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Fighting Russian Interference In American Politics

The establishment news media, ignorant as it is of history, particularly the history of relations between America and the Russian Communists who ran the Soviet Union, seem to think that Russian interference in American politics is a new phenomenon born of President Trump’s desire, expressed during the 2016 presidential campaign, for better relations between Russia and America.

In reality, Russians have been interfering in American politics since at least 1917 and have in the past been Russian interferencequite effective in sowing social discord to undermine faith in our constitutional system of government.

Their model was Willi Munzenberg, an important Comintern operative and master propagandist during the 1920s and 1930s. Munzenberg was successful at creating a bewildering array of communist front organizations and media outlets in Western Europe that promoted the Comintern’s point of view. This propaganda machine, known within communist circles as the “Munzenberg Trust,” included all aspects of the media: newspapers, magazines, book publishing houses, motion picture studios, radio and even press agencies.*

Munzenberg’s genius was the innovation of two propaganda practices: the use of clandestinely controlled front organizations and the covertly manipulated cultural luminary, who, as a non-communist, functioned as a public face for a communist policy position.

Is it any surprise that the present Russian leadership, educated and mentored in the techniques of political manipulation by devoted Communists, would not adopt the same tactics and apply them to 21st century social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and find many willing supporters and dupes in Hollywood, just as it did in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s?

As Jack D. Meeks, Doctor of Philosophy, observed in his dissertation, FROM THE BELLY OF THE HUAC: THE HUAC INVESTIGATIONS OF HOLLYWOOD, 1947-1952, “communists were superb at identifying a worthy cause [to gain] the support of the American people, such as advocating for civil rights and unemployment insurance or resisting Nazism” and then building front organizations around them.

Examples of communist front organizations from the period studied by Meeks include such innocent sounding organizations as the American Slav Congress; the Win-the-Peace Congress; the Civil Rights Congress; the Committee for a Democratic Far Eastern Policy; the Council of African Affairs; the Council for Pan American Democracy; the Political Action Committee; the Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences and Professions; the Federation of Atomic Scientists; and the Southern Conference for Human Welfare.

Occasionally exposés of these organizations would hit the press, but most of the time, particularly after the House Unamerican Activities Committee was shut down, little of the Russian Communist interference in American politics came to public attention.

However, Vladimir Bukovsky in a lengthy article in Commentary Magazine (May 1, 1982) explained how the Soviets had been using the peace movement to interfere in the politics of Western Europe and America for decades:

…members of the older generation can still remember the marches, the rallies, and the petitions of the 1950’s (particularly the famous Stockholm Appeal and the meetings of the indefatigable World Peace Council). It is hardly a secret now that the whole campaign was organized, conducted, and financed from Moscow, through the so-called Peace Fund and the Soviet-dominated World Peace Council…

Bukovsky also noted for the record one of the many instances where leaders of the peace movement of the 1980s had been caught accepting money from Moscow; “…one of the Danish leaders of the movement, Arne Petersen, was arrested along with his wife for channeling Soviet money into the funds of the peace movement. His master, the Second Secretary of the Soviet embassy in Copenhagen, was expelled from the country.”

Is it any surprise then, that Fox News reports the Russians indicted for meddling in the 2016 presidential contest were also behind anti-Trump rallies after the election, revealing another aspect of Russia’s alleged interference as it worked to sow discord in the United States?

“After the election, the defendants allegedly staged rallies to support the president-elect while simultaneously staging rallies to protest his election,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a Friday press conference.

“For example, the defendants organized one rally to support the president-elect and another rally to oppose him, both in New York on the same day,” said Rosenstein.

There was a time when Americans, and especially conservatives, thought that interfering in the politics of other nations – particularly those in the Communist Warsaw Pact countries – was not just OK, but a national security imperative.

We started and funded Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty to spread the message that America was on the side of the captive peoples of the Eastern Bloc and to provide them with news unfiltered by Communist propaganda.

During the Reagan years we also provided Xerox machines, printing presses and other equipment to the Polish Solidarity Movement and other pro-Western political movements in the Communist orbit.

That the Russians had their own active measures to interfere in our politics was a given.

However, during the Obama years the FBI, CIA, NSA and other organs of the American national security services that were supposed to be working to disrupt such activities were apparently not just asleep at the wheel, with people like the libidinous Peter Strzok and Lisa Page on the case they were totally out of the game.

Facebook advertising Vice President Rob Goldman said he was “very excited” to see the indictment special counsel Robert Mueller released Friday outlining charges against 13 Russian nationals. However, in a series of tweets, Goldman said Friday that the “Russians stole the 2016 election away from Hillary Clinton” narrative is bogus.

As Bre Payton reported for The Federalist, Goldman tweeted that the social network shared with Congress the ads from Russian nationals to “help the public understand how the Russians abused our system.”

Tweeted Goldman:

The majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election.  We shared that fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Tump and the election.

The main goal of the Russian propaganda and misinformation effort is to divide America by using our institutions, like free speech and social media, against us. It has stoked fear and hatred amongst Americans.  It is working incredibly well. We are quite divided as a nation.

Mr. Goldman is right, but it shouldn’t take a Special Counsel investigation to identify and expose Russian activities we know have been going on for a century.

These latest revelations prove that the FBI counterintelligence operation is beyond broken. It is time for America to get back in the counterintelligence fight by cleaning house and getting rid of incompetent counterintelligence operatives such as Strzok and Page, and it is time for Congress, as it did with the HUAC investigations, to plumb the full depth of Russian efforts to sow discord in our country.

George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie's A veteran of over 300 political campaigns, he served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle, as Director of Policy and Communication for Congressman Adam Putnam (FL-12) then Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and as spokesman for Rep. Mac Thornberry now-Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

*Jack D. Meeks, Doctor of Philosophy dissertation, FROM THE BELLY OF THE HUAC: THE HUAC INVESTIGATIONS OF HOLLYWOOD, 1947-1952, (2009)

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