Moscow’s Five-Star Treatment of a Three-Star Army General

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

This is a special report from the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism

Before he left for Moscow to speak at a Russia Today (RT) conference, the former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) inked a deal to write a book about how to defeat America’s enemies in the Middle East. The title of the forthcoming book by Lt. General Michael T. Flynn (Ret.) is, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies.

But Flynn’s attendance at the RT “gala celebration,” including a special seat at the head table at the anniversary dinner, suggests that this retired officer, who attained a three-star rank during a 33-year Army career, views Russia as a potential U.S. ally in the war on terror.

In announcing his new book, Flynn said, “I am writing this book for two reasons: first, to show that the war is being waged against us by enemies this administration has forbidden us to describe: radical Islamists. Second, to lay out a winning strategy that is not passively relying on technology and drone attacks to do the job. We could lose this war; in fact, right now we are losing. The Field of Fight will give my view on how to win.”

We need military officials willing to fight and win. But Flynn’s participation in the RT anniversary celebration raises questions about what the DIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies know, or think they know, about the Russian role in global conflict and RT’s role in propaganda and disinformation.

What we can say for sure at this point is that it was not an accident that the former head of the DIA showed up in Moscow to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a TV channel that serves the interests of Moscow’s intelligence establishment. Flynn was right in the middle of the “Field of Fight,” and he must surely have known what he was getting into. It’s not called KGB-TV for nothing.

RT’s Disinformation Themes

In trying to attract and confuse an American audience, RT regularly features Marxist and radical commentators in the U.S. such as Noam Chomsky, Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and 9/11 “inside job” advocate and radio host Alex Jones. It is preferable for the Russians to use foreigners, especially Americans, to make their propaganda points. Flynn is probably the most important American ever snared in RT’s web. He has added propaganda value because of his impressive background and years of service in the U.S. Army.

The RT conference was held at a time when the Russian regime was determined to divert global attention away from its military intervention on behalf of its long-time client state of Syria. Research analyst Hugo Spaulding of the Institute for the Study of War notes that Russia’s current air campaign in Syria “is focused on targeting Syrian armed opposition groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rather than ISIS.” The Syrian Network for Human Rights reportsthat Russian military strikes in Syria have killed hundreds of civilians during the course of bombing hospitals, bakeries, and markets. The result has been increasing refugee flows into Turkey and Europe.

RT, however, promotes a different version of reality, a “false narrative,” as Spaulding calls it. Indeed, that is the purpose of RT—to whitewash military aggression by the Russian state and focus attention on what the United States and its allies are supposedly doing in the world.

“Russian Air Force destroys 29 ISIS camps in Syria in 24 hours,” was the headline over a typical RT story about Syria. The channel portrays Russian President Vladimir Putin, who spoke to the RT 10th anniversary dinner, as a devout Christian fighting radical Islam.

However, Russia’s open war on the ethnic Turkmen fighting the Assad regime in Syria was something that NATO member Turkey could not ignore. The Turkish shoot-down of a Russian war plane flying through Turkey’s airspace became major news and the first incident in a developing confrontation that shows no sign of ending. RT immediately went to work claiming that Turkey was benefiting from ISIS oil. The U.S. Treasury Department countered with evidence showing that Syria’s Assad is buying ISIS oil through a Russian agent.

The Honey Trap

In addition to using Americans as props and pawns, RT relies heavily on glitzy graphics and beautiful women as anchors and correspondents to promote its propaganda. RT knows what it’s doing, having run a story titled, “From Russia with lust: Femme fatal Anna Chapman, to Russian mail-order brides, to our very own RT correspondents. Americans are infatuated with Russian women!”

It is noteworthy that RT openly cited Chapman, a sexy Russian spy who was seducing an unnamed cabinet official in the Obama administration in an effort to obtain classified information. She was caught, pleaded guilty, and was expelled from the U.S. in 2010. However, she returned to Russia and was honored with an award by none other than Vladimir Putin himself.  Chapman had reportedly tried to seduce NSA defector Edward Snowden.

