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Executions – Human Rights forsworn and Wars fought

By Andrew Klein

In these days of mass communication and glib reportage, carefully presented and stage managed by the powers that be the reality of ‘death’ in its many guises often presents more of a picture of entertainment, or at best, outrage at a distance.

Many Australians were outraged by the executions carried out in Indonesia of those who had been sitting on death row after being convicted of serious drug smuggling offences. Governments claimed that this might have long-term impacts on the relationships between the two countries, which I personally doubt, but it gave enough ‘passion’ to express at least some concept of ‘Human Rights’ and the sanctity of ‘Human Life’. In my own view all life is precious, be it human or one of the ‘lesser creatures’ but let’s not quibble over this.

I vividly recall the exhortations made by the Australian Governments under Howard (the then Prime Minister) and the alliance of the ‘Willing’ to face off the evil Saddam Regime in Iraq and to bring ‘Democracy and Liberty’ to that part of the world. Much has been written about the two wars that followed and the steady balkanization that followed. Saddam, once a beloved friend of Rumsfeld and fated by various US Agencies and Governments in his long war against Iran must have been very surprised to find himself on the outer. Even the invasion of Kuwait had received the tacit blessing of the United States (see Congressional Hearings) and by sleight of hand he became the super evil that needed to be removed from the world stage. One cannot justify his treatment of the Kurdish people yet at that time he must have felt some support for his misdeeds as the west did nothing and Turkey continues to this day in its efforts to apply its own military solution to that region.

I will not waste your time by reflecting on the brutalities that occurred during both wars in in their aftermath. Unless you have been totally disconnected from the world, I hope that there is some broader understanding of the politics of the Middle East and not just the approach used by those seen as former colonial masters.

It has been suggested by one source that the number of Casualties in Iraq number 140,659 – 159,248. (Iraq Body Count 2nd July 2015). We will probably never know the real numbers of those killed and the killing continues as the ISL (a bizarre off-shoot from Taliban / Mujahedeen Forces and others) inflicts further murder and mayhem on innocent civilians.

I personally do not support groups that espouse terror and rule by fear, no matter what they use to give themselves credibility on the world stage.

I do question the total lack a humane approach when dealing with the killing of civilians, be it by one army or another. Carrying any particular flag is not a licence to kill and murder.

Where is the outrage when it concerns the death of those living in far off places possibly labelled as belonging to one faction or another?

Have we become so disconnected from reality that some killings are more acceptable than others, our language converting them into collateral damage.

Would there have been an outrage if those executed in Indonesia had been described as collateral damage in the Global War on Drugs? Or worse, is our outrage determined still by the flags we fly and the colours of our skins?

We have seen Afghanistan, years of suffering and now allegations of murder. We see Palestine, the occupied territories and more death and suffering.

Wars are state sanctioned murder, diplomacy by other means (Von Clausewitz). We see the killings in the Ukraine and its marketed as good guys vs bad guys. Somehow that makes it more acceptable.

Until the world outlaws wars, removes the myths of glory and manhood attached to the killing of those deemed worthy of death, the murders in our names will continue. Let’s not kid ourselves, there is money in death and destruction. Lots and lots of money, lots of spin and justification. The manufacturing of stereotypes takes just a few keystrokes.

This will continue until we hold our politicians to account and demand answers.

We will not get answers when the system is geared to protect some mealy-mouthed national interest and careers depend on it.

The evil committed in our names is an evil that we all carry with us. How many steps would you take before deciding that another is worthy of death, that cities need to be levelled and civilians ‘attrited’?

If you are prepared to see this happen without asking questions, the blood is on your hands also.


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  1. New England Cocky

    Australia needs to change the right to make the decision to go to war from the Prime Minister alone to the Feral Parliament on a free vote.
    LIARBRAL$ Prime Ministers must be required to have personally experienced military service at the front-line so that pretenders like Robert Menzies who resigned his Australian Army commission on the first day of WWI, and imperialistically minded wankers like LIttle Johnnie Howard and Toxic RAbbott cannot send Australian military personnel into harm’s way on their personal prejudices.
    The USUKA sub debacle with the subsequent loss of Australian national sovereignty is worsened by the announcement today (040723) that More foreign occupation troops will be stationed in Darwin to keep Canberra under control and always willing to conscript another generation of fine young Australians into the service of the NE military industrial complex of the USA (United States of Apartheid).

  2. Fred

    What a useless, weak, needy and insecure bunch of PMs we have had, that sought affirmation of their relevance from the USA by following them into their wars.

    NEC: Yes!

    A 2/3rd majority of federal parliament (both houses) before going to war would help limit the pointless loss of Australian lives. (Afghanistan being the latest debacle fortunately with minimal Australian lives lost compared to Vietnam. Unfortunately the Afghani women are going backwards at an astonishing rate and let’s not forget the Afghani “friends and helpers” we left behind being murdered by the Taliban.)

    What I find really galling are “leaders” who have scant regard for the troops they commit, the impact to their population, the lies they tell and illogical motivations that has them go to war without any consideration of what a “successful” end point looks like and alternative outcomes may be. Because of Putin an estimated 350,000 people have been killed or maimed… and he is still in power.

  3. B Sullivan

    Fred, Because of Putin…

    what about Zelensky, Biden, Obama, Clinton, Macron, Merkel, Johnson and all the others including the new recruit Albanese, that have all pushed provoked and escalated this war which began long before Putin intervened in it. This conflict was deliberately engineered with the intention of destroying Russia. It has been a massive failure yet they still will not give up. It has become worse than the senseless slaughter of the First World War when men were ordered to walk in an orderly fashion against enemy lines armed with machine guns that mowed them down as thousands of unresisting targets.

    Because of Putin the US has embarked on a program of regime change. The only form of diplomacy the US engages in. It has orchestrated a murderous coup overthrowing a legally elected government. It has collaborated in the ethnic cleansing of Russians and Russian culture in Ukraine, it has trained and armed the Kiev regime with NATO weaponry posing a clear and present danger to Russia’s National Security. It has used that training and weaponry targeting Resistance in the eastern provences to provoke Russian reactions and the US has imposed illegal unilateral sanctions on Russia at every opportunity with the intention of destroying the Russian economy. It has even gone so far as to destroy the economies of its own NATO allies with its destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline, and its demands for fueling the war with more and more useless weapons. The US is opposed to any resolution of this conflict that does not result in the complete and utter demilitarisation of Russia. Because of Putin??? The Minsk treaty would have resolved this conflict long ago but now we all know that that Ukraine and NATO had no intention of honouring that treaty. It was just an excuse to allow them to build up weapons and military training so that Ukraine would have the power to defeat Russia when it inevitably succumbed to the provocations.

    This war is the copyrighted property of the United States of America.

  4. Steve Davis

    Hey Sully, I could not have put it better myself.

    It never ceases to amaze me that many who otherwise think and reason with great clarity, somehow overlook the Russian efforts, over a period of years after the West failed to honour Minsk, to have the West engage in security discussions that would have provided security for all of Europe. The Western powers refused to engage.

  5. A Commentator

    It seems some people are willing to glosss over the facts regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
    I’ll preface my remarks with these 2 points –
    ∆ I would prefer a world without superpowers, but since we have them, I’m ok that one is a (flawed) democracy.
    ∆ I would support a multi polar world, but not one that requires greater authority and prestige for brutal fascist regimes such as Putin’s
    1. There is plenty of evidence that points to Putin’s regime as being responsible for the failure of the Minsk Agreement. Russia supplied weapons to the separatists, in breach of the agreement. The separatists used them , the Minsk Agreement then failed.
    2. The United Nations has debunked the claims of genocide by Ukraine in Donbas.
    3. Russia issued a range of ultimatums regarding Ukraine’s economic, defence and foreign policies. It sought to have Ukraine return to being a Russian colony. Ukraine chose not to return to that status. Ukraine has looked west, and sought to join former Warsaw Pact countries in aligning with Europe.
    4. Russia threatened and invaded, it did not apply sanctions to Ukraine. There was no blockade, merely denial, lies and an invasion.
    5. The so called “US orchestrated coup” was in fact a mass public uprising that saw former president Viktor Yanukovych lose control of the apparatus of government. The police and military wouldn’t comply with his directions to shoot civilians. Yanukovych was then removed from office by a vote of the Ukraine parliament, it was 328 to zero.
    6. Those supporting the Putin regime should familiarise themselves with the High Commission for Human Rights report on the systemic rape of Ukrainian women and girls (aged between 4 and 82) by the Russian military. It is clear that Russia uses war crime as a military strategy.
    Rewarding the Putin regime with increased territory, authority and international prestige doesn’t make sense.

  6. leefe

    Although, given the individual in question, and the context, “fated” works quite well.

    Sullivan, Davis:

    It never ceases to amaze me the mental convolutions some people will go to in order to put blame for a unilateral invasion of a sovereign nation upon anyone but the invaders.

  7. Steve Davis

    It’s been said elsewhere, but it’s worth saying again, that it is not acceptable for mature adults in 2023 to assume that the news media that lied to us about every war for over a century is suddenly telling us the truth about this one.

    To see such acceptance of MSM distortions in comments on a site such as this is really quite extraordinary.

  8. Fred

    SD: It isn’t just the MSM that reported Russia starting the war 497 days ago by invading Ukraine territory, after months of exercises. There are a whole bunch of Russian reporters in prison and living in exile simply for calling out the truth about the invasion and calling it a “war”.

    BS: Sorry, but I have to call you out on “this war which began long before Putin intervened in it” – what a load of BS.

  9. leefe

    And is it acceptable to assume that known propaganda outlets are telling the absolute truth this time, given their history of lies and distortions?

  10. Steve Davis

    The Inability of many to ditch old habits is particularly noticeable when it comes to positive views about the USA. It’s understandable, after all, we were raised on the Hollywood version of history. But when problems in these old habits are pointed out and no effort is made to correct them, then the problems are no longer just talking points; they are a real concern.

    In regard to perceptions of the war in Ukraine, I alerted readers some months back to a tactic used by the US to manipulate public opinion.
    Elbridge Colby, principal author of the 2018 US National Defense Strategy, wrote in his 2021 book The Strategy Of Denial — “Few human moral intuitions are more deeply rooted than that the one who started it is the aggressor and accordingly the one who presumptively owns a greater share of moral responsibility…Perhaps the clearest and sometimes the most important way of making sure China (or in this case Russia) is seen this way (as aggressor) is simply by ensuring that it is the one to strike first.”

    The seriousness of this manipulation of public opinion is compounded by the title of the book. This is not a strategy of ensuring high standards of moral conduct in global affairs. It is a strategy that promotes conflict. It is a strategy devoid of diplomacy, devoid of respect, and devoid of a goal of peaceful resolution of disputes. It is the strategy of a nation that since the fall of the Soviet Union has not had to do the hard yards of diplomacy because its unequalled military power gave it the capacity to coerce.

    Despite alerting readers to this soulless approach to global affairs, I can still be accused of “the mental convolutions some people will go to in order to put blame for a unilateral invasion of a sovereign nation upon anyone but the invaders.”

    And when I said we cannot believe MSM accounts of the war I was accused of BS. (Wotever that means. I woz brort up propper! )
    It was also implied that I “assume that known propaganda outlets are telling the absolute truth this time,…” I assume nothing of the sort. All governments lie.

