10:10 GMT29 October 2020
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    The US State Department has announced the creation of a $40 million fund to combat “foreign propaganda,” a move that has left many scratching their heads as to what, exactly, this money is going to be spent on.

    Brian Becker and John Kiriakou on Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear were joined by Randy Credico, an activist, comedian and former director of the William Moses William Moses Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice.

    ​Kiriakou briefly outlined the history of the fund: Congress initially proposed that it be $80 million, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson argued against it because he hoped to repair relations with Russia. Eventually he agreed to the fund when it was halved to $40 million. But this tidy sum will seemingly only go to DC think tanks so they can fund research and papers on fighting "foreign propaganda."

    "As a political satirist, you can't make this stuff up," said Credico. "I welcome the humor coming down from Congress for giving us this type of stuff. It has bipartisan support with people like [Democratic Senator from Connecticut] Chris Murphy and this other hack [Republican Senator] Rob Portman from Ohio, as is if this is meaningful. There's nothing really there. It's all window dressing, and people should definitely make jokes, it's funny. Sadly, it's not good for a relationship between the US and Russia."

    Kiriakou pointed out that not even the State Department seemed to know what they'd be spending this money on. When asked about the fund, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said that they were "happy to accept submissions" for uses of the fund.

    "Maybe they should open up a pool hall and put in some pinball machines that give out information that counters the information that's given by the Russians," Credico quipped. "There's so much money, and these big DC groups, they need Russian conflict to remain relevant and funded. They know the DNC wasn't hacked by Russia, but they don't want [special counsel Robert] Mueller to find any non-Russian evidence. They want a botched robbery kind of narrative for what happened to the DNC. They want Russia to be the enemy on just about everything they make up. This is a made-up kind of contraption to get funded."

    "You take a look at the people who are getting funded, people like [Democratic Representative from California] Adam Schiff, Lockheed, Northrop, this group headed by [airship manufacturing mogul] Igor Pasternak. He's got like 15, 16 defense contractors giving him money and they need a Russian enemy to justify getting money from Congress."

    "That would be a good start. If you really want to investigate what's going on with our democracy: maybe investigate these congressmen who are getting money from defense contractors who end up in Congress in an endless cycle."

    Becker described the money as a "slush fund." Credico agreed with that assessment.

    "The money should be funded in our interest," Credico said. "I got 60,000 people in my city [New York] that are homeless right now. Certainly that money could be very better well spent in this city. You've got people across the country who are homeless, being foreclosed. That money should be spent to help them out."

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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