By: Stansfield Smith, Chicago ALBA Solidarity Committee, recently returned from a SOA Watch, Task Force on the Americas delegation to Venezuela.
The anti-Trump movement is not simply a progressive movement against a rightwing president, but also carries within it a rightwing current. Progressive minded people fight against Trump’s racist actions against Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, his crude sexism, his pro-corporate policies, his rejection of action on global warming, his massive tax cut to the 1%, his war threats against Syria, Korea, Iran, and Venezuela.
The rightwing element of the anti-Trump movement, embodied in the “liberal” corporate media, the Democratic Party establishment, many Republican leaders, and the national security state, focuses on his character, on his alleged friendliness to Russia’s Putin, and alleged collusion with Putin to steal the 2016 election. They campaign to indict Trump for collusion, even for treason, or to remove him for mental unfitness.
These national security state representatives aim to break or at least tame Trump. They cannot tolerate presidential questioning of imperial war-mongering ? Trump’s talk of taking the US military out of Syria, his friendly meetings with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, with Russia’s Putin, his wish to downgrade NATO, take US troops out of South Korea, calling much of the corporate media propaganda fake news, his attacks on the FBI, CIA and NSA. These actions have infuriated the corporate-military national security establishment running Washington.
They are the ones who lie to us, and lied to us into the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. They are the ones behind the police state agencies, the CIA, NSA, FBI, and DIA.
This rightwing anti-Trump movement at present dominates the “Resistance,” and has little problem with Trump’s racist, pro-corporate, warmongering, anti-environment (actually anti-Planet Earth) policies. To the extent they do, much of it is a question of his crude style.
Two major “liberal” newspapers, pushing Trump-Putin Russiagate “collusion” are the New York Times and the Washington Post. The Times’ long article on September 20 The Plot to Subvert an Election: Unraveling the Russia Story So Far claimed “What we now know with certainty: The Russians carried out a landmark intervention.” Yet, like most such Russiagate tales, deep inside it says “no public evidence has emerged showing that [Trump’s] campaign conspired with Russia.” That is, the Russia US election interference story has as much validity as the Obama has no US birth certificate story.
Glenn Greenwald, Steve Cohen, The Real News Network, Consortium News, World Socialist Web Site, 21st Century Wire, have repeatedly shown that this whole Russia investigation is based on nothing of substance. So has Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, the Ron Paul Institute, Jack F. Matlock Jr., ambassador to the Soviet Unionfrom 1987-1991, and Craig Murray, a former British ambassador. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) in their study called allegations of Russian election interference “evidence-free.”
Actual interference in the 2016 election was two-fold: 1) the corporate buying of the candidates, and 2) Clinton and DNC manipulating the primaries so that she won delegates, not Bernie Sanders. Israel and Saudi Arabia are two countries that have a vastly more extensive influence operations on US politicians than does Russia.
Russiagate is a new McCarthyism
Today’s repackaged anti-Russia campaign took off after Putin helped block the US- NATO seizure of the entire Ukraine, which would have placed their troops on Russia’s borders. Putin then thwarted the US strategic plan to impose a neo-colonial regime on Syria, crush Hezbollah and Iran, and advance US control over the Middle East. Putin’s successes enraged the US rulers.
The Russian news services, RT and Sputnik, have repeatedly exposed the fake news propagated by Western corporate media and politicians: alleged Russian shootdown of MH17, alleged chemical weapons attacks by Syria’s Assad, and similar stories concocted to create the conditions for “humanitarian intervention.” RT became a news source about Wikileaks’ release of documents the US rulers wanted kept secret from us. As a result, the Western fake news propagators sought to suppress Russian news reporting that was reaching an increasing audience of US people, growing ever more skeptical of what the US government and corporate media fed them.
