Monthly Archives: October 2015

Putin: The Western Media’s Villain for Every Season.

This article first appeared at RT.

As the hysterical outpourings of the Western media and their relentless anti-Putin narrative becomes ever more ridiculous. We look at why.

Vladimir Putin wants to cut off your internet. At least, if you are a reader of the New York Times, you may well believe this. The NYT recently reported that “Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications”.

The NYT didn’t bother to expand on how a submarine might go about acting ‘aggressively’ in the presence of inert under sea cables in international waters. Indeed, later in the article they admit that there is “no evidence of any cable cutting”. So the real story here is in fact: Russian submarine in the sea.

That doesn’t sound like a terribly catchy headline though does it?

If you are a Mail on Sunday reader of the print edition, you were recently treated to a two page headline declaring “Putin’s bombing of the innocents”.

https://twitter.com/RussianHQ/status/659254653146812416?lang=en

Curiously, the online version of that story omitted that headline.

The Mail is good at this. They can find a reason to blame Russia (quoted from someone else of course) in almost any story. The UK telephone company Talk Talk recently suffered a database hacking. The Mail ran a story about it. Sure enough, in that story we find a quote by someone called Ewan Lawson: “this could be part of a wider pattern of activity encouraged or even supported by the Russian state as part of an effort to destabilise the West”.

Colour me sceptical, but I can’t really see the West being destabilised because someone hacked the database of a minor mobile telephone company.

It must have been a quiet day at the Daily Express this week; they are again suggesting Russia is set to start WW3. Apparently, the Express “laid bare” Putin’s “imperialist ambitions”. The reason? Russia plans to build a military base – in Russia.

We see such nonsense in the Western media more than usual right now. When the editors want to keep a narrative alive, or bury some inconvenient actual news, they will publish something, anything, which allows them to use the headlines that apply to that narrative.

Often these stories are essentially made up, but they allow the use of the words and phrases the narrative dictates, and the narrative remains in the ‘news’.

Continual hyperventilating about so-called (and usually non-existent) ‘Russian aggression’ keeps things like the US bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan off the front pages. Certainly it will keep out of the news the US tank that crashed though the gates of the same hospital destroying evidence less than two weeks later.

That is what is happening here. The Western media have had nothing credible to bash Russia with for some time. There’s not a lot being published about American bumbling in the Middle East, Ukraine is yesterdays news while Poroshenko decides how to further eviscerate the country that he is, nominally, the leader of. Few in the Western media really want to run stories about how Russia is obliterating ISIS positions in a matter of weeks where the US failed over a year and a half.

So instead, we get silly pieces that enable writers and thought leaders to keep the anti-Russian meme going with their audiences. Make something up, quote an unnamed source, add a stock photo of Putin with no shirt, and the anti-Putin propaganda train keeps on rumbling down the tracks.

Why the Western media misunderstand Russia.

Much of the Western media fundamentally misunderstand Russians and Russia. Many blame Putin’s 89% popularity rating in Russia on a ludicrous notion that people answer poll questions while gripped with fear. US News recently reported that “Russians that truly do support Putin form their opinions in a virtual information vacuum. The Russian public’s news and information is overwhelmingly created, or at least vetted, by the Kremlin.”

The very idea that – in the internet age – the government of a country such as Russia could control the media to such an extent that 127m people (89%) could be hoodwinked en masse is frankly, preposterous.

A better approach for Western hacks might be to take a look at why Putin has such high support in Russia rather than trying to pretend he hasn’t. From that, politicians elsewhere might learn something.

If one judges a politician’s credibility by what they do, compared to what they say they will do, Putin is credible, honest and honourable. He has a long track record of doing what he said he would do. On the whole, when he says a thing, it will be so. If he does not say a thing, then you can be sure that what you are hearing is speculation. Voters like that. In the West, we have almost no experience of this.

On foreign policy, the Western media glibly overlooks the fact that the US has invaded over a dozen countries and tried to overthrow the elected governments of many others since just 1990. Yet Russia is criticised for allowing Crimea to reunify with hardly a shot fired, which undoubtedly saved many lives while following the will of the people.

Russia is somehow ‘aggressive’ when it expresses concern that the US and the EU are surrounding it with missiles placed in FSU countries, but continual US aggression across the world – this week with China – is meant to be seen as somehow ‘spreading democracy’ and a harbinger of some kind of ‘freedom’.

