All posts filed under: Russia

“New Knowledge” and the same old same old

Most of us in the UK-based alternate media are familiar with the Integrity Initiative by now. A disinformation campaign funded by the foreign office through the (very dodgy sounding) Institute for Statecraft. Their job was to smear people opposing Theresa May’s government – be they foreign or domestic. Less well-known in this country is New Knowledge, a direct US-based parallel of the Integrity Initiative. They’ve been conducting “counter propaganda” and “social media experiments” in the US since 2015, but only just hit the headlines.

Syria, Then and Now: Liberated of Western-backed Terrorism

Max Parry In a surprise turn of events, last month U.S. President Donald J. Trump made the abrupt unilateral announcement that American troops would begin to withdraw from Syria. The unexpected decision provoked the wrath of the foreign policy establishment and bipartisan ‘war party’ in Washington who immediately denounced it as a premature, reckless move that would lead to a resurgence of ISIS. As anticipated, the Beltway blob also claimed it was another sign of Trump’s perceived untold allegiance to Russian President Vladimir Putin. None of the warmongers in Washington would dare admit that the real gains made against ISIS were by the Syrian army with Russian air support, let alone that their own policies were responsible for its manifestation. Sure enough, a suicide bombing in Kurdish-controlled Manbij killed four American personnel just a month later and Daesh, which has a history of taking credit for attacks perpetrated by others, immediately claimed responsibility. It is almost as if the strategic asset themselves did not desire an American pullback— could it be another ‘false flag’ to …

The Fetishization of the Corporate Media

CJ Hopkins So the corporate media have gone and done it again. As they have, repeatedly, for the last two and half years, they shook the earth with a “bombshell” story proving beyond any reasonable doubt that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton, or at least committed an impeachable felony in connection with something to do with the Russians, or Ukrainians, or other Slavic persons … which story turned out to be inaccurate, or not entirely accurate, or a bunch of horseshit. This time it was BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold, “a reporter with a checkered past” (i.e., a history of inventing his sources) who broke the “bombshell” Russiagate story that turned out to be a bunch of horseshit. Leopold, and his colleague Anthony Cormier, reported that Trump had directed his attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about plans to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow, thus suborning perjury and obstructing justice. Their sources for this “bombshell” story were allegedly “two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation …

Buzzfeed, Question Time & the purpose of Fake News

in the last two months both Buzzfeed and The Guardian have issued “BREAKING NEWS” stories that were based on anonymous sources….both these stories were shown to be untrue in less than 24 hours.The important question is: Why does the media tell lies, if they know they will be revealed as such?

Lies and Damned Lies: Australia, the US and the “Syria Withdrawal”

Few of us would claim we never told a lie, but neither that we did so enthusiastically. Just the innocent deception of our own children with the Santa Claus fairy tale is a lie, even if told for the most altruistic of reasons. Perhaps that illustrates the conundrum, and need for some distinction between “innocent lies” and egregious ones, and those in between.

MH17: JIT’s expiring mandate

Three and half years on, why are there still so many unanswered questions? Célia Schmidt The year is ending and so is the mandate of the Joint International Team investigating the downing of flight MH17. It’s time to provide the results of the prosecutors’ work. No need to say how it’s important to identify and pursue those responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on 17 July 2014 in Ukraine. Otherwise, the perpetrators will feel like they have impunity. But as the investigation progresses, more questions to the JIT and more doubts about their ability to find responsible for the death of 298 passengers arise. Loopholes in the JIT report At the press conference in May 2018, the international investigators presented evidence that, according to them, implicated the Russian army in the MH17 crash. From the beginning, this theory, quite realistic indeed, has been the only one developed by the JIT. But should not prosecutors consider all the possible scenarios about the circumstances of the disaster? There is no doubt that a massive Russian …

The Year of Putin-Nazi Paranoia

As my regular readers will probably recall, according to my personal, pseudo-Chinese zodiac, 2017 was “The Year of the Headless Liberal Chicken.” This year, having given it considerable thought, and having consulted the I Ching, and assorted other oracles, I’m designating 2018 “The Year of Putin-Nazi Paranoia.”

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria” – Is Trump telling the truth?

Eric Zuesse At 11:52AM on Wednesday, December 19th, CBS News headlined “White House orders Pentagon to pull troops from Syria immediately” and reported that, “Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a veteran of the US Air Force who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and now serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said it’s ‘simply not true’ [which Trump, had said there, that] ISIS is defeated in Syria.” CBS News didn’t indicate which political Party Kinzinger represents, but he is a Republican, and he represents the rural Illinois 16th Congressional District, where Donald Trump had beaten Hillary Clinton by a 17% margin in 2016. So, Kinzinger is an anti-Trump Republican on this matter. He’s credible about that, not partisan about it. Who is telling the truth, Trump’s “We have defeated ISIS in Syria” or Kinzinger’s contrary, and what explains the contradiction between the accounts by Trump and Kinzinger? As the CBS News report says, “Two weeks ago, Special Envoy Brett McGurk said the end of ISIS will be a long-term initiative, and “nobody is declaring mission accomplished.” CBS’s …

UPDATED: Maria Butina Endgame

I wrote in some detail in Off-Guardian on 29 July about the 15 July arrest by the FBI in Washington DC of a 29 year old Russian national, a postgraduate student in Washington DC and gun enthusiast, Maria Butina.

