Propaganda: Dream Within A Dream, 1985

Footage: A Matter of Life and Death (Stairway to Heaven), 1946, featuring, among others, David Niven and Kim Hunter.

Fake news so yesterday’s news

You’re not very likely to see this blog divulge or attempt to reveal and expose fake news when ever I stumble upon it, simply because the blog is more about what people do not – or do not want to – know than what they already know (or are prepared to realise).

And let’s fake face it, in fake news times I find legitimate, truthful news so much more sensational.

RT Sputnik Russia Kremlin propaganda Vladimir Putin
Fake news and propaganda. Watercolour by way of Waterlogue combined with blogger’s graphics.

As for the rest of you, please feel free to point out the falsehood in fake news when you see it. Chances are you are going to be very, very busy. I, on the other hand, prefer to choose my battles with care, presuming each and every piece of news potentially post-factual, treated with the normalcy it deserves, which is to say total disregard.

P.S. Truth be told, after years and years of warning against RT, Sputnik and numerous other fake news outlets, one has succumbed to a certain level of fake news fatigue, now that it’s finally on everybody’s lips. But I will say this: It feels strangely good, somehow, to have been the guy crying «Wolf!».

The age of disenlightenment

Want to destabilise a country, a region or an entire planet? No biggie. Inspire terrorism, distribute vast amounts of false news and wreak general havoc.

Living in times of great uncertainty, as we do, most find it hard to decide what and who to believe anymore, as fake news and general disinformation fills our social media feeds, in part spread by trolls, but also by the traditional media themselves, often staffed by journalists lacking not only the ability to write properly, but the ability to tell truth from lies – possibly due to the financial situation, forcing media corporations to maximise production at a minimum of costs, inevitably resulting in a quantity surpassing quality by tenfolds. Online, that is.

Eager to cut costs, online newspapers have spent huge resources on user involvement, included third-party independent groups and individuals, regardless of their funding and/or motivations, such as these fine gentlemen:

Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Source: David G. Silvers/Flickr and Wikipedia. Montage: Jarle Petterson
SPIES LIKE US: Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Source: David G. Silvers/Flickr and Wikipedia. Montage: Jarle Petterson

Both of whom in the receiving end of much journalistic praise, as the media had a field day, nay, field days and years, basking in the glory of their «findings», «leaks» and «revelations»,

Personally I never really bought into it, as posts thusly tagged will show (please feel free to go back in time):

I suggest that not only has the press fallen victim to Assange, Snowden and the likes of them, but has in fact acted as an accomplice, some news outlets more than other, but nevertheless.

The subject has been among this blog’s recurring topics for years and years, resurfacing after a brief Twitter conversation on former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald’s recent escapades yesterday:

Currently hailing from the news and commentary website The Intercept, Greenwald is launching an attack on his former employer, whence he once spread the gospel according to Snowden and Assange, wildly throwing accusations at The Guardian, for reasons unknown to you and me, just as we were kept in the dark with regards to his motivations for distributing their disclosures, be they lies, facts – or mere instruments in the grand scheme of things.

With the destabilisation of the west among Vladimir Putin’s more or less expressed intentions, it should come as no surprise that the Kremlin is responsible for at least the better half of all known fake news operations, as well as innumerable hacker attacks and, possibly, leading an unprecedented number of refugees to Europe, which we all know has brought about political discord, including the outset of the European Union’s dissolution, starting with a Brexit motivated, among other things, by fear of the refugee influx.

All while we witness NATO lying in shambles, as a new «Warsaw pact» emerges.

Most of it, of course, orchestrated by the Kremlin, where, by the way, Putin’s and western media’s golden boy, Edward Snowden, resides. Must be the climate and the pretty girls, huh?

Edward Snowden en route to Kremlin with a huge pile of secret U.S. documents. Blogger's own drawing.
Edward Snowden leaving Fort Meade, en route to Kremlin with a huge pile of secret U.S. documents. Blogger’s own drawing.

