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More fake news: Russia plans to cut the Internet

Anti-Russian hysteria to influence global public opinion by Western means, is gathering pace.

Published: January 13, 2018, 9:22 am

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    No new “revelations” about “Russiagate” – the alleged interference in the US presidential elections of 2016 – have come to the fore, but an alleged plan by Russian president Vladimir Putin to “attack fiber optic cables” of the global Internet is being hatched, according to feverish anti-Russian pundits.

    The American online site Wired, published an extensive article on 5 January where Russia is once again a threat, this time to the operation of the transoceanic cables of the Internet.

    The supposed danger is to the communications services of Facebook and Skype. The text is written with an apocalyptic slant that attempts to describe a certain imminence of an attack against the Internet, painting Russia as a terrorist and criminal organisation.

    One of its sources is a NATO alert from the end of 2017, which allegedly detected an irregular activity of Russian submarines around the computer cables of the North Atlantic.

    In the article published by The Washington Post the Rear Admiral of the US Navy Andrew Lennon however affirmed that there was no evidence that Russian submarines have touched the cables. Instead he voiced concern for the technological advances of the Russian navy.

    Based on these empty assumptions, Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg has now given permission to revive a central command from the Cold War, to respond to the “Russian threat” against underwater computer cables.

    The timing of this fake news coincides with a report by US Senators alleging that incidents such as the Khodorkovsky prosecutions, the 2008 South Ossetia war, the referendum in Crimea, the Ukrainian conflict, the maligned influence of RT and Sputnik, the sponsorship of conservative groups in Europe, and the so-called Russian Olympic doping scandal, all amount to evidence of Russia’s terrible influence.

    The report repeats the common Western charge that the Russian billionaire oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested and persecuted because of his political activities, when even European Court of Human Rights – the court with the authority to pronounce on this issue – has repeatedly said in a lengthy succession of Judgments that Khodorkovsky was convicted and imprisoned not because of his political activities but because he carried out a gigantic tax fraud.

    The Russian authorities have said the same. The case against him was not therefore brought for political reasons as the US Senate report states. But in the aftermath of Russiagate the group of Democratic Party Senators have published one of the most bizarre and disturbing reports ever on Russia.

    The Senators even added a lengthy appendix discussing the Russian Olympic doping scandal which treats the Russian government’s involvement as a proven fact. However the International Olympic Committee’s own investigation of this claim says quite clearly that there has been no evidence of that.

    The attitude of NATO towards Russia too, has become increasingly aggressive and confrontational. After the crisis erupted in Ukraine, NATO claimed that Russia sought to “invade Europe”.

    But reports from RAND Corporation, a well-known think tank affiliated with the Pentagon, in 2016 and 2017 actually pointed out that NATO military maneuvers could “accidentally” trigger a war with Russia.

    Wired’s article claims that the “probable Russian attack on optical fibers” would only affect countries connected by the Atlantic, and communications could quickly be re-channeled through the Pacific while citing some “experts” who say that such an attack would actually affect Russia more than Europe or the United States. So why would Russia then attack its own communications?

    Underwater cables are regularly damaged, not by Russia, but by underwater earthquakes, rock slides and ship anchors. In searching for copper in Armenia, an individual left the entire country without Internet for several hours after accidentally damaging a cable.

    It seems as if every single charge which has ever been made against Vladimir Putin and Russia wilfully ignores any evidence which contradicts it.

    President Putin has meanwhile warned the US not to try to influence the outcome of elections in Russia, where he may be elected for a fourth term in office.

    Journalists questioned Putin on why Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny would not be on the ballot later this year. Both the United States and the European Union had criticized the decision of Russia’s central election commission last month barring Navalny from taking part in the March presidential election, due to his suspended prison sentence.

    “Nobody likes it when you meddle in their internal political and domestic affairs,” the Russsian president responded, speaking on a visit to the offices of the Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid. “Our American friends dislike this in particular.”

    At the meeting with Russian media Putin noted that Navalny was not the only candidate who was not eligible to run, but for some reason Washington is indignant only about him.

    “That obviously shows the US administration’s preferences when it comes to who they want to lead other countries, who they want to move forward in Russian politics, and who they’d like to see in the country’s leadership.”

    Because the United States has shown its preference for one particular political candidate only, Putin noted, he added that “it would be better if they would just be quiet”.

    Putin continued the Kremlin’s long-standing tradition of never pronouncing Navalny’s name by calling him “that individual you mentioned”.

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