Russia and Syria: two must-reads

2 Mar

Catte, writing in OffGuardian yesterday …

Does anyone in the West understand what the real point of Putin’s comments about Russia’s new weaponry?

The Guardian’s coverage (“Putin threatens US arms race with new missiles declaration”) shows us their masters see this as just another chance to cast Russia as a dangerous rogue state. The Times takes a similar line (“Putin unveils his super weapons to defy the West”). Elsewhere Putin’s speech is not only misinterpreted it’s also relegated to sidebars in favour of photos of snow (Telegraph), or dropped into the tiny print at the bottom of the page (New York Times).

The western press has basically opted out of analysing this, so let’s do it for them. Why is Putin talking about the new generation of weapons? What does he hope to achieve?

First and foremost what Putin’s speech – just as all his previous warnings – is ultimately intended to do is avert a pending worldwide catastrophe. The US political class is too fluoridated, too driven by ideologues, too crazy to understand MAD any more. And its current policy, in concert with the EU and NATO, is one of continued unremitting provocation toward Russia, presented through the subservient and frankly stupid corporate media as “responding” to Russian “aggression”.

Read the full piece in OffGuardian

Three days earlier – on his Blog from Nazareth, in CounterPunch and in OffGuardian – Jonathan Cook dissected mainstream media coverage of Syria.

I am loath to draw more attention to the kind of idiocy that passes for informed comment nowadays from academics and mainstream journalists. Recently I lambasted Prof Richard Carver for his arguments against BDS that should have gained him an F for logic in any high school exam.

Now we have to endure Brian Whitaker, the Guardian’s former Middle East editor, using every ploy in the misdirection and circular logic playbook to discredit those who commit thought crimes on Syria, by raising questions both about what is really happening there and about whether we can trust the corporate media consensus banging the regime-change drum.

Whitaker’s arguments and assumptions may be preposterous but sadly, like Carver’s, they are to be found everywhere in the mainstream – they have become so commonplace through repetition that they have gained a kind of implicit credibility. So let’s unpack what Whitaker and his ilk are claiming.

Whitaker’s latest outburst is directed against the impudence of a handful of British academics, including experts in the study of propaganda, in setting up a panel – the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media – to “provide a source of reliable, informed and timely analysis for journalists, publics and policymakers” on Syria. The researchers include Tim Hayward of Edinburgh University and Piers Robinson of Sheffield University.

Read the full piece in OffGuardian



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