Media Criticism Opinion Original Patrick Lawrence

Patrick Lawrence: So Far As I Can Make Out

Patrick Lawrence explores how the truth about Ukraine has turned into a recipe for anger and contempt from the Western media.
01.05.2022 Journalists are seen on the territory of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station, in Energodar, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine. RIA Novosti / Sputnik via AP

By Patrick Lawrence / Original to ScheerPost

So far as I can make out, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are losing their war against the Russian intervention. So far as I can make out, the AFU has been losing it more or less from the start of hostilities on February 24. So far as I can make out, the Ukrainian forces are heading toward a decisive defeat with ever mounting momentum. So far as I can make out, they grow increasingly desperate as this outcome becomes more evident, their conduct increasingly condemnable.   

I should not have to begin my sentences on this topic with “so far as I can make out.” But so far as I can make out, I must—as must all who make the effort to understand events on the ground in Ukraine as they are.

If the Ukraine conflict has plunged the world into a geopolitical crisis, as I think it fair to say, it is not the only crisis it has precipitated. American media were in crisis well before Russian troops and artillery crossed Ukraine’s eastern frontier, but the war that has since proceeded has caused our newspapers and broadcasters to inflict damage on themselves that I begin to think is irreparable. 

It is somewhat the same in the matter of our public discourse altogether. The volume of foul litter now lying on America’s village green sends those still walking through it into a state of “head-spinning disorientation”—a phrase I just read in a piece by the estimable Alistair Crooke. There is at least a chance, the optimist in me insists, that this damage can be undone—the media problem being of another order. 

To put Crooke’s remark in context, the retired British diplomat and founder of Conflict Forum in Beirut was commenting on a remarkably forthright opinion piece carried in the August 1 editions of the ordinarily starchy Daily Telegraph, to the effect that the Western post-democracies (my term) are now governed by “an elite that has become unhinged from the real world.”

“Yes,” Crooke replies, “the Western sphere has become so prone to a ‘head-spinning’ disorientation (as was intended), through the constant rain of disinformation labels, stuck haphazardly across anything critical of the ‘uniform messaging,’ and by outrageous, obvious lying, that a majority in the Western world has begun to question their own and surrounding levels of sanity.”

I cannot but relate the dire circumstance Crooke and the Telegraph contributor depict to the accelerating spiral we see in our media and our public space since the Ukraine crisis erupted into open conflict. My head spins, indeed, at the spectacle of media coverage this poor and the extent to which it has stupefied the reading and viewing public.   

Let us consider a couple of the many important events that occurred last week.

On Thursday, August 4, Amnesty International published a report headlined, “Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians.” Here are its lead paragraphs. I will quote at length to avert any suggestion that I am in the take-it-out-of-context game:

Ukrainian forces have put civilians in harm’s way by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, including in schools and hospitals, as they repelled the Russian invasion that began in February, Amnesty International said today. 

Such tactics violate international humanitarian law and endanger civilians, as they turn civilian objects into military targets. The ensuing Russian strikes in populated areas have killed civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure. 

“We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. 

“Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law.”

Documented: AI has documents supporting these assertions. As is evident in this opening passage, the report was also damning of some of the tactics the Russian military applies in Ukraine. I get the impression of a conscious effort to achieve balance. 

To say Amnesty belched in chapel is to put the case too mildly. A rage erupted among Western commentators and, naturally, Ukrainian officials. This report was a disgraceful breach, we read. The head of AI’s Kyiv office resigned, asserting, “This study became a tool of Russian propaganda.” Gary Kasparov, chair of the Human Rights Foundation, weighed in gracefully: “Amnesty International can go to hell for this garbage.” Gary did better at chess.

The caker in all this was AI’s response to the uproar on August 7. “Amnesty International deeply regrets the distress and anger that our press release on the Ukrainian military’s fighting tactics has caused,” it said in an email sent to Reuters. 

What do we have here, and what don’t we have? 

We do not have an apology from AI—close but not quite. We do not have any kind of retraction, either. And we do not have any substantive refutation of the AI report. Nobody went anywhere near that. 

We have more or less open assertions that an organization that operates in public space sinned when it acted with some semblance of the disinterest a sound society requires of such organizations. Most nongovernmental organizations such as AI—Human Rights Watch is another prominent example—long ago abandoned this principle in the service of fortifying Western orthodoxies. Such is the pollution of our public commons. At the same time, there appears to be considerable dissension in these organizations, the divide running roughly between field workers and executive-level managers concerned with ideological conformity. I count this a factor in the case at issue.   

The shock implicit in the denunciations hurled at AI derives from the fact that Amnesty International is, internal dissension notwithstanding, as compromised as most other Western NGOs and customarily conducts itself accordingly. To express regret for having made people mad and stressed in the course of doing, for once, its proper job was wholly inappropriate—a measure, in my view, of the  creeping decay in our public sphere. 

One other useful point here. The AI report confirms what the paying-attention among us have read of since the start of hostilities: The AFU has indeed made cynical use of civilian locations and the occupants as shields. All we have read in our corporate media reports are the Ukrainians’ incessant denials.   

I come to the case of CBS and its report Friday, August 5, that some 70 percent of the weaponry and matériel the U.S. and its European allies send to Ukraine never reaches the AFU. It is diverted, we can safely assume, into a vast black market for illicit arms sales.

Safely assume: I have had it since shortly after the 2014 coup, from sound Kyiv sources and international business executives with interests in Ukraine, that Ukraine, among the world’s most corrupt nations according to Transparency International, is the world’s largest illegal arms market by some magnitudes. A number of American legislators, notably Victoria Spartz, an Indiana Republican and the first Ukrainian-born legislator elected to Congress, have been for months calling for the U.S. to monitor the distribution of the weaponry it is sending across the Polish border to Ukraine. 

CBS did some good leg work and brought us up to date: It is the mess Spartz and others have suspected since the flow of guns began. The network had some good sources. And, after all, we have been able to read here and there about this filthy business for many months.  

No, senior Ukrainian officials protested rudely and loudly in response to Spartz’s proposal. Monitoring the distribution of Western arms will add “another layer of bureaucratization” and so cause critical delays in shipments. As to CBS, it got roughly the same treatment as AI. There was no substantive denial of the problem, only outrage that the network had reported what it found and thus served the cause badly. 

Once again, the pitiful part: On Sunday CBS deleted the segment, explaining that it will review it and republish at a later date. It has since republished the segment, having softened it in response to complaints–this by CBS’s admission–from Ukrainian officials. This is called “updating” these days.

To be clear once again: CBS did not retract the assertions in the piece. It simply said things have got better lately–which is the Ukrainian argument. 

I simply cannot recognize the profession I had made mine, back when it was worthy of the effort, dedication, occasional heartache, and all the rest it required of those in it.  

Speaking of which. 

My first outing as a correspondent abroad was in Portugal in 1975, shortly after the Revolution of Carnations, when a group of principled army officers overthrew the 50–year dictatorship of Marcelo Caetano. I was filing to a small independent weekly with offices in a loft off Union Square in Manhattan. I was young, green, and reliably making a mistake a day. 

But Lisbon was my classroom. And one of the lessons I came home with was how correspondents ought to conduct themselves in matters of politics when covering others. 

All correspondents bring their politics with them, as I did in Portugal. This is a natural thing, a good thing, an affirmation of their engaged, civic selves not at all to be regretted. The task is to manage your politics in accord with your professional responsibilities, the unique place correspondents occupy in public space. There can be no confusing journalism and activism. You do your best to keep your biases, political proclivities, prejudices, and what have you out of the files you send your foreign desk. It takes discipline and ordered priorities.

We are not getting this from the Western correspondents reporting in Ukraine for mainstream media. You may associate the error of mistaking journalism for activism with independent publications, and fair enough—to a point. It happens. The truth here is that almost all mainstream journalists reporting from Ukraine are guilty of this—and I am this far from editing out my “almost.” They are effectively activists in the cause of the American national security state, its campaign against Russia, and Washington’s latter-day effort to defend its primacy.

I made a study over many years of the notable foreign correspondents of the second half of the last century. Martha Gellhorn on the Spanish Civil War. Joe Liebling on the Second World War in Europe. Ernie Pyle, for heaven’s sake. Bernard Fall on the last days of the French in Indochina. The best of the Vietnam correspondents reporting for the American dailies and wires. The inimitable Wilfred Burchett, who distinguished himself as the only Western correspondent to to report Vietnam from the North.

They walked to and fro behind and along front lines, these people. They got dirt under their fingernails. They showed us maps with lots of arrows on them. They reported the daily progress of the war with the names of unfamiliar towns in their pieces. 

We get none of this from the mainstream correspondents in Ukraine. Why?

It would be easy to say they have no guts and no commitment to the profession. This may be the case among some or many or all of them. Here is my more salient answer: They are not allowed to cover this conflict at close range. Their foreign editors do not want them to and the Ukrainians will not let them. Neither wants daily reports of a slow march to defeat. Better to keep it broad and blurry and spotty. Lots of anecdotes featuring helpless victims, and Russian atrocities by the bale–none of which the correspondents reporting them actually witnessed. 

Better, most of all, to rely solely on what Ukrainian officials and military officers tell you and let you see and what Western intelligence officials pretend to confirm. This, to me, is the disgraceful abrogation of duty that makes me wonder if mainstream media can ever step back from their out-and-out embrace of the role they have assumed as propagandists. Do not pretend to shock. This has been going on a long time. Ukraine simply marks a swoon too far in my estimation.

A Russian detention center in the Donbass is shelled and 50–odd Ukrainian prisoners are killed. We are asked to believe that Russian forces shelled their own holding camp for reasons unexplained. When we later learn the Russians were releasing, just before the shelling began, videos of the prisoners recounting the orders of commanding officers to torture any captured Russians, raising the question of war crimes at high levels, we are told this has nothing to do with it. 

As we speak, we are asked to believe Russians are shelling a nuclear power plant their own troops have guarded since March. Here I lose the plot entirely. 

One day last week we read that Russian forces are cynically sheltering in the plant on the thought that the Ukrainians cannot send rockets into it—too dangerous. The next day we read that the Russians are themselves shelling the power plant they were, one day earlier, reported to be sheltering in. There is only one plausible explanation for this: The correspondents reporting this logically impossible junk are not there and rely on Ukrainian accounts; these accounts differ one day to the next, one official to the next.  

So the files sent to the foreign desk are a dog’s dinner, as the English say. And we are left with “So far as I can make out…”

I would say I feel sorry for these correspondents, but this is only partly true. It is too bad they have come of age as the mainstream of the profession collapses into propaganda and advocacy and their tours abroad have come to such an undignified business. I would weep tears of anger had this happened to me. But the alternative is to refuse and, if it comes to it, quit an enterprise a serious correspondent should have no part in.

A remarkable piece of work came across last week. It suggests a third alternative.  

Eva Bartlett, a Canadian correspondent, reminds me of Wilfred Burchett in a way: She reports from “the other side” and has no use for anybody’s orthodoxies. She did this to effect in Syria, and before that in the Palestinians territories. Earlier in the Ukraine conflict, she traveled to a site nine miles outside Mariupol where it was widely reported the Russians had dug and filled a mass grave with—get set for this—9,000 Ukrainians. This is a lot of Ukrainians to bury all at once. But all the big dailies, never stopping to think things through, went with the story Ukrainian officials gave them. Nine thousand it was. 

No mass grave, Bartlett found. Her piece featured interviews with local officials and witnesses, video segments, photographs. She found an orderly, undisturbed cemetery with orderly, undisturbed grave markers. She showed us pictures of same. She spoke to the grave-diggers, who were mystified by the reports of a mass grave.  

