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The Russian Bounty Story Is a Deadly Example of Fake News

  • May 16, 2021

Maj. Danny Sjursen weighs in on U.S. intelligence agencies’ recent admission that a report that the Taliban had been paid by Russia to kill Americans is most likely false. 

A New York Times report about Russia paying Taliban militants to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan turned many heads in the summer of 2020 when it was first published. It solidified many Democrats’ views that Russia is a dangerous enemy that is consistently acting to not only undermine the U.S., but actually murder its citizens. As NBC News points out, Joe Biden treated the story as factual as a presidential candidate and has continued to repeat the allegations as president. Yet, as many on the left pointed out countless times since the story was published by major news outlets, the reports have never been adequately substantiated. Maj. Danny Sjursen, a historian and Afghanistan War veteran, has been a notable critic of the story from the get-go. Now, as Biden’s own intelligence agencies declare that they have “low to moderate confidence” in the reports, at the very same time his administration levies a whole host of new sanctions against Russia, Sjursen joins Robert Scheer on “Scheer Intelligence” to discuss the revelation. 

Scheer and Sjursen, the author of the forthcoming “A True History of the United States: Indigenous Genocide, Racialized Slavery, Hyper-Capitalism, Militarist Imperialism and Other Overlooked Aspects of American Exceptionalism,” point out the dangers of escalating tensions between two of the world’s greatest nuclear powers and the flagrant disregard for facts many Democrats and corporate media outlets have exhibited in their rhetoric regarding Russia. So what’s behind this recklessness? 

“It seems the main motivation [behind stories like the Russian bounty report],” posits Sjursen, “for the longest time was to imply that Trump really was guilty of the Russia collusion, and to sort of sabotage him.” 

Clarifying that he has never supported Trump, the historian calls for “intellectual consistency” with regards to reporting that can have very real, very dangerous effects on the ground. Sjursen and Scheer go on to examine the timing of these allegations, arguing that the story could be linked to Trump’s desire to definitively pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan–a move many liberals opposed. The entire ordeal also highlights another issue, says the veteran journalist and “Scheer Intelligence” host. 

“It’s the big story in terms of what it says about the difficulty of writing accurate history and of doing accurate reporting,” says Scheer. “Because when it doesn’t fit into your narrative, you twist.” 

Listen to the full conversation between Sjursen and Scheer as the two discuss the implications of “fake news” as well as talk about the Eisenhower Media Network, an organization Sjursen now leads made up of military and national security veterans who offer incisive and balanced foreign policy analysis.

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