Saturday, 31 March 2018

Russophobia in America

The Congress of Russian Americans wrote an open letter to President Trump on the subject of sanctions against Russia. In the letter they point out how negatively Russian Americans are suffering as a direct result of the sanctions. They also point out that Russophobic rhetoric surrounding these sanctions has resulted in serious discrimination and hatred against all the five million Russian Americans.

The liberal corporate media in American makes much of its championing of the rights of minorities. Indeed, when Trump signed an executive order, which they immediately dubbed a muslim ban, the liberal media denounced it as immoral and pretended that the Constitution conferred citizen rights on foreigners. They denounced Trump, and all who supported his travel ban, as racists. Yet, the same liberal media has been completely silent on the plight of Russian Americans.

This silence is stunning. There is only one explanation for the complete absence of media interest: Russophobia is so entrenched in the American political media elite that it is literally invisible, taken-for-granted, normal. A political media elite that cannot even see its prejudice and discrimination against millions of its own citizens is not only sick but a threat to the people.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Corbyn and the mural

The Board of Deputies of British Jews issued a statement, "Enough is Enough". The statement accuses Jeremy Corbyn of being anti-Semitic. It is a response to a comment Corbyn left on a Facebook post in 2012. The post was about a mural by Mear One that the local authority were about to destroy. Corbyn asked why and he referred to an earlier work of art that had been destroyed. The alleged anti-Semitism lies in the assumed fact that the mural is blatantly and horribly anti-Semitic.

The BBC (and the rest of the British corporate media) decided to make much of this alleged anti-Semitism. Indeed, they treated the allegation as a fact beyond question and made the story about why Corbyn and his supporters in the Labour Party are anti-Semitic and what Corbyn ought to do about it. A rather obvious case of begging the question.

In fact, the mural is not anti-Semitic. It is in fact anti-capitalist, specifically, anti-finance capitalism, the system that almost destroyed the global economy as recently as 2007/8 and had to be rescued by ordinary people's taxes to the tune of trillions of... well various currencies, including pounds and dollars and euros - state support that has ever since been used to justify the austerity programmes that Jeremy Corbyn opposes.

Indeed, the Board of Deputies' statement actually makes it clear (assuming one reads it carefully) that the charge of anti-Semitism is merely window dressing. What they really object to about Jeremy Corbyn is his "far left" politics. The statement makes it clear that the Board of Deputies are actually concerned about class, rather than religion or ethnicity.

The BBC is required by its charter to be impartial. However, the people who run the BBC have a very unique interpretation of the word, as can be seen by their absurd treatment of this non-story, which accurately represented would have been: Jeremy Corbyn posted a neutral comment on a Facebook page years ago. However, when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn (amongst others) the BBC interprets its duty of impartiality to mean misrepresentation, disinformation, propagandising, smearing, inventing lies and generally defaming. Indeed, the BBC Trust itself acknowledged that Laura Kuenssberg fabricated an interview with Jeremy Corbyn to completely misrepresent his views. Nevertheless, the BBC's management disagreed with the governing body's finding and claimed that Kuenssberg is an outstanding journalist. This does of course all too clearly reveal what constitutes "journalism" in the corporate world. 

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

The strangeness of the Skripal case

Yesterday saw a wave of expulsions of Russian diplomats. These were ostensibly carried out "in solidarity" with the United Kingdom. The expression is rather (albeit doubtlessly unintentionally) revealing. These countries are not claiming that they know Russia is guilty of the poisonings of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Rather, they are implicitly admitting that they do not know that Russia is guilty. Nevertheless, they are clearly signalling that they allying with the United Kingdom and recognising Russia as an enemy. This dangerous situation is all premised on a case that makes no sense.

The Skripals were found on a park bench more than three weeks ago. According to Theresa May, they had been poisoned by a military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. She theatrically issued an ultimatum to Russia to prove its innocence in a matter of less than two days. When Russia did not do so, she concluded that Russia was guilty as charged. "There is no other plausible explanation," as she said. This course of action constituted, not only a remarkable reversal of the burden of proof, it also violated international law by its failure to observe the procedures of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Nevertheless, virtually the whole political media elite (with the exception of Jeremy Corbyn, who is now the subject of a confected anti-Semitism scandal) enthusiastically went along with this travesty.

