As two of the world’s ‘superpowers’ fight it out in Ukraine for the spoils of war, the world descends into a dystopian whirlpool of economic stagflation and environmental catastrophe.
While the Western propaganda war of obvious lies to its populations about the war in Ukraine is deeply disturbing, what is far far worse is the psychotic behaviour of all the world’s political classes in talking about the need to address climate change while doing the exact opposite- promoting ‘growth’, trying to revitalise tourist air travel, more production of goods, more industry..
The evidence is unequivocal; only a reduction and stabilization of human ‘growth’ will allow species on this planet to barely cope with the ongoing and now inevitable climate and ecocide we are experiencing. Promoting more growth is simply going to push us all faster off the cliff to a far deeper environmental catastrophe.
Sadly the Ukraine war has given us ample evidence of the concerted activity of Western media to consistently lie to its populations. The refusal to acknowledge the war of terror by the Kiev government on its Donbas population for 8 years since 2014 ( with 14,000 deaths), the refusal to acknowledge the existence of the well documented neo-nazi military groups working to eliminate Ukrainian Russian speakers (even while promoting videos made by them), or even the refusal to acknowledge that much of the fighting against Western Ukrainians is being carried out by Russian speaking Ukrainians from the Donbas against Western Ukrainians and the neonazis, are all examples of the subterfuge Western governments are required to commit to ensure a compliant population supports their war against Russia, while ignoring the horrors of Palestine’s slow genocide by Israel or the rapid genocide in Yemen by the Saudis, both enthusiastically supported by the U.S. and U.K.
My ‘favourite’ so far from New Zealand state tv , TVNZ, is their recent video clip of an interview with an elderly man in Donetsk (a Donbass city held by Russian speaking Ukrainians and constantly bombarded by Kiev’s troops since 2014) after shelling of his apartment building by the Western Ukrainians, while the commentator pretends the damage has been caused by Russian shelling.
When media have no compunction to consistently lie to get their ‘message’ across, one knows we have no hope of the media presenting an honest case about the desperate need for genuine action about climate change. We are instead presented with occasional short media articles about climate change, followed by a psychotic switch to the main propaganda barrage of ‘produce more, work more, buy more, sell more, fly more’. Greenwashing is now the ‘in thing’. Half-truths and pure lies infest our mainstream media.
Perhaps the one saving grace of our incompetent leaders is that they are, through their own incompetence, leading the world into a severe economic depression, which, together with the impacts of climate change, will inevitably reduce consumption and consequently allow some restoration of our natural world.
Sadly however that economic depression will lead to much suffering and many deaths. A planned and systematic approach to de-growth would have been a far more humane response.
Unfortunately , politicians’ and bureaucrats’ responses to the various crises enveloping the world is either to make war, or ‘grow’ economies more.
I would appreciate if you could publish the following letter
While any invasion of another country is deplorable and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is to be condemned, one needs to remember that prior to this invasion, more than 10,000 Russian speaking Ukrainians have been killed by the Kiev government in the Donbass since 2014; predominantly by neo-nazi groups like the Azov Battalion- the very same neonazi group that Brenton Tarrant , the Christchurch mosque shooter, was an ardent adherent of.
We should all be aware that truth is the first casualty of war, but the level of war hysteria and blatantly distorted propaganda we are seeing across the Western world about this tragedy in Ukraine, is extremely alarming- our media now howls for World War Three.
Our prime minister talks about how New Zealand supports the “rule based international order”; the U.S. imposed version of how they believe the world should be; not United Nation’s rules.
It is time to step back from the brink of a massive, potentially nuclear, war which would involve China Russia and its allies, and the Western camp.
Saner heads need to prevail; we need peace and an effective response to the imminent climate catastrophe unfolding, not this foolish provocation by New Zealand.
In my ‘neck of the woods’ in New Zealand I am entertained each evening by the propaganda from TVNZ1 -one of our government funded TV channels. In their extensive coverage of the tragedy in Ukraine they somehow fail to mention:
That the Kiev government has been fighting a war with Eastern Ukrainians that they call ‘terrorists’ (or if you’re a neo-nazi, ‘cockroaches’) for 8 years with over 13,000 deaths with active support from NATO; and that Ukrainian shelling of civilian infrastructure in the Donbass is ongoing.
