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Why I Support Russia Today (and So Should You)

By Dennis Morgan | CounterPunch | May 14, 2018

In the age of globalization during the last quarter of the 20thcentury, the English language achieved global hegemony as the “lingua franca” for international communication. It is no small coincidence that during this same time, after the end of the Cold War, the US rose as the sole and dominant superpower with stated aims to achieve global hegemony.  Just as English was the language of the British Empire, so English retained its imperial role when the US Empire succeeded that of the British. And as has been said of language, the power to control language is the power to control minds.

As a result, a number of countries realized that if they wanted to have a say in global affairs, they were going to have to be able to say it in English. In other words, unless they were happy with the embedded worldviews in the news narratives of CNN and the BBC and preferred no voice of their own, then they were going to have to create their own international broadcasts in English. Moreover, since the Internet revolutionized communications during this same time period, it became much easier to broadcast and thus imperative for countries to project their own perspectives on global affairs and engage in international discourse on issues that concerned them. Hence, at the end of the 20thcentury and particularly during the beginning of the 21stcentury, English news broadcasts sprang up from around the world to compete with established news organizations.

So, that’s the backdrop and context for the grand entrance of the state-sponsored broadcast station, Russia Today (RT), onto the global media arena in 2005. When Margarita Simonyan was appointed editor-in-chief (at the age of 25), she stated that RT would provide the same professionalism of mainstream international news channels but would “reflect Russia’s opinion of the world” and provide a “more balanced picture” of Russia. The late Danny Schechter, a renowned journalist who was on the staff of CNN at its launching, saw something similar at RT’s launching, describing it as another channel “of young people who are inexperienced, but very enthusiastic about what they are doing.”

However, almost immediately, Western pundits, officials, and MSM cried “foul,” as Cold War stereotypes of “communist propaganda” resurfaced. When RT began airing its counter-hegemonic narratives, challenging mainstream (particularly US) news coverage through Internet and satellite broadcasts, it quickly attracted millions of viewers throughout the world. It seemed that the more popular RT became, the more alarmed the US and the West became, accusing RT of being a “propaganda bullhorn” of Putin, spewing disinformation and lies.

So, is this true? Is RT merely Kremlin propaganda, spreading disinformation and lies, or is it a platform to present a more balanced picture of Russia, expressing the Russian perspective on global affairs? In my opinion, from extensive viewing of the news coverage and programs offered by RT, I would say that RT critics’ “propaganda” claim does not hold up to close scrutiny and is, in fact, propaganda itself; on the other hand, the alternate claim of offering a “balanced picture of Russia” and expressing the “Russian perspective,” though certainly closer to the truth than the “propaganda” claim, is not a truly accurate description of RT either. In other words, while the news coverage can be said to reflect the Russian perspective on global affairs, most of the hosts are not Russian; moreover, as far as providing insight into Russia and everything “Russian,” proportionally speaking, only a fraction  of the programming or coverage revolves around Russia or Russian affairs.

So, now that I’ve told you what RT isn’t, I’ll explain what it is, the reason why I view and support it, and why I think the US establishment, including its corporate media, has been fiercely attacking RT and are out to shut it down. To put it plainly, RT is the #1 international broadcast that allows a platform for alternative narratives and dissenting views to be expressed. Just take a look at the hosts of the “shows” section of RT’s website, and you’ll understand what I mean. These are very independent-minded individuals, whose dissenting views are simply not allowed on MSM; in fact, some of them, like Larry King, Ed Schultz, and Thom Hartmann,[1] held celebrity status on MSM and only joined the RT staff because they were free to air their views without censorship. Ed Schultz, for example, stated that, unlike the usual censorship tactics of MSNBC, RT never quizzed him in advance about his guests or the content of his show; instead, he says that the very reason he likes RT is because of its policy of absolute freedom of speech. Imagine that! Here we have Ed Schultz, a media refugee from MSM, stating that, unlike MSNBC, he’s allowed to say anything he wants to on RT, without any editorial oversight whatsoever.

This is quite phenomenal when you consider the outrageous charges of American politicians and the corporate media that RT is a mere “propaganda tool of the Kremlin,” and that those who work at RT are “useful idiots’ or “Putin’s puppets.” Really? Just take a look at the kind of individuals, most of them Americans or British, hosting their shows on RT. These are very independent, very smart people who refuse to be anyone’s “puppet”; in fact, the very reason they came to RT was because they didn’t want to be puppets of the corporate media. Do you really believe that people like Larry King, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Jesse Ventura, Chris Hedges, Lee Camp, and George Galloway are all stooges for Putin? Give me a break.

The fact that their portrayal of RT is a complete fabrication tells you who the real propagandists are, who truly are guilty of spreading disinformation and lies to the public. Yes, in spreading their malicious lies about RT, they reveal themselves, and if they are deceiving you about this, they are probably deceiving you about just about everything else too. Actually, MSM has been in the public deception business for quite some time; as long as it’s good for the ratings, it’s called “news.”

Take the RussiaGate conspiracy theory, for example, which has zero evidence to support it with. Is it “hacking,” “collusion,” or “trolls?” I forget which meme is current. Similar to the various justifications (one after the other, all of them lies) to support the Iraq War, as soon as one conspiracy is debunked, it is followed by another, in the blink of a media eye, without comment on the fraudulent nature of the prior allegation, as in Orwell’s novel, as if it didn’t exist. And the familiar villain, the usual suspect, the Russian whipping boy, comes to their rescue once again.

Several months ago I penned a piece in CounterPunch about the anti-Russia hysteria that’s been sweeping the nation, so I won’t rehash that. However, what I find telling is that a disproportionate amount of this hysteria is actually directed at Russia Today. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the FBI report in January of 2017, based on the investigation of supposed Russian interference into the 2016 election: roughly a quarter of it is about RT. When you think of it, that’s a large percentage devoted to a media outlet, especially when you consider that RT was never all that pro-Trump. As I mentioned, RT has a diverse blend of the hosts of featured programs, and they were anything but homogeneous in their views on the presidential candidates. It’s true that Peter Lavelle, the host of CrossTalk, believed that Trump should be given a chance, and Larry King gave a favorable interview to Trump; on the other hand, a number of other hosts were highly suspicious and critical of Trump. Okay, well, I admit that there wasn’t a whole lot of support for Hillary Clinton on RT, it’s true, but when you compare lackluster support for Clinton on RT with the overwhelming support that she enjoyed on CNN, can you really justify the claim that RT “interfered” in the 2016 election and CNN didn’t? The FBI report is a joke, really, as a CNN producer described it in private – a “nothing burger.”

So, if it’s true that Putin made so much effort to interfere in the American elections to ensure that Trump would win, and if it’s true that RT is Putin’s propaganda arm, then why didn’t Putin do more to use RT to propagandize in favor of Trump? Are you telling me that the tepid support of Trump on RT was the best propaganda that Putin could come up with? As an ex-KGB officer, I’m sure he could do better than that. It’s the same kind of “nothing burger” sock pocket, failed hot dog sales people that Mueller indicted – the 13 Facebook trolls who failed to wake Sleeping Beauty but were indicted for trying.