Last week Bartlett reported from Donetsk City on a shower of bombs that dropped thousands of tiny, lethal mines all over the city. RT ran the piece. It is another close-in, on-the-ground piece. Her report carried the headline, “The West is silent as Ukraine targets civilians in Donetsk using banned ‘butterfly’ mines.”

Warning sign saying “Caution, mines!” placed next to some “butterfly” mines in Donetsk ©  Eva Bartlett

Bartlett was careful to say the evidence points to Ukraine while staying short of a conclusion. The Ukrainians, once again, insist the Russians are culpable: This time we are asked to believe they have mined a city under the control of their Donetsk Republic allies. 

I mention Eva Bartlett’s piece because, apart from its immediate topic, it is a reminder of what foreign correspondents are supposed to do. They are supposed to walk around, to talk to people they meet—altogether, to be there and report what they see, not what someone else tells them they saw.

It was bittersweet to read that piece next to the other reports I mention here. All the profession could be, all that it isn’t—so far as I can make out.

Check out our special ScheerPost interview + Scheer Intelligence podcast with Patrick Lawrence.

Patrick Lawrence
Patrick Lawrence

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a media critic, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon siteHis Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored without explanation.

130 comments

  1. thankyou for writing this. Here in Australia our mainstream media (including ‘Our ABC’) only repeat the Ukraine favourable fairytales you identify. They may briefly mention things like the AI report but it’s implications are rarely followed up on and it’s quickly forgotten.

  2. I think your point is that there are no correspondents on the ground to verify either sides’ claims. This being the case, we can rely on reports and satellite images which both sides do not dispute as to which side’s forces are where. You can blast Ukrainian corruption (likely true) and you can say that the U.S. helped Zelinskyy achieve power (appears true), but there is nothing that can excuse the Russian invasion of what is now a sovereign country. Ukraine posed no threat to Russia before the invasion. Russian actions were wrong and are very dangerous. Not to mention the upcoming increase in NATO members, which is a clear loss for Russia.

    1. Armed to the teeth Nazis trained and equipt by the US and NATO….an every eastward expansion of NATO, a CIA and MI6 fomented color revolution in 2014 throwing out the duly elected pro Russian government and replacing it with US stooges, the most corrupt government in Europe and perhaps the world, the constant shelling on innocent Russian speaking Ukrainians in the Donbass, killing over 15000 innocent human beings…..and you have the gall to get on here and preach that Russia had no provocation????

      At this late date you cannot claim ignorance, the truth is to easy to find if you go looking for it.

      Oh and what about those US Biolabs….serious evil there too if you go looking…which you won’t.

      1. I agree with JustAMaverick. What do you think the U.S. would do if Russia were providing lethal weapons to Proud Boys and Oath Keepers? The hypocrisy is overwhelming, the threat to Russia very real as the West actively seeks to overthrow Russia’s government by supporting all sorts of violent anti-Russian groups.

      2. @maverick, nay, ye have gall, ye shill. sheer shill-gall, one might say., running the old kremlin lies, nazinazinazi, all the kids dying from this war [they be ukrainian kids] all them nazis, putin the great, putin the magnificent, putin the merciful…
        just stop yer bleating. or frigging put out some actual EVIDENCE like about all them nazinazinazi biolabs, ye bleating like sheep, but ye have zero evidence. sheep rarely back up their bleating with evidence…

    2. “Ukraine posed no threat to Russia before the invasion.”
      Except for the 14,000 ethnic Russian Ukrainians killed in the Donbas, according to the UN. When Poroshenko and Zelensky went along with Biden’s plan to erase the Russian language, Russian culture and ethnic Russians from Ukraine, they provided the final provocation for War. Ukraine has been a US puppet state since the Orange Revolution in 2005; the Maidan Coup in 2014 where Nuland/ Biden overthrew democratically elected (with UN observers) just removed a “Bad Puppet” and showed who was in charge.
      This would be the same as if the US decided to exterminate all Blacks, the untermenschen of America.

      1. That 14,000 number is probably an estimate and includes casualties on both sides, although it is usually conceded that Russian speakers make up a majority. It is also mostly combatants. I seem to remember seeing 3000 and the number of (mostly Russian-speaking) civilians killed.

        Numbers are always problematic as they are easily challenged and the argument quickly devolves into trivialities—was it 14,000? 1400? 140,000? The real point is that the coup government of Ukraine allied itself with Nazi and ultra-nationalist forces and began an 8-year attack on the eastern, largely Russian-speaking peoples, along with Jews, Roma, and anyone and everyone else they disliked.

        Not the Ukrainian people: the fascist forces, a minority. Most of the Ukrainian people were opposed to these changes and have suffered greatly because of them as the country has become more corrupt, more violent, and more authoritarian. And they stand to lose everything, if they are not already refugees.

        The Americans and Zelenskyy’s crowd could not give a damn. Zelenskyy’s got his centi-millions tucked away and his escape route ready.

      2. tired old lie ye shill. during a CIVIL WAR initiated by russia, some 14.000 people died ON BOTH SIDES. most of them COMBATANTS ERR, ON BOTH SIDES. LIKE, PEOPLE SHOOTING AT EACH OTHER. i do not know how to explain it any better to a very narrow mind… civil wars usually ain’t.
        now prove me wrong on my correction or shut the fuck up ye shill

      3. The 14,000 number is for both sides, but the OSCE Ukraine monitoring mission made clear in 2021 that 80% of those casualties were inflicted upon the people of the two breakaway republics by Kiev. The OSCE monitoring mission shows clearly all the shelling that occurred in violation of the ceasefire line, with almost all in falling in the two republics, and therefore fired by Ukrainian armed forces. The OSCE also noted the use by the Ukrainians in 2021 of Turkish Bayrakdar drones, which drove several tens of thousands of refugees from the republics into Russia.

    3. You are deeply misinformed. NATO had been threatening Russia for decades and by offering membership to Ukraine finally crossed a well established redline. Russia has every right to protect it’s own security. Moreover, Ukraine’s corrupt and Nazi-infested government had been killing ethnic Russians in the Donbas with absolute impunity. Russia worked for 8 years for a diplomatic resolution in the Donbas and the U.S. and NATO repeatedly undermined those efforts. Arguments about Ukraine’s sovereignty are as ignorant as they are hollow. Ukraine’s sovereignty was destroyed when the U.S. backed a rightwing coup in 2014, overthrowing a democratically elected government and replacing it with a rightwing U.S. puppet. Ukraine hasn’t been a sovereign country in a very long time. If Ukraine had any meaningful sovereignty this war would never have started, but having started it would have ended in a negotiated settlement months ago. That failed because the Biden regime wouldn’t allow Zelenskyy to negotiate a peace. Instead, the neocons want to use this war to weaken Russia no matter how many Ukrainians are killed in the process. So much for Ukrainian sovereignty.

      1. @Cara i write this for the benefit of others since ye are clearly a shill with no knowledge or conscience….. the current Ukrainian government, headed by an ORIGINAL RUSSIAN-SPEAKING JEW, was elected in an election deemed free and fair by everyone. [incidentally, for ye other shills, by some strange miracle given that ye scream nazinazinazi all the time, no nazis won ANY SEATS IN PARLIAMENT ] h do prove me wrong ye stinking liar. find ONE report that says the last ukrainian elections were rigged…. or that there are nazis in the 6500 seat parliament….can’t do it? thought so. of ye slink, ye shill….

    4. You say that Ukraine posed no threat to Russia.

      Russia came very close to loosing its Black Sea naval base in Crimea to NATO in 2014 when US-backed protests overthrew the legitimately elected of Ukraine. The US was encouraging the regime that took power after the coup to take back Crimea and the Donbas by force and was arming that regime with billions of dollars worth of weapons to do just that. The OSCE reported that the Ukrainian military was massing troops to begin the invasion of the Donbas and had greatly increased their shelling in preparation when the current hostilities started.

      The US and NATO have their sights set on Georgia next — that’s right across the border from Chechnya.

      That sounds like something to fear to me: the loss of centuries-old naval bases, NATO installing troops and missile batteries and NATO-friendly NGOs stirring up trouble across the borders, etc.

      1. err, a thoroughly corrupt , i mean CORRUPT, leader who was bribed into aligning with russia against the wishes of a majority of Ukrainian citizens, got ousted. by a popular uprising. AFTER THAT THERE WERE FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS, ye dimwit. the current Ukrainian government is democratically elected. do prove me wrong, tell me there were no free elections, or tuck yer tail ye stinking liar and run!!!

    5. LOL. What’s it like on your planet?

      Ukrainian corruption “likely true”? Where have you been? The corruption in Ukraine has been well documented for decades, and reported on even by the MSM in the US. Hey, is this “Earth revolves around the sun” claim “likely” true, too? Is there some controversy about whether gravity is real?

      US helped Zelenskyy achieve power “appears true”? Did you miss the photos and videos and taped phone calls of Victoria Nuland, John McCain, and others fomenting the overthrow of the democratic government of Ukraine in 2014. This is very well documented fact. How much more documentation do you need?

      And nearly as well documented is that the CIA and its front groups (as well as NATO and EU allies) have been backing Zelenskyy ever since he reneged on all his promises and began attacking Russians in Ukraine. Even the US propaganda media admits that the US and its lapdogs have been training and supplying Ukrainian troops for several years at least.

      Which brings us to your most risible comment: that Ukraine posed no threat to Russia before the “invasion” (your wording gives your bias away). If Russia was not threatened (I presume that NATO is purely “defensive”), then why is the increase in NATO members a “clear loss for Russia”?

      Do you hate your feet? No? Then why shoot them?

      I presume that if China established large military bases with hypersonic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads along the Rio Grande or the St. Lawrence Seaway—or stationed an aircraft carrier 12.1 miles off the coast of DC—that would count as “no threat” to the US, right? No doubt, you’d yawn and consider it no big deal.

      The threat, of course, was never from Ukraine itself. Ukraine is merely channeling the threat by allowing itself to be used as a weapon by the West.

      Ukraine is a nation run by criminals and very weak. If not for enormous assistance from the West, it would have caved on February 25. But then, if not for the interference of the West, there would never have been a coup, or attacks on the Russian-speaking peoples of Ukraine, or the need for an intervention to protect them.

      The real threat is from the US oligarchy through the CIA, NATO, and it’s lapdog EU allies—the true axis of evil. Ukraine is merely a proxy, and the West is happy to keep supplying them with weapons and “intelligence” [sic] to the very last Ukrainian. To hurt Russia, *as the US media readily admits*!

      Russia’s actions were not only legal, they were proportionate and patient (maybe too patient) and obligatory under R2P—a policy established not by Russia but by the West. If they West really cared about R2P, it would be fighting on the Russian side to protect the people of the Donbas and neighboring regions.

      Finally, there indeed are correspondents on the ground to verify claims to the extent that any verification is possible. As complete verification rarely is, it becomes a matter of the preponderance of evidence. And the preponderance of evidence—if you look at the evidence rather than the evidence-free hot air of the Western media’s accounts—shows that Ukraine is far worse than Russia.

      1. laugh out even louder at ye,, bob dobbs. ye are a stinking liar. the current government of Ukraine was elected in a free and fair PRESIDENTIAL election choosing a native russian-speaking Jew, then followed by free and fair PARLIAMENTARY election choosing the 450 members of the ‘Verkhovna Radae’ which is the parliament [err, zero NAZIS got elected , a fact ye shamefully omit…]. which puts ye, the stinking shill, into a predicament. either prove to me that these two most recent elections weren’t free and fair [err, where’s yer proof, bro?] or shill of and stink up another space… mebbe ye can bring free and fair elections to putin the noble, putin the great, putin the merciful’s russia, them need it. ye would most likely be poisoned but i’d gladly take that risk…

    6. There is no excuse for your ignorance. Assuming you aren’t a paid troll, please go away and read some more. Then read some more after that. Because if you actually believe what you typed here, I fear you may forget how to breathe at any moment.

