Oct. 25, 2015
Has the “alternative media” been penetrated by Kremlin agents?
I’m starting to think so.
Considering that Moscow is sponsoring “legions of pro-Russia Internet commenters” as part of their online “troll army,” I’m starting to suspect that many in the ‘alt-media’ may be the recipients of Kremlin largess to push Putin’s geopolitical imperatives.
A common theme of the Russophilic, unashamed Kremlin-mouthpieces in the “alternative media” is that anything which happens to conflict with the imperial regional ambitions of Russia and China is “CIA-run” or “NATO-backed” and therefore illegitimate.
The main proliferators of this skewed and convoluted discourse are left-leaning outlets like Global Research, headed by the Jewish leftist Michel Chossudovsky, Webster Tarpley (the notorious communist-sympathizer and “anti-fascist” zealot), William Engdahl (an “expert” on US policy towards Russia/China and strident Putin supporter), Jewish leftist Eric Draitser (a regular paid commentator on Kremlin-controlled media outlet Russia Today), Tony Cartalucci (a prolific “geopolitical analyst” some suspect is actually a pseudonym for Eric Draitser), Sibel Edmonds of “Boiling Frogs Post”, the whole staff of the CounterPunch and Anti-War websites, and so on.
The “anti-imperialist”/“anti-war” bona fides of many of these websites and individuals swiftly evaporates when China and Russia are the subject of discussion. When those two regimes in particular are brought into focus, these ostensibly leftist humanitarian campaigners abruptly morph into militarist hawks and “anti-jihadist” crusaders, essentially adopting an Eastern neocon orientation.
When it comes to the West, they argue that “Islamic terrorism” is largely a myth, an exaggerated ‘threat’ pervaded by deception and false flags designed to embellish its danger. Or, if they deny false flags, they generally acknowledge the very real grievances that some Muslims have with the murderous, interventionist course of US foreign policy in their world and attribute Muslim violence directed at the West to “blowback.” But when it comes to the East, these same commentators claim “Islamic terrorism” is precisely what Moscow and Beijing portray it to be – violence inspired not by actual grievances or acts of retribution for Russian and Chinese aggression and state terrorism against their people over the years – no, these people are just “religious fanatics” who want to kill Russians and Chinese because they are “infidels.”
All of these websites and individuals promote the theme that all of China’s and Russia’s woes are the fault of the West – in fact that all of the world’s problems are caused by the West; that those two authoritarian regimes bear no responsibility for the troubles afflicting their countries or regions on their periphery such as Chechnya and the Xinjiang province in China. That the people of those regions who have violently acted out towards the Russian and Chinese regimes are nothing more than “mercenaries” of the West, that they have no legitimate grievances, that the Russians and Chinese have treated them with angelic grace and they have no reason to be upset with Moscow or Beijing. These fantasists obsess over covert US intelligence operations, false flags, “deep state” activities, etc., yet are loathe to admit that the Russians and Chinese employ these dirty tactics as well. These websites and individuals produce effectively zero coverage, investigation or research on Russian or Chinese covert operations, false flags, “deep state” activites, etc. According to them, only Western regimes do this – the virtuous East would not dare engage in such criminality and deceit.
In this article Infowars writer Kurt Nimmo, parroting the claims of William Engdahl, Tony Cartalucci and Eric Draitser, attempts to discredit the Chechens, and presumably the now-defunct Chechen independence movement that was murderously extinguished by Russia in two brutal wars, by saying that some Chechens have joined ISIS and share its ideology. While it is true some Chechens have joined ISIS, that has no bearing on the legitimacy of Chechnya’s historic anti-imperialist struggle against Russia. Those Chechens who joined ISIS are acting independently, not on behalf of “the Chechen independence cause” which has been effectively defeated for years (and if they were true Chechen nationalists they would be fighting against Russia, not against Assad in Syria). Nimmo and others who use this fallacious argument against Chechens are not applying the same standard to the thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, Lebanese and Muslims from dozens of countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the West who have joined ISIS and other anti-Assad insurgent groups in Syria to discredit the nations they originate from. If we are to employ that argument consistently, then the fact that some Palestinians have also joined ISIS discredits the Palestinians’ independence cause. Or how about the fact that many in the Hamas leadership sympathized with the Syrian rebels, does that discredit the Palestinian cause? I haven’t heard any of them suggest it, but maybe they believe it does.
With every independence or separatist cause there are varying currents of thought and factionalism within it. In Chechnya there were secular nationalists and Islamicly oriented ones who shared a common goal in gaining independence from Russia. The first Chechen president Dzokhar Dudayev was secular, but that didn’t stop Russia from invading Chechnya in 1994 to snuff out Dudayev and his men. That’s exactly what Russia did because to the Kremlin it doesn’t matter what “flavour” Chechen rebels are, they are all considered enemy combatants and are killed without mercy. But Russia has propagandistically leaned on that “religious” argument to discredit the rebellious Chechens, in the same way that Israel plays the “Islamist” card against Hamas and the main Palestinian armed factions like Islamic Jihad; the same way the Americans sought to discredit their armed opponents in Iraq and Afghanistan by labeling them “religious fanatics” or “fundamentalists.” It works the same every time, for all the major imperial players.