Okay, I realize I’m getting into fantasy here, but that’s my point: its total fantasy that MSM has been spinning 24/7. Wake up, people, and smell the Rachel Maddow koolaid you’ve been drinking; these people are professional liars – it’s what they do for a living. When RT’s press credentials were withdrawn at the White House, when their algorithms were suppressed on Google, Twitter, and Facebook, when the Russian Consulate in San Francisco was raided at hardly a moment’s notice, and when RT was singled out and forced to register as a “foreign agent” with FARA – an unprecedented move against a single media outlet – where was CNN or MSNBC? Did they protest this blatant form of media censorship? Only when Russia retaliated with a tit-for-tat response did they even mention it. And this media silence, aside from reporting on the Russian response, was not only true in the case of MSM, but sadly enough, Democracy Now! joined the media silence. Not a word was uttered in protest of this outrageous attack on the press freedom of RT. It boggles the mind to think that no one seemed to consider that this was not just an attack on RT but an attack on the freedom of press everywhere: to attack one is to attack all, especially when the justifications are based on “trumped up” allegations, which essentially boil down to: “We say Russia Today is a propaganda bullhorn of the Kremlin, and because we say it, you should believe us. After all, have we ever lied to you?” And then all the media bows down and assents to this madness. Forgive me if I’m not impressed with fairy tale logic.

To sum up, I support RT mostly because they are professionals and feature a line-up of fantastic programs and documentaries, which are informative and insightful. As far as I’m concerned, whether it serves Putin’s “agenda” (whatever that is) is beside the point. What matters is the authenticity of the journalism. Americans should be grateful for this source of alternative views that challenge homogeneous and hegemonic “mainstream” narratives. While all media either have some interest to serve or ideology to peddle, the health of the media in general can only be measured by its diversity. So, it’s not about whether you “agree” or “disagree” with the Russia Today broadcast; more importantly, the principle of fair play in media access and reach is crucial for the health and future of democracy. That’s why I support Russia Today, and so should you.

Notes

[1] Though no longer at RT, Tom was the host of  “The Big Picture” for at least a couple of years and left the broadcast on good terms.

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Hey US State Dept, Here’s What Sputnik, RT Are Doing to End the War in Syria

Sputnik | February 23, 2018

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has accused Sputnik and RT of bearing “unique responsibility” for the bloodshed in Syria and blamed the Russian media for not doing enough to stop the fighting. Here’s what Sputnik has to say about this claim.

#1: We Reveal Truths the Western Media Doesn’t

Sputnik and RT have been at the forefront of exposing fake news, along with the false flag operations carried out by US and European-backed ‘humanitarian’ groups like the White Helmets, which have unfortunately taken over much of the Western media space in its coverage of the Syrian war.

Without this alternative coverage, who knows – maybe the US and its allies would have built up enough support among the public to intervene in Syria on a massive scale, in much the same way they previously had in Yugoslavia, Iraq or Libya in years past? How many of these ‘humanitarian’ interventions have led to anything good, particularly for the ordinary people of these countries? Can Ms. Nauert name even one?

Through its efforts, Sputnik and RT have helped expose the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, to publicize eagle-eyed internet users’ efforts to uncover the White Helmets as the regime change prop they really are and the jihadists’ abuse of children, such as Bana Alabed and Omran Daqneesh, who have been used for propaganda purposes by militants, some of them with direct links to Daesh and al-Qaeda.

#2: We Offer Coverage of the Syrian Peace Process That Western Media and Governments Ignore

Over the last few months, peace talks have been held in Geneva, Astana and Sochi, where Russia, Damascus and other partners have tried to reach a resolution to the Syrian crisis. However, if one were to open up Google and type ‘Syria peace talks’, one would find that most Western coverage of the Russian-supported talks is done in a rather biased and pessimistic way.

For example, the recent Sochi talks between the Syrian government and elements of the opposition, which participants themselves have described as a solid, ‘promising’ new step forward for reaching a real and lasting settlement, have been referred to by much of the Western media using phrases and words like as ‘destined to fail’, ‘crumbling‘ and ‘divisive.’

How did the US State Department respond to the talks? Well, they didn’t, choosing to ignore the Sochi conference altogether and declaring that their “collective focus must remain on the UN-led political process.” And the Pentagon? Its head, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, simply deemed the talks a “failure” without elaborating why.

Alongside a more focused coverage of the peace talks, Sputnik and RT have also been at the forefront of exposing atrocities committed by Islamist militants in Syria against the local population – the same militants that the US State Department has often described as ‘moderate rebels.’ In this way, Russian media is helping to delegitimize such ‘terrorists in sheep’s clothing,’ preventing them from gaining an unearned seat at the negotiating table.

#3: Unlike Some, Russian Media Doesn’t Call for an Escalation of Violence

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Sputnik and RT have never called for the escalation of violence in Syria, or any other country in the world for that matter, unlike some well-known current or former figures from the State Department.

To put things another way: instead of accusing Russia-based media organizations of bearing a “unique responsibility” for a conflict that’s entirely outside their ability to control, perhaps Ms. Nauert should focus on the State Department’s own policy in the region and on the responsibility Washington bears in starting the Syrian conflict — and resolving it.

READ MORE:

What Mainstream Media Won’t Tell You About Eastern Ghouta

Top 3 Most Notorious MSM Fake News Tactics From the Syrian War

February 23, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

RT ARABIC ONLINE LEADS ALL ARABIC NEWS CHANNELS INCLUDING CNN ARABIC, AL JAZEERA, AL ARABIYA

RT | December 7, 2017

In November 2017, RT Arabic’s website became the most visited online portal among all Arabic-language TV news broadcasters, including CNN Arabic, Sky News Arabia, and major regional channels Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya.

“In the Arab-speaking world, competition among the news media is very high. RT Arabic’s leadership speaks to the fact that we not only found our niche, but are constantly growing as a result of the trust that our audience has in us,” said Maya Manna, head of RT Arabic.

According to analytics portal SimilarWeb, in November, the RT Arabic website was visited more than 23 million times—more than any other Arabic-language news channel, including Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, Al Mayadeen, CNN Arabic, and Sky News Arabia. The majority of visitors came from users in Egypt—about 20%. Around 8.7% of visitors came from both Saudi Arabia and Algeria, more than 6.2% from Tunisia, and 5.8% from Morocco.

On Facebook, RT Arabic has 13 million subscribers—more than the Arabic-language versions of other international news media such as CNN, BBC, Sky News, DW, France 24, and Euronews. RT Arabic also leads among its international competitors in the Arab region on YouTube, with more than 660 million views and more than 870,000 subscribers.

