Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day Oh God It Never Ends 273

It feels like a recurring nightmare. On the sadly misnamed sleeper train once again, down to London and a dash to the Royal Courts of Justice to hear yet another judgement intoned. Julian not in court again and not in good health; Stella battling on but fighting to keep her health as well; Gareth Peirce her calm and unstoppable self; my friends from Wikileaks marshaling legal and media resources and remaining determinedly resolute and cheerful.

The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Ian Duncan Burnett, is just the sort of chap you would want to play the role in a comic opera production. Burly, with a broad open face crowned with full white hair, he exudes solidity, bonhommie and natural command. You expect him to deliver his judgement and then stroll over the Strand to Simpson’s for a few thick slices of roast sirloin and a bumper of claret. I don’t mean that as a criticism; I like nothing better myself.

The Lord Chief Justice doesn’t just get his own office; he does not just get the best scarlet silly costume you can imagine; he gets his very own court. What a court it is; acres of polished wood, larger than some theatres; galleried and storeyed, walls at every level lined all round with thousands upon thousands of exquisitely bound law books, locked behind glass doors which I strongly suspect are only ever opened to add another book destined to spend its natural life in there unvisited, with no possibility of parole.

The Lord Chief Justice gets a very high bench, so you all have to look right up to him; a construction made of several tons of mahogany, which looks like it should be draped with potted palms, have moustachioed waiters in tight white jackets popping in and out of its various stairways and entrances carrying silver trays, and house a string quartet in the corner. Rumour has it that there is in fact a string quartet in a corner, which has been trying to leave since 1852.

The Lord Chief Justice suddenly materialises from his own entrance behind his bench, already high above us, so he doesn’t have to mount the mahogany and risk tripping over his scarlet velvet drapery. I like to imagine he was raised up to the requisite level behind the scenes by a contraption of ropes and pulleys operated by hairy matelots. Next to him, but discreetly a little lower, was Lord Justice Holroyde, who delivered the judgement now appealed against, and today looked even more smug and oleaginous in the reflected glow of his big mate.

The appearance lasted two minutes. Burnett told us that the Court certified, as being a matter of general public interest, the question of whether “Diplomatic Assurances” not submitted in the substantive hearing, could be submitted at the appeal stage. It did not so certify the other points raised; it refused leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

You can ignore the last phrase; it is customary that the High Court refuses leave to appeal; with the certification of public interest, Julian can now appeal direct to the Supreme Court which will decide whether or not to take the case. The refusal of leave by the High Court is purely a show of deference to the Supreme Court, which decides itself what it will take. The lawyers put this as “the Supreme Court dines a la carte”.

Now some of the appeal points which the High Court refused to certify as arguable and of general public interest, were important. One point was that the diplomatic assurances by the United States promised not to engage in certain illegal practices amounting to torture, but made that assurance conditional on Assange’s future behaviour.

Now, legally prohibited treatment of prisoners does not become lawful if the prisoner does something wrong. That ought to have been a slam-dunk argument, even without the fact that the decision on Assange’s future behaviour would be made by precisely the same authorities who plotted to kidnap or murder him.

All of which was not certified as an arguable point of law of general public interest.

What is certified and going forward is the simple question of whether the diplomatic assurances were received too late. Rather peculiarly, the High Court judgement of Burnett and Holroyde, against which Julian was seeking leave to appeal, blamed extradition magistrate Vanessa Baraitser for not having asked the United States for diplomatic assurances at the earlier stage.

The doctrine that a judge should suggest to counsel for one party, helpful points to strengthen their case against the other party, is an entirely new one in English law. The United States could have submitted their diplomatic note at any stage, but chose not to do so, in order to see if they could get away with making no commitment as to Assange’s treatment. They only submitted a diplomatic note after they lost the original case. It was not for Baraitser to ask them to do it earlier and the suggestion is a ludicrous bit of special pleading by Burnett.

This is more than just a procedural point. If the assurances had been submitted to the magistrate’s court, their value could have been objected to by Assange’s defence. The self-canceling conditionalities within the assurances themselves could have been explored, and the United States’ long record of breaking such assurances could have been discussed.

By introducing them only at the appeal stage, the United States had evaded all scrutiny of their validity.

That was confirmed by today’s judgement. Questions of the viability of assurances that, inter alia, make torture a future option, were ruled not to be arguable appeal points.

So the certified point, whether assurances can be submitted at the appeals stage, is not really just about timing and deadlines, it is about whether there should be scrutiny of the assurances or not.

However it does not look like a substantial point. It looks like just a technical point on timing and deadlines. This is very important, because it may be the screen behind which the British Establishment is sidling slowly towards the exit. Was Lord Burnett looking to get out of this case by one of the curtained doors at his back?

If any of the other points had been certified, there would have been detailed discussion in court of the United States’ penchant for torture, its dreadful prison conditions, and its long record of bad faith (it is an accepted point of law in the United States that domestic authorities are not bound by any assurance, commitment or even treaty given to foreign governments). For the Supreme Court to refuse Assange’s extradition on any of those grounds would be an official accusation against the United States’ integrity, and thus diplomatically difficult.

But the Supreme Court can refuse extradition on the one point now certified by the High Court, and it can be presented as nothing to do with anything bad about the USA and its governance, purely a technical matter of a missed deadline. Apologies all round, never mind old chap, and let’s get to the claret at Simpson’s.

Can there really be an end in sight for Julian? Is the British Establishment quietly sidling to the exit?


Forgive me for pointing out that my ability to provide this coverage is entirely dependent on your kind voluntary subscriptions which keep this blog going. This post is free for anybody to reproduce or republish, including in translation. You are still very welcome to read without subscribing.

Unlike our adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, this blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate.

Subscriptions to keep this blog going are gratefully received.

Choose subscription amount from dropdown box:

Recurring Donations


Paypal address for one-off donations: [email protected]

Alternatively by bank transfer or standing order:

Account name
Account number 3 2 1 5 0 9 6 2
Sort code 6 0 – 4 0 – 0 5
IBAN GB98NWBK60400532150962
Bank address Natwest, PO Box 414, 38 Strand, London, WC2H 5JB

Bitcoin: bc1q3sdm60rshynxtvfnkhhqjn83vk3e3nyw78cjx9
Ethereum/ERC-20: 0x764a6054783e86C321Cb8208442477d24834861a

Subscriptions are still preferred to donations as I can’t run the blog without some certainty of future income, but I understand why some people prefer not to commit to that.

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

273 thoughts on “Your Man in the Public Gallery: Assange Hearing Day Oh God It Never Ends

1 2 3
  • Old Mod Jon

    [ Mod: released from spam filter ]

    Hi Craig – thanks for getting back to supporting Julian. I wonder, do you have any information on the status of the appeal funds? Are there any separate funds one can support for Julian’s family? If you know that there is an ongoing need, I wonder if a new post from you would give it a boost.

    For readers:

    Old appeal (seeking £175k, successful):

    Latest appeal (seeking £200k, in progress, £197k so far):

  • Wally Jumblatt

    – methinks the fabulous UK legal system would rather their unfortunate prisoner would just fade away and take his last breath in a tiny room.
    – then no embarrassment to any friends abroad.
    So much for their high-minded ambitions of Justice.

    – perhaps one could swap fabulous for putrid.

  • Wikikettle

    Standards in Public Life. Devastating evidence given by Ian Hislop to the Standards Committee on some of their own entries in register of interests. How do you rise to the dizzying heights of the Judicary and who decides. We need public Juries to be at these hearings and take legal advice from the judges but then decide and make the judgement themselves. The term Judge should be conferred on jurors and existing Judges should be called legal advisors to the Citizen Jury Judges ! Apoplexy!!!!

    • Wikikettle

      We also need an actual “Public” Prosecution Service with ordinary citizens making decisions on who to prosecute. This could be done on advice from the police, lawyers the public themselves on information received. I propose a Citizens Tribunal to put on trial War Criminals

      • Lysias

        In ancient Athens, prosecution was by way of suits brought by private parties, and all legal decisions were by citizen juries. There were no lawyers. The only experts were speechwriters who wrote speeches for the parties to deliver.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        Maybe specific referenda on whether to pursue prosecutions of certain individuals/organisations?

        It doesn’t assure guilt, it indicates that there is a desire for justice to be promulgated.

    • Fat Jon

      I’m probably going to upset a lot of people, but the question “How do you rise to the dizzying heights of the Judicary and who decides?” has one elephant in the room answer – freemasonry (or old boys network if you prefer not to mention a seemingly taboo subject).

      In my opinion, membership of any secret society should automatically ban that person from becoming an employee of the judiciary, police, or parliament.

      I am sick of the knee-jerk reply “Ah, but they do great work for charity”. Yes, maybe; but one could say the same of Jimmy Savile.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        Add the Security Services to the list of proscribed organisations – in particular, no-one who joins a service dedicated to emotional torture should be allowed to be any part of any caring profession whatsoever – start with imprisoning doctors who are Security Services psychopaths.

        • M.J.

          “start with imprisoning doctors who are Security Services psychopaths”

          No problem, since there aren’t any 🙂

  • Mary Bennett

    One thing which makes this even more sad is that Biden would be doing himself and his reelection a favor if he simply dropped the case altogether. It would be a painless bit of virtue signaling, could be spun as already suffered enough, young family, akin to compassionate release, etc. He is not, after all, an American citizen, and if we make ourselves vulnerable to overseas hacking, that is our own fault.

    • Mary Bennett

      Oh dear, I meant to type, Assange is not an American citizen….
      Maybe certain entrenched parties have threatened to kill Assange if the case gets dropped. It wouldn’t surprise me.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        That would mean that individuals must have made those threats. They should be named as co-conspirators to murder, the perversion of justice and plenty more.

        It’s high time that the shadowy and unaccountable were named and shamed with no regard whatsoever to their public reputations….

        • Mary Bennett

          Granted. Do you perhaps have a plan to expose such persons? People who have tried have had an unfortunate habit of committing suicide in hotel rooms or suffering fatal one car accidents. My speculations are based partly on the fact that Biden has throughout his career shown a healthy regard for his own interests.

    • Lysias

      Allegedly Trump did not pardon Assange because Republican senators threatened to vote against him at his second impeachment trial if he did. Who knows what the Deep State is telling Biden?

  • Ben McDonnell

    Happy Burns Night Mr Murray
    I suffer from OCD and have been forced to drink some poor quality whisky given to us a few months ago. It’s nearly finished and I soon will be straight out to get some Laphroaig. Lagavulin is very nice too, when I can afford it!

    • deepgreenpuddock

      I remember visiting the Lochnagar distllery on Deeside some years ago. I asked about the distinctive taste of Islay malts and Speyside malts etc. I had always thought it was to do with something akin to the concept of ‘terroire’ used in describing wines. The distiller replied that he could, if he wished, create an Islay malt at his distillery. (their 12 yo malt was rather similar to a speyside style).He reckoned all aspects of the final product were under the control of the processes employed. A discussion followed which indicated that the taste and style were more about producing a product to fit their niche in the market. it was a marketing decision based on their understanding of their customers or potential customers.
      Yes indeed there is a lot of phenolics in the whisky trade.