    Perhaps Harold Pinter summed it up best in his 2005 Nobel Prize acceptance speech;
    “It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

    Note the final word. Hypnosis. Think about it.

  11. Fred

    SD: Lets be clear about Harold Pinter. He was a dramatist who won a Nobel Prize In Literature. His skill was in taking you with him on mind journeys beyond reality. It seems that you may have not returned from one of them. I agree with him to a point as I am not a fan of America with its appalling foreign policy/war mongering history. However, it is a long stretch to imply we have all been hypnotised. For example the late Simon Crean, RIP, publicly told George Bush that invading Iraq was a mistake. I remember the WMD lie used by little Jonny as justification and the protest marches.

    On the world stage it is one thing to have words between leaders and quite another to invade a country. NATO did not put a foot into Russia. AC has presented a brief summary of some pertinent facts above. Whatever “goading” Putin may have perceived does not justify the Russian invasion which he initiated. On the count of three snap out of it… 1, 2, 3.

  12. Douglas Pritchard

    Fred, get a grip. I noticed this “Because of Putin an estimated 350,000 people have been killed or maimed… and he is still in power.”
    I think you meant to say Biden, but a slip of the pen finished up with Putin?
    Biden has a bit of a history in Ukraine, but its a hub for cheap energy, so a chap from the White house may always be expected to take an interest, and a profit.
    He did need a cover story for blowing NS1 and 2, so arranged for another conflict, US inspired.

  13. Fred

    DP: LOL. I do have a grip, but I must have missed something if you think Biden is somehow responsible for Putin sending his troops into Ukraine. Biden must have said something so hurtful/confronting that Putin had no other option. I’d like to know what justifies Putin’s war – facts only please.

    Mind you, while growing up I was the constant target of bullies. I never felt compelled to lash out with a first strike and I cannot think of what anyone could say that would elicit the same. I did have to protect myself, which typically involved running away but if cornered I could give as good as I got.after somebody else threw the first punch.

    As for blowing NS1 and 2 which occurred in September 2022, I fail to see the relevance to justification of the Russian invasion that occurred in February 2022, some 7 months earlier. Even if hypothetically America or some other NATO country was involved, it isn’t enough to go to war over and certainly not to attack a non-NATO country.

  14. Steve Davis

    Nice finish Fred, you got a grin out of me, but you cannot have it both ways.

    First you implied that Pinter was on a “mind journey beyond reality” when he spoke those words, even though you gave no evidence for that, but then you gave evidence in support of his position. You actually referred to “America with its appalling foreign policy/war mongering history.” That’s not “agreeing with him to a point” as you say, it’s close to total agreement, and that alone should give you pause for thought.

    Your story of Crean, Bush, Iraq and Howard, all factual, is not a refutation of Pinter’s hypnosis claim as you assert — it’s evidence for it.
    You’ve shown you are aware that we are dealing with a superpower that has unprecedented propaganda resources at its disposal, yet you quote AC’s “brief summary of pertinent facts” as evidence that this time round they can be trusted. You even mentioned the WMD lie. So despite knowing that they use lies to justify the commission of unimaginable horrors on a grand scale, somehow, by some miracle, this time they can be trusted. The hypnosis hypothesis is looking pretty good at this point.

    This acceptance of a propaganda narrative unprecedented in human history is serious enough, but even more serious is your failing to deal with my main point — the admitted US foreign policy strategy of manipulating perceived enemies into making the first strike so that the US can use overwhelming military force while appearing to be a force for good. Instead you focused on the quote from Pinter, which was included merely to give a fresh look at a discussion that is so depressing and dismal as to make one weep.

    This denial strategy by the US was admitted by Elbridge Colby. You know Colby is correct because that’s they tactic they used on Saddam Hussein when they lured him into invading Kuwait. Your avoidance of the Colby revelations, appalling though they are, can be described as, to use Harold Pinter one last time, “It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.”

  15. Douglas Pritchard

    Hi Fred,
    There is a good chance that you would challenge any augment about why Putins “Special Military intervention” kicked off.
    So let me put it like this.
    If Biden decided he was going to take no interest in Russia s claim on Ukrainian territory, then would this ding dong stop?
    The Ukraine president would only resist knowing that he had USA backing, so he becomes a puppet, but its the Ukrainian people I feel for.
    NATOs would not allow membership of the country without a dramatic rule change, and the controlling figure again is across the Atlantic.
    Its the same boring story, time, and time again and it relies on Regime change, and how that happened is another story.

  16. A Commentator

    It’s interesting that the discussion focuses on US involvement and support for Ukraine.
    The proponents of Russia’s invasion must have missed the unstinting support from Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and other former Russian colonies that don’t wish to return to that status.
    Being on the doorstep of a brutal, expansionist autocratic regime appears to give the leaders of those counties an insight into the risk of unchecked Russian expansion
    Also ignored is the fact that a couple of Nordic countries have sought to join NATO.
    Those specific countries were (until recently) lauded for the independence of their foreign policy by many anti US/NATO types.
    They have also decided Russia is a significant risk in Europe.
    But there we have it, the pro Putin brigade would have us believe that they’re all wrong and the Trump supporters, the conspiracy theorists and fascists are all correct.

  17. Steve Davis

    The inimitable workings of AC’s argument style have once more been put on public display. He has lumped together all those who oppose US interference in the affairs of other nations as a motley crew of “Trump supporters, conspiracy theorists and fascists.” Nice.

    As was the case earlier where the discussion carefully avoided any mention of the admitted US strategy of manipulating perceived enemies into making the first strike so that the US can send the cavalry to the rescue, AC has also side-stepped that particular minefield, believing that he can still make a case for Russia being “a significant risk in Europe.”

    Knowing that his case for presenting Russia as a threat to Europe is weakened by US actions past and present, in desperation he implied in his first two sentences that a focus on the US misses the point. He introduced the positions of the Nordic countries to avoid discussing the US. But it just won’t wash.

    It was not the Nordic countries who had people active on the ground in Ukraine when the pro-Russia government was ousted, it was the US. So blatant was the US activity in Ukraine that the Cato Institute noted “The extent of the Obama administration’s meddling in Ukraine’s politics was breathtaking.” And from Reuters “A conversation between a State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine that was posted on YouTube revealed an embarrassing exchange on U.S. strategy for a political transition in that country, including a crude American swipe at the European Union.”

    A focus on US interference in Ukraine does not miss the point — it is the point.

  18. Roswell

    I find it odd that so many Westerners blame America and/or Ukraine for the Russian invasion. I blame Putin, and I think I speak for the majority when I do.

  19. Douglas Pritchard

    Roswell. Are you equally sure that you would hold this view if you were a Ukrainian?
    Living in a county located between 2 aggressive cultures, the meat in the sandwich, and If you are Russian speaking you are now condemned for using the language. Lots of other constraints too.
    Are you saying that this is a benevolent democracy?
    You now have a president who has committed ALL males to make the ultimate sacrifice, and who is not prepared to consider negotiation until all his toys have been neutralized, and ALL land is his again.
    I repeat, Biden could end this immediately.
    A county predominantly made up of farmers (Donbas) who may have elected to be neutral, is now a military stronghold thanks to weapons from Uncle Sam.
    I hear a lot from khaki clad spokesman, but not grassroots Ukrainians.

  20. Fred

    DP: I would consider an argument, backed by facts, that shows Ukraine deserves being invaded. E.g. It has a leader that wants to “de-nazify” and considers Russia to be part of Ukraine, a history of unprovoked attacks on Russian soil by Ukrainian “private armies” and covertly supported Ukrainian separatists operating and committing war crimes in Russia. Then the magnitude of the grievance would need to be considered as to the appropriate level of retaliation only after all diplomatic efforts have failed. War should be a last resort.

    Assertions like the US has “armed the Kiev regime with NATO weaponry posing a clear and present danger to Russia’s National Security” are questionable. Russia borders the following NATO countries: Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Norway and Finland but for some reason these countries do not represent a threat to Russia whereas Ukraine does?

    As for your question of 12:35am, of course not! It is scurrilous to suggest “The Ukraine president would only resist knowing that he had USA backing”. A poll in Ukraine shows the majority are prepared to fight to the death irrespective of who is President.

    I don’t understand what point you are trying make with “regime change”. Putin still lives so “direct action” has not been applied. Please don’t insult me with suggestion the ousting of the pro-Russia Ukrainian leadership was the work of the USA/West/NATO. It was their own bad behaviour that led the locals to getting rid of them. Refer to our last election for an example of what the population thinks of lies and bad leadership by a Prime Minister.

    How would Biden “end this immediately” – by pulling the support. You are cruel. Surely you understand that Ukrainians want the Russians gone. Pulling support would sacrifice Ukraine to be ravaged by Russia. If the current Russian occupied regions were handed over to Russia as part of a cease fire, Putin would be well pleased because his behaviour of “attack, tough it out for a while, negotiate a cease fire and gain more territory” is reinforced. It is that cycle that must be resisted.

    SD: I find it amusing the US has a “strategy of manipulating perceived enemies into making the first strike” and expects a superpower like China or Russia to be stupid enough to take the bait. Seriously… It may be possible for the US to convince the likes of Howard, Abbott, ScoMo, etc., but manipulating somebody like Xi, I don’t think so. In Putin’s case, it was simply the lack of action about Crimea which set the tone of “The West is Weak – Invade Whom You Want” in Putin’s mind. I haven’t read Elbridge Colby’s book, which apparently has positive reviews but appears to focus principally on the rise of China. Not sure if Elbridge discusses “war gaming” (modelling) but from what I’ve seen, a war between China and USA will end in no clear victor and tears for most of the world reliant on Chinese goods.

  21. Steve Davis

    Fred’s argument against Russia being manipulated by the West into invading Ukraine, is that Russia would not be “stupid enough to take the bait.”
    But Fred knows, as we all do, that “manipulating” has more than one meaning and can be devoid of the trickery he implies. Nice attempt at manipulation there from Fred. (That’s manipulation as in “trickery”.)

    People, and nations, can be manipulated into actions that they know will have serious consequences, actions they have tried to avoid, while being fully aware of the forces at work behind the scenes.
    We know that the US uses this strategy of provoking others into the first strike — not only is it admitted by them, we’ve seen it at work. An example of it was given in the article above. We know that it can result in unimaginable suffering for those that are targeted in this way, yet some of us are so comfortable with a certain view of the world, even reliant on such a view, that we put up a barrier that is so effective that stuff never happens. Even while it’s happening it’s not happening. It doesn’t matter. It’s of no interest.

    Russia’s efforts, over a period of years, to avoid a conflict over Ukraine are a matter of public record. If people want to say those efforts never happened, or that they don’t matter, or that they are of no interest then there’s not much that can be done about such a view. But it raises the question — how does the view that Russia made no attempt to avoid this conflict come about ?

    Acceptance of the argument I’ve put here does not require those who have blamed Russia for the conflict to do a complete 180 reversal. All that’s required is a recognition of the need to question everything. By that I mean everything.

    Perhaps that’s where the problem lies. To question everything requires effort and constant attention, because it has to involve also questioning our own pre-conceived notions, our biases. To discover that a long-held belief is petty or baseless can be uncomfortable. There’s no way around that problem. But we can take comfort in this advice from Socrates — the un-examined life is not worth living.

