Friday, December 08, 2006

The Russia and Syria Blame Bandwagon

Considering the blatant speculation and misinformation spreading through the American media establishment, it's no surprise that so many people have already passed judgment and guilt upon notable entities within recent years. I shall present two examples that clearly illuminate the acrimonious reactions present. However, because of our increased information onslaught, many important items are easily forgotten when another equally if not more compelling item is presented. The information I will present will involve some historical background to counter the overexposure and public weariness of occurrences with significant notoriety.

Due to the bombardment of a certain high profile story in recent news, my first case will involve Russia -- more specifically the Russian President Vladimir Putin. In two separate incidents spanning just over two years, the burden of guilt lay heavily on the Russian Secret Service, and ultimately, Putin. During the Autumn of 2004, Ukraine was undergoing an election to determine the direction of its political future. The two candidates in question were involved in a tightly contested battle, differing on many issues, but highlighted by the candidate's foreign outlook. Viktor Yushchenko, having held the position of Prime Minister previously, and his rival, Viktor Yanukovych, the outgoing Prime Minister, were primed for a heated election. Yushchenko was showing hostility towards Russia (Ukraine's primary arguable ally) and initiating closer ties to the West, while Yanukovych attempted to forge even closer ties with Russia, both economically and politically. Yanukovych was declared the winner initially, but due to a high level of election fraud the voting results were overturned and once the dust settled Yushchenko was ceremoniously declared the winner. His victory, signaled a radical shift in policy away from Russia, hailed as the "Orange Revolution" throughout the Media. Through all this, Yushchenko was undergoing mysterious physical changes to his skin, which eventually lead to the discovery that he was poisoned by a heavy dose of Dioxin (a toxic organic compound). Considering his opposition to Putin, the blame for the poisoning fell upon Russia's Secret Service, and ultimately Putin. With months of investigation and countless inquiries, the true perpetrators of this crime have remained a mystery. There are no paths leading to even to the remotest shred of evidence linking Putin and Russia's spy services to this case.

The Second case involving a Media Blitz against Russia and Putin occurred with the radioactive poisoning death, in London, of the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. His gruesome death from radiation poisoning expeditiously circulated around the world. The attention caused from the nature of this act cannot go unnoticed. Polonium 210, the highly radioactive substance used is not the most efficient method of assassination. For one thing, it leaves a detectable trail of radioactivity, and with a half life of about 4 months, it degrades quickly, releasing enough radioactivity to leave a trail. Furthermore, Po 210 is not a common substance, and must be produced and used within a short period of time. In this instance, the rumors linking Litvinenko's death to Putin are more substantial, considering his public announcement of Putin's guilt in the matter. Alexander Litvinenko was one of Putin's most vocal critics, yet, rationalizing his attention grabbing death and linking it to Putin is a reach. Putin used to be one of the most up-and-coming KGB spies during the Soviet Union, and his methods of dispatch would be a lot more subtle. A death like this will only draw attention to the situation, and unlike fictional spies like James Bond, a true intelligence officers primary duty is to remain covert. Actions and even consequences must remain covert, so as not to draw any attention.

To understand Russia's role, one has to dig a little deep and reason who has most to gain for the developments. In Litvinenko's death, Putin loses a critic, but at what price? The finger of culpability is pointing towards him, and his political life will be marred with the linkage to this death. There is no long term benefit for Putin or Russia in such a high profile death. Speaking of the same, Yushchenko's Dioxin poisoning was also quite high profile, yet subtler. It is possible that there was a possible linkage to Russia, but that angle was downplayed, considering the lack of evidence. In this instance, the West also had something to gain by publicizing the poisoning of Yushchenko. The Orange Revolution was considered to be a political shift in climate away from Russian influence, and by "martyrizing" him, the ill will towards Russia would grow profoundly. In both cases, the West could be equally as culpable as Russia, if not more. One final food for thought, a possible link connecting Litvinenko to Israel has been downplayed by every Media organization ( There is valid justification for attempting to gather further evidence in this case before rushing to judgment on the blame train.

