RT Resists US Bullying
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
RT is targeted for delivering real news, information and analysis to a large US audience, increasing numbers of Americans following its broadcasts.
The US Justice Department deplorably ordered an RT America contractor to register as a foreign agent, using the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) as authorization.
Enacted in 1938, it focused on foreign propagandists during WW II. After amended in 1966, it examined activities of foreign lobbyists.
From then to now, no one was convicted of violating the law. In 1995, the term “political propaganda” was removed from its text.
FARA was created to target foreign agents and lobbyists as amended, not media operations.
Targeting RT, along with the FBI investigating Sputnik News, violates the letter and spirit of the law – enacted and enforced at a time America had real enemies, none since WW II ended except invented one.
The law needs updating to be appropriate to the times. It’s being wrongfully to target RT, perhaps prelude to banning Russian media in America – a flagrant First Amendment breach if ordered.
A Justice Department letter said a company associated with RT America “is obligated to register” under FARA.
In January, Office of the Director of National Intelligence falsely accused RT and Sputnik of “contribut(ing) to the (US presidential) influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.”
A Big Lie! Both media report news, information and analysis. They’re not involved in politicking. Unlike US media, they don’t advocate for some candidates over others.
The Justice Department falsely claimed “(s)tate-owned Russian media made increasingly favorable comments about…Trump as the 2016 US general and primary election campaigns progressed, while consistently offering negative coverage of Secretary Clinton.”
Another Big Lie! RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan responded, saying “(t)he war the US establishment wages with our journalists is dedicated to all the starry-eyed idealists who still believe in freedom of speech. Those who invented it have buried it.”
Yale Law School associate dean/former FBI agent Asha Rangappa deplorably said the DOJ likely “ha(s) evidence that (RT) is not in fact an independent news organization, but essentially an extension of its foreign intelligence and taking direction directly from a foreign state.”
No such evidence exists. Rangappa’s background exposes her bias, adding the DOJ is “trying to expose what they believe to be an attempt by the Russians to disseminate propaganda, using RT as that vehicle.”
In America, truth-telling is called fake news, disinformation or propaganda. Major media rubbish is considered legitimate.
Academia in America one-sidedly supports Washington’s agenda. Professors courageously involved in truth-telling about the nation’s sordid record risk being fired.
In June, Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Matthew Gaetz (R-FL) introduced legislation, requiring individuals working for foreign news organizations to register under FARA if ordered – a statement by Cicilline saying:
“…the American people have a right to know when a hostile foreign government is sending propaganda right into their living room. This bill will help ensure that Vladimir Putin’s regime can’t spread fake news with such ease ever again.”
The so-called Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act was introduced on June 7. No further House or Senate action was taken so far.
RT America was given an October 17 deadline to comply with the DOJ order. Its communications head Anna Belkina said:
“Our legal team has been doing everything possible for RT to avoid having to register under FARA, and the dialogue is ongoing. On their advice, we are not discussing further details at this time.”
On Tuesday, Russia’s US embassy commented on what it called “US law…being applied purely selectively and politically motivated.”
“This is confirmed by the fact that major media, financed by Western powers, are not on the US list of foreign agents.”
Nor is Britain’s BBC, Canada’s CBC, Qatar’s Al Jazeera, and other foreign media reaching a US audience.
If harsh measures are imposed on RT and Sputnik, Russia will respond with “identical retaliatory measures,” its embassy said.
It’s unclear what actions the Justice Department intends taking over RT’s failure to comply with its October 17 deadline.
Banning its US broadcasts would ignite a firestorm. It would be a first step toward overall social and traditional media censorship – exposing America’s phony democracy to the light of day.
A Final Comment
AIPAC has been an unregistered foreign agent for Israel since its 1953 founding, operating illegally in America.
Yet no one in Washington confronts it. Trying would be a career-ender. It’s Israel key US lobby, supporting its apartheid ruthlessness, its high crimes of war and against humanity.
It’s immune from US criticism, free from having to register as a foreign agent – its role in America serving Israel.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”