Putin pals fund radical groups that interfere with US elections, energy, agriculture and economy
Robert Mueller’s politicized investigation into allegations that President Trump or the Trump campaign or some Trump associate somehow colluded with Russians continues unproven but unabated. Many think partisan politics ensure it will not be concluded or terminated before the fall 2018 elections.
Federal District Court Judge T. S. Ellis may have rebuked Mueller for attempting to wield “unfettered power” and actually being motivated primarily by a desire to hurt the President. But Mr. Mueller seems determined to find collusion somewhere – except where it seems blatantly obvious: in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s dealings with Putin oligarchs and the Clinton Family Foundation, her presidential campaign’s ties to Russia in funding and utilizing the Steele-Fusion GPS dossier that launched the Mueller probe, a host of top Obama Administration and Democratic National Committee officials who connived to spy on and disrupt the Trump campaign and transition, and multiple other activities.
Moreover, Putin cronies and agents have long colluded with Obama- and Clinton-allied organizations in yet another area to impact election outcomes and drive important public policies. Congress, journalists and others have investigated this collusion and bankrolling – but their detailed reports have been ignored by Mueller, Democrats and the “mainstream” media. They need to open their eyes.
The US Senate “Billionaires’ Club” and Environmental Policy Alliance “From Russia with Love” reports, articles by investigative journalists like Ron Arnold and Lachlan Markay (here and here), studies by the US National Intelligence Director and Iowa State University, and a March 2018 report by the US House Science Committee reveal money laundering by Putin cronies and ongoing propaganda efforts by Russian media groups to undermine American drilling, fracking, pipeline and agricultural programs. They found:
One of the most clandestine and devious arrangements involves firms owned or controlled by Nathaniel Simons and his wife. Tax records reveal that their Sea Change Foundation gives tens of millions a year to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Climate Action Network, League of Conservation Voters, Center for American Progress, Progressive Policy Institute, Food & Water Watch, Sierra Club and others.
Extensive Sea Change funding comes through Bermuda-based Klein, Ltd., a shell company whose apparent sole purpose is to channel money covertly to Sea Change, which passes it on to environmental advocacy and “educational” groups. Klein’s only officers are employees of Bermuda law firm Wakefield Quin, its address is the same as WQ’s, and its registered business agents work for Wakefield.
Hefty portions of Klein funds come from Russia: Rosneft, the Russian-government-owned oil and gas giant that is one of Wakefield’s largest clients; Spectrum Partners, a Moscow-based energy investment firm with major assets in Russian oil and gas; the IPOC Group, an international growth fund owned by Russian minister of telecommunications and Putin friend Leonid Reiman; and other Russian companies. (Other Sea Change donors include the Gates Foundation, eBay’s Omidyar Network Fund, David Rockefeller’s personal foundation, the Walmart Foundation and the extended Simons family.)
The Science Committee Report explains how the Russian government funnel money through surrogates to US environmentalist organizations to fund attacks on the fossil fuels industry. It also reveals how Russian operatives create and spread propaganda on US social media platforms, to manipulate American opinions about pipelines, fossil fuels, fracking and climate change.
Before and after the 2016 elections, Russian agents also promoted protests to block pipeline construction and prevent oil and gas production projects, using Twitter and Facebook accounts created by the Russian government-linked Internet Research Agency, Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) noted.
Russian operatives use similar tactics to undermine hydraulic fracturing and pipelines in Europe, which depends on Russia for a third of its natural gas. In fact, several countries get 100% of their gas from Putin-controlled companies, creating serious risks of high prices, transmission interruptions and blackmail. Even more troubling, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have revealed that Russian hackers were behind cyber intrusions into America’s electricity grid – and might have been setting the stage for hack attacks that could cause widespread blackouts in the USA and other nations.
On the agriculture front, the Iowa State study found that Russian agents have orchestrated campaigns to disparage genetically engineered (GE) crops that American farmers utilize to produce more food, from less land, using less water and fewer pesticides, and with greater resistance to droughts, floods, insects and climate shifts, than is possible with conventional or organic farming. Precise modern GE technologies also created Golden Rice, which prevents malnutrition, blindness and death in Third World children; heat-resistant wheat; and the corn (maize) US ethanol producers use as their feed stock.
However, radical groups like Greenpeace and Food & Water Watch are determined to eliminate every form of agricultural biotechnology. They are just as virulently opposed to pesticides and herbicides.
Financed by organic and natural food companies – and by the Russia-Sea Change Laundromat – they are adept at devising and conducting their own anti-GE/GMO, anti-glyphosate, anti-pesticide and other campaigns. All are eagerly and uncritically covered by print, electronic and social media. But US activist groups and news outlets also parrot or expand on Russia’s RT (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik propaganda stories that likewise falsely portray these technologies as risky for people and planet.
Why do they do all this? US fracking operations, oil and gas exports, miraculous agricultural output, and corn, wheat and other crop exports have hurt Russia’s income, economy, ruble and military. By supporting radical green groups, Russian agents impair US energy and agricultural exports, increase export opportunities for Russian companies, advance their nation’s economic and geopolitical ambitions, especially regarding Europe – and (they hope) make Russia stronger by making America weaker.
Foundations, government agencies, rich liberals like Michael Bloomberg, corporations and other donors agree with the green agenda, want to avoid activist attacks, or just can’t see past utopian assertions to recognize what Hard Green agendas really do, especially to working class and Third World families.
Radical greens gladly take Russian funds because they can never have too much money to advance their domestic and international ambitions. As Ron Arnold notes in our book Cracking Big Green: just the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace and ten other major US eco organizations raked in $2.1 billion in 2012. Total revenue for all US environmentalist groups exceeds $6.5 billion a year. Over a 12-year period, they received more than $21 billion from major foundations; countless millions in taxpayer money from US government agencies during the Obama era; and billions from other sources.
All this cash is fungible. Even if these shady, secretive Russian contributions aen’t used directly to fund anti-energy and anti-technology campaigns – or to air political ads, support candidates (some 99.9% of them Democrats) and influence elections – they free up other funds that do exactly that. And the donors and recipients are fundamentally in sync philosophically on totalitarian socialism, global governance, wealth redistribution, disguised but real disdain for the less fortunate, and detesting America (especially under President Trump) and free enterprise capitalism.
All of this is illuminating and disturbing, but hardly surprising. It’s yet another example of greens and other leftists demanding ethics, responsibility, transparency and accountability – except for themselves.
So if Mr. Mueller and Judge Ellis ultimately decide there actually are no limits to the scope of these “Russian collusion” investigations and interrogations, perhaps they can focus some of Mueller’s staff and seemingly bottomless budget on the HRC activities noted above; the suspicious funding and spending practices of the Clinton Foundation; and the ongoing transfer of countless millions of dollars from Russia through secretive laundering outfits to radical environmentalist groups that are deeply involved in US policy-making, pressure campaigns, shareholder actions, and political elections of every description.
That investigation into Russian collusion would be an eye-opening service to America and the world.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy and environmental science and policy.