One of RT’s attractive female anchors, Sophie Shevardnadze, the granddaughter of former Soviet bureaucrat Eduard Shevardnadze, was tasked with interviewing Flynn during the conference, which was held at Moscow’s historic five-star luxuryMetropol Hotel. Flynn appeared on a special edition of her RT show, Sophie & Co, where he appeared grateful for the opportunity, saying, “…thank you so much for inviting me and having me here.”

In her interview with Flynn, Shevardnadze did not disappoint, echoing the Russian line on the Middle East by blaming the U.S. and its allies for conflict and violence. Rather than attack Putin’s military interventions in Ukraine and Syria, Flynn responded by saying that the U.S. and Russia have “to move forward” together.  Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from July 2012 to April 2014, said on RT that “…in order for us to not move to a greater level of conflict between the great nations of the world, we have to come to grips of how do we work together, how do we take interests, interests that are converging. So we have a whole set of converging interests that we are seeing right now, and unless we understand it, we’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to make tactical mistakes that are going to lead to strategic consequences.”

He claimed that Russia has faced terrorism from Muslims within, as if Russia, like the U.S., is a victim of radical Islam. He said, “…there are some in this country that know this enemy from having dealt with it in Chechnya and Dagestan and other places. This is a very, very deadly enemy that we’re facing, and it’s not just hundreds or thousands, these numbers are much greater.”

In fact, as veteran Moscow correspondent David Satter and others have documented, what sometimes appears to be Islamic terrorism in Russia can be carried out with the approval—or even at the direction of—the Kremlin, in order to justify greater repression by the Putin regime. For example, the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings that served to solidify Vladimir Putin’s control of the country, and justify the war against the former Soviet republic of Chechnya, wereproven to be the work of agents of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, a successor to the old KGB.

Moscow’s Role in Terrorism

Could Moscow in fact be behind much of the conflict in the Middle East, including the rise of ISIS? If Flynn has rejected this theory out of hand, it wouldn’t be the first time in history that the U.S. intelligence community failed to understand and appreciate Moscow’s role in international terrorism.

Flynn’s announced co-author, or collaborator, on his new book, Michael Ledeen, has a deep understanding of the Middle East, knowledge of how the old Soviet Union operated, and how remnants of that regime guide Russian foreign policy today. Ledeen worked as a consultant to the National Security Council, Department of State, and Department of Defense during the Reagan administration, when Soviet involvement in global terrorism was highlighted and exposed.

Ledeen’s 2003 book, The War Against the Terror Masters, describes the impact of communist disinformation and deception in the conduct of foreign policy.

Ledeen wrote about the discovery of Soviet moles in the CIA, such as Aldrich Ames and Harold Nicholson, and the discovery of one such mole in the FBI, Robert Hanssen. Ledeen writes, “The discovery that Soviet moles had been at work at the highest levels of the American intelligence community had particular importance in our efforts to combat the terror masters. Agency [CIA] analysts had long insisted that there was no conclusive evidence of Soviet involvement in international terrorism. One now had to wonder if that conclusion had been fed to us through the KGB moles in our midst.” Ledeen writes about how the intelligence community ignored inside information provided by Soviet defectors, such as theMitrokhin documents, which exposed the nature of Soviet-backed international terrorism, as well as the identities of “thousands of foreign agents—Western politicians, journalists, movie makers, military officers, and diplomats.”

Soviet KGB operations continued after the “collapse” of the Soviet Union in the hands of its successor agencies, the FSB and SVR. The book Comrade J examines the activities of Russian master spy, Sergei Tretyakov, who handled all Russian intelligence operations against the U.S. while serving under cover from 1995 to 2000 at Russia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

Since intelligence operations continued as if nothing had happened, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, why isn’t it reasonable to assume that the Russians maintained contacts with international terrorist groups?

To his credit, Flynn has been very critical of the role of Russia’s close ally in the Middle East—Iran. In June 2015 testimony, after his retirement, he cited Iranian cooperation with North Korea, China and Russia, and pointed with alarm to the “resurgence of Russian and Chinese influence” in the Middle East. He said Russian assistance to Iran was a part of the problem, noting that “After all, the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr is Russian-built, the two countries work very closely together in Syria, and Russia is providing Iran with an effective antiaircraft system that could be deployed against any aircraft seeking to destroy the nuclear program.”

