Chris Hedges’ On Contact: What the DNI Report About Russia Really Reveals

The release of the report, submitted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, that offered details to support U.S. officials’ claims that Russian interference had tainted the recent American presidential election was treated by many news sources as a major development and further justification for treating the Kremlin, not to mention the incoming Donald Trump administration, with suspicion.

Several alternative media sources, including this one, have also wound up on the receiving end of censure and what Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges considers a kind of McCarthyism for questioning prevailing media and government narratives and for continuing to demand concrete proof of Russian intervention.

On this week’s episode of “On Contact With Chris Hedges,” journalists Abby Martin and Ben Norton join Hedges for a wide-ranging discussion about troubling shifts away from fact-based reporting and governance—as well as the potential costs of insisting that, as Norton put it, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

—Posted by Kasia Anderson on Truthdig

 

Abby Martin Attacks DNI Report, Defends RT

The long awaited intelligence report on Russian ‘interference’ in the 2016 presidential election contains a lengthy and detailed attack on RT’s programming as evidence of a Kremlin plot to subvert U.S. democracy.

The DNI report specifically cited Breaking the Set, a popular RT America show hosted by Abby Martin, as promoting “radical discontent.” Martin gives an impassioned response to former BTS producer, Anya Parampil, about the DNI accusing their two year old show as somehow having an influence on the election.

Abby Martin Blasts DNI Report, New Cold War

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– The US intelligence agencies’ unclassified report on Russia’s involvement in the election didn’t provide any evidence of hacking, instead choosing to focus on media such as RT. Brian Becker speaks with Abby Martin about why her show was included and the way the mainstream media has slandered her.

– Almost half of the US intelligence report is dedicated to describing RT’s alleged efforts to “fuel discontent in the US.” It goes on to accuse some former programs of being overwhelmingly critical of American and Western governments for years. RT International talks with Abby Martin, who was the host of one of the shows cited in the report, Breaking the Set.

– Abby and Robbie Martin immediately respond to the news of the intelligence report blaming Russia Today, and specifically Breaking the Set, for Trump’s win after it broke in a special edition of Media Roots Radio.

– Journalists Abby Martin and Ben Norton join Chris Hedges for a wide-ranging discussion about troubling shifts away from fact-based reporting and governance—as well as the potential costs of insisting that, as Norton put it, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

– Abby Martin joins journalists Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola on their podcast Unauthorized Disclosure to discuss the DNI report, the deep state attempting to undermine POTUS Trump and the rotting Empire.

 

US Government Blames Russia Today for Trump’s Win

After finding out the news that Breaking the Set, Abby’s former RT show, was named in the DNI intelligence report for fomenting ‘radical discontent’ as part of the Kremlin’s plot to subvert US democracy, Abby and Robbie Martin discuss the insanity of the report and the desperate measures on behalf of the establishment to build its case against Russia on Media Roots Radio.

This podcast is the product of many long hours of hard work and love. If you want to encourage our voice, please consider supporting us on PatreonListen to all previous episodes of Media Roots Radio on soundcloud or subscribe on itunes.

@AbbyMartin | @FluorescentGrey

Abby Martin Responds to Exploitation by NY Times

Abby Martin issued the following response to the Jan. 7 New York Times article falsely representing her work at RT America. 

The long-awaited report by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), allegedly proving Russian “interference” in the US election, includes a section solely dedicated to bashing RT, and specifically calls out my former show Breaking the Set, which ended two years ago, as a propaganda vector marking the beginning of the Kremlin attempt to subvert American democracy.

AbbyMartinDesperate to push this US intelligence narrative, The New York Times called the report “damning and surprisingly detailed,” while adding that it includes no actual evidence.

The very next day, on Jan. 7, the Times published another piece titled “Russia’s RT, The Network Implicated in U.S. Election Meddling.”

In the article, NYT journalist Russell Goldman used two blatantly false statements about my work at RT to support the argument that the network is simply a Putin-dictated propaganda outlet.

First, he stated “…two anchors who quit during live broadcasts say the network is a propaganda outlet.”

I did not quit during a live broadcast, nor did I say that the network is a propaganda outlet.

He goes on to say “…Abby Martin, who said before quitting, ‘What Russia did was wrong.’”

Any cursory research into the referenced quote—when I spoke out against Russia’s military entrance into Crimea and the network’s glorification of it—will find that not only did I not quit on air, but that I continued my show for an entire year afterward.

I was interviewed about my on-air statement on many major news stations, from BBC to CNN, where I defended my editorial freedom and also called-out the double standards and hypocrisies in their coverage.

