of rape, which are no longer supported even by a country that initially filed them, Sweden. Essentially, they are keeping in prison a person that committed no crime or has been accused, let alone convicted, of any crime – because the US said so.
I suppose we should all believe they do that because the US has rock solid proof Assage was “feeding intel to the enemy”.
Russia simply arrested that Evans person for poking his nose where it doesn’t belong, as simple as that. Even if he did it unwittingly, which I doubt, he should’ve known better.
toss me in with the thick ones – i see a difference between reporting war crimes vs. state capabilities.
Had the guy been investigating/reporting on a hidden “bucha massacre” i would put him in the assange camp. similarly Sy Hersch reporting over the years seems to be on secret criminal doings – secrecy misused to cover up illegality. Snowdwn the same.
ive yet to see a Sy Hersch or Assange article exposing actual US cryptographic secrets for an example…
in my mind – thats being a traitor – it might not be agin the law for a journalist to write such an article but thats how this thick head would see it.
Assange is dangerous for top brass that ordered or were lean with a lot of very bad things , most of them illegals, and who used the confidential seal to bury their wrongdoings. Some problems of the past.
Gershkovich is dangerous for people working in a weapons factory…as banderist already demonstrated the willingness to send some Kamikaze drones in Russia. A problem for the future.
They are not the same. I’m very OK with freedom of speech : you can relate about shady transactions as much as you want , but you can’t give someone online banks credentials on a public forum.
Devil's advocate says
Larry’s argument seems to be that Assange aided and abetted the ISIS enemy by exposing war crimes and serious abuse, giving them recruiting fodder. It’s a reasonable argument but…..
If that’s the argument, then I’d say John Kerry, the Israelis and anybody else that knowingly sent a ‘you’re our boys now’ direct or indirect message is guilty of worse, with the intent added.
just saying says
ISIS is US proxy used to destabilize the region. Calling it an “US enemy” is just doublespeak.
Manufacturing Consent on a Sunny Fri. Morn says
Just another crazy thought in a crazy world: Not that I give it much credence but what if the WSJ actually wanted to free Assange (or simply create another provocation) by sending poor Evan on a ‘fact finding mission’ that they knew would likely end in his arrest for espionage? After all, is he that naive? Is the WSJ?
That said, I’ve lately come to checking CNN for its opening headlines: (I know, it’s a form of self-inflicted torture)
‘We will never forgive’: Zelensky marks one year since the liberation of Bucha,
Since the State Dept/MSM have written this in stone, yet apparently with no factual investigation, just UA’s word, seems to have taken place and we should know all the contradictory evidence by now, but lacking that serious investigation don’t know if real or concocted, I’d suggest applying the same argument that Hersh used for Nord Stream. “That no serious investigation by the US was ever ordered by Biden tells the whole story, that they knew already.”
Never mind that the RF has again asked for an international investigation of Bucha and been turned down, the argument speaks for itself. “Why not and where’s the evidence?” The list of victims, pro, anti or neutral Russia? Relative’s depositions? Autopsy analyses or lack of? Origin of fleschettes? Trajectory analysis? Etc, etc.
None of that was done or if so, not available for scrutiny. For Hersh, that’s a tell and for me too. And not that the m.o. hasn’t appeared before, remember Syria? The Balkans? Our old friend, the ostracized Cui Bono? On and on.
Coal Mine Canary says
I applaud your support of Hersh on the 2013 Syria attack. I didn’t know he had done that but formed a concurrent opinion second hand from his revelations and from other dissenting opinions and the reluctant NYT retraction of its lengthy trajectory analysis on ‘page 2034’.
These are interesting times we live in. I hope we never have to live them again, if our lives (in all seriousness) manage to survive them at all.
Mr. Johnson, respectfully, you cannot honestly be making such a ridiculous binary claim.
Russia considers itself to be at war with the West and Gershkovich is part of the hostile Western media actively seeking to overthrow the Russian government.
Assange is simply a whistle-blower. One would expect a person with your background to be capable of appreciating the difference.
Also, as others have said – how on earth can it seriously be proposed that Russia has “shot itself in the foot” with this action? What is the combined West going to do, issue another ICC warrant for Putin’s arrest?
Joe Katzman says
In time of war, standards change. Assange was not acting in a time of war, the WSJ journalist was. So it is different.
With that said… I agree that having Medvedev tour some tank and artillery factories with him, before expelling him and sending him home, is the smart play. Teaches journalists that they can lose access, so it’s a moderate deterrent longer-term. At the same time, it gives this one guy a story to publish that would leverage his current inflated notoriety in a useful way.
I’d still bet that his story would never sees the light of day; WSJ censors any comments critical of the neocon war. But the Pentagon will debrief him, and the message will get through there.
Shaheer Ahmed says
Mr. Johnson, I agree with pretty much everything you said, however I note a difference in the Assange and Gershkovic situations. From Russia’s point of view, given that the USA has shown no scruples…and has not hesitated to use any and all means to undermine the Russian state, I’m inclined to currently give them the benefit of the doubt when they say he was working for the US Govt..
I’m leaning towards your take cause I’m also passionate about Freedom of speech and journalists rights….but just want to hold off condemning Putin until we find out what the FSB means by ‘ caught red-handed’ and Zakharova’s statement that Gershkovic’s activities ‘ had nothing to do with journalism’…..even though I’m finding it hard to imagine anything outside Journalism’s domain.
Your are equating hidden state criminality with military secrets, Johnson. It seems that you have not thought this one through.
It is clear that this journalist is accused of seeking military secrets for Russia’s enemy, the US. That’s true spying and criminal spying in any self-respecting country.
Assange and Snowden revealed state criminality.
It is real simple that one spying has nothing to do with the other.
(Would you condone a Russian journalist peeping into the development plans of Lokcheed Martin, for instance)
Love the fact that you engage with the comments Mr Johnson. Love your work but have to say this journalist is either very brave or very stupid to be where he was while Russia is at war. First amendment rights don’t travel well. Lets hope things work out well for him.
He was arrested in Yekatarineberg not doing his job in Moscow. I think you are just wrong on this.
Larry Johnson says
I think the dummy was set up. Again, the purpose of this, as I stated in my article, is to try to reignite support for Ukraine because of THE RUSSIAN THREAT.
I think the dummy was set up.
What if the arresting of this WSJ reporter was to get a Trade for another Russian citizen that is locked up in a U.S. Prison? Just like the last Trade conducted for the Trans Basketball player for the so called “Arms Dealer” who was setup by the CIA and I think either ATF or DEA. No matter which one it was, they are all CORRUPT!
Steffen OPPENHEIMER says
I simply cant understand this point of view of yours in this issue, let me remind you that the 1 st amendamente is valid in US not in Russia. Also all the examples you posted here are not same thing, Sy Hirsch, Daniel Ellsberg, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden had provided information to the public about the War Crimes of the US Army and other crimes committed by the American Government and Army, they did not provide Secret Information that could potentially cause damage in a war, Russia is at war with America, the first amendment is valid especially in the US, not even in the EU, this is not applicable, I CAN’T UNDERSTAND how you comparing these cases, ESPIONAGE is a criminal act anywhere in this world, Journalism in 100% of cases should not be considered a criminal act, unfortunately you compare Espionage with Journalism, at least that’s how I see things, maybe I’m wrong…
assange wasn’t reporting secrets to aid an enemy in a time of war. can we say the same about WSJ dude? you really think CIA isn’t employiny major corporate reporters for exfiltration duties?
Unknown Stranger says
Yes, prosecute Assange, but give him a fair trial! I’m sure you and I can be confident that if Assange is given a fair trial the case would be over in a few days and Assange would be free. What is unacceptable, unfair and immoral is incarcerating him for a decade+ without the guarantee of a fair trial.
With respect, even the US would be concern with a foreign reporter from a hostile country was fishing for information about military industrial capacity during a war with said hostile country even if they are using a proxy. I don’t understand how you can see that as comparable with the Assange case when Julian Assange was not in US territory nor had the US declared war on the country where Assange was living at that time.
Second, the US continues to practice extra territorial arrests of Russian citizens abroad. In my view, it even adds more of an emphasis on Russia, who at least are only arresting people in their territory, to apply the law. No country in their right mind being attacked by the US would allow such an “opportunity” pass by.
Don’t go full Jack Devine with the counter accusations. CIA training you might want to unbrainwash yourself of, Larry.
If we are going to equate Evan Gershkovich to Julian Assange, then I think we need to judge this case by the standard that Assange (and Glen Greenwald & Daniel Elsworth) applied to themselves:
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange withheld 15,000 documents about Afghanistan war to ‘protect innocents from being harmed’, investigative journalist tells extradition hearing
“However, Mr Goetz, who worked with The Guardian and New York Times on the Afghan files, said there was no evidence harm came from the leaks.”
Greenwald On NSA Leaks: ‘We’ve Erred On The Side Of Excess Caution’
“So the decision-making process that we’ve engaged in has been the one that I think journalists all over the world use every single day, which is weighing the value of the disclosure for the public interests versus the potential harm it may have to innocent people.”
At this point in the story we don’t know what Gershkovich was engaged in, or how to apply the harm/no harm standard.
Furthermore, I find the assumption that providing journalists free access to Russian military factories is categorically beneficial to the Russian state. What if there were a production mishap at one of the plants, that greatly curtailed T-90 or ammunition production and that production was a prerequisite for a Russian Spring offensive? If you remember your history, Hitler continually postponed the start date for Operation Citadel (the Battle of Kursk) because he wanted to deploy the latest Panther, Tiger & Ferdinand tanks. Had Russian journalist had free access to Wehrmacht production facilities they could have informed Stalin that there would be a delay in launching Operation Citadel.
Konstantin Konstantinovich, thank you for the comment!))
I will add to what has been said that the Russian security forces in such cases do not voice all the information at once, but negotiate behind the scenes. Surely there is some kind of deal hiding under the carpet. If the opponents persist, the Russian Federation will report additional facts. I repeat, logic -7 “if a spy has a journalist’s ID, then he does not fall under the jurisdiction – this is a perversion.”
I agree with you. Russia doesn’t need to show off their military power. Presented by a biased US journalist to the western audience there is no assurance that it will tell the reality. It may pick the negative aspect of Russia weapons building and denigrate it’s achievements. It could also expose weaknesses of the weapons. I wonder how the west would react if a Russian journalist was visiting Lockheed and asking questions about the hypersonic failure!
The spy did his job and was caught up.. end of story
time of war ? Has Congress voted on a War Declaration ?
Larry is 100% correct, there should never be state secrets.
BTW – there is a Spanish Journalist currentlyy
Spanish journalist in jail in Poland he was reporting from the Ukraine. Apparently he reported wrong-thought
There is also a German journalist who was also reporting from the Ukraine. She was interviewing Babushkas and other locals and posting the interviews on social media. She’s been inducted by the German Gov’t – also for wrong-thought.
“Larry is 100% right, there should never be state secrets.”
Maybe the state itself should not exist and the principles of independence and sovereignty of the state should not exist?
This was Larry’s first article that I disagreed with on almost every count. I was pleasantly surprised that most blog readers disagreed with Larry. I did not find almost anything that I could add to the voiced objections.
Except for one thing: people in the US and Western countries have too much faith in the sanctity of the democratic principles set out in the US Constitution. They lament only that these principles are violated and not respected by the authorities. At the same time, they curse the communists, the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union, about which they have very abstract propaganda ideas.
In no way do I want to return to the USSR under the rule of the communist party, since the communist party in power also violated the principles that it imposed on all other ordinary members of society.
Meanwhile, the 10 commandments of God were put in the basis of the Moral Code of the builder of communism.
And how are democratic principles and freedoms consistent with divine commandments? They don’t agree at all.
March 30, 2023 at 11:27 pm
“4. Everyone should have the right to freely seek, receive, transmit, produce and distribute information in any lawful manner. THE LIST OF DATA CONSTITUTING A STATE SECRET IS DETERMINED BY FEDERAL LAW”
Found a contradiction? But this is not a contradiction, but a compromise.
A compromise between the democratic principles imposed on Russia in the era of perestroika and glasnost, on which almost 2 generations of Russian citizens grew up and which almost destroyed the country, mired in anarchy, and the principles of sovereignty and true independence of the state with the priority monopoly of the state on violence, law and order .
I prefer to walk the night streets of the city without looking around and not being afraid for my wallet in public transport than respecting the freedom of thought and speech of everyone who did not study well at school and who wants to loudly say something original in order to earn money.
R.S. The communist regimes have lost because the 10 commandments of God do not fit well with the imperfect nature of man. But democracies are very well consistent with all human vices.
Name one state secret that’s legimitate.
If I understood your question correctly, which seemed strange to me.
In Russia, everything related to the defense industry, as well as to strategic industries, is issued for employees according to various forms of security clearance.
The existence of state secrets and their legitimacy does not occur to anyone to dispute. And what exactly is a secret – there is a great secret for the unenlightened.
That article states what there are state secrets, so no big deal when that “journalist” was detained.
The guy (Lika)that showed it implied that the russian constitution allows to share ‘freely’ military secrets.
Deeper and deeper we go says
What about the French aid worker/journalist/ex-military that was at Bucha during the UA’s re-entry and saying he saw with his own eyes the AFU unloading bodies from trucks onto the streets, along with summary executions of RF POWs and other distasteful events? Did he not deserve an international hearing?
What would be the incentive for his fabricating such things? I know what UA supporters would say; ‘he’s on Putin’s payroll’. Really? Let’s see if he has any crypto accounts then. No, no one bothered? OK.
Any comparison between Assange and the US spy Gershkovich is fundamentally wrong. As a journalist, Assange has the responsibility to tell truth regarding American war crimes to a global audience. His purpose for doing this job isn’t about selling information to the biggest bidder. On the other hand, according to FSB, the US spy Gershkovich was caught in the middle of gathering classified info. Likely, he was hired as a spy whose information was directed against Russia’s national interests. In fact most American spies, secret agents… usually hide themselves / their activities behind benign occupations such as journalism and aid workers ….in order to deflect attentions and deceive others. Even the WEF’s big elites including G. Soros, Bill Gates … hide their secret agendas behind certain charity organizations or some other benevolent bullshits. This is a very well known fact, if not obvious to commercially brainwashed western residents but not the rest of the world. We are fully aware of Washington’s satanic programs that run counter to the interests of the wider International community.
Chicago Bob says
I agree totally. In times of war, this is a necessity.
I totally agree. And Larry, you can’t compare Assange with Gershkovich. And I’m not sure Gershkovich was “innocent” and was “used’.
what he says is that this journalist is of the lowest caliber and his work is inconsequential.
Russians should rise above it and send him home to the US on a first class air china flight. with champagne on the house.
and that the same virtue-signalling muppets who now throw their toys out of the pram over this clown’s arrest, are the same ones advocating for life imprisonment of assange = hypocricy off the charts.
My Comment says
Might as well go ahead and arrest him. No matter what the Russians do Putin is Russia Man Bad just like Trump will always be Orange Man Bad.
There is no reasoning with the US media and government nor is there with the “Russians are running out of missles” crowd.
Besides, the 1st Amendment was written when the press wasn’t simply the propaganda arm of a uniparty. Arresting a journalist is no different from arresting a member of the CIA especially given that many journalists are unofficial employees of the CIA (Operation Mockingbird lives!)
Most American journalists support Asange’s imprisonment so I can only hope this one rots in a Russian jail. Unfortunately, that likely won’t happen
the blame-e says
Absolutely. This! Thank you!
MSM wants to delete the Truth says
Those who support Assange’s imprisonment should be given a one-way ticket to the Russian jail.. Preferably near the Kolyma region! If someone deserves to rot, why not doing it while looking really cool!
Mining gold would make them stronger.. Very empowering!
The precious metal could be used to finance the reconstruction of Mariupol, Bakhmut,etc..
Larry, journalism as you surely know, has long been used as a cover for espionage. I have never heard of this journalist,which is not really relevant, and don’t know the facts of this case. However, I don’t see the comparison of a native journalist, such as Ellsberg or Snowden, with a foreign journalist from a hostile power, which is actively engaged indirectly, if not directly, in military activities against the arresting country. In this case, Russia. Ellsberg and Snowden were seeking information regarding their own country which I think most democratic peoples would feel they were entitled to, especially when their governments were engaged in lying to them and war crimes.
