“It doesn’t require cynicism to detect a miscarriage of justice: Just an analytical perspective on a case that is surely the most glaring example of the intrusion of politics into sport. Russia, to use a phrase of today, has been thrown under the bus.”
— Ellis Cashmore, Fair Observer
Thanks to the relentless arm-twisting of the Washington powerbrokers, the Russian Olympic team will not be allowed to compete in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This is the first time a nation has ever been barred from sending a team to the games. According to Jason Ditz at Antiwar.com:
Officially, this is being done to punish Russia for doping among athletes. In reality, the move was heavily lobbied for by the US and a series of allies, a push that was primarily about US-Russia tensions in recent years.
The doping scandal, after all, was nothing particularly new, and accusations of doping among athletes from Eastern Europe have gone back for generations without any such bans being seriously contemplated.
— Russia Barred From Winter Olympics, antiwar.com
As Ditz admits, doping is nothing new in the world of sports where athletes are always trying to get an edge on the competition. But let’s not forget, the United States has its share of skeletons in the closet too, as journalist Neil Clark points out in a recent article at RT. Check it out:
Wade Exum, the US Olympic Committee’s former Director of Drug Control, handed over more than 30,000 pages of documents to Sports Illustrated magazine and the Orange County Register, which he said showed that over 100 American athletes had failed drug tests between 1988-2000, but had still been allowed to compete.
Carl Lewis, the US Olympian later admitted he had tested positive for banned substances before the 1988 Games in Seoul where he won Gold but claimed that ‘hundreds’ of fellow Americans had also escaped bans.
“There were hundreds of people getting off,” Lewis said. “Everyone was treated the same.”
But guess what? There was no McLaren style report and no blanket ban on US athletes.
(In contrast) Russian athletes have been banned (and stripped of their medals) without proof of their guilt being published by the IOC’s Oswald Commission.”
“IOC bans Russia: Cold War 2.0 politics ruins the Olympics”, RT.
That’s what you call ‘American style’ justice where the accused is convicted before he’s even been charged with a crime. And it’s even worse than that, since the prosecution has not yet produced a shred of evidence to prove its case. The IOC has operated in complete secrecy and now expects the world to ‘trust their judgment’ on a matter that positively wreaks of sordid backroom politics. Here’s more from the New York Times:
The Olympic committee provided little detail about the cases on Thursday. “The reasoning for these decisions will be communicated in due course,” the organization said in a news release. “Due to the nature and complexity of the cases, this thorough, comprehensive and time-consuming process has taken several months and had to involve external forensic experts, who had to develop a legally-defendable methodology.”
Proof? We don’t need no stinking proof. We have the Washington Mafioso on our side. That’s all the proof we need. Isn’t that the reasoning behind this farce? Isn’t that the twisted logic that laid the groundwork for Gitmo and other US black sites around the world where terror suspects were shunted away to windowless 6 by 4 cells where they were either tortured or force-fed through plastic tubes stuck up their noses until they vomited blood? Now that same rationale has been applied to the world of sports. Nice.
And let’s not pretend we don’t know what this is all about. Russia and China are building the vital infrastructure (energy and transport) that will create a “Greater Europe” spanning from Lisbon to Vladivostok, the biggest free trade zone in history that will eviscerate the economic power of the US sending the increasingly-wobbly Empire into a irreversible downward spiral. Russia has also blunted Washington’s attempt to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad and plunge the country into Libya-type anarchy, which was critical part of its geopolitical plan to redraw the map of the Middle East.
At every turn, Putin appears to be blocking Washington’s strategy to control the resource-rich landmass from North Africa across the Middle East to the Pacific Rim. The US must prevail in this Great Game to remain the dominant world power into the next century. This is why US heavyweights have been frantically searching for new ways to humiliate, punish or crush those ‘evil Ruskies’. The attack on the Russian Olympic Team– however petty and vicious it might be– is yet another way for the ‘exceptional nation’ to implement its full spectrum dominance doctrine to isolate an emerging rival and transform them into an international pariah. Here’s more from the New York Times:
The country’s government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and its anthem will not sound. Any athletes from Russia who receive special dispensation to compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform, and the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals. That was the punishment issued Tuesday to the proud sports juggernaut that has long used the Olympics as a show of global force but was exposed for systematic doping in previously unfathomable ways.
The International Olympic Committee, after completing its own prolonged investigations that reiterated what had been known for more than a year, handed Russia penalties for doping so severe they were without precedent in Olympics history.”
“Russia Banned From Winter Olympics by I.O.C.”, NYT.
Do the American people like the idea that their government is using its extraordinary power to quash the lifetime dreams of young athletes who have nothing to do with the policies of their government? It’s appalling. It’s like beating up someone who can’t defend themselves to gain some fleeting political advantage. Why not challenge them on the ‘field of play’ where everyone has an equal chance?
Russian President Vladimir Putin was disappointed by the IOC’s decision which he correctly criticized as “absolutely staged and politically motivated”….