      • M.J.

        “there is a lot of phenolics in the whisky trade.” I remember from school chemistry days, too long ago, that phenol is an alcohol with a benzene ring instead of a chain of carbon (as in ethanol, or ordinary alcohol). I didn’t know that it caused a smoky aroma and flavour, though, interesting to learn. But I also just found out that Lapsang Souchong tea, which has a very smoky smell and flavour, that phenols cause that as well! Are you into Lapsang Souchong, by any chance? One way I relaxed a couple of decades ago on Sunday evenings was a pot of Lapsang Souchong, some biscuits with extra-strong cheddar cheese and a murder mystery on the TV. Those were the days … Lapsang Souchong is probably pretty harmless and cheap compared to whisky as well.

  • Alan Heffez

    Allow me quote from a Wikipedia article:

    Antonio Gramsci (22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian Marxist philosopher, journalist, linguist, writer, and politician.

    In 1926, he was arrested by the Fascist government on trumped up charges, and despite his parliamentary immunity was incarcerated in the Regina Coeli pending his trial.

    At his trial, Gramsci’s prosecutor stated, “For twenty years we must stop this brain from functioning”. He received an immediate sentence of five years in confinement on the island of Ustica and the following year he received a sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment in Turi, near Bari.

    After 11 years in prison, his health deteriorated: “His teeth fell out, his digestive system collapsed so that he could not eat solid food… he had convulsions when he vomited blood and suffered headaches so violent that he beat his head against the walls of his cell.”

    [ … ] In 1933 he was moved from the prison at Turi to a clinic at Formia, but was still being denied adequate medical attention. Two years later he was moved to the Quisisana clinic in Rome. He was due for release on 21 April 1937 and planned to retire to Sardinia for convalescence, but a combination of arteriosclerosis, pulmonary tuberculosis, high blood pressure, angina, gout, and acute gastric disorders meant that he was too ill to move.

    Of course, this miscarriage of justice occurred under a Fascist regime.

    Just saying….

    • Courtenay Barnett

      Alan Heffez,

      A most important post you have made here.

      The questions to my mind are:-

      A. Can the US/UK not see the debasement its judicial processes have already sunk into? Your historical analogy only amplifies the point.

      B. The point – Gramsci – ‘parliamentary immunity’ – and in Assange’s case – ‘freedom of expression and journalistic protection as in the US
      Daniel Ellsberg case and New York Times.’

      C. The system has already debased itself – in ways which in fact do bear direct comparison to Gramsci – indeed.

      Thank you for posting.

    • Giyane

      Alan Heffez

      The US and the Tories are arming Fascists in Ukraine. Does the fact that they would arm garden gnomes if they thought they could do proxy warfare for them , mean that the US and Tories are only multi billion dollar backers of fascism? I bet there a good few fascist Islamists on the border against Russia in Ukraine.

      In Birmingham, my local mosque has become Islamist under the influence of the imam. They are now hassling me and I have had to change the locks on my house because of them. When you think about it, the vast majority of people would prefer fascism to having to engage their brains. Very few will actively defend somebody being physically harassed for using their brains.

        • Giyane


          If an SIS agent came up to you fluttering their eyelashes and offering you cash, would you spy on and intimidate your neighbours? Or if your news provider told you war was about to break out inside Europe and the PM who presided over the Russophobic Skripal lies was publicly talking about his birthday party, would you believe him?

          What kind of fantasy universe do SIS inhabit? I stick to the good old Brummie phrase ” carry on and take no notice. ” YCNMIU. Party games.

          • M.J.

            I agree that if someone wanted us to spy on others, or intimidate them (which sounds even worse), we should tell them to do their own dirty work. But seriously, if we know that someone is planning to blow up something that would injure people, and especially if they won’t listen to advice to stay away from such evildoing, shouldn’t we report it as good citizens to prevent injury? There could be lots of kids and their Mums visiting city centres like Brum.

          • Giyane


            If an imam , very young though he is, is radicalised by the Security forces’ agent for radicalisation and recruitment for jihad, there is nothing to stop him radicalising his flock , some of whom might blow up families in England and others of whom might concentrate on trashing the Middle East.

            Julian Assange was reporting on USUKIS when they were sending their own forces to fight their colonial battles. Now it is all done by proxy mercenaries.

            Q. Is USUKIS desperate to extinguish the truth about their own forces’ crimes ? Or are they really desperate to prevent the narrative about their proxies’ crimes from ever getting written about?
            A. The former. The big names in criminality are powerful enough and mad enough to think that silencing Assange will purify their legacies. Tho current batch of USUKIS nutters will concentrate on pinning all the blame on their proxies. And anybody who is stupid enough to carry the can for US billionaires needs their head tested.

          • M.J.

            Giyane, why would an imam be radicalised by the Security forces? Aren’t they trying to promote moderation to prevent foolish and destructive behaviour? Isn’t that what their “Prevent” program (if it still exists) is trying to do?

          • Stewart

            @M.J. 17:53

            “why would an imam be radicalised by the Security forces?”

            You sound awfully young, or naive. Ask yourself instead “what would happen to the Security Services’ budgets if there was no terrorism?” or “How would governments justify the hellish surveillance state that we are sleepwalking in to if there was no terrorism?”
            Begin to realise that almost all of the “terrorists” we have had to endure over the decades and centuries (whether Irish republican, Islamist or white supremacist) were “known” to the Security Services before they committed their atrocities.
            Then read “Low intensity operations” by Frank Kitson:
            or Daniele Ganser’s book “NATO’s secret armies” about “Gladio” and the so-called “Strategy of tension”
            It is a tried and tested means of control

          • Clark

            Giyane, Jan 26, 14:14 – “If an imam , very young though he is, is radicalised by the Security forces’ agent for radicalisation and recruitment for jihad, there is nothing to stop him radicalising his flock , some of whom might blow up families in England and others of whom might concentrate on trashing the Middle East.”

            That is a very succinct description. These jihadis are like firecrackers; once primed, some will go off but you can’t predict where. Those who go off in “enemy” territory are labelled “rebels” and “freedom fighters” against the filthy dictator, and can be given support, training, equipment and weapons. Those who go off in “allied” territory are labelled “terrorists”, and serve as an excuse to extend domestic surveillance and remove civil liberties.

            Doubters can search on “the Covenant of Security” and Rachel North. It has been this way since Abdulaziz Al Saud machine-gunned his own forces in the 1929 Battle of Sabilla. The USA got on board in 1945 with the Quincey Agreement.

            The resentment from each betrayal help radicalise the next generation of jihadis.

      • Rhys Jaggar

        Giyane – look forward to the NHS harassing you too. That happened to me early in the Noughties – they are just as full of Security Service drones as anyone else. You get promoted faster in the NHS if you join the security services – sick as f**k, what??

        • M.J.

          I don’t see anyone working for the NHS having time to do anything else – they’d be just too busy. I knew one GP decades ago, call him Dr. S, who also tried doing a part time degree, as he wanted to do medical research. As well as bringing up a family! Dr. S. told me it felt like being “hammered”. Months after our conversation he was gone – heart attack. There were lots of people at his funeral, though.

        • Giyane

          Rhys Jagger

          Last time.i went to the hospital to see a consultant about my knee about 4 years ago, he asked me almost immediately if I was a new Muslim and where I prayed. Within an instant we were on to why Assad had to be attacked.

          Another consultant i met through work asked me if I was from Syria. He wanted to show off his jihadist sympathies. He was a psychiatrist working with alcohol addicts.

          Today a survivor of the Holocaust was talking on Radio 4 about the ordinariness of the guards who worked on the transportation of Jewish victims of the fascists. Today , the day Mr Wallace said he will send more troops to help the Ukramian fascists. Not forgetting the Labour leader who had very good relations with local synagogues but who was put through the security services mincer and extruded as an Anti Semite.

          Plenty of people in the world who have strong principles that lying is always right. The BBC is having a week investigating the psychology of terrorism. Wall to wall interviews with real headchoppers , as a prelude to the false flag in Ukraine next week..

          Norhing whatsoever to do with Alexander piffle jobsworth.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      When you start to fight them, just have at the centre of your mind that they consider ‘acceptable collateral damage’ to be a normal part of maintaining power.

      It’s very hard to think like them without becoming like them……

      • MI0

        Granted, and the title of the article has more force as a rallying cry than a programme which ordinary folk can do much about (unlike people such as Craig who have both the courage and the know-how).

        But I still think it has some force, all the same.

      • MI0

        Thanks – I find many articles there to be rewarding and sometimes encouraging when the BS from our mainstream media becomes too much.

  • marc molitor

    The next steps in this case are described in the April 2021 defence memorandum:

    More especially in the pages 33-41

    Perhaps Craig’s assumption is correct, but if Assange loses in the Supreme Court, the defence will then activate its appeal against the other aspects of Barrister’s first judgment, relating to freedom of expression, press, alleged espionage, etc…

    • Peter Mo

      Thanks for the link.

      I feel the lawyers for Assange are overthinking things and playing into the hands of the “enemy”
      This by putting forward numerous convoluted paragraphs on the fact US assurances were not presented at the initial phase when all that was needed was reminding the court of the fundamental principle of law that appeals are not there for introducing new material that should have belonged at the earlier stage.
      Therefore an opening has been presented for the prosecution to argue that extradition hearings are somehow different and the Supreme Court should create new case law.
      Keeping it all simple and to basics always works best.

      • Courtenay Barnett

        Peter Mo,

        Maybe as you say.

        Seems to me that Assange’s lawyers can factually demonstrate a further point. That is the number of times the US has given assurances then once the extradited person is in their custody breached those very undertakings and assurances previously given.

    • Coldish

      Brian Fujisan (25 Jan, 12.10): having read the German original when it came out last year, I can recommend Melzer’s book. It is long (336pp in the version I read), detailed and polemic. Melzer, whose full title in English is the United Nations ‘Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’, only became involved in the Assange case from December 2018, but has given it plenty of attention since then, tracing it back to Wikileaks’ publication of the Collateral Murder video and the subsequent events in Sweden in 2010. Melzer’s account of visiting Assange in Belmarsh would be hilarious if it was not so tragic.
      He is also a Professor of International Law in the University of Glasgow.

      • BrianFujisan

        Thanks for adding additional info… Helps for new readers.