  22. A Commentator

    I suggested that the Putin supporters familiarise themselves with the High Commission for Human Rights report on the systemic rape of Ukrainian women and girls by the Russian military.
    The commanders of those involved were given commendations by the Russian regime.
    This fact is avoided
    The alleged Russia efforts to avoid this war were nothing more than uncompromising ultimatums. Those suggesting they were attempts at genuine diplomacy should have a look at footage of Putin ridiculing Zelensky during a press conference at the end of European sponsored negotiations.
    In my opinion, Putin believed this was the time to strike Ukraine because-
    * Europe/NATO would divide on support
    * Zelensky was inexperienced, indecisive and weak
    * Biden would be reluctant to intervene in the aftermath of the Afghanistan debacle.
    …so Putin resolved to invade and this entire disaster is of his making and is due to his poor judgement

  23. Phil Pryor

    There is a range of offered views here, all worth consideration and assessment, but no peace seems available soon. No-one will concede, retreat, suffer risk, court embarrassment, negotiate, compromise, submit to a third party area of talks…while the supply dribbles on, the innocent suffer, long term hatreds are engraved, side issues for us all are divisive and impoverishing, sadly..

  24. Douglas Pritchard

    AC, When you are having a go at the conduct of Russian Soldiers, has your memory failed to record recent results from the Brereton report and how we are prone to pinning VC medals on undeserving chests?
    War is a demeaning way of human behavior, and if you have spent any time in uniform you will understand.
    My radio tells me today that USA will be stepping up the game by supplying cluster bombs, which of course, because of the “ruless based” system they are not allowed to use-but they seem to have a stockpile of them which they are prepared to let go.
    The provocation for this is due to the fact that things are not going well on the western front
    This is simply another step in the escalation process, and Ukrainians are very much the frog in the fry pan
    This is a brutal conflict involving brutal folk who dont know how to shake hands, and we sit on the other side of the world applauding.
    We should know better than to buy into yet another US inspired conflict, but we are slow learners.

  25. A Commentator

    That’s a prime example of false equivalence.
    Do you notice that Australia investigates allegations of war crime? That the media exposes it? Do you observe the significant public opprobrium directed towards those involved?
    Meanwhile Putin awards medals to the commanders of those involved in the rape of women and girls aged between 4 and 82.
    Have you bothered to familiarise yourself with the report?

  26. Steve Davis

    Of course an issue in the background to all this, an issue carefully avoided by those trying to deny US provocation in Ukraine, is the blatant hypocrisy of the US when they accuse Russia of aggression.

    The political class in the US is currently having palpitations about cooperation between China and Cuba. They cannot tolerate the thought of the Chinese having any influence on their doorstep, much less a base in Cuba, and so the war drums are beating.

    It’s been noted elsewhere that even well prior to the current China/Cuba cooperation there was alarm in Washington, with Senator Josh Hawley ominously asking an audience, “Imagine a world where Chinese warships patrol Hawaiian waters, and Chinese submarines stalk the California coastline. A world where the People’s Liberation Army has military bases in Central and South America. A world where Chinese forces operate freely in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.”

    Which is exactly what the US military is doing to China.

    But the hypocrisy is writ large in the case of Ukraine. The US has for years provided funds, arms, training and political support to Ukraine, and is now providing military intelligence daily regarding troop movements etc. Imagine the uproar if Russia was providing Mexico with support such as this in a Mexican attempt to reclaim Texas, for example. As someone commented elsewhere, “The idea that the US militarily encircling Russia and China is an act of defense rather than aggression, is so in-your-face transparently idiotic that anyone who thinks critically enough about it will immediately dismiss it for the foam-brained nonsense that it is, yet because of propaganda, that is the mainstream narrative in the western world, and millions of people accept it as true.”

    Russia’s fear of the US providing arms to Ukraine, and Russia’s reaction to that should be perfectly clear and logical to Americans, who have long been committed to the Monroe doctrine, according to which no other distant power is allowed to deploy armed forces in the Western Hemisphere.

    But AC has chimed in with some more insights. He has alerted us to crimes committed by Russian forces, but he somehow overlooked the sacking of the Ukraine Information Minister who was found to have compiled fictional accounts of such crimes. He also overlooked the Washington Post report that civilian deaths in Ukraine were due in part to Ukraine deliberately placing military installations in civilian areas to prevent Russian strikes. (I note that he has since accused another commenter of a devious logical fallacy !!! Wow.) He wants us to engage in a battle over who did what to whom; a fruitless, pointless exercise that I will have no further part in.

    AC claims that “The alleged Russia efforts to avoid this war were nothing more than uncompromising ultimatums.” As far as the later efforts are concerned, that is possibly true. But he overlooks the years of pleading with the West to cooperate on security issues. Was the Russian request to join NATO an ultimatum ? When genuine efforts at cooperation are met with indifference and contempt, all that’s left is ultimatums.

    So I repeat my question. How did the view that Russia made no attempt to avoid this conflict come about ?

  27. Fred

    SD: Answer: Simply by Putin’s own words and actions. The Kremlin usually has translations available after Putin’s public appearances at: The posturing is truly extraordinary.

  28. Steve Davis

    OK Fred, we get it — you don’t like Putin. Or his “truly extraordinary posturing.” You must forgive the man, Fred. After all, he’s a politician.

    But that does not answer my question. It does not explain how the ill-informed view that Russia made no attempt to avoid conflict in Ukraine came about.

    You’ve got your work cut out because as I stated earlier, Russia’s efforts to avoid a conflict over Ukraine are a matter of public record.

  29. Terence Mills

    Head of Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin has said that the Kremlin’s rationale for invading Ukraine was based on lies concocted by his advisers among the Russian army’s top brass.

    Prigozhin dismissed Russia’s core justifications for invading Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year in what it calls a “special military operation”.

    “There was nothing out of the ordinary happening [the day Russia invaded]… the defence ministry is trying to deceive society and the president and tell us a story about how there was crazy aggression from Ukraine and that they were planning to attack us with the whole of NATO,” Mr Prigozhin said, calling the official version “a beautiful story”.

  30. Steve Davis

    So a Russian oligarch who appears to be suffering combat stress is now a credible commentator on affairs of global significance.

    Are you sure you want to go down that path Terence ?

  31. A Commentator

    The fact that every former Warsaw Pact signatory is no longer allied to Russia demonstrates that Russia is an unreliable neighbour.
    Prigozhin has been a Kremlin insider, a staunch supporter of Putin, a key part of Russia’s apparatus of government.
    He has completely debunked the rationale for the invasion Ukraine.

    As I've said, Putin directly ridiculed Zelensky following peace negotiations. P

    Putin s sought to capitalise on, what he saw as-
    * An inexperienced and indecisive leader in Zelensky
    * A divided/crumbling NATO
    * Biden- being reluctant to act in the aftermath of the Afghanistan debacle
    * The economic and social struggle of democratic nations following the Covid pandemic
    In my opinion, Putin saw this as his best opportunity to re-establish Russia’s colonial empire. His judgement has provided to be entirely wrong on each point.
    The debacle is entirely of his making

  32. Terence Mills


    The man who has no reason to lie may well be telling the truth !

  33. A Commentator

    It seems to me that there are some that have such a longstanding and deep-seated antipathy towards US/NATO/western democracy, they have taken the old proverb -“the enemy of my enemy is my friend” to ridiculous extremes.
    As I’ve said previously, I’d be entirely happy with a multi polar world, but not one that increases the prestige and international authority of brutal, fascist, expansionist regimes like Putin’s.

  34. Steve Davis


    A fair point, but do we know he has no reason to lie ?

  35. Steve Davis

    From AC, “In my opinion, Putin saw this as …”

    (Quiet chuckle.) I’m definitely making progress with AC. There was a time when he would look into the minds of people and let us know what he saw. Now he just tells us what might be there. A far more credible approach, but still lacking… I don’t know… a certain something.

    So let’s get the scalpel out and get to the business at hand — AC’s opinions –up for dissection.

    “Putin sought to capitalise on, what he saw as an inexperienced and indecisive leader in Zelensky.” There’s a hint of the old ESP there, but I’ll let that pass. On second thoughts, I won’t. Zelensky was not something to capitalise on, he was merely a factor to be dealt with. Opinions require evidence.

    Capitalise on “A divided/crumbling NATO” Possibly a valid point, but again we don’t know if that was in Putin’s mind, there might be a reference somewhere to support that. After all, there were prior signs of division.

    Capitalise on “Biden being reluctant to act in the aftermath of the Afghanistan debacle” No evidence provided in support, but if Putin did think that then he was spot on. The US has made it crystal clear that they will not be (officially) putting boots on the ground. Unofficially is another matter. Plausible deniability and all that.

    Capitalise on “The economic and social struggle of democratic nations following the Covid pandemic” Now that’s an opinion that definitely requires evidence in support. But once again, if that was a factor in Putin’s thinking then he was remarkably prescient. The economic war against Russia, the turning the “ruble into rubble”, is not going well. To make things worse, European nations, particularly France and Holland, are now dealing with massive social problems caused in part by inflation following the economic attacks on Russia.

    “Putin saw this as his best opportunity to re-establish Russia’s colonial empire.” AC is simply repeating an opinion that is regularly trotted out in the western media. It’s possible that this is simply projection from the West, another way of saying “that’s what we would do because that is what we always do.” But that’s just an opinion of mine, and you know how much I try to avoid unsubstantiated opinions. Which is what AC’s opinion requires. Substantiation.

    But of course all this from AC is just an attempted diversion from facing the uncomfortable fact that the belief that Russia made no attempt to avoid war is baseless. Almost the entire case against Russia rests on that false belief. (I note that AC has in a more recent comment tried another diversion, appearing to accuse those seeking a calm evaluation of what we know, of taking “the old proverb -“the enemy of my enemy is my friend” to ridiculous extremes.” Amazing stuff.)

    I made the point in an earlier comment that “To discover that a long-held belief is petty or baseless can be uncomfortable.” That discomfort is filtering through in comments in response.

  36. A Commentator

    I’ve said it is my view, and I’m entirely willing to explain it. a rational conclusion based on Putin’s timing and the circumstances at the time
    Each of those 4 factors existed at the time Putin made the decision to launch the invasion of Ukraine.
    Putin required only one of them to fall in his favour to blunt resistance to the invasion. It is unlikely that Russia would have had a similar convergence of favourable circumstances further into the future.
    For the days and weeks immediately before the invasion, Putin denied any plans to launch it.
    We also have the record of Putin deliberately ridiculing Zelensky following European sponsored negotiations.
    Following the invasion, his peace proposal amounted to nothing more than a take it or leave it surrender by Ukraine.
    So much for Putin’s efforts to avoid war..

  37. Fred

    SD: Interesting style of argument to say “Opinions require evidence” then lead in with “The US has made it crystal clear that they will not be (officially) putting boots on the ground” followed by a significant implication of US troop involvement by “Unofficially is another matter. Plausible deniability and all that”. It would be nice if you could stick to your own debating rules and provide evidence.

    To say “But of course all this from AC is just an attempted diversion from facing the uncomfortable fact that the belief that Russia made no attempt to avoid war is baseless” is patently wrong. Russia started the war so it had every means available to not do so. Nobody compelled Putin to invade. You have not supplied evidence to the contrary.

    Please remember that Putin has a history of making “false flag” attacks to justify further brutality. (Moscow bombings used to justify Chechnia attack.) It is difficult to rationalise how you can conclude anybody that nasty is only “interested in peace”.

