November 19th, 2015 -
Fort Russ - By: Inessa Sinchougova & edited by J.Flores
Collated with excerpts from the Gazette
Amanpour is a professional propagandist whose commitment to US imperialism and the goal of destroying Russia is unshakable. Misconceptions about the relationship between big corporate media personalities and the US government are disseminated by the very same corporate media.
But at which point does a CNN interview with a member of Russian opposition, Mihail Kasynov, become a grave conflict of interest?
At first glance, CNN appears to honourably provide representation to what may be the 'underdog' party in Russia. But the concept fails miserably when that 'Russian' party is also the soundboard for the US State Department.
Fortunately, a disenchanted former 'opposition' conspirator , Maxim Petrovich, decided to become a whistle-blower, and go public with his insider information on the plot. RT’s Anissa Naouai helped reinforce the point, and pointed the finger directly at Amanpour.
Corporate Media is how America does 'State Run'
CNN's Christiane Amanpour has a record of not only producing US State Department propaganda, but of being a central human resource 'network hub' of information war operations. One of her favorite 'players' is Mihail Kasynov, a well funded 'Russian opposition' darling of the US.
Let's look at a clear example of her shilling for empire: a late 2014 interview featured the CNN veteran reporter, Christiane Amanpour, RT’s Anissa Naouai, and - yes - the Chairman of Russian opposition party PARNAS, Mikhail Kasyanov.
In this case, the interview took a turn in an inconvenient direction for CNN when Naouai called out Amanpour’s hypocrisy and loaded questions. These were edited out for screening on CNN.
While Naouai had published her own version of the interview on RT, Kasyanov’s stance on Putin’s politics may appear convincing to the Western viewer. In order to gain a sense of perspective, it is necessary to understand Kasyanov’s affiliation to the US State Department.
All in the Family
Amanpour is of course married to James Rubin, a former US Assistant Secretary of State and spokesman for the US State Department during the Clinton administration. In this period, Amanpour had personally ‘pushed’ for public support for the NATO led war in Yugoslavia.
Today, Rubin is an informal advisor to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Clinton's bid for the presidency against Republican party hopefuls, will no doubt be buttressed by claims to 'insider connections' to the kind of opposition that the US hopes can topple the Russian government.
Indeed, the US State Department, through various deliberate initiatives also funds PARNAS initiatives. PARNAS has previously been exposed as an American project operating in Russia.
The Clinton-Rubin-Kasyanov Network:
US Tax-dollars at work
In a Gazette article from 2011 (which is no less relevant today) a member of opposition, Maxim Petrovich, revealed that funding for opposition movements in Russia comes from abroad.
To understand the importance of the connection of Kasyanov to US media technology and Amanpour, and relationship to the Color/Spring tactic, we will review the Gazette 'whistle-blower' piece of 2011.
Maxim Petrovich is a member of the “Solidarity” initiative of the unregistered political party PARNAS. But here he appears to break ranks and 'tell all'.
Petrovich spoke to Moskovski Komsomolets when he came to lead the “Way of the Future” fund, an entity created almost exclusively, as he describes, to receive financing from the US to “uphold democratic rights in Russia.” This is one of the main projects that Amanpour advertises and defends on CNN. It is the set-backs suffered by this group that Amanpour refers to when she promotes the widely echoed line that Russia has a 'political repression problem'.
How does the scheme work? The method is three-fold. Firstly, the US State Department provides funding to large non-governmental organisations (NGOs), namely the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Funding is allocated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, sometimes billions, to these organisations.
In the Gazette piece, Petrovich adds that the "non-government’ organization can only be described as such loosely, as these entities only exist on government funds", and as we should add, on private funds directed by the same 'private' consortia that develop US foreign policy.
Although USAID does not have a branch in Russia, its employees work in the US embassy in Moscow. “They are quite active in the way they involve our members; they sponsor certain activities, quiz us on questions relevant to the US as well ask to carry out certain initiatives.”
Not only did CNN edit out the commentary by Anissa Naouai, but viewers remained none the wiser about Kasianov’s collaboration with the US State Department.
In the US, the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly. It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them.
Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment. In 2015, Putin signed a decree into force that closed NED operations on Russian territory. In Western media, this was painted as an abatement to democratic freedoms, with Amanpour consistently taking the lead and shaping the story - in what were essentially TV versions of New York Times editorials.
