The New Observer Uncategorized Propaganda Watch (monthly roundup)

Propaganda Watch (monthly roundup)

Western media propaganda seems to work on a drip drip basis. A continual leakage of distorted lines builds up the false world. Each drip may be quite small; the effect is in the totality. (Incidentally, this means that no one individual is really responsible). A couple of examples:

1) This Guardian article is titled If Putin wins in Ukraine, the British economy will be in the firing line. It is by the Guardian’s Economics Editor. Strangely for an economics editor it is a call for the West to seize the Russian Central Bank assets (all of them) held in Europe – presumably to give to Ukraine to buy US weapons to kill Russian-speaking Eastern Ukrainians and Russians with. There is a point of view from which that seems like a totally crazy idea, but anyway.

More than Brexit, which we know Putin had a hand in fomenting, and more than the conflict in the Middle East, which Russia, and the Soviet Union before it, also fostered whenever they could, the war in Ukraine ranks alongside the climate crisis as an existential threat to Europe.

Is there anything which “Putin” is not responsible for? In any sane world Brexit was caused by a foolish political misjudgement by David Cameron who underestimated the strength of the Brexit mood and campaign (and who thought he could defeat it with a bit of scare campaigning as he had seen off Scottish independence). The current conflict in the Middle East was triggered by Hamas on 7 October, though, that, of course, was not the first shot. Is Putin responsible for Hamas and their Islamic-national ideology, or for Israel’s drift further and further to the right? I don’t see the slightest sign of either of those propositions.

With extra resources available to Putin, Britain itself could be targeted. Latest intelligence warns that Russian-backed ransomware attacks on UK businesses and public organisations could step up a gear. Last week, Anne Keast-Butler used her first major speech as boss of Britain’s signals intelligence operations to highlight the immediate danger posed by the Kremlin’s encouragement of partisan cyberwarriors, with warnings the conflict could move from the digital sphere to “physical surveillance and sabotage operations”.

It does seem likely that the Kremlin runs a small-scale influence operation chiefly based around reposting online posts which are critical of mainstream Western liberal positions. Intelligence agencies do indeed run influence campaigns. In the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq the UK placed low-grade intelligence leaked from the UN arms control mission to Iraq in the media of non-aligned countries to try to manipulate their governments’ votes at the UN. The UK currently runs an influence operation called the Integrity Initiative. [1] One man’s “integrity” is another man’s propaganda. This is essentially scare-mongering. Further; in as much as Russia is running intelligence or (might conceivably run) sabotage operations “against” the UK does it not occur to the author that if the UK stopped sending weapons to Ukraine to kill Russians with that might stop? ie. does it ever occur to these people to try to understand that at least some of what the other side does is a response to what we are doing? No.

It is outside the scope of this post but I can’t help pointing out that even if every last dollar of the reported USD 300 billion (others report less) was used to buy weapons for Ukraine that still won’t solve anything. Ukraine is running out of men. And if they get anywhere close to ‘defeating’ Russia we will be in nuclear territory. There is no coherent plan. Yet still they think – “if we just throw enough money at it the problem will go away”! But, them, this is the normal practice of government in the UK….

2) This is a Guardian article about the Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi who has died.

A supporter of deeply conservative values on the domestic front, in terms of foreign policy, Raisi also carved out an increasingly aggressive stance, and it was on his watch that Tehran opted to launch its recent unprecedented missile and drone strike against Israel, bringing the two countries into direct and open conflict for the first time.

No mention here that this missile strike was a response to Israel targeting an Iranian diplomatic premises in Syria.

Raisi’s election win, which led to him succeeding Hassan Rouhani as president, represented a pushback from Iran’s ultra-conservatives against the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that gave Iran relief from international sanctions.

Under Raisi, Iran began to enrich uranium at nearly weapons-grade levels and obstructed international inspections.

This happened after Trump pulled the US out of the previously signed agreement, in 2018. Strangely that fact is missing too.

This is bizarrely one-sided reporting which simply paints out the actions to which the Iranians were responding.

Such is the strange one-sided world Western liberal media figures live in.


  1. This is the official version on the Integrity Initiative published by state-corp media Sky News. If you believe that you must be on something pretty strong. This is an academic article which details the links between the Integrity Initiative and British intelligence and the covert influence operations it runs: (if this vanishes please contact me: I have a copy)