That British, American and German military ‘advisors’ have been training and providing ‘defensive’ weapons to these rabidly anti-Russian groups for those 8 years (and more) (note that there is militarily no such thing as a defensive weapon-anything that makes you safer in war also makes you more capable of fighting offensively)
That civilian casualty figures for the 12 days of war so far are astoundingly low ( 407 in 12 days), in comparison with say America’s ‘shock and awe’ terror campaign in Iraq ( 6,700 deaths in the first 3 weeks)– but noting that every death is a tragedy.
That all the while this hellish Ukraine war is going on, the Americans and the British are actively supporting a decidedly more hellish genocide in Yemen by the Saudis and other gulf states.
That the Russian Army and separatists from the Donbass have now encircled in a ‘cauldron’ the majority of the Ukrainian army in the East.
That the Russians claim to have found evidence of a number of American sponsored Ukrainian biolabs producing germ warfare agents, which the Americans both confess to and deny!
That the Russians claim to have found documental evidence of the Ukrainian Army’s intent to destroy the Donbass separatists in an offensive starting 25h February.
That the maternity hospital in Mariupal had been publicly identified by the Russians as having been turned into a Ukrainian military base 3 days before the shelling by the Russians of the building.
That the Western media’s constant pressure on the Americans and their European allies to implement Zelinsky’s plan for a NATO ‘no fly zone’ over Ukraine would result in shooting war that could easily end in nuclear war. (It would be like America having dog-fights and missile strikes over Canada or Mexico)
I guess TVNZ and the rest of the Western media are just trying to protect me from Russian propaganda- so I really feel quite relieved that I don’t need to know about any of this! Let’s keep it simple after all….
‘The first casualty when war comes is truth’. Hiram W Johnson (1917)
As this horrendous war in Ukraine unfolds, we see the Western media carefully following their politicians’ lines. ‘There is no Nazi problem in Ukraine’, ‘NATO is not a threat to Russia’, “Putin is a madman dictator’ etc etc…
Curiously, as I have noted in a previous blog, these memes were becoming increasingly strident even before Russia recognised the 2 Donbass republics, even in my little country of New Zealand (part of ‘Five Eyes’) we are apparently an enthusiastic supporter of the (neo)- nazi Azov Battalion in the Ukraine and their propaganda videos, should you want to believe our government funded TVNZ ‘news’.
But perhaps the most obscene media article I have seen is this recent Guardian article by a Mr Jason Stanley who states ‘no democratic country is free of far-right nationalist groups, including the United States’, in downplaying the risks of Nazis in Ukraine. What Mr Stanley deliberately omits to say is that Ukraine is the only country in the world where Nazi battalions are an integral part of their army, and whose battalions have been actively involved in killing as many Eastern Ukrainian Russian speakers in the Donbass as possible (13,000 at the last count) – with the full support of the Ukrainian government in Kiev. Let us also not forget the post-Maidan coup Kiev government’s enthusiastic sanctifying of Stepan Bandera, the white (Ukrainian Slav) supremacist and killer of ‘Asiatic’ Russian Slavs, Poles, Gypsies, the LGBTIQ community, Communists and Jews, both during and after the second world war (with support for his OUN-B group and its successors from the Americans).
Mr Stanley’s customary caricature of Putin as the ‘global leader of the far right’ is, to be polite, somewhat strange. Putin is certainly a nationalist, an anti-communist, a Russian Orthodox believer and a fervent conservative (none of those Putin attributes particularly endear him to me; as do most politicians’ ‘values’ in the West or East!), but ‘far right’? -no.
The decision by European countries to constrain Russian economic interest in Europe and beyond is an entirely valid response to Russia’s aggression, but the decision to suppress access to Russian government media like RT and Sputnik in the West indicates a strong wish to ensure the views of only one side of the war are circulated to Western populations; a series of views that are indisputably half-truths in many cases and often lies (e.g. the 4 years of ‘Russia-gate’ fabrications), as noted above. Such repressive actions lead the public to believe right is completely on our side and no compromise is possible with the evil aggressor. A recipe for a third world war, or worse.