However, in the RT interview with Sophie Shevardnadze, Flynn’s criticism of Iran was couched in terms of getting all of the Arab and Muslim countries in the region to behave. He merely said “…Iran cannot continue to go the way it’s going” because it was contributing to the conflict.

The Birth of RT

The Russians have gotten far more sophisticated, especially in the field of global propaganda and information. But the reality of what is happening behind the scenes came to public attention when two RT employees, Elizabeth Wahl and Sara Firth, resigned in disgust at the propaganda that they were ordered to spew on the air. For example, the Russian managers ordered “news” that was designed todepict the Ukrainian government in a bad light and mask Russian military interference in that country, including the shoot-down and destruction of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was carrying almost 300 people.

Putin at RT 10th 2

At the RT anniversary dinner on Thursday night, Putin made no mention of those embarrassing resignations. Instead he presented the channel as a free and independent news entity featuring “creative” people who are serving the global public interest. He said to his audience (including Lt. Gen. Flynn), “You compete on the same playing field as international news giants, and are already beating them according to many parameters. In some regions of the world, you have higher ratings than traditional news organizations that have long been operating in the international information market.”

The speech was laughable, considering the Kremlin funding and control of the channel. Yet, it was posted on the president of Russia’s website, along with photographs of the affair. Moscow is obviously proud of what it has accomplished, with the cooperation of foreigners who appear on the channel and give it credibility.

The participation of a former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the event was a major coup for RT. Film and photos of his participation will help the Russians in their ongoing propaganda campaign to depict the state-funded entity as simply a respectable source of alternative news and opinion that offers different views.

Showing the continuity between the old Soviet Union and Russia, former Soviet President Gorbachev was in attendance at the Thursday night dinner. He “congratulated RT and expressed his admiration for the network,” the channel reported. Outside the event, Gorbachev called the channel a “big success.”

The Case of Edward Snowden

Flynn’s attendance at the RT conference was shocking not only because Putin is an evil ruler whose regime murders opposition figures and truly independent journalists, but because Flynn was critical in the past about the damage done by NSA defector Edward Snowden, who escaped to Russia and now lives under Putin’s protection.

Flynn said in January 2014 that Snowden’s disclosures have caused “grave damage to our national security.” He added that “the greatest cost” of his disclosures will be “the cost in human lives on tomorrow’s battlefield or in someplace where we will put our military forces…when we ask them to go into harm’s way.”

It appears that the information stolen by Snowden has contributed significantly to the advances of the enemies and adversaries of the United States. Since his defection, Russia conducted a surprise invasion of Ukraine; Communist China mounted a series of cyber warfare attacks; and ISIS has gained ground in the Middle East and around the world. The bloody terrorist assaults in Paris and San Bernardino were carried out by plotters who clearly benefitted from Snowden’s revelations and were careful to plan their attacks using encrypted communications apps, such as Telegram, which was developed by a Russian, Pavel Durov.

RT has consistently portrayed Snowden as a whistleblower, and ran what was apparently intended as a humorous promotional ad in connection with the 10th anniversary celebration. It imagined that the NSA defector would return to the U.S. and be elected U.S. president. The ad shows an elderly Barack Obama in the year 2035 complaining about RT’s “propaganda.”

Snowden apparently wasn’t at the RT celebration, but former Russia Today TV star, Julian Assange, appeared via videotape from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He was interviewed by the well-known American “progressive” commentator, Thom Hartmann, who is paid by Moscow to host an RT show that appeals to liberals and left-wingers. Incredibly, the issue being discussed was the “right to privacy”—a right that doesn’t exist in Russia itself. Assange was the recipient of massive leaks from former U.S. Army analyst Bradley Manning, who is becoming a woman named Chelsea while serving a prison term for espionage.

Obama’s Support for Terrorism

One issue raised in RT’s interview of Flynn was a heavily-censored 2012 DIA memo that has been interpreted by many as confirmation that the U.S. and some of its allies had armed the terrorist groups in the Middle East that eventually became ISIS. According to the memo, these groups were seen as effective in countering the Russia/Iran/Syria axis in the area. The memo also described China as backing the Syrian regime.

