Strategic Deception and the Sporting World

How the UNODC and IOC have created a movement that purports to fight sports corruption but actually puts it in reverse. ”The West are wishful thinkers, we will give them what they want to think…” Feliks Dzerzhinsky - Founder of the Soviet Spy Services Back in the day, things were not going well for the Russian Bolsheviks. It was 1919, they were nominally in power in the newly established, Soviet Russia, but really were losing a land war to their bitter enemies...

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How to Survive an International Sports Integrity Conference

You ain’t in Kansas anymore Dorothy. Back in the day, international sports integrity conferences - like Play the Game, happening right now in Colorado Springs - were jovial affairs where independent journalists, saddened whistle-blowers and beleaguered sports officials could meet, chat, drink and sometimes dance. Now, everything has changed. Sports are battle grounds of geopolitical soft power. Hard power is the idea that you can conquer another country with tanks, planes and lots of death. Soft power is the idea that you can...

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The Sporting Scandals of the Season

It is in the dog days of summer that the dirty deeds get done. A good habit for European and North American investigative journalists is to check government press releases at the beginning of the July 1st/4th weekend and the Friday before the Christmas Holidays. For it is then, when most people are rushing out the door for their holidays, that bad news emerges from guilty corporations, complicit government departments and cunning media spokes people. In sports corruption, the equivalent are...

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The Russian Olympic Doping File

It is a slow-moving disaster than penalizes clean athletes and rewards a dirty system. Welcome to the Russian state sponsored doping saga, episode number 58. ** Here is some context. For those readers who do not follow the fast, exciting world of winter sports in the Virgin Islands – the beach training is intense and the air conditioning can be very cold – you may have missed the sad news of Ms. Kathryn Tannenbaum, the skeleton sledder from those temperate isles. Skeleton sledding is...

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Communists, Criminals or Both? The October Revolution

The door is thick and well padded, but it was not enough to protect the leaders of the first Russian revolution. It is located in a room in the labyrinth-like Hermitage Palace on the seafront of Saint Petersburg. Today, the Hermitage is the world’s largest museum. In October 1917, it was the headquarters of the Mensheviks – a weak, social democratic government. The Mensheviks had overthrown Czar Nicholas II a few months before and captured his vast palace. Unable to govern...

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The Cold War Spy Games Inside Sports

As the world fixates on Russian spying and cyber-attacks in U.S. politics, the field of sports has been struck by similar intrusions and Canadian athletes and organizations are among the hardest hit. The Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was warned last summer that Russian hackers were trying to breach its computer system, according to security officials and computer experts who requested anonymity to discuss the matter. The agency’s former director general, David Howman, who reported that he received death threats during...

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Canada’s Pride

Its nice to be able to write a story where the Canadian sports officials are not burying their heads in the sand or passing the hot potato of accountability as quickly as possible.   This is an exclusive interview with Richard McLaren, the Canadian sports lawyer who investigated the state-sponsored Russian doping system. Richard McLaren announcing the results of his investigation into Russian state-sponsored doping It is the Lance Armstrong scandal meets Kremlin Cold War politics, with some underhanded KGB tactics thrown...

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The ‘Secret’ Report for WADA

Below is the confidential paper on building an investigative culture in a corrupt sports world that I wrote for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Think Tank held in Lausanne on September 20th. It was supposed to be secret but some craven twit leaked it to his pals in the media within 24-hours of it being circulated. Now that a number of journalists have read it, I have no hesitation in making it public. The headlines are: 1)     World Anti-Doping Agency is not...

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If You Love Sports, Switch Off the Rio Olympics

Ten Points on the Russian Sports Doping Scandal 1. The only way to get clean, dope-free sport is for fans around the world to switch off the Rio de Janeiro Olympics: I do not write this lightly. Nor do I write about the rampant corrupton of the Brazilian construction industry, the potential spread of the Zika virus, the dangerous raw sewage that some of the athletes are being forced to compete in, the violence of the local police/criminals, the bulldozing of...

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Russian Doping & Fixing: A Normal Way of Business

In the light of Richard McLaren's report on doping in Russia.  Here is a backgrounder from The Fix on corruption in Russian sports.  Kaliningrad is a grim, grey city stuck at the far western end of Russia. It is full of crumbling dockyards, high unemployment, and mobsters. The city is an odd outpost of the remains of the Soviet Empire. It is a Russian Baltic port, completely cut off from the rest of country and wedged between Lithuania and...

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