It’s certainly bad PR for Russia with a western media and peoples. But Russia is never going to win the propaganda war, even if that was very important to them, which I suspect it’s not, at least with respect to the Western peoples. And even given that this guy is a bona fide journalist, that does not exclude the possibility that he was gathering information which is exposed to the west, would endanger Russia security interests. I would think that any country in a time of war is not going to see such activity kindly. From their point of view, the difference between such journalism and spying is pretty subtle.
Agreed, bravo. That son of the reveloution is getting a little hot headed with those pesky Rooskies.
Sir K de Solay says
“I think the FSB made a stupid mistake in arresting Gershkovich because it feeds the Western narrative that Putin is an authoritarian and eager to recreate the horrors of the former Soviet Union.”
This is perhaps a silly question, but why would Russia even remotely care what the West thinks? Th West is going to spin the “Russia is evil” trope and will be untrustworthy whenever negotiations are concerned under all circumstances–so why take its views into consideration at all?
Larry Johnson says
Not a silly question. It is not so much what the West thinks but how the countries Russia is courting react. I think he’s always better off in these matters taking the high road.
Disagree…. It’s high time Russia start to assert itself, on and off the battlefield.
They have been tolerating enough “cheap shit”, as my Southern daddy used to say, from the snotty USA.
just saying says
I’m pretty sure China is cheering an arrest of US spy. Africa too. And Middle East, sans Israel. And most of the world outside the West, for that matter.
Spy vs Spy says
I’m split on this one. They could have simply given him persona non grata status and sent him home. But the ante’s a lot higher these days. Playing hardball’s all the rage.
just saying says
That happened to a Japanese diplomat few monts ago. There was even a video of him, in some cafe, receiving some “top secret documents”.
Sending this guy home would encourage other spy wannabes.
Charles E. Fromage says
Larry, like me, you want to point out the hypocrisy and stupidity of our own US deep-state, and defend Russia’s actions, at least as am obvious consequence of our own stupidity.
But as you always recognize – Russia does not play the game we think they play. I too think it was unnecessary to arrest a WSJ reporter, but their reply would be “so what?”
Even if this reporter saw first hand what Russians are capable of producing, what are the chances he would be allowed to publish that in the WSJ? Less than zero. And pretty sure Putin cares less about what the Western War machine and obediant US public thinks about Russia. Anyway, less than 10% of brain washed Americans have a positive view of Putin. Accurate videos of Russian capabilities would be spun to justify the need for more military, or how Russians are forced to work long hours for oligarchs, etc and ad naseum. As to Western double standards–if you can’t see US hypocrisy by this point, no further examples are gonna change you mind. Haters gonna hate. Putin did this for his own motives. Good for him. I’m an atheist, but can see how Putin uses the church to set Russia up as different and better than the corrupt West. And the “Free press?” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe — ‘None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free’ Like religion, freedom is a useful and abused illusion.
LJ MacKay says
I do not understand why people assume Putin personally is involved in this arrest. If the FBI or RCMP arrest someone in USA or Canada as a spy, do we assume it was under the direction of Biden or Trudeau? Law enforcement personal gather evidence and make arrests based on the laws of their countries, not the whim of the head of government!
se Evan stesse trafugando piani riguardanti i Kinzal ,secondo voi rientrerebbe nel suo lavoro di giornalista?
Know thy media says
what are the chances he would be allowed to publish that in the WSJ?
If it was negative to the RF, then it would be published. If it was positive, then it would either be suppressed or fiddled with and then published. But before publication, the raw data would have been fed up the government chain for massaging before it reached Biden anyway.
PS: If I sound jaded, you won’t be wrong.
Femi Akomolafe says
I think it’s wrong to condemn the Russians without knowing the particulars of the case in which the reporter was charged.
Do you argue that the Russians should allow a Western journalist to obtain the secrets of their hypersonic weapons?
We all know that intelligence agencies use journalism as convenient covers.
And which child born yesterday is unaware of the sanctimonious hypocrisy of the West?
I doubt very much if the Russians care about American or Western public opinions anymore.
the blame-e says
We don’t have journalists. We have lying, cheating, two-timing, cold-hearted, mean spirited, home-wrecking losers, low life, trailer park trash, propagandists.
Sometimes there simply are not enough adjectives.
We don’t have a mainstream media anymore. What we have is a fully captured, fully owned, controlled, and manipulated propaganda machine. The damage these so-called “journalists” have done to this country is incalculable at this point.
The so-called independent and alternative media is no better. They peddle the same crap, the same un-named sources, the same anonymous authorities, the same pseudo experts.
I am sick of it. Kill them all. Let God sort them out.
What happens to the scum of the earth bothers me not at all. This trash hiding behind a Constitution and Bill of Rights that they have completely gutted is the height of hypocrisy.
“But! I’m a journalist!”
Yeah. Right. More lies.
Putin shooting them in the face on worldwide televison would be doing the planet a big favor. Now, that’s something I would pay to watch.
I think the planet should issue a “shoot on sight” for any Americans. We are either the CIA, FBI, a member of one of the secret seventeen (17) security agencies, a George Soros NGO, or a “journalist.”
Kill them all. Let God sort them out.
Enough is enough.
Beat me, Daddy, 8 to the bar says
Friend, much as I understand, these thoughts are bad for your blood pressure, catecholamines and cortisol.
Take a nip of your favourite single malt, then a deep breath (preferably of primo ganja), then exhale and relax. 🙂
Alpha's not just a letter says
Some of us can live with the adrenalin rush to get their dander up. It’s a natural stimulant. The rest can smoke their ganja, revel in their neither fight nor flight bliss and settle with whatever scraps are dished out for them.
Alpha's not just a letter says
That said. Being an American, somewhat reluctantly these days, I’ll have to second the ‘chill out’ suggestion.
Jim Bob says
Duuuuuuuuude! As much as I understand you (I DO!!) – take a chill pill! God WILL sort them out, but don’t make yourself SICK!
Art Thomas says
Being an American, should I take you at your word? If so can you publish a photo of yourself so I can cross the street when I see you walk my way?
But seriously, “Beat me, Daddy, 8 to the bar” has some better advice.
It’s Springtime! And all the world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful!
(to paraphrase e.e. cummings).
Poison Frogs says
We’ve left the La-La-Land of ‘freedom, democracy, and other BS’ long time ago. If you still want to live there it’s beautiful, but the cold reality states otherwise. So, forget the what is written in the US constitution, because the today’s world could NOT care less. The US constitution train, left the station long time ago, and nobody noticed, or cares.
Russia just arrested a guy to use him in an exchange. Cold and simple.
the blame-e says
Anybody remember Paul Nicholas Whelan. He’s still there. In a Russian Gulag. And about to have some company.
“Born March 5, 1970, Whelan is a Canadian-born former United States Marine with U.S., British, Irish, and Canadian citizenship.”
Somebody please tell me who needs that many passports — except a professional operative from a hostile belligerent government? A troublemaker.
“He was arrested in Russia on December 28, 2018, and accused of spying. On June 15, 2020, he received a 16-year prison sentence.”
Let him rot.
It’s like all these Bible-thumping religious freaks that were illegally crossing the border into North Korea to spread the word.
You don’t hear much about his kind of proselytizing anymore. Maybe our government actually did the right thing for once and told these people: “You do this again and expect to end up permanent residents serving life sentences in a country that hates your guts.”
Well, the word these days is regime change. George Soros is the Jim Jones of interference in another country’s affairs, and the USD is the Kool Aid.
Must be a real bitch doing your taxes with 4 citizenships.
My take?: Of course he was up to funny stuff.
I beg to differ. As Putin also mentioned previously, when the US is supplying information to Ukraine, why should he let US come to their nuclear facilities to inspect the nuclear weapons that may lead to strikes since it gives them first hand information?
On one hand, it sounds reasonable for the public to want to know what the government is hiding from us. On the other, such information may also cause panic and chaos. As we all know by now, not all news is true. If you feed someone with information, he can easily distort or change your words to shed a different light.
There are points in freedom, and there are things that you cannot let go of. Firstly, even if a tour is given of the tank factory. They would likely attempt to strike it down, which would weaken Russia’s military capabilities. Secondly, even after he receives such information, it may not be reported publicly. And even if correct information is provided, its difficult for US to back down after doubling so much down the war.
There is a tale of Duke Xiang of Song. He was a man of righteousness. Too righteousness.
When his enemies are getting ready to attack his country, his army set forth to fight back. His army was outnumbered, so a minister advised him to strike first, while the enemy is trying to cross the river. The Duke said, it is unkind and unfair to attack when the enemy is not convenient to fight back. So, they waited. After the enemy crossed the river, his minister advised him to strike before the enemy get into formation. The Duke said, it was unkind and unfair to attack when the enemy is still not ready. So they waited (and I heard the minister took off, shaking his head in dismay).
When the battle began, they were quickly and easily outnumbered, and suffered a great defeat. The Duke too suffered injuries and died in a year after.
You may shower your enemy with kindness, but do not expect mercy from your opponents. The US would not be grateful for you sharing the cold hard truth to them, but instead would humiliate and mock you for your silliness. Unfortunately, history is written by the winners. Duke Xiang may be a mockery now, yet if he has won, he may be labelled as one of great righteousness. Similarly, one should put their survival over some PR or propaganda that create existential threats to themselves.
You’re a kind man. At least I glean that from your sincere caring in interviews I’ve watched. In reading your posts, there is a definite bend in your analysis of forever and always feeling the need to “rationalize”, and this often leads over analyzing and trying to find a commonality between a fig leaf and a soccer ball, when there isn’t any.
Sometimes a “cigar is just a cigar”…
Russia doesn’t give a hoot about “western optics” on who it arrests. You think they honestly arrested an “American” “journalist” and charged him with “espionage” for “prestige? If they just wanted to “clamp down on “journalists freedom”… they’re barrels of other laws I’m sure would be sufficient.
And throwing “Julian Assange” in? Even if “Evan” was a patsy set up, and “unknowingly” baited by his “editor “ to “get the story”… it’s war time, he’s in a hostile country that sincerely & openly stated they believe they are under an existential threat. It’s time to throw off the USA 70s/80s of “rationalizing” every thing, right is right, wrong is wrong, & “Evan” was no “ordinary journalist”. Russia is finished with America/UK Anglo Saxon axis & feels no need whatsoever to “shut the mob up in Washington DC”… they did that for years, MH17? Scriples poison? Navalny? I could list 30 years of “good will”, and guess what? You’ll never, ever shut the mob in DC up. It’s over. We are at war with Russia. They are at war, finally, with us. There’s no “rationale” in that fact.
Russia is not at all interested in what America thinks.
Putin and righty so is fed up with the United States and righty so
This is war time what’s this guy doing prowling and snooping around in Russia anyway? what did he expect??
Russia does not not at all trust the United States the least bit and rightly so. This guy could be a spy for all we know.
No I gotta say Russia is right don’t go there from a foreign country and trying to report stuff.
I’m afraid I’m all for Russia
And I wouldn’t trust anyone or anything even remotely related to the United States government.
They deserve every drop of ill will and disrespect coming their way
Larry, surely if he was acting on instructions from an enemy intelligence agency, and not merely being a ‘journalist’, that would classify him as a spy?
Larry Johnson says
Yes, but no evidence of that. Frankly, the CIA is not that stupid.
Sir. I would suggest that your writing tends to highlight that a number of US intelligence agency’s are currently operating sub optimally.
If the CIA is one of them I could not say.
We are currently in a critical if de facto war with Russia. The wars of Julian’s time were not critical for the State, only the men fighting them.
Let me argue to debate of what stupidity is and where stupidity can be found.
Just, we hardly can say which brain and what brain part goes haywire (malfunctioned) when corrupted absolutely. In seizures of absolute power.
One such corruption is stupidity.
I believe , Nearly all US journalists returning from behind the Iron Curtain used to be interviewed by the FBI.
I’m sorry to disagree, but they really are that stupid. Reference Operation Mockingbird in the USA. The same goes for foreign media outlets – paying reporters and presenters to carry out propaganda and other tasks (spying). You can’t convince me that the CIA is not capable of doing anything illegal – they do it all the time – as Mike Pompeo was fond of saying, they are paid to lie, cheat, and steal – to think otherwise is pure naivete – no offence.
And it would not surprise me at all that the WSJ is put up to do such a thing as they are one of the prime spokes-organisations for the American Deep State.
Sunday XXXIII says
The man is innocent (unless proven otherwise) but it is looking to me as though it is now a game of prisoner swaps between the opposing side (`you grab our guy, then we will grab your guy’), and the legal optics are invented as required. That is what happens when people think that the end justifies the means.
Jack Gordon says
Dunno, Larry. If Langley had any hand in the concoction of the Gilligan’s Island pipeline explosion story, that would indicate stupidity on steroids in that corner of Virginia.
The Oddsmaker says
Yeah, but what about all those jihadis that were trained and equipped by the CIA and Pentagon that ended up with 4 or 5 viable FSA and we assume, the rest off and running to ISIS, al Nusra or wherever?
US has trained only ‘four or five’ Syrian fighters against Isis, top general testifies. Senators appear incredulous and call for a new plan after hearing news that US military’s $500m effort has resulted in training of only a handful of fighters
Oh, sorry about the stupid – that was just Austin speaking.
And why did we spark that war in 2011 anyway? Seems pretty stupid in hindsight to me. Israel and Turkey weren’t too swift either, thinking one could control ISIS and the other al Nusra, or did they both plan to invade Syria once they took over, clean them out and install a Syrian Zelensky in charge? And putting the Shi’a in charge in Iraq, sidelining the Sunnis and both supersizing ISIS and creating the conditions for Operation Shi’ite Crescent didn’t seem too smart either, or was that a clever little plan to allow it to grow, then give it a knockout punch? How’s that knockout punch doing?
Seems to me, the CIA, the Pentagon, State and everybody else involved has more than enough stupid to spread around.
But then, what do I know? I’m just a poor bystander suffering from hindsight and all its consequences.
PS: Hersh’s article discusses the Turkey sarin caught at the border stuff that the MSM deemed unworthy of mention, not even as the meanderings of unhinged conspiracy theorists. Turns out, according to Hersh, it was all true. Wonder what we’ll be hearing about Ukraine’s war crimes in five years or so? Anyone talking odds?
You do know that the CIA uses journalists aplenty. Your have said so yourself, if well remembered.
Philip Garber says
No one here is in a position to categorically state that there is no evidence of wrongdoing on the journalist’s part. It’s not as if Russia has given us a peek into the case file or is obligated to do so. This is something that is the business of the Russian justice system and what evidence there is will no doubt come out at trial if there is one.
You don’t need to see the evidence; you don’t know the evidence; you cannot judge the evidence. How can you assert that there is no evidence? Do spies leave a trail of evidence for the whole world to ponder about? The FSB knows the evidence, and they don’t have to share it with the world.
It seems that this incident has touched a raw nerve… but the cure is not to pretend that journalistic military spying is somewhat to be considered beyond the pale of prosecution by the affected state.
If you compare Assange’s revelations of someone else’s spying on the crimes of a state with a journalist’s spying on the legitimate military activities of another state, you diminish yourself, Johnson.
One is a wistleblower; the other is a common spy.
You are right. Russia will never win the propaganda war. However, this is not required. The State Department conducts its propaganda inside the US, the American people are the main “consumers” of propaganda. Inside Russia, American propaganda does not work, or rather, it is more of an anti-propaganda and strengthens the patriotism of the Russian people.
I must say this and I’m done!!
I heard it said The Constitution is a dead letter and it looks as though that’s right.
Our Constitutional Republic is also in name only for functionally it’s also dead.
We are currently witnessing the death of the United States Empire.
And it’s all been accomplished from inside and works its way outward.
The freedoms you listed all sound nice and pretty until you challenge and become a threat to TPTB.
k. talaat says
John Adams, observed, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People.”
Where is our Morality, what is it.
