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Death and Impunity: Iraq Fifteen Years After

It might have made a bit more than a whimper had the US political scene not found itself in yet another paroxysm of the drama known as the Trump White House. Fifteen years before, governments aligning with the dogs of war decided, in defiance of millions of protestors globally, to invade a sovereign state. Papers cheered with blood lust; propagandists and public relations firms were hired to push the politics of regime change in a country that was already hemmed in by sanctions and surveillance.

The invasion of Iraq must, over time, be given its own specific criminal gravity. It sundered the Middle East, it tore at the artificially imposed borders contrived by former colonial masters. It emboldened new foes and generated further disagreements. For generations, chaos will be guaranteed on the heaped folly of the 2003 decision.

“The results are in,” went a sombre Charles P. Pierce for Esquire. “Iraq never recovered. Syria devolved into civil war. We got closer than ever to the inhumane regime in Saudi Arabia, now engaged in mass slaughter in Yemen with weapons we supplied, because there’s never been a problem with that before.”

As Matt Taibbi reflected, the invasion had the element of “awesome drama, made more thrilling by the seemingly obvious craziness of it all.” The subtext was a lack of sensible reason, distorted by the mania that Iraq had somehow become a global threat with a trigger-happy maniac. In place was ample hysteric delight, characterised by the opening phase of the campaign: “Shock and Awe”.

As with the Indochina War, the invasion mirrored an emerging malaise back home. Invading Iraq was “one of the great crimes of this or any age and destined to be a crossroads event in the history of America’s decline”. It was “a cold, calculated, opportunistic power grab, aimed as much at future targets, and even our own population, as at the Iraqi ‘enemy’.”

The US allies who, with unfazed enthusiasm went in with similar destructive intent, were also showing mixed degrees of reflection. In Australia, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd saw a chance to chastise his predecessor, John Howard, for having joined the US-led enterprise. “John Howard’s decision to commit thousands of Australian troops to the invasion of Iraq 15 years ago,” began his opening salvo, “ranks as one of the two great failures of Australian foreign policy since the Second World War.”

Rudd can show periods of sensible reflection. The decision to invade Iraq had to also rank alongside another US-led mission that was doomed: the Vietnam War. Again, the leadership in Canberra felt it logical and automatic that the soldiers of the South Cross should shed blood alongside those of the Stars and Stripes.

In Rudd’s reflection, analysis of legitimacy and interest was lacking. There was no specific Australian take on it, not a consideration of “the credibility of American military strategy to both win the war and secure the peace, as well as the long-term consequences for Australian national interests.”

Being a former diplomat, Rudd’s survey of the grotesque consequences is even deeper than Pierce. Sectarian violence between the Shia majority and Sunni minority was unleashed; Christians, having co-habited with Muslims for some 1,300 years were, were brutally expelled; Iraq was pushed into Iran’s orbit while Iraq duly imploded, becoming the base for regional terrorist influences.

The apologist’s tactic in these instances is one tried in history. We were sincere in inflicting our butcheries; we were solemn in making our errors of judgment. We only did what was appropriate at the time. Even if those weapons of mass destruction had never turned up, Saddam Hussein was vicious, a sadist, murderer and torturer. Never mind those who knew better.

For John Howard, it was a case of making a decision on “available evidence” from Australian intelligence agencies at the time tying the Saddam regime with those ultimately elusive weapons of mass destruction. Howard duly “concluded that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction” and insisted that Rudd place himself in “the shoes of the government at the time”.

In the case of the evangelised Tony Blair of Britain, such ham sincerity is pure theatre, even convincing the likes of Sir John Chilcot, chairman of the public inquiry examining the lead-up to the 2003 invasion. While he was not “straight with the nation” about the reasons for invading Iraq, he was “emotionally truthful”.

As Chilcot explained to the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg last July, “Tony Blair is always and ever an advocate. He makes the most persuasive case he can. Not departing from the truth but persuasion is everything.”

As for President George W. Bush, he remains, along with Howard and Blair, elusive from the judicial bench of any tribunal, foreign or domestic. War criminals have received weighty sentences for less but this triumvirate are at little risk of being apprehended. In the autumn of their lives, they are witnessing a conflagration they happily initiated when in office.


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  1. flohri1754

    A chillingly dark chapter without a doubt … ultimately signifying nothing but more lost money, time, compassion ….

  2. New England Cocky

    A timely reminder that WMD were “Words of Mass Deception” based on CIA “intelligence” functioning for the benefit of “the NE military industrial complex” in the USA (United States of Apartheid). John Howard had never been to war, never been in a front-line conflict situation, never served in the CMF, a ‘cleanskin’ delighting in the power of office to despatch Australian troops to foreign war zones on his own authority of office. No Parliamentary authorisation required!!

    Now after 15 too many years of bleeding the Australian people to prop up US military industries at home and on the battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere else competent Australian troops were required, we now have too many returned soldiers suffering PTSD for no good reason.

    Howard sent Australia to war in Iraq against a so-called dictator who was a protected puppet of the CIA for the benefit of US oil interests.

    When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn??

  3. Matters Not

    Might be worth pointing out that John Bolton, Trump’s new national security advisor, remains an unapologetic cheerleader of the 2003 Iraq war,

    Here we go again? Maybe Iran will be the next on the list? Bolton has said the United States should declare war on both North Korea and Iran.

  4. king1394

    Never letting the truth stand in the way of the dominant propaganda message continues today. The current blaming of Russia for the mysterious chemical poisoning of a double agent and his daughter in London is a convenient example with Julie Bishop in particular stating that there was no other possible explanation than the one that the Russians had clumsily and incompetently attempted to assassinate the man. Of course there are any number of explanations of varying levels of fantasy including that the double agent himself was carrying the poison for some reason or that some agency from almost any country you can name set up the poisoning to create dissension. As one of the results was a hardening of voter support for Putin, maybe it really was some excessively subtle Russian plot.

  5. Zathras

    Like the Iraq saga, the media are likewise complicit in the current anti-Russian propaganda campaign, accepting and echoing everything told to them by politicians and also totally without evidence. There are other voices out there but are kept away from the mainstream media and official announcements.

    In Howard’s case he used the war (and particularly the troops) as a convenient political wedge, labelling all critics as “un-Australian”.

    Looking at the state of the Middle East 15 years later, the million or so dead, the ongoing financial cost, our domestic racial tensions, the inflamed militant Islamists and the resulting global refugee crisis, I think even he knows it was a terrible mistake.

    However, given the ongoing mindset of his successors and a new Madman-In-Chief in the USA, one we are likely to repeat in the years ahead.

  6. Phil

    Howard was then and is still today a weasel of a man. He hasn’t the courage to admit he was wrong. I marched with my grown up children in Sydney along with tens of thousands against Howard’s decision to join the invasion. We knew it was to no avail but we still marched while the weasel prime minister donned his flak jacket and for a moment, no doubt, he felt like a hero.

    Millions of everyday Australians could see through the US and Australian government lies and the swarming propaganda. They saw through it all. So how could the weasel Howard have missed what was so damned obvious to people in the street? I don’t think he was as stupid and gullible as he would like us to think. I believe he too could see the truth but his ideological conservatism ruled his mind and so he allowed himself to swallow the bitter pill of criminal complicity hoping that he might pull it off. He didn’t and millions have suffered and more millions will continue to suffer.

    Howard is the most diminished prime minister we have ever had. His criminality is in no way diminished or off set by any of his other actions in power. He is, in my view a war criminal and I would spit on him if ever i was within spitting distance of him.