Whilst Theresa May and Boris Johnson and the rest were repeatedly denouncing Russia, the journalists in the corporate media demonstrated an incredible lack of curiosity about the facts of the case. For example, the doctor who treated Yulia Skripal at the scene, and who did not get ill, has still not been named. She hasn't appeared on television. No pictures of her entering or leaving her place of work have been published. Indeed, no pictures of her have been published at all. There have been no interviews with her colleagues, friends, family, neighbours. There has no interest in her at all.

This lack of curiosity can also be seem in relation to Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. He apparently attended the Skripals at the park bench and became seriously ill and was hospitalised for almost three weeks and then discharged, having made a full recovery. The lack of press interest here is even more remarkable because the official story of where DS Bailey became ill was changed from the bench to Mr Skripal's home. It obviously cannot have been both. So which was it? And when did it occur? The corporate media apparently cannot be bothered to even pose such questions. Moreover, all the while Bailey was in hospital seriously ill, there were no pictures, no interviews (unless we include on that was allegedly provided by his father in law). On Bailey's discharge from hospital, he did not appear before the press. Instead, a statement supposedly written by him was read to the press. However, it does not take much analysis to see that the statement was written by some type of public relations expert. It says virtually nothing; certainly nothing of substance. What it does say is emotive nonsense, designed to hide the fact that it does no offer any facts.

Indeed, the corporate media seem to be remarkably lacking in curiosity when it comes to DS Bailey. Why was a detective apparently acting as a first responder? What type of detective is Mr Bailey? Where does he work? Who are his colleagues? Apparently, the journalists in the corporate media are not interested.

The corporate media journalists are equally lacking in curiosity when it comes to Yulia Skripal. She is a Russian citizen, poisoned on British soil, but the government will not allow the Russians consular access to her. This is not only very strange; it is clearly contrary to international law. Yet the corporate media are completely silent about it. They have also apparently been unable to acquire even a single picture of her in hospital, interview any of the staff treating her, or even identify the hospital where she is being treated.

The corporate media have also shown a remarkable lack of interest in the ruling of the judge who gave permission for blood samples to be taken from Yulia and her father. The ruling clearly indicates that Porton Down has not identified the substance that poisoned Yulia and Sergei Skripal. It shows that the evidence before the judge asserted that the substance was a nerve agent "or related compound". This is a very long way from assertions thrown around by Boris Johnson.

Indeed, a letter published in the Times in response to an article that claimed the nerve agent attack had poisoned forty people has been studiously ignored by the corporate media: doubtless because it so obviously undermines the official narrative. Dr Davies, a senior doctor at Salisbury NHS Trust, corrected the Times article, asserting that no one had been treated for nerve agent poisoning and that there had only been three poisoning cases (presumably referring to the Skripals and Bailey).

There has also been no interest in the Christopher Steele connection. Sergei Skripal was recruited by MI6 and it requires very little attention to detail to connect Skripal with the infamous Trump Dossier, which is a foundational document in the whole Russia-gate scandal, a story that the media have been pushing for almost two years.

The Skripal case is indeed strange. This is a narrative without facts. There is much theatre, such as men in hazmat suits, which is clearly meant to convey a scary, serious message, yet they are next to people without any protective clothing. There is the fact that it took the authorities almost a whole week to issue a public health warning even though they supposedly knew almost immediately that it was a nerve agent attack. However, when the warning was issued, it merely advised people to wash their clothes and clean objects. It should hardly need mentioning that one does not carry out a chemical weapons decontamination by washing one's clothes a week later. Similarly, the police assistant commissioner in charge of the case, with hundreds of officers, and access to all the experts, has been unable to identify any person of interest, let alone a suspect. Yet, the corporate media are apparently blind to the contradiction that May and Johnson et al claim to know it was Putin.

