World Domination 469


Add together the cities of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lugansk and you don’t reach the economic output of Dundee.  World domination it isn’t.  Unfortunately both in the Kremlin and on Capitol Hill they, and their satraps, think it is.  Neither side cares at all about the millions of ordinary people in the zone of potential conflict.

The spiral of death in Ukraine is very worrying.  Following the tragic deaths in Odessa, the ball is very much in Putin’s court.  His bluff has very much been called.  We will now learn whether he was stoking clashes in Eastern Ukraine and massing forces on his border in order to give a pretext for invasion – which pretext he now has – or in order to destabilize and intimidate Kiev into moving away from relationships with the EU.

This has been a discussion of the deaf even more within intellectual circles in the West than between Washington and the Kremlin, where at least the Machiavellians understand full well what they are doing.  But their followers either, on the one hand, deny that there are any far right elements on the Ukrainian side or any CIA assistance, or alternatively deny that there are many millions of ordinary Ukrainians who genuinely want to be at peace in their own country and move towards the EU.  They either claim that all the separatists are Russian agents and deny the genuine minority population which yearns for the Soviet Union or Russia, or they deny the existence of Russian agents and special forces in Ukraine, and that most of the Russian nationalists are every bit as right wing and appalling as the equivalent tendency on the Ukrainian side.

First, some history.  The Ukrainian people really do exist.  They have been a subjugated people for centuries, most lastingly by the great Polish-Lithuanian  Empire and then by the Russian Empire.  That does not mean they did not exist.  Consider this: until 1990 there had not been an independent Polish state for over two hundred years, except for a fleeting twenty years between the two world wars.  Yet nobody doubts the Poles are a real nation.  I shan’t start on Scotland again …

None of modern Ukraine was Russian until the 18th century, when the expansion of the Russian empire and decline of the Polish took in these new colonies. As Putin famously remarked, it was called New Russia.  Yes, Vladimir, note it was New.  That is because it was a colony. Just like New York.  Because it was called New Russia gives you no more right to it than the Channel Islands have to New Jersey.  Ukraine had been Russian seven hundred years before its 18th century reconquest, but that population had migrated to Muscovy.

The expansion of the Russian Empire was exactly contemporary with the expansion of the British and American Empires, and other bit players like the French.  Like most of the American, most of the Russian Empire was a contiguous land mass.  The difference between the Russian and British Empires, on the one hand, and the American Empire on the other, was that the Russians and British did not commit genocide of the existing populations.  The difference between the Russian and the British Empires is that the British gave almost all of theirs back in the post-colonial period (a process that needs to be urgently completed). Russia gave back much of her Empire at the fall of the Soviet Union, but still retained a very great deal more than the British.  It is to me inarguable that, in a historical perspective, Putin is attempting to recover as much of the Russian Empire as possible, including but by no means solely by the annexation of Crimea and his actions in Ukraine.

Crimea, incidentally, had maintained its own independent existence as the last remnant of the Mongol Horde right up until the 19th century.  Despite the Russian colonisation of Crimea in the 19th century, it still had a majority Tatar population until the 1940’s, when Stalin tried his hand at genocide on them.  The Tatars were branded Nazis.  Opponents of the Russian Empire are always “Nazis” or “Jihadists”.  The deportation of the Tatars from Crimea was only twenty years before the British did the same genocide to a smaller people in Diego Garcia.  I call for the restitution of both.  Those who call for the restitution of one and not the other are appalling hypocrites.

Equally hypocritical are those who call for a referendum on Russian union for East Ukraine, but not for referenda on independence for Dagestan and Chechnya.  It is an irony insufficiently noted, that in Russia to call or campaign for the separation of any part of the state is a crime punishable by up to 22 years’ imprisonment.  There are over 7,000 people from the Caucasus imprisoned under that law.

There is absolutely no movement among the large minority Russians of the Baltic States to rejoin Mother Russia, because living conditions in the EU are just so much better.  As I have blogged before, it is undeniably true that living conditions for ordinary people in Poland have vastly improved as a result of EU membership, and are much better than in Ukraine – or Russia.

