America's Righteous Russia-gate Censorship

Authored by Robert Parry via,

Arriving behind the anti-Trump “resistance” and the Russia-gate “scandal” is a troubling readiness to silence dissent in the U.S., shutting down information that challenges Official Narratives...

A stark difference between today’s Washington and when I was here as a young Associated Press correspondent in the late 1970s and the early 1980s is that then – even as the old Cold War was heating up around the election of Ronald Reagan – there were prominent mainstream journalists who looked askance at the excessive demonization of the Soviet Union and doubted wild claims about the dire threats to U.S. national security from Nicaragua and Grenada.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin wall, Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)

Perhaps the Vietnam War was still fresh enough in people’s minds that senior editors and national reporters understood the dangers of mindless groupthink inside Official Washington, as well as the importance of healthy skepticism toward official pronouncements from the U.S. intelligence community.

Today, however, I cannot think of a single prominent figure in the mainstream news media who questions any claim – no matter how unlikely or absurd – that vilifies Russian President Vladimir Putin and his country. It is all Russia-bashing all the time.

And, behind this disturbing anti-Russian uniformity are increasing assaults against independent and dissident journalists and news outlets outside the mainstream. We’re not just entering a New Cold War and a New McCarthyism; we’re also getting a heavy dose of old-style Orwellianism.

Sometimes you see this in individual acts like HuffingtonPost taking down a well-reported story by journalist Joe Lauria because he dared to point out that Democratic money financed the two initial elements of what’s now known as Russia-gate: the forensic examination of computers at the Democratic National Committee and the opposition research on Donald Trump conducted by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.

HuffingtonPost never contacted Lauria before or after its decision to retract the story, despite a request from him for the reasons why. HuffPost editors told a BuzzFeed reporter that they were responding to reader complaints that the article was filled with factual errors but none have ever been spelled out, leaving little doubt that Lauria’s real “error” was in defying the Russia-gate groupthink of the anti-Trump Resistance. [A version of Lauria’s story appeared at before Lauria posted it at HuffPost. If you want to sign a petition calling on HuffPost to restore Lauria’s article, click here.]

Muzzling RT

Other times, the expanding American censorship is driven by U.S. government agencies, such as the Justice Department’s demand that the Russian news outlet, RT, register under the restrictive Foreign Agent Registration Act, which requires such prompt, frequent and detailed disclosures of supposed “propaganda” that it could make it impossible for RT to continue to function in the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

This attack on RT was rationalized by the Jan. 6 “Intelligence Community Assessment” that was, in reality, prepared by a handful of “hand-picked” analysts from the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency. Their report included a seven-page addendum from 2012 accusing RT of spreading Russian propaganda – and apparently this Jan. 6 report must now be accepted as gospel truth, no questions permitted.

However, if any real journalist actually read the Jan. 6 report, he or she would have discovered that RT’s sinister assault on American democracy included such offenses as holding a debate among third-party candidates who were excluded from the Republican-Democratic debates in 2012. Yes, allowing Libertarians and Greens to express their points of view is a grave danger to American democracy.

Other RT “propaganda” included reporting on the Occupy Wall Street protests and examining the environmental dangers from “fracking,” issues that also have been widely covered by the domestic American media. Apparently, whenever RT covers a newsworthy event – even if others have too – that constitutes “propaganda,” which must be throttled to protect the American people from the danger of seeing it.

If you bother to study the Jan. 6 report’s addendum, it is hard not to conclude that these “hand-picked” analysts were either stark-raving mad or madly anti-Russian. Yet, this “Intelligence Community Assessment” is now beyond questioning unless you want to be labeled a “Kremlin stooge” or “Putin’s useful idiot.” [An earlier State Department attack on RT was equally ridiculous or demonstrably false.]

And, by the way, it was President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who testified under oath that the analysts from the three agencies were “hand-picked.” That means that they were analysts personally selected by Obama’s intelligence chiefs from three agencies – not “all 17” as the American public was told over and over again – and thus were not even a full representation of analysts from those three agencies. Yet, this subset of a subset is routinely described as “the U.S. intelligence community,” even after major news outlets finally had to retract their “all 17” canard.

So, the myth of the intelligence community’s consensus lives on. For instance, in an upbeat article on Tuesday about the U.S. government’s coercing RT into registering as a foreign agent, Washington Post reporters Devlin Barrett and David Filipov wrote, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the network and website push relentlessly anti-American propaganda at the behest of the Russian government.”