Flynn’s criticism of this policy since he left the DIA has been made in different venues, including in interviews with Al Jazeera and Der Spiegel. As Flynn has correctly indicated, it is apparent that Obama’s policy in the Middle East has been a disaster. The Benghazi terrorist attacks in Libya, which cost the lives of four Americans, came to pass after the U.S. “switched sides in the war on terror,” as areport from the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi has demonstrated. But just as the Obama administration must be held accountable for arming terrorists, so too must the role of the Putin regime in fostering terrorism be exposed.

In addition to the evidence of an FSB role in domestic terrorism, a defector from the Russian intelligence agency has just confirmed Russia’s role in creating ISIS by recruiting former members of Saddam Hussein’s security services. The former FSB officer told Ukrainian journalist Andriy Tsaplienko that “the Russian special services believed that if a terrorist organization was set up as an alternative to Al-Qaeda and it created problems for the United States as Donbas does for Ukraine now, it would be quite good.” Donbas is the name for the region of Ukraine that has been the staging area for terrorists from Russia, organized by the FSB, to seize territory and undermine Ukraine’s central government. Once again, Russia has demonstrated its commitment to global conflict rather than peace and reconciliation.

The FSB defector said that in order to create ISIS, the Russians selected former officers of the Iraqi army and members of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party. All of them had graduated from Moscow-based “educational institutions,” he said, referring to the time when the Saddam Hussein regime was in a close alliance with the Soviet Union. The overthrow of the Saddam regime was a huge blow to Russian influence in the Middle East. Iran and the Assad regime are the only firm Russian allies left in the region.

Russians Fighting for Terrorist Groups

The Daily Beast ran an article, “Russians Are Joining ISIS in Droves.” But the idea advanced by The Daily Beast that these terrorists are a threat to Russia is not borne out by the evidence. It seems like they are more of a threat to the rest of the world, especially the United States. In what could be seen as an observation or a threat, Putin himself publicly acknowledged that there are an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 Russians fighting for ISIS. By contrast, FBI Director James Comey has estimated that approximately 250 Americans have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIS. These potential terrorists are believed to be threats to America.

On December 3rd, the U.S. Justice Department announced that Irek Ilgiz Hamidullin, a Russian national and former Russian army tank commander, had been sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison for conspiring to kill U.S. soldiers and bring down an American helicopter, as well as for “conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and several other charges relating to an attack that he led against U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan in November 2009.”

It is telling that the U.S., not the Russian authorities, prosecuted him. Perhaps the U.S. was reluctant to turn him over to Moscow. This is reminiscent of the case of the Russian arms dealer and former Soviet military officer Viktor Bout, the legendary “Merchant of Death” who is serving a 25-year sentence in U.S. federal prison. Bout was lured out of Russia, where he was living openly, and arrested in a sting operation in Thailand by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Some of the weapons Bout was selling were for communist Colombian terrorists to use against Americans.

RT has covered the Bout case relentlessly, always in a manner critical of the United States for apprehending and prosecuting him. RT has even highlighted how Bout’s wife has set up The Road Home Foundation to facilitate the return to Russia of Bout and other Russians convicted of crimes abroad.

In another sensational case, the Boston Marathon bombing was carried out by two brothers from Russia, but the Russian connection was immediately discounted on the ground that the Russians had reportedly warned U.S. authorities about the bombers’ travels back and forth to the old Soviet Union. Curiously, RT ran claims by their mother back in Russia that the terrorists were “set up” by the FBI.

It is indeed strange how a Russian connection seems to surface in some of these most sensational terrorism cases.

In the more recent San Bernardino attack, we have a case of two Russian beautiesmarried to Muslim men. A Russian blonde beauty had married into the terrorist’s family, and another Russian woman had married Enrique Marquez, a convert to Islam who bought the weapons used in the massacre.

Nuclear Jihad?

In his June 2015 testimony, Flynn acknowledged that the U.S. intelligence community has had a “mixed” record in one important area—“tracking clandestine nuclear weapons programs.” In this context, it is significant that in his December 9 testimony to Congress, FBI director James Comey made a passing reference to how the bureau had disrupted “a nuclear threat in Moldova,” an Eastern European country and former Soviet republic. There is much more to the story and it directly involves the criminal regime in Moscow.