GDP per capita figures for Russia look quite good, but do not give a true reflection of living standards because of astonishing levels of inequality of wealth.  This is very bad in the West, and getting much worse rather rapidly, but is nowhere near as bad as in Russia which is the most viciously capitalist state in the world, made worse by its commodity dependency.  The Russian economy is completely non-diversified, manufacturing and services are miniscule and it is overwhelmingly a raw commodity exporter in energy, metals, grain etc.  That leads to extreme concentration of profit and a lack of employment opportunity.  Combine that with mafia state corruption and you have the oligarchs’ paradise.  Russia is a gangster state.  On top of which, if I were a Russian who campaigned against the Russian government in the same way that I do against  my own, I would be dead.

The desire of ordinary Ukrainians to join the EU one day, and move closer to it now, is understandable and indeed commendable.  It was also the desire of Yanukovich.  Those who claim Western pressure on Yanukovich forget – or choose to ignore – that Yanukovich’s government had actually, quite independently and voluntarily, negotiated the EU co-operation agreement and were on the point of signing it, when Yanukovich was summoned to Moscow by Putin and informed that if they signed the agreement, the energy supplies to Ukraine would immediately be cut off in mid-winter and debt called in.

That is a fact.  It was not illegal for Putin to do that; it was perhaps even legitimate for those who believe in a Machiavellian approach to great power politics.  Yanukovich temporized, between a rock and a hard place.  Ukraine seemed to be at a key moment of  balance, hung between the EU and Russia. The capital being in West Ukraine and overwhelmingly ethnic Ukrainian, pro-EU crowds started to build up.  Then things started to get wildly out of control.

Were western governments encouraging pro-western groups in Ukraine?  Yes, that’s their job.  Did this include covert support? Yes.  Were the Russians doing precisely the same thing with their supporters?  Yes, that’s their job too.  Did the Americans spend 5 billion dollars on covert support?  Of course not.

Victoria Nuland claimed in a speech America had put 5 billion dollars into Ukraine.  I used to write those kind of speeches for British ministers.  First you take every bit of money given by USAID to anything over a very long period, remembering to add an estimate for money given to international projects including Ukraine.  Don’t forget to add huge staff costs and overheads, then something vast for your share of money lent by the IMF and EBRD, then round it up well.  I can write you a speech claiming that Britain has given five billion dollars to pretty well anywhere you claim to name.

The problem is that both the left and right have again, equal but opposite motives for believing Nuland’s bombast about the extent of America’s influence on events.  I have been in this game.  You can’t start a revolution in another country.  You can affect it at the margins.

A military coup you certainly can start.  One thing we don’t really know nearly enough about is what happened at the end, when Yankovich had to flee.  The Maidan protestors would never have caused a government to fall which retained full control of its army.  The army can fail the rulers in two ways.  First is a revolutionary movement among normal soldiers – the French revolution model.  Second is where the troops remain disciplined but follow their officers in a military coup.  The latter is of course a CIA speciality.  More evidence is needed, but if this is the second model, it is unusual for it not to result in military control of government.  Egypt is the obvious current example of a CIA backed coup.

After Yanukovich we had entered the world domination game.  Putin seemed to have lost.  The annexation of Crimea was a smart move by Putin in that game, because there probably is a genuine small majority of the population there who would like to join Russia.  I have no doubt whatsoever that Putin himself does not believe the 93% for a moment.  As I said, the Machiavellian players of world domination are realistic; it is their purblind followers on either side who buy their propaganda.

The Kiev government and the West should have conceded Crimea before Putin moved his troops into it.  The sensible thing for the new Kiev government to have done would have been to offer a referendum in Crimea itself, under its own auspices.  That would have got the most hardline pro-Russian voters out of the country for good. But by that time, everyone had gone into Macho mode, which is where we still are.

