Job offer for former RNZ ‘pro-Russia’ journalist; Wagner Rebellion likely a Russian negotiation strategy

Consortium News’ offer shows up RNZs blatant political censorship, while all may not be as it seems with the apparent rebellion against Russia.


Former RNZ journalist Michael Hall, who resigned after he was suspended pending an investigation into edits made to stories about the war in Ukraine, deemed ‘pro-Russian’, has been offered a job.

The longstanding US investigative journalism outfit Consortium News (CN), known for its coverage of American foreign policy, empire wars and the case of Julian Assange made a public statement that Hall would find a home at CN as an editor, if he wanted it. The offer was made via an article posted to its website on 26 June.

CN said Hall had “edited stories to accurately reflect the context of the war”. In particular, he had inserted paragraphs that noted the failure of NATO to implement the Minsk peace agreements, which would have given Russian speakers in Ukraine autonomy and protection, and the rise of neo-Nazi factions in Ukraine since the US backed Maidan Coup in 2014.

“These are facts that Consortium News has been reporting since 2014 — but which establishment media has been suppressing — including these two exhaustively corroborated accounts: On the Influence of Neo-Nazism in Ukraine and Evidence of US-backed coup in Kiev,” the article stated.

In the meantime, Russia faced a coup from within its own ranks, in what has been called by some as the Wagner rebellion.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner private military group, has since denied trying to overthrow the Russian government when his forces marched on Moscow over the weekend and there has been much speculation about what he was trying to achieve. Some say the special military operation could morph into a civil war.

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Commentators, including those on the ground in Russia such Edward Slavsquat have expressed confusion as there was a lack of initial information from which to draw conclusions.

You can read various commentary and analysis herehere and here.

Greg Simons is a regular commentator on the war in Ukraine.

The Looking Glass asked Sweden-based Greg Simons, our go-to propaganda and Russia expert, what he made of the situation. 

“This started publicly at least as a conflict between Wagner head Prigozhin with the Minister of Defence Shoigu,” he said.

Simons said there were different possibilities of what was really behind the apparent coup – including that it was a genuine rebellion, with Prigozhin moving to weaken or force Putin in the hope others might join the cause. 

The the other possibilities that Simons laid out were that somehow the US or UK had bribed Prigozhin to launch a rebellion as a distraction from NATOs failure in Ukraine battleground, or finally that it could part of a Russian negotiation strategy with domestic audiences. Russia had not fulfilled the complete demands it had articulated in the special military operation. It could also be a way of luring the US to the peace table as possible way of saving face, he said.

“After all, Lavrov, Foreign Minister said very recently Russia is ready to negotiate,” he said.

The last was the most realistic in his view.

“Otherwise overwhelming military force would have been used against Wagner and Prigozhin would be dead (not forgiven). As this would be a clear act of treason in a time of war and not a secretly coordinated strategy.”

Watch some of Simon’s recent Ukraine commentary on Turkish broadcaster TRT News here and here.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has today dropped charges against the Wagner soldiers with an ultimatum that will see them choosing between going home, partnering with Russia’s Defense Ministry or departing for Belarus.

This would appear to support Simon’s hypothesis.

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