MSNBC’s star journalist Rachel Maddow was ready to break the news but hesitated when certain insiders worried that, if the accusation was not borne out by verifiable facts, the reaction might further damage the reputation of a news organization whose ratings have been plummeting for the past two months. This lapse has enabled Fair Observer to provide the scoop that Maddow was on the verge of making before being pulled back by MSNBC’s marketing department. Maddow did mention a rumor that Russia could have been involved, warning that if this could be confirmed it would be seen as “a new variation in Putin’s playbook.” But with no substantial evidence to present or names to cite, she went on to focus on the lurid details of Representative Matt Gaetz’s sex scandal.
Credible witnesses with access to the Kremlin have revealed to The Daily Devil’s Dictionary that the sandstorm credited with disturbing the navigation of the Ever Given — the Japanese container ship that ended up blocking the Suez Canal — was the result of a covert operation by Russia’s weather modification team. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aim was to damage the credibility of traditional trade routes, sowing doubt about the West’s ability to manage global commerce as the US prepares to disengage militarily from the Middle East. The message is clear. Russia is ready to mount similar operations in Syria, Iraq and even Egypt and Libya to further weaken the waning US influence in the region.
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But there is another dimension of this geopolitical struggle whose implications will stretch out over decades. Thanks to global warming, which the Russians officially blame the US for encouraging, Putin has been nourishing his plan to turn the increasingly navigable Arctic Ocean that stretches across Russia’s northern coastline into the obvious choice for most East-West trade. Thanks to the melting ice, Russia will soon be in a position to monitor and control as much as 60% of intercontinental trade in the decade to come.
Fair Observer’s scoop resulted from a cryptic remark spoken by a Russian official and overheard by CNN’s correspondent at a lunch table at the Kremlin. One of Putin’s closest aides, Nikolai Stavrogin, sat down with the intention of explaining to New York Times reporter Shawn McDermott a major shift in geopolitical history that would soon become apparent. The past, he claimed, was being undone in front of our very eyes. When asked for a detailed explanation, Stavrogin leaned back in his chair and slowly articulated this enigmatic thought: “Ice melts and ships float. It is ever a given that when water evaporates stillness reigns.”
Today’s Daily Devil’s Dictionary definition:
A verb used alternatively to describe the transformation of water under the effect of heat and the fate of many news stories left in the hands of journalists who refuse to think below the surface
CNN reporter Elizabeth Prynne, who was just near enough to overhear Stavrogin utter his enigmatic statement, noted the words “ever” and “given” in his arcane message and suspected the remark might have a deeper meaning. Convinced that it needed to be followed up, she asked her colleague at The NY Times for some background. The Times reporter told her that Stavrogin’s observation concerned climate change, a purely scientific matter. He had other matters to deal with and would refer this one to his scientific colleagues, always eager to speculate about the effects of global warming.
Prynne began asking around what Stavrogin’s remark might mean. She mentioned it to a friend who happens to be a Fair Observer contributor, who then informed The Daily Devil’s Dictionary. We immediately understood that this did indeed refer to the phenomenon of global warming. But, as Prynne suspected, it concerned the geopolitical impact of climate change. Thanks to the ever more apparent annual Arctic thaw that has opened up previously inaccessible trade routes, Russia is certain to obtain a growing strategic advantage.
Thanks to another of our relations, we were then able to reach Stavrogin himself who, without offering any new details, confirmed that his remarks concerned an impending revolution in maritime commerce. He also dropped the telling hint that the Kremlin’s weather experts had the knowledge and expertise to cause the stranding of an oversized ship in the Suez Canal. He refused to confirm that the operation was actually carried out by the Russians, but his boast that they were capable of such an operation left no doubt in our minds.
Fair Observer is not in the business of seeking or publishing scoops. But when one lands in our lap, we will not hesitate to disseminate it, especially at this crucial moment of history on April 1, 2021. The Daily Devil’s Dictionary published one of the first warnings concerning the suspicious disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in early October 2018. We pointed to the nature and the probable author of the crime well before the mainstream news began reporting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s possible involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance.
We have now established the fact that Vladimir Putin effectively intervened in beaching the Ever Given, an incident that for a full week dramatically disturbed global trade by blocking the Suez Canal. This is a major story that neither MSNBC nor CNN have shown the temerity to reveal. Proud of our scoop, we find ourselves in the embarrassing position of having to backtrack on our own recent and repeated claims that The New York Times has been pathologically obsessed with blaming Russia for every crime and misdemeanor on the international stage, or even in domestic politics in the US. We hope the Gray Lady will accept our belated apologies.
This incident that came to light through such indirect means tells us that, contrary to our own claims, The Times’ executive editor, Dean Baquet, was in the end justified in pursuing beyond reason the paper’s campaign against Russia. After what has now become clear about Putin’s intervention in the Suez Canal, what rational person could possibly doubt what The Times has been claiming for the past five years — that Putin colluded with Donald Trump and personally played the decisive role by tampering in the 2016 US presidential election to ensure the defeat of Hillary Clinton?
It was barely a week ago that the sandstorm occurred leading to the blockage of the Suez Canal. Some will say that so soon after the event, with the facts still difficult to pin down, that this first day of April is not the appropriate time to claim the truth of such allegations. But we proudly proclaim that April 1 is a far more appropriate moment than the other 364 days of the years when MSNBC, The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post and others have consistently pushed a similar story, and that for more than five years.
*[Humorists have always been attracted to the temptation of reporting patently fake news on April Fools’ Day. In our turn, we have succumbed. Our apologies to MSNBC, CNN and The New York Times for doing what they would never dare to do: print news that isn’t true. As Jonathan Swift might describe it, they are the Houyhnhnms, who “cannot say a thing which is not” and we are the Yahoos, whom he describes as “restive and indocible, mischievous and malicious.” (Disclaimer: we have no legal connection to Yahoo!) Read more of The Daily Devil’s Dictionary on Fair Observer.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
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