The Western media is confused. To find a president that actually leads, one who puts the national interest first and does what he says he will do is somewhat disturbing for them. Such behaviour is beyond their domestic sphere of experience. So they extrapolate from this that it cannot actually be so. The polls must be faked, people must be rigid with terror and afraid to speak out or they must have no access to news.

How to report what you do not understand?

If so few Western hacks understand Russia, and cannot be bothered to learn, how do they fill their column inches? Rather than critical analysis, investigating a variety of viewpoints or perhaps even talking to some Russians, many just follow the herd and make it up.

Cue another story on ‘Russian aggression’, Russia being poised to invade [choose any country here], Russia encroaching in someone’s airspace or the latest media misrepresentation: Russia killing moderate terrorists (helpfully called ‘rebels’ for that purpose), presented as if eradicating terrorists is a bad thing.

Reading the Western media can easily conjure up an image of Putin that has him cackling in his volcano, stroking a white cat with a control panel of missile launch buttons at his elbow. It is also amusing to note that every decision made at any level of government in Russia is always personally attributed to Putin. The media imagines that he somehow personally approves every piece of media output, every article and every minor decision. He must have some time management skills!

With such an anti-Putin narrative now the norm in the Western media for so long, it becomes quite easy to see how lazy hacks will use him as the default baddie for almost anything that happens. Mobile phone company hacked? Blame Russia. Found a Russian submarine in the sea someplace? See what is nearby and accuse Russia of being aggressive towards it. Facts are irrelevant if you are able to twist words or modify their intent by quoting them out of context. Find someone who is ‘worried’ and sprinkle in the word ‘Kremlin’ here and there for a sinister overtone.

It seems unlikely that the mainstream Western media will ever go back to honest and fair journalism as they have now travelled so far in the other direction. But a good start would be having the hacks who diligently churn out negative content about Russia each and every day to actually go to Russia and learn something.

Better still; send them to Syria to watch the 800,000 refugees returning home thanks to Russia’s efforts to crush ISIS. It’s hard to put a negative spin on that. Continue reading

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Book Review: Exceptional – Why the World Needs a Powerful America by Dick Cheney

It starts out quite interesting, actually. It walks the reader through history as Cheney sees it first, starting off with the founding fathers and the usual stuff about freedom and liberty, and he dwells on the relationship between the US and Europe in the second world war somewhat.

Reading through the lines you start to see the changes in attitude from what started out as good sound principles of freedom and liberty to what we see today (not sure he intended that to show through as clearly as it does). From what I deduced, it was somewhere between the end of the Vietnam war and the arrival of Carter as president the US started to become noticeably aggressive and interventionist abroad.

The book implies that Reagan was single handedly responsible for bringing down the Berlin wall with his Brandenburg speech. Not true.

It is an interesting read initially for the non-American as it offers an insight into *why* Americans think as they do.

What is disappointing in a way is how he described the principles the US was founded on and its early development (I suppose we all knew them anyway but they are well presented therein). He describes a country that anyone would want to live in.

What I see as an outsider (and occasional visitor), is how far wide of that mark and those intended standards the US has become, both with actions abroad and the influence of big media and business on the masses and the political decision making. But that happens anywhere.

I had no opinion on Cheney one way or another, so I can read his opinions without any particular bias against the guy. He seems to have a dim view of Obama, but then again, so do most Americans.

I was finding untruths and flawed thinking early on. The bloke is the neocon of neocons.

He seems scornful of any president who didn’t want to bail into any country, all guns blazing, at the drop of a hat. He thinks the Iraq war was a terrific idea. Obama and Clinton have had scorn. He seems to like the Bushes.

It started out well but then goes downhill rapidly with his train of thought……

Then it gives a scary insight into the neocon mind. Example: Indignation that Assad didn’t step down as Obama “instructed” him to do. Really!

About a third of it is taken up with quotes from other neocons to support his worldview, with some commentary in-between.

Then follows page after page of quotes from Obama with him trying to rip it to bits. The thing was, after reading Obama’s stuff, I am actually starting to like the bloke. I didn’t before.

Then he launches into the real out there stuff: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, etc. were all *super* ideas and they should have gone much, much further.

He thinks Russia is still the USSR, and must be hemmed in and castrated at any cost. He has similar views of China.

Then, there is page after page of what he thinks the next president should do, which basically is rule the world and start World War 3 to do it.

It rounds off with a General Cheeseburger rant about “exceptional”, greatest country in the world, apple pie on Sunday, blah blah.

