The Devolution of US-Russia Relations

A retired Australian diplomat who served in Moscow dissects the emergence of the new Cold War and its dire consequences. 

By Tony Kevin

In 2014, we saw violent U.S.-supported regime change and civil war in Ukraine. In February, after months of increasing tension from the anti-Russian protest movement’s sitdown strike in Kiev’s Maidan Square, there was a murderous clash between protesters and Ukrainian police, sparked off by hidden shooters (we now know that were expert Georgian snipers) , aiming at police. The elected government collapsed and President Yanukevich fled to Russia, pursued by murder squads.

The new Poroshenko government pledged harsh anti-Russian language laws. Rebels in two Russophone regions in Eastern Ukraine took local control, and appealed for Russian military help. In March, a referendum took place in Russian-speaking Crimea on leaving Ukraine, under Russian military protection. Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia, a request promptly granted by the Russian Parliament and President. Crimea’s border with Ukraine was secured against saboteurs. Crimea is prospering under its pro-Russian government, with the economy kick-started by Russian transport infrastructure investment.

In April, Poroshenko ordered full military attack on the separatist provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine. A brutal civil war ensued, with aerial and artillery bombardment bringing massive civilian death and destruction to the separatist region. There was major refugee outflow into Russia and other parts of Ukraine. The shootdown of MH17 took place in July 2014.

Poroshenko: Ordered military attack.

By August 2015, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates, 13,000 people had been killed and 30,000 wounded. 1.4 million Ukrainians had been internally displaced, and 925,000 had fled to neighbouring countries, mostly Russia and to a lesser extent Poland.

There is now a military stalemate, under the stalled Minsk peace process. But random fatal clashes continue, with the Ukrainian Army mostly blamed by UN observers. The UN reported last month that the ongoing war has affected 5.2 million people, leaving 3.5 million of them in need of relief, including 500,000 children. Most Russians blame the West for fomenting Ukrainian enmity towards Russia. This war brings back for older Russians horrible memories of the Nazi invasion in 1941. The Russia-Ukraine border is only 550 kilometres from Moscow.

Flashpoint Syria

Russian forces joined the civil war in Syria in September 2015, at the request of the Syrian Government, faltering under the attacks of Islamist extremist rebel forces reinforced by foreign fighters and advanced weapons. With Russian air and ground support, the tide of war turned. Palmyra and Aleppo were recaptured in 2016. An alleged Syrian Government chemical attack at Khan Shaykhun in April 2017 resulted in a token U.S. missile attack on a Syrian Government airbase: an early decision by President Trump.

NATO, Strategic Balance, Sanctions

An F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron takes off from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, March 6, 2014. The 48th Fighter Wing sent an additional six aircraft and more than 50 personnel to support NATO’s air policing mission in Lithuania, at the request of U.S. allies in the Baltics. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emerson Nunez/Released)

Tensions have risen in the Baltic as NATO moves ground forces and battlefield missiles up to the Baltic states’ borders with Russia. Both sides’ naval and air forces play dangerous brinksmanship games in the Baltic. U.S. short-range, non-nuclear-armed anti-ballistic missiles were stationed in Poland and Romania, allegedly against threat of Iranian attack. They are easily convertible to nuclear-armed missiles aimed at nearby Russia.

Nuclear arms control talks have stalled. The INF intermediate nuclear forces treaty expired in 2019, after both sides accused the other of cheating. In March 2018, Putin announced that Russia has developed new types of intercontinental nuclear missiles using technologies that render U.S. defence systems useless. The West has pretended to ignore this announcement, but we can be sure Western defence ministries have noted it. Nuclear second-strike deterrence has returned, though most people in the West have forgotten what this means. Russians know exactly what it means.

Western economic sanctions against Russia continue to tighten after the 2014 events in Ukraine. The U.S. is still trying to block the nearly completed Nordstream Baltic Sea underwater gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Sanctions are accelerating the division of the world into two trade and payments systems: the old NATO-led world, and the rest of the world led by China, with full Russian support and increasing interest from India, Japan, ROK and ASEAN.

Return to Moscow

In 2013, my children gave me an Ipad. I began to spend several hours a day reading well beyond traditional mainstream Western sources: British and American dissident sites, writers like Craig Murray in UK and in the U.S. Stephen Cohen, and some Russian sites – rt.com, Sputnik, TASS, and the official Foreign Ministry site mid.ru. in English.

