U.S. Energy Markets: The Real Russian Meddling the Media Ignores
By Paul Homewood From the American Spectator: Who is actively fighting to ensure government policies shutter U.S. nuclear energy facilities; keep domestic coal, natural gas, and oil in the ground; force up energy prices through taxes and regulations; and endanger national security by installing wind farms near military bases? If you answered, “the Sierra Club and its allies,” you’re correct, though you might be surprised to find that one of the latter is the Russian government. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology recently issued a report detailing attempts by the Russian government to disrupt U.S. energy markets through social media. Russian operatives encouraged protests to block pipeline construction and prevent new oil and gas extraction projects, among other activities. “The Kremlin manipulated various groups in an attempt to carry out its geopolitical agenda, particularly with respect to domestic energy policy,” the report stated. Unfortunately, with the exception of The American Spectator’s Kevin Mooney who covered this report in articles on March 5 and March 8, most media outlets have ignored this particular Russian scandal. The growth in U.S. energy production threatens Russia’s geopolitical influence and economic strength. In the past decade, fracking and improved delivery infrastructure such as expanded pipelines and new natural gas export terminals have rapidly increased U.S. energy production, putting downward pressure on global energy prices. In response, the Russian government carried out a concerted campaign to disrupt U.S. energy markets by fomenting fears of fossil fuels causing catastrophic climate change. Sifting through thousands of documents from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, committee staff identified Russian accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Saint Petersburg-based company established by the Russian government. IRA used social and traditional media platforms to advance Russian propaganda and viewpoints, the report states. Between 2015 and 2017, IRA created 4,334 accounts across Twitter and Facebook, producing 9,097 posts or tweets on U.S. energy policy or energy-related events, the analysts estimate. Dozens of posts encouraged Americans to protest pipeline construction, especially targeting the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Russian government funneled money through surrogates to U.S. environmental organizations to fund attacks on the fossil fuel industry, the report states. “This report reveals that Russian agents created and spread propaganda on U.S. social media platforms in an obvious attempt to influence the U.S. energy market,” said committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) in a written statement. “Russian agents attempted to manipulate Americans’ opinions about pipelines, fossil fuels, fracking, and climate change.” This is not the first time experts have noted attempts by the Russian government to disrupt U.S. energy markets, the report states. Read the full story here.
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