The Phaserl


Two False Stories About Russia in 3 days: the Moscow School and the Vermont Grid

by Alexander Mecouris, The Duran:

Though complaining of Russian disinformation and propaganda, the US media spread completely false stories about Russia being about to close the Anglo-American school in Moscow and having hacked into the Vermont electricity grid in just three days, though the first story originated with a US not a Russian source, and the second story would not have survived basic fact checking with the electricity utility involved.

In a Western media world where the words “Russia” and “fake news” are rapidly becoming conflated, it is interesting to note that two stories about Russia which gained unusual prominence in the Western media over the last few days were both false, and that Russia far from being responsible for either was the target of both.

The first of these stories concerned the Anglo-American school in Moscow.

In the immediate aftermath of US President Obama’s announcement of further sanctions against Russia, following his claims of Russian hacking and of Russian interference in the recent US Presidential election, rumours that Russia would retaliate by closing the school spread like wildfire across the media.

The story began with a CNN tweet on 29th December 2016

Note that the CNN cited no Russian source for the story. Instead it originated with our old friend, the anonymous US (ie. Obama administration) official.

The story was then immediately picked up Politico, which began its piece by claiming wrongly that the closure of the school had been “announced” by “Russian officials”

Russian authorities on Thursday announced the closure of the Anglo-American School of Moscow, hours after the Kremlin vowed to retaliate against recent U.S. sanctions.

(bold italics added)

“Russian officials” of course “announced” no such thing. The story originated as we saw not with Russian officials but with a single unnamed US official.

The CNN report was then picked up by Radio Free Europe, and was widely re-tweeted, until Maria Zakharova, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, acted to refute to it on her Facebook page.

Two days later, the Western media was gripped by a further story of how Russia had hacked into the US electricity grid. This time the story originated in the Washington Post – the newspaper which has been the most assiduous in spreading the CIA’s claims about Russian hacking – which claimed that

A code associated with the Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected within the system of a Vermont utility, according to U.S. officials.

Again the story spread like wildfire, being picked up not just by the media (including incidentally the British media) but by various US politicians, including the Governor of Vermont, and local politicians there.

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