        I suspect you and many others would be interested in Nils talking to Randy Credico,and Roger Waters.. It was Filmed before Monday’s Hearing ..Bur worth a watch –

        Nils Melzer, The Trial of Julian Assange with co-host Roger Waters: 1.o5.31 mins

      • Lysias

        On the strength of your recommendation, I just ordered Melzer’s book in English for my Kindle. Even though I could have gotten it in German for my Kindle now, whereas I won’t get it in English until Feb. 6, I ordered it in English for three reasons. (1) The English is less than half the price. (2) I read English with more ease than German. (3) For all I know, the English version may have additional material. It is being published a year later than the German. Apparently, Melzer himself did the translating, so he would have had the opportunity to add material.

        • Mats Burman

          Interesting that it has taken so long for an English translation to appear. We have had it in Swedish since October of last year.

          And I can recommend it! Also, I’m ashamed of the way Swedish authorities have behaved . . .

    • Scott

      I ordered this from the independent bookstore Blackwell’s. Blackwell’s also has the advantage of being competitive on price and offering free postage to customers in the EU.

      Kind regards,

  • Sovereign Mary

    The description of the court and the seating position of the judge makes one feel like a lowly ant with Paul Bunyan’s humongous booted foot direly, dangerously and precariously dangling above the defendant’s head … ready to horrifically and bloodily obliterate the poor soul in an instant!

    • Wikikettle

      Today’s PMQ’s was yet another grotesque baying goons show. One side pushing party gate the other saying they are busy working on Ukraine. Pox on all your houses.

      • Goose

        Labour are quite happy getting personal now.

        They say in the US, as the differences between the parties narrowed, the most viciously personal things became as they try to differentiate. All the polarisation around Trump simply obscured the fact that the same players were shaping policy.

        Here, even if an election is the end result of this weird ‘partygate, cakegate’ and tomorrow’s coup coup de grâce ‘cup of tea and a biscuitgate’ feigned media outrage. Wouldn’t expect Starmer to lift a finger on Julian’s behalf, having played an lively role in putting him where he is.

        The scariest thing about Julian’s whole ordeal is in the fact no one even contends that he’s a man who deals in truth.

        ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ (John 8:31-32)

        Or alternatively, in the UK, land you in a maximum security jail.

        • Rhys Jaggar

          You think Nancy Pelosi is more human than Donald Trump? How about Hillary Clinton??

          No difference whatsoever between either party in the US – they all vote through defence spending on the nod, they all agree to foreign wars on the nod. They all allow the super-rich to avoid paying taxes. Everything else is window dressing.

          In the USA, there is one party with two ‘f**k you dresses’. You get the choice whether to get f***ed by a dominatrix wearing red or blue……

          • Goose

            It apparently costs around a billion dollars to run a Presidential campaign. This obviously gives wealthy donors, media barons and certain organisations like AIPAC far too much clout and sway over not only who gets the nod to run, but who serves in any eventual administration. Their endorsement is seen as vital and if they disapprove of a candidacy, that individual will be stymied by the party hierarchy, as Sanders found out in 2016 and 2020. The US is an oligarchy. Everyone knows the problems, campaign finance reform has been talked about for decades, but it seems too embedded to fix.

            This leaves the US vulnerable though. Take the present day crisis in Ukraine, I’d wager if Russia announced that they along with China were in advanced talks on a defence pact with Iran, making US and Israeli JCPOA threats meaningless, the US would quickly seek a diplomatic solution in Ukraine along the lines of putting pressure on Kyiv to implement their end of the Minsk agreements – as it should anyway. Such is the Israeli lobby’s grip over US policy making and key administration figures.

          • Stewart

            “This obviously gives wealthy donors, media barons and certain organisations like AIPAC far too much clout and sway”

            You are understating the case – unimaginable wealth coupled with almost complete control of the media makes it essentially IMPOSSIBLE for an “independent” or “unapproved” candidate to even enter the race

          • Goose


            Not just news media. The connected wider entertainment industry too. I’ve got an older relative who enjoys watching NCIS, and the plots in that against the US invariably involve Iranian (or Iranian supported Hezbollah) and Palestinian terrorists – i.e., writers’ conditioning their US audiences to hate ordinary Palestinians and side with Israel.
            The US army will only allow its military hardware to be used/shown in films that paint them in an heroic light. Then there are all these endless Marvel superhero films that paint the world as ‘black and white’, with the US fighting for the good of humanity.

            Corporate media consolidation has meant we’ve lost artistic freedom. The 1970s with all those edgy conspiracy thrillers and films based on real power abuses, seem a long time ago. I read about the difficulties film director Oliver Stone faced getting funding for JFK (1992). Society is being taught to worship Big brother and not to question authority.

            Control freaks and corporate media consolidation are destroying what we call ‘freedom’ in the West, all to protect elites.

          • Goose


            On free speech erosion . It’s become difficult to even express criticism…

            Expressing a dislike of US foreign policy which involves: backing military coups by pro-US forces; supporting terrorists (Al Nusra, ISIS in Syria, and ETIM in Xinjiang). Supporting regime change wars built on false dossiers. Proven destabilisation efforts around the entire globe. Supporting brutal despots in: Egypt, KSA, Bahrain et al who crush pro-democracy movements with our US/UK help, leaving hundreds of thousands of political prisoners behind bars, while said despots are invited too No.10 and the White House all smiles. Suppression of Palestinian voice. All this, while painting themselves as the world’s good guys.

            And it’s obnoxious that there are morons who say to hold these opinions, you HAVE to be in support of autocratic regime X or Y and their leaders. I’ll happily criticise Putin as an autocrat who has been in power too long, and China’s authoritarianism too.

            But we shouldn’t pretend we’re some shining example of goodness.

          • M.J.

            Indeed Nancy Pelosi is more human than Trump. I am surprised that anyone would doubt it. The same goes for Hillary, who would not abandon 10 million Afghan women to their fate.

  • xyz


    thanks for ur efforts and continued support.

    is it possible for you to take a few pictures from your court encounters and publish them here?

    (visuals always important for people)

    never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever give up

  • Rosemary MacKenzie

    Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden are on the nomination list for the Nobel Peace Prize. They should be the winners!

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Have you got a bigger bribe to pay than those who funded Obama to be awarded the prize for getting elected??

      • M.J.

        Agree that Obama shouldn’t have been given it. To give a Nobel without concrete accomplishment brings it into disrepute.

    • M.J.

      I don’t think whistle-blowing is an accomplishment meriting the Nobel prize, though it may be brave and commendable in itself.

  • Gordon Nudd

    Why talk about the americans – it’s the british politicians that need to be put on trial. If you think about it carefully, you have to come to the conclusion that the most important people in any society are the whistle blowers.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Without public knowledge of what threats the Americans have made, it is impossible to evaluate what to think about UK politicians.

      I want it all out in the open, how the abusive husband thwacks the wife time and again because she occasionally refuses to give him a BJ……

      • Giyane

        Rhys Jagger

        Sighing, ‘ Oh my lovely husband ‘ , at every manly fwack .
        [ Donald duck metaphor, for the loving threesome us uk is. Not my opinions, warning satire present ]

        • Wikikettle

          Meanwhile – US delivers a written reply to Russian demands for its security needs to be taken into account in NATOs ever expansion to its borders. Lavrov reports the US wants its reply to be kept secret from the public ?! And that to its core demands have been rejected. He said the matter is with the President ominously. Blinken says the ball is in the Russian side now ! I would urge Boris to remove all our troops trainers and so called advisors forthwith. Expect something other than a ball to be returned.

          • nevermind

            Agreed, pull our troops and advisors/trainers out of Ukraine. Maybe together with a public information campaign explaining why Ukraine is part of the Russian influence sphre and why NATO has turned into a toxic body speaking more for the arms conglomerates than they represent its members views and that of votets.
            Rest assured, they seem to be prepared to ollow up on the 357 fatalities in Afghanistan, another attack on a non NATO country is likely.
            There are some that want to challenge Putins Russia and Im sure that II arr working on it.

      • Tom Welsh

        They are all guilty of appalling crimes. No one is forced to become a political or business leader.

        “I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it”.
        – Lord Acton (Letter to Bishop Creighton, 1887)

      • Wikikettle

        No one talks about what the population of Ukraine want. A majority reject the Neo Nazis and want co existence with Russia. The ethnic Russian speakers make up about 20 to 25 percent of the population. We never hear their views on the media. Russia has no advantage in invading and trying to hold on to Ukraine. It will only intervene if the Nationalists attack the Eastern Russian speakers who they have already threatened to “cleanse “. No doubt Russia now will appeal to individual members of NATO directly and ask they not allow US troops, missiles and bases on their territory in return for cast iron guarantees. There is some hope, Bulgaria has agreed to this. I am sure the populations of Europe don’t want to fight a US war. The Establishments and Media of all EU states have been captured by corruption blackmail and simple greed. Their Military Leadership, have in their ranks adults with the knowledge of the horrors their soldiers and populations face. The German Admiral spoke out and had to resign. Prospects Not looking good.

          • Wikikettle

            Goose. Lavrov’s long road of diplomacy with his eloquent reasoned evidence based arguments has come to an end tragically. He was the epitome of the professional diplomat, with witt,style and intellect. He did his best, but his counterparts were ignorant of history, past assurances and treaties. Their political masters back in the States even more retarded with corruption. Now the matter has been passed on to the Generals, who’s job it is to defend Russia and take the appropriate measures, as they did in securing Sevastipol and Tartus. NATO is not unified in its suicidal advance on Russia. Russia is not Serbia, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine or Yemen. Russia has in only two decades regained its dignity and its population is steeped in the past history of struggle against Hitler invading through Ukraine. The hubris and arrogance of the Collective West knew no bounds till the day they went to far.

        • Goose


          Reported: EU & UK planning massive sanctions against Russia – The measures would come into effect if Russia invades Ukraine.

          So basically, all Kyiv have to do is start indiscriminately shelling civilian areas in the East again. Russia – across the border- naturally and understandably, not willing to stand by while ethnic cleansing takes place, respond to defend them. And the EU comes crashing down on….Russia?

          And the EU thinks that’s a sensible foreign policy position? Where are the obligations on Kyiv not to conduct war crimes?

          • Goose

            “President Volodymyr Zelensky compares Russia-Ukraine situation to movie Don’t Look Up.”

            Afaik, because I haven’t seen it, in ‘Don’t Look Up’, they didn’t try to deliberately steer (or provoke) the meteor into hitting them?

            Maybe Zelensky should quit politics and go back to playing the piano with his penis?

          • Squeeth

            At least Caesar hasn’t mentioned chemical or biological warfare red line incitements this time. As for sanctions, well, zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

        • PearsMorgain

          In 1994 Russia gave Ukraine ‘cast iron guarantees’ regarding it’s borders and sovereignty in exchange for Ukraine giving up it’s share of the Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal. If these guarantees prove to be worthless no one’s going to take Russia’s word for anything ever again.

          • Goose

            That was before the US triggered Maidan revolution – a coup possibly in response to frustration over Russian success in thwarting US planned regime change in Syria, a few months earlier? One of the big reasons the UK parliament voted against action in Syria, was the prospect of confrontation with Russia. Syria is home to Russian Navy’s only Mediterranean repair and replenishment point, in the form of the facility in Tartus.