      1. dank sinatra : it might help if ye address the person ye are insulting in yer evidence- and fact-free post if ye addressed them. otherwise, a meaningless unqualified post like yer’s might be forgotten even sooner…

    7. miky is a nazi clearly—amerikans always support nazis…NATO irrelevant—no loss for Russia—impotent….”amerikans are ignorant and unteachable”. George Santayana

    8. It’s alarming to read that on every occasion someone revelas the lies we are being told by the Western MSM, the Ukraine govt and the USGovt someone has to come and make the point that Russia’s invasion was wrong. The assumption is that those opposing or not supporting the invasion can then go ahead and lie and kill freely without moral compass or compassion. This is the justification of corruption. We are not here and can no longer afford to be children pointing fingers at adults, when the truth is evident that there are only adults in the room and we’re killing and destroying the only room left.

    9. Ukraine is a kakistocracy that serves no purpose other than a threat to Russia. Take away Russia and Ukraine would be a pariah state.

    10. NATO (US) has been overtly seeking to block Russia’s access to the Black Sea. They require the southern port to export their own grain, which had been more than Ukraine’s exports prior to the current droughts & effects to climate change
      Russia won’t have it
      Plus, the US aggression around the world gives us no standing to appear shocked that their is a conflict in Ukraine.

    11. Ukrainian corruption isn’t “likely true,” it IS true. My God, you’re doing exactly the thing Lawrence points to here. Ukraine posed “no threat” to Russia? Another contemptible lie, which means you’re simply an advocate for the “Western” lies that Lawrence condemns.

      1. actually, @beeline, patrick lawrence is capable of making mighty noises when an israeli journalist gets murdered. when a Ukrainian one gets murdered he just smirks, and carries on with whatever piece of misinformation is composing.

    12. What utter nonsense! Of course Ukraine posed a deadly threat to Russia before the invasion AND YOU KNOW IT.

      1. @manny keating. just what, what, what was the threat then, ye liar? they were gonna take out the mightiest standing army in the world ? they were gonna nuke russia? they were gonna tickle them to death? what is it ye imbecile, where is yer proof? don’t have any? why shill of and stink up some other place….

    13. Zelensky government resolved to take back Russian annexed Crimea and restore the pre-2014 situation, see:

      Ukraine’s Leader Vows to Do All He Can to Bring Back Crimea
      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-08-23/ukraine-s-leader-vows-to-do-all-he-can-to-bring-back-crimea

      Ukraine massed troops in the Donbass and dramatically increased illegal shelling (UN data).
      https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20220219-live-osce-monitors-report-dramatic-increase-in-ukraine-ceasefire-violations

      Those are direct military threats to Russia.

      There were huge indirect threats from US and NATO, which others have outlined, including the risks of US installation of intermediate range nuclear missiles (recall Trump terminated the IRNF treat
      https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2019-09/news/us-completes-inf-treaty-withdrawal

      But I sense that lack of information is not what explains your drivel.

      1. @bill and wolfe ye need to work on yer lies, buddy. this is shoddy work. no troll promotion for ye, comrade.
        the osce report ye are linking to does not say UKRAINE increased shelling, just that shelling increased. yer france24 link talks about the Ukrainians getting shelled. ye are the one with the drivel. and no proof.
        ye want to sell us that the Ukrainian army waited patiently for a year while RUSSIA WAS BUILDING UP A HUGE INVASION FORCE ALONG THEIR BORDERS and then, very sportsmanlike, when the russians were finally ready the Ukrainians conveniently increased shelling to give them a casus belli? ye stink up the room with yer lies, do shill off. truth is once the russians were ready to attack, their proxies increased shelling to start the war.
        wanna prove me wrong? please quote one source stating that UKRAINE INCREASED SHELLING right before the war. ye can’t cause ye are a stinking liar. all ye can do is misrepresent reports and hop-e nobody checks.
        i read all the osce numbers and before the russians started their unjustified colonial war, the conflict in Donbas had simmered down to where an average of 2 [TWO] civilians died of war-related causes per month in the separatist republics. and that’s yer justification for starting a devastating war? i said it before, and now again- ye are a stinking liar

    14. Michael Kurman, up to and possibly over 14,000 people were killed in Eastern Ukraine prior to February 24th 2022 – attacks were launched on Russian sovereign territory by AFU – NATO /Western Forces. Romani and Ethnic minorities were being killed or persecuted! John Pilger 17th February 2022 reported massive artillery assaults carried out under the auspices of Kyiv – NATO orders!

      1. how sportsmanlike of nato to give russia a whole year to get their invasion army in place along the borders of Ukraine, before they started the attack! or, ye are a stinking liar -the separatist proxies started the war once their russian friends were ready to invade.
        ye don’t have to be a military genius to weigh the two competing theories, all ye need to know is logic. cui bono.
        sorry that ye fail even the most basic test of intelligence, namely the ability to think logically…

    15. Mike Kurman you are completely uneducated on these events. The notion that “Ukraine posed no danger to Russia” is naive, & out of synch with the warnings that every ambassador and diplomat and military analyst has delivered for decades, with respect to the sensitivity of the Ukraine/Russia relationship. You are completely out of your depth here. You sound intelligent, so bother to do some homework, and I mean a lot of homework.

      After the USSR dissolution the US made every wrong move and sent every wrong message to Russia, indicating it was to take a back seat not only in world affairs, but on it’s own borders. “Russia you are nothing, you will decay, you have no place or business in a US Neocon dominated world, because we say so.” This was in the face of Russia making every useful and peaceful overture to the US for increased peace & security for both sides. The US ended nuclear treaties, expanded NATO to the Russian border, and our CIA promoted both revolutions and Islamic uprising in Russian border states. This is a partial list of the messaging that the Russians were working with. You seem to know nothing about any of this.

      By 2014 Ukraine was in the process of an ethnic cleansing of Russians who were peacefully abiding in Ukraine, starting with laws against their language & church. Azov Nazis where in control of the national police, murdering or locking up opposition politicians, suppressing dissent with violence, meanwhile the US press was presenting this haywire state of corruption as a blooming democracy. The corrupt oligarchs who manage the Ukrainian national wealth were swinging deals with corrupt US neocons & neoliberals, taking aid money from which they could skim $billions, for allowing the US intelligence agencies to plant themselves on the Russian border. The march of NATO heavy weapons including nuclear capable missiles was coming right up to the Russian border.

      1. @CCUNT in yer verbose drivel ye fail to mention any clear and present danger Ukraine posed to Russia. Nato membership was not possible due to the russian sponsored civil war, and if ye did yer homework ye should know this.
        there is NOW a march of weapons to support ukraine, but did ye ever look at the pitiful support Ukraine got BEFORE THE WAR? of course ye did not, for ye are just shilling here. but i am glad that ye have found an idol in putin the great, putin the noble, putin the incorruptible, for there is no corruption in russia, freedom of speech is stellar as long as ye don’t call a war a”war”, and democracy is fabulous just as long as ye vote for putin. or get poisoned.
        as for yer abject and humiliating failure to conjure up any ‘clear and present danger’ Ukraine posed to russia, at least stop yer hostile bleating about other folks doing their homework as ye are brutally uninformed and seemingly incapable of an original thought – all the kremlin talking points ye present here are tired and old. and lies, but i think i mentioned that. ye sound just like the U.S. shills talking up why the Iraq war had to happen, how they were a “threat” etc. and ye are very poor at it.

    16. You seems oblivious of the 8 years of shelling of Donbas by the Ukrainian regime. And the build up to attack Crimea prior to the Russian intervention.

    17. Russia had pointed out the red line of NATO expansion eastwards many times. They warned of what would happen many times. The USA had numerous bioweapon labs in Ukraine. Can you imaginr America’s reaction if Russia had bioweapon labs in Mexico or Cuba (let alone several hundred military bases cayound their border). Everyone knows that this is an American proxy war to try and weaken Russia, to be fought to the last Ukrainian.

      Does not the same logic does not apply to the US invasions of Iraq and Libya etc?

    18. This is nonsense. Nobody suggested that Ukraine posed a threat to Russia. The threat was NATO which should have been abolished years ago and the good old US and their European puppets who organised the coup in 2014 and oversaw the installation of the new government. Why ? Because the elected President was unenthusiastic of the appalling terms offered by the EU in dealing with the accession to the EU. The prize for US? It’s presence on the Russian border and it’s fleet parked in Sevastopol a few hundred miles from Moscow. No mention of the Minsk accords which Ukraine was encouraged to ignore. There would be no war now if Ukraine has committed to remaining neutral and if they had abided by these accords. The Solomon Islands thousands of miles from US pose no threat to that peace loving nation but a Chinese presence there could according to the hawks all of whom are professional liars.
      T

    19. You fail to examine the reasoning behind Russia’s Special Military Operation. I suggest you start looking at the Ukrainian war in Donbas starting in 2014.

    20. I do not wish to be rude, but you really should inform yourself on the Donbass situation before making such sweeping claims that, I’m afraid, expose your deep ignorance. Ukraine has been shelling mainly Russian speaking Ukraine since 2014. About 14,000 Russian speaking Ukrainians have been killed before the recent war.

      Also look up the Minsk agreement(s) that were supposed to help the people of Donbass. Ukraine did not abide by them.

    21. Explain the shelling of Donetsk for 8 years? All you people love to gloss over that bit. If you cant go to war over nazis and ultranationalists shelling your own people then what can you go to war over? Maybe we should’ve made some lie up about WMDs. Your governments armed and trained the nazis who did this. We told your leaders the consequences, they told us to “Shut up Ivan” So now we talk with our cannons. Ukraine isn’t a sovereign country, dont kid yourselves. Their government bans all opposition parties and when the US jumps, they ask “How high?” We are done with this putrid Washingtonian colony on our border and for this we will go to war. You guys sponsored a coup against their democratically elected leader. Ukraine doesn’t control itself. Its not diplomatically independent, its not financially independent, and its not militarily independent but yes on paper its an independent country.

  3. A timely and necessary opinion piece, stating a few uncomfortable facts that the mainstream media seem incapable of reporting. I also subscribe to Eva Bartlett, who along with too few other independent journalists are going to ground zero and shining a rare light on the reality of this, and previous, wars. A reality that the powers that be have decided is the wrong reality.

  4. I find I have next to no trouble at all seeing through the fog. I simply assume everything they tell me is a lie, and that everything they accuse others of is just projection of their own guilt, and darn it I find myself correct 99 percent of the time.

    It’s worked for decades.

    1. @maverick: funny, it works for me , too. i assume everything ye tell us is lies, and whatever ye accuse Ukraine of is a distorted projection of the russian war brutality, and darn it, with ye it works 100% of the time!

  5. In checking the internet re Eva Barlett , this is what I found.
    “Eva Karene Bartlett is a Canadian activist, commentator, and blogger who has propagated conspiracy theories in connection to the Syrian civil war, most notably the disproven allegation that the White Helmets stage rescues and “recycle” children in its videos.” Wikipedia.

      1. Indeed, it is Wikipedia….I read the same b.s….There was a time that Wikipedia provided useful info…Now it completely sides with the US Right-Wing.