In the old days, even during the old Cold War and President Reagan’s ranting about “the Evil Empire,” some of us would have actually examined the Jan. 6 report’s case against RT and noted the absurdity of these claims about “relentlessly anti-American propaganda.” Whether you want to hear the views of the Greens and Libertarians or not – or whether you like “fracking” and hate Occupy Wall Street – the opportunity to hear this information doesn’t constitute “relentlessly anti-American propaganda.”

The U.S. government’s real beef with RT seems to be that it allows on air some Americans who have been blacklisted from the mainstream media – including highly credentialed former U.S. intelligence analysts and well-informed American journalists – because they have challenged various Official Narratives.

In other words, Americans are not supposed to hear the other side of the story on important international conflicts, such as the proxy war in Syria or the civil war in Ukraine or Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians. Only the State Department’s versions of those events are permitted even when those versions are themselves propagandistic if not outright false.

For example, you’re not supposed to hear about the huge holes in the Syria-sarin cases, nor about Ukraine’s post-coup regime arming neo-Nazis to kill ethnic-Russian Ukrainians, nor about Israel’s evolution into an apartheid state. All right-thinking Americans are to get only a steady diet of how righteous the U.S. government and its allies always are. Anything else is “propaganda.”

Also off limits is any thoughtful critique of that Jan. 6 report – or apparently even Clapper’s characterization of it as a product of “hand-picked” analysts from only three agencies. You’re not supposed to ask why other U.S. intelligence agencies with deep knowledge about Russia were excluded and why even other analysts from the three involved agencies were shut out.

No, you must always think of the Jan. 6 report as the “consensus” assessment from the entire “U.S. intelligence community.” And you must accept it as flat fact – as it now is treated by The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other mainstream news outlets. You shouldn’t even notice that the Jan. 6 report itself doesn’t claim that Russian election meddling was a fact. The report explains, that “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.”

But even quoting from the Jan. 6 report might make an American reporter some kind of traitorous “Russian mole” whose journalism must be purged from “responsible” media and who should be forced to wear the journalistic equivalent of a yellow star.

The Anti-Trump/Russia Hysteria

Of course, much of this anti-Russian hysteria comes from the year-long fury about the shocking election of Donald Trump. From the first moments of stunned disbelief over Hillary Clinton’s defeat, the narrative was put in motion to blame Trump’s victory not on Clinton and her wretched campaign but on Russia. That also was viewed as a possible way of reversing the election’s outcome and removing Trump from office.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

The major U.S. news media quite openly moved to the forefront of the Resistance. The Washington Post adopted the melodramatic and hypocritical slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” as it unleashed its journalists to trumpet the narrative of some disloyal Americans spreading Russian propaganda. Darkness presumably was a fine place to stick people who questioned the Resistance’s Russia-gate narrative.

An early shot in this war against dissenting information was fired last Thanksgiving Day when the Post published a front-page article citing an anonymous group called PropOrNot smearing 200 Internet news sites for allegedly disseminating Russian propaganda. The list included some of the most important sources of independent journalism, including, apparently for the crime of questioning some of the State Department’s narratives on international conflicts, particularly Syria and Ukraine.

Then, with the anti-Russia hysteria building and the censorship ball rolling, Congress last December approved $160 million for think tanks and other non-governmental organizations to combat Russian propaganda. Soon, reports and studies were flying off the shelves detecting a Russian behind every article, tweet and posting that didn’t toe the State Department’s line.

The New York Times and other leading news organizations have even cheered plans for Google, Facebook and other technology companies to deploy algorithms that can hunt down, marginalize or eliminate information that establishment media deems “fake” or “propaganda.” Already Google has put together a First Draft coalition, consisting of mainstream media and establishment-approved Web sites to decide what information makes the cut and what doesn’t.

Among these arbiters of truth is the fact-check organization PolitiFact, which judged the falsehood about “all 17 intelligence agencies” signing off on the Russian “hacking” claim to be “true.” Even though the claim was never true and is now clearly established as false, PolitiFact continues to assert that this lie is the truth, apparently filled with the hubris that comes with its power over determining what is true and what is false.

But what is perhaps most troubling to me about these developments is the silence of many civil liberties advocates, liberal politicians and defenders of press freedom who might have been counted on in earlier days to object to this censorship and blackballing.

It appears that the ends of taking down Donald Trump and demonizing Vladimir Putin justify whatever means, no matter the existential danger of nuclear war with Russia or the McCarthyistic (even Orwellian) threats to freedom of speech, press and thought.