    You might like to read Putin’s “oh poor me, I feel threatened, need to de-natzify Ukraine” address of 21 Feb 2022… while claiming the Donbas is Russian at: It gives insight into his sick mindset.

  38. Douglas Pritchard

    Fred, It was Putin who requested NATO membership in years gone by.
    But if that had been succesful the USA market for arms would have dried up, and NATOs very existance would be in question.
    Uncle Sam was not having any of that.
    It would mean cheap, and easily available energy to Europe, while Ukraine could accumulate wealth be stealing Russian gas from the pipelines, as it has always done.
    This would damage the US export market so it never happened.
    As long as Russia was seen as “The Enemy”, those in the White House could rest easy, and a little bit wealthier.

  39. Steve Davis

    Fred has had a dig for my suggestion of unofficial US boots on the ground in Ukraine, without giving evidence. He’s quite right of course, but I assumed that readers here would be aware that this required no evidence. After all, the matter has been widely reported, but I should have taken into account those readers who might not be as well-informed as Fred.

    Also from Fred — “Nobody compelled Putin to invade. You have not supplied evidence to the contrary.”
    To save readers having to wade through the issue again, if you look back to my comment of July 8 at 1.25 you will see a description of the US strategy of denial at work, whereby Russia felt compelled to act. Do not forget, “felt compelled” is the operative phrase.

    So while Russia did feel compelled to act, that’s not been my principal argument, as it seems Fred would have us believe. Any suggestion that it has been my principal argument is a diversion from an uncomfortable truth.

    I’ve been arguing that Russia’s efforts to avoid war are a matter of public record. This has not been challenged. Further, that the false belief that Russia made no attempt to avoid war became the basis for all the hyperbole and falsification that followed. And as I also said, If people want to say those efforts never happened, or that they don’t matter, or that they are of no interest then there’s not much that can be done about such a view.

    I note that AC has tried to push Russia’s years of effort to seek a diplomatic solution into a disappearing memory hole, by focusing on events that occurred after Russia’s diplomatic efforts were rejected by NATO, and after the conflict began. As did Fred with his reference to Putin’s speech of 21 Feb 2022. That’s a little bit shifty, fellas, a little bit shifty.

    Denial of Russia’s years of diplomatic efforts has ensured that this tragic state of affairs will continue for some time.

  40. Fred

    SD: Your ability to misrepresent the facts makes me wonder if you have been schooled by ScoMo. Re: “US boots on the ground in Ukraine” apparently “required no evidence” as “the matter has been widely reported”. However you fail to mention that those reports have been debunked. There are no US troops involved “on ground” in the battle.

    BTW, “Feeling compelled” isn’t justification for war. That is equally true whether creating an illusion of “WMD in Iraq” by the USA or “Nazis in Ukraine” by Putin. Both were lies, tugging at the “fear” reflex and used as justification. At least you admit that Russia “took action”. Putin wasn’t compelled, he wanted to but unfortunately misjudged the response by Ukraine.

    As for the “US strategy of denial” I tracked down an interview with Mr Colby. The “strategy” isn’t a standard operating process, it is a suggestion by Mr Colby. The focus was entirely on China as it is realised the US cannot maintain a lead as China is growing so quickly. The “denial” relates to denying China from having hegemony in Asia – by having coalitions like AUKUS, the Quad etc. with the focus on supporting the coalition member states from being dominated by China – a logical concept. It is also suggested the US openly declare its support for Taiwan. Clearly the “strategy” is a bit of a furphy in this discussion and certainly not grounds for the Ukraine war.

    Clearly you haven’t acquainted yourself with Putin’s ranting speech in my reference.

  41. A Commentator

    Regarding the “years of diplomacy” falsehood.
    Where was Russia’s staged escalation via diplomacy? Did Russia apply sanctions or a blockade? Sever diplomatic relations? Close the border with Ukraine?
    The fact is Putin issued uncompromising ultimatums, ridiculed Zelensky, denied any plans for an Invasion, then invaded.

  42. Steve Davis

    Once again AC raises events that occurred after years of diplomatic efforts were rejected.

  43. Steve Davis

    Yet again Fred has tried to divert attention from the truth he cannot bring himself to admit — that Russia tried for years to find a diplomatic solution to the security problem in Europe. In short, Russia tried for years to avoid war.

    Before I go on I must clear up this attempt by Fred to turn a matter of little consequence into a drama. He says that reports of US boots on the ground have been debunked. He is confused. At no point did I say or imply that any boots on the ground were numerous or significant. It was almost a throwaway line, a filler. But not to Fred, who seems eager to grab any minutiae to avoid the big issue. The Guardian and Newsweek reported that NATO had special forces on the ground in Ukraine and these included a small number of US personnel. Those reports were based on classified documents leaked from the Pentagon. The US has numerous personnel in Ukraine in positions other than front line combat. And that’s the official version.

    I have focused on the false belief that Russia made no attempt to avoid the war, for a very particular reason.

    The deliberate spread of this lie has prepared the ground for a succession of further lies.

    Acceptance of the lie establishes in the public mind the idea that Putin can have any number of troubling qualities. The suggestion then only has to made or implied that he is insane, or power hungry, or brutal, or thuggish, or ill, or bent on colonial expansion, or re-living the glory days of Empire, and a trusting public will accept these as truth. All of these allegations have been made, and accepted to varying degrees. I’ve lost count of the number of times since the start of the conflict that Putin has been diagnosed with cancer. When nonsensical claims such as that are made, then all claims should be questioned.

    So the thinking person will ask, why all this deception ? Cui bono ? Who benefits from this deception?

    Then the thinking person will start to investigate, will get information from a wide range of sources, will question everything no matter the source, will consider such common expressions as “all wars are bankers wars”, or “the arms industries love wars because they sell to both sides.” The thinking person might discover little gems such as the US government’s practice of deliberately circulating false or poorly evidenced claims about Russian plans for false flag attacks or the use of chemical weapons, as was revealed on NBC News. But even such revelations then need to be questioned.

    I know, I know, it’s hard work, but it has to be done.

    But what the thinking person will not do is accept without question, statements from the news media that has lied about every other war.

    Serious and thinking readers of this site might even re-read the article above to see if there’s something in it that they missed. It might contain nuggets of wisdom.

  44. A Commentator

    No, the definition of diplomacy represents all actions short of war.
    So where is the evidence of Russia’s exhaustive diplomacy, where is the evidence of them offering concessions and options rather than ultimatums?
    Did Russia use blockades or economic sanctions to signal their position?

  45. Steve Davis

    Question. Does AC already have the evidence of Russian efforts for a diplomatic solution to European security issues ? I’ll play along for the benefit of readers.

    Problems for Russia became visible to outsiders in 2007. From Putin’s 2007 Munich speech — “I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr, Manfred Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: “the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee”. We all know how good that guarantee was.

    Most people in the West were unaware, and remain unaware of Putin’s speech, or for that matter of the texts of the two proposals that he put on the table in December 2021, two draft treaties solidly anchored in the UN Charter, emphasizing the necessity of building a security architecture for Europe and the world. Does that count as diplomacy?

    The mainstream media bears considerable responsibility for failing to inform the public about Putin’s speech, and about the draft treaties.

    But the icing on the cake was Russia’s request to join NATO.

    From the Guardian; George Robertson, who led Nato between 1999 and 2003, said Putin made it clear at their first meeting that he wanted Russia to be part of western Europe. “They wanted to be part of that secure, stable prosperous west that Russia was out of at the time,” he said.

    If that request had been accepted, Russia would have been bound by NATO Article 1, which requires members to: “…settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.”

    If AC had a genuine interest in this he would not have adopted a confrontational position — he would have made his own inquiries. But, it seems that for AC, none of this ever happened. Even while it was happening it was not happening.It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. I’ll let readers decide on AC’s sincerity.

  46. A Commentator

    I’m always uncertain whether those that refer to Putin’s apparent wish to join NATO is naivety or disingenuity.
    1/. Years ago Putin asked when Russia would be invited to join NATO. He was advised that countries apply and invitations aren’t issued. Putin never applied.
    2/. Now and at the time, Russia had/has problematic borders with a number of counties, including former Russian colonies/satellites. Russia borders 14 countries – Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Norway, Poland, and Ukraine.
    NATO doesn’t take membership from countries that have border disputes.
    3/. Russia has a history of false flag operations, NATO wouldn’t wish to be compelled to enter a war where Russia alleged it is under attack by one of its 14 neighbours.
    4/. If the assurances about NATO were intended to endure forever, they would have formed the basis of a treaty. However, they weren’t even recorded as a MOU. Everyone with a skerrick of sense understands that a verbal exchange/weasel words don’t bind any future administration. They can’t.
    Does Putin honour the verbal communication of Yeltsin? is Biden required to honour the utterances of Trump?
    Putin’s verbal commitments don’t even last a week as evidenced by his statements that Russia had no plans to invade Ukraine.
    5/. As I said, where is Putin’s staged escalation? Where do we see his strategy of increasing diplomatic pressure? Economic sanctions? A blockade?
    6/. As I said I’m often uncertain whether those that raise these issues are naive or disingenuous

  47. Steve Davis

    AC asked for evidence that Russia tried for years to find a diplomatic solution to the question of security for Europe. So I gave him the evidence.

    But evidence was not enough. He responded with a grab-bag of rhetorical questions, a lecture on how international diplomacy should be conducted, and an imagined crisis for NATO that would not require, contrary to what AC would have us believe, a NATO response if Russia was a member. * See below.

    No, for AC, even while the Russian efforts were being made, they never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while they were happening they weren’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. (Crikey, I’m giving poor old Harold Pinter a flogging, he’s worth his weight in gold !)

    Which raises the question — if the Russian efforts, on public record, are of no interest to AC, just what is his interest ?

    *NATO Article 5, regarding an attack on a member; “…each of them,…will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith,… such action as it deems necessary,…” Such an admirable treaty. No compulsion. No guarantees. With friends like that…it makes you wonder why Russia ever wanted to join.

  48. Fred

    SD: You write “Yet again Fred has tried to divert attention from the truth he cannot bring himself to admit — that Russia tried for years to find a diplomatic solution to the security problem in Europe. In short, Russia tried for years to avoid war.” You’re quite right – I will not admit. I’m cynical enough to question anything that doesn’t sound or feel plausible, particularly any matter/blather emanating from a politician or somebody trying to convince me of something while misdirecting.

    What is it with your obsessive preoccupation with Russia’s alleged “diplomacy”? It doesn’t matter what posturing Putin has done previously, history shows he routinely will say one thing then do the exact opposite. Actions speak louder than words. All of the alleged “diplomacy” amounted to nought when, unprovoked, Russia invaded Ukraine.

    The reason why there is a war is simple – Putin miscalculated – the “Special Military Operation” was supposed to be a bloodless “Crimea 2” after telling the world that he would not invade Ukraine while undertaking massive military exercises just over the border. Somehow the troops got lost and wound up in Ukraine 😊 Diplomacy! What real diplomacy?

  49. Steve Davis

    Yet again (crikey, I’m getting tired repeating that phrase!) Fred has shown that the power of pre-conceived notions is greater than the public record.

    In Fred’s eyes Russia’s two draft treaties for European security mean nothing, that’s not diplomacy at all, but the moral high ground occupied by the US and NATO defending Ukraine against a Russia that made the first strike is the only factor worthy of consideration.