The story came to light in October, when the Associated Press disclosed that “gangs with suspected Russian connections” had tried on several occasions to “sell radioactive material to Middle Eastern extremists.” AP said the latest known case came in February this year, “when a smuggler offered a huge cache of deadly cesium—enough to contaminate several city blocks—and specifically sought a buyer from the Islamic State group.”

In a follow-up report, the Center for Public Integrity said the nuclear material in the various cases “appeared to have the same origin—a restricted military installation in Russia.” It added that “no one in the West knows exactly who has this nuclear explosive material, and where they may be.”

The group concluded, “It’s a mystery that so far has stumped America’s best spying efforts, in no small measure because the government of Russian president Vladimir Putin has refused to provide needed information on the case—or even to acknowledge that some of the country’s nuclear explosive materials are missing.”

Don’t look for RT to get to the bottom of this.


Putin’s “War on Terror” Could Backfire

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

There can be no doubt that the Russians are winning the Middle East propaganda war. But it’s not just the Marxist far-left that is willing to believe whatever Vladimir Putin and his mouthpiece Russia Today (RT) are saying. Some conservatives and self-described Tea Party leaders have also accepted the disinformation the Russians are putting out, even to the extent of affirming the Russian president as a Christian statesman leading the global war on terror.

Consider Chuck Baldwin’s piece, “Rootin’ for Putin,” which insists that “Russia’s Vladimir Putin is the only one fighting a Just War in the Middle East right now.” Baldwin, a Christian pastor “dedicated to preserving the historic principles upon which America was founded,” was the presidential candidate in 2008 of the Constitution Party, a group associated with the late conservative icon Howard Phillips.

It is simply amazing that any conservative would insist that Putin, who, despite dropping the communist label is still allied with Iran, Communist China, North Korea and Cuba, is somehow doing the right thing in Syria, a long-time Soviet/Russian client state. What Putin is doing is entirely consistent with what the Soviets always did. They are trying to save a client state from what started out as a popular rebellion.

In his column, Baldwin went on to label Barack Obama, David Cameron of Britain, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey as “international gangsters.”

It is true that Obama, through a few of America’s Arab “allies,” has been supporting the cause of some jihadists and terrorists in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been implicated in these dangerous schemes, one of which culminated in the Benghazi massacre of four Americans in Libya. That was a treasonous action that should sink Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and could have justified impeachment charges against Obama himself. Mrs. Clinton was Obama’s Secretary of State at the time.

These operations in the Middle East have been characterized by former CIA officer Clare Lopez of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi as “switching sides in the War on Terror.”

But the idea that Putin has clean hands in the Middle East is absolutely ridiculous. Considering that he was a Soviet KGB spy and actually headed one of the KGB’s successor agencies, the idea that Putin has suddenly had a Damascus Road conversion to Christianity is simply ludicrous. His foreign policy is very similar to that of the old Soviet Union.

Since the foreign policy has mostly remained the same, Soviet financing and sponsorship of international terrorist networks, many of them linked to Arab and Muslim groups, also have to be taken into consideration here. It is reasonable to assume that the Russians have maintained at least parts of these networks for a purpose that we see in the backing of Bashar Assad in Syria. Indeed, writer and researcher Christian Gomez has traced the roots of ISIS to the Islamic Revival Party, created by the KGB, during the final days of the old Soviet Union. U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, has noted that the Russians are doing little in Syria to fight ISIS terrorists and that “Everything they [the Russians] are doing is to support Assad, to keep Assad in power.” In other words, Putin is continuing a clever Soviet-style strategy that seeks to maintain Assad in power while using ISIS for his own purposes. One of those purposes, as reflected in RT propaganda, is to make Putin look like a terrorist fighter.

Baldwin isn’t the only personality on the right duped by Putin and his propaganda machine. The CEO of a group calling itself simply the Tea Party has distributed an article claiming that Russia has produced “stunning photographic evidence” that ISIS oil was being smuggled into Turkey on an industrial scale.

