Going to come out and say that the train blast in St Petersburg, Russia, is probably a (Russian) state-organised false-flag.
There is a tendency across most alternative media to refrain from suggesting such things when it concerns Russia and to limit suspicion only to the US, EU or British state activity when it comes to things like false-flags.
I, however, do not have a team or a side, and am therefore willing to call out Russian agencies just as much as I would American or French agencies in these kinds of circumstances.
The #PrayForSaintPetersburg hashtags were already trending before I even started watching the news reports. And the images and footage being played on news channels are very sanitised, looking like highly organised drills with crisis actors.
There doesn’t appear to be much evidence of an explosion either, at least not judging by the photographs or by various mobile-video clips. Just images of very choreographed scenes, a little bit of organised chaos, including some very casual-looking participants taking selfies, some even smirking or smiling, and a number of them unable to resist looking directly into cameras.
The icing on the cake is the almost immediately released surveillance image of the alleged perpetrator (pictured below) at the scene of the crime, which has a marked air of staged pantomime villain to it.
Also suspicious is that the metro station was open for business as usual already, just a couple of hours later. That really shouldn’t be enough time for clean-up, forensic analysis or investigation.
I could be wrong, of course. This could’ve been an entirely real ‘Islamist terror’ attack: there would be obvious motives for various Islamist factions to attack a Russian target (particularly Chechen factions or people linked to jihadists in Syria). The timing is curious though.
Russian chess master Garry Kasparov strongly hinted at this in a Tweet, in which he concluded ‘Forget protests, back to fear’. The Intercept journalist and Ed Snowden collaborator Glenn Greenwald suggests the same, and highlights the gullibility of conspiracy theorists who only see false-flags when it involves the US or Western states.
The motive would be fairly straightforward, in keeping with Kasparov’s point about the protests. Russia was currently being unsettled by large protests against government corruption and cronyism.
A week ago, The Telegraph suggested that the ‘Protests in Russia could represent major threat to Vladimir Putin’s iron grip on power’.
It further highlighted that the reason this round of protests and dissatisfaction was particularly troubling for the state was ‘the geography’: specifically, the problem that these protests have reportedly been going on in cities all across Russia. ‘Five years ago, the authorities were able – with some justification – to characterise the demonstrators who filled the capital’s boulevards and squares as members of a coddled metropolitan elite, divorced from the lives and opinions of the vast majority of Russians living beyond the Moscow ring road. After Sunday, however, that idea is dead.’
St Petersburg has also been a location for these growing protests. On March 26th, it was reported that ‘about 5,000 protesters’ were ‘shouting slogans including “Putin resign!” and “Down with the thieves in the Kremlin!”‘
A perceived terror attack serves to reinforce a sense of national unity behind the state by re-focusing everyone on a perceived external threat.
Tragedy in St. Petersburg. Once again "unknown terrorists" perfectly timed to serve Putin's political agenda. Forget protests, back to fear.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) April 3, 2017
It could also help justify a security crackdown – on the surface of it, to combat further possible terror attacks, but at the same time to also suppress large gatherings or protests. Another service it might perform is to help try to dissuade some of the anti-Russia propaganda by having Russia suffer the same sort of attack as France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, etc, and trying to evoke some of the we’re-all-in-this-together solidarity.
Of course, it is standard in 2017 for various platforms – particularly on the Alt-Right – to dismiss all and any protesters anywhere as Soros-funded entities: and the protests in Russia, unsurprisingly, have been characterised by many as such. I don’t dismiss that possibility. Nor the possibility that protest movements would be a standard way of destabilising Russia and trying to weaken or bring down Putin; and given the scale and persistence of anti-Russia and anti-Putin propaganda activity being waged across the West, it is highly likely that various options for unseating Putin and effecting a sort of regime change in Russia have been considered (with some possibly even attempted).
However, even were that the case, the motive for Russian state actors was still strong for staging a false-flag attack to deflect away the opposition or to at least take the wind out of the sails of the protests and unrest. It’s hardly new thinking, but pretty standard.
The use of false-flag terrorism appears not to be alien to Russia. A substantial case for this was the 1999 apartment bombings (see details here): a series of attacks carried out on four apartment blocks in the Russian cities of Buynaksk, Moscow, and Volgodonsk in September 1999 and for which strong evidence exists to suggest a state-sponsored false-flag attack (utilising a terror drill) in order to justify the Second Chechen War.
It would be interesting to see if Paris, Berlin, London or other cities illuminate their landmarks in Russian flag colours as the standard act of solidarity – or whether the prevailing anti-Russia paradigm will prevent that gesture.
Also, just to get it out here: I want to go on record as predicting there may be a staged terror attack somewhere in France between now and the weekend: or, perhaps more likely, some time between now and the second round of the French Presidential Elections in May. I hope there isn’t: but I suspect there will be and, if so, it will probably be aimed at bolstering support for Marine Le Pen and the Front National.