Category Archives: Media

“Mortality among the opposition” in Ukraine “is high”!

The murder of Boris Nemtsov right outside the Kremlin walls in Moscow was rightfully a very well covered story in Swedish media. Dagens Nyheter reported extensively and continuously for weeks, culminating during the large manifestations in connection with the funeral.

DN didn’t make too much effort to prevent readers from believing that Vladimir Putin had something to do with the killing. In a key editorial the paper declared that Putin’s name forever would be tied to this murder, even if any hard evidence for his involvement never may appear.

One should perhaps expect that DN’s moral outrage had something to do with the abomination of political assassinations as such, but not so, evidently. The important thing was neither the victim nor the principle; it just had to do with the alleged perpetrator, or at best, the immoral atmosphere created by the dictatorial leadership in Russia.

Evidence to that came with the political assassinations in Ukraine, not one but ten (so far), some of them possibly disguised as suicides. Among the victims are former prominent politicians in the opposition against the Kiev government: three PMs, a governor, a prosecutor, a police chief, a mayor, a journalist etc. In seven of the cases the police quickly stated that the deaths were suicides (even one where the victim was shot in the head – from behind).

It took some months for DN to even notice these deaths of unwanted political figures at all, in sharp contrast to the Nemtsov case. If there hadn’t been so many alternative media today covering the events, DN had most likely chosen to forget them altogether. But now they had to make some noise.

As to indicate its low interest DN didn’t appoint any of their own reporters to the job but just copy/pasted a short text from the news agency TT (as much biased as the rest of the media). The first sentence reads: “Mortality among the opposition to the new government in Ukraine is extremely high” (a jaunty remark, of course unthinkable in the case of the Nemtsov murder). Ukraine’s president is quoted as saying that it’s all “a deliberate action which plays into the hands of our enemies”, obviously pointing at Russia.

A foreign policy analyst in the Swedish Defense Research Institute just follows up on Poroshenko by referring to Ukrainian experts, “speculating that Russia lies behind the murders, aiming at destabilizing the situation in Ukraine before a possible upcoming military offensive in the east…” What the “expert” should have done to earn his salary would have been a plausibility test on that claim. It’s true that the Nemtsov murder had a destabilizing effect in that it deepened the critical attention on the already vilified Russian leadership. But there is no equivalence to that in the Ukrainian case.

The very idea that Russia would send agents to Ukraine to murder their own friends there, just to discredit the Ukrainian Nazis, is indeed far-fetched beyond the improbable. These Nazis have already discredited themselves to the extreme by killing innocent fellow citizens in Donbas, in the most unscrupulous and cruel way, without western media reacting significantly. Russia knew, as well as everybody else with eyes and a brain, that this apparent western cover-up would not change a bit by a few more Nazi murders.

Another Swedish “expert” prefers the suicide hypothesis, according to TT. The victims were namely facing criminal charges of different kinds, probably politically motivated in accordance with recent Ukrainian principles. This expert thus thinks that sane people, threatened with prison sentences, would desire to kill themselves instead of simply move to Russia with their families, where they would have been taken well care of. It seems as if the brains of these experts stop functioning normally as soon as the issues involve Russia. They are civil servants, paid by the public, engaged in what amounts to outright political propaganda, not research.

Not that I’m surprised. Nor disillusioned. I had no illusions to start with.

Swedish media on Russia – cynicism defined

I’ve mentioned our most prestigious daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter quite some times on these pages. DN is a kind of hillbilly version of New York Times, but still pompous and condescending, obviously all too aware of its local significance. Today DN (of course) is leading this country’s witch hunt on Russia and Putin.

DNs editor in chief – Peter Wolodarski – is a fairly young man. He had just become a teenager when Soviet Communism disappeared, yet he reiterates almost verbatim the slander, insinuations, deliberate misinterpretations and all the other characteristics of the (first) Cold War propaganda.

Especially amusing was when he some time ago wrote an editorial piece condemning countries that obstruct international cooperation by regularly vetoing Security Council resolutions, referring specifically to Russia. Now being 74 years old I lived through that period with daily reports on Russian (Soviet) vetoes. They really happened, and the fact that United States had almost the entire UN in its pocket was not considered a proper excuse for Soviet vetoes.