In September 2017, RT Arabic marked its 10th anniversary of broadcasting by launching its interactive news project – RT Online. Now social network users can participate in news broadcasts in real time and discuss on air the events they witness.

RT Arabic has been a multiple winner and finalist for various international awards, including New York Festivals, the AIB Awards, and Promax BDA, as well as the Iraqi Al-Ghadir Festival. In 2017, RT Arabic journalists were honored by the National Union of Journalists of Iraq, as well as the National Union of Journalists of Syria.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

The war on RT: A childish crusade pushing a dangerous agenda

A new George Soros funded report calls guests on RT, ranging from Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders, “useful idiots”.

By Adam Garrie Adam Garrie | The Duran | October 21, 2017

A so-called NGO known as the European Values Think-Tank, has published a “report” blasting regular guests on RT as “useful idiots” who are helping “an instrument of hostile foreign influence”. The group, whose largest source of funding is George Soros, claims that RT’s goals include “undermining public confidence in the viability of liberal democracy”. Other epithets thrown at RT include calling the broadcaster, “a second-rate news network with an abysmal reputation and dubious audience numbers”, “the Russian propaganda machine” and a “disinformation tool”.

While European Values presents itself as an NGO, sources of funding for the group include the governments of the United States, United Kingdom and European Union. These state-funding sources mean that the Think-Thank is not an NGO (non governmental organisation), but rather, a body which has established financial ties to powerful governments, in addition to receiving most of its funds from George Soros and his Open Society body.

The report concludes with a list of the “useful idiots” in question, mainly drawn from US and European politicians and well known activists who have appeared on RT. The list is a not only incomplete but has some blindly inaccuracies. For example RT’s show “Politicking with Larry King”, a show hosted by the world famous former CNN host, is erroneously referred to as “Politicking with Larry David”. Larry David is of course a comedian known for his work with Jerry Seinfeld. Also, the list describes former British Member of Parliament George Galloway as the “former” host of Sputnik: Orbiting the World, even though Galloway continues to host his RT show.

The list of “useful idiots”, in spite of its incomplete nature, is still highly diverse. The list includes figures such as: Donald Trump(current US President), Ralph Nader (American consumer rights advocate and former left-wing Presidential candidate), Nigel Farage (member of EU Parliament and Brexit campaigner), Bill Richardson (former New Mexico governor and former Ambassador to the United Nations), Dr. Ron Paul (former US presidential candidate and libertarian author/thinker/host) Jill Stein (former left-wing US presidential candidate), Bernie Sanders (US senator, former US presidential candidate), Wesley Clark (former US general and one time Democratic presidential condenser), Sean Spicer (former White House Press Secretary), Hans Blix (former UN chief weapons inspector and former Swedish Foreign Minister), Keith Vaz (British politician and immigrants rights campaigner), Ann Widdecombe (British politician and social conservative activist), Gary Johnson (former US Presidential candidate for the Libertarian party), Pat Buchanan (former White House aid in the administrations and Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, former US presidential candidate), Robert Reich (former Clinton administration Labor Secretary, liberal activist), Lincoln Chafee (former US Senator and Rhode Island governor, known for leaving the Republican party and becoming a Democratic as his values become more liberal), Ken Livingstone (former left wing mayor of London), Jeremy Corbyn (current leader of the UK opposition Labour Party), YanisVaroufakis (former Greek finance minister), Marine Le Pen (former French presidential candidate), Romano Prodi (centrist/neo-liberal former Italian Prime Minister and former EU Commission President), Jessee Ventura (former governed of the US state of Minnesota) David Davis (Britain’s lead Brexit negotiator), Michael Flynn (highly decorated US General, former National Security Advisor)…

The list above is just a partial list taken from the anti-RT dossier produced by “European Values”. As is plainly evident, the list features well known names from the left, centre and right of US and European politics. It would be logically impossible for figures who have campaigned against one another and who hold a plethora of competing ideologies and political positions, to all be working uniformly in the name of a single agenda of any kind, “Russian” nor otherwise. The fact that not a single person on this list is Russian, is a further sign of the report’s flawed nature.

Furthermore, by calling such prominent figures “useful idiots” of the “Kremlin”, the report’s authors could possibly open itself to libel charges from the individuals who have been publicly disparaged in a grotesquely inaccurate manner.

The nature of the report which appears hastily compiled, with a mountain of factual inaccuracies and wild claims presented without evidence and without actually visiting any RT facilities or speaking with any RT employees or guests, is shambolic.

But more to the point, the report is deeply childish. In an age of the internet and satellite television, the average news consumer has more options than at any time in human history. It is possible to read media from Russia, the US, Japan, China, Australia, Nigeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Qatar, Lithuania, Germany, France, Mexico, Poland, Chile and Canada… all while riding the bus.

If anything, the vast availability of a diverse amount of information, should de-mystify the fact-finding process and indeed for most people, this is what has happened.

The basic fact that all media outlets have an editorial line seems to be lost on the “report’s” authors and furthermore, they don’t quite seem to understand how RT contacts their gusts.

As someone who is a frequent guest on RT, I will explain the process. A producer from RT and occasionally an RT host will contact me either via email, social media messages, SMS or with a phone call. They’ll ask if I am available to comment on a given topic and a certain time. Once this is agreed upon and I arrive at the studio, I sit and wait to be called into the studio where I’m fitted with earpiece and mic and go on air. At no time has anyone at RT told me what the nature of my responses should be, no one has told me to omit stating certain beliefs that I am known to hold and at no time have I been given a list of questions prior to being interviewed by an RT employee.

Other individuals I have spoken to have told me, without prompting, that their experiences are exactly the same. Furthermore, speaking for myself, if anyone from any media outlet told me what to say or how to say it, not only would I not play along, but I would raise the issue angrily on social media at once and happily criticise such an organisation on any other media network that would hear me out. This is because, I take pride in my statements and anyone trying to tell me how to rephrase my views would in my mind, be insulting me in the gravest manner possible.

But while the nature, context and style of the Soros funded “report” is childish, the logical conclusion of the report is dangerous. The report is encouraging censorship of RT and ostensibly of the guests listed as “useful idiots”. Furthermore, the report is attempting to destroy the personal and professional credibility of RT guests in a manner that is at the very least, totally unethical.

This sort of censorship through character assassination and degradation, is dangerous. The authors and sponsors of the European Values Think-Tank ought to take a lesson from Russian media which is incredibly diverse in both the large private sector as well as the public sector. The radio station Echo of Moscow and the multi-lingual Moscow Times newspaper and website, are as liberal and critical of the Russian status quo as anything in Europe, sometimes more so.

These outlets (just to name two prominent ones) are allowed to operate freely and both have their audience who are not bullied by the Russian government into viewing alternative sources. If someone wants to listen to Echo of Moscow and only Echo of Moscow, no one in Russia is going to care. If only this open attitude was espoused by the authors from the European Values Think-Tank, then they would be showing signs of maturity that they clearly do not possess at this point in time.

