New State department report on RT and Sputnik is full of lies and propaganda.
Debunking the latest propaganda from the state department.
Sometimes it seems Russiagate will never die. The newest propaganda from the state department comes in the form of a report on “Kremlin-funded media”. The report is an interesting insight into how the state department pushes propaganda. The report is clearly used as a tool of the state department to silence dissident media, smear Jullian Assange, paint accurate statements about United States foreign policy as Russian propaganda, and run interference for the United States arming of far-right groups in Ukraine.
How this report will be used to silence dissident media.
There is no doubt that some of RT’s coverage is biased in favor of the Russian government’s positions. But this report pretends like this is something unique to RT and not a phenomenon that spans across all media. Al Jazeera for example has a clear bias in favor of Qatar's views, the BBC has a bias in favor of the U.K. government, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News have a clear bias in favor of American corporations who fund their networks. There is no doubt all media outlets have a bias in favor of their funders but to pretend this is only true in the case of RT and not a broader issue pertaining to all media outlets is ridiculous. What this report fails to mention is that RT has also given a platform to dissident voices that would not be seen on any other outlet in both the U.S. and U.K. For example, RT America airs "On Contact" hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges. On this show, Hedges has deep and important conversations with respected intellectuals, journalists, and authors that have been frozen out of the mainstream media such as Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, John Pilger, and Richard Wolff. RT America also hosts progressive shows like Lee Camp’s redacted tonight and Mike Papantonio’s America's Lawyer that cover stories that would never make it past corporate advertisers on other stations. Tara Reade hosts an RT podcast that covers a wide range of social and political issues that would not be tolerated on any corporate media outlet. RT U.K. has also given a platform to people banned from the mainstream U.K. media such as firebrand leftist George Galloway who was fired from talk Radio for his criticism of Isreal that were falsely labeled anti-Semitic. To put it simply RT has given a platform on TV to people that have been frozen out of other media outlets for being too critical of western imperialism and corporations. A big reason behind the state department’s attack on RT and Sputnik is to try to censor these dissident voices. The state department previously forced RT to register as a foreign agent and Twitter labeled all outlets associated with RT as Russian state-affiliated media. This state department report is a continuation of this censorship campaign against dissident journalist and commentators like Chris Hedges, Lee Camp and Tara Reade.
How the report lied about Jullian Assange.
The report also includes a continuation of the State Departments’ propaganda campaign against journalist Jullian Assange who is currently being Tortured in a Belmarsh prison while being prosecuted by the United States for reporting on war crimes. This part of the report is part of the state department’s propaganda campaign against Assange to demonize him and distract from the fact that the United States is prosecuting him for his journalism. The idea that Jullian Assange has a connection to Russia was completely debunked by a Yahoo news report on the C.I.A.’s attempt to kidnap Assange that reported the C.I.A. admitted they had no evidence tying Assange to Russia. Despite this, the section of the state departments’ report titled “connections to cyber-enabled influence operations” repeats several provably false talking points trying to attach Assange to Russia. The section repeats the Muller report claim that Russian intelligence gave DNC emails to Jullian Assange and WikiLeaks. This claim does not make sense as the timeline does not match up. As journalist Aaron Mate reported Muller alleges that Assange’s first contact with the Russian intelligence officers was on June 14th but Assange had already announced he had emails from the DNC on June 12th. There was also an analysis done by VIPS, a collection of dissenting U.S. intelligence officials that found Assang’’s source would have had to be a leak based on the fact that the files reveal a FAT (File Allocation Table) meaning the data would have had to be transferred onto an external storage device like a thumb drive. Furthermore the firm Corwdstrike one of Muller’s main sources for this claim admitted under oath they had no evidence Russia stole emails from the DNC. The state department report then goes on to say that Assange had a show on RT. This is true but the context missing is that RT had nothing to do with the production of that show. When asked about this show by Chuck Todd on MSNBC Assange explained “The T.V. show you are talking about, the world tomorrow is a holy independently produced T.V. show here in London with Dartmouth films a well regarded London production company, we sold licenses to twelve broadcasters and newspapers around the world including Russia Today and that’s the extent of the cooperation.” In the show, Assange expressed many views that went contrary to the Russian state such as in the first episode when he criticized a Hezbollah official for supporting Bashar al-Assad who is a top ally of Russia. The report goes on to repeat another false claim that RT tweeted about WikiLeaks releases before they came out. This is provable false as the documents tweeted about by RT were already publicly available on the Wikileaks website, they had just not been tweeted about yet. The final false claim parroted in this section of the report is the Senate Intelligence Committees’ claim that Assange communicated with Russian intelligence officers through fake accounts. The accounts referred to in this report are “Guccifer 2.0” and “D.C. leaks”. There is strong reason to doubt these accounts were connected to Russian intelligence officers. For example, the Guccifer 2.0 account publicly demanded that he be recognized as Assange’s source (not something a spy would typically do). The account also published materiel that had easily traceable Russian metadata and the computer used to create the account went by the name Felix Dzerzhinsky who was the founder of the Soviet secret police (again it would have to be the dumbest spy in the world if it was a Russian spy behind this account).