The second part of the equation comes in the form of grants from less influential “NGOs” such as the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI.) Here they have specific programmes that provide grants toward initiatives in Russia that meet their agenda, such as “The Way of the Future” fund. The formula is: US State Department to IRI to ‘The Way of the Future’.
In this way, the donating party is an NGO and the receiving party is an NGO, but the source of the funds is the federal budget of the United States. “That’s the not so cunning magic trick” – says Petrovich.
The third part of the scheme comes in the form of US reporting and opinion shaping: outlets like Fox News seem to be intentionally problematic as to cast CNN as being more credible and 'neutral'. Amanpour takes center stage on CNN to describe these entirely (and obviously) US funded projects as the same 'opposition' that is being 'repressed' when it is barred from doing electoral politics when its funding and membership lists don't pass muster.
The US Funds Social Networking Seminars to Topple Russia
Petrovich further elaborated on the specific activities that are financed within Russian opposition; reimbursement of travel costs, ‘round table’ discussions, exchange of analytical briefs and summaries.
These can all be gathered from the documents which Petrovich finds himself with; - “Here’s the contract of the grant” he says, “IRI is providing 240 thousand rubles for the support of a youth initiative to be organized by “The Way of the Future” fund.
The money is to be used for the hosting of a ‘round table’ discussion, with the conference named “iWeekend: New technologies for civil society, to be held on the 23-24 October in Moscow.”
He continued - “I was present at this conference, and can say that behind the façade of the development of information technologies, this networking between leaders of youth movements (including the radical Oborona) carries within itself certain, predetermined aims."
For example, attendees were taught how to use modern information technology in order to summon a large crowd when the situation calls for it. Nobody mentioned the “twitter revolution” that swept the Middle East, but it was very obviously implied.”
Another document shown to the Gazette by Petrovich was an email from the Chairman of PARNAS, the (late) Boris Nemtsov, addressed to the head of the NED, Carl Gershman.
In this email, “Nemtsov basically commends the work of the IRI on Russian territory”. Reading this, Petrovich admitted feeling defeated in his collaboration with opposition structures.
“The leaders of our opposition are not the people who should be heading this faction. One of the first things that occurred to me was their seeming hatred toward Russia, its history and its victories. I also started to consider that perhaps there is something ideologically incorrect within our structure, given the amount of people of questionable moral authority, who attend our meetings. They would be in the majority who make up our rallies.” – says Petrovich.
Furthermore, Petrovich is convinced that scandals involving opposition members are especially provoked in order to attract the attention of Western media.
This gives something for CNN to report on, and fuel the narrative of 'Russian political repression'. For generations, westerners were subjected to Russophobic, somewhat racist, 'ethno-cultural' ideas that Russians were inherently 'autocratic' in areas of politics and media. Thus, even modern Russia with its robust civil society and pluralist institutions, can be cast by US media directors in the role of the perpetual villain.
Petrovich continues, “It’s almost like you need to pay off that which you received in funds– play your role in the spectacle that is the Russian opposition.” [note the Gazette article was written prior to the murder of Mr. Nemtsov - .ed]
Similarly, PARNAS did not contest the decision of the court not to register the party on the official electoral roll.
“It is not profitable for them to contest the decision. At the first stage of registration, only details surrounding party leadership are checked, as well as key management positions in regional branches, minutes from meetings, and some detail around its members." - says Petrovich
"Even at this surface level, they found 79 dead people as members of PARNAS. In the same way, a leader of one of the regional branches found out about his role and title only upon being contacted by the investigative authority. Apparently, he had no idea he was the leader of this faction.”, explains Petrovich
Petrovich continued – “what would happen if they checked all 46,000 members? False memberships would rise not into the tens but into the hundreds… I am sure that Mr Nemtsov, Mr Kasianov, Mr Milov and others, are aware of this.” Today, any political party in Russia requires 50,000 registered members in order to register for national elections” The
Western media paints this as Putin’s consolidation of power, while the majority of Russians see it as a stabilizing force in politics.
Fortunately, with Petrovich's whistle blowing and RT’s Anissa Naouai head-on challenge to Amanpour, broader audiences are able to deconstruct illegal US plots and Russophobic myths before it leads to a very dangerous and deeper conflict.