The Skripal case does not make sense. Rather than bring that to the public's attention, the corporate media have done everything they can to obscure that fact. They have repeated the official narrative. They have added embellishments. They have surrounded the story with speculation. They have provided moral indignation, masquerading as reporting. They have focused on Boris Johnson's hyperbole. They have treated the official narrative as a loyalty test. What they have not done is investigate the case and impartially report the facts.

Monday, 26 March 2018

A Nazi dog?

Last week a Scottish court found Mark Meechan guilty of making a "grossly offensive" joke. The court will issue its sentence next month.

Meechan, known as Count Dankula on YouTube, posted a video of his girlfriend's dog, which he had taught to raise its paw, as though making a Nazi salute, in response to him saying, "Zeig Heil!"

According to Meechan, teaching the dog this trick was intended as a joke. He claims that his girlfriend dotes on the dog and this was some kind of response to her being more affectionate towards the dog than him. If this strikes you as stupid behaviour - I can only agree. However, we do not criminalise people for being stupid.

More to the point, Meechan has an excellent defence. It is called freedom of expression. And it is a fundamental, universal human right. That's the defence, and the only defence, he should have offered. He should have made the complainant, the police, the prosecutors and the judge all explicitly take the position that he does not have the right to freedom of expression, which is of course tacitly exactly their position.

Meechan's case is important. Not because of Meechan, the dog, the video, Nazis or anti-Semitism, but because the right to freedom of expression is under constant attack. Ironically, that attack is being led by people who self identify as liberals; a political philosophy that puts individual rights, and especially the right to freedom of expression, at its heart.

Contemporary liberalism is anything but liberal. It is in fact totalitarian, and demands that everyone thinks precisely the same thoughts and say the same things. Any dissent is immediately construed as immoral and even, as in this case, as criminal. When people are not free to think and speak as they wish, there is no freedom for anyone.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

The war on Iraq - has anyone learned the lessons?

Today is the fifteenth anniversary of the war on Iraq. The initial name for the war was Operation Iraqi Liberation. However, it was not long before the smart people in Washington noticed that the acronym - OIL - was perhaps all too revealing, so they changed it to Operation Iraqi Freedom. These facts are often denied and anyone who has the audacity to mention them is denounced as a conspiracy theorist. Yet, even if you do not remember that the US called the war Operation Iraqi Liberation, you can still see and hear Presidential Press Secretary, Ari Fleischer unabashedly saying so. Here's the video.

The war on Iraq was based, not simply on a set of falsehoods; it was based on a tissue of lies. False facts that were known to be false. The US and its allies were determined to overthrow Saddam Hussein and the "facts" were invented to justify the invasion. The mildly worded Chilcot Report lays it out in great detail.

Of course, everyone who has been paying attention now knows the war mongers were lying. Yet, amazingly when the same political media elite currently engage in their lies to demonise and so justify aggression against foreign countries today, it seems again that many people cannot see the lies. The current lies about Assad and Syria peddled so assiduously by the political media elite are met with credulity. The current lies about Putin and Russia are treated not just as unquestionable facts, but as a loyalty test - anyone who even asks for evidence is immediately constructed as a traitor.

Of course, this is how propaganda works. It doesn't have to be evidenced,  clever or even plausible. People in authority just repeat the same narrative over and over. The less facts, the more emotive the rhetoric, the better it works. Once the hysteria of fear and moral indignation is generated, confirmation bias kicks in and does its ugly work.

