Political expert Alexei Martynov talks about the actual reasons for the scandal concerning RT and Twitter and its consequences
As we know from the words of the former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden, this global intelligence agency has access to servers of all significant information technology companies and corporations. Technically, all the emails, conversations in messengers and social networks, the massive amount of billions of terabytes of user metadata — all of that is available to the NSA and similar U.S. agencies, which in their activities, have long gone beyond the real borders of the United States. The world is indeed virtually global. In one way or another, everyone uses the internet, social networks and search engines.
Just a year ago, another famous whistleblower of “global security,” WikiLeaks, published materials directly indicating how, within the framework of the U.S. presidential election campaign, the internet giant Google frankly played along with Hillary Clinton by unloading news about this candidate on top of the search results for any requests about elections in general.
In other words, nowadays the illusion of “a new uncensored digital world without borders for everyone” is starting to crumble in front of us. The internet, like most of the global network companies, is first of all an American structure. It is subject to American jurisdiction and created in order to make the owners feel good, even though this “good feeling” is paid for by users from all over the world. Of course, this system also works well as a system of content security in the interests of the American establishment.
A great example in this regard is the case of the Russian broadcaster RT and Russian news agency Sputnik, which both worked in the U.S.*
Not long ago, the owners and top managers of the leading American information technology companies were under extreme scrutiny in light of the Senate’s investigation into the possible “intervention of Russian hackers in the U.S. presidential elections,” also being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller. Among them were Facebook, Twitter, Google and others. As a result of this “checkout procedure,” IT giants released information about who bought (!) advertisements from them, including contextual ads, and for how much.
As it turned out, the American division of the Russian company RT purchased advertising space in the U.S. segment of Twitter. And so what? It is a common thing for a commercial process. Someone bought one thing and paid money for it. The other person sold it and posted some advertisements for a certain time. However, since this is a Russian company (which, by the way, has been legally broadcasting in the U.S. for 10 years already), such circumstances were deemed dangerous and suspicious. It was forbidden for Twitter to release RT advertisements. At the same time, the multimillion-dollar commercial offer that was made to RT several years ago from this same Twitter, even before the aggravation of political relations between Moscow and Washington, now looks like a very juicy detail in this story. Although, as they say, it’s only business — nothing personal!
This is not to mention that all of the above measures violated American declarations about free trade and business, and freedom of speech. Finally, there is a direct violation of existing commercial contracts. Technically, this is discrimination based on far-fetched political motives.
By looking at this whole story, it starts to feel that Americans do not observe any "rules of decency" with regard to the Russian media that work in their country, just because they are afraid of it. Indeed, over the past few years, Russian broadcasters have carved out a serious audience niche in the U.S. The fact is that this was all earned in fair competition by providing an audience with quality content and an alternative perspective on the processes in the world.
Of course, the presence of the Russian media in the American broadcasting scene does not fit into the current anti-Russian global broadcasting concept. Thus, Russian media will be cut off in the United States. American intelligence agencies do not dare to say this candidly or publicly; they are afraid to lose the remnants of their reputation in the world, and therefore have decided to create insuperable problems and impossible working conditions for the Russian media. In other words, they have decided to force it out with the help of administrative means.
Of course, Russia will take adequate tit-for-tat measures against the American media in Russia. It’s important to note that there are U.S. propaganda flagships like CNN, Fox News, Bloomberg, etc., in the cable and satellite broadcast packages almost all over the country. No one restricts or prescribes the intensity of broadcasting on the air and in the Russian segment of the internet.
Anyway, there is going to be a response.
Although here is one question: Will the multimillion-member audience of ordinary consumers in the U.S. and Russia benefit from this? It seems that such a shutdown practice only harms the general agenda and further increases the gap of misunderstanding between nations.
It also seems that it is exactly what this part of the U.S. political establishment is currently trying to achieve. They dream of a new Cold War with Russia and of the direct dividends it will get from this.
Finally, it is worth highlighting the desperate courage of Twitter representatives, who, in describing their motivation for refusing to continue the advertising contract with RT directly, pointed to the defining opinion of the U.S. intelligence services. Of course, everyone knew that Twitter was transparent with U.S. intelligence agencies. But so far, no one has made such a direct and honest coming-out. All users of American global social networks from all over the world should remember this warning.
*Translator’s note: RT, or Russia Today, is a Russian international television network funded by the Russian government. It operates cable and satellite television channels directed to audiences outside of Russia. Sputnik is a news agency, news website and radio broadcast service established by the Russian government-controlled news agency Rossiya Segodnya.