    1. Just a minute, Ms, Sweet.
      Eva Bartlett is among numerous independent journalists and various others in other fields, antiwar activists and the like, who have been systematically smeared on Wikipaedia, or I should say by Wikipaedia. The entries under their names–and I have long wondered why anyone would want a Wikipaedia page–are routinely and predictably corrupted by, all signs indicate, M.I.6. These smears are typically signed by an entity–I will not say a person–operating under the name “Philp Cross.” Philp Cross is at it up to 18 hours or more a day, sometimes 24, seven days a week. The White Helmets as an M.I.6 operation has been demonstrated beyond doubt.
      Wikipaedia as a compromised institution in this manner is well, well documented. You owe it to yourself, if I may assume you are a serious person, to look into this. No great effort is required. What has become of it is precisely what I have written about as regards A.I. and H.R.W.
      Perhaps your comment is offered innocently of these matters. But the inference is simply not on, Ms. Sweet. Take it somewhere else. This space is not available for this kind of pollution.

      1. Mr. Patrick Lawrence – I never heard of you before 2 weeks ago, and I never heard of Eva Bartlett before reading your essay. I suppose in the elevated airy climes you dwell in, I should automatically know that you and Bartlett are truth tellers. Your arrogance is insulting and off-putting. Another self-important, know-it-all rude jerk. Talk about pollution!

      2. to Selina –
        in reference to wiki, at one time I reviewed the history of genocide on Wikipedia & the Ukrainian starvation by the Soviets in the 1930s was near the top but when I checked back at a later date it was removed, although the Holodomor still has a page. At that point I could see that certain topics are most assuredly biased, unfortunately on wiki

      3. @Patrick

        Only an obtuse propagandist would call someone who supports wars perpetrates by two of the most cruel totalitarian dictators in power today – second generation Syrian monarch Assad and Russia’s Tsar-wanabe Putin – an “antiwar activist”, than, after the habitual unsubstantiated claims regurgitating Russian propaganda talking points (White Helmets are MI6, Wikipedia is corrupted by MI^ agents), tries to purge a commentator for the ‘crime’ of daring to question his left-ish, Neo Progressive orthodoxy!

        @Selina Sweet

        Your comment bellow about Patrick’s arrogant rudeness is spot on, and your comment above about Eva is informing, unlike Patrick’s ignorance-peddling anti-western propaganda.

        Please don’t be discouraged!

      4. @partrick lawrence: the only pollution i see is the smug arrogance of yer self-important bleating. shortly ago i challenged ye to point out to me why the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh [Palestinian-American journalist] by the despicable i”d”f forces was any different from the murder of Maksym Levin, a Ukrainan journalist executed by russian forces. yes i know they used one bullet on Shireen and two on Max, but apart from that? like a true coward ye declined to answer. well Max’s death just don’t fit yer narrative, right? him a child of a lesser god? ye a racist at heart?
        why are ye such a coward? surely ye have a smug, arrogant, self-important remark for me, too? shitting yer pants about me biting back?

      1. Fellas…Or perhaps her wiki was written by an academic nun who devotes her life to research. How will you know? Oh, the complicated futility of belief.

    2. TL:DR Eva Bartlett writes things that the Empire prefers that we not read.

    3. Of course. She is condemned by the propagandists whose lies she exposes. No surprise. Wikileaks is notoriously compromised by rightwing and pro-neocon types. A secret perhaps only to you.

    4. The White Helmets is a fake group supported by the British and US to mislead the public. Yes, it is a phoney organization for propaganda. I’ve seen it in action in Douma, and it’s reuse of photos of children is almost comic, it’s so obvious. BTW, the first time al Assand was accused of using chemicals on Syrians was disproved by the UN investigative unit led by Carla del Ponte who said, (I heard her myself), “It wasn’t the SA who used chemicals; it was the rebels (i.e., the US hires).” I said, we will never hear her say that again and we never did. The second time al Assand was accused was disproven by none other than the greatest reporter of all time, Sy Hersh. The third time was in Douma and I saw it myself, so obviously fake when the White Helmet types, yelling, “Chemicals” began hosing down children which left them crying. The doctors in the hospital where the children were dragged said, “There’s no chemicals here.” Period. As I said, I say this myslef.
      Keep up your excellent journalism, Mr. Lawrence, there’s so little to be found in MSM.

    5. You believe Wiki? You think it is reliable? Please contact me as I have an excellent bridge to sell you at a very competitive price. You may know th even the co-founder of Wikipedia has disowned it for bias and inaccuracy.

  6. If there are no fact finders and tellers or they are censored, imprisoned or killed, then there can only be “history without memory”. “And it is in the space left by absent memory that myth settles and thrives and reproduces itself such that it comes to displace history itself.” And then how easy it is to manipulate us all? Quotes from Mr. Lawrences’ book ‘Time No Longer: Americans After The American Century’ Good read.

  7. As for your “Ukraine posed no threat to Russia before the invasion.”
    This sentence is nothing more than an opinion, based solely on uninformed bias, yours!
    Read up just a little on a more balanced factual history, going only as far back as 2008. There are many alternative diverse sources available for this conscious-raising endeavor, should you wish to rid yourself of the mental propaganda you have absorbed, seemingly without even blinking.

    Google, that all-knowing app states: Special operations (S.O.) are military activities conducted, (according to NATO), by “specially designated, organized, selected, trained, and equipped forces using unconventional techniques and modes of employment”. Russia meets all these, pre-Ukraine conflict ascribed criteria.

    In your humble opinion, did this rule apply equally to NATO-US forces when they illegally invaded and laid waste to sovereign, foreign nations (Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, to name a few) beyond Europe/the ‘West’?

    As for your penultimate statement, no need for debate, the Russian “special operation” intervention is “very dangerous”, no two-ways about it!

    Not to mention your final sentence: “Not to mention the upcoming increase in NATO members, which is a clear loss for Russia.”

    Perhaps you need to wipe clean the windows of your soul!

    1. @em buddy, clean yer own sooty windows of yer black charred remains of what used to be yer soul before bleating so falsely….
      fact is [FACT!] that Ukraine could not become member of nato with their [russia-sponsored] civil war, they had no military or weaponry to threaten russia, no plans to invade russia, and hence posed zero threat to russia. that is not an opinion, it is fact.
      ye beg to differ? then why don’t ye give us the rundown on yer “FACTS”
      just repeating yer kremlin talking points does not qualify, i am sorry. do tell us how Ukraine was gonna take out the russian army and occupy russia any moment and putin the great, putin the noble, putin the incorruptible, model democrat acted in self defence after building up an invasion army over the period of a year. can’t do that? why, run little shill go stink up another room..

  8. I think the news is very incomplete to start with. It seems impossible to get a full picture of what is going on in the world. I guess that is the idea. The bias in the news and appeasement of capitalistic interests is sickening.

    Israel can blow away little kids and journalists and get away with it. Five to 15 journalists killed in Ukraine and no one really seems to be able to account for what happened. Even American prairie dogs have been character assassinated for transmitting monkey pox without a meaningful explanation such as the Gambian rats that carried the disease and were allowed to escape during the Bush administration years ago.

    I don’t think that any self respecting parrot would even tolerate a modern newspaper on the bottom of its cage.

  9. For the most part, this is a great piece of work. My one concern is that it does, at times, drift a bit too closely to the “golden age” delusion.

    Yes, there have been great journalists in the past. As the piece shows, there still are a few, Bartlett perhaps among them.

    But the capitalist media have always been propaganda pieces. The US invented propaganda. And yellow journalism.

    Few “true” journalists have had an easy time of it. Consider I.F. Stone. Or John Hersey, who was blacklisted for his reports on Hiroshima. Or, more recently—but still almost three decades ago now—Gary Webb.

    Webb was so poorly treated by the capitalist media that he shot himself in the head. Twice [sic].

    There was a time when big business and government were occasionally competitors rather than co-conspirators, and in those times the capitalist media usually, but not always, sided with big business.

    What’s different now is that the US government (and those of most Western “democracies”) are wholly owned and operated of, by, and for the oligarchy. As a consequence, message discipline has become almost hermetic.

    That’s when they report at all. The Google News aggregator is almost entirely fluff these days. It has been in steady decline since they first debuted. And as it’s an aggregator, some of this might be due to algorithm changes, but much is also because the media it aggregates have mostly stopped reporting news.

    Lately, it has included horoscopes. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

    Lawrence is writing some of the best journalism available today. I just wish he’d let go of his last few illusions. A nation built on and dedicated to genocide, slavery, exploitation, theft, rape, murder, oppression, and ecocide does not do good things—ever. When it appears to act for good, be sure that there is something in it for them.

    What CRT says about Blacks in America is true generally. When the powerful appear to act in the interests of those without power, it is only because their interests temporarily align. As soon as it is in the interests of the powerful to kill and eat the powerless, they will resume their feast.

    1. Bob.
      Thanks your remarks.
      I left my illusions abt the craft behind long ago–to the extent I had any as I took up the profession. As I.F. Stone remarked decades back, each generation produces a few, very few, authentic journalists. This I hold to. My intent in the passage you take up was to name some of them in recent history, (I thought to add Herbert Matthews, first in Spain during the civil war, later and famously in Cuba, all along for the NY Times.)
      I have just finished a book abt the press in which, amid much else, I recount my involvement with independent publications since those remarkable antiwar days leading up to the rise of Saigon. And now I find that it is among independent publications such as this one that the dynamism of the profession resides.
      En avant, my friend.
      P.L.

      1. Patrick – disappointed that you blinked in response. It’s true there was never a “golden age”, but what we are experiencing right now is qualitatively different than the historical US propaganda and yellow journalism. We’ve gone off the cliff – like a grand titration, but liquid has tuned blue.

      2. I have to differ, like Bill+Wolfe below. George Seldes, I. F. Stone’s predecessor and mentor in independent journalism disagreed to. Journalism did get much better, did become more honest during his very long life. Improved in the 30s 40s and 50s. Got acceptably good in the 60s 70s and 80s. So I’d be fine with calling those decades a golden age. But towards the end of his life – he died at 105 in 1995 – things started getting worse. And have continued getting worse for decades.

        The way that I like to put it, that usually gets a lot of agreement, is this: Back then, once upon a time, if you read the New York Times cover to cover every day, analyzed it, corrected biases and illogical impossibilities, did some American Kremlinology – you could understand what was happening in the world pretty well. (New York Newsday was even better than the NYT back then)

        Now, that’s just impossible. There is no way to get from there to a possible world, to reality, to sanity. There used to be the mag Lies of Our Times – from Ed Herman etc – that helped. Now the magazine would have to be Lunacies and Gibberish of Our Times and have to be many, many times thicker. It’s at least as bad now, maybe worse, than when Seldes was a cub reporter, interviewing William Jennings Bryan.

      3. @patrick lawrence – since ye appear to read the comments…shortly ago i challenged ye to point out to me why the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh [Palestinian-American journalist] by the despicable i”d”f forces was any different from the murder of Maksym Levin, a Ukrainan journalist executed by russian forces. yes i know they used one bullet on Shireen and two on Max, but apart from that? like a true coward ye declined to answer. well Max’s death just don’t fit yer narrative, right? him a child of a lesser god? ye a racist at heart?
        do ye only answer to doting spittle-lickers? ye cannot be held to answer a simple question concerning yer ‘reporting’?
        go on then, run away with yer tail tucked, ye despicable coward!

