Atlantic Council’s foreign donations help it thrive as media fact-checker at election season

May 12, 2021

By John Ransom

A think tank that previously was famous for fostering European and American cooperation on host of issues from trade to national security has rapidly changed its mission since 2008.

As a result, it has flirted dangerously close to foreign election interference.  

The Atlantic Council, through the establishment of the impressive-sounding Digital Forensic Research Lab, now prominently acts as traffic-cop fighting against Republican “disinformation” for the alphabet press and was active in the last election.  

In its new mission, the DLF has argued stridently for de-platforming of conservative opinion, lumping that opinion into the same class as Chinese, Tanzanian, Belarusian and Russian state propaganda. 

“In the immediate sense, de-platforming irrefutably works,” argued the DFL in a recent piece on Medium, saying that unfortunately de-platforming was used too little and too late in the recent election.   

“Platforms have failed to act proactively and comprehensively against the disinformation and extremism they have enabled,” continued DFL, “and the consequences of that failure are likely to follow the country for decades.” 

And while the lab never mentioned Donald Trump by name, they didn’t have to. Who else of such large consequence was de-platformed?  

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Atlantic Council’s pivot to being a “disinformation” clearinghouse for the press is being funded by the usual set of American internationalists, such as Miami banking heiress Adrienne Arsht, plus some people and organizations that should raise eyebrows even amongst liberals.

The Atlantic’s DFL is headed up by Graham Brookie, who was responsible in part for communications on Obama’s National Security/Foreign policy team.

More worrisome is a host of foreign funders at the Atlantic Council such as billionaire Bahaa Hariri. 

Hariri is a Lebanese national whose brother is a prominent Syrian politician who once served as prime minister of Syria. Hariri gave more than $1 million dollars to the Atlantic Council. 

Other funders are the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates ($1 million-plus), Abu Dhabi National Oil Company; Embassy of Japan; and Hunter Biden’s old friend from Ukraine, Burisma Holdings ($450,000), amongst others.  

And yes. It’s that Burisma Holdings; the one that paid Hunter Biden $50,000 a month for a no-show job. 

Another big funder is Facebook ($1 million-plus), which also uses the DFL as a fact-check resource.  

Other funders of note include Twitter, the government of Taiwan, Her Majesty’s Government (no, not the same people who go on Oprah to savage each other), Lithuania, Finland and Sweden.  

It’s no big deal really. That is, if you believe the Atlantic Council denials of foreign election interference.  

Republican types may be worried about foreign election interference when the DFL issues its reports that the press then acts on. 

But the Atlantic Council’s DFL has already found “the direct impact of these efforts [by foreign countries] appears minimal.”

Thank goodness for those good-hearted donors. 

But it begs the question: Is it not foreign election interference when foreign people, companies and governments spend millions to influence any narrative about any portion of our elections? 

Yes, of course it is.   

Even Robert Mueller would know that. 


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