Monthly Archives: May 2014

Is Ukraine ruled by hilarious (or just plain) superstition?

Some 85 percent of Christians in Ukraine belong to the Orthodox Church, Russian or Greek. Protestants comprise one percent of the population. This country is now ruled by a Baptist President and an alleged scientologist Prime Minister, (in that case) both within two typically western belief systems, one of which is even extremely American. Let’s just assume this is a coincidence, unrelated to them being appointed to their positions by the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.

The president, Oleksandr Turchynov, is presented by a Christian website (CT) as “a well-known Baptist pastor” but by Wikipedia as just “a lay preacher”. In the western world we’ve had our toll of deeply Christian Heads of State waging bloody, devastating and illegal wars, so Christianity is nothing comforting in itself. We may just hope that this Baptist president is of a more peaceful kind, though signs of that hitherto aren’t overwhelming.

The allegation that the Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is a scientologist is most troublesome and it’s vitally important for him to deny every connection with such a compromised sect. Due to the deep secrecy in the organization in question it’s difficult to collect any kind of proof, and there are no such to be found by a quick search on the Internet. For the time being, and following a fundamental legal principle, Yatsenyuk must be considered not guilty. This is also what our media have done by not reporting a single word about the allegations.

It’s hard to believe that a scientologist would ever be considered fit to become Prime Minister in any western country, simply because that “religion” is all too wacky. According to the rumors in question Yats – as Nuland calls him – is not just a passive participant in this “church” but a high-ranking member of the sect with a “level of auditing” called OT-6 (out of a total of 8). If this would be the case he would be familiar with the secret myths in the scriptures, concocted by L. Ron Hubbard and now leaked. (But, as I said, we must assume he isn’t.)

Hubbard’s story is hilarious and breaks all records from the very beginning. The reality, as known by scientology, came into existence four quadrillion (1015) years ago, which also is to say some four quadrillion years before Big Bang. Wikipedia has parts of the continued story: “… Xenu was the ruler of a Galactic Confederacy 75 million years ago, which consisted of 26 stars and 76 planets including Earth, which was then known as “Teegeeack”. The planets were overpopulated, containing an average population of 178 billion…”

“Xenu was about to be deposed from power, so he devised a plot to eliminate the excess population from his dominions. With the assistance of psychiatrists, he gathered billions of his citizens under the pretense of income tax-inspections, then paralyzed them and froze them in a mixture of alcohol and glycol to capture their souls. The kidnapped populace was loaded into spacecraft for transport to the site of extermination, the planet of Teegeeack (Earth). … When they had reached Teegeeack, the paralyzed citizens were unloaded around the bases of volcanoes across the planet. Hydrogen bombs were then lowered into the volcanoes and detonated simultaneously, killing all but a few aliens.”

No wonder Yats had to deny all connection with such lunacies, regardless of everything.

 

Ukraine’s killing by military: a reminder of Berlin 1953 – except for western reactions

Today’s horror-place is Mariupol in Ukraine where twenty “rebels” were shot dead by military countrymen. Swedish media treats this episode in a very calm and composed way so far. The casualties adds up to the other victims killed by their own people in uniform, by now exceeding the number killed in a comparable attack by military forces against a civil population, an atrocity giving rise to a completely different attention and one that we are not allowed to forget.

I’m referring to the worker’s uproar in East Germany in 1953, which we still are reminded of now and again. It started by a government proclamation that the production goal was to be raised by 10 percent without any income lift. By stepwise escalation finally some 100 thousand people gathered in Berlin for demonstrations, and by that time Soviet military were engaged. In direct confrontations 34 civilians were shot dead, with an additional 20 killed from other causes.

This terrible assault was rightly treated as an unforgivable crime. And it was naturally attributed to the regimes in Soviet and East Germany and viewed as typical for the monstrous Communists. I was just 12 years old by then but I remember the moral outrage in media against the horrible Communists. The years to come we were constantly reminded of the East German cruelties in an intense propaganda effort, to which was added the comparable atrocities performed by Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia in 1968.

The heated reporting in Swedish media as long as “Putin” was expected to invade Ukraine calmed down remarkably when the first civilians were killed by the military in Sloviansk, now followed by somewhat laid back commentaries on today’s horrible events.

Are there no limits on the hypocrisy of our journalist, one may really wonder?! They are in this respect not any different from the politruks in Pravda in the old days, with the exception that people in the Soviet Union didn’t trust their propagandists, while we are effectively brainwashed to believe freedom of expression to guarantee us truthful media, on the whole.

The most challenging question is why Swedish media, almost unanimously, make such efforts to instigate an atmosphere of war by vilifying Russia and Putin. And to do so by twisting every little piece of message till it points in the “right” direction. My paper lectures Putin almost daily on how to surrender his country’s interests the proper way. Russia is treated like a defeated enemy and it’s slightest claim on national interests are interpreted as aggression. The West obviously considered it completely normal that Russia’s important naval base in Crimea should be situated in a NATO-country, thus in one of the members of an organization primarily pointing its gigantic war machine against – Russia!

The lack of proposals for peaceful negotiations in our media is almost total. But as I mentioned below the one-eyed propagandists are balanced by informed readers in media’s commentary sections. This is the hope for the future.

Terribly stupid Cold War propaganda could end with terribly horrendous risks

Our public service television exerts in the same insidious propaganda on the Ukraine issue as the rest of MSM here. It works in fine-tuned details, in the careful choice of word, in subtle use of certain perspectives (though it still ends up in stupidities). Just to pick one example from yesterday: in the text-TV list of head-lines one could read: “Russia admits involvement.” Aha! Finally they confess to their responsibility for the unrest in eastern Ukraine! One looks up the article with certain anticipations – and finds something rather opposite.