Toynbee argued that “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.”
As for the Empire, it serves the psychopaths and I personally dream for my country to be the very best among equals. Isn’t that walking the walk of what Democracy. We have been blessed by so much, we really have no excuses.
Michael Droy says
I can think of a dozen differences between this case Assange’s. From the Swedish prosecutor refusing to take her Judge’s instructions to go visit Assange at the embassy. From the fraudulent sex charges. Particularly the ludicrous re-translation of English into French to find an interpretation that would allow a Swedish prosecutor, not a judge, to demand Assange’s arrest (a loophole that was banned in UK practice the very next week so clearly was it wrong). That and the fact that this was spying in Russia, arrested in Russia and will be charged in Russia, and accused of something that he seems to have done rather releasing the password to documents when someone else completely used it as a chapter heading.
Of course the real issue is that he’ll be free in a week.
Navalny seems to do a press interview from Prison once a week, Assange can’t get to speak to his lawyer.
Juan Valdez says
“Getting a cold shower of reality from Western press reporting from Moscow might force the Washington decision makers to throw away their Ukrainian fantasies and come to grips with the fact that Russia can out produce the United States and NATO countries combined.”
This would only be used as the justification for doubling or tripling the already massive Pentagon budget – perhaps even as the rationale for a preemptive nuclear first strike.
Hoping that something – anything – is going to make our political class deal with onjective reality is like hoping Jim Jones or David Koresh would’ve seen the light if only they had been given the right information.
About the only “hope” we have is if the rest of the world decides they’d rather live under America’s thumb than circle a dead planet in a cloud of radioactive dust.
It’s best to quit believing that we are dealing with rational people.
What we are dealing with is a suicide cult, no different than Jonestown, Waco or Heaven’s Gate. And since their fantasies are moving further away from objective reality every day, the danger is likewise increasing.
I fear it’s already moved beyond the point of no return.
I wish it weren’t so.
May God help us all.
Kirill Velizhanin says
I was wondering if you think that there should be no classified things at all? What about physics of nuclear/thermonuclear weapons for example?
Larry Johnson says
Having worked with classified material over the years and watching was has been leaked, the truly sensitive programs essential for genuine security have not bee exposed. What gets exposed are lies and illegal activity. Using “classification” as a cudgel to hold populations hostage to lies is what I’m talking about. Julian Assange embarrassed the United States. His revelations just exposed the dirty underbelly.
Grammar typo here: “the truly sensitive programs essential for genuine security have not beeN exposed”
Also regarding the security of super secret Special Compartmentalized Information AKA the “crown jewels” of US national security… : Donald Trump says “Hold my beer and how much is the bribe?”
I read some news on Twitter that Jared Kushner sold all the Saudi spies and secret dissident’s IDs to MBS in return for a multibillion bailout of his bankrupt Manhattan investment. Moral of the story: It pays to be rich enough to buy Trump.
And the US govt had to reveal all those super secret sensitive programs to Trump and his family. You really trust that Trump (or his inner circle) won’t copy, download on a flash drive, or disclose any of that for the right price?
not so sure super secret compartments are any kind of crown jewels – its more just do i need to know this to do my job. for example – how my refrigerator works is a super secret compartment.
it (my fridge) works – i use it – i dont need to know or really care to know how – like most of us, i have enough to do as it is. largely a practical matter…i spend my time on other things – more or less equally complex as the fridge. one cant be good at everything?
Mr. Johnson I don’t know how you deal with trolls like the TDS having, grammar correcting, pedantic SuperSpy below. Occupational hazard I guess but an annoyance nonetheless.
I can see this matter from both the position the Russians and yourself. Ultimately we don’t know what the Russians know, maybe there is more to the story that we don’t have info on. Either way I think Russia is very much past the point of caring what the leadership and the people of the West think.
I completely agree with you regarding Assange and whistleblowers and journalists in general. Someone has to have the ability to hold the feet to the fire anyone within Gov whom is not behaving ethically and especially illegally. If not then the Gov is no better than an org crime group.
There likely needs to be reform on how materials are classified as it appears the current methodology is prone to abuse.
Just Curious says
What’s your take (if so disposed to answer) on The Nation’s recent article on Israeli handiwork in the Clinton server ‘hacks’?
Do you think Binney’s work holds water or could have it been a true hack, either by Russia and exposed and exploited by Israel or by Israel itself, for Trump’s benefit?
Russia has defeated NATO in Ukraine and is in the process of realigning the international landscape. This arrest puts more pressure on the US to take action. Yet, what can Biden do? Putin is bitch slapping the US and other nations are noting it.
Victory's always defined by 'de feet'. says
Russia hasn’t yet ‘defeated’ anyone in Ukraine. No telling how far its adversaries are willing to go. Hold onto your hat and iodine tablets.
Baltic 5th Column says
There is another bit of relevant news you may have missed last week, Larry. Artyom Uss, a Russian businessman and the son of the governor of Krasnoyarsk Krai, was arrested in Italy last October and was about to be extradited to the US on charges of money laundering, violating sanctions, oil smuggling , etc., etc., probably kicking puppies for fun too. He was an idiot to stick his nose into an enemy country, of course, but that’s beside the point.
He has escaped surveillance and fled into hiding last week, but given Russia’s increasing agitation with her citizens being all but kidnapped and imprisoned by the US on bogus charges (Bout, Yaroshenko, Butova to name a few high-profile ones, but the real count is in dozens, if not hundreds), I can’t help but think that this arrest is a message that two can play at this game. Unlike the US, the FSB has a record of producing evidence when making these arrests like it happened with Frode Berg and Paul Whelan , so I doubt this guy is anywhere near Assange’s level of journalistic integrity.
Color me Blind says
Guy’s well on his way to safe haven somewhere, with the FSB’s help.
If not, I’d sure be surprised.
russia could trade him for assange.
want to bet if the west would be willing to make THAT swap?
it would make russia a bastion of freedom in the eyes of all the non west and many many people within the west and it would reveal the utter malice of the west when they refuse.
Call me an ignorant bigot, but as a matter of principle, it behooves the Russians to arrest Gershkovich and send him on a Cooks Tour of their judicial system
(Do I really need to tell you to do the Early Life Check? Anyone in intelligence trade should have enough nous and cultural literacy / general knowledge to immediately have curiosity neurones light up as soon as see a surname of the form Gersh-anything.)
There’s more going on here than just random Westphalian States doing Politics by Other Means. This, on at least one side, is pre-modern, atavistic, Tribal Warfare. You cannot just allow their guys to traipse around your country playing by their whatever-it-takes rules but claiming protection under your rules and norms.
Taking the Moral High Road just benefits the Kagan Cult.
Jack Walker says
I think the day of the independent journalist died in 1972. Any journalist has to earn trust me I salute the man not the rank.
Anyway Vlad has one audience above all others and that would be Russia.
Anyway the high road is a treacherous road in cold hard dangerous world.
A tune from the great depression my Fave Burl Ives https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWminVCg3TA
This is a very good argument as long as the reporter was obtaining the information with intent to publish it in the newspaper. If it was to pass along to his case officer and keep it secret from the public then he was a classic spy and fair game. On the other hand if he was obtaining real information the truth is the Russians could safely leave him alone in the knowledge that has CIA bosses would ignore what he found and continue to make things up.
Biswapriya Purkayastha says
The entire American media could be given a guided tour of Russian defence facilities and it would make no difference. Do you seriously think that the truth would be published in the Wall Street owned media, or that the “journalists” involved imagine that their reportage would see the light of day? Instead of all of it being used as HUMINT for your former employer the CIA? Also, do you seriously still imagine Russia cares about what the Westernaganda thinks about Russia? That stopped long ago.
Abu Iskander says
If journalists could never be arrested for espionage wouldn’t it just make sense to use them for actual espionage? For example they can write articles about some of the stuff they get, and pass the rest to CIA.
It makes sense to not prosecute journalists for doing journalistic work. But if they also happen to be spies, wouldn’t you think it makes sense to arrest them?
Non biblical revelations says
During the 90’s, the RF was chock full to overflowing with CIA cutouts collecting all sorts of information under the guise of ‘legitimate business’. Don’t trust me on that, ask Larry. I could name one but then Larry’d have to shoot me. 😉
Then, there was this young guy from Chicago working for a major commodity trade group that was ‘arranging’ purchases of gold from Kyrgyzstan’s president at the time, with the – well you know, convenient offshore shenanigans. He was very secretive with his doings. Not a cutout, just normal business practices & to hell with those silly rules the US feigns to uphold.
Then there was this NYC commodity group that was illegally stripping Siberia’s forests. Then there was ……
Wow, I’d forgotten how much I actually witnessed in the roaring 90’s and it was still a thimble’s worth of ocean.
I was an Arabic language student of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey. My Arabic name was Tariq. (طارق) Later I had a son named Alex, so I named myself “Tariq Abu Skunder” And since I was from Arizona my full name became “Tariq Abu Skunder Al Zoni”
we may want whistle blowers – people who report illegality. secrecy is sometimes used to cover up illegality. there is some protection for this whistle blowing activity. the whistleblower needs the press to get the word out to the public. so we need the press to be able to do that and perform that function legally.
instead of blowing a whistle one might take up the matter with their inspector general. if there are enough complaints one might get the matter revisited. or one can be vocal internally and persistently on their disagreement with something that is being done – “tough” on the old career but if one feels strongly then put up or shut up?
on the other hand there are traitors who divulge legal secrets – this we dont need at all and there is no protection for this – for there is no whistle to blow so to speak.
some here are saying that journalists need to be able to legally divulge this legal secret information all the same. i dont see the point or need for such an activity.
The fact that the Russians are allowing him consular access reinforces your point. If he has obtained anything really secret he would be held incommunicado to keep him from passing it along. Another BS classification crime just as you surmised.
“ If he has obtained anything really secret he would be held incommunicado to keep him from passing it along. Another BS classification crime just as you surmised.”
Key word-obtained-. None of us know whether it was obtained or in the process of obtaining.
The whole thing could be fabricated sure, but I think it’s standard M/O to use journos and other high profile individuals.
It’s probably looked at as a win win either way. If they are successful then great but if they get caught well it’s just another thing to use to tarnish a country’s image globally
The American Constitution only applies to people within the borders of USA. Just because it is okay to drink alcohol in USA doesn’t mean one can drink alcohol openly in countries like Saudi Arabia. Different house different rules, if you go to someone’s house you respect their rules. There’s no right or wrong, you can choose not to go there if you don’t agree with those rules. But if you do go, don’t blame the owner of the house for enforcing his rules if you break them.
American laws do not apply to others at all beyond the shores of USA.
Putin traded a pot smoking tranny basketball player for Victor Bout. Maybe he can trade this Gershkovich fella for Assange. Dress him up like Mrs Doubtfire first to increase his value.
The best comment! Love it.
Oblomovka daydream says
Pepe Escobar (on Strategic Culture Foundation website) met Victor Bout in Moscow. Victor Bout told him that he had read Escobar’s articles in the US prison, where he didn’t have access to the internet. But friends managed to smuggle them on USB sticks or something similar to that.
From the WSJ Article on Evan Gershkovich https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-security-service-detains-wall-street-journal-reporter-cbfbd505 : “Russia’s main security agency said Thursday that it had detained Mr. Gershkovich in the city of Yekaterinburg, around 800 miles east of Moscow, on Wednesday while he was on a reporting trip, accusing him of espionage.
“The Wall Street Journal vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich,” the Journal said. “We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family.”
National Security Council Strategic Coordinator John Kirby said it wasn’t immediately clear if Mr. Gershkovich’s detention was coordinated with Russian leadership, or aimed as retaliation for other grievances. Last week, Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov, 37, a Russian national, was charged in a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., with acting as an agent of a foreign power, visa fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud and other charges stemming from his alleged illegal activities in the U.S., according to the Justice Department.”
So you see how the US reacts. They arrest a Russian individual and accuse him. Just like happened to Victor Bout.
An arrest is not a trial and it is not a conviction.
Alex Back says
As someone made an ironic comment above, “let the Westerners give a tour of the Russian judicial system.”
Actually, I see that Larry has good intentions and principles, being “a son of the American Revolution” after all. But, is the United States of America really capable of healing itself? I don’t think so. Even Larry shows some of those common American vices, such as recurrent kitschy references to American TV shows and internal jokes.
As a Brazilian, it always sounds like “We are enough” to me. What I have to say is “You even weren’t”. Sorry, Larry, but what I think is that Americans like to fantasize about some virtuous people sparsely scattered throughout their history and think that those were the rule, not the exception.
America has been doing its own thing, bullying other nations since… the American Revolution. But those other nations have caught up with the USA. And now what? Bullying is no longer an option because there will be consequences. And you don’t know how to make money, but only to print it.
So, to finish where I started, don’t rush to defend that pretentious WSJ rag journalist, nor believe that you always know what others are planning.
Hal Duell says
I think the wiser advice here is to wait to see what evidence is produced. Journalists are often caught out spying. It’s good cover, until it’s not. Consider the story of Richard Sorge, Russia’s primary spy in the Far East prior to WWII.
I do, however, have to disagree on one point with our host. In reply to grr above, he seems to asserts that the CIA is not so stupid as to use a journalist as a spy. I disagree. I don’t think it’s particularly stupid. I think it’s more like SOP.
Correct. When we have people such as Udo Ulfkotte truth telling as to how most/all “journalists” and editors in the “west” are on CIA etc payroll one must be suspicious of any western presstitute.
Poison Frogs says
Curious if the same sanctimonious analysis applies to the Russian journalists in the US/west as well. Take for example the case of RT, which were plain banned everywhere in the ‘west’, while the Russians are blaming them to be too liberals/western like.
(If you never watched a documentary produced by RT ( https://rtd.rt.com/ ) you are missing very interesting points of view)
The WSJ is among the biggest warmongers of the American MSM/corporate media. I could be wrong but I can’t recall that it’s ever been opposed to any war the US has engaged in during my lifetime. Currently, it’s a BIG TIME advocate of any aid, US or otherwise, to help Ukraine.
Five days ago Evan Gershkovitz reported Russia was losing momentum in Bakhmut. Just 2 days ago he reported Russia’s economy was failing. In light of his employer’s hawkish stance, maybe he finally rubbed the Russians the wrong way.
A year ago, Russia forbade any foreign news agency or reporters with offices in the country to issue reports defamatory to the country or the SMO. Thus, a few weeks after the SMO started, the CBC and BBC crews there decided in a huff to go home. No doubt the same happened to other Western country news agency staff who couldn’t stop themselves from writing bile.
Yet somehow this Evan Whatshisname from the WSJ has been wandering around Russia writing crap for some time, like those two articles you cite from last week. From the Russian POV, who needs his brand of shite in a time of “war”? I’d bet he was warned before and disregarded the advice to take a hike and go home. But, being an American and thus oblivious to the laws and mores of any country but his own, he assumed he could gallivant around poking his nose into this and that in Russia completely unhindered, protected by his American “rights”. You can read his profile in WaPo, where a photo shows him in the quintessential baseball cap, looking like pure “aw shucks”.
Dear Evan was arrested in Yekaterinburg, over in the Urals, no doubt on an intrepid roam and rove expedition to uncover the “truth”.
In other words, a complete duffus of a dolt. Good thing he wasn’t farting around in Israel, because there prying journalists get shot dead, along with the occasional, ha ha, deadly terrorist Palestinian kid in a bus.
The parallel between Evan Whatshisname and Assange who is (was) essentially a publisher I completely fail to see. Whatshisface conducted whatever business he was actually up to as if he could wander around Russia having a dekko, as the Brits used to say, blithe of spirit and apparently unaware and dismissive of his surroundings, due to his innate exceptionality, being an American.
Well, his jaunts around the Russian countryside to discover the “truth” have come to a grinding halt. Unable to take a hint, unlike most Western journos based in Russia, who gathered their wounded pride and departed Russia in a huff to spew anti-Russian nonsense and hatred from home or, gasp, in frontline death-defying danger from an embattled Kiev barstool, Evan Baby toughed it out, likely ignoring warnings to watch his step, and so earned himself the prospect of some free Russian room and board for being a complete ass. Serves him right.
