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The Parallel Universe of BBC Panorama

by Kit

Updated 23/6/18, to correct the air date of Saving Syria’s Children

Updated 2/10/18, to clarify the UK govt’s school meals policy.

The BBC flag-ship documentary series “Panorama” has long been a stalwart of state-funded television propaganda. They can always be relied upon to tell us what we’re supposed to think. In August 2013, on the very day of the Commons vote on military intervention in Syria, BBC News at 10 aired some dishonest footage from “Panorama: Saving Syria’s Children”. The full documentary, a shambolic piece fiction designed to outrage the public into supporting war, was aired just a month later.

Robert Stuart has done truly exceptional work in deconstructing the fakery and propaganda on which the BBC sees fit to spend taxpayer’s money.

In just the last year they’ve had two documentaries about North Korea being evil (“North Korea’s Secret Slave Camps” and “North Korea’s Nuclear Trump Card”).

And it’s not just foreign “enemies” that end up in Panorama’s crosshairs either – it’s also domestic ones.

In 2015, just a few days before Jeremy Corbyn’s first Labour leadership victory, the BBC aired “Panorama: Jeremy Corbyn – Labour’s Earthquake”, a documentary which prompted Corbyn’s team to file an official complaint, labelling it a “hatchet job”.

Then in 2016, on the eve of Corbyn’s second (larger) Labour leadership victory, the BBC aired “Panorama: Labour – Is the Party over?”, a documentary full of doom and gloom, featuring anecdotes about abuse, and various (predictable) Blairite MPs bemoaning the “unelectability” of their leader.

In the 2017 General Election, Jeremy Corbyn’s resurgent Labour defied the polls, the pundits and the BBC to knock-off the Tory majority and come within 2% of winning. Could the BBC’s, and Panorama’s, relentlessly negative slanted coverage be responsible for keeping Corbyn out of No.10? It would be foolish to deny the possibility.

And there, neatly demonstrated in those three paragraphs, you see the value and purpose of state-sponsored propaganda. Panorama is the spirit of the BBC, a pretense of faux objectivity, shrouded in cuddly familiarity, employed exclusively and decisively against anything the establishment sees as a threat.

*

Enter Vladimir Putin

The folks at Panorama LOVE Putin, or at least love to hate him. In the last two years there have been no less than five (five!) episodes devoted to the man, and indeed the myth.

January 2016 brought us “Putin’s Secret Riches”, January 2017 “Trump: The Kremlin Candidate”, March of this year brought us two inside a week, “Putin: The New Tsar” and “Taking On Putin!”. As the titles suggest, none of them were especially objective or open-minded. That’s not in the BBC’s remit.

The most recent Putin-hit piece aired just last week – in the run up to the World Cup – its rather more mundane title simply: “Putin’s Russia with David Dimbleby”. The documentary, for want of a better word, opens on David Dimbleby wandering through a Moscow market looking at sigh Russian nesting dolls, and it doesn’t get less predictable from there on in.

A long time ago, I was taught you construct an argument in three steps – “Statement, Evidence, Conclusion”. Instead Panorama opted to go for the unorthodox “Conclusion, Anecdote, Stock Footage of Nesting Dolls” approach.

The first problem, and perhaps the biggest, is David’s hat…but it never really goes up-hill from there.

The second problem, is the smugness. Forget the factual inaccuracies re: the Russian economy, forget the totally evidence-free assertions, and just focus on the smugness.

The smugness of an English man who went to Charterhouse School, and then on to Oxford, is possibly one of the most toxic things in the world. So much evil has been done by men who are taught their own effortless superiority. Blood has been spilled by such men, oceans of it, evils done beyond imagining, all with a soft chuckle and clear conscience, because they come from a system that tells them their very existence MAKES them RIGHT. They do the “right thing” as a matter of course because of who they are and what they think. They are right, and the vast swamps of Other are wrong, and that’s just the way it is.

These are the people who spread the British Empire over a quarter of the globe, all the time telling themselves that they were doing the savages a favour by giving them civilisation. The same men, the same minds, in suits that change with time and with methods that shift with the ages, have run the country for centuries…and run the BBC since its inception. Men who believe morality is a function of their very existence. A path that rises up to meet their feet.

This is the British version of what the Americans call “exceptionalism”. It’s less brash, and less obvious, but no less poisonous for that.

The worst actions of mankind flow from minds who never question their own moral position, and this documentary can be counted as small, septic, addition to that list.

And so we begin…

I’ve come to see how Putin has managed to hold on to power for so long, and what the Russians see in the Putin that We, in the West, don’t.”

Dimbleby’s introduction is immediately partisan and dishonest – referring to “we” in the West as if there is a consensus, when clearly that is not the case, is a variation on the argumentum ad populum, the argument to common knowledge. “Everybody knows that”, or “We all agree on this”. It is deceptive language, being used to paint a false picture.

Likewise, saying Putin “held on” to power for so long, makes it seem like his Presidency was an act of force, when all the evidence is to the contrary. Dimbleby says so himself just a few minutes later.

(SIDEBAR: When Dimbleby says “so long”, he means 18 years. The classic mainstream media trick of ignoring Medvedev’s term as president is employed here. As is every other, long discredited, anti-Putin rhetorical device.)

In a democracy if you failed to deliver on your economic promises, if you surrounded yourself with cronies, and if you used the law to oppress opposition, well you’d be thrown out on your ear…but this is Russia, and they do things differently here.”

Dimbleby lays out, in one broad stroke, that Russia is backwards, and silly, and he’s going to come along and point out to us sensible Westerners just how they went wrong.

Leaving aside the hypocrisy (this is, let’s be honest, a pretty accurate summary of what every single British government has done since Margaret Thatcher), it’s also simply insulting. I find it insulting, and I’m British. If I was Russian and heard that? I would vomit blood.

It’s sickening…and we’re only 2 minutes in.

*

David on…the Russian Birthrate

Our first port of call on David’s whistle-stop tour of everything that’s shit about Russia is the birth rate. He tells us that it fell sharply in the years following the collapse of the USSR, and this is true, he doesn’t say WHY this happened. As a matter of policy this programme avoids, at all costs, mentioning what Russia was like in the 1990s.

Anyway, when Putin came to power the birth rate was declining, and what did he do about this? Well, in a masterstroke, decided to encourage people to have babies.

Mrs Cherenkova’s medals

How? Well by increasing state benefits to mothers with more than 2 children, and further increasing them for families with more than 3 children. Families with multiple children are also entitled to free school meals, tax breaks and get discounts on family holidays. Medvedev also introduced a medal in 2008 – “The Order of Glorious Motherhood” – for mothers with 7 or more children, based on the “Mother Heroine” medal from World War 2.

(SIDEBAR: It’s worth noting here that we, in lovely hugs-and-flowers Britain with our nice fluffy democracy, have a government that campaigned to ABOLISH free school meals for primary school children. Far from being “thrown out on their ear”, the government in-fact to spent 1.4 BILLION pounds bribing a minority party to support it coughCorruption?cough. Eventually the policy fell through.)

The measures worked, and under Putin/Medvedev the birthrate has increased almost every year since 2000. In 2011 the birthrate moved ahead of the death rate for the first time since 1992, and Russia’s population started growing.

Now, if this is all sounding very sensible and not at all bad to you, then well done for paying attention.

It’s here the film reaches its first hurdle…and goes into it face first. Russia is supposed to be backwards and Putin is supposed to be a brutal corrupt dictator with no concern for the country he runs…but the facts on the ground don’t jive with this at all, at least in the birthrate example. Not only did he try to improve his country, but he did via perfectly reasonable methods, and they worked.

The film makers decide to simply leave an ellipsis on this one, just a long pause that’s obviously designed to make us ruminate on how bad Russia is, but doesn’t really work. Partly because it doesn’t make any sense, but mostly because – for some reason – David thinks the best way to hammer this point home is show us the Cherenkovas. A very happy family with lots of healthy children. He refers to them as “Putin’s ideal family”, as if the term itself is insulting.

Mrs Cherenkova proudly displays her medals for motherhood in a leather case, explaining she wears them on public holidays. The family sing as they sit down for dinner, talk about the Church and how life has improved under Putin compared to the 1990s. (David, staying true to his brief, doesn’t ask how bad things were in the 1990s. In 58 minutes it’s not mentioned once.)

*

David on…the Russian Orthodox Church

The Cherenkovas praying as they sit down to dinner provides a neat segue for David to discuss something really terrible – the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church.

You see, the ROC was suppressed under Communism, which was bad, and now it’s not…which is apparently, also bad. I don’t fully understand the point David is trying to make, but that’s OK since I’m pretty sure he doesn’t either.

Just one of the many Russian citizens to appear confused by David’s abrasive tone.

We are presented with a Bishop, who tells us that it’s now easier for the Church to interface with the state than it was during the 1990s. We don’t know what he means by that, because he’s cut off and David never asks.

The implication, backed by stock footage of Putin lighting candles in a church and David’s narration about “conservative values”, is that Russia is becoming a kind of quasi-theocracy. It’s never stated out-loud, because the position is so ridiculous as to be indefensible, but it is quite clearly the implication.

*

David on…Russian Opinion Polls

Curious to see “how widely [the Cherenkovas’] views are shared”, David goes in search of a broad opinion, but meets an apparent problem:

It’s all very well to say “I’ve come to Russia to find out what the Russians really think”, but it’s not actually that easy in a country where the press, radio and television are all strictly controlled by an authoritarian government.”

1) He hasn’t gone there to find out what Russians think. He knows what Russians “really think”. He’s there to tell US why THEY are wrong. He’s there, at our expense, to make sure we hate who we’re told to hate.

2) The press, radio and television are not all “strictly controlled”, that’s a lie, and he knows it’s a lie because he proves it himself less than 10 minutes later.

But that’s beside the point. How does David get around the problem of finding out what Russian’s “really think” under such an authoritarian regime? Well, he goes to the one of the biggest public opinion polling companies in Russia, the Levada Centre.

The irony of rambling on about Russia’s repressive controlling government as you take a gentle stroll down to the partly-American funded NGO, just minutes from Red Square, is apparently lost on David.

Imagine, if you can, a Russian-funded “polling centre” operating within walking distance of Westminster or Pennsylvania Avenue. That not only calls the government-run polls inaccurate, but claims that the CIA forces people to vote and that the President is corrupt.

It would never be allowed to happen, but in “authoritarian” Russia, with its “strictly controlled” media, this is the current reality.

In the Levada Centre (Russia’s only “independent” polling centre), David finds out that around 80% of Russian’s support Putin as President. Which everyone in the world already knew.

The fact the “independent” Levada’s centre polls almost perfectly align with the apparently unreliable government polls doesn’t cause anyone to question their assertions about corruption or dishonesty. It’s one of the many inconvenient truths the Panorama team feel the need to brush over as quickly as possible.

When the head of the Levada Centre claims a President with an 80% approval rating had to “force” people to vote, David doesn’t ask why, or state that it doesn’t make any sense. No, he just makes concerned faces at the camera.

They discuss the “annexation” of Crimea as Russia “taking back” what is theirs, with no reference to the polls that show huge Crimean support for the move, going all the way back to 1992, including those done both the American and German governments.

*

David on…Propaganda

From Crimea it’s a steady flow to “propaganda” – theirs, not ours – Dimbleby narrates in solemn tones:

For most Russians, state-run television remains the main source of television news.”

…blithely passing over that this statement is being made on a state-run television station, that is the main source of television news for most people in Britain.

He goes from Russian domestic television to RT, saying they are “accused of spreading conspiracy theories”, he doesn’t say who accuses them, or ask his audience to consider the possible reason behind such accusations. He doesn’t even throw the weight of conviction behind it enough to make declarative statement. No, just sends out the little accusation, evidence free and with no reply or counter, and hopes the implication does its job.

He interviews a British anchor for RT, who says that they aren’t told what to say, and he’s “answerable to no one but his own conscience”. To which David replies, “And that’s clear is it?” The anchor explains the structure of RT, but David isn’t listening. He’s too busy making a documentary demonising a designated “enemy” for a state-funded broadcaster.

He doesn’t pose the same questions about his own conscience.

It’s always worth remembering that the BBC, formerly the British Broadcasting Corporation, is not “independent”, even though they’ve spent decades pretending otherwise. We’re encouraged to think of the BBC as a friendly presence, our shared “Auntie Beeb”, cosy and reassuring and honest. It’s none of those things, it’s a state backed broadcaster with a history of launching pro-government, pro-war propaganda, for which it never faces censure or punishment. It’s a much a less “friendly auntie”, more a threatening “big brother”.

With truly Orwellian posters intimidating us into paying for it.

Imagine this poster was in cyrillic and about RT.

That Dimbleby can stand under the banner of one of the biggest state-funded media organizations in the world, and pontificate about “media control” from an “authoritarian government” demands levels of cognitive dissonance few would think possible. It’s marvelously without irony.

*

Next David seeks out a human rights lawyer to discuss Russia’s legal system. David tells us that Russian judges convict in 99% of cases. This is apparently shockingly high. It does sound high, but deliberately left without context to make it seem worse than it is.

Firstly, the 99% refers only to Judge cases. Jury trials are relatively new to Russian law – in fact Putin, in one of his desperate power grabs, introduced them nationwide in 2003 – and they have a conviction rate of roughly 80%, right in line with the UK’s own courts.

A high conviction rate is not unheard of, especially in systems that run “special procedure court hearings”, a slightly complex system of what amounts to plea bargaining.

Japan runs a similar system and has a conviction rate of nearly 100%, as does Israel. The US federal courts had a conviction rate of 93% in 2012. Will we be seeing documentaries about that? No.

I’m not a lawyer, I’m in no position to launch a full defense of the Russian legal system – for all I know it is corrupt and/or unfair. But there’s no evidence in this film that shows it to be the case, outside of some anecdotal evidence from one lawyer.

Then they move on to Putin’s “online crackdown”.

Apparently Russia is starting to try to censor the internet. How? We don’t know, they don’t tell us. They cite no laws and name no Acts. It is just anecdote after anecdote. There’s no body to any part of it. We’re told Putin wants more control of the internet, as if this is shockingly tyrannical and when Dimbleby says there is…

…a crackdown on what the security services call “online extremism”.”

He thinks his scare quotes show some desperately dystopian alternative universe, but doesn’t seem to know, or at least acknowledge, that WE call it that too, or that our very own dear Theresa May called for a “crackdown in online extremism” in a speech just last year.

Or that she put having an entirely government controlled internet in her manifesto last year.

Or that she passed an act in 2016 which Edward Snowden described as:

The most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy.”

Is Panorama asking questions about that? Of course not.

Does the BBC call our government authoritarian? Not once.

Instead they offer just a talking-head, making a scary statement that “thousands” of innocent Russians could be in prison, with again no evidence to back it up at all.

When you actually dig into the numbers they tell a completely different story.

The New York Post, not known for its pro-Russia bias, reported that 233 Russians were convicted of “hate speech” in 2015, “most of them for online activity.”

Meanwhile, in happy bunny funland Britain, 2015 saw 857 people arrested for “offensive” tweets or Facebook posts…in London alone.

It sounds like we’re more “authoritarian” than the Russians on the internet front at least. A fact which takes maybe 30 seconds of research to find.