  10. So, we Americans are being CONvinced that we are winning? Again??

    But this is not the 20th century where we were conned and lied to about Korea/Vietnam Civil wars and Iraq /Afghanistan wars. P. L. assumes the trend of conning, lying and propaganda continues.
    But, Western media is CONvincing that Russia is losing too many troops and heavy weapons but brave Ukes are more than a match. Believing our news reports and TV coverage, Russia can not possibly succeed but collapse from sanctions. We will not even bother the Russia proxy war with our own troops but save them for a war with you-know – who, in the S C seas.
    Even hard core Trump’s guys ( when not busy protecting him from the FBI) have sympathy for Putin.
    Americans are much like Trump and he is much alike most Americans: Truth is subjective and alternative facts prevail. Overall, we are too smart to be misled into more wars?? Or conned by false media coverage?
    Or too experienced to follow war mongers into another disaster.??
    Am I being made a Fool again??

    1. @keithmcwhatever…. as to yer question, no, the word ‘again’ makes no sense. ye still are the same fool ye were back when. and russia’s war is going fine, they should be able to occupy the whole country in just 50.000 dead ukrainain kids, at a rate of twenty per day, sometimes more, , give or take, and then ye can rejoice that putin the great, putin the noble, putin the model democrat won and the world will be a better place!
      also, i got a bridge i wanna sell ye….

      1. Ukraine mined the harbors and is lobbing shells at the russian-occupied nuclear power plant

      2. Who on earth is this Arvo guy?….He makes virtually the same comments over and over again using his silly old English YE….Boring!

  11. “From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”

    “Eva Karene Bartlett is a Canadian activist, commentator, and blogger who has propagated conspiracy theories in connection to the Syrian civil war, most notably the disproven allegation that the White Helmets stage rescues and “recycle” children in its videos.”

    1. Anyone who gets his information from Wikipedia, who takes Wikipedia with anything other than the largest pinch of salt, cannot himself be taken seriously.

      1. @Cara

        … and anyone who cites RT – a Russian gov propaganda outlet – as a reliable source of information is an incurable cynic, Russian agent or, as the case may well be with Patrick here (and everywhere else), a useful fool.

      1. @giligan

        CIA employs nazis?

        At least I list my sources of information, something left-ish, Neo Progressive propaganda buffs an flock (like Patrick and you) never even bother with.

        By the way, @g, thanks for exemplifying another ‘feature’ (a really detrimental bug, in fact) of contemporary left-ish argumentation – ignore any substantive dialog. The nature of Eva Bartlett ‘reporting’ is conspiratorial in nature, i.e., the employment of incendiary statement without any backing whatsoever, a technique prevalent in all of Patrick’s texts, as well as all your quips – you not only fail to address the main issue, which is Bartlett problematic, politicized and narrowly partisan ‘reporting’, but provide (outlandish) statements without any support or source.

      2. why, shillagain shills again…. where do ye get yer info from, shillagain? recycled kremlin talking points is all i see. when did ye last have an original thought? oh, i forgot, they don’t pay ye for that. just following orders… the defense of any nazi…just following kremlin orders….

    2. @ Democracy Gone Astray – you owe it to those reading your posts to make clear whether you find credibility in Wikipedia’s post on Ms. Bartlett or just another example (like the Guardian et.al.) who seek to dimiss her and other dissenting voices.

      1. @TP Graf

        Eva Bartlett is dismissed because of her failure to provide adequate or acceptable support for her opinions.

        Just like you fail to provide support for your assertion that she is dismissed because of her ‘dissenting voice’.

        For the record, the uncritical regurgitation of Russian propaganda talking points, whether with respect to Assad’s war crimes in Syria or to Putin’s imperialist criminality in Ukraine, and the lack of even rudiment attempt to verify them, is neither ‘dissent’ nor journalism in the first place!

  12. the numerous fascists that admire anti-semitic nazi ukies are disgusting…”america is the most aggressive nation in modern history”. I Meszaros…..incredibly americans cannot govern themselves and they believe they can judge civilized peoples

    1. yes, o gilligan: do shillagain, it wasn’t nazis who elected a native russian speaking JEW to be the leader of their country [in a free and fair election] . followed by another FREE AND FAIR election for the 450 seat parliament WHICH SAW NAZIS NOT GET A SINGLE SEAT….
      but let me close with a quote from the Jerusalem Post, a publication so zionist that they will smother ye with 10 “ANTISEMITISMS’ before ye can utter the words ‘OCCUPIED TERRITORIES, anyways, them wrote recently : How free is Ukraine of antisemitism? – The Jerusalem Posthttps://www.jpost.com › Diaspora
      Jan 13, 2022 — Ukraine today boasts the lowest rate of antisemitic sentiment in eastern Europe and probably most of western Europe too.

      so gilligan, don’t shillagain, ye are already exposed as a stinking liar, why add to yer shame? ye really with GOEBBELS who sex if ye repeat a lie often enough it will become truth? times have changed. ye stand exposed as a LIAR.

      1. sure nazi—you have lived in ukraine? speak Russian? you believe any fake news—I lived in Kiev 3 years and I have relatives in ukraine—ukies extremely anti-semitic–almost as bad as americans….. of course you hardly know your own language—you are a farce—return to your nebraska trailer where you belong

  13. 1. Your referenced piece by the estimable Alistair Crooke is now blocked.

    2. Western Mainstream Media is a networked, professionalized Troll Operation 24 / 7. Their front personalities specialize in being liked and not much else, beyond following their scripts and functions as professional liars, at which they are very good.

    3. Amnesty International’s commentaries are eight years late. These things in preparation were known back then. What may be driving AI’s pitch is that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are losing several hundred killed each day. They lost in February against the massive impact of a fraction of The Russian Armed Forces using artillery, advanced weapons and highly trained soldiers that the Russian Armed Forces ran out of months ago, as reported.

    4. The West is increasingly populated by thin skinned children in adult bodies. Snowflakes who insist the world conforms to their inner thought, of which there is little depth.

    5. Weapons sent to The Ukraine do not appear to be top line equipment. This has the appearance of a Western armaments warehouse clearance operation.

    6. Of the shelling of the Russian Detention Centre, a case of dead men tell no tales.

      1. Bill+Wolfe,
        Didn’t work for me. Can you copy, paste and post it? Many thanks. RR

  14. “There can be no confusing journalism and activism. You do your best to keep your biases, political proclivities, prejudices, and what have you out of the files you send your foreign desk. It takes discipline and ordered priorities.”

    Yes, exactly, but that was then and this is now. Now it is difficult to find a single even moderately-objective article in the New York Times, once a reliable source of objective new reporting (even if that sometimes required reading between the lines). Every article about the Ukraine war includes at minimum some statement about Russia as the invader, aggressor, and instigator of the conflict. As if that were objectively obvious and incontestable.

    Journalism in the age of Facebook and Twitter seems to not merely tolerate personal and political prejudice, but to actually require it as a badge of membership in the correct political group for the audience of the publisher.

    And the very ugly irony is that journalism has been corrupted from within, by the spread of postmodern ‘progressive’ attitudes among university faculty in the areas of humanities, social studies, history, cultural studies, and, of course, communication & journalism.

    It is tragic, in the classical sense of tragedy. Though Foucault, perhaps, might think it funny.

    1. @DMCP,

      As a footnote, the ‘progressive’ attitude to which I refer is the idea that academics should use their teaching positions to promote political activism and social justice action on the part of their students; the idea, then, that teaching faculty should use their substantial power and influence to direct the thoughts and actions of their students in the politically correct direction. Or, in other words, the idea that it is more important to indoctrinate your students with the politically correct ideas than to train them in how to think for themselves and then make their own assessment about what is correct.

      1. DMCP,
        Thanks for both your comments. Here’s a list (please add to it if you like) of good reporters, in no particular order, for you and others to consider.
        Reporters:
        Symour Hersh
        Max Blumenthal
        Norman Finkelstein
        Dan Cohen
        Kim Iversen
        Aaron Mate
        Abby Martin
        Patrick Lawrence
        Jimmy Dore
        Glenn Greenwald
        Miko Peled
        Karen Kingston
        Michael Moore
        Stew Peters
        Ilan Pappe
        Gideon Levy
        Jordan Chariton
        Daniel Ellsberg
        John Kiriakou
        Alfred de Zayas
        Jacques Baud
        Anya Parampil
        Scott Ritter
        Abby Martin
        Robert Scheer
        Caitlin Johnstone
        Ben Norton
        Diana Johnstone
        Bob Parry (RIP)
        Stephen F. Cohen (RIP)
        Chris Hedges
        Ann Wright
        Joe Lauria
        Scott Ritter
        Alfred McCoy
        Maj. Danny Sjursen
        John Pilger
        Craig Murray
        George Galloway
        Bob Parry (RIP)
        Jeff J. Brown (on China)
        Denis Rancourt
        Anyone have others to add?
        Dan Cohen said when a reporters packs up his/her desk and leaves the building, every other reporter in the building knows why and begins to self-censor immediately, to save his/her job. He’s right.

    2. @DMCP : does yer moniker stand for Demented-Minded Clinical Patient? for to sane folks, we call an INVADER someone who INVADES a country. mebbe ye heard of BUSH/WAR ON IRAQ? probably not, do look it up, but textbook case of the phenomenon known as ‘INVASION which usually happens when an armed force violently INVADES a country. sorry i can’t be any more clear, i know ye struggle with complex sentences of more than a word. anyways, yer lament is that all these evil journalists talk of russian ‘invasion’ and even ‘aggression’ let me help ye out here. this is mostly because russia needlessly “INVADED’ Ukraine in an AGGRESSIVE manner. can ye connect the dots here?
      it’s kind of like the reason for calling the los angeles rams the ‘SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS cause they, well, won the super bowl. this is really not that difficult – are ye getting it? ‘fraid not…

      1. arvo proof Geoffrey Gorer correct—USA the only oral culture on earth—a nation of children—see Freud…..”amerikan adults speak about themselves as they did when they were children…only amerikans describe a defective product as a lemon, profit gravy—only americans use food terms to address their lovers: “honey sugar, dumpling cupcake buttercup” …”americans really are different than everybody else”. Tocqueville

  15. This is merely a technical post to the team at Truthdig. Whatever program you are using here for comments is not good at sorting which reply belongs to which particular comment. It is most confusing.

    1. TP Graf, I find it helpful to simple address the person to whom you are responding.

      1. like this@ rob bot… great to see ye here again, i take it yer indiscriminate shilling is jusat around the corner?

  16. Another good example of investigation at the source being over-ridden further up the food chain is the OPCW Syria “gas attacks” documented well by Aaron “Birddog” Maté.

    1. The first time al Assad was accused of using chemicals on Syrians was disproved by the UN investigative unit led by Carla del Ponte who said, (I heard her myself), “It wasn’t the SA who used chemicals; it was the rebels (i.e., the US hires).” I said, we will never hear her say that again and we never did. The second time Bashar al Assad was accused was disproven by none other than the greatest reporter of all time, Sy Hersh who couldn’t get it printed in places he’d formerly printed, the NYT, WaPo, The New Yorker, nor in the London Times or Guardian, and finally it was printed in Germany’s die Welt, where I found it. The third time was in Douma and I saw it myself, so obviously fake when the White Helmet types, yelling, “Chemicals” began hosing down children which left them crying. The doctors in the hospital where the children were dragged said, “There’s no chemicals here.” Period. As I said, I saw this myself.