But this is the funny thing: during Wolodarski’s whole life United States have issued by far the largest number of vetoes in the Security Council, no other country even in shouting distance. What happened was that colonialism started to disintegrate in the 1960s, and US’ absolute dominance in UN thus seeped away. So from the mid 60s US took over the lead in the not very honorable competition of veto production, and have kept it since.

Wolodarski’s gaffe is in a way understandable. As long as Soviet provided the vetoes the topic was prioritized news, highlighted in every western media. But when US took over the leading role in issuing UN vetoes the subject immediately lost all media interest. That’s how propaganda works, nothing surprising about that. Wolodarski just copied what he must have read in retrospect, not aware of his present. He fell victim of the propaganda he himself is part of.

DN today is an echo of its earlier version from the darkest years of the last Cold War, the 1950s up to the Vietnam War (not that the Cold War ended then, it just became somewhat moderated). Russia is depicted as a dictatorship ruled by some kind of new Stalin, intimidating Europe and the entire world. Sweden is threatened and must greatly strengthen its military forces. Putin is naturally guilty of most atrocities in Russia, everything from incarceration of pop singers to murdering politicians and journalists. Now DN of course has some journalistic ethics, so accusations like that are printed just as insinuations, though with an unequivocal certainty.

I’ve just read the latest of PW’s weekly epistles on Putin’s lies and Russia’s threats. He writes about the country’s unwarranted feeling of being encircled by western powers. For PW this feeling is “somewhat paranoid”, considering “how many hands have been stretched out to Russia after the Soviet collapse”. (One is not supposed to laugh.)

What did those “many hands” really do? First they helped destroy the Russian production system thoroughly, throwing the country back to the third world from which it came in 1917, creating a social catastrophe of gigantic proportions leading to the death of ten million people, mostly young men.

Secondly those hands helped a few former “communist” thugs to “legally” steal everything of value in the country, further deepening the suffering ordinary Russian endured.

Thirdly the West did what was needed to cover the whole thing up. This has been a success in the “democracies” where one of the worst social catastrophes of all times is completely wiped out of history. It has also left westerners ignorant of Putin’s role in reversing that collapse, thus also unaware of the main reason for his popularity in Russia. We may choose to close our eyes and ears, but the Russians will never forget the capitalist catastrophe of the 90s, not as long as they live and not in generations to come. And they will remember who passably put thing together again.

Russia wants united Ukraine – the West doesn’t care?

Russia created a problem for western biased Kremlinologists by submitting a resolution to the UN Security Council calling for the Council to reaffirm “its full respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine”, unanimously adopted on 17 February this year. This initiative contradicts the very basis for mainstream western propaganda, which requires Russian intentions to subdue Ukraine through a war of aggression, even aiming at territorial gains.

During the former cold war every benign signal from the Russians were easily interpreted as a form of insidious and diabolic tactic with hidden, evil intentions. This western habit of reversing messages is no longer feasible to the same extent. There are too many complementary sources of information and debate today, first of all on the ever growing Internet, but also in the mainstream.

It’s interesting in this context to follow the very mainstream New York Times, whose reporting and commentary on the whole is tilted towards anti-Russian views. Still NYT has some objective news reporting never seen in Swedish media, for instance from areas in Ukraine suffering from the shelling by Kiev forces. The tidy Readers Commentaries are often appealing on articles about the Ukraine conflict. In mostly very articulate posts people in general have a much broader and more enlightened view on the subject than the article itself reflects, often with appreciation for the Russian point of view.

What I can find in the NYT online archive, the Security Council resolution was reported only as a ten-line Reuter’s note. Its Swedish analogue, Dagens Nyheter, had a one-line misrepresentation of the resolution in an editorial otherwise venomously despising Russia. It seems that silencing is the only tactic left when the old cold war technique of turning benign into malignant no longer holds. But silencing won’t work either in this new, multifaceted media world.

What basis has western propaganda media had for their view of an aggressive Russia wanting war to subdue Ukraine? It seems that they have tried to conjure up a picture of the old communist wickedness under which to hide and repress everything important that Russia signals. For an un-blinded eye Russia didn’t look extremely pleased with the armed uprising in Donbas. Putin made remarks about Ukrainian unity early on, disavowing the not very happy rebel leaders. As events evolved Russia naturally couldn’t remain idle as Kiev let Nazi voluntaries loose in killing Russian speaking people, and was forced to engage in support of the separatists.