In late 2015 I decided to visit Russia independently to write Return to Moscow, a literary travel memoir. I planned to compare my impressions of the Soviet Union, where I had lived and worked as an Australian diplomat in 1969-71, with Russia today. I knew there had been huge changes. I wanted to experience ’Putin’s Russia’ for myself, to see how it felt to be there as an anonymous visitor in the quiet winter season. I wanted to break out of the familiar one-dimensional hostile political view of Russia that Western mainstream media offer: to take my readers with me on a cultural pilgrimage through the tragedy and grandeur and inspiration of Russian history. As with my earlier book on Spain ‘Walking the Camino’, this was not intended to be a political book, and yet somehow it became one.

I was still uncommitted on contemporary Russian politics before going to Russia in January 2016. Using the metaphor of a seesaw, I was still sitting somewhere around the middle.

My book was written in late 2015 – early 2016, expertly edited by UWA Publishing. It was launched in March 2017. By this time my political opinions had moved decisively to the Russian end of the seesaw, on the basis of what I had seen in Russia, and what I had read and thought during the year.

I have been back again twice, in winter 2018 and 2019. My 2018 visit included Crimea, and I happened to see a Navalny-led Sunday demonstration in Moscow. I thoroughly enjoyed all three independent visits: in my opinion, they give my judgements on Russia some depth and authenticity.

Russophobia Becomes Entrenched

Russia was a big talking point in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the initially unlikely Republican candidate Donald Trump’s chances improved, anti-Putin and anti-Russian positions hardened in the outgoing Obama administration and in the Democratic Party establishment which backed candidate Hillary Clinton.

Russia and Putin became caught up in the Democratic Party’s increasingly obsessive rage and hatred against the victorious Trump. Russophobia became entrenched in Washington and London U.S. and UK political and strategic elites, especially in intelligence circles: think of Pompeo, Brennan, Comey and Clapper. All sense of international protocol and diplomatic propriety towards Russia and its President was abandoned, as this appalling Economist cover from October 2016 shows.

My experience of undeclared political censorship in Australia since four months after publication of ‘Return to Moscow’ supports the thesis that:

We are now in the thick of a ruthless but mostly covert Anglo-American alliance information war against Russia. In this war, individuals who speak up publicly in the cause of detente with Russia will be discouraged from public discourse.

In the Thick of Information War

When I spoke to you two years ago, I had no idea how far-reaching and ruthless this information war is becoming. I knew that a false negative image of Russia was taking hold in the West, even as Russia was becoming a more admirable and self-confident civil society, moving forward towards greater democracy and higher living standards, while maintaining essential national security. I did not then know why, or how.

I had just had time to add a few final paragraphs in my book about the possible consequences for Russia-West relations of Trump’s surprise election victory in November 2016. I was right to be cautious, because since Trump’s inauguration we have seen the step-by-step elimination of any serious pro-detente voices in Washington, and the reassertion of control over this haphazard president by the bipartisan imperial U.S. deep state, as personified from April 2018 by Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Adviser Bolton. Bolton has now been thrown from the sleigh as decoy for the wolves: under the smooth-talking Pompeo, the imperial policies remain.

Truth, Trust and False Narratives

Let me now turn to some theory about political reality and perception, and how national communities are persuaded to accept false narratives. Let me acknowledge my debt to the fearless and brilliant Australian independent online journalist, Caitlin Johnstone.

Behavioural scientists have worked in the field of what used to be called propaganda since WW1. England has always excelled in this field. Modern wars are won or lost not just on the battlefield, but in people’s minds. Propaganda, or as we now call it information warfare, is as much about influencing people’s beliefs within your own national communityas it is about trying to demoralise and subvert the enemy population.

The IT revolution of the past few years has exponentially magnified the effectiveness of information warfare. Already in the 1940s, George Orwell understood how easily governments are able to control and shape public perceptions of reality and to suppress dissent. His brilliant books 1984 and Animal Farm are still instruction manuals in principles of information warfare. Their plots tell of the creation by the state of false narratives, with which to control their gullible populations.

The disillusioned Orwell wrote from his experience of real politics. As a volunteer fighter in the Spanish Civil War, he saw how both Spanish sides used false news and propaganda narratives to demonise the enemy. He also saw how the Nazi and Stalinist systems in Germany and Russia used propaganda to support show trials and purges, the concentration camps and the Gulag, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, German master race and Stalinist class enemy ideologies; and hows dissident thought was suppressed in these controlled societies. Orwell tried to warn his readers: all this could happen here too, in our familiar old England. But because the good guys won the war against fascism, his warnings were ignored.

