There are at least three key reasons why Robert Mueller’s mid-February indictments of 13 Russians and three private Russian companies are hugely important. In fact, Mueller has significantly advanced Cold War 2.0 onto highly dangerous ground., even though the published indictments provided no connection of the alleged “troll farm” to Vladimir Putin or the Kremlin.
First, as Richard Moser has noted, the indictments “target domestic dissent” by “smearing” Black Lives Matters, Bernie Sanders, and Green Party leader Jill Stein (all mentioned in the indictments) “as unwitting collaborators with the Russians”. 
Should we be surprised that at the same time Mueller’s indictments were released, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has faced several days of headlines in the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Express and other media outlets all smearing him as allegedly having been a 1980s “asset” or collaborator secretly in league with the Communist Czech secret service? The allegations have been debunked by Czech authorities, but that hasn’t stopped the media from planting the suspicion that Corbyn was a communist informant. 
Second, as Rob Urie has noted, Mueller’s indictments suggest that the Russians “are sowing discord, therefore discord is both suspect in itself and evidence of being a foreign agent.”  Mueller is the former director of the FBI from 2001 to 2013, and as Urie writes, “It is the FBI’s legacy of conflating dissent with being an agent of a foreign power that Mr. Mueller’s indictment most insidiously perpetuates.”
Third, the charges of Russian “meddling” were soon neatly translated in the MSM into something more sinister.
An Associated Press report on February 17 quoted a Democratic Party insider: “The idea wasn’t necessarily to help one political party over another, but to sow as much discord as possible,” said Melissa Ryan, a Democratic social media marketing expert who now keeps track of right-wing online activity. “This was America that was attacked.”  So “meddling” had now been turned into “attack”.
Similarly, Caitline Johnstone noted that “Steven Schmidt, MSNBC analyst and former strategist for George W. Bush and John McCain, said that the word ‘meddling’ is not a sufficiently inflammatory word, because ‘What Russia did is ATTACK the United States.” 
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference just hours after Mueller’s indictments, former U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, seething with rage, railed against “Putin’s actions and the Kremlin’s actions” in the U.S. 2016 election, even though no proof of their involvement has ever been provided.
At the same Munich Conference, Russia foreign minister Sergey Lavrov denied Kremlin involvement in the U.S. election and told the audience: “Until we see the facts, everything else is just blabber – I’m sorry for this expression.”
Moments later on the same stage, H. R. McMaster, the U.S. National Security Adviser – who never once used the word “meddling” – said that the U.S. will not tolerate “cyber-attacks and political subversion,” and he stated, “As you’ve seen in recent days, the U.S. will expose and act against those who use cyberspace, social media, and other means to advance campaigns of disinformation, subversion and espionage.” Other U.S. representatives at the Conference included Defense Secretary General James Mattis, CIA head Mike Pompeo, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
This change of wording from “meddling” to “attack” and “cyber-attack” is not a mere semantic difference. It is chillingly critical, given the February release of the Pentagon’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review – which would allow a “first-strike” use of nuclear weapons in retaliation for a cyber-attack. 
As Ray McGovern and Bill Binney have written (in a must-read article for Consortium News), “Moscow is showing understandable concern over the lowering of the threshold for employing nuclear weapons to include retaliation for cyber-attacks, a change announced on Feb.2 in the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). Explaining the shift in U.S. doctrine on first-use, the NPR cites the efforts of potential adversaries ‘to design and use cyber weapons’ and explains the change as a ‘hedge’ against non-nuclear threats … Moscow’s concern goes beyond rhetoric. Cyber-attacks are notoriously difficult to trace to the actual perpetrator and can be pinned easily on others in what we call ‘false-flag’ operations.” 
So Mueller’s indictments have helped set the stage for further smearing of leftist candidates for office, equating dissent with foreign subversion, and justifying the first-use of nuclear weapons as retaliation for a so-called “cyber-attack”.
We have truly entered perilous times.
 Richard Moser, “Mueller the Politician,” Counterpuch.org, February 19, 2018.
 Peter Walker, “Jeremy Corybn rejects spy ‘smears’ and takes on press critics,” The Guardian, February 20, 2018.
 Rob Urie, “Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics,” Counterpunch.org, February 19, 2018.
 Quoted in Eric Zuesse, “Indictments by Mueller Very Embarrassing for Democratic Party,” Global Research, February 19, 2018.
 Caitlin Johnstone, “Insane Anti-Trumpists Call For Even More Escalations Against A Nuclear Superpower,” medium.com, February 16, 2018.
 David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, “Pentagon Suggests Countering Devastating Cyberattacks With Nuclear Arms,” The New York Times, January 16, 2018.
 Ray McGovern and Bill Binney, “Russians Spooked by Nukes-Against-Cyber-Attack Policy,” Consortium News, February 16, 2018; or Global Research, February 18, 2018.