None of the remaining provinces would opt to join Russia given the choice.  There is no shortage of existing and historic opinion poll evidence on that.   Crimea was the only province with an ethnic Russian majority.  The Eastern provinces have Russian speaking majorities, but most are ethnic Ukrainian. I base ethnicity here purely on self-identification in census (and, as I have repeatedly explained, absolutely everybody in the former Soviet Union knows precisely what is asked in the questions of Gradzvanstvo and Narodnosch). Just as some Welsh people speak English, some Ukrainians speak Russian but do not consider themselves Russian.  Putin’s frequent references to the Russian-speaking peoples coming back to Russia are as sinister as if we started talking of re-uniting all the English speaking people in the world.

As almost always with colonies, the minority ethnic Russian populations in the East of Ukraine are more concentrated in urban areas.  Hence it has been possible in regional capitals to mobilise gangs of disaffected and unemployed Russian young men (in view of Ukraine’s basket case economy there are plenty), and with a slight stiffening of Russian forces take control of town centres.  There is a significant minority, and possibly a majority in town centres, willing to support.  It is, I think, extremely important to understand that the thugs on both sides are very unpleasant.  I have the particular experience of relations with a lot of Uzbeks, and the incidence of racial attacks by Russian nationalist thugs within Russia itself is absolutely horrifying and almost completely unreported.  The swastika is a popular symbol among young macho men throughout all of former Eastern Europe including Russia.  I absolutely guarantee you that an equally significant proportion of the pro-Russians who have been attacking anyone who tries to show support for Ukraine within Eastern Ukrainian cities, are no more and no less right wing, racist and vicious than the appalling Pravy Sektor thugs included on the other side.  We have plenty within the EU – there is a serious problem, for example, with the official encouragement given to commemorations of pro-Nazi forces within the Baltic states which often have a distinctly neo-Nazi tinge.

Putin’s campaign of controlling the urban centres appears to have gone wrong in Odessa, which is simply too large for the numbers of available young men armed with baseball bats to take control.  The pro-Russians were badly beaten in precisely the same street fighting they had been winning elsewhere.  The culmination of this was the terrible fire and deaths. My expectation is there will not be many women, children or old people among the dead, but also there will not be many non-Ukrainian nationals.  I expect these will prove to have been local Russian young men.

Putin now has a real problem.  His own rhetoric has indicated that he will sweep in and defend these Russians, but there is one thing anyone with half a brain should have worked out by now.  The ruling 1%, the ultra-wealthy, in both Russia and the West are so interconnected with each other that they are playing the game of world domination while trying at the same time to make sure nobody super-rich really loses his money.  Hence the strange obviously bogus sanctions regimes. Real stock market disruption and confiscation of corrupt assets would be difficult to avoid if the tanks start rolling in earnest.  We may be saved from utter disaster by the sheer scale of global corruption, which is a strange conclusion.

I would like to think the awful deaths of the last few days would lead both sides to step back from the brink.  The time has come for a peacekeeping force.  Negotiations should be held urgently to make the Kiev interim government more inclusive of opposition elements from the East – and they must oust the far right at the same time.  The UN Security Council should then send in UN peacekeepers, which must include both Russian and western forces in close integration, to keep the peace while genuine elections are held.  I can see no other way forward which does not risk disaster.


469 thoughts on “World Domination

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  • CanSpeccy

    Only one foreign country has actually sent in troops.

    Great to see where Craig Murray stands. No credence or even consideration to be given to evidence of US/Nato subversion in Ukraine, the alleged training of Neo-Nazi thugs in Poland, evidence of Western mercenaries in Ukraine. No, this is all Putin’s doing.

    How pathetic can a phony analyst be?

    The reality is that Russia has rebuilt its economy, making Europe heavily dependent on Russia in the process. This poses a dire threat to US Hegemony as spelled out by the Project for the New American Century, and as expressed in the Wolfowitz doctrine:

    “Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

    What we’re seeing is not Putin being an arse-hole, we’re seeing the onset of WWIII, instigated by the US with the aim of destroying both Russia and China as threats to American hegemony.