Throughout the whole process Putin and Lavrov has repeatedly demanded negotiations to solve the crisis, something never highlighted in western media. The core interest here has been to speculate (in the old Kremlinologist spirit) about what Putin “really” has in mind, as opposed to what he says. This is an occupation that must have taken scholars, politicians and other pundits man-years of fruitless work.

A criminal investigation starts by looking for a motive. Has Russia anything to gain from a war of aggression towards a neighboring country? As we have seen: then have everything to lose! So why did the war start? The basic analysis is made by Professor John Mearsheimer in Foreign Affairs, who demonstrates unequivocally that the West created the prerequisites through 25 years of systematic provocations against Russia (spending 5 bn dollars, according to Mrs. Nuland).

The problem with Crimea, a natural part of Russia with mostly Russian inhabitants and a large Russian military base, should have been solved 25 years ago by a proactive West. But that was not even considered since the single goal was to cripple the former Russian dominion as much as at all possible. The purpose has obviously been, not to solve any of Russia’s problems, but to create as many as time and money allowed.

It’s a hope for the future and for peace that so many people see through the western propaganda machinery. And it’s inspiring to read the commentary sections in all sorts of papers. What people write there is not picked up from mainstream media; it requires critical thinking of one’s own, a gratifying phenomenon that seems to be spreading. That’s why Kerry and others are talking about “information war”, and that war will in the long run be won by reason, insight and compassion.

EU information war against Russia – a lying contest?

“EU readies action plan to counter Russian media ‘disinformation’” says RT.com Thursday, referring to leaked documents. My “anti-disinformation” paper Dagens Nyheter obviously intercepted the leak and started the counter-attack already on Wednesday. They didn’t assign their sharpest pen for the task so the different lines of thought in his article were not necessarily consistent with one another.

The brave thinker had incidentally found one brilliant crux in the apparent success for Russian propagandists, who namely have discovered the weak spot in western societies: our inclination for the postmodern fantasy that there are no facts, just different narratives. That the absolute truth belongs with western media is obviously an axiom and was not even mentioned. Instead a number of Russian false narratives were lined up. Some examples:

It’s a lie that Russia didn’t plan the occupation of Crimea. It’s a lie that Russian regular troops haven’t been commanded to fight in Ukraine. It’s a lie that the Kiev government ordered the shoot-down of the Malaysian passenger plane. And the scribbler is apparently cocksure that he owns the truth, though he has not a shred of evidence to support it with. He doesn’t even suggest that there is any need whatsoever to supply evidence, or even reasonable arguments.

And this is the center of the real postmodern fog we move around in:

– We “are convinced at heart” that Putin has evil intentions.
– We “know” that Russia is waging a war of aggression on Ukraine.
– We “are certain” that Putin and Russian media are lying about probably all crucial events.
– It took the Swedish foreign minister two hours to definitely “establish” that MH17 was shot down by pro-Russian rebels assisted by Russians.
– Although a steadily increasing number of factors point at the Ukrainian Air Force as the perpetrator, it’s still “self evident” that the Russians are to blame.
– It’s “of course” Putin that lies behind the killings of Nemtsov and the other journalists who met the same fate.
– And if it isn’t Putin personally it’s his “spirit”, and therefor “his name will forever be tied to these murders” as another journalist in the same paper put it.

With their almost pathological capacity of self-justification our journalists cannot even dream of having to prove anything of what they claim. And conversely it’s presupposed that everything that “the enemy” says is a lie, sometimes even when proof is evident.

But the main strategy of monitoring the “truth” in western media is to avoid, repress or silence everything that speaks in favor of “the enemy”, but the more meticulously sort out and magnify every little enemy aberration to be found.

“We are the truth!” is our media credo (with divine inspiration); don’t have us provide any proof of what we claim!

The author I’ve mentioned had the guts to call on – everybody else supposedly – to “pursue the truth” as a means to counter the Russian “Information war”!!

At this point I just had to go for a walk in the sunshine.

“Land grabbing” Putin calls for a united Ukraine!

Let me start with a value judgment: Vladimir Putin is not that kind of leader I would like to see in my country, Sweden. From the image of him one gets through media he seems to have some typical Russian streaks that wouldn’t fit here. That said, the picture painted of him in Swedish media is ridiculously distorted. By persistently focusing on every minor detail with a negative connotation, and meticulously censoring everything else, our media is almost at a point where they have made Putin look like some new kind of Stalin.

