Category Archives: Ukraine

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.

Humanitarian aid not fit to mention

“Russia’s Emergencies Ministry has dispatched the 52nd truck convoy with humanitarian aid to Donbass” reports RT.com. “Since August 2014, Russia has sent 51 convoys with 61,000 tons of humanitarian aid to Donbass.” According to the ministry’s press service the 52nd delivery consist largely of “foodstuffs, daily essentials, medicines, firefighting equipment, and art and educational books”.

These kinds of news will never appear in Swedish media, of course. (I suppose our MSM would rather describe them as examples of the Russian “information war” which perpetually obsess them). The only convoy of interest was the first one, as we remember. It was made an object of suspicion: “Russian tricks to smuggle weapons and contraband”, or ridicule: “some of the trucks are empty”.

After a long time waiting for permits from Kiev to cross the border – permits that never came – the first convoy just took off to its destinations and unloaded. That was the last we heard from these humanitarian expeditions in our media. The New York Times though – a few convoys later – had an informative article about the living conditions in eastern Donbass in which the reporter interviewed a restaurant owner who testified that these deliveries of basic means of existence were essential for life in the haunted region.

There is no need to regard the Russian government as more altruistic then other governments to be able to explain these relief operations. They simply help people of Russian heritage or affinity in need. The urge to help may (or may not) be enhanced by the Kremlin refusal to fulfill the deepest wishes of these people, namely to join their spiritual motherland. In fact, Russia helps citizens in a foreign country, moreover a country before whom Russia (even in a resolution to the United Nations Security Council) has pledged to respect and protect its independence and sovereignty (with Crimea as an exclusive exception).

The despicable Putin is determined that people in all of Donbass shall stay Ukrainian citizens forever. What Kremlin supports is simply that some degree of self-determination be granted people there. Kiev on the other hand obviously sees the inhabitants in rebel held parts of Ukraine as enemies suitable to kill with artillery shells. Consequently, those Ukrainians don’t qualify for humanitarian aid from Kiev, instead they suffer elimination of their economic rights, such as pensions and other allowances.

This doesn’t fit well with western propaganda. Russia is presumed to occupy eastern Donbass and wage a war against Ukraine, supposedly with the intention to conquer the entire country. That’s anyway what the leaders in Kiev repeatedly have claimed, supported by western media. In order to uphold that distorted view it is necessary to disregard and keep behind a smokescreen everything substantial of what Moscow says and does.

It’s self-evident that states and governments are no moral agents; they can say and do whatever they have the power to do and say. The Russian government is no exception. But government’s statements and actions can and should be constantly scrutinized by their citizens, and their possible lies and wrong-doings revealed.

As mere citizens we should also comply with the principle of moral universalism, which states that we must follow the same standards as we apply to others. We should hence as Swedes meticulously dissect our own propaganda before we accuse others of the same misconduct. This principle is violated to a level of absurdity by media in my country; themselves distorting facts and serving half-lies and pure lies without discrimination, aggressively accuse Russia of waging an “information war”.

One of the “state controlled” outlets for this Russian propaganda is said to be RT, the most visited TV news channel on YouTube. Vilifying RT may sooner or later prove to be an own goal as more and more people take part of the media market unconstrained by our usual, self-censored media. If anything, the accusations may lure people to watch the defamed “propaganda channels” themselves, if not for other reason than pure curiosity.

Those who look up RT.com to check for the propaganda will find a bunch of citizens from western countries – US, Britain, Irland etcetera – presenting news and writing editorials in impeccable English. One needs to look hard to find any genuine Russians. The selection of news is naturally focused on Russia, but RT also digs up other events that we seldom hear anything of. Thus we can in RT read about inconvenient demonstrations and embarrassing statements (like for instance this one: “WWII happened because Russia attacked Germany, and that must be prevented from happening again” /paraphrase/, uttered by Yatsenyuk during his visit to Merkel) which are more or less suppressed by western media.

We are back to one of the simplest truisms among definitions: “Propaganda is the other guy’s lies, not mine”.

 

 

Chernobyl – today 30 years of pervasive myths

The children look so puzzled when they lay in their beds awaiting their deaths, says a doctor in Chernobyl Prayer, the heartbreaking book by Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich in which she writes about an event that she considers the most important in the 20th century, of greater significance than all the wars and revolutions during the same period. She sees Chernobyl as the doorway to a new era in which not just knowledge but also “pre-knowledge” plays a part for humanity, clashing with its previous conceptions about itself and the world.

Chernobyl Prayer is a book about death and particularly one of the most frightening ways to pass: death from radiation. It becomes deeply moving when Alexievich listens to Ljudmila, the wife of one of the rescue workers that participated in the initial phase and received a lethal dose of radiation. “He is not a human being any more, he’s a reactor”, warns a doctor when she wants to hug her dying husband. Radiation from the walls in his hospital room had become so powerful that the scale on the dosimeter was insufficient. Many of the doctors and nurses got ill after some time, and died.