You may of course ask yourself how it is that WikiLeaks and Snowden focus on what they present as US violations, whereas Russia, according to them, is perfectly immaculate.

Because Russia is immaculate, perhaps …

Despite my disgust for Mr. Putin’s intentions, there’s no denying that he’s been carrying out what he set out to do with great success, masterfully, with the west sidelined as helpless bystanders, probably out of fear for escalating a conflict Vladimir Putin tries his best to … well, escalate.

But I can tell you this much. As a journalist, mostly a former journalist, I’m deeply ashamed by my one-time colleagues’ conduct – and active part in introducing fake news as the basis of our collective «knowledge», and the fear we all harbour.

Which all bodes well for the age of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.

We can only hope that, since the objective has been an attack on «the establishment», the media one day wakes up to the realisation that the two afore-mentioned gentlemen in fact are the establishment.

With the invaluable help of our eminent press.

As Donald J. Trump utters his compulsory «So help me God» on Friday 20 January, I’ll whisper a quiet addition to myself:

God help us all.

Please read this recent post on same subject:

Who to trust in post-factual times? 18 December 2016

Here’s hoping

Come New Years Eve I shall party just as hard as the next guy. Not because there’s any cause for celebration, considering the hopeless situation in which we find ourselves, but because, after all, it is what people expect, my own family not excepted. I will, of course, comply, without a trace of the concerns boiling inside.

There’s been much talk of the cold war revival, of a World War III already in progress – allegations I wouldn’t even dream of contradicting, as I’ve been trying to raise awareness of Vladimir Putin’s aggressive approach for about a decade already, albeit to little avail – as one should expect, considering the blog’s obscurity.

However, we would be ill-advised to expect WWIII to be a blueprint of its two predecessors, considering that the war has been going on for quite some time, sans traditional or conventional confrontations, save the extensivity of Russian false news, aiming at destabilising western Europe and the U.S. – and successfully so, given Putin’s 2016 triumphs in the United Kingdom and the United States, both early examples of the Russian propaganda machinery’s unsurpassable efficiency.

While the entire west desperately endeavours to figure out how to prevent further distribution of fake news, and, as a consequence thereof; even more western states falling into the hands of politicians under Russian influence, Mr. Putin keeps busy forging alliances with leaders disliked by the west, currently Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, while a civil war in Yemen, a former Soviet outpost in the Middle East, still rages, what ever prospects it may hold.

There is a distinct possibility, you know, that Putin’s foothold in the Middle East may well be even firmer, now that Russia in fact controls Syria and the Crimean peninsula, whence the Black Sea Fleet hails, lacking only free passage through the Bosphorous, controlled by Putin’s soon-to-be ally (?) and fellow strongman Erdoğan, leaving more or less the entire Middle East under Russian control, in spite of the protests we may voice through the UN security council.

After all, since when did Vladimir Putin bother listening to the UN? On the contrary, the following countries (most of which siding with Russia), voted against protecting Syrian civilians, suffering from a war which has now outlasted WWII: Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, China, Cuba, N. Korea, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, S. Sudan, Syria (i.e. the Assad regime), Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

So yes, a World War III most certainly is in progress, even if we may find that it’s being fought on the Internet and on battle fields far from home, with victims we only see on the news. We should, however, also accept that Britain’s Brexit and America’s Trump victory are defeats good as any, both battles won by Putin’s virtual soldiers, because that’s the kind of war this is – a war in which I try to involve myself, however uninvited, and inconsequential my feeble efforts, considering the west’s shortcomings pertaining to propaganda measures on equal terms.

I simply refuse to side with those advocating reservation and self-muzzling, based on the eventuality, however small, that Vladimir Putin is in fact a pretty good guy, so let me reiterate my decade-long message, as some (but sadly all-too few) also did in the 1930s: He is not, so I long since decided to be this guy:

August Landmesser
August Landmesser (1910–1944), refusing to salute Adolf Hitler during the opening of German navy training centre Horst Wessel, summer of 1936.