Having spoken of Russia already, it's best to begin dissecting the Second major entity blamed with no substantiation. In this instance, Syria will present as the second example of the absurdity and misinformation associated with media rumor mongering. To be more specific, there have been 2 assassinations of anti-Syrian individuals in the Lebanese government with the blame falling on Syria's supposed involvement. On the day of February 14, 2005, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated in a vehicular explosion when 1000 kg of TNT were detonated as his convoy was driving. Without any direct proof, the blame for Hariri's assassination fell upon Syria. The reasoning was that Hariri was anti-Syrian and pro Western, so his assassination would quiet a vocal critic of Syria and Syrian Influence. The benefit to Syria however, was far outweighed by the reality of the post-assassinated situation. A lot of pro-Syrian sentiment in Lebanese political circles began to wane, with more and more of the public demonstrating for the ouster of Syrian troops. Naturally, within months of the assassination, not one Syrian troop remained in Lebanon. With Syria gone, the "Cedar Revolution" had started to flower, and all would be well in Lebanon. As with most things, instead of improving for the good, with Syria gone, Israel did not have time to blink before they were ready to bomb and reoccupy Southern Lebanon. Although the reason for invasion involved the alleged "cross-border" raid into Israel by Hezbollah militants to kidnap Israeli soldiers, Israel's response was unbelievably brutal. Besides the US' support for Israel's actions, the UN and most countries were highly of Israel's bloody escalation. It seems as though Syria's withdrawal lead to greater problems in Lebanon then solved. Yet, to this day, the facts of the matter have never lead anywhere in Syria's direction and, by and large, the only people still entertaining the thought of Syria's direct involvement are Israeli, American, and anti-Syrian Lebanese politicians.

The blame directed towards Syria had just about run its course when suddenly, another assassination of a high level Lebanese official took place. Pierre Amine Gemayel, an anti-Syrian proponent was attacked by a well armed group in November 21, 2006. Again, the finger points to Syria, thanks in large part to anti-Syrian sentiment. The possibility of Syria being involved in this case, like the previous cannot be completely excluded, but the fallout directed towards Syria does not result in any benefits. Sure, an additional voice of Syrian opposition was silenced, yet, at what cost? Syria, like Russia, has the aura of blame cast upon itself, and in no way improves the political situation and stability. In regards to who has more to gain, it's those who are being mobilized into building a great deal of anger and hate towards Syria. Lebanon is nearing the brink of civil war, with Israel and the US backing anti-Syrian sentiment, and Hezbollah, backing anti-US and anti-Israeli sentiment within Lebanese borders. Under the current administration and Israeli doctrine, a divided Lebanon entrenched in civil war, destabilizing the region, and resulting in further polarization of the world, is better then a Lebanon with Hezbollah (Which Israel itself created by occupying Lebanon in the first place). It comes down to the fact that it doesn't matter how badly the rest of the world is jeopardized, as long as Israel and the Neo-Cons are happy.

Ultimately then, politically motivated assassinations gain more anger and hate, further mobilizing the opposition, and do greater harm then good. Properly conducted assassinations do not appear as such, and tend to stay under media radar. In order to fully understand events unfolding in the world, it's best to understand the issues, and reason out the scenario. It's best to start asking questions by inquiring as to Who has the most to gain? Do the benefits of such acts outweigh the consequences? Is the act so visible and shocking as to garner greater attention on itself and it's supposed perpetrator? Why is the Media so compliant in chasing after rumor and suspicion, instead of exercising objectivity and reasoning? These are the types of questions that must be answered to fully comprehend an issue. Political powers, although dense at times, and frequently conflicted, are not stupid. These are people who have built careers in manipulating others, and developing a sense of self-preservation. They fight and claw to remain in power, and visible acts such as the ones explained in this blog (among countless others) only do more damage. It's amazing how many parallels can be drawn between the events that transpired towards anti-Russian crowds, and those with anti-Syrian affiliation. Thoughts and conflict, skepticism and critical thinking are tools that help navigate through these troubled waters.

Regardless of how the Influentials (such as the media, the elite, politicians, etc.) attempt to distort reality, the truth is there to be uncovered. One is not a conspiracy monger when deciding on gathering information with a skeptical mind. As thoughtful as my humble blogs may be, I hope that every individual reading can look at the facts and use their own judgment to reach a conclusion. Perhaps those conclusions are different then mine, and perhaps they are complete polar opposites, but as long as the facts are properly analyzed, there will always be room for debate. That's what leads to understanding and advancement.

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