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Monday, January 9

Events in Turkey, Cyprus suggest prime reason for US "Russia Hacker" hoax

Here I'm going to disagree with No Quarter's Larry Johnson a little. In his opinion"... there is a high probability that Obama and [DNI James] Clapper have conspired to try to discredit the Trump election by suggesting that the Russians tipped the scales in favor of Trump."  

That could be one reason for the hoax but I think Messrs. Obama and Clapper, and the CIA's John Brennan, have had bigger fish to fry. I think the prime target of the Russia hacker hoax is RT (Russia Today) television broadcasts in the USA. 

But why go to all that trouble just to attack a TV station with a small audience in this country? Here's how I call it: 

Since the inception of Nato, Washington has not had an American foreign policy; it's had a Nato policy, no matter which U.S. political party or president is in power.(1) To mask this fact and control the American electorate's responses to Nato initiatives, it's been paramount that it's informed as little as possible about political events in Europe (to include the U.K.) and Turkey. 

Even when a crisis in those regions makes it impossible to quash the news in the USA, information about the crisis is shaped to the NATO view of events by a complicit American mainstream mass media, notably television. 

Differences between U.S. TV outlets in their editorial views applies only to American domestic politics; with regard to European events, all the outlets are Natoist in their reporting. (2)  RT's English-language television programming for U.S. audiences provides Americans with a view of Nato (and EU) countries that is outside the Nato 'filter' of reportage.

In fact, RT's coverage of Europe is the only striking aspect of its news coverage for American audiences. Thus, complaints from the U.S. Congress that RT TV presents a negative view of the USA to American viewers ring hollow. RT's reporting on American domestic matters is virtually the same as can be found on American cable mainstream TV outlets. It is in the reporting on Europe (and Turkey) where there is a stark difference between U.S. and Russian television news.(3)

Reportedly it's the British government that has been the most upset about RT television's impact in Europe; the argument in the USA is that RT doesn't have that large an audience here to warrant Washington's concern. 

However, RT was the first news media outlet to meet the 1 billion viewer benchmark on YouTube; virtually all RT programming can be viewed there. 

And while I don't know about the rest of the USA, here in the Greater Washington, DC area, which comprises the District of Columbia and parts of Virginia and Maryland, RT was included in the basic viewer package for RCN cable TV. At least this was so until a few months ago, when RT was removed from the basic package.  

The point is that while RT TV doesn't have a large audience in the USA, it does have an audience. Given the remarkable difference between RT's reporting on Europe and that of US television, you may trust that many American TV viewers got an earful, for the first time in their lives, about doings in Europe. And this has been happening at a time when vast changes are occurring on the Continent, in Turkey, and in the United Kingdom -- all of which greatly impact Nato.

One doesn't need look further than today's headline at Sputnik about Turkey (Turkish Police Dispersing Protests Against Constitutional Changes in Ankaraor Voltaire Network's report on U.S. government machinations against Cyprus (Building Totalitarianism in Europe – The Last Coup of Victoria Nulandto understand why Washington prefers that the less the American public knows about Nato matters, the better. If this means that RT, along with Sputnik, another Russian news outlet, must be designated as foreign agents and RT television banned in the USA, so be it.

Will RT be defended by free speech advocates in the USA? Protection of free speech has eroded in the United States, once the bastion of freedom of speech, over the course of Obama's presidency. 

And the verbal attacks on Americans who attempt to discuss Russia objectively are no longer limited to Americans writing at websites and in print media. Today anyone working even at a major American TV news outlet who'd defend RT's right to broadcast in the United States would risk being branded as an influence agent for the Russian government. 

Recently Fox TV host Tucker Carlson, an American, was publicly accused by a Member of Congress of being a Russian influence agent because he questioned the claim that the Kremlin cyber-hacked its way to influencing the American presidential election. 

Leveling such an accusation at Tucker is somewhat like saying President Ronald Reagan was a Soviet spy. Yet the politician went so far as to say that Tucker would be better off reporting for RT:     


In closing I note that the Russia hacking hysteria has spread to Europe. See the Financial Times, January 8, EU suffers jump in aggressive cyber attacksAnxiety increases about potential Russian meddling in European politics.

(1) This explains why U.S. policy on Latin America and the Caribbean is perpetually fogbound despite the proximity to the USA of those regions: the NATO command has little interest in that world region although various EU countries that belong to NATO have large business interests in Latin America.  

(2) The exception is U.S. public TV broadcasting stations (PBS), which for more than a generation have been a conduit for the British government's views in their news reportage. 

Here I recall an American blogger who got so upset about post-9/11 reporting on the PBS NewsHour that she exclaimed she was going to turn to the BBC in hopes of getting more objective news reports than she could find on American TV.  

She didn't realize that all the video footage on foreign countries that was used by the NewsHour was from the BBC, and that the show's editorial viewpoint on international matters was taken from the BBC.  (This explains the endless re-runs of old British comedy shows on PBS; the shows are included free with the video news feeds that PBS buys from the BBC.)        

(3)   It's moot whether this filtering of European news was good or bad for Americans while the Soviet Union existed. While on balance it's better to have objective reporting on world regions, as long as Nato countries marched more or less in lockstep during the Cold War, no great harm was done to American interests by the filter. 

After the USSR dissolved, and with the rise of the European Union, that is why it has become increasingly important for Americans to be better informed about the doings of other Nato governments.  

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