The “stunning photographic evidence” shows nothing of the sort. Natasha Bertrand of Business Insider examined the Russian maps and found that the three main routes the Russians claim ISIS had allegedly been using to transport illicit oil into Turkey are not primarily controlled by the Islamic State. Turkish President Erdogan has countered: “Who is buying oil (from ISIS)? Let me say it. George Haswani, holder of a Russian passport and a Syrian national, is one of the biggest merchants in this business.” He noted that the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Haswani, who was also placed on an EU sanctions list, “for serving as middleman for oil purchases by the Syrian regime from the ISIS group.”

If you haven’t heard about the sanctions on the individuals and networks providing support to Syria and facilitating Syrian oil purchases from ISIS, you are a victim of the slick propaganda that is being spread around the world by such outlets as RT. It is a fact that the Russian claims against Turkey are taking precedence, even in the Western media, over the facts on the ground, as determined not only by the U.S. Treasury but the U.S. Army. Colonel Warren said, “We flatly reject any notion that the Turks are somehow working with ISIL,” he said. “That is preposterous.”

The “Tea Party” article about the Russian claims was lifted directly from the Infowars.com site of Russian apologist Alex Jones, who just scored a major interview with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. No respectable Tea Party group should have anything to do with Alex Jones, who defended the Russian invasion of its former republic Georgia in 2008. Trump’s decision toappear on his show was extremely foolish. He apparently was not aware that Jones promotes claims that actual terrorist attacks, such as the Boston Marathon bombings carried out by two Muslims from Russia, were “false flags” perpetrated by U.S. police and law enforcement agencies. His website ran a “Voice of Russia”story claiming the dead and wounded were actors plastered with fake blood.

Rather than treat Putin as a good guy or ally, GOP presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (FL) argues that Turkey is a member of NATO and an ally that “deserves the full backing of the United States.” He noted that the Russians were “targeting Turkmen-populated pockets of northern Syria rather than territory controlled by ISIS” and that “Most Russian military strikes since the end of September have been non-ISIS targets, including many civilian areas, revealing that Russia does not share our interest in confronting and defeating ISIS but instead is intent on propping up the Assad regime.”

Before he assumed the role as a leader of the Sunnis in the Middle East, mobilizing forces against Shite Iran and Syria, Erdogan was known for his anti-Soviet views. Indeed, he was an anti-communist in his youth. As a result of Russia’s increased military involvement in Syria, he seems to have awakened to the fact that Putin has returned to his Soviet roots and that Turkey’s future lies with NATO and the West. Turkey joined NATO, originally conceived as an anti-Soviet military alliance, in 1952.

Assuming Erdogan is an Islamist of some kind, as some conservatives contend, it might make strategic sense for the West to back him for that reason alone in his battle with Russia. After all, most of Russia’s 14 million Muslims are Sunnis. RT itself recently highlighted how thousands of Muslims had gathered in central Moscow “to witness the opening of one of the biggest mosques in Europe.” The ceremony was attended by Putin and Erdogan, who had been considered to be on friendly terms.

Their relationship turned sour after Turkey shot down the Russian war plane, and it seems to be deteriorating further.

As noted by Ilya Arkhipov of Bloomberg Business, Putin used his annual state-of-the-nation address to attack Turkey and Erdogan in very personal and religious terms. Putin said, “Only Allah knows why they did this. And it seems that Allah decided to punish the ruling gang in Turkey by stripping it of common sense and reason.” Analyst Timothy Ash told Bloomberg that “The religious angle being used by Putin is unlikely to go down well in the region, where Erdogan is still seen as a defender of the Sunni faith.”

One observer has noted, in regard to Russian involvement in Arab/Muslim terrorism and now ISIS, that the monster that the USSR created may have grown too big, and that it may eventually attack its creator.  In the case of Turkey, Putin is facing a Muslim problem of his own making.


Putin’s Paid and Unpaid Liars

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

The Dutch Safety Board has issued a report indicating that a Russian BUK missile destroyed Malaysian flight MH17, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board, in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine. The only question is whether the missile was fired by Russian troops or terrorists under Russian control. In any case, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who ordered an invasion of eastern Ukraine, has blood on his hands.

The Dutch took the lead because most of the dead were from the Netherlands.

