Monthly Archives: July 2016

Western disinformation about disinformation

MSB – the Swedish mini-equivalent of Homeland Security – today came up with an additional reason for its existence: the importance to counter the “large increase of disinformation from Russia and ISIS”. Someone in that bureaucracy has discovered social media and found a lot of trolls out there. Surely they have also read about the Russian “troll-factory” in St. Petersburg. (One day they may perhaps find out that there are numerous trolls, fanatics and lunatics from millions of sources on the web, not just from Russia.)

One particularly dear example of disinformation is an allegedly fake letter from the Swedish Defense Minister regarding a weapons deal by which a Swedish company were to sell an artillery system to Ukraine. The letter circulated on Twitter and elsewhere and was said to emanate from Russia (no specific evidence attached).

If this was a deliberate disinformation operation the subject seems a little odd. To sell weapons to Ukraine is not a violation of any international law, it just doesn’t comply with a domestic Swedish policy principle not to sell weapons to countries in war (a principle not followed very meticulously in the past). One could certainly think of much more harmful subjects for anyone taking the trouble of faking a letter with the Ministry’s original letterhead and a copied signature…

Anyway, blaming Russia for offensive web activities seems to be a universal key for many who need to escape embarrassing situations, the DNC emails being the most recent case. Instead of apologizing to Bernie Sanders for its indecent and unethical actions against his campaign, DNC rushed to blame the incriminating leaks on Russia. The same procedure was of course practiced for the awkward Clinton emails.

Our most important newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, has extended their disinformation charges against Russia to also include, among others, RT (formerly Russia Today), the most viewed TV news channel on YouTube. The tactics used for this purpose is for instance to list some of the craziest stuff found on the web, and then mention RT, Sputnik News or other Russian sources in the same context, insinuating that these news outlets have something to do with the worst lunatics. That’s the kind of disinformation that self-righteous western media can indulge in without even scenting the self-contradiction.

As millions of viewers have decided by “voting”, RT is an interesting news channel, notably for presenting news and videos that never appear in the remarkably unidirectional western media outlets, which sometimes looks as if they are printed in the same machine or produced in the same studio.

It appears as if the western business run societies feel some kind of need to bid up the conflict level against Russia. Is war the aim? In that case the well-dressed western decision-makers are worse than the worst lunatic trolls on the web.

Perpetual violence – to be cured by more violence?

Baton Rouge again…

This time it’s said to be retaliation for the last time. In that case it’s how violence works, which is a truism familiar to everyone. Also well-known is that violence easily triggers chain reactions, multiplying the killings.

One reasonable explanation for why the US police use their weapons so readily is that they must expect anyone they confront to have a gun. This excuse was put forward in an American online paper, followed by critique of the generous gun laws. But apart from the abundance of deadly weapons in a society, crazy in itself, there are normally specific reasons to kill before anyone takes that often suicidal step. And the reasons are plenty and obvious.

On the international scene Europeans, and their descendants in America and elsewhere, have subdued large parts of the world with brutal, immeasurable violence for 500 years. If people on the wrong end of the club should do what we do, retaliate on the same scale, we haven’t seen nothing yet… And we have not ended our butchery! By setting the whole Middle East on fire we have implanted the violence, making people in the region kill each other brutally.

Domestically the neoliberal assault by the ruling class against ordinary people has created multiple causes for conflicts. Had we lived in the short period of fairly civilized western life, the one we experienced 1945-75, a strong labor movement would have fought back with peaceful means against the self-indulgent, arrogant and greedy little clique that has been allowed to grab most of our countries’ wealth and power.

But the labor movements have lost much of their territory in the ideological warfare launched by the “elites”. It turned out that the little clique controlled most of the media, which in turn made us believe that they were the truthful and objective media in the world (unlike our enemies’ propaganda outlets).

Our propaganda of all kinds – some of it called advertisment – has been pushed down people’s throats. No surprise that we have been made obedient, and passively led to fulfil our purpose in a society whose main goal is to enrich a miniscule group of unbelievably rich, at the same time probably destroying all prospects for human life in a sinister future, which comes even closer by the day.

Hopefully that future is not inevitable. To turn events in a hopeful direction “just” requires global popular struggle, solidarity, a completely different economic system and rational oversight, among many other things. The key issue is to separate economic power from political might, tough enough.

The concept “property” has to be given a new implication. And a really lasting society in which the human species will survive has certainly to be something radically different than the braindead and consumer-slave herd driven for the main benefit of the super-rich.

Something we could really call Democracy.

Violence at the end of the road?

It seems as if the background and the motives for the driver of the truck in Nice two days ago are still unclear. He may perhaps have been a socially troubled castaway, abandoned by his wife and just bursting with senseless violence. But possible ties with known terrorist groups are obviously searched for by authorities. And today ISIS took credit for the bloodbath, with their contorted sense of PR.