I can only say its great that this old duffer was put out to grass. If one who thinks like him gets in the White House in 2016, there will be a world war for sure.

All in all it was a disturbing journey into a disturbing mindset. After reading it, I am surer than I ever was of the need to contain American aggression around the world and de-dollarise. I came out of it – unintentionally – with a new-found fondness for some of Obama’s ideas.

Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America

Should read:

Dangerous: Why the World Doesn’t Need a Powerful America Continue reading

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US Complains As Russia Bombs its Terrorists

This article first appeared at journal-neo.org The New York Times in its recent article, “Russians Strike Targets in Syria, but Not ISIS Areas,” attempts to frame Russia’s recent actions in Syria as dishonest and dangerous. It reports: Russian aircraft carried … Continue reading

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Taking the British Media to Task When They Lie About Russia

For the mainstream western media, lying about Russia is now just a routine part of the working day.

No British Sunday newspaper would be complete without the obligatory anti-Russian double page spread on the ‘threat’ Putin and Russia poses to somebody somewhere this week.

To get this right, one must not concern oneself with facts. Simply choose a country, any country will do, do some random Googling, make some stuff up to pad it out, but be sure to say you are “quoting a source” to absolve yourself of responsibility for what you write.

Better still, you can lend your article some surface credibility by quoting from or linking to the made up articles of others. They will return the compliment and quote yours when they write how Russia is poised to invade [insert country of choice] next week.

The concept of accurate reporting and checking sources seems to be a thing of the past.

We all saw the headlines when MH17 went down that read “Putin’s Victims” and “Putin Killed My Son”. The idea being that because the missile that hit MH17 may have once been manufactured in Russia, this makes Russia, and Putin particularly, personally responsible.

Using this logic, if my cat were to get run over by a man driving a Volkswagen, I should pen a headline that reads, “Merkel’s Killer Car Mows Down Innocent Moggie in Cold Blood”. I would then find a picture of Merkel smiling and use a sub-headline that reads, “Sources Claim Merkel Sniggered When Told of Cat Catastrophe”.

This is what happens in the western media each week. But the target isn’t Merkel and her killer Volkswagens, the target is Putin and Russia.

Headlines Matter.

In many respects the headlines matter more than the article itself. Rather than read them cover to cover, the public tend to graze through the papers absorbing the headlines and the next few lines, assuming them to be a reasonable synopsis of what the article will contain proof of before they move on.

They are subsequently misled when they read the typical western media headlines on anything to do with Russia. They go away with the impression Putin is a cackling Bond villain, in his secret cave, with his finger poised over a big red nuclear button. They imagine he has planes and ships permanently poised to invade the west at any moment, and only our continued vigilance prevents these invasions.

War is Imminent. Really?

When a western media hack wants to write something bad about Russia, always better to get the word WAR in the headline. Preferably in capitals. Here is a good example from the Express a week ago.

fakenews

I wasn’t the only one to find this headline tiresome and misleading.

The Express’s Defence Editor who is responsible for publication of nonsense such as this, is a chap called Marco Giannangeli. I and others decided to engage him on Twitter to find out why he published such twaddle.

After a polite exchange of views, he quickly began to distance himself from the headline.

prop1

prop2

Upon opening the Express this Sunday, lo and behold, they decided to write something altogether more factual.

exp2

For a change, there was no photo of Putin shirtless, no tales of him being poised to invade New Zealand or somewhere, and not so much made up rubbish from unnamed “sources”.

Has the penny dropped? I doubt it will last if it has. But progress is progress however fleeting it may turn out to be.

I’d like to think I had a little something to do with this. Easier to write what actually happened than make stuff up about the UK going to war with Russia as they did last week.

In Other News.

The Mail on Sunday however, is as ever, today regurgitating US State Department propaganda today with this little gem.

prop3

Russia is “bombing innocents”, apparently. The insinuation here is that if this is so, it is done on purpose. That is the take-away the casual reader gets.

To the Mail’s credit, they also give column inches to a altogether more sensible journalist who actually knows something about Russia: Peter Hitchens.

The White House and Downing Street both seethe with genuine outrage about Russia’s bombing raids on Syria.

Yet the people Vladimir Putin bombed have views and aims that would get them rounded up as dangerous Islamist extremists if they turned up in Manchester. So why do British politicians call them ‘moderates’ when Russia bombs them?

