Recently, political agitation along with economic pressure applied against potential adversaries has become a tool of choice in Washington’s foreign policy. Thus the US has transformed the world into yet another battlefield, where a giant bullseye is painted across Russia and its allies.
If the East used to get engaged into propaganda wars, now it’s a major trend in the West! What is worse is that the absolute majority of anti-Russian propaganda statements are baseless and flat out strange, because it seems to have been pirated from the play book of anti-American propaganda tricks that the so-called “criminal communist regimes” would employ against Washington back in the Cold War days. At the same time, anti-Russian propagandists have yet to present a single legally justified accusation against Russia.
It’s been noted that while Trump is still defending Putin in public, American lawmakers are quietly pumping tens of millions of dollars into a new propaganda initiative. The Daily Beast reports the United States government is spending tens of millions of dollars to assault Vladimir Putin and the state he leads, a move slipped into the thousands of pages of the annual defense policy bill passed by Congress.
A bipartisan initiative led by senators Rob Portman and Chris Murphy has authorized 160 million dollars over two years to fight state actors through a little-known agency office housed at the State Department called the Global Engagement Center.
The media source would tell you that anti-Russian sanctions legislation that is being adopted would expand it even further, dedicating an additional 100 million dollars for the GEC and others to support «objective Russian-language journalism» and support research on the effects of information warfare.
America’s state propaganda agency Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) released a report about the range of its last year’s activities. It is noteworthy that at the cover of this paper one can spot the picture of Cathedral Of St. Basil The Blessed that is situated in Moscow, which clearly demonstrates the ongoing priorities of the BBG that has been engaged in information warfare via various broadcasts organized outside the territory of the US. The report is to be examined by the sitting US President and the US Congress.
The report states that in 2016 the agency would cooperate with all sorts of investigators, directors and journalists for them to promote US foreign policy and national security interests “through independent journalism”.
The target audience of such instances of “independent journalism” can be found in Russia, across the entire post-Soviet space, China, Iran, Cuba, along with a number of other regions. The BBG would broadcast its propaganda manifests in national languages of the countries it has been operating in, while adding programs in the languages of national minorities living in the above mentioned regions. By the end of 2016, the total number of employees of BBG reached 2,940.
In mid-June, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor would release a tender that would demand the contenders to present the bureau with considerable capabilities for “independent and objective media coverage” across the Baltic States, in order to promote the “values of democracy and human rights” and wage information wars. Under the conditions of the tender, it is emphasized that the media should create competitive modern content on actively developing digital platforms, while targeting the Russian-speaking audience in those states. The tender will provide the agency that would get an upper hand with a sum ranging from 1.5 million to 3 million dollars, however it would be forced to closely coordinate its activities with US embassies in the Baltic countries. In addition, the agency that is to win the grant should get registered with the NSPA – NATO Support and Procurement Agency.
Last month it has also become known that the Broadcasting Board of Governors remains in control of such propaganda stations as Radio Liberty and Voice of America demanded the US Congress to allocate a total of 22 million dollars on its operations in spite of the fact that public interest towards above mentioned stations has been declining due to all sorts of unfounded public statements that they have been making. In total the Board has demanded US president to allocate over 685 million dollars on its operations for the year 2018. It’s curious that Washington is spending almost as much money on spreading propaganda in Russia as it spends on similar activities in China.
Information warfare is aimed at seizing control over the consciousness of the people in certain regions of the world. These actions can be countered by the promotion of a truly democratic society, where every individuals understands that freedom comes hand-in-hand with responsibility.
The ongoing resistance of various civil groups in the US shows that the information war is not lost. Democracy is still inseparable from the freedom, plurality of opinions and reliability of information, and there’s every reason to fight for these values.
Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”