I was not expecting Maria Butina to be still languishing in solitary confinement in a high-security prison in Virginia awaiting trial as an agent of foreign influence, over four months later. Yet this is what has happened to this unfortunate young aspiring lobbyist for better US-Russian relations.

Discuss: Kerch Strait and Azov Sea Tensions

The Guardian has a an opinion piece today, titled: The EU’s response to Russia must be bold and unanimous. It is written by German politician Norbert Röttgen, head of the Bundestag foreign affairs committee…and it is simply massively dishonest and one-sided. The “mainstream” narrative on Ukraine has been corrected to death in the alternate media, there is no need to go back over old ground, suffice to say, here are just few of the relevent facts which Mr Röttgen leaves out of his article: The Kerch Strait is incredibly shallow, it has a canal carved into to the sea bed to allow deep-draft ships to pass. Using the canal requires a pilot, and ships can only go in single file. The Ukrainian naval ships ignored these rules. Ships using the Kerch strait are required to give 72 hours notice, due to the narrowness of the passage and the shallowness of the sea. These rules have been in place for years. Ukraine ignored them. There have been calls – both inside and outside Ukraine – to …

The EU and the warning signs of Fascism

Things are spiralling out of control in Europe, faster than many predicted. Outside of Brexit, there is strong anti-EU feeling in Hungary, Spain, Italy, Greece and France. The EU is in danger of crumbling, and people afraid of losing power are prone to extreme acts of dictatorial control.

How long before the EU truly becomes the authoritarian force that people from both ends of the political spectrum have always feared?

Bleak See on the Black Sea

Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarević Following the latest events in and around the Black Sea, two old questions are reappearing. Both are inviting us for a repeated elaboration: If a Monroe doctrine (about the hemispheric security exclusivity) is recognised at one corner of the globe, do we have a moral right or legal ground to negate it at the other corner? This irrespectively from the fact that Gorbachev-Yeltsin Russia unilaterally renounced the similar explication – the Brezhnev doctrine about irreversibility of communist gains. Clearly, the ‘might-makes-right’ as a conduct in international relations cannot be selectively accepted. Either it is acknowledged to all who can effectively self-prescribe and maintain such a monopoly of coercion, or it is absolutely (revoked and) condemned as contrary to behaviour among the civilised nations. Next to the first question is a right of pre-emption. It is apparent that within the Black Sea theatre, Russia acts in an unwilling, pre-emptive and rather defensive mode. That is not a regime change action on the other continent following the rational of extra security demand by …

Andre Vltchek Interviewed in L’Antidiplomatico

Alessandro Bianchi’s interview with Andre Vltchek, originally published in L’Antidiplomatico. You can read both parts 1 and 2 in the original Italian here and here. Alessandro Bianchi Let’s start from today’s crisis in the Sea of Azov. The European Union and NATO have given full support to Ukraine after the violation of Russian sovereignty by two Ukrainian vessels. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gave his full support to Poroshenko, who declared martial law. What does a country like Italy risk in continuing its accession to NATO? Andre Vltchek: Russia intercepted three Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait. The ships had, even according to Ukrainian authorities, several intelligence officers on board, as well as a number of light arms and machine guns. It was clear provocation, as the ships refused to inform Russian authorities about their intentions, and behaved in an aggressive manner. They were passing through Russian territorial waters. Ukrainian intelligence officers were obviously in charge of the entire operation. So, what is really so ‘alarming’ for the West? The ships were stopped, some crew …

Uber-loser Poroshenko goes “full Saakashvili”

by Saker, November 30, 2018, via the Unz Review Petro Poroshenko is in deep trouble. His ratings have been in the single-digit range in spite of a vast propaganda effort, and his latest attempt to create a salvific crisis involving the usual “Russian aggression” has not only failed but appears to be backfiring. It is now becoming abundantly clear that the Ukronazi provocation was not only breathtakingly stupid and irresponsible, but also breathtakingly poorly planned and executed. The documents seized by the FSB on the Ukrainian ships show that the Ukrainian captains were given the order to “covertly” sneak under the Kerch bridge. I have no idea what the Ukronazi junta leaders were thinking, maybe they were drunk or terrified to tell Poroshenko that this was a suicidal mission (most likely he was too drunk to care anyway), but the fact that they could even imagine that three old boats could somehow sneak around the Crimean Peninsula and then covertly pass under the Kerch bridge is just amazing (as is the fact that the crews …

DISCUSS: the “Kerch Strait crisis”

