I’ve been told that Orwell’s 1984 hits the bestseller lists once more, God knows for what reason (Jarle, really?).

Totalitarianism Authoritarianism dictature diktatur totalitarian authoritarian

Top photo: George Orwell’s «1984». Blogger’s photograph.

Don’t know why I did that (God knows it isn’t funny), so on a completely unrelated note:

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

Predictable bastards

As we all know by now Russia’s Vladimir Putin just decided not to retaliate for Barack Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian «diplomats» yesterday.

I could have told you that (tweeted about an hour prior to Putin’s announcement):

That, of course, and the fact that Putin wants to start off with a clean slate once Donald Trump has been inaugurated a few weeks from now.

Top illustration: America’s president-elect Donald Trump and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. Blogger’s own drawing.

As someone who’s been trying to draw his readers’ attention to the fact that the cold war has been raging for years (or in fact never really ended), this blogger isn’t the least bit suprised by the latest development in Russo-American relations, except one would perhaps not expect the kind of childishness currently unfolding.

With the exception of a certain bare-torsoed leader and his minions, maybe:

And, although my sympathy for Ukraine should be no secret:

Top six global threats

The world’s top six global threats, in no particular order.

We do of course have candidates of our own in these parts. Fortunately we are, contrary to own belief, utterly irrelevant.

Implications of The Ankara Assassination 2016

While serious events took place yesterday, calling for in-depth news coverage, the incidents themselves were nothing out of the ordinary. On the contrary I think we will find that episodes such as the Berlin Christmas market attack and the Ankara assassination, as well as the Zurich shooting, are everyday occurrences.

Europeans may have been disturbed by the proximity to Christmas and indeed to ourselves. Apart from that, however, these things happen on a daily basis throughout the world.

In my neck of the wood the Berlin calamities most definitely drew most of the attention, undoubtedly due to the number of Norwegians visiting this – or any – time of year (our self-absorption knows no limit), but I think it’s safe to say that among the three, the Ankara assassination (yes, I deliberately use a designation similar to the 1914 Sarajevo assassination) offers potentially more widespread consequences, giving more cause for concern than the other two, although it didn’t even take place in Europe. Not least because it involved a prominent member of Ankara’s Corps Diplomatique, and a Russian one to boot.

The seemingly staged, almost cinematic appearance of the incident must have left not only this blogger wondering if it indeed was carefully prepared, in what most observers must consider the hub of current conflicts, involving the Syrian war’s two leading parties (sorry, America, but you’re not even close), headed by oppressors prone to conspiratorial thinking, constantly chasing excuses to initiate drastic responses to actions quite possibly initiated by themselves (for instance last summer’s attempted coup in Turkey immediately springs to mind). To such a degree that we’re all forced to think along the lines of plots that may not even exist.

What ever the case we should acknowledge that we indeed live in violent times, with an extremely volatile situation on our hands, and I hate to sound the alarm, even if I fear there’s every reason to.

With Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin, both highly despotic, emerging as close allies, and soon-to-be President Trump at the American helm, as well as an increasingly powerful China lurking in the outskirts, the stage is set for an unprecedented and highly inflammable situation.

Certain powers’ expressed aim to destabilise the west is of course a factor to be reckoned with, too, but let’s leave it at that for now.

Suffice it to say 2017 is going to be a very interesting year.

Since posting this I was made aware of this Foreign Policy article, published last night, touching on some of the same issues – and then some:

Five Things to Worry About After the Assassination of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey

Illustration: The Ankara gunman. Blogger’s «watercolour painting», made with Waterlogue app.

True Romance

I hate viral. No really, but how could I not share?

And of course, it’s not as if the Soviet Union supported the Vietnamese north.

So tell me, who’d be surprised if Trump names a Putinist secretary of state?

Illustration: Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, digitally manipulated by blogger.