Category Archives: Propaganda

Political assassinations in Russia – and Sweden

Finally Dagens Nyheter got to – almost – say that Putin is a killer. But, all right, even if he didn’t personally order the assassination of Boris Nemtsov it was a “product of the Russian system” with the indisputable purpose to “hit the democratic opposition with a devastating blow”. DN “knows” everything without any knowledge or shred of evidence, in this case as in the downing of MH17, the snipers in Maidan, the Russian invasion, Putin’s intentions and everything else. This flagship in Swedish media thus gladly leaves behind the basic journalistic ethics that calls for factuality in reporting.

One particularly interesting thing DN “knows” is that Putin hasn’t changed his “perception that Ukraine does not have a real legitimacy as an independent country”. This is DNs statement not many days after Russia submitted a resolution to the UN Security Council with the precise call for Ukraine’s unity and national integrity. The resolution was passed, which indeed wasn’t highlighted in DN.

Even in New York Times a reporter expressed some astonishment over this Russian standpoint in UN of Ukrainian unity as if she had never heard of it, though Putin and Lavrov consistently have upheld the same view from the very beginning. They declared in words and showed in action that Russia had no intention of occupying southeastern Ukraine (at first to the obvious disappointment of the separatists).

But, OK, decent western democratic media cannot pay attention to men like those two. Instead they have dutifully published Yatsenjuk’s repeated assurances, groundless and obviously based on his own fantasies that Russia intended to conquer the entire Ukraine. NYTs reporter fell victim of western propaganda, DN hasn’t even noticed anything(?)

Sweden probably outscores Russia for the last 30 years when it comes to assassinations of high profile politicians relative to population. (I suppose we have to ask DN if this is a “product of the Swedish system” or not.) First we had the murder in 1986 of Prime Minister Olof Palme, as much lauded among poor people around the world as he was demonized by the “decent” bourgeoisie at home. The horrible slander and scorn Palme had to endure has no parallel in Swedish politics ever.

Ridiculous rumors about Palme spread like wildfire among the well-offs in Stockholm: he was mentally ill (for visiting his demented mother treated in a hospital), he was a drug addict (“my wife’s sister knows a doctor who treats him for that…”), he was a communist spy, he had extra-marital affairs etc. The fine people’s fantasies were limitless. The following caricature is one of the most benevolent made of him (the really horrible ones, endemic during his lifetime, seem to have disappeared from the Internet):

Palme

Many thought that the hate campaign had triggered someone to commit the murder. Suspicions flew in all directions (I’m quite sure that some believed Soviet Russia could have had a hand in it) and strangely detailed testimonies popped up from all over. The chief investigator followed a Kurdish trail, but choked on it and was replaced. Most popular among a growing number of amateur investigators was a police track, soon supported by a host of incidental “evidence”. And so it went on under intense media coverage. The case was never solved although some circumstances ultimately pointed at an alcoholic and thug, possibly hired by some other criminal.

Victim of the second high profile murder was Anna Lindh, stabbed by a mentally unstable man in 2003. She was also a Social Democrat, active Foreign Minister and much liked by her international colleagues. Any connections between the murderer and any outside monitors were never discovered, and everybody seemed pleased with that.

We have at least a third murder with political motives. A syndicalist, Anders Söderberg, was murdered by neo-Nazis in 1999 for disclosing one of their cronies (which made him lose his job). That makes three political assassinations in thirty years, which would be equivalent to 45 such murders in Russia in the same period. Some expert may pick the winner.

We will never know if there ultimately were political forces behind the murders of Palme and Lindh, and further speculations are pointless. In contrast our main newspaper, supposed to be the most serious, feels obviously free to speculate wildly on their preconceived stereotypes about Russian political murders.

It’s worth saying again: Apparently Vladimir Putin’s real crime in the eyes of DNs journalists and other western ideologues is that he put an end to the capitalist melt-down in Russia, stopped the genocide caused by the same capitalist roll-over, a genocide that claimed 10 million lives of which a majority were younger men leaving children and women fatherless and widows. It took harsh measures to reclaim a small part of the fortunes belonging to the people and stolen by a bunch of cunning apparatchiks. It’s not done with a tea party to passably rescue the complete wreck Russia was in the 1990s.

If some are to blame for the fact that Vladimir Putin is ruling Russia and not someone like Mahatma Gandhi it would be first of all Yeltsin, Gaidar and a group of American economists (with the Swede Anders Ã…slund). Boris Nemtsov was also a player on that team, certainly a reason for his low public acceptance rate now. These ruthless ideologues, purporting to implement “economic rules”, completely destroyed everything, wiped out half the industrial capacity and threw the country back to the third world from where it came in 1917. If our reactionary demagogues now dictating the paradigm had at least an ounce of empathy in their bodies, they would give Russia a minimum of leeway in its efforts to build a modern society again. How they might think that the confrontation they now play hard with will solve anything is a mystery.

