03/30/17

A Fake Bill to Promote Fake News

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

One of the more newsworthy aspects of the Democratic Party’s turnabout on Russia has been the introduction by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) of a bill to investigate Russian propaganda outlet RT (Russia Today) as a foreign agent. In fact, broadcaster Jerry Kenney had filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice back in 2011 alleging that RT and Al Jazeera were both violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by not disclosing in their propaganda broadcasts that they are agents of foreign powers.

However, former President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice, which supervises FARA, took no action.

Kenney told us, “Shaheen’s sudden concern about foreign influence operations rings a little hollow to me. Her bill seems more like a political prop to keep alive the fake news story of a Russia-Trump unholy alliance. It is a fake bill to perpetuate fake news.” He added, “As far as I know, the Department of Justice has all the tools it needs to enforce FARA. What it hasn’t had, at least under Obama, was the will to enforce it.”

Accuracy in Media has noted that RT hosts Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz are not Trump supporters or conservatives, but in fact are progressives connected to the Democratic Party. Schultz used to work for MSNBC.

In a brief interview I had with Hartmann, he refused to say how much the Kremlin paid him for his show on RT, “The Big Picture.” He then grabbed my camera.

In a January 19 article, we noted that AIM has published literally dozens of stories over the years about RT’s service to the Moscow regime. We asked, “So why didn’t the Obama Justice Department act on TV producer Jerry Kenney’s complaint that RT should register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act and be labeled as foreign propaganda? That’s what the law requires.”

The answer is that RT didn’t become a problem for the liberals and the Democrats until they perceived that Moscow’s agents had deserted their cause, and that the Russian angle could be used for partisan political purposes against Republicans.

In that AIM article, I also noted that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) dismissed my well-documented 2012 complaint about RT’s open support for libertarian Ron Paul in the 2012 Republican presidential primary. We cited evidence that RT was funded by the Kremlin and prohibited under law from intervening in U.S. elections. The FEC dismissed the complaint, saying RT was a legitimate press entity and a U.S. corporation with First Amendment rights.

Where was the outrage over that ruling?

The stated purpose of the Shaheen bill, the Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act (S.625), is “to preserve the integrity of American elections by providing the Attorney General with investigative tools” to crack down on foreign agents who unlawfully influence our political process.

“We have good reason to believe that RT News is coordinating with the Russian government to spread misinformation and undermine our democratic process,” said Shaheen. “The American public has a right to know if this is the case.”

The American public who have been reading AIM already know. Plus, RT once aired its own video showing Vladimir Putin reviewing its broadcast operations in Moscow.

It’s no secret that RT is Moscow-financed and run.

Kenney commented, “Now that the Democrats have lost the White House, Shaheen is shocked to see that foreign influence operations are going on here. Where has she been for the last few years as Obama’s DOJ refused to investigate Vladimir Putin’s Russia Today, Qatar’s Al Jazeera and Communist China’s CCTV (China Central Television)?”

Kenney notes that these foreign propaganda operations are packaged as “news” and have been airing on 30 taxpayer-supported public educational TV stations via the MHz Network Worldview, a network offering “international news and entertainment” in English. “To my knowledge, these ‘news’ channels still have not registered or published disclosures as required by FARA, even though there is ample evidence in the public domain that they are actually foreign government propaganda operations,” he says.

If Shaheen is so concerned about foreign influence, he went on to say, “why didn’t she do something to stop the FCC’s recent rule change that fast tracks 100 percent foreign ownership of America’s radio and TV broadcasters? In all fairness to Senator Shaheen, the Republicans didn’t oppose it, either.”

Kenney said that if the politicians in Washington are really serious about foreign influence operations in the U.S., they could veto the new FCC rule by using the Congressional Review Act.

The Shaheen bill has only three co-sponsors, with one, Senator Todd Young of Indiana, a Republican. Young’s involvement as a Republican fellow-traveler makes it a piece of “bipartisan legislation.”

If Shaheen is serious about exposing RT’s ties to Russia, perhaps she could ask fellow progressive Thom Hartmann to provide testimony about RT, including the facts and figures about his Moscow funding that he won’t talk about publicly.