*

David on…Russia’s Controlled Media

Next David goes to Echo of Moscow Radio to talk to one of the completely non-existent members of the independent media in Russia. She claims that the entire country is actually run by the KGB. As per usual, she produces no evidence for this statement, she just says it. But that’s good enough for David who asks her to “explain how the KGB dominates society”, underlining that the KGB and MI6 are not at all similar:

Explain to our UK viewers, who might think of the KGB as just like our MI5 or MI6…how the KGB dominates society?”

Got that everyone? There’s their spies, and our spies, and they are completely different. This attitude was ridiculous enough to be used as satire in Blackadder, but now is being seriously repeated by one the BBC’s most respected personalities.

Her “explanation” involves simply repeating the same sentiment she already expressed, only in slightly different words, and David is too polite to press for more, or too lazy to be bothered, or too smug to notice. It’s really getting hard to say at this point.

(SIDEBAR: Of course one of the most prominent ways that MI6 and the KGB differ is that the KGB doesn’t exist anymore, where as MI6 are very much still going.)

It’s at this point the documentary seems to realise the rather confusing contradiction of its own existence. They are there to talk about how autocratic and terrible Russia is, and yet they seems to talk to human rights lawyers, anti-government television hosts and the head of anti-Putin radio stations. If Putin has all dissidents and protestors locked up and/or murdered…how do these people exist?

They get around this in one, short sentence:

By allowing a few independent outlets, a few dissident voices, Putin can claim freedom of expression.”

Brilliant logic. Unfailing reason. Yes there’s SOME freedom of speech, but only so Putin can say there’s freedom of speech, it’s not REAL freedom of expression.

It just looks like it.

Much like that old expression:

“If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s not really a duck because Putin doesn’t allow ducks. He’s just letting that duck exist so he can pretend he’s got a duck.”

*

The Russian Orthodox Church seems to be a real bugbear of David’s, because fresh from announcing that “there IS free-speech in Russia, it just doesn’t count”, David goes back to talk to a member of the Church…and asks him if he approves of the lack of free speech in Russia. David narrates:

When it comes to political repression, the one place not to look for support is the Orthodox Church.”

This sentence implies we’re about to hear a Church spokesman defending political repression…which is not the case. Instead we see the same bemused Bishop as before, being asked:

You know there’s a lot of criticism of Putin’s encroachment on human rights: People in prison for speaking out against the state, internet communications closed down, the state spying on people’s communications, do you approve of all that?”

Note he’s asking “do you approve of…”, not “is this the case…”. Leading questions predicated upon unproven assumptions have no place in honest discourse…but if you took them out the documentary would only be 3 or 4 minutes of stock footage of nesting dolls and onion domes.

The bishop, who seems slightly perturbed by the rudeness of the question, evidently wasn’t provided with a script because he doesn’t launch into a fascistic diatribe about values, or verbal attacks on traitors and dissidents…he simply says:

This is your point of view, and we do not always agree. With all due respect.”

You can see his Russian politeness straining, but not breaking. And that’s it.

So much for Russia the conservative theocracy.

*

David on…Russians’ Right to Protest

The documentary just gets less coherent and more confusing from here on in. The facts they present never align with the way the spin they try to put on them. They point out eminently reasonable realities of Russian life, with a weight of sinister implication that defies all reason. (In the trade, we refer to this maneuver as “The Harding”).

The perfect example is the story of a women’s rights campaigner Alena Popova, protesting about the allegations of sexual harassment made against the Russian MP Leonid Slutsky.

We see her standing outside the State Duma with cardboard cut-out of Slutsky. I don’t read Russian, but I can’t imagine the slogans on the cut-out are especially complimentary. She is briefly detained by the police who ask her who she is and what she’s doing…she explains and is released. Then she returns to the Duma, and does her protest unmolested.

All this seems perfectly fine, despite David’s chuntering narration.

This is just one example of brutal oppression of dissent, ever present in Putin’s Russia.

Alena is standing literally right outside the door of the parliament building, with a cut-out of Slutsky covered in protest slogans. She requires no permit to do this under Russian law, which states that solo protests are allowed anywhere at any time without a permit. You do need permission to hold group protests.

By way of comparison, let’s imagine Alena were British, not Russian: If she attempted the same exact protest in the UK…she would not be allowed to. At all. Ever.

Firstly, you would never get to stand within inches of the doors of Parliament without getting halted by armed police. Secondly, you’re not allowed to protest in Parliament Square – even alone – without getting prior permission. This law was passed by Blair’s government in 2006, in order to shift anti-war protester Brian Haw.

At one point a young man approaches David and Alena and asks what’s going on, David’s voice-over claims the young man works for state security, and intones the words with foreboding. We have no way of knowing if this is true, if it even matters. I’m fairly sure a Russian camera crew standing outside the Houses of Parliament would attract the attention of special branch. He asks them two questions and then leaves.

Later, there’s a counter-protest. Four people appear with signs in support of Slutsky. David claims they’re there to cause trouble for Alena, and even implies they are working for the state. A claim which is rather shot-down when the counter-protest group – who support the government – are escorted away by the police because they don’t have permission for their group protest.

The pro-government protesters are gone, the anti-government protester remains. David doesn’t see this as, in any way, challenging his position on government oppression of dissent. He asks Alena:

If they control protest, if they’re against protest, why do they let it happen at all?”

A fantastic question, the only really cogent thing he’s said for the last half an hour. She replies:

Because we have a constitution.”

(SIDEBAR: Britain, of course, has no written constitution at all.)

*

David on…Russian Paranoia

The next episode in this bizarre saga opens with the director of the Levada Centre claiming the Kremlin is “paranoid” about a revolution, referencing the 2012 protests (the aborted “Snow Revolution”). To which David adds some rather incongruous narration:

Putin prepares to go to almost any lengths to prevent a popular uprising against him.”

He never says what they these “lengths” are. In fact, we have no idea what the Russian government has done to prevent a Revolution. If anything. But breaking away from the specific facts, which the documentary forces us to do, maybe we should ask a simple question.

Why would the Russian government be paranoid about revolution?

Maybe we should look at other countries that have had “revolutions” recently for an answer to this question.

Ukraine is a disaster. Libya is possibly the only country in the world worse off than Ukraine and the only reason Syria isn’t just as bad those two is that Russia stepped in to help. David talks about revolutions as if they are organic, almost accidental, occurrences. But we all know that’s not true, we’ve all seen “Colour Revolutions” be fomented by the Western powers to overthrow governments that the USA has deemed to not have “American interests” at heart.

“Revolutions”, in recent years, are Imperial acts of aggression carried out by proxy armies with the aim of removing an “enemy” of the West. And they have left nothing in their wake but blood and destruction. The Kremlin has every right to be concerned about possible Western attempts at a coup against their government. Such a move could destroy everything they have built.

Do you think a Western-backed coup government will keep up free school meals and medals for motherhood? Do they have a constitutional right to protest in Libya right now? How about the birthrate vs death rate in Syria, is that going up?

Shouldn’t all governments fear revolution and hope for stability?

How would David feel about a revolution in Britain? Would it be welcomed? Would Theresa May like seeing violent unrest in the streets of London? Or being replaced by a Russian-backed, unelected leader?

Despite the chaos that has been left in the wake of “revolutions” the world over in recent years, the documentary gives no credence to Russian fears. Russia is never “afraid”, and always “paranoid”.

David talks to an Sergei Markov, a “political consultant who has worked with Putin”. We have no way of knowing if this is true, and this being Panorama taking it in faith is an unearned act of trust, but let’s assume that they’re telling the truth.

Markov highlights that Russia has good reason to fear Western aggression. Pointing out, reasonably enough, that no Russian soldier has ever set foot on British soil in the name of conquest, whereas Britain has invaded Russia every several times since the 19th Century:

Now, you are preparing to invade Russian territory again, to establish your control of Russian political, social and economic constitution, for us it is absolutely clear.”

We are encouraged to see Markov was crazy-eyed lunatic, and David’s response is to laugh in his face:

You don’t seriously think an invasion of Russia is planned by the West? I mean, you’ll have me laughing in a moment.”

A rather patronising rebuttal, that would hold more water if Russia weren’t practically encircled by NATO airbases. Or if the US hadn’t unilaterally withdrawn from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002. Or if they hadn’t positioned their missile defense shield in Eastern Europe under clearly false pretences, granting them theoretical first-strike capability.

David doesn’t mention these facts.

Just as he doesn’t go into any recent history of Western military interventions. How America has, in the last 20 years alone, carried out coups in Venezuela, Ukraine and Honduras. Or how, when covert means did not work, they simply declared all out war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

Any impartial viewing of world history – especially recent history – would explain every country in the world having a fear of falling into NATO’s crosshairs.

Rather than acknowledging this, the documentary remains resolutely in its own little world. Insisting, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that Russia has nothing to fear from the West.

*

David on…Russia’s “Orchestrated” Democracy

Fresh from telling us that Putin’s Russia is a “paranoid place”, where the leader with 80% approval is constantly worried about revolution and is prepared to go any lengths to stop it – even so far as having laws regulating protests that are almost identical to our own – David goes to talk to all the young people about their views on Putin.

They all like him, apparently:

One of the most fascinating aspects of today’s Russia, is that the under 25s, who might be expected to rebel, are Putin’s strongest supporters.”

He’s talking to a group called Set (Russian for Network), a collection of “young artists, writers and designers” who consider Putin a role-model. David asks them a series of questions.

What do you like about Putin?”

One of the young men says that before Putin is was “uncomfortable”, even “shameful”, to be associated with Russia. David doesn’t ask a follow-up question, putting paid to his earlier claims about wanting to know what Russians “really think” and staying true to the programmes aim of never, ever mentioning the 1990s. Instead he skips back to leading questions based on false assumptions:

You feel happy with one person controlling the whole country?”

We don’t know what they say to that, because it cuts off before anyone answers.

Do you agree that he’s quite ruthless when it comes to opposition?”

They say they don’t agree. In fact they say quite the opposite. Which cues in a snide narration:

This generation of Russians are internet savvy, globally connected, but they prefer Putin’s authoritarian rule to democracy.”

None of the people on camera ever express this opinion. Which makes this one of the most egregious lies in the whole 58 minutes. To appreciate what a statement that is, you really need to watch the film.

None of these young people “prefer authoritarianism to democracy”, they make it quite clear – in their opinion, they live in a democracy. Is there an effort to understand their position? None whatsoever. Instead we get treated to the head of the Levada Centre (again), this time dismissing all the young people who like Putin as being either stupid or brainwashed:

They are very different to Western youth, their minds were formed at the same time Putin’s regime was established, and for them the rhetoric of a great power is a very important part of their collective identity.”

This is, as far as we know, another unsupported statement. Not one of the half-dozen young people David talked to said anything about Russia being a great power. Not one thing. They talked about Putin personally being relatable and they talked about improving conditions from the Yeltsin era.

When confronted with Dimbleby asking yet another offensively phrased question…

People in Britain look at Russia and say “this is a powerful autocrat who stops opposition, prevents anyone, if necessary puts them in jail to stop them opposing him” is that not how you see it?”

…one young man, far from claiming to “prefer authoritarian rule” or praising the “rhetoric of a great power”, launches into a defense of Russian democracy. Pointing out the sheer number of different political parties (48), and that they had 8 different Presidential candidates running against Putin.

David isn’t listening. He’s nailed his colours to the mast on this one, Russia isn’t a democracy. It doesn’t matter how popular the leader is. It doesn’t matter how many elections they have, how many candidates are on the ballots, or how much public support they have. Russia is NOT a democracy, because David says so.

The film even references Navalny as “Putin’s biggest political opponent”, without mentioning that his party has ZERO seats in the Duma, and that he polls at less than 2% public support. Dimbleby doesn’t know these numbers, because his “researchers” either didn’t look them up, or pretended not to know them. Instead David solemnly declares:

Putin had him convicted of fraud.”

Not “he was found guilty”, no, “Putin HAD him convicted”. Is there evidence produced that shows Navalny was framed? Nope. Is there evidence produced that shows any corruption on behalf of the judiciary? None. Is there any mention of Navalny being a right-wing ultra-nationalist who referred to Caucasians as “cockroaches”? Not even a little.

“Russia isn’t a democracy”, and “Putin’s main political opponent” is an unpopular convicted criminal with a history of racism, who was forbidden by the constitution from running in a Presidential election in which he would have come ninth.

Cut to:- Skyline of Moscow. Night. Synthy music plays, and the David lets fly with this beauty:

As many autocrats have shown, just holding an election doesn’t make a democracy.”

Boom. Just as a free press doesn’t mean Russia has freedom of expression, elections don’t mean they are a democracy. The documentary is slowly becoming less an attack on Putin and Russia, than an attack on the English language, and indeed logic itself.

David doesn’t tell us what DOES make a democracy, but it certainly isn’t elections. Following this logic, of course, you could have a democracy without elections. And if that sounds absurd, then remember that Margaret Thatcher praised Pinochet for bringing “democratic order” to Chile.

Elections that return the “wrong” result? They aren’t democratic. Rounding up dissidents in soccer stadiums and gunning them down? That is democratic.

“Democracy” means whatever the establishment wants it to mean.

Putin uses carefully orchestrated elections to legitimise his rule.”

Who “orchestrates” the elections? How do they do it? How does David know this? We’re not told. We’re now 40 minutes in, and we’ve yet to have any single accusation or anecdote backed up with anything even approaching evidence. We’re not even provided basic logical reason.

Perhaps more pressing is: Why would a President with 80% popularity NEED to “orchestrate” elections?

They never explain.

*

David on…Russia’s “small” economy

David’s next port-of-call on his tour of Bizzarro World is the Russian economy. Having been told that the Russian economy is “struggling” we get some more stock footage – this time of factories and oil wells – with David narrating:

Russia is one of the largest countries on Earth, with a population of 144 million, but its economy is much smaller – not even two-thirds the size of Britain, and even smaller than Italy.”

There’s a lot to unpack here.

First, it’s absolutely hilarious that dear little David can’t even bring himself to acknowledge the simple fact that Russia is not “one of the largest countries on Earth”, it is the largest. It’s nearly double the size of China. It’s European portion is the largest country in Europe, its Asian portion is the largest country in Asia and if you cut it evenly in half the two new countries would still be 4th and 5th largest countries in the world.

Russia is very big.

Nobody would ever dispute that, so why not just say it? It goes to show the pettiness of the mindset behind this programme. They simply cannot give Russia any credit, even so far as acknowledging its size.

Second, the language is again very deceptive. When he says “much smaller than Britain” and “EVEN smaller than Italy”, he’s painting a picture of small economy. He doesn’t mention that the UK has the 4th largest economy in the world, and Italy the 7th. Russia is 10th, just behind Canada. He also doesn’t mention that the those figures don’t include the economy of Crimea, which the World Bank refuses to count as Russian.

Nobody would seriously claim that the 10th biggest economy in the world is “small”.

David sits down with Russia’s former deputy-Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich who says, when asked about the size of Russia’s economy:

If you look at other European economies, they have a long tradition of private entrepreneurship, we started this tradition only in the 1990s and need to accumulate experience.”

It’s a fair point, considering they’ve only been capitalist for 28 years or so, the 10th biggest economy in the world isn’t bad at all. David is unmoved. We don’t see his answer to that point, I would suggest because he couldn’t make one.

