Russia has lots of experience in media censorship. So perhaps it is logical that Rep Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-2) hires an agent of the Russian government as a ‘consultant’ to keep Hawaii media under control.
But Gabbard’s consultant, Chris Cooper of the Potomac Square Group, is no ordinary Russian agent. Cooper is allegedly one of seven identified as being at the center of illegal Russian lobbying efforts reaching into the Trump campaign and Congress.
Gabbard’s Hare Krishna guru Chris Butler seeks recognition from mainstream Hinduism in India. Gabbard has developed close ties with the Hindu nationalist government of India. India’s foreign policy is traditionally aligned with Russia. The Hindu nationalists are anti-Islamist. By aligning with India’s foreign policy, Gabbard’s work relating to Russia and Syria dovetails with Butler’s drive for recognition from India.
International intrigue is nothing new for the Butler Cult. Cult followers were convicted in New Zealand in 2008 and 2010 for trafficking 240 tonnes of hashish into the US–in part from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
According to Hermitage, Cooper arranged a June 13, 2016 Washington, DC showing of an anti-Magnitsky Act ‘documentary’ along with Rinat Akhmetshin “a former member of the Russian military intelligence services (GRU).” Hermitage continues: “…the day after the Newseum event, Congressman Royce chaired a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on U.S. policy towards Putin’s Russia… attended by…Natalia Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin.”
Cooper’s website informs readers that he “help(s) clients define and disseminate their narratives” and “client work focuses on interests in the US and Europe and countries that include Russia….”
The New York Times buttonholed Cooper at the documentary showing and reports: “Mr. Cooper rented the theater in the Newseum and declined to say who was paying his company.”
Asked who paid him to write the letter to Honolulu Magazine, Cooper likewise did not respond to Hawai’i Free Press.
Gabbard’s FEC records and the Congressional Statement of Disbursements for the timeframe show no payment of campaign funds or Congressional office funds to Cooper or Potomac Square. Neither Gabbard nor her office responded to our query.