    In a previous comment (July 10th 1.30) Fred had us believe that the strategy of manipulating a perceived enemy into a first strike was not used behind the scenes of the Ukraine conflict because “The “strategy” isn’t a standard operating process, it is a suggestion by Mr Colby. The focus was entirely on China…”

    Except it is a standard procedure because we’ve seen it before (even noted by the author of the article above) and so the focus is not entirely on China. And why would a strategy that has such an awesome power to mesmerise be restricted to disputes with China? It’s a game-changer, a globe-dominator’s dream come true!

    The occupation of the high moral ground by the US and NATO is seen to be mere posturing in light of Russian efforts to not just avoid war, but to ensure peace.

  50. Fred

    SD: Please stop misrepresenting what I say.

    I have no “preconceived notions” about Russia’s invasion. When the “exercises” were being carried out prior to the invasion, I was contacted by a European based relative who said “watch this space because all hell is about to break loose” and that’s when I began familiarising myself on the matter. Turns out he was correct. I base what I write on what is in the public record. I do not consider the US and/or NATO to occupy the moral high ground – far from it. The more I read about Putin and what he said, the more I found out about what is a very nasty, duplicitous, murderous, arrogant and dangerous autocrat.

    Again you carry on about previous Russian “diplomacy”, but it is not relevant. Keeping it simple consider the following example: You are driving along coming to a “T” intersection where you have the right-of-way to continue unimpeded (top of the “T”). You can see a truck, from a long way off, with its left hand indicator on, coming up to its give way sign on the right. However, when you both arrive at the intersection at the same time, the truck doesn’t stop but turns right, into you and kills some of your occupants. The “diplomacy” of indicating that it was “not going to affect you”, with 20:20 hindsight was meaningless.

    As for combining “the strategy of manipulating a perceived enemy into a first strike” … with “The “strategy” isn’t a standard operating process, it is a suggestion by Mr Colby. The focus was entirely on China” is again a misrepresentation.

    There are two strategies 1) “first strike” and 2) Mr Colby’s “denial”. In my comment of July 10 1.30, I thought it was clear the paragraph on Mr Colby’s book was related only to the “denial” strategy, yes it is focused on China, and even suggests the US should consider reducing its efforts in Europe. Clearly you haven’t informed yourself about the book.

    Do not imply who I have “occupying the moral high ground”, because when I look up and around I see only one or two people, like David Attenborough, and no politicians, organisations or countries.

    Finally, you can stop with the fables of Russian diplomacy because whether true or not they are not relevant given the events in late February 2022.

  51. Steve Davis

    Fred has devoted some effort into presenting Elbridge Colby’s strategy of manipulating perceived enemies as being something innocuous, almost irrelevant. But the meaning of Colby regarding the strategy, could not be more clear.
    “Few human moral intuitions are more deeply rooted than that the one who started it is the aggressor and accordingly the one who presumptively owns a greater share of moral responsibility…Perhaps the clearest and sometimes the most important way of making sure China is seen this way (as aggressor) is simply by ensuring that it is the one to strike first.”

    Colby’s position is unambiguous. Despite the clarity of Colby’s position Fred is adamant that the strategy is not standard despite my pointing out twice that it has been used elsewhere and is not confined to China as he insists.

    One more word from Colby. He stated in an interview “In my book I advocate for something called the binding strategy, which is to posture our military in a way that forces the Chinese, if they want to pursue their ambitions, to act in a way that will catalyze our “righteous might”,…”
    Consider that carefully. Posturing the military to force the Chinese to act in a way that will catalyze “our righteous might.” That’s clearly a tactic to enable the occupation of the high moral ground, to control the origin of the first strike.

    Fred says that in the case of Ukraine he has no-one occupying the high moral ground, but that is not possible. It is not logically consistent with his position that Russia was morally wrong to invade. If Russia is morally wrong then those who support Ukraine occupy the high moral ground.

    But as we’ve seen, those flying the flag of righteous might on the high moral ground got there by pursuing a strategy of “posturing military forces” to ensure that “the one who started it is the aggressor and accordingly the one who presumptively owns a greater share of moral responsibility…” As I noted in an early comment, this is not a strategy of ensuring high standards of moral conduct in global affairs. It is a strategy that promotes conflict. It is a strategy devoid of diplomacy, devoid of respect, and devoid of a goal of peaceful resolution of disputes. It is a strategy that with the benefit of hindsight we should expect of a nation that that has an economy dependent on perpetual war, and which, since the fall of the Soviet Union, has not had to do the hard yards of diplomacy because its unequalled military power gave it the capacity to coerce and manipulate.

    Well, it seems they wanted a war and they got it. Just last month Mitch McConnell, Republican leader in the US Senate, revealed a secret that anyone paying attention already knew.

    “Most of the money that’s been appropriated for Ukraine security assistance doesn’t actually go to Ukraine. It gets invested in American defense manufacturing. It funds new weapons and munitions for the U.S. armed forces to replace the older material we have provided to Ukraine. Let me be clear: this assistance means more jobs for American workers and newer weapons for American service members.”

    Means. Motive. Opportunity. It’s high time the world took a fresh look at those on the high moral ground.

  52. A Commentator

    1). There is no question that Putin failed to exhaust diplomatic measures
    2). Regardless of any claimed diplomatic efforts Putin was not required to invade Ukraine.
    3). Putin chose to invade. No one else made that decision
    4). He considered the circumstances and timing to be most favourable to a military victory.
    5). Putin has used rape and war crime as an approved military strategy .

  53. Roswell

    I find it disturbing that people need to justify their dislike of Putin.

    The man is a murderous, dictatorial thug. How can his actions be justified or defended?

  54. Phil Pryor

    This stream of one eyed and no eyed fixations has gone on, with the Putin “question” being examined. He is horrible, will be gone and will not be remembered well here for copying the murderous invasive aggressions of, say, the USA in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. A future of a rampant, all covering, bases loaded, USA driven NATO is a threat to world peace and harmony in future. Whitey Bullshitchristian western imperialist values, which always included variations of murder, theft, slavery, acquisitions, possessions, occupations, plundering, humiliations, cannot be a civilised concept for a future result. Ordinary people, like us, are dying, destroyed, maimed, dehoused, all the while NATOites feed in gear until the last Ukraine citizen is gone and bases can be inserted. Yet Russia, post USSR, thirty years ago, could have been accommodated easily. Russians, with or without Putin, know their history and from the west came ravagers, Napoleon, the French and British Crimean war aggression, The Kaiser, Hitler, assisted by italy, Hungary, Rumania, Finland and many others, so that Russia has never been accepted, recognised as an equal or partner, never been “safe”, never been “European” enough. Russia and China are strong, know their destiny, are armed and ready, and if cornered will end more than this pointless run of comment with its narrow fixations. We need peace, now, cannot possibly get it until certain factors move, and no king, pope, prelate, imam, leader, president, head of an international body, no-one seems able to engender a start to diplomacy, negotiation, compromise, settlement, agreement. One should hope, yet, for a path to a more passive world power positioning, but…

  55. douglas pritchard

    Hey, Roswell.. I think its very personal how we define these things.
    How is it that Bush runs free while Assange rots in jail after being tortured by the USA.
    Who is the terrorist, and who is the freedom fighter
    What Putin is doing for Russia (unpleasant as it may be) is pretty much equivalent to what any US leader does for his country to stay at the top of the tree.
    I am not happy with Albo going half way round the globe to engage with conflict there, and boost our arms sales, while we refuse to handle refugees from these wars started by the West.
    We benefit from war the same as USA actually needs its everlasting war policy.
    Europe cant handle the folk running away from Ukraine. “Go back to where you came from”.
    Zilensky could have chosen a different path with peace, and avoided bloodshed. Do all his people regard him as a saviour?
    “murderous, dictatorial thug”(s), are part of the scenery.


  56. Fred

    SD: I reject your diatribe re “manipulating enemies to attack”, morality, “high ground”, conclusions reached and misrepresentation of my position.

    It is entirely possible to view the behaviour of all the various parties involved in the Ukraine war with varying degrees of disdain and the one viewed with the least disdain certainly does not occupy the “moral high ground” – IT IS ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE. Your logic is flawed. I have never stated that Russia was “morally wrong” to invade – simply that it was wrong. It appears you can only see morality in binary terms (either only right or wrong) rather than a spectrum as I do. Murder and theft are both wrong, with murder being much worse however it is possible that as a consequence of theft multiple lives could be lost. It all depends on the circumstances. Please put your position as coming from yourself. I didn’t use the words like “innocuous”, “irrelevant”, etc. with respect to Colby.

    Speaking of things “high”, I don’t know what mind-altering substances you are taking, but I can assure you that Putin was NOT coerced, manipulated, tricked, fooled, etc. into invading Ukraine as a “first strike”. If you believe this you should see your specialist and discuss an altered regime. BTW, Xi Jinping is also not susceptible to manipulation. If he “strikes first” on Taiwan it will be for his own reasons.

  57. Roswell

    douglas, without Biden, Zelenskyy etc, Putin would still be a murderous, dictatorial thug.

    And Bush? I wasn’t talking about Bush. I was talking about Putin.

    But seeing that you brought Bush up, he was an idiot who – in my opinion – should be charged with war crimes.

    BTW, so should Putin.

  58. Steve Davis

    Phil has made a very good point about “this pointless run of comment with its narrow fixations.” He’s spot on, which is why I tried unsuccessfully in my last comment to expand the discussion from who did what to whom and when, tried to get a big picture discussion going.

    There’s nothing the managerial class likes more than to see those they manage bickering over details, or narrow fixations as Phil put it, because while we bicker our attention is diverted from them doing what they do best — managing our affairs for their benefit. Because my attempt to expand the discussion was not exactly successful, actually it was far from successful, I’ll explain my interest in this from a different angle to see if we can get away from details. ‘Cos that’s where the Devil is !

    A massive campaign portraying Putin as an evil dictator came into effect when Putin stopped the stripping of Russian assets after the fall of the Soviet Union. Putin laid down the law to the oligarchs, (contrary to western opinion) jailed the No.1 robber baron and pulled the West into line. He did what any responsible leader would do. Suddenly he became a figure of hate. Is correlation causation? I’ll let you decide. But the last thing those with hegemonic aspirations want to see is responsible leaders protecting their national interests.

    Russia was a total mess after the fall of the Soviet Union and the western asset stripping. Its military was in disarray, its people demoralised and poverty stricken by free market economic reforms, its democracy weakened by a military attack on its parliament that raised not a word of protest from the West. In only a couple of decades Putin turned that around to make Russia not only a world power once more, but one capable of challenging those with hegemonic aspirations. Whether we like the way he goes about business or not is beside the point. This was an astonishing achievement.

    But my interest in this is not the interest of a pro-Russian agitator. My interest in this is that of an Australian seeing what can be achieved by a nation that has abundant natural resources and which throws off the shackles of an economic system that is designed to entrench poverty. That’s what Russia did. We in Australia have the natural resources sufficient to make us a powerful force for good in the world. We have such a head start compared to where Russia was, but…
    Will we do that? Will we throw off the economic shackles ?

    Not while our politicians, and a significant section of the public, are mesmerised by every pitiful piece of nonsense uttered by White House officials, every pitiful nonsense seen in CIA press releases, and reported as fact by our equally pitiful news media. Chomsky warned us way back before the digital age, that every time we pick up a newspaper we should have in mind this question — what lies are they telling us today? The situation today is far worse.