Instead he changes the subject, in voice-over, to corruption. Calling it a “tradition” in Russia.

He talks to Vladimir Pozner, a member of the allegedly “strictly controlled” Russian media, who apparently feels free to say corruption is endemic, giving yet more anecdotal evidence. This time about entirely hypothetical traffic policeman being bribed. A (strictly controlled?) anti-corruption campaigner points at a flat and says a politician lives there and shouldn’t be able to afford it. And David mentions an (unnamed) survey which ranks Russia 135th in the world in terms of corruption.

Thus is it established that Russia has a terrible corruption problem.

At this point the documentary devolves into a series of complete lies. Not mistakes, not exaggerations, lies. Lies so simple and so easy to refute with only a few google searches, that we’ll just go ahead and work through them one at a time:

Corruption is widespread, according to one survey it’s one of the worst countries in the world – it ranks 135 out of 180.”

He’s almost certainly referring to the famous “corruption perception index”, which is NOT a measure of corruption, but a measure of how corrupt some (unnamed) people THINK something MIGHT BE. It is a nonsense stat, discussed in more detail here.

“Russia has one of the most unequal economies in the world….20 million people live in poverty.”

This is technically true, there are 20 million people living under the poverty line in Russia, or 13.8% of the population. Before the sanctions it was less than 12%.

In the US, there are 45 million people living under the poverty line, or 13.8% of the population.

In the UK, there are 14 million people living under the poverty line, or 20.6% of the population.

Of course, where these numbers differ is that Russia’s number is coming down from 35%, and ours is going up. The makers of this programme know this, because the numbers were published on the BBC’s own website.

Putin’s failure to diversify the economy means that half the Russian budget comes from oil and gas, so when the price of oil fell after the annexation of Crimea, Russia was plunged into crisis.”

The price of oil did not “fall”, it was deliberately sabotaged by the gulf monarchies flooding the market. This was done to try to hurt the Russian economy, we can tell David knows this because he references the “annexation of Crimea” as the cause, he just doesn’t explain the details.

Putin’s aggressive foreign policy, along with the West’s sanctions, made the situation worse.”

Putin’s foreign policy – “aggressive” or otherwise – has no bearing on the Russian economy. This is all about the sanctions. Sanctions imposed by the West are not any reflection on the economic competence of the Russian government, especially when they are put in place over entirely false accusations, such as the Skripal poisoning or “hacking” the US Presidential election.

It is one of the oldest tricks in the US Imperial playbook, create a pretext for action against a country which they see as an “enemy”. Use this pretext to sanction a country with the aim of crippling their economy, and then use the fact the economy is struggling to criticise the government of the target country. The US have been doing it to Cuba and North Korea for decades, to Venezuela for years and Russia since 2014.

The deliberate destruction of their economy by powers beyond their control has no bearing on the competence or corruption of the Russian government.

In fact, by any standards, the Russian government under both Putin and Medvedev has been exceptionally competent.

…this list could go on and on.

Russian GDP under Yeltsin, Putin and Medvedev.

Russia’s economy – under both Putin and Medvedev – has gone largely in the right direction.

Of course, part of that is that there was only one direction to go.

All of this comes back to the 1990s. When Russia, as a country, was possibly within only months of ceasing to exist, collapsing into Balkanisation and chaos.

Putin’s government prevented that, and turned things around for ordinary Russians in a quasi-miraculous fashion. That is why 80% of Russians support the man.

Average salary in Russia since 1998

It’s the most basic rule of governance, but its one we in the West are encouraged to ignore – the first priority of government is to make the country better. Do that, and the people will support you.

To discuss the Russian economy, or the living standards of Russian people, or popularity of Putin, without acknowledging these facts, is just incredibly dishonest. Sickeningly so.

*

Conclusion

This is a bad documentary. It’s not simply ethically bankrupt, it’s also badly made. It’s badly paced, badly edited and incoherent. It’s so dedicated to its agenda that it sacrifices all else to try to convince its audience that black is white and up is down.

There is a relentless war being waged here, not just at the BBC and not just against Russia, but throughout the Western world…and against reality itself.

Consider the implications of this situation: One of the largest media organizations in the world spent license fee-payers money to send a man half-way around the globe, to convince their captive audience of tax-payers that elections don’t equal democracy, that independent media doesn’t equal free speech and that a $15bn trade surplus means your economy is struggling.

It recycles lies that have become terribly dull to refute, so must be simply exhausting to repeat. It routinely accidentally steps on its own argument, realises it has done so, and then performs logical gymnastics to try to prove it knows what it’s talking about. It makes no sense, and you can tell that they know it.

The list of contradictions and unanswered questions goes on and on, creating a world that cannot exist under the laws of reason. We’re told that Putin is popular, but that people are forced to vote for him. We’re told by Russian independent media organizations, critical of the government, that Russia has no independent media organizations critical of the government, and we’re told by a protester standing right outside the Russian parliament, that protests are practically illegal.

All of this irrationality combines to put together a patchwork-Picasso portrait of “Vladimir Putin”, the corrupt communist idealist, KGB hardliner and devout christian ideologue, who forces all the devoted members of his cult of personality to vote for him in elections he rigs anyway. A man who stole all the money he also spent on rebuilding Russia’s military, schools and hospitals, is best-buddies with all the oligarchs he sent to jail for tax evasion, and who – despite the size of the country – has “only” got the 10th biggest economy in the world.

It’s a documentary made by people at war with themselves, unable to understand that their delusions are absurd and incomprehensible to those of us struggling to live a reality-based life.

There’s desperation in this film, a hysterical repetition of proven lies and shrill fake news, screamed out by people who feel they’re losing control of the narrative.

They don’t know what they think except that Russia is bad and Putin is worse, they don’t know why they think it except that they’ve got to because they were told to, and they’re aghast. Unable to understand why no ones listening when they’re making so much sense!

This documentary, like so much of the MSM’s recent output, is a wail of outrage at a world that refuses to listen to their nonsense. As well-reasoned as a toddler’s tantrum, as well sourced as “Trevor from the pub” and as well researched as toilet stall graffiti. A limping, heaving, slime-ridden pile of self-defeating, self-contradictory garbage that has no place in people’s hearts, minds or homes.

And I watched it five times to write this.

I need a shower.


127 Comments

  1. Nick Spears says

    If you’re going to be such a stickler for accuracy, and comb over every word on the BBC, try getting basic facts right yourself.
    You say ‘It’s worth noting here that we, in lovely hugs-and-flowers Britain with our nice fluffy democracy, DON’T have free school meals…for anyone. At all. Ever. The government that proposed this bill was not “thrown out on their ear”, but DID have to spend £1.4 BILLION pounds bribing a minority party to vote it through.)’
    In fact, 1.3m children in Britain are eligible for free school meals.
    Your ill-informed reporter seems to be confused by a recent decision not to continue with a relatively recent policy of having free school meals for everyone in years Reception to Two. That’s even kids whose parents are multi millioinaires..
    It is reverting to providing free school meals only for those in low income households. But still more than a million will be eligible. And anyone who has ever read anything about UK schools will know the percentage on free school meals is a key figure.
    Sorry, but I think I need a shower, as you would say…
    How about a correction, and explanation?

    • JudyJ says

      You’ve made your point about free school meals and correctly pointed out the inaccuracy in the statement made by ‘Kit’, the author of this article. But it seems to me from the tone of your opening salvo that you clearly think a critical analysis of a BBC programme, which is effectively contributing to the propaganda campaign from a corporation hoping for (yes, hoping for) and promoting military action against Russia with no justification, is completely over the top and unnecessary. I’m not sure how many pages this article extends to when printed off, highlighting numerous scurrilous, warmongering inaccuracies and non sequiturs. But the best you can come up with is to challenge an aside about free school meals in the UK? Really? How about some informed comments on the major issues highlighted in the rest of the article? If the BBC (guided by our warmongering Government) gets its way, children in the UK won’t be in a position to worry about whether they qualify for free school meals.

      • Nick spears says

        It was more a comment about a gross inaccuracy on a website that makes the boast ‘the facts really should be sacred’

        1
        1
    • P45 says

      Pedantry, to try and shoot a decent analysis in the leg. Do one, intel troll.

      • Nick spears says

        Just to clarify then, the piece falsely claims, at some length, that free school meals have never been available in Britain
        They have. More than a million kids get them now, and many millions have.
        But I can’t point that out because to do so implies that I find any criticism of the BBC unacceptable, and I have failed to take the piece down point by point.
        I must be in fact a troll
        All this on a website that boasts, to remind you ‘facts really should be sacred’
        Is that what you mean?

    • Wow, you read a 15 page analysis of how bad the Panorama piece was and the best you could come up with was an error re school meals? The fact you even attempt to use this as some sort of “gotcha” is incredible. Truly astonishing.

      In saying that, even going by your cut and paste from the article I read it that it had been passed.

      “The government that proposed this bill was not “thrown out on their ear”, but DID have to spend £1.4 BILLION pounds bribing a minority party to vote it through.)’

      The implication I got was the author didn’t word it properly but it clear said at the end “bribing a minority party to GET IT THROUGH” which implies they got it through.

      Either way, if that’s your best shot you need to go to a school for trolling and get up to speed as your attempt is farcical.

      • nick spears says

        You people still don’t get it do you
        The OffGuardian continues to claim that there have never been free school meals in Britain
        There have for decades
        That is my point
        Am not quite clear why it is ‘astonishing’ that i have spotted this stupid error – and why you are apparently morally better than me for neither noticing it nor understanding or caring about it
        And Kaya3 I have no idea what you are talking about. There have been free school meals for decades, long before anything a recent Government did
        And the OffGuardian seems incapable of acknowledging it, while a number of readers continue to nonsensically accuse me of trolling for pointing it out
        Is there a way to point out a gross error like this without being accused of trolling?
        And yes. I have written to OffGuardian directly pointing it out. No reply

        • Admin says

          We’ve drawn your comments to Kit’s attention, he will clarify the sentence you take exception to.

  2. Just a warm salute from America for our OFFGUARDIAN colleagues in Britain, brilliantly fighting disinformation, neoliberal lies, and warmongering in one of the empire’s most virulent cesspits. This is a superb piece, and we reposted it on our site, as we all know the American public needs antidotes to the Big Lie even more urgently than the Brits. This is the Greanville Post version, so it has a few additions and enhancements, all in keeping with Kit’s spirit and original piece. Please convey to Kit our gratitude for his effort. It was obviously not in vain.

    Patrice Greanville
    Editor
    The Greanville Post

    The Parallel Universe of BBC Panorama (Disinformation BBC style)
    https://www.greanvillepost.com/2018/07/07/the-parallel-universe-of-bbc-panorama-disinformation-bbc-style/

  3. Manda says

    Glad I didn’t watch it, not that I would. I am again grateful to those who have the stomach to subject themselves to BBC poison and comment on it. Thanks Kit, even reading your analysis turns my stomach though.

    This excoriating deconstruction just confirms my view that the BBC, Dimbleby et al are a serious risk to peace, democracy, health/well being, society and even mental health of most people with a moral compass, ethics and a genuine wish for fairness and truthful analysis in world affairs. BBCs main mission is to ensure the British public remains thoroughly indoctrinated with the ‘ruling class’ racist, xenophobic, exceptionalist ideology and view of the world.

    .

  4. Thanks for the great article!
    A big one but definitely worth reading.

    I’d like to add a few comments:

    DAVID ON… THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

    “You see, the ROC was suppressed under Communism, which was bad, and now it’s not…which is apparently, also bad. I don’t fully understand the point David is trying to make, but that’s OK since I’m pretty sure he doesn’t either”.

    I think i can clear this point. I mean, why the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church is really terrible thing for David.

    The attempts to “bully”/to discredit/to humble the Russian Orthodox Church – btw, not only by foreign parties (journalists, experts etc), but in Russia itself too (by some kinds of marginals, freaks, “liberal opposition” etc) – are designed to deprecite the usual strong role of traditional values in Russian society, and terminate the growing influence of these traditional values.

    Those parties (in Russia, or in abroad) who are “concerned” by the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, are not interested to see a strong, serried, united society in Russia, with a strong traditional values (ROH is, in fact, the main provider of these values) – such as a big families (the more kids the better), traditional families (man loves a woman – not the other man, or animal), strengthening faith in God (this means morals, kindness, mercy, compassion etc), observance of laws (God’s and human’s), a strong role of religion in life of society, and so on…

    In Russia’s history a role of Church was always very strong, and even very special.
    And, what is important, Russian Church was always different from the Western Church. Different in its very basis.
    Not just because one is Orthodox, and another one is Catholic.
    The least to remember is an institute of inquisition that has been carried out by Western Church for centuries. Or crusades – in fact, wars/aggressions against other nations just because of their beliefs. This kind of stuff was impossible in/for Russia.
    But never mind, it’s a big theme, so no use to discuss it in detail now.

    In other words – the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church (whose role for country historically was/is very strong and very important) for Russia means strengthening the nation’s spiritual axis, strengthening the entire nation, unity of nation. Thus, for the West (and, in particular, for David) this is definitely a bad, bad thing. They don’t need strong, united society with great moral values in Russia. They need weak, scattered, morally degraded society in Russia because it will let them to influence a Russian society in the way they need (for example, to demand some criminal freak like Alexey Navalny to become a Russian president, or to legalize LGBT parades in Russia, or to cancell some laws in Russian legislation which protect children from homosexual propaganda etc).

    DAVID ON… RUSSIAN OPINION POLLS

    “…a country where the press, radio and television are all strictly controlled by an authoritarian government”.

    I was always wondering what this kind of people really mean when they say this kind of things?
    David claims that in Russia allegedly all(!) mass media are “strictly controlled” by an authoritarian(!) government.

    OK, but what does this mean – to be “strictly controlled”?

    Some ‘special officer’ standing and ‘observing the situation’ in the room where newsmakers do their job?
    Or there’s some institute of censorship which observes all the news in Russia and say “yes” only to a certain narrow part of news stream?
    Or maybe a prohibition to have any opposition-minded media?
    Or maybe some special “Putin’s man” everyday make a phone calls to the offices of all news companies and say what & how to do?

    None of this is presented in Russia. I mean it – none of this.

    I’m just wondering what makes David think he can draw such a brave conclusion – that “all [mass media in Russia] strictly controlled by an authoritarian government”? Or he just would like it to be so?
    Sorry David, you are a cheap dilettante and have no idea what you’re talking about.

    More to say, some might be surprised, but today’s Russia is one of the most (or even the most) free and liberal countries from the point of view of information space.
    Of course, to see/understand this you have to watch/listen Russian TV/radio, and compare with Western news resources.

    It’s obvious David has absolutely no idea what’s going on in Russia’s information space.

    Damn, i don’t even know what to say… A man who works for BBC(!!) speaks about “strictly controlled” mass media in Russia, while BBC is strictly controlled by the British government (in fact, this is a main news mouthpiece of the UK government), while the British government use to release(!!) D-notice to not let British journalists to freely talk about the information that is objectionable for the government (i mean, “Scripal case” etc)!

    And what about objective covering of the world events? For example, i really doubt British TV explain their audience who are “White helmets”, what they really do, who are their sponsors, why they work only on territories controlled by terrorists etc (just to note – Russian TV explains all this stuff, first of all main federal TV channels).