As for my personal opinion, I believe RT is a good source of information and objectively, I have never seen a report on RT that is factually false, although I often disagree with various guests on RT. Of course, I agree with others. This is par for the course with any media outlet. If someone doesn’t want to watch RT, the good news is that no one is forcing you to do so.

But please, do not try to tell others not to watch RT, do not bully people into rejecting request for interviews from RT and above all, do not slander people on a personal level, just because you disagree with their opinions.

It’s hard to believe that such a thing needs to be said in the 21st century, but the regression of liberalism from a movement about ideas (whether one agrees with them or otherwise) into a movement about cutting off the ideas of others, is fundamentally an attempt to return to a dark age.

October 21, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 2 Comments

Washington Post Pushes More Dubious Russia-bashing

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | September 25, 2017

Some people are calling the anti-Russian hysteria being whipped up across the U.S. mainstream news media a new “golden age of American journalism,” although it looks to me more like a new age of yellow journalism, prepping the people for more military spending, more “information warfare” and more actual war.

Yes, without doubt, President Trump is a boorish and dangerous demagogue, now highlighted by his reckless speech before the United Nations last week, his schoolyard Tweet taunts toward North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and his ugly denunciation of black athletes for protesting against police killings of often unarmed African-Americans.

And, yes, I know that some people feel that the evidence-lite and/or false allegations about “Russian meddling” are the golden ticket to Trump’s impeachment. But the unprofessional behavior of The New York Times, The Washington Post and pretty much the entire mainstream media regarding Russia-gate cannot be properly justified by the goal of removing Trump from office.

Ethically in journalism, the ends – however much you might wish them to succeed – cannot justify the means, if those means involve violating rules of evidence and principles of fairness. Journalism should be a place where all sides get a fair shake, not where some get a bum’s rush.

But the U.S. mainstream media has clearly joined the anti-Trump Resistance and hates Russian President Vladimir Putin, too. So, we are given such travesties of journalism as appeared as a banner headline across the front page of Monday’s Washington Post, another screed about how Russia supposedly used Facebook ads to flip last November’s election for Trump.

The article purports to give the inside story of how Facebook belatedly came to grips with how the “company’s social network played a key role in the U.S. election,” but actually it is a story about how powerful politicians bullied Facebook into coming up with something – anything – to support the narrative of “Russian meddling,” including direct interventions by President Obama and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and a key legislator regarding regulation of high-tech industries.

Finding the ‘Evidence’

In other words, Facebook was sent back again and again to find what Obama and Warner wanted the social media company to find. Eventually, Facebook turned up $100,000 in ads from 2015 into 2017 that supposedly were traced somehow to Russia. These ads apparently addressed political issues in America although Facebook has said most did not pertain directly to the presidential election and some ads were purchased after the election.

Left out of the Post’s latest opus is what a very small pebble these ads were – even assuming that Russians did toss the $100,000 or so in ad buys into the very large lake of billions of dollars in U.S. political spending for the 2016 election cycle. It also amounts to a miniscule fraction of Facebook’s $27 billion in annual revenue.

So the assertion that this alleged “meddling” – and we’ve yet to see any evidence connecting these ads to the Russian government – “played a key role in the U.S. election” is both silly and outrageous, especially given the risks involved in stoking animosities between nuclear-armed Russia and nuclear-armed America.

Even the Post’s alarmist article briefly acknowledges that it is still unclear who bought the ads, referring to the purchasers as “suspected Russian operatives.” In other words, we don’t even know that the $100,000 in ads over three years came from Russians seeking to influence the U.S. election. (By comparison, many Facebook advertisers – even some small businesses – spend $100,000 per day on their ads, not $100,000 over three years.)

But this diminutive effort by “suspected Russian operatives” doesn’t stop the Post from going on and on about “fake news” and “disinformation,” albeit again without offering evidence or specifics of any Russian “fake news” or “disinformation.”

It has simply become Official Washington’s new groupthink to say that everything linked to Russia or its international TV network RT is “fake news” or “disinformation” even though examples are lacking or often turn out to be false accusations themselves.

For instance, there is nothing in the Post’s article acknowledging that nothing from the various Democratic email disclosures, which have been blamed on Russia (again without real evidence), has been identified as untrue. So, how can truthful information, whether you like how it was obtained or not, be “fake news” or “disinformation”?

Falsehood as Fact

But Monday’s Post exposé simply asserts the claim as flat fact. Or as the article asserts: “what Russian operatives posted on Facebook was, for the most part, indistinguishable from legitimate political speech. The difference was the accounts that were set up to spread the misinformation and hate were illegitimate.”

In responsible journalism, such an accusation would be followed by a for-instance, giving an example of “the misinformation and hate” that the “Russian operatives” – note how they have been magically transformed from “suspected Russian operatives” to simply “Russian operatives” – were disseminating.

But there is no example of the Russian “misinformation and hate,” a classic violation of the reporting principle of “show, don’t tell.” In this story, it’s all tell and no show.

Indeed, what is shown in the article is often contradictory to the story’s conclusion. The article says, for instance, “A review by the company found that most of the groups behind the problematic pages had clear financial motives, which suggested that they weren’t working for a foreign government. But amid the mass of data the company was analyzing, the security team did not find clear evidence of Russian disinformation or ad purchases by Russian-linked accounts.”

So, Facebook initially – after extensive searching – did not find evidence of a Russian operation. Then, after continued pressure from high-level Democrats, Facebook continued to scour its system and again found nothing, or as the Post article acknowledged, Facebook “had searched extensively for evidence of foreign purchases of political advertising but had come up short.”

That prompted Warner to fly out to Silicon Valley to personally press Facebook executives to come up with the evidence to support the Democrats’ theory about Russia paying for carefully targeted anti-Clinton ads in key districts.

The Post’s article reported that “Finally, [Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex] Stamos appealed to Warner for help: If U.S. intelligence agencies had any information about the Russian operation or the troll farms it used to disseminate misinformation, they should share it with Facebook. The company is still waiting, people involved in the matter said.”

Under Pressure

Still, faced with extraordinary pressure from senior Democrats, Facebook finally delivered the desired results, or as the Post reported, “By early August, Facebook had identified more than 3,000 ads addressing social and political issues that ran in the United States between 2015 and 2017 and that appear to have come from accounts associated with the [St. Petersburg, Russia-based] Internet Research Agency.”

So, the ads covering three years, including post-election 2017, only “appear” to be “associated” with some private Russian operation that only allegedly has ties to the Kremlin. And the total sums of the ad buys are infinitesimal compared to what it actually takes to have any real impact on Facebook or in a U.S. presidential election.

If the context of this story were changed slightly – say, it was about the U.S. government trying to influence public opinion in another country (which actually does happen quite a bit) – the Post would be among the first news outlets to laugh off such allegations or dismiss the vague accusations as a conspiracy theory, but since these allegations fit with the prejudices of the Post’s editors, an entirely different set of journalistic standards is applied.