In the current Russophobic climate, anything that Putin or Russia does or says is simply interpreted as proof that Putin and Russia are evil. Boris Johnson and James Clapper (and others) have even gone so far as to attribute malign and manipulative, deceptive and devious behaviour to Russian genes. Johnson appears on national television and asserts that he knows that Putin ordered the assassinations of Skripal and his daughter by the way the Russians denied it, and he isn't even challenged. Andrew Marr baldly asserted on his BBC television show on the day of the Russian presidential election that Putin kills opposition in the streets. The BBC programme Newsnight presents a photoshopped Jeremy Corbyn, made to look like Lenin in front of the Kremlin through a red filter because he had the decency to ask the prime minister to present the evidence and observe the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The lessons of the Iraq war are obvious. Yet, no one - certainly not in the political media elite - seems to have learnt the most obvious ones. The current lying propaganda against Russia is obvious. It is so blatant that anyone who bothers to critically evaluate it can easily see it for it is. The assistant police commissioner in charge of the Skripal case has said that they do not have any persons of interest, let alone suspects. Yet the whole of the political media elite know that Putin did it. Perhaps the police should interview Theresa May or Boris Johnson. They apparently have information that hundreds of police officers, with access to all the experts, have been unable to uncover.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Russian presidential election

Yesterday the people of Russia elected Vladimir Putin by an overwhelming majority. With almost all the votes counted, Putin has seventy-six percent of the ballot. His nearest rival, Pavel Grudidin, the Communist Party's candidate, came distant second with twelve percent.

The results of the election have been treated by the western corporate media as proof that Russia is not a democracy, that the election was rigged and that Putin is a dictator. This reaction is obviously nothing more than the recycling of a pre-determined narrative. It simply ignores the actual evidence. For example, the election was monitored by thousands of observers, including over fifteen hundred international observers from a hundred and fifteen countries. The election was covered by more than ten thousand journalists. In these circumstances systematic rigging of the election is inconceivable.

The election makes clear, precisely what the western political media elite are determined to deny: Vladimir Putin has the overwhelming support and confidence of the people of Russia. When people such as Boris Johnson claim that their conflict is not with the people of Russia, but only with Putin, they are either deluding themselves or they are lying. There is opposition to Putin, but it is not what people like Johnson believe it to be.

The opposition to Putin is tiny, and such as it exists, is actually communist/socialist, as is shown by the fact that the Communist Party candidate came second. Grudidin was a terrible candidate. He was not even a member of the Communist Party (frankly, I cannot understand why the Communists adopted him). He is a business man. He has foreign bank accounts, allegedly for the purposes of avoiding taxes. Given that the opposition to Putin wants capitalist enterprises and the rich to be more heavily taxed and more generous social policies, these facts made Grudidin a terrible candidate.

The western political media elite, of course, ignores the real opposition to Putin (it is simply too inconvenient) and prefers instead to pretend that Navaleny is the real opposition. However, this is just fantasy. They pretend that Navaleny was not allowed to contest the election because he is a threat to Putin. They like to represent Navaleny as a liberal. This is all nonsense. Navaleny was not allowed to contest the election, not because of his political views, but because he is a criminal. Indeed, there were a number of liberal candidates contesting the election. If we add up all their votes, they received a mere four percent of the vote. If Navaleny had contested the election, it is highly likely that he would have received less than two percent.

If relations between the west and Russia are to improve, it is essential that the west's political media elite take the results of this election seriously. They need to put their Russophobic narratives to one side and look at the facts objectively. The people of Russia overwhelming support Vladimir Putin. Any potentially successful opposition to Putin would not be someone like Navaleny, but rather someone who was even more determined to put Russia's interests first. The days of Yeltsin, when the west's multinational corporations could loot Russia, are over, and the west's political media elite need to accept that fact.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

The Guardian examines Russian propaganda

Jon Henley at the Guardian apparently watched RT's coverage of the Skripal case for twenty-four hours. His purpose was to expose RT's propaganda. I suspect he was deeply disappointed. Nevertheless, he wrote up his findings. You can read his article here.

The article is in terms of its factual claims accurate. However, the tone and language make it perfectly clear that one is supposed to see RT's reporting as false, misleading propaganda, pushing the Kremlin's disinformation. Unfortunately for Mr Henley only someone already deeply prejudiced against Russia and all things Russian could conceivably see anything false or misleading about RT's coverage. None of the assertions Henley cites show RT as making false claims. On the contrary, the examples he cites all show RT accurately reporting the news.

