Monday, June 27, 2016

Brexit Another Excuse for Putin Bashing

Brexit Another Excuse for Putin Bashing

by Stephen Lendman

He’s falsely blamed for favoring Brexit, orchestrating Euro 2016 hooliganism, nonexistent aggression in Ukraine, menacing Baltic states and other Eastern European countries, along with being America’s top existential threat.

Now, according to right-wing Daily Beast columnist Josh Rogin, writing in the neocon Washington Post, “Russian intelligence and security services have been waging a campaign of harassment and intimidation against US diplomats, embassy staff and their families in Moscow and several other European capitals…”

No evidence suggests it. Similar accusations surfaced earlier. In October 2014, ABC News claimed “the number of incidents, targeting American diplomats in Moscow, has increased in recent years to levels not seen since the Cold War.”

At the time, Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded, saying “(c)learly orchestrated by the US Department of State, the info leak by the ABC television claiming that the staff of the US embassy in Russia has been receiving threats and has become a target of ‘psychological pressure’ is unfounded and far from reality.” 

“We suggest that our colleagues (sic) at the US State Department avoid adding even more controversy to the already ‘gloomy’ atmosphere in our relations.”

According to Rogin, Russian harassment ranges from “weird (to) scary,” his allegations based solely on baseless State Department claims. 

Saying Russian agents are “following diplomats or their family members, showing up at their social events uninvited, or paying reporters to write negative stories about them are wild accusations unrelated to hard facts.

It gets worse, including breaking into US diplomats’ homes “late at night…rearrang(ing) the furniture or turn(ing) on all the lights and televisions, and then leav(ing).”

One US diplomat claimed an intruder “defecated on his living room carpet.” Other allegations included “slashed tires,” police harassment, and former US ambassador Michael McFaul “hounded by government-paid protesters,” along with “intelligence personnel follow(ing) his children to school.”

An earlier report claimed a Russian operative broke into the US defense attache’s Moscow home, killing his dog.

You can’t make this stuff up, baseless way over-the-top accusations. Spying goes with the territory. Everybody spies on everybody else. Everyone knows it’s common practice.

State Department accusations Rogin reported are entirely different. What possible benefit could Russia gain by harassing US officials? On the one hand, his report reads like bad fiction. On the other, it’s shameless Putin bashing.

Legitimate writers wouldn’t touch this rubbish. Rogin compounded it by accusing Russia of intervening militarily in Ukraine - adding since sanctions were imposed (illegally he failed to explain), harassment of US diplomats “increased significantly.”

Accusations without independently verifiable credible evidence have no validity. When it comes to Putin bashing, it doesn’t matter. Saying things make them so.

According to Russia’s Washington embassy, “deteriorat(ing) US-Russia relations…not caused by us, but by (Obama-imposed) sanctions and attempts to isolate Russia” harmed diplomatic relations.

“(F)or the last couple of years, our diplomatic staff in the United States has been facing certain problems. The Russian side has never acted proactively to negatively affect US diplomats in any way.”

A previous article called Putin bashing a virtual cottage industry, inventing things to blame him for. Guilt by accusation suffices, made up stuff substituting for facts.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

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

Visit his blog site at 

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