The book consists mainly of interviews with people who have experienced the catastrophe from different perspectives, and lets them speak freely, personally and deeply upsetting. Decease and death appears endlessly in the stories: Black spots on bodies, bald children, nervous afflictions, “atomic tan”… One man got blood cancer after two months, the same as a twelve-year-old boy whose father had worked in Chernobyl. “Over the roof of the wrecked reactor passed 3,600 soldiers… They were young boys… They too are dying now.”

Accompanying this chaos of death was total confusion and contempt for life shown by the Soviet authorities, as perceived by ordinary people. Workers and soldiers were sent on missions where radiation levels exceeded accepted limits, and no one seemed to know what actually happened and much less what really should be done. People had to cling to popular myths, such as one saying that alcohol is a protection against radiation, a prophylaxis widely applied.

Alexievich refers to independent Russian environmentalists saying that 1.5 million people have died following the Chernobyl accident. Cancer frequency in Belarus has increased 74-fold, they say. “Radiation is the leading factor behind population decline.”

All this is overwhelming. So much so, that after 400 heavy pages the reader suffers some fatigue. In other words, the author’s feat is impressive. However, there is one thing to add: most of her claims regarding the effects of radiation are indeed wrong, completely wrong!

In an interview with herself, the author says she has worked with her book for twenty years. Had she spent just a couple of hours of reading the most insightful and thorough study of the whole Chernobyl history ever conducted, she could perhaps have saved a few years of her work. Around 140 of the world’s most prominent experts from some 20 countries made this authoritative study, followed up frequently through the years with the initial results confirmed. (An Internet search for UNSCEAR 2000 provides readable abstracts.)

The expert’s core conclusions can be summarized in a few sentences. All of the 134 individuals who suffered acute radiation sickness were plant personnel or fire fighters who participated in the first 24 hours of rescue operations. 28 of them died within three weeks. Until 2008 an additional group of 34 had died, some of them from repercussions of radiation injuries. Of those who got acutely sick from radiation a majority is thus still alive.

An estimated 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer were discovered after extensive scanning of the affected populations. Though being a benign and operable form of cancer, it is not without problems. The emission of Iodin-131 from the reactor is considered to play a part, since this isotope (with a half-life of 8 hours) finds its way to the thyroid gland and stores there. Some objections have been raised against too simple conclusions. One is that cytological abnormalities that otherwise had not been detected, and possibly not had developed into cancer, were found due to the broad scanning. Another is that many of the cases appeared just shortly after the accident, while cancer usually takes many years to develop.

Apart from these cases, nobody has got cancer or died from radiation following the Chernobyl accident. In the words of the United Nation’s group of experts: “There is no scientific evidence of increases in overall cancer incidence or mortality or in non-malignant disorders that could be related to radiation exposure”.

The children who was puzzled facing their radiation death never existed. The thousands of young boys on the reactor roof never died from radiation (or died at all),. A 74-fold increase in cancer frequency is a pure bluff. And so on. Alexievich’s book is a catalog of more or less absurd myths and fantasies in which she obviously agrees but possibly tries to avoid responsibility for by placing them in the mouths of others.

Such as the case with the “beaming” rescue worker: a human being exposed to external ionizing radiation does not become radioactive. Isotopes spread outside a wrecked reactor, such as Cesium-137, are bound to particles that easily can be brushed away. The limited amounts of Iodine-131 that stays in the body cannot possibly make anybody a “reactor” or induce radioactivity on hospital walls, much less kill the doctors and nurses. Alexievich offends her interviewee who in her innocent ignorance only conveys bizarre but predominant myths that the author has set out to pander.

The ignorance that Alexievich shares with so many is founded on an absurdly exaggerated conception of the dangers with ionizing radiation. People do not get sick, much less die, from the doses received after the Chernobyl accident. If that had been a fact, we would have experienced millions of such victims around the world, simply because natural radiation is of the same magnitude on numerous places on the globe.

If there had been rational reasons to evacuate the “Ghost city” of Pripyat permanently, parts of the west coast of Sweden should also be depopulated, simply because the radioactive doses received are the same in both places. The Swedish case is so far worse in that the radiation follows gases that penetrate buildings and people’s lungs.

Assumptions regarding long-term cancerous effects from radiation rest on a controversial, so-called linear hypotheses. In short, it means that there is no harmless dose, regardless of how small it is. This is an assumption that does not apply to any harmful substance that people can encounter. In addition, the hypothesis is probably impossible to prove when it comes to radiation.