Mr Henley apparently thinks that questioning the evidential basis for the British government's claims is proof of Russian propaganda. This is the world upside down that we have come to expect from the corporate media. Accusations without evidence are treated as unquestionable facts. Any attempt to question such "facts" is seem as proof of treachery; labelled as propaganda, fake news, hate speech.

Indeed, Mr Henley's article is an example of propaganda - unfortunately for him and the Guardian, very poor propaganda. The claim that RT is an organ of Kremlin propaganda only works when one is careful enough to avoid providing any specifics. Once, as in this case, the accusation is accompanied by actual details, the allegation falls apart; and in falling apart inevitably exposes the accuser as engaging in projection.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Russian to judgement

On Monday, the British prime minister, Theresa May, accused Russia of attacking Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a nerve agent, even though it was clear from what she said that she did not know that the Russian government was responsible. The only evidence she referred to was the claimed fact that the nerve agent was of "a type" developed by the Soviet Union. On this basis, she gave the Russian government until midnight on Tuesday to provide a "credible answer" - ie, prove its innocence. She further asserted that absent such a credible response, she would announce consequences on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, an assistant police commissioner, responsible for the investigation of the Skripal case, gave a press briefing. At the briefing he made it perfectly plain that the authorities do not know who attacked Mr Skripal. Indeed, he stated that they do not have any persons of interest, let alone suspects. He also stated that he expected the investigation to take many weeks, at least.

Nevertheless, this (Wednesday) afternoon, Theresa May made a statement to parliament in which she claimed that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of Mr Skripal and his daughter. She announced a number of retaliatory measures, including the expulsion of twenty-three Russian diplomats, who she claimed had been identified as spies. She also announced the suspension of bi-lateral contacts. She also said that the royal family and government ministers would boycott the football world cup, which is being held in Russia this summer. She stated that Russian state assets would be frozen where there is evidence (sic - I suspect this concern with evidence is merely rhetorical) that they may be used to threaten the life or property of British nationals or residents. May threatened further measures should Russia engage in future provocations.

Mrs May's statement was met with broad approval be the elected representatives of the British people. Indeed, many members clearly wished to see more radical measures taken. Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, for example, took the opportunity to sing the praises of Navalney and demand that the prime minister seize the assets of his opponents - a naked call for meddling in the domestic politics of a foreign country, something Cable is supposedly opposed to. Other members of the House called on May to ensure that this country, and the European Union, stops buying Russian energy - a measure that would obviously be contrary to the interests of the British people.

Indeed, the elected representatives of the British people seem to have collectively forgotten that they are elected to represent the people of Britain. It seems they have become unhinged by the frenzy of Russophobia they and the corporate media have been so tirelessly propagating for so long. Apparently, threatening a nuclear power, on the basis of zero evidence, has now become what passes for sound diplomacy in the British political media elite. We have seen such rushes to judgement in the past. The case of then prime minister, Tony Blair, telling parliament and the country that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that it could unleash on Britain within forty-five minutes and that there was therefore no alternative but to invade springs to mind. It took many years before the political media elite realised that it had been wrong, but by then the damage had been done.

The Russophobic political media elite are set on a course of action that can only make the world less safe and secure. Theresa May (possibly due to her weak position) has behaved in a completely irresponsible manner. Instead of calming the situation, waiting for the evidence, engaging in appropriate diplomacy and observing the Convention on Chemical Weapons, she has played to the most base instincts of the Russophobes, ratcheting up tensions and the risk of war. Theresa May's actions in this matter are both cowardly and dangerous in equal measure.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Skripal case: cause for doubt

Yesterday the British prime minister, Theresa May, provided a statement to parliament on the Skripal case. In this prepared statement, she simultaneously blamed Russia and tacitly confirmed that she does not know who poisoned Mr Skripal and his daughter. She gave the Russia government one day to provide a "credible answer" - that is, to effectively prove that Russia is not guilty - or face the consequences, which she said she will announce on Wednesday.