    I fear that Turnbull is just as likely to fall into the same trap that Howard fell into when the US calls Australia to join its war with China as it will no doubt do in the not too distant future.

  7. Sean Stinson

    Very easy now for us to rage against the willful and wanton destruction of Iraq under criminal psychopaths Bush, Blair and Howard, just as it’s easy to point the finger at the Trump administration. But why the sudden silence when it comes to Syria? Why the complicit agreement that Assad is a monster and has to go, when his case is scarcely different to that of Gadaffi or Saddam? An Arab nationalist leader who dared to put interests of his people before the demands of global capitalists. Even now three US strike groups are stationed in the red Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean in preparation for an imminent strike on Damascus, as soon as they can invent a reason to do so. Perhaps this plan has been foiled given the Syrian Arab Army’s recent discovery of 400 tons of chemical weapons left behind by western backed rebels in recently liberated areas. 400 TONS. LET THAT SINK IN.

    It’s all well and good to talk about the crimes of Bush, Blair, Howard and now Trump, but to dismiss the fact that Obama doubled down on the scale of these atrocities, initiating new wars in Yemen and Syria and perpetuating ongoing slaughter in at least 5 other Middle Eastern and North African countries is sheer hypocrisy. The only force holding the Middle East together at the present moment is the combined presence of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, a “thuggish regime”, a “totalitarian state” and a “terrorist organisation”, according to the liberal press. Do you see a pattern yet? If you think the horrors of the last 15 years, 2 million dead; 65 million stateless, are the result of a terrible “mistake” then you are seriously deluded.

  8. Sean Stinson

    And if you think the US is in Syria fighting terrorism, explain this:

    “Dozens of Syrian Army soldiers, Iranian-backed militias, and Russian military came under bombardment by the US-Led coalition on Thursday” in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor, reports the Euphrates Post, citing its sources.

    According to Euphrates Post, in Thursday’s attack, the second in the past few weeks, a large number of armored vehicles and tanks of the Syrian Forces were destroyed.

    It is reported that Syrian Armed Forces and allied militias crossed to the east bank of the Euphrates River and established a temporary base near the villages of Khasham and Murat.

    The US-led coalition struck the positions of the Syrian army and allied forces to prevent the possible attack on the area controlled by the Coalition. The US reportedly had to carry out airstrikes because the large number of Syrian troops and armor accumulated on the eastern bank of the Euphrates in violation of previously reached agreements.

    Earlier withdrawal from the area of some of the Syrian Democratic Forces supported by the US could have prompted the Assad forces to make another attempt to capture oil and gas-rich areas from the US-Led Coalition. The Conoco gas field is one of the richest gas deposits in Syria. The field was capture by SDF forces which are supported by the US in September 2017.

    On February 7, in similar circumstances, the US-led coalition forces conducted the strike against the Syrian militia affiliated with Assad in the province of Deir ez Zor. The U.S. coalition said that the blow was struck in response to an attack on the headquarters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). According to Reuters, at least 100 people were killed in the attack while Russian sources provide a much higher number.

  9. Matters Not


    Very easy now for us to rage against the willful and wanton destruction of Iraq under criminal psychopaths Bush, Blair and Howard, just as it’s easy to point the finger at the Trump administration

    Indeed! But I was under the impression that you thought that the Trump administration was going to be so very different to Hilary’s supposed plans. And now we have Bolton, Any chance of an explanation of his rise to prominence? Or perhaps a retreat from what I see as your strongly advanced position in days of yore?

    My position was always along the lines that Trump was a complete nutter. And I believe that the evidence strengthens that view

  10. wam

    The shovel, Sept 2014
    The Australian Labor Party will be packed into a sturdy box and placed in a casual storage facility until the conclusion of the current war in Iraq, it was revealed today.

    The ALP made the decision after it became apparent that it was serving no particular purpose at this point in time.

    On hearing the news, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, “Until this war concludes, we’ll just have two parties saying the same thing, so it makes sense to put one away for now”.

    Labor leader Bill Shorten later released a statement saying “Until this war concludes, we’ll just have two parties saying the same thing, so it makes sense to put one away for now”.

    Come out of the closet, Bill! All is forgiven!!!

  11. Max Gross

    Beautifully, tellingly, chillingly written. If justice existed, the Lying Rodent would now be in prison…

  12. ajogrady

    As I have matured and hopefully become wiser and more thoughtful of what goes on around me I have come to some conclusions. The world would be a better place without pervasive, jingoistic ,rabble rousing patriotism. It has infected the the minds and morals of the western world. It is financed by major corporations,orchestrated by the Main Stream Media and delivered by their ever obliging corrupt puppets and partners in crime,politicians. This is done to validate obscene wars under the guise of “love of country”. Rupert Murdoch put his large worldwide media empire behind both wars in Iraq because it sold newspapers and was good TV. He and many other billionaires made obscene amounts of money from the suffering of the combatants and civilians. All this horror and carnage escalated terrorism in the region and around the world. All this death,destruction and hatred is all in a days work for the profiteers of war. These wars could not be as easily guaranteed unless the peoples Christian religious beliefs were perceived to be under attack, particularly in America. The people are manipulated and conned into thinking that these actions taken by their governments are for the protection of or the extending of democracy,freedom and the love of their Christian god that is perpetrated in an unChristian way. Which brings me to the other great evil,religion.Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions. Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by authorities as useful. Nothing feels so righteous as destroying a country when it is being done for ” god and country”. And to finish of the holy trinity that infects and beguiles humanity, ignorance. Patriotism and religion would not be able to flourish without ignorant blind faith. The powers that be keep the people uneducated and ill informed so as to create outcomes that are against the better interests of the people. The best example of this is “climate change”. This has been documented and remedies and solutions have been put forward since the early 70’s. Nothing much has changed because it would have impacted on a few obscenely wealthy vested interests. These are perpetrated for two specific reason. Power and Greed! Until the majority of people are better educated and use critical thinking to understand how governments, corporations and institutions are manipulating them through the media the status quo will remain. The result will be humanities self destruction of humanity and the extinction of the

  13. Sean Stinson

    Matters I wrote a lengthy reply but my ipad decided to reload the page and it was lost – hate it when that happens. Could scarcely be arsed writing it all out again given the rudeness and hostility I am accustomed to around there. Briefly… I expressed ‘cautious optimism’ over Trump. My analysis rested on a factional schism in the US power structure between industrial capital and finance capital. I think Trump has lived up to expectations – he’s played the isolationist card as predicted, with new tarrifs and increasing hostility toward the EU. He also kept his promise in Syria, cutting CIA funding for militants and allowing Russia to route out Isis. His sycophantic posture toward Israel is still worrying, as is the elevation of Pompeo and Bolton over Tillerson and McMaster, suggesting the neocons have him right where they want him how.

    They are desperate for war and perceive they have a narrow window in which they could win based on brute force and numbers – this is of course insane, NOBODY wins a nuclear war. Anyway, May’s latest attempt to reinstate the Cold War seems to have flopped, so there may still be time for the adults to talk the West down off its ledge. Definitely a dangerous time, but the evil empire is in decline and days of ‘the US and its allies’ running roughshod over the world are numbered. My prediction now is that if we can avoid great power conflict in 2018 then the prospect may be allayed indefinitely.

  14. MikeW

    Didn’t G.W.Bush say they had to go to war with Iraq because …”Saddam tried to kill my Pa.” Or some such nonsense.
    Then the other idiotic statement “Mission accomplished.”
    And now we have another basket case running America, Lord help us.

