"No comment"

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Concept.png "No comment"
No comment.jpg
Keeping quiet about malfeasance is so important that a Gladio operative termed it "the golden rule"

"No comment" is tactic often used to try to close down discussion of a topic, whether by individuals in response to police questioning or by organisations in response to public or media speculation.


Those who would cover up malfeasance are often unaware how much their inquisitors are aware of, and therefore not in a good position to concoct a plausible denial of whatever malfeasance has come to light. In this position of informational asymmettry, any comment risks giving away information and so damaging the plausibility of a later limited hangout.

Standard operating procedure

Silence is very widely employed by the commercially-controlled media as regular visitors to this site will appreciate. New visitors may wish to consult the list of third rail topics and ask themselves when they last saw a TV or newspaper story about one othem.

Many institutions, such as intelligence agencies present themselves as having well established policies not to confirm or deny anything. This is often at least somewhat disingenuous, since they do make exceptions for topics on which they judge silence will be more damaging. The US government officially denied John Perkins' Confessions Of An Economic Hitman.

"The Golden Rule"

One example on how not to institute a policy of official silence -- and a demonstration of just what influential institutions can get away with -- was provided by the exposure of Operation Gladio. This was initially denied, and then the denial was retracted, and an official "no comment" policy was instituted. This mistake was rued as a failure to follow "the golden rule" of official silence.[1]

Breaking silence

The main hope of those who maintain official silence is that interest the topic will blow over, which doesn't always happen. Procedure in such cases is somewhat tricky.

The commercially-controlled media was initially silent about Gary Webb's Dark Alliance series, an exposure of CIA drug dealing. This however proved insufficient to stem interest in the story, in large part suggested Webb[2] since he had published source documents online.

The BBC had nothing to say for years about their prescient prediction of the collapse of building 7 on September 11th, 2001. Finally[When?] they issued a "non-denial denial", which said that if they had demonstrated foreknowledge, this was a mistake.

"Whatever you say may be taken down in evidence..."

In many criminal jurisdictions, such as the USA, saying nothing is the least incriminating response to unwanted questions since they explicitly grant a "right to remain silent". This right used to apply in the UK as well, but was removed.[When?][citation needed]

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  1. That memo on Gladio from NATO[citation needed]
  2. GNN.tv Interview with Gary Webb