            The Maidan revolution infuriated Russia, they lost an ally inn President Viktor Yanukovych, and much of Ukraine lost its democratically elected leader. Victoria Nuland a high-positioned US diplomat was pictured encouraging plus sharing food and shaking hands with the protest leaders. Imagine for a moment, US reaction to Russian officials behaving like that among the January 6th Capitol ‘insurrection’ crowd.

            Russia was faced with a decision; do nothing and lose the Crimea Sevastopol Naval Base, home to its Black Sea Fleet, or annex the Russian speaking peninsula – all due to a US led putsch in Kyiv. I don’t know if annexing Crimea was the correct decision, historians can argue over that. But after what happened in Kyiv it left the Russians with a tough choice.

          • casperger

            Pears, I’m impressed by the way you can quote one tiny bit of history to make a point, while disregarding the rest.
            Is that something that comes naturally, or did somebody teach you?

          • Kaiama

            We can all argue until the cows come home about whether it was or was not an annexation. I would just add that Western invited observers deliberately did not go for the referenda there – not because they were regarded as illegitimate, but but because they knew 20k Russian military were unlikely to be able to force 2 million people to vote in a particular way. I saw videos of the lines of people waiting to vote, and voting at many polling stations. I also saw the celebrations when they joined with the Russian Federation. 100’s of thousands of people lining the streets and watching the celebrations. You can’t fake that sort of support. You can only refuse to cover it – and the western MSM did refuse to cover it. Compared to the shenanigans of Trump, Biden it was straight forward. I do not buy the annexation bleating.

          • Stevie boy

            I believe the UK gave cast iron guarantees to the Arabs in 1914-18 with regard to self rule, homelands and Palestine ! Luckily those guarantees didn’t turn out to be worthless otherwise no-one would trust the UK … oh wait !

          • Tatyana

            Of course, they do not send observers, nor journalists! After all, the expected pictures should be like in Syria, with brutal government troops and beautiful-hearted moderate rebels. But this is not the case in Crimea. Instead, they will see people happy with their choice, and that leaves no room for sensationalist articles, arms sales, or whatever the Western trader might be interested in.

            Those who dare to visit Crimea and see the situation with their own eyes do not let themselves be fooled.
            Like Germany, some politicians in which speak directly about the US’s commercial interests in selling energy, which contradicts European and russsian interests.
            And, just recently, Croatia – President Zoran Milanovic stated that he would withdraw the Croatian military from the NATO contingent in Eastern Europe, in case if an armed conflict breaks out between Russia and Ukraine. He said bluntly that Washington is behaving inconsistently and dangerously and is responsible for the crisis.

          • Tatyana

            Ukraine, with its incompetent state administration, is falling apart, and blames Russia for this.
            You are appealing to the Ukrainian-Russian agreements.
            Leave Russia alone.
            What is relevant is Ukrainian-Crimean relations.
            What agreements did Ukraine have with the Autonomous Republic of Crimea? Can you link to the docs?

          • PearsMorgain

            Russia should leave Ukraine alone. The state of its administration is not Russia’s business. An invasion would be as illegal as the US-UK invasion of Iraq in 2003.

          • Republicofscotland

            Germany has decided not to send weapons to Ukraine, this comes on top of Germany refusing the UK to allow it to use its airspace to deliver weapons to Ukraine, incidentally one flight left from Scotland to Ukraine carrying weapons, not in my name I say. Meanwhile Hungary has refused Nato to allow extra Nato troops into the country.

          • Tatyana

            Ukrainian administration should leave Russians alone. The government is as illegal as Guaido thing, and as disgusting as Nazi. They discriminate against ethnic Russians, it IS Russia’s business. Make a move on Donbass and you will see what a real invasion looks like.

          • PearsMorgain

            Ukraine held a referendum in 1991 and 90% voted for a break from Russia. Ukraine is no longer Russia’s problem. Is it really worth Russia’s young men dying for?

          • Tatyana

            In 2014 Crimea run a referendum and 90% voted for a break from Ukraine. Crimea is populated with people. They don’t approve of the path that Ukraine have chosen.
            Please stop speaking about Crimea as of uninhabited island on the far outskirts of the planet.

          • Johnny Conspiranoid


            Whataboutery provides important context for judging the honesty and and integrity of people and so for predicting their future behaviour and in assessing whether they are telling the truth or not. Only those who wish to avoid such judgement would invent a boo-word for it.
            For instance I don’t believe that Russia is massing its forces on the Ukrainian border because it comes from an obviously biased source, the BBC. This is most likely a psy-op by the west to groom its own population for a trade and diplomatic war with Russia, which will be combined with colour revolution methods of inducing ‘spontaneous’ uprisings usings jihadi mercenaries in central asia, Chechniya etc. The general population of the west will be the only ones that suffer.
            Russia does not want to enter country 404, why would it? Crimea is the only bit they needed and they voted to be russian.

          • zoot

            the term ‘ whataboutery ‘ was deliberately put into circulation by the cia in the 1950s to try and shut down irritating citations of worse behaviour by the west.

          • Republicofscotland

            It would appear that only the US and the UK are pushing for war, even the Ukrainian president Zelensky doesn’t want it.

            Meanwhile US/UK propaganda could backfire on them.

            “KYIV, Jan 23 (Reuters) – Former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevhen Murayev derided British allegations that he could be installed as leader of a Kremlin puppet government in Kyiv, and told Reuters in an interview that he was considering legal action.
            Britain’s foreign ministry said on Sunday that Moscow was considering Murayev as a potential candidate to lead Ukraine if Russia launched an invasion, and said Russian intelligence officers were in contact with several other former Ukrainian politicians about planning an attack.”

  • Beata

    There is an interview [from 1994] with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn which explains how Russian lands were incorporated into Ukraine in the past
    Also, after 2014 referendum the BBC [sic!] printed an interview with Yuri Meshkov who was the first – and so far only – president of Crimea. He was elected in 1994, by a landslide, on a platform of reuniting the Ukrainian peninsula with Russia.
    Crimea was supposed to have autonomous status within Ukraine, but the latter changed its mind and new constitution was brought in to incorporate Crimea into Ukraine.
    Here is the longer excerpt from Solzhenitsyn interview in the Forbes magazine in 1994:

    For Americans, many of whom still tend to regard Russia through a Cold War-distorting lens, Solzhenitsyn’s passionate defense of Russia makes moving reading.

    Forbes: Tension is mounting between Russia and the now independent Ukraine, with the West strongly backing Ukrainian territorial integrity. Henry Kissinger argues that Russia will always threaten the interests of the West, no matter what kind of government it has.

    Solzhenitsyn: Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, [historian] Richard Pipes and many other American politicians and publicists are frozen in a mode of thought they developed a long time ago. With unchanging blindness and stubbornness they keep repeating and repeating this theory about the supposed age-old aggressiveness of Russia, without taking into consideration today’s reality.

    Well, what about Ukraine? Hasn’t Russia made threats toward several of the former U.S.S.R. member states?

    Imagine that one not very fine day two or three of your states in the Southwest, in the space of 24 hours, declare themselves independent of the U.S. They declare themselves a fully sovereign nation, decreeing that Spanish will be the only language. All English-speaking residents, even if their ancestors have lived there for 200 years, have to take a test in the Spanish language within one or two years and swear allegiance to the new nation. Otherwise they will not receive citizenship and be deprived of civic, property and employment rights.

    What would be the reaction of the United States? I have no doubt that it would be immediate military intervention.

    But today Russia faces precisely this scenario. In 24 hours she lost eight to 10 purely Russian provinces, 25 million ethnic Russians who have ended up in this very way–as “undesirable aliens.” In places where their fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers have lived since way back–even from the 17th century–they face persecution in their jobs and the suppression of their culture, education and language.
    Meanwhile, in Central Asia, those wishing to leave are not permitted to take even their personal property. The authorities tell them, “There is no such concept as ‘personal property’!”

    And in this situation “imperialist Russia” has not made a single forceful move to rectify this monstrous mess. Without a murmur she has given away 25 million of her compatriots–the largest diaspora in the world!

    You see Russia as the victim of aggression, not as the aggressor.

    Who can find in world history another such example of peaceful conduct? And if Russia keeps the peace in the single most vital question that concerns her, why should one expect her to be aggressive in secondary issues?

    With Russia in chaos, it does sound a bit far-fetched to see her as an aggressor.

    Russia today is terribly sick. Her people are sick to the point of total exhaustion. But even so, have a conscience and don’t demand that–just to please America–Russia throw away the last vestiges of her concern for her security and her unprecedented collapse. After all, this concern in no way threatens the United States.

    Former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski disagrees. He argues that the U.S. must defend the independence of Ukraine.

    In 1919, when he imposed his regime on Ukraine, Lenin gave her several Russian provinces to assuage her feelings. These provinces have never historically belonged to Ukraine. I am talking about the eastern and southern territories of today’s Ukraine.

    Then, in 1954, Khrushchev, with the arbitrary capriciousness of a satrap, made a “gift” of the Crimea to Ukraine. But even he did not manage to make Ukraine a “gift” of Sevastopol, which remained a separate city under the jurisdiction of the U.S.S.R. central government. This was accomplished by the American State Department, first verbally through Ambassador Popadiuk in Kiev and later in a more official manner.

    Why does the State Department decide who should get Sevastopol? If one recalls the tactless declaration of President Bush about supporting Ukrainian sovereignty even before the referendum on that matter, one must conclude that all this stems from a common aim: to use all means possible, no matter what the consequences, to weaken Russia.

    Why does independence for Ukraine weaken Russia?

    As a result of the sudden and crude fragmentation of the intermingled Slavic peoples, the borders have torn apart millions of ties of family and friendship. Is this acceptable? The recent elections in Ukraine, for instance, clearly show the [Russian] sympathies of the Crimean and Donets populations. And a democracy must respect this.

    I myself am nearly half Ukrainian. I grew up with the sounds of Ukrainian speech. I love her culture and genuinely wish all kinds of success for Ukraine–but only within her real ethnic boundaries, without grabbing Russian provinces. And not in the form of a “great power,” the concept on which Ukrainian nationalists have placed their bets. They are acting out and trumpeting a cult of force, persistently inflating Russia into the image of an “enemy.” Militant slogans are proclaimed. And the Ukrainian army is being indoctrinated with the propaganda that war with Russia is inevitable.

    For every country, great power status deforms and harms the national character. I have never wished great power status for Russia, and do not wish it for the United States. I don’t wish it for Ukraine. She would not be able to perform even the cultural task required to achieve great power status: In her current borders, 63% of the population consider Russian to be their native language, a number three times larger than the number of ethnic Russians. And all these people will have to be re-educated in the Ukrainian language, while the language itself will have to be raised to international standards and usage. This is a task that would require over 100 years.