  15. Sean Stinson

    “And now we have another basket case running America”

    As opposed to who?

  16. Zathras

    As always, it’s all about agendas. If the USA couldn’t own the oil fields it could at least control the distribution of the oil. Once they could not longer control Saddam (their boy) and once he threatened the Petrodollar (like Gadaffi), his time was up. Bush senior pulled back because he wanted a military overthrow – not a popular one and in fact helped Saddam put down rebellions in several provinces with intelligence information. The imposed “no-fly zone” was to let the Turks kill Iraqi Kurds along the border to prevent a Kurdish uprising in their own country.
    Syria has to go to appease the Israelis and because it’s beyond the range of US influence.

    All the information is out there but the public has a 3 week attention span for history and a tendency to ignore facts that don’t fit the current narrative. They love the “good guy vs bad guy” simplicity of it all and always want to be on the winning side and have been brought up on a diet of Hollywood and media fiction.

    Obama, despite his Peace Prize, went on to bomb more countries that his predecessor and Trump is a petulant bully with a suspect history of financial dealings with the Russian Mafia for some of his loss-making resorts and golf courses but as long as we are distracted by his never-ending stunts little will change.

    It’s too late to drag Bush, Blair and Howard into the World Court but perhaps one day history will be corrected to show them for what they really were.

  17. Sean Stinson

    Zathras pretty good assessment there, although i worry about the danger of conflating Russian oligarchs with the Russian state – also that Trump’s financial dealings with the Israelis are rarely mentioned, let alone scrutinized.

    I have no doubt history will tell a different story, and I look forward to reading the chapter on the Syrian War of Resistance against Western Occupation.

  18. Rhonda

    No HoWARd

  19. Andreas Bimba

    All the middle east wars except for the first gulf war to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait cannot in any way be justified and have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries and increased local hostility and instability. Our militaries have been led by stupid sycophants and the lives, health and dedication of our servicemen and women has been squandered. Inadequate healthcare and inadequate support provided to ex servicemen and women to reintegrate into civilian life is further evidence that the common man is accorded the lowest of priorities by our ruling oligarchy.

    Similarly the neoliberal era of cutbacks to essential government services, off shoring of production, free trade/globalisation and entrenched high levels of unemployment and underemployment shows that the common man is just a resource to be exploited for profit then discarded.

    The rich elites have siezed control of our democracies and are at war with the common man.

  20. Sean Stinson

    “The rich elites have siezed control of our democracies”

    Since about the 15th century, starting with land enclosures and primitive accumulation.

    and it’s only taken what, 600 years to figure it out?

  21. Andreas Bimba

    Slow learner I guess?

  22. Zathras

    For a bit of overlooked perspective, the background to the Kuwait invasion was that the Kuwaitis were slant-drilling along the border into Iraqi oilfields and Saddam advised the USA that he intended to reclaim Kuwait as part of Iraqi “historical” territory.

    The US didn’t formally object so they “suckered him” into making a move so they could initiate a military response to begin his overthrow.

    Every step the USA takes in the region just makes things worse. Meanwhile their growing evangelical base is simply aching for Israel to expand into it’s “promised land” territory so as to help bring on Armageddon and get the returned Jesus to sort things out and are doing whatever they can to assist.

    Crazy times led by even crazier people.

  23. strobedriver

    This is a very good analysis. The question is why did the US invade Iraq (other than it has long been known the path to Jerusalem is through Baghdad).? It is here that some little-known facts can be introduced into this shameful event in US and world history. The US went to war in Iraq to curtail any idea that Saddam Hussein may move on to Israel and in the process enliven a pan-Arabism that would inflame the Middle East and create an upheaval that was too big to diminish; and therefore Israel would be forced to relinquish the territories gained in the 1967 and 1973 wars. More to the point and to deal with the oil issue which dominates much of the debate, it’s important to note is that the US has never gotten more that 15% of its oil from the Middle East ,as it gets most of it from its own mainland and the north of the South Americas. Also, the US went to war in order to dominate Japan and Germany, the other two big powerhouses of the world. By monitoring (and hopefully controlling) the oil flow to these two countries which get about 75% of their oil from Iraq, the US would be able to bring them to heal and they would be much more inclined to do the US’ bidding in the Asia-Pacific and Europe respectively. Whether this has happened or not is debatable, however this has been the US’ aim all along, and that is why its ‘worth it’ for the US to stay. With an inept and obsequious United Nations it looks like the US can stay as long as it likes which is also a stain on the UN’ mandate and reason for existence.

  24. Sean Stinson


    Yep. The last UN Secretary General who took the job seriously was Dag Hammarskjöld, who went the way of Lumumba, Allende and JFK. Now we have Bolton unabashedly proclaiming that international law is illegitimate in so far as it constricts American power. At least the mask is finally off, I guess.

  25. Meg

    Something stinks. Saddam Hussain gave the weapons inspectors free reign to ensure he had no WMD weapons to declare, over ten years – then came the lies that he had them stockpiled somewhere in the sand.

  26. helvityni

    I don’t think we make men like Dag Hammarskjöld anymore, now we have to contend with leaders like Trump and Turnbull and their assistants Bolton and Dutton…

  27. paul walter

    As someone who deeply appreciates (most of) Sean Stinson and others postings at this island of rationality, I regularly back off in amazement at the lack of sophistication in mainstream folk “out there” in understanding the realities of global affairs at this point in history.

    For example, Strobe’s corollary only brings relief, as comes of the fitting of a final piece into place with a jigsaw puzzle well explicated upon by the rest.

    The herd beyond oases like this need to free themselves from their self imposed tutelage and remove the rose coloured glasses that come with their “Jet Jackson The Flying Commando” readings of international affairs.

    But next to nothing happens that makes me think there is much chance of it happening, as things are.

  28. randalstella

    I assume that this site would not indulge a Holocaust denier – what with all the fantastic theories of conspiracy and the lies that would entail.
    I assume that any supporter of the war criminals Bush jnr. and Cheney would not be indulged for too long – with their fantastic theories and lies, making excuses for the mass-murdering lie about WMD.
    Even any support of the profoundly odious Orwellian claim that the U.S. is ‘The Leader of the Free World’ might get some testy response here. As it should.

    Then how is it that a Putin shill can get indulgence – with his fantastic theories of conspiracy and his lies?
    Putin is a mass-murdering thug, a dictator of a terrorist State. The shill never fails to cast this creature as a peace-maker for truth and justice. That is an appalling untruth. It is a clear campaign, with the permission of this site.

    Domestically Putin murders opponents and investigative journalists. And that’s just a small part of his crimes. His bombings in Syria show the psychopathic determination to gain world-power status – at the cost of thousands of lives of completely defenceless men, women and children.

    Any opinion supporting Putin’s domestic ruthlessness is bad enough. But there is far more to this Putin shill – including the vilification of first-responders and medical rescue teams in Syria. The shill wrote that all relief services should be barred from war zones. This could only mean that mass-murder would be free to eliminate witnesses.

    Putin is infinitely worse than Turnbull, Abbott and even multiple degrees worse than Duncan; much worse than the oafs of the National Party. Surely these relativities are obvious to any person who can think straight. Aren’t they?

    In turn, the shill is far worse than people who have been banned from this site. This includes people who have objected to certain stories and aspects of the site, and insisted on their POV. They did not support mass-murder or anything like that.

    It’s no skin off my nose if this site allows itself to be perceived as a home-from-home for any of the many Putin shills out there. But inevitably it will do the reputation and credibility of this site only harm. The site needs to act on this.

