empire watch, featured, NGO-Watch, Russia, USA
Comments 23

The “European Values” think-tank and their list of “Useful Idiots”

by Kit

The idea that the USA might be more dangerous to peace than Iran is just one of the pernicious lies that RT pushes. The historical weight of evidence lending support to this idea is not important.

Just when you think that the Russo-phobic hysteria of the Western world couldn’t possibly make itself any more ridiculous…something like this comes along. This is the europeanvalues.net list of “useful idiots”.

The list is very long, over 2300 names, because it contains the name of every person to ever appear on either Sputnik or RT. Hosts or guests, hostile or friendly, it doesn’t matter. If you’re on the list, you are a useful idiot.

They’ve highlighted some names in yellow, to denote they’re “particularly noteworthy”. Names receiving the yellow highlight – the Russian agent equivalent of twitter’s blue tick – include Harrison Ford, Stephen Fry and Senator John McCain. All noted for their pro-Russian public stance on important political issues.

Also on the list are Boris Johnson’s dad, Barack Obama’s wife and John McCain’s daughter. And while all three of them may well be idiots, I’m struggling to see how they’ve ever been useful to anyone.

It’s honestly beyond a joke at this point. But let’s take a look behind the scenes anyway.

The Think-Tank

The not-at-all Orwellian sounding “European Values” think-tank is a Czech based NGO focusing on fighting…

…aggressive regimes, radicalisation within the society, the spread of authoritarian tendencies and extremist ideologies including Islamism.

Their about page goes into a lot of (vaguely creepy) detail about their logo, in case you were interested, but much less detail about their funding. If you want to know that, you have to read their annual reports.

In 2015, for example, you can see that they received funding from disappointingly predictable list of sources. The European Union, the US Embassy, the UK Embassy and (of course) the Open Society Foundation.

One day, it would be really nice to read the “Our Funding” section of an NGO’s website, and NOT see George Soros’ name.

The Author

The author of the list and accompanying report is one Dr. Monika Richter, a first generation British citizen and child of Czech immigrants. She’s a new face at the programme, having recently graduated from Oxford, where she studied at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The Reuters Institute receives funding from various sources, including Google, the BBC and…*sigh*…George Soros.

Interestingly enough, when Richter was at Oxford she spoke at the Free Speech Debate, arguing against the “no-platforming” of certain speakers because it could be used to censor unpalatable views.

Quite when she changed her mind on this issue, I do not know.

The Report

The fifty-three page long report that accompanies the list is both terrifying and hilarious, with some beautiful paranoid language that reads like the journal of Jack D. Ripper. I have read it, so you don’t have to (you’re welcome)…but if you really feel the need then here it is. It is a masterpiece of doublethink.

In one paragraph she smoothly segues between three points: 1. That Russia illegally “invaded” Georgia; 2. That RT’s “biased coverage” blamed the war on Georgia; 3. That the EU’s own report stated Georgian aggression was a prime factor in causing the conflict. Apparently she is totally unaware that her third point completely undermines points 1 and 2.

Later, she claims that RT employs “conspiracism” to spread insidious messages that undermine public faith in Western government.

For example, RT is accused of spreading the “conspiracy” that the US and UK started the Iraq war under false pretenses – when, far from being a “conspiracy theory”, the WMD-related lies are now an historically accepted truth. Only neocon diehards even try to deny that any longer.

The report also claims that RT spread conspiracy theories about “false flags” which, again, are a point of historical fact. And that RT reports, stating that the US and their allies are supporting ISIS in Syria, were untrue. In fact, these reports have since been shown to be absolutely correct.

She also rails against RT’s reporting of the Ferguson riots, in which they apparently:

revealed a consistent refrain: “the oppression of blacks in the US has become so unbearable that the eruption of violence was inevitable”, and that the US therefore lacks “the moral high ground to discuss human rights””

Now, personally, I’m struggling to see how that statement is inaccurate, but maybe I’m just indoctrinated beyond all hope at this point.

The best parts of the report come when the author is forced, by the unbending hand of reality, to make concessions. These include:

RT does not (typically) lie outright in its reporting, it presents facts in a way that distorts the reality of the situation and leads viewers to certain conclusions”.

And:

For the sake of fairness, it must be acknowledged that despite these malign intentions, RT has enjoyed a small handful of journalistic accomplishments. For example, its coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Guantanamo Bay hunger strikes, and the 2010 WikiLeaks scandal was incisive, with the former two earning RT International Emmy Award nominations

Which, in a beautiful demonstration of intellectual dishonesty, is quickly followed up with:

However, the critical point here is that RT’s treatment of these events is not motivated by a genuine commitment to principled, balanced journalism, but rather by opportunism to demonise the US government for its apparent contradictions and democratic shortcomings.