We are now in Britain, U.S. and Australia actually living in an information warfare world that has disturbing echoes of the world that Orwell wrote about. The essence of information control is the effective state management of two elements, trust and fear, to generate and uphold a particular view of truth. Truth, trust and fear: these are the three key elements, now as 100 years ago in WWI Britain.

People who work or have worked close to government – in departments, politics, the armed forces, or top universities – mostly accept whatever they understand at the time to be ‘the government view’ of truth.Whether for reasons of organisational loyalty, career prudence or intellectual inertia, it is usually this way around governments. It is why moral issues like the Vietnam War and the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq were so distressing for people of conscience working in or close to government and military jobs in Canberra. They were expected to engage in ‘doublethink’ as Orwell had described it:

Even in Winston’s nightmare world, there were still choices – to retreat into the non-political world of the proles, or to think forbidden thoughts and read forbidden books. These choices involved large risks and punishments. It was easier and safer for most people to acquiesce in the fake news they were fed by state-controlled media.

‘Trust, Truth and False Narratives’ 

Fairfax journalist Andrew Clark, in the Australian Financial Review, in an essay optimistically titled “Not fake news: Why truth and trust are still in good shape in Australia”, (AFR Dec. 22, 2018), cited Professor William Davies thus:

“Most of the time, the edifice that we refer to as “truth” is really an investment of trust in our structures of politics and public life’ … ‘When trust sinks below a certain point, many people come to view the entire spectacle of politics and public life as a sham.”

Here is my main point: Effective information warfare requires the creation of enough public trust to make the public believe that state-supported lies are true.

The key tools are repetition of messages, and diversification of trusted voices. Once a critical mass is created of people believing a false narrative, the lie locks in: its dissemination becomes self-sustaining.

Caitlin Johnstone a few days ago put it this way:

Power is being able to control what happens. Absolute poweris being able to control what people thinkabout what happens. If you can control what happens, you can have power until the public gets sick of your BS and tosses you out on your ass. If you can control what people thinkabout what happens, you can have power forever. As long as you can control how people are interpreting circumstances and events, there’s no limit to the evils you can get away with.”

The Internet has made propaganda campaigns that used to take weeks or months a matter of hours or even minutes to accomplish. It is about getting in quickly, using large enough clusters of trusted and diverse sources, in order to cement lies in place, to make the lies seem true, to magnify them through social messaging: in other words, to create credible false narratives that will quickly get into the public’s bloodstream.

Over the past two years, I have seen this work many times: on issues like framing Russia for the MH17 tragedy; with false allegations of Assad mounting poison gas attacks in Syria; with false allegations of Russian agents using lethal Novichok to try to kill the Skripals in Salisbury; and with the multiple lies of Russiagate.

It is the mind-numbing effect of constant repetition of disinformation by many eminent people and agencies, in hitherto trusted channels like the BBC or ABC or liberal Anglophone print media that gives the system its power to persuade the credulous. For if so many diverse and reputable people repeatedly report such negative news and express such negative judgements about Russia or China or Iran or Syria, surely they must be right?

We have become used to reading in our quality newspapers and hearing on the BBC and ABC and SBS gross assaults on truth, calmly presented as accepted facts. There is no real public debate on important facts in contention any more. There are no venues for dissent outside contrarian social media sites.

Sometimes, false narratives inter-connect. Often a disinformation narrative in one area is used to influence perceptions in other areas. For example, the false Skripals poisoning story was launched by British intelligence in March 2018, just in time to frame Syrian President Assad as the guilty party in a faked chemical weapons attack in Douma the following month.

The Skripals Gambit

The Skripals gambit was also a failed British attempt to blight the Russia –hosted Football World Cup in June 2018. In the event, hundreds of thousands of Western sports fans returned home with the warmest memories of Russian good sportsmanship and hospitality.

How do I know the British Skripals narrative is false? For a start, it is illogical, incoherent, and constantly changes. Allegedly, two visiting Russian FSB agents in March 2018 sprayed or smeared Novichok, a deadly toxin instantly lethal in the most microscopic quantities, on the Skripals’ house front doorknob. There is no video footage of the Skripals at their front door on the day. We are told they were found slumped on a park bench, and that is maybe where they had been sprayed with nerve gas? Shortly afterwards, Britain’s Head of Army Nursing who happened to be passing by found them, and supervised their hospitalisation and emergency treatment.