The statement was utterly absurd. One cannot simultaneously claim to know and not to know. Yet, it was perfectly clear from May's statement that the government claim to know almost nothing about this incident. The only "fact" that supposedly linked the poisonings to Russia is the claim that Skripal was poisoned by a nerve agent of "the type" developed by the Soviet Union. However, other than the Opposition Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, the members of the House of Commons seemed to be completely persuaded by this absurd lack of logic and evidence. Parliamentarian after parliamentarian called for action to be taken agains Russia. They characterised the poisonings as an act of war. They bayed for retaliation.

It was a deeply depressing scene. I can only wonder how it was received in Russia, and indeed by anyone who has not been infected by the toxic poison of Russophobia that the political media elite have been propagating so assiduously for so long.

The Skripal case is a mystery that makes no sense. Many of the facts of the case, as distinct from hysterical speculations masquerading as news in the corporate media, are puzzling, but do not point to Russia. Skripal was a colonel in the GRU. He was recruited by MI6, at the time when Christopher Steele was operating in Moscow. Skripal sold MI6 state secrets. His treachery was uncovered and he was put on trial, convicted and sentenced to imprisonment. He was later pardoned and released as part of a deal with the United States. Skripal came to the United Kingdom. Here he worked with Orbis, a company set up by Christopher Steele after he left MI6. These are facts in the public domain from which it is reasonable to assume that Skripal was a source from Steele's infamous Trump dossier, which the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for and the FBI paid for and used to obtain FISA warrants to spy in the Trump campaign and has been used by Congress and Special Counsel Mueller to justify investigating President Trump. Notwithstanding all the feverish speculation, Skripal's connection to Christopher Steele is mysteriously hidden from view. The link to Steele isn't the only mysterious silence in this case of 'Russian' to judgement.

According to Theresa May, the nerve agent that poisoned Skripal and his daughter, and apparently infected Detective Sergeant Bailey, was weapons grade material. If this were the case, one has to wonder why these three people are still alive. One also has to wonder why the doctor who attended to Skripal and his daughter is still alive; indeed, did not even become ill. One also cannot help but wonder why the authorities first claimed that DS Bailey was infected when he attended Skripal and his daughter on the park bench, but subsequently claimed he was infected when he visited the Skripal's home as a potential crime scene. Indeed, one has to wonder about the authorities vague claims that a restaurant and a pub were also the crime scene. Surely it was only one of these locations. Moreover, a week after the poisonings, the authorities decided to advise people who had been at these locations to wash their clothes and clean objects. For a whole week the authorities had been unconcerned about a public health risk. Then, when they were concerned, the concern expressed was absurd: one does not conduct chemical weapons decontamination by advising people to wash their clothes.

There are other mysterious silences. For example, the park bench where Skripal and his daughter were found is only a few miles from Porton Down, which is where the British state keeps and develops its chemical and biological weapons. In Theresa May's prepared statement to the House of Commons, she made much of the "fact" that the nerve agent of was of a type developed by the Soviet Union. However, the notion that Porton Down does not have such nerve agents is hardly credible. For over a hundred years Porton Down has been a world leader in the development of such (illegal) weapons.

There are, of course, many other reasons to doubt the blame Russia narrative. The British state has a long and consistent history of asserting as facts narratives that are subsequently shown, not only to be false, but to have been known to be false at the time. Currently, the British government is supporting the White Helmets in Syria, supposedly on the ground that it is a humanitarian organisation, but the government is well aware that it is in fact a propaganda arm of the jihadists. Indeed, the organisation was created by a former MI6 officer and financed by the Foreign Office (and others). Indeed, Boris Johnson boasting publicly of the Foreign Office funding stated that it was from the non-humanitarian aid budget: his civil servants must have been apoplectic: years of careful propaganda undone at a stroke.

I do not know who poisoned Mr Skripal and his daughter, but neither does Theresa May and the rest of the baying political and media hacks.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Putin tells Washington MAD reestablished

President Putin's state of the nation address had two foci and two intended audiences. The first two thirds of the speech were devoted to domestic matters and were designed to outflank his rivals in the upcoming election. The last third, however, was directly aimed at Washington and its vassals. In this section of his speech, he unveiled his country's latest weapons.