I mean, ask yourself how many Russian journalists there are wandering around the USA right now, poking and prodding and writing articles for Russian financial newspapers about what a sh!t country the USA is. I submit there are none at all.
Ever since the Bancrofts sold the WSJ to Murdoch in shyster transaction – it’s been a horrible rag.
No Name says
Slightly off topic, but the Leftists are using the same CIA “bully” playbook against MAGA as they did with Putin: Poke with sharp stick incessantly to get them to react, and if they do react, demonize and attack.
As we know, the US used Nazis for a coup in 2014 and proceeded to murder many ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine until Putin was forced to put his foot down.
It’s the same thing against MAGA by the Deep State Communists with their indictment against Trump. Just one thing after another, hoping the Right will react with some level of violence in order to give the Deep State an excuse to attack with force.
MAGA should learn from Putin, that if you are forced to react after much restraint, you better do so to win.
That’s it. Please carry on.
(And thanks, Larry, for your blog. I very much agree with what you said above: “It would actually work to Russia’s favor if all reporters were given access to the defense plants so that they could accurately report on Russia’s ability to produce tanks, artillery, artillery shells, cruise missiles, and armored vehicles. “)
Trying to summarize other people comments:
One thing is a journalist trying to uncover a murder committed lets say by a military officer …
and another thing is a “journalist” trying to get manufacturing details of a Zircon, Khinzal or Avangard missile.
Larry Johnson says
Here is what you folks do not understand. The agency can’t use American journalists for anything, by law. The use of any American in the private sector requires the personal approval of the CEO of the company, in this case the CEO of WSJ; and DCIA’s approval. On the common sense side of things, only a nitwit would use an American to collect inside Russia or any other denied area. Do you think the CEO of the WSJ authorized his reporter to work with the agency? I don’t.
” The agency can’t use American journalists for anything, by law. ”
The CIA and other agencies have always been scofflaws though.
Alexandre POTEMKINE says
Hello Larry, You seem to think that US government agencies cannot pressure the CEO. What about the revelation of the bosses of FACEBOOK or twitter who confessed to having been strongly encouraged to practice censorship. Yes, I think it’s entirely possible that the CIA asked the CEO of the WSJ for a favor. Since when is the law respected in the USA? As for knowing if there are morons in the CIA, you are the first to write that this agency is a veritable nursery for imbeciles. I end with my thanks for your work and your openness. Exceptional!
You do not have to be a spy to commit espionage.
The See Eye Aye follows the law?
George Kovachev says
“The use of any American in the private sector requires the personal approval of the CEO of the company, in this case the CEO of WSJ; and DCIA’s approval.”
I’m pretty sure that if Gershkovich was indeed involved in espionage, DCIA’s approval was given for sure. As for the one from WSJ’s CEO – let’s not forget that WSJ is one of the most vocal warmongers in US MSMs. I guess it wouldn’t be a problem for CEO to do a “small” favor, like giving his approval, if a high ranking member of the US IC like DCIA asks for it. Hell, CIA wouldn’t even need to go through the whole MICE repertoire for this one; I and E would suffice, although they may through a little bit of M to calm down CEO’s concience for throwing his fellow journalist into the deep end.
I hope that is the case:
Loopholes That Allow Journalists to Spy
“Since 1977, the CIA’s stated policy has been to avoid both practices under normal circumstances. But spies are a slippery bunch by training and profession, and there are glaring loopholes in the rules. ”
And since when does the United States (especially the Intel Community) respect its own laws never mind international rules and laws? If you take the Minsk I & II agreements the United States took these no more seriously than they took the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) and other treaties that they signed with the American Indians of the Great Plains. They seem view and treat Putin and Xi as they viewed and treated Sitting Bull & Geronimo during the 1800s.
You could be right, but I think we need to see all the details of the Gershkovich case before we equate him with Julian Assange. IMHO
Larry, you might want to check out the Intelligence Authorization Act because I believe it says that with Congress and Presidential approval it can waive journalists and use them as part of the act.
This is a big loophole.
Top Gum says
Since when do they agencies care about laws? You many be right “technically”. But it seems this guy was doing something he wasn’t supposed to do. The reaction from D.C. and WSJ is that of a guilty party to me.
The US is illegally occupying parts of Syria and openly stealing Syrian resources, contrary to international laws. Doesn’t seem to me that the US leadership is respecting laws or ever have done so judging by other historical examples. Assuming that agencies do it as well is not that far fetched.
Oblomovka daydream says
My guess is that mr. Gershkovich travelled 800 miles from Moscow to Yekatarinaburg not for touristic sightseeing but because he thought he would get a scoop for WSJ. Well, obviously walked into a trap set up by the FSB, which will have been recorded in glorious detail. Only a naive nitwit would let himself be caught so red-handed.
Alex Back says
“The agency can’t use American journalists for anything, by law.”
And what happens when “the agency” uses?
Well.. maybe you, who dare to point that, earn a ride to know some american jail abroad after some forged accusations, like Assange, or you are released after brainwashed till the point to to public humiliate yourself dressing like a woman, like the Manning dude?
They can’t collect data on US citizens neither, but when did that ever stop the spying on US citizens at home. Larry, you’re a CIA man yourself, when did you ever take notice of what Congress ever said publicly when it came to a successful mission?
Isn’t it illegal to kill a US President also Larry, or his brother, but they are dead and it wasn’t a foreign intelligence agency that killed them.
Philip Garber says
However it’s an entirely different kettle of fish, is it not, if a CIA agent uses journalistic cover?
Larry Johnson says
You are making many unfounded assumptions. You are assuming Gershkovich was a paid CIA asset. He was not. But note, the CIA is not proscribed from recruiting and using a foreign journalist. There was a time when the CIA used US journalists, but that is history. We’re in a new age.
This is astonishing, Johnson. We are in a new age, for the CIA!? Are you out here to clean up the CIA? Has the CIA ceased to murder foreign leaders, or buy off foreign politicians, or employ foreign journalists – just because you say so? Or just because you read somewhere that the law has changed? Did they also renounced their black budget? Are you implying that NGOs do now the old CIA dirty work? It may be, regarding propaganda and manipulation, but not engineering murders, coups and revolutions… because in all those cases there is a need for mass upheaval but also for personal subversion (What was the CIA doing in Kiev in 2013/2014?)
And if YES? So what?
This is now pure speculation. The laws are very clear, but these agencies (CIA, FBI, NSA, etc., etc.) don’t give a fuck about those laws. It is possible that they do this with the consent and maybe even on the orders of this agency and in the end they deny the whole thing and say. “Sorry, no. We don’t know about it. We didn’t do that, etc., etc..” Can therefore be wonderfully denied for all parties. Who knows.
Another is that the newspaper doesn’t know about him and he’s doing exactly what the agency asked him to do. Although quite unofficially and if he gets caught and the agency will deny any involvement. Bad luck. We should consider this possibility.
here comes a picture of what the agencies do
Portrait of the monkeys: I don’t hear, I don’t see, I don’t say.
I think that fits the agency perfectly, doesn’t it?
Jihadi hipsters says
I do. Why wouldn’t he? They are, after all (government and media) on a jihad and joined at the hip. The WSJ, the keeper of the reserve currency flame, more even maybe than most.
…and lest one forget, Zuckerberg was a pretty easy sell, wasn’t he?
Nah, if they’re reluctant to comply (and how often is that?), they can be easily reminded of reasons to cast their reluctance to the winds.
Larry, you honestly believe the CIA is not capable of defying the law and have not done so many, many times in the past?
k. talaat says
Donald Trump granted a full pardon to Aviem Sella, the handler of convicted Israeli pardoned spy Jonathan Pollard.
Upon his return to his beloved Israel, Jonathan Pollard was received by Netanyahu on the tarmac and was given his Iraeli ID.
Two weeks later he was quoted as saying
“The bottom line on this charge of dual loyalty is, I’m sorry, we’re Jews, and if we’re Jews, we will always have dual loyalty,”
So Pollard stole our military secrets and sold them to a so-called ally of the US and was welcomed with open arms as returning hero, as if to not care what America thought of its “best” ally spying on her.
Assange on the other hand exposed war crimes and misdeeds by our government officials and never made a penny.
So forgive me for asking a question: why are the two treatments so extremely different? There is a saying: when you can’t whip a horse, whip the saddle.
Checks Early Life on Evan Gershkovich…
My initial reaction is that in a time of war seeking information on armament supply capability is indeed espionage, however in retrospect Larry makes a very good point. Indeed a tour of the tank factory would be a great PR coup even though the WSJ journalist would probably not pen it.
what if the Russians offer a swap for Assange? and that is the plan from the start. What would they do?
This is what I can’t grasp; why would Russia go out on a limb for Assange?
He’s not Russian, not a US citizen either, so no poke in Uncle Sams’ eye there.
Snowden was a different case, he was a NSA contractor and likely had useful intel. And the eye poking thing too is a bonus.
I really doubt the Russians pumped Snowden hard for intel. They might wait patiently until he voluntarily gave them some but hard ball? It’s not in his character to buckle that way, IMO.
Otherwise, I think had they played hardball, he’d have just disappeared from view like the Skripals. But he’s free to post what he likes on the internet, which isn’t much, is he not? Color me naive if you wish, but it just doesn’t fit his character to do otherwise.
Lou Brooks says
Hmmm…there are several angles to this. Assange and Snowden were revealing, for the most part, illegal activities of the U.S. government. Or at least un-Constitutional activities. This in a country with First Amendment rights to free speech, etc.
I have not read with certainty what level of spying or information gathering Gershkovich has been accused of. Was it troop movements or similar that he relayed to Ukraine or Western interests? That is a different level of spying than revealing illegal government activities.
I agree that no journalist should ever be arrested for revealing classified secrets. But then, I also do not agree with the government having secrets. Having secrets only enables a government to make up excuses to lie to its citizens and to act in hostile and unfriendly ways to other countries. Which is what the U.S. pretty much does.
Was this a bad move by Russia? I have no idea, but if this guy was gathering data that related to Russian actions concerning Ukraine then Russia is correct in their actions. If all he was doing was speaking with NGO dissidents then, it was a bad move by Russia.
I have no doubt the U.S. uses journalist for intel gathering. I expect Russia does the same. Being a spy is one thing…revealing classified information is another.
Sorry, I don’t see the equivalence here either:
Kremlin comments on arrest of WSJ correspondent
Wall Street Journal (WSJ) correspondent Evan Gershkovich was caught “red-handed” trying to obtain Russian state secrets, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has claimed. The Federal Security Service (FSB) announced on Thursday that the reporter had been detained in the city of Ekaterinburg on suspicion of espionage.
… Gershkovich had been caught in the act of trying to collect intelligence about a defense facility, in violation of Russian laws on state secrets. …
… Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed that whatever Gershkovich was doing when he was detained by the FSB, it had “nothing to do with journalism.” She argued that the status of correspondent had previously been used as cover by other Western nationals attempting to obtain classified Russian intelligence.
Have to disagree with you on ths one Larry.
If I were the Russians, would assume every US/UK “journalist” now in Russia is a spy, based on previous patterns of behavior. Anyone who thinks they are just “honest reporters dong a job” is, to me, totally naive. Are you trying to tell us that the CIA has never recruited jourinalists to spy for them? Seems like perfect cover to me – travel around the target country, talk to lots of people, make inquiries about everything, pay sources for info – sounds just like what a spy would do, no?
And the false equivalency with Assange is just nonsense.
Nor should the Russians care what Western propaganda outlets say, they are going to be 100% anti-Russian, on every story anyway, like every other day of the week.
And I am sure the rest of the world is not buying it either, they would have to be stupidly naive to do so. This kind of activity would get you arrested in most countries. What exactly do you think the FBI would do if a “RT reporter” showed up at a Lockheed factory in the USA asking questions about weapons?
I am disagreeing with you on this one Larry. Basically, stealing or trying to destroy classified information is a reason for the authorization for the use of deadly force. This was standard training in my day, right in boot camp.
Another thing, espionage is a dangerous, dicey place to make one´s living. This is especially precarious if one if conducting this type activity involving Russia. Your article is equating some standard in a foreign country, that in practical purposes is selectively applied in the US. C´mon man.
It is nice, even noble to have higher ideals and aspirations. But, that is not the real world. I wasn´t in the CIA but, I was exposed to espionage efforts during my time in service. I actually know what it looks like, from the perspective of encountering it IRL. Stuff happens out there. On one occasion, I got a first hand experience in how Russian intelligence works on a deployment into Europe. I was minding my own business on shore leave in Hamburg when that occurred. I managed to avoid something serious happening to me and I didn´t break any rules. The year 1983 was a rough and tumble period in Europe, I can tell you that!
The other incident was the discovery of a brown paper bag containing personal information of the entire S2 section of Navy personnel, at the US Naval base where I was stationed. Why the hell was that hanging out at a bicycle rack in the afternoon, after everybody had gone home from work ….. and conveniently located about 50 meters from the base entrance and exit? Should that have been turned over the to Wall Street Journal? Hell no!
I have a lot of respect for your work Larry. We need you. But, on this one, it sounds like he got lured in and caught. That is how the Russians do it, they give you a rope and at times they do it even if you are minding your own business. I saw. Also, I don´t think he was minding his own business. My opinion so far is he thought he was slick. He was a dumb ass. He had his freedom and chose to enter the trap. The public message about leaving Russian now, I don´t think it was for everybody, it was an abort signal for some. That is why you have conflicting pronouncements in that regard. It is intentional.
My take. I wish well to all.
Good take thx.
Fsb slightly more constrained than the kgb.
Perhaps we should wait to know more about this case before we comment on it. I don’t think exposing a government’s malfeasance is the same thing as exposing a nation’s military or financial secrets. Neither Assange nor Hersh ever exposed the military or the financial secrets of the USA. So until we know the details about the case against the WSJ journalist it would be premature to jump into conclusion.
Hubert A. Monteiro says
To Larry and defenders of a US style democracy for the world:
With great respect, I submit my humble opinion that Russia “cannot” afford to give people the (excessive) freedoms enjoyed in the West. To understand why, just look at all the upheavals, revolutions and invasions Russia has had to endure throughout its history. A Western style democracy in Russia, by now would have torn it up into 20 different countries.
When I was 10 years old, living in Brazil, I went to sleep in a democracy, on March 30th, 1964. The next day, I woke up in a military dictatorship, that would last 22 years. But you know what? It kept communism from taking over, it brought honesty to commerce, the country experienced immense progress and peace, but… after the government was given back to civilians, it devolved into corruption, crime and a free-for-all that turned a country with comparable land mass of the US, as well as population into the biggest sh#thole, south of the equator.
Even the US is entering a dangerous phase, where its very own democracy has given rise to excesses that are beginning to tear at the fabric of our institutions and society. And the options we have are to either let it run its course, or begin to tap on the brakes, lest we devolve into a “mobocracy”.
I do not think that it went unnoticed to the Russian leadership that they ran the risk of looking authoritarian, but, at the end of the day, they are going to do what they feel they need to, regardless of what it may look like to the outside world.
Sometimes a country, in order to be held together, needs to be ruled with an “iron fist”.
Wall Street Journal referred to Edward Snowden repeatedly as a “fugitive” and as a “leaker” instead of whistleblower.
My country without any due process — Obama revoked his passport and coerced sovereign states to deny him any way to exit Russia.
Worse, no one could say with a straight face Snowden would get a fair trial in USA; Obama charged him under Espionage Act.
Gershkovich was arrested for spying, caught ‘red-handed’, one Russian official said.
In Massachusetts, journalists can be jailed for refusing to divulge sources, in civil cases, no less.
There is no right to confidentiality of sources, in the ‘bluest’ of the blue states, period.
How many journalists in this country, past three years did anything in the public interest?
Are any of these men and women even cognizant of the fact they are complicit in death and injury and harm to millions of Americans, for their role in the covid-crime still in progress?
Our government created mayhem for the people, and our so called fourth estate used their bull horns enable and cheer this on!
Furthermore, how is it that US pressmen are in Russia, a country USA is at war with, while completely failing to report on all the myriad problems here? And instead, aiding our criminal government in crime?