We are now even called traitors if we don’t subscribe to Russiaphobia stories the ‘intelligence” secret police (NSA, FBI, CIA, etc.) tell us: the ones who swore the NSA doesn’t spy on every one of us, who said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, who gave visas to two of the 9-11 attackers six months after they were killed in the attack, who killed or framed the Black Panthers, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, organized the contra war against Nicaragua, brought crack cocaine in the US, created torture black sites around the world, and so on.
This DNC-national security state, which invented this Russiagate story, now dominates the anti-Trump “Resistance.” Now we find progressive-minded people actually condemning Trump’s attacks on the secret police apparatus and defending the FBI, CIA, NSA, and DIA in their resistance to Trump. Anti-war people who had opposed the invasion of Iraq now support the wars on Libya and Syria, and are happy to support the anti-Russia witch-hunt. A quarter of the Democratic candidates in the November 2018 midterm election “Resistance” are what some called “CIA Democrats.” Liberal trust in institutions like the FBI has markedly increased since 2016, and many liberal-lefts go along with the neocon foreign policy in Syria, Ukraine, and other regions. A majority of the House Progressive Caucus not only voted for Trump’s Pentagon budget, but voted to raise it tens of billions of dollars. This Pentagon budget increase by itself is more than the entire Russian military budget. The Democratic Party establishment has once again tamed the progressive social movement.
“Leftists” that push Russiagate Russiaphobia
Bernie Sanders is the most respected liberal-left pushing this Russian election interference witch-hunt. “Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a resolution [July 19, 2018] to force members of the Senate to go on the record in accepting the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and the looming threat of Russian interference in this year’s midterm elections.”
Pro-Democrat liberal-left media push Russiaphobia, such as Mother Jones and the Progressive. The Progressive even interviews former DIA and NSA head Clapper to get the lowdown about the Trump ‘danger.”
The Intercept, now a Democrat organ, joins the “Russia did it” bandwagon:
The cyberattack on the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign during the 2016 election. Spoiler alert: The Russians really did do it.
This Intercept “investigative journalism” declares:
Perhaps the strongest evidence of possible collusion between Trump and Russia included in the indictment relates to an odd and inflammatory statement that Trump made in the midst of the campaign. On July 27, 2016, Trump publicly implored Russia to find and release Clinton’s emails that had supposedly been deleted from her personal account while she was secretary of state.
Trump’s offhand joke is “the strongest evidence”?
Seth Ackerman at the Jacobin does understand the DNC will use Russiaphobia against the Democratic Party “left” (as does The Intercept and In These Times) yet other Jacobin articles swallow the Russiagate tale. The same holds true for KPFA, The Nation, In These Times, and Democracy Now.
These faintly anti-Empire liberal-left Democratic Party websites all share a “resistance” to Trump, no matter what, no matter how, and who replaces him is secondary. In this atmosphere any anti-Trump story is credible: Putin can blackmail Trump with a peeing video (invented for the Steele dossier commissioned by the DNC), Russia hacked into the New England electric grid, hacked the Arizona and other election systems, Wikileaks’ Assange a Russian agent, that 17 US intelligence agencies agreed Russia hacked into Democratic emails, or Mueller’s “discovery” of 12 Russian agents, produced to disrupt the Trump-Putin summit.
The New McCarthyism
Beginning in the 1940s, the US rulers began an offensive to counter the liberation movements sweeping the world, inspired by the Soviet victory over fascism. At home, it turned against the working class, against union militants, against the Communist movement, to halt and reverse the gains labor had made since the 1930s.
It portrayed communism as a demonic enemy, and this included anything that was progressive. McCarthyism built on the anti-communist, anti-socialist repressions in WWI, on the Palmer Raids after the Russian revolution, and previously on the anti-anarchist, anti-red repressions from 1877 through the later attacks on the Wobblies.
McCarthy anti-communist hysteria had a devastating effect on the working class movement in the US. The witch-hunt allowed the ruling class to suppress protest, and build the growing surveillance apparatus and military-industrial complex that Eisenhower later hypocritically warned us about.
