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Rob’t Kraft accuses Putin 8 years later– why now?

on 32 Comments

Maybe you heard this weekend: Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of stealing his Super Bowl championship ring during a meeting in St. Petersburg in 2005 at which Kraft removed the ring to allow Putin to admire it.

Kraft made the accusation in a speech last Thursday at a Carnegie Hall benefit, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The Russians are very upset about the charge, they say that Kraft made a gift of the ring.

Why now? Well, back in ’05, Kraft said, he was told to keep his mouth shut about the alleged theft by the Bush administration; and Kraft obeyed the order.

Yes, but why now? Did the White House give Kraft the green light?

And: Did Kraft see an Israel interest in the disclosure? Israel has shifted in the last few weeks to a policy of confronting the Assad government, and, apparently, seeking its ouster. The big obstacle to moving Assad is the Russian support for his government.

As for imputing an Israel motivation to Kraft’s decision, well, that’s the problem with the Israel lobby, it implicitly raises the question. And Kraft supports Israel in many ways. Riding through Jerusalem on the light rail, I often see the Robert Kraft stadium built to promote football. I have often gone to the Robert Kraft center for Jewish life at Columbia to see pro-Israel events. “A taste of home” is the promotional slogan at Nana, the cafeteria there that serves Israeli foods. Kraft’s late wife once said that her sons could fight for Israel, she wouldn’t want them in American uniforms.

Am I accusing Kraft of blabbing now because he’s trying to help Israel? I certainly wonder. Maybe Kraft will tell us, in another 8 years…

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32 Responses

  1. Citizen
    Citizen on June 17, 2013, 11:31 am

    I’m amazed that anyone would expect Putin to be a fan of Israel. Not because he hate Jews, but because he favors Russian interests and his own career. I’d be equally amazed by any US political leader not favoring Israel, no matter what Israel does. The difference is that it’s politically correct in Russia to look after Russia’s best interests, while in the USA, it’s politically correct to priortize Israel’s whims over US interests. Look at the difference in political campaign financing in those two countries.

    You can start here:

    • American
      American on June 18, 2013, 12:05 am

      Isr’merica’s red line vr. Russia’s red line?
      My money’s on Putin.
      I look foward to the foaming at the mouth McCain, Graham and I-Firsters howling and demanding we go to war with Russia over Syria.
      Wonder what the Saudis are thinking now that the world’s other superpower has inserted itself into this fight?

      Obama’s approaching humiliation over Syria

      “U.S. President Barack Obama, who arrived in Northern Ireland on Monday, and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to hold bilateral talks during the summit, where they will also discuss their opposing views on the situation in Syria. On the even of the summit, Putin accused British Prime Minister David Cameron of betraying humanitarian values by supporting Syrian rebels with “blood on their hands.” Russia and the West have long been at odds over Syria. As the violence continues to escalate in the region President Putin expressed anger at the U.S. commitment to supply small arms and ammunition to rebels as a result of the U.S. saying there was proof Bashar Assad’s regime had used small amounts of chemical weapons. Meanwhile, Russia has been providing arms and diplomatic support to the Assad regime, an action Russian President Vladimir Putin defended at a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London on Sunday. Putin described Assad’s government as “the legitimate government of Syria in full conformity with the norms of international law.”” USA Today


      Barack Obama is about to have his “butt kicked” by the Russians over Syria. This will be the latest in a long series of defeats for him in his second term, not to mention the unceremonious way the US was disinvited from a continuing presence in Iraq and the massive and thinly disguised failure of his COIN strategic decision in Afghanistan. These were in his first term.

      Putin made it clear yesterday to our British lapdog, David Cameron, that he considers Assad’s government to be the legitimate government of Syria and that there will be no resolution emerging from the UN Security Council that threatens that status. He also made it clear that the rebels (whoever they are) are responsible for many of the civilian casualies that have occurred in Syria.

      Russia, Iran, Hizbullah and Syria are in the process of finishing off the “rebels.”

      Some people are saying that an unpopular minorities based government cannot hold Syria. Really? His father did so for decades.

      Putin said at Enniskillen today that Russia “will not allow” no-fly zones in Syria. that’s a real red line folks.

      Humiliation over Syria will be one more phase in BHO’s progress toward irrelevance. pl

  2. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka on June 17, 2013, 1:17 pm

    Phil, you referenced “Soviet” support in your fifth paragraph.

    I know. Decades later, I still call them that, too, from time to time…

  3. hophmi
    hophmi on June 17, 2013, 2:07 pm

    “Am I accusing Kraft of blabbing now because he’s trying to help Israel? I certainly wonder. Maybe Kraft will tell us, in another 8 years…”

    LOL. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, no, not me. . . . I have complete integrity as a journalist . . . I only make stuff up when I can.

    • philweiss
      philweiss on June 17, 2013, 2:54 pm

      Thanks for the wise intervention. Always appreciated.
      Kraft stated that when the ring was taken, Putin pocketed it and, surrounding himself with three KGB men, left the room, and that Kraft then tried to get it back, but “the White House intervened and said it would be in the interest of U.S.-Russian relations to claim it was a gift.”
      Was that a conspiracy?