As The Godfather famously said: How did it get to be like this?
On Jan6, how many ‘journalists’ and ‘editors’ and ‘publishers’ gave a flying F**K about what actually happened that day: all these journalist-bastards assumed USA citizen have no right to protest, and don’t say this did not happen.
And worse, care not that their countrymen and women in solitary confinement still, for breaking no laws — and exercising their first amendment rights.
And even worse, attack those that speak up!
I can’t go to university unless I get a death shot, can’t teach at one unless I get one, and I’m supposed to care about Gershkovich, who for all I know is a good man, or is a criminal who got caught.
The WSJ claims they are deeply concerned about Evan Gershkovich’s safety; but actually, in reality, could give a f**k less about Evan Gershkovich.
If they are concerned about his safety, why did they put him in harms way?
They obviously wanted him there and he wanted to go.
& it would be one thing if we actually had a constitution anymore. . .and if politicians actually believe in press freedom here.
This is end result when leaders in power do not act on principal: there is no law — this is what chaos looks like.
The sooner WSJ and the rest of them begin to wake up to reality, and actual plight of the vast majority of Americans, the 80% struggling with millions at the bottom either destitute or on verge of that — perhaps the better off we’ll all be?
I do know that the air heads who still believe USA is The Boss perhaps are beginning to learn a very hard and very painful lesson: USA making war on Russia, a war of choice, has consequences, now.
USA wants chaos and so chaos it is. Chaos is very dangerous and deadly. Perhaps, now, Evan Gershkovich will have time to reflect and think about the real world, instead of the plastic one he has benefited from, at the expense of most Americans.
And lastly, where did trying to appease ‘western’ public opinion, especially zionist leaders in this country ever get Arafat?
It got him Oslo, a palace in West Bank, that Israel bombed, and they eventually poisoned him to death.
Hisb Allah noticed, and to this day makes zero effort to appease anything to do with western public opinion.
They rightly perceived this a Dead End.
I watched the owner of now defunct Saker blog for past year, prior to shutting down last month, make all kinds of noises and expressed constant alarm at Russia “losing” the information “war” viz. the west.
Where did that get Arafat?
Perhaps Teddy Roosevelt was right when he said: speak softly and carry a big stick?
Be that as it may, facts on the ground is the reality and the only reality of lasting and genuine value. . . .and while at the personal level Evan Gershkovich is a victim, perhaps, of something he may not even be aware. . . I have to say, going to a country, Russia, in which his newspaper did as much to vilify and engage in prejudice against Russians, and engaged in all manner of bigotry. . . so on what moral authority does WSJ want to appeal to?
These are very dark days.
Jim Bob says
As always, I LOVE the conversation. Half the treasure of this blog is in the comments (and Larry’s patience and humility) 😁
Hubert A. Monteiro says
To rest my case on why Russia “had” to arrest WSJ reporter, just look at what happened to our former president Trump, just now, being charged with 34 counts of fraud, by a kook, bought ant paid for by George Soros, and Nancy Pelosi, a former 3rd most powerful person in US government, spouting out that “he can prove his innocence in a court of law…”, since when? Since when the law was changed, where now a phony prosecutor does not have to prove guilt, but rather a defendant has to prove his innocence?
This wasn’t done because he is guilty, but simply to muddy the waters up, justice and the laws turned on its head, in another presidential election cycle and drag it out, like the Jan 6th pony show that went on for 2 years, till a week before the election. This would never have been allowed in Russia.
Let me correct myself and state that our democracy has already devolved into a “mobocracy”!
According to the 1997 Intelligence Authorization Act allowing the ban on the use of journalists to be waived with notification to Congress and Presidential approval.
This is a loophole that did not ban the use if Congress & President give approval.
I don’t know if this is still the case but in 1997 it was.
If Biden really was responsible for the Nord-Stream bombing then having a few journalists would be nothing in the big picture of things.
If the Russians present credible evidence that Gershkovich was engaging in espionage activities, I will have to respectfully disagree with you on this one, Larry.
If they can’t present credible evidence, however, I think your point is valid.
End of the day, Assange was innocent. He was doing nothing but reporting information he was sent. That’s solid reporting.
Assange’s situation would be very different to (say) a CIA asset that is (say) infiltrated into a US media outlet to (say) conduct espionage in Russia. As Moscow is alleging vis a vis Gershkovic.
So let’s see what the Russian evidence is.
Another thing. Most countries (including most so called democracies) don’t have the 1st amendment. Russia doesn’t. Therefore I think it’s incorrect to judge Russian actions towards reporters using US standards. Just my 10 cents.
“…It would actually work to Russia’s favor if all reporters were given access to the defense plants…”
Are you fucking serious? I hope not.
All US citizens outside of the country can and must be subject to violent challenge
The world must rid itself of the 1000 military bases and the vile US military occupations
The only way to do this is not peaceful.
“I am a lucky man indeed –
when I have it wrong, everyone comes forth obliging me and pointing it out to me…!”
From the Book of Confucius’ Teachings (Lun’yu)
A law is a law. You can’t cancel a law because somebody might be corrupt. You also can’t choose what laws you want to respect. How is this better than corruption anyway?
By the way, a retired CIA officer who served overseas reminded me of this:
The agency can’t use American journalists for anything, by law. The use of any American in the private sector requires the personal approval of the CEO of the company, in this case the CEO of WSJ; and DCIA’s approval. On the common sense side of things, only a nitwit would use an American to collect inside Russia or any other denied area.
I’ll say two things about this comment by the retired CIA officer:
1. “the agency” doesn’t care about the law. How many journalists were CIA per the Church Commission? Imagine the number now..
2. The US intelligence services have shown themselves to be “nitwits”. So yes, they would quite conceivably use an American journalist as a spy.
Argument by analogy should be used carefully. In this particular case MQ-9 recon activity near Crimea would be more appropriate, as this information is used to plan military / terror actions both in UA and RF.
Detlef Romatzki says
I am sorry but here I have to disagree with you.
There is a fine line between journalism and spying.
Julian Assange was mostly a publisher.
Evan Gershkovich is a journalist, possibly a spy. He was snooping around military assets in a country with which his country is at war with. That sounds to me a lot different.
Just reverse the roles of Russia and the USA.
How about Maria Butina?
Perhaps this guy has been pulled for a swap? No doubt there are folks who the Russians want out of custody in the US – or Ukraine or somewhere else – and this chap is being used for leverage.
Just a thought?
As someone else said, it would be cool if this guy was swapped with Julian!
So all spies should be journalists? Then they get a free pass and can’t be arrested. Sorry Larry but you got this one wrong! He may be innocent but if he isn’t then he should be arrested.
The FSB has released a statement ““It has been established that Evan Gershkovich, acting on instructions from the American side, was collecting information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex. While trying to obtain secret information, a foreigner was detained in Yekaterinburg””
I have to disagree with you also Larry, there is no comparison between Assange and Gershkovich. There is also no point in saying that Russia would be better off letting Western journalists inspect Russian arms production centres, back in 2018 when Putin announced 6 new weapons, the West laughed and said it was all CGI and couldn’t work. US inspectors were present when Avangarde was being loaded into its silo, and still no Western media reported that these missiles were real.
The West has been told facts by Putin since 2006, and they do not want to listen. Unfortunately it is far too late to be expecting Russia to keep on treating the West with kid gloves, the Western leadership and elites need to be eradicated, and us Western citizens do not have the strength or military equipment needed to overthrow these violent degenerates.
Maybe Russia could air-drop all those captured Western weapons like Javelin onto the streets of European cities, that would give us a chance against the Riot Squads waiting for every protest.
It’s naive to the extreme to think the arrested guy would have reported the truth about what he found to the public, he has never done that before, read what his take o Russia plus is, if the discovery he made were of use for the CIA he would have passed the info to them, it may have helped the Americans to fine tune their military assistance to Ukraine.
There’s no equivalence with the Assange case, except that both are in prison, Assange revealed an unlawful behaviour of the military, there was nothing illegal (unless we hear to the contrary) about whatever it was Gershkovich was told in secret, and this rather than the act of arresting both, is the substance of the Gershkovich’s case.
Larry, thanks for your normally great analyses but this time your trust account slided a bit.
I will say I am rather updated with the Assange case and have in detail read a.o. Nils Melzers letters to the Swedish government. I have been following the case for years.
What happend Evan is not comparable to Assange.
Assange has published evidence that the US has committed war crimes. He never released information in real time regarding US troops whereabouts.
Evans on the other hand were most likely collecting information about russian troop maneuvers. Time will eventually tell but from what one can read from different sources, this is the case.
Information regarding russian troops movements is of little value for WSJ readers. That information might be of military porn interest to a bunch of arm chair generals but would not change the common view of the situation in Ukraine and what really have caused the russian SMO.
As I understand it from sources Evan is a spy disguised as a WSJ journalist. According to what is written in WSJ it is clear that they don’t have any journalist. Only writers doing what they are told.
Please do not humiliate Julian Assange in this way.
Agin thank you for your otherwise excellent analysis. It is a pleasure to read and every day I am eagerly waiting for a new one.
All the best.
Sorry, Larry, but I will have to agree with the others who disagree with you on this one. I believe you have unfairly extended logic to encompass the Assange situation in this case. So as turnabout is fair play, let me extend a bit of logic. Saying that the press should be able to gather information where they can get it is the equivalent of saying no information should be denied the press and that any information gathered by the press, no matter the means, is suitable for public consumption and should not be criminalised. This is simply not true, and I don’t believe you will find a country in the world that would accept such a thing.
There is a material difference between someone approaching a member of the press with sensitive information versus that member of the press actively trying to gain secret information and pass it on to a hostile government, esp during a time of war.
What Assange never did was enter a foreign country during a period of hostilities and try to gain access to sensitive information that could be to the disadvantage of that country in war. We don’t know the details of the Russian investigation, but you can be certain that the FSB is a particularly thorough investigative authority – their prosecutorial record is beyond question as they have something like a 99% conviction rate for any charges brought against their suspects. Of course, some might say this is like Stalin getting 99% of the votes, but in the case of today’s Russia, I would strongly disagree – Russians are known to be fastidiously tenacious in their attention to legal details. So I suspect that they really do have the goods on this guy. And I doubt they are guilty of simply bringing charges against an American in order to have someone to trade, as they already have someone like that in prison – Whelan.
To conflate this situation with Assange is a bit of a stretch, in my opinion.
I agree with most of your logic, but your reasoning about the 99% conviction rate is not a good one. I only need to direct you to the F3D close rate in the ‘You-Ess’.
Larry, Basically you’re correct but unintentionally you’ve not considered the key point: Russia is currently at war, and everything changes in this scenario.
Said that, everything is plausible,
I don’t know if you remember the visit of a group of Soviet engineers to Boeing, while the 747 was being designed. They went right over to where the plans for the plane were, a very perceptive Boeing engineer noticed and pulled them out.
Russia will never allow an engineer or journalists to visit its factories because and who says they are not an engineer.
Spy vs Spy says
Jeez, does no one remember Pope and the shkval?
Spies do exist.
I agree that Russia has played into the hands of Western discourse and should have taken the high road. But it should not be Putin releasing him. It should be the court. Putin can limit his role by pressing behind the scenes for a weak indictment & prosecution.
It may be that the FSB was not in in sync with the Kremlin on the events at hand.
If Evan was leaking Kinzal plans, do you think that would be part of his job as a journalist?
Idiot Trump did not pardon Julian Assange. Now the same rotten people have indicted Trump. That’s karma!
Winston from Germany says
Thanks Larry for bringing this up. It is a necessary discussion. The US is trying to use the esponage act in order to silence Julian Assange. Forever. Julian Assange was targeted by the deep state and a personal eneemy for Hillary Clinton. Julian Assange is considered THE enemy of the entire western establishment. He broke no law and is in process of being psychically and physically disappeared. If Mr. Gershkovich was in the business of espionage under the cover of Journalism, he broke Russian law. I am sure Mr. Gershkovich will not rot in a Russian cell for decades.
A good read is this phenomenal article by Caitlin Johnstone:
Sunday XXXIII says
If the WSJ guy was exposing war crimes, like Assange, then he should be freed. However, if he was seeking military secrets in time of war, then there may be a case to answer (I presume that he has not actually been convicted). It would be interesting to know if there are candidates for an appropriate prisoner exchange should he be convicted.
Assange’s information was a threat to individuals in Government, exposing crimes and corruption.
Russia is in an existential battle with the West; weapons factories are an integral and vital part of that battle; Gershkovich’s actions were a threat to the survival of Russia.
There is no equivalence.
Compare this to the trials and then death sentences of the foreign mercenaries in Ukraine. They were all released and a lot of foreigners thought twice about signing up.
I wonder if they are doing the same thing here. Big story the sky is going to fall in and then they deport him and he walks away.
Going forward it really makes foreign journalists in Russia toe the line. Certainly puts a lot of pressure on them and if you look at the arrogance they have when dealing with Russian officials it may help.
Chris McMorrow says
Another brilliant piece by Larry Johnson – a real American and true patriot. (I hope Vladimir Putin takes his advice, and I hope Julian Assange will soon be freed.)
Larry C Johnson is a veteran of the CIA
That says it all. Who else could descend to the level of comparing a WSJ whore with Assange?
Chris McMorrow says
You make a good point about the WSJ. Little to nothing patriotic at all. To their way of thinking, there is no such thing as an American heritage (independent, freedom-loving people) or culture (Triune God-fearing, Calvinist Protestant Christian). That’s why they have no problem with flooding America with multi-cultural, 3rd World Marxist-minded people who come here for handouts. Pagans with anti-Christian cultures, beliefs and attitudes. So you’re right about the WSJ. They’re almost on the level of CNN. Wolves in sheep’s clothing.
But Larry Johnson? He’s a fearless, wholesale dispenser of Truth and a true American patriot. There are few men like him in our depraved, politically correct U.S. Congress.
Mihai Hurezanu says
Dear Larry the comparison with the Assange case is not at all appropriate at this point. This guy just got arrested, it;s very noble your indignation and stand on the side of freedom of the press but let’s wait a bit to see how things unfold. Assange trials,tortures & ordeals took years and are not over. Are you not curious to see the FSB’s evidence? WSJ is not Wikileaks. I thought from your comments until now that you are well aware of the state of degradation and moral squalor of the western MSM, of , more concretely , its very nefarious, toxic role in US & NATO escalation in Ukraine and East Asia. Even if you’re not voicing that dissapointment as rabidly as your good friend Andrei Martyanov or as concise as great Craig Roberts – presstitutes – This time, with all respect, you seem also to strangely depart from your well trodden path of principled critique of your former collegues from CIA. What I mean by that is the final quote issued from a old friend as you say ,from the Agency. He is very much on the spot with the second part of his remark, on the common sense point but first part oh gosh what a crock of shit, how could you take that without a big belly laugh as you accustomed us to treat this kind of stupid pretense??!! CIA doesn’t influence American media, as it never spied domestically HA??? I’m quite sure you know all that is to know about Operation Mockingbird maybe even a little more than ,well the great journalist indeed, a gone species by now, Carl Bernstein revealed to the public in his great book: “CIA and The Media, Un Unfinished History”, unfinished indeed. All the best to you!
Mihai Hurezanu says
As for Russians,yea they suck very bad at PR, we know that very well by now but what can we do than hope for the better,maybe they get a new Vladimir Surkov 🙂
Russian PR goes down well in Russia, but no one can have good PR in the West without being a vassal.
Russian media don’t speak English, or have Anglo-Saxon owners. Look at the media coverage of Macron, Scholz, not very good of late, which is no surprise seeing they don’t do English neither.
The Soviets conducted an orderly, planned withdrawal from Afghanistan, which began 15 May 1988 and ended on 15 February 1989.
That is, the Soviets were chased out of Afghan by goat herders holding AK47s.
The Russians conducted an orderly, planned withdrawal from Kherson, which began 11 Nov 2022 and ended shortly thereafter.
That is, the Russians where chased out by a miraculous Ukrainian counter offensive, which comprised a force of zero tanks, zero pieces of artillery, zero planes, and zero men, and which routed the Russians completely.
