War in Europe and the Rise of Raw Propaganda

Russian security proposals should be welcomed in the West. But who understands their significance when everyone is told that Putin is an outcast? John Pilger writing

MARSHALL McLuhan’s prophecy that “the successor to politics will be propaganda” has come true. Crude propaganda is now the rule in Western democracies, especially in the United States and Britain.

When it comes to war and peace, ministerial trickery is in the news. Inconvenient facts are censored, demons are fed. The model is the corporate spin, the currency of the times. In 1964 McLuhan said, “The medium is the message.” The lie is the message now.

But is it new? It’s been more than a century since Edward Bernays, the father of spin, invented “public relations” as a cover for wartime propaganda. What is new is the virtual elimination of dissent from the mainstream.

Senior editor David Bowman, author of The Captive Press, called it “a defenestration of all those who refuse to toe a line and swallow the unpleasant and who are brave.” He was referring to independent journalists and whistleblowers, those honest mavericks that the media once gave space to, often with pride. The space has been deleted.

The war hysteria that has swept like a tidal wave in recent weeks and months is the most striking example of this. Known for its jargon, “shaping the narrative”, much, if not most, of it is pure propaganda.

The rule of no proof

THE Russians are coming. Russia is worse than bad. Putin is evil, “a Nazi like Hitler,” salivated Labor MP Chris Bryant. Ukraine is about to be invaded by Russia – tonight, this week, next week. Sources include a former CIA propagandist who now speaks on behalf of the US State Department and offers no evidence for his claims about Russian actions because “it’s coming from the US government”.

The rule of non-evidence also applies in London. British Foreign Secretary Lis Truss, who spent £500,000 of public money flying to Australia on a private plane to warn the government in Canberra that Russia and China were about to pounce, did not provided no evidence. The heads of the antipodes nodded; the “narrative” there is undisputed. A rare exception, former Prime Minister Paul Keating, called Truss’ warmongering “insane”.

Truss cheerfully confused the countries of the Baltic and the Black Sea. In Moscow, she told the Russian Foreign Minister that Britain would never accept Russian sovereignty over Rostov and Voronezh – until it was pointed out to her that those places were not part of Ukraine. but from Russia. Read the Russian press about the buffoonery of this suitor at 10 Downing Street and cringe.

Dangerous prank

THIS entire farce, recently featuring British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Moscow playing a clownish version of his hero, Winston Churchill, could be enjoyed as satire were it not for his willful misuse of facts and historical understanding and the real danger of war.

Vladimir Putin refers to the “genocide” in the eastern region of Donbass in Ukraine. Following the coup in Ukraine in 2014 – orchestrated by Victoria Nuland, former US President Barack Obama’s “contact person” in Kiev – the coup regime, infested with neo-Nazis, launched a campaign of terror against the Russian-speaking Donbass, which represents a third of the Ukrainian population.

Overseen by CIA Director John Brennan in Kyiev, ​​”special security units” coordinated savage attacks against residents of Donbass, who opposed the coup. Videos and eyewitness reports show fascist thugs being transported by bus burning down the union’s headquarters in the city of Odessa, killing 41 people trapped inside. The police are on your side. Obama praised the “duly elected” coup regime for its “remarkable restraint”.

In the American media, the Odessa atrocity was described as a “trouble” and a “tragedy” in which “nationalists” (neo-Nazis) attacked “separatists” (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a Federal Ukraine). Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal damned the victims – “Deadly fire in Ukraine likely started by rebels, government says.”

Professor Stephen Cohen, acclaimed as America’s leading authority on Russia, wrote:

“The pogrom-like burning to death of ethnic Russians and others in Odessa stirred memories of Nazi killing squads in Ukraine during World War II. [Today] Storm-like assaults on gays, Jews, elderly Russians and other “unclean” citizens are widespread across Kyiv-ruled Ukraine, along with torchlight marches reminiscent of those that ultimately set Germany ablaze in the late 1920s and 1930s…

“The police and official judicial authorities do virtually nothing to prevent or prosecute these neo-fascist acts. On the contrary, Kiev officially encouraged them by systematically rehabilitating and even commemorating Ukrainian collaborators in the German Nazi extermination pogroms, renaming streets in their honor, building monuments to them, rewriting history to glorify them, etc. .

Today neo-Nazi Ukraine is rarely mentioned. That the British are training the Ukrainian National Guard, which includes neo-Nazis, is not news.

The return of violent, approved fascism to 21st century Europe, to quote Harold Pinter, “never happened…even while it was happening”.

On December 16, the United Nations tabled a resolution calling for “combatting the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism.” The only countries to vote against were the United States and Ukraine.

Almost every Russian knows that it was across the plains of the “border” of Ukraine that Hitler’s divisions swept west in 1941, supported by Ukrainian Nazi cultists and collaborators. The result was over 20 million Russian dead.

Russian proposals

Geopolitical maneuverings and cynicism aside, whoever plays it, this historical memory is driving Russia’s self-protective and respectful security proposals, which were released in Moscow the week the UN voted 130 to 2 to ban Nazism. They are:

– NATO guarantees that it will not deploy missiles in countries bordering Russia. (They are already in place from Slovenia to Romania, Poland will follow)

– NATO must stop military and naval exercises in countries and seas bordering Russia.

– Ukraine will not become a member of NATO.

– the west and Russia to sign a binding security pact between east and west.

– the historic treaty between the United States and Russia regarding the restoration of intermediate-range nuclear weapons. (The United States dropped it in 2019.)

These constitute a comprehensive draft peace plan for all of post-war Europe and should be welcomed in the West. But who understands their importance in Britain? What they are being told is that Russian President Vladimir Putin is an outcast and a threat to Christianity.

Russian-speaking Ukrainians, under the economic blockade of Kiev for seven years, are fighting for their survival. The “mass” army that we rarely hear about are the 13 brigades of the Ukrainian army besieging the Donbass: around 150,000 men. If they attack, provocation to Russia will almost certainly mean war.

In 2015, under the aegis of the Germans and the French, the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France met in Minsk and signed an interim peace agreement. Ukraine agreed to offer autonomy to Donbass, now the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

The Minsk agreement never had a chance. In Britain, the line, amplified by Boris Johnson, is that Ukraine is “dictated” by world leaders. For its part, Great Britain is arming Ukraine and training its army.

Since the first Cold War, NATO has effectively marched to Russia’s most sensitive border after demonstrating its bloody aggression in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and breaking solemn promises to withdraw. Having drawn the European “allies” into American wars that do not concern them, the great unsaid is that NATO itself is the real threat to European security.

In Great Britain, a state and media xenophobia is triggered at the mere mention of “Russia”. Mark the instinctive hostility with which the BBC reports Russia. Why? Is it because the restoration of imperial mythology requires above all a permanent enemy? Surely we deserve better.

Consortiumnews.com, February 17. John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist and filmmaker based in London.