Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Russia Bashing's New Twist: Alleged State-Sponsored Doping

Russia Bashing’s New Twist: Alleged State-Sponsored Doping

by Stephen Lendman

A previous article discussed doping accusations without corroborating evidence. It’s habitual in irresponsibly bashing Russia. 

The Western founded and run World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused Russia of state-sponsored doping of athletes - a thinly veiled politically motivated scheme to ban Russia from international athletic competition, especially the 2016 summer Olympic games.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “(w)e know about it from the mass media, and rely on the disproof voiced by our sports ministry.”

Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) president Nikita Kamayev said “(i)f If we speak about the allegedly destroyed doping samples, I see only a raw report and declarative statements without any proof. This also goes in regard to accusations of bribes offered by athletes. I see no logic here. All accusations are ungrounded at the moment.”

Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko called conclusions in WADA’s report “baseless” and “really fictional. The Russian doping agencies today are really independent from the government.”

“We only collect samples that are then stored in a laboratory and are supervised for decades. It is not Russia that now heads the anti-doping organization.”

Around 15,000 blood samples are collected annually. Around 2% of athletes are disqualified, “the same as in other countries,” he explained.

“It is impossible to hide anything today. All of the data is there in the databases supervised by WADA. Many of them just cannot be forged.” Irresponsible accusations seek to delegitimize Russian sports. 

WADA president Dick Pound was in charge of an alleged 11 month investigation, targeting Russia alone, no other country, an obvious red flag. Mutko blasted him, saying:

“There is the report of the commission and there is the opinion of Mr. Pound, who actually overstepped and exceeded the competence of this commission, and gave his personal assessment, rather a general assessment of the entire anti-doping activities in Russia.”

His allegations are based on “unsubstantiated facts (and) unknown sources.” He’s effectively saying “(w)e don’t have confirmation today that the government interferes, but we believe it does. We don’t have proof, but we still believe that they are guilty.”

His accusations are an affront to a major international sports-competing nation. “You can’t just go on like this. You need to understand our sentiment. Sometimes it is just offensive. The country has done so much to provide support for sports…and still all the time we have to prove something to someone.”

Why is Russia alone being singled out, no other nations facing doping allegations? Russia is “very committed” to holding athletes accountable for using banned substances to enhance performance, Mutko explained.

Strict penalties are imposed. “Russia invests tens of millions of dollars to fight doping. We created one of the best anti-doping laboratories which now has all the necessary capabilities to control” its use.

“We will respect and pay attention to any commissions that will set out to look into this. And we will provide whatever information is needed.” 

“If WADA launches any new initiatives or a road map we will whole heartedly support it. We only advocate that the political issues should not interfere in the affairs of sport.”

He denied accusations of his personal involvement in covering up doping. WADA has much explaining to do, its actions entirely politically motivated, contrary to fundamental good sportsmanship principles, especially as part of persistent Russia bashing.

Doping in sports existed from the earliest days of athletic competition, aiming to gain an edge through performance enhancing drugs, regardless of health risks and the spirit of good sportsmanship.

International competition today is more about profiteering, exploitation of athletes, and politics than sport. Olympic and other world sports federations are rife with corruption and other disturbing dark side practices.

Amateur international sport competition at its best is more illusion than reality. The International Olympic Committee, FIFA, and numerous other bodies conceal the worst of their practices.

Legitimate exposes should target them, not athletes exploited for profit or nations they represent. US media scoundrels are all over the Russian doping allegations, declaring its athletes and officials guilty by accusation.

Irresponsible headlines are virtual indictments. The New York Times: “Drugs Pervade Sport in Russia, World Anti-Doping Agency Report Finds”

With no due diligence, fact checking or skepticism, The Times reported disturbing allegations without contesting them, saying “(m)embers of Russia’s secret service intimidated workers at a drug-testing lab to cover up top athletes’ positive results.” 

“They impersonated lab engineers during the Winter Olympics in Sochi last year. A lab once destroyed more than 1,400 samples.”

“Athletes adopted false identities to avoid unexpected testing. Some paid to make doping violations disappear. Others bribed the antidoping authorities to ensure favorable results, and top sports officials routinely submitted bogus urine samples for athletes who were doping.”

The headline and first few paragraphs are key in all important reports. Most readers never go much further. Vital information, when included, is buried well into accounts, never seen most often. The public is willfully deceived.

The Washington Post headlining “Russia’s doping game gets exposed” says it all - guilty by accusation, highlighting WADA president Dick Pound saying: “It’s worse than we thought,” an outrageous comment, charges and innuendo alone presented without corroboration.

The Wall Street Journal featured a similar disturbing headline: “Anti-Doping Commission Finds Russia Engaged in State-Sponsored Doping,” virtually accepting the allegations as factual.

Russia is guilty because WADA said so. It’s hard imagining Washington’s dirty hands not orchestrating the entire ugly business. 

It bears repeating. This is all about banning Russian participation in international sporting events, especially next summer’s Olympic games. 

The previous article called it back-door sanctioning - in this case, hugely embarrassing Russia and Vladimir Putin personally if WADA gets away with its dirty scheme.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.