The Afghan gov‘t stayed in power for 3 years after the Red Army left.
Two points are clear to me. First, let’s wait the investigation about this jailed journalist; second, Putin would never show Russian’s military factories to strangers. Let the West play with fire, thinking that they will succeed.
can someone find a reference or two for this says
Putin would never show Russian’s military factories to strangers.
Some think Putin is the Hitler in this repeat of ww2.
After the division of Poland Hitler invited Soviet tank experts to visit tanks producing factories in Germany.
The result was (partially) the T34.
T-34 Mythical Weapon says
As a consequence of the mutually profitable German-Soviet co-operation initiated in the summer of 1939 by the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, in late October and early November 1940, a team of Soviet munitions, military and intelligence specialists visited the Third Reich. The guests were offered unprecedented access to the German munitions industry and its latest developments. They had an opportunity to see with their own eyes, touch, and even buy the latest in German armaments technology. For the technologically backward Soviet state, it was a true God-sent gift from heaven….
From; T-34 Mythical Weapon (2007). Michulec, Robert; Zientarzewski, Miroslaw.
just saying says
Initial stages of T-34 development started in 1934, hence the name. Famous testing or two prototype T-34s happened in January 1940 (Russians even made a movie about it).
When did that visit happen, and what aspects of T-34 it influenced?
just saying don't make it true says
the 34 has nothing to do with when development started
for example development for the T-46 (a replacement for the T-26) began in 1937
first prototype T-34 finished January 16 1940
second prototype was finished early February
trials (in Kharkov) were completed on March 3 1940
early on the T-34 was a nothing tank, but excellent by Soviet standards
the first models had many faults
changes to the main gun etc, made it a better machine
it then had some advantages over the current German tanks but its advantages meant little because its faults and Soviet tactics lead negated them
just saying says
Mikhail Koshkin chose the name after the year 1934, when he began to formulate his ideas about the new tank. Even anti-Russian Wikipedia says so.
You don’t design complex machinery over night, and you don’t build needed industrial base over weekend. If you don’t believe me, ask NATO weapons and ammo manufacturers. Modern day Germany would make those Soviets laugh.
All prototypes have problems. Fixing them is why they are made in the first place. Serial production started in September 1940, which is still before November 1940 when almighty Germans supposedly gave lessons on tank design 101 (while preparing Operation Barbarossa). I guess they wanted to make invasion of Soviet Union harder for themselves. Maybe Sun Tzu said that you should teach your enemies how to make tanks before you invade them, but I’ve missed it.
Of course the design evolved over time. They all do. German tanks switched from boxy shape to angled armour, similar to that on T-34.
85mm gun on T-34 is based on pre war desing (also pre November 1940).
You forgot to add Soviets being illiterate, and alcoholics, and sending human waves armed with shovels, while Stalin himself was shooting them in the back. It must be really embarrassing for Germans to lose a war to them. Those shitty tanks ended up in Berlin, and German Mouse and cats ended up in Kubinka.
just saying don't make it true says
Koshkin worked at the Leningrad till 1937 then moved to Kharkov.
The T-34 was designed at Kharkov.
If Koshkin began to formulate his ideas about a new tank, then the tank he talks about was not the T-34 (except possibly in his mind).
Perhaps it was the T-46-5 which he designed while at Leningrad.
“Stalin himself was shooting them in the back,…”
Stalin was a Jew who didn’t give a shit about Germans or Slavs.
Hitler was a Jew who didn’t give a shit about Germans or Slavs.
The details we don’t know are many. So it’s hard to make an informed judgment.
A major difference with Assange is Russia is effectively at war with NATO and US.
That’s a different circumstance to a Western journalist in peace time exposing Western government corruption.
In Iraq US bombed Al Jazeera let’s not forget and Israel has attacked journalists.
It’s a slippery slope, made more slippery during war and when journalism can be a cover for a political act.
We don’t know what the man has been up to, and as long as we don’t know, we won’t allow ourselves to make a final judgment.
(Conceivable would be e.g. the information procurement for the Ukraine – force of own fanaticism – and the carefully cultivated Russian hatred is a strong impulse).
It is completely new to us that anyone in the West would be interested in reality – not to mention “truth”.
And whoever has ambitions in this respect will not be “printed”, he can wipe his ass with his “findings”.
And that is a “self-runner”.
In an environment created here, in which the “reality” is the “exotic”, it is not believed – because it does not “fit in”.
We are categorically against granting the “journalist” an “exclusive status” of “untouchability”. No one is entitled to such a status.
And what else I forgot:
The Russians have always, especially in the last 30 years, kept to the rules – the “West” has not, on the contrary!
And what has it brought to the Russians?
Does anyone seriously believe that the Russians are still too concerned about the sensitivities of “the West”?
I quote from memory Lavrov’s answer to a question of a “journalist”, I think, the WP:
“You know, no matter what I say here, you write what you want. So just write.”
And that is your problem, which you have to solve first.
Michael Cassidy says
to numourious so many
Assange is locked up and incommunicado because Western politicians are in fear of their blatant corruption and criminality being made public.
It makes one wonder exactly what sort of a cess pit is constituted by UK Governance.
He should be released; those that have nothing to hide have nothing to fear.
just saying says
This article suffers from an acute case of not-understanding-Russia.
Russians don’t care about the Western narrative (which is clueless and inaccurate by design), or U.S. Intelligence Community getting an accurate picture (which is practically an oxymoron), or waking up and showering sleepy heads in D.C. They do care about foreign agents on their territory, even if they identify as “journalist”. FSB is an equal opportunity organisation.
Assange is related to this less than a sailing boat is to the Nord Stream terrorist attack.
Larry the one big difference between the two situations that you mentioned are that this journo was inside country and the other never stepped foot in it
“other never stepped foot in it”
Some believe that it is their world and Mr. Assange stepped into it – hence why “the United States of America” didn’t need any help fucking themselves, it was “pre-ordained.”
The Phoenix says
This might have been covered in other comments and going on incomplete information I don’t agree with the assessment that that was stupid.
Sy Hersch, Julian Assange, and Ed Snowden were doing their job in exposing corruption in government, corruption that was hurting the American people and innocent civilians in Syria.
Evan Gershkovich, an American, was in the Urals attempting to collect information on Russia’s military matters that the state would prefer to keep secret – and there are some very good reasons for why you want to keep these kind of things secret, Larry, you should know – during a war with whom … America.
This is not even remotely the same situation at all.
Vallhalla Rising says
America is now a banana republic…and the peasant populace seems to love bananas or they don’t really care if all they have to eat are bananas.
We spend a lot of time assessing and opining about geopolitics and the UKR SMO but in reality the real war is right here within US borders and on our borders. The neocon government is hellbent on winning–the US Constitution be damned.
For all of us who hate “bananas”…keep the faith as our forefathers did…they prevailed in the end and so shall we.
Top Gum says
Hmm … the US was created on lands belonging to indigenous population. I don’t want to point anything particular with that, but I doubt your “forefathers” were that different from what is going on now. There are good people and bad everywhere. We don’t know anything about our history, but what we have been taught our entire life by others. I have my doubts about so many things from our past, as they simply don’t make much sense seeing how societies function in real life. We can see how governments lie, steal and cheat. Power corrupts people, that is for sure.
Vallhalla Rising says
No doubt what the US Government did to the Native Americans was/is an atrocity. And no doubt that we (US citizens) have been fed a lot of BS about our history past and present.
I think my point is that the US Colonies and its inhabitants (Americans) successfully succeeded from the British Empire (hegemony)…that pioneer-patriot-freedom loving spirit still exists today in many of us…in the end, I think we will prevail…not to mention that we have all the guns lol…
Thanks for your feedback Top Gum…much appreciated !
Kim Philby was a spy, he was also a Journalist.
Assange is not a spy and is a journalist (like Bernstein and Woodward).
From 1955 until 1963, Philby was the Observer’s Middle East correspondent, based in Beirut.
Would you say Philby was not a spy? (double or triple agent). He was clearly a journalist.
I appreciate your journalism.
Alex Thrace says
I am not sure you have this one right Larry. This is a textbook example of how this “Empire of Lies” operates. It seems unlikely that the FSB would target a random journalist “just doing his job” unless there was another element and we don’t know what Russia knows about this. There are plenty of journalists in Russia some are actual journalists.
I have no idea if he is guilty or not, possibly caught in the wrong place at the wrong time by overcautious and paranoid security, but the FSB says the evidence is substantial and irrefutable, but that can be subjective.
The one thing I do know however is that nothing and I mean nothing the Biden Administration says or the CIA or the Pentagon, the DOJ or their propaganda whores at the WSJ and NYT can be taken at face value. If they tell you that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning, check your compass.
I do see your point though, let Russia give him a tour of a tank factory, the idea being to scare the pants off the Pentagon boys, but would the guy even tell the truth? You make point in other posts that cast doubt on that, most likely he would tell them what they want to hear. However lately with terrorist sabotage happening inside Russia’s borders, that seems to me to be too risky. The WSJ is not and has not been for a very long time an objective news source and it would just be foolish to treat them as such.
I think Russia is making an important point here, and at this point it really doesn’t matter what they do. They could give the guy a chauffeured limousine tour of the their defense factories, free vodka and a penthouse hotel room and the west would not say anything different then what they are saying now.
I saw this joke recently that summed it up well:
A guy is standing in the Bronx Zoo, drinking beer & enjoying the show.
Suddenly a little girl falls into the Crocodile pool.
The young man threw the can and jumped to get the girl.
He pulled her out to safety and handed her over to her crying mother.
The witnesses went on: “Bless you! That’s shows how a true brave American gentleman you are!”
Vlad replies: “No, I’m Russian.”
The next day in the New York Times:
“Drunken Russian tourist stole a meal from the crocodiles at the Zoo”
The best tactic to deal with this is give the guy a fair trial, a public trial and put out the evidence for everyone to see. We don’t have to trust the WSJ or CNN anymore for this information.
Russia is finished with the west and it’s bullshit and I can’t blame them one little bit.
“I do see your point though, let Russia give him a tour of a tank factory, the idea being to scare the pants off the Pentagon boys”
No not giving a tour of a tank factory leads to speculation which scare others not restricted to “pants”.
The shower scene in Mr. Hitchcock’s Psycho refers.
“”I do see your point though”
Do you ?
If so what was its purpose?
Alex Thrace says
Tour or no tour, they will lie and never admit the real situation. Larry talked about this with the Judge the other day. Just like intelligence “professionals” and Hunters laptop. They all know they truth yet they publicly stated that they all knew was a lie knowing that the mainstream would never call them out on it.
Yes in an honest world the idea of a personal tank factory tour might do a little good if everyone involved actually did objective reporting, but objective reporting is long dead in the West.
The Dems look at cooperation, apology, explanation as a sign of weakness for which they will show no mercy.
From “Tour or no tour..” to “……for which they will show no mercy.”
Thank you for your rapid response in emulation of “American politicians” telling an audience something they know already in avoidance of answering quesion posed such as:
”I do see your point though”
Do you ?
If so what was its purpose?”
Happy birthday tomorrow.
Journalism is dead. Call the coroner says
Unfortunately, you have the media’s m.o. down pat.
Are we not entertained? Should I not think to laugh or vomit?
“Unfortunately, you have the media’s m.o. down pat.”
Virtually any practice/reaction of “The United States of America” is perceived in advance, and hence facilitates “The United States of America’s” complicity in their own transcendence informed by “How to drown a drowning man with the minimum of blowback ?”
This included perceiving in advance Mr. Johnson’s attempt at “explaining” his “motive and purpose” – known to some as the “individual volleyball game of I always mean well.
Consequently the agent designated for “propaganda” for almost the rest of the world is “The United States of America” ; hence the policy of leave them alone, they are quite capable of fucking themselves up without our help.
The reaction of representatives of The Russian Federation was in relation to the attempt by Mr. Johnson and “The United States of America” to assign a constitution to The Russian Federation as was the case during the 1990’s, and the understanding by others that this was designed in desperation to engage the domestic audiences in “The United States of America”.
It is left to you and others how you and others in the “audience” to decide how to react.
Happy April Fools Day.
“The agency can’t use American journalists for anything, by law.”
Maybe the Russians can swap him for Assange. Wouldn’t THAT be a coup!
Alex Thrace says
I think this quote of the most powerful case for actually thinking he is a spy:
“The agency can’t use American journalists for anything, by law. The use of any American in the private sector requires the personal approval of the CEO of the company, in this case the CEO of WSJ; and DCIA’s approval. On the common sense side of things, only a nitwit would use an American to collect inside Russia or any other denied area.”
The terms “by law” and “only a nitwit” Are the tells.
The “law” means nothing to the DC bunch and the term “nitwit” is self-evident
“The “law” means nothing to the DC bunch and the term “nitwit” is self-evident”
“The arrest of the Wall Street Journal’s Russia-based correspondent for allegedly engaging in espionage solidifies the West’s view that Putin is a totalitarian monster”
“This was a stupid move by the Russians”
“The U.S. Intelligence Community certainly is not providing an accurate picture of Russian military manufacturing capabilities.”
“If I was Putin, I would order the immediate release of Gershkovich and then have Medvedev give him a personal tour of the tank factory. That would shut up the mob in Washington.”
So what is not to like ?
Alex Thrace says
It would not shut up the mob in Washington, it would embolden them.
Look at anyone who has ever apologized tot he left for anything, they do not forgive and forget but they act like a pack of hyenas that smell the blood of wounded prey.
the US Intelligence[sic] community will NEVER provide or even entertain an accurate picture of anything, how many time have we seen that and Larry even discussed that with the Judge the other day.
“It would not shut up the mob in Washington, it would embolden them.”
You believe that you are the “only” one who understood that ?
“So what is not to like ?”
It depends on your purpose and your target audience.
“If I was Putin,……”
Why not, or even a member of the judiciary of The Russian Federation, perhaps a sugar plum fairy ?
“I am a bona fide Son of American Revolutionaries. At least 24 of my ancestors, men and women, fought to free the American Colonies from British rule. Some died for the cause of liberty. Though two and a half centuries have passed since my great grandfathers and grandmothers took up arms, the principles they fought for remain valid and relevant to the 21st Century. This blog is dedicated to the pursuit of truth without regard to partisan advantage. I welcome like minded patriots ? “
“…in this case the CEO of WSJ”.
Larry, I believe the Journal like the Washington Post are well known for their ‘close’ ties to the CIA and probably other 3 letter agencies too. Maybe the reporter was just reporting on living standards in Siberia, or maybe he wasn’t.
with all due respect, but russia is at war with the united states in all but name; and mr. gershkovich is a united states citizen. russia has very good reason(s) to suspect that mr. gershkovich could be spying for the enemy.
meanwhile, juliian assange was an australian citizen reporting on a war that the united states was waging against iraq, a third country that mr. assange obviously had no connection to.
that`s a huge difference in so many aspects that I frankly find it somewhat surprising that this could escape mr. johnson`s attention.
U.N. OUT OF USA, USA OUT OF U.N. says
Perhaps the whole point of Russia arresting Gershkovich was to, once again, show the world the west’s hypocrisy when it comes to their “rules based order”? Discussions now comparing the west’s treatment of Assange to the FSB’s recent arrest of Gershkovich is a plus in Russia’s favor IMHO. Maybe the Russians are finally excelling at the west’s game of shaping opinions via the media?
Dominique Bassal says
We are making deep misinterpretation of the whole situation, here. The West plays dirty, and the Russians up to now were trying to stay clean and legal. In most of history, beginning with Spartacus and up to the USSR, the “progressive” forces have always tried to show themselves as moral examples. The elites, in contrast, have always been acting like cruel animals, which they probably are. Progressive leaders that have matched the elites violence have been much more successful than the “Alliende” type : Robespierre, Stalin (yes, Stalin…), Castro and a few others. Poutine is just coming to his senses and stops the pathetic “turning the other cheek” act. Any American in Russia is now fair game, and no amount of casuistry will change that.
On the Bridge of Journalists; maybe Putin should oiffer to trade Gershkovich for Assange.