    I don’t even say about other Western (& not only) countries, which gives a stuff like this:

    dozens of detained and departed Russian journalists (Baltic countries, Ukraine etc.);
    denials of accreditation to Russian journalists (almost always without reasons and any explanation);
    attempts to pressure a Russian news resources (attacks against RT & Sputnik in the US and in Europe);
    campaigns of direct discreditation of the Russian news resources (“Kremlin agents”, “Kremlin-controlled media”, “Russian propaganda” etc);
    absolutely crazy, mad, wild and barbarian style of many Western newspapers & magazines – just look at the front pages and covers of The Economist, The Time, Newsweek, Bild… look how they paint “Putin’s Russia”(c) as a dangerous octopus with a long tentacles (nice Hitlerite Germany style propaganda)…

    https://medium.com/@dominicbasulto/russophobia-and-the-dark-art-of-making-an-anti-russian-magazine-cover-94b11e32d53f

    All this dirty disgusting stuff is inconceivable in Russia.

    To know/to see this you don’t have to be an expert. You just have to spend some time and examine the issue. Not a big deal for a serious responsible journalist. But David has nothing to do with serious real journalism.
    That why we have what we have.

    So, this is not even a farce, not a lie, or disinformation – all these words are too weak. I don’t even know how to call it.

    “…Imagine, if you can, a Russian-funded “polling centre” operating within walking distance of Westminster or Pennsylvania Avenue. That not only calls the government-run polls inaccurate, but claims that the CIA forces people to vote and that the President is corrupt”.

    Haha, well said! You got it right. THAT’s the idea.
    And, btw, you also got it damn right when you called Levada Center not independent, but “independent”.

    DAVID ON… RUSSIA’S CONTROLLED MEDIA

    “By allowing a few independent outlets, a few dissident voices, Putin can claim freedom of expression”.

    Hmm… for some reason David decided that ‘Echo of Moscow Radio’ is an independent outlet?
    Too incompetent/lazy/stupid to check out some simplest facts?

    David may be really surprised to discover that this sh*tto radio station – supposed to be the main “opposition”, “anti-Putin” radio in Russia – is sponsored/funded by… Kremlin.
    No joke.

    ‘Echo of Moscow’ is funded by Gazprom’s branch called “Aura-Media” (the main shareholder of ‘Echo of Moscow’, owner of 66,66% shares).
    I think it’s no need to tell/explain who is Gazprom.

    Btw, this is a long-standing question for a large part of Russian society – why the hell does the Kremlin give money to a radio station which pours tons of filth on the government, and often humiliate Russian nation.
    Still no answer…

    “…People in prison for speaking out against the state, internet communications closed down, the state spying on people’s communications…”.

    Ohh, David…
    A huge facepalm – the best gesture in this situation.

    What people “in prison for speaking out against the state“? David, don’t you think you have to name at least a few persons, who, in your opinion are “in prison for speaking out against the state”? Don’t they have a concrete names/surnames?

    “internet communications closed down” ? OK, David, but where and what communications? Your audience must try hard and guess?
    Twitter work, youtube work, facebook work, google work, instagram work, blogs/livejournal/wordpress and other stuff work in Russia… No problems.

    Hmm, it seems David meant a recent story about Telegram channel, and its work in Russia.
    Well, yes – Telegram now officially closed in Russia. But why not say why this happened? Why not say Telegram’s boss (Pavel Durov) was numerous times warned about possible actions against his company (if he’ll not fulfill the demands of Russian legislation)? Why not say he simply ignored all these warnings? And, on the whole, why not say what was the reasons of government decision it must have the opportunity to have access to Telegram (please notice – I didn’t say the government must control it)?

    But David didn’t bother to ask all these questions. And especially explain the answers to the audience.

    “…if they’re against protest, why do they let it happen at all?”.

    Ohh, David… Who, where and when told you that “they’re against protest”? Or, again, you just would like it to be so?
    After all, doesn’t it logical that if “they” would be “against protest”, they would just ban all the protests?

    “…She requires no permit to do this under Russian law, which states that solo protests are allowed anywhere at any time without a permit. You do need permission to hold group protests”.

    Just would like to add that in some cases even a solo protest [in Russia] can be terminated. If you hold a poster with a title, for example, “I want more money for my job!” or “Don’t let homeless cats and dogs die!” – that’s one thing. But if you’ll hold a poster with a title like “Let’s eliminate the government!” or “All *** are shit” (put any nation instead ***) – that’s another case, and in this case the reason of your detainment will be not a fact of your solo protest, but the meaning of what’s written on your poster(s).

    DAVID ON… RUSSIAN PARANOIA

    “In fact, we have no idea what the Russian government has done to prevent a Revolution. If anything.”.

    Well, the main reason 2012′ anti-government protests in Russia failed is simple. The simplier as many may think.
    Yes, many people participated in the anti-government protests. But, at the same time, it was much more people who came to support the government (in fact, to support Putin). These were some kind of ‘anti-protest’ protests.

    One mass of people (“anti-Putin” rallies) was exceeded by considerably superior mass of other people (“pro-Putin” rallies).
    So the smaller mass just saw that they are “alone” in their protest, because much more people were not with them.

    And thus the smaller mass simply became extinct. Because there was no perspective of their protest.

    Plus, of course, the government used natural and logical (for any government in any country) measures to control the protests – instigators, provocators and violators of law were arrested. Those who tried to fight the police were also arrested.

    Just to compare – look what happened in summer 2016 in Turkey during attempt of coup d’etat. Look how many people were arrested – thousands!
    Many hundreds got prison terms. Tens of thousands were fired from army and special forces.
    Erdogan carried out a total cleansing of state facilities.
    But sure all this is better and more “democratic” than what’s going on in Russia.

    On the whole, I again don’t know how to call it… A critical stage of utter stupidity? Maybe…

    David (and, in a broad sense, Western elites) reasoning about a “Russian paranoia” while being absolutely paranoid about “Russian menace”, “Russian aggression”, “Russian hackers”, “Russian meddling in elections worldwide”, “Russian propaganda”, “Russian threat to Western values” and so on and so on…

    I mean, that’s funny when a paranoid reasons about paranoia.

    DAVID ON… RUSSIA’S “ORCHESTRATED” DEMOCRACY

    “You feel happy with one person controlling the whole country?”.

    Oh, David, you’re trully a dilettante.
    Otherwise you would examine regions of Russia, the system of management, or, at least, get a map of Russia and saw its sizes.
    So, “one person” can control all this enormous territory? How?
    Maybe Putin makes everyday phone calls to the heads of all regions and say what & how to do? Hahaha.

    How Putin personally control the situation, for example, in Sakhalin island, or in Siberia, or in Kaliningrad?
    Or how he personally control the situation in Chechnya? Do you know what is Chechnya, David? How a man who profess a Christian faith can “control” a territory of Muslims?

    David, if you would be really interested to understand the issue, you would check out some info and see that it’s a serious problem for Russia, and personally for Putin as a President of Russia, that situation “on the ground” in many regions of the country is not under a proper control. The orders of the government are not fulfilled properly. The local officials work weak, bad, sometimes they stole money. Not everywhere, of course – there’re regions which work fine and great. These regions prosper. It all depends on a concrete person(s) who controls a concrete region (mayor, governor etc..).

    The assertion that Putin alone controls the whole country speaks of a complete lack of understanding of the state’s system of management in Russia.

    “People in Britain look at Russia and say “this is a powerful autocrat who stops opposition, prevents anyone, if necessary puts them in jail to stop them opposing him” is that not how you see it?”.

    Excuse me, David, but whom “powerful autocrat Putin” put in jail for being opposition “to stop them opposing him”? Again – any concrete names/surnames?
    Sorry David, you just give a wishful thinking.

    Of course, it’s nice to pretend that some persons who were accused of specific violations of the Russian legislation (terrorism, fraud, corruption etc) and detained all are “political prisoners”. But this is a childish position, David.

    “The film even references Navalny as “Putin’s biggest political opponent…”.

    Oh, this old, boring, cheap fake/myth – “Navalny is Putin’s biggest political opponent”.
    A clown, political pedophile (using kids(!) for rallies/protests), liar, criminal, freak… – that’s who Navalny is.
    It’s so funny how the West pretend he is a serious “opposition leader” in Russia and “Putin’s biggest political opponent”.
    Very very funny.
    This stuff is only for the Western audience who’re not interested to dig deeper and see the real situation.

    “Putin’s main political opponent” is an unpopular convicted criminal with a history of racism, who was forbidden by the constitution from running in a Presidential election…”.

    Yes, true.
    By some reason David didn’t say one more interesting thing – that Navalny, perfectly knew he would not be allowed to participate in President elections because of the Russian constitution – organized a campaign to collect money from his teenage zero-brains followers to nominate him as a presidential candidate. He got money, and then just said – “hey, they didn’t let me to participate in elections!”.

    DAVID ON… RUSSIA’S “SMALL” ECONOMY

    “Russia is one of the largest countries on Earth, with a population of 144 million, but its economy is much smaller – not even two-thirds the size of Britain, and even smaller than Italy”.

    To talk about such things, you must understand and evaluate all the features.
    It is impossible to assess the ability of different countries to generate GDP, not taking into account the characteristics of countries, including sizes.

    A country as large as Russia, and a country of a size of Italy, the United Kingdom or Japan simply can not produce the same GDP.
    For Russia to develop the same GDP as, for example, in the UK, you need to expend tens of times more forces.

    Here everything is taken into account: size of territory, logistics, geography, climatic zones, infrastructure, features of legislation, historical experience etc.
    It is much easier for a small countries. Perhaps they do not even understand how much easier it is for them.
    Although, not everything depends only on the size, of course.

    The largest country in the world – this is simultaneously a huge privilege, an advantage, but on the other hand a drawback / difficulty.

    For example: it is easy for Italy, for example, to extract seafood in its waters and then deliver it to the consumer (short distances allow it to be done quickly and at no particular cost), and Russia, which extracts fish and crab in the Far East, and has to spend much more effort, to deliver seafood to a consumer in Moscow or St. Petersburg – a huge distance, the need to spend a lot of fuel for the transport of goods (and this entails extra charges for the final goods), the need to freeze the goods (the duration of transportation can be to spoil the goods). In Siberia, infrastructure (roads, railways etc) are not developed, and this prevents fast and high-quality delivery of goods to the Western part of Russia…

    And what about equal conditions for the development of economies?
    Do Western economies experience permanent restrictions, sanctions, obstacles to development? I do not think so.
    Have the Western economies experienced such catastrophic destruction (of economy, management, infrastructure etc) and difficulties, as Russia experienced in the 90s? No.
    They do not need to spend years simply to recover from the severe crisis.

    “Putin’s aggressive foreign policy, along with the West’s sanctions, made the situation worse”.

    Putin’s aggressive foreign policy? Hmm… Sorry, David, but what’s that?

    Did Putin imposed heavy (& illegal, btw) sanctions on any country (like the West did against Russia)?
    Or maybe Putin illegally invaded some countries (lile the West did with Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Sirya etc.)?
    Maybe Putin started a war adventures against some nations, turning it into militray aggressions/genocide (like West-backed Saakashvilli did, starting aggression against South Ossetia in 2008, or Poroshenko (West-backed too) did against Donbass in 2014)?
    Maybe Putin launched a bunch of missiles against some sovereign country (like the West did, attacking Syria twice – April 2017, April 2018)?
    Maybe Putin started the economic wars against some countries (like the US did it against the EU & China)?
    Or maybe Putin use to blackmail some countries in order to get what he needs (like the US did with the EU, asking them to cancel ‘Nordstream 2’ so they must buy expensive American LNG)?
    Or maybe Putin organized coups in some countries (like the West did on Ukraine, Brasil, and now trying to make it in Venezuela etc)?
    Maybe Putin declare that Russia’s interests is the main thing, and never mind what other countries think (like the US do)?
    Or maybe Putin build dozens of military bases around the world (like the US/NATO do)?
    Maybe Putin marked some countries as Russia’s enemies (aka “adversaries”) in official Russian documents (like the US did)?
    Or maybe Putin threatens to “take some mesures” if some countries in the United Nations will not vote like Russia needs (like the US do)?
    Maybe Putin’s favourite hobby is to carry out false-flag operations around the world, and spread ridiculous accusations/fakes against other countries governments?
    Maybe Putin use to kidnape citizens of other countries under an artificial pretext (like the US do with Russian IT specialists all over the world)?
    … the list can go on and on…

    So what is “Putin’s aggressive foreign policy”? Where’s “aggression”?
    David does not specify. But I’m not surprised by this.

    And the last thing. Awesome Graham Phillips revealing one more BBC’s cheap propaganda about Russia:

  5. mark says

    And to think we are forced to fork out £3,700 billion a year for this state controlled garbage.

  6. Amy Lawrence says

    Brilliant brilliant brilliant

    Thank you for this excellent piece of writing and commiserations to you (and double thank you) for watching it!
    I cannot BEAR to view this tripe it has got so bad

    I loved the conclusion. Hilarious !

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  7. MichaelK says

    Excellent detailed analysis of BBC/Dimbleby’s… style. Glad I didn’t have to wade through this stuff repeatedly. His style is so turgid and awfully predictable. Are we surprised that an englishman from his background, with his position, finds so much to criticize about Russia and Putin? In reality they didn’t even need to send him all the way to Russia, he could have done this stuff without setting foot in Russia, because the story was written in advance; Russia was just the backdrop to what amounts to little more than a partisan political polemic disguised as ‘objective reporting.’ Going to Russia hides this reality by pretending to be journalism and not a polemic. This is BBC/State propaganda and very well done it is too, unless one refuses to be ‘fascinated’ by the style and the presentation and instead bothers to actually analyse the text, the images and the language that’s being used, abused and manipulated.

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  8. Harry Stotle says

    An arch member of the British establishment wandering around Moscow muttering to himself constitutes searing political analysis in today’s media cesspit.

    Of course the west hate Putin – he can’t even boogie like the neoliberal lapdog he superseded.

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      My favourite Imperial stooge is a toss-up between Napoleon Duarte of El Salvador slithering across the White House lawn to kiss the bloody banner of the US flag, under Raygun’s approving gaze, or our very own Julia Gillard, our Hillary, gazing doe-eyed at Obama as he announced the declaration of intent for war with China, the ‘pivot to Asia’, in our very own Parliament.

      17
        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          She was a DISASTER as PM, in a sort of tandem catastrophe with the malignant narcissist Rudd, with two ripe psychopaths, Abbott and Turnbull, on the other side. Any country that produces such a quartet as ‘leaders’ i heading for, and deserves, a bitter reckoning.

    • Hugh O'Neill says

      Wow! I thought it was Ted Heath conducting an advert for underarm deodorant…Where was Bill with his sexyphone? (Sorry, Bill. No cigar)

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        My favourite ‘morning after’ cartoon post Hillary’s humiliation at the hands of the ‘deplorables’ was one where Bill is consoling her with an heartfelt, ‘Close-but no cigar’.

  9. King Kong says

    I remember a time in a galaxy, long, long ago, when the BBC had a least a shimmer of credibility. It actually did, long ago during the cold war. Many news outlet then were so partisan, it was impossible to glean the truth. The Beep was not that bad then, even the Russophobia was not that pronounced.
    Britain has changed also, Thatcher instigated that, but it was Blair who was the real culprit. And then Brexit. I have a hard time grasping the wisdom in that. And blaming that on Putin is outright laughable, usually perpetrated by ignorant clueless people.
    Whatever, Britain has got troubled waters ahead, I suppose the rest of Britain will be privatized, bought up by the Yanks, and sold back to the public at exorbitant rates.