    China, although now the largest economy in the world, is to be dealt with after Russia, since Russia poses a threat to US domination of Europe. If the Europeans decide to admit Russia to the European home, as Gorbachev assumed they would, then the US Empire is finished. It is thus vital to the US to instigate a conflict between Russian and Western Europe. A third European civil war will keep the American Empire safe for another generation.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Mike/Ben/Herbie/Mary,

    I read what Craig wrote, and some of it was obviously true, but I thought he still has his old Establishment hat on, despite the appalling way he was treated – but I can understand that too. So I couldn’t immediately respond to it, and instead went for a cycle ride, and wrote my response in my head on my bike.

    [cut. Stay on topic]

  • Herbie

    Refereeeee!!

    Surely it’s totally in order that a long term and cherished poster like Tony be introduced to newer posters.

    He’s allowed to know to whom he’s talking.

    What’s wrong with that?

  • Tony_0pmoc

    CanSpeccy,

    Excellent post. Good to see you are still in fine form…though “How pathetic can a phony analyst be?” was a bit strong…and I think he actually believes what he writes, so it may simply be a case of cognitive dissonance despite his obvious intelligence…

    I don’t know who this guy is…but its the best thing I have read this week…and I agree with almost all of his theories and speculation – especially his Snowden bit – well worth a read…

    http://linguistic-determinism-art-language.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/empiric-myopia.html

    Extract

    “To me the events appear to be an extortion operation against the upcoming Russian and Chinese energy deal as well as mitigating cooperation between Europe and Russia. The Empire will not allow serious cooperation in Eurasia that can challenge them. That means both Russia and Europe as well as between Russia and China. They want to mitigate Russian success in the one area vital to their relationships, energy –ergo, the Ukrainian crisis and its provocations against Europe and the island disputes and its provocations against China.

    This appears to be a move by the empire against Russia, Europe and China that are posing an existential threat to it by challenging the petrodollar. The flailing empire has chosen the Samson Option to ensure that the Russian-Chinese energy agreement and Russian-European gas deals continue to use the petrodollar. You can take the empire down, but at a heavy price.

    The implication of the Ukrainian crisis, in context to Europe is, if you do not trade in petrodollars, we will have the pipelines destroyed, start a war that will eventually drag the rest of Europe against Russia and most likely another world war! This answers why Europe is keeping a low profile, in the media. Behind the curtain?”

    Tony

  • DomesticExtremist

    I’m struggling to agree with much of this -if Putin is trying to regain the Russian empire then he isn’t doing great. So far he has taken two small chivs out Georgia and Crimea. Crimea was never happy about waking up in Ukraine – I remember rumblings about more autonomy going back to the 90s.
    A quick look at the map of Russian contraction and NATO expansion gives a more realistic picture – it is the West that is playing the world domination game and, by and large, winning. Putin is playing catch up and grabbing a few bits here and there.
    The situation in East Ukraine is more complex than one of ethnicity – the Russian speakers do not necessarily want to become part of Russia, equally they are fearful of the new regime in Kiev. A good article on the matter is here:
    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/04/marx-last-stand-eastern-ukraine-20144229655276774.html

    As I see it there are four groupings in Ukraine:
    i) the oligarchs (aka gangsters) who have held power on a rotating basis from independence. They become politicians merely to facilitate their economic plunder. Almost nobody in Ukraine likes them or wants to see them continue in power.
    ii) the Maidan crowd (falsely christened Euro-Maidan) who were primarily against the corruption of the oligarchs and are no more pleased with the current interim government than they were with Yanukovich. We shoudl note that they are still protesting although the Western media has chosen to forget about them now ‘their bastards’ are in power.
    iii) the Right Sector – an unpleasant group from mainly Western Ukraine who were the violent shock troops in Kiev that eventually toppled the Yanukovich regime with covert and overt backing from the EU/US.
    iv) the eastern ‘separatists’ who probably backed Yanukovich but also are feeling persecuted by the banning of Russian as an official language.