I do not see any similarity at all between the cases of Gershkovich and Assange or the story of the Pentagon papers. It’s one thing when a government deceives its own citizens, hiding behind “classified information”, as was the case with the Pentagon papers or Assange’s information on the US conduct in Iraq.
Here the situation is entirely different: a person allegedly was using his journalistic privileges as a cover to obtain not just “classified information”, which could mean anything, but directly war-related information, in a country, with which his own country, the US, is essentially at war. Just because this war is unannounced and is by proxy, doesn’t make it any less of a war. That is, if the Russian accusations are true.
I am surprised that Russia allows ANY American journalists to work in Russia at all at such a time. How many Russian journalists are working in the US these days? I haven’t heard of a single one. And that’s the US conducting a war against Russia, not the other way around.
Alex Back says
FEBRUARY: Russia left START in order to avoid inspections (and tech stealing).
MARCH: Russia should exhibit their defense industry to the world.
C’mon Larry. Are we really having that discussion?
HMMMMM….. Slippery Slope(nothing Asian), don’t know if Clarissa Ward and Arwa Damon(granddad executed by Baathists in 1950) fall under some protective status, because that Syrian affair would’ve never got off the ground w/out their BAITED BREATH disinformation. If you feel Sy is so good maybe he could find out who murdered Paul Klebnikov, bet his family needs answers. Recall the former head of the defunct Mozart Group, Col Andy, me thinks he said ‘e was a reporter:( I don’t mind being wrong?
victor koyer says
Sorry, and the Spanish journalist Pablo González? Why?
He is in custody in Poland for the last year on charges of spying for Russia and no trial in sight. But Poland is: EU, OTAN, and Free World.
Larry wrote: “By the way, a retired CIA officer who served overseas reminded me of this:
The agency can’t use American journalists for anything, by law.”
Has any Silovik agency or person said they believe Evan Gershkovich worked for the CIA? If not, who has?
victor koyer says
Sorry, and the Spanish journalist Pablo González? Why?
He is in custody in Poland for the last year on charges of spying for Russia and no trial in sight. But Poland is: EU, OTAN, and Free World. unfortunately, Pablo is invisible.
OK, let me “think a different thought.”
What if Larry is just testing grounds — that is by bringing a controversial subject with a bit of over-the-top narrative, he likes to see our responses. I did not read all, but what I did read is quite a ride! There is so much info and logic and truth in these comments, I can’t see any other explanation than (Larry): “Let’s see what this crowd of mine comes up with…”
just saying says
I had similar tought.
” If I was Putin, I would order the immediate release of Gershkovich and then have Medvedev give him a personal tour of the tank factory.”
So did Xerxes !!
 Presently, learning that Xerxes was at Sardis with his army, they planned to send men into Asia to spy out the king’s doings and to despatch messengers, some to Argos, who should make the Argives their brothers in arms against the Persian, some to Gelon son of Dinomenes in Sicily, some to Corcyra, praying aid for Hellas, and some to Crete. This they did in the hope that since the danger threatened all Greeks alike, all of Greek blood might unite and work jointly for one common end. Now the power of Gelon was said to be very great, surpassing by far any power in Hellas.
Being so resolved and having composed their quarrels, they first sent three men as spies into Asia. These came to Sardis and took note of the king’s army. They were discovered, however, and after examination by the generals of the land army, they were led away for execution.
 They were condemned to die, but when Xerxes heard of it, he blamed the judgment of his generals and sent some of his guards, charging them to bring the spies before him if they should be found alive.
 They were found still living and brought into the king’s presence; then Xerxes, having inquired of them the purpose of their coming, ordered his guards to lead them around and show them his whole army. When the spies had seen all to their heart’s content, they were to send them away unharmed to whatever country they pleased.
The reason alleged for his command was this: had the spies been put to death, the Greeks would not so soon have learned the unspeakable greatness of his power, and the Persians would have done their enemy no great harm by putting three men to death. Xerxes said that if they should return to Hellas, the Greeks would hear of his power and would surrender their peculiar freedom before the expedition with the result that there would be no need to march against them.
 This was like that other saying of Xerxes when he was at Abydos and saw ships laden with corn sailing out of the Pontus through the Hellespont on their way to Aegina and the Peloponnese. His counsellors, perceiving that they were enemy ships, were for taking them, and looked to the king for orders to do so.
 Xerxes, however, asked them where the ships were sailing, and they answered: “To your enemies, Sire, carrying corn.” Xerxes then answered, “And are not we too sailing to the same places as they, with corn among all our other provisions? What wrong are they doing us in carrying food there?”
So the spies were sent back after they had seen all and returned to Europe.
Herodotus, The Histories – Book 7,146-147
A. D. Godley, Ed.
Herodotus, with an English translation by A. D. Godley. Cambridge. Harvard University Press. 1920.
The Annenberg CPB/Project provided support for entering this text.
And now for the rest of the story: Xerxes lost.
Indeed he did.
But not because of what the spies (and Xerxes) did.
Curt Nichols says
We start color revolutions. We kill innocent children and women with drones. We destroy neutral pipeline infrastructure. We’ve murdered more people thru abortion than will ever die in Ukraine. We use child labor to dig lithium so we can green feel good masturbate to work in our electric car. We imprison J6 political prisoners in jail hellholes where they are raped daily by the dregs of society. We invade countries and kill millions on pretty much a yearly basis.
And we ask? Why can’t you people be good and moral people who follow the rules?
You threw a big juicy bait, and look how many took a bite.
Paul Antonio says
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Russia has experienced acts of sabotage and military incursions on its territory. My guess is that military production facilities throughout Russia are under heightened security. Although I’m only dimly aware of the circumstances of Gerchkovich’s arrest, traveling almost 2,000 kilometers to the Urals to loiter around a tank/armament factory would almost certainly make him a person of suspicion in the eyes of Russian security.
FWIW, the US Army maintains a vast weapons depot near the town of Hawthorne NV. The depot sits on an expanse of the Great Basin Desert, and is quite beautiful (the desert not the concrete storage sites), with its sage and pinyon topography. I’d wager that I were to wander around the bunkers, notebook & camera in hand, the MPs or local sheriff’s department would arrive soon enough to inquire what the hell I was doing there.
Anyway, glad to see that Larry’s post has engendered such lively conversation. It’s one reason why I love this website.
Very dumb, stupid stunt from a dweeb reporter who fancies himself another James Bond.
It is not correct to equate a whistle blower (Assange) to a person digging for sensitive military data… with prospect of publishing this data.
I guess there is a line difficult to draw… true, a government should not hide behind the “classified” label… but also no person should be publishing the “access codes” to US military bases (or Russians), nor revealing the plans of a government about the next steps in a active military confrontation… That said, I believe there is information that should remain “secret/classified” when is about the security of a nation.
In the other hand, the journalist should not be arrested, he was doing his job (probably better than many if he was able to get to that point), the ones to be arrested should be the people providing an information that was trusted to them to keep it secret (and they should be judged as traitors).
North Korea to send 50,000 troops to Ukraine in deal with China and Russia.
Well, the guy was sniffing around the area and asking bad questions, at the time of war (in particular regarding УралВагонЗавод and what’s going on there – from what I heard from the Duran guys). Every government on the planet would do the same – to a foreigner in a time of war (and in a time of peace as well).
The guy will be likely expelled from Russian Federation – and that’s it.
How is that even comparable to Assange being tortured for years in the “cradle” of western democracy by essentially his own side ?
Ghost Ship says
I’d be interested to know what the FBI would do to a Russian journalist nosing around the HIMARS factory outside Camden, Arkansas.
My best guess, arrest him and change him with espionage.
HMS Terror says
“I think the FSB made a stupid mistake in arresting Gershkovich because it feeds the Western narrative that Putin is an authoritarian and eager to recreate the horrors of the former Soviet Union.”
What the West thinks is no longer a variable in the Russian calculus. Nor is it in anybody else’s. The Mighty Wurlitzer can go into thermal runaway and blow a gasket. It doesn’t matter. Its utility is waning because its intended audience has been polarized. One pole looks for the confirmation bias it delivers, the other ignores it altogether.
Russia is at war and peacetime ideals like the so-called “freedom of the Press” are in suspense both de facto and de jure. To allow enemy journalists to look into whatever they want and report it is unthinkable. A dereliction of duty.
Hersh learned what he learned because somebody powerful wanted the story out there. That somebody is American, and is either powerful enough to make Hersh untouchable, or the story is misdirection, or both. FWIW, I tend towards both.
Gershkovich’s case is as different as chalk and cheese. He was caught red-handed. In Zhakharova’s words “there is no question of suspicion”. If there is a Russian counterpart that “wanted the story out there”, you can bet he’s either already in custody or being tracked down with extreme urgency.
The West’s reaction to multipolarity has forced the Russians (et al) into a calculus that is splitting the world into two hostile camps. With that, their responsibility becomes to see to it that the camp Russia is in prospers and the West’s camp sinks. Whether it sinks believing Russia was right, or that Putin is the devil incarnate is a matter of supreme indifference.
It was posted before but I will repeat it.
What about if the person he contacted for information turn him in?
He contacted, some one with questions offering money, that person called security services and tell them some westerner want to pay me to tell him secret information about production and they told him wear a wire so the evidence of that been gathered
Assange v Gershkovich is not even close.
1) Assange tried to expose the travesties of the Deep State and our bought off leaders, whereas Gershkovich was probably in their employ.
2) The State Department suggested that all American leave Russia and G chose to stay when he didn’t have to, so it’s on him.
3) Russia is in a state of war and G comes from the proxy belligerent, so he should have known that he would be watched.
4) G is a Russian speaker, and as such was able to worm his way into places that would be linguistic obstructions to other would be 007 types.
5) G overestimated his own smarts and got busted, although hopefully he had the smarts to prepare for such a bust.
6) G knew very well that Yekaterinburg was a closed city especially at this time, and malingering around military places with delusions of being James Bond is proof positive that he is a moron.
7) The Russians were probably on to his stunt for a while and gave him enough rope to trap himself, because they let him foray deep into the Russian heartland where he would be far away from his buddies in Moscow when they were ready to pounce.
8) Also by letting him entertain delusions of grandeur about himself and how he cleverly eluded security, they were probably picking up electronic information and contacts, and all the while he thought he was so smart.
9) Then when he got busted he didn’t even have the gonads to admit to what he was doing, or at least spit up a risible alibi, like he was only on assignment.
10) Of course he would claim starry eyed innocence at getting busted near a military installation during wartime, but then almost everyone in the state pen says the same thing.
Forget the trade off. Let him shovel snow in Siberia for a while, he might learn something about self reflection and the (severe) limits of his own intelligence.
National security has always been a defence at state level to restrictions on freedom of speech. Defamation and slander at individual levels.
National security is that security of the state and the citizens within it. Whistleblowers are protected as they protect the citizens from excesses of the state that harms or hurts or violates the nation.
WikiLeaks was a whistleblowing organisation exposing state abuses which harmed global and national security and showed how the state violated US laws.
A whistleblower like Assange is a different thing to a reporter as they are releasing raw data without comment on it. Which in my view he not journalism.
Assange detention is clearly political and unfair. In the same way that trump faces Political persecution, like him or not, he is also a victim of state abuses. So both men are made examples of and treated unfairly. Where is Assange trial? Kangaroo courts and the world knows it.
On the case of the WSJ journalist I don’t know enough. But he je not a whistleblower acting to expose corruption he is either a spy or a journalist. Hopefully when he jd charged we hear what the issue is.
I understand something of Larry’s concern. The Russians are not good at PR or explaining things succinctly. But this is also what endears them to friendly states. They are not a glossy fake manufactured product. Outside the West no one sees Russia in a worse light as a result.
There is therefore a sense that if Russia arrested him that there was a reason and thst there will be a process and not an arbitrary detention. So let’s see.
Likely this is Russia’s way of warning US it will not be played for a fool.
“it will not be played for a fool.”
You are mistaken.
From 1969 onwards “The United States of America” were the useful fools whom after 1991 resorted to “Full Spectrum Dominance”, “The End of History”, and “We won the Cold War.” as fully expected, but not its detailed presentations, by some since 1969 once “The Soviet Union” was subject to ongoing transcendence with the complicity of “The United States of America”, thereby underming a requirement for their strategic support which they deemed necessary to sustain their existence, including but not limited to the alchemy of turning gold into paper and promises.
I think its come to a point where the Russians don’t care what the US thinks or what stories they intend to perpetuate. They have already cemented the idea that Putin is a dictator and he wants to recreate the former Soviet Union. You only have to read the commentary from people in western countries to see that. The question I ask is if the Russians release this man who or what are they impressing? No one, because the spin from Washington will be they forced the Russians to capitulate.
The FSB has not made any mistakes here because I believe it’s a tit for tat act. Remember that the US has already arrested several Russians citizens on spurious grounds and one of them is the son of a governor.
Think Larry needs to ease up on the sauce. Totally disagree.
For a fairer look this might help
about 27 mins in – but watch the full
Black Cloud says
“Remember all of the Republicans and Tulsi Gabbard who were accused of being controlled by the Russians? The Russians should have arrested the source providing the information, not the journalist.”
Larry, you are perpetuating a proven lie. And this is not the purvue of Russia but rather of the US, which should have immediately arrested the sources of this (dis)information, in particular Hillary Clinton and her entire cabal of political and media goons.
I agree with your points re: freedom of speech and press. However, Assange and Gershkovich cannot be equated. Assange is in prison for exposing govt malfeasance — he was serving the public. Gershkovich’s alleged crime is not serving the public.
You’re sure taking a beating on this position, Larry. I know you were on the inside while most, if not all, of us were on the outside. To me, it speaks to your integrity and conviction of three-letter agencies should follow the law. That’s why I continue to visit daily or almost daily. Unfortunately my life has taught me to be skeptical about these people and from what I’m reading, many others are skeptical too.
Larry Johnson says
Yes, I understand why people doubt what I am saying. There are still some competent case officers in the CIA. If your goal is to collect sensitive intelligence on the Russian military the person you do not use is a US reporter working for a US newspaper. Good Lord! That is beyond ridiculous. I reiterate my previous point, if the CIA was going to do something intended to gather real info they’d use a Chinese reporter working for a Chinese publication, as one possible example.
That said, I still do not censor critical comments that are thoughtful and reasoned. It is part of having an adult discussion.
Paul Greenwood says
Go read up on The Spiegel Affair and Franz-Josef Strauss as German Defence Minister 1962…..
This is what USA has become
You are making a big mistake Mr. Johnson, not all classified information are the same.
A journalist cannot be held responsible for holding classified information only if that information is for public interest. Obviously, classified information about military installations are not for public interest and hence this man is simply a spy not a journalist (if he is indeed caught red-handed).
The case of Assange is not even similar to this one.
Thank you for providing a point of view I hadn’t considered, Mr. Johnson. You make a good point. Lacking any real evidence about what actually took place, I’m on the fence about it. The Donbass Insider site paints a different scenario that, although it sounds entirely plausible, may or may not be true. I hope you don’t mind if I copy and paste the article here in its entirety, because the link may or may not work at any given time. (archive.is can’t open it, which is unusual)
“ARREST OF US JOURNALIST FOR SPYING IN RUSSIA DEMONSTRATES WESTERN HYPOCRISY
On 30 March 2023, the FSB (Russian intelligence service) announced that it had arrested Evan Gershkovich, an American journalist for the Wall Street Journal, in Yekaterinburg for espionage. The use of a journalist as a spy, and the Western reaction to Gershkovich’s arrest, which brandishes his profession as a totem of immunity, while Julian Assange has been in prison in England for years, clearly demonstrates the hypocrisy of the West.
When I started working in the Donbass seven years ago, a local journalist colleague told me that the three best covers for Westerners to spy on in this war zone were aid workers, OSCE staff, and journalists! After all, as he so aptly pointed out to me, the work of a journalist is, in part, quite similar to that of an intelligence officer: both gather information, the difference being that the former gathers information that does not require breaking the law and publishes it, and the latter gathers information in a sometimes illegal way and reports on it for his superiors.