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    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      The current position of Western ‘elites’ in politics and the fakestream media, is that all social discord and discontent and partisan animosities in the West are evils planted in those states by Evil Putin and Russia. If not for Evil Putin, the West would be a paradise of social concord and amity. That they seem actually to believe this lunatic garbage finally proves beyond all doubt that they are raving mad.

      19
    • Actually, the propaganda was, if anything worse in the 1970s and 1980s. I can remember how terrified I was of the USSR. The Western media demonised it constantly. If you want to remind yourself of how bad it was I suggest you watch “Threads”. (Just make sure you have plenty of toilet paper.)

      • ” I can remember how terrified I was of the USSR. ”

        The propaganda ‘worked’?

        However, the USSR was ‘supported’ by the west?

        “Taken together, these four volumes constitute an extraordinary commentary on a basic weakness in the Soviet system
        The Soviets are heavily dependent on Western technology and innovation not only in their civilian industries, but also in their military programs.
        An inevitable conclusion from the evidence in this book is that we have totally ignored a policy that would enable us to neutralize Soviet global ambitions while simultaneously reducing the defense budget and the tax load on American citizens.”
        http://www.crowhealingnetwo
        http://www.crowhealingnetwork.net/pdf/Antony%20Sutton%20-%20The%20Best%20Enemy%20Money%20Can%20Buy.pdf

  10. Dave m says

    Just a couple of points- Thatcher actually said ‘ The state is not society’ all while selling off our assets to all and sundry in the 80s. She was a sad and lonely cow…
    Also, there are free school meals, at least at the point of delivery. But, like the BBC we pay for them anyway- And probably pay to a private company run by a local councillor providing them.
    But I’m glad I didn’t download that load of BS from iplayer!
    Well done

  11. To be fair, I’m old enough to remember his father doing a similarly cosy and cuddly job on BBC TV, and I rather liked him.
    But then, I was only 5 years old, and Britons could do no wrong…

  12. Estaugh says

    Bravo. 5 times! …. Contrary to widely held belief, we DO have a Constitution. If it were correctly applied, many, many, many of our past and current day politicos would be serving time or would have suffered the supreme penalty. Please watch this excellent presentation :- /watch?v=GwPgtZ-SC-4 ,John Bingley on the British Constitution

    • Admin says

      The UK doesn’t have a constitution in a formal, written or binding sense. It has a series of precedents and longstanding customs, which it refers to as a constitution, but which isn’t really at all.

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      1
      • Big B says

        Admin: I have to disagree with your definition of a constitution. Not least, because it is exactly the argument that you propose that is being manipulated into Parliamentary Sovereignty – usurping the true sovereignty of the People. Examples being Blair’s ‘Bill of Wrongs’; the enabling ‘Abolition of Parliament Act’ (extending so-called ‘Henry VIIIth clauses’) and the upcoming Brexit laws (patriating the acquis communitaire to supersede Statutory and Common law principles – to be undemocratically modified with Henry VIIIth clauses).

        There IS a British constitution: the Rule of [Common] Law established on the 1215 ‘Great Charter’ of the Magna Carta; the 1275 First Statute if Westminster (establishing and codifying Parliament); supplemented by the 1679 Bill of Rights (codifying the Declaration of Right and basis of the US and many other constitutions – “We, the People …”). All of these principles are granted Royal Assent with each new monarchs Coronation Oath …confirming the sovereignty of the people: of whom the new monarch is the plenipotentiary. Hence, Constitutional Monarchy: not Absolute Monarchy (ruling by Divine Right). We, the People are sovereign.

        https://www.britishconstitutiongroup.com/british-constitution/introduction

        Ignorance of our Constitution is being leveraged to repeal the principles of Common Law and replace them with unconstitutional, undemocratic, unrepresentative Statute Laws; laid down a sovereign Parliament. This is because technically we have a hold over the monarch and their subservient Parliament. Imagine if the people knew their (inalienable and unrepealable) Rights, and one day decided to exercise them?

        • Admin says

          The Bill of Rights was 1689 (the Habeas Corpus Act was 1679). No offence but you have taken three largish paras to simply reaffirm what I said – viz the “British Constitution” is an uncodified collection of legal precedents, and therefore not a constitution in the only sense that means anything.

          • Estaugh says

            So.There being no ‘Constitution’ in the UK, I have to enquire:- from whence came the constitutions of those innumerable nations once colonised by the Brits?

            • Big B says

              Or even the term ‘[no]Constitutional Monarchy’?

              Sorry to bang on, but I think it is really important for people to realise the subtle difference between having and not having a (formalised and codified) Constitution. The difference being that we, the People, are the sovereign power in the UK (a situation complicated by devolved assemblies). Although some of our rights are jus cogens or peremptory norms (such as the right to free speech): this IS codified in the legal precedents of Common Law case history.

              The subtle (and semantic) difference between Magna Carta, English Common Law precedent, Bill of Rights, etc codifying – or not codifying – a constitution has been manipulated into the received protocols that the monarch is only a titular Head of State (with no executive powers); Parliament is sovereign; and the Prime Minister is the de facto Head of State (with executive power including the devolved power of the Monarch: ie Royal Prerogative) I wonder who conferred this most unconstitutional of interpretations: Parliament, or the People?

              The subtle difference becomes less semantic when we realise that our inalienable and unrepealable Constitutional Rights are slowly being replaced with (European style) alienable and repealable Rights: that are conferred (by undemocratically modifiable Statute) on the basis of being a model citizen? We are not in a (Napoleonic) Republic, though. Who thinks that government is upholding the right to free speech; and the right to dissent and criticise the government? No, because they have usurped us as the sovereign power …and we have been complicit in our silence.

              If a quorum of let’s say, a couple of million people, armed with the knowledge of their unrepealable Constitutional Rights, petitioned the Monarch to withhold Royal Assent (veto the Statute laws of Parliament) …and if they refused, deselect them: it might not succeed, but at least it would give a few of the Law Lords a heart attack! You never know, with a sustained campaign, we might just get our country back?

              • Admin says

                The mere fact we have Royal Assent and the concomitant right of the monarch to withhold such assent tells us we can’t rely on the “constitution” we currently have and need Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights (1689) hard coded before they are eradicated.

                • Big B says

                  They are ‘hard coded’ as English Jurisprudence (see Lord Mance comment below). The monarch is not the monarch: they are the representative of the People. The Royal Assent is the Peoples Assent. The monarchs powers have been modified from the Absolute by a constitution. The monarch is not the monarch unless the submit to the Will of the People (ceremonialised by the Coronation Oath: and the monarch bowing to the assembled filthy commoners on coronation day) …and they only remain the monarch so long as they carry out our Will (by giving our Assent …not their rubberstamping). Surely you must see what a different complexion this would put on power politics in the UK? Our ignorance is their strength: and their leave to do as they please (like go to war with Iraq, or even join the EU in the first place.) Magna Carta precedes Statute Law and cannot be lawfully repealed: yet much of it has and the rest soon will be unless we wise up. Trust me, we’ll miss it when it has gone and state immunity, extraordinary rendition and torture are statutorily ‘legal’? 🙁

                • Big B says

                  Admin: I am not just being pedantic here. In case you are not aware, the points I am raising form the basis of an 8 year Parliamentary process to replace the Magna Carta (or not). The three basic proposals are:

                  (i) a Constitutional Code; or
                  (ii) a Constitutional Consolidation Act; or
                  (iii) a Written Constitution.

                  Although this was an ‘open’ process, I do not doubt that the consultation past the majority by?

                  The ‘illustrative’ blueprints for the above, written by Professor Blackburn, show how the ‘debate’ will progress. All three are written by Parliamentarians for Parliamentarians (and the corporations, banks, and entitled private citizens they represent). All confirm Parliamentary sovereignty. Of them all, the third is the worst: as it confirms a postmodern dictatorial and moral relativist heaven …for the state, that is.

                  We will have legal Rights: but these come caveated with these common caveats – we lose them:

                  (i) in the interests of public safety; or
                  (ii) for the preservation of public order; or
                  (iii) for the protection of health or morals; or
                  (iv) for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

                  Who decides what the definitions of “public safety”; “public order”; “health and morals”; or “rights and freedoms of others (corporate entities?)”, are: Parliament, Corporations, or the People?

                  In Section 1 (c) (ii) of the blueprint ‘Written Constitution’: we lose the Right to Life “in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.”

                  Welcome to the IDF-trained police state of tomorrow.

                  In matters of constitution: who do we trust to rewrite the Great Charter: Parliament or the People? Are we better with the unrepealable rights we already (should) have: or the ones the state wants to replace them with: in our best interests? There is a lot at stake in the definition of what entails a ‘constitution’ …you might say the outcome is a matter of life and death?

                  https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmpolcon/463/463.pdf

                  • Admin says

                    Sure, I take your point, but it’s the absence of an existing constitution, built on the basis of Magna Carta etc, that is enabling this current effort. We should have framed such a document centuries ago. Now, of course, it’s just a thing masquerading as the opposite of itself, as all “progressive” movements are.

                    In fact I think OffG should do something about this

                    • BigB says

                      Even if you could just publicise the issue: that would be a fantastic boost. It is pretty obscure: as I said, I very much doubt anyone knows what the government’s intention is. If you read the blueprint constitution you will see how draconian it is. I’m not expecting a march on Parliament: but it would be nice to know that we could …without being shot!

                • BigB says

                  John2o2o:

                  Oh, you’re a Remoaner? (Roll eyes and exhale a long sigh).

                  If you read the comments without reflexively pigeon-holing: there is a lot more at stake than Brexit? How about marching to preserve our inalienable Rights and demand our autonomy and sovereignty back: instead of ceding it to Brussels (again)?

            • Big B says

              BTW: Lord Mance quoted Magna Carta in his Supreme Court judgement in the Belhaj v Straw case – dismissing the plaintiffs right to claim sovereign immunity against prosecution. Leaving aside the zero sum moral morass of a bona fide Jihadi terrorist suing the State for his extraordinary rendition and torture in Libya: and winning the right to proceed to Court …this is a recent legal precedent that Magna Carta is still the basis of our rights. At least not to be flown abroad and tortured, anyway.

              No Free man shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or disseised (property taken), or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor will we go against him, nor will we send against him, save by the lawful judgement of his peers [trial by jury] or by the [Common] law of the land [legal precedent].” Chapter 39, Magna Carta.

              No one, including the Monarch, is above the jurisprudence of Common Law. In theory, at least.

    • Excellent article. Just a pedantic note – Saving Syria’s Children was actually broadcast a month after the Commons vote, on 30 September 2013. However Ian Pannell’s initial report, with footage from the alleged napalm/incendiary bomb incident, went out on the BBC 10 o’clock News on Thursday 29 August, precisely as the vote was taking place.

      The alleged attack occurred on 26 August, so it’s notable that Pannell and the BBC sat on it for 3 days until the commons vote. Also interesting is that the full Panorama programme, Saving Syria’s Children, which in the normal run of things would most probably have gone out the following Monday, was seemingly shelved for almost a month until 10.35pm on 30 September, when it was billed as a “Panorama special”, and followed on from another Panorama earlier the same evening – as far as I’m aware, it’s unheard of for 2 Panorama programmes to go out the same night.

      One explanation may be that, following the unexpected defeat of the government motion Saving Syria’s Children was effectively redundant as war propaganda and so was relegated to a slot weeks later (although maybe it was always scheduled for a late evening timeslot due to its “graphic” content).

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  13. Wow! Five laps in that swimming pool of shit! Congratulations. But my guess would be that a lot of people watching this will notice the difference between the voice-over and what is actually shown. It’s pretty threadbare. One lives in hope but the MiniTrue pubs are losing their customers.

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  14. Thanks Kit for all your suffering!

    I love this

    “In a democracy if you failed to deliver on your economic promises, if you surrounded yourself with cronies, and if you used the law to oppress opposition, well you’d be thrown out on your ear…but this is Russia, and they do things differently here.”

    When did a UK Government since the 70’s deliver its economic promises?

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    • Seamus Padraig says

      Of course, whenever we try to throw the bums out, it’s because of RUSSIA!!!

  15. stevehayes13 says

    I wonder if anyone at the BBC knows the meaning of the word: antinomy?

    I also wonder how the BBC, with its much vaunted claims to impartiality, can simultaneously boast that it employed George Orwell as a propagandist?

    Actually, I suspect they couldn’t care less about what words denote and simply use them for emotive effect, just like the rest of the political media elite: http://viewsandstories.blogspot.com/2018/06/emotion-substitutes-for-evidence-and.html

      • stevehayes13 says

        A self defeating claim. For example, this sentence is false.

        By the way, the BBC is packed with journalists, who are supposedly educated, mostly by having studied English at some elite university or other.

  16. jantje says

    great article,It also saved me the time to watch the”docu”,more so since I would have had to go to the bathroom several times to puke

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  17. Anyone got a bbc employee contact list…senior executives to lowest grade employee….email this to everyone of them….

    11
    • Lol, nice idea Jo , but “senior executives to lowest grade employee..” would probably try & read the article & then be responding to one another something along the lines of head scratching & uttering ..
      like Dr. McCoy to Capt. Kirk.

      “It’s in English , Jim , but not any kind of English that we have ever encountered before or can possibly understand: maybe this OFFG is some advanced kinda’ Coded News Network ! ? Best ask Spock: contact also GCHQ & the NSA 😉 “

  18. Denis O'hAichir says

    Price of oil manipulated to hurt Venezuelan economy also, nice article plenty of confirmation bias for my lunch time reading I feel as smug as David now. Keep it up.

  19. David who ?
    Dicky bow why ?
    How do you ?
    ‘BB’ see what Corporation ?

    Ashkenazi Apartheid “intelligence” ops. as certified by GCHQ , nothing new :

    Who in Hells name still buys into this BS fake news dissemination, to prevent peace & prolong War ?

    Anybody who subsidises such scant regard for Human Life & the Science of Humanities is still living in the last ‘ Century of the Self ‘ ! With yer’ head so far up yer’ arse , yer’ gonna’ have to swallow the toothbrush to clean yer’ teeth , let alone the two bottles of Listerine it will take to get rid of the bad stench that will be emitted every time you breathe & utter one pig-ignorant brainwashed word of what you think you might know ..

    SEARCH for your-Self : Never Trust Corporations or your Government , with vested interests.

    “If you want to overcome the whole world, overcome yourself.”
    ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons

    15
  20. Big B says

    Well done Kit; I couldn’t have sat through five minutes, let alone five viewings. of that sh*t!

    I do believe there is a bigger picture to consider: one that gets lost in the (nonetheless important) focus on the nadir of East/West relations. What Vladimir Putin has achieved thus far is nothing short of an economic miracle. Russia’s return to the world stage was a move toward a meta-democratic curbing of the Imperium: that saved Syria for sure. Russias foreign policy and superior diplomacy are globally important: and not in question: but as we Gestalt that into the foreground – no one wants to focus on what is going on in the background …Russia/China’s pursuit of neoliberal globalisation.