Ukraine politics – western hypocrisy at its peak

Most things regarding the conflict in Ukraine are dealt with entirely propagandistic here in Sweden. On other issues our “Pravda” – Dagens Nyheter – usually lets through an occasional dissident voice, if only to get an alibi and at the same time by contrast enhance the proscribed view. Not so in this case. What happens now in Ukraine is confirmed to be a war of aggression, and the sole aggressor is Russia. Period.

There is no ambiguity about the Ukrainian government’s right to use force against its own citizens. Such questions are not discussed whatsoever. No one suggests that there would have been no war had the Ukrainian army not launched the attacks against their own citizens in Donbas. Despite that nobody suspected the independence forces in the Donbas area for any plans to conquer the rest of Ukraine.

Neither taken into account is the apparent divide between people in western Ukraine with links to Europe and those in the southeast with ties to Russia (of which tens of millions are related through intermarriages across the border). We (DN) obviously find it quite appropriate that one of these two parts rule over the other, even when there is no agreement on such a regime. And even when the suppressed part convincingly argues that the opponent has seized power trough an illegal street coup, spearheaded by Nazi elements, at that.

Very little is reported here about the way government forces conduct the battles; their indiscriminate firing of shells and rockets into cities, blowing innocent civilians to pieces and thus scaring away their own citizens, creating hundreds of thousands of refugees. Nor do we read very much about other results of this shelling: a destroyed infrastructure leaving the people who can’t flee destitute of elementary means of existence such as water, food and electricity.

But we had the guts to demonize and ridicule the Russians for sending a convoy of trucks with necessities to help those human beings in their neighboring country. There was much fuss about the first convoy; now at least five more have followed, obviously giving substantial relief for many people. It thus turned out that the Russians had benign intentions, a circumstance that immediately killed our media’s interest.

It’s fascinating and revealing to compare the identical events in Crimea and earlier in Kosovo. When a part of Serbia inhabited by a large group of Albanians wanted to secede from its motherland, USA and EU immediately engaged fully with the secessionists. To force Serbia to accept the creation of a sovereign Kosovo NATO bombed the Serbian capital for 78 days (thereby also killing some Chinese diplomats, creating additional problems). It’s notable that the ethnic cleansing performed by Serbia in Kosovo started as a reaction to the bombings, not the other way around.

When “we” intervened in Serbia it was under the auspices of R2P – responsibility to protect – a concept invented to justify the violent actions we for the moment are prone to engage in. Thus the very same kind of action, on identical pretexts, that we praised ourselves for as morally exemplary in Kosovo, we deemed Russia for as the most unlawful atrocity in Crimea. We can live with that since we have grown accustomed to our own hypocrisy, the worst kind of that one can think of. History will judge our politics as deprived of all moral.

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

MSM: Sweden vs. USA, plus Krugman on inequality

An anecdote has it that Noam Chomsky grinds his teeth when he reads the New York Times. But he also recognizes that there is some serious and professional reporting alongside the skillful but goofy propaganda stream. One can say the same about the Swedish Dagens Nyheter, save the level of professionalism. Thus I subscribe to the NYT web edition to get a broader outlook, apart from it being somewhat less pathetically “mainstreamed” than DN.

When it comes to the selection and presentation of the kind of world news that has to be aligned in accordance with the propaganda model, the similarities between DN and NYT are striking. The material is probably molded already in news agencies, and then DN seems to snitch from NYT and others. Often the wording is identical, and certainly the bias. But there are some differences. Especially interesting is what kind of “big news” in USA that becomes “no news” in Swedish media.

To name one example: Citizens United, a central concept in US debate which is carefully kept out of media in Sweden for reasons one can only speculate on. Is it the fact that the Supreme Court’s decision is incomprehensible for most people here, who probably would compare it with codifying unlimited corruption?

Another more random example is the Cliven Bundy case, which has passed almost unnoticed here. It’s not that violence or crimes as such are censored, on the contrary. Events like school shootings and other mass murders in the US are covered intensely by media, so the difference opens the field for speculations again. Is it that crimes committed by individuals have limited implications for the society, whilst the Bundy insubordination revealed a weak public authority that opened for mafia-like actions challenging law and order (thus degrading USA)? It’s anyone’s guess.

On the Ukraine issue Swedish MSM has a completely one-eyed view applied to both commentary and news reporting alike, a view postulating that Vladimir Putin is the master villain responsible for everything horrible that happens. Thus we are not shared any inclusive reports on for instance the shelling of innocent civilians or the hardship people in Luhansk suffers, or anything else outrageous that the Ukrainian government is responsible for. In this case NYT has a more professional attitude and once in a while sends a reporter to give readers a more complete picture. (I’ve mentioned earlier one reason for this difference, namely that Russophobia, through some kind of epigenetic mechanism, seem to have become inherent in Swedish genes.)