Spying under these three types of cover has already been proven on several occasions in the Donbass. Humanitarian organisations have lost their accreditation in the Donbass for asking many intrusive questions about military positions and other secret information when delivering aid in the area near the front.
A Western journalist was also expelled from Donbass in 2014 for espionage, while the OSCE’s special military operation proved that the Ukrainian army had access to their frontline surveillance camera footage, and several of the organization’s employees are being prosecuted for espionage and have admitted to collecting information that was passed on to Ukraine.
While a journalist has already been arrested for spying in the Donbass (a Ukrainian journalist was arrested for spying in the Donetsk People’s Republic), Evan Gershkovich’s arrest is the first case in Russia.
While “officially” investigating the Wagner PMC (Private Military Company), Evan Gershkovich returned to Ekaterinburg shortly after an earlier trip there under the same pretext. Except that, as Russian deputy Vyacheslav Wegner from the Sverdlovsk region revealed, what Gershkovich was really interested in was the military-industrial complex enterprises located in the region.
The “journalist” asked him about the experience of the Sverdlovsk region in reorienting production facilities, whether companies had changed their profile, how many teams were working there and whether they had enough staff. The deputy stressed that he was not authorized to answer questions of this nature.
“[Gershkovich] started asking questions about the Yekaterinburg defense industrial complex, named one of the companies Novator and so on,” Wegner said.
The American journalist was also interested in the communications between Vyacheslav Wegner and Yevgeny, Prigozhin who heads the SMP Wagner.
Interestingly, the media outlet Meduza (considered a foreign agent and banned in Russia) itself stated that Gershkovich visited Nizhny Tagil, the city where Uralvagonzavod, one of the most important enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex, is located. This shows that the investigation into SMP Wagner was just a cover for information about something else.
Indeed, the Russian authorities have pointed out that Evan Gershkovich was arrested in the act of attempting to obtain secret information about the Russian military-industrial complex. After a closed hearing due to the nature of the case, Gershkovich was remanded in custody for two months. He was granted consular access.
Unsurprisingly the Wall Street Journal, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Maria Pejčinović-Buric, the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, Washington, London, Paris, and UN Secretary General António Guterres, condemned Gershkovich’s arrest and called for his release, pointing to his status as a journalist as if it were a totem of immunity.
Except that the legitimate work of a journalist does not include spying on military sites or companies, as Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has rightly pointed out.
“What this employee of the US edition of the Wall Street Journal was doing in Ekaterinburg has nothing to do with journalism. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the status of ‘foreign correspondent’, a visa and a journalist’s accreditation have been used by foreigners in our country to conceal activities that are not journalistic. This is not the first well-known Westerner to be caught red-handed,” she wrote on her Telegram channel.
Personally, the Western reaction seems all the more inappropriate and hypocritical to me, since the journalist Julian Assange has been in prison in England for four years, not for having sought to spy on companies of the American military-industrial complex, or divulged military positions, but for having denounced the war crimes of the American army and other NATO armies, among others in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In other words, the West is blaming Russia for arresting a journalist for spying (an accusation that seems pretty solid when you see that even a media outlet that is an agent of foreigners like Meduza writes that he went to the city where Uralvagonzavod is located), while they arrested and are keeping in prison in deplorable conditions a journalist who was only doing his job!
Before demanding that Russia release Gershkovich, the West would do well to put its own house in order by freeing Julian Assange and by stopping using their journalists as small-time James Bond agents!
Translation: Яннис В.Зброек for Donbass Insider
Larry, comparing Gershkovich’s arrest with Assange’s arrest is absurd.
And your first response “Then you support prosecuting Assange. Real simple” is dishonest to the extreme.
Do you really think anyone following your blog, trolls and spooks aside, would be supporting prosecuting Assange?
A journalist from the main enemy state investigating military matters 1600 miles away from Moscow during a major war is highly likely to be a spy.
At least let the Russians decide in court before commenting.
You say no journalist deserves to be arrested for trying to obtain classified information. But what is the journalist is doing so in order to hand such information over to his own countries security services such as the CIA and he is not obtaining it in order to give the information to the public? This is something we do not know for now. Andrei Martynov claims,
“It is really difficult to say that one is a “journalist”, when one is caught with special equipment, in Russia they believe it is of NSA, not of CIA, origin, especially when depositing this equipment into hidden place not far from serious military plant.”
If this is true such behavior is true then this is not journalism, but obviously spying.
I think it is past the time to think the US security agencies are professional and not apt to do stupid things so having this WSJ reporter do as he did does not strike me as strange. The CIA has certainly declined in quality over the years. For example, Larry could you imagine the Security Agencies during the time of your career getting involved in domestic politics to the point of helping destroy an elected president? I say we are in a Brave New World and all previous beliefs, previous professional red lines, decisions, and other things are now completely out the window. I think all the incredibly stupid things the US has done for the past 20 yrs such as the Iraq War, Syria, blowing up Nord Stream Pipeline, 2 impeachments of the same President, starting a war with a nuclear power backs up my position.
Article a bit long, but interesting read, found this on:
The FSB detained the correspondent of The Wall Street Journal Evan Gershkovich. He was allegedly “engaged in espionage” Foreign and Russian journalists demand his release
06:39, 30 March 2023 (UTC)Source: Meduza
Evan Gershkovich Archive
On the morning of March 30, the FSB reported on the detention in Yekaterinburg of the correspondent of The Wall Street Journal, US citizen Evan Gershkovich. He is suspected of espionage “in the interests of the American government.”
According to the intelligence service, Gershkovich, “acting on the instructions of the American side,” allegedly “collected information” constituting a state secret about the activities of “one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.” He was detained, according to the FSB, “while receiving secret information.” A criminal case was initiated against the journalist under Article 276 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Espionage”). The penalty under this article is 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment.
Shortly before the announcement of Gershkovich’s detention, PR specialist Yaroslav Shirshikov, who runs the Gusar Bravado telegram channel, said that a couple of weeks ago he gave an interview to a journalist, “accompanied him around the city, introduced him to some other heroes.” According to him, the correspondent was interested in how Russian society treats Wagner’s PMCs. A few days later, Gershkovich flew to Moscow, Shirshikov said.
He published a screenshot of the post “Evening Vedomosti”, which said that a reader of the publication witnessed the detention of a person in the center of Yekaterinburg near the restaurant Bukowski Grill. According to an eyewitness, law enforcers in a civilian took a person into a minibus, a sweater was pulled over his head, so the face of the detainee was not visible.
Shirshikov also wrote that at one o’clock in the morning he received a call from London. A man named Thomas said that on Wednesday, March 29, Gershkovich returned to Yekaterinburg and has not been in touch for nine hours.
“Like, he left my phone in the newsroom in case something happened. And then I realize that Evan and I had lunch in Bukovsky and not only my office is nearby, but also the office of another hero of the material. It’s not hard to assume that in an unfamiliar city a person will go to familiar places, right? In addition, Evan on Tuesday asked me to meet for today. I didn’t know he had arrived yesterday. Apparently, I decided to get the material,” Shirshikov said.
Meduza’s source among Western journalists working in Moscow said that in addition to visiting Yekaterinburg, Evan Gershkovich went to Nizhny Tagil. The Uralvagonzavod defense enterprise is located there.
“Kommersant” writes that Gershkovich is planned to be taken to Moscow, the decision on the measure of restraint for the journalist will be made by the Lefortovo District Court. The case of the correspondent is in the proceedings of the central office of the FSB.
Deputy of the Sverdlovsk Legislative Assembly Vyacheslav Wegner told the publication 66.ru that he met with Gershkovich. According to him, the journalist was interested in the attitude of people to the Wagner PMC and the work of “industrial enterprises”. He claims that Gershkovich wanted to “interview various people, as they call us, patriots.” The journalist was also interested in “issues related to the support of the population during the period ITS”as well as “humanitarian mission: cargoes that have been sent to Donbas since 2014″.”
“I said that we send equipment to orphanages and so on. He said that your Highmars have ruined everything they can. Wagner was also interested in the activities of the PMC, in particular, he asked why I was corresponding with Prigozhin. And about industrial enterprises [I asked] how they are reoriented during the SVO. I said that it is excellent and there is no shortage of personnel. We drank a bottle of cognac for two. So you can write that Wegner drinks cognac with an American spy, “the deputy said.
The Wall Street Journal demanded the release of the journalist
The Wall Street Journal said it “categorically rejects” the FSB’s accusations against its journalist and demands his immediate release. The international organization Reporters Without Borders said it was “alarmed” by Gershkovich’s detention. According to the organization, this looks like a “response” to the work of a reporter to investigate the activities of the Wagner PMC.
Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin has nothing to add to the press release of the FSB. “The only thing I can say, as far as we know, he was caught red-handed,” Peskov said, without specifying details or explaining what this means. When asked whether the detention of the journalist was connected with the already published material or the upcoming one, the Kremlin spokesman replied that he did not know the details.
Peskov was also asked whether Gershkovich’s detention could “provoke inspections” of Russian journalists’ offices in the United States. “We hope that this will not happen and this should not happen. Because I repeat once again: we are not talking about suspicions, but about the fact that he was detained red-handed, “he replied.
Some journalists, commenting on the detention of Gershkovich, suggested that he was detained in order to exchange for one of the Russian citizens under arrest abroad. In particular, this opinion was expressed by the editor-in-chief of Mediazona Sergey Smirnov: “Hostages are taken for the exchange fund. At the same time, they show that it is no longer safe for Western journalists to work in Russia.”
Investigative journalist Andrei Zakharov recalled that at the end of January, two Russian citizens who lived there on Argentine passports in the names of Ludwig Gish and Maria Meyer were detained in Slovenia. The Slovenian Foreign Ministry said that the detainees were employees of foreign intelligence. According to The Guardian, it was about the Russian special service. The newspaper’s source claimed that after the couple’s arrest, the Russian side “quickly agreed that they were intelligence officers.” Now Moscow and Western countries are “conducting behind-the-scenes negotiations about their exchange for one or more people who are imprisoned in Russia.”
“When I read about it, I thought: what will I change? Only came to mind. Paul Whelan is an American convicted in 2020 on espionage charges. Will they change two for one, I thought at the time. But today, the exchange fund was replenished by Evan. I hope I am right, and in the coming months he will be waved at the failed Russian illegals somewhere at the airport in Vienna,” Zakharov wrote.
His fellow journalists spoke in support of Gershkovich. “Evan Gershkovich is a very good and brave journalist, not a spy, for the sake of all that is sacred. This is a direct attack on all foreign correspondents who are still working in Russia. And this means that the FSB fell off the leash, “wrote journalist and researcher of the special services Andrei Soldatov on Twitter.
“My friend and absolutely professional journalist Evan Gershkovich was detained by the FSB on obviously fabricated charges of espionage. Journalism is not a crime. Evan must be released immediately,” Told The Guardian journalist Petr Sauer.
“Evan Gershkovich is a professional, colleague and friend whom I have known for many years. An honest, kind and brave person and journalist who continued to work in Russia despite any threats, “said Elizaveta Focht, a correspondent for the BBC Russian Service.
The head of the information service of the TV channel “Rain” Ekaterina Kotrikadze called Gershkovich “an excellent journalist” and noted that his detention is “an international scandal larger than nord stream.”
Deadline podcast episode on the work of foreign reporters in Russia after the war began
The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said that “what an employee of the American edition of The Wall Street Journal was doing in Yekaterinburg has nothing to do with journalism.” “Unfortunately, this is not the first case when the status of a “foreign correspondent”, a journalistic visa and accreditation are used by foreigners in our country to cover up activities that are not journalism. Not the first known Westerner is “grabbed by the hand”,” Zakharova wrote.
Evan Gershkovich wrote about war and Kremlin policy
Evan Gershkovich, 31, is a U.S. citizen who has lived in Moscow for several years. He works in the Moscow bureau of The Wall Street Journal, he has accreditation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Gershkovich writes materials on topics related, among other things, to Russian politics, the war in Ukraine and the Wagner PMC.
In early March, he and his colleagues released an article in which, in particular, it was said that Kremlin officials had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to influence the founder of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who criticized the Russian Defense Ministry. Recently, Gershkovich has published materials about protests in Georgia because of the bill on “foreign agents”, a visit to Moscow by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, a report from Pskov, where the 234th Airborne Assault Regiment is based, whose military is accused of involvement in the murder of civilians in Bucha, and other materials. He was also one of the authors of a December article by The Wall Street Journal, which claimed that Putin was receiving information about the war in Ukraine in a distorted form.
Gershkovich also worked at Agence France-Press, and from 2018 to 2021 was a correspondent for the English-language version of The Moscow Times. As the publication itself reminds, there he published materials about mass protests against the construction of a landfill in Shies, rallies in support of the ex-governor of the Khabarovsk Territory Sergey Furgal, protests in Moscow in the summer of 2019 due to the opposition’s non-admission to the elections to the city Duma, as well as the poisoning of Alexei Navalny.
Yeah, Right says
Your argument that this was a stupid thing for the Russians to do assumes that they are sensitive to the howls of outrage from “the West”, or that such howling has a material outcome.
I suspect they don’t care a rat’s ass about that, and I suspect that all the shouting and hollering “achieves” is to give a lot of poseurs a sore throat.
After all, who is going to change their mind by this event?
Who is going to be swayed by this Very Cunning CIA Plan?
Maybe some three-letter-agencies thought it was a good idea to dangle Gershkovich in front of the Russians to see if they took the bait. It’s plausible.
And the Russians gobbled him up, and now Washington finds that there is nothing to “reel in” after the FSB decided to act.
So what was the point, again? What did Washington actually achieve?
Outrage in the Western press? Yeah, and what’s so different about that?
> reality from Western press reporting from Moscow might force the Washington decision makers to throw away their Ukrainian fantasies and come to grips with the fact that Russia can out produce the United States and NATO countries combined
Here you imply this would be something that Kremlin does or should want, something that would benefit Russia
I am not convinced.
As Pax Americana seems going into death spiral, economically and culturally at least, it would make sense to isolate ourselves from this train wreck, rather than jumping the vagon.
As western world for centuries thinks themselves as predators who need to ambush and devour their prey, it would not be wise for a prey to abet those predators by advertising the best attack strategy via exposing strengths and weaknesses.
Better examine developing information than express an immediate reaction, IMO. While I underatnd your in-the-moment reaction Larry, this event falls into such a catagory that counsels patience. For most things, a 24- hr rule before reacting is a good guide. Events such as these become more copmplex over time as more is revealed – both information and dis-information.
John Helmer’s Sunday 02 Apr article add more info:
As well as compaing applicable spyong laws in the RF and US, Helmer also compares charges against Assange to charges against Gershkovich and wonders if an exhange could be consisdered.
Helmer also discuss latest Nordstream edvelopments and Frrench protests
Gershkovich broke RF law, note: US law dating back to 1917 is the same. NYT free and impartial, honest reporting? Please! Even if Gershkovich is not a intel asset, he still is indictable for breaking RF law. Stupid is not a defense.
Dave Ross says
I wonder whether the Russians have taken note of the new relationship between the corporate media and the CIA for spreading disinformation and concluded that the old prohibition against the CIA using journalists to commit espionage has lapsed. The modern US media has almost nothing in common with the media of ten or twenty years ago. The Russians watched them spread the Russia hoax that the Russians knew was a hoax. It makes sense that they may have changed their rules of engagement with US journalists.
In terms of winning the propaganda war, it makes sense for Russia to release the reporter and contrast that with Assange. Journalists can commits espionage if they are working for the CIA. The collapse of the rule of law in the US makes that more plausible than it used to be but the Russians should only accuse them of that if they have a smoking gun. If they don’t have that, they should do as Larry advises and take a shot at the US and UK over Assange.
“The agency can’t use American journalists for anything, by law..”
With all due respect, what is this proof of?
The agency is also not permitted to spy on its constitutionally mandated overseers, the U.S. Congress / Senate—nor were if it to do so, to lie about it to Congress under oath on pain of prosecution, but as we know, it does.
Larry Johnson says
And they were caught. Forget about the legal issue for the moment. From the standpoint of operational security it is just plain stupid and carries too much risk of compromise.