Allegedly, much of Salisbury was contaminated by Novichok, and one unfortunate woman mysteriously died weeks later, yet the Skripals somehow did not die, as we are told. But where are they now? We saw a healthy Yulia in a carefully scripted video interview released in May 2018, after an alleged ‘one in a million’ recovery. We were assured her father had recovered too, but nobody has seen him at all. The Skripals have simply disappeared from sight since 16 months ago. Are they now alive or dead? Are they in voluntary or involuntary British custody?

A month after the poisoning, the UK Government sent biological samples from the Skripals to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons , for testing. The OPCW sent the samples to a trusted OPCW laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland.

Lavrov Spiez BZ claims, April 2018

A few days later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dramatically announced in Moscow that the Spiez lab had found in the samples a temporary-effect nerve agent BZ, used by U.S. and UK but not by Russia, that would have disabled the Skripals for a few days without killing them. He also revealed the Spiez lab had found that the Skripal samples had been twice tampered with while still in UK custody: first soon after the poisoning, and again shortly before passing them to the OPCW. He said the Spiez lab had found a high concentration of Novichok, which he called A- 234, in its original form. This was extremely suspicious as A-234 has high volatility and could not have retained its purity over a two weeks period. The dosage the Spiez lab found in the samples would have surely killed the Skripals. The OPCW under British pressure rejected Lavrov’s claim, and suppressed the Spiez lab report.

Let’s look finally at the alleged assassins.

‘Boshirov and Petrov’

These two FSB operatives who visited Salisbury under the false identities of ‘Boshirov’ and ‘Petrov’ did not look or behave like credible assassins. It is more likely that they were sent to negotiate with Sergey Skripal about his rumoured interest in returning to Russia. They needed to apply for UK visas a month in advance of travel: ample time for the British agencies to identify them as FSB operatives, and to construct a false attempted assassination narrative around their visit. This false narrative repeatedly trips over its own lies and contradictions. British social media are full of alternative theories and rebuttals. Russians find the whole British Government Skripal narrative laughable. They have invented comedy skits and video games based on it. Yet it had major impact on Russia-West relations.

The Douma False Narrative

I turn now to the claimed Assad chemical weapons attack in Douma in April 2018.This falsely alleged attack triggered a major NATO air attack on Syrian targets, ordered by Trump. We came close to WWIII in these dangerous days. Thanks to the restraint of the then Secretary of Defence James Mattis and his Russian counterparts, the risk was contained.

The allegation that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used outlawed chemical weapons against his own people was based solely on the evidence of faked video images of child victims, made by the discredited White Helmets, a UK-sponsored rebel-linked ‘humanitarian’ propaganda organisation with much blood on its hands. Founded in 2013 by a British private security specialist of intelligence background, James Le Mesurier, the White Helmets specialised in making fake videos of alleged Assad regime war crimes against Syrian civilians. It is by now a thoroughly discredited organisation that was prepared to kill its prisoners and then film their bodies as alleged victims of government chemical attacks.

White Helmets

As the town of Douma was about to fall to advancing Syrian Government forces, the White Helmets filled a room with stacked corpses of murdered prisoners, and photographed them as alleged victims of aerial gas attack. They also made a video alleging child victims of this attack being hosed down by White Helmets. A video of a child named Hassan Diab went viral all over the Western world.

Hassan Diab later testified publicly in The Hague that he had been dragged terrified from his family by force, smeared with some sort of grease, and hosed down with water as part of a fake video. He went from hero to zero overnight, as Western governments and media rejected his testimony as Russian and Syrian propaganda.

In a late development, there is proof that the OPCW suppressed its own engineers’ report from Douma that the alleged poison gas cylinders could not have possibly been dropped from the air through the roof of the house where one was found, resting on a bed under a convenient hole in the roof.

I could go on discussing the detail of such false narratives all day. No matter how often they are exposed by critics, our politicians and mainstream media go on referencing them as if they are true. Once people have come to believe false narratives, it is hard to refute them.

So it is with the false narrative that Russian internet interference enabled Trump to win the 2016 U.S. presidential elections: a thesis for which no evidence was found by [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller, yet continues to be cited by many U.S. liberal Democratic media as if it were true. So, even, with MH17.

Managing Mass Opinion

This mounting climate of Western Russophobia is not accidental: it is strategically directed, and it is nourished with regular maintenance doses of fresh lies. Each round of lies provides a credible platform for the next round somewhere else. The common thread is a claimed malign Russian origin for whatever goes wrong.

So where is all this disinformation originating? Information technology firms in Washington and London that are closely networked into government elites, often through attending the same establishment schools or colleges like Eton and Yale, have closely studied and tested the science of influencing crowd opinions through mainstream media and online. They know, in a way that Orwell or Goebbels could hardly have dreamt, how to put out and repeat desired media messages. They know what sizes of ‘internet attraction nodes’ need to be established online, in order to create diverse critical masses of credible Russophobic messaging, which then attracts enough credulous and loyal followers to become self-propagating.

Firms like the SCL Group (formerly Strategic Communication Laboratories) and the now defunct Cambridge Analytica pioneered such work in the UK. There are many similar firms in Washington, all in the business of monitoring, generating and managing mass opinion. It is big business, and it works closely with the national security state.

Starting in November 2018, an enterprising group of unknown hackers in the UK , who go by the name ‘Anonymous’, opened a remarkable window into this secret world. Over a few weeks, they hacked and dumped online a huge volume of original documents issued by and detailing the activities of the Institute for Statecraft (IfS) and the Integrity initiative (II). Here is the first page of one of their dumps, exposing propaganda against Jeremy Corbyn.

We know from this material that the IfS and II are two secret British disinformation networks operating at arms’ length from but funded by the UK security services and broader UK government establishment. They bring together high-ranking military and intelligence personnel, often nominally retired, journalists and academics, to produce and disseminate propaganda that serves the agendas of the UK and its allies.

Stung by these massive leaks, Chris Donnelly, a key figure in IfS and II and a former British Army intelligence officer, made a now famous seven-minute YouTube video in December 2018, artfully filmed in a London kitchen, defending their work.

He argued – quite unconvincingly in my opinion – that IfS and II are simply defending Western societies against disinformation and malign influence, primarily from Russia. He boasted how they have set up in numerous targeted European countries, claimed to be under attack from Russian disinformation, what he called ’clusters of influence’, to ‘educate’ public opinion and decision-makers in pro-NATO and anti-Russian directions.

Donnelly spoke frankly on how the West is already at war with Russia, a ‘new kind of warfare’, in which he said ‘everything becomes a weapon’. He said that ‘disinformation is the issue which unites all the other weapons in this conflict and gives them a third dimension’.

He said the West has to fight back, if it is to defend itself and to prevail.

We can confirm from the Anonymous leaked files the names of many people in Europe being recruited into these clusters of influence. They tend to be significant people in journalism, publishing, universities and foreign policy think-tanks: opinion-shapers. The leaked documents suggest how ideologically suitable candidates are identified: approached for initial screening interviews; and, if invited to join a cluster of influence, sworn to secrecy.

Remarkably, neither the Anonymous disclosures nor the Donnelly response have ever been reported in Australian media. Even in Britain – where evidence that the Integrity Initiative was mounting a campaign against [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn provoked brief media interest. The story quickly disappeared from mainstream media and the BBC. A British under-foreign secretary admitted in Parliamentary Estimates that the UK Foreign Office subsidises the Institute of Statecraft to the tune of nearly 3 million pounds per year. It also gives various other kinds of non-monetary assistance, e.g. providing personnel and office support in Britain’s overseas embassies.

This is not about traditional spying or seeking agents of influence close to governments. It is about generating mass disinformation, in order to create mass climates of belief.

In my opinion, such British and American disinformation efforts, using undeclared clusters of influence, through Five Eyes intelligence-sharing, and possibly with the help of British and American diplomatic missions, may have been in operation in Australia for many years.

Such networks may have been used against me since around mid-2017, to limit the commercial outreach of my book and the impact of its dangerous ideas on the need for East-West detente; and efficiently to suppress my voice in Australian public discourse about Russia and the West. Do I have evidence for this? Yes.

It is not coincidence that the Melbourne Writers Festival in August 2017 somehow lost all my sign-and-sell books from my sold-out scheduled speaking event; that a major debate with [Australian writer and foreign policy analyst] Bobo Lo at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne was cancelled by his Australian sponsor, the Lowy institute, two weeks before the advertised date; that my last invitation to any writers festival was 15 months ago, in May 2018; that Return to Moscow was not shortlisted for any Australian book prize, though I entered it in all of them ; that since my book’s early promotion ended around August 2017, I have not been invited to join any ABC discussion panels, or to give any talks on Russia in any universities or institutes, apart from the admirable Australian Institute of International Affairs and the ISAA.