    Social criticism must not allow itself to be associated with apologists for dictatorship and mass-murder. That is a compromise that reactionaries could readily use against the site. Would they be entirely wrong?

  29. Sean Stinson

    Paul Walter, not just the herd beyond. The herd right here in this bloody ‘oasis’, who hide there own shame by blaming “conservatives”, “republicans”, “the liberal party” etc etc.

    Case in point – 19 years ago NATO launched a full scale attack against a SOVEREIGN COUNTRY which lasted 3 months, without a UN resolution. Some of the highlights include:

    50 000 missles containing depleted uranium fired on 112 locations
    2 500 civilians killed
    89 children killed
    42 000 missiles fired
    58 574 flights over
    25 000 tonnes of explosive dropped
    37 000 cluster bombs dropped
    1 300 cruise missles
    38 destoryed bridges
    470 km of roads demolished
    595 km of the railroads demolished
    25 000 residential objects demolished
    14 airports demolished
    44 bridges damaged
    19 hospitals demolished
    16 schools demolished
    18 kindergardens demolished
    176 cultural objects demolished

    This was done under Bill Clinton’s orders.

    To quote Gore Vidal “there is only one party in the United States, the Property Party…and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.”

    But go on, keep blaming Bush and Howard and Trump, and if I should say I write anything negative about Obama, who bombed 8 countries and committed war crimes orders of magnitude greater than the others, you better make sure it gets deleted pronto.

  30. Sean Stinson


    “Putin is a mass-murdering thug, a dictator of a terrorist State”

    Spoken without a shred of evidence. Where I come from that is called slander.

    You sound worse than Boris Johnson mate.

  31. Michael Taylor

    randalstella, in our five and a bit years we’ve had over 8,000 people comment on this site. Out of that 8,000 you’ll be lucky to find a handful who actually support Putin.

    But what if someone does like Putin? Why shouldn’t they be allowed to say so?

    That’s not a reflection of us. It’s a reflection of them.

  32. Sean Stinson

    When was the last time a western leader was elected with more than 75% of the vote?

    Merkel can barely put together a coalition. May got over the line by 1 seat, Trump was narrowly elected by a quirk of the ‘electoral college’

    Its no wonder that westerners are jealous of Putin’s popularity, but is it really because he is a mass murdering thug who leads a corrupt state? Or is it perhaps due to other factors, like the fact that he

    saved Russia from disintegration
    ended the War in Chechnya
    reoriented the budget toward social spending and stabilised the national welfare fund
    raised living standards and life expectancy
    paid off all state debts by creating a sovereign fund from oil revenues
    reformed the army and restructured the military industrial complex
    restored the functionality of government
    reintegrated Crimea into Russia (97% of Crimeans voted to join Russia)
    Stood up to the US in Syria

    Quite a record of achievement I’d say.

  33. Michael Taylor

    Oh yes, he’s just so squeaky clean.

  34. Sean Stinson

    I give up. he’s a thug and a mass murderer, and a threat to our ‘shared values’ of western liberal democracy and freedom. Because we have so much democracy and freedom and our standard of living is always rising, we don’t live under an oligarchy, debt peonage does not exist, the poor aren’t being persecuted, there is no homelessness, unemployment is not rising, gays are free to get married and everyone can afford a house if they have a good job. In fact our model of democracy is so good we are morally obliged to impose it on others at gunpoint, as in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan etc. In defence of our western liberal values we claim the right to wage war unilaterally and murder children with impunity, and anyone who dares oppose us we label a tyrant, a murderer and a thug. Milošević, Yanukovych, Saddam, Gaddafi, Assad, Putin, Maduro – all murderous dictators. As for the common people who overwhelmingly support their governments – what would they know?

  35. Kaye Lee

    Political opponents and critical journalists aren’t murdered here.

  36. Kaye Lee

    In December 2016, a court in Tyumen sentenced Alexey Kungurov, a journalist and blogger, to two-and-a-half years in prison for “publicly justifying terrorism.” The charges had stemmed from his blog post criticizing Russia’s actions in Syria.

    In May 2017, a court convicted video blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky for inciting hatred and insulting the feelings of religious believers, and handed down a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence. The charges stemmed from a prank video mocking the Russian Orthodox Church, which Sokolovsky shared on social media.

    In June, a Moscow court convicted the director of the Moscow Library of Ukrainian Literature, Natalia Sharina, for “inciting hatred” for books in the library that authorities said were “extremist,” and handed down a four-year suspended sentence. Sharina had spent one year and seven months under house arrest.

    And you wonder why no-one criticises Putin?

  37. Sean Stinson

    What are you suggesting? That Putin controls the courts? That Russia does not respect “free speech”? For f#cks sake. You want to talk about oppressive regimes? Don’t forget the UK just gaoled a comedian for teaching his pug dog a nazi salute. Look at the charges. Were any of these people charged with insulting or slandering Putin? Looks to me like they were convicted of crimes against the state. How does this compare with, say, the Patriot Act? As far as I know Russia does not operate any offshore torture prisons for those deemed enemies of the state. Double standard much?

  38. paul walter

    I stand by my previous comment, against the views expressed by both Sean Stinson and randalstella.

    But I lean a .little toward Sean, even against Michael and Kaye Lee, because I think, reducing complexity as far as possible, that Australia is an overstuffed, “lucky” and sleepy colony that is part of an empire ultimately responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people since ww2.

    A beaut example on telly last night involving the Ellsberg documentary late on SBS last night- a taped conversation involving Nixon gleefully choosing to kill 200,000 Vietnamese by rupturing levees by conventional means or via the nuclear option.

    Of course Putin is a thug and there are complex historical and cultural reasons for this.

    But to not properly understand the nature of Western oligarchy located in Washington, Wall St, City of London etc, is to see the world through rose coloured glasses. Putin and others may be less sophisticated, but they are one of type shared by us, we just look nicer doing it on the sanitised 6 0clock news witthe nastier realities omitted, as somewhat brainwashed subjects

    What we actually have is a later day Roman Empire where consent is garnered and rules for an entire empire legitimised via relatively well looked after plebs of the right race at the heart, and puppet rulers and other local vested interests supportive of Rome, against the interests of the masses, throughout the rest of the empire. The empire reproduces itself through constant war to maintain military technology and a certain culture to divert the people as well as combating external threats.

  39. Sean Stinson

    “Political opponents and critical journalists aren’t murdered here.”

    Where is your evidence that they are murdered in Russia?

    Please feel free to cite any source other than the monopoly controlled mainstream corporate western media.

  40. Michael Taylor

    I haven’t said much, Paul. But I will …

    Kaye, you forgot the golden rule: you are not allowed to say anything negative about Putin or Russia while Sean is around. You can be critical of the USA and its current and past presidents (which you and I both have), but Putin and Russia are off the table.

    When you are challenged to produce links to any of the negative stuff you say about Putin, it is met with the customary scream of “fake news.”

    That leads me to a second golden rule: don’t even bother trying to debate with him.

    Now, Sean, how long will it take for you to race on to Facebook to have a dummy spit about us?

  41. Michael Taylor

    PS: Paul, it is surprising that you lean towards Sean. Kaye has always been objective, whereas Sean has been the opposite.

    I’m disappointed. I thought you were objective, too.

    But maybe you haven’t been around whenever Sean goes on one of his crazed dummy spits. They’re ugly. And tiresome.

    Take this post for example. It didn’t take him long to go off on a rant.

    Sean, don’t forget to add ‘crazed dummy spit’ and ‘rant’ in your next Facebook whinge. It helps when you’re after sympathy.

