Major western news publications are running a story about a sinister plot by the Russian government, and—you may want to sit down for this—the sources of the report are anonymous, and the evidence for it is secret.
The New York Times reports that according to anonymous individuals within the US and British governments, Russia is currently plotting to topple the existing government of Ukraine in some way using some method and then somehow install a puppet regime that is sympathetic to Moscow using some sort of means. What specifically those means and methods might be are not revealed to us in this very serious news report.
"The communiqué provided few details about how Russia might go about imposing a new government on Ukraine, and did not say whether such plans were contingent on an invasion by Russian troops," the Paper of Record informs us. "British officials familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the intent was both to head off the activation of such plans as well as to put Mr. Putin on notice that this plot had been exposed."
The New York Times @nytimesBreaking News: Britain said that Russia had begun developing plans to install a pro-Kremlin leader in Kyiv, as Russian troops threaten Ukraine’s borders. https://t.co/IcEsjUa1Xu
Now if you are hoping to be provided with some sort of evidence for these incendiary claims, I'm afraid I'm going to have to disappoint you, because get this: the journalists reporting on this story have not seen any evidence. Apparently they're just passing on unverified government assertions made by unknown spies to their readers because they were told to, which I guess is something journalists can do now?
I know, I know, I was a little surprised when I learned that too. But here it is, straight from the horse's mouth:
"The British communiqué provided no evidence to back up its assertion that Russia was plotting to overthrow the Ukrainian government," the Times reports.
You will be reassured however to learn that despite the actual evidence of the actual Russian nefariousness being kept invisible to us, anonymous officials within the US government have reviewed the intelligence gathered by anonymous British spies for us and concluded on our behalf that the evidence is solid.
"In Washington, officials said they believe the British intelligence is correct. Two officials said it had been collected by British intelligence services," The New York Times informs us.
You see that? These claims about a devious Russian conspiracy have been confirmed by anonymous government operatives in both the US and the UK. That's two separate, completely unconnected governments independently verifying that these claims are true. That's called independent corroboration, gentlesirs. Basically the same as ironclad proof.
Natasha Bertrand @NatashaBertrandBreaking: The UK foreign office said in a statement on Saturday that it has information the Russian government is planning to "install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."
It does seem a little strange to me, though, that after taking great license to report anonymous government assertions without evidence The New York Times seems to take issue with the Russian government making unevidenced claims.
"Russian officials have repeatedly denied any intention of launching an attack against Ukraine, dismissing such accusations as 'hysteria' and claiming without providing evidence that it is the government in Kyiv that is seeking to escalate tensions," write the article's authors.
When this report came out I was a bit surprised by the way unproven claims by anonymous government sources are treated as actual news stories for grown adults to read instead of empty nothing stuff to be ignored and flushed down our mental toilet tubes, as I'm sure you were too. But I did a little digging and it turns out that this sort of thing is actually quite commonplace within western news media institutions, like when we were told without evidence that the Russians were plotting a false flag operation in Ukraine, or like when we were told without evidence that the Russians are using high-tech ray guns to scramble the brains of US diplomats and spies and it turned out to be baseless, or like when we were told without evidence that the Russians were paying Afghan resistance fighters to kill western occupying troops and it turned out to be false and wrong, or like when we were told without evidence that Russians interfered in the United States election and it monopolized all news reports and political discourse for years, or like when we were told without evidence for years and years that Russia was about to invade Ukraine any minute now and then it kept not happening.
I'm sure this time is different, though. After all that practice and all that trial and error, I'm sure our trusted news media institutions have perfected their craft and are now masters at reporting the truth.
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