Monday 12 June 2023

Rewriting History.

Beyond the First Rough Draft of Ukraine’s Recent History: Reality is multi-faceted, what you see invariably depends on where you stand. That used to be a powerful professional incentive for journalists to report all major news-stories from more than one perspective. Top: The 2014 Maidan protests recalled after the event. Bottom: As they happened.

A TANKIE IN THE NEWSROOM, who would have thought RNZ still harboured such vipers in its ideologically awakened bosom? A pretty well-placed viper, too, one can only assume, since there appears to have been no one over-seeing his or, (less plausibly) her output. An old-timer perhaps, someone clinging to the journalistic principle that reality is multi-faceted, and that what you see almost always depends upon where you stand. A powerful professional incentive – at least it used to be – for journalists to report all major news-stories from more than one perspective.

An excuse for transforming RNZ’s digital newsfeed into one’s own personal Samizdat?* Not at all. Whoever is responsible for treating Reuters reports on the Russo-Ukrainian War like the Ems Telegram† crossed a very clear line and will, undoubtedly, pay a high price for their editorial high-handedness.

And yet, if we strip away the high-emotion with which all communications from Russia and Ukraine are received, the edits of RNZ’s re-writer may be interpreted not only as a cri-de-cœur against the current “one-side-right, one-side-wrong” reporting of this particular news story, but also as a doomed appeal for the reinsertion of critical distance, nuance and balance to the journalistic enterprise.

To hear One News’s journalists dismiss the RNZ re-writer’s claims as “Russian propaganda”, for example, is to gain some appreciation of the oppressive effect of a single, state-determined “line” asserted endlessly by the emoting mannequins “official” news-readers have become. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then New Zealand’s handling of the RNZ story must surely have brought a smile to Vladimir Putin’s lips. No critical distance, nuance or balance in Aotearoa – thank you very much.

Which is not to say that the altered Reuters report was the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – it wasn’t. Indeed, the original Reuters version stands out for both its historical accuracy and its masterful compression of the dramatic events that overwhelmed Ukraine in 2014. From those sympathetic to the losers of 2014, however, the Reuters narrative is egregiously sparse.

Yes, it is true to say that “a pro-Russian president was toppled in Ukraine’s Maidan revolution”, but it is also true to say that the pro-Russian president had been democratically elected by the Ukrainian people. A great many Ukrainians – at the time – would have disputed hotly the claim that what happened in Kyiv’s Independence Square (the Maidan) was a “revolution”. Given the pivotal role played by the American Government in the events of 2014, their scepticism is entirely understandable. What happened in the Maidan fell well short of being a coup d’état, but neither was it a revolution – at least, not of the progressive kind. Clearly, RNZ’s re-writer felt the same.

By the same token, describing what happened in Crimea as an act of self-determination, confirmed by the results of a free and fair referendum, is the purest fantasy. In 2014, the Russian Federation seized Crimea from Ukraine, whose borders, it bears repeating endlessly, had been agreed – and guaranteed – by both the United States and the Russian Federation in 1991.

RNZ’s re-writer is on much stronger ground when he asserts that “the new pro-western government suppressed ethnic Russians in eastern and southern Ukraine”. Only the most one-eyed Ukraine supporters persist in denying the presence of extreme nationalists and/or fascists in the “revolutionary” government cobbled together following the elected president’s departure. This new government was, indeed, extremely hostile to the ethnic Russian majority of the Donbass region. Legislative measures to suppress Russian language and culture were initiated – but so, too, was legislation to repeal the extremists’ laws, as democracy steadily reasserted itself across those parts of Ukraine not occupied by pro-Russian separatists.

Presumably, RNZ’s re-writer was determined to “correct” the sparse Reuters narrative because he wanted to remind his audience that the Russo-Ukrainian War did not explode suddenly out of a clear blue sky; and that the Russian invasion was the culmination of an historical sequence with plenty of blame attachable to all sides.

To the extent that it is the duty of journalists to offer not merely description but explanation, the RNZ re-writer is correct. Ever since Russian armour rolled across the Ukrainian border on 24 February 2022, coverage of the conflict has been uniformly one-sided. At RNZ, TVNZ, Newshub, Stuff and NZME, distance, nuance and balance have been noticeable by their absence.

