How Dr. Marina doctors the evidence
22 november 2022 | John Laughland
On 15 November 2022 Forum for Democracy International published an English translation of an article originally written by Forum for Democracy in Dutch. It detailed the way in which a Rotterdam-based opponent of FVD had manipulated a video in order to prosecute her incessant disinformation campaign against the party. In this case, she took a remark in an interview with Gideon van Meijeren out of its context to twist it into something else. Her disinformation was lapped up by the media cartel and by the Dutch government which were only too eager to fall for her tricks.
Dr Marina has been doing this for some time to attack me. She responded to a Tweet from Forum for Democracy International by digging up an old video of an interview with me, recorded, I believe, in about 2009. This video provides open and shut proof of her dishonesty. In the interview, I say, in French, “En 2007, j’ai pu assister à un déjeuner-débat avec Vladimir Poutine…” which means, “In 2007, I was able to be present at a lunch debate with Vladimir Putin.” But the subtitles say, “I had lunch with Vladimir Putin.”
This is manipulation. To “have lunch” with someone is to be in a close encounter and to spend an hour or so in conversation with that person. The lunch-debate I was referring to, which occurred in 2007, was more like a press conference, although lunch was served. There were at least 70 other people around a gigantic table. To my great regret, I was unable to ask my question, so I did not even have that level of exchange with Putin. The debate took place within the framework of the Valdai Discussion Club. Dr Marina alleges that I have close connections to Valdai and that it is a pro-Russian organisation. But I have attended the Valdai meeting only once; I have had no contacts with it since 2007; and many of the other participants in 2007 were Kremlin critics. So her crazy conspiracy theories are, in fact, just lies.
This distortion of subtitles was also practised by Zembla in its “documentary”, Thierry Baudet and the Kremlin, of which Dr Marina likes to recycle short excerpts. The dishonesty here is even more radical. I was asked, in English, “Was IDC financed by the Russian state?” to which I replied “No, it was not funded by the Russian state.” (IDC is the think-tank I worked for for 10 years.) But the subtitle translated this, twice, as “funded by Russia” (door Russland gefinancierd in Dutch). IDC was indeed funded from Russia but by private donors, so it was not “financed by Russia”. Dr Marina integrates this disinformation into her own doctored videos to rig the evidence again.
She then produces another video, this time in German, where it is the same story with the subtitles. It is an interview with Putin. We cannot hear Putin’s voice but only the German voiceover, which refers to NGOs “which are financed from Russia” (“Nichtregierungsorganisationen, die sich aus Russland finanzieren lassen”). But the English subtitles lie again by translating this as “financed by Russia”, i.e. by the Russian state. This is not what Putin said. The subtitles are clearly designed to deceive.
“Doctor” Marina – a title she merits - then produces two other videos of events at the United Nations. One of them was organised by a fellow NGO but the Russian Permanent Mission in Geneva reserved the room; the other was organised by Russia, Armenia and Lebanon with the support of a large number of other states including the Holy See. I chaired that meeting and can be seen sitting between Sergei Lavrov and the Lebanese foreign minister, with the Armenian FM on Lavrov’s right. However Dr Marina is interested only in the presence of one of the three FMs because, to her fevered mind, it proves what she is determined to show. But it does not, because what she is determined to show is false. It proves no more a “connection” to the Kremlin than a “connection” to Beirut or Yerevan or the Vatican.
Zembla also asked me whether the creation of IDC had been ordered by Putin, to which I replied that it had not. It then showed a speech by Putin in Lisbon in 2007 when he says this:
“Today, I also introduced a new initiative to our partners, proposed by the Head of the Chamber of the Federal Assembly of Russia. Mr Prime Minister has already mentioned it: the idea is to create a Russian-European Institute for Freedom and Democracy. Its goal is to facilitate dialogue between members of the public, non-governmental structures and experts on issues such as organizing the electoral process, monitoring elections, the situation of national minorities and migrants in the territory of the EU and Russia as well, freedom of expression and other questions of interest for us. I think that such a dialogue will be very useful. The EU assists the development of similar institutes in Russia using grants. I think that it is high time, given our increasing economic and financial capacity, that the Russian Federation can do the same thing in the European Union, can do its bit, including financially, to contribute to the development of such dialogues. We are suggesting a new institute, either in Brussels or in one of the European capitals, and we are ready to supply funds for financing it, just as Europe covers the costs of projects in Russia. We are counting on the administrative and political support from our colleagues, and Mr President has spoken to the Portuguese government about this, for which we are very grateful.”
This is supposed to invalidate my denial. Although I was unaware of this speech when interviewed in 2020, when I looked at the text (above) I saw that it proved what I had said. Putin speaks of “a Russian-European Institute for Freedom and Democracy” which Russia, i.e. the Russian state, was prepared to finance. But this initiative never materialised. I have no idea why not. Instead, it must have been replaced by a different initiative, with a different name (Institute of Democracy and Cooperation), not just in Europe, and not financed by the Russian state. Moreover, after a year or so, IDC Paris split off from IDC New York and became a separate organisation. I never had any contact with IDC New York. So this proposal by Putin – which in any case was a confidence-building measure announced when relations between Russia and the EU were good and even heading towards a strategic partnership - proves nothing about the organisation of which I was a salaried employee.
Dr Marina evidently has a weak grasp not only of French and German but also of English. “I have no links to the Kremlin or connections to Russia” is a sentence in the present tense. Even if you believe all the untrue conspiracy theories about IDC, my employer from 2008 to 2018, that is now in the past. The last IDC event took place in 2017, when my employment was terminated following the decision by the donor to cease funding. (Dr Marina never integrates this forced closure of IDC into her malevolent fictitious storyline.) Since 2018 I have had minimal contact with Russia and, apart from the occasional and mostly unpaid interview with RT, I currently have none at all.
So the notion that I am Thierry Baudet’s liaison with the Kremlin is a lie, for the simple reason that I have no contacts with the Kremlin, nor indeed any more with Russia as a whole. I am not the liaison for anything.
Finally, Dr Marina likes to bring up the unpleasant experience I had at Gatwick Airport which she regards as proof of her allegations. Here again, she is wrong. First, there was no accusation of any kind against me and certainly not of “espionage” as she alleges. The questioning procedure, which I have criticised in my article about totalitarianism, can be deployed, as it was in my case, whether or not there is any suspicion of a hostile intent. Second, I was able to continue my journey after an hour of questioning without any further ado. There is no legal procedure of any kind against me and I have since returned to the UK without any problem.
So what the incident at Gatwick Airport proves is my innocence. It also shows how dangerous politically malevolent disinformation, like that peddled by Dr Marina, can be: the police were undoubtedly influenced by the dishonest claims made by people like her. Some of their questions evidently came from the Zembla “documentary”. The police tested those claims by questioning me and then found there was nothing to them. If the UK police had caught a real Russian spy, travelling to Britain with hostile intent, they would not have let him go on his way undisturbed as they did with me. So the whole story proves the opposite of what it is supposed to prove - and it proves that Dr Marina is a liar.