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GQ Censors Putin Story in Russia

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posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 05:55 PM
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I don't even know what to make of this.

Why commission an article and then pull it in the most relevant market? Who behind the scenes is responsible for censoring it? It certainly raises even more questions about the power and influence of Putin and the diminished influence of the U.S.

www.npr.org...


For war journalist Scott Anderson, the most confounding part of his recent assignment for GQ magazine to explore the root of terrorist acts in Russia a decade ago wasn't the suggestion of treachery and subterfuge he found.

It was the reception his story ultimately received in the United States.

His investigative piece, published in the September American edition of GQ, challenges the official line on a series of bombings that killed hundreds of people in 1999 in Russia. It profiles a former KGB agent who spoke in great detail and on the record, at no small risk to himself. But instead of trumpeting his reporting, GQ's corporate owners went to extraordinary lengths to try to ensure no Russians will ever see it...

Conde Nast owns Vanity Fair and GQ as well as other publications, including Russian versions of GQ, Glamour, Tatler and Vogue. On July 23, Jerry S. Birenz, one of the company’s top lawyers, sent an e-mail memo to more than a dozen corporate executives and GQ editors.

“Conde Nast management has decided that the September issue of U.S. GQ magazine containing Scott Anderson’s article ‘Vladimir Putin’s Dark Rise to Power’ should not be distributed in Russia,”



Russian Language Version of the Original Article


A quick synopsis of the back-story:

trueslant.com...


The bombings were officially blamed on Chechen terrorists but over the years lots of evidence has surfaced pointing to some involvement by the Russian security agencies. A number of people who investigated those bombings, including journalist/deputy Yuri Schekochikhin and his journalist colleague Anna Politkovskaya, have since been murdered, although no direct connection has ever been drawn between the two.

The evidence pointing to FSB involvement in those bombings was always intriguing. The most compelling revolved around a bomb found in the basement of a building in Ryazan that was found to have been placed there by the FSB, which later dismissed the incident as a “training exercise.” Anderson’s story pushes this theory forward with an interview of former KGB agent Mikhail Trepashkin, who investigated the case and claimed to have evidence of FSB involvement. However Trepashkin was arrested just days before he was scheduled to give evidence in a trial related to the bombings. He ended up being convicted of disclosing state secrets.


[edit on 5/9/2009 by kosmicjack]




posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 06:04 PM
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Another article on the subject.

GQ's Self-Censorship over Russia's 1999 Bombings



Scott Anderson is a pretty accomplished journalist and author. You can read some of his stuff here and here, and read a profile here. So why, after he spent months researching and writing an article on Russia entitled "Vladimir Putin's Dark Rise to Power," would the magazine that commissioned the piece work so hard to bury it and prevent its distribution to Russia and the internet? That's exactly what has happened with GQ, as observers speculate that Anderson's questioning of the official story on the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow has caused the corporate brass to go running toward self-censorship to avoid risking their publishing business in a major market.

In our opinion, this kind of conduct by a media outlet poses just as much of a threat to the freedom of the press and freedom of speech as do death threats, government interference, or even shootings. We've seen self-censorship in action in Guatemala, in Central Asia, and various African countries, where a newspaper simply can't afford to publish certain information as it would result in a total advertising boycott, endless regulatory inspections, or crippling frivolous lawsuits. The fact that GQ has buried this article is a testament to how much control the Kremlin wields over the civil bureaucracy (such as taxes, fire safety, etc.) to use these offices as blunt weapons.

We're grateful to reader A.M. for bringing this NPR article about GQ's Russia experience to our attention. Please, please, please, can someone dig up the text of Anderson's article and get it on the internet? If not, you will have to wait until next week for me to do it when I get home. Excerpts from NPR after the cut.


The idea that information can be sequestered at a time when people can communicate instantly across oceans and continents may seem quaint. But in this instance, Conde Nast sought, against technology, logic and the thrust of its own article, to show deference in the presence of power.

Lawyers, executives and editors at Conde Nast and GQ did not respond to repeated requests for comment this week, and a spokesman ultimately declined on their behalf. But NPR has spoken to several people knowledgeable about the handling of Anderson's piece. No issues have been raised to date about the article's accuracy.


After all we know about Putin and his past, this comes as no surprise to me. What does surprise me are how many freedom loving people love and revere this 'dictator'. His only goal in life is to rule Russia unopposed by his citizens, and he is damn close to attaining that.

[edit on 9/5/09 by Ferris.Bueller.II]



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 06:11 PM
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reply to post by Ferris.Bueller.II
 


As referenced in your post:


"The idea that information can be sequestered at a time when people can communicate instantly across oceans and continents may seem quaint. But in this instance, Conde Nast sought, against technology, logic and the thrust of its own article, to show deference in the presence of power."


That is what makes this truly perplexing. Is it a stunt?



[edit on 5/9/2009 by kosmicjack]



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 06:31 PM
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I suppose it's no big surprise that such an controversial and possibly revealing article would be censored in Russia, they don't exactly value freedom of the press:

www.boston.com...


According to a recent Freedom House count, 16 journalists have been killed since Putin came to power, with only one case solved. Probably the highest-profile death was that of Anna Politkovskaya, the Novaya Gazeta reporter who wrote articles on Chechnya and the book "Putin's Russia: Life in a Failing Democracy."




[edit on 5/9/2009 by kosmicjack]



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 06:48 PM
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A synopsis of the time line from the GQ article...

4 Sept 1999 - Barracks in Buynaksk destroyed by truck bomb killing 64.
9 Sept 1999 - An Eight Story Building in South East Moscow destroyed by truck bomb killing 94.

