Russian meddling in Canadian oil pipelines uses old Soviet ‘useful idiots’ ploy – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – March 3, 2018)

An investigation by United States lawmakers that links Russian-sponsored agents to manipulation of U.S. energy markets — including activism against pipelines such as TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline — is a wake-up call to Canadian governments that foreign interests have a big hand in campaigns to block Canadian oil and gas exports.

By designing energy and environmental policy to appease that inflated activism — for example, regulatory reforms that are expected to further discourage energy investment in Canada — Canadian governments are accommodating competitors prepared to do whatever it takes to protect and grow their global oil and gas market share, not Canada’s best interest.

According to the report by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology, made public Thursday, Russian agents have been exploiting U.S. social media platforms to influence opinions about U.S. energy and environmental policy.

“Americans have a right to know that much of what they view online is being disseminated by foreign agents in an effort to disrupt U.S. energy policies,” the report says.

Documents provided to the investigation by social media companies Twitter, Facebook and Instagram reveal that the agents used accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian company based in St. Petersburg established by the Russian government to manipulate social and traditional media to advance Russian propaganda.

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