      1. ah, the rob bot never fails… here we go the shilling starts….
        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/22/allegation-false-turkey-chemical-attack-syria
        https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2017/06/25/will-get-fooled-seymour-hersh-welt-khan-sheikhoun-chemical-attack/
        these two links strongly suggest Sy Hersh got it wrong. mind ye, he never actually showed any evidence, instead only acting on what some secret sources told him. he got key details wrong, and never responded to give such crucial evidence as the coordinates of the supposed attack. also, the russian and syrian versions differ from Sy’s … so go ahead, spin this into whatever, yer name can be hersh and ye still get it wrong sometimes. but shill on, rob bot

  17. Again this topic of perverted reporting is our preoccupation, every single day, Mr Lawrence. I can only think of three words to sum it all up, and these will end my spontaneous response here to the present situation you outline and summarize on the variable geometry of perceptions about Ukraine and former Ukraine from where we stand, indeed, in pure dismay. At this point, it is essential to see the repetitious tragedy of the historic role (once again, after two official “World” wars) of France and Germany responsible here-yes, absolutely, for this 8-year continuous war and only these two nations were supposed to officially supervise the implementation of the 2015 Minsk Agreements-. We have indeed now this “proxy” war for their refusal of the enforcement of the Minsk Accords or Agreements signed chiefly by Ukraine officials as being priorly in their interest and concern. It is therefore Merkel and Macron’s faults of omission- again Germany and France- in that nefarious region-historically, I mean, for all the genocides recently committed around there in the last century, these two preposterous nations have enabled- , by omitting to oblige Ukraine to act in implementing what hey had signed, they enabled the prestigious benevolent Anglo-Saxons Emperors to pour some à la mode NATO venom in the wounds of a fratricide war. The majestic Macron only became conscious of his faults of omission, in mid-February 2022, on a 6 hours phone call to Putin, that monsieur le Président français lui-même ignored the content and stipulations of these 2015 Minsk’s accords read out loud to him. He had, in fact, never read the Minsk agreements: this irresponsible cute face, never understood these to be key as truce tools before the then avoidable upscaling of troops and weapons fully in contradiction with the intent of such a “treaty”. How can we admire, on the front page of our papers, the latter politician being, with his naturel arrogant, an imitator of the Bourbons with the clownesque style of a lesson giver (namely in proclaiming Zelensky a new Churchill amongst other idiocies)? One other factor for the rise of the Thermometer of Lies in Journalism, a terrifying fact to consider, is that journalists are now systematicaly being killed on a whim, shamelessly: even a female journalist like Shireen Abu Akleh the Palestinian reporter shot recently, or like the split into pieces Mr. Jamal Khashoggi supposedly sawed in numerable parts in a Turkish embassy of Saudi Arabia by MBS’s servants…this indecency on display by the parroting media is contemptuous to any civilized mind. And we watch speechless this Prince, so hugely and fondly embraced at home and feasted abroad by this and that other one powerful Prince…at banquets and dinners held with esteem by foreign elected officials and undignified dignitaries. So reporting the “scandalous” without outrage, and then stamping as genuine the official “truth” without rather contradicting the “rationnel” or official narrative is pathetic but the unmasking would be also very suicidal. Truthful reporting is therefore buried by fear of death (there comes also lot s of friendly fire originating from mob-like self-proclaimed journalists destroying real reliable colleagues and journalists or rivals in the profession): as a result, no matter how much wine you drink to escape this reality, Veritas is buried under putrefying official anti-historical narratives. Only does truth occur by sheer chance, surfacing in lateral publications. It was always like that, you must know: I remember the lies of the first Gulf War 1990-1991 certainly how bad the one sided reporting was; then the shameful “coverage” of the Bosnia bombings; after that, even the “real” explanations of the Rwanda massacres was a mascarade. Then came the spectacular almost Hollywoodyan 2001 explosions, the wars of 2002, 2003, and the recent film The Mauritanian with Jodie Foster tells us some of what we decided to ignore…Then the supposed Arab Spring revolutions that all turned sour, even Tunisia now: in short, after the 2008 meltdown bought out or saved by public funds… not one place was then any better under the marquisat of Élégance Obama, and now all Arab countries are far worse including Lebanon (Patrick Seale’s books find here complements of astonishing disastrous outcomes) . Oligarchs have, it appears to me-(maybe the magnate Hughes was a Citizen Kane exception), always held shut the media both in content and form. There may have been a break into sunlight after the Assassination of JFK given the smiling impervious obvious perpetrators, or when McNamara’s Vietnam lies became unbearable, or when Nixon’s farcical ejection from politics in the 1970’S…left so much oddities in suspension…Perhaps under Jimmy Carter was there some Golden Age of “courageous” journalism. Maybe, but my opinion, in retrospect, is that Thatcher and Reagan signaled the unequivocal end of that recess allowing some truth telling in media, with Father Bush’s triumphant Post Cold war “New World Order” decree that swept away any hope for anything but glorious capitalism (mondialisation then mondialisme!). So three words would sum up the present situation of the irrecuperable mainstream media despite all the great reporting work found here and there in Grayzone, Consortium News, Stratpol, France Soir, etc.. as there was once, recently, briefly, The Intercept but no more, now applauding the Substack Ship still navigating in perilous waters within which one finds also a great many sources of Pro et Contra…And I will translate these apocalyptic 3 summarizing words that come to mind as “Une Vaste fumisterie” legibly in English we now observe everywhere a “Massive Fraudulent Eyewash”- a MAFE . Please correct me if I m wrong. Overall, yes, I quite agree with this sentence of yours: “So far as I can make out, they grow increasingly desperate as this outcome becomes more evident, their conduct increasingly condemnable. ” It’s the madhouse effect: Ukrainians and Zelensky are desperate and like after the Barbarossa HUBRIS fault and the failed airplane flight by Rudolf Hess trying to avoid the worst…All of Mankind then embarked on a generalized crazy killing spree, that only would be avenging to the insane in charge…further mass killings and massacres were unavoidable. Only that morbid action soothed the Fools in charge: all of mankind needed no insane justifications to accomplish the result of Murder in absolute atrocities. Yes, in August 1945 not too long after Yalta, citizens were fed such narratives as a Triumph of the Allies on the Good side, the only belligerent place from where Hunting or Killing season was generalized but acceptable. Like today where everyone is now armed to vengeance and retribution (perhaps with black market weapons given or sold but disseminated everywhere). Mercenaries of different magnitudes are extremely abundant: they are all allowed to shoot for pay and assassinate the “enemy” identified in a simili of a portrait. Yes, to avenge the alike-Nazis, some were sent by the 6-million in extermination camps, and in todays Ukraine we will find analogies to former Katyn here and the Koursk bloodbath there, and alas, we will quite probably see surging soon before us some bombing to dust à la February 1945 of some Dresden, or worse, watch, terminally hypnotized by the unreal quagmire of it all, a cloud or two à la Hiroshima and Nagasaki with a constant bombastic proud narrative… All and everywhere, in the reporting of usually “sound” reporters there will be no logical reasoning from the insane in charge of us – all of us seeking still some logic- it will be a nightmare brought about by upcoming reporting and journalists pushed to maniacal insanity too, throughout our Madhouse-Earth. But the COMPULSORY NARRATIVE will be certainly reported and swallowed while decays our Environment. Overall it’s symptomatic. It’s another phase of the decline of Reason in the Human Kind. It would be nice to hope for another scenario… It’s simply the sole second chapter, in full sound and colour, of Voltaire’s Candide, a short, eloquent philosophical novel. Of course, of course, All is for the Best in the Best of All Worlds, Mr Pangloss. As we are being lectured and taught. Thank you for your inspiring articles Mr Lawrence.

  18. I just got my first Twitter “Russian State media” warning for tweeting the RT piece linked above.

    How do they get away with that crap?

  19. “Russia rejects UN calls for demilitarised zone around Ukraine nuclear plant” !!!

    1. your fascist rules based order disregarded by Russia—demilitarized means return to ukie nazis—your nazi alignments are obvious but will be highlighted—I do not debate w morons; I merely expose your immorality and lies….USA has been humiliated; your laments cannot change that the angloshere NATO nations impotent isolated desperate…while USA contracting, EU contracting Russian economy historic revenues…ukies believed amerikan lies; now they will permanently lose 30% or more of their territory and only retain the poorest regions…each week 130,000 Russian troops vs 700,000 ukies advance and liberate more villages—quite easy when the population welcomes Russian troops and despises the ukie soldiers

      1. @shillagain – yeah, them russian troops so welcome, they ran all the way back from kyiv to safety!
        but seriously, ye write like the butchering of ukrainian civilians by indiscriminate GRAD rocket attacks gives ye a hard-on. ye can barely wait till russia has snuffed out an independent Ukraine, never mind that both corruption and rigged elections are rampant in RUSSIA way more than ukraine… as i mentioned before in [posts ye cowardly refuse to answer : the most recent elections in Ukraine, both for president [native russian -speaking Jew] and parliament were deemed by all international observers as ‘free and fair” something ye can’t have in putinputinputinland….
        why ye keep on lying? that a mental disorder, or yer profession?
        _

    2. Democracy Gone Astray,

      Just as the US, NATO, UN, and Ukraine rejected Russia’s calls for an independent investigation into the killings in Bucha.

      As for their rejection of the UN calls for demilitarization, isn’t that a stated aim of the Russian intervention?

  20. Phil Butler at new eastern outlook: “Putin and Russia won this war before it started”. The Russian advances continue and will likely result in complete deindustrialization of ukraine not restored to Russia. the failure to adhere to Minsk by ukraine is both a geo-political and economic victory for Russia—the talented Ukrainians have emigrated to Russia—35% since March 1—65% of the 10 million in Poland, etc….the phantasy of any counter offensive is dismissed even by US military experts. NATO now exposed as impotent, something that DPRK already makes obvious. as zelensky approval has dropped below 30% and ukraine military morale so poor that many refuse to fight the only unknown is how much more territory will Russia permanently liberate. Sadly for Ukraine they have lost the most productive region where an estimated 25 trillion$ of energy mineral reserves exists and most industry exists. ukraine will become a huge financial burden for EU/USA. Meanwhile the Russian economy —due to sanctions is now self sufficient —Russia produces everything except disney films and Italian handbags”. Michael Hudson….and increased costs of machinery, tech, commodities that Russia exports monthly records have been achieved since mar. 1 permitting the RESERVE fund to grow by 13 billion$ each month….in the final analysis losing the burden of maintaining many of the USSR states has been the best Russia could have hoped

    1. @shillagain – yeah, them russian troops so welcome, they ran all the way back from kyiv to safety!
      but seriously, ye write like the butchering of ukrainian civilians by indiscriminate GRAD rocket attacks gives ye a hard-on. ye can barely wait till russia has snuffed out an independent Ukraine, never mind that both corruption and rigged elections are rampant in RUSSIA way more than ukraine… as i mentioned before in [posts ye cowardly refuse to answer : the most recent elections in Ukraine, both for president [native russian -speaking Jew] and parliament were deemed by all international observers as ‘free and fair” something ye can’t have in putinputinputinland….
      why ye keep on lying? that a mental disorder, or yer profession?
      _

      1. arvo- the village idiot triggered…”only in USA is the father vestigial –the american mind and conscience is feminine….americans especially males are troubled with a basic insecurity inadequately disguised by their boasting and bragging….americans are insatiable for reassurance”. Geoffrey Gorer

    2. yes, o shillagain. war has been great for russia. – for Ukrainian kids, mebbbe not so much. but them all nazis anyways, right? just as long as putin the great, putin the noble, putin the merciful wins. .. just out of curiosity were ye cheering on bush in Iraq, too? that war also was just so great for the u.s.a….. ye could revel every day in the human toll a very advanced military could inflict on an army which had no weapons at all to match them. some people, like ye, get off on this shite. ye are a very troubled shill. but do rejoice in the advances of the russian killing machine as they”LIBERATE” cities by levelling them with indiscriminate GRAD fire. even the U.S. did not sink that low in Iraq…
      y’know, back when , Hitler had his admiring little lapdogs , too, his spittle-lickers, in all european countries. folks who were shilling for him, pointing out how right he was, and how great and noble and merciful, and they dutifully pointed out how he took sudetenland, and poland, and and and… they sounded just like ye, shillagain,. drunk on propaganda and lust for war and murder and torture and such. ye are truly a deplorable shill of a human.

