Trains (Mostly), Planes and Automobiles Part 6 220

The next morning I stayed in the Aparthotel writing, while Niels went out to the airport, to pick up the BMW 4×4 he had hired. Our destination was Halle an der Saale, near Leipzig. It was, I think, our first – and overdue – foray into the former East Germany.

Hotel rooms in Halle were thin on the ground and again very expensive. But as we were now hiring a vehicle, there was no need to be in the city centre, and for a change I booked us in to the Schloss Teutschenthal, a hotel about 8 miles outside the city.

At just 75 euros a night it was a fraction of the cost we had been paying, and given the choice I much prefer rural surroundings.

About 11.30am Niels phoned and reported a problem. He had been unable to collect the car. Neither the firm he had booked nor any of the others had availability.

He had argued long with the agent, who had explained to him that the agencies are franchises.  The brand name company itself is a separate entity and the online booking site is a third separate entity. Because the online site took your money did not mean there was a car in fact available. They frequently oversold.

At busy times like just before Christmas, cars were in very short supply. The railway lines were in crisis, which also increased demand. We were looking to hire in Bremen and drop off in Berlin five days later. But the Berlin drop off was to another company within the same franchise; each franchisee wanted their own vehicle back, they were not interchangeable. Arranging that at times of high demand was very difficult.

So, no car, and over 70 euros spent on a wasted taxi ride to the airport and back.  We had to dash to the railway station, and the itinerary for 7 December was 12.33 pm RE82022 Bremen to Hamburg, 14.04pm ICE1007 Hamburg to Halle (Saale) arriving 17.16pm.

Without a car, having booked in to Schloss Teutschenthal was a mistake, because it meant we would arrive in the city centre at 17.16, then have to get a taxi out to the Schloss to check in, then come back in again, while the event started at 18.00.

Our normal format was for me to do an introduction, then Ithaka would be screened, then Niels and I would take questions and lead discussion after the screening.

Today our trains ran to time, which was fortunate as we really needed them to. As we pulled in to Hamburg where we had to change, I observed an incident through the window of a carriage on the opposite side of the platform.

A stout Muslim lady, heavily swathed in grey hijab, was being escorted off the train by a female police officer. Two other police officers were waiting on the platform for her.

The Muslim lady had a child in a pushchair and another, about four years old, clinging to her skirts. Her pushchair was festooned with bags looped around the handles. None of the police were assisting her with children, pushchair or bags as she got off the train.

It was a small incident, but crystallised a sense of unease within me.

Germany is not a country at peace with itself. The closure of Dusseldorf Christmas market, the guard yelling at the young man with the wrong ticket, the aggressive begging everywhere, the man scouring the litter bins in the first class carriage for deposit bearing bottles, the heavy police presence on every station, the complete lack of surprise at the theft of my two laptops. You can add in to that the substantive dysfunction in the railway system.

I was just passing through everywhere, seeing nothing in depth.  But Germany did not feel as I expected it to feel – tolerant, efficient, prosperous and content. It felt like a society under real stress. No doubt I am reading too much into a succession of small incidents, and my mood was rattled by the loss of my laptops. But such was my sense.

Hamburg station was very crowded, and the first escalator we came to where we could change platforms was blocked off by police, for reasons that were not plain. We walked along to a further escalator, up which was a concourse with a row of shops.

Niels spotted a car hire agency and went in to speak to them, but again they had nothing available. So we got on the ICE to Halle, which went right through Berlin, and arrived there after darkness had fallen.

The taxi driver had never heard of Schloss Teutschenthal, and entered it dubiously into the satnav on his telephone, which he proceeded not to follow very often, as we headed out of Halle and on to unlit country roads.

It was a dark night and there were no other vehicles around. A surreal picture unfolded. We were surrounded on all sides by red lights in the air, like fields of magic giant poppies.

At first I thought we were amongst the airport landing lights, but there were too many of them, and they were the wrong colour – all the same deep red – and far too widespread.  As the car sped along and parallax took effect, I realised that, although on all sides, they were further away, and thus much larger, than I had realised.

The driver got hopelessly lost, largely because he kept deviating from his satnav route on lanes that he thought looked to be shortcuts, but kept turning away in the wrong direction.

We eventually arrived in Schloss Teutschenthal, checked in, left our baggage and dashed back to the car. We meandered back through the giant poppies, and then as we hit Halle heading to the cinema we again became lost, this time in the city itself. I noticed more than once we passed back the way we had come.

I do not think the driver was taking us for a ride, to increase the fare, I think he was lost. The atmosphere in the cab had become rather tense. Niels had texted the organisers who had put back the start time from 18.00 to 18.15, but when we were still not there at 18.20 it was decided to start the film and do the speaking afterwards.

Generally, this does not work well. If you get to speak before the film, you can convince the audience you are interesting and informative enough for it to be worth staying for the discussion afterwards. Otherwise they tend to rush for the door at the end of the film.

Niels and I were chatting to the taxi driver to defuse the tension in the cab, which was affecting the driver as well. He had switched the meter off. He came from Bosnia, and had only been driving the taxi a few weeks. He said apologetically that he knew Halle well but not places outside the city. We were too polite to point out his deficiencies in Halle itself.

The film having started, I have no idea why we felt the urge to arrive as soon as possible to make our apologies to the organisers, but we did. The cinema was in an imposing Gothic building at the top of quite a steep hill, which we dashed up as quick as we could.

Arriving breathless, we found a very pleasant young woman from Amnesty International, the organiser, standing outside the cinema. She was a little testy at our delay, exacerbated by the fact that Amnesty had booked and paid for a hotel for us in town, which message had not got through to us.

She asked, in a wondering rather than accusatory way, why it had still taken us another 20 minutes to arrive when Niels had said we were in a taxi 5 minutes away. I found myself explaining that the taxi driver had got lost repeatedly and that he was new to the city, having just arrived from Bosnia.

It just came out wrong. I realised immediately I must sound like some kind of horrible racist. I tried to disentangle, explaining that the problem was not that he was Bosnian but that he did not know Halle, but it was one of those situations where anything you say just sounds unconvincing and digs deeper.

I retreated to cover my confusion, saying (truthfully) that Niels and I had eaten nothing since breakfast and needed to find something before the speeches. We went down the hill again to a very good local restaurant.

I felt a bit better after a very good schnitzel and a few glasses of wine. It was possibly the only occasion I have been glad that Ithaka is almost two hours long.

Which is a good place to mention that even modern electronic copies of films have frames – it seems capturing motion still works the same way, a series of still images not a seamless whole, even without physical film.

The length in time of a film differs depending on the frame rate at which it is played, and the convention on this differs from country to country. Therefore Ithaka was about seven minutes shorter in Germany than in the UK.

At least, I think that is how Niels explained it.

There was a very good audience, notably with many young people and happily they fairly well all stayed for a very lively discussion. Niels spoke particularly well that night.

I had noticed that German audiences seemed to warm to Niels more readily than they did to me. I seemed to have a difficulty forming that empathetic connection with German audiences that is so essential to good public speaking.

Feeling the response of your audience, which presumably comes largely through a process of interpreting and aggregating signals of body language, and then adapting to it, is an ability I have prided myself on my entire adult life.

Any experienced political speaker will tell you there is an intuitive element – the emotional reaction of the audience communicates itself back to the speaker in a way that we do not always understand.

This is not just projection. When the audience is feeling intense personal sympathy towards Julian and his young family, or anger at the way he is treated, you pick that up as you face them.

I know it is not just projection of my own emotion onto the audience, because occasionally you pick up that you are failing to carry the audience’s feelings in the direction you wish. It is also not just visual, because my eyesight is awful.

When I speak to a Scottish audience about the clearances, and about the need for land reform today to return the land to the people, I feel this sentiment strongly reflected, emotionally, back to me from the audience. On other subjects, such as gender reform, I have felt emotional barriers come down and resentment of me from the audience, although nobody else is speaking but me.

It is intuition. I have found it best expressed in fiction by Isaac Asimov in the character “the Mule” in his Foundation trilogy.

You may, if you like, take this with a pinch of salt purely as an expression of the way I feel about audiences and public meetings, and just more evidence that Craig Murray is eccentric.

But the feeling I got back from our audiences in Germany was one of rather austere respect, as though I were at a remove, some exhibit generally acknowledged as valuable, rather than a warm human being with whom you might interact.

Niels on the other hand appeared effortlessly to be on the same wavelength as the German audiences, and they seemed to warm to him instinctively. His speaking style is much more intellectual than my own, but he also was very effective at conveying the pain of the family he witnessed while filming Ithaka, and the inhumane and degrading treatment of Julian in Belmarsh.

In Halle, Niels gave a simple description of the terror of Julian’s infant children at being subjected to internal oral inspection while visiting Belmarsh, and sniffed and pawed by Alsatians taller than them. He delivered it in a quiet voice and low tone, and it has stayed with me.

This photograph after the talks rather nicely captures Niels as the star of the show that evening.

I did however come away with a great deal of chocolate given me as presents. I am very easy to cheer up.

After chatting with activists and being photographed in an excellent reproduction of Julian’s Belmarsh cell, complete with authentic harsh prison soundtrack, we returned to the very comfortable Schloss Teutschenthal.

The hotel was completely dark and apparently deserted, so we went to our beds for an early night.

Daylight the next morning and I found that the Schloss reminded me very much of the von Trapp family home in the film of the Sound of Music.

We had breakfast in the magnificent dining room. We were the only guests in the hotel, although it was quite busy with staff preparing the ballroom for a banquet that evening. The hotel functions chiefly as a conference centre and wedding and events venue, though you can just check in as we did.

In that dining room in November 1943 the estate’s owner, Carl Wentzel, had hosted a grand dinner for leading German industrialists. The discussion centred on the urgent need to get rid of Adolf Hitler.

Wentzel went on to be actively involved in the Wolf’s Lair assassination plot of July 1944, and he was hung by the Nazi regime on December 20, 1944. Most, possibly all, of the participants in that November 1943 dinner were also executed around that time.

The hall was hung with a painting of Wentzel referencing his fate.

The estate and mansion, now hotel, is  back in the hands of the Wentzel family, having been in communist East Germany during the cold war period.

In Germany, restitution of lands confiscated by both Nazis and communists has been patchy post reunification, but seems to have been achieved in this case; presumably Carl Wentzel’s history helped the case.

In neighbouring Poland I had visited many such properties in the early 1990s, and there they had generally been turned into party rest and recreation centres or sanitoria during the communist period.

There were no accessible staff in Scholls Teutschenthal who spoke English, but it appeared to me this had been the case here too. Two large hostel blocks had been built in the grounds, by the look of them in the 1970s, and were now derelict.

In Poland in the early 90s there had been complete and full scale restitution to property owners, in those parts of the country which had been Polish pre-1939.

I supported this as part of my job in the British Embassy, but privately I viewed it as disastrous. Massive tracts of country were restored to the same hopeless and bickering aristocrats who had made Poland unviable for centuries.

The current elegant “Schloss” dates from about 1880 but the original medieval castle still stands in substantial ruins and looked fascinating, but was blocked off.  After a walk in the grounds with Niels after breakfast, I went to do some writing – I later learnt he had then climbed a wall into the old castle. I fear my wall-climbing days are behind me.

In taking a taxi back into Halle station in daylight, the mystery of the giant poppy lights was revealed.

We were in the middle of a vast wind turbine plantation, by a long way the largest I had seen in Germany. Each of the huge turbines was topped by a red warning light for aircraft. They were indeed much bigger and much further away than it had seemed in the dark, while the sails had been completely invisible – Niels’ picture near the top of this article conveys the illusion rather well.

We were now heading back into Berlin. Our itinerary for 8 December was 13.06 Halle ICE800, Berlin HBF 14.25.

As this was a short hop, I decided this was the moment to save a day on my Interrail pass and buy a ticket. Much to my surprise, it was 85 euros for a first class ticket. German trains are not cheap.

This train returned to the tradition of being very late, and it behaved oddly. It came into the station faster than you would expect, and seemed to have difficulty stopping, ending up much further down the platform than the marked positions indicated. It seemed to have difficulty stopping at subsequent stations too.

In Berlin we were staying at Viktor’s Residence, a very grand but slightly quirky establishment we had chosen as very close to the cinema. Our rooms had kitchenettes, but a notice sellotaped to a cupboard door stated that they were only equipped with cookware, crockery etc for guests who stayed over two weeks.

There was not so much as a kettle or cup. In fact, almost none of the hotels I stayed at in Germany provided kettles. They all had those little Nespresso machines or equivalents, which provide you with a thimbleful of lukewarm gunge.

Viktor’s Residence did not even provide one of these. Perhaps unless you were staying a fortnight.

The event that evening was in a venue with the intriguing name of “musikbrauerei”. The first challenge was finding it.

The hotel reception kindly gave me a map, together with an explanation that the musikbrauerei was not actually at the location marked, but on the next street. Google Maps had another idea completely.

When I arrived at the general area, in the back streets of some flats amongst some unlit commercial buildings, I could find nothing indicating the musikbrauerei and no signs for the event.

One building had some structured red uplighting which made it stand out, so I went there. I walked around it, but it appeared deserted. Just as I was about to about to leave, a basement door opened and a man walked to the top of the stairs to have a smoke. He confirmed it was the musikbrauerei and let me in through the basement door.

Once inside, a very large doorman was difficult to convince I did not have to pay. He was in a room with rows and rows of very industrial looking coat racks, all empty. I then was shown to a flight of stairs leading down from the basement into a series of chambers even further underground.

This was becoming surreal. The rooms were equipped for exactly the kind of strange party you see in films (at least that is the only reference I have). The bachelor party scene in Succession comes to mind.

It was a very strange and wonderful space. I could post a dozen photos, but these two give you the idea:

Well Toto, I said, we’re not in Kansas anymore.


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220 thoughts on “Trains (Mostly), Planes and Automobiles Part 6

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  • Roger

    re Poland:

    Massive tracts of country were restored to the same hopeless and bickering aristocrats

    A Polish friend explained to me that that isn’t what mostly happened. Well-connected people towards the end of the ‘Communist’ regime knew about the policy before it was announced, and they bought up old proofs of ownership cheaply. Mostly these crooks were former secret service, etc. So the estates were actually “restored” to a bunch of get-rich-quick crooks rather than the original owners in many cases. It was still a bad idea, of course, but in a slightly different way.

    • barbara , née Wenzel

      how poetically just, that in this increasingly gripping tale, in this particular episode wherein Neils stars,
      even as we learn how many, and now from Roger, that in Poland most, former aristocrats failed
      to climb back into their castles, we find Niels however briefly having managed to do so

      p.s. to Craig: surely you will be aware that in the planning to kill Hitler, there was a delegation
      to England in the hope of securing support: I don’t; perhaps you do recall to what extent
      they received consideration before the request was declined ?

    • craig Post author

      That definitely happened, but your friend was exaggerating the scale a bit, and it did not affect the big aristocratic estates. It was related more to prime urban commercial property, and of course links also to the massive theft of Jewish assets.

      • BCD

        I’m intrigued by this commentary and wondered whether you (Murray) might point me in the direction of some well evidenced sources that explain what you describe, for my own education; I ask because IINM, in Laurence Rees’ “Behind Closed Doors”, it’s described how the Soviet Army specifically executed all the Polish aristocracy they could find amongst enlisted soldiers/officers, including with pistols (i.e. not just rifles) to such an extent that they wore through the pistol barrels…so it seemed odd that very many Polish aristocracy could have survived?

        • Bayard

          Well, by the 1990s nearly all the aristocrats who hadn’t been shot by the Russians would have died of old age, so it would have been their sons and daughters, or grandsons and granddaughters who inherited the title that got back the land.

  • Ian

    Aargh, you have left us hanging. That looks like a torture chamber you descended into. A music brewery, they claim?

    What extraordinary places you end up in on your travels.

    Oh dear, Craig, you have ruined George Clooney’s nespresso schtick. ‘A thimbleful of lukewarm gunge’ – I
    don’t recall George expressing that sentiment, although i would have enjoyed it had he done so, while dangling a glamorous femme fatale from his arm.

  • pretzelattack

    I wonder how much the tension in Germany has increased due to the pipeline being blown up. is that being discussed in the media there?

  • portside

    Germany has not been that contented, prosperous ideal since at least the turn of the millennium. Schroder’s labour market reforms – vaunted by British centrists – abolished state protections for the low-paid, curtailed union rights and encouraged employers to offer short-term jobs. The upshot is that the Germany of Guardian readers’ imagination – highly skilled, highly rewarded and empowered workers in gleaming factories – has shrunk fast. What’s rapidly replaced it has been crap jobs.

    The dismantling of worker protections, and the trend of business towards outsourcing to cheaper eastern Europe, has seen the number of low-paid, short-term mini-jobs shoot up, to the extent that they now account for more than a quarter of German employment. The proportion of Germans earning less than two-thirds of median income is now the highest of any state in Western Europe, and is fast approaching US levels.

    Germany was widely touted as the success story of the post-2008 period, piling up trade surpluses year after year. But investment has been among the least in the G7 economies, while the lower-middle and working classes – women especially – are encountering a degree of poverty and job insecurity they had never known.

    Schroeder and Merkel’s radical remodelling of Germany’s social market economy on neoliberal lines is also intended to set down a marker for the rest of Europe, most importantly the big prize France.

    Domestically, Washington’s destruction of Nordstream means the long domestic trend toward poverty and social disintegration will dramatically speed up. A sense Germany has been humiliated will doubtless also grow. Circumstances the rest of the world may have cause to regret if history is any guide.

    • portside

      The contempt you witnessed for the Muslim mother is but an early sign of the return of the old traits/ instincts. Islamophobia/ anti-Muslim racism is already being codified in Germany under the respectable cloak of anti-Palestinian legislation.

      Keep your eyes on Germany.

    • AG

      furthermore already 25 years ago in Eastern Europe workers were complaining that Ukrainian wages were even lower and therefore companies left to settle there

    • Roger

      Washington’s destruction of Nordstream means the long domestic trend toward poverty and social disintegration will dramatically speed up

      You’re clearly right, but I think a bigger picture is the decline of Europe as a whole, as the US profits (selling expensive LNG to Germany). I simply do not understand why European politicians always do what Washington tells them to do. The European Union was roughly equal, in economic terms, to the USA. European industries could compete on the world market against US industries. With energy costs in Europe rising that will no longer be the case. There was no need for this. The war in Ukraine is really just one corrupt dictatorship against another, there was no reason for western Europe to play Washington’s game.

      • Bayard

        ” I simply do not understand why European politicians always do what Washington tells them to do. ”

        The simplest explanation is that that is what they are paid to do, the deal being that, if they do what they are told, there is a nice safe, well paid sinecure waiting for then on the other side of the Atlantic, away from their compatriots they have sold down the river.

        • AG

          been asking myself this same question for the past 11 months – why Germany&EU follow the US?

          One answer is as you say, corruption on the EU elite´s side.

          Baerbock being a good example.
          One year ago she attacked Habeck for being too bellicose.

          We have seen how that has played out for her.

          Another is the fragility of EU with Poland and the Baltics vs. “old Europe”.

          But the third one:

          Bill Fletcher and Noam Chomsky had an exchange about this very same topic in april.

          The discussion was 1 hour long. (by TheRealNewsNetwork)

          But if you just wanna jump right into it, go to TC 29:40

          Fletcher is asking Chomsky why he believes US is the bad guy if allied NATO states France/Germany were against Ukraine into NATO.
          (meaning: US would respect their vetos)

          Chomsky responds in an unusual blunt way, I thought, saying that Fletcher is missing the “nature of foreign affairs” and that the European states are simply afraid of the US, because they know the US to be a rogue state.

          With NS 1&2 blown up you could argue q.e.d.

          Interesting enough even though Fletcher since February 24th has stuck to his view of things, mostly, I believe in his articles since NS sabotage he never refers to that particular event.

          Draw your own conclusions.

        • Mighty Drunken

          I think that the EU follows America, mainly because they believe in the Western cultural superiority where we represent freedom and democracy, whilst the rest of the World does not.
          The believe that neo-liberalism will unlock more prosperity, even though it is clear it is only paper profits for the corporations at the expense of everything else.

          So in short, they are idiots.

          What it will take to remove these bad narratives from power is likely younger generations which have witnessed their utter failure. Buckle up for a long, dreary ride.

        • Stevie Boy

          Yes, for example, Richie Sunak and his wife already have their green cards. So, when they have finished f*cking over the UK, they will f*ck off to the good ‘ol U$A where more riches await them as payment for their loyalty.
          Maybe we need a law where all politicians must swear their loyalty to this country and renounce all other passports and visas ? None of the traitors currently show any loyalty to this country or its people.

      • pretzelattack

        if you accept that the US blew up the pipeline, either directly or in cooperation with another NATO member like Poland or Sweden, then that provides another incentive for German politicians to do as they are told. there are a large number of US bases there. wouldn’t that be a violation of the NATO treaties, one member attacking another? but who wants a war with the US. It’s already using the corrupt dictatorship in Ukraine to try to dismember Russia.

        • Onlooker

          It was Norway, not Poland or Sweden, that was the main accomplice we are informed by Hersh.

          Guess which two countries are now the No. 1 and 2 suppliers of natural gas, at considerably higher prices, to Central Europe?

      • portside

        Once the economic repercussions of the Nordstream destruction and the sanctions against Russia really bite you would expect a major change in popular attitudes toward the United States. However I suspect European politicians and mass media will do everything they can to deflect anger and blame elsewhere.

        Shadowy groups like this one have been assiduously cultivating European elites for many years. They have cemented fervent pro-hegemon attitudes across party lines.

  • Andrew Carter

    Over the years I have reached the settled conclusion that the “big” things in life are by and large inconsequential, but that nominally “little” things are often of immense sjgnificance and can be strongly indicative of more widely relevant factors, trends and emerging situations.

    In the late 70’s I (briefly) studied at Bonn University, at a time when the town was the capital of what was then West Germany. At the time it was all shiny and new, and exuded that borderline-arrogant German self confidence that they were not only firmly back in the game, but were bossing it. Compared to Callaghan’s Britain, it was a marvel to behold and a model to aspire to.

    I was back there this week, and it turns out that The Past is a dangerous place to go on holiday. Back in the day, I had somewhat recklessly swum across the Rhein on more than one occasion, and so I decided to walk across the bridge to Beuel and take the train from there to the airport.

    What struck me – and to my wizened mind encapsulates the Zeitgeist of a reunified* nation which has lost its way – is that in each and every one of the street lamps (formed of clusters of 4 or 5 translucent orbs, very 1970s) one or more of the bulbs were out. Back in the day this would have represented such an affront to GutBurgerliche self-respect and civic pride that the Burgermeister would have been strung up from the self-same lamppost in shame and ignominy, but nowadays nobody cares, and neither the WEF nor the EC appears to consider Street lighting for the plebs to be worthy of investment. Lili Marlene would be revolving steadily in her grave – the lamps are quite literally going out all over Europe, and I fear we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.

    * Before reunification Halle was formed in two parts, of which Halle Neustadt was notorious for some of the most brutal and uncompromising residential architecture of the Soviet era, to the point where it became a metaphor for all that was wrong and deficient in the DDR. It can surely only have got better over the intervening 35 years.

  • General Cologne

    Red trews, Craig!
    I definitely spy some baggy RTs.
    Can you wear red trouser, Craig?
    The answer is ‘no’ unless you still identify herself with the British Imperial establishment, aka the Imperial Conspiracy, have you heard about that one?

    Red trouser corpus to make my meaning clearer

    • Tatyana

      Mr. Murray, you must admit that the monitor is distorting the colors and your trousers are actually red because you are a secret communist, just like that Santa Claus finally confessed under KGB pressure. The semi-circular pattern of your jumper is a reference to the “shoulder hugger”, a detail of a traditional Russian costume. Your trip to Halle, which was long under Soviet occupation, is a spy mission to restore ties with Russia. And your laptops weren’t stolen, it’s a legend to cover up the transfer to an undercover contact. Don’t pretend that your driver got lost, rather admit that you were delayed because you visited a secret safe house.

      Seriously? Mr. Murray is traveling speaking for Mr. Assange, but people are interested in discussing the color of his pants or the pattern on his jumper. We are doomed.

      • dgp

        ‘Pants’ is english english for underpants and for some unwelcome/unsuccessful event-as in ‘that holiday/cake/airb’n’b was pants.
        In American English, ‘pants’ are the outerwear.

        • Tatyana

          Thank you so much for this info, dgp.
          Mr. Murray, I’m sorry. In Russian ‘pants’ it is ‘штаны’ aka casual style trousers vs ‘брюки’ which are ‘real trousers’ aka classic style trousers with sharp ironed lines. For underwear we use ‘белье’ like linen, tableware.

    • DunGroanin

      I have been regularly sporting my red pants and shorts (they are outer wear – UNDERpants are self explanatory, as underwear) through 2022 and into 2023.

      Casually mixed with blue t shirts, shirts or sweaters with a white cap to top off .. though haven’t yet got round to a white beany yet.

      It’s mighty satisfying when talking to the nauseous neon blue and yellow badged – though they have almost completely vanished over the last 3-4 months – none of whom had any clue that their little virtue signalling propagandised badges were being stared down by my full bodied flag of resistance.

      Just as well that these garish posters and public displays have largely disappeared as I have been sporting my black marker pen like Zorro’s flashing sword when finding any – most satisfying it is too to directly attack such nasty fascist propaganda emblems. Just like in my youth when dealing with ‘NF’ graffiti by turning it into a proud AFRO.

      Europe is being austerity driven towards another massed attempt at taking the ‘East’ – happy, comfortable Peoples are not generally inclined to a call up, unless they are being directly attacked. Which the East will not do. Hence all their heavy tanks are useless.
      Nobody wants to take Europe!

      The sooner Julian is released the better the chances of peace.

      • John Kinsella

        “nauseous neon blue and yellow badged”?

        The Ukrainian flag is nauseous?

        The Swedish flag is also blue and yellow. Nauseous?

        A lot of hatred for Ukraine from some posters.

        • pretzelattack

          the poster is talking about the nauseous hypocrites who wear Ukrainian flags out of a faked concern for human rights and freedom, and then cheer and weep copious tears as the Ukrainian conscripts get slaughtered in the meatgrinder.

          hate the badged, not the badges.

  • AG

    This is a current offering on the alternative German site NachDenkSeiten:

    a translation of an Interview with Matt Kennard re: NoisyLeaks:

    For many older readers in Germany who otherwise won´t read about this because they don´t know English well enough it will surely be a welcome source.

    And also those who sympathize with the cause but e.g. don´t know of Mr. Murray´s round trip and the live events.

  • El Dee

    I’m a fan of all things science although I was by no means a good pupil in these subjects at school. I love to keep up with things of this nature and recently saw a programme in regard to ‘gut feelings’ It seems our senses pick up on thousands of things every day which we are not consciously aware of. When some of these things may be putting us in danger we get that ‘gut feeling’ that something is off. Having worked in several careers where it was necessary to be very situationally aware I can confirm from personal experience that any time I have ignored gut feelings I have regretted it. Whatever your gut feeling has been telling you about your journey you should definitely pay attention to it – whether it’s about your situation or about the state of the nation you are travelling through..

  • Robert Dyson

    I feel unease after reading. Of course Assange is the major matter of unease but your comments on German trains is a shock. My last visit to Berlin was in 2011 for a conference that was a happy experience in every way though I did not use the railway. But before that I remember how it was possible to plan an itinerary in advance place to place by train and all timings worked just as planned. It must be a symptom of a deeper malaise.

  • YesXorNo

    Mr. Murray, your travelogue continues to please me. In this episode you beautifully interleave personal reflection and response to the description of the environment through which you are moving and with which you are interacting.

    The photography greatly enhances the monologue.

    The story of the wind farm possessed the desired suspense.

  • Ebenezer Scroggie

    Is the hyped up movie available online for proles to see for free?

    Or are these articles just hyped up promo commercials?

    • craig Post author

      What a stupid comment. It’s a movie. It is currently still finishing the festival circuit. It has been shown in Australia on TV by ABC. I think there will be a limited release in UK cinemas shortly, but I don’t know. After which it will end up with a streamer, probably. I doubt UK TV channels will want to show it, but you never know.
      You know, like every other movie.

  • U Watt

    “Germany is not a country at peace with itself .. It felt like a society under real stress”

    German households and industry are being squeezed tight and it’s only just begun. They’re now importing more energy from the USA, across the Atlantic Ocean, than from Russia, at 4 times the price of Russian natural gas.

    Germans are suffering badly, and what’s worse they know the decision was not even a sovereign one much less a popular, democratic one.

    • nevermind

      mr. Politano does not seem to find it necessary to mention the terrorist action which blew up NS2, strangely a subject that is Verboten to be duscussed or even investigated.
      Although those I talk to all have a ‘hunch’ that this denial to debate discuss or find out about it, is the result of pressure from a profiteering Washington.

      It would be sad if these kind of terror profits become the new normal, with blackmail being applied or with other installations and energy related hardware being attacked.

      • U Watt

        It would be sad. For Germany though the damage is already well and truly done. If we lived in an honest world the attack on the NS pipeline would already have been ranked alongside the Reichstag fire as one of the most consequential, most damaging terrorist attacks in history.

        • Pears Morgaine

          Russia had already reduced flow through NS1 by 80% and cut it off altogether before the sabotage. NS2 wasn’t delivering any gas at the time, it had yet to be commissioned. One of the two pipelines that make up NS2 is still intact but I can’t see it ever being used. Germany has learnt it’s lesson:- Russia cannot be trusted.

          • U Watt

            Very lucky then they can trust Uncle Sam, going well out of his way to help Germany by blowing up its vital infrastructure. How do you think the Germans should thank Sam for this selfless gesture of friendship? I suggest they should volunteer to pay 8 times as much for US gas shipped across the Atlantic not just 4 times as much .

          • Bayard

            “NS2 wasn’t delivering any gas at the time, it had yet to be commissioned.”

            It had yet to be approved. The problem was an political one, not an engineering one. By your logic no-one would mind someone blowing up their spare care on the grounds that it wasn’t on the road at the time. NS1 was closed for engineering reasons. The Germans could have used NS2, but didn’t for political reasons. When they showed some signs of using NS2, it was mysteriously blown up. What are the Russians not to be trusted about? How about the country that blew up the pipelines, why are the Germans supposed to trust them and not the Russians?

          • Pears Morgaine

            Germany has increased gas imports from Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands.

            NS1 was shut down for spurious technical reasons after supply was cut by first 60 then 80%. The motive was clearly revenge on Europe for its support of Ukraine. Germany showed no signs of wanting to use NS2. The certification process was halted in February 2022 after Russia invaded Ukraine an has not been restarted.

          • Bayard

            There are two gas pipes into your house. One has to be shut for maintenance. The gas supplier says you can use the other one. You say you don’t want to use the other one and this means the gas supplier can’t be trusted. What school of logic is that?

            “Germany showed no signs of wanting to use NS2.”
            Why was that then? Did they not need the gas? They had already said they were going to repudiate the contract and stop buying gas from Russia.
            In any case, as soon as Germany showed signs of bringing NS2 into use, it was blown up. You still haven’t explained why a third party blowing up NS1 and NS2 makes the Russian untrustworthy, or is untrustworthiness simply a Russian characteristic?

          • Pears Morgaine

            I’m not aware that Germany ever showed any signs of wanting to use NS2. It wouldn’t have been Germany’s decision anyway.

            Interesting that you assume a ‘third party’ damaged the pipeline. I have to say that as they were not in operation and were not likely to be brought into operation in the foreseeable future the act made no sense whoever carried it out; unless it was a demonstration of capability, a threat against other undersea infrastructure.

          • Bayard

            “It wouldn’t have been Germany’s decision anyway.”
            Whose would it have been then?

            “Interesting that you assume a ‘third party’ damaged the pipeline.”
            Are you able to explain why either Germany or Russia would want to blow it up?

    • John Kinsella

      Genuine question: is Germany less at peace with itself than England is? Or the USA? Or Russia?

      The German government has been slow to come to the assistance of Ukraine – Scholz has been notably equivocal.

      Why is the German government so reluctant to provide tanks and heavy weapons to Ukraine?

      A pacifist streak in German public life post WW2?

      Or kompromat against senior figures in the SPD in particular?

      • U Watt

        Germans have sacrificed their entire economy and standard of living on the alter of Ukraine, or more accurately that of American power. What the hell have you sacrificed??

        • John Kinsella


          I’d say that Germany staked their economic future on a wager that Putin could be trusted.

          They have lost that wager but are imo sufficiently resourceful and energetic to recover from this setback.

          As is the rest of W Europe.

          You ask what I have sacrificed – very little. Prices have gone up here in Ireland though less so than in England.

          I suppose the mods will permit me to return the question.

          • U Watt

            I’m not castigating Germany for insufficient sacrifice for Ukraine and Nato, am I? That’s you.

          • Bayard

            “I’d say that Germany staked their economic future on a wager that Putin could be trusted.”

            Could be trusted to do what? Supply them with gas? It wasn’t the Russians who blew up NS1 and it wasn’t the Russians who refused to use NS2. It was, however, the Germans who had a contract to buy gas from Russia and who repudiated it. Who is the one not to be trusted here?

            (BTW there is a big country to the east of Ukraine, with a big government and lots of people in it, all with their own brains. It’s not just one man called Vladimir Putin)

          • Stevie Boy

            I believe that Russia and Ukraine had agreed a practical way forward with the Minsk agreements, all signed off by the USA and UK. Then we find out from various sources including Germany that it was all a ruse to allow time for an arms build up by the NATO scum. So please explain who the untrustworthy ones were again.

      • AG

        I wouldn´t overstress Schröder. He is isolated.

        What Scholz does is what every chancellor has done: navigate the terrain with the least probable harm to his own interests.
        Which means him and his cronies.

        In the public German political class is overwhelmingly in favour of the war.
        The question is rather how much involvement is possible without letting the war spill beyond the national borders.

        As long as profit outweighs costs. As in any business.

        as to Putin: The claim that Putin was not trustworthy is absolute nonsense.

        If there ever was a stable economic relationship that worked over decades it was Moscow´s pipepline to Germany since it started in the 70s.

        and concerning the price to be paid: Look at who paid the price for the pandemic.
        It´s the lowest 30%.

        I don´t know exact numbers here. I ought to look into that.

        But consider this: People had no income but had to pay rent.

        Most used support by families and friends.

        One of the reasons we have not experienced major demonstrations here is the sheer wealth in this country.
        At least wealthy enough to neutralize possible unrest. So far.

        But if one group pays rent to another group without earning that rent because of lockdowns you experience a major redistribution of wealth from bottom to the top.

        Annually 400 bio. euros are being inherited in Germany, the majority of this being assets in businesses and real estate.

        In France 2020-2022 caused a rise in poverty by 40%. The number of billionaires doubled.

        • John Kinsella

          AG: you say that “The claim that Putin was not trustworthy is absolute nonsense.”

          Putin and his minions swore blind that they wouldn’t invade Ukraine in February 2022.

          They did invade.


          I think not..

          • AG

            John Kinsella:

            We know that modern intra-national relationships play out on a vast “matrix” of interests.

            So in one realm the very same countries can be involved in an economic conflict, like e.g. the EU and the US did on several occasions by boycotting each other through sanctions.

            In some other there can be a cordial relationship at the same time.

            And I was in this instance referring to the trustworthiness of the Russian government regarding economic long term deals.
            After all money is what gave the Putin government the power to stay in power.

            You might have forgotten but in 2000 Putin gave a much lauded speech in the German Bundestag in front of 600 deputies in German. There was hope for a new European-Russian agenda.

            It was the time when Russia applied for NATO membership. They were laughed at. Nobody asks questions why not include them.
            The time when Russians suggested a de-nuclearization of Europe.

            Even domestically the development in Russia was positive.

            It was the time when State Department and the Russian government were big buddies, with Putin supporting the War on Terror, supporting the Afghanistan adventure, even though wiser men would have adviced him not to.

            There were countless German-Russian NGOs, cultural ties etc.
            Diplomatically there was a tacit understanding that we as “Germany” are no angels and neither were they.

            An understanding that German wealth has come to a price for people outside our view.

            Or do you really believe German economic might was a result of our benevolence?
            Germans are rich cause they´re nice folks?

            With this in mind, there was a humble pragmatism at play between Moscow and Berlin.
            One on which things could thrive

            One that Washington was not fond of.

            So as Michael Ignatius reported summer 2021 in the Washington Post, between Biden and Merkel it was made clear, that if Russia did attack Ukraine, NS 1&2 would be dead.
            This was known to everyone.
            The Russians included.

            Based on what we know so far It is most likely that the Russian attacked after a shorthand decision.
            Do you really believe the Russians like bombing and killing Ukrainians?

            If you do, you never met anyone from the East.

            Look into the long history of how the Russians tried to negotiate a compromise with NATO regarding Russian neighbours.

            I mean does it never occur to you as absurd that the US government interferes anywhere on this planet? It´s like we all are their backyard.

            Read Paul Nitze and US National Security Council dcouments. There you see written down, who did really want global dominance.
            It certainly never was the Russians.

            It´s megalomania.

            Caitlin Johnston – who you probably consider an agent paid by the FSB – linked to a handy TWITTER-summary of all those US experts who warned Washington to do what they did.


            btw: one of the best documents we owe to Wikileaks, with the leaked Bill Burns embassy cable from Moscow to Washington in 2008:


            So, you cannot speak about betrayal by the Russians without getting into the ongoing betrayal from the other players in this lethal game, a betrayal for over 20 years.

            And as I stated earlier: The nuclear arms agenda by the US military which is reason for all this, holds a “real” danger for the Russians. That´s not what I say. That´s what the Americans say.

          • Bayard

            “Putin and his minions swore blind that they wouldn’t invade Ukraine in February 2022.”

            and how does that makes him different from any other politician since the world began? “Put not your trust in princes”, it says in the Bible (Psalm 146:3). You must be a very disappointed man if you believe everything every politician (apart from the evil Mr Putin, of course) says.

          • Stevie Boy

            Russia didn’t invade Ukraine, if they had Ukraine now would be no more, they carried out a special military operation to de-nazify and prevent the genocide of Russian speaking Ukrainians. There is a subtle difference you’re not grasping. Think of it like the British army protecting protestants from the IRA !

      • nevermind

        Sacrificing the German economy, its 21.7 billion arms contribution to be used on Ukrainian soil should be enough. Ireland is urged to build a LNG plant in the Shannon, against much opposition from green groups,fisheries, dolphin watchers and more.
        Who do you think would be blamed if it was sabotaged near completion, or if Milford Haven was a target similar in impact as the NS2 terror act?
        What would you say gas prices would look like should such terror tactics take hold? Would they be even higher than they ever were, putting a wry smile on our so called special relationship octogenarian?

      • Bayard

        “Why is the German government so reluctant to provide tanks and heavy weapons to Ukraine?”

        Probably because, as the 10th least corrupt country in the world and the 8th least in Europe, it feels reluctant to help out a country that ranks 122nd (out of 180) in the world and second from bottom in Europe. Also because it’s fought Russia before within living memory and that didn’t end well. Not everyone shares your love for the Ukranian regime.

        • Pears Morgaine

          Germans just waiting for someone to go first.

          Don’t understand how you never stop condemning Ukraine for ranking 122nd for corruption but never stint your praise and support for Russia which comes in at 138th and IS the worst in Europe. Nobody’s holding Ukraine up as a paragon of virtue, just upholding the rights of a sovereign nation to self-determination.

          • Bayard

            “never stint your praise and support for Russia”
            When have I ever praised or supported Russia, apart from pointing out that your denigrations are largely lies? Yes, Russia is supposed to be more corrupt than Ukraine, but that doesn’t make Ukraine any less corrupt and we are not supporting Russia. Outside the rigid dualism to which you appear to adhere, lack of support for one side does not translate to support for the other. Neutrality is possible.

            “Nobody’s holding Ukraine up as a paragon of virtue”
            Silence about their vices is no better, nor is complaining when others point them out, as you have just done.

            ,” just upholding the rights of a sovereign nation to self-determination.”
            Does not the right to self-determination include a right not to have a democratically elected government toppled by a coup organised by another country? Who was upholding that right in 2014?

          • David W Ferguson

            @Pears Morgaine

            Nobody’s holding Ukraine up as a paragon of virtue…

            Hahahahaha. Good one. It appears you’re unfamiliar with the concepts of “Western Newspaper” or “Western TV”.

            Here’s a suggestion. Google “Zelensky Hero” (doesn’t actually need to be a targeted search). See if you can see anything that looks like Ukraine being held up as a paragon.

            Or maybe “heroic Ukraine”. That’s a good one too.

          • Pears Morgaine

            Bayard, you’ve raised Ukraine’s ranking in the corruption index before but if it wasn’t to denigrate the country or in some way use it as a justification for the war then why?

            Whatever Ukraine’s faults it’s undeniable that the people and their leader have shown great courage in the face of a much more powerful invader. I see the Russians have switched back to attacking civilian targets.

          • Bayard

            “Bayard, you’ve raised Ukraine’s ranking in the corruption index before but if it wasn’t to denigrate the country or in some way use it as a justification for the war then why?”
            Ukraine’s ranking is what it is. Why do you want to hide it? Of course it’s a bit embarrassing if you are trying to hold up Ukraine as a beacon of honesty, justice and democracy, but that doesn’t make it denigrating to point it out. I point it out to ask the question, why are we pouring money into such a corrupt country? The fact that it is at war with Russia should be irrelevant to how corrupt it is, but you, and many others seems to think that being attacked by Russia suddenly absolves it from all sins. The truth of the matter is that we are supporting Ukraine because and only because it is at war with Russia, just as we (and Germany) did with Finland before WWII, and then had to do a U-turn when we went to war with Germany and the Finns stayed allies with them.

        • John Kinsella

          Nothing to do with kompromat then?

          Schroeder is up to his neck with Putin and the Putin regime.

          Scholz is compromised if only as a fellow SPD Chancellor.

          Concern about Ukrainian corruption? Ha.

          Concern about German corruption being revealed is the issue.

          • Bayard

            “Nothing to do with kompromat then?”

            Everything probably, but Russia’s not the only country that collects embarrassing material on senior politicians, is it?

          • Observer

            – “Nothing to do with kompromat then?”

            Possibly — but if so, it is being used by Washington and London.

    • Pears Morgaine

      The price of gas is set internationally. Russia sold gas to Europe at the market rate and it would be selling at the market rate today.

      Wholesale gas prices have fallen back to where they were a year ago and are expected to fall further. Germany’s real problem lies in it’s decision to ditch nuclear for political reasons before proper alternatives were in place.

      The real loser will be Russia as no one will never buy energy from there ever again. The lucrative European market is gone and with a shrinking economy and a negative balance of payments Russia needs foreign currency.

      • U Watt

        No import costs involved then, just a standard “market rate for gas”. So forced reliance on US-imported gas is actually a powerful boon to the German and European economies and standards of living. Washington’s destruction of NS a European dream come true. Nor has there been a vast increase in Russian gas exports to China or India or vast resales back to Europe. Ir’s all yet another unequivocal victory for the Neocons on both sides of the Atlantic.

      • Bayard

        “Russia sold gas to Europe at the market rate and it would be selling at the market rate today.”

        Russia sold gas to Europe at the rate agreed for long term contracts. This was considerably less than the spot rate. Most of those contracts would still be valid today, had not Russia’s European customers repudiated them, so no, it wouldn’t.

        • Pears Morgaine

          The main reason the price went up in 2022 was the uncertainty caused by their aggressive invasion of Ukraine.

          ” No import costs involved then, ” Just transit fees and the running costs of the pipeline.

          • Bayard

            The spot price of gas had already gone up long before February 2022, see here Yes there was a spike at the time of the invasion, but it was just that, a spike, see here and in any case that was the spot price, not the price that Russia’s customers who were under long term contracts were paying.
            You still haven’t explained why Germany didn’t use NS2 when NS1 was shut down.

          • Tatyana

            The Russian gas story is funnier than any comedy show.
            The plot:
            all participants know that this is the cheapest source of energy;
            all members are looking for excuses why they can’t buy it.
            When someone starts complicating simple things, when businessmen are suddenly very concerned about the democratic nature of gas, then I’ve no doubt that this is just preparing the conditions for corruption.

            If I were the director of this comic, I would add a scene with dinosaurs.
            Imagine a T-rex on his deathbed saying to his fellows: “What a pity that I’m dying in the territory of the future Siberia! After many millions of years, when my body decomposes into oil and gas, I’d really like to burn in the kitchen of an American housewife, and thereby contribute to the support of democracy! sad sigh, the head slowly bows, tears flow. Camera close-up – the paw begins to twitch in its final agony. The hind leg, I think, otherwise the twitching of the short front arms would spoil the whole tragedy of the scene.

            Well, the culmination of the show:
            Germany stares in bewilderment at the remains of an exploded pipe. German business move their industrial facilities to the USA.
            The Ukrainian regulator is discussing an increase in transit fees with its Russian supplier. Yes, the same gas pipeline that runs through the territory of Ukraine and has not stopped pumping gas for a day.
            In the back of the stage, rockets are flying and soldiers are dying.
            Spotlight highlights papers and bags of money on the negotiators’ tables.

            Applause from the audience, flowers to the actors, an Oscar and international recognition for the director, the performance becomes a cultural heritage of mankind and so on, as is customary among theater lovers.
            The average viewer is left with the feeling “What was it? Drama or sitcom?”

            I look at this from a distance, and my regrets are for him, for the ordinary viewer. Bitter, because he takes the stage for real life. And angry, because of his stupidity. He entrusted the formation of his worldview to the television screen.

  • John Kinsella

    In reply to Tatyana.

    Europe has been fortunate in that the winter has been mild so far .

    Ironically, Russia is having a cold winter.

    Oil and gas prices are moderating.

    Putin’s effort to use oil and gas as an economic weapon has backfired.

    At least he can rely on the Wagner Group.

    (Aren’t private military companies illegal in Russia?)

    • John Kinsella

      In support of my comments about oil and gas prices dropping.

      “The Russian government may raise taxes to compensate for the shortfall in budget revenues from oil, experts at Alfa-Bank’s Center for Macroeconomic Analysis warn.”

      Surprisingly frank comments from what Wikipedia calls Russia’s best bank….

        • Tatyana

          The Moscow Times, I remember the paper at our English lessons in school. Wiki says it’s founded in 1992 by Derk Sauer from the Netherlands. Belonged to the Independent Media Sanoma Magazines, which published Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health, Harper’s bazaar in Russian. In 2015 The Moscow Times was bought by Demian Kudryavtsev, ex-USSR migrant to Israel, ex-manager for Boris Berezovsky, Ru-Israel oligarch. In 2017, Derk Sauer bought the rights. Strange, Wiki gives no explanation on how the founder of the edition had to buy the rights. He is an interesting person, Derk. Vegan, Communist, Maoist – can you imagine that? He mortgaged his property in the Netherlands to raise funds for starting his publisher business in Russia! He was a president of RBC (RosBusinessConsulting, a media holding in Russia). The RBC current head Gregory Berezkin is the owner of EuroNordOil, and his wife Olga holds 81% of RBC shares.
          Mister Derk Sauer moved from RBC to Onexim group, for vice-presidentcy. Onexim is the investment company, belongs to Mikhail Prohirov, Ru-Israel billionaire and politician, Onexim owns Snob magazine. Snob magazine is a nasty thing. The on-line venue to exchange opinions about the gray mass, uneducated alcoholics, underdeveloped hard workers and so on according to the usual list. Social grooming among those who consider themselves to be elites. If I remember it right, Nevzorov was one of Snob’s representatives, and Nevzorov is making me nauseous.
          Well, the Moscow Times, as any other media, they are media. Not an archive. Not a person. They may publish facts or lies, opinions or lies, most probably, the mixture of all above. For money. After all, what is their risk? And what is the punishment? Publishing an apology is nothing, compared to jail term, as is for Mr. Murray or Mr. Assange.

          • Pigeon English

            Dear Tatyana
            it is nice to have you around to put some things in context.
            When I was growing up being a Snob was IMO derogatory but it looks like now even in former Socialist countries Snobism and elitism is a badge of honor.

          • Tatyana

            I grew up with classical literature and a lot of science fiction. The work of the Strugatskys strongly resonated with me, especially “Monday begins on Saturday.” Are you familiar with it? Soviet fantasy based on Russian folklore, with an admixture of world history, the main characters are techies and intellectuals who are most afraid of scattering their creative fuse in routine and bureaucracy.
            The era of the USSR ended and with it came the end of the communist ideology about the equality and respect for the working person. Here we had a wild spree of the most primitive ideas about society. Worship of the rich. A bow to power. Work less, get more. If for this you need to deceive – deceive, betray, sell everything you can reach, for money. New criteria for success. People stopped looking people in the eye. People began to evaluate people by clothes, cars, home, wallet size.
            It’s very un-Russian.
            The traditional Russian mentality is saturated with Christian ideas, where everyone is equal, in the Biblical sense. The conscience of a person is his main moral guide. Public opinion is the main measure of the norm. Later, this fit well into the communist ideology. And this has absolutely no place in the variant of modern society that arose after the collapse of the USSR.
            Individualism, competition, neglect of society. In my opinion, in the concept of “Russian people” there is a rollback from the image of a mature person with a decent education and a broad outlook, to the level of a rebellious teenager who wants to live for pleasure, without responsibility.
            Have you seen the other side of elitism and snobbery? People who deeply believe in inequality putting themselves on the other side of the scale, believing themselves to be left out? They may attribute elitism and snobbery to you, simply because you are not one of their circle. I want to say that this is no less ugly phenomenon than snobbery, and degrades the human dignity of all those involved in such a format of communication.
            I hired workers to paint my new workshop, and they wanted to charge me more than the agreed amount, because I was considered “a rich lady with hands too white for painting.” It was disgusting, in their eyes there was aggression and self-righteousness. It was unfair, because with my ‘white hands’ I did all the dismantling and preparation of the walls. I saved the money set aside for the New Year’s holiday, to pay the workers.
            This desire to find an excuse for greed, the desire to receive undeserved money, like begging, is so vile that even my strong nerves could not stand it. I warned my husband that I would be hysterical for a couple of days and he kept me under the covers and brought me tea while I cried over trash movies. I didn’t leave the house for two days afterwards, because my eyes were swollen from tears, and people might think that this was a consequence of too much vodka. I remembered that I’ve experienced a similar emotional attack from BLM people who accused me of being racist.

    • Tatyana

      John, who cares? Some kind of Europe, with its problems. They are adults, they will somehow decide their own fate.

      Much more interesting in this show is Ukraine, which plays the role of an ingenue, a kind of innocence offended by its formidable evil neighbor. Oh, this is a lucky find, this emotional message will resonate in the West, because their whole mentality is built on the savior complex. A kind of hero, rushing to rescue the offended and humiliated. The one, the only, protector of virgins 🙂

      Yesterday, the words of our UN representative flashed across the news:
      “According to a document prepared in 2022 by the US Congressional Research Service, since 1991, when the United States declared itself the winner of the Cold War, 251 cases of the use of US military forces abroad have been recorded. According to the US Census Bureau, there are over 16 million veterans in the United States as of 2022. That is, those who directly took part in the hostilities. And this despite the fact that no one has attacked the United States for two decades. Think about it.”

      The only thing you are allowed, John, is to show admiration for your hero. You can express your approval of the performance by replacing “Bravo” with “Slava Ukraine”
      You may be consoled by the fact that I, here, am no less limited in expressing my attitude to what is going on.

      • John Kinsella

        Tatyana. You say that ” Ukraine, which plays the role of an ingenue, a kind of innocence offended by its formidable evil neighbor.”

        I’m sure that you believe that Russia is “formidable”.

        Its inability to defeat its much smaller neighbour makes that claim look foolish.

        As to “evil”, yes I do believe that the actions and the intentions of the Putin regime are evil.

        No-one “allows” me to express my views here (other than our host and the moderators).

        Ironically, I was sympathetic to Russia and sceptical of the claims that it would invade Ukraine – right up to the day that it did invade last February.

        Putin and his boyars lied to the world when they said that the hundreds of thousands of troops on Ukraine’s borders were there for training.

        Now they lie to the Russian people when they claim that Russia will win.

        • J Arther Nast

          Hello John
          Foregive me but you come across as aii Irishman who has spent adeal of time living in Boston or some other parts of the Beniighted States of America.Just a theory.
          I also have the impression that you have a colour blind black and white view of the world, maybe you could dispel that. You make your views clear on Russia in as much as”the Putin regime is evil”. So how do you see the too many to mention military attacks and interventions in soverign states by the U.S. in the last sixty or so years?

          • U Watt

            John is about as genuinely horrified by violations of national sovereignty, human rights abuses or “evil regimes” as the good men and women of the US Congress are.
            Do not take him too literally.

          • John Kinsella

            Hello JAN.

            I have visited the USA but have lived in Ireland all my life.

            The moderators disapprove of direct questions to other posters as to their location.

            (So I won’t ask where you live.)

            As for the US and its many foreign adventures; they were often but not always wrong.

            Vietnam and Iraq would certainly fall into that category imo.
            Vietnam was in the context of the Cold War and the “domino” theory. But still wrong.
            Iraq was hubris on the part of Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney et al.

            Korea was imo justified.

            Libya again hubris (supported by Britain and France).

            Afghanistan is nuanced imo – the US was justified in punishing the Taliban State for facilitating 911.
            But not justified in occupying Afghanistan for a decade or two.

            I could go on..

            But the Russian invasion of Ukraine is an act of naked aggression with no justification at all. None.
            An attempted act of homicidal agression which, we can note with satisfaction, is failing miserably.

            All the best.

          • glenn_nl

            JK: “But the Russian invasion of Ukraine is an act of naked aggression with no justification at all. None.”

            Sorry, but a remark like that can only come from total, willful ignorance. And that’s putting a kind interpretation on it.

            I say willful, because in literally hundreds of your posts all faithfully promoting pro-NATO propaganda, you must have become somewhat familiar with the truth, even if by accident or reluctantly. Yet you not only deny any such knowledge of the reasons why Russia invaded, but boldly assert there are none.

            Other than referring us to NATO propaganda, on a daily basis for many months, I don’t think you have contributed a single thing to the discussion.


        • Pigeon English

          – Glenn-Nl made a such a nice/polite comment
          – “No-one “allows” me express my views here (other than our host and the moderators)” JK
          Those views are reported all the time everywhere and here we have the privilege to put different views/arguments and debate.

          -“Afghanistan is nuanced imo – the US was justified in punishing the Taliban State for facilitating 911.”
          How did you get to that conclusion or G Bush? Few hours after the attack they blamed Al Quaida and few weeks later we attacked Afghanistan and blamed Afghanistan and Iraq for” facilitating” 911 and then we moved to than y and then WMD assured that all Security services in the west agree with WMD claim..
          – You should know that 16000 people were killed in Donbas!

          • Pigeon English

            I am sorry for editing my post under few minute’s timescale and as a
            result this confusing post

        • Bayard

          “Now they lie to the Russian people when they claim that Russia will win.”

          There are two wonderful resources on the internet, called Google Maps and Wikipedia. If you use them, you can see something of which you appear to be unaware, that Russia is much, much bigger in terms of both population and resources, than Ukraine. This means that Ukraine is going to run out of soldiers first. How are they then going to win?

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Surprised to find you referring to Wikipedia as ‘wonderful’, Bayard – I thought you’d view it as merely a tool of the Western security establishment. Anyway, it’s a given that Russia has a far larger population and per-capita GDP than Ukraine. However, if those things were all that mattered, the US-backed Republic of Afghanistan would have annihilated the Taliban years ago. The greater issue for Russia is whether large numbers of its 20 million or so fighting-age men are willing to fight and potentially die for their leader’s ambitions in Ukraine. So far, the evidence suggests that the vast majority are not.

          • Bayard

            “I thought you’d view it as merely a tool of the Western security establishment.”
            There’s a lot more to Wikipedia than geopolitically contentious matters and, even in those, it is useful as it shows if Wikipedia is saying it, it’s unlikely to be anti-Western propaganda. One can quote Wikipedia where one couldn’t, effectively, quote, say, RT.

            “So far, the evidence suggests that the vast majority are not.”

            What evidence is that?

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply Bayard. It’s more a lack of evidence that even a small proportion of Russians are willing to fight in Ukraine. If over the summer when Russia put out a call for volunteers, only 1%* of young men had heeded that call, there would have been queues around the block at army recruiting centres, which would have been shown on TV. The fact that that didn’t happen made it clear to me that Russia can’t win this war without nukes.

            * Previously, I’d have thought that at least 1% of Russian men would fit into the category of ‘patriotic psychopath’, but apparently not.

        • Pigeon English

          “Afghanistan is nuanced imo – the US was justified in punishing the Taliban State for facilitating 911.”
          Well according to that opinion Putin is justified to punish Ukraine for “facilitating “killing of 10 000 Russians in self proclaimed autonomous regions of Donetsk and Luhansk over 8 years.

    • Pigeon English

      “Putin’s effort to use oil and gas as an economic weapon has backfired.” JK
      NS2 was finished late 2021 and not given permission to start selling/distributing Gas!
      It was EU with all the sanction that started using “economy as weapon”. How can you not see!!!!
      Economic Sanctions are war by other means. What is the purpose of Economic sanctions compared
      to bombing of a factory.. Aim is to destroy that factory one way or the other.
      Biden stated that NS2 will be stopped!

  • AG

    isn´t it odd though?

    No person with a set of views on this issue will convince another person with contradicting views, regardless of how overwhelming the evidence might be each person will present in favour of his or her cause.

    It will most likely be a stalemate.

    p.s. Perhaps this might even be favoured by anonymous online communication. In contrast to discussions in person. May be I am wrong: But has political internet activism turned against its original advocates and weakened the idea?

    • Stevie Boy

      We’re in the Post Truth Age, where the establishment decides what is the truth and everything else is misinformation and lies peddled by the enemies of the establishment. The MSM and Social media is a tool of the establishment that is used to ensure the masses know exactly what the current truth is. It is suggested that the following is memorised in case of rendition by the agents of the establishment:
      – Ukraine is winning;
      – Russia and China are evil;
      – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was entirely unprovoked;
      – The Science is settled;
      – All vaccines are safe and effective and give you the best protection against [insert current threat];
      – The NHS is sacred and must be protected;
      – UK restrictions will single handedly prevent climate change and save the world;
      – All politicians are honest and work in the best interests of the people;
      – America is the leader of the free world.

      • Anthony

        You are badly mistaken if you think establishment media regards the NHS as something sacred that must be protected. If that were the case they would have been urgently warning the public for the past year that Streeting and Starmer have both been bribed by private health investors to deliver it into the hands of the US corporation United Health. Those bribes have been openly recorded in the parliamentary Members’ Register of Interests since January 2022 but have been suppressed by all media, incl BBC, C4N, Guardian.

        Remember too when Corbyn produced secret documents during the last GE campaign exposing Tory deals to sell off the NHS to US private health giants? The media immediately turned it into a Corbyn is a Putin Puppet story, completely at ease with the Tories’ secret plans.

        The NHS is one of the last socialist remnants in Britain. An institution that massively benefits ordinary people. That is why the whole political and media class is determined to see it privatised along with everything else.

        • Stevie Boy

          Tony. You are correct but the way ‘they’ work is complex and devious. The NHS is virtually privatised already and it will get worse BUT to inact their agenda they need to keep repeating the mantra ‘protect the NHS’ this ensures we support their efforts whilst the money keeps leaking into the private sector. The NHS we have in the future will be an NHS in name only. The establishment will NEVER say destroy or privatise the NHS but that is what they are doing.

      • glenn_nl

        SB: “– All vaccines are safe and effective and give you the best protection against [insert current threat]; “

        Could you please reference where any official source maintains anything of the kind?

        All vaccines – indeed, all medicines – involve some element of risk. But the outcome is vastly better than not, to the vast majority. Tipping a wink at the anti-vaxxer and covid denialist lunatics does nothing to bolster the wider point you were trying to make.

      • Pears Morgaine

        Science is never ‘settled’, it constantly evolves as new data becomes available which is what distinguishes it from more dogmatic approaches.

        The contrary position on vaccines, that they are all dangerous, unnecessary and cause a wide range of serious side effects, is equally at odds with reality.

        • Bayard

          “The contrary position on vaccines, that they are all dangerous, unnecessary and cause a wide range of serious side effects, is equally at odds with reality.”

          Yep, that’s the anti-anti-vaxxer narrative. The truth is, just as there is science and there is climate “science”, (it’s only the latter that’s “settled” by the way), there are vaccines and there are COVID “vaccines”. Vaccines stop you getting the disease and so stop you becoming infectious and so passing it on. All COVID “vaccines” do is ameliorate your symptoms somewhat and so keep you out of hospital to a certain extent. Being anti COVID “vaccines” is sensible, especially now that more and more evidence is coming out about how they are neither effective nor safe, being anti-vaccines (anti-vaxxer) is not.

          • Stevie Boy

            Of course we are told that the covid genevax ‘ameliorated’ symptoms so it must be true !
            However, where is the proof ? And, from a scientific viewpoint think about how you would prove that statement – virtually impossible, it hasn’t been done.

          • glenn_nl

            Where’s the proof, you ask?

            Do you mind saying where you’ve looked for the proof so far? I wonder how much of a job you did before concluding there has to be something really underhand going on, such that you wish to spread doubts about the efficacy of the vaccine on a public forum like this.

            Maybe it’s just a bit of fun for you, but this sort of nonsense has cost many people their lives.

          • Bayard

            “Maybe it’s just a bit of fun for you, but this sort of nonsense has cost many people their lives.”

            There is mounting evidence that the so-called vaccine has cost many people their lives. Not enough, I suspect, to convince you, however, in time the truth will come out. The efficacy of this “vaccine” has long proved to be zero, that is its efficacy in doing what a vaccine ought to do, which is prevent you catching the disease. Nobody now disputes this, the effort is now to pretend it was never claimed that it did.

          • pretzelattack

            uh the fossil fuel companies have a lot of money to fund research that would unsettle the science. their problem is their own scientists told them the same thing a very large majority of scientists say about the issue, and the only study they funded (gasp) said the same thing.

            ps physics has nothing to do with Covid.

  • John Kinsella


    You said:

    “I say willful, because in literally hundreds of your posts all faithfully promoting pro-NATO propaganda, you must have become somewhat familiar with the truth, even if by accident or reluctantly. Yet you not only deny any such knowledge of the reasons why Russia invaded, but boldly assert there are none.”

    I “assert”ed nothing of the sort.

    I said that there were no *justifications*.

    Mebbe I should have said *no justifications that would persuade anyone but a geriatric tankie*?

    But the mods might have disapproved so I didn’t.

    • glenn_nl

      Ah, so you actually mean, “There is no reason that I – John “God bless NATO!” Kinsella – find justifiably”. Got it.

      Did you bother looking at the Jonathan Cook reference I provided for you? Or do you know that he, along with John Pilger, Chomsky etc., are all paid stooges of Putin , or whatever the current fashion is for dismissing people who aren’t fans of US/NATO aggression ?

  • AG

    just cause German delegate Sevim Dagdelen just said it on the live panel in Berlin

    since 1945:

    2022 – biggest decline of real wages with 5%
    2022 – biggest real profit by German energy companies with 130 bn. Euros
    2022 – biggest profit paid by stock companies 55 bn. Euros

    • John Kinsella

      What a spoofer she is: (wiki extract, link below). “Madness” to deliver weapons to Ukraine.

      As we say in Ireland, ‘croppies lie down’. In other words, ‘Ukranians can **** off and die’.

      “As late as February 2022, Dağdelen denied references by Western intelligence agencies to the imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. On 18 February 2022, she appeared at a demonstration in Berlin with the slogan “Security for Russia is security for our country,” where she accused the German media of spreading the “tall tales of the U.S. intelligence service”.[9] After the Russian invasion occurred, Dağdelen was among the co-signers of a statement attributing significant responsibility for the Russian invasion to the United States.[10] In April 2022, she praised German protesters who opposed an increase in German military spending, and she described it as “madness” to deliver military weapons to Ukraine.[11]”

      • AG

        but John, what is wrong with any of what she said?
        I absolutely agree with her.
        Sorry to say.

        Try to think it through to the “end”.
        (I have posted enough upsetting links concerning the “end” in recent days.)

        Half an hour ago Dagdelen said herself: January NATO will decide to send heavy tanks.
        German tanks with the same iron cross that was used in 1941.

        then warplanes.
        then medium-range conventional rockets
        then the German Bundeswehr.
        then game over.

        And look at what happened up untill that February.

        I mean we constantly bring forward – at least I am trying to with my half-baked English – transparent documentation in earnest to lay out the position critical of NATO and the US – and you constantly say no, by quoting what? That Putin is a bad. That´s very helpful and convincing.

        And one minor thing: My last post that you were probably referring to, said nothing about the war.
        I was only mentioning those 3 figures about the economy because this was discussed earlier on this blog entry by others I believe.

        • John Kinsella


          A bit German centric?

          The Bundeswehr are not going to send soldiers into Ukraine. Still less into Russia.

          So why say “the same iron cross that was used in 1941”?

          The Putin regime is far more militarily aggressive than the democratic Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

          I’m not permitted to ask posters where they are posting from.

          But nothing prevents them from saying where they live.

          I don’t get the impression that many posters are based in Scotland.

          Or even in England?

          • J Arther Nast

            Hello John,
            So you have the impression that I am not shall we say genuine, well I have lived in England and in Scotland and now I live in an E.U. country.For information my gran was a Curly from Portumna, lots of Curleys there
            Btw I find it astonishing that you view millions killed,the death squads,environmental degradation and the ruination of nations by the U.S. as “foreign adventures,”but perhaps you dont know about all that.

          • AG


            I didn´t know of any rule regarding not to disclose one´s location untill you mentioned it.

            As to the Iron Cross quote – I was only quoting Sevim Dagdelen (of Turkish extraction) from this evening last, when sitting on the panel she reminded the audience what it would mean symbolically if German Leopard 2 heavy tanks would see military “action” in 2023 and thus attacking Russians, possibly on Russian soil – which would repeat an image known to Russians, burnt into their “collective memory” to borrow a term coined by Marcel Halbwachs.

            This has nothing to do with being German centric.
            But if a German delegate who is a major member of the German national security council and involved in high level state security business points out the dangers of German military gear and units being drawn into a war with Russia – it is justified to call upon ghosts of the past.

            I am personally not at all a friend of this symbolism talk, I am way too materialistic. But this is also about the Russian perspective.

            So Dagdelen merely made clear how it would look like for Russians to see German tanks attacking them – again after 80 years.

            The insignia of German military units have remained the same in many areas. So a Geman Iron Cross on a Leopard tank firing on Russian soldiers in 2023 is not much different than a Leopard tank firing on Russians soldiers in 1944 – a deja-vu. or nightmare.

            You may call that whatever you want. The observation in itself is undisputed.

            Keep in mind that German public untill recently was anti-militaristic by post-45 design. Unlike England e.g. A “Rule Britannia” was unthinkable for post-Nazi Germany.

            One of the reasons why military history in Germany was by far never as popular as in England or France.
            No public display of military. No parades. Nothing of that. No heroic stories about a “Battle of Britian”.

            So the threshold is an entirley different one here. It´s not German-centered. It´s systemic difference.

            Last note: A Russian called my attention to this – for Russians he said, the German war in the East from 1941 on is the Russian “Holocaust”.
            Not entirely unjustified considering the racist and genocidal ideology behind “Operation Barbarossa” and the hatred towards Slavs (you will find roots of that in West-Ukraine and Galicia) which cost the lives of 1/7 of the Russian population. Almost every Russian family had members lost to this war.

            Nazi Germany lost WWII on the battlefields of the East and at the expense of Russian blood.

            Thats the Iron Cross.

          • zoot


            let’s not forget either – as so many want to – the prevalence of top nazi war criminals in the foundation and mission of NATO.

            nor the prevalence in the year 2023 of fanatical nazis in the state armed forces of ukraine (.. nor their singling out for shameless celebration in western mass media, hollywood etc.)

            the past is never dead. it’s not even past.
            William Faulkner

          • glenn_nl

            AG: There is no rule saying you can’t disclose your identity if you want.

            JK was _demanding_ this information from others, with the insinuation that they weren’t of good faith unless they complied.

      • nevermind

        thanks mods. you are free to delete my comments. I do not excuse myself for being direct.
        The plan to use Ujrainians to underm8be Russian resolve is 70 years old and much referenced.
        My relations as well as my friends in Germany are not happy about Europes course accepting NATOs narrative. I apologise should I have felt John Kinsellas simple propaganda too much.

        But I refuse to regurgitate facts/links about project aerodynamic, the lack of genuine will to make Minsk 1/2 work by those western leaders feigning support, only to resupply Ukrainian Nazis with the arms they need to carry on dying as US patsies. Nor will I accept the hypocrisy of Banderite book burners.

    • Onlooker

      What you mean by “delegate” is Member of Parliament (and of the relevant Committee).

      (But she is a Left Party MP, and calls for the abolition of NATO … Hiss! Booh!)

  • John Kinsella

    You said:
    “I didn´t know of any rule regarding not to disclose one´s location untill you mentioned it.”

    That’s not what I said though. I have been told by mods that I must not ask other posters where they are located. But that posters may disclose their locations if they wish.
    (I hope that I have phrased that correctly.)

    As to Russians being sensitive about the cross symbol on Bundeswehr tanks?
    A couple of points:

    Unternehmen Barbarossa was inflicted on the USSR (not just Russia) by the National Socialist regime.

    Ukraine suffered as greatly as did Russia and due to geography was attacked before Russia.

    Ukrainian troops fought as bravely against the Nazis as did Russians.

    (I’ve noticed a tendency among tankies to conflate the USSR with Russia and to ignore the huge contribution of the other Republics such as Ukraine.)

    The Stalin regime controlling the USSR were perfectly happy to ally with the Nazis in 1939 and to jointly invade Poland under the terms of the infamous Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.

    Finally, I doubt that any armoured vehicles donated by Germany to Ukraine will display Bundeswehr markings.

    We should after all empathise with mobiks in Donbass who might be ‘triggered’ by seeing them.

  • RT Happe

    Bin scavengers, many inconspicuously dressed OAPs among them, and to varying degree unreliable trains are a fixture of German life for many years now. The big bad Russian bogeyman as the only plausible cause for any expression of discontent in the neoliberal paradises of the West came along quite a bit later.

  • John Kinsella

    Tatyana said:
    “You may also find it convenient to move to the Discussion Forum and continue the dialogue there, as it would be polite and right thing to do, regarding the site’s rules.”

    In reply; many/most posts on this discussion thread in reply to our host’s essays on his travels and adventures in Germany are to a greater or lesser extent commenting on Germany and Ukraine and of course the splendid Gospodin Putin.

    The word dialogue is interesting, a conversation between two or more people?

    Why would it be the “polite and right thing to do” (to move to a different forum)?

    If the mods ask me not to comment on Putin’s war, on this or any other thread, I will of course comply.

      • John Kinsella

        Putin is the President and de facto Dictator of Russia.
        He permits no real opposition.
        The mass media permit no criticism of him or his policies.
        Though criticism of apparatchiks for insufficient zeal is tolerated.
        He launched the invasion last February (denying his intention to attack till the day of the invasion) without any democratic mandate from the puppet Duma.

        Yes I think “Putin’s War” is an accurate description.

        • John Kinsella

          Amusing self-parody by Putin as “Dark Lord”.

          “Putin recently attended a meeting of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a group of former Soviet republics that includes countries like Armenia, Belarus and Russia itself. There, he gave golden rings to the leaders of the eight member states, keeping one ring for himself.”

          One Ring to rule them all? (Apologies to the late JRR Tolkien.)

          • Bayard

            “One Ring to rule them all? (Apologies to the late JRR Tolkien.)”

            Close, but no cigar. Like all these things, it falls down on close inspection. Sauron gave out nine rings, not eight and had the one ring made subsequently. If Putin and the other heads of state were nine, that makes them all ringwraiths. Who then is the Dark Lord with the ring of power?

        • Bayard

          Your bald assertion of all the erroneous things you believe doesn’t make them true, or in the slightest bit convincing to anyone else.

          “He permits no real opposition.”

          I was wondering when the “No true Scotsman” fallacy was going to show up.

          “He launched the invasion last February (denying his intention to attack till the day of the invasion) without any democratic mandate from the puppet Duma.”

          It may interest you to know that there has only been one occasion in history that the British government has asked for a vote in Parliament as to whether it should go to war.

          • John Kinsella

            You quoted my comments:

            “He permits no real opposition.”

            “He launched the invasion last February (denying his intention to attack till the day of the invasion) without any democratic mandate from the puppet Duma.”

            ….and said that they are “erroneous”.

            Can you say where or in what respect they are “erroneous”?



            PS you are quite right about the Nine Rings schtick. But it is funny.

            Perhaps Putin as the Lord of the Nazgul then.

            And the late lamented J Stalin as a Sauron wannabe.

          • Bayard

            “Can you say where or in what respect they are “erroneous”?”

            I think it’s you that need to produce evidence that you are right, rather than I that needs to prove you are wrong. I know you would like me to come up with endless evidence so that you can then say it is fake with no evidence to prove it is, but I don’t really have time for that game. Can’t you find something from the Guardian, the New York Times or Radio Free Europe to quote?

            “Perhaps Putin as the Lord of the Nazgul then.”

            That’s a better fit, but who’s Eowyn then? BTW, there’s many in Russia who think the “Lord of the Rings” is just thinly-disguised anti-Russian propaganda.

  • J Arther Nast

    I’m old and a bit slow but I’ve finally worked it out, you are from that Province that has the miss fortune to be
    a breeding ground for bigots.

    • John Kinsella

      Not at all JAN. If you are referring to Cúige Uladh, (the “fifth”/province of Ulster) that is.

      I’m a proud Dubliner though living in the SW of Ireland for work reasons.

      Are you suggesting that I am bigoted?

      Natural justice would suggest that some evidence is needed before verdict and sentence?


      • J Arther Nast

        Your opinions expresssed on these boards proove your biased support for the U. S. empire and your unwillingness to condem both Russia and the U.S. shows you to be a bigot.
        Most of the worlds people either support Russia or are unconvinced by the double standards put forward by the empire of lies.

        • John Kinsella

          I expect that many of the world’s people (e.g. in China, India or sub Saharan Africa) are unaware of the Russian invasion of Ukraine due to poverty and lack of access to information. Through no fault of theirs in other words.

          Your assertion that “most of the worlds people either support Russia or are unconvinced by (the) double standards” fails without support.

          The reference to “empire of lies” is ott imo. Presumably you intended this to mean the USA or the EU or England? China and Russia would win that contest hands down.

          And your accusation of bigotry (now repeated) is offensive and unjustified.

          If you choose not to withdraw it, I’ll report it to the mods.


          • J Arther Nast

            Not only do I think you biased and bigoted, your opinions also show you to be ill nformed especially about
            world opinion (see But as there is limited utility in talking to the delusional I wish you good night
            and sweet dreams.

          • Pigeon English

            Sure their leaders have no access to information. We are blessed that our media is unbiased and every day they show us opposing narratives. What do you think of banning RT? If anyone should be banned it’s you JK but you generate so many comments/reply’s that you you are an “asset” to this site. You should be paid? for triggering most of genuine people. What is your paypal account so I can make donation!

          • Pears Morgaine

            The UN votes which have overwhelmingly condemned the Russian war of aggression? Some populous countries like India and China remined neutral and abstained but that can’t be construed as meaning that the whole population support Russia. That is a sign of pure desperation.

            RT still available online depending on your ISP or you may need to invest in a VPN. Plenty of other voices singing, or in George Galloway’s case shouting, from the Russian playbook too.

          • Tatyana

            why attacking John Kinsella? He plays important part in the discussion.
            Firstly, he drives attention to important things, a chance to speak about important things . Secondly, his position supports pro-NATO (c) glenn_nl agenda, a chance to put your counter-arguments. Thirdly, he poses as a bad informed person, a chance to argue and bring your information in support of your position. And, in general, his presence is the proof that this website supports speech freedom for everyone.
            With all these precious opportunities to bring your opinions here, you choose to attack the courier instead. We all may, of course, lose our temper, especially in hot discussions, but really, it would be better to use the comments section for smth. rational. At least, if you feel you should express your attitude to a commenter, I advise to describe in many excessive words. Because short comments inevitably feel insulting. Like labels.

            See how the comment “…you’re an asset, you should be payed…” might be turned into live expression of human feelings:
            “John, it really hurts to read some thought you express here. I guess you’ve never visited Crimea or Donbass, and I believe you’ve never spoken to people, who fled to Russia. I think so, because you express only what Kiev’s side is telling. My experience differs. That’s why I cannot agree with your points. To me, your points lack knowledge. Also, it really hurts to see how you dismiss the hopes, wishes, rights and feelings of people, whom you even never met. There’s no humanity, no compassion in your reasonings, and it feels heartless and even scary. I cannot believe that a live person would voluntarily write such cruel words. I only met such behavior from soulless bots spreading pro-war propaganda.”

          • Tatyana

            Also, when bringing arguments here, you may find it useful to check them with Logical Fallacy list
            Eg.the argument on big quantity of countries being ‘pro’ or ‘contra’ is Argumentum ad populum.
            It simply makes no sense, it doesn’t prove or disprove the veracity.
            Of course, we mostly argue with our hearts, than our brains. But again, our hearts depend on what we know.
            For me, the argument on majority makes no sense, because I remember the list of countries who attacked USSR together with Hitler on June 22, 1941.
            If your family never told you about what “majority” may sometimes means, than your experience is different from mine.
            It is another good reason to write long many-worded comments, to better explain your point.

          • John Kinsella

            Well, I reported J Arther Nast’s post (accusing me of bigotry and of being a bigot) to the mods.

            Let’s wait a week or two and see what the outcome is.

            In the meantime, may I politely suggest that posters “play the ball, not the man”?

            All the best to all,

            [ Mod: You don’t have to wait a week or two, JK. The accusation of bigotry is not ad hominem provided it’s accompanied by an explanation of why the views in question are bigoted.

            Any further discussion about moderation should be posted in the Blog Support forum, not in a topical thread. ]

  • Tatyana

    Folks, see what I found.
    There’s a European Commission, they have a European Commission against Rasicm and Intolerance department.
    Here is the link to their report on Finland, a EU country and NATO candidate. The report says:
    … person seeking recognition in a gender other than in which they were originally registered should be infertile or should undergo sterilisation as a precondition for legal recognition.
    Is it real?
    If so, even for my country it’s far far too much. How do I share a direct link to pdf file?

  • AG

    (this is absolutely secondary now but I honestly did not know of a forum dedicated to discussions explicitely. Stupid me.)
    Tatyana, just in case, could you perhaps re-link the Finland case and the EU?
    The link now expired and from there it led to a wide variety of articles and stats.

    p.s. re: Ukraine – this extensive and worth-the-time piece by Branko Marketic might be helpful for some discussion. It has several noteworthy hyperlinks (e.g. Washington Post about Putin in 2000 or many of the Wiki cable leaks concerning the US diplomats warning D.C.). Marketic sums up the case Russia vs. NATO expansion.

    “ACURA ViewPoint: Guest Post by Branko Marcetic: Diplomatic Cables Show Russia Saw NATO Expansion as a Red Line”

    • Tatyana

      I’m currently visiting with my smartphone, it shows mobile version of the site

      [ Mod: Here’s the link to the Finland pdf ]

      I see text, photos, videos and Focus section, the second’caption says Conclusions on the implementation of priority recommendations published in 2022
      and a list if countries follows.

      I’ve saved couple if them, pdf format. Tomorrow I’ll be in my workshop near my Windows operating laptop, so I’ll return here with either a direct link, or Google drive link. Honestly, i distrust Google drive. I once saved some screenshots of articles on US biolabs, and the drive immediately notified me of ‘inappropriate content’.
      Anyway, I’ve saved the copies of what I seen, including their report on Russians in Estonia

      • Tatyana

        Thanks for the link!
        here I read with my eyes and cannot believe:
        page 4
        2) In its report on Finland (fifth monitoring cycle), ECRI recommended that, in conformity with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, the Act on Legal Recognition of the Gender of Transsexuals should be amended to remove the requirement that persons seeking
        recognition in a gender other than that in which they were originally registered should be infertile or should undergo sterilisation as a pre-condition for legal recognition.
        The Finnish authorities informed ECRI that /…/ the relevant legislation is scheduled to be submitted to the Finnish Parliament in 2022.
        /…/ However, the necessary amendments to bring this about have not yet been published or proposed in Parliament. /…/
        ECRI concludes that the recommendation has not been implemented.”

        My cousin works as a register at a state service, I don’t know what is a relevant service in your country, where you get certificate of birth, sertificate of marriage etc. Well, I asked her once on transgender people, what it looks like, how do they change their passports or what. She said it is not an unusual practice, persons come and get their new papers, they must have a paper from doctor confirming their gender. State service is digitalized in my country, here what it looks like:
        I see the option is visible and accessible. I found the medical paper description
        it says, a person notifies, a commission of a sexologist, psychiatrist and medical psychologist makes a decision and gives a certificate (or declines). The term is 30 days. The term for changing the passport is 5 days. There are no sterility requirements. There is no legal ban on gender reassignment. There is a legislative ban on propaganda among minors.

        • AG

          thx for the effort and the info!
          Can read it now.

          * * *

          Your google drive experience is spooky but it would not lack confirmed examples from real life.

          (a bit far-fetched: I am currently watching the Polish series “1983” on Netflix, a dystopian version of Poland under still Communist rule today with today´s technology. Good production with a “cinematic feel”, seldom on netflix by now, co-directed by Agnieszka Holland. Not through with it but recommended. Reminded me of the strange things happening as experienced by Craig Murray and discussed around here.)

        • AG

          re: registration & gender change in Berlin

          Berliner Zeitung reported Dec. 29th:

          137 individuals changed their gender in the registration since this option was introduced 2019:

          this is 0,0037% of 3,7 mio. people living in Berlin

          According to a link in the article above, a doctor has to write a confirmation to enable this change.

          LGBQT interest groups had demanded complete freedom in this regard and criticized the decision.

          I don´t know if this ruling applies the same way to the other federal states.

          (problem: the fight over these issues has diverted the Left´s focus beyond the proper proportion from classic workers´ interests and rights. But that´s another topic.)

  • AG

    in case John Kinsella peeks in (but of course also for the entire community)

    (I won´t migrate to the forum with this just yet, first I have to understand how that works):

    A short text by Rhode Island University historian Nicolai Petro from March 2022 on the origins of the war.

    “A True Solution to the Tragedy of Ukraine – One thing that we can confidently predict is that, as a result of this invasion, Ukraine’s tragic cycle will continue.”

    2 short excerpts:

    “Why did Russia invade now? Because at every level, Russia’s strategy to date had ended in failure.”

    “Therefore, having lost all faith in the West’s willingness to reach a mutually acceptable compromise on its key security concerns, the Russian government felt that it had no choice but to pay the ultimate price: to get out of this hopeless situation, it had to reset the agenda. It chose to do so through a brute force invasion of Ukraine aimed at reversing the outcome of the 2014 Euromaidan.”

    I read this at the time but did not know the man.
    Now I have read Petro´s book which I already recommended on this blog.

    Longer read is this Ted Snider piece from yesterday:

    “Why Russia Went to War in 2022”

    also with some useful hyperlinks and quotations

    • John Kinsella


      Thanks for mentioning me.

      You quoted Nicolai Petro as saying that
      ” the Russian government felt that it had no choice but to pay the ultimate price: to get out of this hopeless situation, it had to reset the agenda. It chose to do so through a brute force invasion of Ukraine aimed at reversing the outcome of the 2014 Euromaidan.”

      Petro doesn’t know what the Putin regime “felt”.
      He only knows what they said and what they did. (The same as the rest of us.)

      I agree with his use of the phrase “brute force invasion of Ukraine”.

      Perhaps some posters here would not?


      • AG

        (well of course Petro did write some more. But for that one would have to use the link and read the text.
        I sometimes have the feeling – in general – commentators in the comments setion of blogs don´t like to read.
        Only to publicize an opinion.
        So the quote is the only item they actually take notice of.
        Which can cause a misperception at times.
        But of course, every reader as he or she fancies.)

        • John Kinsella

          I’m sure that Petro did write some more.
          But I hope that you don’t object to comment on those writings of his that you chose to quote?
          I expect that you chose them to make a point?

          All the best,

          • John Kinsella

            It does strike me that Petro’s comment:

            “Likewise, what happens in Ukraine will ultimately be decided by the Ukrainian people. How many will see Russia’s invasion as an attempt to end their nationhood? How many will see the Russians as liberators from their eight-year nightmare? The suffering will be great regardless, for in war, as William Butler Yeats reminds us in The Second Coming, “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

            ignores Russian government (Putin regime) agency.

            If the ‘Zapad’ hadn’t helped Ukraine resist the invasion, Ukraine would have fallen.

            What (would then) have happened in Ukraine would have been largely in the benign hands of the Putin regime, the FSB, the Rosgvardiya etc.

            The choices left to Ukrainians would have been submission or resistance.

            All the best,

          • AG

            yes, I had to learn that lesson (necessity of using short quotes) this past year.
            Because I am new to the business of blogs and comments.
            Only this war pressed me to get into it.

            And in this world time and space are a limited ressource to the common users.
            Which is okay.

            But bad for profound analysis, which is the one thing we are really missing.

            Before I would expect people to read studies or read books first and possibly comment then, or may be, just keep quiet.
            Not to know or to be unsure is a quality disregarded in our time however.

            After all affirmation is the most important agent in political struggle, I guess.
            Which makes for propaganda so well.

            So, I still have difficulties to choose some small item as a representative for a whole corpus of thought – a corpus that in the case of this war is extremely, as I see it, complex. With all the areas of scholarship it touches on.

            And I always hope people after being addressed, would take the books and studies and work through them.
            Which is completely naive.

            Not even students do that. Why on Earth should anonymous commentators act more responsibly.

            So I end up with the qeustion, what´s the sense of all this?
            does commenting do AYNTHING meaningful?
            e.g. to ending this war?

            Probably not.

            Sry if this one got a bit adrift.

  • Crispa

    It would be interesting to know more about the political orientations of the people who support the freeing of Julian Assange in Germany. In particular I wonder how many are Greens, who from what I have read are firmly aligned with the USA war party (think of minister Baerbock) in seeking the demolition of Russia, and by implication would be supportive of USA ‘s intentions towards him. What do the Greens hope to gain for Germany from this devilish alliance?

    • John Kinsella


      The “demolition of Russia” would be a Bad Thing I expect?

      (For the record, I agree. However the overthrow – by the Russian people – of the odious Putin regime would not be Bad at all.)

      And the demolition of Ukraine a Good Thing?

      Do you have any reservations about Schroeder’s very lucrative links with the Putin regime?


      • Pigeon English

        Few days ago you mentioned that Russia will run a deficit due to Less income from Oil etc.
        Today I heard that USA is at ” Debt ceiling” maximum of 31 Trillion or 31 000 Billions

        On Dec. 16, 2021, a law went into effect setting the new debt limit at $31.381 trillion.

        “Do you have any reservations about Schroeder’s very lucrative links with the Putin regime?”

        That is propaganda language “regime”. Many ex politician have very lucrative deals in private sector
        and vice versa. What is Hunter Biden (Joe’s son) doing on Ukraine energy giant Burisma board connected to
        Zelensky’s neo nazis regime.Schroeder at least have some experience compared to crack addict Hunter!

        In other words I get in the shop with my “monopoly printed money” and a gun and tell corner shop owner to accept
        my money otherwise…

        • Pigeon English

          In the next few days USA regime will put a show about raising or not raising debt ceiling (being financially responsible) and at the and they will agree to raise the ceiling so the regime can pay the debtors and gov employees and keep credibility. And the world exploitation going on while pretending they are freedom leaders and we will follow!

        • John Kinsella


          I used the word regime in the pejorative sense of an illegitimate and brutal administration. Perhaps you disagree.

          You immediately deflected my comment re Schroeder to comments about Hunter Biden.

          The latter seems to be a f*** up all right but has never held elected office in the USA.

          While Schroeder is a former Bundeskanzler who appears to have sold himself and his country to the Putin regime.

          In doing so he enabled Putin’s cash flow at home and aggression in Ukraine.

          A nasty piece of work.


          • Pigeon English

            I did not deflect but tried to find most ridiculous example of Western and your hypocrisy about revolving door. I have no doubt that Hunter Biden has expertise in Gas business and had helped Ukraine and USA
            Germany like any other country needs energy and the cheapest one was from Russia through a pipe in the last 50 years USSR was providing GAS to GERMANY for a LONG TIME!

            What is your opinion on 31 000 Billion USA debt? Should they not approve and stop sending 100 Billion to Ukraine or just set a new limit to 35 or 40 Trillion?

          • Tatyana

            Pigeon English
            In my opinion, people who enter high politics through “elections” sooner or later begin to convert their position into real capital. The Burisma Company is such a springboard for turning politicians-officials into owners of big money, that is, monetizing their political leverage.
            Burisma’s Board includes ex-president of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski; former head of the CIA Anti-Terrorist Center Joseph Kofer Black; Karina Zlochevskaya, daughter of the Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine; Hunter Biden, son of the US President. There were rumors on Nancy Pelosi’s son, and, I’m afraid to name a wrong person, there’s a man in US, high position, named Kerry who’s got a step-son or adopted boy. Hunter, Pelosi and that Kerry boy were partners in some business, selling their names and theirs parents reputation opportunities, for money.
            Burisma is a To-be-oil-oligarchs kindergarten

            Not surprisingly, Burisma main competitor in that region is Gazprom. And this fully explains why the Northern Streams were blown up, and the Ukrainian and Polish pipes did not stop for a day.
            Britain most likely serves PR, logistics and operations. From the very beginning Burizma Holdings, a private company used the services of the Bell Pottinger Private company. Thare was a nasty story about Shokin, Prosecutor General of Ukraine, who started investigation into corruption in Burisma, and Joe Biden telling Ukrainian president to fire Ukrainian Prosecutor General, else, Ukraine won’t receive some big money, again, don’t want to be wrong in detail, there were some big big money, like EU help, investment, charity, money for development or sort of. The word ‘transh’ was used, and it means money directed from international funds to a country, to help it grow.

          • Tatyana

            Well, as for the external debt, I cannot comment as an expert in economics, but only at the household level, so my opinions may be naive.
            Imagine that you can draw beautiful pictures. Your reputation, the system of your military bases and your charisma make your colorful wrappers desirable for a large number of the world’s population. They become a universal means of payment. You spend 20 cents to produce a picture, and people are willing to pay a dollar for it. Nice, eh?
            Sooner or later, you will be tempted to copy a lot of these colorful flyers and exchange them for what people are willing to give away. Products, resources, technologies, services.
            Now you can hire a legion of managers to market your pictures. You also need quality PR to maintain a charismatic legend.
            The only thing that can seriously threaten you in your picture paradise is that your pictures may go out of fashion. I think that you would put a lot of effort into maintaining the current trend, including the most cynical ones. This applies to any system – currency, religion, medicine, politics, etc.

            Then, the word ‘debt’ means that the U.S. owe smth. Well, they can hold this debt until someone dares to claim it, can’t they? I’m not much of a debt-maker, but I’d prefer to be a your-money-holder person better than a my-money-expecting person, anytime:-)

            I see the questions were not addressed to me, but I hope you don’t mind 🙂

  • John Kinsella

    Pigeon English

    You asked “What is your opinion on 31 000 Billion USA debt? Should they not approve and stop sending 100 Billion to Ukraine or just set a new limit to 35 or 40 Trillion?”.

    My answer is that the $100 billion (if that is the correct number) that the USA is spending to help Ukraine is money well spent.

    It will likely deter Putin from future foreign adventures and may lead to his overthrow and early death.

    All positives as I expect you will agree?

    • Tatyana

      reminds me of the old joke about the biology student who only learned a flea.
      At the exam, he pulled out a lucky ticket and brilliantly answered about this insect. The next question of the examiner was about a dog. The student answered like this:
      – a dog is an animal covered with hair, and fleas often live there … and then a confident answer about a flea.
      The third question of the exam was the dove bird. The student, not at a loss, cheerfully began:
      – the dove is a bird, which means it is covered with feathers. But, if instead of feathers there would be hair, then fleas could be found in it ….

      • John Kinsella

        Hi Tatyana

        If the (one trick pony?) comment about fleas is directed at me?

        (If not, please ignore this post with my apologies.)

        I do regard the invasion and attempted occupation of Ukraine by the Putin regime as being of existential importance for Europe.

        I am one of the minority (?) of overtly pro-Ukraine posters here so I expect my posts are an irritation to some pro-Putin posters?

        All the best,


      • Pigeon English


        I did not mind your comment(basically agree) but I was confused until the and when you said:

        “I see the questions were not addressed to me, but I hope you don’t mind”.

        If that was at the beginning I would enjoyed it more ?

    • Pigeon English

      To my understanding of your reasoning you arrived to a conclusion thatRussia, by not having enough revenues from Oil and Gas has a deficit and will not be able to keep fighting due to the lack of money.
      Applying same reasoning I asked rhetorical question.
      Is the leader of the free, democratic just world running out of money and will be on its knees soon, unable to support corrupt genocidal neonzi’ss in Ukraine.
      Sarcasm alert: Let’s “Bitch slap Germany” to be more involved in providing more financial and military assistance and if necessary send its Army on Russia!
      BTW far too many nations around Europe are Russo-phobic and Germano-phobic (exe Poland England) and not to be trusted!
      If you are ordinary Irish I would expect better understanding of similarities between Donbas and Northern Ireland.
      If you are kind of DUP guy you again should understand Russias intervention and advocate to some kind of GFA.

      • John Kinsella

        Pigeon English

        Who are the ” corrupt genocidal neonzi’ss in Ukraine”?

        Very few Europeans imo are Russo-phobic but very many are (rightly) Putophobic (sic).

        As to Germano-phobia (sic), again very few Europeans imo but there is increasing impatience with Scholz’s reluctance to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine. And his signals that he will not permit Leopard tanks to be supplied to Ukraine by nations that have already bought them are baffling.

        All that he will achieve is that Poland and others will ignore the instructions not to supply Leopards to Ukraine.

        As to your comment ” If you are ordinary Irish I would expect better understanding of similarities between Donbas and Northern Ireland.”

        I expect that you mean if I am not a Unionist?

        I am not.

        What, in your opinion, are the “similarities between Donbas and Northern Ireland.”


        • Pigeon English

          “What, in your opinion, are the “similarities between Donbas and Northern Ireland.”?
          In short
          Some people feel more connected to Ireland and some to UK. Some people feel more connected to Russia and are
          concentrated in so called Dombas. Most of Donbas trade was with Russia and former Soviet Republics.

          Ukraine and Russia and some ex Soviet republics had a FREE trade!

          If Ukraine wanted to join EU those free trades had to cease and those countries to become so called 3rd country.
          I did not understand this “Choice” ( IN or OUT) until Brexit and the negotiations.
          Donbas people (many identifying as Russian) were asked to severe trade and free movement with Russia.
          I am not saying and drawing parallels who is who but there are a lot of similar problems to adress

          • John Kinsella

            Pigeon English

            One difference between Donbas and the Six Counties is that Britain (while still meddling in NI, in the past aiding loyalist gangs to plant bombs N and S etc) is not waging war on the rest of Ireland from NI.

            Russia, on the other hand…..

          • Pigeon English

            You asked me about similarities!
            BTW why are only Six 6 counties out of 9 “Ulster” in NI? So the Catholics did not have majority.
            After Ukraine, mad Putin will go for Poland Baltic and of course Ireland.
            Ireland should join NATO as soon as possible?
            Putin under the bad comes to mind.

          • svea

            a bit off the subject, maybe; but:what is Boris Johnson doing in Ukraine? Tatyana, what do you know?

  • glenn_nl

    Surely this is on-topic (my last contribution from the Morning Star about Assange was deleted by mods. I do not know why).

    Free Julian Assange: Noam Chomsky, Dan Ellsberg & Jeremy Corbyn Lead Call at Belmarsh Tribunal

    Interviews with the people mentioned in the link, giving testimony to the Belmarsh hearings, attempting to persuade Biden to halt the prosecution of Assange.

    [ Mod: Are you referring to this comment, which appears at the end of the BTL section of the Trains (Mostly), Planes and Automobiles (Part 5) article? ]

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