Oligarchy Wins Big As Democrats Pretend Losses Are Victories

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The Jimmy Dore Show

Oligarchy Wins Big As Democrats Pretend Losses Are Victories

As the final counting takes place in the 2022 midterm elections, Democrats are already crowing about holding off a supposed “red wave” even though they may yet lose the House and Senate. But independent of the outcome in the blue vs red contest, the clear winners will be, as they always are, the oligarchs representing Wall Street, Big Pharma, Big Oil, the heathcare industry and Silicon Valley. Jimmy and his panel of Revolutionary Blackout Network host Nick Cruse and Americans’ Comedian Kurt Metzger break down the results of the midterm elections and how fascism and oligarchy managed to eke out yet another electoral victory.

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About The Jimmy Dore Show: #TheJimmyDoreShow is a hilarious and irreverent take on news, politics and culture featuring Jimmy Dore, a professional stand up comedian, author and podcaster. The show is also broadcast on Pacifica Radio Network stations throughout the country.

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The Subtleties of Anti-Russia Leftist Rhetoric

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Edward J. Curtin

Chomsky: Master of the half-truth. Often blaming and rescuing the empire in a single breath. “A plague on both your houses"—as practiced by him and others of similar public stature—remains a devious posture, typical of liberals, not genuine anti-imperialists.


While the so-called liberal and conservative media – all stenographers for the intelligence agencies – pour forth the most blatant propaganda about Russia and Ukraine that is so conspicuous that it is comedic if it weren’t so dangerous, the self-depicted cognoscenti also ingest subtler messages, often from the alternative media.

A woman I know and who knows my sociological analyses of propaganda contacted me to tell me there was an excellent article about the war in Ukraine at The Intercept, an on-line publication funded by billionaire Pierre Omidyar I have long considered a leading example of much deceptive reporting wherein truth is mixed with falsehoods to convey a “liberal” narrative that fundamentally supports the ruling elites while seeming to oppose them. This, of course, is nothing new since it’s been the modus operandi of all corporate media in their own ideological and disingenuous ways, such as The New York Times, CBS, the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, Fox News, CNN, NBC, etc. for a very long time.

Nevertheless, out of respect for her judgment and knowing how deeply she feels for all suffering people, I read the article. Written by Alice Speri, its title sounded ambiguous – “The Left in Europe Confronts NATO’s Resurgence After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine” – until I saw the subtitle that begins with these words: “Russia’s brutal invasion complicates…” But I read on. By the fourth paragraph, it became clear where this article was going. Speri writes that “In Ukraine, by contrast [with Iraq], it was Russia that had staged an illegal, unprovoked invasion, and U.S.-led support to Ukraine was understood by many as crucial to stave off even worse atrocities than those the Russian military had already committed.” [my emphasis]

While ostensibly about European anti-war and anti-NATO activists caught on the horns of a dilemma, the piece goes on to assert that although US/NATO was guilty of wrongful expansion over many years, Russia has been an aggressor in Ukraine and Georgia and is guilty of terrible war crimes, etc.

There is not a word about the U.S. engineered coup in 2014, the CIA and Pentagon backed mercenaries in Ukraine, or its support for the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion and Ukraine’s years of attacks on the Donbass where many thousands have been killed. It is assumed these actions are not criminal or provocations. And there is this:

The uncertain response of Europe’s peace activists is both a reflection of a brutal, unprovoked invasion that stunned the world (sic) and of an anti-war movement that has grown smaller and more marginalized over the years. The left in both Europe and the U.S. have struggled to respond to a wave of support for Ukraine that is at cross purposes with a decades long effort to untangle Europe from a U.S.-led military alliance. [my emphasis]

In other words, the article, couched in anti-war rhetoric, was anti-Russia propaganda. When I told my friend my analysis, she refused to discuss it and got angry with me, as if I therefore were a proponent of war. I have found this is a common response.

This got me thinking again about why people so often miss the untruths lying within articles that are in many parts truthful and accurate. I notice this constantly. They are like little seeds slipped in as if no one will notice; they work their magic nearly unconsciously. Few do notice them, for they are often imperceptible. But they have their effects and are cumulative and are far more powerful over time than blatant statements that will turn people off, especially those who think propaganda doesn’t work on them. This is the power of successful propaganda, whether purposeful or not. It particularly works well on “intellectual” and highly schooled people.

For example, in a recent printed interview, Noam Chomsky, after being introduced as a modern day Galileo, Newton, and Descartes rolled into one, talks about propaganda, its history, Edward Bernays, Walter Lippman, etc. What he says is historically accurate and informative for anyone not knowing this history. He speaks wisely of U.S. media propaganda concerning its unprovoked war against Iraq and he accurately calls the war in Ukraine “provoked.” And then, concerning the war in Ukraine, he drops this startling statement:

I don’t think there are ‘significant lies’ in war reporting. The U.S. media are generally doing a highly creditable job in reporting Russian crimes in Ukraine. (sic) That’s valuable, just as it’s valuable that international investigations are underway in preparation for possible war crimes trials.

In the blink of an eye, Chomsky says something so incredibly untrue that unless one thinks of him as a modern day Galileo, which many do, it may pass as true and you will smoothly move on to the next paragraph. Yet it is a statement so false as to be laughable. The media propaganda concerning events in Ukraine has been so blatantly false and ridiculous that a careful reader will stop suddenly and think: Did he just say that?
So now Chomsky views the media, such as The New York Times and its ilk, that he has correctly castigated for propagandizing for the U.S. in Iraq and East Timor, to use two examples, is doing “a highly creditable job in reporting Russian crimes in Ukraine,” as if suddenly they were no longer spokespeople for the CIA and U.S. disinformation. And he says this when we are in the midst of the greatest propaganda blitz since WW I, with its censorship, Disinformation Governance Board, de-platforming of dissidents, etc., that border on a parody of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Even slicker is his casual assertion that the media are doing a good job reporting Russia’s war crimes after he earlier has said this about propaganda:

So it continues. Particularly in the more free societies, where means of state violence have been constrained by popular activism, it is of great importance to devise methods of manufacturing consent, and to ensure that they are internalized, becoming as invisible as the air we breathe, particularly in articulate educated circles. Imposing war-myths is a regular feature of these enterprises.