    Ukraine will by no means be ‘saved’ by association with the EU – more likely they will lose out massively by being shackled to IMF loans and adjustment programs which will result in large scale privatisations unemployment and austerity in an already impoverished nation. Those in the east seem to appreciate it – those in the west are probably too stupid to realise it or feel that they can use EU help to achieve their own aims.
    Poland is the exception to the rule – most of the former eastern block countries have had a really tough time since joining the EU.

    All in all, the West initiated this mess and are likely to regret doing so. Putin is not helping matters but has his own, quite valid, reasons for doing so.

  • Resident Dissident

    The analysis is absolutely spot on – the only points I would add are that there are an lot of similarities between ordinary Russians and Ukrainians – and mixed Ukrainian and Russian families are a common feature in both countries. The differences between Russians and Ukrainians should not be exaggerated, and would ideally be kept at the level of jokes and humour. Yes I believe that Ukrainians should rightly be members of the European family – but I also believe that the Russian should be as well.

    Everyone should also be very conscious of the game that Putin is playing – he is more than aware that the economy and particularly him and his fellow kleptocrats have enjoyed a long streak of luck because of a period of high oil and other commodity prices, and the benefits of increases in the efficiency in producing oil (which were incidentally largely initiated by Yukos when Khodorovsky) was in charge) and that such a period is likely to come to an end. Given that this is likely to mean that this will result in even less trickling down to the ordinary people, and because all those decent people with liberal and democratic views are becoming a much more sizeable and noisy minority, so rather than money he is now resorting to playing the nationalist card as a means of retaining power. This is the reason why Putin is terrified of further colour revolutions, why he took the Crimea, why he cracking down on dissidents and the internet, using every opportunity he can to be seen standing up to the West – while at the same time cutting back pension, health and education benefits for ordinary Russian. Putin has to be stood up to now not just for the benefit of his neighbours but for that of Russians, who ultimately always pay the biggest price for the dictatorial behaviour of some of their rulers.

  • Mary

    Just because it’s early Summer and we have temporarily forgotten how cold our winters can be, little or no thought is being given to European dependency on Russia for its gas supplies. I understand that Germany will not allow any Western military action to take place.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Hey – We’ve got a referee on the pitch…

    Which is great…

    It is Craig Murray’s website, and he can see what has happened to all his previous moderators…

    Well done Craig – Keep it up…

    Good to see You Back in Fine Form

    Tony

  • Resident Dissident

    Of course one thing that Canspeccy does not mention is that in recent years has seen a very significant change in its ethnicity – with the Russian birth rate falling and significant Russian emigration, which has been compensated by a large inflow of migrant labour mainly from the former Southern republics. However – I suspect he doesn’t worry about that since those migrants are usually treated as near slave labour, live in appalling housing and are often subject to abuse by officials and racist thugs (something that the Eminences would consider far worse than that doled out by the “fascist” (their word not mine) Theresa May if they could put their prejudices aside for a moment) – largely because Putin makes all the right nationalist noises and discourages any interbreeding. This is of course the sort of plan Canspeccy would like the West to follow as well – don’t let anyone be fooled otherwise.

  • John Goss

    Some standards of journalism are more ethical than others. While all are biased the news coming out of Russia Today has been much more accurate than that of the BBC and the Guardian which have both been misreporting what happened in Odessa. They have started now to give a more accurate picture.

    As to Poland being a lot better off since it joined Europe than it was before I’m not so sure. I cycled through Poland in 2001. Everywhere was clean and tidy. There was no litter. The people were friendly and honest. I spoke to a man, Adam, in Przemyśl in the Prosecutor’s office and we spoke about Russian literature. He also told me about the problem of illegal immigrants coming in from the Ukraine. He directed me to a medieval castle as place of interest. The castle had secret passages and dated back to the eighteenth century though its records went back to the sixteenth century. Everybody I met was smartly dressed and there was one stage where I seriously contemplated doing an exchange of clothes with a scarecrow.

