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Russia Today (RT) television and the growing foreign anti-U.S. media network

Based on an article by Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media

A closer look at the Moscow-funded Russia Today television channel, whose host, American Adam Kokesh, was arrested after a disruption last Saturday at the Jefferson Memorial, reveals some interesting and disturbing corporate and foreign intelligence connections.


Kokesh, who hosts the show, “Adam Vs. The Man,” joined with pro-Marxist agitator Medea Benjamin to disrupt Memorial Day weekend activities. “I had to spend 4 hours in jail,” whined Kokesh. Now he is threatening to do it again this coming Saturday.

Kokesh is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. His Facebook page when he ran for Congress as a Republican describes him as a Ron Paul supporter and “freedom fighter spreading the message of liberty.”

Also In This Edition

A Web site for the group, American Patriots Against Kokesh, which opposed his run for office, accused him of working with several different Marxist groups.

But Kokesh is just one part of this growing propaganda operation.

Russia Today has various “partners” in the media business, including the Huffington Post, which is now part of AOL, and What REALLY Happened, a website that features such stories as “Israel’s Whores in Congress” and “Reflections of Comrade Fidel.”

Other RT “partners” include Izvestia, which was the official publication of the old Soviet regime, and Trud, the mouthpiece for Soviet labor unions. A partnership with RT means that the channel runs articles from those “news” organizations.

The acquisition of the Huffington Post by AOL produced a media group claiming to reach 117 million Americans and 270 million globally. For its part, Russia Today is one of the foreign networks, along with Al-Jazeera, carried by the American taxpayer-supported MHz Networks, into various U.S. media markets.

The embrace of the channel by the liberal-left, which regularly criticizes Fox News, a private media company in the U.S., is shocking. The relationship demonstrates that the liberal media have no real objection to government sponsorship or funding of media companies, even when the money comes from authoritarian regimes such as Vladimir Putin’s in Russia.

“America is enjoying euphoria of victory over Communism in the Cold War, but Russians say the war is still going on,” notes Konstantin Preobrazhensky, a former Soviet KGB officer. He says the channel is serving the interests of the Kremlin, especially its intelligence agencies, by spreading disinformation about Russian intentions in domestic and foreign affairs.

During the Cold War, it was customary for the Soviet intelligence services, led by the KGB, to use American and Western news outlets and personnel in operations against the United States. Preobrazhensky says nothing has really changed, except that Russia Today television is a more overt way of carrying out the aims of the Kremlin.

It is so overt that RT hired an alleged Russian spy, Katia Zatuliveter, who is in the process of being deported from Britain. Oleg Gordievsky, the KGB’s former London station chief, directly accused the Russian of spying, saying the 25-year-old woman was working undercover for the Russian foreign intelligence, the SVR, and gathered information about British naval bases around the world.

Nevertheless, RT now features her as a “contributor,” where she criticized the West and its “double-standard” on protests and demonstrations. This is the basic Kremlin propaganda line, which is designed to inhibit Americans from criticizing human rights violations in Russia.

Shaun Walker of the British newspaper The Independent has discussed this issue in the context of an article noting that the Russian channel has tried to de-emphasize the connection to Moscow by referring to the channel as RT and not Russia Today. Its programs for the American audience are called “RT America.” Since last year, he points out, anchors and correspondents have been told they must refer to it only as “RT,” never “Russia Today,” which has “led some to wonder what the Russians are up to in the U.S.”

The answer, quite clearly, is to mask the hand of Moscow and its intelligence agencies about what goes on the air.

Walker adds, “There have been suspicions, even among some of those inside the channel, that the aim might be a Kremlin, or even a Russian intelligence plan to stir dissent in the U.S.”

This was the apparent purpose of the provocation launched by Kokesh and Medea Benjamin of Code Pink at the Jefferson Memorial last Saturday. By breaking the law against demonstrations and disorderly conduct at the memorials, they knew they would be arrested and then be able to charge that they were victims of a “police state” — just the sort of propaganda that Moscow wants, in order to divert attention away from the Kremlin’s human rights record. Not surprisingly, RT covered the demonstration extensively.

“Several journalists at the channel have told The Independent that while some coverage of problems in Russia and sensitive issues is allowed, any direct criticism or questioning of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin or President Dmitry Medvedev is strictly prohibited,” Walker reported.

In the Sept. 10, 2010, piece, Walker said, “Even before the recent spy scandal about Russian ‘illegals’ in the United States, western intelligence services have been wary about Russia Today’s correspondents.”

Like Al-Jazeera, RT has hired a number of Western and American faces, many of them attractive females.

RT’s on-air talent includes Staci Bivens, a former CNN producer; Lindsay France, formerly with CNN and ABC-TV affiliate KAPP; Lindsay Garfield, formerly with NBC’s “Meet the Press;” and Sean Thomas, who worked for the NBC affiliate, KSEE in Fresno, California.

The bio for Kaelyn Forde, another RT reporter, notes that she “comes to RT from Spanish-language news network teleSUR.” The bio fails to disclose that teleSUR was launched by Marxist Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

The bio goes on: “Kaelyn’s interests include investigative and multimedia reporting. In 2009, she produced a full-length investigative documentary, Detrás del Golpe (Behind the Coup), which unmasked the architects of the 2009 Honduran coup d’état and how it was subsequently legitimized in Washington.”

This was, of course, the Hugo Chavez line. Chavez wanted the world to believe that the overthrow of his ally, Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, was a dangerous military coup. In fact, elements of the Honduras government directed the military to oust him from power after he committed illegal and unconstitutional acts.

Rep. Connie Mack noted that teleSUR signed agreements with Al-Jazeera, thereby “creating a global television network for terrorists and other enemies of freedom.”

A “journalist” from teleSUR would seem to be a natural fit for Russia Today television.

Exhibiting some of the provocative behavior that Kokesh would demonstrate at the Jefferson Memorial last Saturday, Forde was arrested by police last November as she was “covering” a leftist demonstration against the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, where members of foreign militaries are trained by U.S. forces. The institute, once known as the Schools of the Americas, has been a long-time target of Marxist forces. An entire organization, SOA Watch, is devoted to trying to close it down.

Forde, insisting she was a member of the press, was nevertheless charged with unlawful assembly, demonstrating without a permit and failing to obey a police order to disperse.

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