Politicisation of the Olympics by the West


AMERICA’s propaganda against Russia at the Olympics seems to be on overdrive.
In fact, the Americans would rather have the spotlight on Russia’s alleged human rights abuses and not on the Winter Olympics in Sochi turning the event into an opportunity to once again one-up their rival Russia.
But the question that should be asked is, “Is America really doing all this in support of gay rights or there is another reason for this onslaught?”
The Americans are particularly upset by the continuing presence of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in Moscow.
The leaking of a sensitive and embarrassing conversation between Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and George Pyatt, the US ambassador in Kiev, allegedly recorded by Russian intelligence, has not improved relations.
The American press has sought to sabotage the event and turn it one of President Vladimir Putin.
More than 2 800 athletes are competing in 98 events unfolding over the course of two weeks in the Black Sea resort town.
Moscow’s intention was that the Sochi Olympics would signify Russia’s economic and geopolitical resurgence.
Coming in the midst of sharpening tensions between the White House and the Kremlin over the domination of Eurasia, Washington and Brussels are working to turn the games into a diplomatic and publicity debacle for Moscow.
Coverage of the Sochi Olympics by the American media makes an interesting case study of America’s use of the private media to fight its wars. Having gotten their marching orders from Washington the ‘free press’ went on to demonise and spread their propaganda against Russia.
‘Sochi: Worst Olympics Travel Destination Ever?’ was the title of a recent piece in the Time magazine.
‘The Darkness Behind Sochi’s Sparkle’, was the title of an article in the New York Times seeking to undermine any positive impression observers might have gotten from watching Friday’s elaborate opening ceremony.
The Washington Post’s Sally Jenkins attacked the Sochi games for the misuse of public funds, the poverty of the surrounding region, and environmental damage.
Jenkins, who has conveniently forgotten she hails from a country in which the top 20 percent of the population controls 90 percent of all household wealth, vacillates between complaining about the quality of the carpeting in the hotel rooms and “rooting against Putin and the small group of 110 billionaire accomplices who have hijacked Russia’s wealth”.
No major Western leader or top official is attending the Sochi Olympics, and the Obama administration deliberately sent a delegation of low-ranking figures to represent America.
It includes a White House aide, former Homeland Security, chief Janet Napolitano, and US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who has been a vociferous advocate of the anti-Putin opposition and just announced his resignation from his post.
McFaul’s departure is widely viewed as signifying an end to the official American policy of ‘resetting’ relations with Russia after the rift created during George W. Bush’s presidency.
Great Britain, France, and Germany have followed America’s lead, with top political figures calling for government representatives to boycott the event. British Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg announced on the opening day of the games that he had banned Liberal Democratic ministers from going, allegedly over Russia’s anti-gay laws.
In December, German President Joachim Gauck declared he was boycotting the event.
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letti, the only G8 leader outside of Japan to show up in Sochi, has been roundly criticised for attending.
Recently passed anti-gay laws in Russia that ban ‘homosexual propaganda’ are being utilised as one of the principal cudgels against the Putin government.
While the US maintains the closest ties with regimes like Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is punishable by flogging and death, Washington and its allies have whipped up a frenzy in the human rights community around these issues with regards to Russia.
While Russia is hardly a paragon of democratic rights, Western countries led by America are themselves guilty of carrying out a massive assault on civil liberties.
Barack Obama openly declares that he has the right to authorise the assassination of US citizens without due process, and has done so.
His government presides over the largest spying operation in world history.
More than 200 leading international authors including Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Jonathan Franzen criticised Russia’s anti-gay law as well as blasphemy legislation as a ‘chokehold’ on creativity, in an open letter published in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
AT&T, a sponsor of the US Olympic Committee, announced an official protest against Russia’s anti-LGBT propaganda law Tuesday, three days before the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Sochi.
“We support LGBT equality globally and we condemn violence, discrimination and harassment targeted against LGBT individuals everywhere. Russia’s law is harmful to LGBT individuals and families, and it’s harmful to a diverse society.”
Eight US states — Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah — have laws banning the promotion of homosexuality in schools. Arizona and Utah, for instance, ban teachers from casting homosexuality in a positive light, while states like Alabama and Texas take things a step further, requiring educators to describe homosexuality as abhorrent to the general public and as a criminal behaviour.
Germany’s Olympic athletes paraded into Friday’s opening ceremony attired in rainbow-coloured uniforms, a symbol of gay rights.
The same day Google changed its Olympic-themed logo of the day to a similar colour scheme.
Not to be left out, United Nations (UN) chief Ban Ki-moon called for an end to attacks and discrimination against gays on the eve of the official opening of the Sochi Olympics.
“We must all raise our voices against attacks on lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender or intersex people,” he said.
“We must oppose the arrest, imprisonment and discriminatory restrictions they face.”
The politicisation of sports is nothing new for America.
If one is to recall, the same propaganda was used against China in 2008, when George Bush Jnr sought to use China’s hosting of the Olympics as an opportunity to push for media reforms and constantly brought up issues to do with human rights abuses.
In fact, just to spite the Chinese government, George W. Bush met with prominent Chinese dissidents at the White House a week before the official opening of the Olympics.
In the words of International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, “Sport can only contribute to development and peace if it is not used as a stage for political dissent or for trying to score points in internal or external political contests.”


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