The New York Times released sequel six in the best-selling Putin-the-Poisoner series on September 22. The incredibly gifted junior G-men and women in the Times Tower have sleuthed yet another episode of boundless evildoing by the arch-villain Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
From the “established fact” that a poisoning occurred, the rest of the Times editorial is pure conjecture. After the poisoning and spending two days in a Russian hospital, the victim flew off to Germany. The people described by the Times as “Mr. Navalny’s colleagues” returned to the crime scene, a hotel in that most ominous of places, Siberia. The perpetrators of the crime were sloppy in covering up because “traces of [the poison] Novichok were found on a water bottle” at the hotel, according to the Times.
This clearly demonstrates not only malevolent intent by the culprits but also the abject failure of Russian hotels to achieve room service to international standards of cleanliness. Likewise, the Russian police were too incompetent to seal off the crime scene for investigation.
In a chain of custody not revealed, the “colleagues” sent the “evidence” out of Russia to Germany then also to France and Sweden, where it was subsequently “confirmed by laboratories.” “The powerful poison,” we are told is used “against foes of the Russian regime.”
Only in the cartoonish mindset of the NYT do the perpetually bungling villains leave such blatant clues to their crimes.
Outside the comic book world that the editorial paints, there are questions not addressed by the Times. Why, after five previous incidents, has the Russian security state not learned to administer fatal doses of poison and cover up their tracks? Why would Putin repeatedly order hits on dissidents that every time boomerang on him by publicizing their grievances and inviting punishing sanctions?
An alternative explanation for this poisoning story is that this is a setup to discredit and weaken an official enemy of the US imperial state. The nation’s newspaper of record has a long history as a faithful mouthpiece of empire. On spinning the Putin-the-Poisoner tale, the Times has been but one voice in the Russo-phobic chorus of western media.
The truth of the Navalny case is hard to ascertain. What is clear is that the “evidence” that the Times touts has not been made public but has been used to bludgeon Russia.
Putin is not up for election. But there is something else at stake and that is, as the Times editorial mentions, the possible “cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a gas conduit from Russia to Germany,” which is of vital economic interest to Russia. The US, now the world’s leading producer of fossil fuels, opposes the project. In a bipartisan effort, the US even threatens “crushing legal and economic [secondary] sanctions” on the German seaport of Sassnitz for supplying the project.
The Times laments, “Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, is reluctant to take a step” to cancel this “nearly completed” project despite the US having “demanded cancellation of the pipeline.” It is not inconceivable that the Navalny scandal was manufactured to tip the scales and sabotage the Russian project.New York Times Releases Sequel of Putin-the-Poisoner