What the article also ignores is the extraordinary degree of coercion that such high-level political pressure can put on a company that recognizes its vulnerability to government regulation.

As Facebook has acknowledged in corporate filings, “Action by governments to restrict access to Facebook in their countries could substantially harm our business and financial results. It is possible that governments of one or more countries may seek to censor content available on Facebook in their country, restrict access to Facebook from their country entirely, or impose other restrictions that may affect the accessibility of Facebook in their country for an extended period of time or indefinitely. …

“In the event that access to Facebook is restricted, in whole or in part, in one or more countries or our competitors are able to successfully penetrate geographic markets that we cannot access, our ability to retain or increase our user base and user engagement may be adversely affected, we may not be able to maintain or grow our revenue as anticipated, and our financial results could be adversely affected.”

Avoiding Reality

In other words, another way to have framed this story is that powerful politicians who could severely harm Facebook’s business model were getting in the face of Facebook executives and essentially demanding that they come up with something to support the Democratic Party’s theory of “Russian meddling.”

The Democratic leaders wanted this finding as an explanation for Hillary Clinton’s stunning defeat, rather than going through the painful process of examining why the party has steadily lost ground in white working-class areas across the country.

What is missed in these Russia-bashing articles is that the Democratic brand has been sinking for years, including massive losses in statehouses across the country as well as in Congress. The party’s decline was not a one-off event with Donald Trump suddenly snaking away with significant parts of the white working class because the Russians bought some Facebook ads.

However, instead of looking in the mirror, national Democrats demanded that Facebook executives ferret out whatever tiny or imaginary information there might be about some Russians buying Facebook ads – and then allow those coerced findings to be fed into the excuse industry for why Hillary Clinton lost.

And, what about the Post’s repeated accusations about Russia engaging in “disinformation” and “fake news” without offering a single example? Apparently, these assertions have become such articles of faith in the U.S. mainstream media that they don’t require any proof.

However, honest journalism demands examples and evidence, not just vague accusations. The reality is that the U.S. government has stumbled again and again when seeking to paint RT as a disinformation outlet or a vehicle for undermining American democracy.

For instance, the Jan. 6 report on alleged Russian “cyber operations,” released by Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, included a lengthy appendix, dated from 2012, which decried RT for such offenses as allowing a debate among third-party presidential candidates who had been excluded from the Republican-Democratic debates; covering the Occupy Wall Street protests; and citing the environmental dangers from “fracking.”

The idea that American democracy is threatened by allowing third-party candidates or other American dissidents to have a voice is at best an upside-down understanding of democracy and, more likely, an exercise in hypocritical propaganda.

False Accusations

Another misfired attempt to discredit RT came from Obama’s Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Richard Stengel, who issued a “Dipnote” in April 2014, which helped establish the narrative of RT as a source of Russian disinformation.

For instance, Stengel claimed that RT reported a “ludicrous assertion” that the United States had spent $5 billion to produce Ukraine’s “regime change” in February 2014.

But what Stengel, a former managing editor of Time magazine, apparently failed to understand was that RT was referring to a public speech by Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, in which she told them that “we have invested more than $5 billion” in what was needed for Ukraine to achieve its “European aspirations.” In other words, the RT report wasn’t “ludicrous” at all.

Nuland also was a leading proponent of “regime change” in Ukraine who personally cheered on the Maidan demonstrators, even passing out cookies. In an intercepted pre-coup phone call with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland discussed who should run the new government and pondered with Pyatt how to “glue” or “midwife this thing.”

So, Stengel was the one disseminating false information, not RT.

Similarly, senior U.S. politicians, including Hillary Clinton, and the U.S. mainstream media have falsely asserted that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies signed off on the Russia-did-it hacking claims.

For months, that canard was used to silence skepticism. After all, how could you question something that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed to be true?

But it turned out that – as DNI Clapper, himself a hardline Russia-basher, belatedly acknowledged – the Jan. 6 report on the alleged Russian hacking was the work of “hand-picked” analysts from only three agencies, the CIA, FBI and NSA, and the “assessment” itself admitted that it was not asserting the Russian conclusion as fact, only the analysts’ opinion.

The New York Times finally retracted its use of the fake claim about “all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies” in late June 2017 although it wouldn’t let the lie lie, so instead the Times made misleading references to a “consensus” among U.S. intelligence agencies without using the number.

Recent studies by former U.S. intelligence experts have punched more holes in the certainty by raising doubts that the email downloads could have been accomplished over the Internet at the recorded speeds and more likely were achieved by an insider downloading onto a thumb drive.

Deciding What’s Real

So who is guilty of “fake news” and “disinformation”?

One positive from the current PBS series, “The Vietnam War,” is that despite its bend-over-backwards attempts to make excuses for the “good faith” decisions by U.S. politicians, no one can watch the series without encountering the chasm between the upbeat Official Story being peddled by the U.S. government and the ghastly on-the-ground reality.

Yet, given how little accountability was meted out then for journalists who served as conveyor belts for pro-war propaganda in Vietnam – or more recently over the fraudulent reporting that rationalized the U.S. aggressive war against Iraq – it is perhaps not surprising that similar false group thinks would coalesce around Russia now.

Careerist journalists understand that there is no danger in running with the pack – indeed, there is safety in numbers – but there are extraordinary risks to your career if you challenge the conventional wisdom even if you turn out to be right. As one establishment journalist once told me, “there’s no honor in being right too soon.”

So, for the Post reporters responsible for the latest journalistic violation of standards – Adam Entous, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg – there will be no penalty for the offense of telling about Russia’s alleged “disinformation” and “fake news” – rather than showing, i.e., providing actual examples. When it comes to Russia these days – as with the Vietcong in the 1960s or Iraq in 2002-03 – you can pretty much write whatever you want. All journalistic standards are gone.

Yet, what is perhaps most insidious about what we are seeing is that – in the name of defending democracy – the U.S. mainstream media is trampling a chief principle of the Enlightenment, the belief that the marketplace of ideas is the best way to determine the truth and to create an informed populace.

The new U.S. mainstream media paradigm is that only establishment-approved views can be expressed; everything else must be suppressed, purged and punished.

For instance, if you question the State Department’s narrative on alleged Syrian government sarin attacks – by noting contrary evidence that points to staged incidents by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate – you are called an “apologist” for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

If you question the one-sided State Department narrative regarding the Ukraine coup in 2014 – indeed even if you use the word “coup” – you are denounced as a “Kremlin stooge.”

No ‘Other’ Side

It is now not okay to even consider the other side of these stories, just as it was anathema to suggest that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi government may have been telling the truth in 2002-03 when it declared repeatedly that it had destroyed its WMDs. That made you a “Saddam apologist.”

The hostility toward Americans who dare question the current anti-Russian hysteria was highlighted by an article last Thanksgiving Day by one of the authors of the new Post article, Craig Timberg.