To continue with personal values though: if Sweden had gone through the same total melt-down as Russia did during the 1990s, I would have preferred a leader like Putin to rectify the society. The almost unmatched social catastrophe directly resulting from the capitalist Harmagedon that was forced upon Russia was never mentioned in our media, and is completely wiped out of history. It’s just that 10 million people died, mostly younger men (and much in the same way as the Native Americans: by being deprived of their means of existence). (I wrote about this in March 2014.)

Putin put an end to this genocide and cleaned up most of the mess caused mainly by western economists, and got the society passably working, so much so that some kind of development could be initiated. It naturally took harsh measures, first of all to reclaim some of the country’s wealth stolen by oligarchs in the turmoil of the 90s. This is obviously considered by western rulers and oligarchs as Putin’s deadly sin, an important basis for the hatred against him and marked by our consistent support for Russian billionaires in the Diaspora.

Today’s topic is the evacuation of Debaltseve in Ukraine. My paper DN naturally described this as Putin’s “land grabbing”, just another sign of that man’s diabolic nature. It’s probably supposed to be a token of DNs benevolence that they kept secret a certain text contradicting its thesis. I’m referring to a resolution put forward by Russia to the UN Security Council urging all parties to adhere to the Minsk agreement.

This resolution calls for a “total ceasefire” and a “political solution” that respects the “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine”. To be noted: this is the wording chosen by Russia! Donbas is consequently an indivisible part of Ukraine, clearly stated by Vladimir Putin (that land grabbing thug). What has to be solved is some kind of autonomy within the Ukrainian state for the Donbas region.

The fact that Kiev is sending artillery to kill its own civil citizens must be interpreted as Kiev’s refusal to accept any kind of autonomy for any region. This is a recipe for disaster. A Kiev army manned by conscripted and reluctant soldiers stands no chance against motivated fighters defending their native soil. The violent path chosen by Kiev will lead to a total confrontation taking the word closer to a new global war than ever. The simple way to solve the problem is for Poroshenko to meet with leaders from Donbas and settle the whole thing according to the Minsk agreement. Can’t anyone with his or her head screwed on point this out for Poroshenko or whoever is steering this wreck. Or is it Obama that has to clear his mind and realize what’s obvious?

Will this ceasefire make the real problems obvious?

Ceasefire in Ukraine and Putin seems to accept it, and more than that, even push for it. Strange, since the Prime minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenjuk, from the very beginning insured us that Putin’s Russia wanted to conquer the entire Ukraine. And this PM should be a most credible man, appointed by a high US official as he is, and fully endorsed all the way by our main paper, Dagens Nyheter (DN).

Well, Yatsenjuk has made a lot of statements, most of them uncritically echoed by western media without any demands for proof. Most every week he has reported on thousands of Russian troops and hundreds of tanks entering his country, probably in total adding up to a full mechanized division by now (if anyone bothered with a calculator). DN has broken a fundamental journalistic rule by simply conveying these obviously propagandistic fabrications, no questions asked.

Indeed, some of Yats’ statements have remained concealed, such as the one he delivered during a visit to Angela Merkel, where he certified that it was Russia that had attacked Germany in WWII, something “that would not be allowed to happen again”. Likewise hidden from public eyes by DN was the infamous claim by a Ukrainian Defense minister that Luhansk had been lost due to the Russians using nuclear weapons. What mainstream media yet not fully realize is that conspiratory and manipulating journalism in a longer run inexorably backfires in a world where more and more people will pick up the missing information on the Internet.

For a year now DN has fed its readers with an almost daily flow of these ill-founded, propagandistic and sometimes simply mendacious articles with the single aim to defame Russia and Putin. It has been an exhibition of low journalistic standards opposing the prime values that proper professional schools on the subject teach.

In this very moment a news flash reveals that Ukrainian forces are leaving Debaltseve (a city in trouble, obviously ignored by Poroshenko during the Minsk talks). Spokesmen for the “pro-Russian separatists” say – according to DN – that hundreds of government troops have surrendered to the rebels, “information not independently confirmed” (information from the other side never requires this reservation by DN).

