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Caitlin Johnstone: “Yes, Moscow Boosts Western Anti-Imperialist Voices. So What?”

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Written by Caitlin Johnstone; Originally appeared at her blog

In an extremely weird article titled “Russia is backing a viral video company aimed at American millennials”, CNN reports that Facebook has suspended popular dissident media outlet In The Now and its allied pages for failing to publicly “disclose” its financial ties to a subsidiary of RT. According to CNN, such disclosures are not and have never been an actual part of Facebook’s official policy, but Facebook has made the exceptional precondition of public disclosure of financial ties in order for In The Now to return to its platform.

Caitlin Johnstone: "Yes, Moscow Boosts Western Anti-Imperialist Voices. So What?"

I say the article is extremely weird for a number of reasons. Firstly, according to In The Now CEO Anissa Naouai, CNN knew that Facebook was going to be suspending the pages of her company Maffick Media before she did, suggesting a creepy degree of coordination between the two massive outlets to silence an alternative media platform. Secondly, the article reports that CNN found out about Maffick’s financial ties thanks to a tip-off from the German Marshall Fund, a narrative control firm which receives funding from the US government. In The Now’s Rania Khalek has described this tactic as “a case where the US government has found a legal loophole to suppress speech, in this case speech that is critical of destructive US government policies around the world.”

Thirdly, and in my opinion weirdest of all, the article goes to great lengths to make the fact that a dissident media outlet supports the same foreign policy positions as Russia look like something strange and nefarious, instead of the normal and obvious thing that it is.

The article repeatedly mentions the fact that all the people working for In The Now “claim” to be editorially independent as opposed to being told what to report by Kremlin officials, a notion which Khalek says was met with extreme skepticism when she was interviewed for the piece by CNN. As though the possibility of an American opposing US warmongering and the political establishment which drives it without being ordered to by a rubles-dispensing FSB officer was a completely alien idea to them.

Check out the following excerpt, for example of this bizarre attitude:

“Ben Nimmo, a senior fellow for information defense at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, told CNN that while Russian state-backed outlets claim to be editorially independent, ‘they routinely boost Kremlin narratives, especially those which portray the West negatively.’

“Nimmo said the tone of Maffick’s pages is ‘broadly anti-US and anti-corporate. That’s strikingly similar to RT’s output. Maffick may technically be independent, but their tone certainly matches the broader Kremlin family.’”

This is a truly obnoxious mind virus we’re seeing the imperial narrative controllers pushing more and more aggressively into mainstream consciousness today: that anyone who opposes the beltway consensus on western interventionism is not simply an individual with a conscience who is thinking critically for themselves, but is actually “boosting the Kremlin narrative”. If you say it in an assertive and authoritative tone like Mr Nimmo does, it can sound like a perfectly reasonable position if you don’t think about it too hard. If you really look at it directly, though, what these manipulators are actually saying is “Russia opposes western interventionism, therefore anyone who opposes western interventionism is basically Russian.”

Which is of course a total non-argument. You don’t get to just say “Russia bad” for two years to get everyone riled up into a state of xenophobic hysteria and then say “That’s Russian!” at anything you don’t like. That’s not a thing. More to the point, though, there is no causal relationship between the fact that Russia opposes western interventionism and the fact that many westerners do.

As we discussed recently, there will necessarily be inadvertent agreement between Russia and westerners who oppose western interventionism, because Russia, like so many other sovereign nations, opposes western interventionism. If you discover that an American who opposes US warmongering and establishment politics is saying the same things as RT, that doesn’t mean you’ve discovered a shocking conspiracy between western dissidents and the Russian government, it means people who oppose the same things oppose the same things.

We’re seeing this absurd gibberish spouted over and over again by the mainstream media now. The other day the delightful pro-Sanders subreddit WayOfTheBern was smeared as a Russian operation by the Washington Times,not because the Washington Times had any evidence anywhere supporting that claim, but because the subreddit’s members are hostile to Democratic presidential hopefuls other than Sanders, and because its posts “consistently support positions that would be amenable to the Kremlin.” All this means is that the subreddit is full of people who support Bernie Sanders and oppose US government malfeasance, yet an entire article was published in a mainstream outlet treating this as something dangerous and suspicious.

If you really listen to what the CNNs and Ben Nimmos and Washington Timeses are actually trying to tell you, what they’re saying is that it’s not okay for anyone to oppose any part of the unipolar world order or the establishment which runs it. Never ever, under any circumstances. Don’t work for a media outlet that’s funded by the Russian government even though no mainstream outlets will ever platform you. Don’t even subscribe to an anti-establishment subreddit. Those things are all Russian. Listen to Big Brother instead. Big Brother will protect you from their filthy Russian lies.