In another front-page Post story, Timberg allowed an anonymous group called PropOrNot to malign the professionalism and patriotism of 200 Web sites, including our own Consortiumnews, that were lumped together in a McCarthyistic smear that they were somehow guilty of disseminating “Russian propaganda.”

The unnamed accusers – granted anonymity by the Post – acknowledged that they had no evidence that the sites were part of some grand Russian conspiracy but made the judgment based on PropOrNot’s analysis of the Web sites’ content.

In other words, if you questioned the State Department’s narratives on Ukraine or Syria – regardless of how well-supported those critiques were – you got smeared as a “Russian propagandist” – and the Post, which didn’t even bother to contact the accused, considered that sort of analysis to be worthy of its front page.

The story fed into another frenzy about the need to use algorithms and artificial intelligence to hunt down and suppress or purge such dissenting views from the Internet, supposedly to protect the sanctity of American democracy and spare Americans from exposure to “fake news.”

So, well-meaning Americans who may hope that Russia-gate will somehow bring down Trump are getting recruited into a movement that intends to silence dissent and allow the U.S. establishment to dictate what information you will get to see and hear.

And that officially approved “information” will surely lead to new global tensions, more military spending. and additional warfare up to and possibly including nuclear war with Russia.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

September 25, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

RT may soon be dropped by US providers, courtesy of McCain & Graham

RT | September 21, 2017

Buried deep inside the just-passed defense budget is a small amendment, which could lead to a ban on broadcasting RT in America. The architects of the provision, Senators Graham and McCain, may recall that in their youth such practices formed what was known as the ‘Iron Curtain’.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2018, which was passed by the US Senate earlier this week, is stuffed with provisions that have little to do with US national defense. This is a tactic that US lawmakers have traditionally used to ‘piggy-back’ legislation which would have little hope of adoption as a stand-alone bill.

Deep down the list of amendments is No 1096, which aims to “prohibit multichannel video programming distributors from being required to carry certain video content that is owned or controlled by the Government of the Russian Federation”.

Proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and co-sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), the amendment was submitted by John McCain (R-Arizona), a fellow foreign policy hawk. The provision says a distributor working in a US jurisdiction “may not be directly or indirectly required” to carry video content that is “is owned, controlled, or financed (in whole or in part) by the Government of the Russian Federation.”

In plain English then, any contract RT currently has or will have with American cable and satellite networks to carry its programming will no longer be protected by US federal law after this amendment is signed into law by President Donald Trump. The channel’s current arrangements with carriers made it illegal for them to arbitrarily drop RT’s programming (unless the content shown was obscene) but now they will apparently be able to discriminate against it should they so wish.

The discussion on how the US could insulate its population from RT was sparked by a declassified US intelligence community report on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, which put this channel in the spotlight. The report asserted that RT was a primary tool of such interference, done through critical reporting on US foreign policy and domestic problems. Despite the report containing factual errors and no evidence, it was taken at face value by many US media outlets and politicians.

“There is an obsession on Capitol hill and in the mainstream media with RT, because RT is effective and because RT is watched. But also because RT carries perspectives that are not available on the mainstream media,” commented Daniel McAdams, Executive Director for the Ron Paul Institute.

“The fact of the matter is that John McCain and Lindsey Graham, the people behind this amendment, the Atlantic Council and the others that are trying to silence RT – they are the totalitarians, they are the enemies of free speech, the enemies of the First Amendment.”

The move seems to resemble the strategy of the Soviet government, which strictly controlled domestic media and suppressed radio broadcasts from Europe to insulate the population of the country from ideas and narratives it deemed unfit. The censorship system, dubbed the “Iron Curtain”, backfired and became a major factor in eroding the Communist Party’s control, for the simple reason that people perceived media sources which the government tried to silence as more trustworthy than those it allowed.

September 21, 2017 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 2 Comments

RT hits record 4 billion views on YouTube

RT | October 27, 2016

RT’s YouTube channels have surpassed 4 billion views, sustaining RT’s title as the world’s leading news network on YouTube, and widening its lead on mainstream media TV news channels such as CNN and the BBC.

The record-breaking number of views from across RT’s varied news channels including RT, RT Documentary and Ruptly TV, amount to three times the YouTube views that Euronews enjoys and more than seven times those of the BBC’s news channels combined.

“The future of media is inextricably linked to the internet. Once you fall behind in this field, it’s difficult to catch up. From the very beginning RT has focused on developing its digital platforms, and this has been the key to our success,” said RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.

RT has been leading the way in YouTube news delivery since the platform became available in Russia in 2007.

At the time, RT was the first Russian TV channel to embrace the new media concept and by 2011, RT’s content had gained the recognition of YouTube and was awarded the most popular news video of the year.

The award marked the beginning of RT YouTube’s rise to international acclaim; the following year, 2012, the Pew Research Center named RT the top news producer on the platform. By 2013, RT had become the first news channel in the world to hit 1 billion views on YouTube.

“For many years now RT has been an unconditional leader on YouTube, the most popular video-hosting platform in the world. Four billion views is a new milestone, and we are aiming to raise the bar even further,” said Kirill Karnovich-Valua, RT’s Head of Online Projects.

Without doubt, 2016 has been RT’s best year to date. In April it received the People’s Choice award at the prestigious Webby Awards ahead of BBC News, ABC News, NBC Nightly News and the New York Times.

In September, RT took home seven Lovie Awards, the pan-European awards honoring online excellence. And RT finished the year on a high by solidifying its seat at the top with over 4 billion YouTube views.

Aside from its YouTube success, RT broadcasts in six languages, has more than 13 million Facebook fans, 6 million Twitter followers, and a live audience of millions around the globe.

October 28, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

RT in UK: A brief history of establishment hysteria

RT | October 22, 2016

The NatWest account closure is only the latest entry in the channel’s saga in the UK.

Over the last couple of years, certain voices in the UK media – and the wider establishment –  have been feeding a wave of hysteria over the channel’s presence in the British market. Here are the highlights:

October 2014 – Posters for RT’s “Second Opinion” ad campaign are rejected for outdoor posting by several London platforms for having what they called “political undertones.” Instead, RT puts up a “redacted” version of the posters, which use the example of the Iraq War to draw attention to the importance of diversity in the news media.

November 2014 – The network officially launches RT UK, a dedicated channel broadcasting from its own studios in London. The British mainstream media, predictably, freaks out.

December 2014 – John Whittingdale, chair of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, lamented “It is frightening, the extent to which we are losing the information war,” with Peter Horrocks, a former top executive of the BBC’s global news operation, explaining to The Guardian that the Beeb was losing ground to RT because it is “financially outgunned.”  The problem with Horrock’s contention is that it simply isn’t true. That year, the BBC World Service ALONE was allocated a 2014 budget of £245 million ($382 million at that time), primarily for radio and online services.  RT, with its much costlier TV signal distribution, received 15.38 billion rubles ($271 million then).

