On March 3, Li JingJing, a journalist with China’s state-run CGTN, interviewed Nick Brana, an American emigrant from Chile and founder of an obscure Movement for a People's Party.
Brana's Movement for a People's Party was one of the organizers of a pro-Russian rally in Washington, DC on February 19, when hundreds gathered at the Lincoln Memorial, many carrying Russian flags and wearing clothes marked with the letter “Z” — Russia’s symbol for the war in Ukraine.
The organizers, some of whom are working for Russia’s state-owned media, dubbed their rally “Rage against the war machine,” but blamed Russia’s aggression in Ukraine on the West.
Their demands mirror the key narratives of Russian propaganda, including that the United States stop supporting Ukraine, and that both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a 30-member defensive military alliance, and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), be dissolved.
Discussing the rally with Brana, Li JingJing said the protesters “want to send a clear message to the warmongers: ‘Stop pushing the world to a WWIII.’” Threats of a third world war are a regular Kremlin talking point, intended to dismay and curtail Western support for Ukraine.
“Since the Western mainstream media is not showing the real voices, here on my show, I'm going to show you the voices from this anti-war movement.”
Li’s depiction of the marginal political factions and figures behind the “Rage Against the War Machine” rally as “the real voices” in American society or any genuine anti-war debate is misleading.
The so-called “anti-war” rally primarily opposed Western efforts to help Ukraine defend itself, not Russian aggression.
During his appearance, Brana repeated Russia’s talking points, including the false claims that the U.S. organized a coup in Ukraine in 2014; that the war was provoked by NATO expansion; that the U.S. promised the Soviet Union that NATO would not expand; and “the Russian economy is doing fairly well” despite suffering “sanctions designed to punish Russia for defending itself against NATO expansion.”
Polygraph.info has previously addressed these false and/or misleading claims.
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Many of those who spoke at the rally allegedly have financial ties with the Russian state or are employed by the Russian state.
For example, some speakers, including Garland Nixon, Wyatt Reed, Chris Hedges and Tara Reade, are employed by, or regularly contribute to Russian state broadcasters like Sputnik and RT.
The rally attracted more fringe political ideologies and movements, including followers of Lyndon LaRouche, a conspiracy-minded U.S. political activist and failed presidential candidate whose group is often described as “cult-like.”
Some waved Russian or Soviet flags, and expressed views sympathetic to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s war on Ukraine.
One protest organizer, The Center for Political Innovation, “apologized” to organizers for flying Russian flags at the event “to support Russia against U.S. imperialism,” tweeting: “We did not intend to inappropriately impose our politics.”
Members of that group have previously donned the “Z" symbol, used by Russia to show support for the invasion of Ukraine.
Molly Conger, a journalist, antifascist researcher and activist who attended the rally, tweeted that “the organized factions here are more pro-Russia than anti-war.”
The Libertarian Party, which helped sponsor the event, noted that “a few speakers have made statements in direct opposition to the core thesis of the event”—namely, those speakers who expressed support for Russia’s war against Ukraine.
For example, self-described "MAGA Communist” Jackson Hinckle said he supports Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Another scheduled rally speaker, Scott Ritter, was ultimately disinvited. The disgraced former United Nations weapons inspector and regular RT contributor said he wasn’t anti-war, and compared Ukraine to “a rabid dog” that needed to be shot.