And that is not to say that the Russian government and its media are the epitome of truth. The Russian government and its media unequivocally stated that no Ukrainian invasion was planned, while they were preparing for just such an invasion.
Reports from websites that are Russian supporters are as likely to provide a slanted or untrue version of events on the ground in Ukraine as the Western media. Part of that false view can be attributed to the ‘fog of war’ – journalists rely on narratives from people in the war-zone with their own agendas, or from people who are simply making things up to suit their audience. And then there are the journalists in the West, and no doubt in the East as well, who are paid by their various ‘intelligence’ agencies to provide that ‘special’ messaging for a gullible public.
Emotive videos of Ukrainian women filling bottles with petrol to make Molotov cocktails, of a man supposedly holding back a Russian tank, or of an armoured personnel carrier (Russian or more likely Ukrainian) deliberately running over a car, the Snake Island defenders who died but are now resurrected etc etc are all designed to dull our intellectual acuity and make us react with anger and fear rather than a calm consideration of the facts, and make mediation between the warring factions impossible.
The current fad to sanction Russian cats, deprive Russian paralympians of competing, remove access to Russian authors or composers or remove Russian media from the Western world is bizarre. Perhaps a glimpse into this madness can be seen in a recent CNN article by one Oliver Darcy where the Russian website RT is blasted for actually giving a Russian point of view to the Russian invasion! How dastardly is that! We of course should know that there is only one viewpoint to be had on this deadly event, and that is the American official line! Knowledge of any other viewpoint is therefor treasonable an un-American!
We should also note the ‘extraordinary’ levels of white racism that pervade Western media- they imply how shocking that this war could have happened to European, well-dressed educated white people who look just like us!, not those people of darker skins in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Be warned! The populations of Arab, African, South American and Asian countries who have endured so much pointless war by the U.S. and its allies over the past 50 years are taking due note of the total hypocrisy and racism of Western media.
The enemy is inherently evil and resembles the devil.
We defend a noble cause, not our own interests.
The enemy commits atrocities on purpose; our mishaps are involuntary.
The enemy uses forbidden weapons.
We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.
Recognized artists and intellectuals back our cause.
Our cause is sacred.
All who doubt our propaganda are traitors.
On the Russian side we hear of the Ukrainian government military using illegal phosphorous shells near Kyev, or prisoners released from jails given automatic weapons, of Azov battalion units using Eastern Ukrainians as human shields in the Donbass – fact or fiction? We may never know.
The increasing practice in both West and East to use legislation to designate foreign media companies as ‘foreign agents’ also exacerbates the considerable risk for governments and their publics to misinterpret, deliberately or otherwise, the intent of a ‘foreign’ government, and thereby increase the risk of war.
After talking to a very frightened and distraught friend in Ukraine over the weekend, I know that the internet is up and running there, that water and electricity are (at least so far) not being destroyed, unlike the terror attacks by the Americans in Korea, Vietnam, Libya and Iraq (to name just a few) that deliberately destroyed all infrastructure (a ‘shock and awe’ war-crime).
This terror and destruction needs to stop -now. Russia needs to negotiate in good faith with the Kiev government; withdraw its troops and compensate for lives lost and destruction caused. In turn, Kiev and NATO need to recognise the very real fears by Russia about the likely destruction of Russia by NATO. A neutral Ukraine (as Austria was during the cold war) is the only solution. A neutral Ukraine will not only be of benefit to Russia, but also Ukraine, its neighbours, and the wider world.
We instead need to mobilise globally now to ‘fight’ catastrophic climate change and species loss . The intensely environmentally destructiveness of armies and wars of aggression need to be replaced with deliberate processes to safely reduce global consumption of commodities, to plant billions of hectares of trees that can grow in perpetuity and restore natural eco-systems – to create a sustainable planet.
I live in New Zealand . Every day now, on our government funded Television New Zealand news channel TVNZ 1, I watch reports about how Russia is about to invade Ukraine. It is somehow never mentioned that western media and governments have been predicting imminent Russian invasions of Ukraine since 2015, when the Eastern Ukraine Donbass broke away from Western Ukraine after the U.S. supported coup against the marginally Russian supporting Ukrainian president of the time.