      1. Troll. Why does the moderator let this worthless and offensive shit through? What’s the point of moderation if garbage like this gets posted? There is nothing here worth discussing. and the poster is clearly irrational and possibly disturbed. Not to mention a total asshat.

        Wake up, moderator.

  21. @cazalis – right, ye are, bringing death and destruction to another country should never be called out. bush was right to invade Iraq, nato was right on jugoslawia, and HITLER was right on Poland, so then why would putin the great, putin the noble, putin the merciful be wrong on carpetbombing ukrainian civilians and killing kids who got nothing to do woth nothing. even chris hedges the exalted used to speak out against killing kids back before he became, well, exalted…..
    again, ye stinking shill, whe civilian buildings and hospitals get flatened by medievally inaccurate GRAD rockets fired by rusasia the noble, russia the great, russia the merciful, , well sadly enough there are often not only adults in the room bur many kids. kids who got nothing to do with nothing, and ye are busy rationalizing and mansplaining their murder. shil of, ye apologist for murder….

  22. @patrick lawrence i challenged ye to point out to me why the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh [Palestinian-American journalist] by the despicable i”d”f forces was any different from the murder of Maksym Levin, a Ukrainan journalist executed by russian forces. yes i know theY used one bullet on Shireen and two on Max, but apart from that? like a true coward ye declined to answer. well Max’s death just don’t fit yer narrative, right? him a child of a lesser god?
    but on to yer article above. as far as “ye can make out” and i quote : the Armed Forces of Ukraine are losing “THEIR WAR” against the Russian intervention.
    so let me unpack this. there was a russian ‘intervention’ which was meant to help the Ukrainians, but these fucking Ukrainian nazis done made a ‘WAR’ out of it. entirely the Ukrainian’s fault, why could they not just let the russians have their ‘intervention’?
    so this is ‘THEIR’ war, the UKRAINIANS’ war?
    this is the most blatant example of a GOEBBLELS style redefinition of an even. reminds me of when Poland attacked HITLER’S germany. needless to say, HITLER had to ‘intervene’ and those stubborn Polish people just had to make a WAR out of it!
    patrick ye are the most despicable shill i have come across these pages. well, there is ‘maverick’. too, but he ain’t writing these articles. but do shill on. everything is going swimmingly in Ukraine, any moment now the country is going to be conquered and made a compliant colony again, just as soon as the might warship MOSKVA rises from the bottom of the ocean. all the UKRAINIAN’S fault for making a WAR out of an innocent, humanitarian, carpetbombing, stealing, raping , torturing “INTERVENTION”
    patrick a challenge here : i challenge ye to point out to me why the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh [Palestinian-American journalist] by the despicable i”d”f forces was any different from the murder of Maksym Levin, a Ukrainan journalist executed by russian forces
    are ye a racist? are Ukrainian lives worth less than Palestinians? do explain, or be known as a stinking coward who can’t even defend his own words. my guess? ye gonna stay quiet. COWARD!

  23. I saw a comment somewhere here—can’t remember who—that implied that Ukraine is a democracy because Zelenskyy won an election.

    This is a common delusion with regard to democracy, namely, that it has something to do with voting.

    Voting is voting. Democracy is rule by the dêmos, the common people. This could be by direct voting with majority rule, or by consensus, or by representation—but only, of course, if the elected representatives do what they were hired to do. It could even be by verbal agreement. The key is that the government—what government there is—does the will of the people.

    In Zelenskyy’s case, he won an election by a large majority: 73% according to reports. How legitimate that vote was is anyone’s guess, but let’s assume for the sake of argument that it was totally legit.

    What was his platform? What promises did he make? What did the Ukrainian people hire him to do?

    Well, it turns out that it is difficult to say. Zelenskyy made contradictory promises to different groups. He could not do both; he had to choose. And whichever choice he made, a substantial portion of those who voted for him would be effectively disenfranchised.

    That means that it is impossible for Zelenskyy to do all that he promised, when he promised anything at all. He also took a page from Obama’s book and kept things vague, inviting desperate voters to project their own yearnings on to him.

    However you slice it, Zelenskyy’s actions since he took office have been to go against what the majority of Ukrainians expected from him. This is the reason that his popularity has fallen so low.

    They wanted an end to the civil war in the Donbas. Zelenskyy simply ramped it up. They wanted an end to the corruption. Ukraine is more corrupt than ever. They wanted economic improvements. Things have gotten worse.

    When a president of a “democracy” acts with impunity to thwart the will of the majority of the people, then that nation is no longer a democracy. It is an autocracy. Or it would be if Zelenskyy had any real power. Really, given the rampant corruption, it is more of a kakistocracy.

    Truth is, Zelenskyy is controlled by powerful oligarchs and ultra-nationalist groups which represent a minority of the Ukrainian people—even if you don’t count the people of the Donbas. Since taking office he has outlawed opposition parties, shut down media that disagreed with him, and brought the country to its knees.

    Pretty sure that isn’t what the majority of those who voted for him had in mind.

    Hence it is utterly laughable for anyone to claim that Ukraine is a democracy simply because they have an “elected” president.

    After all, the same people claiming that Ukraine is a democracy generally claim that Putin is a vile dictator. Funny that. He was reelected in 2018 with 76.69% of the vote—even better than Zelenskyy’s landslide.

    So which is it? Having an “elected” president makes a democracy, or it makes a dictatorship? You can’t have it both ways.

    1. @dobs bot… why do ye bother to bleat forth these ridiculous, so easily disproven lies? have ye no ambition to come up with devious, hard-to-refute lies? or wait- i got it- ye simply lack the intelligence for anything but stupid lies. to get to the point: Ukrainian President Zelensky currently receives an approval rating of over 90%. . turns out Ukrainians think the russian military intervention, what with the thefts, the rapes, the murders of civilians, the indiscriminate shelling of cities, schools, hospitals, is somewhat disagreeable. so, in patrick ‘shill’ lawrences words, THEY – the UKRAINIANS – started a war against an innocent, humanitarian, kid-killing, raping murdering torturing etc. intervention.
      but dobbs-shill, here is a challenge. prove yer words of Zelensky’s low approval rating. show the world i am full of shite. surely ye have heard of ‘evidence”? oh, ye never have?
      shill off and stink up another room, or prove me wrong. i can see ye running, tail firmly tucked between yer legs. in shill school, they made it sound so easy…

    2. ukies only had failed Poroshenko and Russian oriented Medvedchuk as realistic choices—now ze approval 30%

  24. found this……………………………………………………………………………… The Masque of Pandora

    Alastair Crooke Monday 8 Aug 22

    What happens when people awake to the deceit of Totalitarian-Lite posing as liberty and individualism (let alone democracy)?

    Well, this piece is from the leading Establishment journal from the Deep-State-linked, Anglosphere, the Daily Telegraph:

    “This is the summer before the storm. Make no mistake, with energy prices set to rise to unprecedented highs, we are approaching one of the biggest geopolitical earthquake in decades. The ensuing convulsions are likely to be of a far greater order of magnitude than those that followed the 2008 financial crash, which sparked protests culminating in the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring …

    “Carnage has already arrived in the developing world, with power outages from Cuba to South Africa. Sri Lanka is just one of a cascade of low-income countries where leaders face being driven out of power in an ignominious blaze of petrol droughts and loan defaults.

    “But the West is not going to escape this Armageddon. In fact, in many ways, it looks set to be its epicentre – and Britain, its Ground Zero. In Europe and America, a technocratic élite system built on mythology and complacency is crumbling. Its founding fable – which prophesied the nation states’ glorious enmeshment in world government and supply chains – has metastasised into a parable of the perils of globalisation.

    “This time, élites cannot shirk responsibility for the consequences of their fatal errors … Put simply, the emperor has no clothes: The Establishment simply has no message for voters in the face of hardship. The only vision for the future it can conjure up is Net Zero – a dystopian agenda that takes the sacrificial politics of austerity and financialisation of the world economy to new heights. But it is a perfectly logical programme for an élite that has become unhinged from the real world”.

    Yes, the western sphere has become so prone to a ‘head-spinning’ disorientation (as was intended), through the constant rain of disinformation labels, stuck haphazardly across anything critical of the ‘uniform messaging’, and by outrageous, obvious lying, that a majority in the western world has begun to question their own and surrounding levels of sanity.

    In their bemusement, they have come to see the ‘messaging’ of sacrificial politics and the financialisation of absolutely everything as ‘perfectly rational’. They have been rendered helpless, held immobile in a spider’s web. Bewitched.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone,

    “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – – that’s all.”

    (Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass)

    Yes, the Beast’s Siren Call is for sacrificial politics to be levered down upon the people, whilst the horsemen of War and Pandemic all scream out that an apocalyptic hour approaches. We may call it a collective syndrome – similar to the Witch Craze of the 14th–17th Centuries – but today, the phenomenon WB Yeats termed the ‘rough beast’ with its’ gaze as ‘blank and pitiless as the sun’, is better known simply as Ideology.

    The word ‘ideology’ is often used as a synonym for political ideas, a corruption of language that conceals its fundamentally anti-political, latent totalitarian character. Ideology is incapable of treating human beings as distinct participants in a shared, non-political social life. Today’s woke ideology sees human association rather, as groups to be acted upon. It is explicitly anti-National, anti-Sovereign, anti-Traditional Religion, anti-Traditional Culture, anti-National Infrastructure, and anti-Family.

    The term idéologie was coined during the French Revolution by Antoine Destutt de Tracy, an anti-clerical materialist philosopher who conceived of idéologie as a social science of ‘ideas’ that would inform the construction of a rational progressive society governed by an enlightened élite, whose technical expertise would justify their claim to rule.

    These contours to European ideology, as they emerged during the French revolutionary era, largely were cast by the Franks in the period before, and after Charlemagne. It was then that the doctrine of racial superiority arose (‘others’ were ‘barbarian’ and Pagan and served only as slaves). It was then too, that outward, predatory expansionism (the Crusades, then colonialism) was embedded in the European psyche.

    The Charlemagne era further cemented an unbridgeable social schism. The Frankish oligarch in his castle; his Frankish bishops inculcating his villein serfs, living by the foot of the castle, with vivid fear of eternal Hell. To which, the non-elect was pre-destined, unless improbably, they gained the grace of God. This nascent Frankish ‘idea’ was precursor to how we Europeans are today: the sense of absolute superiority; of belonging to an elect; and Europe’s class divide – are today’s shadows from that totalitarian era.

    “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

    “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

    What the French Revolution added was raw ideology, through the radical shift in the relation between state and traditional society. Rousseau is often taken as the icon of ‘liberty’ and ‘individualism’ and is widely admired. Yet here we have that clearcorruption of language which conceals ideology’s fundamentally anti-political character.

    Rousseau explicitly refused human participation in non-political, shared life. He saw the human associations rather, as groups to be acted upon so that all thinking and daily behaviour could be folded into the like-minded units of a unitary state.

    It is that unified state – the absolute state – which Rousseau upholds at the expense of the other forms of cultural tradition, together with the moral ‘narratives’ that provide context to terms such as good, justice and telos.

    The individualism of Rousseau’s thought, therefore, is no libertarian assertion of absolute rights against the all-consuming state. No raising of the ‘tri-colour’ against an oppressive state.