The problem which the RNZ re-writer must confront however (apart from the looming consequences of his repeated breaches of RNZ’s rules) is that the actions of Putin and his armed forces have obviated any and all obligation to explain the conflict. Ukraine is a sovereign nation whose borders are recognised not only by the United Nations but also (as noted earlier) by the Russian Federation. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a clear violation of the UN Charter and international law. No matter how persuasive his geopolitical arguments may have been prior to 24 February 2022, what he has done to Ukraine since means that no one in the West now needs to answer them.

That said, this country is not a war with the Russian Federation. New Zealand soldiers are not on the front lines of the conflict. (Well, not officially, anyway.) Our Government has condemned Russia and imposed limited sanctions, but that should not require our mainstream news media to behave as if New Zealand is at war, and any attempt to offer critical distance, nuance and balance to their listeners, viewers and readers tantamount to treason.

History always presents us with multiple sides, and, inevitably, events as large as the Russo-Ukrainian War have multiple causes. It is not the recognition of complexity that is treacherous, but the idea that nothing needs to be explained. Describing the RNZ re-writer’s edits as “false” and dismissing them as “Russian propaganda” is not helpful to the Ukrainians, or to their indisputably just cause. Why? Because if simplistic slogans could lead us to support one side, then they can just as easily lead us to support another.

Learning all we can about the history of the Ukrainian people. Understanding the turbulent currents that have surged through their country since the fall of the Soviet Union. Identifying all the actors involved in the drama that began in the Maidan in 2014 – and the roles which those same actors are playing today. This is the knowledge that will help the friends and allies of Ukraine stay the course until victory is won, peace restored, and the rebuilding of the nation begun.

The RNZ re-writer may, indeed, be a friend of the Kremlin, but inasmuch as he has also been asserting the duties and responsibilities of a democratic news media, then he should also be included among those who shout Slava Ukraini! – Glory to Ukraine!

*Dissident political newsletters passed from hand-to-hand to evade the Soviet censors.

†Diplomatic communication, subtly altered and released to the press by the Prussian Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck. Generally acknowledged to be the immediate cause of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71)

This essay was originally posted on the website on Monday, 12 June 2023.


oneblokesview said...

I am totally with you on the concept.
Just like Covid Vaccine protestors, Springbok protestors.
Journalism show attempt to provide the big picture and no follow the company line.

Sadly, I think there are very few(and declining) numbers of journalists in this country.

Personally I think the RNZ journo should be applauded and smacked on the wrist with a wet bus tick for editing the Reuters(dare I say western propaganda) piece.

I spend a number of hours each day reading from non western MSM sources as well as historical documents.

RNZ and TVNZ are worse than bad news, they are spin doctors of the highest order or just PR Reuters AP repeaters.

The Barron said...

If the re-writer had legitimate information then it is incumbent upon that person to write an article and submit it to RNZ's two editor process for scrutinization and a determination of acceptance or rejection. To impose your views over someone else's byline is ethically unacceptable and must be seen as deliberate misrepresentation.

As important is the complaints policy of RNZ. It would seem that any enquiry must focus on whether RNZ maintains a robust complaints process, or, has a complaints division which sees its role as playing obstruction on behalf of the content creators and presenters. The fraudulent presentation of the Reuters and BBC journalism seems to have been allowed to continue unabated because of a defensive mentality structured into RNZ to the point of dysfunction.

sumsuch said...

I appreciate your straight down the line truth. Our only foundation. Long live Ukraine.

But I'd like to see you talk more directly for Ukraine. The Left is fuddled, as ever, about it. That we don't know right from wrong is a sad state in our last days.

Hope you're well in the over-humid vesicle of Auckland.

Archduke Piccolo said...

Pricisely what law did Russia violate in its repossession of Crimea, and recognition of the the Separatist republics, Donetsk and Lugansk? What crime did they commit that was not committed by NATO is respect of the dismemberment of Yugoslavia? If the latter was lawful - and no charges were ever levelled against NATO's membership on account of it - then so was the action taken by Russia.

Has anyone in the Western main stream media, by the way, noticed that the only countries supporting Ukraine - to the point of being co-belligerents despite their pretence otherwise - are NATO's members (and not all of them)? Does the Western mainstream media continue seriously to believe the war in Ukraine is about Ukraine? It never has been. You don't need 'Russian propaganda' to realise this. I figured it out in 2014, and that from simply reading and listening to the main stream media - the WESTERN main stream media.

The United States and NATO was just ITCHING for war against Russia. Their gonads were aching for it. I was saying precisely this months before Russia sent in its special military operation. Russia had been making its red lines known long before. They were ignored. Dead giveaway.

