by Daniel McAdams
August 04, 2017
Antiwar.com

Last week I wrote an article and did an interview explaining that in my reading of the new Russia sanctions bill just signed by President Trump, there is a measure opening the door to a US government crackdown on some of the non-mainstream media. In particular, Section 221 of the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” would punish “persons” who are “engaging in transactions with the intelligence or defense sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation.”

At first one might think this is reading too much into the text, however as a twelve year Capitol Hill veteran bill-reader I can assure you that these bills are never written in a simple, expository manner. There is always a subtext, and in this case we must consider the numerous instances where the Director of Central Intelligence and other senior leadership in the US intelligence community have attempted to establish the idea that foreign news channels such as RT or Sputnik News are not First Amendment protected press, but rather tools of a foreign intelligence organization.

You can see in the current atmosphere, where anti-Russia hysteria has spread like typhoid, how readily-accepted such a notion would be by many. The reds are under our beds and the Russkies have taken over our airwaves.

I don’t think the crackdown will stop at Russian government funded news organizations like RT and Sputnik, however. Once the initial strike is made at the lowest hanging fruit, the second wave will target Russia-focused organizations not funded by governments but that challenge the official US government line that Russia is our number one enemy and its government must be overthrown. Popular private alternative websites like The Duran and Russia Insider will likely be next on the list for prosecution.

Sound farfetched? Think of it this way (I can assure you the neocons do): if the Russian government and RT are opposed to sanctions and you operate a website that also takes a line in opposition to Russia sanctions are you not doing the work of Russian intelligence? Are you not seeking to influence your readers in a manner that Russian intelligence would want? Are you not “engaging in transactions” even over the airwaves?

And after this second wave you can be sure there will be a push to move on other alternative media that has nothing to do with Russia but that opposes US interventionist foreign policy: ZeroHedge, Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul Institute, ConsortiumNews, etc.

Crazy, you say? Don’t forget: this war against us already started last year when the Washington Post ran a front page article accusing all of the above of being Russian agents!

What would be next? Do you read any of these alternative news sites? Do you pass along articles that oppose US sanctions policy toward Russia? You are engaging in transactions. You will be subject to “sanctions” as described in the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” which is now the law of the land.

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