    This interview was first published as “Zhirinovsky Is An Evil Caricature Of A Russian Patriot–An Interview With Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,” by Paul Klebnikov, in the May 9, 1994, issue of Forbes magazine.

    • Wikikettle

      Beata. I am very grateful for your time to explain this. The quality of the readership is outstanding. Craig’s articles and the contributions of comments add such detail as to increase our understanding of current events informed by the light directed at histories that brought us to where we are now. Hoping beyond hope that knowledge thus attained will change our course from disaster.

      • Beata

        Wikikettle, I’m glad you found the information useful. There are still people who write intelligently about most pressing issues of today. Unfortunately their views are not reflected in the general coverage by the media, as readers of Craig’s blog surely know.
        I feel a bit guilty to write about Russia here, when Craig’s post was about Julian Assange. But how can you help veering off in a different direction when so many things are happening?
        Recently I’ve read two posts by Paul Robinson, a professor at the University of Ottawa. One was about CSTO countries going into Kazakhstan and the West’s assertions they would never leave. The second was about supposed Russian invasion of Ukraine. Here are two excerpts and links if anybody would like to read more:

        “The rapid spread of violence in Kazakhstan generated hopes in some circles that the mob would topple the “regime” and install a new government that would somehow or other distance the country from Russia. Alternatively, the hope was that “democracy” would arrive in Kazakhstan. With this, another brick in the wall of authoritarianism would collapse, bringing closer the day when it would collapse in Russia too.
        All this was somewhat unspoken, but once the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which includes Russia, announced that it would send troops to help restore order in Kazakhstan, and once Kazakh forces took the offensive and began clearing away anti-government protestors, all these hopes were dashed. The Kazakh government isn’t out of the woods yet. Protests continue in several cities, and things could still go horribly wrong. But at the moment it’s looking like the regime will survive. The internet’s keyboard warriors and online regime changers are seriously annoyed and looking for someone to blame. The guilty party is obvious – Russia.
        However, despite the headlines in today’s newspapers about Russia sending troops to “quell” the uprising, the Kazakh state’s survial has little to do with the Russians or the CSTO. It seems as if the CSTO contingent in Kazakhstan will amount to no more than about 2,500 troops, which for a country that size is a tiny quantity. The role of the CSTO is largely symbolic – it sends a message to protestors and Kazakh security forces alike that the government isn’t backing down and has powerful external support. That should deter some of the former while putting a bit of steel in the spines of the latter. Perceptions of strength matter in situations like this, and thus the CSTO’s support perhaps makes a slight difference. But the hard work of restoring order belongs largely to the Kazakhs themselves. Whatever the press tells you, “Russia” isn’t “putting down” the uprising.”

        About possible invasion of Ukraine:

        “In fact, detailed analysis of Russian behaviour reveals considerable caution and restraint, even when using military power. There is absolutely no precedent in post-Soviet times for anything like a full- scale invasion of Ukraine being launched without any provocation whatsoever. This is a point that is well made in an article by Russian journalist Leonid Radzikhovsky in The Insider, a publication not exactly noted for being pro-Putin – on the contrary, it is a regular thorn in the Russian authorities’ side and is designated as a ‘foreign agent’ by the Ministry of Justice over links to overseas funding. Radzikhovsky comments that those who think Russia will invade Ukraine assume that Putin is a maniac in the mould of Adolf Hitler. But there is absolutely no reason to believe that he is.
        In 2008, Radzikhovsky notes, the Russians had destroyed the Georgian Army. They could have entirely conquered Georgia if they had wanted. Instead, they turned around and went home. Would Hitler have done such a thing? Certainly not.
        Likewise, in 2014, following the Battle of Ilovaisk, the way was open for pro-Russian separatists to advance as far westwards as they wanted, “to seize Odessa, Kharkov, and go on to Kiev.” They could easily have been followed by the Russian Army, and the Ukrainians would have been in no position to resist. Kiev alleges Moscow’s forces were embedded alongside the separatists – a position Russia has consistently denied. Whatever the case, they didn’t push on further into Ukraine.
        None of this suggests that Putin or the Russian leadership as a whole are Hitlerite lunatics bent on invading and occupying a foreign country. Rather, it points to a system that is prepared to use force when necessary, but which imposes very strict limits on it when it does. This is, of course, somewhat different to the approach of the United States and its allies, which have shown themselves quite willing to engage in total war, as they did in their invasion of Iraq. “

          • Tatyana

            Beata, actually I am 🙂 I live very close to potential military conflict area.
            My hopes are for my government, who seem like mostly acting of the interests of my people. Obligatory disclaimer here: I don’t consider them crystal honest people and I believe they are corrupted
            Looks like we finally have something other than drunkard Eltsyn, naivete Gorbachev, greedy Khrushchev or tyrant Stalyn. I respect Lavrov very much. I observe the changes in my country with approval. Just give us some time to restore and a bit of goodwill, and we will contribute gratefully and generously into international society development. We lagged some 70 years behind and now we are gaining the distance.

    • M.J.

      “Ethnic Russians.. In places where their fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers have lived since way back–even from the 17th century–they face persecution in their jobs and the suppression of their culture”.

      This is an eye-opener, that the ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine weren’t simply Soviet imports. To what extent does this apply to the Baltic states or Kazakhstan, I wonder.

      • M.J.

        In the light of Solzhenitsyn’s interview, as well as the recent history of Georgia, here’s a possible prediction of what will happen: the Russians won’t invade Kyiv. The Belarusian troops are just a bluff. Nor will the Russians try to invade NATO countries like the Baltic states. They will invade Eastern Ukraine, as they did Crimea, hold a referendum, and on the strength of the result annex it. NATO will do precisely nothing – because it will order its troops to stay around Kyiv to guard it, having only numbers enough to do that. Biden will end up looking like a loser, and if he resigns on grounds of ill-health, Kamala Harris will become the first woman President of the United States.

        • Tom Welsh

          Actually, M.J. I think it more likely that they might hold a referendum without any Russian soldier setting foot in Ukraine. That would make it crystal clear that Russia is not using force.

          If the Ukrainians or anyone else attacks the LDNR, that is a different matter. Russia would be entitled – perhaps obliged – to defend the civilians of the LDNR against attempted genocide.

          • M.J.

            Who would hold the referendum unless the Russians invaded Ukrainian territory? I wasn’t aware that Eastern Ukraine as a whole had a competent government.

          • Johnny Conspiranoid

            “Who would hold the referendum unless the Russians invaded Ukrainian territory? I wasn’t aware that Eastern Ukraine as a whole had a competent government.”

            They seem to be well enough organised to resist the Ukraine army.
            The troops in Belarus may be a work of fiction.

        • M.J.

          If, as I suspect, Russia will invade and annex Eastern Ukraine, I predict that the rest of Ukraine will join NATO.

  • nevermind

    I am sure that most here signed the petition to free Julian and let him be united with his family, this kind of socio political torture backed up by a selective view looking through blood tinged glasses has got to stop.

    As for Pears above, how about keeping NATO to its words and commitment? ‘Not one inch into Eastern Europe’?
    why are you advocating some proxy war, when the BBC is duefully telling us that we are sending a serial liar over there to save his own skin.
    WHO IN THE WORLD WILL BELIEVE THIS CLOWN, dearest Pears? apart from you and some other clowns who are currently Failing to govern, pushing for war.?

    I am thankful for some countries in Europe who understand this folly and are not covering up their inabilities to govern their people like we are, cakes and parties, only interested in the armstrade and ballony.

    Tatyana, any chance of keeping Boris over there, a few years in a Gulag will make him appreciate and understand what Julian Asssnge feels like.
    Your delusion of grandeur in the east is pathetic

    • Goose

      Liz Truss today:

      “We cannot favour short term economic interests over the long term survival of freedom and democracy in Europe”

      Hysteria driven hyperbole.

      Has Truss forgotten a democratically elected leader, President Viktor Yanukovych, was overthrown in Ukraine in the Maidan protests? Hidden snipers taking out protesters, their deaths blamed on authorities? (BBC Newsnight reported) Or has no one at the FCO briefed her?

      Scarily some are tipping Truss for the leadership and to become UK PM. She combines the former Tory Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley’s ignorance, remember this astonishing quote from the 52-year old Bradley :

      “I didn’t understand things like when elections are fought, for example, in Northern Ireland – people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice versa”

      Bradley’s ignorance, with Iain Ducann Smith’s braggadocious, ‘we are invincible’ hawkishness. A terrible combination in any politician.

      And as for the other contender to throw his err… ‘hat’ in the ring thus far, Tom Tugendhat, read his wikispook’s profile which labels him a hawkish deep state functionary, and shiver.

      • Ingwe

        Goose, the problem with thinking that Truss’s ignorance is somehow a hindrance to her unmerited promotion in an otherwise duff career, is that it precisely because of her stupidity that she is likely to be pushed to be Prime minister of the UK. it is the security services and other secret organisations, with compliant civil service, legislature, army and police force that govern the UK.
        The last thing MI6 want is someone intelligent enough to think independently. Tugendhat is brighter than Truss (yes, a low bar) but he is part of the security apparatus and simply trumpets out their BS. Similar to Raab.
        I recommend that ‘Raab’ becomes a collective noun for arseholes running the country; eg “There is a Raab of spooks trying to maximise their budgets…”

    • Republicofscotland

      It interesting to note that as Germany pushes back on the USA’s “Russia is about to invade” narrative, the US State Department, has come out and said that if Russia invades Ukraine it will shutdown the Nordstream II pipeline.

      Now the US has nothing to do with the Nordstream II pipeline Russia owns it and Germany wants the gas piped in it, on top of this bold assertion by the US State Department, it will after it shuts down the pipeline arrange delivers of far more expensive liquid gas from the US to Europe.

      Just who the hell do the American government and it military machine think they are, they are not the world’s police force deciding which country can do deals with other countries. The USA is only in Europe to expand its wealth and military bases, I wish EU and European leaders would wake up to this and keep the USA at arms length before its too late and another disastrous war breaks out.

      • Goose


        The previous US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, received a stern rebuke from German politicians for his interference, when he all but demanded NS 2 be abandoned. Long before this current flare-up over Russian forces near Ukraine.

        And yes, the US wishes to sell Europe its Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

        Bizarrely, the US wants Russian gas to keep flowing through Ukraine though, because the govt in Kyiv gets millions in transit fees, while Ukraine have been known to siphon off gas destined for European customers – it’s not even a good pipeline host.

        Previous German Chancellor, Angela Merkel negotiated with the US to guarantee they, the German govt, would cover any Ukraine’s lost transit fees in return for the US not sanctioning companies involved in NS 2. As you can imagine the German public reacted angrily to the idea of having to compensate Ukraine.

        The US is obviously overreaching by trying to dictate German energy policy, and by which route Russia has to use to supply its gas.