January 2015 – The British Army announces it is creating a special force of “Facebook warriors” – a 1,500-strong brigade of professional soldiers to promote UK narratives on social media platforms. According to the Guardian, part of the justification for the move was that Russia’s point of view is resonating with the UK audience.

February 2015 – The Economist’s senior editor, Ed Lucas, pays a lot of attention to RT – especially in his other gig as a lobbyist for American weapons manufacturers. In this instance, he calls for KGB methods to be used against RT’s staff. “I think we could do a bit more ostracism,” Lucas said at a Munich security conference,” just as RT journalists were coming under fire near Donetsk. “Far too many people see a job at RT as the first stage on a career ladder. It’s not. It’s the last stage on a career ladder,” he said.

November 2015 – Larry King comes to London to promote his two shows “Larry King Now” and “Politicking,” which have been coming out on RT America and are about to start airing on RT UK. He grants an interview to BBC’s Evan Davis, who tries to give the legendary King of Chat a very hard time about working with RT. But BBC’s own viewers are not impressed.

Eventually, even Newsnight’s own Editor, Ian Katz, throws in the towel, writing “in case you missed… Larry King schooling our Evan Davis on the art of the interview.”

February 2016 – The BBC submits written testimony (made public over the summer) to Westminster’s Foreign Affairs Committee to justify demands for more funding, despite having just received £289 million for four years from the UK’s defense budget. The report outlines the reasons why RT’s success should create panic among the UK establishment: “Viewing figures for RT, Russia’s international news channel, have seen a sharp increase… It also operates very successfully on social media.”  The Russians are coming! The British government nods along in response.

August 2016 – The Times’ UK publishes seven pieces on the dangers of Russian media, mostly RT, over a single weekend. Obsessing much?

October 2016 – NatWest Bank, a subsidiary of Britain’s majority state-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland, gives notice that it is closing RT’s accounts – without explanation. Hundreds of messages and statements of support pour in from RT’s audience, NatWest/RBS customers, and UK public figures, who criticize the move as an affront to the UK’s principles of freedom of speech.

Stay tuned!

READ MORE: 

RT responds to ‘ostracism’ calls by Economist editor at Munich conference

October 23, 2016 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | 2 Comments

The Times, RT and an obsessed neocon stalker

By Neil Clark | RT | October 23, 2016

The Times used to be regarded as Britain’s newspaper of record. But in recent years, the historic title, once renowned for its sober and balanced coverage, has morphed into a crude neo-con propaganda organ.

It’s shilling endlessly for US-led wars and ‘interventions’ and attacking – often in the most obnoxious way possible – those who dare to question the War Party narrative. Needless to say, RT – which urges its viewers to ‘Question More’ (a very dangerous thing in an age of Imperial Truth Enforcement) – has been in the Times’ line of fire.

In fact, over one weekend at the end of July and the beginning of August – a time when most normal people turn their mind to things like ice cream, sun loungers and beaches – the Murdoch-owned newspaper ran at least six articles on RT (and attack pieces on Russia’s Sputnik news agency too, making it a total of seven Russian-media-focused hit-pieces in just two and a half days).

These pieces are not just about criticizing RT, which of course everyone has the right to do. They also seem to be about trying to exert pressure on regulatory bodies to go after RT and take action against a channel that doesn’t toe the neo-con editorial line.

One of the articles was an opinion piece claiming that RT was a “fake news channel” which had “no place on our screens”.

The author, one ‘Oliver Kamm,’ has been in the forefront of The Times campaign, and, based on the tone and the general take, might have been the author of otherwise ‘author-less’ introduction editorial to the aforementioned 7-piece Times slam.

Earlier, in October 2014, Kamm wrote a hit piece on the launch of RT UK in which he urged UK media regulator Ofcom to take action against what he called “a den of deceivers”.

Kamm‘s anti-RT diatribe was cited by the BBC and subsequently even made it to a prominent placement on Wikipedia’s page about RT UK.

This week, he was at it again. One day after the news broke that NatWest was to close RT UK’s bank accounts, Kamm declared in a furious Times column that denying RT a bank account was “the least of the problems we should be making for it”.

“It’s past time that Britain’s civil society, broadcasting regulator and elected government ceased pussyfooting around with RT,” he thundered. Once again, Kamm’s piece made it to a prominent placement on RT UK’s Wikipedia page.

But who is this ‘Oliver Kamm’, the man who sets himself up as a media censor and an arbiter of journalistic standards? Based on my personal experience, he seems to be more an obsessive and extremely creepy cyber-stalker, rather than a journalist.

Kamm’s Internet behavior (which involves the relentless hounding of principled anti-war activists) is truly shocking, but no less scandalous is the way that powerful and influential members of the UK’s neo-con establishment, have promoted and protected him.

Having been digitally stalked and defamed by Kamm for over ten years, after I critically reviewed his pro Iraq-war book for the Daily Telegraph in 2005, I decided earlier this month to publish a detailed 6,000 word expose of Kamm’s very disturbing and very vicious stalking campaigns – prior to launching a crowd-funded legal action against him and his employers.

Rather than reining Kamm in after detailed evidence of his stalking was presented to them, The Times instead clearly decided to make the ex-banker and hedge-fund manager, who had no background in journalism before he was appointed a leader writer on the paper in 2008, the man to spearhead their attacks on RT.

By doing so, the credibility of the paper has been tarnished still further. Kamm tweets obsessively about RT – denigrating it as a ‘fake’ station that hardly anyone watches.

But if it were true that hardly anyone watches RT, the obvious question is: why does the Times’ leader writer devote so much time and energy to attacking it? The answer is clear: Kamm targets RT not because it’s unpopular, of course, but because too many are watching.

A European Parliament briefing paper from last November admitted that RT had “garnered a huge global audience.”

“It is estimated to have 2.5 million viewers in the UK (year-on-year, a rise of 60%) and 3 million in US urban areas, while in South Africa it is by far the largest European news channel.”

The paper also conceded that: “Russian-language media broadcast from Western countries do not enjoy the same popularity in Russia as RT does in the West.”

In 2014, we were told that the BBC World’s Service feared losing ‘the information war’, because of the expansion of RT.

Meanwhile, the journalist Glenn Greenwald has noted Kamm’s prominence in the anti-RT campaign and highlighted the double standards involved:

“The most vocal among the anti-RT crowd – on the ground that it spreads lies and propaganda — such as Nick Cohen and Oliver Kamm — were also the most aggressive peddlers of the pro-U.K.-government conspiracy theories and lies that led to the Iraq War. That people like this, with their histories of pro-government propaganda, are the ones demanding punishment of RT for “bias” tells you all you need to know about what is really at play here,” Greenwald wrote.

The good news for those who want to see a media landscape where a wide range of views are heard (and not just neo-con and ’liberal interventionist’ ones officially approved by The Times ), is that the attacks seem to have been counter-productive. Establishment gatekeepers who think they have the right to tell us what channels to watch and which to boycott are finding that their influence is on the wane.

