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When in Doubt, Blame the Kremlin: BuzzFeed is Back With RussiaGate, UK Edition

© AP Photo / Andy KropaBuzzFeed
BuzzFeed - Sputnik International
A new BuzzFeed report is the latest in an explicitly anti-Russia trend — unfortunately nothing new for the company, which is facing a lawsuit over prior false reporting.

Four US officials cited unnamed intelligence operatives who “believe” doctor and radiation scientist Matthew Puncher was murdered instead of having committed suicide last year, as UK police, medical officials and even the MI5 all agreed, BuzzFeed revealed on Monday.

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Matthew Puncher investigated the 2006 poisoning of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko by determining the levels of radioactive polonium 210 in the deceased’s body. Puncher was then found dead in his home with knife wounds to his neck and chest in May 2016. While UK officials unanimously agreed the circumstances of Puncher’s death did not suggest wrongdoing and was clearly a suicide, the crack team at BuzzFeed believes otherwise.

Of course, a person can believe in unicorns, but that doesn’t make that belief rooted in reality. Instead, the world of law and order requires evidence, and BuzzFeed fails pretty epically on that front.

For instance, BuzzFeed notes that “Suicide by stabbing is rare,” and hyperlinks to a document — prepared by BuzzFeed itself — as somehow substantiating the claim. The document is rather poorly researched: it shows the incidence of suicide by self-stabbing in the UK for just one year, 2015. Any elementary statistics professor would be able to tell you that an observation as this one reveals a fact for one year instead of a trend — and even a trend cannot be treated as a universal truth.

The National Institutes of Health reports that suicide by cutting is “uncommon,” but then again, this low incidence rate may be driven by factors like technology: it’s easier to self-annihilate with a firearm or a potent cocktail of prescription drugs. For all their investigating, BuzzFeed could have at least done a Google search or two to include evidence, like the NIH study, to back up their "investigative report."

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In any event, general claims about suicide methods wouldn’t hold up in a court of law. On that note, a medically trained coroner ruled Puncher’s death a suicide. And police didn’t even bring it to court. 

BuzzFeed — whose reputation has come under fire for publicizing a bogus report known as The Dossier on #GoldenShowerGate, alleging that President Donald Trump hosted urine-drenched orgies with sex workers in Moscow’s Ritz Carlton hotel — is facing a libel lawsuit over its indiscriminate spread of fake news.

Even the Washington Post, ever eager to malign Trump with literally anything they can get their hands on, tried for months to verify The Dossier but could corroborate exactly zero percent of the salacious document meant to ruin Trump’s reputation. 

Reporting that unnamed sources might be suspicious about how Puncher died is truly a spectacle for the self-described investigative journalists over at BuzzFeed. Their bulletproof reporting includes wildly speculative claims that others have been “likely assassinated on the direct orders of the Kremlin” as well, including Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky and diplomat Igor Ponomarev. Both deaths were exhaustively investigated and revealed nothing untoward. 

It’s not just London’s medical examiner who determined Puncher’s death a suicide. The police agreed. Detective Constable Rachel Clarke testified in court there was precisely zero evidence suggesting Puncher had struggled or that an intruder had entered his house, the Mirror reported.  What’s more, Clarke told the Oxford Coroner’s Court, “All the information told us he was very depressed and no-one in his family seemed particularly surprised he had taken his own life.” 

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The American spies supposedly passed off “evidence” to their British counterparts at MI6 that pointed to foul play, but stunningly, UK police have not reopened the case. In other words, the BuzzFeed team claims to know about a plot that cannot be corroborated by British doctors, police, spies, and the deceased’s own relatives.

Kathryn Puncher, Matthew Puncher’s wife of 16 years, explained that her husband, once always upbeat, had begun acting totally different in the months before his death. “After Christmas he changed completely… He just lost interest and I had to prompt him to do things like getting dressed and washing up,” she said, according to the Mirror.

"He used to cook all the meals but he just stopped. He seemed to stop caring about anything.”

When it comes to getting their hands on real evidence from real sources willing to step into the public eye, BuzzFeed has given the rest of the world further proof they don’t really care either.

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