You see? Even when their news coverage is good, and nominated for international awards, and tells important truths, none of that counts because they’re doing it for the wrong reason.

She apparently wants us to believe that telling the truth for the wrong reason is just as bad lying. Worse even, when you think about it, because your unabashed use of fact-based arguments lends a seeming legitimacy to your incorrect world view.

It is absolutely bonkers.

Some of the other highlights include:

RT disguises the malicious objectives of this editorial strategy by claiming to uphold traditional liberal-democratic ideals like free speech, critical journalism, and independent thought. RT’s shrewd perversion of these principles through rhetorical ploys like the ‘Question More’ ad campaign – which appears to advocate media literacy, critical thinking, and reasonable scepticism about media content – can seem highly convincing to the untrained eye.

By saying the wrong things RT is “perverting” free speech. The principle of free speech only applies to those with state-approved motives who say state-approved things. By disagreeing with that state-approved consensus you are, actually, perverting your freedom and therefore should have it taken away from you.

If the arguments that multiple points of view are important, and that journalistic integrity and free-speech demand the broadcasting of unpopular opinions, sound convicing, it’s only because you’re not well trained in picking up sedition and propaganda.

Not only that but:

RT uses guest appearances by Western politicians, journalists and writers, academics, and other influential public personalities to boost its credibility. Regardless of their intent, these appearances amount to complicity with the Russian propaganda machine, and thereby render its influence that much harder to counter. RT is not a neutral media platform; per point 1, its raison d’être is to disparage and demoralise the West at all costs, and all content it airs is calibrated to serve this purpose. Thus, even guest appearances made in good faith – e.g., motivated by the desire to offset some of RT’s more toxic and hyperbolic narratives – are counterproductive.

This explains the presence of John McCain on the idiot list, I suppose. Ms Richter seems to think that, even if you go on RT to criticise Russian foreign policy, or call RT biased, or defend the US viewpoint, your very presence reinforces the illusion that RT is a TV news channel, when it’s just a Kremlin disinformation centre. By airing contrasting points of view from every side, RT is able to maintain a pretence of impartiality.

You see, RT are not objective, so they have to pretend to be objective by allowing people to disagree with them on air. CNN and the BBC et al ARE objective, so they don’t need to pretend to be, so they DON’T have to allow people to disagree with them on air. By extension, the more differing opinions they broadcast, and the wider variation of opinions they broadcast, the more show themselves to be unobjective.

The logic is flawless.

None of this matters anyway because:

While the security hazard of the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign and influence operations should not be taken lightly, it is imperative to not overinflate the threat of individual influence agents like RT and Sputnik. Such a reaction is counterproductive: it further empowers these agents, allowing them to claim excessive success and consequently obtain more funding from the Kremlin to expand their operations.

So there you go, even if RT appears to be a serious undermining or our society and values, they actually have no real power and shouldn’t be overestimated. The important conclusion of this 53 page report that an NGO spent 100,000s of dollars on, is that we shouldn’t over-react.

One wonders how long the report would be if she had over-reacted.

If I was George Soros, I’d want my money back.


23 Comments

  1. vsotirovic says

    The list is real BULL SHIT! There is no my name on it! I will sue the NGO to Strasbourg Human Rights Court.

    Like

  2. EᴠeryƄody lauցhed truing too imagine what sort of celebгation Mary and Joseph gаve
    for Jesus when He was siх. Larry wondered, ?Ι guess he preferrеd the samje form of toys wwe like.

    Like

  3. The Guardian wrote a disparaging leader comment called,’The Guardian view on conspiracy theories: convenient fictions’, and it smirked at people who believe in them, so I wrote this in the Guardian’s Comment is Free section underneath:

    ‘The biggest conspiracy theory going about at the moment is that the Russians hacked the US general election.’

    The Guardian moderators soon afterwards removed my comment. You see, only silly people hold conspiracy theories, not sensible lefties like The Guardian. But where are the facts for the Russian hack, The Guardian, and how did my comment not abide by community standards?

    Jonathon Freedland has just wrote an article called:

    ‘Conspiracy theories such as JFK distract from the real threats we face’

    So I put out my comment again. but It lasted only five minutes. So I wrote in CiF again:

    ‘The Guardian moderators just removed my comment:

    “The biggest conspiracy theory going about at the moment is that the Russians hacked the US general election.”

    You see, only silly people hold conspiracy theories, not sensible lefties like The Guardian. But where are the facts for the Russian hack, The Guardian, and how did my comment not abide by community standards?’

    That got removed in seconds. I was going to add to that comment, I’m going to have a right laugh with this one on the internet, but i thought, best not to wind them up because they will ban me.

    Like

    • Things are so bad nowadays that the likes of Freedland can’t even grasp the difference between full blown censorship and journalists like Daphne Galizia; individuals who take risks because they are more interested in getting at the truth rather than appeasing corporate pay masters.