The article was about the OSCE and Ukrainian hostages whom the pro-Russian activists had let free. Russia’s “involvement” had to do with the fact that a human rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, had negotiated the release, together with a high western official (whose name I can’t find with a quick search now, tellingly enough). So, by performing a humane act, which no one in the west obviously had even tried, Russia admits its influence over the rebels! That’s the high level of intellect engaged in our propaganda model! Even Carl Bildt drew the same “brilliant” conclusion.

A simpler mind would have suggested that a Russian, or anybody else, just had to inform the activists that the hostage thing was very damaging to themselves and could contribute to nothing except bad PR. (So the release could possibly be viewed as a severe disappointment for warmongers of all kinds.)

To experience today’s naïve propaganda is wearying. It’s not just naïve but mostly outright silly, and epidemic at that. It’s taken as an axiom that Russia is bad and Putin a crook and hence that there is no reason to consider real facts or make any analysis. Journalists just have to construct stereotype sentences using templates from the former Cold War. And it becomes so terribly brainless.

In contrast to the original Cold War we can today enjoy reader’s comments in the newspapers web editions. Both in New York Times and in Dagens Nyheter (the Swedish NYT) those commentaries are highly informative in more than one way. Surprisingly large shares of the readers are nuanced, informed and analytic, thus critical towards the mostly propagandistic approach practiced by the journalists. These comments shed a promising light over the official propaganda machine, just as it gives hope for a more enlightened future.

This very day, May 5th, Ukraine is involving its military against its own population on a large scale. Thus the reporting here becomes more restrained (and the headline falls down in the text-TV list).  A civilized country using its military to fire live ammunition against its own population! And it seems not to be the most important issue. The focus is still on Russia, now with the question: when will they invade with troops?

What we experience is the logical outcome of a process that started with EU giving Ukraine an ultimatum to choose between Russia and itself as its future economic partner, thus more or less forcing Yanukovych to chose Russia (Putin had suggested a trilateral agreement which EU vetoed). To solely demonize Russia for this development is not just factually wrong, but worse still: leading nowhere but to horrible risks.

One horrible risk is that the point of no return is close…

First victim of Cold War is elementary brains

On this International Workers Holiday in my small town of 10 thousand people there will be a march with perhaps a dozen participants, and a speech by some local Social Democrat. It’s an old ritual carried out of habit, more or less. But the enthusiasm for May 1st has changed over the years. Some day we may have a revival of the kind we saw in the 1960s.

The daily topic in our papers is still Ukraine, or rather the dictatorial Putin with his insidious plans to revive Russian greatness from the Soviet era by enlarging his territory. No arguments are shallow or stupid enough not to find their way to the printed pages or web editions. For instance: the annexation of Crimea is equivalent to Nazi occupation of Sudetenland and must thus be rescinded to prevent Putin from conquering the rest of Europe.

The propaganda to prepare for war seems epidemic. Sweden must increase its military budget substantially, everyone here says. The Baltic States, with their Russian speaking minorities, should fear Putin’s next step. It’s naturally claimed that uprisings in eastern Ukraine are instigated by Putin, while the corresponding riots in Kiev, strongly exacerbated by pure Nazi groups (some of them wearing the armlets of a Ukrainian Nazi division serving Germany in WWII), were legitimate protests against a corrupt regime. And so on.

Let’s assume that we seriously believe Russia capable to go on willfully conquering countries. The question is then only if it’s we or Putin who suffer from insanity. One fact suffices to consider: the Russian military expenditures are a fraction of NATO’s, only some single-digit percent. If the Russian leadership was collectively suicidal, yes, then it would be plausible to expect any substantial challenge to NATO power.

We seem to be back in the old Cold War era with its nonsensical propaganda arguments. True to that tradition most manifestations of real knowledge are banned from discussion. In a small, provincial country like Sweden this reaches parodical heights. In times like these it’s a relief to have access to US media on the Internet. Due to unrivalled freedom of speech in the US we can read and listen to clever and savvy people (not always in mainstream media, but still).

One distinguished voice on Russian issues is Professor Stephen Cohen, who has spent a professional lifetime studying his subject. He is a contributor to The Nation and is often interviewed in other media. He has some important things to say.

First of all Ukraine is not one country, it’s at least two; one leaning towards the western world and one towards Russia. When EU approached Ukraine with a proposition for cooperation it was attached with an ultimatum that no agreement with Russia would be allowed. Putin on the other hand proposed a three-party settlement including EU for supporting Ukraine. Faced with the EU ultimatum Yanukovych choose an agreement with Russia, and there it all started.

In the thousand pages thick EU proposition one could read that Ukraine’s future rapprochement with EU and NATO would lie in the pipeline. This would only be in style with the continuous advancement of NATO ever closer to Russia’s borders since 1989 (in shameless violation of pledges given to Gorbachev, by the way). Ukraine as a part of NATO would have meant US control over Russia’s important naval base in Sevastopol! What did EU officials think?! Were they so presumptuous and so blinded by power that they didn’t see any problems with that?

With this background it’s practically inevitable that Russia had to annex Crimea. No other country in the same position would have acted differently (if not US had bombed Kiev). It’s a basic moral principle that we submit to ourselves the same standards we apply on others. But, of course, moral has no place in political propaganda and brain-washing.