Today, Sunday November 25, an incident happened in the Black Sea that threatens to seriously escalate the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Details are still unclear but it seems vessels of the Ukrainian navy were fired upon by Russian ships near the Kerch Strait and some Ukrainian service men were injured. Russia says the Ukrainian vessels were behaving in a “dangerous” manner and ignoring “legal demands to stop” . Ukraine claims they were simply attacked without any provocation while attempting to legally navigate the Kerch Strait en route to Mariupol. It appears the Ukraine government may use the incident to impose martial law. How helpful of the Russians to go ballistic for no reason (according to Alec and the MSM) and give #Poroshenko an excuse to declare martial law just when he needs one… https://t.co/5zGuM6VAfH — OffGuardian (@OffGuardian0) November 25, 2018 NATO is responding predictably so far #NATO is closely monitoring developments in the #AzovSea & #KerchStrait, & we are in contact with the #Ukrainian authorities. We call for restraint & de-escalation. Read my …

Building Bridges vs. Buying Bombs

Eric Zuesse China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” is famous as an extension of their domestic infrastructure investments, but Russia is also investing heavily in infrastructure. Both countries need to do it in order to improve the future for their respective populations, and both Governments have avoided the Western development model of going heavily into debt in order to pay for creating and maintaining infrastructure. Both are, in fact, exceptionally low-debt Governments. According to the “Global Debt Clock” at Economist, China has a public debt/GDP of 17.7%, and Russia’s is 8.0%. For comparison, America’s is 93.6%. (Others are: Germany 85.8%, Spain 91.2%, Italy 122.6%, Greece 147.1%, India 54.2%, Pakistan 47.0%, and Brazil 55.0%.) The United States isn’t going into public debt in order to finance building or maintenance of infrastructure, but instead to finance expansions of its military, which is already (and by far) the world’s largest (in terms of its costs, but not of its numbers of troops). While the U.S. Government now spends around half of the world’s military expenditures and plans to conquer …

Whither Russiagate?

Philip Giraldi Two years have passed since the 2016 presidential election. Allegations that foreign interference had influenced the result, perhaps decisively, began to surface even as the last ballots were being counted. Against all odds underdog Donald J. Trump had been elected president and the Establishment, which denigrated him throughout the campaign, had to find a scapegoat to explain their failure to elect the preferred candidate. The scapegoat turned out to be Russia. The Robert Mueller led inquiry into the election has been running since May 2017. It has been tasked with determining whether the Trump campaign colluded corruptly with the Russian government to influence the outcome of the election. It has worked hard to delegitimize the president without that being its stated objective and has had a certain measure of success in doing just that. But apart from a couple of low-level convictions for perjury, Mueller has come up with nothing that convincingly demonstrates that Moscow had some kind of plan to disrupt the elections and thereby damage American democracy. There was, to be …

WATCH: Who Are These Russians And Why Do We Hate Them?

In his film, Regis Tremblay examines the history of US-Russian relations, talks to ordinary Russian people, deconstructs propaganda and attempts to answer the question – Who are these Russians? And Why Do We Hate Them? The escalating downturn of US relations with Russia has made the world a more dangerous place than at any time during the Cold War, including during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This film explores the many reasons why the US foreign policy establishment since the end of World War II hates all things Russian. With the exception of John Kennedy who sought to end nuclear weapons and to seek peace with Russia, every president since has used Russia as a threat to American interests, security and Democracy. Is Putin a thug and an assassin? Or he is a great, patriotic leader of a country that was nearly destroyed by President George Herbert Walker Bush’s CIA good old boys, Bill Clinton and the CIA asset Boris Yeltsin? But, perhaps the greatest fear is that Russia has regained its superpower status and because …

The mega war game “Trident Juncture 2018”

This is the second of the two articles we are publishing today on NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018 military exercise being held October 25-November 7, 2018. by Manlio Dinucci, October 25, 2018, via VoltaireNet Far from being a simple military exercise, the war game « Trident Juncture 2018 » aims at eradicating the ideal of neutrality and press-ganging the Nordic countries into the US crusade against Russia. The states which are participating either believe or will come to believe in the imaginary danger of the « Russian peril ». US Marines disembarked from convertibles and helicopters from the amphibious attack ship « Iwo Jima », and « secured » Keflavik airport in Island, where Poseidon P-8A aircraft had arrived from Sigonella to take part in the hunt for enemy submarines. That was the start, on 17 October, of the NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2018, whose principal phase will be taking place from 25 October to 7 November in Central and Eastern Norway, in the areas adjacent to the North Atlantic (as far as Iceland) and the …

Military Escalation in Europe Is Like Runaway Train: It’s Time to Slow It Down

This is the first of the two articles we are publishing today on NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018 military exercise being held October 25-November 7, 2018. by Arkady Savitsky, October 29, 2018, via Strategic Culture Much has been said about the Trident Juncture 2018 NATO exercise being held in the immediate vicinity of Russia’s borders. This is the largest training event since the Cold War, but it’s only part of a broader picture, in which military war preparations targeting Russia are in full swing. Exercises are being coordinated, along with infrastructure facilities that are being built, expanded, and modernized. For instance, last week the construction of an aircraft maintenance hangar at Estonia’s Amari Air Base, the first military project fully funded by the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), was completed. The event was celebrated by US and Estonian air force officials with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. More than $38 million in EDI funds are being invested in that base. Beyond the training, a joint maintenance facility will also support the NATO aircraft that are conducting air policing in Eastern Europe. The Air Force Times cited US Air Forces …