Of course, only the United States - with a side-order of its vassals NATO and Israel - has the right to declare, and to act, upon their 'red lines'. I notice that the restraint Russia has shown in its methods is completely lost upon the West, for whom such restraint is entirely alien. Just ask Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos; any country in Meso- and South America; Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, and Yemen.

It might fascinate you to know that the people of Crimea had been since 1991 demanding to be readmitted into the Russia Federation. You might find it equally fascinating to discover that the population of Crimea comprises almost two-thirds ethnic Russians, about one seventh Ukrainian - not all of whom are Ukrainian speakers, incidentally - and maybe a tenth Crim Tartars. The balance is made up of all sorts ethnically from the Black Sea littorals. Is it any wonder that maybe the general population really DID express their views come the referendum? Does anyone recall any such plebiscite in any of the Yugoslavian gobbets that remained of that dismembered nation?

If the United States and its lickspittle vassals in NATO have committed no crime, then Russia has committed no crime. If Russia has committed a crime, the US and NATO has committed the same, worse, more often, and prior. Before anyone starts levelling charges against Russia, let's see the same levelled against the US, NATO and Israel. It might not be out of place for this country having to answer for something at that. Then, and NOT BEFORE, we might have the right to point the finger at Russia.

That guy who published amended Reuters snippets had the balls to add information that Reuters was careful to omit.

Ion A. Dowman

P.S. Can you BELIEVE the smug, self-righteous hypocrisy of the BBC 'journalist' taking South Africa to task for refusing to arrest Vladimir Putin if and when he visits that country? This when the US (and by extension the UK and NATO) not only refuses even to recognise the ICC, but has threatened that organisation with sanctions and its investigators with arrest? How can anyone give credit to anything whatever that the West has to say upon any matter associated with international affairs?


larry said...

Mmmm... reminiscent of my muted ... and ignored/dismissed protests when RT ... radio Ruskii was dumped from the SkyTV offering.

Better is it not to look at and ponder both sides of any contestible ideological option?

What price unfettered mind management? Who makes such decisions and do we ever participate in a balanced debate?

Hell No.

So by stealth we get an RNZ rogue ... RNZ!! for Chrissake ... playing covert silly buggers.

Only in EnZed?

Cheers "Garry".

David Stone said...

Seems to me the mistake was to alter the wording of a piece presented as the work of Routers. Surely if an article is "borrowed" from another news source it should be as written by that source. But it would have been reasonable for the re presenter to add footnotes where he felt the coverage was inadequate.
The idea that Russia could allow Crimea to be lost as it's only warm water port to America was never going to happen whatever the UN charter and international law say about it, or however you judge the authenticity of the referendum. But there is not much doubt that with the proportion of ethnic Russians living in Crime the majority would likely approve of it remaining as Russia's port.

David George said...

The Disinformation Project's Sanjana Hattotuwa has a (conspiracy) theory that this (and just about everything else) is down to "Russian disinformation" It's quite the rant.

Loz said...

The Radio New Zealand Charter mandates its role to "provide comprehensive, independent, accurate, impartial, and balanced regional, national, and international news and current affairs". The World Socialist Web Site reports that Reuters allows subscribers minor editing rights of subscribed reports, but not substantive changes. The edits I've seen were moderations of the editorialising within received reports, all in keeping with the independent, impartial and balanced mandate of the RNZ charter.

We now know that from the University of Adelaide that as many as 80 percent of tweets over Ukraine were generated by state run bot farms overwhelmingly directed from within the United States. We know from the work of Matt Taibbi and the Grayzone that social media firms were directed to supress and discredit accounts providing dissenting narratives to the conflict at the behest of both the FBA and Ukrainian SBU. We know from the leaked emails of Paul Mason, senior journalist of the Independent that at least one major news outlet actively colluded prior to the conflict to target anti-imperialist and left-wing academics, activists, campaign groups, independent journalists and media sites that would be critical of NATO expansion into Ukraine. We also know that no major western news outlet has applied for a visa to report from Donetsk and Luhansk and all reporting from Kiev is dependent on journalists repeating messaging sanctioned by Ukraine's government.

The information sphere New Zealanders have been emersed in is anything but independent, impartial and balanced and it’s led to a complete bewilderment as to why the NATO / Anglo-sphere has become isolated and crippled both militarily and economically over the conflict.