Also, living in a country sharing borders with Russia, as I do, I can, to a certain extent, understand some people’s reluctance to raise their voices against a potential invader … Or maybe not.

Which,  hopefully, explains my reluctance – to yell «Happy New Year» at the top of my lungs, but hey, here’s hoping.

P.S. I used the same headline on a post earlier this autumn (simply forgot), and we all know how that turned out.

«Dr. Liza» hadde med humanitærhjelp til syrisk sykehus – så styrtet flyet – Russland – VG

Vestlig presse, Verdens gang inkludert, sluker russisk propaganda ukritisk.

Elizaveta Glinka, kjent som Dr. Liza, har hjulpet fattige, syke og hjemløse i 17 år. I julen skulle hun besøke et sykehus i Latakia.
Sammen med minst 64 musikere, ti soldater, ni journalister og åtte flyansatte var den populære hjelpearbeideren på flyet på vei til Syria 1. juledag. Men i motsetning til sine medpassasjerer hadde Dr. Liza planer om å tilbringe julen på et syrisk sykehus, ifølge hjelpeorganisasjonen Fair Aid, der hun selv var leder.

Kilde: «Dr. Liza» hadde med humanitærhjelp til syrisk sykehus – så styrtet flyet – Russland – VG

Russisk nødhjelp til Syria, min fot …

Who to trust in post-factual times?

Since we’ve long since established that news generally aren’t to be trusted in our post-factual/post-truth day and age, we also need to acknowledge that some «news» outlets are more or less notoriously mendacious, adding a truth or two to the mix for improved credibility.

Among whom Russia’s RT and Sputnik News/Sputnik International, both owned by Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, rank as the worst.

Normally I wouldn’t bother to share self-evident information of this nature. Considering, however, that I find myself completely dumbfounded by the extent to which friends and connections share RT and Sputnik’s false information (or point to them for support of their views), originating from the Kremlin, a quick reminder seems to be in order.

Granted Russian propaganda in no way eliminates the existence of western propaganda. I’ll be the first to admit that I acknowledge its existence*, in every sense of the word «acknowledge», even if I try not to be among its conveyors.

You may of course ask why I gladly accept the odd occurence of western lies, while condemning the Russian equivalent.

For one the occurences are beyond any comparison. Secondly (but not least!) I consider myself a man of the west and of western democracies, who decades ago came to accept that propaganda must be met with propaganda. Which is to say that siding with my own side (would it be my side at all if I didn’t?) by no means implies taking any piece of western information at face value.

At least I acknowledge its function as a necessary countermeasure.

So long as you know that certain Russian outlets and their western cohorts, sadly growing in numbers (I’ll get back to that in a later post), under no circumstances are to be trusted.


*In fact I follow several western propaganda-intensive services with great interest.

Seks harde Kim Jong-un-fakta

Li'l Kim Jong-unEt knippe tørre fakta om Li’l Kim:

  • Kjære leder er en fullbefaren fjellklatrer
  • Kappseilte mot sjefen i et utenlandsk rederi som niåring, og vant
  • Er en velrenommert kunstner og komponist i verdensklasse
  • Kjørte bil da han var tre
  • Kim Jong-un går aldri på do
  • Har egenhendig utviklet en hydrogenbombe

Alt sammen, naturligvis, helt, helt sant, så jeg ser overhodet ingen grunn til å reise tvil om siste punkt på listen.

Skremsel by accident

English: Logo of the television channel Channe...

Da den statlige russiske TV-kanalen Kanal 1 tirsdag rapporterte fra president Vladimir Putins møte med militære ledere i Sotsji, kom den i skade for å inkludere bilder av det «topphemmelige» våpensystemet Status-6, av pressen beskrevet som «dommedagstorpedoer».

Superhemmelig, som det jo er, har Kanal 1 selvfølgelig redigert bort klippet fra sine opptak.

Billedmanipulasjonen er bloggers egen.

Walt Disney: Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi, 1943

Josef K: Sorry For Laughing, 1981

Wot!? Så Propagandas versjon (1985) var en cover?