We have had videos of desperate Ukrainian military at the front lines vowing to re-take ‘occupied Ukraine’ – we are not told that those ‘occupiers’ of Eastern Ukraine are in fact Russian speaking Ukrainians who have lived in the Donbass for hundred of years, but who have been threatened and systematically militarily attacked by ultra-nationalists (i.e neo nazis) from West Ukraine since the Maidan coup in 2014.
We are not told that the Kiev government has refused to implement the Minsk agreements they signed up to , and were approved by the U.N. , that would have granted some level of autonomy and safety to Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine and ended the ongoing war in the Donbass and any need for Russia to continue to provide support against what it calls genocide in Eastern Ukraine.
We are not told that the 79 year old woman being trained to fire a rifle against the Russian invaders in the Television New Zealand news clip, is in fact being trained by a neonazi of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion, who wears his Nazi insignia. That Nazi insignia – called the Wolfsangel-is the same insignia worn by the Nazi SS Reich Division Das Reich. When that is pointed out to TVNZ, there is no apology or retraction of the nazi propaganda.
We are shown videos of a serious Anthony Blinken, U.S. secretary of state, ‘imploring’ the Russian to say they will not invade Ukraine. When the TVNZ anchorperson directly asked their reporter on the ground in Ukraine what Russia was saying about Ukraine, the reporter neglected to somehow mention that Russia has repeatedly said it would not invade.
Bizarrely in a recent Youtube interview, the former head of Britain’s MI6, Sir John Sawers, has admitted that their ‘imminent Russian invasion’ information comes out of their own delusional Russophobic heads, rather than from any facts on the ground.
‘What has been released, the idea that Putin might want to dislodge [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky and replace him with a puppet government, or that he’s going to contrive a pretext for Russian intervention in the east of Ukraine, these are based on a growing understanding, an analysis of Putin, rather than deep, secret intelligence reports‘.(my emphasis)
As Scott Ritter has recently stated on Twitter, ‘On Feb 4 the Russians and Chinese signed a strategic agreement predicated on the mutual embrace of the rule of law predicated on the UN Charter. It’s hard to see how Putin would undermine this foundational doctrine by invading Ukraine in a manner that violates international law.’
We all know that Western governments and their compliant media have lied repeatedly about their rationale for starting yet another war. We know that the stated reasons for their wars in Libya, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, let alone Korea or Vietnam, were all based on lies, and lies that were easily disputed and verified as falsehoods, if we had had true fearless investigative journalism.
One can therefore only conclude sadly, that the New Zealand government and its government funded media outlet, Television New Zealand , are fully in lock step with the Americans and the British in stoking a war with Russia, and that New Zealand still remains merely a colony of the British Empire that we all thought had sunk at Singapore when the Japanese invaded in 1941.
As of 18th February the Donbass authorities in Eastern Ukraine have asked all civilians , particularly women and children, to evacuate to Russia across the border. Western media is portraying this as some kind of strange false flag incident, although it is hard to rationalise that one. Certainly both the Donbass separatists and the Ukrainian military have upped their shelling across the line of contact considerably in the past 2 days . It would appear that the Donbass separatists are calculating that should the Ukrainian forces invade across the contact line, Donbass military will be able to once again eliminate the Ukrainian ground troops in ‘caldrons’ , as they did in 2014 and 2015, knowing that they effectively now have a free-fire zone with no Donbass civilians at risk.
Or it could be seen as victory for the extremists in Kiev. As President Zelensky himself has said:
“I think that if you live today in the territory of Donbass, temporarily occupied, and you think that: “Our cause is right, we are Russians, we are going to Russia, it’s a big mistake to stay in Donbass…” For the future of their children and grandchildren… it is already necessary to go and look for a place in Russia. It is right. Because there will be no civilization on this territory without Ukraine. Ukraine will grow upwards, Donbass in the occupied form will not grow anywhere. There will be no happiness for these people.”. In another words, Zelensky (although himself Jewish) is supporting the neo-nazi drive to eliminate all Russian speaking Ukrainians from Ukraine- a process that is internationally defined as genocide
The Donbass civilian evacuation is a calculated risk, given that Ukrainian forces have considerably upgraded their weaponry with American and British offensive weapons since 2015, but a sound one. It is unlikely that the Ukrainian military will risk such another debacle, much to the chagrin of their U.S. and U.K military advisors who have now safely left the country!