    The question that concerns me is whether neoliberal globalisation is a policy for the People? Not if the Western pursuit of it is anything to go by. Will Russia/China’s pursuit of neoliberalisation, albeit with Russian and Chinese characteristics, will be any different? Do we need regionalised free trade zones, integrated customs unions, and other forms of supra-sovereignty (RTAs, FTAs, PTAs, etc) to facilitate the spiritual wellbeing of humanity? I think you know my answer to that.

    To those who would want to argue the toss about Putin’s pursuit of neoliberalism: I refer to his recent address to SPIEF; the recent SCO declaration and press communique; and last years BRICS declaration. Or PCR’s blog, his conjunction with the Saker and Michael Hudson. All these confirm dedication to the relic Bretton Woods institutions, particularly the WTO. I’m sure I am not the only one who understands the argot of globalese: but phrases like building an “open world economy” or “global economic governance” should need no translation?

    https://thesaker.is/will-putins-policy-of-concession-succeed/

    So, I’m canvassing opinion: do others really think that Russia/China offer a viable alternative to neoliberal globalisation? Because that alternative is neoliberal globalisation as far as I can see? Much as Jim O’Neil of Goldman $uch$ dreamed up to be when he invented ‘BRIC’ (the ‘S’ came later)? Now Mnuchin/Cohn seem to be carrying on the tradition; pulling China’s levers at least?

    Lastly, de-dollarisation: behind the euphoria that the dollars day as a reserve currency might be limited (which they are, though not quite as limited as many people seem to expect). Beyond that, no one wants to contemplate what will succeed the dollar. I maintain it will not be the ruble or yuan: but a basket of currencies that form the SDR (or XDR). I maintain this as both Russia/China declared so in 2009 (the original link to the Moscow Times Kremlin statement is now a 404: not found); but here is Zhou Xiaochuan’s paper (published by BIS):

    https://www.bis.org/review/r090402c.pdf

    Why did China spend seven years “internationalising” the yuan to make it a ‘freely usable’ currency (translates as the neoliberalisation of capital controls) to gain inclusion in a dead reserve (not even a reserve: an ‘illiquid’ reserve reserve) …if they did not have a plan to commercialise its use? Russia/China are quietly moving toward neoliberal globalisation with the SDR as the reserve currency: under the aegis of a ‘reformed’ UN/IMF/World Bank/WTO and a rewritten “rules based international order”. Is this the Peoples choice, and will it serve humanity well? If the answer is yes: I’m moving back to the monastery.

    • Kit says

      Firstly, I would hesitate to group Russia/China as a single unit. I don’t believe they share aims or values in the long run, but rather are a marriage of convenience, knowing neither could stand against “the West” without the existence of the other.

      Secondly, I would say yes – Russia does offer an acceptable alternative to “neo-liberalism”. Yes, they are a broadly capitalist society, but with state involvement in the economy with (at present) the apparent aim of regulating finance in order to improve the living standard of citizens. I find it hard to imagine, in the current status quo, a better method for improving the world.

      Extremism will never be stable, and the Wests current state of ultra-hardline capitalism won’t be cured by hardline communism. Socialism/Capitalism balance needs to achieved, with a state protecting its citizens from corporations without interfering in private matters or shutting down free enterprise. Such a world will dissappoint zealots on both ends of the political spectrum, but is almost certainly the best path to prosperity and peace.

      The biggest problem with that – though hardly a Utopian world view – is that it would require governments to be incorruptible and have the welfare of their charges genuinely as their priority. Fortunately for Russia, Putin’s government does appear to be that way. Are there any in the West that could fill that role? And would the quasi-world government of interconnected deep states – on both sides of the Atlantic – ever allow such an individual, or collection of individuals, come to power?

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      • Big B says

        Kit, thanks for your response.

        Socialism/Capitalism balance needs to achieved, with a state protecting its citizens from corporations without interfering in private matters or shutting down free enterprise.

        It is exactly this balance that is in question:

        Neo-liberal economics has also brainwashed the Russian central bank with the belief that Russian economic development depends on foreign investment in Russia. This erroneous belief threatens the very sovereignty of Russia. The Russian central bank could easily finance all internal economic development by creating money, but the brainwashed central bank does not realize this. The bank thinks that if the bank finances internal development the result would be inflation and depreciation of the ruble. So the central bank is guided by American neoliberal economics to borrow abroad money it does not need in order to burden Russia with foreign debt that requires a diversion of Russian resources into interest payments to the West.

        PCR (and Michael Hudson) posit the question: why borrow dollar capital when you could create the ruble capital for free? Unlike PCR, I would say that Elvira Nabiullina (Head of CBR) knows damn well she can create money ex nihilo without borrowing dollars first: but still they do it, …and stick the money in the bank (as ForEx), THEN create ruble capital!

        I pose the same question I posed two weeks ago: how does this help the people of Russia. By compromising their sovereignty and opening them up to future currency speculation? Because destroying the currency is a major tool in the imperial armoury: and there is no need to even be exposed to it? Why become, or risk becoming, a sub-imperial dollar vassal? For the People?

        [W]hen Russia borrows from the West, the US for example, and in flow the dollars, what happens to the dollars? Russia cannot spend them domestically to finance development projects, so where do the dollars go? They go into Russia’s foreign exchange holdings and accrue interest for the lender. The central bank then creates the ruble equivalent of the borrowed and idle dollars and finances the project. So why borrow the dollars? The only possible reason is so the US can use the dollar debt to exercise control over Russian decision making. In other words, Russia delivers herself into the hands of her enemies.

        This is how PCR answers his own rhetorical question: and I fail to see the sense of it either. If Russia was really to pose an anti-imperial threat or clear alternative: surely it must start with democratising the Central Bank and exiling Nabiullina to Switzerland, where she belongs (in the BIS)?

        https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/05/25/americas-fifth-column-will-destroy-russia/

        But Putin does not do this: thus far he has accommodated the ‘Atlantic Integrationists’. They are not dominant, but they are still there (much to the chagrin of the Saker). This became apparent when John Helmer reported that Kudrin was going to be “vice president for capitulation”. Fortunately, he was given the naughty stool in the Duma instead.

        http://johnhelmer.org/?p=17717

        The question remains: when Putin is not there to deftly balance the Russian MIC (Rogozin); the oligarchs (Kudrin); and the CBR (Nabiullina) …will he have tipped the balance of power their way through his neoliberalism? As for the Atlantic Integrationists: is Medvedev first among them (as the Saker thinks) or is Vladimir Putin one of them …because his economic policies don’t make much sense as a Russian Firster?

        Lock up the oligarchs; kick out the ‘Atlanticists’ in government; forget globalisation; and nationalise the Central Bank to create the ruble capital? That would be a Peoples Charter, would it not? 🙂

        • Jen says

          Yes, Alexei Kudrin has agreed to head the Russian government’s internal audit section where he will have to demonstrate that he is sincere about detecting and fighting corruption.

          An excellent example of keeping your enemies close to keep an eye on them, and moreover force them to prove they really do practise what they say. Sounds like classic Putin tactic.

        • icannahasinternets says

          By borrowing from the West, Russia offshores the debt, as well the risk to some extent. If the funding was to come from the CBR then this would need to be balanced with taxation to fund the project, or from a past or projected government surplus.

          • Big B says

            Taxation and productivity; based on the actuality of a productive economy and resource base. Russia can borrow on the basis of Russia; creating debt internally backed by the ‘full faith and credit’ of the state. Technically, providing there is the increased wealth (tax base) and the complementary productivity (plus the resource and land base for market development; all of which Russia has in abundance), then state can always repay its own sovereign debt – it cannot go bankrupt (in its own currency).

            Borrowing from the West IS risk.That risk comes from the debt no longer being sovereign: but corporate and private (dollar, euro, sterling, etc, denominated) A significant portion of productivity and wealth creation has to be allocated to foreign debts and interest payments. Thus, it cannot be reinvested to increase future productivity and wealth creation (reinvested in the people).There has become a supra-sovereign rentier economy when the debt (the peoples wealth) is offshored.

            This is the deliberate debt trap nation after nation has fallen (or been pushed) into (the imperialist Washington Consensus). Fast forward to the end of the cycle: the state has to borrow (from the IMF) to pay the interest on the debt …a Ponzi scheme is set up. The debt comes with ‘conditionalities’; usually the liberalisation of remaining capital controls and selling off of state assets to imperial creditor nations …whilst the people starve. This is neoliberalism in action: the precedent can be seen globally.

            Russia does not have to follow this model. It is exiting this neoliberal model on a trajectory that will eventually bring it back into debt peonage. Russia is in a unique position of sitting on its own future in the terms of mineral, human, and land capital wealth. This is its own collateral for debt creation: they do not need foreign debt. Or a globalised supply chain (for what, to the best part, they already have).

            Let us be reminded that Russia is in its economic infancy. It has repaid the debts of the FSU, and kicked out the IMF. It has virtually no state debt (due to default on internal debt; and devaluing the Ruble: twice). Surely, this would be enough incentive to keep the Washington Institutions out: not endorsing them? The paradox is that the neoliberal model offers seeming GDP ‘growth’ for a good thirty years. But this is false, debt dependent ‘growth’ that accrues to a monopolising financial elite. Russia already has a legacy financial oligarchy; care of Yeltsin’s neoliberal Harvard boys. I’m not sure of the current status; but it was something like 70% of Russia’s wealth was in the hand of a few oligarchs. Some Putin tamed (Berezovsky, Khordokhovsky, Patarkatsishvili, Glushkov), some fled (ditto), some remain (Chublais, Deripaska, Rotenberg; etc). To follow the same model that gave them their wealth and power seems politically illiterate, for one who is quite clearly not politically illiterate?

            As the neoliberal model progresses beyond its early productive and wealth effect stage: the debt becomes exponential. Then you are borrowing money to create money, which is unsustainable. Witness China, which is past peak production and peak prosperity, and is consuming 3.07RMB of debt to create 1RMB of GDP ‘growth’. [Source: Tim Morgan – surplus energy economics. Visit his blog for an exposition of how GDP ‘wealth’ and real prosperity negatively decouple over time].

            Contrary to MMTers; Steve Keen et al have shown debt matters …particularly foreign and private debt. And China has already ‘liberalised’ its SOEs (in two waves) into ‘mixed ownership’; floating them (many,against their will) on the ‘foreign’ [ie ‘offshore’] exchanges of Hong Kong and Macau. Ergo, not all of China’s debt is RMB/Yuan denominated. [For a full exposition of China’s economy: see Jack Rasmus: “Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy”. Teaser: the chapter is headed – “Bubbles, Bubbles, Debt, and Troubles” which shoulf tell you all you need to know?].

            For the endgame of neoliberalism: there is the menopausal basket case economy of the UK (a wholly owned shadow bank asset) …which follows closely on the heals of the USA. Why Russia would follow this neoliberal suit is anyone’s guess. Whether Vlad believes it or not: it won’t be for the peoples benefit …especially when he is no longer around to balance competing interests. I hope that day never comes: unfortunately, it will.

            • MrShigemitsu says

              Any and all proponents of MMT would agree that both foreign currency debt and private debt matter.

              But the national public debt is simply the (as yet) unspent savings of the private sector, and is not seen as a problem in a nation which issues its own sovereign fiat non-convertible currency, and the debt is solely in that currency, unless the economy is running at maximum capacity, with full employment, in which case spending will have to be reduced or taxes increased in order to prevent excessive inflation.

              AFAIK, the Russian economy is currently not at that point in the economic cycle.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        Capitalism cannot be ‘balanced’. Capitalism is essentially neoplastic, being based on the drive to not just replicate capital, but increase it, forever, which, as we see to our great peril, right now, is suicidal on a finite planet.
        Capitalism also makes greed, not just ‘good’, but God. Concepts like ‘sufficiency’ and ‘enough’ are not just incomprehensible to capitalists, but anathematous. I live in a vicious capitalist dystopia, Austfailure, daily growing more unequal, socially sadistic towards the poor, weak and defenceless, and where the current Federal regime of villainous psychopaths is moving Heaven and Earth, with near total fakestream media support (much open, some covert and disingenuous)to ‘reform’ the tax system to give MASSIVE amounts to the rich and powerful, transfers that we know, from invariable experience, here and overseas, will be paid for by attacking the poor and weak yet again.
        Capitalism is the manifestation in reality of the pathopsychology of the insatiably greedy, of those whose grotesque egomania nearly always stands in stark contrast to their actual talents, of those who hate and fear others and who lack all or nearly all compassion and empathy. Either it goes, root and branch, or humanity does-and very soon.

        • Big B says

          Capitalism has already gone. Its legacy is a quadrillion of unservicable debt$$$$$…only no one (in authority) would ever dare say so. ‘Authority’ has the self-invested interest of perpetuating the myth of future materialistic prosperity. We need a new model of human prosperity; and a way to tackle the ubiquitous root materialist mindset to shift the paradigm away from historic definitions of ‘wealth’. No one in authority will ever do that: essentially handing the keys of the kingdom from the elite historic keepers to the new owners …Us (that’s you and me not FUKUSA!) 🙂

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says

            As I have noted elsewhere, China at least is serious about creating an ‘ecological civilization’ which will be sustainable in the ‘long run'(when we all here will be returned to the carbon cycle). And I would not be surprised to learn that their leaders are familiar with the thoughts of JS Mill, Ricardo and others regarding the true role of economics being to create sufficient wealth so that humanity, being freed from want and poverty, could concentrate on non-material pursuits in culture, sociability and conviviality. I do seem to have a free-floating recollection of Keynes making similar observations. As long as we are led by the nose by Evil, insatiably greedy, psychopaths, as the entire Western world, particularly the Anglosphere is, we are inevitably heading, at break-neck speed, for self-destruction.

          • mark says

            We don’t have anything remotely resembling free market capitalism.
            Call it crony capitalism, or crapitalism.
            Or call it parasitic rent seeking financial capitalism.
            Or call it a looting kleptocracy.
            Call it fried chicken if you want.
            Just so long as you don’t call it free market capitalism.
            That doesn’t exist anywhere in the western world.

    • mog says

      BigB

      So, I’m canvassing opinion: do others really think that Russia/China offer a viable alternative to neoliberal globalisation? Because that alternative is neoliberal globalisation as far as I can see? Much as Jim O’Neil of Goldman $uch$ dreamed up to be when he invented ‘BRIC’ (the ‘S’ came later)? Now Mnuchin/Cohn seem to be carrying on the tradition; pulling China’s levers at least?

      I do not see Russia, or China or any combination of the ‘great powers’ providing any sane alternative to what we have here in the West. Russia has built up its economy primarily on fossil fuel extraction and arms dealing hasn’t it?

      I applaud Putin as far as what he is, within the realms of capitalist state leaders, a relatively principled and ‘hinged’ politician. I applaud efforts like Kit’s to dismantle the propaganda for their own worth, that and the fact that undermining Russiophobia might stave off nuclear mishap/ confrontation/ the breakdown of Russian state and nukes falling into the hands of nutcases….etc.

      Perhaps Cuba is the nearest to a sane society that I see, fairly low impact and got their priorities right.

