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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 6/5/21

Think Tank Wars and the Enforcement of Thought Crime Laws

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The United States, Russia, Britain, and other countries are waging a war that pits think tank against think tank and criminalizes ideas and opinions. That war heated up on April 15 when the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed financial sanctions on the Moscow-based think tank, Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF), for whom I have written for over ten years. OFAC alleged, without much in the way of any hard evidence, that SCF was an arm of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, the SVR. Treasury's sanctions came after a 2020 State Department Global Engagement Center (GEC) report that illustrated the opinions being expressed by SCF and other Russian think tanks and news organizations as similar to Covid-19 virus microbes. In any event, I've been compared to worse than a Covid microbe.

Neither State nor Treasury could make up their minds about what Russian government entity allegedly controls SCF, with both the SVR and Russian Foreign Ministry being the accused controllers of the puppet strings.

Such links are not unheard of in the modern world, where government officials, ex-foreign ministers, and even ex-heads of government and heads of state attach themselves to non-profit institutions, such as think tanks and research foundations. I was once asked to write for a Beijing-based think tank established by former Chinese President Hu Jintao. However, too many knocks on my door by FBI agents seeking information on my contacts, not only those in Beijing, but also in Russia, Iran, and even Lebanon, forced me to decide to back out of any further foreign engagements with think tanks. At the age of 67, my days of challenging authority, whether it is the FBI, CIA, or NSA, no longer mix well with current medical issues. Of course, I could have attached myself to any one of countless Israeli government-subsidized think tanks and FBI agents would have likely been at my door delivering gift baskets of Manischewitz wine, halvah, and matzo ball mix. For those who believe that freedom of the press exists in the United States, here's a news bulletin: Those days are long over!

State and Treasury have long maintained a policy of enforcing their own unwritten laws against "thought crimes." The policy goes back to the Bush-Cheney administration. The following is how the State Department described SCF in its sanctions announcement:

"The Strategic Culture Foundation is an online journal registered in Russia, directed by Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and closely affiliated with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The outlet plays a central role among a group of linked websites that proliferate Russian disinformation and propaganda. One of its core tactics is to attract authors who are Western fringe thinkers and conspiracy theorists, giving them a broader platform and obscuring the Russian origins of the journal."

The State Department has a long history of attacking this writer as a "conspiracy theorist," even though it has employed more lunatic fringe nut cases as senior officials - Christian fundamentalist xenophobe "end times" idiot Mike Pompeo; Samantha Power, the always unkempt-looking spouse of the creepy Obama White House "information czar" Cass Sunstein; and the potty-mouthed neocon Maidan square cookie lady Victoria Nuland are prime examples. As far as bizarre-acting U.S. ambassadors and envoys are concerned, that particular list is far too long to publish here.

Miming the State Department, Treasury's description of SCF followed the same line of rhetoric:

"The Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF) is an online journal registered in Russia that is directed by the SVR and closely affiliated with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. SCF is controlled by the SVR's Directorate MS (Active Measures) and created false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning U.S. officials involved in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. It publishes conspiracy theorists, giving them a broader platform to spread disinformation, while trying to obscure the Russian origins of the journal so that readers may be more likely to trust the sourcing."

In the information dictatorship of today's America, the citizenry may only place their trust in outlets like "The Washington Post," the "Wall Street Journal," and other media courtiers for the Washington establishment. Those who determine what is acceptable journalism include the useless paper pushers, dispatchers of bovine excrement, and keyboard jockeys at State, Treasury, and other bureaucracies that dot Washington, DC.

There is one inconvenient truth about the censors of State and Treasury. Not once did SCF, Press TV of Iran, TeleSur of Venezuela, or CCTV of China caution me about referring on air or in print about the creeping doctrinaire fascism that began taking over the United States during successive Republican and Democratic administrations, going back to that of Ronald Reagan and his employment of Eastern European wartime Nazis in his propaganda organs, including Radio Free Europe and the now-defunct U.S. Information Agency.

Only until recent times have the corporate media of the United States and other Western industrialized nations begun to tolerate the use of the terms "fascism," "neo-Nazism," and "white nationalism" to describe authoritarian political movements thriving in the United States and Europe. Fascism is what's now for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the U.S. Republican Party, the British Conservative Party, and various other far-right movements associated with international-level fascists like Steve Bannon and his exiled Chinese financier Guo Wengui, Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Robert and Rebekah Mercer, Michael Flynn, Li Hongzhi and his Falun Gong and "Epoch Times" newspaper, Brexit helmsman Nigel Farage, and other malcontents and popinjays of far-right fringe politics.

The real threats to U.S. national security do not come from SCF or other think tanks or media outlets, whether or not they are supported by the governments of Russia, Iran, China, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, or Serbia, but from homegrown think tanks of the right-wing. These include the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Hudson Institute, and lesser-known far-right dissemblers of the truth like the Capital Research Center in Washington, the Henry Jackson Society in London, and the Danube Institute in Budapest. The latter is closely linked to Hungarian fascist strongman Viktor Orban and former Trump White House resident Nazi enabler Sebastian Gorka. Gorka is more at home honoring the Hungarian Nazi Arrow Cross than in supporting American democracy in his adopted nation.

The shadowy and secretive Fellowship Foundation, which professes to have spread the gospel of Jesus to such thugocracies as Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Uganda, and El Salvador, counts former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese among its stalwarts. Meese also serves as a trustee of the right-wing Capital Research Center, alongside of Thomas Winter, the editor-in-chief of the far-right media outlet "Human Events." The center's National Advisory Board includes Midge Decter, wife of the arch-neocon Norman Podhoretz.

Podhoretz's son, the blubbery editor of the right-wing Zionist "Commentary" magazine, launched a broadside in his 2004 book, "Bush Country: How Dubya Became a Great President While Driving Liberals Insane," against me for stating that George W. Bush's disdain for the U.S. Constitution was no different than Adolf Hitler tearing up the Weimar Constitution. In 2004, the Washington establishment decided that it was a cardinal sin to invoke Nazis or Hitler when describing the policies of Bush and Dick Cheney. John Podhoretz's admonition fell on deaf ears because I am the last person in the world who needs to be lectured about the recent and current dangers posed by Nazism and fascism in the United States. Had those ideologies won out in World War II, my parents would have faced certain extermination due to the fact they did not possess the percentage of Aryan blood required under Nazi Germany's racial purity laws.

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