Where do you start?

Maybe at the Annual NATO summit 11 – 12 July 2023?

I haven’t posted on the war in Ukraine for some time, partially it has to be admitted, through lack of time (this is a serious matter and writing about it should be a careful and well thought out enterprise), but essentially because I no longer know where to start.

John Pilger was right in asserting that this war was being propagandised in the West in the most extreme manner that he had ever experienced – but his take barely seems to scratch at the surface of the onslaught of omissions, mis-information and outright lies that are being pedalled to us through a mainstream media that seems incapable of even the most basic, tentative, investigative journalism and whose analyses simply parrot the line propagated by our ruling elites.

How much longer can this nonsense be maintained in the face of:

1) an impending catastrophic defeat for NATO at the hands of a Russian military still characterised as poorly trained, led and equipped – a description that much better fits what’s left of the Ukrainian military and, tellingly, its western sponsors;

2) the collapsing of US allies’ economies not least as a result of the sanctions imposed on a Russian economy that, perversely, is going from strength to strength;

3) the long term threat to US global economic and political hegemony that Russia, China and the other BRICS countries’ development of an alternative reserve currency poses?

And yet we are still being told that:

1) Vlad the bad is vulnerable to being toppled by an internal coup – despite the fact that his approval ratings (consistently 60 – 80% over the past 20 years – cf western leaders!) received a further boost following the recent Prigozhin debacle. Western leaders should be careful what they wish for – Putin is a model of restraint compared with many in Russia who, fearful of the impact of a long drawn out struggle, favour a more aggressive approach to the war in Ukraine.

2) Although slower than expected, the much-delayed Ukrainian offensive is making steady progress in reclaiming territory from the Russians – when the reality is of appalling (truly appalling!) Ukrainian losses of both soldiers and equipment. Despite attacks demanded by its western sponsors, Ukrainian forces have failed to make any significant headway in ‘the grey zone’ – the area to the west of the substantial layers of defences that Russia has taken the opportunity to construct. Ukraine is once again running out of equipment and NATO is now openly admitting that there is little more to send. The Russian military machine has taken on the best NATO equipped western European army since WW2 and is comprehensively destroying it – and with it the myth of NATO competence and invincibility.

3) Russia’s unprovoked expansionism is a threat to the free world and a global coalition must be maintained to defeat it (and of course its ally China) – whilst outside of the ‘collective west’ the world looks increasingly askance at the antics of NATO and is actively seeking and supporting alternatives to US global hegemony.

How and when are these realities going to be revealed to us in the west?

The annual NATO summit (today and tomorrow) would seem a good place to start – but don’t hold your breath, those in power know only too well that the truth hurts – and is likely to hurt them dearly.

— x —

How can I assert this stuff you may ask? Stuff that is so far outside of general discourse in the west. Again I don’t know where to start!

You’ll not be surprised to hear that I don’t rely on our mainstream media for insight – or even basic facts! Although occasionally these can be found (often inadvertently) in outlets such as The Guardian, The New York Post, The Economist etc, in reports produced by military think tanks, in the statements of military, intelligence and political leaders from across the spectrum and in many blogsites. However, like most of us, I don’t have time to trawl through all this to find the nuggets – so I rely on others to do so and who attempt to work out from these what’s going on.

My main sources are podcasts by independents (many of whose politics and economic analyses are not necessarily mine) such as:

– The Duran – Alex  Christoforou and Alexander Mercouris

– The New Atlas – Brian Berletic

– The Left Lens – Danny Haiphong

– Judging Freedom – Judge Napolitano.

I find the podcast format difficult – it tends to be a bit rambly cf written articles, but it does have the advantage of being able to provide more up to date reporting and analysis and the frequent use of interviews allows for a multitude of perspectives.

As my friend Phil says, ‘You have to triangulate.’


One year on


NATO Summit – key takeaway


  1. Thanks for this very useful and timely post, Bryan. Apologies in advance for the length of my reply.

    Triangulation? Yes and to your list of sources – its 4th item unknown to me – I add The Saker (his occasional Orthodox Christian asides do not much trouble me) and Scott Ritter (UN weapons inspector who refused to go along with Saddam’s non existent WMDs) and at a more general level, Caitlin Johnstone for her breath-taking sanity. Oh, and since Ritter is one of a fast burgeoning list of gamekeepers turned poacher – canaries in the coalmine I say – let’s throw in two former colonels – the USA’s Douglas McGregor and the Swiss Army’s Jacques Baud, whose July 1st piece in the Postil on the Wagner Mutiny I’m about to read.

    Why triangulate? Because corporate media can’t be trusted on a matter as vital as the US empire’s fight to maintain global/dollar hegemony at any cost. (No section of those media can even acknowledge the existence of such an empire – a triumph of narrative over such glaring evidence as the millions slain in its wars in far off lands this century.) Yes, media do embarrass power on important but secondary matters. (A recent example was excellent Guardian coverage of the British royal family’s secretive financial affairs.) But they have to run such stories when (a) they compete for market share; (b) embarrassing power confers credibility which will be drawn on for the really big lies (usually but not entirely of omission); (c) their journalists are as much consumers as unwitting producers of propaganda, and usually believe what they write.

    (On that last, recall Chomsky’s reply to BBC’s Andrew Marr? Said Marr: “how can you know I self censor?” Said Chomsky: “I do not say you self censor. I’m sure you believe all you are saying but my point is that if you believed something different you would not be sitting in that chair.”)

    The proxy war Washington and Wall Street are waging on Russia, down to the last Ukrainian, is vital to the US empire. In it we have seen all of Europe’s leaders, with the partial exception of Macron, and media prioritising US interests over those of their own peoples. (Witness not only a shivering citizenry but German firms going to the wall, or relocating in the USA, in the face of soaring energy costs: this war is as much about reducing Europe as a trade rival as curbing Russia and, by extension, China.)

    Hence the need to triangulate.

    I’ll close on a couple of your points. It is in the context of your point 2 that we must decode the decision to send cluster bombs and, even more ominously, the talk of Russian plans to destroy the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant. As with the Nordstream explosions last September, such talk has borne all the hallmarks of an imminent false flag attack. Indeed, that its threat may be receding likely arises from Russia having publicised it so well that even Team Biden is telling Kiev to back off. That does not, of course, alter the truth of your comment that the West has too much invested in its proxy war. The risk of ‘limited’ nuclear strikes, if only through Dr Strangelove style mishap, remains high.

    As for your point 3, this goes to the heart of why no section of corporate media can afford to speak truth to power on so non-negotiable a matter. Your point is that the mightiest empire ever is in rapid – hence dangerous – decline. How can those media speak coherently and truthfully about this when it can’t even acknowledge the said empire’s existence?

    • Bryan

      Thank you Phil for your comments and suggestions for further sources of information, some of which are known to me and which I too find useful.

      Thank you also for our subsequent telephone conversation and news that the steel city scribe will shortly be back resident in Sheffield!

      We discussed the desperation with which western ruling elites will be responding to the steadily worsening situation on the battlefield in Ukraine and that this is no where better illustrated than in the decision to send cluster bomb shells in lieu of now unavailable standard explosive artillery shells. These will be a complete irrelevance in the way the battle is currently being fought – and yet has provoked entirely justified criticism not only across the world but also even within the ‘collective west’. Desperate people often have poor judgment and make poor decisions – lets hope the consequences of future poor decisions are not visited on humanity as a whole.

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