Former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky went on trial last week in Britain for allegedly illegally downloading ‘thousands of indecent images of children over a 15-year period’. According to prosecutor William Carter, when confronted by police:
[Bukovsky] responded immediately by saying he did download images and that they would be on the computer in his study. … In an interview, Bukovsky told detectives he had become interested in child abuse images in the 1990s in the context of a debate on the control and censorship of the internet. … ‘Bukovsky said his initial curiosity turned into a hobby, rather like stamp collecting,’ Carter said. The dissident continued to download images between 1999 and 2014, and estimated that he had accumulated a collection of ‘1,500 movies’. His interest varied year by year. The last downloads took place days before his arrest.
Since then, Bukovsky has changed his tune, and he is now claiming that the images on his computer were planted by the Russian secret services in order to discredit him. Despite his earlier confession, and without any supporting evidence, Sunday’s New York Times ran a long story repeating this claim. According to the story:
This blurring of all boundaries between truth and falsehood in the service of operational needs has created a climate in Russia in which even the most serious and grotesque accusations, like those involving pedophilia, are simply a currency for settling scores. Mr. Bukovsky is far from the only one fending off such allegations.
Without a trace of irony, the New York Times alleged that the case illustrated a pattern of behaviour involving ‘the discrediting of foes and the shaping of public opinion through the spread of false information.’
Meanwhile, in a separate story, the Daily Mail reported that ‘Russian and Syrian secret services may be encouraging refugees in Germany to carry out orchestrated sex attacks, in a bid to oust Angela Merkel from office.’ According to the Mail:
The extraordinary assertion was made by an expert from the European Council on Foreign Relations, who said that foreign powers could collude to destabilise Germany ahead of next year’s election. Gustav Gressel, a Russian expert at the think-tank, said small numbers of refugees with links to the Kremlin and Syrian security services could be mobilised to sway public opinion against the Chancellor.
And in a final story, The Guardian published the following headline:
Russian reality TV show to ‘allow’ rape and murder in Siberian wilderness.
The Guardian reports that ‘A new Russian reality show where crimes are “allowed” will begin next year.’ The show in question, entitled ‘Game 2: Winter’ will ‘strand 30 contestants in the -40F (-40C) Siberian wilderness for nine months with the surviving winner receiving a $1.6m prize. “Each contestant gives consent that they could be maimed, even killed,” reads an advert.’
But as the report then admits, ‘the rules also state that police are free to arrest anyone who commits a crime on the show. “You must understand that the police will come and take you away,” the rules state. “We are on the territory of Russia, and obey the laws of the Russian Federation.”’ So, despite the headline, it turns out that rape and murder aren’t ‘allowed’ after all.