This is simply masterful. Explain what propaganda is at its best and how you oppose it and then drop a soupçon of it into your analysis. And while he is at it, Chomsky makes sure to praise Chris Hedges, one of his followers, who has himself recently written an article – The Age of Self-Delusion – that also contains valid points appealing to those sick of wars, but which also contains the following words:

Putin’s revanchism is matched by our own.

The disorganization, ineptitude, and low morale of the Russian army conscripts, along with the repeated intelligence failures by the Russian high command, apparently convinced Russia would roll over Ukraine in a few days, exposes the lie that Russia is a global menace.

‘The Russian bear has effectively defanged itself,’ historian Andrew Bacevich writes.

But this is not a truth the war makers impart to the public. Russia must be inflated to become a global menace, despite nine weeks of humiliating military failures. [my emphasis]

Russia’s revanchism? Where? Revanchism? What lost territory has the U.S. ever waged war to recover? Iraq, Syria, Cuba, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, etc.? The U.S.’s history is a history not of revanchism but of imperial conquest, of seizing or controlling territory, while Russia’s war in Ukraine is clearly an act of self-defense after years of U.S./NATO/Ukraine provocations and threats, which Hedges recognizes. “Nine weeks of humiliating military failures”? – when they control a large section of eastern and southern Ukraine, including the Donbass. But his false message is subtly woven, like Chomsky’s, into sentences that are true.

“But this is not a truth the war makers impart to the public.” No, it is exactly what the media spokespeople for the war makers – i.e. The New York Times (Hedges former employer, which he never fails to mention and for whom he covered the Clinton administration’s savage destruction of Yugoslavia), CNN, Fox News, The Washington Post, the New York Post, etc. impart to the public every day for their masters. Headlines that read how Russia, while allegedly committing daily war crimes, is failing in its war aims and that the mythic hero Zelensky is leading Ukrainians to victory. Words to the effect that “The Russian bear has effectively defanged itself” presented as fact.

Yes, they do inflate the Russian monster myth, only to then puncture it with the myth of David defeating Goliath.

But being in the business of mind games (too much consistency leads to clarity and gives the game away), one can expect them to scramble their messages on an ongoing basis to serve the U.S. agenda in Ukraine and further NATO expansion in the undeclared war with Russia, for which the Ukrainian people will be sacrificed. Orwell called it “doublethink”:

Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty. To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality one denies – all this is indispensably necessary….with the lie always one step ahead of the truth.

Revealing while concealing and interjecting inoculating shots of untruths that will only get cursory attention from their readers, the writers mentioned here and others have great appeal for the left intelligentsia. For people who basically worship those they have imbued with infallibility and genius, it is very hard to read sentences carefully and smell a skunk.  The subterfuge is often very adroit and appeals to readers’ sense of outrage at what happened in the past – e.g. the George W. Bush administration’s lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Chomsky, of course, is the leader of the pack, and his followers are legion, including Hedges. For decades they have been either avoiding or supporting the official versions of the assassinations of JFK and RFK, the attacks of September 11, 2001 that led directly to the war on terror and so many wars of aggression, and the recent Covid-19 propaganda with its devastating lockdowns and crackdowns on civil liberties. They are far from historical amnesiacs, of course, but obviously consider these foundational events of no importance, for otherwise they would have addressed them. If you expect them to explain, you will be waiting a long time.
In a recent article – How the organized Left got Covid wrong, learned to love lockdowns and lost its mind: an autopsy – Christian Parenti writes this about Chomsky:

Almost the entire left intelligentsia has remained psychically stuck in March 2020. Its members have applauded the new biosecurity repression and calumniated as liars, grifters, and fascists any and all who dissented. Typically, they did so without even engaging evidence and while shirking public debate. Among the most visible in this has been Noam Chomsky, the self-described anarcho-syndicalist who called for the unvaccinated to “remove themselves from society,” and suggested that they should be allowed to go hungry if they refuse to submit.

Parenti’s critique of the left’s response (not just Chomsky’s and Hedges’) to Covid also applies to those foundational events mentioned above, which raises deeper questions about the CIA’s and NSA’s penetration of the media in general, a subject beyond the scope of this analysis.

For those, like the liberal woman who referred me to The Intercept article, who would no doubt say of what I have written here: Why are you picking on leftists? my reply is quite simple.

The right-wing and the neocons are obvious in their pernicious agendas; nothing is really hidden; therefore they can and should be opposed. But many leftists serve two masters and are far subtler. Ostensibly on the side of regular people and opposed to imperialism and the predations of the elites at home and abroad, they are often tricksters of beguiling rhetoric that their followers miss. Rhetoric that indirectly fuels the wars they say they oppose.

Smelling skunks is not as obvious as it might seem. Being nocturnal, they come forth when most are sleeping.

Edward Curtin is an independent writer whose work has appeared widely over many decades. He is the author of the recent Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies (Clarity Press) and is a former professor of sociology and theology. His website is edwardcurtin.com




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Praising Warmonger Albright Reveals Brain-Dead Western Media

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Guest Editorial

Finian Cunningham

The death of former US diplomat Madeleine Albright this week was met with predictably fawning Western media tributes. Not one word referred to her actual tarnished record of promoting American imperialism and criminal wars.

Now, of course, the Western media would never tend towards such truthful reporting and analysis. Its sanitizing role is constant and standard fare. That is why the Western public is caught up today in this insane moral panic and hypocrisy over the war in Ukraine where Russia is vilified as an unprovoked aggressor and the Kiev Nazi regime (with its Jewish puppet president) is lionized as some kind of innocent victim.

The widespread Western public ignorance over what is happening in Ukraine – the violent background to the present conflict, the CIA coup in 2014, the Nazi paramilitaries attacking Russian-speaking people in the Donbass, the relentless NATO weaponizing of the Russophobic regime, training of its Nazi paramilitaries by NATO troops and so on – is largely due to the Western media’s systematic lying, omission, and distortion.