      Another good take down this week on Real News regarding Venezuala in case you missed it:
      https://therealnews.com/stories/debunking-john-oliver-on-venezuela

      • Big B says

        Mog: I was trying to do a bit of ‘real world’ analysis without my utopian/environmental hat on. Sticking it on: the neoliberal globalisation project has brought the world to the edge of the ‘Seneca Cliff’ (energy depletion cliff). Neoliberal carbon capitalism is ‘dead cat bouncing’ down the road, carrying nearly a quadrillion in debt liabilities (that’s a thousand trillion – $237tn debt [source: IMF] and $750tn derivative exposure [source: BIS] = 987tn). Russia would be all but immune to this if they shut up shop; kicked the oligarchs and integrationists into jail; reclaimed their assets (a bit difficult as many of them are still in London): set up a state national bank to fund sustainable development. They are, by dint of the blessings of geography, sitting on trillions of their own resources: they do not need anyone elses input …particularly risky Foreign Direct Investment (read: raping by vulture capitalists). Apart from being blessed with energy and mineral resources: they could be completely self-sufficient in (non-GMO and organic) food …within a few seasons? They hardly have any national debt: the last thing they need is neoliberalism! Or globalisation: the very dead paradigm that destroyed Western economies and all but toxified the biosphere. That would be putting the people first, IMHO?

        • mog says

          In a sense, the monetary debt is the loan that we took from Nature in burning half a million years of sunlight in a couple of centuries.

          Why can’t anyone anywhere (as you write) ‘set up a state national bank to fund sustainable development’ ?

          Viewed one way, it is a no brainer. Viewed another, it undermines the usocracy that controls the world.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          If Russia did what you propose, which I find eminently sensible, the USA would use it as a casus belli, particularly after the next leg downwards of the debt and inequality implosion in the West. Putin knows that he is dealing with omnicidal psychopaths, easily the most deranged and blood-thirsty ruling elites ever to have arisen.

          • Big B says

            Personally, barring accidental triggering (for which there can be no complacency) I think Russia is almost immune to war. Breedlove pretty much said so: the Rand Corp said it would take the Russians 60hrs to destroy NATO …which really pissed the Russians off that they thought it would last that long!

            So there is no room to relax whilst there are nuclear weapons on a hair trigger …but no one is going to initiate war willingly, I believe. So Russia has room to manoeuvre, which is another cogent point I think PCR makes …Putin’s concilliation is viewed by the neocons as weakness. An interesting development in the next few weeks will be in Daraa and around al-Tanf? Tell the Yanks and IDF to fuck off: don’t ask them politely to leave?

            As for Russia kotowing to Western financial pressure: the Saker made the same point two years ago. If Russia actually did move away from the imperial banking system: things would be made intolerable for Putin. Two years on: how much worse could it be? We’ve seen in other cases where appeasement leads with Mr Corbyn, n’est ce pas? It looks more and more to me the Vlad is actually the leader of the ‘Atlantic Integrationists’; not their enemy? This 66D zen master chess thing is granting him superhuman powers he may not have: perhaps there is a more prosaic explanation that William of Occam would have proffered?

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        Did you see that greasy gargoyle (sorry-‘ talentless greasy gargoyle’) Oliver’s unhinged and vilely racist attack on China and Xi in particular? The Western ‘Gods Upon the Earth’ are plainly going out of their reptilian brains at the prospect of China, a bunch of ‘mere Asiatics’, rising to global power. And not the power to dominate, control and destroy that the West exercises, but merely the power to say ‘No’, to the Western God-men.

    • WallyWill says

      Globalisation is not a bad thing.
      Think spices, bananas and tourism. Etc.

      The problem is unregulated global robber barony and their desire to control ALL the resources of the planet regardless of who actually lives there. They have been at it for centuries.

      The answer to the BBC is also simple – boycott them and refuse to pay their poll tax.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Perhaps you could try sailing to North America in a coracle, again. There’s nothing like the open ocean for some soul-stirring solitude. But look out for killer whales mistaking you for a whale calf!
      Russia and China need to use the current architecture because it can’t be destroyed without a war, which is Mega-death. Just looking at the social progress in Russia and China over recent years, with China raising more people out of poverty than at any other time in history, makes me inclined to trust their intentions. Meanwhile the West, the Anglosphere in particular, is sinking into a Hell of ‘savage capitalism’ with inequality growing at accelerating pace, vicious social sadism being inflicted with relish on the poor, weak and defenceless, increasing and genocidal foreign aggression across the entire planet, and an ecological Holocaust being pursued with omnicidal ferocity. Let’s face it-if Russia and China and the few other holdouts do not represent a true alternative to the incalculable Eviol of the US Empire, then humanity is certain to disappear with a few more decades.

  21. mog says

    Just excellent.
    Reading it in the library trying not to laugh my arse off.
    Deserves to be widely read.

    15
    • mog says

      Studio‘And the latest from Volgograd, it’s full time in the Reality Group play off, and Kit from OffGuardian has beaten David Dumbleby by six goals to nil. Let’s go live to our reporter outside the dressing rooms for a post match comment or two.

      Interviewer– ‘So Mr. Bumblebee, your thoughts on the final score?’
      DD – ‘Well, it was a fairly even match, and could have gone either way, and probably would have gone my way in different settings or circumstances. I mean, people back in the UK are probably thinking (like me) that the referee was somehow aligned with Putin and the Kremlin, and that assuming that this is indeed the case, you have to ask yourself, if you, like me feel unfairly accused of losing’
      Interviewer – ‘ All very reasonable. And Kit, your thoughts?’
      Kit -‘ I need a shower’
      Interviewer -‘ Understandable, hard work out there. Mr. Dimblebrain, how will you relax post the great game?’
      DD– ‘Oh probably a six figure pension from the BBC and some English tea’.

      Studio‘Well there you have it, another victory for our man in the East, Mr. David Dribbleby’.

  22. flamingo says

    Thank you Kit, a magnificent take down. What a bloody disgrace to jouralism is panorama.

    19
  23. Great breakdown Kit, of this “Pandorum Ruskie Special” by Dumbledown Dimby of the broadcaster family of the former British Bullingdon Corporation now just called “Beeb” for the redacted aspects of their turgid fake news and mockumentries.

    Clearly as the Gruan has found their Oxbridge vision of Russia through the eyes of their MI6 pensioned off minders is so fantastical and unreal that no one believes them. Such as the Sunday afternoon soap Skripalled at Zizzi’s.

    “The Harding Manoeuvre” where you fail to mention or even acknowledge a central part of an issue – love it Kit. Great phrase. “Whatever you do… don’t mention the 90’s” … Basil, Basil! Who said satire was dead?

    Watching the vox pops of the WC in Russia one recurring theme of visiting fans is is “We didn’t think Russia was like this – it’s a great place!” Yes there is definitely some cognitive dissonance going on over at the Graun and the Big Brother Corporation… And its all of their own making.

    19
  24. USAma Bin Laden says

    The BBC is the British Bullsh!t Corporation. It would be shocking if it didn’t produce this kind of psyops… sorry… news.

    But this BBC documentary does inadvertently expose a broader issue—one that the vast majority of people (including supposed anti-establishment critics and dissidents) would rather not admit: Their version of “democracy and freedom” is nothing more than a propaganda ideology to be deployed against enemy nations, as well as to justify the political legitimacy and indeed moral supremacy of their own country.

    The Anglo Americans and their ersatz democratic allies specialize in manipulating “Democracy and Freedom” as soft power weapons against their geopolitical opponents (like Russia, China, Iran) and, when necessary, to rationalize their wars of aggression against other nations–like Libya, Syria, Iraq.

    What’s more, if you look at these vaunted democracies, it is not a pretty picture.

    You have leader of democracy and freedom, the United States of America, which is by far the leading war criminal nation on the planet, guilty of slaughtering massive numbers of people through its serial aggressions.

    You have the oh-so special partner of America, the United Kingdom, which is the second leading war criminal nation on the planet and has participated in virtually every recent aggressive war that the USA has waged.

    You have the “only democracy in the Middle East,” Israel, which is an apartheid Zionist nation based on repression of the Palestinians–and is a geostrategic ally of the USA.

    You have the self-styled “world’s largest democracy,” India, which is an apartheid (Hindu) caste nation based on repression of Kashmiris and other non-Hindus–and is also a geostrategic ally of the USA.

    “Democracy and freedom” are the lies upon which these criminal nations are based and built and legitimized.

    Indeed, “democracy and freedom” are the moral and political mask of Empire–Evil Empire.

    20
  25. George says

    “It recycles lies that have become terribly dull to refute, so must be simply exhausting to repeat.”

    Not sure about this bit. First – the MSM has never grown tired of repetition. They can go on and on and on. Second – if the lies are terribly dull to refute then the repetition has worked and may even be less necessary. Yeah – sure they’ll keep on and on but they will do it more leisurely and with more complacency.

    I suppose the real issue is: Who are they talking to? cf. Neil Young:

    I never knew a man
    could tell so many lies
    He had a different story
    for every set of eyes.
    How can he remember
    who he’s talkin’ to?
    ‘Cause I know it ain’t me,
    and I hope it isn’t you.

    15
  26. As far as I’m aware, the UK is the only country where one has to pay a tax for the privilege of being propagandised at. However, the solution is fairly simple!

    22
    • Rhisiart Gwilym says

      It is indeed simple, kevin: I haven’t paid a BBC licence fee for decades; just as I haven’t paid income tax to the English imperial state since the 1970s (preferring to tithe myself voluntarily during that time, and give the money where I can be sure it will do some good). Even this late in life, I’m still waiting hopefully for lots of people to take the same – much needed – tack. No taxation without (real) representation should be our unbudging determination. Then we might hope to get rid of the sort of lying, toxic, state-propaganda beeb rubbish that ‘Panorama’ typifies.

      Dimbleby seems to be a more reliable-goodthinker beeb-trusty even than John Simpson, The Liberator of Kabul (another cast-iron-solid useful-media-idiot to the English-raj class) And this man is a second-generation Dimblefart, to boot. Who of my generation doesn’t remember pere Richard Dimbleby’s hushed, arse-kissing tones as he trustily commentated for the beeb some show or other of the permanent Windsor circus…?

      15
      • Rhisiart Gwilym says

        PS: Should have added: Well done, Kit! An excellent, comprehensive demolition job on this rotten, attempted-but-failed Consent Manufacturing shite-storm from Dimblefart.

        17
        • “Shakedown 1979
          Cool kids never have the time
          On a live wire right up off the street
          You and I should meet
          June bug skipping like a stone
          With the headlights pointed at the dawn
          We were sure we’d never see an end to it all
          And I don’t even care to shake these zipper blues
          And we don’t know just where our bones will rest
          To dust, I guess;
          forgotten and absorbed
          To the earth below ..

          Double cross the vacant and the bored
          They’re not sure just what we have in store
          Morphine city slippin’ dues down to see
          That we don’t even care as restless as we are
          We feel the pull in the land of a thousand guilts
          And poured cement, lamented and assured
          To the lights and towns below
          Faster than the speed of sound
          Faster than we thought we’d go
          Beneath the sound of hope
          Justine never knew the rules
          Hung down with the freaks and ghouls
          No apologies ever need be made ..

          I know you better than you fake it, to see
          That we don’t even care to shake these zipper blues
          And we don’t know just where our bones will rest
          To dust, I guess;
          forgotten and absorbed
          To the earth below

          The street heats the urgency of now,
          As you see there’s no one around ..”

          Smashing Pumpkins

          http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/smashing-pumpkins-1979-is-still-the-greatest-music-video-of-all-time-2315179

          ‘1979’ was the year i adopted your simple solution , Gwilym ,
          of not paying ever one cent to the BBC :-

          The same year the Aral Sea started to disappear & TRB’s “Winter of 79” ..

          Life really is so simple, when you understand it ..

          Cease financing AAA …
          (AshkenaziApartheidArrogance)

          AKA – Like d’KKK, no damn difference –
          if you pay to the BBC you may as well also sign upto the

          KUKU KLUX KLAN ..

          R.U. Blind ?

          Smashing Pumpkins a timeless reminder for We2 / US3 / & OFFG 😉

    • Seamus Padraig says

      The German government charges residents more than 200 euros a year for their pathetic propaganda.

  27. Antony says

    Finally a logic explanation for the high salaries at the state run BBC: few journo’s are willing assist this kind of propaganda….

    12
  28. Antony says

    How was the BBC’s Panorama reporting around big moments for Chinese (now lifetime) president Xi or Saudi Arabia’s kings for comparison?

    6
    1
    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Nope! You have been disinformed. As the Chinese have repeatedly stated, Xi has one extra five year term, so far, and is NOT ‘President for Life’. The Western fakestream media sewer ignored them, of course, relying as ever on racist fear-mongering.

      12
    • JudyJ says

      ‘The West’ never fails to equate long-term political appointment (even when it comprises consecutive short-term periods of elected office) with corruption. The simple fact is that few, if any, Western countries have themselves experienced a hugely successful, capable and popular leader so they respond out of incredulity and cynicism (wrapped up with a dose of envy), with their only possible explanation being corruption. Hugely popular? Hugely successful? Surely that can’t be…it’s unnatural, such people don’t (and shouldn’t) exist in a democratic society! And even if they do, isn’t it unfair that they don’t give anyone else a chance, even if it means appointing truly corrupt or incompetent nobodies in their place and completely ruining any progress made?

      11
      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        As far as I am aware, Putin does not lie when addressing his people. He actually gives considered and rational answers to questions when interviewed. Here, in Austfailure, the liar is King, in politics, business parasitism and fakestream reality distortion. Our political masters, as scabrous a collection of the worst specimens of the genus Homo as can be imagined, without frightening oneself, lie and lie and lie and lie again. For variety they ‘twist the truth’ into pretzels, or disinform by omission, or one or other of the numerous techniques honed by their type over the ages. When not disinforming, they peddle hate and fear, and foment and foster greed and self-interest.

        10
  29. Paul Barbara says

    I read somewhere recently, that an English football supporter took an 18-hour sleeper train, which set him back £20!

  30. Baron says

    An excellent write-up, Kit, thank you, it demonstrates well the trumpeted ‘objectivity’ of the BBC.

    Two points:

    The comparison of a country GDP in US dollars doesn’t furnish the true ranking of the world countries relative strength, a far better measure is GDP in purchasing power parity dollars (GDP PPP$) as one pays for a cup of tea, or a fighter plane in dollars in the US, roubles in Russia, Yen in Japan …

    Imagine the following: Corbyn gets to number10 with a commanding majority, there follows a massive outflow of capital (fear of exchange controls), the sterling dives 50% against the dollar.

    The fall in sterling would result in the same reduction in the UK’s GDP in dollars even though as the pound’s sinking nothing really changes in the UK at all, any changes in growth, inflation, unemployment are yet to come, and these will largely depend on how the UK Government responds to the weak sterling. If measured in PPP dollars, however, the UK GDP remains as it was before the fall in sterling.

    This isn’t relevant just for Russia, but other countries, too e.g. China in particular. If you google for the countries GDP ranking in PPP dollars (world GDP PPP) you’ll see not only that China’s national income (for this is what GDP is) comes top in the last year for which figures are available, Russia ranks above the UK by some margin.

    Those who keep quoting the GDP in US dollars do so because it suits their desire to belittle Russia, which is fine for their purposes, but it’s essentially delusional, it doesn’t help to develop policies that are needed to boost the GDP in local currency, it’s this that matters both for the State (to buy tanks, fighter planes) and the people (to live well).

