In a Russian-Nicolas Maduro influence operation on Saturday, the nominally American advocacy organization, Answer, will march on the White House to demand Trump end his support for interim Venezuelan president Juan Guaido.
This might not be as nefarious as GRU nerve agent attacks, but Vladimir Putin and Maduro's influence here is very real. Just watch the Answer video below.
Join the mass mobilization against Trump's war on Venezuela Saturday, March 16, 12noon at Lafayette Park in front of the White House. Everyday people of the United States don't want another war! Join the growing anti-war movement. No coup, no sanctions, no war!#HandsOffVenezuela pic.twitter.com/6maz16ls3B— ANSWER Coalition (@answercoalition) March 10, 2019
What's the evidence of Russian influence, you ask? Nearly every single speaker you just watched has links to the Kremlin or Maduro. Let's take them each in turn.
Satya comes first. But to her credit, she doesn't appear to have any Russian government links.
It's a very different story next up. Abby Martin and Anya Parampil are both former anchors for the Kremlin's primary western-focused propaganda network, RT. But you'd be wrong if you think that employment history is ancient.
These days Parampil works for Max Blumenthal's Grayzone website. Guess who supports Grayzone? A mix of TeleSUR (Nicolas Maduro and Cuba's propaganda network), and unnamed donors through the content creation funding website Patreon. It's worth noting here that sites like Patreon are a favored means of Russian intelligence funding in offering the person receiving donations a pretense of credibility as "an independent journalist," and the Kremlin a veil of deniability as the funding agent.
Abby Martin and the speaker who follows Parampil, Mike Prysner? They're engaged and together run the pro-Kremlin, pro-Maduro website, Empire Files. A quick glance of Empire Files' website shows that it is "presented" by none other than TeleSUR. Thanks, Mr. Blobby!
Next up is Margaret Kimberley, a blogger who has supported RT against U.S. requirements it register as a foreign government agency. Why someone would write in favor of Putin's propaganda is not clear. Unless, that is, said writer is either an idiot or in Putin's employ.
Ann Marie comes next. She appears to be a far-left student, but not a Kremlin servant. We can assume she is simply what the Russian KGB would have called a "useful idiot."
Then there's Eugene Puryear. Supposedly a well-meaning black rights activist, Puryear is actually a radio host on Sputnik, a Kremlin sister organization to RT. That makes him a Putin employee.
Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame? He's just a major league idiot.
How about Max Blumenthal? Well, as mentioned, Blumenthal's work has been supported by TeleSUR and is reflexively pro-Russian. Again, I would love to know who his "key strategic ally" donors are on Patreon.
Marissa Elyse Sanchez is a far-left activist, but like Ann Marie, has no obvious financial links to Putin or Maduro.
Morgan Artyukhina, however, is a writer for Sputnik. On Twitter, Artyukhina describes herself as a "autistic transgender revolutionary and activist." These are interesting characteristics for someone in Vladimir Putin's employ. Putin, after all, doesn't like LGBT folks, or activists.
Estevan Hernandez appears to be another useful idiot.
Finally, there's Kei Pritsker. Pritsker is a former RT producer, in that role as recently as November 2018.
All in all, this motley crew leads me to a simple conclusion: the Answer Coalition might or might not be a direct Russian front organization, but very many of the speakers in its video are very close to Putin and Maduro.
Of course, there's nothing surprising about the Russian connections in particular. Vladimir Putin actively supports western advocacy organizations sympathetic to his interests. Those currently favored include the anti-fracking activists (fracking threatens to undercut Russian energy blackmail in Europe), a quite wide range of anti-American talking heads, (some are friendly with Jeremy Corbyn), and various political organizations. So while it's possible that the Answer Coalition hasn't benefited directly from Russian financial support, it is interesting that so many Answer leaders are recipients of Putin's largess.
If Answer and others like Momentum (a British far-left organization which supports Jeremy Corbyn) are eventually shown to have received payments from Kremlin cutouts, don't be shocked.