However, the brain-dead function of the Western media is especially highlighted this week by the death of Madeleine Albright and the total silence about how her career is tightly entwined with today’s conflict. The war in Ukraine is but the front line of a wider proxy war between the United States, NATO and Russia.

The former US Secretary of State was one of the main pushers in the American foreign policy establishment of NATO’s eastward expansion. Several eminent US thinkers such as Jack Matlock, the former ambassador to the Soviet Union, and Professor John Mearsheimer, have deplored that expansion as a treacherous, fateful act leading to today’s conflict between the West and Russia.

When Albright was Secretary of State in the second Bill Clinton administration (1997-2001), she ushered in the eastward advance of NATO in spite of earlier American assurances to the contrary to Russian leaders.

Her most salient “achievement” was to launch the US and NATO war on former Yugoslavia. That war was supposedly in defense of Kosovo-Albanians. But it was really an overture for US imperialism to bomb European countries into the geopolitical shape it desired.

Albright died on March 23 at the age of 84 from cancer. The next day, March 24, marked the 23rd anniversary of the beginning of the US-led NATO blitzkrieg on Serbia and its capital Belgrade.

Twitter Reacts to Madeleine Albright’s Passing With Sorrow And Joy

Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is arguably founded on the principle of self-defense given the NATO-backed Kiev regime’s eight years of aggression. That military incursion has been going on for four weeks as of March 24. There have been reportedly 1,400 Russian aerial strike sorties in Ukraine. Despite Western media hysterical reporting about alleged indiscriminate Russian bombing against civilian centers, the Pentagon has quietly admitted and corroborated what Moscow has said, that the Russian campaign has been restrained in order to avoid civilian casualties, as reported by Joe Lauria for Consortium News.

Contrast that with the US-led NATO attack on the former Yugoslavia. That war lasted for 78 days during which 10,500 strike sorties were carried out. Some 2,000 civilians are estimated to have been killed. Civilian infrastructure destroyed included 25,000 homes, 20 hospitals, 70 schools, 38 bridges, over 1,000 kilometers of road and railway, 14 airports, as well as water, sewage and power plants.

Western media decry Russia’s intervention in Ukraine as the “worst” act of barbarity in Europe since World War Two. Clearly, that is a gross distortion. The barbarism of the US and NATO in Yugoslavia has been consigned to a memory hole, as far as Western media is concerned.

Madeleine Albright paved the way for the 1999 criminal US war in Europe. The NATO operation did not have any authorization from the UN Security Council even for its pretense of “defending human rights”. The war against the former Yugoslavia was a naked act of aggression. Albright was the architect of that war. At another time she declared the US had the right to use violence unilaterally because it was “an indispensable nation”.

The path to today’s dangerous proxy conflict between the US-led NATO alliance and Russia can be traced back to the policy formulated by Madeleine Albright and like-minded imperialists in Washington. The destruction of Yugoslavia 23 years ago under her watch has culminated in the present near-war situation between the US and Russia due to relentless and reckless NATO expansionism all the way to Russia’s borders, including the weaponization of a Nazi regime in Ukraine.

It should be seen as incredible that her nefarious, paramount relevance for today’s crisis should be so blatantly omitted in Western media. All we can read about her this week were eulogies to Albright’s “brilliant” diplomacy and being an icon for female achievement.

That such a glaring omission can be made at this critically important time just shows the noxious propaganda function of Western media. Totally brain-dead. Meanwhile, alternative critical media have been blacked out as “Russian propaganda”.

The brain-dead function of Western media is what makes the danger of war even greater.


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Gilbert Doctorow: Western publics may suddenly find themselves under a rain of nukes, without ever knowing what hit them.

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Gilbert Doctorow
Dateline:  April 21, 2022 • International relations, Russian affairs

They must be out of their minds”: how the Collective West is stumbling towards nuclear Armageddon

 gilbertdoctorow  Uncategorized   4 Minutes

I have in past weeks focused attention on the political talk show “Evening with Vladimir Solovyov,” calling it the best of its kind on Russian state television and a good indicator of the thinking of  Russia’s political elites.  However, it is time to admit that in terms of overall quality of presentation, level of invited panelists and screening of videos of topical developments in the West to inform the panelist discussion, Solovyov is now being outdone by Vyacheslav Nikonov’s “Great Game” talk show. 

The Great Game” in the past featured live discussion with its anchor in Washington, director of the National Interest think tank, Dmitry Simes.  Now Simes is a rare guest, and the panel format more closely resembles that of other political talk shows, with the following notable qualification:  the host, Nikonov, is an unusually gifted moderator, who does not impose his views on the panel and brings out the best from his panelists. Nikonov is a leading member of the Russian parliament from the ruling United Russia party, and has broad experience running parliamentary committees.  As the grandson of Bolshevik revolutionary Molotov, he happens also to be a member of the hereditary ruling clans and practices ‘noblesse oblige’ in his public service work.

It bears mention that alongside the Solovyov show and the widely viewed Sixty Minutes talk show of Yevgeny Popov and Olga Skabeyeva, ‘The Great Game’ has evolved from a once or twice weekly event to a virtually daily affair, indeed with a couple of afternoon and evening time slots as justified by fast moving current events.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, Vladimir Solovyov has at least one advantage making it worthwhile to tune in. To my knowledge, he is the only host to go outside the usual circuit of ‘talking heads’ from universities, think tanks and the Duma. Solovyov regularly features a bona fide top manager in the arts who rubs shoulders daily with the ‘creative classes’ and shares with the audience what he hears from them.  I have in mind Mosfilm general director Karen Shakhnazarov.


Over the course of the past six weeks, I have several times pointed to the changing mood of Shakhnazarov with respect to the ‘special military operation in Ukraine.’  At first he was buoyant, then he was fearful that the operation was going badly and running out of control, and finally he appeared to be ‘all in,’ looking for ways for Russia to win decisively and quickly.

Last night, we heard from yet another mood swing.  I bring it to the attention of readers, because it has great relevance to the current complete passivity of our general public in the face of some very peculiar policy decisions with respect to Russia being made at the highest levels in the USA and in Europe, with zero public consultation so far.