These weapons have clearly been developed in response to the US 2002 unilateral withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missiles treaty; the movement of Nato to Russia's borders, contrary to the promises given to Russia at the end of the Soviet Union; the siting of ABMs in Europe and South Korea, which threaten Russia; the US stated preparedness to use nuclear weapons as a first strike. According to Putin's descriptions, these new weapons render the US ABMs completely redundant, and thus restore the previous status quo: MAD, mutually assured destruction. In effect, Putin was telling Washington that any notions it has of unleashing nuclear war on Russia and surviving is nothing more than a fantasy.

This return to MAD, the position carefully and painstakingly negotiated between the Soviet Union and the US, which was undermined by the US decision to unilaterally withdraw from the ABM treaty, should have been met with a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, the political media elite in the US apparently do not believe the Russian president. Rather, the Washington groupthink apparently interprets Putin's warning as mere bluff, and (paradoxically) proof of Russian "aggression". These contradictory interpretations are perhaps unsurprising, as Washington narratives on Russia are invariable upside down. Nato expansion to Russia's border is, for example, spun as Russian aggression: Russian military is in close proximity to Nato - one would think Putin had fiendishly picked up Russia and magically transported it to the borders of Nato countries in order to menace them.

The position of the Washington hawks and their media mouthpieces would be risible were it not for the fact that the constant stream of Russophobia, and the ever closer military manoeuvres (Ukraine and Syria are two possible flash points), make it increasingly likely that an incident will occur, which will, in an atmosphere of distrust, inevitably be misinterpreted and result in an unstoppable escalation, ending in a nuclear war that devastates the planet and renders our species extinct.

Russia and the US have sufficient nuclear weapons to achieve this result. Back in the days of the Cold War, both sides appreciated the danger, which is why they discussed their differences and reached agreements. This no longer appears to be the case - certainly not in Washington, as the recent Nuclear Posture Review makes perfectly clear.

In his address, Putin pointed out that Washington had not listened to Russia when it had warned of the dangers of such moves as the unilateral withdrawal from the ABM treaty, but he called on Washington to listen now and he made plain that Russia wants to talk. Is the US prepared to listen? Prepared to talk? Sadly, I doubt it.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

UN propaganda on Syria

Eva Bartlett is one of the few journalists whose reporting on Syria is actually based on sources on the ground. Her latest article in The Duran outlines the double standards and disinformation of the United Nations in respect of the conflict in Syria.

To anyone who has been paying attention to the proxy war in Syria, Ms Bartlett's revelations will not come as a surprise. However, to anyone who takes at face value the news reporting of the BBC, CNN, the Guardian, the Washington Post, and the rest of the corporate media her revelations will come as a shocking indictment of, not just the UN, but the whole of the western political media elite.

Ms Bartlett's article is detailed and based on years' of work covering this proxy war. It includes references to many of the false stories the corporate media have pushed so assiduously and references to  many actual stories the corporate media have equally strenuously been silent on.

Bartlett is especially clear on the fact that the political media elite are determined to hide the fact that they are supporting jihadists. This is of course the scandalous truth at the heart of the US and its allies regime change operation in Syria: the US and its allies are funding, training, arming, providing diplomatic support and propagandising for their jihadi proxies in Syria.

A major tool of this propaganda is the White Helmets, a jihadist organisation which is funded by the US, the UK and others. The group makes videos of themselves supposedly rescuing the victims of the Syrian Arab Army. These videos are presented as though they were impartial news reporting by the corporate media and used as "evidence" by politicians to justify increasing military action against Syria.

The current concern for the civilians of east Ghouta is in fact nothing more than a disinformation campaign designed to protect the jihadists of al Nusra and Jaysh al-Islam and justify the continued illegal presence of the US and its allies in Syria. It is a propaganda campaign designed to prolong the US and its allies illegal regime change operation, which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions. The west's political media elite are guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

You can view Eva Bartlett's blog here.