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Ukraine declares Rand Paul, Tulsi Gabbard, other Americans are Russian propagandists

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks at the CATO Institute in Washington, D.C., on July 27, 2017. (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/TNS)
July 26, 2022

The Ukrainian government under President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has labeled dozens of Americans as promoters of Russian propaganda narratives including sitting Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Army Reserve Lt. Col. and former congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald.

On or around July 14, the Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation published a list of dozens of high-profile figures from the U.S. and around the world, whom the Ukrainian government agency called “Speakers who promote narratives consonant with Russian propaganda.”

Paul, Gabbard, and Greenwald were among several high-profile Americans included in the list of speakers who promote narratives that Ukraine says are aligned with Russian propaganda efforts. Other high-profile American included on the list were retired Army Col. Douglas McGregor and economist Jeffrey Sachs.

Paul was included on the Ukrainian government list for saying Ukraine was previously a part of the Soviet Union and for opposing Ukraine’s acceptance into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which has a mutual defense pact.

Gabbard was included on the Ukrainian government’s list for discussing the existence of U.S.-funded biolabs in Ukraine. In March the U.S. Department of Defense released a fact-sheet describing the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program, which it says funds facilities in Ukraine that are intended to reduce the risk of pathogens stemming from former Soviet Union biological weapons.

Greenwald was also included on the list for discussing biolabs in Ukraine and for saying the U.S. should avoid provoking a nuclear confrontation with Russia over Ukraine.

“War proponents in the West and other functionaries of Western security state agencies have used the same tactics for decades to demonize anyone questioning the foreign policy of the US and NATO,” Greenwald told UnHerd in response to his being included on the Ukrainian government’s blacklist.

“The Ukrainians have the absolute right to pursue whatever war policies they want,” Greenwald added. “But when they start demanding that my country and my government use its resources to fuel their war effort, then I, along with all other Americans, have the absolute right to question that policy or to point out its dangers and risks. I don’t care at all about Ukraine’s attempts to shut down debate in our country by smearing journalists and politicians who are questioning US/NATO policy as being Russian propagandists. That tactic is as inconsequential as it is cheap, tawdry, and discredited.”

Other Americans on the list included:

  • Scott Ritter – a retired Marine Corps intelligence officer
  • Graham Fuller – a former CIA officer who served as a station chief in Kabul, Afghanistan
  • Richard Black – a former U.S. Marine and U.S. Army soldier who went on to serve as a Virginia state senator.
  • Ray McGovern – a former CIA officer and critic of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq
  • Jim Jatras – a former U.S. diplomat
  • Harley Schlanger – a political commentator
  • Tony Magliano – a U.S. news columnist
  • Dr. George Koo – a Chinese-American writer who frequently commentates on U.S.-China policy
  • Caleb Maupin – a journalist, activist and news commentator
  • Sam Pitroda – an Indian-American telecommunications expert, computer scientist and entrepreneur
  • Dr. Clifford Kiracofe – the President of the Washington Institute for Peace and Development and a former Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff member.
  • Diane Sare – a political candidate who ran as a Democrat for New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District in 2012 and 2014, and who is now running for New York’s Senate seat as an independent in 2022.
  • Geoff Young – a political candidate currently running as the Democrat nominee for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District
  • Mike Calicrate – a rancher and political activist
  • Jason Ross – a political activist with the LaRouche Organization and Schiller Institute
  • Michael Springmann – the head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from 1987 to 1989 and a critic of the ongoing U.S.-backed Saudi-led military operation in Yemen
  • David Payne – a U.S. Army veteran who has advocated Ukraine negotiate with Russia and give up some of its territory to achieve peace with Russia
  • Patrick Basham – a scholar with the libertarian-oriented CATO Institute
  • Brian Berletic – a U.S. Marine veteran who the Zelenskyy government claims has accused Ukraine of killing its own citizens and then framing Russia
  • Steve H. Hanke – an economics professor at Johns Hopkins University and member of the CATO Institute
  • Bradley Blankenship – a U.S. journalist who has had articles published by state-run Russia Today (RT) and Chinese state-run outlets Global Times and CGTN.
  • John Mearsheimer – a U.S. political scientist and foreign policy scholar
  • Harlan Ullman – a retired U.S. Navy officer and principal author of the U.S. military’s “shock and awe” doctrine.

In March, Zelenskyy banned eleven Ukrainian political parties he accused of holding ties to the Russian government. Those parties included the Opposition Party — For Life, Shariy Party, Nashi, Opposition Bloc, Left Opposition, Union of Left Forces, State, Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialist Party of Ukraine, Socialists Party and Volodymyr Saldo.

Ukraine’s SBU security service has also arrested hundreds of Ukrainian citizens accused of supporting Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Among those who have been arrested was a man who claimed Russian invasion forces were fighting Nazi elements within Ukraine and who advocated Ukrainian territories break away.

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This article was updated to correct a state associated with one of the Americans listed.