“If CNN would like to hire me to present facts against destructive US wars and corporate ownership of our political system, I’ll gladly accept,” Khalek told me when asked for comment. “But the corporate media doesn’t allow antiwar voices a platform. In The Now does. I’ve worked for dozens of different outlets, from Vice to Al Jazeera to RT, and my message has always been the same: leftist, antiwar and pro justice and equality. People should be asking why US mainstream media outlets that claim to be free and independent refuse to air critical and adversarial voices like mine.”

Why indeed? Actually, if CNN is so worried about Russian media influence in America, all they’d have to do is put on a few shows featuring leftist, antiwar and pro-justice voices and that would be the end of it. They could easily out-spend RT by a massive margin, buy up all the talent like Khalek, Lee Camp and Chris Hedges, put on a sleek, high-budget show and steal RT America’s audience, killing it dead and drawing all anti-establishment energy to their material.

But they don’t. They don’t, and they never will. Because Russian media influence is not their actual target. Their actual target is leftist, antiwar and anti-establishment voices. That’s what they’re really trying to eliminate.

So yes, Moscow will of course elevate some western voices who oppose the power establishment that is trying to undermine and subvert Russia. Those voices will not require any instruction to speak out against that establishment, since that’s what they’d be doing anyway and they’re just grateful to finally have a platform upon which to speak. And it is good that they’re getting a platform to speak. If western power structures have a problem with it, they should stop universally refusing to platform anyone who opposes the status quo that is destroying nations abroad and squeezing the life out of citizens at home.

It doesn’t take any amount of sympathy for Russia to see that the unipolar empire is toxic for humanity, and most westerners who oppose that toxicity have no particular feelings about Russia any more than they have about Turkey or the Philippines. Sometimes Russia will come in and give them a platform in the void that has been left by the mainstream outlets which are doing everything they can to silence them. So what? The alternative is all dissident voices being silenced. The fact that Russia prevents a few of them from being silenced is not the problem. The problem is that they are being silenced at all.

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  • Tommy Jensen

    Anissa we miss you and your team´s well placed reports, humour and sarcasm. All the best.

  • John Whitehot

    i think that the paradox of our times goes more or less like this exxageration:

    1 – The banksters and thugs ruling in Washington DC lobby on the Congress for a law decriminalizing child abuse.

    2- Moscow says, “Child abuse is a heinous crime, and will always be. We’ll do everything in our power to prevent and repress child abuse.

    3- Washington attacks Russia: “Moscow’s criminalization of child abuse is a direct attack on our way of life, and an unacceptable meddling. We’ll reply with sanctions.

    Now, it’s not that Moscow has invented that child abuse is bad because the US says it’s good.
    Child abuse is bad, wherever and whenever it’s considered; Moscow abides to that standard, while Washington does not, IF the ruling banksters say so.

    • Marko

      America : We believe that all people , everywhere , have an absolute right to be abused , and we will always defend that right.

  • Tommy Jensen

    Rania Khalek: “Mais It really scares me to see how many people are pro censorship, especially when it’s the same people who are outraged by Trump’s treatment of CNN. Yet when CNN plays a role in suppressing dissenting media, they all nod. Frightening”.

    Are the sheeple the real enemy? We can somehow deal with MSM by not believing/reading its manipulations and bs, and we can deal with Establishment by not participating and supply our children to their stupid wars.
    But how do one get through a 90% crowd of zombies running after a buck, selling and betraying everything and everybody for a new Iphone and a pair of rosy Nike shoes??

    • James

      Make an example of one and the rest will gradually fall in line.

    • Harry Smith

      Tommy Jensen, I think that it is a good time now for you to start read some Solzhenitsyn. Not his books, but his articles.

      • Tommy Jensen

        I like Solzhenitsyn. Russian intellectuals are 1´st class, way over anything in West.
        But, enough of observing and sitting in passivity waiting for the next double down.

        • Harry Smith

          The irony is that one man can do nothing, but if you’ll start to meet with others and plan any actions, the system is going to detect and neutralize you very fast and highly effective. And even more – it will use your case to show anyone, who thinks that is time to act, what kind of consequences they will get.
          Let’s be objective. You can do nothing.

          • Tommy Jensen

            True. But we can actually do something. We can know!!
            To know is safe, comfortable, and makes us in controle on how we can get around our own situation.
            If you know, your psychological reaction pattern becomes radical different than just being a stupid sheeple.
            Thats why TPTB are obsessed to censor free speech, and why sheeple are more dangerous than the actual criminals.