With the morning coffee I consequently browse quickly through the DN site, continue with NYT to stop for some reading and then spend more time with The Nation and other informative links. In my opinion the prime voice of reason in NYT is Paul Krugman, an economist differing from many of his colleagues by using his brain instead of reflexively rely on dogmas from a depleted science. His progressive views are so rare in NYT that he appears to be a kind of liberal alibi for the prestigious paper.

(A cute parenthesis: for subscribers NYT has a top-10-list labeled “Recommended for you”. In analogue cases most sites has a simple plug-in that keeps track on visitor’s preferences, so that recommendations really reflect the reader’s interests. Not so the NYT; here “recommended” obviously means what the editor think I should read; hence links on that list very rarely fit my liking. But to find a link to Paul Krugman I just have to click on “Most read” or “Most emailed” instead, where Krugman’s columns regularly appear among the top hits.)

In his column today (ranked No 1 in “Most emailed”) Krugman has some really intelligent and informative commentaries on “Our Invisible Rich”. Developments have gone to such an extreme the last decades that people just can’t grasp how grotesque the inequality has become. In a recent survey people in various countries were asked how much they thought top executives of major companies make relative to unskilled workers. In the United States the median respondent believed that chief executives make about 30 times as much as their employees (which was roughly true in the 1960s) compared to the real figure which is something like 300 times more, not to mention the really lucky, like the top hedge fund managers, who pick up some 10 000 times more than an ordinary employee.

To this one may remark that neither Aristotle nor James Madison thought that such an unbelievable development would ever be possible. Both took for granted that a majority in a democracy would vote to expel inequalities of that kind, but they chose different solutions to the problem. Aristotle concluded that society had to accept equality as a basic principle, while Madison preferred democracy to be limited. One way for Madison to achieve this was to establish a senate not elected directly by voters. It turned out that Madison was too cautious; he had no clue as to what modern propaganda would be capable of in the coming centuries. Today the super rich are safer than ever from any democratic threats, though the senate nowadays is appointed directly by voters.

It’s not that people’s preferences are unknown. If they estimate the high boss’s salaries to be 30 times higher, they would prefer the difference to be considerably less. The tool to achieve that is called democratic struggle, and that is something bound to come – trough collective action.

A third Russian aid convoy to suffering Ukrainians. Time for the West to join in?

I read today about a third Russian aid shipment to Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, wondering when the second one took place, since that one obviously escaped media in Sweden. It’s comforting anyway that our propaganda has become more civilized over time.

We remember the outrage caused by the first aid convoy. It was a Trojan horse; the Russians just intended to deliver arms under Red Cross cover. Or it was a propaganda stunt by Putin, pretending to be some kind of saint. And, anyway, many of the trucks were empty, etc. The convoy was denied entrance to Ukraine, a permit the Russians politely awaited while the Ukrainian leaders tried to make the most of the media frenzy. When the convoy finally just entered and delivered their goods in Luhansk it was described as an unlawful intrusion by a hostile power. And so on.

The dire situation in Luhansk, where electricity and water had been cut off due to artillery and rocket fire supposedly from the Ukrainian military, appeared to be of no concern to the Ukrainian leaders. The fate of their suffering countrymen seemed much less interesting than the propagandistic charades played out to the world’s media. I think it’s proper to say in hindsight that the Ukrainian tactics in this case was a fiasco and that western media’s complicity will be filed in the archive for disgraceful memories.

A New York Times reporter – Carlotta Gall – issued yesterday an informative report from the hard-hit city of Luhansk. She interviewed a hotel manager, Nikolai Pesotskii, and wrote:

“The first sign of help, he said, came from a Russian convoy of aid, which entered Luhansk against the wishes of the Ukrainian government. ‘Without that, there would have been hunger,’ Mr. Pesotskii said. A wealthy businessman, even he made use of a Russian food parcel, distributed from the local school, that contained canned meat, sugar and rice – enough for one person for 10 days, he said.”

Where are the superior humanitarian values of the democratic world, which constitute the core of our self adulation? How come we always prefer to bomb suffering people with grenades instead of aid, and even demonize those who do the opposite?

 

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.

The importance of writing right (…to left)

I happened to read an anecdote the other day which possibly is a tall tale since it’s a bit too good. It was told by a Danish soldier to a columnist in my daily paper, Lena Sundstrom, and was about the US propaganda war in Afghanistan carried out with leaflets. Since illiteracy is widespread the leaflet was in the form of a cartoon.

The first frame of the cartoon showed crying women and children in a land of chaos. In the second frame US soldiers arrived to the country. And finally in the last frame were pictured lots of happy people.

There was just one snag in it: Afghans read from right to left!