    Quite the reverse! Rousseau’s passionate ‘defence of the individual’ arises out of his opposition to ‘the tyranny’ of social convention – the forms and ancient myths that bind society: religion, family, history, and social institutions. His ideal may be proclaimed as that of individual freedom; but it is ‘freedom’, however, not in a sense of immunity from control of the state, but in our withdrawal from the supposed oppressions and corruptions of collective society.

    Family relationship is thus transmuted subtly into a political relationship; the molecule of the family is broken into the atoms of its individuals. With these atoms today groomed further to shed their biological gender, their cultural identity and ethnicity, they are coalesced afresh into the single unity of the state.

    This is the deceit concealed in the ideologues’ language of freedom and individualism. It is rather, the politicization of everything into the mould of an authoritarian singularity of perception. The late George Steiner said the Jacobins “abolished the millennial barrier between common life and the enormities of the historical [past]. Past the hedge and gate of even the humblest garden, march the bayonets of political ideology and historic conflict”.

    This Jacobin inheritance was polished further by the Fabians and the likes of HG Wells, who wrote in his new Bible Trilogy, published in 1901,

    “It has become apparent that whole masses of human population are, as a whole, inferior in their claim upon the future, to other masses, that they cannot be given opportunities or trusted with power as the superior peoples are trusted, that their characteristic weaknesses are contagious and detrimental to the civilizing fabric, and that their range of incapacity tempts and demoralizes the strong. To give them equality is to sink to their level, to protect and cherish them is to be swamped in their fecundity.”

    Bertrand Russell (linked with the same current of thought) would put it most succinctly in The Scientific Outlook (1931):

    “The scientific rulers will provide one kind of education for ordinary men and women and another for those who are to become holders of scientific power. Ordinary men and women will be expected to be docile, industrious, punctual, thoughtless and contented. Of these qualities, probably contentment will be considered the most important all the boys and girls will learn from an early age to be what is called “cooperative” i.e.: to do exactly what everybody else is doing. Initiative will be discouraged in these children, and insubordination, without being punished will be scientifically trained out of them”.

    In sum, today’s ‘Totalitarianism Lite’ (Niall Ferguson coinage) of contemporary western life, accepts that whilst human beings naturally form social groups for common purposes, today’s woke ideology assumes that organic associations natural to any rooted community, cannot support a good society (because of ingrained racism, etc.), and therefore must be cleansed from the top down to rid it of such legacies. This is the ‘Bolshevik’ seed that Rousseau sowed.

    Here is the point: Our disorientation and sense of disappearing sanity owes not a little to the psychic stress of embracing an ideology that purports to be exactly what it is not. Or, in other words, it proclaims liberty and the individual, when concealed within is absolute statism.

    Alain Besançon remarks that “it is just not possible to remain intelligent under the spell of ideology”. Intelligence, after all, is an ongoing attentiveness to reality, which is inconsistent with willfulness and fantasy. Nor can it take root in the sterile soil of widespread cultural repudiation. This is why all ideological regimes are without exception plagued by sheer ineptitude.

    Which neatly returns us to the afore-quoted Telegraph piece:

    “Nor is there any explanation for this fiasco apart from decades of failed assumptions and policy missteps by our governing class. In the wake of the [2008] Great Financial Crisis, the Establishment just about managed to convince the public to submit to the purifying rigours of austerity [sacrificial politics] – persuading voters that we all shared the blame for the crisis and must all play a role in atoning for the country’s mistakes. This time, élites cannot shirk responsibility for the consequences of their fatal errors.

    “Carnage has already arrived … And Britain is not going to escape [it]. In fact, in many ways, it looks set to be the tinderbox of Europe.

    “The predicament we face is likely game-changing. We have barely begun to grasp how unpredictable the next few years are likely to be – and how poorly prepared we are to face the consequences. This may sound like a grim prognosis, but particularly in Britain, it does feel as if we just may have entered the final act of an economic system that has patently failed. It is clearer than ever that the emperor has no clothes and has no more stories to distract us with”.

    The author is right. There will be public protests – in some states, perhaps, more than others; civil disobedience – such has already been launched in the UK and in the Netherlands: ‘The Don’t Pay’ campaign, which is urging people to join a ‘mass non-payment strike’, is the first token of pushback.

    This, however, is but the initial step. When the western financial authorities say they ‘welcome’ a recession to destroy demand – and so to reduce inflation – implicit in this statement is an élite conviction that protest can and will be successfully squashed.

    All the signs are that a ruthless, violent, and administrative suppression of popular disquiet is being contemplated.

    Every so often, throughout history, humans have periodically experienced a deep sense of their lives being somehow hollow, of nothing realised, and of the world about them being sham – being somehow illusory and empty of meaning.

    “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

    “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

    But if we look back at this pattern, repeating itself, time and time again, we get a clear sense of both the event and of the repeating experience of void. For, it is the insecurity and fearfulness associated with ‘void’ which causes torpor to fade, and people to erupt into rebellious disorder. And why also the attempt by the élite inner circle ‘to manage away’ such awakenings, so easily ends in tragedy (and bloodshed).

    But there is a further – major – difficulty in today’s situation. Even if the ‘doors of perception were cleansed’ (Huxley), it is that there is no ‘there – there’. No neat conceptualisation to which he or she can say: ‘here is to ‘where’ we should be going’ – or, at least, there is ‘no-where’ that would make sense to those already becoming half-panicked at what they perceive to be the assault on all the landmarks by which they have lived their lives.

    What then might ultimately break a collective psychosis caught up in some irresistible, ‘magical’ spell? Well, put simply, pain. Pain is the great clarifying agency.

    What happens when people awake to the deceit of Totalitarian-Lite posing as liberty and individualism (let alone democracy!). The question then becomes: To what other ‘image-idea’ will the people collectively migrate?

    The geo-political implication is that Italy may migrate to one; Germany to another; and France to yet another, and others may just ‘give up’ on the whole mess of European politics (and nihilism will rise). Does this matter? Might it possibly be revitalising?

    It does let us address directly the ‘Beast of ideology’, who through ‘his’ own ineptitude, has inadvertently stripped Pandora of her masque, thus opening her box. Who may say which masque she will don next!

  25. Horatio-
    Elagantly put.
    Thank You.

    If I may ( who we kiddin, im gonna)

    That message would have been easier to digest in smaller bites. I had a hard time finishing the post in one pass. Indeed, I had to take break, which messed with the continuity.
    But thats my only critque for whatever it may be worth.
    Cheers.

  26. ARVO-
    Assuradly dost thou smug demeanor and lack of substance betray thee to be but mearly a troll of the lowest order. A paid one.

    Seriously, meat bag, your comments are painful for a thinking person to read.
    Aside from the lame artiface of your “word play” there is a COMPLETE AND TOTAL LACK OF ANYTHING MEANINGFUL in whats bleeding out of your keyboard.

    How much time did you spend writing those masterpieces of thought and consideration??

    You know, theres a LOT more to an aurgument than just saying “Nuh-Uh!, it is not!” and calling others liars, cowards and everything you show yourself to be.

    I think your a paid troll whose only job is to try and make the comment sections of
    well written and thought provoking articles, such as this, unreadable by filling it up with your excrement.

    Nice try, trill ( see? But mine is funny)

    To the admin- im usually not a censor kind of guy, as Im more than content watching idiots hang themselves. That said, isnt there a point where dipshits such as ARVO here get cut off for adding nothing to the conversation while launching personal attacks against the anyone he disagrees with?

    I like dissenting voices. They keep folks honest. But this is equivalent to shouting down others and shouldnt be eternally tolerated imho.

  27. Patrick Lawrence-

    Nice job. Real Journalist like Eva Bartlett need to be elevated and listened to.

    I came across Madam Bartlett while following Gonzolo Lira who was living in Kiev when Russia attacked. His eyewitness accounts posted to youtube were so different than the reporting of the corporate media, it immediately got my attention.
    For example, he produced videos from the exact location that was used by a number of “credible” journalist to film several different live “stories from the front”.
    All of which were demonstrated to be staged with actors playing the parts of local residents and brave freedom fighters. He, like Eva, were put on a hit list by Uke intelligence ( which Im led to believe is U.S. based)(based on the fact that the whack a mole chick that they hired to run the ill fated ministry of truth here in the states was filmed working for kiev leading up to the russian invasion)

    When Mr Lira was apprehended by the Govt there, it was Eva Bartlett (amongst others) that sounded the alarm. Mr Lira is dual U.S. and ( i believe) Peruvian citizen. It only because of outcrying of Peru Officials and U.S. citizens that he was released ( but forbidden from leaving the town in ukraine where he was picked up). And it was only, unfortunately, after they confiscated his laptop etc.
    Youtube pulled his account about the same time, because, you know, TRUTH…

    ANYWAYS, I have been following ms. Bartlett ever since and have found her to be genuine and consistent. AND unlike most so called journalist, such as the ones in the picture attached to your article, she actually reports from WHERE the stories are taking place. This is in contrast to the bulk of correspondents that barely seem to make it past the buffet at the hotel where they are staying.

    Anyways keep up the good work and thank you.

  28. @patrick lawrence
    hey, ye coward, i am calling ye out. what, ye fresh out of words right now? i quote:
    “so far as I can make out, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are losing their war against the Russian intervention”
    so let me analyse this: a] there really IS a war in Ukraine. [please do not attempt to say this in putin the noble’s country. it’ll get ye up to 15 years in prison. yeah, freedom of speech in russia truly stellar these days!]
    b] but this war is not the russian’s fault. them just doing a humanitarian intervention. sure, there is murder, rape, torture, theft, leveling whole cities with GRAD rockets, but they mean well. liberating Ukraine one dead kid at a time.
    c] nay, as ye state it is ‘their’ war… the Ukrainians’ war. all their fault. why could they not consent to a harmless intervention designed to enslave them for their benefit, , to make them subservient to putin the noble, putin the great, putin the merciful. [ain’t it funny how them stubborn folks like the Iraquis, the Afghanis, and the Ukrainians so annoyingly, and indecently, resist the very wars imposed on them for their own good? what’s wrong with those people?]
    Patrick ye won’t answer me here cause ye have no words. ye have no argument. yer subtle but perfidious effort to make this the “UKRAINIANS’ WAR’ will get ye nominated for lie of the year, and i will personally suggest ye for the JOSEPH GOEBBELS award for the most contemptious lie of the year.
    so slink off, ye coward. not expecting a response, for ye only respond to yer spittle- lickers, ye can’t handle open debate. i pity ye. is the money good at least?

    1. It seems you never tire of repeating the same words and expecting a different response from the intelligencia on this site….Guess what that means?

  29. USA has been humiliated by Russia—amerikans very upset liberated areas all welcoming Russian troops where Russian is spoken, not Ukrainian—US defeated by Taliban loses all wars—will do nothing until ukraine destroyed and Russia liberated Odessa and Kharkov where only Russian spoken…..EU now comprehends they need Russia; Russia does not need EU or anglosphere—trade with Turkey Hungary Serbia Asia Africa, Latin America developing increasing–impotent US sanctions irrelevant since only rubles accepted–bye bye US decayed empire

  30. “arvo” & a couple of others on here are Western propagandists, possibly 77th Brigade or hasbara, especially “arvo” with nothing but lies & insults!

    Great article &, for the most, great comments.

    I’ve been friends with Eva for years, following closely her reports from Syria on the truth about the situation, but as with all investigative journalists with integrity, she regularly suffers smear campaigns.

  31. for accurate summary of american humiliation by Russia go to popularresitance website—‘how Russia thwarted…”

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