Likewise within the Palestinian nationalist/independence struggle there are different currents of thought. Some of the early Palestinian resistance factions were secular (the PLO) and even Marxist-oriented like the PFLP, both of which received substantial support and backing from communist powers like the Soviet Union and Maoist China. But today the Islamist Hamas and Islamic Jihad divisions dominate the struggle, whereas the secular PLO (now known as the Palestinian Authority) has mostly capitulated to Israel and is seen as a collaborator. The increasingly Islamic nature of the Palestinian resistance does not “discredit” the Palestinian cause, which is fundamentally legitimate and defensible, despite the various “flavours” – religious, political or otherwise – of its activists, foot-soldiers and idealists.
Similarly, the existence of Islamic factions in the Chechen movement does not discredit their legitimate struggle against Russian domination and centuries of abuse. Even if some of those factions were Wahhabist, again, it doesn’t matter because the cause itself – independence from an occupying military power – is legitimate. That’s like saying the Taliban had no legitimate cause to fight the US/British invading armies because they’re “Wahhabis.” It doesn’t matter what their religious beliefs are, they are defending their country from foreign occupiers who have no right to be there at all. If you rationalize military intervention on the basis that you don’t like the religious beliefs of a particular regime, then you may as well start supporting US foreign policy because that’s precisely the argument used to justify US-led regime changes across the Muslim world. And the logic is the same for political disposition – does the fact that North Korea is communist justify its deposition through a foreign invasion? No, but some in Washington would like to make that case.
Today, the Chechen independence cause has been essentially completely neutralized. The few Chechens who still take up the struggle are some of these pan-Islamist types. But it’s disingenuous to use that as some sort of rationale to discredit the Chechen independence struggle as a whole, which dates back centuries. And just because some outside observer does not like the religious or political ideology of some members of a separatist movement, that does not undermine their very legitimate cause and struggle and it does not negate their grievances against the imperial oppressor nation that they are fighting against. Your negative opinion of their religious or political orientation may cause you to not support them, but that does not mean their general cause doesn’t have legitimacy.
Alleged NATO and CIA support of Chechen rebels, which is exaggerated by the aforementioned Russophile commentators, also does not discredit their cause, any more than Iranian backing of Hezbollah discredits its cause, or Russian backing of Assad in Syria discredits his regime. You could also argue that Hezbollah is just “doing the bidding of Iran” to harm Israel, and Israel in fact employs that fallacious argument.
The fact is that all independence movements elicit support from outside forces to finance and bolster their struggles. The Palestinians do it too. That does not mean that such causes are “engineered” by outside forces, but that outside forces, employing the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” dictum, make common cause with that group or movement for their own reasons. Hamas, a Sunni-based movement and Muslim Brotherhood offshoot, receives some funding from Qatar (Hamas leader Khaled Meshal actually now resides in Doha, Qatar) and previously from Iran. Iran cut its funding after Hamas and Islamic Jihad did not publicly take the Iranian stance towards the Syria and Yemen conflicts, so Iran too has selfish motives for its support of Palestinian groups. If they don’t tow the Iranian line, they get cut off.
Israel of course has no credibility making the “foreign backing” argument to discredit Palestinians, considering that it relies heavily on US financial and military aid to ensure its continued survival, on top of its vast international network of foreign Zionist fund-raising “charities” and lobbies which bolster the Israeli state, its military apparatus and its expansionist settler colonial projects in the West Bank. The fact is that every side in every conflict has some sort of foreign support or backing, so that fact either discredits them all at once, or none.
From the Chechen perspective, the US is a lesser evil than Russia. It may not be factually true if one were to look at the totality of current US and Russian foreign policies and compare the results, but from the Chechen vantage point Russia is the much greater threat to them, their sovereignty and independence. Distant USA is not an immediate threat to Chechnya, and so it stands to reason that Chechens would take any support they could get, from whoever was willing to give it, to prosecute their epic struggle against their greatest historic and regional foe. The same logic applies to why the largely anti-communist, anti-Russian Ukrainians took American support in their quest to dislodge the Kremlin-backed Yanukovych regime and Communist Party that dominated Ukraine’s political scene. From their view, Russia is a greater peril. From the view of the Kurds, Turkey and Iraq are greater evils than Israel or the US, and directly stand in the way of their dreams of national sovereignty. That’s not factually true overall, but true in terms of their immediate reality. Turkey and Iraq have been killing the separatist Kurds, not the US or Israel.
So you can see why politics makes strange bedfellows.
Final note: what you will also find true about the crop of analysts mentioned earlier is their consistent attempts to downplay (or outright deny) Jewish-Zionist power in the West, preferring to tout the Chomsky line that Israel is simply a “tool” of the US and does its bidding. They obsessively scapegoat the Gentile Zbigniew Brzezinski for all the evils of US foreign policy, when in fact Brzezinski is a “realist” who is significantly at odds with the largely Jewish-Zionist neocons and who actively opposed most, if not all, of the Middle East interventions since 9/11. Unlike the neocons, Brzezinki is not obsessed with demonizing Muslim countries, but rather sees them as potential allies to be co-opted for his struggle against Russian and Chinese expansionism. He is also somewhat of a critic of Israel and its domestic lobby in the US, once saying that the US should not be led by Israel in its foreign policy “like a stupid mule.”
Copyright 2015 Brandon Martinez