News Release

“McCarthyism Inc: Hyping Russian Threats”

MAX BLUMENTHAL, via Ilana at alternet.org, @MaxBlumenthal
Blumenthal is senior editor of AlterNet’s Grayzone Project and co-host of the Moderate Rebels podcast. He just wrote a pair of articles: “Meet Clint Watts, a Dubious Russia Meddling ‘Expert’ Lobbying the U.S. Government to ‘Quell Information Rebellions’” and “McCarthyism Inc: Introducing the Counter-Terror ‘Experts’ Hyping Russian Threats and Undermining Our Civil Liberties.”

Blumenthal summarizes some of his findings:

“The New York Times, Washington Post, and U.S. Congress have promoted a bipartisan outfit called the Alliance for Securing Democracy, which has alleged sinister Russian influence over everything from Black Lives Matter to NFL protests. The group maintains a dashboard that claims to track Russian influence on social media,” but Blumenthal has revealed the “initiative as a de facto blacklist aimed at suppressing dissident media.”

“The Alliance for Securing Democracy is advised by a coalition of neoconservatives and liberal interventionists, from Bill Kristol to former CIA director and Clinton surrogate Michael Morrell. The group’s research is handled by even sketchier characters, like Andrew Weisburd, a right-wing homophobic, anti-Muslim activist with a long record of online harassment.

“After publishing murderous and homophobic fantasies about Glenn Greenwald on Twitter, Weisburd boasted about listing Greenwald’s outlet, The Intercept, as a vehicle for Kremlin influence. The Alliance for Securing Democracy is currently sponsored by the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

“Another Securing Democracy fellow, Clint Watts, has urged American intelligence agencies to encourage jihadists to carry out terrorist attacks against Russia and Iran.

“During testimony this month to Congress, Watts called on the U.S. government to ‘quell information rebellions’ and lobbied for ‘nutritional labels’ on online media.” Blumenthal’s report suggests that “the campaign against Russian meddling aims at nothing less than censorship of dissident media.”

[Note: Longtime friend of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Edward S. Herman has died. His books included Manufacturing Consent (with Noam Chomsky), The Real Terror Network and The Global Media (with IPA board member Robert McChesney). His latest piece was “Fake News on Russia and Other Official Enemies” for Monthly Review. See a series of interviews with The Real News.]