RT’s popularity, despite the relentless neo-con campaign against it – or perhaps partly because of it – continues to grow.

Read more:

RT HAS TV AUDIENCE OF 70 MILLION WEEKLY VIEWERS IN 38 COUNTRIES – IPSOS

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at http://www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66

October 23, 2016 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

US gears up to fight Russian ‘disinformation’ with… disinformation

RT | March 17, 2016

Two US senators are proposing legislation to counter, what they consider to be “disinformation” spread by certain foreign media. What better way to kick-start their campaign than by basing their bill on spurious nonsense?

Republican Senator Rob Portman and his Democratic colleague Chris Murphy are deeply concerned about foreign “propaganda.” They demand that Uncle Sam throws even more money at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which is already given around $768 million annually.

Not content with the EU’s Stratcom East and NATO’s Riga-based communications centre, Portman and Murphy want a new center for Information Analysis and Response to analyze “foreign government information-warfare efforts.”

What better place to launch the crusade than at NATO’s Atlantic Council appendage? An organization funded by such disinterested and neutral parties as the US State Department, Lockheed Martin, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the monarchy of the United Arab Emirates?

Portman certainly couldn’t think of a better venue, so he showed up on Wednesday to express his satisfaction that the “US version of events is better.” This attitude is not a shock. Most of the US elite, and their media champions believe America has a monopoly on truth. Next, Portman warned that Russia, China and other countries are trying to “manipulate and control information to achieve their national goals, often at the expense of the interests and values of America’s allies.”

The Senator sounded particularly worried about RT. And it is no wonder. Portman claimed RT spends $400 million a year just for the maintenance of our Washington bureau. Just imagine that? $400 million big ones.

Unfortunately, given that our entire budget for 2016 is 17 billion rubles, or around $248 million in today’s dollars, we have no idea where on earth Portman got this numbers – or if he even believes them. That $248 million pays for the global broadcasting and newsgathering operations of round-the-clock TV channels in English, Arabic and Spanish, documentaries, online portals in six languages, the RT UK channel, and yes, RT America – our stateside outpost. To run all of this RT receives one third of the funding the US government allocates for the BBG. Despite modest means, RT can boast 70 million weekly TV viewers, nearly 50 million monthly unique visitors to our digital platforms and a status as the number one international TV news network on YouTube, with more than 3 billion views.

Amazing, the BBG’S Voice of America (VOA) reported Portman’s $400 million figure without question, and with no apparent fact-checking. The Senator’s – and the supposedly venerated news organization’s he seeks to aid – fight against “disinformation” kicks off with a blatant lie. You really can’t make this stuff up.

VOA wasn’t alone, Germany’s own state-broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW), also carried Portman’s erroneous sums. DW, of course, is never regarded as propaganda in Washington because the administration in Berlin is not a threat to American interests.

This is despite the fact that it receives government funding – $332 million per year – to communicate its country’s point of view to the world. When RT contacted DW to correct this blatant falsehood, the outlet’s editors treated the issue as a “difference of opinion” before eventually adding RT’s budget figure as our own claim, and not the publicly available information that it is, and that has been reported by hundreds of, credible, news outlets.

The BBG, and its supporters, such as Senator Portman, are currently fighting hard in Washington to secure extra resources for their efforts. An intensive campaign has been fought over the past six months to support these objectives. Much of this lobbying has been based on exaggeration and outright lies. Portman’s $400 million is one of the most absurd yet. The fact that VOA and DW unquestioningly repeated the deceit speaks volumes.

March 18, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Kicking the can: Budget deal will not solve Washington’s problems

RT | October 18, 2013

Despite a deal to lift the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown, the United States is far from a respite, as it won’t address the underlying, internal issues that have usurped its power in the world, economics professor Rodney Shakespeare told RT.

RT: The default is averted. That’s good news, isn’t it?

Rodney Shakespeare: Nothing has been averted. Instead, there’s going to be some sort of meeting between the Democrats and the Republicans, who are two sides of the same coin. And there are three subjects, which they’ll refuse to discuss. The first is the out of control military budget, which ought to be cut to one tenth of what it is at the moment to bring it in line with comparable nations. The second thing is that the system works by exporting jobs. They’ve exported the jobs to about 56,000 enterprises over the last 11 years. That’s five million jobs – and each job creates another three. That’s roughly 15 million jobs which aren’t coming back. And the third thing, which they aren’t going to discuss at this ‘wonderful’ meeting between the Democrats and the Republicans – they will not discuss the core of the issue, which is a corrupt banking system, whose center is the Federal Reserve. Instead, what they’ll do is they’ll blame everything on the poor. So, you see, nothing has been put off. Nothing has been solved. Nothing has been addressed. The situation goes on and ultimately it’s going to result in the final collapse of the dollar. But that may be a year or two off at the moment.

RT: It’s only a temporary fix for the US debt ceiling. But what happens when America is on the verge of running out of cash again?

RS: The same thing is going to happen as is happening at this moment, except that another two or three months will have passed, in which they’ve failed to address the underlying issues and their vanity and the essence of the corruption of the system will not have been addressed. So, you’re going to find at some point that they’ll then…the world will wake up to the overall level of the American debt, which is now just at the point when it becomes unrepairable. And when that happens, you’ll get a sudden, irrevocable slide in the dollar. So, they’ll kick the can down the road for a bit.

RT: It may also be difficult for the rest of the world to understand why there had to be so much last-minute drama in Washington, DC before they reached an agreement. A domestic squabble that held the rest of the world to economic ransom – can the global community afford to risk that again?

RS: The world community should continue doing what it’s quietly doing at the moment: starting to organize it in ways which are separate [from] and outside the West.  They should do it in their banking agreements. I’m pleased to say that the BRICs are creating on optic fiber cable, so that the banking can be done away from the West. They should do it by creating different national and central banks, which put out interest-free money. They should make agreements among themselves, particularly among the non-allied nations. This should be political agreements and financial agreements. They must accept that the West now…its economic powers have declined; its political powers have declined. And as of America’s moral authority? Forget it! They are putting out a poisonous depleted uranium. They’re attacking. They’re assassinating. They have no moral authority whatsoever. Everybody else should get on with organizing themselves away from the pariah states, which are now the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, with their poodles, which are the UK and France. I say to the rest of the world: Get on with it. Organize yourselves and give up this corrupt, out-of-date system, which no longer is providing adequate leadership.

October 18, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Supreme Court asked to end NSA spying program

RTAmerica · July 9, 2013

The National Security Agency continues to experience fallout for the surveillance programs which spy on millions of American’s phone records and online activities, and this time the Electronic Privacy Information Center is filing an emergency petition to end the spy program. Alan Butler, Appellate Advocacy Counsel for EPIC, joins us with the details on the demand.

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July 10, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment