AIM: Russian Television Host Closes Down Jefferson Memorial

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From Accuracy in Media‘s Cliff Kincaid:

An employee of Moscow-funded Russia Today and a camera crew from the channel were part of an effort last Saturday that closed down the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. in the name of free speech. One can guess at the reaction by Moscow authorities if employees of the Voice of America had disrupted access to Lenin’s Tomb in Red Square.

Russia has become increasingly aggressive in using a state-funded TV channel as a weapon of the information war. What is unique is Russia Today television’s brazen use of a disgruntled U.S. Marine veteran, Adam Kokesh, as a front man in this assault on America’s history and founding fathers. Caught on camera, Kokesh candidly admitted that he indeed is a Russian agent of influence and a member of the Moscow-funded “resistance” to the U.S. Government on American soil. A camera crew from Russia Today or “RT,” as it now likes to call itself, was there to record his anticipated confrontation with the police.

While Kokesh was fairly open about his intentions, he was adamant in refusing to say how much he is being paid by the channel for his program, “Adam Vs. the Man.” Although he insists Moscow gives him editorial independence, he could not cite one program he has done on human rights problems in Russia, where journalists deemed too critical of the government are sometimes assassinated. One of the victims was U.S. journalist Paul Klebnikov, then editor of Forbes Russia.

The idea that the protest was in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, as they were loudly insisting, was incredible to anyone knowing anything about Kokesh and his collaborator, Medea Benjamin of the Code Pink group. A close friend of former Weather Underground terrorist Bernardine Dohrn, Benjamin is a big backer of such “democrats” as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. Lately, she has been organizing protests against aid to Israel. She has traveled to meet with leaders of the terrorist group Hamas, only to come back with a “peace” message for President Obama personally. Benjamin’s other close friend, Jodie Evans, raised money for Obama’s 2008 campaign for president.

In the end, the police backed down, making no arrests. They simply escorted the demonstrators out. A previous use of force against such demonstrators—and five arrests—had resulted in complaints about “police brutality.” One can only surmise that the Park Police were told by higher authorities to go easy on the demonstrators.

A report by ABC 7 in Washington was fair and balanced, in that it had the point of view of the protesters as well as the comments of ordinary people unfairly kept from the memorial because of the circus atmosphere. As I told the reporter, the demonstrators were interfering with the rights of those people who wanted access to the monument.

The media claimed, almost without exception, that the “dancing” protest led by Kokesh was somehow designed to highlight freedom of expression. But members of the public, including tourists from other countries, were the only ones who were denied their freedom. They were denied entrance into the rotunda of the memorial while the Park Police had to move the demonstrators out. This went on for almost an hour, as Kokesh and his groupies yelled and screamed inside the monument while engaging in various gyrations they described as dancing. It was an ugly affair that was clothed in the rhetoric of free expression.

Keep in mind that demonstrations are allowed on most of the grounds of the monument. The only area that is off-limits is the rotunda, where the19-foot-tall Jefferson statue and his writings are displayed on the walls. The sign says, “Please respect the Memorial and help preserve the atmosphere of calm, tranquility and reverence. Consequently, no demonstrations allowed.” The warning reflects a law, upheld by the courts, prohibiting demonstrations in the rotunda.

No violence occurred at the memorial, but my videos of the events showed that several of the Kokesh groupies got extremely overheated and anxious when they realized that their hero was on the defensive over his relationship with his Russian paymasters. Their next stop, according to a flyer distributed at the memorial, is an event called “Porc Fest,” where the agenda includes topics such as a “stateless society,” transhumanism, “anarchist organization,” and the screening of a film called “Guns and Weed.”  These dangerous oddballs are trying to infiltrate the Tea Party movement. Ron Paul should disavow them. These are alienated youth who need to start working for a living—if only the jobs were available.

Usually described as an “anti-war” veteran of the Iraq War, Kokesh was caught smuggling an illegal weapon back to the states, an incident that led to his discharge. This was another thing he just didn’t want to talk about when I interviewed him at the memorial.

It is tragic to see a young man such as this turning against his country and embracing Putin’s Russia in the process. Once he left the service he tried to run for Congress as a Ron Paul Republican. Tea Party members rejected him, after learning about his background and “anti-imperialist” views. Now he’s ensconced at Russian television.