To be specific, Shakhnazarov expressed amazement and deep worry that Western leaders have literally ‘lost their minds’ by pursuing measures to destabilize Russia in the hope of precipitating the overthrow of Vladimir Putin and maybe even the disintegration of Russia in a way similar to the dissolution of the USSR in late 1991.  Shakhnazarov remarked that total absence of common or any other sense in Joe Biden is to be expected because of his health (read: senility). But his jaw dropped when he heard that the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, declared a couple of days ago that “Russia must not be allowed to win this war!”   Where are his brains? Shakhnazarov asked rhetorically.

The point of Shakhnazarov’s reasoning is as follows:   Russia is the world’s leading power in terms of nuclear arms. An overthrow of Putin would lead to chaos, and very likely to genuine radicals assuming power.  Their aggressive inclinations for policy to the West would be underpinned by the vast majority of the Russian population, which, in Shakhnazarov’s view, is now overcome with pure hatred for the West brought on by the sanctions, by the rampant Russophobia that is now public policy in Europe and the USA. If the conflict should escalate to the use of tactical nuclear missiles and beyond, then Russia would no longer limit its strikes to military installations but will happily target all capitals and population centers in Europe and, we may assume, in North America.   In a word, Shakhnazarov equates destabilization of Russia with nuclear Armageddon.

I repeat, these are the fears of a highly responsible and publicly visible Russian general manager in the arts.  Is anybody in the West with comparable standing even beginning to imagine the coming catastrophe let alone speak out about it?

Before closing, I redirect attention to a major newsworthy development in Russia yesterday afternoon which even our Western media have reported on this morning:  the test launch of Russia’s new Sarmat ICBM, which sets new records for speed, distance, destructive force of its MIRV warheads and, surely most important, imperviousness to all known and projected anti-missile systems in the West.  Part of the invulnerability of the Sarmat is a function of its range, which extends to every point on planet Earth.  Sarmat’s trajectory can be set as best suits its undetectability. For example, it can hit the USA by approach via the South Pole, thereby evading American tracking systems, which look to attack from the Northwest. The Sarmat’s 7 or 15 nuclear warheads can each also evade ABM systems and head for target at hypersonic speeds. 

Starting in September, the Sarmat will be installed in silos till now housing the world’s most powerful ICBM, the Voevoda, which will be gradually retired and redeployed as launchers for commercial satellites.

In his words of congratulations to the designers, project developers, and manufacturers of the Sarmat, President Putin stressed the importance of the new armaments as Russia’s dissuasion directed against those in the West who would threaten the country militarily.   Is anybody listening?

In fulfillment of my mission to bring to Western readers news items of particular importance in Russian media about which they otherwise would likely be clueless, I direct attention to information released on the Interfax website and carried by Lenta.ru and other major Russian news portals:   the head of Russian External Intelligence (SVR), Sergei Naryshkin, has spoken out about Poland’s plans to take control of part of the territory of Ukraine.

According to SVR, Poland is coordinating this issue with the United States. The idea is to establish military and political control by Warsaw over the “its historic territories” which today fall within the boundaries of Ukraine. Poland would introduce its troops into the Western regions of the country under cover of a mission to “protect the territory from Russian aggression.”  Eventually, this would be expected to lead to a partition of Ukraine. The Poles would install a friendly government in the territory they control, ousting the Ukrainian nationalists.

Of course, the Polish ambitions in Western Ukraine are as well-founded historically as are Russia’s with respect to Eastern Ukraine, which was once known as New Russia.  Western followers of the war will now know for certain where the city of Lviv is located – 50 km or less from the Polish border.  It is the city to which American and other foreign diplomats withdrew after Kiev seemed unsafe in the early days of the war. It has been the marshaling point for incoming foreign mercenaries and deliveries of military supplies to Ukraine from the West.

Following the three partitions of Poland in the 18th century and for the entire period of the 19th century, Lviv alias Lvov alias Lemberg, was a Polish city within the Austro-Hungarian Empire known for its splendid Central European architecture and philosophical bent: the city was home to mystical religious sects, both Jewish and Christian.

Indeed, if we want to trace back in history the sources of the present conflict in and over Ukraine, we necessarily find ourselves going back even earlier into the 16th and 17thcenturies, when the Great Powers of the day, Ottoman Turkey, Poland, Sweden and Russia were all engaged in warfare over lands that figure in modern-day Ukraine.  For a good initiation into the culture, or perhaps better to say the barbarism of those days, which prefigure what is now going on in places like Bucha, a good place to start is with the novella Taras Bulba by the Ukrainian-Russian author Nikolai Gogol. I just re-read it in Russian and I assure you the novel is a splendid initial guide to understanding the passions of the present day.

However, none of the foregoing takes into account the military powerhouse that Russia is today.  We may take the possibility of a Polish move of its forces into the Western Ukraine as the kind of intervention that Vladimir Putin had in mind when he said yesterday to legislators gathered in St Petersburg that it would provoke a lightning fast counter blow by Russia.  Meanwhile, a similar possible intervention by Romania in swallowing up Moldova and threatening to overrun the Russian separatist territory of Transnistria which is sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine, could also spark a powerful military response from Moscow. 

The mainspring of history is unwinding spasmodically and destructively.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

Russian media today, 25 April 2022

As I have noted previously, there is a firewall between what Western major media are reporting daily about the situation in the Russia-Ukraine War and more generally about Russia versus what one sees on Russian state television and reads in the Russian news agencies.  On the advice of a colleague in Washington, I will now as occasion requires post news developments from Russia that Western audiences otherwise are not receiving despite their importance as indicators of where East-West relations are headed and whether we are all likely to survive the coming weeks.

The top such news item in Russia today is the successful capture by the Russian state intelligence agency FSB of a gang of would-be assassins based in Moscow and acting under orders from Kiev to kill the leading Russian talk show host Vladimir Solovyov, about whom I have written these past few weeks.  And their ‘kill list’ went on to take in other leading personalities on Russian state television:  Dmitry Kiselyov (director of all Russian television news programming), Yevgeny Popov, Olga Skabeyeva and  Margarita Simonian (editor-in-chief of RT).

The gang, which appears to consist of White Power and other neo-Nazi elements, was interrogated before video cameras and the videos have been posted on the Russian internet by TASS and other state news agencies.