      Of course off-message posts are deleted (BTL) just as Freedland was bound not to mention the ongoing suppression of documents associated with the Kennedy assassination – that’s just the way the Guardian rolls nowadays.

      I thought about commenting (on the same conspiracy thread) and would have mentioned the Grenfell fire; a building that managed to remain standing despite being burnt out from top to bottom, while on 9/11 three buildings collapsed on their own footprint, each in a matter of seconds, an event that has never happened before or will again unless controlled demolition is involved.

      But whats the point – in a milieu that requires such high levels of group think observations like that would have been moderated within seconds, and while censorship at the Guardian is bad enough, it is compounded a thousand times over by a simpering form of identity politics that gets identity politics a bad name.

      Like

  4. In Miss Richter’s own words
    “…and (my favourite topic) the dangers of Russian disinformation…” [monikarichter.com]
    Another ‘useful idiot’ boards the gravy train.

    Like

  5. Funded by among others that international financial terrorist George Soros (didn’t he once wreck the pound for his own personal gain?).

    Ms Richter appears to be the usual Oxbridge type who thinks she informs from the lofty ivory towers from whence she came. When in fact she displays her total lack of real knowledge understanding and of course world view.

    Her world view being unbelievably naive with conclusions made to fit the terms of reference of her pay cheque. One thing that we can see is that she clearly full fills the propaganda model that she so earnestly tries to expose.

    Like

  6. The only thing that is more irrational these days than the US stock exchange is the number of high-born fools and knaves that pretend to be looking out for the little people, but are nothing more than well-paid jailers of free speech and thought.

    Like

  7. rtj1211 says

    I am absolutely convinced that there are only three aims of RT:

    1) To ensure that 100 million Russians die in nuclear armageddon, because American, English and French women cannot cope with Russian women having much better sex lives, far more attractive bodies and finer senses of humour.
    2) To highlight to the world that Russian men are alcoholic, heroin-addicted misogynist impotent divorcees needing to be socially cleansed by upwardly mobile blacks, muslims, buddhists, homosexuals and drug-taking American sportsmen.
    3) To waste tens of billions of roubles providing a pension to clapped out aging western has-beens, providing just enough unattainable totty to keep them producing shows three times a week.

    As this is all a great trial to Vladimir Putin, it is clearly in Western interests to give RT its head, since this will help in ridiculing Putin in the eyes of China….

    Like

  8. Taking the concept of “information war” to an astounding, unprecedented and disturbing higher level of desperation. Extraordinary to watch historic change unfolding with such rapidity through revelation after revelation of long-hidden truth.

    Like

      • jahshwa says

        This is just more elitist propaganda against other elitist propaganda. There are no good sides. I repeat… the USA has no populist answers, no pro-democracy allies. There are only warring factions of right-wing elites. Cue the creepy music for the Clintons and for Trump.

        Like

  9. It’s perhaps ironic that the rise of Nationalism in Eastern Europe might yet see the US spurned in their attempt to break into the Russian Federation. The coup in the Ukraine destroyed the very healthy business Russia and Europe were developing especially with capital investment into the energy industry with the promise of cheap oil and gas. The Americans saw competition and the coup effectively put an end to it. But many Europeans feel kow-towing to American business interests is unsurprisingly only going to assist American business, nobody else. Many are thinking their bread has been buttered on the wrong side.

    Like

  10. $100,000?

    Dear George,

    A pro-Russian Putin-bot over at OffG (a covert subsidiary of RT, and if not of RT, then of Sputnik, or of something or other definitely ruskyesque ) wrote about a report you funded and authored by the soon to be famous Dr. Monika Richter:

    “In one paragraph [Dr. Monika Richter] smoothly segues between three points: 1. That Russia illegally “invaded” Georgia; 2. That RT’s “biased coverage” blamed the war on Georgia; 3. That the EU’s own report stated Georgian aggression was a prime factor in causing the conflict. Apparently she is totally unaware that her third point completely undermines points 1 and 2.”

    I want you to know, George, that I completely fail to see the humor in the presumed contradiction at hand. Clearly, the EU’s own report was the result of RT’s overestimated influence on the writers of the EU report, victims of that overestimating attitude, to which once succumbed works as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, that Dr. Richter intended to underscore by her report and with such documented intellectual travails as the one at hand.

    Sincerely,

    Norm

    Oh, and BTW, George, I have a blog. It’s purpose is to discredit Russian propaganda by featuring it. My approach is exactly what Dr. Richter recommends: not to overestimate the quality and influence of pro-Russian views by featuring them on a platform where they go completely unchallenged by the views of freedom loving neo-liberals, thereby discrediting themselves by their blatantly one-sided Russian chauvinism. I’m very particular about the comments I permit: if they overestimate the effectiveness of the Russian propaganda, if not the deeply nefarious intentions behind it, which could never be overestimated, I simply nix them. Let me assure you, then, that if there is one place on the internet where Russian propaganda becomes an utter parody of itself, it’s on my blog. It would be apparent even to a three-year-old if a three-year-old could read. You really should have a look. And don’t hesitate to offer a donation or offer to commit to regular contributions if you get the urge. I sure could use the cash if only to keep the blog and myself alive, doing my best to countervail the malignant malintents of the Kremlin.

