A US political scientist has published an extensive thread on Twitter debunking an article claiming that Russia’s bombing of a Mariupol theater was a false-flag operation carried out by Ukraine’s Azov Battalion. The article was published by The Grayzone website and authored by its editor Max Blumenthal, a far-left influencer and regular contributor to Russian state-backed media outlets. According to a Twitter thread by Neil Abrams:
March 22, 2022 OK, so @MaxBlumenthal of @TheGrayzoneNews recently published an article claiming that Russia’s bombing of a Mariupol theater was actually a false-flag operation carried out by Ukraine’s Azov Battalion. Reader, this is one dishonest article, and I’m about to show you why. Thread: The bombing occurred a week ago. Locals, in an attempt to dissuade Russia from attacking it, had written “children” on the ground outside in letters so big they could be seen from space satellites. But was it really a false-flag operation by Ukrainian forces? Let’s dig in. […] So that’s it for the substance of the article. In short, it’s a mess of unsupported assertions, a couple bits of evidence that *would* support his claims if they weren’t totally unreliable, and a bunch of other stuff that’s impossible to verify and totally irrelevant in any event.
Read the full thread here.
Blumenthal and his website The Grayzone have repeatedly been described as among the most influential left-wing amplifiers of pro-Russian propaganda in the West. A New York Times Op-Ed titled “Putin’s Useful Idiots” has described Blumenthal’s views on the Ukraine conflict as “distorted” and “similar to Russian propaganda”:
April 28, 2014 Another American pundit, Max Blumenthal, described the Euromaidan movement as “filled with far-right street-fighting men pledging to defend their country’s ethnic purity.” True, such people were present at the square, but they were marginal figures, and slogans about ethnic purity never gained popularity. Yes, generally speaking, Ukraine has its skinheads and its anti-Semites and even serial killers, pedophiles and Satanists. They are not present in smaller or larger numbers than in any other country, even in the most mature European state. In one particularly egregious passage, Mr. Blumenthal writes about how the “openly pro-Nazi politics” of the Ukrainian political party Svoboda and its leader, Oleg Tyagnibok, “have not deterred Senator John McCain from addressing a Euromaidan rally,” nor did it “prevent Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland from enjoying a friendly meeting with the Svoboda leader this February.” That distorts how these things work.
Read the rest here.
The Global Influence Operations Report recently reported that an Edinburgh-based academic at a leading university was accused of “effectively helping the Russian war effort” after he had shared the article on the Mariupol theater by Blumenthal on social media.