As might be expected, Russian media have been properly roiled by this news. I caught the discussion on Vyacheslav Nikonov’s afternoon edition of “The Great Game.”  His panelists saw this ‘terrorism’ as a new phase in Ukraine’s hybrid war that is being stage-managed from Washington.  Panelists made the point that the West has been very lucky till now that Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has shown great forbearance by not responding in kind to the vicious war being waged by Washington, which always remains one step short of kinetic war in the mistaken belief that these kinds of aggression are water-tight and mutually exclusive. The panelists stressed that at a certain point Putin will indeed respond and the response will be kinetic.  The message was addressed to Messrs. Blinken and Austin, who, following their meeting with Zelensky, said at a press conference at the Polish-Ukrainian border, that the goal of the U.S. in the whole matter of the Ukraine-Russian war is to so weaken Russia that it will be incapable of similar actions in the future.  In simple English, what they are saying is that the U.S. ambition is to destroy Russia.  The masks have been dropped.

Another item in Russian news yesterday and today has been the screening several times a day of videos taken in the United States during Joe Biden’s latest trips across the country to sell his narrative on the economic travails America is now experiencing.  Two separate speeches end in Biden’s turning from the lectern and seeking to shake someone’s hand when there is in fact no one around him. Biden then looks lost and makes a sad retreat from the stage. 

Nikonov remarked that these videos have not been aired on major U.S. television, have not been reported on in mainstream print media.  My friend in Washington confirms that this is so.  Meanwhile, the fact of Biden’s blatant disorientation was denounced by Donald Trump a day ago – so at least he has seen the videos which the Russians take as indicative of the mental degeneration of the U.S. President and a token of the degeneration of the entire U.S. political class. Trump commented that Biden’s disorientation is something the country has never seen before and that the Biden administration has put the U.S. on a path to hell.

Where will all this end?   It is not headed in a good direction

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

Unasked, unanswered questions

Questions not being asked about the Mariupol die-hards, about the availability from today of Euro and dollar cash withdrawals at Russian banks, and much more

As I have remarked in earlier diary entries, the Russians are very sparing in the information they release daily on the status of the war effort.  A couple of days ago, we were shown the 1300 or so Ukrainian marines who surrendered in Mariupol. Yesterday, Russian television devoted a lot of time to brief interviews with some of these prisoners of war, all of whom were Russian speakers, by the way.  No surprises there, of course, since the whole region is basically Russian speaking, which is why there is a civil war going on against the extreme nationalist government in Kiev which has sought from the beginning to wipe out the language, the culture, and all Russian ethnic identity.

There was another curious news item yesterday on Russian television: a video report on the capture of the latest mobile air defense system produced in Ukraine, which was abandoned by its technical crew in mint condition, with all of the manufacturer’s technical brochures still intact.  Here again, most peculiarly, all of the technical documentation is in Russian!  This would be amusing if the broad context were not tragic, set alongside the number of Ukrainian servicemen whom the Russians have listed as killed in action:  over 23,700.  That is approximately eight times the number Zelensky gave to the press the day before.

Finally, Russian news in the past day recounted how a Ukrainian freight plane loaded with Western military supplies was shot down by Russian forces as it approached Odessa from the sea.

Aside from these feature items in the news, Russian authorities continue to give no overall picture of how the campaign is proceeding.  Strangely, Ukrainian news sources from the field can be more informative.  Among the items today posted on www.news.google.ru  are reports from the Ukrainian controlled administration of what remains of Lugansk under their control.  They speak of Russian artillery attacks, on the damage being done to houses in hamlets, on the evacuation of civilians to the West ahead of Russian advances on the ground. All of this is in anticipation of the full-scale Russian onslaught on Donbas expected imminently.

Western media have been featuring today the “brave” decision of the remaining Ukrainian forces in Mariupol, holed up in the underground fortress of the Azovstal works, to refuse the Russian offer of their lives in exchange for unconditional surrender.  But Western coverage asks no questions whatsoever about the decision and what it tells us about the regime in Kiev that these thousand or so die-hards are serving, seemingly heroically.  Russian talk shows today shine a spotlight on that very question and produce some interesting interpretations.  We are told that Kiev instructed the Azov battalion leaders and those aligned with them in Mariupol to fight to the end and not to negotiate with the Russians over surrender. From within the ranks of the desperate troops underground, whose ammunition, food and water are all depleted, we are told that anyone daring to speak in favor of surrender is being shot on the spot. We are also told that among the 1,000 or so hold-outs are 400 foreign mercenaries including a goodly number of high ranking NATO instructors.  Since from the standpoint of Kiev those instructors are better dead than taken alive, we may assume they are from Member States lower in the pecking order than the British pair of cut-throats taken several days ago who may yet be saved by intervention of Boris Johnson in a prisoner exchange.  Shall we assume that the NATO instructors in the lower tunnels of Azovstal are Polish or Lithuanian?  I think that would be a fair guess. 

So much for easy questions that go unasked, let alone unanswered by Western media, by Russian media or by both.  Now I will raise a different question just to demonstrate how the news and analysis flow on  this ‘special military operation’  or war, if you will, runs in a narrow rut.  The net result is that we have very limited ability to understand what is going on and where we are all headed.

I will just turn attention to the announcement in Russia that as of today the public can make cash withdrawals of dollars and euros in substantial amounts, and also can order foreign currency transfers abroad, up to $5,000 if I understood properly.  This means that poor Mr. Piotr Aven, the billionaire banker and Russian wheeler dealer sitting in London at present with his vast assets frozen under sanction rules, may yet be able to pay his chauffeur by ordering a transfer from his Sberbank account in Moscow.

Curiously no one is asking how and why Russia has reopened nearly free currency exchange and cash withdrawals after a month of a strict clampdown.  Where are the dollar bills and euro notes coming from?  Surely the question is begging to be asked. It is not coming in from tourists to Russia since there are virtually no foreign tourists in Russia at present.  It is not being carried by foreign business visitors for the same reason.  So let us guess.  Could it be that Germany and other select EU Member States are delivering planeloads of cash to Moscow to pay for their gas, oil and coal deliveries? Yes, this would allow them to claim they are defying Putin overpayment in rubles while respecting the terms of their long-term contracts with Gazprom. But it is a pretty picture that they would not want to be made public, since the European Parliament would make the life of them all quite unbearable if the word got out.  Perhaps readers can offer better explanations.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022


Russian Media Today, 26 April 2022

The number one news item on Russian state television on 26 April was the meeting in Rammstein, Germany of defense officials from the United States and 40 allied countries to set policy on providing military assistance to Ukraine, including the provision for monthly such meetings going forward.