There are in fact contradicting studies that show lower cancer frequencies among populations in areas with higher background radiation than average. An exceptional case is the city of Ramsar in Iran where people have lived since time immemorial and where radiation in some places exceeds tenfold the level, which usually requires evacuation after nuclear accidents. Nor in Ramsar is the cancer frequency higher than in other places.

And what about the Soviet confusion? Unlike what people in the countryside according to Alexievich seem to have experienced, the state bureaucracy appear to have functioned meticulously, judging from the detailed and comprehensive statistics the UN experts present.

Nevertheless, there was much suffering, increased illnesses and raising mortality in the affected region. Since radiation had nothing to do with it, the experts sought the real answers, which they found in the extreme physical and psychological hardships people had to endure due to the forced evacuations. Other UN bodies such as UNDP, UNICEF and IAEA have confirmed, in their own studies, the devastating consequences of the forced relocation.

Under the influence of media and interest groups spreading excessive fear of radiation, the Soviet decision makers felt the pressure to order evacuation of an area 5,000 times larger than the radiation hazard really would have required. Since this forced relocation was the main cause behind the suffering, Alexievich and her allied fear mongers bear a heavy responsibility for the human anguish she describes.

As if life was not hard enough for people in the region there followed just four years after the accident a devastating “capitalist revolution” in the already suffering countries. Economies collapsed and people were struck hard. In Russia, 10 million men died in the beginning of the 1990s as a direct consequence of the capitalist “reforms” that wiped out half the industrial capacity and swept away all social safety nets.

During the last half century carbon based energy has claimed 1,000 times more deaths than nuclear energy, in the “production phase” alone. Regarding harmful effects for the world population as a whole the ratio is certainly even more remarkable. To switch from carbon to nuclear energy thus saves innumerable lives, apart from reducing carbon dioxide emissions that undoubtedly is one of the greatest threats to human survival.

However, these truths are vain. Alexievich’s dream that we will face an era in which pre-knowledge eradicates knowledge seems partly fulfilled. Nuclear energy and radioactivity are areas where post-modernism has triumphed and where no factual descriptions can compete. The overreaching and wonderful myth has taken over, according to which also the completely ignorant are free to construct any arbitrary truths they wish.

Sweden joining NATO? More fuel on the fire?

The Ukrainian conflict has given the Swedish reactionaries a God-send opportunity to revive the dear old Cold War, demand more money to the military and insist on Sweden joining NATO. Russia has finally become a threat to our existence again; we’re back in the good old days! Never mind that Russia hasn’t the conventional military resources necessary to harm Sweden in any way and of course nor the slightest intention or motivation to do so. It doesn’t even want any part of Ukraine (except the thoroughly Russian Crimea, where a large military base threatened to be captured by NATO).

There is still a slight majority of Swedes not wanting a NATO membership, but the propaganda machinery works on all cylinders to change that. After a public debate recently on the subject one propagandist (in Dagens Nyheter) dismissed his opponents with the ironic sentence: “There is obviously a kinder universe where there is no need for NATO. I wish I had a visa that allowed me in there”.

That self-delusion is breath-taking; most universes must be kinder than NATO’s, as we learn from scanning just briefly over the records achieved by this military alliance. During its relatively short existence one or more members of this organization has accomplished a number of things, such as:

  • waging numerous illegal, immoral and horrible wars with millions of innocent people killed
  • overthrowing a large number of democratically elected governments, usually because they wanted to implement some social reforms to help ordinary people and the poor
  • replacing these overthrown governments with dictators, often military ones, sometimes of more or less Nazi character
  • supporting other dictators economically, militarily and politically – as long as they obeyed orders, not bothering if they tortured and harassed their populations
  • subjecting a country like Cuba to more terrorist attacks than any other country has suffered
  • training and equipping death squads in vassal states to kill politicians, union leaders, priests and anyone else with the wrong kind of ideas

Let’s save some space and halt there. If this happens to be the flip side of the coin, what about the positive achievements by NATO that this journalist considered self-evident?

We learned already in school that NATO was established to counter the “Soviet empire” and its ambition to conquer the whole world. We have had some scholars trawling through Lenin’s voluminous writings to find a sentence revealing the Communist goal of spreading over the entire globe. (There was of course no need to distinguish between Soviet foreign policy and Lenin’s speculations in the philosophy of history.)

“The Russians are coming!” vindicated all the horrible actions that NATO countries undertook. The fact that the Russian crimes against other nations, at least before the attack on Afghanistan, were completely insignificant compared to NATO’s was easily concealed.

During the first Cold War every sane person realized that the Soviet Union had no interest whatsoever to move beyond the borders of the Warsaw Pact, and no capability to do so. The threat faced by the whole world was that of nuclear obliteration, a horror that sooner was enhanced by NATO expanding its power. That “the Russians are coming” was a fake pretext for the existence of NATO was bluntly revealed by its own leaders when the Soviet Union disappeared. Instead of then dissolving NATO, it was enlarged and expanded!