    The question needs to be asked — Why would any sane person see a benefit for Australia in being tied at the hip to an ailing power that relies on perpetual war to keep its economy afloat, that has used atomic weapons just because it could, that has broken just about every agreement it ever entered into, that lectures the world on the virtues of democracy while having a constitution that has checks and blocks built in (yes, that’s blocks, not balances) to ensure that the power of the people is limited to close to zero, that…
    I could go on forever. The imperfections of previous empires are well-known — that’s the nature of empires, but the imperfections of the US are unprecedented, both in scope and severity.

    It’s time for Australia to walk away.

  59. Phil Pryor

    Steve D and others, I lost a draft to a computer bounce, and did another furiously but on the wrong site, under “Robodebt??”

  60. douglas pritchard

    Our local |”Mature Adults Learning” persuaded a local academic at the later part of 2022 to present a series on “The history of Russia”(a big ask), and for our Summer School at the start of 2023 we got Dr Alexai Mur******** from one of the Uni`s to talk on Russia, and the Ukraine conflict. Very Russian, and appears on ABC sometimes as an expert.
    During question time he made some predictions, and we will see if that pans out.
    So with all that, plus input from SD, and PP, i feel I have a firm grip on what, when, and where.
    One thing I would like to say about Vlad is that you know where you stand with a KGB trained guy. If he has you by the goolies and says you are not going to like this. Thats pretty much what will happen!
    Now Jo can tell you cluster munitions are only used by war criminals, and the next day he does that.
    He also predicted that NS2 would never be commissioned, and he got that right.
    I like to see Chomskey quoted, and the role of the CIA being put in perspective. They are not a bunch of good old guys sitting in a circle knitting jumpers for the impoverished. They are there, partnered with the great war machine, and trying to outwit the KGB.

  61. Steve Davis

    Phil, the point you made (inadvertently over at Robodebt) that issues such as these pertaining to Russian history and culture require observations and assessments over decades, is so true.

    I’m old enough to recall seeing footage of the shelling of the Russian parliament, that was presented without comment let alone condemnation, and I recall wondering to myself how this outrage could be seen as just another piece of news, as though an attack on a parliament was, more or less, “ho-hum, lets move on to something interesting.”

    It’s when we start looking for the bigger picture, that the reason this event was brushed aside becomes apparent. We need to take a long view of history if we are to make sense of it.

  62. Steve Davis

    Well, that’s amazing. Who would have thought it?

    Those few here who were vociferous in decrying Putin as an evil dictator, a thug, a liar, … are strangely silent when invited to discuss the tremendous economic advances Russia has made under Putin’s tutelage — advances that are possibly unprecedented in human history. These critics seem to have no interest in the lesson that we in Australia can learn from this. No interest in potentially huge benefits to Australia.

    So why the lack of interest?

    A possible reason is the lesson itself.

    The lesson, if acted on, requires thinking Australians to de-couple, not just from an economic ideology that is sociopathic in origin and intent, but also a de-coupling from the USA, the USA being the power that enforces conformity to economic dictates. Russia was able to de-couple when they were in a far weaker position than us, but they had the foresight and the courage to do it.

    Do we have the courage to de-couple? Because that is what it would take. Courage. And a walking away from a small-picture view of the world.

  63. A Commentator

    I think it’s weird that anyone would think there is a historical or cultural excuse for Russia’s brutal military strategy, which includes sending missiles into civilian areas and the rape of Ukrainian women and girls.
    The best responses the Putin apologists can come up with-
    * But look at the economy!
    * Consider the historical context (of rape??)
    * You did it first!
    To put it kindly, it is wilful ignorance
    Check out Russia’s economic growth since the invasion of Crimea.

  64. Douglas Pritchard

    AC, To this very day, and a whole long way into the future, there are countries experiencing birth defects, and all manner of health problems resulting from Agent orange, land mines, depleted uranium, and a saturation of small arms which have more to do with US adventures going horribly wrong, after they cocked up regime change, and a chance to invade.
    Russia is not breaking new ground, and for the record I spent my early years in “civilian areas”, in a bomb shelter, and bombs dropping were a part of life.
    Its war, and bad things happen when arms manufactures have the agenda to themselves.
    Stop arming, and you stop civilian trauma.

  65. Phil Pryor

    Douglas P, you are a galaxy away, and in front, and, have you talked to a rock lately? Much more responsive…the obsessive swelter in a foul juice allowing little focus or perspective.

  66. Steve Davis

    Ah, yes, there’s always someone anxious to do the bidding of the managerial class by having us bickering among ourselves, instead of discussing among ourselves the stuff of AC’s nightmares — the big picture. If AC wants to compare crimes committed by particular nations, Joe Bloggs down the road can give him all the details he wants. But it won’t end well.

    And did AC give us anything of substance with the graph he linked us to? Not at all. He showed us a GDP graph, when even the CIA in their World Fact Book refer to PPP as the real indicator, the “Real GDP” as they put it.
    To see how deliberately misleading AC has been, readers with an inquiring mind will go to the table to the right of the graph and click on the second last option — “GDP. PPP. (current international $)”, and will get rather a surprise.

    From another source, in 2023, the period AC refers to, China headed the list for PPP, with US second, Russia 6th, UK 9th and Australia 18th.

    I could give plenty of other details of Russia’s economic turn-around, but that would play into AC’s hands. I can go down that road however, if requested by others with a genuine interest in a look at the bigger global picture.

  67. A Commentator

    It seems looking at “the big picture” requires –
    * Ignoring human rights and war crime, such as the (documented) rape of women and girls (aged between 4 and 82)
    * Taking the economic lead from a largely impoverished nation, with a GDP about the same size as Australia’s, but with about 6 times the population.
    * Ignoring the limitations of PPP, which is useful for examining comparative living costs, but not as a tool for examining economic power or international trade
    * Seeking economic alignment with a country that was condemned by the United Nations General Assembly (143 to 5)
    * Taking the economic lead from a country that 54% of the world’s economy seeks to cause economic failure
    …it’s a “big picture” that seems to appeal to small minds
    ***Also note that about a quarter of the Russian population is without bathroom plumbing, because Putin invests in war rather than public infrastructure.

  68. Fred

    SD: LOL – “tremendous economic advances Russia has made under Putin’s tutelage”. Just think how much better off they would be if he hadn’t invaded Ukraine and he wasn’t their leader. Let’s not forget that his personal economic advances have been nothing less than stellar, starting from being destitute and driving taxis after the collapse of the USSR.

    The “Big Picture” is that he is estimated to be worth $200B USD with the money hidden in the west. Plus he has a mere bagatelle of a palace worth $1.4B. So how does someone that officially draws an annual salary of $US117,000 get that rich? Simple, you make a deal with the oligarchs; give me 50% of your money and you get to keep the rest or I’ll take all of your money and throw you in jail. Total corruption in action.

  69. Steve Davis

    With each comment, with his obsession for details including those with no credibility, AC is doing the bidding of the managerial class.

    I almost began to play AC’s game for a moment. I was about to compare the poverty rates of the US and Russia. That’s how hypnotic the small-picture view can be. It drags you in. Luckily, I pulled back from the brink just in the nick of time.

    But what I find really strange, is that if AC finds criminal activity to be a reason for not associating with a particular country, I’m surprised he’s not listing the crimes of the US or the UK and urging us to de-couple.

  70. Steve Davis

    With each comment, with his obsession for details including those with no credibility, Fred is doing the bidding of the managerial class.

    Hang on!

    It’s deja vu all over again !

  71. Fred

    AC: There is little point in trying to enlighten the myopic, one-eyed, pro-Putin brigade on this forum as they refuse to accept facts that are contrary to their distorted realities, which they label as lies, unsubstantiated, of no credibility, etc. They refuse to acknowledge the nasty, ruthless, murderous side of Putin – on par with or worse than the Cosa Nostra, e.g., using radioactive/chemical warfare materials to kill opponents. They only want to focus on his good side and how he has improved Russia, while ignoring the corrupt dictatorship, backed by oligarchs, that Russia is living under with only state run media broadcasting propaganda as “information” for most people.

    They routinely put words in your mouth/misrepresent what you write by inventing a supposed position/action/state-of-mind you have adopted, e.g., if one is anti-Putin then they say it must mean one is pro-USA, when nothing is further from the truth. Apparently, I’m now doing “bidding of the managerial class”, whatever that means. Only they are “thinking people” that know what perspective to adopt, i.e., “big picture” down to “minuscule detail” and only theirs is the right one.

    Their lack of ability/refusal to understand in absolute terms the level of war crimes being committed by the Russians, civilians targeted, the number of casualties so far, coupled with the ridiculous notion that Putin was somehow manipulated into invading Ukraine, “it’s not his fault – the west is to blame”, is truly breath taking. Equally breath taking is their concept the Ukraine war is effectively “business as usual” as everybody else is doing it. They cannot grasp that just because the USA has started pointless, horrendous wars, e.g., Vietnam with somewhere between 1.3 and 3.9 million deaths, which is truly reprehensible, it does not give justification to any other nation to do the same.

    Knock yourself out, but please realise that whatever hypnagogic or psychotic state they are living in and no matter how many facts you bring, you will not change their view on Putin, whom, based on their adoration, you would need to meet wearing 50+ sunscreen and sunglasses lest he dropped his dacks and bent over. 🙂

  72. Steve Davis

    Informing yourself about current affairs requires considerable time and effort each day. Not everyone has the time or inclination for that, hence the effectiveness of propaganda.

    The tradie who comes home from work each evening and catches a few news headlines before relaxing with some light entertainment, doesn’t stand a chance. He’s a lamb for the slaughter, a tabula rosa, a clean slate ready to be written on.

    Every source needs to be questioned. An ability to read between the lines is essential. Even then, the reward for that effort is a fuzzy picture that might, if you’re lucky, be somewhere near the truth.

    As for “…doing the bidding of the managerial class.”
    Think about it for a while, Fred.
    AC knows what I’m talking about. Think about that also.

  73. Fred

    SD: Very funny but wrong. Propaganda delivered via state run media and ensuring there are no independent information sources, as per Russia, are used by dictators in an attempt to control what their populations think and not to make it easy for a “tradie” to catch up on current affairs.

    Stop it. I don’t need to “think about it” as I think for myself. I intentionally skipped the “bidding” matter previously because you are misrepresenting my position again. I utterly reject and take umbrage with your assertion that I am “doing the bidding” for anyone. What in any of my comments suggests that I am subservient to anyone and if so to whom, given it is impossible for the entire “managerial class” to have a common viewpoint across the range issues I have commented on. And don’t give me any excreta about being “unconsciously” or “unwittingly” subservient.

    BTW there is no class system in Australia – particularly where the class classifications are based on the works of Burnham. You should move to England to enjoy a “class system”.

  74. Steve Davis

    Fred, Fred, Fred, you’ll love this one.

    Have you heard the one about the Russian on a flight to New York.

    He’s sitting next to a Yank who asks him “And why are you visiting America?”

    “To learn about US propaganda” says the Russian.

    “What propaganda?” says the Yank.

    “Exactly” says the Russian.