    In 2004 I got delayed in Krakow for almost a week because there were so many people coming to England I could not get a place on a coach. When I did get a place I sat next to a young medical doctor, Marta, who was coming to work in England. She had got a job to go to as a nurse at a care home in Shropshire. Her English was good but I felt sorry that she had taken a job below her qualifications. We kept in touch and I was not surprised when she went back to Poland.

    I have revisited Poland several times since, and driven there once. Things are still clean though litter-consciousness is not as evident as it was in 2001. Unemployment, which fell initially, is going up and stands at above 13% (stay away from Wikipedia, which says it is falling). The gap between rich and poor has increased. Wages and the cost of living have gone up, as has the value of the Złoty against a basket of currencies. I have a few friends in England who are Polish and they are still supporting families over there. Poland, in my opinion, has benefited so much from EU membership it is becoming little different from other western economies in some ways. The people are hard-working and generally welcoming. Unfortunately it is also part of NATO and has supplied troops for the illegal invasions together with training for the Maidan terrorists.

    Yes, it has growing GDP, if that is any indicator of improvement.

  • Resident Dissident

    “I understand that Germany will not allow any Western military action to take place.”

    I don’t think anyone is proposing such action – the place to hit Putin is in his wallet. I would not underestimate Merkel – I suspect that she understands the real nature of Putin better than most having grown up in Eastern GermanY.

  • craig Post author

    John Goss,

    Great deal of truth in your anecdotal evidence, but if you took 1990 as your starting point rather 2001, the improvement is truly startling.

  • technicolour

    John Goss: “While all are biased the news coming out of Russia Today has been much more accurate than that of the BBC and the Guardian”- tell me, oh oracle, how you devine this?

  • Resident Dissident

    John Goss

    Since litter appears to be the main measure you use to measure a society perhaps you should note that under both Yeltsin and Putin, Moscow is clearly failing – strangely enough you will find that old Soviet communists often use the same measure. On the other hand, I am told that the streets of Pyongyang are pristine.

  • technicolour

    “I would not underestimate Merkel”

    agreed. And having spent some time with some people from Germany over the last few days it was refreshing to see the righteous fury with which they greeted the fact that the US had been spying on their Chancellor and, moreover, were refusing to stop. As well as sobering to hear the contempt they had for the role of the English backers in all this.

    Incidentally, Snowden was described by one (a judge) as an honourable, service worthy man.

  • Resident Dissident

    “Great deal of truth in your anecdotal evidence, but if you took 1990 as your starting point rather 2001, the improvement is truly startling.”

    I spent time in Poland around that time and I would agree – I do remember being proudly shown a salad bar in a Warsaw restaurant which consisted entirely of cabbage done 15 different ways – the beer however was excellent.

  • John Goss

    “While all are biased the news coming out of Russia Today has been much more accurate than that of the BBC and the Guardian”- tell me, oh oracle, how you divine this?

    I watch the news. Thought that must have been obvious my friend.

  • Herbie

    “I suspect that she understands the real nature of Putin better than most having grown up in Eastern GermanY.”

    Yeah. That’ll have prepared her for NSA spying on her personal conversations.

    Germany is very divided on the American desire to subjugate Russia and will be only too keenly aware that Europe itself is very vulnerable to any further destabilisation to the east.

    She’ll also be aware that the US doesn’t much mind that mighty Germany itself be futher undermined in the fallout.

  • technicolour

    You watch the news? To judge the news?

    ‘My’ Germans wished that Germany had given Snowden asylum, which would have showed the US. Did he actually ask them?

