This film is actually four years old. Michael McFaul is no longer US ambassador to Russia, having resigned in 2014, but the video is useful in that it provides a rather graphic glimpse into how the US State Department functions–in Russia and probably other countries as well, distributing money to so-called “activists” or “opposition leaders” (perhaps “traitors” would be a more appropriate description) in return for services rendered.
And what are these services? Basically excrement stirring, which can include anything from public agitation–through writing or public speaking–all the way up to organizing mostly nonviolent protests…as has been done in Russia…or…it might result in street riots or even acts of murder as we have seen in Venezuela. Conceivably they also could include the simple act of buying off enough votes in a nation’s parliament to secure an impeachment vote against a country’s leader, as in Brazil.
And then of course there is the case of Syria, where the US embassy helped give birth to a quintessential Frankenstein monster. Readers might be interested in a series of tweeted exchanges between Vanessa Beeley and former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford (see here ). “I have respect for the Syrian civilians who are losing their lives and enduring the horror inflicted upon them by your terror gangs and ‘moderate rebels,’” Beeley told Ford in one of the exchanges.
At any rate, US embassies in countries with governments the US disapproves of have become little more than Trojan horses. Venezuela got so fed up with it they expelled America’s top diplomat from the country in 2013. Russia, however, seems to have taken a more subtle approach. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing what happened here is that Russian intelligence eavesdropped on the US embassy in Moscow, found out McFaul was arranging a meeting with Russian dissidents, then tipped off the media and invited them to show up at the embassy and film the excrement stirrers upon their arrival. And who are these people?
Well, one of them is Lev Ponomaryov, who appears at 49 seconds into the video. A few months before this report was filmed, Ponomaryov reportedly met with Japan’s ambassador to Russia, promising–in return for payment–to argue for Japanese claims to the Kuril Islands. Another is Liliya Shibanova, head of the NGO Golos (Vote). A large cache of Golos emails published in 2011 showed extensive contact between the group and the US State Department. Included was evidence suggesting people had been paid to report violations in the Russian elections that year. Shibanova, starting at about 2:48, can be seen repeatedly accusing the journalists of being “Surkov propagandists” and of making pornographic films. Vladislov Surkov is an influential advisor to Putin with a fondness for the arts (he is said to be the author of a novel, published under a pen-name, entitled “Almost Zero”), who has advocated the concept of “sovereign democracy” for Russia.
And then there is Boris Nemtsov, one of the first to show up at the embassy and who appears at about 12 seconds into the video. Having risen to prominence during the Yeltsin years, Nemtsov played a key role in integrating Western-style capitalism into the Russian economy, and as Wikipedia puts it, he “very openly looked to the West as a model for Russia’s future.” Nemtsov’s murder on the streets of Moscow on February 28, 2015 was widely attributed to the Russian government by Western media. An official investigation determined that the killing had been carried out by Chechens.
McFaul today holds a position at Stanford University where he teaches political science–presumably instructing future career diplomats in the art of overthrowing governments. His successor as US ambassador to Russia is John Tefft, who may, if anything, be even more extreme. Tefft seems to have been chosen for his “antagonistic” views toward Russia, though likely his amiable relations with the Chabad Lubavitch movement didn’t hinder his career advancement either.
In any event, what we have here is a group of people showing up at the US embassy in Moscow almost as if they are reporting in for duty, or “like it’s their everyday job,” as one of the people interviewed in the video puts it.
If Putin were as much of a dictator as the West makes him out to be, every single one of these people would have been rounded up and thrown in jail. And indeed, if the situation were reversed, and it was Americans visiting a foreign embassy in Washington and being paid sums of money, a jail cell is precisely where they would be (unless, of course, the foreign embassy was Israel’s, in which case any suggestions of disloyalty to America would be met with accusations of anti-Semitism).
One other thing I’ll mention. The capturing on film of these people’s visit, and the dissemination of the news over Russian media, seems to have been the impetus that led to passage of Russia’s Foreign Agent law. That bill was introduced into the Duma in July of 2012, roughly six months after the episode at the embassy, and was signed into law by Putin on July 20 that year.
The law requires NGOs receiving funding from foreign sources to register as foreign agents and was modeled after the US Foreign Agents Registration Act. Nonetheless it was condemned by the West as further evidence of Putin’s supposed autocratic nature.
From the video description:
In mid-January 2012, just days after Michael McFaul arrived in Moscow to begin his stint as US Ambassador to Russia, Russian opposition leaders lined up outside the US Embassy (Russian) to meet him in a bizarre confab that reeked of both treason and duplicity.
Caught red-handed – Russia’s opposition, long accused by the Kremlin of being foreign-funded, and who have well documented ties to the US State Department, are caught filing into the US Embassy in Moscow in January of 2012, just days after agitator Michael McFaul began his stint as US Ambassador to Russia. (click on image to enlarge)
Approached by journalists inquiring as to why they had all come to greet the US Ambassador, their responses ranged from silence to dismissive gibes. Later, the group of opposition leaders emerged responding only with “Вы сурковская пропаганда,” or “you’re Surkov’s propaganda,” meaning the journalists represented government efforts to undermine their work and legitimacy. It is a common response given by Russia’s opposition members when media attempts to question them about their increasingly overt ties to Wall Street and London.
This video captured outside the US Embassy in Moscow, Russia, shows prominent leaders of Russia’s US-funded, backed, and directed opposition attending a confab with newly appointed US Ambassador Michael McFaul. Both the opposition leaders and McFaul himself are directly connected to the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Present at the US Embassy confab were regular mainstays of the Western media’s coverage of anti-Vladimir Putin protests, including Boris Nemtsov, Yevgeniya Chirikova of the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded “Strategy 31,” Lev Ponomarev of the NED, Ford Foundation, Open Society, and USAID-funded Moscow Helsinki Group, and Liliya Shibanova of NED-funded GOLOS, an allegedly “independent” election monitoring group that served as the primary source of accusations of voting fraud against Putin’s United Russia party. Clearly, this wasn’t the first time both words and cash had been exchanged between the Russian opposition and the US State Department, but is perhaps the most overt example of such flagrant conspiring yet.
Richard Edmondson is an author, novelist, poet, and journalist whose writings often focus on Middle East issues, the Zionist lobby, and religion. His latest novel is The Memoirs of Saint John: When the Sandstone Crumbles, a story about an archaeological team doing a dig in Syria and set amidst the current conflict in the country.
In 2014 Richard attended an International Conference on Combating Terrorism and Religious Extremism, held in Damascus. The book is part two in the Memoirs of Saint John series.
Two other books by Richard are Rising Up: Class Warfare in America from the Streets to the Airwaves, relating his experiences founding and operating an unlicensed or “pirate” FM radio station in San Francisco in the 1990s, as well as a volume of poetry entitled American Bus Stop: Essay and Poems on Hope and Homelessness.
Richard is cognizant of the words of the early Christian writer Tertullian, who in the second century-basically prognosticating the fall of the Roman Empire-wrote: “We have made merry amid the ludicrous cruelties of the noonday exhibition.”