Still there is a new tone in DN’s reporting just recently, illustrated by another article in today’s paper. Putin’s visit to Hungary was described in a short article without the usual demonizing distortion of facts. And maybe it generalizes.

New York Times has an informative article also today about the really catastrophic abyss in which Ukraine’s economy has fallen. The author points at some crucial sectors where Ukraine’s dependence of Russia for a long times has been decisive, and shows the devastating effects the breakup with Russia have had. After reading this text one is totally puzzled by the naivety the pro-western Ukrainians have shown in believing that western countries would even have the resources to compensate for this huge Russian economic dependency, let alone the political will to do it.

Maybe the naivety of western leaders when searching an easy propaganda victory by punching Putin in the face will rebound too. Hopefully we will see more sobriety in the days to come.

(If the simplest of solutions wasn’t self-evident: autonomy in any form for Donbas, Ukraine a neutral state, no NATO, no EU.)

War criminal awarded by established charity organization

What do we get if we mix the most bizarre, dystopic and satiric pieces from Kafka, Orwell, Swift and The Simpsons?

Perhaps traumas of the kind that followed from reading RT.com the other day: that Tony Blair had been honored with the Global Legacy Award by the UK branch of the global charity organization Save the Children.

The first reaction was to take a deep breath and try to cool the brain.

Save the Children‼
Rewarding a man directly responsible for the killing of children on a gigantic scale‼
A man who by any definition possible is a war criminal‼

A war criminal? The United Nations Charter states in Article 2:

All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

The war on Iraq – which Blair bore a main responsibility for – glaringly violated the UN Charter’s ban on waging wars. But Blair’s guilt doesn’t end there. The legal basis upon which Nazi leaders were sentenced to be hanged in Nuremberg was laid out by the chief American prosecutor during the trials, Robert H. Jackson, with the words:

“To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

A verbatim interpretation of Jackson’s statement leads to the conclusion that Tony Blair is responsible also for the destruction – material and political, including the deaths through atrocities – which Iraq since has suffered as a direct consequence of the war of aggression spearheaded by US and UK.

Another significant aspect of this tragic story is the media coverage. While independent web media and the blogosphere are overflowing with mostly appalled comments, mainstream media seem to hide the embarrassing incident in silence. I could at least get no hits using Dagens Nyheter’s or New York Times’ search engines.

My family was a member of Save the Children in Sweden and we used to contribute a small, monthly amount. We are now forced to turn our backs to this compromised organization and find another, more trustworthy charity receiver.

Swedish “Pravda” avoiding important truths

The Swedish media flagship Dagens Nyheter gives us daily illustrations of some of the main thesis in Herman & Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent. DN’s selection of news to publish is thoroughly conscious and consistently carried through. The purpose is apparently to keep people focused on the “right” issues (in both senses).

A demonstration against the government by a few hundred people in Moscow makes a front page headline, as does riots in eastern China and other popular manifestations directed at the correct targets. For nearly two months now DN has almost daily covered the demonstrations for democracy in Hong Kong (quite well motivated in my opinion), but during that time “forgotten” about most other instances of unrest not fitting the proper political agenda.

It could be a hazardous tactic to consciously conceal important events in that manner. Today we have access to media of all kinds on the Internet, and it may be apparent for a growing number of people that our “free media” is just as biased as state monopoly media in a non-democratic country might be.

Some recent riots haven’t appeared at all on DN’s web edition as far as I have observed (some may have been awarded half a dozen lines in the paper edition, I don’t know). US readers may think that no newspaper can be more mainstream than New York Times, but that paper is an enlightened wonder compared to DN. So instead of paying a fortune to get a provincial and biased paper in the mailbox each morning, one has access to international papers on the Internet free or almost free.

Here are some important protests and manifestations that I had to go to rt.com to read about:

Kiev October 14
A mass nationalist protest near the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev has turned violent, with 15 policemen wounded and at least 50 rioters arrested. Radicals are demanding “war veteran” status for armed nationalist rebels who fought for the Nazis in WWII.

On Tuesday afternoon, an estimated 8,000 far-right activists gathered at the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) as MPs considered a bill that would recognize members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as war veterans. Frustrated by parliament’s decision, protesters then attacked police with rocks, firecrackers, and chains.

Violent clashes outside parliament forced Speaker Aleksandr Turchinov to cancel the Rada session halfway through. Because of the “provocative actions by young people,” parliamentarians failed to consider a number of bills.