Even the most principled journalists and commentators amongst us have not been immune to the effects of this information war. Bowalley Road many months ago gave credence to the narrative that Russia's army was under the control of drunken Generals with the country being on the verge of collapse. Suggesting that democracy has been steadily reasserted across Ukraine is a comment I find surreal. All left-wing political parties, media critical to the government and unions are banned, as is being critical of the government. It is illegal to speak Russian at home even though its the native language of a third of the country. Extrajudicial political killings and abductions are common. The paramilitary goons who murdered protestors in Odessa were never charged while those who survived the burning of Trades Hall were charged for disturbing the peace instead. It's a funny type of democracy.

In the week after the armed and violent overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine, the parliament of Crimea voted to hold a referendum on succession from Ukraine. The Open Democracy Foundation, with US government funding surveyed Crimea in December 2014 and its findings (which it published under the appropriate title 'the Crimean conundrum') independently confirmed overwhelming support from the population for having joined Russia and 63% of the population identifying themselves as Russian.

OUN-B adopted the fascist salute with slogan "Glory to Ukraine!" during WW2 and its leader Stepan Bandera, responsible for the execution of thousands proclaimed, "Glory to the heroic German army and its Führer, Adolf Hitler". It's illegal to deny he was a national hero in Ukraine now, his birthday is a national holiday & soldiers being decorated by Zelensky have been photographed giving stiff arm salutes. Our nation lost too many young men fighting Bandera and his ilk to ever start chanting that phrase.

Lest We Forget.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"The United States and NATO was just ITCHING for war against Russia."

You have evidence for this? Or is it merely "obvious".

"We now know that from the University of Adelaide that as many as 80 percent of tweets over Ukraine were generated by state run bot farms overwhelmingly directed from within the United States."

But: if you got it from this article from the University of Adelaide.

“Pro-Russian human accounts were having the largest influence on discussions of the war – particularly on accounts which were pro-Ukraine.

I haven't got the time to go through this article perhaps with the detail it deserves, but I cannot find any reference to US bot farms much less the close to 80% figure that you quote. Perhaps you could point me in the direction? It might have been helpful if you provided the exact figure they mention, then I could have done a search for it.
And if we are talking about Nazis – perhaps we should add a bit of balance?

Just sayin'.

David George said...

Thank you Loz. RNZ are a disgrace, "Fools, frauds and firebrands". I don't see why we taxpayers should be paying to be lied to.

After a quick search RNZ have been found out on another "edit" - well outside their mandate to "provide comprehensive, independent, accurate, impartial, and balanced regional, national, and international news and current affairs"

Thomas Cranmer: "RNZ CEO Paul Thompson .....told Checkpoint "I would point out that it is confined to one area." and "not yet found examples of inappropriate edits outside of Ukraine-Russia stories."

Regrettably that isn't correct. There are multiple copy wire articles relating to the Israeli-Palestine conflict with similar 'one-sided' edits.

As an example, please see the Reuters article from 8 March titled, 'Israeli forces kill six in raid on West Bank refugee camp' and the RNZ article from later that day titled, 'Israeli forces shoot six dead in West Bank refugee camp, settlers attack village'.

The following edits were made to the RNZ article.

'six Palestinian gunman' is changed to 'six Palestinians'.

'Nabulus, another centre of militant activity' is changed to 'Nabulus'.

'from the militant groups Hamas, ..' is changed to 'from the resistance groups Hamas, ...'

'Hamas, which runs the blockaded Gaza Strip' is changed to 'Hamas, the elected government of the blockaded Gaza Strip'.

'including militant fighters' is changed to 'including fighters'.

There are many other examples of edited RNZ articles relating to this highly contentious international conflict.

A full independent investigation is required to restore public trust. A full article from me will follow later this week.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Just a thought, if the US and – particularly NATO – were itching for a war against Russia, why have almost all the NATO countries outside the US let their armies run down to the point where they hardly have enough spare equipment to give to Ukraine? France for instance only ordered 300 of its new MBT's. Britain is in the process of upgrading its Challengers but I think only ordering somewhere between 100 and 200 of them. The Bundeswehr (I think I got that right) has been bitching about outdated and inadequate equipment for years now. I would have thought that if they were planning on a war with Russia they would have been upgrading their forces – which is now taking place mainly because Russia has invaded Ukraine. Any thoughts?

Loz said...

@Guerilla Surgeon - The University of Adelaide study into tweets with Ukraine hashtags determined that up to 80% of tweets were generated from bots and also "found that 90.16% of accounts fell into the ‘ProUkraine’ category, while only 6.80% fell into the ‘ProRussia’ category." The comment you cited refers to the impact made on others by real humans vs. bot generated activity. It concluded that the tweets made by real people who leaned toward Russian support had more impact on discussions than the volume of ‘ProUkraine’ tweets did.

You and I have discussed before the Rand Corporation strategy paper 'Overextending and Unbalancing Russia' from 2019 that proposed supplying 'lethal aid' to Ukraine as a means to bankrupting Russia by forcing it to escalate its military commitment. We have also discussed the freely downloadable book of Neocon grandee Zbigniew Brzezinski
The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives that outlined the necessity of the US to expand NATO across Ukraine as a means toward collapsing Russia as a power and eventually bringing the resources of the broken nation under US/European domination. CIA Director Bill Burn's 2008 diplomatic cable 'Nyet Means Nyet: Russia's NATO Enlargement Redlines' that NATO expansion would be considered a "Potential Military Threat to Russia" and that "Russia would "have to take appropriate measures" in response. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's recent address that United States and its allies should not support a cease-fire or peace talks makes it clear that ongoing war, not concern for Ukrainian lives, is the intended position of US Foreign Policy.

sumsuch said...

I really was waiting for your post about the Green Party's policy to finally look after the neediest. Simon Wilson got in ahead of you. But I too am taking my time to digest it -- not the intent just the viability and whether it's the best way.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

'from the militant groups Hamas, ..' is changed to 'from the resistance groups Hamas, ...'

Correct – and your objection is?

'Hamas, the elected government of the blockaded Gaza Strip'.

Correct – and your objection is?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"found that 90.16% of accounts fell into the ‘ProUkraine’ category, while only 6.80% fell into the ‘ProRussia’ category."

But of a stretch from that to "US bot farm".

"The comment you cited refers to the impact made on others by real humans vs. bot generated activity. It concluded that the tweets made by real people who leaned toward Russian support had more impact on discussions than the volume of ‘ProUkraine’ tweets did."

I know. But you've ignored the significance.

From the introduction to the Rand report
"We encourage you to explore this research brief and the full report that it is based on. However, because Russian state media entities and individuals sympathetic to Putin's decision to invade Ukraine have mischaracterized this research in recent weeks, we also encourage you to explore this helpful resource on Russia's “firehose of falsehood” approach to propaganda and our research on “Truth Decay,” which is a phenomenon that is driven in part by the spread of disinformation."

From the conclusion.
"Extending Russia for its own sake is not a sufficient basis in most cases to consider the options discussed here. Rather, the options must be considered in the broader context of national policy based on defense, deterrence, and—where U.S. and Russian interests align—cooperation."

Don't tell me that Russia doesn't have plans in place – implemented or not – to try to destabilise and contain various countries? Every country has these.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"I don't see why we taxpayers should be paying to be lied to."

And yet you are prepared to let people lie to you absolutely free. 😇

David George said...

Now RNZ have identified twenty two recent "stories" (their choice of word) that have been corrupted by editorial staff.
Who is actually surprised by any of this?
Shut the shitshow down!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

You know what, it's easy enough to get a different point of view on the Ukraine War – and from the mainstream media. Maybe not the different view that you want, but even so.

David George said...

Update 2: The hole gets deeper for fake news RNZ:

I'm sure that the Disinformation Project will be on to this shortly//

David George said...

Thanks GS, I'm well aware that much of the broader media are partisan, they mostly don't try and pretend otherwise. It's no joke that the outfit contracted, according to their charter, to "provide comprehensive, independent, accurate, impartial, and balanced regional, national, and international news and current affairs" and paid for with our tax money, choose instead to subject us to their propaganda. They have clearly, and repeatedly, breached their contract.

The breaches don't stop there. The egregious twisting of news service reports, contrary to their terms of service, looks to be so widespread that the representation of the problem as the work of a rogue individual is laughable. Another example of their BS.

"Edits to wire service stories are routinely made by sub-editors but they are typically limited to adding local content and stylistic changes which do not alter the meaning. Wire service articles for online publication are not usually edited for length, although it is common for longer articles to be “sliced and diced” so that the article can be released in sections over the course of the following day.

However under no circumstances is it acceptable, nor indeed permitted by the terms of the user agreement, for RNZ to make substantive edits to a wire service story. And despite RNZ’s online content being run separately from its news department, it all falls under the responsibility of the broadcaster’s editor-in-chief, Paul Thompson. For some in the media, that means that, ultimately, Thompson’s position will become untenable."

RNZ is a disgrace. Irredeemable?

David George said...

GS "'from the militant groups Hamas, ..' is changed to 'from the resistance groups Hamas, ...'

Correct – and your objection is?"

My objection is the deception, the depiction of an internationally recognised terrorist organisation as some sort of benign "resistance" group. What the hell are RNZ up to? Apologists for an outfit with a declared intention to wipe Israel and her people off the map, to shower it in rockets and murder people in the streets?

Loz said...

"Why have almost all the NATO countries outside the US let their armies run down to the point where they hardly have enough spare equipment to give to Ukraine?"

We can't forget that NATO built up Ukraine with training and weaponry to be the second largest land army in Europe prior to this conflict. The obvious reason as to why NATO countries have run out of equipment and munitions now is because they have spent the past year pouring all available equipment into the conflict and none of them have the manufacturing capability to produce more.

The military strategic think-tanks and US administrations all considered Russia to be a weakened power prior to the conflict. The strategy outlined in the 2019 Rand Corporation report suggested that Russia's weakness was primarily economic and by drawing it into a military conflict in Ukraine would create an economic and political crisis that would cripple the country and provoke internal unrest. Instead, Russia's economy is booming and the images of NATO's German tanks painted with Iron Crosses rolling toward Russian lines only galvanised support for military action. We have had a decade of Biden stating a 'Weakened Russia will bend to the U.S', Russia's economy is "withering" and "I think we vastly underestimate the hand that we hold". It turns out this belief was folly. The countries experiencing economic and civil unrest over this affair are in NATO.

It has been the NATO powers that have blocked all attempts at negotiated peace in Ukraine. Germany and France as guarantors of the Minsk agreements have now stated they never intended to hold Ukraine to those provisions. The UK, US, and Canada trained Ukraine’s troops in scenarios of fighting Russia. The US refused to even read Russia's proposed European Security Guarantee agreement in 2021 and refused to rule out Ukraine's membership of NATO and then refused to rule out placing nuclear capable missile arrays on the territory. Boris Johnson flew in to persuade Zelensky against signing the Ankara agreements a year ago and the US is advising against peace now. Balanced reporting on the conflict would have highlighted these points. Instead of our media informing the public of conflicting perspectives in international affairs it is acting to manufacture consent.

Adam said...


I agree when you say;

'Ever since Russian armour rolled across the Ukrainian border on 24 February 2022, coverage of the conflict has been uniformly one-sided'.

However I feel you might have jumped back on the pc bus when you added;

'Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a clear violation of the UN Charter and international law'.

On what do you base your condemnation of Russia, apart from the uniformly one-sided reporting? I do agree, it's beyond dispute that Russia is active inside Ukraine, but what are full circumstances that preceded this and what might have happened to compel them to do so?

I do not claim to have any special insight, but with respect, I don't think you do either. Why would we accept that the one-sided reporting only started once Russia crossed the border? I am not an expert on the UN Charter and International Law however I assume that if there had been some form of legitimate provocation on part of Ukraine (or another player) against Russia then your charge might fall short. After all, we have seen several military excursions undertaken by other major powers in the past few decades that have been given the thumbs up by the UN. Apparently, in the eyes of the UN, there are times when invasion is justified.

There was a long lead up to this conflict. The one truth that I hope we can all agree on is that it was and is complicated. It's convenient to point to the fact that the border was crossed and this incurs an immediate red card, but military conflict and its motivators are seldom that simple.

War is a racket - Smedley Butler

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"We can't forget that NATO built up Ukraine with training and weaponry to be the second largest land army in Europe prior to this conflict. "

The overwhelming origin of Ukrainian weaponry before the Russian invasion was not NATO but the USSR.

Ukraine and the USSR have a long history of conflict, including a rebellion against Russian domination which lasted from 1945 until 1947. Most if not all East European leaders distrust Russia because of their history. The Western allies abandoned Eastern Europe, partly because they couldn't really do a lot about Russia's land grabs without continuing the war. It might in fact have been better if they had given the USSR a short sharp lesson in airpower and guaranteed the independence of places like Poland and Czechoslovakia.