    The other point is about ‘The Rain’, the Russian TV station broadcasting over the Net, it has over 150,000 subscribers, it costs some £8 per months (Baron used to subscribe, gave up, they’re more progressive than the BBC), it hammers Putin and his Administration 24/7, (also devotes airtime to some BBC’s programmes, you can well imagine which ones). The reporters and some of the analysts are excellent, all young, intelligent, some quite witty.

    If you speak Russian, click on the link below, (one can read what they’re broadcasting, it’s video that’s on subscription).

    Why is it nobody ever mentions this channel? It’s understandable the MSM poodles don’t, but it isn’t mentioned in this excellent piece either, together with the Navalny’s channel and others.

    https://tvrain.ru

    • mark says

      Some good points there. If you take PPP into account, Russia’s economy is slightly smaller than Germany.
      The attack on the rouble orchestrated by the US reduced the exchange rate against the $ from 30 to 80. It has since risen back to around 50.
      The US $20 trillion economy is grossly distorted and inflated. 40% of it is unproductive financial speculation – shuffling around bits of derivatives toilet paper and pretending they are worth billions. Another 17% is “healthcare”, aka price gouging by the insurance and drugs monopolies. An ambulance journey is charged at $5,000 and a pill that costs cents to produce is priced at $750. All this produces an inflated GDP figure. Another $1,136 billion (true figure) is the current military budget (compared to Russia’s current $47 billion, less than the UK.) You could tell a similar story about the UK economy. $23 TRILLION, $23,000,000,000,000, has officially “gone missing” from the military budget and can’t be accounted for.

  31. What I get from this article is that Dimbleby must be a sly double agent. While he intones the prescribed anti Russia message he actually provides evidence of the opposite.

    19
    • Could be, I suppose, but, frankly, I don’t think he’s bright enough for that.
      All that cosiness and cuddliness has finally reached the centre of his head, and it’s pretty obvious that his rudimentary conscience is not in the least bothered by leaking drivel 24/7…

  32. I caught the last part of the David Dimbleby curtain-call (he’s retiring thank God) and I spluttered when he talked about the rich magnates in Russia living at the expense of the poor peasants (he did not quite put it like that). The Dimbleby Dynasty of Richard, David and Jonathan have been presenting their, or their masters’, opinions from the very early days of the BBC.

    According to one MSM outlet (Express) David has a £1.5 million house and a few more assets including accruals from the sale of his family business of regional newspapers for a cool £12 million some 17 years ago. History will show that his swansong “Putin’s Russian with David Dimbleby” at the time of the World Cup what a mean-minded hypocrite the man really is.

    31
    • JudyJ says

      Another example of how arrogant and full of his own self-importance Dimbleby is, was his closing words to the Question Time broadcast the week preceding this ‘Panorama Special’. He did the usual “Next week we’ll be in ….” but then added – a propos of nothing – something to the effect of “And on Wednesday you might like to tune in to a Panorama Special I am presenting on ‘Putin’s Russia’ “. Such smug self-promotion and (obviously) taking the opportunity to ratchet up awareness of the BBC’s continual anti-Putin message might just about have been excusable if there had been any debate in QT in which Putin or Russia were mentioned but there hadn’t been.

  33. Jen says

    Thanks Kit, for having to watch such drivel FIVE times so we don’t have to watch it once.

    You need a holiday as well as a shower.

    I guess it’s important to be aware of whatever idiocy the BBC and its so-called “progressive” cohorts come up with, similar to firefighters having to stamp out breakouts in different spots in a large forest to stop them from joining up and turning into a conflagration.

    26
  34. Gwyn says

    I committed the heinous crime (on a World Cup comment thread at the Guardian) of suggesting that maybe, just maybe, people going to Russia for the WC would encounter things which were contrary to the constant Russophobia spewed forth daily by our lovely mainstream media. I was, of course, immediately labelled a Putinbot.

    The sheer predictability and repetition of the anti-Putin/anti-Russia comments on such threads is evidence (as though any were needed) of the way gullible people swallow the propaganda to which they’re subjected.

    Many thanks to Kit (and other contributors) and Off-G for this article and others like it, which are a very welcome antidote to the grotesque lies and distortions of the government stenographers, I mean, MSM ”journalists.”

    36
    • rtj1211 says

      The most disgusting thing about the WC and Russia bashing is that the DM and BBC, who ranted for months telling Brits not to go, have journalists there on paid jollies. 300 BBC employees eating out every night on taxpayer funded expenses after telling taxpayer what a hellhole Russia is.

      If you write foaming at the mouth rants to Jezza about this, all the journos follow my sporting line within hours. No doubt within 3 days they will be back to the proaganda scripts.

      It really is the height of disgustingness Martin Samuel of DM being in Russia. The hooligans DM all warned us about should beat him up so brutally, then they should post pictures of his unconcious head all over the net.

      As for BBC employees, any travelling first class and staying in four star hotels or higher should be shot dead remorselessly. None of them should be there, as official BBC propaganda to their funders was ‘Stay away from this hellhole of mafia criminals, uncontrollable hooligans and unwelcoming surly downtrodden people!’

      They should pay the ultimate price for their despicable hypocrisy.

      This freeloading moralising hectoring bunch of amoral parasites have no place on the earth, no right to human rights, nothing.

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      • In fairness, on the games I have watched the commentators and pundits on the BBC and ITV have not said a bad word about Russia. In fact they have been full of praise for the stadia and cities. They didn’t all go to public school and Oxbridge, apparently …

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      A Fraudian presstitute turned on Serbia after their loss to Switzerland, with two KLA tragics in the Swiss team. Among the usual lying about ‘Serbian genoc9ide’ against the Albanians, the scum-bag got a kick in against Russia. It appears that all Eastern Orthodox are fair game for the Fraudian hate-mongers.

      10
  35. Mulga Mumblebrain says

    Chomsky and Herman said it all in ‘Manufacturing Consent’ nearly thirty years ago. The Western fakestream media is a propaganda system for the rulers of those economies (there being no societies as Thatcher proclaimed, correctly, in capitalist neo-feudal kakistocracies), and almost every particle of their content is twisted to advance the ideological and economic interests of that caste.
    The situation today is vastly worse that in 1991. I cannot think of any fakestream media presstitute in Austfailure, or what I see of the UK and USA, who is not a rabid propagandist. Some very few, like Monbiot, still preach slightly scandalous truths about neo-liberalism, but have well and truly sold out to the Empire in regard to geo-politics, the real focus of elite command and control.
    Those years have seen the near total collapse of diversity of opinion in the fakestream media. Now EVERY topic is presented in straight Groupthink terms, with ‘panels’ or ‘guests’ squawking in unison with the presstitute presenters. Occasionally a dissenting voice may, somehow, appear, to not just the bemusement of the presstitute involved as interrogator, but often to their plain fear, as if these Thought Crimes may infect the presstitute, by association, robbing them of their ideological acceptability, and ending their future employment prospects(certainly in the dominant Murdoch cancer).
    Oddly enough, these often, increasingly often, raving and hysterical (particularly in print, where these creatures are less restrained)propagandists, still loudly proclaim their own ineffably great virtues, as ‘journalists’ in a ‘Free Press’ or media, when that is so plainly fictitious one fears for their sanity. They fulminate against RT, where actual debates occur, still, and where the opinions are at least cogent and backed by facts, to the extent that the appearance of one Russian commenter who appears on the excellent Crosstalk, on the Government owned but Murdochite controlled ABC led to a little frenzy of outrage. And don’t get them raving on about the ‘fake news’ on the dreaded Internet, at places like this. All controlled by Putin, of course.
    An excruciating example of the propaganda work recently has been a three part ‘report’ on Evil Puti’s machinations to control ‘US democracy’, elect his puppet Trump and generally do all manner of wickednesses from his lair in the Kremlin. It was presented by one of the ABC’s resident feminazis, on the Four Corners program, more or less our ‘Horizon’, and it was so bad it was laughable. Every sordid fantasy of the Russiagate loonies was regurgitated, with innumerable ‘people say’, the anonymous, contentless, attributions so beloved of the paranoid lunatics still ferociously festering over Clinton’s defeat.
    The presstitute in question, whose name eludes me, ‘interviewed’ Clinton as she swept through the country recently, preaching hatred of China as she slithered by. It was a real exercise in feminazi groveling to that great American ‘role model’ for all women bent on a glittering career in graft, lying and blood-letting, and thus the Putinophobia is only to be expected. The heavy reliance on notoriously fanatic Putin-haters like Gessen, Browder, Harding, Isikoff and UK spooks, whose words are, naturally, unquestionable, is typical of the genre. No attempt was made, at all, to present any alternative interpretation of events, but the facts themselves were pretty hard to twist properly at many times, so it really fizzled, IF you know the facts. As hate propaganda for a dullard, pig ignorant and thoroughly brainwashed upper middle-brow audience, it no doubt served its purpose. At least we have found our own Rachel Madcow.

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  36. Lizards in control? says

    Britain:

    Your democracy turned out to be rotten to the core.
    You are the authors of a very dark chapter in the history of mankind.
    Your Royal events are merely acts of deception.
    Your so-called democratic institutions are instrumental in spreading terrorism worldwide.

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  37. archie1954 says

    you’ve heard of fake news? Well this BBC pseudo documentary is evidence of such chicanery! Why would a vaunted state run media source subvert its own bona fides to run a charade like this one? It doesn’t make sense yet it certainly is an example of leading the populace by the nose. Not only is the BBC destroying its reputation it is also making the world more dangerous. What possible benefit is there in that?

    17
    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      What ‘reputation’? The BBC has always been a propaganda sewer for the ruling UK elite.

      18
  38. Francis Lee says

    To be fair there was an excellent documentary on Panorama in 2013, ‘The War Party’ an analysis of the neo-conservative clique running US foreign policy, available on youtube and well worth watching. Those interviewed included inter alia Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, Mayrev Wurmser. They were not given an easy ride and the understated subtext of the programme was ‘who are these crazy fools’.

    But to return to the point at issue. It is ‘highly likely’ that the British media, either public or privately funded, are ever going to have a good thing to say about Russia or anything Russian. That is a part of the British establishment’s DNA. But even if what they say was true – which of course it isn’t – it would not, from a realist perspective, matter one iota in terms of a diplomatic and inter-state relationships. Frankly it would not matter if Putin had babies for breakfast since the internal affairs of a particular state has not been a cause of conflict or regime change since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 which ended the wars of the reformation. Under this system which recognised that states existed within recognised borders; each states sovereignty was recognised by others, and principles of non-interference were agreed. States might be monarchies of republics, and permanent state interest was the organizing principle of international relations. WAr was not eliminated but it was mitigated by diplomacy and balance of power politics. However, according to neo-conservative, liberal-interventionist logic countries which repress their own people should be subject to ‘regime change’. All very fuddy-duddy and obsolete.

    From the post-modernist perspective ideology of this militarised-interventionist liberalism is stated as follows:

    ”Dictators and human rights abusers … can not be allowed to hide behind the principles of sovereignty to protect themselves as they committed crimes against humanity … Under these circumstances outside powers’ (the EUSA/NATO) ”acting in the name of human rights and democratic freedoms had not just the right BUT THE OBLIGATION to intervene.” (Francis Fukuyama – State Building)

    I don’t like your country and the way you conduct your internal affairs so I’m going to bomb it. That’s how lunatic it is. Moreover, we also have to take into account precisely who are the good dictators – Saudi Arabia, Israel – and the bad dictators – Libya, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria … the list is extensive.

    Whether these inconsistencies are apparent to the true believers or not is a matter of conjecture. I suspect that they are not. These people do not frequent the same universe as the rest of humanity. They live in a permanent ideological bubble. Orwell correctly diagnosed these ideologues as being ”not far from clinical schizophrenia living quite happily amid dreams of power and conquest which have no connection with the physical world.”

    19
  39. Kathy says

    It seems like there are so many great comedies on the BBC these days. I only watched out of a gruesome sense of the inevitable and to laugh at the non subtlety of the propagandizing.
    I feel almost embarrassed for them. Trying so hard and all. The desperation of it all. Dear old Dumbleby so dependable and safe. Them pesky Russians. The hypocrisy grows to a crescendo and it all peters out like a damp squib. Panorama what an institution!.

    19
  40. Dani says

    “Since 2000, Russian GDP has risen from $195bn to $1283bn. Prior to the sanctions, it was over $2230bn”. GDP is bigger now, while there was small recession due to sanctions its not half of gdp lol, and Russia has been out of it for a while. This is the mistake that everyone makes though usually to say something negative about Russia like “its GDP is smaller than that of Italy”. Of course in reality the GDP has grown despite recession in the beginning of sanctions and you can see this if you look at GDP PPP which accounts for purchasing power. It was $4 trillion and its now $4.1. The reason why nominal GDP appears so much smaller going from 2.3 trillion to little over 1 is simply because of rouble losing its value from ~30 to ~63 now as a result of sanctions so when you convert GDP from roubles to usd it appears much smaller. This didnt affect prices in Russia that much since usd is hardly used and since Russia had the 3rd largest export surplus in the world last year it was actually good for economy in general and there are conspiracies that Kremlin is now keeping it artificaly low. This is the same reason why its bad for japanese companies when yen is strong as they do a lot of exports. Of course it is negative for Russians who travel outside and have to convert to USD but so far there hasnt been any big problems. On the other hand tourists in World Cup right now can act like little millionaires.because everything is so much cheaper if you convert from usd, eur or pounds and you can find tweets from people saying exactly stuff like that how everything is cheap.

    One thing you didnt mention in your stats is Russian forex reserves, especially because it involves everyones favorite, George Soros. In early 2016 Soros wrote in Project Syndicate that “Russian regime” will go bankrupt in 2017 and out of its reserves because they were indeed going down at the time due so sanctions. To make story short, Russian reserves were in early 2016 around $370 billion when Soros made his great prediction. In June 2018 they are $460 billion. https://www.cbr.ru/eng/hd_base/mrrf/mrrf_7d/

    22
  41. This is First Rate writing. It brings to mind the last ‘obvious’ period of ‘Anti-Russian’ onslaught in the 50s/60s. Where e.g the Readers Digest always has 1, sometime 2 articles / hit jobs on USSR, that were filled with the same smug, fact free sleaze. That also implied we should be grateful to be in a ‘democracy’ and grateful to those who sustained it. Even in my schoolboy days, it felt like sleaze. It lead to the search for a wider truth; eventually to supporting OffG. More power to your pen(s) 🙂

    27
    • Still remember an RD story about brave Tibetan ‘rebels’ who blew up Chinese military trucks (turned out they’d been trained by the CIA) and another from CIA director Allen Dulles expounding on domino theory, ick.

      15
      1
    • rilme says

      ” More power to your pen(s)”
      I’ve got to get some reading glasses.

  42. Very good piece Kit. I hope all your effort was really worth it: you could have just said “Dimbleby’s a tosser,” we would have nodded in assent and then got on with more important things in life. But no, it’s also important that these things are pointed out and shared as widely as possible. In case you didn’t see it, medialens also had a good piece today:

    http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/873-enlightened-corners-the-russia-2018-world-cup.html

    Thank you.

    23
    • On the other hand, it’s good to have this database of information to hand when we are called upon to go into some detail as to WHY he’s a tosser, don’t you think?

Please note the opinions expressed in the comments do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or of OffG as a whole