Re: Freedom of speech in rusology

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia file photo, adapted from image at

Subject: Freedom of speech in rusology
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2017

The following seems to be a rather ominous development for freedom of speech in academia and journalism an attempt to discredit all dissenters from the Washington consensus on Russia. If there are people in academia willing to sign on to such a ‘brief,’ we can only imaging what is under this tip of the iceberg of confusing dissenting opinion with propaganda as an “unwitting” foreign agent:

Among the former officials who filed the amicus brief on December 8 are John Brennan, a CIA director; James Clapper, a director of national intelligence; and Michael Hayden, a director of the National Security Agency; Avril Haines, a deputy national security adviser; Michael McFaul, a US ambassador to Russia; and Michael Morell, an acting CIA director.
The former officials emphasized in the neutral brief that they could not disclose classified information. But their message was clear: The Kremlin uses local actors to help amplify the scope and impact of its influence operations, including the one targeting the US election in 2016.

The cutouts can range from “the unwitting accomplice who is manipulated to act in what he believes is his best interest, to the ideological or economic ally who broadly shares Russian interests, to the knowing agent of influence who is recruited or coerced to directly advance Russian operations and objectives,” the former officials wrote.

Cutouts can be anyone, they explained, from journalists and academics to “prominent pro-Russian businessmen.”

These local actors help the Kremlin further its foreign influence operations and “active measures” campaigns, they wrote. Those operations often involve the spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories and cyberattacks – all in an attempt to “undermine confidence in democratic leaders and institutions” and “discredit candidates for office perceived as hostile to the Kremlin.”

“Former high-level officials submit ‘unusual’ Russia brief in lawsuit against Trump and Roger Stone”