It would be easy enough for him to show up at a Senate hearing. His “Big Picture” program is filmed live and broadcast from the RT America studios in Washington, D.C.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

01/10/17

Report on Russian Hacking is a Political Hoax

By: Cliff Kincaid | America’s Survival

The CIA says that Russian hackers released true information about Hillary Clinton. Horrors! Cliff Kincaid and Jerry Kenney analyze the “Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections,” in order to show how the CIA and other intelligence agencies are trying to subvert the Trump presidency with bogus claims. The CIA report proves the validity of what Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer meant when he said, “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

putin

07/25/16

The Trump-Sanders Coalition

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

Trump

You know the terms “left” and “right” are losing meaning when left-wing websites are praising the Republican presidential candidate and attacking the Democrat, and Russia seems to be intervening in favor of the GOP.

The Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA), which has been pulling for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic race, has sent out an advisory entitled, “What Trump is Right About: NATO.” On the other hand, Mrs. Clinton’s pick for her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), has been depicted by the same group as a creature of Wall Street.

The IPA is not alone. Journalism Professor Jeff Cohen, co-founder of RootsAction.org and communications coordinator of the Bernie Delegates Network, has been quoted as saying that Kaine is a “corporatist,” or stooge of Big Business. Cohen’s colleague, Norman Solomon, calls Kaine a puppet of the “oligarchy.”

At the same time, WikiLeaks has released an email database from the Democratic National Committee, demonstrating that the DNC intervened in the primary contest against Sanders and in favor of Clinton. Since Russian hackers obtained the DNC emails, it means that Moscow wants to cause mischief on the Democratic side just as Hillary is getting the presidential nomination this week in Philadelphia.

An explanation for this interesting series of events may be found in the IPA news release on Trump and NATO, quoting Professor David N. Gibbs as saying that “Trump’s recent criticisms of the NATO alliance are reasonable.” He adds, “Trump is right to question NATO’s value in promoting U.S. security, and also to raise the issue of the enormous financial cost of this alliance to the U.S. taxpayer.” Gibbs has appeared on RT, the Russia Today propaganda channel.

Trump’s pro-Russian outlook has caused great consternation among conservatives who see the Vladimir Putin regime as the aggressor in Europe and interfering in the Middle East. Trump’s allies vetoed tough language in the Republican platform urging heavy weapons for Ukraine to fight Russian aggression. Instead, the Trump forces inserted language about providing “appropriate assistance” to Ukraine.

By contrast, the Democratic platform is tough on Russia and attacks Trump’s position on NATO. It says, “Russia is engaging in destabilizing actions along its borders, violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and attempting to recreate spheres of influence that undermine American interests. It is also propping up the Assad regime in Syria, which is brutally attacking its own citizens. Donald Trump would overturn more than 50 years of American foreign policy by abandoning NATO partners — 44 countries who help us fight terrorism every day — and embracing Russian President Vladimir Putin instead. We believe in strong alliances and will deter Russian aggression, build European resilience, and protect our NATO allies.”

These words sound great, except for the fact that, as secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton had an opportunity to be tough with the Russians and blew it. Her Russian reset led to the invasion of Ukraine. It also masked the uranium deal highlighted in the movie “Clinton Cash,” based on the book, a deal in which the Russians bought 20 percent of America’s uranium production as millions of dollars flowed to the Clinton Foundation and hundreds of thousands of dollars went to Bill Clinton personally.

Has Hillary Clinton changed her mind on Russia? That’s what the platform would suggest. If so, it would be a big opening for Trump to pounce on her flip-flops. But he hasn’t done so. Instead, he refuses to take on Russian aggression in Europe or the Middle East.

In his speech, however, Trump openly appealed to Sanders supporters, saying they “will join our movement, because we will fix his biggest issue: trade deals that strip our country of its jobs and wealth.”

Trump’s appeal to Sanders supporters is based on trade. But it appears that his pro-Russian foreign policy has some appeal to them as well. If the Sanders supporters perceive Hillary Clinton to be a hawk on foreign policy, as Sanders himself suggested during the campaign, it’s possible they could either sit out the race or vote for the New York billionaire.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected]View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

05/22/15

Kremlin Disinformation and Propaganda [VIDEO]

The Right Planet

Via 20committee.com:

I recently was honored to participate at the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) conference in Washington, DC, where I took part in a discussion of Kremlin disinformation and propaganda. My comments, on Chekist Active Measures and their relevance today, kicks off at 25:25, and the Q&A following the talks may be worth your time. Enjoy (and ignore that JBANC oddly called me a blogger, and that I got cut off in the middle of one of my all-time favorite KGB anecdotes)!