Kiev officials continue to describe the Donbass separatists as “terrorists’ even while the Kiev administration has signed up to negotiating with separatists as part of the Normandy and Minsk agreements – but has never actioned that agreement . Defining the separatists as ‘terrorists’ makes it virtually impossible for Kiev to negotiate anything with them. Kiev is supported in this position (at least officially) by Poland, the U.K and U.S.)
The new government in Berlin however appears to be currently more reticent in supporting Kiev in its aggressive stance and has declined Kiev’s request for more weapons. There are real risks to Ukraine’s neighbours of neo-nazi military brigades like the Azov battalion and other extremist groups supported by the Right Sector, that those groups would not only continue to fight against the Donbass separatists , kill Russian speaking Ukrainians in other parts of Ukraine, and, as in the past, Poles and Jews as well as Russian speakers elsewhere, but also foment trouble in disaffected youth in their own countries…
Despite the 9/11 blowback that occurred with the U.S. and U.K support of Saudi and Turkish backed wahhabist extremists in Afghanistan against the Soviets, the strategy of using local extremists continues to be a key item in the U.S. destabilisation playbook. Extensive Ukraine government and Right Sector media has portrayed Western Ukrainian as ‘true slavs’, unlike the Russians in the north and east who are deemed to be lesser beings with eastern mongol genes; a strategy that gives permission for extremist groups like the Azov battalions to exterminate Russian speaking eastern Ukrainians with impunity.
Berlin’s current reticence to fully support the NATO and U.K./U.S. agenda in Ukraine appears to come from a sudden realization that they are hugely reliant on Russian gas. The Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russian to Germany was initiated at the insistence of Germany with the understanding that Russian gas would not only be much cheaper than U.S. gas shipped across the Atlantic to Germany, but was also both more reliable and able to be delivered in greater volumes than the Americans could ever provide. Germany’s economy therefore relies on cheap Russian gas, particularly now that its coal fired electricity producers have been largely shut down in response to climate change concerns . The German government therefore walks a tightrope between supporting its NATO allies, and getting the energy it needs for its economy .
The Russians have insisted that the expansion of NATO up to its borders be reversed ( an outcome of the negotiations that led to East Germany and the other Easter European countries becoming independent from Russia in the 1990s, on the verbal understanding that NATO would not expand beyond its 1990s borders). U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken and NATO’s Stoltenberg have insisted that that agreement never existed ( despite multiple citings of evidence of its existence) and that NATO will continue to expand its membership and site weapons wherever it wishes to, regardless of the resultant explicit threat to Russia’s existence..
Exactly what NATOs current purpose is now that communist Soviet Russia has gone, is never explicitly stated, but it is clear that its purpose is to stop Russian ‘aggression’ and intimidate Russia through ongoing military threats. U.S. think tanks have also intimated their wish that Russia be balkanised, so that the carve-up of Russia’s economy can continue from the Yeltsin years, and so that Russia does not have the capacity to militarily oppose any Western military plans (as it has done in Syria).
While Western media and the U.S. continue to hype up the threat of a Russian land invasion of the Ukraine ( with extensive videos of Russian tanks conducting military exercises in Russia), the reality is that it would simply not be worth-while for Russia to invade Ukraine with tanks and troops.