          • Harry Smith

            Live Not By Lies
            Alexander Solzhenitsyn
            http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles/SolhenitsynLies.php

    • Kelli Hernandez

      But see, Tommy, that is EXACTLY what MSM WANTS you to think, the REALITY, which MSM does not exist in, is quite different. They are feeding Russiagate 24/7 like good state employees PROPAGANDIST, because that is what the US WAR industry pays the to do. Russiagate is a NEOCON war narrative. People who are very familiar with US foreign policy know that the US/NATO has been doing mission creep to RUSSIAS border since GW 2 got out of the ABM treaty I 2002. Obama accelerated WAR ON RUSSIA by regime changing Ukraine and putting neonazis on Russia’s border that Trump, Congress, the IMF AND ISRAEL. ARM & FUND.
      OUR ISRAELI OCCUPIED CONGRESS AND WHITE HOUSE HAVE A BEEF TO PICK WITH RUSSIA IN STOPPING US ISRAHELLI SAUDI WAHHABI EXTREMISTS ISIS TERRORISTS WAR ON SYRIA, INTERVENING IN GREATER ISRAHELL, AN STHNIC CLEANSING PROJECT IN THE MIDDLE EAST FOR ISRAHELLI SUPERIORITY AND SECURITY.
      SHELDON ADELSON ISRAELI BILLIONAIRE BANKROLLED TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN FOR 124′ MILLION AND IS NUMBER ONE DONOR IN THE US TO GOP AND DUAL ISRAHELLI DEMOCRATS, IRONICALLY PUSHING RUSSIAGATE MOST: SCHUMER, SCHIFF CARDIN, SANDERS, WYDEN WASSERMAN SCHULZ BLUMENTHAL .
      AND ROSENSTEIN. GET IT NOW?
      THIS IS ABOUT ISRAHELL AND ALWAYS IS AND MSM LNOWS IT.
      They WANT you to think that the majority of the American people are a bunch of dumbshits, even while most Americans do not trust MSM and in a poll last year when asked what corp media outlet that Americans watch most, guess what the answer was?! RT!!!
      Why? Because RT platforms anti war US voices like Lee Camp and Rania Kalek (sp?). Larry King is part of RT for Pete’s sake! He use to do Larry King live ON CNN. .
      So please take what you see from any US media outlet with a grain of salt and have more faith in your fellow Americans who do not want war.

  • You can call me Al

    I finished reading on the 2nd line when Facebook was mentioned.

    • Joe Kerr

      CIA cash is what started Facebook. Wouldn’t surprise if it’s behind Twitter as well.

      • Kelli Hernandez

        And Zuckerberg is a ZIONIST JEW

  • Pave Way IV

    Israel is f’king panicking – the millennials (at least in the US) don’t give a shit about them – never did. Likewise, the neocon’s Russia = Evil message isn’t working either, and they can’t figure out why. I’m delighted to see Israel, the MSM and the US government so constipated about this. “Why aren’t those damn youngsters responding to our propaganda like their parents did”? .

    Censoring In The Now or any other alternative media outlet is useless because that’s not why millennials don’t like Israel and don’t hate Russia. They are aware of the persistent, nauseating pro-Israel / anti-Russian narrative constantly being shoved down their throats by the MSM and USG and RESENT it.

    It’s almost funny because they really had no reason (in their minds) to care about either Israel or Russia before. At least in the case of Israel, the MSM and USG MADE THEM ANTI-ISRAEL because millennials know not to trust what the MSM or USG is saying. Millennials are also aware of the anti-Russian rhetoric dished out by the state, but are not really becoming pro-Russian as a result. They’re just indifferent to the narrative, don’t feel threatened by Russia and can’t find any reason to hate it. They don’t seem to know crap about either country and mostly don’t care. Both messages are like a God damn irritating, stupid-assed commercial for something you’ll never buy that they keep showing over and over and over again, driving you nuts.

    Typical loser neocon thinking: “Well, if we censor all our competitor’s commercials, millennials will somehow magically start to trust us and grow to love our fucking IRRITATING commercials they despise today.” Sham-WOW propaganda. Gee… I wonder why it’s not working?

    And sorry, CIA… Facebook? Isn’t that the place where granny and auntie Sue share funny cat pictures? Who the fuck really goes there for NEWS?

    • RichardD

      The internet changed everything. Before it you could see that msm and government where lying. But you didn’t have 90% of the information that they had and were hiding because they knew that if people had it they’d hate the msm and government just like they do now because the information is much more available now.

      Part of what they were hiding was who was behind the lies and information supression and why. Governments have had a lot of this information all along. Which is why Israel does so poorly at the UN. The Jews got away with alot at the UN pre internet because they had gerrymandered public opinion with their lies against the truth that the government’s had. Much of that has changed now that much more of the public has the same information now from the internet as the governments.

  • verner

    lot of peripheral noise which can be ignored and just focus on stuff that matters – such as the heinous criminality of israel, the land theft, the murders of palestinians and the concentration camp a la hitler’s bergen belsen and the systematic apartheid in the country and where moronistan (aka usa) is concerned, its continuous warmongering and regime change efforts and theft of assets and the dysfunctional government functions and the ditching of the ordinary americans interests in favour of war and mayhem and murder (come to think about it, moronistan can probably claim that their wars over the last 70 years has claimed more than 20 million dead civilians and children, all dead in wars that had no other purpose than to push an agenda that served no other end than moronistan’s). so just keep working on israel and do not be distracted by issues that doesn’t further the demise of israel and the breaking of moronistan’s grip on say european union und zu weiter.