  42. Sean Stinson

    Example: Navalny, who has little if any following in Russia, was barred from taking part in the elections BECAUSE OF HIS CRIMINAL RECORD. Yet according to the western press he is described as the main opposition, who was blocked because of his political views. There is NO MENTION of the fact the the communist party polled second to Putin. This is tantamount to saying the elections were rigged and the result illegitimate. The pattern is clear. For any country the west wishes to attack, the government is described as an ‘illegitimate regime’ and the leader is labeled a ‘dictator’. Fact: Russia does not have a chemical weapons program, but what does it matter, since denial, according to the western press, is tantamount to confession. So goes the information war. The propaganda war. the hybrid war, and so-called ‘alternative media’ can’t get enough of it.

  43. Sean Stinson

    sorry i was busy writing my last comment and didn’t see the ones above.


  44. paul walter

    No. We have been all through this before. We are not allowed to say anything derogatory of Western civilisation and its leadership, but the “others” are always wilful brutes.

    i see what most here say, on one hand and what Sean says in his sometimes overly aggressive way on the other, offer; something akin to to the two pieces of a ripped bit of paper….put them together and a bigger, more complete picture emerges.

    You must trust the readership to be able to sort out wheat from chaff. To me it is an absorbing discussion and thisis the only way some thing like this can take place.

    For my part am a weeny disappointed in your response to my earlier comment and missed some of what I turn was trying to contribute.

    Any way, it is a beauteous day in Adelaide after the cool change I am now out for a walk to enjoy it further whilst I mull over other matters. Also the cat is whining to be let out, because it resents me being on the computer.

  45. Michael Taylor

    Paul, of course it is a good day in Adelaide. Port won, Crows lost. Just beautiful. 😀

  46. Kaye Lee

    Ahhhh…yes…let’s talk about Navalny.

    After his conviction for supposedly embezzling from a state timber company, the European court of human rights (ECHR) found procedural violations and ordered a retrial where the Supreme Court just read out the original verdict again.

    And you have to be totally disingenuous to be unaware of the murders of journalists and political opponents in Russia.

    Let’s start with last year and the murders of Yevgeny Khamaganov, Nikolay Andrushchenko, Dmitry Popkov, and Andrey Ruskov.

    Please don’t deflect by telling me how bad someone else is. We are talking about Putin. I love the way we can’t refer to any western press but you think the state owned RT tells the truth.

  47. Sean Stinson

    Re your constant references to “state owned” RT

    Is the BBC not “state owned”???

    Does the fact that the fact that the monopoly controlled mainstream corporate western media is controlled by a handfull of oligarchs make us any better?

    If there is so much freedom and diversity of information in the western press; if they are known as reliable truth-tellers, then surely there is no need for an Australian Independent Media Network?

    In the case of RT and Sputnik’s so called interference in the US 2016 presidential election – their great faux pas, it would seem, was to give equal time to third parties, by covering Jill Stein and the Green Party otherwise EXCLUDED from the two party system.

    Such an attack on democracy cannot be tolerated.

    For what little it is worth in my experience RT reflects a far greater diversity of opinion than either Fox or CNN, or any of the Australian news channels.

  48. paul walter

    Kaye Lee, I am glad you read and unstood my previous comment, often folk won’t read a persons comments if they seem too difficult in concept.

    This Navalny sounds a nice bloke, a bit like Trump’s or Turnbull’s or Joyce’s mates. I understand the Russian agent killed had supplied information ensuring that a number of Russian field agents would be killed? Personally, I go along with Pilger’s balanced approach and retain the belief that the desperate May is carrying on to divert attention from her own manifest failings, starting with Grenfell Tower and arms sales to Saudi Arabia so they can butcher more Yemenis; let alone debilitating Brexit andAusterity.

    Michael, the Crows lost narrowly, but the umpiring was problematic.

    I was going for a walk, but a tradie employed on a government scheme soon to be axed by the new government, knocked on the door instead.

    He removed all of my old, inefficient lights and replaced them with nice new round ones, the old showerhead with a snappy new one and donated a new and more efficient powerboard for the computer as well as proffering advice as to how to save on my power bills.

    I concur with Sean Stinson that these days it pays to develop a basket of news sources for information, particularly ones variant in editorial approach to commercial msm, including the increasingly gelded ABC/SBS, FB and Guardian. This a reason why I visit sites like this- a veritable oasis in an information desert.

    RT is always worth a look if one remembers it. It did feed into local teev till last year, but the May government, perhaps spooked at the presence of a (slightly) variant viewpoint on some issues, eg mid east, kicked it out of Britain.

    Personally I prefer conversation to censorship and believe anything, just about, is preferable to the Murdoch monopoly.

    Perhaps NOW I will go for my walk.

    The park assumes the role of neutral cognitive space..

  49. Kaye Lee

    out of 180 countries in the world press freedom rankings in 2017:

    Australia 19
    Canada 22
    UK 40
    USA 43
    Russia 148
    China 176
    Syria 177
    North Korea 180

  50. paul walter

    As you’ll recall from a previous post, the factors that create the relative “freedom” of a country are far more complex than just a wilful nastiness or (racial?) intrinsic.superiority.

    Anyway, who decides on these things… no cognitive dissonance?

    Of course we are “freer”, or perhaps just cocooned

    Places like Iraq or Syria. have been pounded back to the stone age by a posse of Big Powers, led by the USA and on the other side usually, Russia.

  51. Sean Stinson

    Well that settles it then. RFS MUST be a trusted source because they are an NGO and cannot possibly have an agenda. Much like the White Helmets, who no one on the ground in Syria has even heard of. Once again, 3 cheers for our Western values. Such FREEDOM! Such DEMOCRACY! Because WE say so, and if you don’t behave and do exactly as we say, we’ll topple your government, lynch your leader, blow up your schools and hospitals and bomb you with so much depleted uranium your soil and water will be radioactive for the next 500 years.

  52. Michael Taylor

    Paul, the cat! The cat! You forgot the cat!

    PS: umpiring is always problematic for non-Vic teams. You can’t tell me it is favoured to help the Victorians.

  53. paul walter

    The cat is an asshole, who wrecked my fly screen door so the flies get in… I was so stupid not putting in a cat-door ages ago, but always wondered at the security element.

    He actually DID used to go for walks with me but he is older now and seems to have lost his once youthful zest for such excursions. He would no more go for a walk these days than I would let off fireworks like I did when a child.

  54. Kaye Lee

    The thing that really annoys me about you Sean is your absolute unquestioning certainty that your “facts” are the complete truth. In your opinion, it seems, only the west does anything wrong. I can recognise and agree about the damage done by colonial imperialism. I can question our meddling in other countries and our failures in our own. I can equally recognise the danger of totalitarian regimes. Can you?

    And I also remember your support for Trump who was supposed to be the saviour who would dismantle the military complex and clean out the swamp of global corporate influence. Seems you fell for the Russian propaganda too. Any regrets?

    Trump is a childish narcissistic privileged buffoon and those who couldn’t see that before his election weren’t looking.

  55. Matters Not

    Perhaps facts aren’t at the heart of the intellectual problem? (Facts are a dime a dozen after all. Take your selective pick.) But the meaning given to same (facts) might be worthy of further thought? And if so, then how and why?

  56. Sean Stinson

    @KL implied in your first question is the assertion that Russia is a totalitarian regime. I reject this. Russia is a multi-party parliamentary democracy with executive power exercised by the government, headed by the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the President with the parliament’s approval. To answer your question, yes I am aware of the dangers posed by corrupt totalitarian regimes, but I think the world has moved beyond this – empire is no longer the province of nation-states, rather of global corporate capital. I think the greater danger today is posed by oligarchies.