It is possible however, that if the Kiev government or its extremist wings were to launch a large scale attack on the Russian speaking Donbass ( emboldened by Western weapons supplies and bombacity) that Russia would feel obliged to protect its Russian speaking neighbours and respond militarily. Sending columns of Russian tanks into Eastern Ukraine, let alone across the Dnieper River into Western Ukraine, where Ukrainian nationalism is most fierce, would however be a suicidal endeavour; not least because the Ukrainian economy is devastated after years of corruption and mismanagement, and Russia would have to take responsibility for economically supporting 37 million Ukrainians, whilst countering an Eastern Ukrainian insurgency (supported and trained by the U.S. and U.K)
Russian not only wants a NATO pullback, but also the Kiev government to officially adhere to and implement the Minsk agreements they signed up to-i.e. negotiate with the Donbass separatists and agree to their self-government within a Ukrainian federal structure. However the level of Kiev propaganda against the ‘terrorists’ in the East and against Russian speaking people generally, seems to indicate that such a compromise is currently not possible; particularly while the extremist right wing groups hold such sway in Kiev. Those groups would also be fearful that a re-integration of the Donbass population into a federal Ukrainian democratic framework, would tip the balance towards a national government that once again would be more favorable to Russia, and likely result in many of the underhand deals that have occurred since 2014 between the Kiev government and Ukrainian oligarchs, being re-aligned once more towards Russian interests.
Ukraine is in crisis; its young people drifting in the multitudes to more favourable economic conditions in Western Europe, and an accelerating drift towards a centralized autocracy in Kiev driven largely by extremist groups like the Right Sector, with corruption widespread throughout the economy. The loss of revenues from Russia from the Russian gas pipeline which passes through Ukraine to Europe (and the siphoning of some of that gas for Ukraine’s use) with the inevitable advent of the opening of the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline to Germany and beyond, via the Baltic Sea , will only exacerbate this crisis. The Ukrainian ex-comedian President Zelensky’s position is extremely fragile- torn between the demands of the ever-increasing power of the right wing extremists in Kiev and Western Ukraine, and the demands of the U.S and U.K., while his popularity with the majority of Ukrainians plummets. Zelensky has tried to eliminate some of his key political rivals like Petro Poroshenko and Viktor Medvedchuk, with legal challenges of ‘treason’, but the opposition forces are gathering against him.
What options does someone like Zelensky now have in the face of such challenges ? War can so often improve a leader’s political chances..
Julian Assange will one day be universally feted as a hero for the right of men to know the truth about the brutality and lies of their own governments- who talk of freedom and democracy while engaging in never-ending acts of extreme violence against those they wish to exploit, for power and money.
There is not much that can be added to the articles linked below which describe the pathetic show trial that is the U.K. Assange criminal proceedings and their likely approval of his extradition to the United States for a further show trial and imprisonment in the United State’s appallingly brutal criminal ‘justice’ system.
Julian Assange will one day be universally feted as a hero for the right of men to know the truth about the brutality and lies of their own governments- who talk of freedom and democracy while engaging in never-ending acts of extreme violence against those they wish to exploit, for power and money.
Sadly that day has not yet come.
As Chris Hedges notes in his article below:
Let us name Julian Assange’s executioners. Joe Biden. BorisJohnson. Scott Morrison. Theresa May. Lenin Moreno. Donald Trump. Barack Obama. Mike Pompeo. Hillary Clinton. Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett and Justice Timothy Victor Holroyde. Crown Prosecutors James Lewis, Clair Dobbin and Joel Smith. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser. Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia Gordon Kromberg. William Burns, the director of the CIA. Ken McCallum, the Director General of the UK Security Service or MI5.
Those people will be now forever known as the scourge of freedom, justice, human rights, compassion and humanity….. and unlike Julian Assange, they will eventually be given a fair trial for their criminality.
After several years of extreme violence and turmoil across Afghanistan, the Taliban came to power in the late 1990s,
As Consortium News notes: The triumphant Taliban imposed harsh Islamic law on Afghanistan. Their rule was especially cruel to women who had made gains toward equal rights under the communists, but were forced by the Taliban to live under highly restrictive rules, to cover themselves when in public, and to forgo schooling.
The Taliban also granted refuge to Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, who had fought with the Afghan mujahedeen against the Soviets in the 1980s. Bin Laden then used Afghanistan as the base of operations for his terrorist organization, al-Qaeda, setting the stage for the next Afghan War in 2001.
After the 9/11 attacks in New York by Al Qaeda, the Taliban agreed to hand over Osama bin Laden to the United States. However their offer was refused, and instead President Bush launched a war to remove the Taliban from power beginning with a brutal bombing campaign in October 2001
If the purpose of Bush’s Afghan war was not to trap Osama bin Laden – what was the purpose?