True claims labeled as “Russian Propaganda”
Another bizarre section of the report that lists examples of Russian propaganda parroted by RT consists of almost entirely factual statements about United States foreign policy. They say that in 2015 Sputnik put out two articles saying the United States is protecting and supporting Jihadists in the middle east. This is an undeniably true claim. For example, the C.I.A. spent billions of dollars arming and training rebels in Syria many of whom were linked to Jihadist groups such as the Al-Nusra Front and Jaysh al-Islam. The United States also supplies arms to Saudi Arabia which in turn arms Jihadists in Yemen and Syria. Another claim made by Sputnik that the report labeled “Russian disinformation” was that the United States media deliberately covers up human rights violations by the U.S. in the middle east. Again this is an undeniable fact as the United States media has pushed propaganda in favor of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria and deliberately ignored the U.S.-backed genocidal war in Yemen. They also claim the idea that the United States backed the coup in Bolivia for access to Lithium was an example of “Russian propaganda”. This is also a claim that has a lot of evidence behind it. As Vijay Prashad reported Elon Musk was looking to build a Tesla factory in Brazil supplied with Lithium from Bolivia. Musk all but admitted the coup was about Lithium when he tweeted about the coup in Bolvia saying “We will coup whoever we want”. While there were many reasons the United States backed the coup in Bolvia there is no doubt one of them was to grow profits for electric car companies such as Tesla. There is a very deliberate reason the state department included true claims in their examples of “Russian propaganda”- to silence dissent. Because of this report anyone who points out the United States’ support for Jihadists, the U.S. media ignoring of war crimes in the middle east, and the role of lithium in the Bolvia coup will be accused of parroting “Russian propaganda”.
White-washing U.S. involvement in Ukriane.
One of the most telling parts of the report is near the end where it lists a series of supposed “falsehoods” about Ukriane. Many of these statements are factually true and have been well documented even in mainstream media. The first claim the report says is a falsehood is that United States involvement in Ukraine raised tensions. This is an undeniably true claim. For example, the United States supported a coup in Ukraine in 2014. As the Guardian reported at the time the United States supported militants trying to overtake the elected government. John McCain stood in Ukraine with the leader of the far-right party Svobda saying “America is with you” to the militants. Audio was even leaked that showed then assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland discussing who the United States wanted to choose for the next leader of Ukraine. Nuland was quoted saying “I think Yats is the guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience” and “Why don't you reach out to him and see if he wants to talk before or after.” “Yats” was referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk who became prime minister of Ukraine after the coup. The C.I.A has also armed extremist neo-nazi groups in Ukraine. Jacobin magazine recently reported “since 2015, the CIA has been secretly training forces in Ukraine to serve as “insurgent leaders”. Jacobin reported that in 2015 congress passed a bill with hundreds of millions of dollars in military support to Ukraine, sending arms to the neo-nazi militia Azov Regiment. At first, the bill barred arms being sent to Azov but that precision was later barred after pressure from the Pentagon. The state department report also claims it is a “false narrative” and “Russian propaganda” to point out Ukraine has a neo-nazi problem. This is provable not a false narrative. Reuters reported that “Ukraine has experienced a wave of unchecked vigilantism” with activists being harassed by neo-nazi groups when holding pro LGBT or anti-war rallies. Reuters reported that neo-nazi groups in Ukraine such as Azov regularly go after anti-fascist activists, city council meetings, media outlets, art exhibitions, and foreign students. But as mentioned earlier not only does Ukraine have a massive neo-nazi problem but it is actively supported by the United States. It is beyond obvious why the state department is labeling these facts as “Russian propaganda”- to manufacture consent and silence dissent. With increasing tensions between the U.S. and Russia and the possibility of war with Russia over Ukraine, the state department wants to make sure these inconvenient facts are not mentioned. Again because of this report anyone who points out that the United States backed a coup in Ukraine and is actively aiding it’s neo-nazi problem will be accused of parroting “Russian propaganda”.
This report was a clear propaganda piece from the state department to censor journalists at RT and Sputnik, demonize Jullian Assange, and label dissent as “Russian propaganda”. This has been the goal of the Russiagate conspiracy since its inception. Politicians on the left and right have been accused of being Russian agents for questioning official U.S. foreign policy narratives. Alternative news sites have been deranked in the algorithm because they were falsely labeled Russian propaganda by groups like prop or not. This new state department report is a reemerging of this McCarthyite political climate that many hoped was gone for good. Hopefully, this time all of the left will see it for the propaganda it is.