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30 Nov, 2016 13:47

‘Putin awaits my application for citizenship,’ says ‘Russian agent’ Paul Craig Roberts

The American economist Paul Craig Roberts, who served under US President Ronald Reagan, explained the absurdity of independent news sources being labeled as Russian propaganda, in an interview with RT.

In the aftermath of the US presidential election, the internet has been abuzz with talk about “fake news” outlets which allegedly helped manipulate public opinion towards Donald Trump’s victory. In an article in the Washington Post, reporter Craig Timberg said there was a “sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign” aimed at “undermining faith in American democracy.” 

As one of the sources for the story, Timberg cited a report by the group PropOrNot, which on its website provides a list of 200 sites it claims “reliably echo Russian propaganda.” Among the listed outlets, that bizarrely includes sites such as Films for Action which are highly critical of Russia, is the website of American economist Paul Craig Roberts.

In response, Roberts, who served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under Ronald Reagan, published an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking for Russian citizenship now that the Washington Post “has blown my cover and exposed me as a Russian agent,” a request that Kremlin spokesman Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said would be considered if Roberts files all the necessary documents. 

RT got in touch with Roberts to find out why he was being branded a source of Russian propaganda.

RT:Did you get a direct answer from the Kremlin?

Craig Roberts: Well, I did. I heard from an editor of Pravda and the producer of a Russian television station in Moscow that Putin had answered through his official spokesperson that he awaits my application for citizenship. So I asked, “Is this a joke?” and they said “No,” so I think it’s very clever of President Putin to respond in this way, because it does help to show how ridiculous the Washington Post is. 

RT:  You’ve come on RT before, is that why you’re on this Russian propaganda list?

R: [It’s because] I don’t demonize Russia. I don’t demonize Putin. I’m not a warmonger. I respect the truth, and I realize that in a world of thermonuclear weapons it’s a very serious mistake for Washington to increase tensions between nuclear powers. In all my life, American presidents worked to defuse those tensions, and I helped President Reagan defuse tensions with the Soviet Union and work out the end of the Cold War with Gorbachev. So when I see the Obama regime, certainly it would have happened with Hillary, increasing tensions.

RT:Why is this happening?

R: I think because the neoconservatives, they have this ideology of American world hegemony, and Russia’s in the way, as is China, as is Iran. Any country with an independent foreign policy is in Washington’s way. And so, Washington is committed to this sort of endless war. We’ve been at war in the Middle East for 15 years… why? What’s achieved?

RT:Fake news undermines our faith in journalism. What do you think that’s about?

R: Well, what it is, is the United States does not have an objective media. The media was concentrated in a few hands during the Clinton regime, and it serves as a propaganda ministry for the oligarchy and the special interests. So, in the United States, the only media is the internet. So, the 200 sites on the list are sites where people get objective reporting, they get objective news, they get objective analysis. And this is a threat to the “presstitutes,” to the official media. So, they comprised a list in an attempt to discredit us as Russian agents. That was the purpose of the list. But it backfired because I made a joke about it.

The list provides Americans, Europeans, anyone, with objective sources of information they can turn to. So, it backfired on the people doing this.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.