    Ciao!

    Like

  11. The upsurge in Russo phobia is quite astonishing especially with the do called left of centre media. A poisonous rant by Nik Cohen appeared very briefly on line at the Observer on Sunday. Within hours it had gone, presumably embarrassment caused it to be hastily taken down? It probably signifies that he has really lost the plot and his mind. Anti Russian nonsense turns up all over the Guardian; we can expect Pussy Riot to make a return very soon. Jonathan Frankland rules the Comments with a paranoid intensity. I was banned from life for suggesting he was following Israeli narratives (apparently it was “an insult” to suggest such a Wotld renowned commentator “took orders” from a foreign government). The current edition of that early 1960’s minor public school rag icon Private Eye reads like the Daily Mail with its anti Corbyn stories and backing for Neocon FP. A one man band which spoils some very good work by outsider contributors, especially with regards to corporate corruption. Aren’t they able to chuck their obsessive editor? PE might work online if it was more diverse and less establishment but it’s hard to see it surviving at such a price and tiny print. Even the jokes have become poor. The attack on RT is part of the same project and we can soon expect attempts to take it off Freeview. Yet it offers excellent TV and is the only TV Channel I know that examines major political issues in depth. The recent long interrogation of the former Israeli FM was a good example. The two main woman interrogators are brilliant. TV for adults. America has relied on the perpetual war to keep its economy going for many years now and the Dark State is tightening the screws on freedom of opinion in the way they know best – intimidation, blackmail and avalanches of false news. There are plenty of wars in the pipeline; after the US has seized the East Syrian oil fields they will have to hold their territory; Assad is still in their sights. Then comes the Big One, Iran together with the Russian “menace” in the Ukraine and of course SE Asia where China is now cited as yet another “expansionist” threat. The truly extraordinary thing is the co-ordination achieved across the entire MSM from Right to “Left”. Putin, the hero of our time, is routinely written off as a crazed Czar; no need to think about it, “everybody” says so. Thank goodness he was there in 2008 to thwart the attempted coup in Georgia, in 2014 to stop the Neo Nazis taking Crimea and moving onto the Russian border – and of course in 2015 when he entered the Syrian war to save the country from the American-Israeli-Gulf Arab-Turkish war by jihadi proxies. Perhaps it’s no wonder the Western Establishment hates him. Only yesterday Fallon (who he? Ed) said it was imperative he “go” before they could talk about Peace. But with the Clinton Democrats and their intelligence agencies leading the War Party and a man capable of almost any madness as President things don’t look too good at the moment. As I say, thank goodness Vlad is there. And thank goodness for off-guardian too; we’d be in a darker place without it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • As you know the Guardian comments section illustrates the pastoral role our self-appointed cultural shepherds adopt when it comes to dealing with wayward sheep that stray too far from the flock.

      I found myself in hot water for suggesting that non-melting plastic buckets, and casualties that looked they had just come from the set of a B-film tended to undermine the authenticity of the Parsons Green narrative.
      I drew comparison between the iconic photo of the two women after the Brussels attack, and ‘toothache woman’ used to publicise the alleged tube bombing.
      It took many hours of studying this image before finally finding a hair that may have been out of place.
      https://www.thesun.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/nintchdbpict0003531754841.jpg?strip=all&w=672

      It seems pretty clear that our media are now so terrified of grass roots commentary, or alternative news sources that they are turning to methods Joseph Goebbels might have approved of.
      He was right when he said, ‘this is the secret of propaganda: Those who are to be persuaded by it should be completely immersed in the ideas of the propaganda, without ever noticing that they are being immersed in it’.
      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Guardian mods began every shift with another of his infamous quotes: ‘truth is the greatest enemy of the state’ – if Joe was still with us I’m sure the type of censorship so readily embraced by our liberal media would have brought a glint to his crazed eyes.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. paulcarline says

    I wonder how Miss Richter was ‘turned’ and how much she was paid for this rubbish. Amusing that her German surname ‘Richter’ means ‘judge’ while, as the excellent article makes clear, she is an extremely poor judge, both of evidence, and of the character of those from whom she receives her equivalent of the ’30 pieces of silver’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joan Anthony says

      Her first job as a new graduate – so they gave it to the intern. Maybe she should spend a couple of years at a local paper first learning how to sift out facts and carry out a bit of research.

      Like

.....................

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s