Unlike the 1950s McCarthyism, today’s is led by the Democratic Party, ostensibly against Trump, often with support of “leftists,” growing out of the prior anti-Russia crusade. The Clinton 2016 presidential campaign painted Trump as a stooge of Putin, and this accelerated after she lost the election, when Clinton blamed Russian “fake news” and interference as the primary reason for her loss.
The Washington Post followed up later in November 2016 with an glowing article legitimizing PropOrNot, an anonymous McCarthyite outfit which claims without explanation that 200 media outlets are mouthpieces of Russian propaganda. Included are Consortium News, Counterpunch, Truthdig, Naked Capitalism, Zero Hedge, Truth-out, and WikiLeaks.
Alan MacLeod and Jane Regan wrote that PropOrNot
soberly informs its readers that [when] you see news sources critiquing the “mainstream media,” the EU, NATO, Obama, Clinton, Angela Merkel or other centrists are a telltale sign of Russian propaganda. It also claims that when news sources argue against foreign intervention and war with Russia, that’s evidence that you are reading Kremlin-penned fake news. PropOrNot claims it has identified over 200 popular websites that “routinely peddle?Russian propaganda.”
This WaPo article was the cue to push internet censorship.
The New McCarthyism censoring the Internet
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg was fully on board: “The evidence that we’ve seen is quite clear, that the Russians did try to interfere with the election.” Claiming it was combating “fake news” and “Russian interference” Facebook works closely with the NATO sponsored Atlantic Council and two US government propaganda organizations, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI). Facebook itself received funding from the CIA through partner organizations.
The Atlantic Council, closely connected to PropOrNot, asserts the growth of political opposition in the US presents a threat, which can be resolved by removing this “virus.” Technology corporations must start to play a central role in carrying out censorship on behalf of the state. The Atlantic Council report The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses claims political parties such as Greece’s Syriza and Golden Dawn were not expressions of popular frustration and disillusionment, but the work of Putin.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright chairs the NDI, while late Sen. John McCain was longtime IRI head. Both groups were created in 1983 as arms of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), created to advance CIA work. That these two US agencies, along with NATO’s Atlantic Council, are used by Facebook to distinguish real from fake news adds up to state censorship.
In its McCarthyite campaign Facebook has taken down the Facebook pages of Venezuelanalysis, Haiti Analysis, and TeleSur English, all sharply critical of US policies, but protests caused it to restore them. Facebook granted 95% of Israel’s 158 requests to remove Palestinian content. Facebook took down the “No Unite the Right 2-DC” page (a counter-rally against a white nationalist event in Washington) saying it displayed some “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” Facebook has removed Occupy London.
Facebook removed nearly 650 “Iran-linked” accounts and pages that posted “anti-Saudi, pro-Palestinian” content. Italso tried to get away with removing posts showing the US backed famine in Yemen. It removed the Blacktivist page, which reported on police brutality, mass incarceration and racist attacks, claiming it was a Kremlin front group (again, no evidence provided).
In October 2018, Facebook removed over 800 alternative media pages and accounts, with a combined following in the tens of millions. The banned pages include highly popular postings by groups publicizing incidents of police violence such as The Free Thought Project (3.1 million followers), Police the Police (1.9 million), Cop Block (1.7 million), Filming Cops (1.5 million), as well as anti-war, anti-corporate sites such as The Anti-Media (2.1 million), Reverb Press, Counter Current News, Resistance, and Press for Truth (350,000).
Facebook’s statement on this mass purge of pages was co-authored by their Head of Cybersecurity Nathaniel Gleicher, who is a former White House National Security Council director of cybersecurity policy. The pages were banned for so-called “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” Twitter then followed suit and did the same. The Western Journal has published the most complete list of the Facebook purges.
YouTube shut down a number of Syria-based accounts, disrupting their capacity to counter Western disinformation on the war in Syria.