The United States had been negotiating with the Taliban for an oil pipeline to traverse Afghanistan from Central Asian oil fields, and appeared to be on relatively good terms with them.
It was only much later that the hype about a humanitarian intervention for women’s rights etc came to the fore in Western media. However this supposed human rights agenda by the United States and the United Kingdom is contradicted by their wholehearted support for the brutal Mujahideen the Saudi regime, and their unconditional support for the Israeli genocidal actions against Palestinians (amongst many other brutal regimes supported and armed by Western governments)
As a Western person I oppose discrimination against any person of any gender or race- however I also oppose the barbaric use of violence to impose one’s will on others we do not agree with- something my country New Zealand has been complicit in along with other Western white countries.
Setting up an indigenous Afghan army funded and trained and managed by foreigners to oppose local people who they may in fact know by tribe or family, and who are trying to defend their country from invasion, was always a recipe for failure. Such troops’ only motivation could be their paycheck, not patriotism for their country: so when the occupation force goes in the dead of night, the money goes with them and the local funded military disintegrate- they have nothing to fight for.
Similarly a ‘democracy’ funded and approved and beholden to an occupying power is not a democracy -it is a mockery of ‘democracy’.- and an extraordinarily corrupt one at that– why else would you pretend to lead your country whilst under an occupying power?
As Marshall Auerback and Patrick Lawrence note in ‘The Scrum’: Ashraf Ghani, (the last of the U.S. appointed Afghan ‘Presidents’) was among the more preposterous creations of the Obama administration, a man who personified our American presumption that we can go around the world making all others in our image without reference to histories, cultures, or political traditions.
We know the colonial occupation forces killed many thousands of civilians (through bombing campaigns, drone murders, the brutal occupation and destruction of villages and people’s homes and the use of torture at Bagram airbase and other locations in Afghanistan- civilian losses that the occupying forces continue to largely deny.
The New Zealand presence in Afghanistan is one more shameful example of our complicity in the United States’ war crimes..
While there will be many in Kabul and other major Afghan cities who have come to enjoy Western values, comforts and the easy money that came with the occupiers, there will be many many more Afghans who are thankful that the brutality and systematic racism of the Western occupying powers is finally at an end.
The lessons other vulnerable countries have learnt from Western occupying powers’ brutal occupation of Afghanistan will not be soon forgotten..
Nor will the boys coming home from that 20 year war be immune to its effects on the psyche..
“One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him.” – Booker T. Washington
That is not to say Afghanistan is going to become some liberal, rights respecting country any time soon: traditional rigid views about women’s rights and other ethnicities and belief systems -particularly in rural areas, are gong to prevail for some time to come. And Sharia law is not exactly a very forgiving dogma; but there are signs that the new Taliban leadership recognise that they will have to adapt to the modern world if they are to be accepted by the wider international community, especially investment from Chinese and other neighbouring countries. Certainly, as of 17th August 2021, the Taliban command have so far largely behaved with honour and discipline for the defeated.
It should also be noted that the Taliban are not ‘terrorists’ and in no way resemble ISIS or the earlier Mujahideen . While they may have sheltered Al Qaeda in the past, they have no record and no stated intent of terrorist actions outside (or within) Afghanistan.
It is time now for the new Afghan government to demand reparations from all those Western occupation governments for the deaths, torture, trauma and misery; and land and property losses of the last 20 years.
Perhaps Westerners could also remember, for the future, that the way for outsiders to encourage change in any other society, is to demonstrate your positive values: your generosity, your honesty, your capacity to forgive and your willingness to listen…
The BBC noted While Moscow claims the peninsula and its waters are Russian territory, the UK says HMS Defender was passing through Ukrainian waters in a commonly used and internationally recognised transit route.
However, this statement from the UK is simply lies. The ‘Defenders’ passage off the coast of Crimea is not in any way ‘recognised transit route’ to anywhere. This was pure and simple provocation by the British.
As the History website notes, Crimea had been part of Russia for 200 years until 1954, when it was gifted to the Soviet Republic of the Ukraine by the then Russian Premier, Nikita Khrushchev. This was to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the historic decision by Ukraine to unify with tsarist Russia. At that time, it would have been impossible to foresee that the Soviet Union would collapse and split into separate republics, that the borders would have to be renegotiated and that Ukraine would again be an independent country.
