The group's latest achievement is a unscrupulous puff piece in the Washington Post.
"A group of cybersecurity, national security and legal experts is warning that Russia's efforts to weaken America's democratic institutions aren't limited to elections — but also extend to the US justice system," Bastien Inzaurralde wrote in an "analysis" for the paper that failed to live up to its name.
"The band of experts… is tracking how Russian operatives tend to exploit sensitive issues such as immigration and race in posts designed to drum up backlash to the justice system," according to the paper.
Inzaurralde cited the work of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank that is working on tracking Russia's alleged efforts to undermine US institutions like its criminal justice system, which is by many important measures the most expansive in the entire world.
In particular, Suzanne Spaulding, a former high-ranking official at the Department of Homeland Security, has been using the discredited "Hamilton 68" dashboard created by the neoconservative think tanks Alliance for Securing Democracy and the US and NATO-funded German Marshall Fund "for the research," according to the Washington Post writer.
Spaulding is preparing to make a presentation on her so-called research to US lawmakers, according to the Post.
Inzaurralde then discusses an article from September by Spaulding and Harvey Rishikof, who is a member of the think tanks' "Defending Democratic Institutions" project team. (Spaulding is a senior adviser at CSIS).
According to the Beltway-based Kremlinologists, RT and Sputnik "routinely produce content that alleges corruption, partisanship and fundamental unfairness of the justice system."
"Shows like ‘America's Lawyer' and the ‘Criminal Injustice' segment on Sputnik's ‘Loud & Clear' often weave genuine concerns and viable grievances in with misleading narratives," the authors stated. "Important causes are hijacked, making Kremlin-linked outlets appear to be the champions of justice reform in the United States while, in reality, their programming is designed to exacerbate grievances and weaken our institutions."
Loud & Clear is hosted by John Kiriakou, who was sentenced to 30 months in prison in the United States for blowing the whistle on the CIA's torture program, and prominent anti-war activist Brian Becker.
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) December 10, 2018
The segment in question, "Criminal Injustice," also features commentary from Paul Wright, the editor of Prison Legal News and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center, as well as Kevin Gosztola, the managing editor of Shadowproof, a publication known for its in-depth reporting on prisons.
"I should feel honored and praised because it means we're being noticed. But also it's amazing that these people over at CSIS, this think tank, were able to sniff this out, because if you go back to polls as early as 2010 or prior, you already have quite an undermining of the justice system," Gosztola told Loud & Clear. "Nearly 45 percent of people in 2010, Pew Research found, say too many people are in prison."
That predates "this hysteria that has seized our government for the last two to three years and made it nearly impossible to have any politically mature discussions about significant issues," Gosztola added.
Wright said that the "misleading narrative" that is allegedly promoted on the Criminal Injustice segment is "that we're apologists for the police state."
Wright said "one of the big impetuses" for creating Prison Legal News was that he was "disappointed in the corporate media and their coverage of criminal justice issues; the fact that they did not — you know, they did not cover issues, they did not give any voice to prisons or our families, who are the people most affected by it," he said.
The "stunning lack of objectivity," government officials being "taken at their word" even when "they're telling bald-faced lies" and "reporters routinely" suspending disbelief also contributed to his decision to try to push back on criminal justice narratives through alternative media, Wright argued.
"The bottom line of this criticism is: if you criticize any aspect of the government — and their specific criticism of us is that we criticize the criminal justice system — that you are weakening the country," Kiriakou said. "That when we have that segment every Thursday, that we are weakening democracy by criticizing injustice."
"That makes me angry because what weakens democracy is stupid reports from ill-informed people like this, who seek to shut down debate," Kiriakou said. "That's what weakens democracy."
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.