RT points out that Google, Bing, Facebook and Youtube have hidden various progressive, socialist and anti-war websites, citing changed “algorithms” to fight “fake news.” World Socialist Web Site found that 13 such websites had seen their traffic plunge by 55% shortly thereafter. These and others affected include wsws.org, Black Agenda Report, Global Research.ca, Consortium News.com, Alternet.org, democracynow.org, counterpunch.org, Truth-Out.org, Police the Police, Free Thought Project, counterpunch.org, wikileaks.org, truthdig.org, mediamatters.org, commondreams.org, TheIntercept.com, and ACLU.org.
Facebook and these other media technology corporations are taking their cue from the blacklist published in Washington Post by PropOrNot. Even journalists who question the Russia-did-it story, like Glenn Greenwald and Aaron Maté, are accused of being agents of the Kremlin.
National Public Radio showed the fraud justifying the corporate crackdown on alleged Russian “fake news” and exposure of Putin-Trump collusion when it reported Trump has actually been tougher on Russia than previous presidents. NPR even cited the very Atlantic Council as a source: “When you actually look at the substance of what this administration has done, not the rhetoric but the substance, this administration has been much tougher on Russia than any in the post-Cold War era,” said Daniel Vajdich, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.
Ultimately, Russiagate is about silencing information exposing the lies, crimes, fake news and false flag war operations of corporate America and the national security state.
Alternative News that Speaks Out Against the New McCarthyism-Russiaphobia
Thankfully, a number of honest journalists have spoken out against this Russiagate McCarthyism. Aaron Mate of The Real News Network is one. Others include Consortium News, wsws.org, Caitlin Johnstone, Stephen Lendman, Stephen Cohen, Noam Chomsky, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), 21st Century Wire, RT, Sputnik, Black Agenda Report, Global Research, and those mentioned previously in this article.
Like The Nation, In These Times speaks out of both sides of its mouth, with Russophobia advocates and sharp critics of Russiagate.
We face a joint government-corporate attack on non-corporate media that question what the government feeds us. Underlying that is an attack on anti-corporate America social movements. The ever-increasing US militarism and interventionism habitually rely on “false flag” attacks to justify foreign intervention. The US rulers’ credibility took serious hits because of their fake news on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, and the exposes of their faked stories about Gaddafi’s Libya and Syrian government chemical attacks. The US rulers must quelch these exposes of their false flags if they are to garner support for future military invasions to maintain its empire.
The US rulers also must confront the widespread disillusion with their two corporate parties, the Democrats and Republicans, as evident in even the two parties’ base in mass revolt against the party establishments in their support of two outsider 2016 presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. The US rulers must resort to more open censorship to maintain their control and continue to have the capacity to impose their policies dangerous to world peace and to the Planet Earth.
A not widely recognized problem this new McCarthyite Russiaphobia has created is the domination of the anti-Trump “Resistance” by its advocates around the Democratic Party bosses. Not only has the liberal left ceded control of the “Resistance” to the DNC, but too many liberal-left spokespeople even peddle Russiagate, thereby sanctioning, instead of opposing, censorship of the alternative media, facilitating, not opposing, US imperial regime change.
Sanders and Trump were popular in 2016 primaries because they opposed foreign wars more than the other candidates. That opened the door for anti-war forces and social justice movements. However, again outmaneuvered by Democratic Party bosses, too many liberal-lefts now collaborate with the very Clinton-DNC forces they just previously organized against. And once again, the onward march to build social justice movements independent of the two corporate parties has been temporarily set back.
 Putin offered to allow US agents to travel to Russia and observe the questioning of the 12 suspects indicted for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.Putin also offered to include in the joint declaration at the Helsinki summit mutual assurances of non-interference in elections, mutual assurances that each side would not attack critical infrastructure such as hospitals, power grids, and banks from a. Alleged Putin puppet Donald Trump rejected the Russian offers. Nevertheless former head of the CIA John Brennan tweeted that the Trump-Putin meeting was “treasonous.” Trump is “wholly in the pocket of Putin,” adding the president’s performance “exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.'”