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin

 The U.S. delegation was headed by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and his remarks were parsed by Russia’s ‘talking heads. They also delivered their considerations on the practical value of the deliveries of heavy weaponry that Germany and other European countries pledged during the gathering.

As is now the rule, the very best discussion of these issues was on the political talk show “The Great Game,” which features the most calm and collected analysis of the day’s hot news items. None of the panelists tries to shout down others, which has been the long tradition of such shows. All are warned by the moderator against presuming to give military advice to the nation’s Commander-in-Chief. And yet even here it was clear that the mood of panelists is for more decisive action against Ukraine right now, meaning the bombing of the ‘decision making institutions’ in Kiev, as the Russian Ministry of Defense proposed to do a week ago in response to Ukrainian missile and artillery attacks across the border with Russia. This was made all the more topical by the statements of the British delegation in Rammstein encouraging the Ukrainians to do precisely that, and by the corresponding offer to ship appropriate missiles to Kiev now. The panelists also want the transportation infrastructure of Ukraine to be destroyed without delay in order to prevent the new heavy weaponry being shipped to Kiev from ever reaching the Ukrainian forces at the front.

Surely the bombing of central Kiev will come, effectively removing the Ukrainian regime. But it will come at the moment of choosing of Vladimir Vladimirovich and will signal the Russian decision to break up Ukraine into several states, as the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev yesterday said might be in the cards if the war drags on due to Western intervention and cheerleading.

With respect to Lloyd Austin’s statement yesterday that the United States’ objective is to greatly weaken Russian armed forces over an extended period of time, the panelists on The Great Game offered an interpretation that is well worth repeating here.  The Russians view this as an admission by Washington that the Ukrainians’ position on the battlefield is hopeless. The Americans now seek to redefine their objectives so as to turn a defeat into an apparent victory.  Whatever happens on the front lines in the coming days and weeks, Washington will be able to say that it forced Russia to dip deeply into its store of missiles and other high tech gear, that it forced Russia to lose a substantial part of its professional soldiers.  The objective is now intentionally vague and stands independently of the possible loss of Ukrainian’s main army forces adjacent to the Donbas in a ‘cauldron’ of confinement where they will be killed like herrings in a barrel.

As regards the newly announced shipment of super tanks from Germany and other high tech gear from other NATO Member States, the Russian panel appeared confident this will be too little, too late and would be mostly destroyed on the ground by Russian missiles and aerial bombing.

The foregoing is all more reassuring about our future survival here in Brussels and in New York than any U.S. declarations yesterday that nuclear war is off the table.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

 gilbertdoctorow  Uncategorized 12 Comments   2 Minutes

Western media today, 28 April 2022
Compliance with Russian payment demands in rubles for gas deliveries: Western reporting falls on its own sword

It is widely assumed in the general public that all Russian news sources are propaganda, which justifies the banning of these sources from the airwaves, or to put it into simpler English, justifies the unprecedented Western censorship about which none of our human rights activists seems to care a fig. So much for European values!

However, in the The Financial Times reporting today on the unraveling of Europe’s supposed unified stand against payment for Russian gas in rubles we see that censorship is destroying not the Russia media but the Western media which, in the absence of competition and challenge, is printing and disseminating every ignorant and self-contradictory utterance that comes out of the mouths of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel and Co. without exercising the slightest logic check.

Let me be specific. The article in question is entitled “EU energy groups prepare to meet Vladimir Putin’s terms for Russian gas. Germany’s Uniper and Austria’s OMV plan rouble accounts while Eni of Italy weighs options”. This piece has been slapped together by Sam Jones in Vienna, Andy Bounds in Brussels, Guy Chazan in Berlin and Marton Dunai in Budapest.  Going through the text and encountering the whoppers I will discuss below, you have to wonder where is the editorial staff of the FT to keep their feature articles at a level worthy of the world’s business elites who are their subscribers.

In line with the overall propaganda line set by the United States in the ongoing vicious Information War, cause and effect are systematically reversed.  Every dastardly intention and act laid at the door of Russia is, upon a moment’s reflection, actually being initiated by the West.  This game starts early on, in paragraph five:  “The preparations [for payment in rubles as demanded by Russia] show the impact of Russian efforts to weaponise gas supplies and challenge the EU’s ability to maintain a united front against Moscow.”

The authors have not gone one step further in their reasoning: they do not suggest that the evil intention of the Kremlin is to sow discord among European states. That is the subject of another feature article in today’s online edition of The Financial Times entitled “‘Divide and rule’: Russia’s rationale for halting gas flows to Poland and Bulgaria.” Apparently, the authors Harry Dempsey and Neil Hume have forgotten or never heard the remark attributed to Sigmund Freud that sometimes ‘a cigar is just a cigar,’ meaning that there is no need for exotic explanations of a simple fact.

Wouldn’t it be more logical to say that the unprecedented freezing of Russian Bank dollar and euro assets in the West had the effect of “weaponizing” gas supplies?  If the existing contracts calling for payment in euros were to continue, the effect, as intended by the European policymakers, was to deprive Russia of the proceeds of its sales, all of which would be frozen in turn.

In the next paragraph, the FT authors quietly acknowledge that “the EU sanctions against Russia’s central bank” prompted Vladimir Putin to impose the new rules for payment in rubles purchased on the Russian currency market. Of course, no conclusions are drawn from this fact regarding who is acting and who is reacting.

Then the FT cites Ursula von der Leyen’s description of the Russian cutoff of gas to Poland and Bulgaria over their refusal to sign up to the new payment scheme as “being tantamount to blackmail.”   Blackmail?   No deliveries if we get no money is blackmail?  Or is it rather just the application of normal rules of international business?