But to get back to the main point.
"The Bundeswehr shrunk dramatically from 500,000 soldiers in the 1980s to just 178,000 on the payroll by 2010. The loss of combat power was even more severe. Germany reduced the equipment of its heavy army divisions geared for territorial defence by as much as 80 to 90 per cent. For example the army only had 220 Leopard 2 battle tanks in 2010, down from 2,225. "

"the U.K. has just over 200 Challenger 2 tanks, which Anglim describes as elderly and breaking down. Nearly 150 of these will be upgraded with new turrets and engines with German know-how. The Moroccan Army has over 1,000 tanks and Azerbaijan over 900." The British army was cut to 120,000 at the end of the Cold War, and now stands at about 70,000+. Before the invasion there was some talk of reducing it to 60,000.

The French army had its budget slashed in 2017/18. It has approximately 220 of its main battle tanks with some more in storage. The UAE has more than 350 of these particular tanks.

I repeat, these are not the preparations for a war with Russia. And you have not made a convincing argument to that end.

Finally, if Ukraine had not had the – I take your word for it – 2nd largest army in Europe, it would have been overrun by the Russians in a matter of weeks. So there was obviously some sense in it.

aj said...

Max Blumenthal of the Grayzone nails it.

"Radio New Zealand has initiated an editorial audit over supposed "pro-Russian" editing of 22 stories which contain language that does not comport with US State Department-approved talking points"

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Radio New Zealand has initiated an editorial audit over supposed "pro-Russian" editing of 22 stories which contain language that does not comport with US State Department-approved talking points"

I would suggest rather that radio New Zealand has initiated an editorial audit over the changing of stories against a – one presumes written – contract with a private company which states that it stories may not be changed, due to the fact that radio New Zealand doesn't have the resources to create stories itself, because of years of inadequate funding by various governments.

We really must get over this 1970s idea that the USA is responsible for everything bad in the world. Particularly if it means lionising murderous dictators like Putin. We should be able to conceive of the idea that all countries have interests rather than ethics.

I might also suggest that an economy that depends on oil and gas for 70%+ of its income is not necessarily a healthy one. Upward social mobility is pretty much at a standstill according to some and "volatile" with much downward mobility according to others. Not to mention that much of the economic structure was stolen by the kleptocracy after the fall of the Soviet Union.
People were willing to put up with Putin because he provided some sort of stability, even though he aggregated much of the state power to himself. Many people will trade freedom for economic stability, you see this all over Asia for instance. It also has a reasonably long history in Europe.
But what I can't understand is why people seem so surprised at Eastern Europe's general animosity towards Russia. They've lived the history – they've no intention of letting it repeat itself.

Loz said...

@Guerilla Surgeon - the U.S. officially provided $2.5 billion (USD) in military aid to Ukraine between 2014 and 2021.

Tim Morrison, senior director of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council (2019) was unambiguous as to why the US was arming Ukraine when he stated to Senate: "the United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there and we don't have to fight Russia here".

Ukraine was being armed, trained and integrated into NATO command and control networks while it continued to refuse to honour the Minsk peace agreements.

You couldn't get a clearer admission that the National Security Council's intent was always for Ukraine to fight Russia!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"the U.S. officially provided $2.5 billion (USD) in military aid to Ukraine between 2014 and 2021."
Pretty much a drop in the bucket, considering they didn't get a hell lot of actual American equipment such as tanks or APCs. New Zealand spends that much on its military every year in fact more some years. And I would have to say it was a good thing given the previous behaviour of Russia in its ex-colonies.
And it was the DPR that broke the Minsk agreements during the 2nd battle for Donetsk airport.

John Hurley said...

Primary School = Sunday School

Phil S said...

NATO did indeed treat Afghanistan as it's enemy in 2001. It was responding to actions taken by an Islamic group based in Afghanistan: major airborne attacks on New York and Washington.

Can Russia point to any comparable attacks by Ukraine on Moscow and St Petersburg?

I don't think so.

Your attempts to blame Western/NATO countries for the Ukraine war are laughable.

Slava Ukraini!

John Hurley said...

Tina Ngata represents the position of DPMC (or why would the choose her (or Spoonley) for Hui Whoey?

Charles Darwin of course famous for his
theory of evolution uh and also was a huge proponent for
introducing liquor into native societies for the purposes of thinning them out

altered or the other person who came with him was Sir Joseph Banks who was also over there during the seven year war his work in Canada was to
fund and support and sponsor Research into how long a virus or a germ could
survive on a piece of material