Recognition of the UPA – which has been accused of war crimes including the killings of Jews and Poles in Ukraine – and its leaders, Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevich, remains a controversial issue in modern Ukraine. The country is divided between those who consider them national heroes and others who strongly oppose their cause – including WWII veterans. Tuesday marked the anniversary of the UPA, which also triggered rallies in several of Ukraine’s major cities – including Lvov, Kharkov, and Odessa.

France November 1
Riot police clashed with protesters rallying against police brutality in several French cities after the death of an ecology activist, apparently caused by a police stun grenade. At least 100 protesters were arrested and 9 people injured over the weekend.

Following the death of 21-year-old ecology protester Rémi Fraisse, rallies took place in Nantes, Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux and Avignon on Saturday, as well as in Paris on Sunday.

In eastern Paris, 66 protesters were arrested as local media reported attacks on police and possession of unauthorized weapons. A crowd of protesters also staged a peaceful sit-in front of the Eiffel Tower.

The Nantes and Toulouse demos turned particularly violent, with masked and hooded protesters throwing projectiles and tearing down street signs. Security forces retaliated by firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowds.

At least nine people – including four police officers – were injured in the confrontations, and 34 arrested, according to the interior ministry. Demonstrators hurled acid-filled bottles and stones at security forces, wounding an officer, Henri-Michel Comet, the regional governor, told Reuters.

Brussels November 6
Violent clashes broke out in Belgium as more than 100,000 protesters marched in Brussels against the government’s austerity measures. Police deployed water cannon as dockworkers, metalworkers and students took to the streets.

The violence flared up at the end of an otherwise peaceful protest, with tear gas deployed as some radical demonstrators hurled objects at riot police and launched attacks with the barriers against the officials. Some set off colored smoke flares. At least 14 people were taken to hospital following the violence, according to national daily HLN.be.

The Belgian government which assumed power just a month ago has caused unrest with promises to raise the retirement age, cancel a wage rise in line with inflation and cut health and social security benefits – moves that undermine the country’s welfare state.

“The signal is clear. People are angry, livid. This government’s policies are totally unbalanced,” ACV union chief Marc Leemans told Reuters.

More protests are planned, including weekly regional strikes from November 24 and a national strike for December 15. The mass-action is also seeing a work slowdown which is having a detrimental effect on public institutions such as schools and post offices, as well as the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge.

Berlin November 9
Clashes and arrests marred the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, as several hundred left-wing activists met far-rights in the city center. The latter were rallying in commemoration of the 1938 Kristallnacht Nazi attacks against Jews.

On Sunday, left-wing activists held a non-sanctioned demonstration near the capital’s Alexanderplatz train station against the fall of the Berlin Wall, while most Berliners were commemorating the 25th anniversary of the event.

Meanwhile, nationalist activists gathered for a demonstration to commemorate the attacks of the Kristallnacht – or the “Night of Broken Glass” – when in 1938 the Nazi authorities launched a series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and Austria. Police made several arrests in attempts to disperse the crowd. Following the clashes police switched to riot gear.

Mexico November 10
Protesters in the Mexican state of Guerrero have torched the ruling party’s regional headquarters as part of their demonstrations to achieve justice for the 43 missing students who disappeared in September.

The attack on the regional headquarters of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) building in Chilpancingo is the latest violent protest to explode in Mexico over the incident. In a separate incident, protesters also blocked the airport in the city of Acapulco. The protests at the airport began on Monday with thousands of demonstrators blocking its entrance for three hours.

Tuesday’s protests come just three days after demonstrators attempted to storm the National Palace in Mexico City, setting the doors on fire after failing to get inside. They were eventually driven away by police, though there were a number of arrests and injuries.

Warsaw November 11
At least 276 people were arrested and just under 50 injured after clashes broke out in Warsaw. Polish nationalists took to the streets to mark the nation’s National Independence Day, throwing flares and stones at officers, who responded with water cannon.

Tens of thousands marched through the Polish capital Tuesday with many carrying the national flag, while flares and firecrackers were also let off. The march was attended by extremist nationalist groups, such as the Radical Camp and the All-Polish Youth.