  75. A Commentator

    Allegedly, this is the opinion of someone informed.
    Recommends an economic alliance with a country-
    * that has an economy about the same size as Australia’s
    * where 54% of the worlds economy is applying sanctions and seeking to cause economic contraction
    * remains largely impoverished, despite its natural resources
    * devoted a greater proportion of their economic activity to the military, than the US
    * uses rape and brutality as a military strategy
    * is condemned by the United Nations General Assembly in a vote of 143 to 5

  76. Steve Davis

    Ah, yes. Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    AC will do anything to divert attention from the big picture, he’ll pluck any detail from any source, credible or not, just as the managerial class wishes. As I’ve said before, those in power love to see us bickering over details while they get on with doing what they do best — managing our affairs for their benefit. The last thing those in power want to see is a mature discussion as to whether we, the people, could benefit from a change in economic direction.

    But let’s play the game, just for a brief moment. I promise you I won’t get sucked into The Matrix.

    In 2021 US military spending was 3.5% of GDP while Russia’s was 4.1%, not much difference at all in percentage terms. But a huge difference in dollar terms.

    In 2022 the US spent $877 billion on the military; 39% of global spending. For the same period Russia spent 86.4 billion; 3.9% of global spending.
    Is there a picture starting to emerge here?

    To understand the picture we have to re-trace our steps — “And why are you visiting America?” asked AC.

    “To learn more about US propaganda” said the Russian.

    “What propaganda?” said AC.

    “Exactly” said the Russian.

    But of course I’ve been over-kind to AC there. I’ve portrayed him as being blissfully unaware.

  77. Douglas Pritchard

    SD, It sort of fits that the American people give up their tax $$s to the defense of their country, well, from the poor that is.
    10 times as much. Who knows, who cares?
    The Oligarths have offshore a/cs, and stock in the military.
    But they have this HUGE problem.
    To the north its the Canadians, and from the south its the Mexicans, and being absolute paranoid you are going to need to plant offensive bases in 800 places around the globe, and keep bombing people so they get the idea that you are serious.
    And pick a fearless president.
    I`m sure that US style democracy is the way to go. No propaganda here.

  78. Canguro

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, central Korea is inundated with floods bringing death & disaster, other parts of Asia along with American & Europe are experiencing scorching heatwaves, the planet has just recorded a series of the hottest days ever, fires are destroying built & natural landscapes in a number of regions, global sea surface temperatures continue to rise, and on, and on it goes… Gaia clearly unimpressed with the obduracy of humans who wish to wrangle over piddling matters of political profligacy and who’s outbested who, who’s the least or the most sane, or insane, nastiest or most crooked, or the obverse, which country qualifies for support or rejection, who’s the biggest baddest & nastiest autocrat, why don’t this or that political body behave in this or that way, and damn them for their aresholery and how dare they seek to take advantage of their situation and how wrong they are to criticise others who hold alternative viewpoints, and on and on it goes, the never-ending theatre conducted within the courtyard of the Tower of Babel, a million tongues wagging in a thousand languages and absolutely nobody understanding a damn thing and all utterly myopic to the impending crash as tipping points coincide and the human-built house of cards nears its inevitable collapse. Slim Pickens riding the bomb, revisited.

  79. A Commentator

    I see, so explain the “big picture” rationale for your suggestion that we form an economic alliance with Russia.
    Because it appears to have nothing to do with economics or trading volume/compatibility or facts

  80. Roswell

    We are facing a frightening summer, Canguro, judging by what’s happening up in the Northern Hemisphere.

    I assume we follow them.

  81. Fred

    SD: …and your point is? You are not seriously trying to imply that all, or even a majority, of US media companies and social media are delivering the same message as provided/controlled by the oldest US president (or a secret “Propaganda department” or whatever wild idea you can come with), similar to Putin’s total control of the message promulgated by ALL media in Russia.

    If so, you are an idiot.

    Sure, there are parts of the US where media diversity is limited, but the major population centers don’t suffer from that problem. The 1st amendment pretty much ensures there is always dissent with the govt narrative.

    Canguro: Yes, the climate issues are far more important than pointless discussions with the misguided pro-Putin cohort.

  82. Steve Davis

    This is quite stunning. Fred would have us believe that for a US propaganda system to exist, it would be in the form of directions from the President, or a Propaganda Dept. Fred is familiar with the work of James Burnham, so it appears Fred is being disingenuous, which, if true, is rather sad. Fred knows that the system is far more sophisticated and subtle than his portrayal suggests. With the news media being owned almost exclusively by plutocrats, a plutocratic view of the world is what’s fed to us as news.

    Here is the experience of a US current affairs show host who strayed outside the Overton window of discourse acceptable to the managerial class.
    “There are certain pressures to stay in good with the establishment to maintain the access that is the life blood of political journalism. Back in early 2015 at MSNBC I did a monologue that some of you may have seen pretty much begging Hillary Clinton not to run. I said her elite ties were out of step with the party and the country, that if she ran she would likely be the nominee and would then go on to lose. No one censored me, I was allowed to say it, but afterwards the Clinton people called and complained to the MSNBC top brass and threatened not to provide any access during the upcoming campaign. I was told that I could still say what I wanted, but I would have to get any Clinton-related commentary cleared with the president of the network. Now being a human interested in maintaining my job, I’m certain I did less critical Clinton commentary after that than I maybe otherwise would have.”

    That particular host was lucky, because that was not an isolated incident and the consequences for some were far worse.

    Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges left the NY Times after being issued a formal written reprimand by the paper for criticizing the Iraq invasion in a speech at Rockford College. Marc Lamont Hill was fired by CNN less than 24 hours after a speech at the UN in support of Palestinians. Phil Donahue was fired from MSNBC for opposing the build-up to the Iraq invasion.

    But it’s not always a sledge-hammer that’s used. The more a mass media employee follows the unwritten rules and remains unthreatening to the powerful, the higher up the media career ladder they will climb. Once they find themselves in a position to influence a very large number of people, they are a part of a wealthy class which has a vested interest in maintaining the political status quo which lets them keep their fortune. This can take the form of opposing anything progressive, or horror of horrors, movements to make the rich pay more taxes, as we saw in the virulent smear campaigns against progressive figures like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn.

    And it’s not just plutocratic opinion being presented to us as fact. About a year back, US officials admitted to NBC that the Biden administration had been feeding lies about Russia to the media in order to win an information war.

    Fred claims that there is no managerial class in Australia, because he says “there is no class system in Australia – particularly where the class classifications are based on the works of Burnham.” Yet, as just one example, we can see the managerial class at work in Australia in the constant attacks on ABC content, and attacks on the very concept of an independent public broadcaster. The managerial class, unable to dislodge the ABC from it’s position, uses these relentless attacks and threats as a psychological tactic to ensure that the ABC does not stray too far outside the Overton window of acceptable discourse. And despite an occasional break-out, in general, it works.

  83. A Commentator

    You’ve advocated an economic alliance with Russia. Yet you’ve dismissed the economic facts I’ve posted about Russia.
    How about you explain the rationale for your support for this economic alliance.

  84. Steve Davis

    Patience AC, I’ll get to you in the fullness of time.

    There’s a bit to play out here, and I’m not about to have you sow confusion, as the managerial class would wish.

  85. A Commentator

    An economic alliance with a largely impoverished nation at a time that 54% of the world’s economy is trying to cause further contraction.
    I’m looking forward to your fact free rant.

  86. Steve Davis

    Yer just gunna have to be patient.

  87. A Commentator

    Patient, because there is no economic rationale.
    You’ll provide one or all of the following-
    * a fact free rant, that is about the US
    * something about BRICS (and I’m looking forward to that)
    * lots of “look over there!”
    Because if there was a rationale for an economic alliance with Russia, it would be front of mind and your procrastination would be unnecessary.

  88. Steve Davis

    AC, I know you hang on every word I say, I know the pain of waiting must be excruciating, but you must be patient.

    Let’s see what others have to say about the propaganda system that is the life-blood of the managerial class. After all, it’s a most important matter, it affects the lives of all of us on a daily basis.

  89. Douglas Pritchard

    AC. The Germans are a pretty smart bunch, and they found a close relationship with Russia was a good idea and would give them cheap energy as long as they remained friendly. Others benefit from low grain prices and keep their population fed, and we found their fertilizers to be budget priced.
    However the big bad wolf was not happy to have competition in the market place so it severed the pipeline as a natural part of the proxy war.
    Europe was not buying enough war material, but now the war machine in USA is cranked up, and Europeans keep warm with long range gas at 10 times the price, so from a US perspective, what is there not to like about Ukraine`s demise?

  90. Steve Davis

    Douglas, it’s good to see that you’ve been able to pick your way through the fog of propaganda.

    But keep in mind the point I made earlier, that even when we’ve put in the hard yards, the reward for that effort is a fuzzy picture that might, if we’re lucky, be somewhere near the truth.

    Cheers, Steve D

  91. Fred

    SD: By continuing with your “propaganda” assertion, you have verified the feed in to my previous paragraph 2 is “true”. Again, you misrepresent my position. I was merely mapping Russia’s “propaganda” approach to the US as a discussion point.

    As propaganda doesn’t happen on its own, go on, tell me who is responsible for creating and coordinating “propaganda” in the US? …and please don’t insult me with the “managerial class”

    Again, you are misdirecting by assigning assertions to a virtual “managerial class” that you claim carries out “constant attacks on ABC”. Since you apparently know who is coordinating the attacks it suggests you are part of the “class”. Mind you, the LNP has a history of wanting to shut down the ABC and they couldn’t manage their way out of a wet paper bag – hardly management material.

    I’ll keep this simple in the hope you can follow. In Russia today no media is allowed to present any viewpoint other than that of Putin (vis. the “Government”), which comes with up to 15 years imprisonment if the law is contravened. The Russian population only receives the same propaganda no matter the medium, vis. not a balanced viewpoint.

    This does not occur in the US. Your examples of reporters, show hosts, etc., being reprimanded, sacked or whatever is a long way off being imprisoned. It’s like comparing apples and oranges – they are both fruit but vastly different. Whatever they said or did to receive the brunt of management ire, has probably got a lot to do with where the organisation they work for sits on the political spectrum. It is improbable a “far left” viewpoint being considered as excellent by News Corp executives? The US spectrum can be seen at:

    As for your assertion of effectively kowtowing to the “establishment” while climbing the corporate ladder inside a news media organisation… what rubbish. You don’t join a far-left media organisation if you have a far-right leanings and if you do, you won’t be there for long. If you are Plasticine then you don’t make it to positions of power. Your rise speed is helped by being a mutual “good fit”. The relevance of Jeremy Corbin to US propaganda is beyond me.

    So, you’ve picked up the buzz words of “Overton window” and applied them to the ABC. I disagree with your assertion. Suggest you watch 4 corners to see reporting that is outside the “Overton” comfort zone.

  92. Steve Davis

    Fred asks “who is responsible for creating and coordinating “propaganda” in the US?”

    It was clear from my example of the controlling of the TV show host that there is no co-ordination, because none is needed. As I said earlier, with the news media being owned almost exclusively by plutocrats, a plutocratic view of the world is what’s fed to us as news. What would such a view be? It’s not hard to work out. It’s a view that protects the vested interests of that class. It’s just a natural outcome of the accumulation of wealth. They all have the same motivation so they all sing from the same song-sheet. To paraphrase the old joke, “And you and I ain’t in the choir.”