Giant Meteor Dame Ednas Possum Sat, 11/18/2017 - 00:17 Permalink

My first thought upon first hearing that 17 intelligence agencies agree, deep state and and the ministry of truth, has entirely jumped the shark. Second thought, apparently we've  got 17 intelligence agencies too many, usless as tits on a boar hog.. Third, in what fucking universe does ANY "free" nation have need of "17 intelligence agencies." not to mention, these asshats could not agree on when to have lunch. It is well known they do not play well, one with the other ...Lastly, the lying and abuse of power is so pitiful, so obvious in it's misrepresentations, and purposeful misdirection, disbanding , which will not happen, should be the order of the day .. But then again, none of that matters does it, as a significant margin of people, either believe or pretend to believe  .. or are incapable of critical thinking. Either way the news is grim ..  

In reply to by Dame Ednas Possum

Escrava Isaura LetThemEatRand Sat, 11/18/2017 - 02:50 Permalink

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LetThemEatRand: Ask 95% of the people…. These 95% of Americans lost their freedom when they embraced capitalism —profits and growth at any cost. Slavery, deep state, wage labor, living beyond one’s means, communism, financialization, and so on are capitalism products. But some people tried to fight capitalism: The introduction of wage labor in 18th century Britain was met with resistance, giving rise to the principles of syndicalism. Historically, some labor organizations and individual social activists have espoused workers' self-management or worker cooperatives as possible alternatives to wage labor.  The problem is that the workers and craftsmen lost to the capitalists. However, the worse in capitalism is not the abstract ‘lost of freedom’ misused and abused word. The worse of capitalism is that people lost the ability to critically think, meaning, they have to accept and believe what they are told. Capitalism regiments one’s behavior like an army regiments one’s body and religion regiments one’s morals. Capitalism, like religion, blinds people from commonsense. It feeds dependency in the name of growth while giving lots of false sense of security. These three combinations result in a society that is totally unprepared to face realities.   And, astutely, Adam Smith foresaw this flaw in capitalism 241 years ago. Wealth of Nations - 1776 - Adam Smith, page 603. The understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects are perhaps always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become. But in every improved and civilised society this is the state into which the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily fall, unless government takes some pains to prevent it.  

In reply to by LetThemEatRand

Escrava Isaura shovelhead Sat, 11/18/2017 - 07:58 Permalink

Whom? Adam Smith? Every arguments used in capitalism will be proved invalid next decade. And, all its values will be proven corrupt because they are all fabricated and manipulated ideals. The reason that most of humanity won’t see this flaw in capitalism, until it's too late, it's because they approached capitalism as a religion, meaning facts don’t matter. 

In reply to by shovelhead

tr123 Escrava Isaura Sat, 11/18/2017 - 13:37 Permalink

TLDRAll these problems you're discussing are consequences of Big Biz and Big Gov getting in bed together, which is by definition not capitalism, b/c free market capitalism implies the separation of Market and State.Greedy immoral people who can get away with cheating will do so, and the expansion of the State in relation to the Market simply empowers them while screwing those who compete honestly. REST of POSTA better argument would be that free market capitalism never existed, because there has always been everywhere a political authority that intervened to a lesser or greater degree, using their power to rig the allocation of goods + privileges to their preferred candidates at the expense of all the others who do play by free market capitalist rules. Whether or not capitalism is the original sin that begot this corruption is another thing, but I'd argue that it's better attributed to human nature. Greedy immoral people who can get away with cheating will do so, regardless of what sort of economic regime they live in. We have to prevent them for being able to get away with it, and while boycotts are one means, I think that's proven ineffective and it's more a question of political regime than economic.To that end, no system is perfect, but Capitalism has proven to be the fairest b/c it guarantees people the natural human right of being able to enjoy the fruit of their labor while hinging the worth of said labor on how much the rest of society values it. That's far better than any Socialist variant, which values labor entirely arbitrarily, robs productive people of their wealth for redistribution, and is inherently totalitarian, which is exactly the opposite of what's needed to prevent these greedy immoral people from cheating, b/c they are ones who come to command such total power.

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

LetThemEatRand Dame Ednas Possum Sat, 11/18/2017 - 00:19 Permalink

I don't always agree with Max Keiser, but the second half of this interview is one of the most brilliant pieces of journalism I've ever seen about what's really going on (and it was aired on RT).  This is what they are trying to shut down.Here's the Keiser link (top video), or the youtube link for those interested.  Worth a watch.  He also blows all bitcoin supporters, and swallows.

In reply to by Dame Ednas Possum

serotonindumptruck Fri, 11/17/2017 - 22:53 Permalink

The federal government is essentially powerless to stop the coming Revolution if they are unable to disarm the vast majority of Amerika.And they are unable to disarm the vast majority of Amerikans.