    Moreover I find your comment re Russian propaganda to be racist in the extreme, conforming to a cartoonish stereotype of “Russian spies” and “reds under the bed” that belongs to the McCarthy era, and has no place in the 21st century. Fortunately some of us take a longer view of history and can see that Russia has been the victim of Western wars of aggression since Napoleon. And yet it was Russia that liberated Europe from Nazi occupation which cost them 27 million lives, just as it is Russia today which today fights international terrorism from Afghanistan to Syria, covertly backed by the West for its own geopolitical purposes.

    See above for my comments on Trump. No regrets at all. I described what I saw as a conflict between factions in the US political economy – finance capital vs industrial capital; Koch brothers/Exxon vs Bush-Clinton neocons and Wall St. Trump was a circuit breaker. He bought us much needed time and allowed the Syrian crisis to de-escalate, but the neocons appear to have him right where they want him now, and once again the West is on the war path, this time with Iran in its sights, as Bolton’s appointment would suggest.

    @Matters – not sure I get the last part of your question – but i follow you on the first part – i think.

    history vs historiography – history as opposed to the telling of history. facts vs context and meaning.

    Orwell wrote in 1943:

    “During part of 1941 and 1942, when the Luftwaffe was busy in Russia, the German radio regaled its home audience with stories of devastating air raids on London. Now, we are aware that those raids did not happen. But what use would our knowledge be if the Germans conquered Britain? For the purpose of a future historian, did those raids happen, or didn’t they? The answer is: If Hitler survives, they happened, and if he falls they didn’t happen. So with innumerable other events of the past ten or twenty years. Is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion a genuine document? Did Trotsky plot with the Nazis? How many German aeroplanes were shot down in the Battle of Britain? Does Europe welcome the New Order? In no case do you get one answer which is universally accepted because it is true: in each case you get a number of totally incompatible answers, one of which is finally adopted as the result of a physical struggle. History is written by the winners.”

    The current epistemological crisis is a nightmare that would make Orwell blush. ‘Fake news’ is a game anyone can play, but once you start introducing ‘alternate facts’ there is really no common ground left on which to argue. As for “the news”, political commentary is hardly a ‘primary source’, particularly when it comes from the monopoly controlled mainstream corporate western media. What might once have passed for nuance is now often replaced with direct negation. Not surprising when the ones who sell us war by calling it humanitarian intervention are the same ones who sold us debt by calling it credit. Goebbels would be proud.

    You really need to do your own analysis to have any idea what is going on in the world today – following the UNSC and reading policy documents from sources like the Council on Foreign Relations is a good place to start, and there are great insights to be gleaned from the personal memoirs of the actual policy makers – the Brzezinskis and Kissingers etc. Halford McKinder’s “The geographical pivot of history” is essential.

    @ Randalstella – yes it’s true that some people question the holocaust. Personally I question the western front.

  57. Kaye Lee

    “I find your comment re Russian propaganda to be racist in the extreme”

    You make me chuckle Sean. Racism would imply I have a problem with Russian people as opposed to my real problem which is with their thuggish totalitarian leader who dictates the propaganda.

  58. Michael Taylor

    Kaye Lee @ 11:06 pm – Perfect summary.

  59. Kaye Lee

    As far as Putin running a totalitarian regime is concerned, I will quote the words of a Russian journalist Masha Gessen ….

    “Authoritarianism is a regime in which … nothing is political. People are basically encouraged to stay home and not get in the way of the ruler or a group of rulers who are plundering the country. And I think that that describes Putin’s regime very well up until 2012, up until the crackdown. A totalitarian regime is profoundly political. Everything becomes political. Private life disappears as such because even private action becomes political, and people are basically urged to be not staying at home and not getting in the way, but be out in the squares demonstrating their support for the mission of their country.

    That’s the kind of regime that Russia has turned into. It’s a highly mobilized country. It’s a country in which everything has become political. It’s expansive, and that’s why it’s fighting wars in Ukraine and Syria. What they’re pursuing is the sense of constant movement, the sense of expansion that is essential to totalitarianism.”

  60. Glenn Barry

    I wonder what a really intense interrogation of the Australian political landscape would look like?

    I think a true revelation of our governmental machinations would truly disgust even the most lackadaisical observer.

    Almost everywhere I look in the Anglosphere I see similar tendencies revealing themselves, none of them desirable…except if you look at New Zealand.

    Russia ain’t great, but we’re haunting the bottom also

  61. jimhaz

    [Navalny, who has little if any following in Russia, was barred from taking part in the elections BECAUSE OF HIS CRIMINAL RECORD]

    A record that is highly debatable. [edit, just noticed that Kaye had this covered]

    [Fact: Russia does not have a chemical weapons program, but what does it matter, since denial, according to the western press, is tantamount to confession]

    I do not know how Stinson or lay person can have such knowledge.

  62. jimhaz

    [Every step the USA takes in the region just makes things worse]

    Hard to tell. Depends if the main strategic plan is to utilise the regions own war mongering insanity so as to keep them poor.
    A united muslim brotherhood with wealth is potentially a much more severe problem, considering that the religion is still imperialistic.

  63. Kaye Lee

    There are many problems in this country Glenn. We write about them every day, But I hear no such criticism of Putin in the Russian media. I have never been an apologist for our government or for that of the US. But to think it is only the west that does anything wrong is just not believable.

  64. Sean Stinson

    Kaye Lee you quote the words of a card carrying, fully paid-off Russian/American activist troll and say I make YOU chuckle?

    Sorry, this ‘analysis’ does not stack up against reality. Russia is expansionist???? Is it Russia which has moved its borders toward NATO since the end of the Cold War, despite promises not to? Was it Russia that proclaimed the end of history and a unipolar world order? Is it Russia that backed a coup against the democratically elected government of Ukraine? Is it Russia that spends 52% of its budget on defence? is it Russia that has 800 military bases around the world?

    Russia wants nothing more than peaceful cooperation and normal diplomatic relations under the rule of international law. The US not only flouts, but in the case of Bolton outright rejects the very idea of international law. In his own words, it is “illegitimate” insofar as it “constricts American power”.

    Newsflash. There are other countries in the world besides the US and its sycophantic puppet states. and they are fed up with being bullied. Russia’s re-emergence as a great power is not a sign of expansionism or imperialism, it is simply a matter of geographic determinism. The Eurasian super-continent is the world’s largest contiguous land mass, representing 70% of the human population and containing at least half the earth’s natural resources. Britain is an island. The US occupies about a third of an island. And yet the West thinks it has the manifest right to rule the world, plunder its resources and subjugate its people. Not gonna happen.

    The world was a safer place during the cold war. At least there was balance and great powers took each other seriously. The West’s unipolar moment is over. The American Century is over. The British-Atlantic world economy is collapsing. The Empire is in decay. We are living in a time when – As Italian Marxist Antionio Gramsci wrote – the old order has died, but the new is yet to be born.

    This is a very dangerous moment. The US is a baby with a hand grenade. The West is losing its grip on power and is starting to panic. They want a war, and as they see it they have a limited window in which they might be able to win, based on sheer brute force and numbers. Of course this is nonsense – nobody wins. But if the adults, Russia and China, can manage to talk the US down off it’s ledge, we might see a cooling off in global tensions and the emergence of a new multi-polar world order based on mutual respect and dialogue and the rule of international law – the principles incidentally which Putin has been defending for the last 18 years – principles which the West refuses even to pay lip service to.