13 Sept 1999 - Gennady Seleznyov, Speaker of the Duma, states that he has just recieved a report that "An apartment building in Volgodonsk was blown up last night."
13 Sept 1999 - Apartment Building in Southern Moscow destroyed, killing 121.

17 Sep 1999 - Apartment Building in Volgodonsk blows up, killing 17. Three days after it was announced in the Duma

22 Sept 1999 - Residents in Ryazan spot a white Zhiguli sedan parked outside their building with two men unloading large sacks into the basement of the building. Upon arrival, Police and find several 110 lb sacks connected to a detonator. Local FSB explosives expert determined that the material was RDX. Later that night, the two men were aprehended. They produced FSB identification and were ordered released by FSB headquarters in Moscow. The FSB press statement the next morning stated that it was a training exercise with sacks of sugar.

Fast forward... Oct 2006 - Anna Politkovskaya a leading Russian Journalist who had written estensively on the murky connections between the Chechen terrorists and the FSB, is shot to death in the elevator of her apartment building.

23 Nov 2006 - Alexander Litvinenko who filed several lawsuits with regards to the FSB involvment in the "Chechen Terrorist" bombing and the ordering of the execution of Boris Berezovsky, dies of poisoning by radionuclide polonium-210.


Somewhere in all this mess, Putin comes to power. A sketch of one of the suspects in the Guryanona Street bombing changes. Trepashkin (the guy in the GQ article interview) tracks down the original sketch and remembers that is is one of the guy's he had arrested at the Bank Soldi robery several years earlier who was in possession of listening equipement from the FSB.


While I don't condone the caliber of GQ magazine... I did go out and get it. This article is a must read.

Skip all the advert junk and go to page 245.

BTW: This magazine is a peice of [expletive deleted].



Edit: Some spelling... a bit of yellow text.


[edit on 5-9-2009 by RoofMonkey]



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 07:22 PM
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Originally posted by RoofMonkey
17 Sep 1999 - Apartment Building in Volgodonsk blows up, killing 17. Three days after it was announced in the Duma


I guess the operation was a little behind schedule...


Some reader observations from the Gawker link:


Even if you put Condé Nast's actions in the most favorable light, as you do, it doesn't explain why they not only sought to keep the story out of Russia but also sought to bury it in the U.S.



Condé never wanted to publish it in Russia. There's already scads of articles about it in more prestigious publications that are better researched and make a better case. It merely wanted to keep things quiet that it published an article implicating Putin in a conspiracy that resulted in mass murder from Russian business and governmental leaders. In any case, the bigger the controversy, the better the chances that people abroad -- and most certainly, the Russian diaspora -- will look at this strange episode again.



So, instead of us using the internet to promote democracy for Russia, we should let Putin use it to extend his dictatorship to us, because - all we care about is making a buck, and he has a whole bunch of them.



So, what's the difference between the capitalism and the communism again? Which one censors the free press?



Gawker should probably buy a Geiger counter if it's planning on going out for sushi anytime soon.



[edit on 5/9/2009 by kosmicjack]



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 07:42 PM
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Hmmm...

neteffect.foreignpolicy.com...


But the growing fuss about the article will inevitably create a lot of negative publicity for Putin in the West. I bet that if Conde Nast didn't pull the plug on the article, few of us in the US or Western Europe would have even noticed it. After all, debating the causes of terrorism in Russia circa 1999 is not particularly relevant today; that GQ story was at least five years overdue. Today, however, thanks to accusations of self-censorship as well as Conde Nast's potential dependance on Russian advertising revenue, this story will travel very far.

This begs the question: was there any other way to discredit Putin more effectively than to ban an otherwise very obscure piece?


As the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity.



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 08:13 PM
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Well, based on the article itself, this thing has pretty much faded to oblivion in the public eye. Perhaps a competing oligarch is looking to fever public opposition to Putin now that the economy has made people disgruntled.

Face it, Machiavelli would condone a stunt like that.




[edit on 5-9-2009 by RoofMonkey]



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 08:27 PM
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reply to post by kosmicjack
 


Here`s a good documentary about the series of bombing in 1999.


"Assassination of Russia" False flag Govenment sponsored terrorism Russian style

Google Video Link


Russians sought safety in having the former KGB officer as President and another war in Chechnya into the bargain.



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 08:33 PM
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Maybe whatever it was that had been censored involved a topless Putin.

If so, I'm all for the censorship.



posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 09:02 PM
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reply to post by UmbraSumus
 


I'm watching this now. The sheer number of official inconsistencies and back-peddling is unbelievable. I'm sure the local FSB investigators still watch their backs.

The main question I have so far is - If there has been this amount of coverage and debate of this incident in Russia, as portrayed in the video, then why bury a story 10 years later?

What is really going on here?




posted on Sep, 5 2009 @ 11:26 PM
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Originally posted by kosmicjack
reply to post by UmbraSumus
 


I'm watching this now. The sheer number of official inconsistencies and back-peddling is unbelievable. I'm sure the local FSB investigators still watch their backs.

The main question I have so far is - If there has been this amount of coverage and debate of this incident in Russia, as portrayed in the video, then why bury a story 10 years later?

What is really going on here?




The Art of crafting sustained coherent propaganda via the media is new to Russia .
Dictators never had to pander to the masses to such a degree . The crude and direct methods of the Soviet era lack the necessary finesse for the information age .
How they must envy the West in this regard .




It reminds me of a quote from Edmund Burke: whilst looking up at the assembled Press in the Gallery at the House of Commons ......he commented

"" Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all.'"

Until they polish up on their propaganda (i.e watch more Western Mainstream Media) they will just continue crushing dissent, with the full apparatus of the State.


edit:typo

[edit on 6-9-2009 by UmbraSumus]

[edit on 6-9-2009 by UmbraSumus]



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