Wednesday, March 7, 2018

More Russian Meddling

It doesn’t fit the narrative, but it makes perfectly good sense. Russia is basically an oil company. It has a vested interest in the state of the oil market. Oversupply reduces the price it gets for its own oil. Thus, Russia has spent considerable time and money supporting environmental groups that tried to shut down or limit American oil production, especially fracking.

And yet, no one has anything to say about it. Except the Powerline blog, that has the story:

Last Thursday, the Majority Staff of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology released a report titled “Russian Attempts to Influence U.S. Domestic Energy Markets by Exploiting Social Media.” It doesn’t seem to have gotten as much attention as it deserves.

The House report notes Russia’s strong interest in depressing petroleum production in the U.S. (“American energy represents a direct threat to Russian energy interests.”) Russia has defended its interests by funding American environmental organizations:

Russian-sponsored agents funneled money to U.S. environmental organizations in an attempt to portray energy companies in a negative way and disrupt domestic energy markets.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, then-Secretary General of NATO, told reporters in 2014, “Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called nongovernmental organizations—environmental organizations working against shale gas—to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas.”

As Powerline points out, no one cares which environmental organizations took how much money from Russia? Did they collude with the Kremlin to support Russian interests? Or did they simply not care to ask inconvenient questions?

The House report continues:

Russia’s efforts to influence U.S. energy policy are well documented in the public domain. U.S. presidential candidates, European officials, and the U.S. intelligence community have all publicly noted that Russia and its government corporations are funding a covert anti-fracking campaign to suppress the widespread adoption of fracking in Europe and the U.S., all in an effort to protect the influence of the Russian oil and gas sector.

In January 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report that contained “clear evidence that the Kremlin is financing and choreographing anti-fracking propaganda in the United States.” The report found that the Russian-sponsored news agency RT (formerly Russia Today) “r[an] anti-fracking programing, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health,” which “is likely reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and the U.S. natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to [Russian energy companies’] profitability,” such as state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom.

In truth, we know that those who are waxing sanctimonious over Russian meddling… because Hillary Clinton lost… simply do not care about Russian efforts to influence American energy policies. 


Ares Olympus said...

Sure, it looks like a good chance to show "Russian Meddling" isn't partisan, which we already knew. Like we know during the 2016 election they showed the Russians were trying to organize both rallies and counter-rallies through Facebook, to increase public animosity on all existing conflicts.

The "Russian Social media posts" in the SST Staff report certainly would seem to show they supported the Environmentalists in some cases, but I see the report also shows pro-pro-pipeline meme on p.12, so again, proof they're playing both sides. It's not just 'self-interest" of lower U.S. oil production, but general chaos they're looking for.

And with a new election coming up, obviously the answer isn't just more centralized money against shadowy unknown foreigners speaking sweet nothings, but we need a collective vigilance as individuals to fact check all sources we share, whether self-interested oil companies, self-interested environmentalists, or self-interested Russian provocateurs. We do not need to do their dirty work by sharing their propaganda unquestioned. State Dept. Was Granted $120 Million to Fight Russian Meddling. It Has Spent $0.

Of course many Conservatives will say "Snopes has a liberal bias" and such, so perhaps the Russians have already won, assuming they were ever central to our animosities. Now there's no source of information everyone will trust, so we're all free to go to our home team propaganda, and ignore anything that makes our team look bad. So who needs Russians anyway? They're just repeating our own lies.

Anonymous said...

Kim Lacapria

Jack Fisher said...

AO, turn off Bullwinkle and neither Boris nor Natasha will ever hurt you again.

Sam L. said...

Typos: "It has a vested ***interested*** in the state of the oil market. Oversupply reduces the price it gets for its own oil. Thus, Russia has ***pent*** considerable time..."

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thanks, corrections made.