  65. Michael Taylor

    I do not know how Stinson or lay person can have such knowledge.

    You’d be surprised at how much Sean Stinson knows, jimhaz. For example, the FBI, the CIA and the NSA – the three major US intelligence agencies – have all stated that Russia interfered with the 2016 US presidential election. Sean has said – many times – that they didn’t.

    He clearly knows more than they do.

    Many people on this site – Sean included – have shared their disgust that the US has interfered with over 80 elections since the end of WW2. You’re allowed to mention that. But say that Russia does it too, he’ll hound you down as one beholden to fake news.

  66. Kaye Lee

    Masha Gessen would have a far better picture of what is happening in Russia than you or I from the comfort of our homes in Australia Sean. She was born and lived there until she was 14 and then she went back and lived and worked there as an adult.

    If Russia don’t have a chemical weapons program, why did they charge Vil Mirzayanov with high treason for divulging state secrets when he revealed that they did?


    “Vladimir Uglev, one of Russia’s leading binary weapons scientists, revealed the existence of A-232/Novichok-5 in an interview with the magazine Novoye Vremya in early 1994. Uglev revealed more details in 2018 following the poisoning of the Skripals, stating that “several hundred” compounds were synthesised during the Foliant research but only four agents were weaponised.”

    And must we continue this pretence that Russia has never invaded anyone?

    As for “The West is losing its grip on power and is starting to panic. They want a war, and as they see it they have a limited window in which they might be able to win, based on sheer brute force and numbers.”

    You make this observation on the basis of what the fool that Trump just employed says? You think he speaks for “the West”? The industrial military complex will always do its best to make us think we need more weapons but I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone other than Bolton, who everyone thinks is crazy, who wants a war. Oh, Jim Molan maybe – he’s mad as a cut snake too.

  67. Sean Stinson

    Please explain exactly HOW Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election, since no one has so far been able to. Was it the so-called hacking of the DNC servers which has now been proven beyond all doubt to have been an internal leak? Or was it the so-called Russian troll-farm on Facebook? Odd that Facebook’s General Counsel Colin Stretch should tell a Senate hearing that Russia-linked political actually favoured Clinton, and that after Trump’s victory, Stretch said, ‘we saw a lot of activity targeted at fomenting discord about the validity of his election’.

  68. Sean Stinson

    KL No, I make that observation based on my own research and analysis.

  69. Michael Taylor

    Sean, I didn’t say they did.

    I said that the FBI, the CIA and the NSA said they did.

    But hey, you know best.

  70. Michael Taylor

    I might add that I’ve never said if they did or they didn’t, because in all honesty … I don’t know.

    And here’s something else: Neither do you.

  71. Joseph Carli

    Whatever the plotting , planning or dispersion of Russian activism, it would be naive in the extreme to think that Putin was going to stand idly by and watch the West replace a leader (Assad) friendly to the ingress and egress of the Russian Black Sea fleet with a puppet regime that would serve a western interests blockade of the Bosporus Straights..It would be an action equal to treason for a national leader to leave his nation’s defences open to such vulnerability..Hence, short of all out war in the Levant, one can guarantee the status quo of East – West standoff there will be maintained for the foreseeable future.

  72. Michael Taylor

    Anyway, I’m off to take the cat for a walk.

  73. Sean Stinson

    Joseph Carli – Agreed, appreciate your voice of reason, and understanding of geopolitics.

  74. Kaye Lee


    ” proven beyond all doubt to have been an internal leak?”

    Oh really? Gee that would be news. I assume you are talking about the article by Patrick Lawrence – the one that has been described as “Too Incoherent to Even Debunk”?

    I also have doubts about your claim that Stretch said that “Russia-linked political actually favoured Clinton”. Could you please provide a source because I don’t think that is correct.

  75. Joseph Carli

    Sean…putting aside that famous quote from a certain Indian chappy’s book..( Kautilya’s Arthashastra ) I once followed with a degree of keeness the ongoing dispute for Russian leadership between Alesander Lebed and the Old Guard that favoured Putin..I always thought it was the experienced and level-headed Lebed that concluded the Chechnyan war…but his opinion of the Russian leadership put him offside…and he retired to rule with his brother out in the deeper Siberia…residing like Caesar beyond the Rubicon..
    The obvious move by the West in the time of the “dancing drunk” ; Yeltsin to carve up the old Soviet Union failed with the rise of Putin’s nationalism…”Putin” had to happen, just like Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” for the State to survive the intended asset-mining by the West.

  76. Sean Stinson

    KL – I don’t know anything about any Patrick Lawrence article. but by Crowdstrike’s own admission 1.98 GB of data was copied at a rate of 22.6 MB/s. The speed of transfer is consistent with copying to a USB 2.0 device and could not have been achieved over the Internet from halfway around the world. In other words, the files were copied LOCALLY, not transfered across the Internet. There was no HACK. This was a LEAK.
    In answer to your last question – stretch said that so-called Russian propaganda – which represented .004% of total newsfeed content, continued after the election and was unfavourable to Trump, apparently trying to de-legitimise his presidency. Doesn’t really fit the narrative of “the Russians” hacking the election for Trump.

  77. Joseph Carli

    Though to be balanced, Sean..What I would do if I was either of the “Communist States”, would be to take ANY opportunity to pay back those years of Western interference in internal politics by disrupting to the extreme ANY Western power where opportunity allowed!…AND with extreme prejudice!..But then, I am a vindictive bastard who would revel in the Italian doctrine of ; “The Vendetta”….BUT in matters of State..absolutely powerless.

  78. Sean Stinson

    Joseph Carli – to your first comment, Exactly!

    Not only for the survival of the Russian state, but I fear for the world as we know it, so far as the sovereignty of nations is concerned. I would obviously prefer someone more left-leaning than Putin in power, but given his popularity and record of achievement so far, he seems to be the right man for the job at the moment.

  79. jimhaz

    @ Michael at 12:53 pm

    Yep, fully agree. The problem is there are at least 100 million Westerners captured by the same disease. i view them all as being crazy.

    I absolutely certain the disease of nihilism is at play with this mob of Russian cheer squaders. They search for anti-west geopolitical causes because they are not fitting in with the current western world. Like young mass murderers they are externalising their hatred for their existential angst situation.

    I can understand that were it the non-dictatorial Yeltsin or Gorbachev, but Putin has consistently shown he is 100% full of shit and that he is playing propaganda games for people like Stinson, in the same way that every Trump’s tweet is merely a mind-f*ck play for his supporters.

    One of the reasons I support the US is that at no point in the last 50 years in their fights against communist influence have they actually permanently taken over a territory, unlike Putin.

  80. jimhaz

    [The obvious move by the West in the time of the “dancing drunk” ; Yeltsin to carve up the old Soviet Union failed with the rise of Putin’s nationalism…”Putin” had to happen, just like Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” for the State to survive the intended asset-mining by the West]

    Bullshit Joseph, at least I think so.

    I am always talking about destiny in the same way in relation to the middle east as you, but that is because of the education and worldview lacking nature of the people as caused by the regressive religion. It does not apply to Russians who could have been western – after all they were/are ahead of the west in the space and military technology.

    Perhaps though you are right – but the reason for that is more to do with the existence of the ongoing effects of Stalin and Lenin in the minds of the Russian people, not the supposed rape of Russian assets. My guess is that Putin would not have happened, had he not been able to make use of the political opportunity of getting the economic plutocrat rapists in his team.

