The US government is running propaganda to demonize opponents and discredit its own government, a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has found.CSIS found that since the election, the US has been using a series of “propaganda wars” to smear its opponents.
The US has deployed propaganda that it says are aimed at undermining Russian foreign policy, US-based analysts have said.
But they say it has been also using these campaigns to sow doubt about the validity of the US election results, and undermine the credibility of the Trump Administration.
“There’s a lot of propaganda that we see being deployed, particularly by the administration, to discredit, delegitimise, and denigrate Russian foreign and security policy, in particular the threat posed by Russia to the United States and the United Kingdom,” said Adam Szubin, a senior fellow at the CSIS, in a presentation to the CSOS think tank.
“It’s a long-term strategy, it’s been around for quite some time,” said Mr Szubins, who is also a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
“We see it in the kind of messages we hear, we see it across all kinds of US-related foreign policy,” he said.
“What is striking about the last two years is the way that this has been implemented.”
The CSIS report, titled The Kremlin’s Secret Wars: Propaganda and Propaganda in America, and published this week, is the first analysis of the impact of propaganda campaigns on US foreign policy.
“The Russians have a lot to be ashamed of, but the American people are too,” said Dr Szubincs co-author and former CIA analyst Andrew Jarecki, in an interview.
“So if you’re a Russian and you’re going to come to the US, and say, ‘Well, the United State has a lot more of us than you do, that’s not true, that doesn’t make sense, that will not work, and that’s a fact of life that we’re going through right now’, you’re just going to get vilified, and you’ll probably be vilified by Americans who are part of the establishment, and they’re going, ‘well, you’re not going to be able to get any support in this country, you’ll be a Russian agent.'”
Russian propaganda has long been used by the Kremlin to target opposition figures, academics and journalists, and its effects on the political and economic landscape have been extensive.
But the US government has sought to limit the damage by making it harder for foreign powers to fund the Kremlin-funded propaganda and undermining the US’s own intelligence services, which have been tasked with monitoring Russian activity.
“Propaganda campaigns by the Trump regime and its allies are often designed to discredit and discredit their opponents, and to undermine the US democratic process,” said a report on the CSISA report.
“Their main goal is to destabilise democracies around the world, and destabilise the US democracy itself,” the report added.
Russia’s propaganda campaign against the US started in earnest in the early 1990s, with a series from the Kremlin targeting former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, the British journalist James Foley and a number of other dissidents, including Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Mr Litvinakenko died in London in 2005, while Mr Foley was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan in 2011.
US officials accused Russia of using Mr Litvinkinenko as a “conspiracy theorist”, and a US State Department report said Russian military intelligence had been operating in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and conducting cyber attacks on US government and corporate networks.
The CSOS report, however, says the US propaganda campaign did not begin until around 2009, and the US intelligence community had been working on this for several years before that.
“For some years before 2009, US intelligence agencies had identified Russian efforts to undermine US democratic institutions,” the study said.
It said this effort included a series, dubbed the “Great Satan Project”, aimed at the “stability of the global order” and the “defence of American interests”, and “an effort to undermine global economic stability”.
“Russian propaganda campaigns targeting foreign policy leaders, academics, journalists, civil society, foreign investment, and foreign policy interests have been a feature of US foreign and defense policy for decades,” the CSAS report said.
“These efforts are often funded and supported by the US Congress, with substantial support from US intelligence services.”
The study found the US also uses its own propaganda to target political opponents.”US propaganda campaigns to discredit political opponents and foreign governments have been conducted at the state and local level,” the researchers said.
“The US government’s efforts have targeted groups, individuals, and institutions across the political spectrum, with the most prominent examples being Black Lives Matter activists and activists in the Democratic Party.”