We’re living in some paranoid times, as evidenced by the US government activity taken against the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF) and the Americans who’ve written articles for it.
The December 12 RT segment with Daniel Lazare on this subject, drew a confidential response from a left of center US establishment author who said to me: “What a fundamentally dishonest post. The material that you posted makes it clear that there is a ban on receiving compensation. Lazare and anybody else is free to write for those organizations – so long as they don’t get paid. That’s not censorship.”
On that claim, I didn’t get a reply back to my counter-response, which I earlier expressed in my November 24 Eurasia Review commentary. Specifically:
“Spun however which way, the restrictions put forth towards SCF interaction involve some influential enough US politico/politicos not liking its content. The obvious goal is to eliminate the disliked commentary by dissuading US based American SCF contributors (writers) from receiving a fee.
Those views receiving payment have the incentive to put more time and effort in their work. In Western mass media, there’s an unofficial understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable commentary on Russia related issues.
The US and Russian governments haven’t offered any kind of alternative to the SCF for me. I’m not living in Russia and am not a citizen of that country. Hence, I don’t expect that nation to do as much for me as the US.
I prefer not putting the onus on government to assist in my endeavors. Conversely, it’s quite understandable to loathe any interference in earnest pursuits. On a fee paid basis, it’s highly unlikely to see an article of this kind placed at an outlet considered acceptable within the realm of the US foreign policy establishment.
From this past July 24, I came across an excellent blog post on (among other things) the shortsightedness behind some government instituted sanctions. To my knowledge, no other country has instituted any restrictions on its citizens interacting with the SCF. That venue has contributors from around the world, including the UK and Canada.
Comparatively speaking, the US government has been especially picky towards Americans writing for the SCF. Along with Kiev regime controlled Ukraine, the US was the only nation voting against the most recent UN General Assembly resolution on condemning the promotion of Nazism. Relative to the SCF, the US government’s explanation for its vote is ethically inconsistent. Refer to this excerpt –
‘The United States Supreme Court has consistently affirmed the constitutional right to freedom of speech and the rights of peaceful assembly and association, including by avowed Nazis, whose hatred and xenophobia are vile and widely scorned by the American people. We nevertheless firmly defend the constitutional rights of those who exercise their fundamental freedoms to combat intolerance and express strong opposition to the odious Nazi creed and others that espouse similar hatreds.’
By the way, Israel voted for that UN resolution. Within elite US political circles, Israel is characterized as a key US ally.
I’m presently looking into ways of legally getting around the threat of being unfairly penalized for an opportunity to receive added income during these pressing economic times. I sense some possible wiggle room, in counteracting a slick maneuver at an intimidation process, nevertheless having limits. Unofficially, it looks like a pursuit to have the targets fold without a fight. At the same time, I haven’t given up on the notion that not everyone in the US government is blindly committed to knee jerk anti-Russian biases.
Based on what the USTD has communicated, it seems like I might be able to legally receive a gratuity for an SCF article, as long as the sender isn’t named on the sanctions list as specified. There’s also the possibility of having an SCF article fee placed on hold, until the nonsense ends.
For its part, the SCF has expressed a reluctance to run articles from the American US based contributors targeted by the FBI and USTD. The legal definition of a transaction can be stretched out. To date, the USTD has been lax in getting back to me. At the end of their letter, contact information is given for that stated purpose.“
I’ve still not gotten a reply back from the USTD (US Treasury Department) for the purpose of answering my concerns. The targeted Americans (at least some of them) are available to engage elsewhere, while seeking to have the current nonsense against them and the SCF ended.
Perhaps with some different specifics, I share Lazare’s view of not always agreeing with everything said in SCF articles. I’ve yet to appear at a venue where I agree with everything. No two people concur on every subject. This aspect makes the world an interesting and sometimes troubling place.
American mass media TV typically has one-sided anti-Russian slants like the December 12 NBC Meet the Press show with Chuck Todd and Antony Blinken. There’re some exceptions, including the dramatically different Russia related opening salvos on the December 7 back-to-back aired Fox News shows, hosted by Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, as well as the same day PBS aired segment, involving Christian Amanpour, interacting with Alexander Vershbow and Andrey Kortunov.
Carlson critically second guesses the incessant Russia bashing by numerous Republicans and Democrats, while Hannity props a negatively inaccurate image of Russia to bash the Democrats for supposedly being too soft towards that country. Vershbow repeats NATO talking points, with Kortunov diplomatically explaining the mainstream Russian position.
I’m also reminded of a recent Twitter exchange between Anton Barbashin and Mark Sleboda. Barbashin said: “Being Russian and wishing Russia not to attack Ukraine (again) is the most pro-Russian thing you can do. Pro-Russian, not pro-Kremlin.” Sleboda quipped: “Being American & wanting the USA to stop propping up, arming & supporting the bloody Putsch regime with its Right Sector Neo-Nazi vanguards that they helped foist on Ukraine that has murdered 14k+ of its own people, is the most American thing you can do. #proAmerican not White House.”
Those exchanges shouldn’t be confused with Evelyn Farkas receiving unchallenged puff segment time on the BBC, CNN, NPR and MSNBC. Farkas’ characterization of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin as liars are pure projection on her part, as has been conclusively detailed in an SCF article of mine. With the assistance of some others, Farkas continues to spew conspiracy driven crackpot disinformation.
As reported, she received over $85,000 from NBC Universal in 2019, for periodic on-air MSNBC Q & A segments, typically lasting under five minutes a segment. Upon further review, it’d come as no surprise to find Farkas receiving additional lucrative media time. In sharp contrast, the discriminatory action taken against the SCF and the Americans appearing at that venue, serves to further tilt an already uneven playing field.
On the topic of conspiracy theories, were the July 2020 FBI visits to American SCF writers, a Deep State effort on behalf of Farkas? She expressed displeasure over my having the May 24, 2020, SCF article of mine placed in the Yonkers Tribune. I’ll once again note (seeing how she rehashes BS) that I wrote that piece without any prodding from the SCF. Likewise with my submission of it to the Yonkers Tribune.
Farkas says “They want to prevent people who are tough on Russia from coming into power.” The aforementioned “people” already occupy key positions, as folks thinking along my lines face discrimination.
Much unlike her level of (in)tolerance, I’m not against running critical commentary of me. I thank Natylie Baldwin and Thomas Knapp for giving their non-establishment takes of the SCF situation. This is an issue worthy of further attention, assuming there’s a true interest in opposing government censorship.
Michael Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic.