Freedom of Speech and Graham Phillips 185

The imposition of sanctions against British citizen and journalist Graham Phillips is an appalling violation of freedom of speech – which to have meaning must mean freedom to say things which disagree with the government, the media and/or majority public opinion.

Phillips has for almost a decade published and broadcast from Ukraine material which is openly supportive of the pro-Russian section of the Ukrainian population. He has operated from first Kyiv, then Odessa, then the Donbass. Phillips was sceptical of the Maidan protests and the popular revolution narrative. He subsequently for years covered much that the Western elites do not wish people to know – the shelling of civilian areas held by Russian separatists, the Nazi links of some Ukrainian military and politicians, the discrimination against Russian speakers and banning of Russian media and education.

All that is one side of the story in Ukraine, and the side that western governments and media are extremely keen you no longer can see. The information Phillips was providing was not in general untrue. The facts were selective and the interpretation partial, but that is also absolutely true of the western propaganda to which we are continually subjected.

In some incidents in the current war, it is impossible at a distance to be certain who was responsible for various acts. I see no reason in general to believe the BBC over Graham Phillips, or Graham Phillips over the BBC. It is good to have different sources.

Phillips has been criticised for broadcasting an interview with British prisoner Aiden Aslin, held by Russian separatist forces. The criticism is broadly correct. As I pointed out on twitter in the early days of this war, it is contrary to the Geneva Convention to make public display of prisoners.

This law was broken repeatedly by the Ukrainian side, with blanket footage of Russian soldiers phoning their mothers. Not one (except me) of those complaining about the Aslin interview complained about those. There are mitigating factors for Phillips – the interview was apparently Aslin’s initiative and he appeared pleased to give it. It was however still wrong. It is a good law – you never know what coercion or violence is applied to POW’s off-screen.

Personally there is much in Phillips’ line on Ukraine that I do not agree with. It is plain to me that broadly, the majority of the people of Ukraine genuinely wished in 2014 to move towards the EU rather than Russia, and dramatic efforts by Putin to reverse that process backfired.

But because I disagree does not mean Phillips should not be allowed to put across his view. It is also plain to me that Phillips was correct that the rights of the pro-Russian minority have indeed been trampled by ultra-nationalist Ukrainian forces, and Ukraine is a desperately corrupt and dysfunctional country.

The current proxy war is a disaster. It is not only killing tens of thousands in Ukraine, it is producing economic consequences that seriously damage the poor worldwide. The delight of politicians, the military and the arms industry is evident – and that is true of both Russia and the West. When wars happen, the bad people on all sides profit from them. The people suffer.

So I do not agree with Phillips’ cheerleading for the Russian “side” in this disastrous war. The answer to war is not to take a side but peace, and that is desperately needed.

The war will end with Ukraine ceding Crimea to Russia and perhaps more territory. Had Zelensky negotiated before the war started, Crimea plus the Minsk Agreements would have been enough. The Ukrainian negotiating position radically worsens daily. NATO is cheerfully sending Ukraine to disaster. The Russian invasion was illegal; the response now is immoral. The terms of the eventual settlement are obvious. Let it be reached now, without more pointless death.

But for Phillips, a British citizen, to be severely legally punished for publishing opinions about a war in which his own state is not a party – nor, it is important to state, in formal alliance with any party – is entirely without precedent. If we accept that Phillips supports the Russian side in the war, why should it be illegal to do that? How does this principle play out? Am I to be sanctioned for supporting the Palestinians? What about those who uphold the rights of the Houthis against the Saudi death grip?

What about american journalists who opposed the Vietnam War? Or the British journalists who stood up against the attack on Egypt in the Suez Crisis? What of campaigners against the Iraq War? When you think it through, the implications of this action against Phillips are simply appalling.

The sanctions against Phillips are serious. A British citizen has had his property seized by the state, his assets and bank accounts frozen, his ability to earn a living crashed by the blocking of funding mechanisms. All this for publishing opinions on a foreign war contrary to those of the British government.

This is a truly frightening attack on freedom of speech, whether or not you agree with Phillips’ views.


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185 thoughts on “Freedom of Speech and Graham Phillips

1 2
  • Jack

    Terrible, just terrible, the West have been drifting towards dictatorship for years, even though there are no journalists protesting since they are part of the anti-democratic process.
    Could you imagine if Putin sanctioned a friggin civilian doing journalism or if the Chinese would do it? Just imagine the roar from the West. But now it happens here, the journalists either do not report it at all or support the sanctions!

    Same dictatorship is being built in Germany,
    VIDEO: Germany criminalizes journalist for exposing Ukrainian war crimes (13 Jul 2022) – The Grayzone

    This just shows that no one is safe from using their freedom of speech. Today it was Philips, tommorow it may be Mr Murray or anyone of us who comment here. Such a sickening development…

    • DunGroanin

      For years ? Decades I’d say. Many set up immediately after the end of WW2 to have yet another attempt at EurAsia – the UN and Geneva Convenience.

      “it is contrary to the Geneva Convention to make public display of prisoners.”

      There have been innumerable videos of captured Russians being horribly tortured, mutilated and murdered – many with foreign ‘combatants’ present with their Nazi mates.

      Geneva is NOT neutral in this conflict. It had rescinded all claims of NEUTRALITY. By imposing sanctions against Russia.

      There will be no Code of War or treatment of combatants, civilians , environments etc which is fair and equally applied until one is set up by the new Multipolar World Order that takes into account the majority of the worlds peoples.

      All these dumb controlled agencies including the discredited Red Cross – immediately after who’s visit to the Nazi prisoners, led to that facility being targeted by not just the nato himars but most probably by expert nato operators – and such controlled supposed ‘independent’ charities Amnesty, Oxfam and Foundations of the insanely rich and powerful, are ALL trash that have long been fronts for the spooks and their paymasters.

      When the lie is so deep in the mind of Peoples – the Flat Earth, around which the Sun revolves and which is ruled by kings who are a Gods own choice – it takes a mighty effort to leave such certitudes behind and grasp the next branch where truth grows.

      We have done it before and will perforce do it again, sooner than many think.

      Phillips and many others are beacons of truth in the sea of deceit of western English language mass media.

  • Vivian O’Blivion

    According to the UNHCR around one third of externally displaced persons from the Ukraine are in Russia!
    You won’t see the BBC reporting that.

  • Barofsky

    More power to you Craig! Yes, this is the most outrageous behaviour from ‘our’ government, so far! It surely has to be illegal doesn’t it? How can they just sanction him, freeze his bank accounts, pauperize the guy, no charges, no means to challenge it! What ‘law’ is it that they’re invoking to justify these fascistic actions and why aren’t we kicking up areally big fuss over this? It actually reminds me very strongly of two other countries’ actions; Apartheid South Africa and Apartheid Israel. I despair, truly a New Dark Age.

    • tom welsh

      The UK, like the USA and most other NATO member nations, is not a nation governed by law. It just tries to seem that way, most of the time, when it’s not too inconvenient.

  • Pnyx

    On the main point, the defending of Philips against British repression, I of course share Murray’s view, but not on the equalisation of Russian and Western behaviour. It is obviously the West that has taken the military route. It dreams of regime change in Russia, indeed of dismembering that state into as many separate parts as possible. Ukraine is the lock pick with which they want to break down the Russian door.

    “It is plain to me that broadly, the majority of the people of Ukraine genuinely wished in 2014 to move towards the EU rather than Russia, and dramatic efforts by Putin to reverse that process backfired.”

    For historical reasons, Ukraine is an extremely heterogeneous state with a population that is sharply divided along political-territorial lines. Formerly Polish territories tick very differently from the Donbass. The East was also more than sceptical about cooperation with the EU; any ‘majority’ was a very relative one. However, the description of the Maidan revolt and the culminating coup as ‘backfiring’ is disturbing. This is a trivialisation. Right-wing extremists murdered people, the US$ 5 billion already invested to ‘Fuck the EU’-Nuland bore its poisonous fruit, as we know.

    “The war will end with Ukraine ceding Crimea to Russia and perhaps more territory.”

    Also a dubious statement. Since the West wants to continue to the last Ukrainian, the war will go on until there is hardly anything left of Ukraine. The idea that the Donbass could ever come back under Ukrainian control is Western wishful thinking. On the contrary, further large areas will be detached and it would not be surprising if Poland were to help itself in the end.

    Unless the West escalates further. Then it could come to the worst for all of humanity and we will all lose. But even if that does not happen and the West finally accepts defeat, it is the leaders in Washington and some European capitals who are directly responsible for the untold number of deaths. Their aggressive ignorance and arrogance has triggered this catastrophe.

    • Oscar Romero

      Very good observations and comments. Craig’s points are disappointing, but probably to be expected from one who probably still wants to be a diplomat or thinks of himself as a diplomat: looking for middle ground. It’s too late for that, much, much too late.

      • ISL

        Actually, it is unclear why Craig felt a need to air his disagreement with Philips so firmly as the main point is that he supports the right of Philips to have a viewpoint different from his. It distracts from the main point of his piece (as an editor would have pointed out). Strategically two separate pieces (one for Murray the diplomat, and one for Murray the free speech advocate) would have been more powerful.

        • tom welsh

          I imagine Mr Murray may have been worried that a simple statement of support for Mr Phillips’ freedom of speech might be considered “unbalanced”. Just as so many articles pointing out the cynical wickedness and systematic lies of the Kiev regime apparently have to include disclaimers along the lines of, “Of course I yield to no one in my contempt for that rabid murderer Putin…”

    • tom welsh

      Ukraine will not have the opportunity to “cede” anything. Russia will simply take it.

      Mr Poroshenko, Ukrainian President for some time after 2014, has recently admitted openly in public that his government never had the slightest intention of carrying out the Minsk agreements. They signed them purely to gain time to build up their armed forces and fortifications in Donbass. Now the Russians are having to take time to dismantle those elaborate defences – which resemble scores of Maginot Lines – while harming as few civilians as possible. The Ukrainian soldiers have been offered every opportunity to surrender and be correctly treated. If they refuse the chance, they will most likely all die.

      So far, apart from those who have run away, they have continued bombarding Donetsk and other city centres. Among hundreds of other accounts,

      “The West is silent as Ukraine targets civilians in Donetsk using banned ‘Petal’ mines” (Clusters of anti-personnel mines being fired into cities and towns).

    • Bayard

      “For historical reasons, Ukraine is an extremely heterogeneous state with a population that is sharply divided along political-territorial lines.”

      Ukraine is the last of the European countries cobbled together in the first half of the C20th to come apart. It’s just a pity it couldn’t have happened like Czechoslovakia.

  • Sea

    I have been supporting and promoting you for years but come on Craig how can you ignore that Maidan was a(nother) US-organized coup with US officials openly discussing their choice for new ukrainian gvt. (Nuland tape…). How can you ignore that post-Maidan *unelected* gvt. was openly neo-nazi (with svoboda party obtaining 4 major ministries). How can you ignore that the first shot in that war was Kiev’s cancelling the law allowing Russian-speakers to speak Russian. How were DPR/LPR not allowed to oppose the *non-elected* neo-nazi gvt. while in a normal world it’d just be everyone’s duty. Yesterday there was confirmation that France was providing weapons to Kiev to shell Donbass in 2014 at the same time they were officially supporting the Minsk Agreement… The zelensky tape where he announces in 2019 that they’re going to war against Russia… How does all that fit in the mainstream narrative? The whole story is a NATO sham and I’m really surprised to see you going that way there.

    btw before Graham Philips German gvt. has also opened a criminal case against journalist Alina Lipp for about same crimes. She’s facing 3 years in jail. For reporting facts from Donbass.

  • Phil Espin

    Thank you for stating the case for freedom of speech so emphatically. One point you didn’t mention is that anyone in the UK jurisdiction who offers financial support to Phillips risks criminal sanctions too. Like the Canadians who offered financial support to the protesting truckers. The Foreign Office have totally jumped the shark with this one. It would be good to hear Opposition and Tory politicians condemning this totalitarian action.

  • JeremyT

    It was 20th February, before the special military operation started, that a certain Craig Murray wrote:

    “In the massive propaganda blitz over Ukraine, there is one place where you can find, in enormous detail, the truth about what is happening in the civil war conflict zone on a daily basis. That is in the daily reports of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Monitoring Mission. (…)
    These provide the most fantastic journalistic resource for what is actually happening on the ground – which is why Western mainstream media never use this resource, because the truth is the opposite of the picture they wish to paint.
    Three countries have now withdrawn their staff from the OSCE Monitoring Mission in preparation for a coming war – the UK, the USA and Canada. In my view, that speaks volumes about who is actually planning on starting a war here. Extraordinarily, having withdrawn their staff, the western powers are now briefing the media that the OSCE (which has for decades been a key tool of western security architecture) is a biased organisation.
    Yet again the parallel to the Iraq War is striking to those of us who recall the rubbishing by the US/UK of the reports of the UN weapons inspection team, in favour of propaganda and outright lies in order to start a war.”

    I remember Saddam Hussein having his teeth examined on BBC News after capture, directly contrary to the Geneva Convention.
    Graham Phillips is not some lonely renegade; Alina Lipp faced the same sanctions in Germany –

    As you have spent 4 months of the past year incarcerated by the British state for searching the truth I salute your continuing efforts, Craig.

  • Ruth

    This is what I asked my MP:

    The government has sanctioned Graham Philips, a UK citizen, for his stance on the Ukrainian war.

    • Is the government going to sanction other UK citizens who believe Russia is in the right in this war?
    • Will the government sanction people who raise money to help Graham Philips?

    The sanctioning of Graham Philips is the act of a despotic state.

    This is what I got back:

    Thank you for contacting me about Graham William Phillips, a British journalist and documentary-maker.

    I share your concerns that Mr Phillips, who has previously worked for Russian state-owned television networks including Russia Today, stands accused of spreading disinformation, lies and Russian propaganda over his coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    I was incredibly shocked that Mr Phillips interviewed Aiden Aslin, a British man who is currently a Russian prisoner of war (PoW) having been captured in Mariupol. I was glad that YouTube eventually removed the video and had taken action against Mr Phillips, ensuring his account is no longer able to receive money from advertisements.

    I understand there are legal considerations taking into account whether Mr Phillips breached the Geneva Convention protections for PoWs. I will follow any developments closely as this is investigated further.

    I welcome the Government’s decision to add Mr Phillips to the UK Sanctions List. The Government made this decision on the grounds that Mr Phillips has produced and published media content that supports and promotes actions and policies which destabilise Ukraine and undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, or independence of Ukraine. As a result, Mr Phillips’ UK assets have been frozen.

    More broadly, I share the Government’s position in encouraging the Russian state to treat PoWs humanely and compassionately. UK Citizens are actively dissuaded from entering the field of conflict however, in the specific case of Mr Aslin, I understand that he had been serving in the Ukrainian forces for some time, and his situation is very different from that of a mercenary..

    I’ve repeated my request

      • tom welsh

        I think it’s more “being willing to read”. If he did so, he would risk learning something true, and that would threaten his career plans.

        Incidentally, I couldn’t help noticing this:

        “UK Citizens are actively dissuaded from entering the field of conflict…”

        Not by Liz Truss, they aren’t.

      • Jen

        More likely Ruth’s representative hasn’t seen what Ruth wrote and simply told his/her staff to send her a standard reply.

    • Johnny Conspiranoid

      “The Government made this decision on the grounds that Mr Phillips has produced and published media content that supports and promotes actions and policies which destabilise Ukraine and undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, or independence of Ukraine. “

      I notice your MP doesn’t mention the UK law which says that this is illegal. Is this action of the UK government an extrajudicial process? Also, it doesn’t say much for banks that they should go along with this. Are they required by law to do this or have they just decided not to give a customer their money (which would put them in breach of contract)?

    • Bayard

      “I was incredibly shocked that Mr Phillips interviewed Aiden Aslin”

      Funny, the things that shock and don’t shock MPs.

  • Michael Droy

    ” I see no reason in general to believe the BBC over Graham Phillips, or Graham Phillips over the BBC. “

    Stark staring obvious to me who to believe.
    Mind I have been following the lying BBC on Ukraine for 8 years.

    “It is plain to me that broadly, the majority of the people of Ukraine genuinely wished in 2014 to move towards the EU rather than Russia, and dramatic efforts by Putin to reverse that process backfired.”

    But contrary to the polls at that time that showed a slight preference for Russia.
    Also very different to the last proper elections where Yanukovych won (since when pro-Russia groups have been banned).
    And it ignores the big lie of 2013/14 – that an EU deal was possible without completely breaking historic trading links with Russia. Yanukovych had no real alternative to pulling out of the EU trade deal. Note the EU has never re-offered the deal since…

    “The war will end with Ukraine ceding Crimea to Russia and perhaps more territory. Had Zelensky negotiated before the war started, Crimea plus the Minsk Agreements would have been enough. “

    This papers over a great deal.
    The war will only end when Ukraine has a government that can be trusted to be an honest neighbour to Russia. For a start that means in control of its own army to stop the Nazi shelling of civilians (or simply the destruction of both army and organised nazi groups).
    The purpose of HIMARS is of course for Nazis to shell Russian speakers from deeper and deeper into Ukraine.
    As long as US wants to cause carnage (and the media give Biden/Johnson/Nato a free ride on promoting Ukrainians deaths), the war will continue.
    In practice the war will run until a US Presidential candidate chooses to accuse Biden (and whatever one calls the deep state) of massive double genocide of Russian speakers and stupidly loyal Ukrainians.
    That candidate is only likely to be Trump (Sorry everyone else is too tied to the current elites).

    Impossible to say when the war ends – easier to predict the population – once 42m, 35m by the start of this year and around 26m now.
    <20m I guess by the end, which means <15m in areas not part of Russia or Poland. God knows where they are going to find a competent government from

    PS good to see you backing Graham Phillips

  • Tatyana

    Sorry for Mr. Phillips, but it is no surprise.
    I expect they may sanction Amnesty International, too.
    The report “Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians” made a scandal. The Director of the Amnesty International’s Ukrainian office, Oksana Pokalchuk, announced her departure from the organization after the report was published.
    I’ve no idea if this news was reported in western media.
    The Amnesty report is here

  • Crispa

    The Sanctions List which runs into thousands and thousands of names is frighteningly Big Brother, and it looks as if thanks to our sloppy , useless lawmakers any government can impose them on anyone at any time on any grounds they choose. Goodness knows what it is costing us taxpayers for the list to be prepared, names sussed out, agreed, entered and maintained!

    Graham Phillips makes the list as number 1324 on the “Russian List”
    “Primary Name: 1: Graham William PHILLIPS D.O.B: 26/01/1979 Place of Birth: 1: Nottingham, United Kingdom Nationality(/ies): United Kingdom Gender: Male Sanctions Imposed: Asset freeze UK Statement of Reasons: Graham PHILLIPS is a video blogger who has produced and published media content that supports and promotes actions and policies which destabilise Ukraine and undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty, or independence of Ukraine. Designation Source: UK Date Designated: 26/07/2022 Last Updated: 29/07/2022 Unique Id: RUS1543 OFSI Group ID: 15470.

    He is of course not the only journalist. There are several e.g.

    Primary Name: 1: Brian McDonald Primary Name Variations: 1: Bryan MacDonald Place of Birth: 1: Kilkenny, Ireland Nationality(/ies): Ireland Gender: Male Sanctions Imposed: Asset freeze, Travel Ban UK Statement of Reasons: Brian MCDONALD is Head of Russia Desk for the English language edition of RT (formerly Russia Today). RT obtains a benefit from or supports the Government of Russia as it is carrying on business as a Government of Russia affiliated entity, and/or in the Russian information, communications and digital technologies sector which is a sector of strategic significance to the Government of Russia. As an employee of RT, MCDONALD is therefore associated with an involved person. Designation Source: UK Date Designated: 04/05/2022 Last Updated: 03/05/2022 Unique Id: RUS1378 OFSI Group ID: 15335”.

    I believe that Phillips can appeal in theory to the UK Courts but practically how? Unless a set of influential lawyers specialising in the complexities of the sanctions laws takes up the case and in doing so put the whole of this stupid and dangerous business to the test as it is getting totally out of hand, and threatening everyone’s freedoms and rights. And our politicians too need to get woke on this issue, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

    • El Dee

      Now an Irish news presenter working for RT? To say that’s think is an understatement. I haven’t seen the channel since they banned it but I have watched videos and read the website on TOR. Strange how Ria Novosti is still visible but RT has been prevented from being seen from UK. They are allowing us to see the equivalent of Tucker Carlson but not the far more reasonable news articles of RT..

  • Peter

    “This is a truly frightening attack on freedom of speech, whether or not you agree with Phillips’ views.”

    And the BBC is giving support to Nazis and neo-Nazis, while Boris ‘Winston’ Johnson supports, funds and arms them. Who saw that coming?

    We have been in a different, unprecedented propaganda paradigm from Day 1 of this war.

    Strange days indeed – most peculiar Mama.

    It’s no joke.

    • El Dee

      The support started on day 1. Right Sector in Maidan being supported in their coup against a democratically elected government. Joe Biden went and met with them a few days before the coup happened. Every demand they made was met, instead of ending the protest they made more demands until finally demanding the government stepped down. The government agreed to fresh elections – surely enough? No, they went ahead with storming parliament and the presidential palace. There was no doubt of the intention, no doubt who was behind Right Sector either. That has led us directly to this point..

  • El Dee

    At first I was unsure if you meant Ukraine was trying to silence him as I know Zelensky has effectively declared people ‘enemies of the state’ for acting as Phillips has. But I am genuinely shocked that someone reporting from the region is being silenced by our government. It is not for security reasons as we are not party to this war and I don’t think that is given as a reason?

    It reminds me that not only has the RT TV channel been closed down because it ‘might’ break the rules but that the website can’t be viewed from this country or the US – well, unless you use TOR to get around it. Journalists being jailed, harassed, sued, banned and their possessions taken – this is the mark of a fascist government. The slide into Fascism is complete. They have met every part of it and this will simply increase until even the gammons realise it – much too late.

    NB I note that whilst the RT Website has been made inaccessible in this country (this managing of the info we can see reminds me so much of Russia and China) we can still see Ria Novosti which is as reliable as Fox News’ Carlson Tucker. So we can see the utterly ridiculous but not articles that may well be true (RT’s OPs aren’t good but the news articles are decent enough)

    Blatant propaganda, lies, hiding access to other points of view. This is in a peacetime UK. We should be ashamed..

  • Jim Sinclare

    According to the FCDO Graham Phillips “promotes actions and policies which destabilise Ukraine”. Sounds like they’re just making this up, has Ukraine even complained? This could be challenged by Judicial Review, maybe experts @JolyonMaugham or @AdamWagner1 could advise.

    • Crispa

      Replace “promotes actions and policies which destabilise Ukraine”.by “promotes actions and policies which destabilise United Kingdom” and apply that say to those who continue to advocate for Scottish independence deemed as a subversive activity one can see what could happen there. Sanctioning against fellow citizens is an avalanche of a slippery slope towards despotism. The courts must step in.

  • Roger

    It’s not about freedom of speech.

    It’s about the rule of law.
    A government should not be able to impose severe penalties on someone without:

    1. Charging them with a crime
    2. Allowing them to answer the charges in a court of law
    3. Allowing the court to decide whether the accused is guilty, and if guilty, impose a penalty in accordance with law.

    If the rule of law is not respected, we don’t have anything. We don’t have freedom of speech, we don’t have democracy. They are secondary. They are things you might have, AFTER you have established the rule of law.

    • Christoph

      Thank you for reminding people of this. I actually browsed the entire comments section in search for anyone mentioning, that these measures were taken without due process. Obviously this is a political decision and therefore no fair trial could be expected (what does that alone say about our “civilisation”?), but if the elites can no longer even be bothered to keep up appearances, what ways are there to legally appeal any decision?
      As i mentioned some time ago, in my opinion this is the real cause for potential unrest. If people feel backed in a corner with no way out things might boil over fairly quickly (maybe rightfully so).

  • John Kinsella

    “The Russian invasion was illegal; the response now is immoral.”

    Perhaps the Russian invasion was immoral as well as illegal?

    • Bayard

      The whole idea of “international law” is a joke. Such law can only be imposed by the stronger on the weaker and therefore there is no mechanism to compel the stronger to abide by it, which they usually don’t. Quis custodiet custodies ipses?

  • D

    Did the Ukrainian people want to join the EU based on a truth, or like our Brexit, lies. I suspect the Russian-speaking Donbass region were not interested in the E.U. As per the world bank website Ukraine’s largest import/export partner for 2010/2012 was Russia; this I googled as was curious and the world bank website came up.

    • Rene

      Don’t you think it’s time you got over Brexit?

      You obviously never listened to the arguments for Brexit; what you describe as “lies” are the non-arguments for Brexit which Remainers told each other (quite falsely) were the reasons Brexiters voted the way they did.

      • Squeeth

        @Rene the losers can’t get over it because it was the only democratic vote in Britain for decades. Voting is supposed to stop things like Exit happening.

        • Bayard

          “the losers can’t get over it because it was the only democratic vote in Britain for decades.”

          Like the in the election that brought Zelensky to power, the “democracy” that gave us the Brexit vote has not delivered what the voters wanted. In Ukraine, the voters were voting for peace in the Donbass, in the UK the voters were voting to leave the EU, but not necessarily take the UK outside all the European trading blocs, travel arrangements and customs agreements. There are plenty of disappointed leave voters, too. That’s the trouble with “democracy”, all the people get to do is vote. What the politicians do with the result is completely outside the people’s control.

    • tom welsh

      I don’t know, Roger. But if you go and live where he has been for the past few years, you may sound a bit disjointed too. Being targeted at any time of the day or night by American HIMARS missiles aimed and controlled by NATO personnel – even though they are being used against civilians.

  • St Pogo

    Those journalists that have spent any time in the Donbass have ended being on their ‘side’

    Once the rest of the DPR is liberated I’m sure they will all celebrate and I will too.

    Hopefully I will then see no more petal mines, no more Donetsk women and children blown apart, no more indiscriminate shelling of that city.

    The mother kissing her 10-year-old girl’s head while other parts of the wee girl’s body were under separate blankets. The young ballerina torn apart. The woman outside the Palace Hotel sinking to her knees as she dies.
    All recent deaths that would cover our news if had been Russia that had committed them. All etched on my memory nonetheless.

  • John Monro

    Craig, you state

    ‘It is plain to me that broadly, the majority of the people of Ukraine genuinely wished in 2014 to move towards the EU rather than Russia, and dramatic efforts by Putin to reverse that process backfired.”

    Two comments. Isn’t is just possible that US$5 billion helped this opinion along? Secondly, the people of Ukraine were deeply divided, which resulted in a civil war, in which thousands have died. Doesn’t Northern Ireland suggest a precedent here? As far as I can ascertain, Phillips has been working mainly in the Donbass, perhaps you should give him the benefit of his actual physical presence in this contentious area. . In any case, I don’t know Phillip’s work, but you are right, this is a British government one can no longer trust with your freedom. But we knew that anyway, with Julian Assange. This is just the next step, at least in Julian Assange’s case there has been a pretence of legal process, but in Phillips case, none at all. Just diktat, authoritarianism, totalitarianism. And the Magna Carta now no more use than bumff.

    But thank you Craig for bringing this matter to our attention, and providing a link to Phillips’ video, which I thought was enlightening, and frightening. The UK government is so twisted and corrupt now that I am sure they’ll be welcoming the death threats made to Phillips, and hope someone carries them out, just as I think they’d delight in Assange dying during his imprisonment.

    • tom welsh

      “Isn’t is just possible that US$5 billion helped this opinion along?”

      Good question. Which actually points to a much bigger – actually, immense question: in a “democracy”, is it possible to buy votes with dollars?

      If not, why do the candidates who spend most in US elections almost always win?

      [Clue: Aristotle said that any so-called “democracy” that chooses officials by vote is in fact a plutocracy, as the rich simply buy votes].

      • Bayard

        The democracy that Aristotle was talking about was direct democracy. What we call “democracy” is representative democracy. In a representative democracy, there is little point in buying votes when you can buy the elected representatives. The party system, where the MP is acting according to the wishes of their party rather than their constituents is a far greater threat to our form of democracy than the buying of votes.

  • mark golding

    Most lucid minds agree the situation that developed in Ukraine before the so called ‘invasion’ there by Putin’s Russia posed direct threats to Russia’s security. That is a reasonable hypothesis offered if we consider President Putin has been clear for many years that if NATO Eastward expansion continued, the expansion would likely be met with serious resistance by the Russians, even with military action.

    At PJHQ Northward Putin’s NATO disquiet over a decade long evolved into a plan, a plot in fact to make good on Putin’s threat of armed intervention, a scheme which would evolve into fully rounded Russian chimera complete with regime change in a bloody coup, US rockets and nukes in Poland and Romania, a fairy story of Ukraine in NATO and a proxy attack on the Donetsk and Lugansk republics.

    It was a monster plan with a niggle; can we appease China to distract her from running dog with Russia?

    I believe American diplomat George Kennan, the father of the Cold War containment doctrine who warned against NATO expansion in 1998 had no idea that peace could be so seriously depraved, debased and corrupted, delivering end of life, termination and passing over of so many innocent humans in a debauched pursuit of power and Western maintenance of control and manipulation.

  • Tatyana

    I suggest we should check every journalist within MuckRack website. Those who are verifyed MuckRackians are bringing the light of Truth on us uneducated simpletons 🙂 Like Mr. Skylar Baker-Jordan
    telling us that Mr. Roger Waterrs from the Pink Floyd “… has some seriously worrying views on Ukraine, Russia and China”

    One cannot find Mr. Graham Phillips (as well as our host Mr. Murray) among the MuckRack network of the Truth shedding journalists. That maybe the reason why they are either sanctioned or put into prison.


    You are going to draw a lot of Flak for this position, but I don’t expect you to start worrying about that now!

    This is the naturally flow of suppression of unpopular [with power] opinions set into full swing by the persecution of Julian Assange.

    People say – ‘it couldn’t happen here’ but it can and is happening….

    You don’t have to agree with someone to defend their right to freedom of speech. The only grounds for restricting FOS is hate speech that has no purpose beyond causing distress.

    I don’t have much to add to this debate, just wanted to salute your courage and integrity yet again.

  • S

    Something I don’t understand. If his assets are frozen, and cannot accept crowdfunding, how is he staying afloat? I haven’t watched all his videos, does he explain this?

    • craig Post author

      It has been a week. I expect he had some cash tucked away, borrowed some or was helped by friends. Ask again in another couple of weeks.

    • Jen

      It is possible people outside Britain who support Phillips’s work are sending him money via non-British channels other than Patreon or PayPal. Plus he will have built up a network of contacts in Donbass and Russia who may be supporting him at this time.

    • Dan Ellis

      He’s very popular in Russia and has an active VK page and Telegram channel with details on how to send him money, so presumably he’s getting by with his Russian bank account.

    • Pears Morgaine

      He’s done some freelance work for the likes of RT in the past, It would be naive to believe that he’s not being supported by the Russian authorities in some way. He wouldn’t have got access to Aslin otherwise. They have given him some sort of award for his work as well.

      • Goose

        Russia state-affiliated media?

        RT is widely and lazily dismissed by politicians as ‘Putin propaganda’ and disinfo, but, at least here in the UK, they had to operate under strict ofcom rules, and for many years they did so. They tended to hire independent minded people, from both the political left and right. Presenter Afshin Rattansi repeatedly challenged those claiming he was somehow controlled by Moscow, by asserting he had absolute editorial freedom on his Going Underground show, and that’s also true of other presenters. Some may say they hired anti-establishment figures to cover anti-establishment stories, but so what? Is there no place for that? Do we believe the Times,Telegraph, Mail, BBC, Sky, GB News, LBC don’t equally select presenters based on their known pro-establishment, pro-Tory views?

        Polls show people in the US and UK have grown thoroughly mistrustful of the MSM. Compared to historic levels, surveys dating back to the 1950s – 2022 the present day show trust ratings have fallen off a cliff. The fact they’ve become mouthpieces for the powerful and vested interests has become clear to all but the most brainwashed. When Biden emerged after his recent bout of covid, the whole White House press corps stood and cheered, whooping and hollering their approval and admiration. Is that the sort of partisan behaviour we should expect from those supposedly entrusted to hold the powerful to account? What chance of that?

        Why are the people in powerful positions so frightened of the likes of the Grayzone and people like Mr Phillips with their relatively small audiences anyway? They’re subjected to ad hom attacks, impugning their motives or sources, without supportive evidence provided. It’s never detailed criticism either, laying out alleged falsehoods and often hinted at misinformation, disinformation.

        What happened to, I disagree with what you say, but will defend your right to say it? Some talk about the risks of division in society, but genuinely free societies thrive on division & debate, it’s always existed. Establishment media enforced conformity isn’t a recipe for a happy society.

      • duplicitousdemocracy

        Phillips worked directly for RT for a short period of time but was abandoned when the Ukrainian SBU arrested then removed him from the country. He has stated that he felt bitter at his treatment by RT. This hardly suggests a cosy relationship.

        Roger Caulfield: Phillips enthusiasm for the region doesn’t indicate he has mental health problems. His clear affection for the people does at times seem a little eccentric but bearing in mind the conditions they have endured since 2014, it’s probably relief.

      • Jen

        My understanding is that Aydin Aslin already knew of Graham Phillips and that he was in the Donbass area. Both men happen to be from the same part of Britain (Nottingham). It is just as possible that Aslin asked his captors if he could speak to Phillips as it was that Phillips wanted to interview him.

      • Bayard

        ” would be naive to believe that he’s not being supported by the Russian authorities in some way. “

        So, presumably, it would be equally naive to believe that, worldwide, all pro-government journalists are not being supported by the authorities in their respective countries.

    • tom welsh

      From what I have seen and heard about the Donbass people, they will gladly give him whatever he needs. You may have heard that old idea: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”.

      That’s the way real, truly civilised humans behave – and always have done.

  • St Pogo

    I’ve sent an email to my MP …Mr Pete Wishart regarding both Assange and Phillips.
    I previously got no reply to my last Assange-related email so do not expect one here especially due to the environment we find ourselves in. The UK has picked a side and damn all who think otherwise from Ukraine being the great good and Russia the great evil.

    Graeme Philips spent part of his schooling in Perth but Peter might disown that.
    Graeme certainly wears what side he supports on his sleeve.
    There are plenty of other Western journalists in the LDNR who report in more detail without taking say Russia’s side. They all however report the same things in both written and video format. Some like Philips have reported there since 2014 when the war really started and some from just this year.
    The strongest voices are however the Ukrainian people who expose their (old) government, military, SBU and all the Nazi elements throughout. Their voices haven’t been heard these last years and now what they say we are told is Russian disinformation.
    Nonsense. Any country that has a national hero like Stephan Bandera has a big problem. The amount of refugees heading to Russia does tell a story…

    • Bayard

      “The amount of refugees heading to Russia does tell a story…”

      which story is, according to the official narrative in the West, that Russia is deporting large numbers of Ukranians from the Donbass into Russia.

  • Goose

    Why is this happening?

    Er… because they can.

    Assange’s situation is another example of this in plain sight abuse of official power. The stripping of citizenship of the girls lured to Syria, is another example; the lack of justice for Harry Dunn yet another. We’ve had a succession of Home Secretaries and Foreign Secretaries who want to look tough and put vainglorious right-wing tabloid praise above defending our rights and ‘basic values. Values which we’re quick to highlight when lecturing other countries on their ‘human rights’ abuse records.

    With such low quality politicians it’s unsurprising that the intel agencies and heavily promoted reactionary elements in the civil service and army are stepping in to fill the void, and as to be expected, overreaching. It was Ted Heath who said the intel agencies are staffed for the most part by people who’d think someone reading the Mirror must automatically be a secret communist sympathiser. Without pushback from politicians, who are after all, meant to be OUR elected representatives, the guardians of our freedoms, limiting such overreach. Then of course, the military and intel establishment will create an authoritarian, control freak surveillance and suspicion heavy hellscape of a country. Look how the absurd ‘Reds under beds’ fantasist Paul Mason was entertained and taken seriously by these people.

    I don’t know what motivates Mr. Phillips to do what he does, I’ve never seen his output before, but he’s clearly in a very dangerous part of the world. There was a time where the BBC correspondent eg. Kate Adie doing what he’s doing, would have seen her received multiple awards; her integrity or patriotism in seeking the ‘other side’s views wouldn’t have been questioned… or as happens today, dismissed as disinformation, simply because someone at the MoD or FCO doesn’t want to hear contradictory opinions that challenge their monopoly on the public narrative.

    There are, after all plenty of people putting Kyiv’s and Zelensky’s spin on current events. As well as the press, do we really need FOUR right-wing TV news channels in the UK : BBC , Sky News; GB News, Talk TV? All parroting the same conformist messages with the highly partisan, jingoistic MoD daily briefings adding to the lopsided coverage? Where is the pluralism in our media? The BBC aren’t interested in presenting ‘both sides’ these days, they are captured by the right too, in the same vein as the FCO and Home Office.

  • Tatyana

    Mr.Assange was accused of endangering people, by disclosing his source’s identity. The same with Mr. Murray and alphabet women. Now, Mr. Phillips.
    I see the pattern.

  • Michael

    One can see the Magna Carta burning.
    But please don’t speak of punishment, because “punishment” requires a law to be broken and the individual to be found guilty after due process. Neither applies here. It is a deliberate feudal act of tyranny, nothing less.

    • tom welsh

      A propos Mr Murray’s condemnation of all violence – which I have criticised in a different comment in this thread (currently 2 down from here) – please note that King John signed Magna Carta very much against his will, under direct threat of extreme violence. Namely a lot of very angry barons, each accompanied by a large crowd of retainers – all of them with big, sharp swords.

  • tom welsh

    “I see no reason in general to believe the BBC over Graham Phillips, or Graham Phillips over the BBC”.

    Oh dear. I meant to write some criticism of that opinion of Mr Murray’s, but now I find that nothing comes to mind. If he seriously believes that the BBC can safely be believed about Ukraine and Russia – or indeed about any important matter on which the UK government has taken a firm position – I cannot imagine anything that would change his mind.

    I have occasionally listened to Mr Phillips’ broadcasts, and I have never heard him say – or seen him reported as saying – anything untrue or biased. Unless you consider being on the side of humanity and decency a dangerous bias.

  • tom welsh

    “The delight of politicians, the military and the arms industry is evident – and that is true of both Russia and the West. When wars happen, the bad people on all sides profit from them. The people suffer.

    “So I do not agree with Phillips’ cheerleading for the Russian “side” in this disastrous war. The answer to war is not to take a side but peace, and that is desperately needed”.

    I think that these two short paragraphs distil everything that is fundamentally wrong about Mr Murray’s position.

    Let me start with the key proposition: “The answer to war is not to take a side but peace”. Presumably, then, Mr Murray is a principled pacifist. How does he propose that civilised people should deal with angry, violent, apparently deranged enemies who have declared their desire to exterminate them? How, for example, does he think the Jews would have come out of their encounter with Nazism if the Allied armed forces had not defeated Germany in WW2?

    Having studied history, with a particular interest in military history and the necessity of violence, all my life, I believe that the absolute need to counter violence with violence is fundamental. If someone is coming to kill you and your loved ones, no response except defeating them is possible. (Unless you want to become a martyr, and condemn all your loved ones to martyrdom as well).

    I do notice that Mr Murray uses a peculiar wording: “The answer to war is not to take a side but peace”. That makes it sound as though “war” is something that can be overcome by “peace”. But “war” is an abstraction, whereas armed people coming to kill you is as concrete as it gets. The Russian government stood by and watched for 8 years while the Ukrainians deliberately bombarded the cities of Donbass, murdering thousands of defenceless civilians who were no threat to anyone. Moscow waited because it was not yet sure of having sufficient resources to win a war – not against Ukraine, but potentially against the whole of NATO. That is why only a small fraction of Russia’s armed forces have entered Ukraine. It’s partly to minimise the destruction and death, but I think mainly because Moscow is continually awaiting a sucker punch from the West while its attention is distracted.

    Next, Mr Murray writes that, “The delight of politicians, the military and the arms industry is evident – and that is true of both Russia and the West. When wars happen, the bad people on all sides profit from them. The people suffer”.

    All quite correct, except for “true of both Russia and the West”. That’s like saying that when gangsters or terrorists clash with the police, both sides delight in the destruction and death. Quite untrue, of course, because the police are trying to resist the gangsters and uphold law, order, and the right of civilians to live unmolested.

    The Western armaments manufacturers are overjoyed, because they see vast quantities of weapons and munitions being expended (mostly wasted), and expect to be paid hundreds of billions to replace them. That, perhaps, is the main reason the war was begun by Kiev on the orders of Washington.

    Russian armaments manufacturers, on the other hand, do not work purely to amass huge profits. They are constrained by law to provide what the Russian government demands of them, on time, within budget, and exactly to specification.

    What’s the difference? Simple. The Western arms industry is there mainly to make vast profits, because no one has threatened the West for 70 years. (The USSR was mainly interested in self defence, and was always playing catch-up in the various arms races).

    The Russian arms industry exists to help ensure the survival of the Russian nation and its people. Russia’s military doctrine is strictly defensive. Therefore all weapons that it procures must be thoroughly effective and in adequate supply. That’s why the Russian armed forces are far more effectively equipped than NATO, at about a tenth of the cost.

    • Goose

      The US has apparently provided more in military and financial aid to Ukraine already, than Russia’s entire yearly defence budget.

      Many on UK comment forums mock Russia’s kit but can we laugh, what with the failed £3.2bn Ajax state-of-the-art armoured vehicle programme. The House of Commons public accounts committee (PAC) has described as “a litany of failures” including noise and vibration problems that injured soldiers testing the vehicles. We had the SA 80 rifles fiasco, modified at a cost of £92 million that kept jamming up still. The leaky aircraft carriers – £39 million to fix flooded engine rooms. The Royal Navy is widely held to have been mistaken when it chose to adopt Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing (VSTOL) over catapults and arrestor gear – apparently they are now seriously considering that hugely expensive replacement option. And everyone knows the US LM F-35’s we committed to buying are still marred by excessive defects. Russia doesn’t have a monopoly on poor kit.

      • tom welsh

        I’m very puzzled by what you mean about “poor kit”. What are you referring to, and what are your sources?

        I am very interested in such matters, and as far as I know current Russian army, navy, air force, and missile equipment is well ahead of any Western equivalents.

        Don’t make the mistake of using spending as a proxy for capability.

        • Goose

          What you mean about “poor kit”.

          It’s widely reported, even by reputable, more neutral sources, that the Russian military have faced problems with malfunctions; inaccurate readings from their GPS equivalent GLONASS and other communication errors (probably NATO jamming/spoofing), plus inaccurate guidance/radar systems.

          The US may be sabotaging Russian military industrial plants for all we know? If I were a Russian military chief I’d certainly assume that could be attempted after Stuxnet. The US goes to extreme lengths to protect its production systems on that assumption.

          • tom welsh

            So Russia may be engaged in its special military operation – NOT a war – not against the Ukrainian nation or state, but specifically against the rotten people who have seized control of Kiev. While in practice, it is engaged in a war against NATO! That’s quite a tall order, and one can see why they waited until this year before they felt they were ready for it.

          • Goose

            The point about Russia not gaining air superiority is probably easily explained by all the kit Ukraine are receiving. Take something out and up pops a newly supplied air defence system, in a new location. Were Ukraine not in receipt of such, quite unique in history, unprecedented western generosity, surely Russia would have achieved air superiority by now?

            Headline from March: The U.K. Ministry of Defence has confirmed that Ukraine is ready to use the high-velocity Starstreak missiles in combat against Russian aircraft.

            Headline from June: Germany will step up weapons deliveries to Ukraine by sending modern air defense missiles and radar systems,

            The tallies of everything that has been sent from western sponsors, along with training, must dwarf anything ever seen before, truly unprecedented. The US alone has committed more in military aid (arms) than Russia’s entire annual defence budget in support of Ukraine. Though there are questions being asked about how much of that is actually reaching the front-line.

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      I’m afraid to say you’ve got things completely the wrong way round, Tom. The fact is that, had the Soviet hordes ventured through the Fulda Gap etc in the 70’s or 80’s, Western Europe would have been in big trouble. The Soviet Army and its huge artillery would have almost certainly obliterated the likes of Mark Urban, Pablo Miller and their pals in the Royal Tank Regiment in short order, along with most of the Brits and Yanks based in West Germany. NATO planners were well aware of this, and their plan for dealing with it was essentially then to threaten the use of tactical nukes if they wouldn’t back off, and then, if deemed necessary, actually use them and see what happened from there – probably nothing good.

      Fast forward to 2022 and, despite firing up to 50,000 shells a day, the Russian Army can only make progress at a snail’s pace against the defenders of Ukraine, a corrupt country which was only home to around 40 million people with an average GDP per capita of around $5000. We’ve all seen the damage that Ukraine has wrought on Ruskie ammo stores using M31 guided rockets launched from a mere eight HIMARS. For comparison, the US alone has over 450 HIMARS, each capable of launching longer-range guided ATACMS missiles as well – along with up to 1000 similar M270 MLRS platforms.

      Some additional points: According the OSCE, before the invasion, most of the 4000 or so civilian casualties (on both sides) of the War in Donbas(s) died in 2014 & 2015 (note: by ‘civilian’, they’ll mean people not dressed in military fatigues carrying weapons). The majority of the regular Russian infantry, armoured units and artillery have entered Ukraine since the invasion began, and have sustained huge numbers of casualties. Russian arms manufacturers don’t need to be constrained by law to produce what the Russian government demands of them because most of them are state-owned anyway. The efforts of the Allied forces in World War II saved relatively few Jews in Eastern Europe.

      Finally, going back to a previous comment, as you seem to now have time to write extensive screeds on this blog, I wonder if you could spare some to disabuse me of my ‘uninformed’ views on Russian air superiority in Ukraine (it doesn’t have it) and its Kh-22 ‘Kitchen’ missiles (they’re very old and not very accurate).

      • tom welsh

        Sorry, Lapsed Agnostic. Just reading your remarks made me feel very, very weary. I simply cannot gather enough strength to begin addressing them.

        It would need a short book. You might try reading Andrei Martyanov’s three books for a start.

        • St Pogo

          I still find it funny that people believe those MOD and Pentagon updates on how badly the Russian forces are doing and how they will run out of missiles any day now, let alone just surrender as their morale is so low. Any day now…..
          It’s not bad for 50,000 or so troops. The LDNR forces need more credit for defeating the best, most well equipped US,UK,EU,NATO proxy in history

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply Tom. Hope you’re feeling better now. Through the miracle of modern technology, I can read Andrei Martyanov’s work without potentially contributing to the Russian war machine – I’d imagine Russians have to pay tax on royalties – simply by visiting his blog. It’s not usually top of my list though.

      • Goose

        At $773 billion, the US does spend ~10.5% of the entire annual budget on defence.

        To me it’s unconscionable that even supposedly leftist dovish politicians merrily voted it through knowing it dwarfs all other countries’ defence budgets. And the country faces no real military threats whatsoever, not to their borders or territorial integrity, aside perhaps from illegal immigration. Maybe the US would push more for dovish conflict resolution, over hawkish escalation, were they to spend less on the war toys?

        • tom welsh

          The good news is that everyone knows that money is not intended primarily for “defence”, but to line the pockets of the MICIMATT. So there is relatively little concern for whether systems work properly or not. The assumption is that the USA will always be able to deal with small enemies, and big enemies will be deterred by the nuclear threat.

          • Goose

            Did you read Jonathan Cook’s piece about how the US DoD will only allow its hardware to be shown in movies and TV shows that cast the US in a positive light? The CIA and DoD insist on inspecting scripts and demanding edits/changes then reviewing the final cut.

            Given everyone is compelled by law to to pay the taxes that funds the MIC and CIA, including pacifists and those who don’t see the US military through such rose-tinted, freedom fighter goggles, why should the top brass have such a power of veto? Technically the DoD don’t own the expensive hardware: ships, planes, tanks etc. surely the US people do. The govt should have no such veto regarding how equipment is shown in movie/TV backdrops etc. Creative freedom shouldn’t be limited like that.

      • Pears Morgaine

        ” Some additional points: According the OSCE, before the invasion, most of the 4000 or so civilian casualties (on both sides) of the War in Donbas(s) died in 2014 & 2015 (note: by ‘civilian’, they’ll mean people not dressed in military fatigues carrying weapons). “

        Thanks LA, a point I’ve made myself, with supporting evidence, more than once but of course if people don’t want to believe it…

        We’re now 169 days into a war which should’ve been over in a fortnight. Claims that the Russians are adopting a ‘softly softly’ approach to minimise civilian casualties have never been credible, by any reliable source they’ve suffered serious casualties themselves and morale must be at rock bottom. The Russian advance has been described as advancing at a snail’s pace but a snail would’ve covered three times the distance at least.

        The Kh-22 is an anti-shipping missile first deployed in the 1960s. Its (by modern standards crude) guidance system was never designed for use against land targets which is why it’s proved to be so inaccurate. That the Russians are using it in this way smacks of desperation.

        • Bayard

          “We’re now 169 days into a war which should’ve been over in a fortnight.”

          Says who? Have you told Mr Putin that the performance of his army is not up to scratch because you think he should have done better?

          “Claims that the Russians are adopting a ‘softly softly’ approach to minimise civilian casualties have never been credible”

          That’s “credible” in the sense of “believed by you”, I take it.

          “they’ve suffered serious casualties themselves and morale must be at rock bottom.”

          The morale of the side that is doing the advancing and the occupying of the settlements is always going to be higher than the morale of the side that is doing the retreating and the abandoning of the settlements. I’m surprised the Ukranian military haven’t all shot themselves, deserted or surrendered, in that case.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply Pears. I’d imagine most Putin stans will just say that the OSCE is controlled by NATO – seeing as its director is Tom Tug-end’s father-in-law, you can understand how they might get that impression – and thus its statistics are false and should be ignored. I may be wrong, but the impression I get is that they’re pretty reliable.

          It’s true that, from watching them, snails move faster than most people think, and also make short work of my Little Gem lettuces if I don’t remove them first – though they seem to leave my fancy wop Lollo Rossos & Biondas alone for some reason.

      • Bayard

        “The fact is that, had the Soviet hordes ventured through the Fulda Gap etc in the 70’s or 80’s, Western Europe would have been in big trouble.”

        They didn’t, so irrelevant speculation.

        “Fast forward to 2022 and, despite firing up to 50,000 shells a day, the Russian Army can only make progress at a snail’s pace against the defenders of Ukraine, “

        The Ukraine war is similar to the First World War, where far more shells were expended for far less progress and for far more casualties. If the military of the world has learned anything from WWI, it is that progress against an enemy dug into pre-prepared defensive positions is necessarily slow, and throwing more manpower or munitions into the fray doesn’t really make much difference. The only answer is carpet bombing, but, although the concomitant civilian casualties appear to have been acceptable to the US in the Iraq war, it appears they are not acceptable to Russia in this war, possibly because the Russians consider the inhabitants of the Donbass to be Russians and the US considered the inhabitants of Iraq to be “ragheads”.

        “The majority of the regular Russian infantry, armoured units and artillery have entered Ukraine since the invasion began, and have sustained huge numbers of casualties.”

        I have seen reports that only a fraction of the Russian Army is actually deployed. Why are those sources any more likely to be wrong than yours? In any case the Ukranian army has sustained far more casualties than the Russian one, and was considerably smaller to start with.

        “Russian arms manufacturers don’t need to be constrained by law to produce what the Russian government demands of them because most of them are state-owned anyway. “

        Which comes to the same thing. Do you have a point, or are you just nit-picking?

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Thanks for your reply Bayard. If you don’t have lots of precision guided munitions with big (preferably penetrating) warheads, large amounts of infantry manpower are exactly what you need to take out well dug-in troops armed with effective anti-tank weapons. As they creep up to the trenches, most of them will probably get taken out by machine guns and mines, but enough should get through to be able to clear the dug-outs out with grenades etc. Funnily enough, most Russian reservists don’t seem to be volunteering for this job though.

          The reports you’ve seen are correct that most of the Russian Army hasn’t been sent to Ukraine, but the bulk of its frontline infantry, armour and artillery units have, mostly as part of battalion tactical groups (BTGs). Frontline troops only constitute a fraction of modern armies – including Western European ones, which will have undergone much more streamlining / cost-cutting in recent years than that of Russia.

          The Russian Air Force haven’t tried to carpet bomb Ukrainian positions because, if they did, Ukrainian air defences would simply take out their bombers, probably before they’d had chance to drop the first one. This isn’t Idlib Province where they can just bomb a hospital, circle around for half an hour, and then return to bomb the rescue workers.

          If the Russian authorities consider the inhabitants of the Donbas(s) to be their fellow Russians, maybe they should have just offered them a chance to move to Mother Russia, with a bit of land to build a new house on, rather than ordering the Russian Army to shell their houses in Ukraine, sometimes with them inside.

          The point I was trying to make with my ‘nit-picking’ about Russian defence companies was that, if someone doesn’t know that most of them are owned by the Russian State, then maybe they don’t know that much about Russian military equipment and how it stacks up against its Western equivalents.

          • Bayard

            “If you don’t have lots of precision guided munitions with big (preferably penetrating) warheads, large amounts of infantry manpower are exactly what you need to take out well dug-in troops armed with effective anti-tank weapons.”

            It seems like the First World War is a bit of a lacuna in your historical knowledge. Otherwise you would know that using large amount of infantry manpower to take out well dug-in troops is simply a recipe for losing large amounts of infantry manpower. Anyway, the Russians have got precision guided munitions.

            As for the rest of your reply, simply trotting out NATO propaganda about Russia is not going to convince anyone who doesn’t automatically believe NATO propaganda and I hope that you can see from my comment to which you are replying that I am not one of those people.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply Bayard. Thanks in no small measure to my old history teacher, Mr Whittle, and his old-school view of history (just one bloody battle after another – all lovingly recreated in multi-coloured chalk on his wall-to-wall blackboards), I have a fair idea of the sort of things that went on during the first world war.

            However, things have changed a bit since then. For example, on the Royal Marines commando course, recruits are split into two roughly equal groups: the stalkers and the spotters. They start off about half a mile away from each other on Lympstone Common, and the aim of the game is for the stalkers to get within 30 yards or so of the line of spotters without being spotted. Thanks to a bit of advice from the NCOs (put some camo slap on your fizzog, stick a few tussocks on your helmet – and most importantly, move very slowly), the stalkers usually win – and if they don’t, they have to keep doing it until they do. Often stalkers can get within ten yards of the spotters completely unnoticed. This all takes place in broad daylight, not at night or in semi-darkness, with the spotters actively looking for movement.

            Recruits training to be Paras or UK special forces no doubt play similar games, which will have been a big part of how Britain was able to win in the Falklands fairly quickly without suffering horrendous casualties – because we didn’t bring much in the way of artillery, that’s for sure. Maggie Thatcher, and anyone who didn’t want Michael Foot to have been prime minister, will have had a lot to thank our commando trainers for. Of course, you can defend against this by near-continuously sweeping the ground with machine gun fire, but if you do that, it probably won’t be too long before you run out of ammo.

            The Russians do have some PGMs, but not many, otherwise they wouldn’t be using Kh-22s from the sixties. Russian attacks on Idlib hospitals and rescue workers aren’t NATO propaganda. NATO’s dealings with Hollywood may involve only being willing to lend their kit to productions that show them in a reasonably good light, but they don’t involve paying them millions to stage supposed large-scale Russian war crimes in Syria, put the results out on the internet, and then have everyone involved keep quiet about it. By the way, I’m a supporter of the Russian intervention in Syria, though not many of its tactics, if only because it prevented the fall of the Assad regime, and almost certain ensuing Camp Speicher-ing of the Alawites, Shias and anyone else that the Salafist fanatics didn’t like.

          • Bayard

            Thanks for bringing me up to date on modern military tactics, however, it remains the case that the Russian Army has got precision-guided missiles and doesn’t have to resort to such tactics.

            “Russian attacks on Idlib hospitals and rescue workers aren’t NATO propaganda. “

            How do you know? The people telling you that they aren’t propaganda are the same people who are telling you that they happened in the first place.
            It has always been the case, but it is increasingly so today, that the accounts of what is actually happening in any conflict from each side tell a different story. It is therefore necessarily the case that one side must be lying. Our preference is to believe that it is the “other” side that is lying and “our” side that is telling the truth. However, if wishes were horses, beggars might ride, it does not make it any more likely. Indeed, we usually know from personal experience that our own news media and our own government cannot be trusted to tell the truth, at least not all the time, whereas we have less idea of the truthfulness of the other side’s news media. Logic tells us that is is likely to be equally truthful and so equally mendacious. In the absence of any certainty, we have to fall back on likelihood. Most of the NATO stories about Syria presupposed that the Assad regime, or the Russian regime, was either very stupid or very evil, neither of which are in the slightest bit likely. Yes, in war, stupidities and evil things happen, but no side is as consistently stupid or evil or both to make the vast majority of the NATO stories likely to be true.

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