Western media conspiracy theories about St Petersburg ‘false flag’ attack are insane

Bryan MacDonald
Bryan MacDonald is an Irish journalist, who is based in Russia
Western media conspiracy theories about St Petersburg ‘false flag’ attack are insane
To describe the reaction of some of the Western media’s favorite “Russia experts” to the horrendous attack in St. Petersburg as "disgusting" is to downplay the delinquency on show.

Sadly, the English language is bereft of words strong enough to describe the nasty, loathsome and repugnant twisting of the tragedy.

That said, it also proves, once and for all, how a lot of these imposters either have no genuine expertise on the country or are mentally unhinged. Or both. And, worse still, they've polluted discourse to such an extent that when it comes to coverage of Russia these days, anything goes. So long as it’s negative, of course.

First, here is what we know. At around 2.40pm local time on Monday, on St. Petersburg’s second metro line, there was an explosion just as a train left the central Sennaya Square station. And shortly afterward, another bomb was found at Vosstaniya Square, inside a fire extinguisher casing. Almost immediately, Russian law enforcement announced that they were treating the incident as terrorism.

On Tuesday, authorities fingered a 22-year-old presumed suicide bomber from Kyrgyzstan as the perpetrator. His name was Akbarzhon Jalilov and he'd lived in Russia for some years, eventually taking citizenship. At the time of writing, the number killed is 14, with 49 people still in hospital. Seven of the dead were no older than 21.

However, many Western outlets and their pet ‘Russian hands’ decided to project a different reality. And it wasn't only the usual lunatic fringe. For instance, Britain’s state broadcaster the BBC was one of the first to insinuate the disaster might have been a “false flag". The BBC's Moscow correspondent, Sarah Rainsford, referencing so-called “quick commentary” by unnamed outlets within the “liberal media,” suggested the explosion might have been an attempt to distract from anti-corruption protests which took place recently.

More Madness

Rainsford wasn’t alone. Later, Oliver Carroll, an editor at The Moscow Times, a local free-sheet, also threw out another conspiracy theory on a BBC show. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, CNN echoed Rainsford’s off-the-wall claim the bomb was planned to divert focus from the graft marches. Which, incidentally, were relatively tiny and already seem to have petered out, based on Sunday’s farce in Moscow where more Western journalists than aggrieved Russians showed up. 

READ MORE: St Petersburg Metro blast in mainstream media: ‘Any conspiracies go if it’s about Russia’

Depressingly, on the wild frontier of Twitter, the speculation was even more deranged. CNN’s Michael Weiss, who styles himself as a ‘Russia’ expert despite there being no evidence that he has ever been to Russia or speaks the language, implied the Kremlin was colluding with ISIS. Based on his feeling of how “there's a reason Russians speculate as they do;” something which seems odd coming from a man who has never set foot in the country.

Weiss’ fellow Daily Beast writer John Schindler told his followers to “take absolutely nothing the Kremlin says about this or any terrorist incident at face value.” When a Polish journalist based in Moscow shot him down, he blasted “I don't take manners advice from anybody in Russia, thanks.”

And this, sadly, is the quality of analysts Americans are getting on their mainstream TV networks.

As if it wasn’t bad enough, Louise Mensch, the third wheel of their “three amigos” act then weighed in. As is customary, her ‘insight’ was even more kooky, crazed and berserk. “Putin has zero compunction about killing Russians to serve his own ends. Ask Vitaly Churkin.

Churkin is the late Russian ambassador to the United Nations and his autopsy, conducted in New York, stated how “no foul play was suspected” in his death from a heart attack. 

Tin foil hats

Of course, Mensch also believes Putin murdered Andrew Breitbart, founder of the eponymous website. Nevertheless, her remedy for these supposed transgressions is even more alarming. “The next executive must show no mercy to Russia or Putin. Retaliation must be immense,” she warned. Should we assume she’s advocating a Nuclear Strike there?

Not to be outdone. Garry Kasparov also upped the ante. He told his 330,000 followers “Tragedy in St. Petersburg. Once again "unknown terrorists" perfectly timed to serve Putin's political agenda. Forget (the) protests, back to fear.” Before going on to plug his latest book. Now, while the Grandmaster remains revered in the West, Russians have a different opinion. Try to imagine if Alex Jones was really good at chess and ran for president.

To understand why these people are as mad as March hares, you only need to think rationally. Even if Putin were truly a maniacal manipulator capable of such malevolent crimes against his own people, it’s hard to see how he’d get away with it. Wealthy and connected Russians - usually facing criminal charges - rock up in foreign countries all the time and sing like coked-up canaries about whatever intrigues their new hosts want to hear, in order to gain residence. After 18 years of Putin as a national politician, nobody has ever presented tangible evidence of any false flag attacks. Furthermore, there hasn’t even been a convincing anonymous blog post offering credible insider information into such an event.

Strange timing

Also, why would the Kremlin organize a terror incident in St. Petersburg right now? Next year, Russia hosts the FIFA World Cup, and this bombing will worry players and supporters ahead of the event. Plus, it also undermines Moscow’s guarantees on visitor safety across the eleven cities slated to stage games. And don’t forget how, in July, St. Petersburg hosts the final of FIFA’s Confederations Cup, in addition to first round ties involving Russia, New Zealand, Cameroon, Australia, and Portugal. Thus, in which universe does Putin gain from having a prestigious and costly sporting tournament overshadowed by fears of terrorism?

Thankfully some sane voices emerged to slap down the looney-tunes brigade. Security pundit Mark Galeotti declaring how “It's depressing (that) I feel I need to note there is NO evidence that (the) St. Petersburg blast (was) some kind of Kremlin false flag provocation.

And Mark Ames who saw the Alexei Navalny-led opposition benefiting politically from the carnage. “This is going to boost Putin opponent Navalny, a liberal xenophobe who led skinhead marches against Muslim migrants,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald picked up Kasparov’s fantasy and slammed it: “strong suggestion here terror (that) attack in St. Petersburg is (a) false flag attack by Putin. Conspiracies like this (are) only discrediting when about (the) US." 

And Greenwald hit the nail on the head. Because the people promoting the notion that the Russian government staged the St. Petersburg attacks are the very same folk who ridicule those who believe the US government was behind the 9/11 catastrophe, back in 2001. They are so blinkered and deluded; they can’t see what the rest of us realize. They are to Russia, as Alex Jones and his fellow travelers are to America. Cranks, kooks, flakes and halfwit stooges selling fiction of sordid sedition, perfidy and conspiracy to dingbats who don’t know any better.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.