Assuming that he is a madman acting on his own, it appears that my comments yesterday on the roots of terrorism are irrelevant in his case. But does that make our societies totally free from guilt? The notion that we have to accept an outcome like this in any community is in itself a proof of something dysfunctional. In a society where we all cared for each other no one would have been pushed to the limit like this disturbed driver in Nice. There would have been solutions for his and other people’s grievances of all kinds.

Violence as such has obviously decreased in the world over a long period of time. But individuals committing atrocities on such a large scale as we see nowadays was formerly unheard of. Apart from jihadist motives there are obvious reasons for grievances and unrest. The watershed in recent history was the takeover of the world economy by “the masters of mankind” under the banner of neo-liberalism, bending the class struggle sharply in favor of the wealthy, leaving the majority to struggle with deteriorating living conditions. The situation can be caught in one telling picture: the obscene fact that 70 individuals own and control more resources than half of the world’s population.

Terrorist groups have also expanded their activities, and the reasons are seemingly self-evident. They have clearly had enough of western violent encroachment into their lands, their resources, their everything. Neo-colonialism has come to the end of the road, a fact clear at least for everyone with their heads screwed on. Continued violence will be self-defeating in more ways than one.

The future belongs to countries that follow the present Chinese example: conquer the world peacefully by means of investments, aid and cooperation.

Self-perpetuating terrorism – ours and theirs

And now also Nice…

Summer in Sweden will not take off; it’s chilly and the sky is shedding tears. Our weather matches the situation in the world these days. Shootings and bombings everywhere, perpetual wars, millions on the run from one devastated country to another, richer societies creating barriers to stem the flow coming towards them. How crazy have we become as a species?

We hold life as an invaluable gift, and rightly so. We who happen to live should feel extremely lucky since it’s almost improbable that only (and precisely) we are given a life in this endless universe. And we mostly do cherish life intensely; at least we protect our nearest and dearest from dying, with all our might.

But we are certainly not consistent. The lives of people we call enemies or whom we dislike for some reason whatsoever are not at all sacred for us. Against them we might stage what we call a war, and then feel free to kill them indiscriminately.

My US online media outlet illustrated this one-sided moral after the Orlando shootings. For days they expressed their deep grief and their heartfelt compassion with the victim’s families and friends. It was clear that they considered the lives of the killed human beings very dear and that the perpetrator had committed an unforgivable deed. Back to back with such a sacred celebration of life one could then read a call for the US to send more deadly weapons to the rebels in Syria to make them capable of ending more lives.

Our mainstream opinion is not just inconsistent but also shoddy racist. And Swedish media don’t deviate from that main stream. The horrible shootings in Paris and Orlando were covered broadly and in detail, and with warm compassion with the victims. A much worse bombing in Baghdad was just mentioned quite briefly and with demonstrative lack of empathy. Realizing this, one Kareem Rahaman wrote on Twitter: “More deaths in Iraq in the last week than Paris and Orlando combined but nobody is changing their profile pics, building colors, etc.”

If we look for a rational behind this discriminatory thinking we don’t find any. It’s not nearness: Orlando Florida is more than double the distance from Stockholm than Bagdad. Is it religion? Hardly, since a large majority of Swedes don’t care about Gods and prophets and probably would be just as much unsettled by the many fundamentalist Christians in the US as by any Muslim. Is it the color of skin and hair? OK, then it’s racism and that’s not rational. And besides: a number of the Orlando victims were black people.

Basically it’s a matter of politics (usually not rational in a deeper sense either). Initially the West made Muslims their enemies for colonialist reasons. We mostly beat them to a pulp, stole their assets, rearranged their territories, in short subjugated them under our will (Iraq is a textbook case). Eventually, and far from surprisingly, they started fighting back. And that’s where we are today.

US and Britain made the most arrogant and ignorant move when they launched the completely illegal and thoroughly immoral war of aggression against Iraq, whereby setting the entire region on fire. The horrible upturn of Muslim terrorism is a clear-cut product of western terrorism, the latter so far much worse. We may just look at the instructive roots of ISIS.

The leader of ISIS – al Baghdadi – was initially an insignificant young theologian; “contemporaries of al-Baghdadi describe him in his youth as being shy, unimpressive, a religious scholar, and a man who eschewed violence” (Wikipedia). How he developed from this quiet status to the world’s most feared and hated terrorist is illustrative of the methods by which to create enraged enemies. He simply witnessed the grotesque assault by US troops on Fallujah, where patients were thrown out of hospitals and innocent people killed randomly. That experience transformed him completely, just as western violence on the whole creates innumerable other terrorists.

President Holland of France said yesterday that he will go to war against terrorism. If he hasn’t a completely new concept it will continue to be a war to promote terrorism, both theirs and ours.