    Fred is confused. He said “your assertion of effectively kowtowing to the “establishment” while climbing the corporate ladder inside a news media organisation… what rubbish.” Followed immediately by “You don’t join a far-left media organisation if you have a far-right leanings and if you do, you won’t be there for long.” The second sentence contradicts the first. They cannot both be true, so which is the sentence based on truth? The second sentence is true, and we have evidence for it in the sackings I referred to. Although Fred did cleverly switch the example from a right-wing organisation to a left-wing one.

    The subtleties behind this issue of climbing the corporate media ladder were famously highlighted in a contentious 1996 discussion between Noam Chomsky and British journalist Andrew Marr, in which Chomsky derided the false image that mainstream journalists have of themselves as “a crusading profession” who are “adversarial” and “stand up against power,” saying it’s almost impossible for a good journalist to do so in any meaningful way in the mass media of the western world.
    At one point Marr said “How can you know that I’m self-censoring? How can you know that journalists are?” “I’m not saying you’re self-censoring,” Chomsky replied. “I’m sure you believe everything you’re saying. But what I’m saying is that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting.”

    In a 1997 essay Chomsky added that “the point is that they wouldn’t be there unless they had already demonstrated that nobody has to tell them what to write because they are going to say the right thing anyway.” Sounds to me like Sky After Dark.

    Fred is not happy with my account of the constant attacks on the ABC.
    He said “ Since you apparently know who is coordinating the attacks…” I shall overlook the fact that I did not refer to co-ordination at all, but I will point out that, as even Fred knows, the Murdoch press from time to time sees attacks on the ABC almost as its reason for being.
    Why the attacks from Murdoch? To protect corporate interests. Why the attacks from the LNP? To protect corporate interests. Any co-ordination between the two? None necessary.

    Fred says that the Overton window of acceptable discussion boundaries does not apply to the ABC, and gives the example of Four Corners as being outside the boundary to prove his point. His misunderstanding of the issue is such that he’s agreeing with me. I acknowledged “occasional break-outs” from the boundaries. This is what prompts the attacks on ABC content. This is why the attacks come in surges — in response to the occasional break-out.

    I note that in Fred’s discussion of US propaganda he made no reference to US officials admitting to NBC that the Biden administration had been feeding lies about Russia to the media. There’s a reason he made no mention of it. It undermines his “but look over there” line about the difference between Russian propaganda and US propaganda. In the end, differences are irrelevant. Propaganda is propaganda. Lies are lies.

  93. A Commentator

    It is kind of entertaining that pro Putin propagandists often allege that those that oppose the brutal invasion of Ukraine are manipulated by western media.
    They always neglect to explain why they are immune from this “manipulation”. It clearly has nothing to do with their knowledge of world affairs or their intelligence or capacity to articulate their opinions

  94. Douglas Pritchard

    Fred,”The relevance of Jeremy Corbin to US propaganda is beyond me”.
    This probably says it all.
    But treat this as an exercise, and expand your knowledge..

  95. Fred

    SD So let me get this right. You claim the US media as whole are broadcasting/printing “propaganda”. There is no coordination because apparently non is needed. The definition is:
    Propaganda Noun The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.

    Your concept of propaganda is not in line with its definition.

    You claim “They all have the same motivation so they all sing from the same song-sheet.” Well that is patently wrong as the various organisations do compete and are spread across the political spectrum.

    I cannot be bothered responding to the rest of your delusional diatribe.

    DP: So what is the relevance of Jeremy Corbin to claims of US propaganda? I’m certainly not getting any knowledge from the garbage SD is writing.

  96. Steve Davis

    Fred has helpfully given us a definition of propaganda as a contribution to the discussion — “The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.”

    I have no problem with that definition at all, as it’s the original definition from way back. It’s only in the 20th Cent. possibly that it took on the added aspect of lies and half-truths.

    And despite what Fred says, that definition is not at odds with what I have been discussing — the constant propagation of information supportive of the interests and views of the corporate sector, and opposed to the interests and views of working people and the needy.

    In systems that claims to be democratic, a certain amount of freedom has to be given for the expression of a wide range of views so that complaints of curtailment of freedom of speech cannot be made. But there are boundaries, limits to what can be advocated. Sometimes the limits are set by public opinion or by those who manipulate public opinion. Sometimes the limits are accepted moral values.

    So in the case of media organisations that are controlled by corporate interests, the limits to ideas expressed by those outlets will be both accepted moral values, and the limits that protect corporate interests. But even there lip service must be paid to freedom of speech, and so the corporate media allow a certain amount of dissent. We even see that on Sky. But limits there are, and the consequences of going beyond those limits can be serious, as discussed earlier.

    The claim by corporate media outlets of a commitment to neutrality through allowing dissenting views was debunked by Chomsky and Herman in their 1988 book The Manufacturing Of Consent : The Political Economy Of The Mass Media. The consent referred to in the title, is the consent of the public for governments to support, among other things, corporate values. That consent is manufactured, manipulated, by the mass media.

    The book describes the symbiotic relationship between the corporate media and the political class, but the main detail I recall was the debunking of the neutrality claim by focusing on a specific contentious issue, the invasion of Vietnam for example, and laboriously counting over a period of months, the column inches devoted to support of the war and those devoted to dissent. No surprise as to the findings.

    Fred says “the various organisations do compete and are spread across the political spectrum.” Perhaps Fred should provide the numbers of major media outlets in the US that are supportive of corporate values and those that oppose corporate values. I’ll save him the trouble. As of 2021 according to TechStartups and other business sites, six corporations control 90% of media outlets in the US.

    Of course, the rise of the internet has allowed for a good number of independent web-sites that can and do give alternate views, so those with the time can access other news. But independent can also mean radical right-wing, so the internet can be a minefield.

  97. A Commentator

    And still there is no rationale for forming an economic alliance with Russia.

  98. Steve Davis

    Thinking readers will be asking themselves why it is that AC is determined to steer the discussion away from the propaganda system that is the life-blood of the managerial class. He’s doing a very good impression of someone who’s been given a task.

    I was going to include the following as the final sentence to my July 18th 8.30 am comment about how the propaganda system works, but as the comment was already lengthy I chose to save the sentence in case needed in the future. And the future has arrived in the form of AC’s attempts at diversion. How many attempts so far? Five? Six? Here’s the omitted sentence.

    “Readers who, like me, are dismayed at the lack of progress under the Albanese government,in considering the symbiotic relationship between the managerial class and the political class, might come to the conclusion that the tentacles of the managerial class are far-reaching indeed.”

    Given AC’s repeated attempts to curtail discussion of how the life-blood of the managerial system works, readers might look at AC and think — Hmm… the tentacles of the managerial class are far-reaching indeed.

  99. A Commentator

    No, you stated that Australia should have an economic alliance with Russia. You said you would provide a rationale for your recommendation.
    Now you’re just ducking that commitment, probably because there is no semblance of a rationale for having an economic alliance with Russia.

  100. Steve Davis

    AC says “No, you stated that Australia should have an economic alliance with Russia.”

    Cannot recall that.

    Article (with link), date, and time please.

  101. A Commentator

    Two days ago you said you would provide the rationale , but I had to be patient.
    How embarrassing for you

  102. Steve Davis

    AC — Article (with link), date, and time please.

  103. A Commentator

    1.Please detail Putin’s economic miracle
    2. What is the benefit to Australia of emulating Russia’s economic model?
    3. Read your commitment to provide an economic rationale

  104. Steve Davis

    AC, you are prevaricating.

    You have two options.

    You could give details of my alleged statement, as in — article (with link), date, and time. The actual statement about an alliance with Russia would be helpful also.

    Or you could apologize and walk away. Hey, we all make mistakes.

  105. Roswell

    ”And still there is no rationale for forming an economic alliance with Russia.”

    You’ll get no argument from me.

  106. A Commentator

    When you state-
    * Putin has overseen an economic miracle
    * Australia should follow Russia’s economic policy
    * You’ll post a rationale for this view
    …don’t bother to duck and weave

  107. Steve Davis

    AC — Article (with link), date, and time please.

    (Sorry folks, this is getting tedious.)

  108. Douglas Pritchard

    I hope you would agree that it would be desirable to apply equal scrutiny to some of the economic alliances that we currently have.
    Continuing to side with a nation intent on world domination, one country at a time, is not going to help this planet survive.

  109. A Commentator

    Those that advocate a rebalancing of Australia’s international economic partners might suggest exactly how it has to be rebalanced, given the…
    China: US$103.9 billion (25.9% of total Australian exports)
    Japan: $49 billion (12.2%)
    South Korea: $24.1 billion (6%)
    India: $14.8 billion (3.7%)
    United States: $13.7 billion (3.4%)
    Taiwan: $12.6 billion (3.1%)
    New Zealand: $9.1 billion (2.3%)
    Vietnam: $9.1 billion (2.3%)
    Indonesia: $7.3 billion (1.8%)
    Malaysia: $5.9 billion (1.5%)
    Hong Kong: $5.5 billion (1.4%)
    Singapore: $4.8 billion (1.2%)
    Netherlands: $4.2 billion (1.1%)
    Thailand: $3.9 billion (1%)
    Germany: $3.5 billion (0.9%)

  110. Steve Davis

    If anyone is confused about what’s going on here, AC thought he had a “gotcha” moment out of a statement of mine that only occurred in his head. If he had the statement available he would have no hesitation in presenting it.

    So his “gotcha” moment will have to wait, as I’m not about to discuss rambling snatches from his over-excited imagination.

  111. Roswell

    Douglas, naturally. I believe in applying equal standards. It doesn’t mean to say that I trust them all though.

    I don’t trust Russia, and I don’t trust America. But I do prefer America. In a big way. It might have something to do with me being born there.

  112. A Commentator

    There is no gotcha, only via your desire to follow the economic policy of Russia, your claim that there has Putin has overseen an economic miracle and your commitment to provide a rationale for that.
    The only “gotcha” is caused by you being unable to justify those comments/claims

  113. Steve Davis

    “There is no gotcha.”

    Ahh, you’re finally waking up.

    I’m still waiting for my statement about an alliance with Russia.
    Article (with link), date, and time please. The actual statement about an alliance with Russia would be helpful also.

    Or you could retract and walk away. That’s the easy way out.

    Then you and I could discuss the propaganda model of the managerial class.
    After all, it’s a popular subject. Other authors are submitting articles on that very matter.

    And it should be a popular subject. Apart from climate change, it’s difficult to imagine something more important than the deliberate manufacturing of the consent of the public for policies that are harmful to the public. Even climate change itself would most likely fall under that umbrella. When you think about it.
    But first you have to think about it.

  114. A Commentator

    Proposes to follow Russia’s economic model
    Says Putin has overseen an economic miracle
    Commits to provide a rationale in support
    Walks away from all that

  115. Steve Davis

    Crikey, I go out for a bike ride and come back to more of this nonsense.

    But while I’ve got you AC, what did you think of Lucy Hamilton’s point in her article today, that “The Coalition and media friends are using the Voice… as an implicitly racist tool to galvanise their own vote, but more importantly to divide the electorate.” Ring any bells?

    Did it remind you of my point made earlier (way way earlier) that “There’s nothing the managerial class likes more than to see those they manage bickering over details, because while we bicker our attention is diverted from them doing what they do best — managing our affairs for their benefit.”

    Is that what you’re doing, diverting attention on behalf of the managerial class? Trying to stop discussion of their manufacturing of our consent?

    Be careful how you answer that, whether it’s Yes or No, it’s still not a good look either way.

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