The Communist Party of China’s most xenophobic propaganda organ, the Global Times newspaper, has accused the Washington Free Beacon of fabricating a news story. They're wrong. Also, stupid.
The report in the Global Times criticized U.S. and foreign media, including two state-controlled Chinese outlets, for picking up the WFB story that disclosed two Russian strategic bombers had circled the U.S. island of Guam on the day President Obama gave his State of the Union speech.
Global Times said our report was false because its writers and editors failed to locate Air Force Capt. Kim Bender, a spokeswoman for the Pacific Air Force in Hawaii, who confirmed the incident and said in a statement that U.S. F-15 interceptors were sent aloft to track the two Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers.
The Global Times report stated that despite the confirmation, "behind all of this speculation, there is still the question of whether the initial report is true or not."
Not really, though. The question has been answered—in the affirmative.
In seeking to debunk the Free Beacon report, the Global Times states that the English-language version of China Central TV, the official communist broadcasting outlet, had been told by U.S. miltiary officials that "the U.S. military indeed intercepted two Russian bombers that flew near Guam, but did not mention the bombers’ type or whether they carried nuclear weapons."
So, CCTV and the WFB agree: Bear bombers circled Guam.
As for the Global Times' claim that a "mysterious U.S. Pacific Air Force captain spokeswoman" quoted in the Free Beacon story does not exist, well, Beijing party apparatchiks need to brush up on their Baidu skills. Air Force Capt. Kim T. Bender holds the position of operations division chief at the Pacific Air Force public affairs office in Hawaii.
Her response to the Free Beacon was cleared by several senior officers and Pentagon officials prior to release.
In a statement available to all news organizations that contacted Bender or the Pacific Air Force public affairs office, the captain stated:
"On Feb. 12, two Russian Tu-95 bomber aircraft circled Guam. Two U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter aircraft, operating out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, scrambled and responded to the aircraft. The Tu-95s were intercepted and left the area in a northbound direction. No further actions occurred.
"The F-15s were participating in an annual exercise on Andersen AFB. The F-15s are stationed at the 18th Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan.
"For operational security reasons, specific details on this event cannot be released."
Since no photos of the incident were published, the communist propaganda organ concluded that "members of U.S. military-industrial complex or even members of the U.S. military purposely used [WFB senior editor Bill] Gertz, a low-level person with close ties to these establishments, … to spread a piece of fabricated news which could very easily invoke the American public’s memory of military threat coming from the Polar Bears back in the Cold War era, with the purpose of interrupting or delaying the steps of military budget cuts by the administration and Congress."
When contacted by the Free Beacon, Gertz said he is very much pro-China and opposed to the communist government in Beijing.
Critics of Global Times point out that the newspaper in the past has attacked Nobel Peace Prize winners the Dalai Lama and imprisoned human rights activists Liu Xiaobo. Last year the paper called for China’s government to "eliminate" the Dala Lama. In 2010, Global Times said the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu was part of a plot by western countries to subvert China.
Global Times also awarded the now-discontinued Confucius Peace Prize, formed after Liu was awarded the Nobel, to Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2011 for the Russian leader’s scorched earth policy in the war against Chechen separatists in 1999.