        Given the cost of energy (esp. gas) in Europe, it’s hard to see how US strategic interests : containing Russia, selling LNG, and Europe’s interests align here?

      • Wikikettle

        EU leadership is there to spend its tax payers money in buying F35 which is secretly also a mini sub, very hexpensive….

      • Johnny Conspiranoid

        “The USA is only in Europe to expand its wealth and military bases, I wish EU and European leaders would wake up to this and keep the USA at arms length before its too late and another disastrous war breaks out.”

        If they woke up to it they would not be in office. The US gov. is about to replace Zelensky because he pointed out that Russia is not massing troops on the border. This is the kind of democracy that Liz Truss seems to want to die in a ditch for.

    • Tatyana

      Thank you, Courtenay.
      Some years ago we had discussion on Crimea and Russian history, and I made a short (actually not very short) collection of relating historical events.
      It doesn’t start in 17 century 🙂

      I hope it may become another eye-opener for @M.J. too, because they seem to believe that the Russians in Ukraine is smth imported! Oh, God! There was no state Ukraine, never before the USSR, M.J.
      It was Russia and its part called ‘minor-Russia’ aka modern Ukraine.

      • Tatyana

        Interesting that the next comment in that thread, made on June 20, 2020 says guess what? ‘Russian troops invading Ukraine’
        Ha ha ha
        Looks like it’s became already traditional Russian entertainment – to invade Ukraine often.

      • Goose

        If it wasn’t Ukraine it’d be somewhere else, Tatyana.

        Zelensky is just being used by the US and NATO Cold War revivalists. The US need a Russian threat to justify the trillion dollar defence budget, when US public infrastructure like bridges are falling down because of lack of govt funding. The recent Pittsburgh bridge collapse was one of thousands at high risk of collapse due to lack of money for maintenance. US health care is also patchy.

        Worth watching this from 2012:

        Election 2012 | Obama to Romney: Cold War Is Over – Third Presidential Debate | The New York Times (YouTube, 1m 40s)

        Obama mocking his opponent Mitt Romney for claiming Russia is a threat. The Cold War ended over 20 years ago Obama declares. In just 10 years we’ve gone from Russia being no threat whatsoever, to Russia being our No.1 adversary. All via a massive conditioning exercise.

        • Tatyana

          I know, Goose. I’ve got eyes and ears, so far it failed me nearly never 🙂
          I mean, a month-long christmas vacation at a luxury resort is somewhat wrong choice for a president, whose country faces a threat of full-scale invasion. Also, I see that consolating statement was issued by Zelensky after the stock market dropped down with the news on soon-to-be invasion. Yet, I understand what maybe the sense of the conversation that Biden was having with Zelensky after that cheerful addressing the Ukrainian nation. And, I guess I get it right why Trump and republicans demanded to disclose that conversation.
          I also see pretty clear that the US democrats are hypocrites, because they handed their answer to Russian draft treaty, and asked to keep it private.
          Now, Lavrov stated we are filing a claim to NATO and OBSE, demanding to clarify their position, literally, how do they intend to respect our right to secure ourselves.

          • Wikikettle

            Tatyana. Lavrov did his eloquent authorative best with his western counterparts. The proposals were rejected and Russia is no longer going to be messed around with un ending talks. The Matter is now with the President and the Generals to secure Russia, as they did Sevastipol and Crimea.

          • TonyT12

            How do we stop this ridiculous situation?

            The USA’s running away at max velocity from Afghanistan was disastrous for all parties: Americans, UK, NATO, EU, and especially Afghans who are starving in their hundreds of thousands as I write this. Here we are again revisiting the same mistake.

            No bodybags in Ukraine predicted except those of Ukrainians and Russians if Blinken, Nuland and Johnson get their way. This is a franchised war like McDonalds or KFC.

            No thank you.

            This is madness.

            Boris Johnson is dead meat on the way out. Truss is a crazed wannabe UK Prime Minister. Stoltenberg is leaving NATO in September to a cushy job in the NATO arms supply industry. Sedwill is on his way in as a Russia hater.

            What more do you need? Colin Powell at the UN?

          • Tatyana

            Wikikettle, please let me disagree. Russian mind is ‘anything but war’, so, while nobody is shooting, we will use diplomacy up to the loss of the slightest opportunity.

          • Wikikettle

            Tatyana. Zarif the Iranian foreign minister tried for years to negotiate with US on JCPOA. Only to be torn up by Obama and later by Trump. Congress has also to approve any treaty. Trump will or could be back. Obama signed but didn’t allow his banks to deal with Iran well before Trump. Fork tongue….

          • Tatyana

            Oh, Zarif! That sexy man!
            Well, the US is not the one and only country in our world. There are many of us, unique countries with our unique cultures and our unique life philosophies. Many may find common things to agree on, that’s the way to unite to achieve global piece.

          • Tatyana

            So cutieee cutieee cute of you! THANK YOU, Moderator team!

            You folks maybe don’t notice that’s a whole team of MODERATORS work behind the scenes! They do keep the discussion in the borders of decency. As, you know, Jefi, with their swords! And they do their job with no slightest sign of ever be thanked for what they do!
            Can we please say ‘huge thank you’ to the people behind the scenes? I believe, they have to make hard decisions every day!

          • Goose


            Here in the UK the most depressing thing about our main TV news media BBC, ITV, Ch4 and Sky and their coverage, is the lack of any mention of how divided Ukraine actually is and no mention of the Minsk (I &II) agreements and France and Germany’s efforts to revive that. It’s as though keeping folks ignorant is part of the plan.

            I’d argue they are doing the public in the UK a fundamental disservice. The tabloids are no better, then we have people like chickenhawk Luke Harding in the guardian. He’s in Kyiv, preparing for what he claims is the inevitable massive assault on Kyiv by Putin’s forces. Other supposedly highbrow broadsheets and individuals are just as bad, pushing the same stuff. Of course, I don’t know Russia’s thinking | intentions, but I’d imagine the very last thing Russia would want to do is occupy Ukraine’s west and Kyiv…far too hostile territory.

            As for Zelensky, he’s like a chess pawn in a bigger game. I don’t know his politics left/right but he’s clearly disposable. Right now he seeing capital flight (associated with conflict) which is the last thing he and impoverished Ukraine need. I read he ‘imminent’ war rhetoric has cost Ukraine around $5bn so far, though that figure is now probably out of date and higher still. Hence, as you mention, Zelensky’s decision to tell everyone in the west to stop talking-up invasions and calm down.

          • Tatyana

            Yes, Zelensky tries to calm them down (I’m sure Biden scolded him for that)
            Ukraine is a large agricultural country and understands some things that are somehow not obvious to many European politicians. All this virtual war with Russia not only enriches the military. It also led to a dangerous situation with extremely expensive energy.
            It’s already February and agriculture is getting ready for the season. With these energy prices, you will have extremely expensive fertilizers and processing.
            Remember my words in May when food prices skyrocket. Many will starve. Many enterprises go bankrupt and will drop out of agriculture in the next season.
            We went through this in the 90s. We then exchanged our oil for chicken legs from America. This is a meme in Russia, in fact the popular name is “Bush’s legs”.
            It is possible to ruin an agricultural enterprise in 1 season, but it takes years and even decades to re-start it. Land without cultivation quickly runs wild and becomes infertile. The same applies to orchards and vineyards. Raising a profitable self-sustaining livestock is difficult and time consuming. It’s even more difficult to establish standards for the processing industry. The whole complex mechanism may break down this summer both in Ukraine and in Europe.

  • Grhm

    Utterly off-topic. . (…or is it?)

    I wonder how many commenters on this blog participated in the RSPB’s “Big Garden Birdwatch” over the weekend.

    It’s a very worthwhile activity, and not just for its ‘citizen-science’ aspect.

    To spend an entire hour doing nothing but looking out for birds is highly therapeutic, I find.

    I did reasonably well this year, but I was disappointed not to see any starlings, which are my very favourite animals.

    It’s not just their so-called ‘murmurations’ – hypnotically beautiful feats of mass formation-flying – but also their character as individuals.

    They have serious attitude!

    A few years back when I was living in a seventh floor flat near the south coast, in summer I would sleep with the windows open. I’d be woken most mornings by the sound of ten or twenty starlings crowded onto the tops of the open leaves of the windows, hopping about, jostling for position and rowdily bickering with each other.

    A wonderful way to be woken up!

    But here’s the point: starlings are an excellent metaphor for socialism.

    A common right-wing critique of socialism is that for it to work, we all have to lose our individual character, and subsume our identities into the collective.

    Starlings are proof that that isn’t true.

    When a great mass of individuals come together and co-operate on a grand scale – no matter how fiercely opinionated and independent each of those individuals is – extraordinary things become possible.


    • nevermind

      I am feeding up a population of sparrows, about 150, when they come for a small birdbath, sharing it with a blackbird? you can hardly see the birdbath, a whirl wings, spouts of water and within a monute, i have to refill it.
      I can agree with Grhm, watching birds is mentally therapeutic.

      What is it that makes judges cling on to their interchangable sets of laws, why are they so focused on Julian’s demise, rather than showing some inkling of repute and equality?
      FREE JULIAN ASSANGE, it now does more harm to their caste of untouchables than it does serving any purpose.

    • M.J.

      May I ask which binoculars you use for ornithology? The best ones for astronomy which don’t have top-end prices, so far as I can tell, are Ostara Elinor II. But I believe I’ve read good reviews about Swift Audubon 8.5x44s for bird-watchers.
      Also you may know of a good black-and-white-1944 film about bird-watchers called Tawny Pipit which is on the internet, as well as DVD.

    • M.J.

      “starlings are an excellent metaphor for socialism.” A student member of the Socialist Workers Party once kindly wrote out the words of the Internationale for me in the 90s when I approached a book table at a certain HE institution. The first line was ‘Arise ye starlings from your slumber..’ but I believe that was a typo for ‘Arise ye starvelings..’.

      • Wikikettle

        M.J. Indeed China has lifted 800million out of poverty and become the worlds biggest manufacturer

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    This putrid United Kingdom has the most propagandised population in Western Europe.
    YouGov. How likely do you judge an invasion of Ukraine by Russia within the next two years? (excluding DKs)
    UK 75% likely, Sweden72% likely, Denmark 70% likely, Spain 66% likely, Germany 65% likely, France 64% likely, Italy 60% likely.
    (US 83% likely)

    • M.J.

      Two years? Biden’s expecting an invasion of Eastern Ukraine by Russia within the next two weeks!

      • Tatyana

        Ah, invasion… What they all should worry about, actually, is that Russia may recognise these as independent republics. Perhaps, China, India, Iran, too. Maybe Belarus and Kazakhstan. Most probably Syria.
        Apparently, there’s no desire on Ukrainian side to keep to Minsk agreement. Something should be done to stop this madness.