J. Peasemold G… Juggernaut x2 Fri, 11/17/2017 - 23:44 Permalink

Jugs : I look at my wife's FB page on occasion just to see what the sheep are bleating about and FB is stating that they are actively rooting out "Foreign Influence"- obviously the CIA does not like competition for control of impressionable minds.I am feeling rather impressionable and perhaps slightly miffed if not marginally triggered over this endless stream of negative 'Eurasian' propaganda.But on the other hand I am receiving so many more electronic invitations to 'engage' with outstanding examples of Russian womanhood.When the good lady wife is snoring at 105db levels I often drift into musing how such 'engagements' might in a fantasy way turn out.I am weak but I am resolved to do something about it.If the CIA or their Russian counterparts want to offer me a regular selection of 'honeypots' of foreign influence to be 'rooted out' (as the antipodeans quaintly put it) then I gladly volunteer my services, and as always will apply myself with vim and vigour to my tasks in hand. I only ask that they screen out influencers that have excessive BMI, halitosis or exude cabbage odours, and for good luck no pantsuits, which hopefully will also rule out recycling of second hand presidential contenders from both sides.If you feel as strongly as I do then join with me in 'rooting out' the hot, wet, willing and able foreign influencers! For the good of the nation and the world let our 'rooting out' not cease until all are satisfied. J. Peasemold Gruntfuttock

In reply to by Juggernaut x2

new game Radical Marijuana Sat, 11/18/2017 - 05:49 Permalink

hmmm, a formidable task is at hand, i reckon. rounding up 100 million deer hunters will prove an interesting task. and adding a bit realism, say 10 percent are as crazy as i, 10 million 308's behind a balde of grass presents a problemo for the first i alone? and dead?seems a better off, dead than living like in england in, hail the king here...

In reply to by Radical Marijuana

NumbersUsa Juggernaut x2 Sat, 11/18/2017 - 10:20 Permalink

How do you root out foreign influence when your entire government is knowingly ran by so-called israel and their AIPAC warmongering machine. Oh, and with FB & Google owned by the jews-really... Couple Aipac with all the other jew supremacist foreign agent organizations such as ADL, SPLC, ACLU, ZOA and hundreds of others, and we are just a proxy arm of the jew supremacist so-called israel.  

In reply to by Juggernaut x2

VWAndy Fri, 11/17/2017 - 22:53 Permalink

 They need a boogieman. Without one they got nothing. So they will make one up. Be it little Kim or the Chinese or Martians. It dont matter who or why either. Truth and Love or Faith and Force. Its the choice each of us needs to make.

BobEore Fri, 11/17/2017 - 23:09 Permalink

It is apparently lost upon Parry.... or simply and conveniently left out of the equation - that

"Google, Facebook and other technology companies to deploy algorithms that can hunt down, marginalize or eliminate information"

are run by and are political tools of ..... scions of the Russian Bolshie diaspora which reached the shores of America in the 80s, took up power in the tiny pirate (talmudic)state in the s e Med, not long after, and recreated its' criminal empire on much bigger n badder scale... worldwide..before swirling back into the Ukranian and Russian heartlands in the 90s... to reappoint themselves masters of their old stomping grounds... all over agin! Leaving observers in the uneviable position of not knowing where the ultimate loyalties of key players in the Russian power structure lie... but surely able to discern that the power and influence of Lubavitch creatures like Lazar are identical to the power and influence which malignly hangs over the western world thanks to the Red Mafiya renaissance which allied with the ol Lansky mafiya for a run at the brass ring.End result of which cruel truth is that there are no 'good guys' in this game of death... only competing criminal cartels which hire scribblers of dubious principle to push their respective narratives so as to better achieve full specturm dominance over east and west combined!Luckily... our "alt-media" sites are FREE of any taint of such outside control and hidden agendas... so we are blessedly unpolluted by the world of fake news and phony storylines here!

Giant Meteor shovelhead Sat, 11/18/2017 - 07:14 Permalink

Bob points out the trouble with controlled opposition and limited hangouts, as it keeps the plebes hopelessly deadlocked in meaningless blather, with and about a lot of shit that don't matter. Assisting patent misdirection, effectively giving cover, and keeping any real or meaningful focus or debate off the global three-card-monty crime wave, now in progress. Divided and conquered. There are no heros nor saviors in this increasingly thread bear, shop worn melodrama.The good guys ain't gonna come ridin on in to save the day, cuz there aren't any, including yours truly. And while it's good I suppose, to have a venue, a wall if you will, to spray paint and write the graffiti on, throwing verbal cocktails, making declarations and such, the money changers, shape shifters (globally speaking) have got things pretty well covered and probably enjoy the popcorn every bit as much as the readership here does ..See ya at camp !

In reply to by shovelhead