More importantly, Sevastopol had been Russia’s only ‘warm water’ (not shut in by ice over winter) naval base since 1783, when Catherine the Great ‘acquired’ it from the Turks.
And once the Ukrainian 2014 Maidan coup leaders made their decisions to designate Ukrainian Russian speaking citizens second class citizens by making the Ukrainian language the only official language of the Ukraine, the Russian speaking Crimean split from Ukraine was inevitable. That split has however never been recognised by Western powers or Ukraine.
The British report that the Russians did not fire ‘at’ HMS Defender is indeed true, but simply semantics ; warning shots are just that-not fired at the aggressor, but fired just far enough away to demonstrate that the defender will fire directly at the aggressor if they continue to approach.
What the British government was hoping to achieve by this deliberate provocation is hard to know. The action was purely and simply adolescent and stupid and could very easily have lead to a hot war, and potentially a nuclear exchange.
Britannia -despite Boris Johnson’s wish to be some kind of Churchill, no longer rules the waves. As Craig Murray notes, this gunboat diplomacy by Britain is lunacy.
One wonders what would happen should a heavily armed Russian destroyer with weapon systems activated, stroll across Britain’s maritime borders near the Portsmouth Naval Base, or perhaps the illegally occupied Chagos Islands and the huge American military base there at Diego Garcia?; accidentally of course.
British promises to conduct more ‘freedom of navigation’ exercises near Russian Crimea military bases that defend Russia’s southern flank…..
Wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen (let alone their unconditional support for Israel’s slow genocide of the Palestinian people), by the West are indisputably gross human rights transgressions which require the U.N. to demand , on behalf of those populations, compensation from the aggressor. The U.N. is silent….
While Uighur ‘re-education’ camps, which significantly impact on some Uighurs’ human rights, certainly exist in Xinyang (China says these are to reduce the risk of Uighur Muslim extremism and terrorism promoted by Turkey, the Saudis and Western intelligence groups); current evidence tends to suggest that statements about genocide are a fabrication by those very groups.
The Uighur genocide stories can perhaps be likened to the U.S. state political propaganda theatre of American POWs captured by the Koreans and Vietnamese in the United States’ genocidal colonial wars against those two countries. No solid evidence exists of genocide of Uighurs, but we can make up a really good story with ‘anecdotal evidence’ and ‘statistics’ and newspaper headlines …..
In response to U.N. criticisms of Navalny’s political party in Russia being forcibly disbanded, and Hong Kong protesters and their Western funded protests militantly arguing for separatism from mainland China, we may yet have to see how Western countries respond to foreign countries funding political parties advocating separatism and sanctions of their own countrymen, on their own patch….
Indeed the continuing and increasing use of sanctions by Western countries against those countries they wish to destabilise is surely another key example of breaches of human rights of those populations. Cutting off access to food, energy and medical supplies and ‘withholding’ ( i.e stealing) money in state bank accounts from countries like Iran, Venezuela and Cuba are blatant abuses of those populations ‘ human rights.
As Telesure notes about Nicaragua: Human Rights Watch… has been notorious for taking a pro-State Department line on Latin America and even contains former State Department personnel on its board of directors. The former (the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation ) , meanwhile, is led by an anti-government partisan who supports imperialist sanctions on her own country. As The Canary reported in December 2018, Jagger has not only expressed support for the crippling US sanctions already in place but even called for the European Union, Canada, and other Latin American nations to issue their own set of sanctions as well.
Western led statements supporting greater freedom and democracy in Russia and China and other autocratic states that don’t kneel to Western business interests, should indeed be a wonderful ideal and a catalyst for freedom for all, were it not for that fact that those very Western governments- particularly the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia and some other Western European countries, are also the countries that have waged savage wars across the third world to promote their own ‘interests’ ( i.e. money).
For some unknown reason, those countless wars of aggression by Western and predominantly ‘white’ countries; along with indiscriminant sanctions, torture, drone murders and the promotion of extremism in other countries, do not appear on the list by the U.N. advocate for human rights- one might wonder why that is?