  81. Sean Stinson

    Jimhaz never mind the fact that the US regime has murdered 20 million civilians since WWII, at a conservative estimate. Never mind that the US’ modus operandi has been to overthrow democratically elected governments and put in place repressive dictatorships favourable to its own interests. Lumumba. Sukarno. Allende. Árbenz. Seriously – are any of these countries better off since their democratically elected governments were overthrown? Never mind that it occupied and continues to occupy Iraq, South Korea, half of Europe and anywhere else it has its military bases permanently stationed. Sorry, but if you supported the US in its fight against communist influence then you are on the wrong side of history, and if you want to claim Putin took over the territory of Crimea then you are talking shit. Crimeans voted to join Russia. End of story

  82. Kaye Lee


    I am aware of the continued attempts at division by questioning Trump’s legitimacy. That is not what I asked you about. You claimed that Stretch said that Russian activity favoured Clinton. My understanding is that is completely wrong. Do you have any information to back up that claim or did you make it up?

    I am also aware of the claim made by an anonymous analyst calling himself “Forensicator,” on the “metadata” of “locked files” leaked by the hacker Guccifer 2.0. An anonymous analyst is claiming to have analyzed the “metadata” of “locked files” that only this analyst had access to? Aside from that, the FSB would almost certainly have access to speeds of 176 Mbps. That is no big deal. “NASA’s shadow network can transfer 91 gigabits per second, or 91,000 megabits per second.”

  83. Sean Stinson

    “Russians who could have been western”

    Jeezus. Arrogant much? Has it ever occurred to you that Russia has its own civilization and culture and a history that goes back 1000 years?

  84. Joseph Carli

    ” I support the US is that at no point in the last 50 years in their fights against communist influence have they actually permanently taken over a territory, unlike Putin.”….

    After one sets fire to and burns a house, one can hardly feel inclined or need to inhabit the same..Once one destroys a nation’s infrastructure, making the survival of its remaining citizens…impoverished and traumatised in the expensive and long-term responsibility..of course one would be disinclined to “occupy”..more simple to place a toady govt’ in place and direct from afar.

    The ongoing dispute between those who continually “seek the oracle and worship the idol” and myself is that there is a misunderstanding of loyalties to social/political structures. To worship “democracy” in its current cloak is to permit neo-liberal philosophy to take command, for THAT is the zenith of “free choice”…ie; individual preference…and why not..does not every vainglory person desire to be ruler?

    I have no gripe against a “Totalitarian dictatorship of the Proletariat”..I do not fear it..basically, I live it already…have for most of my life…within my modest means of work and leisure. My name is on no paper of deed or ownership save a bank “passbook” and a driver’s licence..and that account currently stands at a certain amount of cents..I have no need, since Lionel Murphy instituted the “no fault divorce” and all that it entails with equal ownership regardless…and I have lived through that one a past works wonderfully…equal for all..

    No ..I have no fear for a dictatorship of the Proletariat..I am a prole’ ..and proud of it…bring it on I say!

    It is only the current destructive political climate of a dictatorship by the middle-classes that is threatening civilisation itself.

    A Revolution Against the Middle Classes !

  85. Sean Stinson

    Joseph Carli – I am also a “dirty communist”. Nice to know I’m not alone here.

  86. Kaye Lee


    Putin is the “right man” to ensure “the survival of the world as we know it”???????

    That’s my exit cue. You are delusional.

  87. jimhaz

    [Jimhaz never mind the fact that the US regime has murdered 20 million civilians since WWII, at a conservative estimate]

    A shit estimate more likely. I will forever remain pleased that the US drew a line in the sand in relation to North Korea and Vietnam. I know how a trend takes on its own power and snowballs. South America would also have been communist were it not for the interference – you can tell this by how stuffed they are now in the present, the countries were too immature thus the leadership that followed USA interference ended up being simply terrible.

    I always take the view – well what would have happened if X, Y or Z country had of cooperated with the spread of capitalism, rather than use capitalism imperialism to gain personal power.

    I do however accept that many mistakes were made.

    [Never mind that the US’ modus operandi has been to overthrow democratically elected governments and put in place repressive dictatorships favourable to its own interests]

    They really only did that during the communist expansion years.

    And quite frankly I am glad they did.

    [Lumumba. Sukarno. Allende. Árbenz. Seriously – are any of these countries better off since their democratically elected governments were overthrown?]

    Probably causalities of the cold war. The cold war stemmed from the methods used by dictators to keep the population under their control.

    [Never mind that it occupied and continues to occupy Iraq, South Korea, half of Europe and anywhere else it has its military bases permanently stationed.]

    Piss off. It does not occupy, but holds bases there. Again only because of the Russians.

    [Sorry, but if you supported the US in its fight against communist influence then you are on the wrong side of history, and if you want to claim Putin took over the territory of Crimea then you are talking shit. Crimeans voted to join Russia. End of story]

    I acknowledge the Crimea is kind of special considering many of the people are of Russian heritage– but I still think the politics that created the war were due to Russian influence, lots of egging on a separation and placing there people in politics wherever possible.

  88. jimhaz

    Me: “Russians who could have been western”

    Sean: Jeezus. Arrogant much? Has it ever occurred to you that Russia has its own civilization and culture and a history that goes back 1000 years?

    Irrelevant complaint. You know what I mean. Do European nations with much lower levels of poverty than Russia, although western, still not have their own culture?

  89. Michael Taylor

    never mind the fact that the US regime has murdered 20 million civilians since WWll

    Unlike Stalin, who murdered his own people.

  90. Michael Taylor

    jimhaz, it’s good that you mentioned Europe. Did you know that Russia has the lowest standard of living, the lowest wages, and the lowest life expectancy of any European nation?

    Meanwhile, Putin is worth an estimated $80 billion.

  91. jimhaz

    [I have no gripe against a “Totalitarian dictatorship of the Proletariat”..I do not fear it..basically, I live it already…have for most of my life…within my modest means of work and leisure]

    Then you are deceiving yourself and you are a fool.

    Listen to this for example from 58 minutes on. Everyone should listen to the whole 2 hours and note what is currently happening with social media.

  92. Sean Stinson

    Unlike Stalin, who murdered his own people.

    Absolute ahistorical revisionist bullshit.

    As is your claim about Russian living standards and life expectancy which have improved dramatically under Putin.

    #Warispeace. #Freedomisslavery. #Ignoranceisstrength

  93. Michael Taylor

    Absolute ahistorical revisionist bullshit!


    Are you mad, or just an apologist?

  94. Joseph Carli

    ” Listen to this for example from 58 minutes on. Everyone should listen to the whole 2 hours . . .”…..and you reckon I’M delusional!!??…..What is it…The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing endless rounds of “Onward Christian Soldiers”?…I can’t even type this comment out in one piece, my “democratically elected” internet being so ratshit!…oughta Stalinize the bastard who gave us this multi mix tech’ shit!

  95. jimhaz

    Joseph. You were using the term Proletariat as mere strong unionism – I do support you in that way.

  96. Sean Stinson

    You are the one making the claim.

    I suppose you have an article from The Guardian to back it up?

  97. Michael Taylor

    I don’t read The Guardian.

  98. Michael Taylor

    I will be closing comments on this thread.

    It was supposed to be a post about the 15th anniversary of the Iraq invasion. (Well, it was until it was hijacked).

  99. Sean Stinson

    Pure fascist propaganda. The Russian archives, opened up under Yeltsin, put the total number of death sentences carried out from 1923 to 1953 at between 775,866 and 786,098. Call it 800 000 if you like – still less in a 36 year period than the US-backed Suharto carried out in less than 2 years.

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