The FT writer group then opines that compliance with Russia’s new payment procedures “would result in Russia being able to access billions in gas revenues to support its currency and its economy…” But why else does one country sell its wares to another country?  Out of charity? With no cash receipts expected or demanded?

I will not belabor the points made above.  The FT can make its pitch to schoolchildren who have never studied business or economics.  But how they dare to feed this nonsense to the company directors and bank presidents who comprise their readership defies comprehension.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

Gilbert Doctorow holds a Ph.D. in Russian history from Columbia University and is a fluent Russian speaker. He spent most of his professional life in corporate business with a focus on Russia. Doctorow has authored five books of essays. He also has participated in expert forums devoted to international affairs and appeared in Russian domestic political talk shows on all national channels. His latest book, the newly published "Memoirs of a Russianist, Volume I" directs attention to two periods of his business career when his perch afforded him a rare opportunity to observe and interact with the people and institutions shaping economic, cultural and social life in Russia, 1976-80 and 1989-2000.


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NY Times: “Frustrated” Putin Could Use Nukes in Ukraine

Please make sure these dispatches reach as many readers as possible. Share with kin, friends and workmates and ask them to do likewise.

Mike Whitney

The New York Times thinks that Putin might use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, but there is a flaw in the Times’ reasoning. Putin has nothing to gain from a nuclear blast and everything to lose. A nuclear weapon will not help Putin win the war in Ukraine, in fact, it would further deepen Russia’s isolation, strengthen the position of Russia’s enemies, and create a justification for NATO to enter the war. Putin would become a global pariah overnight inviting even harsher economic sanctions and criticism while greatly undermining his prospects for success in Ukraine. Detonating a nuclear device in Ukraine would undoubtedly prove to be the biggest mistake in Putin’s 22 year-long political career.

Only Washington stands to gain from a nuclear explosion in Ukraine because only Washington would benefit from a wider war that involved NATO. But the Times never mentions Washington in its analysis because–according to the Times–the only person capable of such perfidy is Vladimir Putin which strongly suggests that the list of suspects was determined before the article was even written. But, why? Why is the Times’ trying to incriminate Putin for an incident that has not yet taken place and for which other suspects have a clear motive? Is this a preemptive frame-up intended to shape public opinion on some future event? It sure looks like it. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The White House has quietly assembled a team of national security officials to sketch out scenarios of how the United States and its allies should respond if Russian President Vladimir Putin — frustrated by his lack of progress in Ukraine or determined to warn Western nations against intervening in the war — unleashes his stockpiles of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

The Tiger Team, as the group is known, is also examining responses if Putin reaches into NATO territory to attack convoys bringing weapons and aid to Ukraine, according to several officials involved in the process.” (“U.S. Makes Contingency Plans in Case Russia Uses Its Most Powerful Weapons“, New York Times)​

Notice how the information is presented. The author assumes the tone of an objective and well-informed observer who is imparting his privileged information to 5 million of his closest friends. He provides zero hard-evidence to support his claims nor does he positively identify any of the officials in this elusive “Tiger Team”. In fact, by Sanger’s own admission, the members of this clandestine club only “spoke on the condition of anonymity,” which basically relieves the author of any responsibility to verify his claims.

But let’s ignore the article’s shortcomings for a minute and focus on the central assertion, that “White House has quietly assembled a team of national security officials” to explore the possibility that Putin might use WMD in Ukraine because he is “frustrated”. That seems particularly unlikely, after all, it takes more than a “hunch” about Putin’s mental state to convene a special advisory panel at the highest level of the national security state. So, while it might sound believable within the context of Sanger’s overall storyline, it’s highly improbable. There would have to be some extremely compelling intelligence suggesting that something serious was afoot, like the suspected transfer of nukes to locations closer to the front. That would certainly do the trick; that would precipitate the kind of response that Sanger is talking about, not just someone’s psycho-babble analysis of Putin’s alleged mood-swings. That’s not how government works.

Of course, we cannot prove that Sanger is lying, but the lack of any corroborating evidence or positive identification of the officials involved, coupled with the sketchy assertion that a special “hush-hush” Team was slapped together in response to Putin’s “frustration” makes us suspect that Sanger is not objectively reporting on events but crafting a narrative for some unknown agenda. Even so, we don’t dismiss what he says out-of-hand because the issue of nuclear weapons is too serious to ignore. So, we’ll move on to the next two paragraphs:

“Just a month ago, such scenarios seemed more theoretical. But today, from the White House to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, a recognition has set in that Russia may turn to the most powerful weapons in its arsenal to bail itself out of a military stalemate.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg underscored the urgency of the preparation effort Wednesday, telling reporters for the first time that even if the Russians employ weapons of mass destruction only inside Ukraine, they may have “dire consequences” for people in NATO nations. He appeared to be discussing the fear that chemical or radioactive clouds could drift over the border. One issue under examination is whether such collateral damage would be considered an “attack” on NATO under its charter, which might require a joint military response.” (“U.S. Makes Contingency Plans in Case Russia Uses Its Most Powerful Weapons”, New York Times)

Once again, the author’s analysis draws mainly from conjecture and the incendiary statements of public officials, but where are the facts? So far, there is not a scintilla of evidence to back up Sanger’s claims. Having heard many similar unverified claims in the last few weeks, we have to assume that the allegations may be nothing more than talking points that were conjured up to smear Putin and to lay the groundwork for a false flag operation that could be used to justify NATO’s intervention in the war. Is that Sanger’s real assignment, building a case for NATO intervention?