      • hophmi
        hophmi on June 17, 2013, 3:02 pm

        Tell me again: which part of this story has something to do with Israel?

        Listen, I heard a rumor from my college roommate’s fourth cousin thrice removed that Bibi Netanyahu wanted Kraft’s ring because he went to MIT and became a big Patriots fan in the 70s, and that Putin stealing it was part of a scheme that Bibi worked through Putin buddy Avigdor Lieberman to get it. Personal gift; it’s KGB genius. It’s really in Bibi Netanyahu’s personal safe. Everyone is working together. Kumbaya. Jews and Russians haven’t worked this well together since the Cossacks showed up to drink at Tevye’s wedding.

        Know what’s difference about Kraft’s story from yours and one I just made up above? Robert Kraft is the source of it.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on June 17, 2013, 4:02 pm

        “Know what’s difference about Kraft’s story from yours and one I just made up above? Robert Kraft is the source of it.”

        So? It’s not like Kraft is believable on this point. (Which is more likely, a head of state stealing a meaningless sports trinket on camera or some US business blowhard lying to make himself look important??)

        Why do you care so much, hoppy?? Oh, that’s right. Kraft is Jewish, and you are pathologically compelled by your bigotry to defend the israeli state, or anyone who is Jewish — regardless of the facts — if at all possible. Sad.

      • libra
        libra on June 17, 2013, 4:08 pm

        hophmi: Know what’s difference about Kraft’s story from yours and one I just made up above?

        Phil’s is just political speculation whilst yours elevates this saga to fantasy fiction. Putin, Kraft, Avigdor, Bibi. What great names, the spine just tingles. With a bit of padding there’s a best-seller here, hophmi. Just needs a good title. Perhaps with only a little chutzpah you could call it Lords of the Ring.

      • philweiss
        philweiss on June 17, 2013, 6:19 pm

        OK so you dont’ have any problem with conspiracy, you just are against my theory.

      • yourstruly
        yourstruly on June 17, 2013, 10:23 pm

        anyone who is Jewish except Jewish anti-Zionists, who, after all, can’t be Jewish because if we were we’d be saying Israel right or wrong. Which means that prior to ww II there were far fewer than sixteen million of us, because most of us didn’t want to have anything to do with the Zionist project.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on June 17, 2013, 10:32 pm

        Hilarious. Libra can’t tell that I’m being sarcastic. No, Phil, I don’t like conspiracy theories, and I don’t like wild speculations about people based solely on their religion.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on June 17, 2013, 11:44 pm

        Your article raises a good question, Phil: “Why Now?”

        Why would he bring this up years later? According to Kraft’s story, the Bush Administration did not want to hurt relations with Russia over something like this. Why has the government’s position on this changed? What is going on right now between the US and Russia? The main issue between the countries is Syria.

        Alternately, maybe the US thinks that the ring issue was never important enough, or Kraft’s case strong enough, to make an international issue out of. Besides that, Kraft never said that the US changed its position. So if the US position on the “ring” issue has not changed, then what would be so important to Kraft right now about Russia that he would go against what the government told him?

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on June 18, 2013, 12:48 am

        Perhaps people could watch the video to draw their own conclusion about whether it was a gift. The best I found was this ABC report:
        The only thing I didn’t understand is what the guys with black hats at the end had to do with the story.

      • Obsidian
        Obsidian on June 22, 2013, 1:33 am

        No. It was a tax write off.

  4. Pamela Olson
    Pamela Olson on June 17, 2013, 3:14 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on with this ridiculous story (or Kraft’s timing), but I have no doubt Putin feels he can get away with basically anything. He’s a cold-blooded psychopath.

    Also, it reminds me of the Simpsons episode with the Trillion dollar bill:

    Castro: “Let me see it”
    Burns: “See with your eyes”
    Homer: “Mr. Burns, I think we can trust the President of Cuba!”

    Burns hands Castro the trillion dollar bill.

    Burns: “Now give it back”
    Castro: “Give what back?”

    • MRW
      MRW on June 17, 2013, 9:04 pm

      “but I have no doubt Putin feels he can get away with basically anything”

      Which is what mostly everyone outside of the US thinks of American presidents, including murder.

    • W.Jones
      W.Jones on June 17, 2013, 11:27 pm


      The story about Cuba does not seem right. I understand that Castro is authoritarian, but how is he a dishonest robber?

      This reminds me of the term “Indian giver”. The idea was that Indians would promise something and then take it back. And yet wasn’t it actually our army that took the Indians’ land, disregarding a whole “pilgrim’s cornicopia” of treaties over a few hundred years?

      In the case of Cuba, the land around Guantanamo is a perfect example. How can the US “own” such a big piece of Cuba- and I’m not talking about an embassy.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on June 18, 2013, 11:57 am

        “In the case of Cuba, the land around Guantanamo is a perfect example. How can the US “own” such a big piece of Cuba- and I’m not talking about an embassy.”