For the fourth consecutive year the procession turned violent, with a group breaking away as they crossed a bridge over the Vistula river and reached the eastern bank, near the Polish national football stadium. According to Reuters, they tore up paving slabs and benches from a nearby bus station and started to throw them at police, who were dressed in riot gear.

Law enforcement officers responded by approaching the rioters and using a water cannon truck to push the marches back onto the bridge in the direction they had come. Some outlets report rubber bullets and tear gas was deployed. Up to 23 police officers and 24 protesters were wounded in the clashes, while at least 276 people were detained, according to TASS.

Italy November 14
Egg-throwing, red paint and police batons marked a fresh heating-up of countrywide protests over impending social reforms in Italy, as the striking political left was joined by other members of society in major cities.

Transportation chaos and injuries occurred in some of the country’s major commercial and cultural hubs – from Rome and Milan, through to Naples, Padua, Turin, Bergamo, Genoa, Pisa and Palermo.

The rallies are the latest in a series of protests over Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s reforms – most notably the Jobs Act, which gives employers much more freedom to hire and fire employees. They are infuriating an increasingly large number of people amid an atmosphere of joblessness. There is also spillover into other complaints, including those directed at immigrants.

The largest gatherings took place in Milan, where riot police were attacked with flares, before charging the crowds with batons.

The proposed government reforms have been drawing hundreds of thousands of Italians onto the streets since October. They are taking place amid a decline in large industrial firms and dwindling public services. The reforms are expected to pass parliament by the end of the year.

Athens November 17
About a dozen people have reportedly been injured in clashes with riot police outside the US embassy in Athens following mass protests marking the 1973 revolt against the US-backed military junta, in which 40,000 people took part.

Over 70 arrests from various parts of Athens were made after clashes broke out following the mass march, according to social media sources. Police fired tear gas at groups of youths who hurled stones and plastic bottles while burning US and EU flags.

The clashes came just after 40,000 students, workers, and pensioners marched from parliament to the US embassy. The protesters – who accuse the US of backing the 1967-74 military dictatorship – shouted “EU, IMF out!” while marching. The demonstration takes place every year, with activists marching to denounce the alleged role that US intelligence agents played in the military dictatorship’s rise to power.

London November 19
Thousands of students are marching on the UK parliament on Wednesday in the biggest student action in four years. The protest, called by the National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts, is demanding an end to budget cuts and to restore free education.

Contingents of students have arrived in the capital from at least 40 UK towns and cities. Further nationwide days of action have been announced throughout December

Ukrainian “claim” beyond stupidity

Not a word in my morning paper today about Ukraine, as far as I could detect. That could be a good sign since the journalists so far have seemed to cherish every symptom of the conflict worsening. Are we approaching a lasting peace, perhaps?

An odd phenomenon media since long has highlighted is the recurring statements from Ukrainian leaders about Russia’s evil intentions. Recently Prime Minister Yatsenjuk claimed that Putin intended to conquer the whole of Ukraine. This was presented here as some kind of news, with the statement headlined (identical in New York Times, incidentally). The only thing a critical reader would have liked to know was absent, namely what kind of factual support Yatsenjuk had for his allegation.

Was he a mind reader, or what (thus perhaps a scientologist after all)? There were not even any speculations by any reporter, let alone any questions put to Yatsenjuk about the foundations for his rather sensational utterance.

This habit of presenting unsubstantiated assertions by Ukrainian politicians as “news” has gone on since the war started. Perhaps it is thought to have some propagandistic effect, who knows. But it could as well have the opposite effect since the claims sometimes have been more naïve than credible. But the sources have obviously rest assured that whatever they say, it would be published in western media.

Some days ago one allegation by a Ukrainian official reached a level of ridicule that obviously was too much even for our media (thus it was reported by rt.com). On a trip to Poland the Defense minister, Valery Geletey, told a reporter that the loss of the Luhansk airport was due to the Russians using tactical nuclear weapons.

Geletey’s colleague, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, commented this blackout on his Facebook page: “Why would anyone make such statements that can be easily checked and proven false?”, continuing: “In the end Russia and the whole world will now ridicule us. Too bad, it’s nothing new to us.”

If this latest debacle hampers the flow of more or less fabricated announcements by Ukrainian officials, obviously intended to increase tensions between parties, it’s a good thing. Now it should be peace and nothing else on the agenda, the keys to which aren’t far-fetched but rather obvious.