What is noticeably absent from Sanger’s analysis is the fact that Putin would be the last one to initiate a nuclear attack knowing that any such incident would be used by his enemies to widen the conflict and, possibly, derail the Russian military operation. No, the only people who stand to gain anything are the neocons in the State Department (and their allies in the Intel agencies and media) who see NATO involvement as critical to their geopolitical ambitions. If NATO stays out of the war, Russia wins, it’s that simple. And that is the outcome the neocons want to avoid at all cost. Here’s more:

“These are questions that Europe has not confronted since the depths of the Cold War… and many (leaders) have never had to think about nuclear deterrence or the effects of the detonation of battlefield nuclear weapons, designed to be less powerful than those that destroyed Hiroshima. The fear is that Russia is more likely to use those weapons, precisely because they erode the distinction between conventional and nuclear arms.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., who heads the Armed Services Committee, said on Wednesday that if Putin used a weapon of mass destruction — chemical, biological or nuclear — “there would be consequences” even if the weapon’s use was confined to Ukraine. Reed said radiation from a nuclear weapon, for instance, could waft into a neighboring NATO country and be considered an attack on a NATO member….” (“U.S. Makes Contingency Plans in Case Russia Uses Its Most Powerful Weapons”, New York Times)

Wait a minute: It wasn’t Putin who withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) nor did Russia develop an entire new regime of low-yield “usable” nuclear weapons. That was the United States; just like it was the US under Obama that refused to abandon its first-strike policy (National Posture Review) that allows Washington to preemptively use nuclear weapons if it thinks its national security is threatened. So, if we had to hazard a guess about ‘Who might use a nuclear weapon in a false flag operation in Ukraine’, Uncle Sam would top the list.

Uncle Sam’s Grab-bag of “Usable” Nukes 

The only country to use nuclear weapons on a civilian population is back for more

Check out this blurb from an article at the Arms Control Association:

“There now is a push to overturn existing U.S. policy barring the development of new nuclear warheads or nuclear weapons for new military missions in order to build new types of “more usable” nuclear weapons. In December 2016, the advisory Defense Science Board recommended the development of a “tailored nuclear option for limited use”… The pursuit of new nuclear weapons, however, would represent a radical reversal of existing U.S. nuclear policy and practice, which stipulates that the “fundamental role of U.S. nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attack.” (New, ‘More Usable’ Nukes? No, Thanks, Arms Control Association)

He’s right, the “fundamental role of nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attack,” but that doctrine has changed. In fact, there are a number of fanatics in the Deep State who appear to be looking for the right opportunity to use one of these low-yield nukes. Naturally, this has the Russians quite concerned. Here’s how Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergie Ryabkov, summed it up recently:

“This reflects the fact that the US is actually lowering the nuclear threshold and that they are conceding the possibility of the waging a limited nuclear war and winning this war. This is extremely alarming.” (You Tube)


And here’s one more from Maria Zakharova, Director of Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation:

“The US arguments for fielding low-yield nuclear warheads is intended to blur the lines between strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons which inevitably leads to the lowering of the nuclear threshold and the growing threat of nuclear war…. Those who like to theorize about the flexibility of US nuclear capability, must understand in line with Russian Military Doctrine, that such actions (using low-yield nukes) will be seen as warranting retaliatory use of nuclear weapons by Russia.” (“Russia slams US argument for low-yield n-warheads”, You Tube)

It’s not Russia that’s “lowering the nuclear threshold” and making the case that nuclear weapons are “usable”, it’s Washington. And that is why we think there is a constituency in Washington for using a nuclear device in Ukraine.

That’s also why we are spending so much time parsing Sanger’s article which appears to have been maliciously crafted to prepare the public for a false flag operation that will undoubtedly be quickly blamed on Putin.

So, is there a constituency in Washington for usable nukes? Check out this blurb from an article titled “Pentagon Deployment of New, “More Usable” Nuclear Weapon Is a Grave Mistake”:

“The Pentagon argues the weapon is necessary to counter what it says is Russia’s willingness to use low-yield nuclear weapons, first to gain an advantage over the United States and its allies in a regional conflict and secondly, to prevail in such a war…. the stated purpose is to make their use “more credible” in the eyes of U.S. adversaries, which means that they are meant to be seen as “more usable.” (“Pentagon Deployment of New, “More Usable” Nuclear Weapon Is a Grave Mistake“, Just Security)

See what I mean? The Pentagon is making the case that low-yield Nukes–which can blow up a city the size of Hiroshima, and which are already deployed on Trident subs around the world– are “usable”. This is a fundamental change in US Nuclear Doctrine. (which emphasizes “deterrence”) Also, it is wrong to say that Russia has developed low-yield nuclear weapons. That’s not true. Russia’s nukes come in a range of sizes, but they have never explicitly developed nukes with the intention of reducing their impact so they could be used on the battlefield. Russia’s nuclear doctrine ONLY allows the use of nukes if the country faces an existential crisis, that is, if Russia’s very survival is at risk. For Russia, nuclear weapons are the last resort. Here’s more from Sanger’s article:

“A U.S. official said Biden remained adamant about keeping U.S. forces out of Ukraine. But the official said the administration believed it would be misguided not to closely examine the thresholds, if any, under which the president would reverse himself, or to be prepared to deal with the consequences of the use of weapons of mass destruction.

A senior administration official said any use of a “small” tactical nuclear bomb by Russia — even inside Ukraine and not directed at a NATO member — would mean that “all bets are off” on the United States and NATO staying out of the war. But when pushed, the official declined to lay out the responses under discussion.

The official said American and NATO intelligence communities had not seen any activity by Russian military officials that suggested preparations to use a nuclear weapon. But he said that during internal discussions, administration officials were urging caution, because there was more at stake than just Ukraine…” (New York Times)

Repeat: “The official said American and NATO intelligence communities had not seen any activity by Russian military officials that suggested preparations to use a nuclear weapon.”

So, Sanger waits until the very end of his article to tell us what we should have figured out from the very beginning; that he’s got nothing; no facts, no reliable intelligence, and no expert corroboration to support the basic thesis. Nada.

So, what was the purpose of the article if the author could not produce any proof that Putin intends to “unleash his stockpiles of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons”?

The article is an exercise in perception management. That’s all. Sanger’s job is not to produce evidence or convey the truth. His job is to put the seed-thought into peoples’ minds that if a chemical or nuclear attack takes place in Ukraine, the motive and the identity of the perpetrator will have already been revealed by the Times. Sanger is using the power of insinuation and innuendo to divert attention from other, more likely, suspects, (Like Uncle Sam) in order to frame Putin. More importantly, he is building the case for a broader and more violent conflict which, as always, will be spearheaded by the New York Times.

Mike Whitney is an independent writer and photographer residing in Washington State.



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