        Because Americans, it seems, think that it is A-OK for their country to have held a gun to the heads of anyone in what used to be called the Third World and force them to give up anything the US wants.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on June 18, 2013, 12:17 pm

        And if they want it back, then they get belittling jokes like the ones above.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka on June 18, 2013, 12:25 pm

        “And if they want it back, then they get belittling jokes like the ones above.”

        Sad but true.

    • American
      American on June 17, 2013, 11:43 pm

      @ Pamela

      Why do you say Putin is a cold-blooded psychopath?

      • Pamela Olson
        Pamela Olson on June 21, 2013, 8:12 pm

        I was in Russia during the second Chechen conflict, and the things he said on the record would curl your hair and curdle your stomach. God knows what he said in private.

        Regarding the Cuba thing above — it’s simply a very silly joke, not any kind of political or social commentary whatsoever. Basically saying real-life Putin is even worse than over-the-top fictionalized cartoon Castro.

  5. piotr
    piotr on June 17, 2013, 10:02 pm

    A little problem with elaborate theories is that the cited article quotes a spokesperson of Kraft who explained that yes, Kraft is telling that story but simply as a joke.

  6. yourstruly
    yourstruly on June 17, 2013, 10:32 pm

    that such a trivial occurrence actually gets such coverage demonstrates how eager msm is to cover anything that might possibly be used to turn the public against our government’s designated enemies – any nation that refuses to bow down before empire usa.

  7. American
    American on June 17, 2013, 10:37 pm

    Russia objects to US policy shift on Syria

    “Lavrov said the material does not include guarantees that it meets the
    requirements of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He
    said the organization specifies that samples taken from blood, urine and
    clothing can be considered reliable evidence only if supervised by
    organization experts from the time they are taken up to delivery to a
    laboratory. The OPCW is the autonomous body for implementing the
    international Chemical Weapons Convention that went into effect in 1997. Its
    website says Syria is one of six countries that have not signed or acceded
    to the convention. ” ABC News


    Translation: In Russia’s view the White House can not make unsupported
    claims of Syrian government use of proscribed weapons without following the
    protocols explicit in the international treaty that proscribed them. What
    is suggested by Lavrov’s statement is that the Obama Administration, having
    decided to intervene in Syria has now unjustifiably claimed that it has
    proof of Syrian government guilt in the matter of Sarin gas use. He implies
    that Russia will not accept such a procedure. pl


    “There have been leaks from Western media regarding the serious
    consideration to create a no-fly zone over Syria through the deployment of
    Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and F-16 jets in Jordan,” he said, speaking
    at a joint news conference with his Italian counterpart. “You don’t have to
    be a great expert to understand that this will violate international law.”
    the Telegraph


    This is a clear warning that Russia will veto an appeal for a UN resolution
    supporting US intervention in Syria. Let’s get real about what may happen.
    Russia will veto. the US may intervene anyway based on the approval of its
    “friends.” Might we end up in an armed confrontation with Russia over
    Syria? Is that what we want? Is that what the R2P and neocon crowd want?

  8. American
    American on June 18, 2013, 12:15 am

    We can expect a lot more ‘demonizing’ of Russia and Putin. Kraft’s slurring of Putin is just the typical kind of petty nasty little stuff we see all the time from the Israel crowd.

  9. W.Jones
    W.Jones on June 18, 2013, 12:29 am

    Kraft is right that the ring is still his, because he did not say that he was transferring the ring to Putin when he did.

    Nonetheless, there are several reasons why this could look like a gift to Putin:
    It happened after a two hour investment discussion with Putin, and it’s normal for people to exchange gifts after events like these.
    It happened in front of the cameras like a photo-op.
    People were smiling when it happened and acted like they approved of it.
    Why would he give Putin his ring in the first place in the middle of a major photo op?? Just because someone looks at your ring in a photo op you give it to them?

    Why not object with a smile and sense of humor when Putin put it on and pocketed it: “You can have my footballs, but not my ring”?

    • Citizen
      Citizen on June 18, 2013, 5:01 am

      Maybe Putin accepted it as an extended gesture of good will? Seems hard to believe he took it in public knowing Kraft wanted it back…

      And yes, the big issue is the timing, just when Russia is blocking what US so wants. I think American has the best analysis of why this petty little story came out eight years after the event.

  10. Philip Munger
    Philip Munger on June 18, 2013, 3:53 am

    What an interesting story. Never heard it before. Maybe when OJ gets out of prison, Kraft can hire him to get it back from Putin….

    I have a lot of stories about how you can lose stuff when you put it into a successful politician’s hands, but the story about Sen. Ted Stevens grabbing up a bunch of fishing flies my son had tied is my favorite.

    Never liked Putin, but if he nicked the ring from Kraft, that’s one thing. More likely that he blithely accepted it as just another gift due him for being who he thought he was.

    • Obsidian
      Obsidian on June 18, 2013, 11:23 am

      “Maybe when OJ gets out of prison, Kraft can hire him to get it back from Putin….”


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