        • Beata

          There is an excellent and concise history lesson written by Austria’s former minister of foreign affairs Dr. Karin Kneissl titled “The Bolshevik Revolution and the Ukraine crisis: What can they possibly have in common? “. I think it might be a big surprise for some and quite obvious to others. It is definitely worth the read!!!!
          Tiny excerpt:

          ”It wasn’t until I read a book written in 2000 by Austrian historian Elisabeth Heresch titled ‘Geheimakte Parvus – Die Gekaufte Revolution’ (‘Secret Files: Parvus – The Bought Revolution’), that I realized preparations for a power change in Russia had been long in the making. It was almost a fixed agenda of the foreign ministries in Vienna and Berlin. In their traditional rivalry with the Russian tsars, the Habsburgs were primarily concerned with their power in the Balkans.
          The key lobbyist for this foreign interference in Russia was a Minsk- born man, Israel Lazarevich Helphand, who later went by the name of Alexander Parvus. As a publicist and, above all, as a financier of various revolutionary circles in Europe and in the Ottoman Empire, he pulled many strings from the 1890s onwards. On his chessboard, he moved figures such as Lenin and Trotsky but also the revolutionary Young Turks.
          Using thoroughly researched documents, Heresch describes the intrigues of European diplomacy at the beginning of the 20th century, which aimed to stop Russia through anarchy and bring down the country and its people. So, it was not an ad hoc decision to ship the sidelined extreme Bolshevik Lenin to Russia, where the pragmatic Mensheviks had gained the upper hand. Rather, it was the last stone to be added to a pile of stones that had been building up for a long time. It would first affect Europe and later bury Russia.
          Germany’s General Erich Ludendorff wrote in 1917: “Lenin’s entry into Russia was successful. It is working just as we wanted.
          Interference then and now
          “Only internal unrest will shake the Russian colossus,” wrote the Viennese diplomat Alexander Hoyos in September 1914.” “

          P.S. It was suggested on the news on Friday that Russia had possibly played a role in planning and orchestrating the Truckers for Freedom Convoy that arrived in Canada’s capital to protest vaccine mandates. I agree that watching birds and wildlife in general is the only sensible solution to this craziness.

        • Kerch'ee Kerch'ee Coup

          Dr Karin Kneissl was described by the Guardian as shooting to infamy by dancing with Putin at her wedding, an episode that I thought boded well for gemuetlich Austro Russian relations.

    • David

      You do know that Yougov was founded by a Tory Minister and a frequent Tory candidate who used a false name?

      • Tatyana

        Yesterday, Ukraine, Aleksey Arestovich:

        “Zelensky is clearly annoyed. Defense Minister Reznikov is clearly annoyed. David Arakhamia, the leader of the Servant of the People faction, says in plain text: “Guys, we are already tired of you with your scare. 12.5 billion flew away from Ukraine in a month thanks to your fairy tales. Stop spouting nonsense. Our intelligence doesn’t see the creation of strike force, and doesn’t see any preparation for the offensive.”

        • Ingwe

          The reality is, Tatyana, that Zelensky will only remain in office whilst he is useful to the US and its poodle the UK. Even though a penis pianist, he’s bright enough to recognise that Russia has nothing to gain invading Ukraine and is seeing the disastrous flight of capital from the Ukraine as a direct result of the US and UK’s war drums.
          The US will remove him if he keeps on complaining and acting in the interests of his country and put a more compliant fool in his place. The fool will carry out the US’s wishes and carry out a provocation hoping for a Russian response.

          • Goose

            The EU is caught in a geopolitical game in which it’s almost powerless.

            Clearly the US want Russia to do ‘X’ in order to get Europeans to do ‘Y’; the ‘X’ being invasion (now reduced to an incursion) and the ‘Y’ being sanctions; cruel sanctions that basically aren’t in Europeans’ or Russian citizens’ interests. This is all about US prestige and containment of Russia, militarily and economically.
            It seems likely to push Russia closer to China. The US mentions Russia will be subjected to sanctions denying them advanced technologies such as microprocessors, The home of such production is Taiwan. If you wanted to craft a policy to help Russia support a Chinese invasion of Taiwan then this would be it. Talk about myopic.

            At some point in the future Europe (EU) will have to depart with the US on foreign policy. By as early as 2025, China will be producing twice as many STEM PhD graduates per year as the US. It’s inevitable that at some point the US will be technologically out-matched, out-manufactured and out-fought militarily. This regardless of how much money the US throws at the bottomless pit that is the defence budget. Securocrats in the US/UK already know all this, obviously, hence the dire warnings about Chinese AI advancements: pilotless fighter aircraft, drones and more resilient deeper space communication networks, and how the West is lagging behind.

            Bad policy. There is no future in antagonising and destabilising Russia, China and Iran – combined population, already over 1.6 trillion people [1.6 “billion” people – see below]. The US, itself is projected to have a non-white majority by 2045. Will a very different US (Hispanic) citizens share the same views and values as now? Western policy makers need to stop trying to achieve world domination and think what future generations in the US.UK and EU will face if we don’t. When the boot is on the other, possibly Chinese, foot.

            Might sound hopelessly naive and utopian, but wouldn’t mutual respect and cooperation be a better path? The International Space Station is a testimony to what could be achieved.

          • Goose

            1.6 billion people – typo. [ Mod: corrected ]

            1.6 trillion really would be something, maybe in 20,021?

  • Giyane

    This Imperial courtroom is in complete contrast to all the US courtrooms I have ever seen in films. The idea that the interests of the Crown is a basis for Law is ridiculous. There is a delicious irony in the fact that the Crown persecuted the Plymouth Brethren , which has now come back in the form of the US to tell the Crown who’s in charge and who’s who.

    I can’t help thinking that the custodians of the British legal system must be feeling pangs of remorse at not having allowed what it professed to allow in its propaganda, religious and intellectual freedom.

    The fact that , by its own narrow remit, the interests of the monarchy, it failed to implement the Protestant values of Oliver Cromwell, and those values have been slammed down on the Judicial table like a dead cat by the Americans, must be making them think twice about having restored the monarchy, if all it was going to do was serve its own stupid interests.

    From my point of view as a Muslim , the stupidity is compounded by two further miscalculations , firstly that Christianity is the ultimate source of wisdom, and secondly that Profit, the Market, is the ultimate goal of human existence.

    The polished mahogany of the court tells me that the remit of the High Court is deliberately not to take into account the interests of Iraqis, Muslims or foreigners of any description. The credibility of this court has as much validity as a dog peeing on a lamp post. Not for need of a wee, but to socialise with other local dogs by smells undetectable by humans.

    The three musketeers of illegal exceptionalism , USUKIS, recognise their own sovereignties, but do not recognise the sovereignties of any other nation or ideology. No doubt this illegality will come back to haunt them when those nations or ideologies they reject in favour of narrow self -interest, eventually gain power.

      • Dawg

        Natasha, I think “USUKIS” is an invented term (used only by Giyane) to imply that America, Britain and the Islamic State are secretly colluding and collaborating towards a common goal of destabilising certain countries around the world.

          • giyane


            That’s a very deep question. There’s lots of things I like about the US, and the UK and I also love Israel as a Holy place. They all do what’s written on the tin in their own predictable ways. But Islamic State appears to be an entirely criminal entity, not accountable to the laws of God or man. It is nihilist, in the sense that its only function is to destroy whatever is in its path. It is dictatorial, allowing no freedom and no concessions to individual choice. It is fascist, and founded on terror, boasting of the skeletons on which it built. It is the debased side of human nature, glorifying in rape, theft, murder, extinction of the human spirit. Even if it was launched by USUKIS; even if Sars covid 19 was launched by USUKIS, in both cases they strove with great determination to conquer it, like a Frankenstein monster experiment. Hitler created a nationalist religion making fake stone circles and he experimented with brainwashing. and torture to see the limits of human suffering. We have to know that there are such things as psychopaths who want to change human behaviour in order to prove that humans are evil creatures , like themselves. But if they are so evil, why do our leaders fight Daesh and covid? Just to glow in the silver linings? It can’t all be Gladio manufactured stress, just to get our admiration and respect. Can it? Are they really as bonkers as that?

  • Fwl

    Russia is popular with this blog’s readers and US unpopular. Both are colonial states and leaving aside their overseas adventures both travelled out and colonialised their adjacent continent land mass as far as they could go. Both said it was their state and both in so doing deprived the indigenous inhabitants of their land, culture, dreams and subsumed them into a national identity. It seems to be but I may be wrong that in the US there is greater guilt and more if an attempt to make amends to those original inhabitants and this remains ongoing witness the surprising Supreme Court Oklahoma decision. It may be the same in Russia – I just don’t know about that I have the suspicion they are more forgotten but would be interested to learn more about this. It’s shameful that we forget this. America’s colonialised continent attracted millions more enthusiastic new immigrants than Russia’s colonialised land mass: why was that? Location, food, openness to settlers or was it that there was a more powerful American dream than a Russian dream? Of course there may be a migration of new settlers from China into the Russian Eastern hinterland.

    • zoot

      i suspect it is because of all encompassing us foreign policy, viewed not just on this blog but virtually
      everywhere as the greatest threat to global peace. the blanketing of the planet with military bases, tthe starving and demonizing of any country that tries to help its native poor, the relentless warmongering and false narratives, aided and abetted all the way by the uk’s respectable media. surely all this cannot have escaped your notice?

      • Wikikettle

        There was some good news from Barbados when the BBC tried to question its links with China. Mia Mottley’s response brought a rare smile to my spirits. A small country telling its old colonial master that we are not anyones vassel. Worth watching the interview, if someone could link it please. Hopefully more Eastern European countries will join Hungary, Croatia and Bulgaria and refuse to be the proxies for US UK war on Russia.

      • Fwl

        You didn’t answer my questions. I didn’t ask why is Russia more popular here but given that I was hoping to hear something about how Russia May have reflected on its treatment of the indigenous population of its colonised land mass. I was wondering whether there have been Russian studies and efforts to make amends which have not been translated?

        • zoot

          believe me, if russia’s treatment of its indigenous population could be used to seriously bolster ‘ russia bad – america good ‘ you would have been supplied with full details by the bbc, etc. there are many who do this for a living.

        • laguerre

          There is only a very marginalised discussion in the US about the rights of native Americans. The vast, vast, majority just presume that their genocide of the natives was justified and right.

          • Fwl

            JFK would have done something. Oddly Nixon appears to have been the President who did the most. I was surprised by the SC Oklahoma decision. Gore Verbinski’s 2013 Lone Ranger was a great film but received negative reviews a and was not a commercial success. Couldn’t help but suspect that it had been deemed to have gone too far in undermining the master narrative. Suspect that whoever is the “custodian”of the “master narrative” tolerates a degree of academic criticism but not in what could have been a Hollywood blockbuster

          • Fwl

            This is not something I know anything about but I understand that 2/3 of Russian territory is occupied by indigenous peoples who account for less than 1/2% of the population eg Buryat, Sakha, Sibir, Komi, Enets, Chechens, Tartars and Karelian and many others. I think some have a degree of autonomy. If there is a reliable history in English please let me know.