The results were not surprising, since circumstantial evidence already pointed to the Russians as the culprits. Russia refused to cooperate with the investigation (led by the Netherlands, Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia and Belgium) and vetoed a U.N. tribunal established to try those responsible.

At the time of the mass murder, Kremlin-financed Russia Today (RT) television tried to obscure the truth about Russian terrorists bringing down the Malaysian plane, even though the facts known at the time implicated the terrorists in eastern Ukraine in the mass murder of nearly 300 people.

RT is carried by such giant media companies as Comcast. But in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the channel is not carried with disclaimers identifying the material as foreign propaganda. President Obama’s Justice Department is refusing to enforce the law.

As part of the disinformation campaign to divert attention away from Moscow’s bloody hands, RT released a “documentary” entitled “MH-17: the untold story,” claiming that a BUK missile did not hit the MH-17 plane. Instead, it was suggested that the plane went down because of cannon fire from a Ukrainian jet.

The lies were too much to take for Sara Firth, who had worked at Russia Today for five years. She told The Guardian that the channel’s coverage suggesting Ukraine was to blame for the crash was the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” She quit, saying, “It was the most shockingly obvious misinformation and it got to the point where I couldn’t defend it anymore.”

A variation of the Putin propaganda held that Ukraine downed the plane, thinking Putin was on it. Hence, it was an assassination attempt. We noted at the time, “This bizarre piece of disinformation surfaced on RT…[and] was linked to by the popular Drudge Report, used by many conservatives as their homepage, and then picked up by the Alex Jones’ Infowars.com site, a reliable outlet for pro-Russian propaganda.”

We reported in 2010 that RT has been eager to publicize Alex Jones and his various anti-American conspiracies because “they divert attention from the increasingly totalitarian nature of the Russian regime and the military threat that Russia still poses to American interests.” Jones was a regular guest on the RT propaganda channel, and defended Moscow’s invasion of its former Soviet republic of Georgia in 2008.

Matt Drudge, who made his name by posting the story about the stained dress, implicating President Bill Clinton in adultery, is considered a major player in the conservative media but has been living as a virtual hermit and rarely makes public appearances. However, he recently gave an interview to Jones and his Infowars.com show. Drudge, who didn’t allow his face to be seen, raised rumors about Hillary Clinton’s sex life and talked at length about the control of the flow of information, wondering if his website would be shut down. He was concerned that copyright laws could close down his popular site because he links to the work of others. “I had a Supreme Court Justice tell me it’s over for me,” said Drudge. “They’ve got the votes now to enforce copyright law, you’re out of there. They’re going to make it so you can’t even use headlines.”

In one interesting foreign policy exchange in the conversation that lasted about 45 minutes, Jones wondered if Putin was looking good in the Middle East, by claiming to target Islamic terrorists. This time, Drudge didn’t take the bait, and he moved on to other topics. Tina Trent, a commentator who has written about the impact of the Drudge Report, says it appears that Drudge is “dialing back” on his use of pro-Putin material supplied by Jones and other sources like Russia Today. “Maybe he’s travelled the world a bit and understands more about totalitarianism now,” she said.

Picking up the slack, another player in the Putin disinformation network is Don Hank, who claims to be a Christian conservative activist and runs a website. He distributed material claiming that the name of the Oregon killer had been included on a list of 87,000 “known/suspected” Islamic terrorists that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) had “refused last month to accept from Russia.”

Hank told his followers that Putin “was concerned enough about you and me to take time out of his busy day to warn us of a real and present danger!” But the U.S. government, he said, wanted us to die and ignored the warning.

The source of the information was said to be the Russian secret police, the FSB, making the whole thing suspect to begin with. However, the embedded link was to a different story on the FSB website that had nothing to do with the Oregon massacre.

Hank, who lives in Panama, said that the story had appeared in a “filthy rag” known as the European Union Times, and that he should have known better.

When the Dutch Safety Board pointed fingers at a Russian missile for the destruction of MH 17, Hank was up to his old tricks, telling his email list that the government of Ukraine brought down the plane, not the Russian terrorists. His source for this claim was the Moscow-funded RT channel.

The use of dubious sources like RT is what threatens the credibility and viability of legitimate websites that are truly independent and offering real facts and information.