Ain’t that the truth. As Ellis Cashmore said, the IOC’s decision to ban Russia from the Olympics “is arguably the most overt expression of political intervention in sport in history.”
Also, according to ‘blacklisted’ Sputnik News: “(Putin) also questioned the “testimony of former Moscow anti-doping lab director Grigory Rodchenkov, whose allegations led to investigations which culminated in the IOC’s decision… The final decision was “mainly based on the testimony of a person whose moral and ethical attitudes and psychological state raise many questions,” Putin said, without referring to Rodchenkov by name. “Most of the accusations are based on claims which have not been proven and are largely unfounded,” he added.” (Sputnik)
The testimony of Grigory Rodchenkov is at the center of the current controversy. It’s worth noting that– aside from betraying the Russian athletes who are merely the collateral damage in this geopolitical cage-match– Rodchenkov also “spent years helping Russia’s athletes gain an edge by using banned substances.”
So the IOC has decided to use the testimony of a man who is not only a proven cheater and a liar, but who has also sold out his country.
It would be interesting to hear why the IOC thinks the dissembling Mr. Rodchenko’s claims can be trusted?
It’s also worth noting that, there is no proof of a “state-backed doping program”. This is just more hyperbole from the spin doctors at the New York Times. As Ellis opines: “Apart from Rodchenkov’s statements, the other evidence appears inferential and largely uncorroborated. In another social climate in a different era, McLaren’s report would have met with skepticism or, at very least, a demand for proof. Not today.”
That’s for sure. It seems like any ridiculous anti-Russia slander one can conjure up will eventually be splashed across the headlines of one of America’s top newspapers. And it’s clear from reading the New York Times comments section that the vast majority of liberal, college-educated readers have been thoroughly brainwashed by the elite media’s campaign to prove that Russia is evil and Putin is a KGB thug. Even so, there are a small number of independent-minded readers who’ve been able to cut through the state propaganda and figure out what’s really going on. I’ve included a few of their comments below:
Thor Walhovd– “The US may be able to influence the IOC in an attempt to politicize the Olympics in support of the fact-free “Russia did it” campaign being launched by the neocon endless war lobby on both sides of the aisle, but it will ultimately damage the Olympics.
Joseph Volgin– This is a stupid and petty revenge for Russia’s policy, independent of the West. This causes only an aversion to Western “democracy.”
Thomas Keenan– What a disgraceful and obviously politically motivated judgement! However, you can’t keep Russia down! They have many of the best athletes in the world. This judgement is just another bludgeon to try to bring Russia to its knees (along with the bogus Russiangate investigation and Putin demonization).
Equilibrium–There is no doubt that this is a politically motivated decision. One witness (Rodchenkov who has problems with law in Russia against which he gives information) is enough to recognize the whole country as guilty? This is ridiculous.
Maureen– I think it’s more about Russia’s refusal to go along with the New World Disorder in so many ways. Continuing to persecute Russia while so many other BAD countries continue funding terror, etc, is grossly unfair and absolutely strange.
Max– So Russians were banned not because there was solid proof found in blood and urine tests. but by vials appearing scratched and by accounts of husband a wife that were busted by Russians themselves for (wife) using PEDs) and (husband) being a corrupt liar.
Graf von Sponek– So, we have a doping case with no doping found. The decision was based on (1) testimony of a single paid informant, and (2) analysis of scratches on the sample vials that supposedly indicated that the samples were “tampered with”. Yet the final report on this analysis results has not been made public yet. Any judge in USA will through a case out of court, if the prosecutors came in with “Your Honor, we have some circumstantial evidence, but we can’t disclose it yet”….
CJ–It is clear that Russia is being bullied this year from many angles by the American political establishment and their NATO allies, and the corporate media. The winners: the military industrial complex, who profits from a perpetual bogeyman, and the American Olympic team who stands a better chance of winning now. The losers, everyone else
Alex– Here in Russia they understand that this is only a political game. Have you seen the evidence, or do you only know about what they say to you?
John Snow— The entire point of the Olympics is so that nations put aside war and politics and compete in a show of human sportsmanship. That’s literally the tradition, nations would pause wars and conflict to play in the Olympics. So essentially by banning Russia, you are doing the Olympics wrong.
Liz Carlson– We should not ban an entire country for what some athletes have done in the past. Athletes who have been training hard their entire lives deserve the chance to earn a medal for their country, regardless of its behavior.
Alexandra Hamilton— This is heartbreaking for all the athletes who have devoted their entire lives to their sport. I hope many of them will be allowed to compete as individuals. It is a severe punishment but I don’t know that anything less would be an effective deterrent when powerful government (and corporate?) forces are determined to dope.
Again, these are not a fair sample of the comments at the NYT’s website, they are merely the one’s that coincide with my own view that Russia and its athletes are being unfairly punished by a bully power that runs roughshod over anything or anyone that stands in the way of its glorious strategic plan to rule the world.
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.