By Edward Curtin, first published at the Greanville Post
The compulsive hatred of Putin by many who have almost zero idea about Putin or Russian history is disproportionate to any rational analysis, but not surprising. Trump and Putin are like weird doppelgangers in the liberal imaginationJohn Steppling, “Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk into a Bar”
The Trump and Netanyahu governments have a problem: How to start a greatly expanded Middle-Eastern war without having a justifiable reason for one. No doubt they are working hard to solve this urgent problem. If they can’t find a “justification” (which they can’t), they will have to create one (which they will). Or perhaps they will find what they have already created. Whatever the solution, we should feel confident that they are not sitting on their hands. History teaches those who care to learn that when aggressors place a gun on the wall in the first act of their play, it must go off in the final act.
These sinister players have signaled us quite clearly what they have in store. All signs point toward an upcoming large-scale Israeli/U.S. attack on Lebanon and Syria, and all the sycophantic mainstream media are in the kitchen prepping for the feast. Russia and Iran are the main course, with Lebanon and Syria, who will be devoured first, as the hors d’oeuvres. As always, the media play along as if they don’t yet know what’s coming. Everyone in the know knows what is, just not exactly when. And the media wait with baited breath as they count down to the dramatic moment when they can report the incident that will compel the “innocent” to attack the “guilty.”
Anyone with half a brain can see the greatly increased anti-Russian propaganda of the past few weeks. This has happened as the Russia-gate claims have fallen to pieces, as former CIA analyst Raymond McGovern, the late Robert Parry, Paul Craig Roberts, and others have documented so assiduously. All across the media spectrum, from the big name corporate stenographers like The New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, The Washington Post to The Atlantic and Nation magazines and other “leftist” publications such as Mother Jones and Who What Why, the Russia and Putin bashing has become hysterical in tone, joined as it is with an anti-Trump obsession, as if Trump were a dear friend of Putin and Russia and wasn’t closely allied with the Netanyahu government in its plans for the Middle-East. As if Trump were in charge.
“Russia Sees Midterm Elections as a Chance to Sow Fresh Discord (NY Times, 2/13), “Russia Strongman” (Putin) has “pulled off one of the greatest acts of political sabotage in modern history” (The Atlantic, Jan. /Feb. 2018), “Mueller’s Latest Indictment Shows Trump Has Helped Putin Cover Up a Crime” (Mother Jones, 2/16/18), “A Russian Sightseeing Tour For Realists” (whowhatwhy.com, 2/7/18), etc.
I am reminded of the turn to the right that so many “muckrakers” made during and after WW I. Afraid of a revolt from below, bewitched by their own vision to articulate the world’s future, heady over their own war propaganda, and wanting to be on the safe side of the government crackdown on dissent (The Espionage Act, the Palmer Raids, etc.), many progressives of the era embraced a jingoism similar to the anti-Russia mania of today.
Only someone totally lacking a sense of humor and blind to propaganda would not laugh uproariously at today’s media nonsense about Russia, but such laughter would be infused with a foreboding awareness that as the Middle East explodes and U.S./NATO backed Kiev forces prepare to attack the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, the world is entering a very dangerous period. And of course Trump has said, “The U.S. has great strength and patience but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”
Totally destroy 26 million human beings. While his bully buddy in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, recently said at the Munich Security Conference that Iran is “the greatest threat to the world,” compared it to Nazi Germany, and claimed it was developing ballistic missiles to strike deep into the United States. “Iran seeks to dominate our region, the Middle East, and seeks to dominate the world through aggression and terror,” he said. And he vowed to act against Iran and anyone who supported it – i.e. Lebanon and Syria (Russia).
Putin also, like all the mythic bogeymen, is portrayed as the new Hitler intent on conquering the world. If the American public wasn’t so “sophisticated” and adept at seeing through lies – pause and laugh – we could expect some World War I posters with Russian soldiers (like The Huns), sharp teeth glistening, gorilla strong and beastly, holding American women in preparation for the kill or rape.
Last year, when Oliver Stone did the world the great service of releasing his four-part interview with Putin, he was bashed, of course. Just as he was with his film JFK, the only movie in history to be reviewed and panned one year before its release by a Washington Post reviewer who didn’t see the movie but had a purloined preliminary script as his source. The Washington Post: the object of the latest film drivel, The Post, portraying it falsely as the savior of the nation through the publication of the Pentagon Papers (which is another story). The Washington Post – the CIA’s dear friend.
In his Putin interviews, Oliver Stone, a man of truth and honor, lets viewers catch a glimpse of the real Vladimir Putin. Of course Putin is a politician and the leader of a great and powerful nation, and one should receive his words skeptically. But watching Stone interview Putin for four hours, one comes away – but I doubt few have watched the four hours – with a reasonably good sense of the man.
And putting aside one’s impressions of him, he makes factual points that should ring loud and clear to anyone conversant with facts.
One: that the U.S. needs an external enemy (“I know that, I feel that.”).
Two: the U.S.A. engineered the coup d’état in the Ukraine on Russia’s border.
Three: the U.S. has surrounded Russia with US/NATO troops and bases armed with anti-ballistic missiles that can, as Putin rightly says to Stone, be converted in hours to regular offensive nuclear missile aimed at Russia. This is a factual and true statement that should make any fair-minded person stand up in horror. If Russia had such missiles encircling the United States from Cuba, Mexico, and Canada, what American would find it tolerable? What would CNN and The New York Times have to say? Yet these same people readily find it impossible to see the legitimacy in Russia’s position, resorting to name calling and illogical rhetoric.
Russia is surrounded with U.S/NATO troops and missiles and yet Russia is the aggressor. So too Iran that is also surrounded. These media are propagandists, that’s why. They promote war, as they always have. They are pushing for war with Russia via Syria/Lebanon/Iran and Ukraine, and they are nihilistically demonizing North Korea (as part of Obama’s pivot toward Asia and the encircling of China, as John Pilger has brilliantly documented in his film The Coming War on China) in what can only be called a conspiracy to commit genocide, as Dr. Graeme MacQueen and Christopher Black make clear in their Open Letter to the International Criminal Court:
We are moving toward a global war that will become nuclear if an international ant-war movement doesn’t quickly arise to stop it. Most people bemoan the thought of such a war to end all wars, but refuse to analyze the factors leading to it. It happens step-by-step, and many steps have already been taken with more coming soon. It’s so obvious that most can’t see it, or don’t want to. The corporate main stream media are enemies of the truth; are clearly part of the continuation of the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird, and those who still rely on them for the truth are beyond reach.
Douglas Valentine, in The CIA as Organized Crime, says the CIA has long aimed to use and co-opt the “Compatible Left, which in America translates into liberals and pseudo-intellectual status seekers who are easily influenced.” And he adds that the propaganda is not just produced by the CIA but by the military, State Department, and red, white, and blue advertisements that are everywhere. Nothing has changed since the Church Committee hearings in the 1970s. Valentine adds:
All of that is ongoing, despite being exposed in the late 1960s. Various technological advances, including the internet, have spread the network around the world, and many people don’t even realize they are part of it, that they’re promoting the CIA line. “Assad’s a butcher,” they say, or “Putin kills journalists,” or “China is repressive. They have no idea what they’re talking about but spout all this propaganda.
William Blake said it truly:
In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear
How to break the chains – that is our task.