Russophobia Digest Part 10: Boy scouts, anonymous sources and a new Salisbury ‘poisoning’

In just a few days Russia has been accused of planning to hack American boy scouts, kill an Instagram “model” with rat poison, and help Julian Assange escape. All stories high in Russophobia and low in evidence.

Here’s a look at the last seven days or so of Russophobia.

Scouts dishonour picked up a story that can only be described as peak Russophobia. Computer Science and Cybersecurity professor Susan Landau wrote an article warning that those mysterious malicious Russian hackers could soon be turning to a new target … the Boy Scouts.

Landau warns it’s “extremely likely” the scouts and other clubs could be targeted because “they are the groups that knit together a community.”

Extremely likely” is one of those familiar Russophobic tropes which means there’s no proof but we’ll say it anyway. She also describes one incident of alleged hacking in Texas before admitting “there’s no indication this specific incident was Russian-made, but the example illustrates the type of activity they use to create discord.” So if it’s so common, why not use an actual example.

Chronic Russophobia has many victims though. Landau ends by saying “I suggest taking sharp political disagreements offline …” Yep, see you later freedom of speech!

Model story unravels

The Sun newspaper couldn’t resist this week when a self-labelled Russian born model claimed she and her British husband had been poisoned in a Salisbury (yes, that Salisbury) pizza restaurant (no, not that pizza restaurant), because ‘Putin wants me dead‘. It was all too much for Murdoch’s tabloid men, and they splashed it all over the front page along with a racy picture of the ‘model’ in question.

Of course, it all soon started to unravel and the story was deleted, as it became clear that Anna Shapiro and her husband Alex King, a known hoaxer, may not be the most trustworthy of sources afterall, and probably weren’t the next Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

So why was it possible for a national newspaper to print such a fishy smelling story all over its front page? Because Russia was the bad guy of course, and when Russophobia reigns you can say whatever you want!

Anonymous sources

Revealed: Russia’s secret plan to help Julian Assange escape from UK‘ screamed a headline in the Guardian. In the best traditions of Russophobia though, the newspaper was able to reveal the alleged plan in intimate detail, but none of the names of the actual sources that told them about it.

Where would the world of Russophobia be without all those anonymous sources.

Defending against non-aggression .. again

The Digest doesn’t enjoy being repetitive, but Russophobia does have a habit of being more than a little samey. Britain’s Air Force has been using its tried and trusted tactic of boasting that it sent up its planes to escort Russian airplanes through international air space.

We will not hesitate to continually defend our skies from acts of aggression” mumbled Britain’s potty-mouthed Russophobic Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson.

That’s fair enough, but why does the RAF keep trying to protect other people’s skies from acts of non-aggression, then boasting about it? Must be Russophobia.

Missed this cracking bit of Russophobia last week, but it’s definitely worth returning to.

Angus King, an independent US Senator for Maine claimed that Russia’s alleged ‘meddling’ in the 2016 US election was “the same kind of attack” that took place on 9/11.

They used airplanes into towers,” King said “Now people can use the click of a computer key in St. Petersburg, Russia to attack“.

Even worse, he was talking to a crowd of firefighters and first responders who one suspects can probably fill him in on the differences if he’s interested. Risk of actual death being the first one that springs to mind.

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