No Context

There are two reasons for this post.

Firstly; to recommend to anyone who doesn’t yet know about it the excellent current affairs discussion programme CrossTalk on RT.

This edition

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Free Press in the West (12) – Ukraine rebels train child soldiers in the making

This is a nice example of a pure propaganda story. It is written by a propaganda writer Yulia Silina for AFP.

The aim of the story is to create an impression that the rebels in Eastern Ukraine are using “child soldiers”. No doubt we are supposed to think “like ISIS”. Note that the story concedes that the UN says there is no proof of minors being used in combat in Eastern Ukraine. We are told:

The free press in the West (11)

Headline in Daily Mail:

Putin issues veiled threat to the West as he reveals Russia will gain an extra 40 intercontinental missiles capable of piercing any defences in latest attempt to re-ignite Cold War arms race [1]

This is more than ridiculous. Starting a new arms race (which incidentally has been going on already for some time) is hardly in Russia’s interests.

The article trots out the now customary narrative on Ukraine and Russia:

Russia-West relations have plunged to their lowest point since Cold War times over Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and support for a pro-Russia separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

The U.S. and the EU have slapped Russia with economic sanctions, and Washington and its NATO allies have pondered an array of measures in response to Russia’s moves.

“Russia’s moves”. Everything started with Russia. NATO is just responding. The unconstitutional coup in Ukraine, Western support for the coup, the disenfranchisement of 25% of its population who live in the East, the Russian case for re-integrating Crimea, luke-warm support from the US and UK for the only viable peace plan, extraordinary levels of NATO

So “exceptional” they can tell God what to do

Well. If not God then at least his representative on Earth.

Prior to a private meeting between the Pope and the Russian President Vladimir Putin the US in the form of its Ambassador to the Vatican has been telling the Pope what he should say to Putin. Apparently the Pope should “raise concerns” and specifically “could say something more about the concern on territorial integrity”. [1]

The US is lecturing the Pope on what he should say in a private meeting with the leader of another nation. This is pure godlessness.

The US supported the coup in Ukraine. Ukraine was a divided country. The 25% of the population who live in the regions which were not involved in the coup and who were disenfranchised by it, have rebelled. The coup government has tried (Soviet style) to use tanks and bombs to oblige them to submit. More than 6000 people have died. The US might therefore be better advised to be approaching the Pope on bended knee asking for forgiveness for having provoked yet another war, rather than lecturing him on what to say to Putin.

Analysis

The US is trying to manage the narrative. The Pope as a Christian is likely to be even handed. He is likely to urge peace on all parties to the conflict. That is the religious message. This would be a disaster for the US narrative which depends on making Russia out to be 100% to blame for everything. The US Ambassador publicly urging the Pope to raise concerns with Putin about “territorial integrity” is a ploy to sabotage an emerging narrative that would see all the parties to the conflict held equally responsible. It is about narrative management and damage limitation.

After the meeting the Vatican released a statement. The full text of the statement is reproduced here. [2] The Vatican was even handed in its message:

Regarding the situation in the Ukraine, the Holy Father said that we must engage in a sincere and great effort to achieve peace and emphasized the importance of rebuilding a climate of dialogue and the need for all concerned parties to implement the agreements of Minsk.

In what is simply a shameless piece of lying AP reports this as if the Pope had given a personal reproof to Putin about his insincerity. Their headline for this story reads:

Pope tells Putin: ‘Sincere’ peace efforts needed for Ukraine

As is evident from the text of the Vatican statement the Pope’s message about “sincerity” (a characteristic Christian message) was intended for all parties. AP shamelessly and for that matter godlessly manipulates this to feed the Western narrative about an “insincere” Putin. (The claim is that Russia does not support Minsk 2).

AP was not the only Western press outlet to tell these brazen lies.

We can see in all this absolute coordination in narrative building between the US State Department and the major Western news agencies. And then they get into a tizz about Russian “propaganda bullhorns”…

Notes

1. http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/francis-meets-tardy-putin-us-official-calls-tougher-talk

2. https://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/vatican-statement-on-pope-francis-meeting-with-president-putin

3. http://news.yahoo.com/putin-visits-italy-pope-g-7-snub-over-085532019.html

Talking up the Russian threat (1)

This is the ludicrous Mr Fallon (British Defence Secretary) speaking at the laying down of a new missile destroyer:

In recent months you have seen a more aggressive Russia sailing submarines and ships close to our coast, moving aircraft into our airspace, so it’s very important that we continue to strengthen and modernise our defences. [1]

Since this is completely made up it was necessary to check the quote. It seems he really did say this. [2]

The “ships sailing close to our coast” relates to a few cases where Russia vessels returning from duty in the Mediterranean Sea passed through the English channel on their way back home or to other areas. It is true that on one occasion the Russians did tease the British with a claim to be conducting a training exercise in the Channel. That was of course played down at the time by the British. And the Russians later withdrew the tease. [3] But, basically, Mr Fallon is portraying a passage through the Channel as the Russians sailing