RT issued an official statement in support of my freedom to state my opinion on the network. Over the course of the next year, I continued to voice my concerns and opinions about Russia, from MH-17 to the Ukraine crisis, unfiltered.

I quit the network on my own terms in February 2015 because I wanted to do more in-depth investigative reporting, not because I believed it to be a propaganda outlet.

The Times issued a correction after these false accounts were featured prominently on their website for over 19 hours. But their correction still misrepresents the facts to push their narrative.

The correction reads “this article misstated when the RT anchor Abby Martin left the network. She quit sometime after denouncing on air Russia’s war in Ukraine, not during the live broadcast.”

The error in their article was not simply about when I quit, but the reason and circumstances for leaving the network. The article still implies that I left over this political disagreement.

Additionally, they removed from the article the line “two anchors who quit during live broadcasts say the network is a propaganda outlet,” but they do not note that change in their correction addendum, as is standard.

The article now includes a modified sentence: “Abby Martin quit some time after denouncing Russia’s incursion on air. ‘What Russia did was wrong,’ Ms. Martin said.”

This new line twists the truth, omits the facts, and ironically contradicts their entire argument.

The glaring fact is that I spoke out about the actions of Putin, Russia and RT’s coverage of it on air, and not only was I not fired, but I still had the prime time opinion show on the network for another year.

That begs the question to the NY Times: if RT is simply a Kremlin mouthpiece, how was I allowed to do this and still be featured prominently on the network?

It appears that the Times is, once again, working to push a false perspective being promoted by US government officials and agencies. To paint RT in such a cartoonish, totalitarian fashion—and to promote the idea that it is subverting US democracy—is the dangerous state propaganda that we should be worrying about.

Abby Martin | @abbymartin

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Cuba: Revolution, Sabotage & Un-Normal Relations

revolutionLeader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, has died on his own terms, after surviving at least 638 assassination attempts by the CIA. Unlike the glorification of brutal theocratic leaders like Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah, the establishment will be giving no accolades to Castro. 

Capitalism’s defenders vociferously attack Cuba as a freedomless dystopia, while downplaying the country’s amazing achievements under socialism.

You cannot look at Cuba in isolation without understanding the long history of economic and political sabotage in the country on behalf of the U.S. Empire. From the crippling embargo, to the sponsoring of political dissent to the creation of an immigration policy designed for defection, the U.S. government has done everything in its power to undermine Cuba’s success.

Despite its severe economic restrictions, Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S. and a near perfect literacy rate of 99.8%. Cuba’s system of free preventative healthcare is one of the best in the world.

The country’s philosophy of medical solidarity trains anyone to become a doctor, and has sent the world’s largest contingent of medical professionals to fight Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. From Haiti to Pakistan, Cuba is usually the first country on the front lines helping with every natural disaster and medical emergency. Today, more than 50,000 Cuban healthcare workers are operating in 66 countries around the world.

Because it provides basic amenities like food, shelter and healthcare for all citizens, Cuba also has one of the lowest crime rates in the Western Hemisphere.

Cuba is not perfect, yet far from the “police state” it is painted to be. I didn’t see one police officer when I was there, and people spoke freely about their discontent with the government. There was even a government sponsored art space that was full of cutting, self-reflexive political commentary.

In a three part series finale to Breaking the Set, I explain the history of Cuba-U.S. tensions and highlight underreported aspects of society and culture in an on-the-ground report.

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Cuba Part I: Revolution, Sabotage & Un-Normal Relations

BTS explains the history of Cuba and U.S. attempts of regime change, and talks to average Cubans both in Havana and in Miami about their views on the state of U.S. relations. Featuring an interview with Kenia Serrano, a high ranking Cuban parliament member, about everything from internet access to the crackdown on free speech in the country.

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Ebola Solidarity & Castro’s Daughter on LGBTQ Rights

BTS covers Cuba’s exemplary medical achievements with a Cuban doctor and students at the Latin American School of Medicine, an international medical school that trains anyone to become a doctor for free, as well as the U.S. programs that actively undermine international health efforts. Featuring an interview with Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raul Castro, and director of Cuba’s sex ed program CENESEX about LGBTQ rights in the country.

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The Evolution of Revolution

BTS focuses on reforms to the country’s economic and agricultural models, giving an overview of how Cuba’s cooperative and food system works, as well as operating private enterprise. Feauturing an interview with Ricardo Alarcón, Cuba’s former minister of foreign affairs and president of the People’s National Assembly of Power.

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@AbbyMartin