The Anti-Russia Movement and the Gullibility of Congress

As I have posted previously, it is starting to look like the McCarthy era in Washington with the anti-Russia finger pointing occurring on a very regular basis, particularly from the left in reference to electoral interference in the 2016 presidential election.  A recent letter from three members of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology provides us with ample evidence on the lengths that Congress will go to in its efforts to vilify the Russians.

Here’s the letter from Representative Anna G. Eshoo (D – CA -18), Representative Mike Doyle (D – PA -14), and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D – NJ – 6) to Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission:

 

Here’s what Representative Eshoo proudly states on her website:

It is rather alarming to think that the FCC granted a licence to Sputnik Radio when the station’s purpose during the 2016 presidential election was to function as a proxy for the Kremlin by influencing the election.  As you will note in the letter, the origins of this assertion about Sputnik Radio was outlined in the New York Times Magazine from September 13, 2017 in an article entitled “RT, Sputnik and Russia’s New Theory of War” which you can find here.   Here’s a quote from the NYT article:

But all of this paled in comparison with the role that Russian information networks are suspected to have played in the American presidential election of 2016. In early January, two weeks before Donald J. Trump took office, American intelligence officials released a declassified version of a report — prepared jointly by the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency — titled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections.” It detailed what an Obama-era Pentagon intelligence official, Michael Vickers, described in an interview in June with NBC News as “the political equivalent of 9/11.” “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” the authors wrote. “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency.” According to the report, “Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”  The intelligence assessment detailed some cloak-and-dagger activities, like the murky web of Russian (if not directly government-affiliated or -financed) hackers who infiltrated voting systems and stole gigabytes’ worth of email and other documents from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. But most of the assessment concerned machinations that were plainly visible to anyone with a cable subscription or an internet connection: the coordinated activities of the TV and online-media properties and social-media accounts that made up, in the report’s words, “Russia’s state-run propaganda machine.”

The intelligence assessment detailed some cloak-and-dagger activities, like the murky web of Russian (if not directly government-affiliated or -financed) hackers who infiltrated voting systems and stole gigabytes’ worth of email and other documents from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. But most of the assessment concerned machinations that were plainly visible to anyone with a cable subscription or an internet connection: the coordinated activities of the TV and online-media properties and social-media accounts that made up, in the report’s words, “Russia’s state-run propaganda machine.”

The assessment devoted nearly half its pages to a single cable network: RT. The Kremlin started RT — shortened from the original Russia Today — a dozen years ago to improve Russia’s image abroad. It operates in several world capitals and is carried on cable and satellite networks across the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. RT and the rest of the Russian information machine were working with “covert intelligence operations” to do no less than “undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order,” the assessment stated. And, it warned ominously, “Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the U.S. presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against U.S. allies and their election processes.” On Sept. 11, RT announced that the Justice Department had asked a company providing all production and operations services for RT America in the United States to register as a “foreign agent” under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a World War II-era law that was originally devised for Nazi propaganda. Also on Sept. 11, Yahoo News reported that a former correspondent at Sputnik was speaking with the F.B.I. as part of an investigation into whether it was violating FARA.

Russia has dismissed the intelligence-community claims as so much Cold War-era Yankee hysteria. Margarita Simonyan, RT’s chief editor, told me the allegations against the network smacked of “McCarthyism.” Still, Russian officials are remarkably open about the aims of RT and Sputnik: to “break the monopoly of the Anglo-Saxon global information streams,” as Putin himself put it during a visit to RT’s Moscow headquarters in 2013.(my bold)

Now that we see how the story about Sputnik Radio and its 105.5 FM Washington, D.C. radio station and how it influenced the 2016 Presidential Election was generated, let’s go back to focusing on Sputnik Radio itself.  Sputnik Radio is an arm of Sputnik International, a news agency established by the Russian government-controlled news agency, Rossiya Segodnya.  It was originally founded as RIA Novosti in June 1941 with the task of informing Soviet citizens about developments in the Second World War.  In December 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin merged RIA Novosti with the nation’s international radio service, Voice of Russia, to create Rossiya Segodnya.  On November 10, 2014, Rossiya Segodnya launched the Sputnik multimedia platform, including a radio service and website, headquartered in Moscow.

As noted in the aforementioned letter, Sputnik Radio reallydoes have a radio station in Washington, D.C. at 105.5 FM, however, as you can see here, the station did not launch until July  of 2017:


Here’s more information on the launch of Sputnik Radio 105.5 FM from early July 2017 and how it will challenge America’s mainstream media from the dreaded RT:


This clearly shows us that, despite what the three Representatives stated in their letter to the FCC, Sputnik Radio’s station in Washington, D.C. could not have had any impact on the 2016 presidential election since they didn’t exist until nearly 7 months after the election took place…unless, of course, those nasty Russians have developed some means of time travel.

It’s pretty obvious that the triad who wrote this letter didn’t take the five minutes necessary to actually research Sputnik Radio, rather, they “shot from the hip” based on a story that was printed in the non-fake, mainstream media.  Now who looks gullible?  On the other hand, it is reassuring to know that Washington has never, ever, ever used propaganda to influence an electorate anywhere in the world, isn’t it?

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