    I remembered that when German ministers were showing signs of getting nouty about Iraq, the US had threatened to cut off imports of BMWs. At which point the more outspoken ministers went quiet…

  • Tony_0pmoc

    The important thing in life is to just go for it, even if you think you are useless, because if you try you get better – and despite all the (in my case physical problems (its nowt really – just myatonia congenita – never stopped me doing owt – I just faked it – pre-tensed my muscles before any test – which sometimes when immediately being summoned to the office in fury – at no notice – made me think really quickly and try and calm her down…by saying all the things I could think of- whilst I pre-tensed my muscles – so I could stand up normally…and walk quickly) I never took any drugs for it because my older brother and sister did..and are now dead. There’s nowt wrong with me so far as I know – and I am somewhat older than Craig. I dye my hair too – but it is mine (my Dad was bald at 25 – total genius mind)

    Thank You so Much

    We are off to the pub now…

    I’d love to meet you.

    Goodnight

    Tony

  • OldMark

    Herbie @6.45pm

    Thanks for the link; the analysis of Stephen Cohen ex NYU, certainly seems more grounded in reality than that of Craig Murray, ex FCO.

    Craig is at least correct to say that, since the putsch that ousted Yanukovitch, this has become a ‘world domination game’. The latest piece of evidence for this is the statement issued by the State Dept after the horrendous events in Odessa yesterday-

    http://www.novinite.com/articles/160262/US,+Germany+Mourn+Victims+of+Ukraine%E2%80%99s+Odessa+Fire

    Note how the first paragraph better fits the sort of statements governments issue after natural disasters (‘tragedy’) rather than events caused by human agency. Note also how the deaths of so many are described simply as ‘unacceptable’. (I’m sure this is reminiscent of US statements at the time of Operation Cast Lead).

    It is quite plain from this statement that in this conflict, violence emanating for pro Kiev sources will not elicit outright condemnation from the US.

  • Clark

    John Goss, 8:02pm:

    “(stay away from Wikipedia, which says it is falling)”

    If Wikipedia lacks references to well-founded statistics that you know of, please update Wikipedia. It is your right, and could be considered a duty.

    Wikipedia is open to being edited by all, and if well-supported facts are added, removing them is a violation of Wikipedia’s rules.

    By merely complaining, and especially by urging people away, you abandon Wikipedia to those who publish the information that you dispute.

  • John Goss

    Technicolour, you don’t criticise the BBC? What’s wrong with you? We all do on this blog, except for RD, Habbabkuk, Kempe and the usual shower of UK government stooges.

  • technicolour

    Strange, John, isn’t it? I reserve the right to criticise appalling lack of news reporting (which may include the BBC) but equally strangely I do support the existence of a no commercial adverts channel.

  • John Goss

    Clark, I tried once and there was so much rigmarole I gave up. Not easy. And there were people who seemed to have authority over others. As an authority on Robert Bage.

    “I spent time in Poland around that time and I would agree – I do remember being proudly shown a salad bar in a Warsaw restaurant which consisted entirely of cabbage done 15 different ways – the beer however was excellent.”

    I can believe it. I was in Minsk in 1982 and had a similar experience. I ordered Borsch and told them I was a vegetarian. It came with small pieces of meat in it. When I complained I was told they were only small pieces. Oh, and the beer was Zhugolovskii or some such name. It was not great either. The best beer I had in the former Soviet Union was in a bierkeller in Vilnius. 🙂

  • craig Post author

    Old Mark

    Operation Cast Lead was an appalling war crime because it targeted and massacred unarmed civilians. Including a lot of women and children. By contrast, my language for the death of aggressive participants in conflict is indeed that it is a tragedy. I have said that we will know a lot more about the truth from the profile of the victims in Odessa, but I am not anticipating many women or children. All information I hear so far indicates I am right.

    It is a tragic loss of life. But you can’t start battles and expect a situation where only the other side gets hurt.

  • John Goss

    “Strange, John, isn’t it? I reserve the right to criticise appalling lack of news reporting (which may include the BBC) but equally strangely I do support the existence of a no commercial adverts channel.”

    Me too. That’s the best thing about the BBC, lack of adverts, that and some of its drama, like Last Tango in Halifax, and serialisation of Classics, though I thought Jamaica Inn, though good in parts, lacked the atmosphere of the book.

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