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CNN’s Chris Cuomo takes on Russia’s propagandists

Chris Cuomo is back in Amsterdam today with the bodies of over 200 Malaysian M17 victims. He reports that the Ukraine ethnic Russian separatists mishandled the bodies and corrupted the crash site. He witnessed the abusive behavior of ethnic Russians in the Ukraine firsthand. According to Variety he was assaulted.

Chris Cuomo has dangerous assignment covering Ukraine crash site
CNN/Variety Screen Shot

“Chris Cuomo has his share of harrowing on camera moments, but on Tuesday he had a dramatic one off-camera: While talking to a reporter about his current effort to follow the remains of victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the CNN anchor was stopped at a checkpoint in Ukraine on his way to Amsterdam by a guard with a sizable firearm.

“This isn’t a cop stopping you. They have loaded AK-47s or Kalashnikovs and they are pointing them at you,” Cuomo explained while, he said, he was showing his identification papers so he might proceed on a trip he expects to take him to Amsterdam. “This is a different animal here.”

On this morning’s live broadcast, Cuomo became engaged in a debate with an alleged “journalist” who clearly represented the Russians and Vladimir Putin. He was a hack propagandist and not a journalist and Cuomo confronted him.

Peter LaVelle, Russia Today: According to Wiki

“Peter J. Lavelle is senior journalist and host of CrossTalk, presented by the English-language channel RT, global multilingual television news network RT. Lavelle, from California is now based in Moscow. Prior to CrossTalk, Peter Lavelle hosted RT's programs IMHO and In Context. Lavelle also hosts a monthly business program on RT called On the Money.”

Allegedly, he is a spin doctor for the Russians, posing as a journalist.

Cuomo’s main question is why has Vladimir Putin not condemned the attack and why is he shrugging responsibility. The Russian advocate said that the reason is that the accident happened in the Ukraine and Russia and Putin have no responsibility for that.

Cuomo confronted that the entire scene is surrounded by Russians. It is obvious that Russia is supporting the ethnic Russian separatists.

The Cuomo exchange deteriorated into a shouting match for which Cuomo apologized.

The Russian government is clearly trying to offload the responsibility onto the Ukraine. The Russians are floating all sorts of conspiracy theories in an effort to confuse the situation. One theory is that Ukraine fighter planes shot down the airliner. That will be easy to prove or disprove based on forensics. Even though the missile launcher and missile parts have been removed from the scene and likely sent back to Russia, forensics will show what type of missile brought down the plane.

The Russian journalist advocate charged that Americans have spent billions on military systems deployed in the region and can’t come up with definitive evidence to prove that Russians had any direct involvement. That charge stings unless the American intelligence is withholding evidence.

Debates such as this have desirable benefits because they force the truth. They make producing compelling evidence essential. It emphasizes to Americans the necessity for government and the military to justify its return on cost.

This news just in:

Deputy National Security Advisor, Tony Blinken told Chris Cuomo moments ago, “We know that the Russian separatists had a missile launcher in position to take down the airliner.”

Asked if he can you make a technical case that the separatists did it it, he responded that they have compelling circumstantial and technical evidence including that they bragged about it.

There were not Ukrainian planes in the area at the time.

“Propaganda war: Russia offers alternate takes to what brought down MH17

By Ed Payne, CNN

updated 12:00 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014


  • A rebel commander says many of those on MH17 were dead before it was shot down
  • Moscow claims the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet
  • Claim: MH17 was traveling along almost the same route as Putin's presidential plane
  • A rebel leader denies a string of evidence pointing to his forces shooting down MH17

(CNN) -- In the tangled aftermath of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster, two narratives have emerged -- one that most of the world subscribes to, and another that Russia and the rebels are pushing.

In the first, MH17 was shot down by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, using a sophisticated Russian-built missile system.

In the second, Russia and the rebels suggest several different scenarios for what brought the jetliner down, some of them bordering on the bizarre.

Propaganda is nothing new in world politics. Since the beginning of time, everyone has put their spin on the events of the day.

But the word from Washington about Russia's take? Take any information coming out of Moscow "with a very large grain of salt."

"I would also say that these aren't competing narratives from two equally credible sources here," said Marie Harf, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman.

"The Russian government has repeatedly put out misinformation and propaganda throughout this conflict in Ukraine, so I would caution you from saying that these are two equally credible sources, although you're happy to report it that way, but I would take issue with it."

The Russian mindset, says CNN's former Moscow bureau chief, loves a good story. And the Russian narrative is meant to sway public opinion on who's responsible for the jet's downing.

"Don't forget, the mentality of Russians is to think of conspiracy theories," said Jill Dougherty. "So when they hear something that is outrageous, they might believe it."
Here are some of the stories circulating in the Russian media.

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