Kiev and the UK sign an agreement to be fools together!

Russia claimed that they fired warning shots at a British destroyer violating their maritime border near Crimea. The UK has tried to disempower the Russians by claiming the alleged shooting didn’t happen.

What is clear is that this was a stunt by the British regime. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ships, including surface warships, are allowed the right of “innocent passage” within the 12 mile territorial limit which defines a country’s maritime border. As Craig Murray points out this British warship cannot by any stretch of the imagination have been innocently going anywhere. Even if it was en route to Georgia there was no need to edge just inside a disputed border. Staging political provocations is not “innocent passage”. As so often the British side are lying while accusing the Russians of “misinformation”. [1]

Why did the UK stage this stunt? The answer is not hard to find. The UK has just signed a juicy little deal with Ukraine to supply it with patrol boats and to help it rebuild its naval infrastructure. [2] (The arms are to be supplied by UK arms merchants Babcock International [3] though actual construction may involve other arms producers including US ones). The deal appears to be based on a loan. [2] To loan an impoverished country a large sum of money to buy weapons from you is usually a sign of a desperate need to gain some kind of influence. The deal was signed on board HMS Defender. [3] So – it is pretty obvious. This stunt by the British was a sweetener to this deal. After the signing HMS Defender would sail through Crimean (Russian) waters to provoke the Russians, as a gift to Kiev. This action put the lives of British servicemen at risk – in pursuit of what exactly? In pursuit of Britain’s post Brexit ambitions to be an independent “global player”. The navy is being abused. It is there to defend the country not to be used to stage political and commercial stunts.

Politics in Kiev still seems to be dominated by a fundamentally unrealistic idea. They are forever egging on NATO to start a war with Russia on their behalf to take back territory in which the populations very clearly overwhelmingly want to leave Ukraine and be part of Russia. The combining of this unrealistic policy with British post Brexit imperial dreams does not bode well for the security of this region. Two policies equally detached from sense and reality.

Update

This could get nasty. The UK has threatened to repeat the stunt. [4] And the Kremlin has promised a robust response in defence of their maritime borders refusing to rule out any response if it happens again. [5] This shows the idiocy – and extreme immaturity – of the UK action. Now one side or the other stands to look weak – the UK if they don’t repeat the stunt and Russia if they allow it to happen again and do not provide a very robust response. Even if we accept the UK’s position – of not recognizing the Crimean referendum – and the consequent view that these waters still belong to Kiev, it remains the case that this action was foolhardy. Specifically; this action has done nothing to resolve the problem. It is perfectly open to the UK to continue to press Russia on the issue of Crimea, to work through the UN, to apply, if they like, economic pressure etc. (for example mirroring EU sanctions related to Crimea) but – military stunts? If the Russian side was blocking a vital economic artery that might have some logic to it; but they are not. The only reason to invade Russian territorial waters around Crimea is to stage a provocation. It will do nothing to bring Crimea back to Ukraine. It is like a schoolboy throwing rocks at the window of the staff room instead of organising a petition. This, regrettably, is the level at which the current UK government operates. The underlying ‘strategy’ is a desire to establish Britain as a major independent player on the world stage. Well; war with Russia would certainly do that.

As for the goal of bringing Crimea back into Ukraine – one wonders how any of these democrats in London are going to explain to the 80% of Crimeans who want to continue to be part of Russia how that is actually democratic. [6]

Notes

  1. https://apnews.com/article/russia-middle-east-black-sea-europe-government-and-politics-595debd7128eb2ae4ec68e240d1e712f
  2. https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-ukraine-navy/ukraine-secures-1-25-billion-from-uk-to-build-military-vessels-idUKKBN26S1SM?edition-redirect=uk
  3. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-signs-agreement-to-support-enhancement-of-ukrainian-naval-capabilities
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jun/24/british-warships-might-enter-crimean-waters-again-says-minister
  5. https://tass.ru/politika/11740393?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop
  6. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/03/20/one-year-after-russia-annexed-crimea-locals-prefer-moscow-to-kiev/?sh=76507dc6510d

And so to the cover-up

This is a report on Dominic Cummin’s fascinating revelations about how the government worked (didn’t) during the early days of the epidemic.

It makes juicy reading. Especially when you consider how many died. The description of the Prime Minister responding to being asked difficult questions in meetings by saying “let’s take it offline” and then rushing out of the meeting shouting “forward to victory” sounds both plausible and terrifying. Cummins claims that lockdown was not considered until the 14 of March. This is my post from 11 March 20 reporting on the Director of WHO bemoaning the lack of action by governments. The Cummins revelations confirm what we already know – that for the first few crucial weeks of the epidemic there was a total failure at the heart of government not just in No. 10, but at the senior levels in PHE and the DHSC, to respond to the crisis. (This is another of my posts from the early stages when I point out what Cummins is now saying; that the government was rudderless and its response was completely inadequate).

A lot of the revelations concern Matt Hancock. He is depicted as incompetent and a liar. I read recently an anonymous account of a backbench Tory MP who said that Hancock has a tendency to report as true-fact-now things which are in fact just at the planning stage. This interpretation syncs with Cummins’s account. For example; it would explain how Hancock could have told the PM that patients were being tested in Care Homes when what he meant was that they were working on it.

Continue reading “And so to the cover-up”

The biggest fear in the Kremlin must be that they are facing total idiots in the West

This is the Guardian reporting on the summit between Putin and Biden [1]:

Putin unfairly equates his jailing of political opponents to charges filed against Capitol rioters

An American reporter, Rachel Scott of ABC News, asked Vladimir Putin about how he has responded to political opposition in Russia. Scott said to Putin, “The list of your political opponents who are dead, imprisoned or jailed is long. … My question is, Mr President, what are you so afraid of?”

Putin responded by equating his jailing of critics like Alexei Navalny to the charges filed against the rioters who participated in the Capitol insurrection, which resulted in five deaths. The Russian president claimed the insurrectionists had gone to the Capitol with “political demands” and were subsequently jailed for being so. That is, of course, a gross mischaracterization. Navalny and his supporters are fighting for free and fair elections in Russia, while the Capitol insurrectionists were attempting to overturn the results of a free and fair election in the US.

The Guardian quotes this horror in full and without embarrassment and gives it the headline “Putin unfairly equates his jailing of political opponents to charges filed against Capitol rioters

One assumes this vulgar US journalist thinks that this is a brave question. In fact it just shows their own ghastly vulgarity. (For a start you don’t ask the leader of a great nation if he is a killer. It is just in bad taste. Despite the far worse and much more evidentially supported charges Russian journalists don’t, as far as I know, start every question to a US President with “how does it feel to have killed tens of thousands of children in an illegal war in Iraq?”). This supposed “long list” of “dead opponents” is a trope of anti-Russia haters. When you get into it the list is quite short. In some cases people are now doing jailtime for the killings. In the case of Anna Politkovskaya and Boris Nemtsov people have been arrested and sent to jail – though it is true not the instigators. In the case of Nemtsov one person remains on the run. Russia is a very large state. It is not as homogenous as the US. And – yes “corruption” is more widespread. But evidence that links these murders to Putin has yet to be produced. Litvinenko was quite probably assassinated, but then he was a traitor and a spy working for British intelligence – not exactly a freedom fighter.

Firstly – this brave journalist from ABC is late to the game. Someone from NBC asked Putin just this question in an interview recently. This is his lengthy answer.

Secondly; Putin’s comparison of Navalny with the capital rioters may have problems. But from his point of view it is not unreasonable. Navalny was aiming to overturn the Russian system by any means including calling children to illegal demonstrations (in the middle of a Coronavirus epidemic) . The Russians believe (or say they believe) that he was working with Western intelligence. The capital rioters were expressing their dissatisfaction with the US political system – also illegally – and they are now being hunted down and thrown in jail.

At any event this is an oversimplification to such an extent that it is hard to believe its author is a human and not a fairy: “Navalny and his supporters are fighting for free and fair elections in Russia, while the Capitol insurrectionists were attempting to overturn the results of a free and fair election in the US.” Oh come on. Navalny is a purist saint fighting for “free and fair elections” in Russia? Not, of course, fighting by any means, fair or foul, to get elected despite having a very small level of popular support? (As demonstrated by his second place in the 2013 Mayoral Moscow elections). The idea that the Capitol “insurrectionists” (oh, how carefully they have chosen this word) were seriously trying to overturn the results of the US election is a joke. One is reminded of Putin’s remark about claims of “election rigging” – is the US such a banana Republic that its elections can be overturned so easily? One can apply the remark here: is the US such a banana Republic that its election could be overturned by a few hundred people rushing into its Parliament building? This narrative about “insurrection” is a fairy tale. But they really believe it. Perhaps. Purist freedom fighters (Navalny) on the one hand and deplorables on the other (Capitol “insurrectionists”). The world for these people is very black and white. Very simple and easy to understand.

But the main point here is how “journalism” in the “free” West is every day more and more prescriptive. They can’t just report what Putin said and leave it for people to decide how valid the comparison is. They have to tell you what to believe. The comparison Putin is making is an “unfair equation” which “is, of course, a gross mischaracterization.”. These editorial opinions are mixed in with the news and are treated at the same level as reportage/truth/facts. This is how the media operated in Stalin’s Russia. An irony which probably escapes them.

Notes

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/live/2021/jun/16/joe-biden-vladimir-putin-us-russia-summit-meeting-geneva-ukraine-live-updates?page=with:block-60ca255c8f08bfe0ccb13a92#block-60ca255c8f08bfe0ccb13a92

Freedom – a gift from the government

Historically the idea in Western European societies has been that freedom exists between individuals. The state acts as a kind of guarantor of that freedom. And the state should only place limits on people’s freedom in as much as that is necessary to prevent them impinging on the freedom of others.

Now it seems that freedom is something which the state grants to people. This is a Guardian journalist explaining, in all innocence no doubt, that a new digital Covid pass system in Germany has been designed to make people freer:

The government also hopes once it is up and running, the scheme and the additional freedom it will give people, will encourage those still hesitant about getting vaccinated to finally do so.

The problem is the over-schooled and under-thinking modern corporate-safe work-ready graduate really does think that this is a case of a government giving people “additional freedom”. In reality of course this digital pass is a way of surveilling, controlling and dividing the population. It is about power. Not freedom.