This Week in the New Normal #58

Our successor to This Week in the Guardian, This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.

1. Iraq War: 20 Years On

Sunday marked 20 years since the first bombs were dropped on Baghdad, signalling the start of the UK/US invasion of Iraq. Today is two decades since the ground operation – unironically titled “Operation Iraqi Freedom” – began in earnest.

We don’t need to re-hash two decades of evidence here, the facts all show the war was entirely illegal under international law, that it was launched for the sake of oil, influence and profits for arms dealers. That the politicians who claimed it was about security, WMDs or democracy were liars and charlatans who personally profited from the deaths of 100,000s of people and that – to date – nobody has been held to account for any of it.

Nobody with any kind of rational mind could read all the evidence and come to any other conclusion.

And yet the little men with sponges have been so busy this weekend, attempting to re-write history everyone still remembers.

The most egregious example is probably John Rentoul writing in the Independent, who not only defends the war – and especially UK involvement in it – but also intentionally understates the destruction by claiming “thousands died”, which is true but also…kinda a lie.

I mean, you could rightfully state “dozens of people died in World War II”, but unless you happen to append that it was in fact millions of dozens, your audience might rightly consider you to be somewhat downplaying the bloodshed.

I won’t sport with your patience by relating his arguments in full, needless to say, they are universally poor. He even went so far as to defend the war’s legality on twitter, claiming it can’t be illegal because no court ever said it was.

Disturbingly delusional or pathetically disingenuous? You be the judge.

2. UK launches “Emergency Alert System”

Yesterday the UK government announced a trial for its nationwide mobile phone emergency alerts system. On April 23rd, every cell phone in the country will receive a test message accompanied by a loud siren sound. Your phone will not be usable until you have acknowledged the notification.

For some reason, they have included not only the ability to turn off the setting, but also instructions on how to do so:

People can opt out by searching their device settings for emergency alerts and then turning off severe and extreme ones. Officials say the alerts could be life-saving, though, advising against switching them off.

…which makes me think the test isn’t so much of the system, but of the response to the system.

BONUS: Pointless gesture of the week

The International Criminal Court allegedly issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin on Friday, supposedly for trafficking children from Ukraine to Russia. However, since neither Ukraine nor Russia are members of the ICC (neither are the US, Israel or China, incidentally), it is entirely performative and means nothing. In fact, doing so on the anniversary of the Iraq invasion was likely designed to prompt very intense discussion on Western hypocrisy.

It’s not all bad…

The French can always (well, mostly always) be relied upon to take good deal less sh*t than anyone else. After protesting a proposed law to increase pension age, they protested even harder when Macron used emergency powers to force the law through without facing a vote.

After attempting to ban protests, Macron is now facing a potential no-confidence vote.

Speaking of protests, next Saturday there is a planned demonstration in London on March 25h on behalf of those injured/killed by vaccines.

There’s also this, which made us laugh…

And so did this…


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention TIME and Bill Gates preparing the ground for “the next pandemic”, or the incipient arrest of Donald Trump.

There’s a lot of change in the air, a lot of agendas in the works, if you see a headline, article, post or interview you think is a sign of the times, post it in the comments, email us or share it on social media and we will add it to the next edition.


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