It’s not as if London or Washington can claim to be squeamish about bombing as a method of war. We have done our fair share of it in Belgrade, Baghdad and Tripoli, where our bombs certainly (if unintentionally) killed innocent civilians, including small children.

I find Peter’s articles on Russia most refreshing. As a former Moscow correspondent, he has forgot more about Russia than most tabloid hacks will ever know.

Expect More Bias on Syria Reporting.

The western media will continue to report negatively on Russia’s actions in Syria. We will see more claims about the bombing of civilians.

The Russians made clear from the outset that ISIL (ISIS) were not the sole target of their mission.

From the outset they made it clear that ensuring the survival of Syria as a state, and the survival of the legitimate government of that state were the primary goals.

Lavrov, when asked about targets said that if it looked like a terrorist than it would be treated as such.

By definition, all terrorists are civilians; so too are ‘rebels’. It is convenient when writing propaganda to muddy the water this way.

The US now considers Al-Quada (Al-Nusra) to be ‘moderate terrorists’ and therefore to be supplied and protected by the various agencies available to the US.

What is going on is that the US is struggling to find a way to justify it’s support of ISIS and other terrorists. Their support is now becoming obvious with the impact of Russian and Syrian activity upon ISIL (ISIS) and those other terrorists.

Of course these are not ‘terrorists’ but different facets of several mercenary armies bankrolled by the US and their allies; both directly and indirectly. Russia is thus correct to treat them all as being aspects of the same enemy.

The US isn’t writing the script any more. Russia will bomb other US-funded terrorists as well, even if they have pretty names. Anti-Assad terrorists are anti-Assad terrorists. It doesn’t matter what they call themselves.

Of course, our compliant western media will make some parping noises about the ones they know are western funded imagining that ‘our’ terrorists are better than ‘their’ terrorists somehow.

If you are at war with the elected government, and do terroristic things, you are a terrorist. Using that logic, the US is the world’s most prolific terrorist, but don’t expect that to be written in the newspapers either. Continue reading

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America Is Using Bulgaria to Supply Arms to Ukraine

The United States is delivering arms to Ukraine via Bulgaria, an article on RIA Novosti reads.

Bulgaria is also “producing ammunition for the Ukrainian army” with US money, and Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic are ready to take part in similar schemes, the text argues further.

Washington is doing so “despite official declarations” and has so far transferred about 200 sniper rifles and 400 assault rifles and 200 grenade launchers, the author, Aleksandr Hrolenko, notes [RU], arguing this “transit country” has been used for not less than 20 years “when necessary to hide traces”.

Reports about the latter role of Bulgaria emerged for the first time in December.

In his words, the aim might be to embroil Russia in a long-term military conflict.

While until recently Bulgaria and Ukraine were both partners and rivals on the international arms market, with Ukraine profiting more, this relationship changed with the developments in the Donbass region in the spring of 2014.

Reports by the press office of Ukraine’s Ukroboronprom concern are cited according to which a contract was signed last year between US arms manufacturer Barrett Firearms and a firm exporting equipment for Ukroboronprom.

Details about the arms, which were designated for the security services and the National Guard of Ukraine, have only recently emerged, RIA writes.

A US company called AMI Global Security, registered in Portland, Oregon, exported equipment at a total price of USD 7.5 M.

The name of a Bulgarian company, Bulcomers KS Ltd (previously referred to as Bulkomers in the December reports about weapons deliveries via Bulgaria) is pointed to as the “official broker” in the deal.

The arms sold to Ukraine were designed for fighting against lightly armored equipment, damaging radars and defusing ammunition and mines from a safe distance.

Part of the equipment might also be transported from Bulgaria to Ukraine in the form of “auto parts”, which the Balkan nation has traditionally been exporting.

An announcement by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov in February 2015, containing a list of items Kiev received as lethal assistance, is cited to confirm the weapons were supplied.

Reference is made to an incident this summer when a US citizen and two Bulgarians died at the Anevo military ground. Reports emerged subsequently the development had occurred during a test of arms manufactured for Syrian opposition forces fighting Islamic State.

(Back then Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski said Bulgaria was not exporting arms to Syria.)

The text also reads that Ukraine turned to the US and other states “more than once” to buy weapons. Continue reading

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How Britain’s Propaganda Machine Controls What You Think

This article originally appeared at TruePublica On the one hand, just five individual Billionaires in Britain get to control 80% what you read in printed media and on the other hand, just five Internet Service Providers get to control what 87% … Continue reading

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