  • Sim

    Hi Craig, hope you’re well. This is probably too late a comment on this article to come to your attention, but maybe it’ll be of use

    “when Keir Starmer was DPP he prosecuted a journalist and failed prosecute Jimmy Saville”
    —Boris Johnson in parliament

    The media journalists and state commentators are outraged, supposedly at the ‘tastelessness’ of the Saville Slur. But seem to have completely missed and ignored the first part of Johnson’s slur, that Starmer prosecuted journalists.

    The only journalist that Starmer had prosecuted when he was DPP that I can think of is the political prisoner Julian Assange, still being tortured to madness or death in a British maximum security cell for revealing war crimes.

    Strange. You’d think they’d be more self-aware.

    Does the prime minister acknowledging in Parliament that Julian was a “real” journalist make any difference at this last stage?

    • zoot

      what they also suppress in exonerating him for saville is that the underlings who failed to prosecute saville ultimately answered to sir keir starmer.

      • Giyane


        I don’t know if this why you used the word ‘ answerable’, but the idea that civil servants are answerable to callous , lying politicians like Johnson Starmer, Patel or Sturgeon or is a joke. Answerable implies a senior management with higher level integrity setting the standard for others beneath them.

        Only Theresa May has had the guts to comment Johnson’s nakedness. Everybody else is waiting to see if nakedness is the latest fashion for 2022, and phoning their PR teams to prepare their new suits.

        The situation is extremely creepy, especially with Johnson jetting round the world in his birthday suit. Why don’t they just give him the proverbial boot?

        • zoot

          starmer wasn’t a politician, he was head of the dpp. theresa may is a politician, as nasty and self serving as any. her ‘ bravery ‘ as you describe it comes from bitterness at johnson’s role in helping bring her down.

          • Giyane


            Neither May nor Starmer nor Johnson are political leaders, just robots for the security services. Anybody with any competence in any Party has long been ditched or stitched.
            Anyway Johnson is grateful for the distraction of his own personal folly from the folly of his adopted slogan ‘ levelling up ‘. If you put Atlas’s lever level on the North Pole, you can see that the South of England needs more topping up to bring it up to the level of the North Pole than the North.

      • Fat Jon

        Exactly Zoot. Notice how Starmer has not actually mentioned the incident himself, just stood up and accused the PM of scoring cheap political points; then allowed his lackies in the media to pour scorn over Johnson’s comment and demand an apology.

        I would have thought it inconceivable, with someone as high profile as Savile, that the DPP did not know the investigation of his behaviour was ongoing; and that if he had thought the wrong conclusion was being reached (i.e. not to prosecute), the DPP could have stepped in and taken charge of proceedings.

        The clincher for me, is the comment in today’s Guardian; which says that the idea that the decision not to prosecute was due to Starmer’s actions (note the careful wording there) has been completely debunked. When you read the phrase “completely debunked” on the Guardian, BBC, or Wikipedia websites, it should ring alarm bells – because to my mind that is code for “the security services have told us to shut the subject down”.

        The fact that BoJo has had the courage to mention the Savile non-prosecution, has made me look at Johnson in a new light. I assumed he was sworn to the same secrecy as David Cameron; and no doubt Starmer is another with a funny handshake, but the fact that Johnson has dropped that remark into a Commons speech may show that he is not quite one of the boys?

  • David.In.Italy

    Even in a time of ubiquitous surveillance we are surely allowed to write here the sayings of the right honorable Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, on the Assange case etc

    Quote – from the HoC Chamber yesterday: Boris Johnson (left) yelled over the dispatch box that (Sir) Starmer spent most of his time as DPP ‘prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile’.

    A reference to the dodgy Starmer Sweden memo…

    • Wikikettle

      Starmer would not dare to prosecute the likes of Maxwell, Savile and Lord Mont Batton ! And the rest…

      • Wikikettle

        The future is with independent countries not tied into the Collective West’s Banking Currency and Arms businesses. The War being waged on Iran Russia China and Syria, not to mention Latin America and Africa, is from a collapsing Empire unable to provide development for its own citizens and through its destabilising wars, regime changes and sanctions, kill millions and leave those countries devastated. It was an act of desperation by Boris Johnson, under the pressure of Party Gate, which Starmer latched onto in the Commons, to unguardedly blurt out the truth obout his prosecution of Assange. As mentioned by David in Italy, the media totally ignored that and only mentioned Savile. The tide is however turning. The truckers strike in Canada, truckers in US threatening to do the same and small countries like Barbados not willing to dance at the feet of the Monarch. Be interesting to hear your take on events in Barbados Courtenay !

    • nevermind

      Silence by ommission is carrying on as usual. Today all channels are debating the Jimmy S. slur, conveniently circumnavigating the other half of his outburst.
      Clown Boris yesterday aknowledged the fact that Keir Starmer has jailed Julian Assange, being mistaken about the technicalities of the EAW.
      Today not one journalist has asked the question as to which journalists he has jailed. What a bunch of cowards, has journalism become selective.
      Politics live is appalling and Ms. Chakrobarti’s diversion, a so-called Libertarian, has delivered more distrust in politicians.

    • nevermind

      Disarmament Acts need ratifying at home is one hurdle, and the industrial military complex in the US is the most powerful decider on this vote, whilst the puppets raise their arms and nod.
      Usually disarmament measures also have a time frame of when they expire….and thereafter everyone can carry on as they see fit.
      Unless NATO stops picking and choosing as to who can join in Eastern Europe Russia will not be happy with their current ignorance.
      Johnsons toecap jibe yesterday is not the same as the promise by NATO to Gorbachev’s ‘not to expand by one inch into Eastern Europe.

      NATO’s time is over and Europe should develop its own peace and defense force.

    • Tatyana

      Many predicted that USA deliberately made up this ‘Russian threat for Ukraine’ to use it as a face-saving pretext for Nato’s climbing down away from our borders.

      Russia is calling for the UN Security Council on February 17 to discuss Minsk agreement and to make Ukraine fulfil it.

  • ET

    In the exchange on Monday (in the commons), Johnson claimed Starmer “used his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile as far as I can see.” Is this a slip up by Boris. Who else could he be referring to other than JA?

    • ET

      OK, seems that was a reference to Sunday Mirror and the Daily Star Sunday journalists arrested in connection with an investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to public officials or operation elveden.

    • M.J.

      The BBC’s fact checkers as well as Starmer’s assistants at the CPS confirm that Starmer wasn’t involved in the decision to prosecute Savile. Apparently too, Boris was warned not to do this. If this is a desperate tactic to attract votes from extreme right-wingers, Boris deserves what’s coming to him, if there is a vote of no confidence and he is crushed.
      However, we mustn’t underestimate the appeal of Tories, not only to right-wing bigots but also to middle-class voters who believe that the Tories will protect their wealth and levy lower taxes That might save Boris’ bacon, just as many middle class voters in the USA voted for Trump for economic reasons, no matter what he said or did.

      • bevin

        Starmer does not have any choice- his record as DPP was appalling. As head of the agency he was responsible for all decisions taken ‘on his watch.’ He has admitted this publicly. Johnson was right.

        • M.J.

          The BBC fact checking webpage on this issue is worth examining:

          It reveals in particular the opposition of the victims of Savile to what Boris said. It would be wrong to regard Starmer as responsible for decisions made without his knowledge but which followed the procedures of the times, as the chief prosecutor confirmed. Johnson was wrong not just in attributing responsibility to Starmer but misusing his parliamentary privilege to say something that would be slander if said in public, and wrong to use it to attempt to distract public attention from offences he may have committed during the lockdown by atttending illegal gatherings.
          However it’s not certain that he will face and lose a no-confidence vote, since only a fraction of th enecessary quorum have openly declared their support for it.

      • zoot

        the much bigger scandal nobody in the establishment mentions is that starmer is being puppeted by a live nonce, the extreme right wing lord mandelson.

  • Rosemary MacKenzie

    Hi Tatyana, I find your contributions very enlightening and helpful. Did you see Vlad roll his eyes when Boris went to Russia to “negotiate”. If one digs around in the western alternative media one sees how provocative the Americans are being, they seem to be scaring the Ukrainians more than anyone else. This can’t just be about NATO. the Baltic States haven’t aroused such tension unless I’ve missed something and they are part of NATO. So must be something else behind it all, now what could it be, oh yes! Could it be oil??? Europe wants to buy its oil from Russia, ie continue to buy, and the Americans don’t want that to happen but why. I believe Europe has been buying oil from Russia for decades. Now could it be that Russia quite understandably started to trade its oil in local currencies, like I believe the Iraqis did. Does anyone understand the finances of – OOPs, cat on my lap – the the US petrodollar. Oil is sold around the world using the US dollar – goes back to Nixon making a deal with the Saudis back in the 1970s, you know, oil crisis days. The US dollar went off the gold standard in 1971, didn’t it, and oil took the place of gold. What happens if Europe starts buying oil in roubles or euros ( maybe already doing so for all I know) to the US dollar. Does anyone understand these sorts of financial/economic/geopolitical shinanigans? But I bet oil and dollars are behind it all.
    Hounding Julian is beyond evil, and the Americans just executed two men who were black and mentally incapacitated, also beyond evil.

    • nevermind

      Biden wants to send more troops to Poland and Germany, according to LBC at around 2pm today.

      will they come from their best Regiments or those penal Regiments? And will these countries be asked whether they want to be part of America’s war scenario? I dont think many in Germany would like to defend the personal interests of an Octogenarian or some Numpty who.needs this hard talk to survive his own ineptness at home.

      • Giyane


        Bad idea to give statins to politicians , thus fossilising international politics in the mentality of the Cold War.

      • Wikikettle

        Ask the inhabitants of Okinawa what they think of US troops and the massive base there, making their lives hell.

    • Wikikettle

      Yes indeed. Russia is investing in the Northern Sea Route. Ice breakers keeping sea lanes open. When the Collective West talks about “Freedom of Navigation” they don’t mention their control of the Straits of Gibraltar and the Suez Canal. Both of which were denied access to Iran. Indeed China knows how vulnerable it is to blockade in South China Sea via the Malaka Straits bottleneck. Its vital use of ships to import and export being the worlds biggest manufacturer. Indeed Japan was blockaded by US preventing it importing vital oil BEFORE Pearl Harbour.

      • Wikikettle

        It’s fun having having M.J. and Fwl making really thoughtful well balanced and detailed arguments.

        • fwl

          I was just thinking about how Russia is just like the US (and UK too) in wanting to keep a lid on its master narrative.

  • Jimmy Riddle

    Where is Craig Murray? My best wishes to him – and hopes that he is all right. Don’t need to know what he’s doing, just confirmation that he’s OK.

1 2 3

Comments are closed.