NATO-countries once created the mujaheddin that later procreated into even tougher Muslim groups who like Frankenstein’s monster turned against their creators. Then with a couple of meticulously brainless wars the whole Middle East was set on fire and we got the ultimate terrorists, IS (and subsequently today’s flood of refugees over Europe).

For every terrorist killed ten more are enrolled, nowadays from every corner of the world. It means that there is no permanent solution to the problems to be achieved by violent means (Russia is wrong there too). A giant reconciliation is the only way out. The way to get there is nowhere in sight today. Probably we will have to await a totally intolerable situation before anything can turn around. But the human capability to use the brain has historically achieved the most unbelievable things, and everything is possible!

The anatomy of propaganda – a contemporary plague

For quite some years in the 1960s our main newspaper – Dagens Nyheter – asserted that the Vietnam affair was a war waged by the communists – Soviet Russia and China with North Vietnamese as mercenaries – against the people of South Vietnam. Today we would call such propaganda unbelievably stupid. How could anyone swallow that? In fact, it was a different time, and it was swallowed.

It was no secret that South Vietnam, a US vassal state, was headed by one or other dictator, appointed and dismissed (and occasionally murdered) by CIA. But such details didn’t matter; in the fight against the profoundly evil world communism none of US’s actions, no matter how grotesque, were debatable.

Now we are back on the same playing field. According to DN and the western mainstream the fighting in Ukraine is not just to blame on Russia; it’s more exactly “Putin’s war”. To achieve this level of wisdom a number of elementary facts and logical truisms have to be overlooked.

It seems first of all self evident that someone who starts a war must want that war. Russia under Putin had worked insistently for years to build friendly commercial and political relations with the western world, in order to benefit its own development. Putin had just come home from the Sochi Olympics where Russia had invested billions to enhance its good-will in the world. Around that time the President of Ukraine was presented an ultimatum from EU to turn down an economic proposition from Russia as a precondition for an agreement with EU.

It would have been suicide for Ukraine (as we can see now), with its essential economic ties with Russia, to surrender the EU ultimatum. It didn’t, and the Maidan followed, exacerbated by neo-Nazi groups opening fire and throwing Molotov cocktails, the whole scenario with an unmistakable CIA scent all over it. The coup regime immediately demonstrated its hostility towards everything Russian and the possibility of the country eventually being overtaken by NATO became an obvious threat.

That Russia reacted by annexing Crimea, protecting its large naval base from falling under NATO control, was naturally a defensive move, enhanced by the dominantly Russian population’s wishes, demonstrated with overwhelming majority in a referendum. Such was Putin’s “crime”: a correction of history which should have taken place when Soviet Union collapsed, if the West had allowed itself some rational considerations instead of just wanting to annihilate Russia as much as possible.

The right-wing and anti-Russian coup urged people in the south-east to free themselves from Kiev rule. The rebel leaders hoped for Russian military intervention which they immediately learned they were not getting (one of the leaders then calling Russia “an enemy”). Russia’s policy has stayed the same ever since, communicated in words and actions over and over again: Ukraine (Crimea excluded) must remain a sovereign state with secured borders. The war must stop, and controversies be solved by negotiations, leading to some form of autonomy for the Donbas region.

But our media still labels this “Putin’s war”! Recently our propaganda pamphlet Dagens Nyheter proudly presented “two recognized experts on Russia” (one Lilia Sjevtsova and one James Sherr). The female one (from Brookings Institution) had the superhuman capacity to creep into Putin’s head and find out what he was thinking. After the successful Crimea expedition Putin thought, according to Lilia: “Why not also take south-eastern Ukraine?” Well, he so much didn’t want to take any part of Ukraine that he infuriated some rebel leaders. Lilia must have thought: “What the heck, facts have nothing to do with this!”

Mr. Sherr feels important enough to personally overrule the Minsk agreement, which he considers incompatible with Ukraine’s sovereignty, thus obviously disavowing Mr. Poroshenko himself. On Ms. Merkel’s statement that there is no military solution he comments: “It’s an extremely stupid cliche”.

Regardless of the Russian leaders’ aversion to the war in Ukraine, it is self evident that they won’t tolerate Kiev’s massacring of their countrymen in Donbas. Russia most certainly provides every kind of voluntary assistance a non-belligerent party is allowed, and maybe some more than that. For the West to moralize over Russia’s actions is presumptuous, to say the least, considering the 25 years of intense US/EU preparations for the present explosive situation.

The kind of Orwellian propaganda we have to consume day in and day out when we read our daily paper is hard to digest. (Luckily we can get the Internet version for free, which eases the pain.)

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.

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.

“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.)