My articles and shorter opinion commentaries on Russia and the West have not been published in mainstream media or in reputable online journals like Eureka Street, The Conversation, Inside Story orAustralian Book Review. Despite being an ANU Emeritus Fellow, I have not been invited to give a public talk or join any panel in ANU (Australian National University) or any Canberra think tank. In early 2018, I was invited to give a private briefing to a group of senior students travelling on an immersion course to Russia. I was not invited back in 2019, after high-level private advice within ANU that I was regarded as too pro-Putin.

In all these ways – none overt or acknowledged – my voice as an open-minded writer and speaker on Russia-West relations seems to have been quietly but effectively suppressed in Australia. I would like to be proved wrong on this, but the evidence is there.

This may be about “velvet-glove deterrence” of my Russia-sympathetic voice and pen, in order to discourage others, especially those working in or close to government. Nobody is going to put me in jail, unless I am stupid enough to violate Australia’s now strict foreign influence laws. This deterrence is about generating fear of consequences for people still in their careers, paying their mortgages, putting kids through school. Nobody wants to miss their next promotion.

There are other indications that Australian national security elite opinion has been indoctrinated prudently to fear and avoid any kind of public discussion of positive engagement with Russia (or indeed, with China).

There are only two kinds of news about Russia now permitted in our mainstream media, including the ABC and SBS: negative news and comment, or silence. Unless a story can be given an anti-Russian sting, it will not be carried at all. Important stories are simply spiked, like last week’s Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivistok, chaired by President Putin and attended by Prime Ministers Abe, Mahathir and Modi, among 8500 participants from 65 countries.

The ABC idea of a balanced panel to discuss any Russian political topic was exemplified in an ABC Sunday Extra Roundtable panel chaired by Eleanor Hall on July, 22 2018, soon after the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki. The panel – a former ONA Russia analyst, a professor of Soviet and Russian History at Melbourne University, and a Russian émigré dissident journalist introduced as the ‘Washington correspondent for Echo of Moscow radio’ spent most of their time sneering at Putin and Trump. There were no other views. 

A powerful anti-Russian news narrative is now firmly in place in Australia, on every topic in contention: Ukraine, MH17, Crimea, Syria, the Skripals, Navalny and public protest in Russia. There is ill-informed criticism of Russia, or silence, on the crucial issues of arms control and Russia-China strategic and economic relations as they affect Australia’s national security or economy. There is no analysis of the negative impact on Australia of economic sanctions against Russia. There is almost no discussion of how improved relations with China and Russia might contribute to Australia’s national security and economic welfare, as American influence in the world and our region declines, and as American reliability as an ally comes more into question. Silence on inconvenient truths is an important part of the disinformation tool kit.

I see two overall conflicting narratives – the prevailing Anglo-American false narrative; and valiant efforts by small groups of dissenters, drawing on sources outside the Anglo-American official narrative, to present another narrative much closer to truth. And this is how most Russians now see it too.

The Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki in July 2018 was damaged by the Skripal and Syria fabrications. Trump left that summit friendless, frightened and humiliated. He soon surrendered to the power of the U.S. imperial state as then represented by [Mike] Pompeo and [John] Bolton, who had both been appointed as Secretary of State and National Security Adviser in April 2018 and who really got into their stride after the Helsinki Summit. Pompeo now smoothly dominates Trump’s foreign policy.

Self-Inflicted Wounds

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Gage Skidmore)

Finally, let me review the American political casualties over the past two years – self-inflicted wounds – arising from this secret information war against Russia. Let me list them without prejudging guilt or innocence. Slide 20 – Self-inflicted wounds: casualties of anti-Russian information warfare.

Trump’s first National Security Adviser, the highly decorated Michael Flynn lost his job after only three weeks, and soon went to jail. His successor H R McMaster lasted 13 months until replaced by John Bolton. Trump’s first Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lasted just 14 months until his replacement by Trump’s appointed CIA chief (in January 2017) Mike Pompeo. Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon lasted only seven months. Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is now in jail.

Defence Secretary James Mattis lasted nearly two years as Secretary of Defence, and was an invaluable source of strategic stability. He resigned in December 2018. The highly capable Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman lasted just two years: he is resigning next month. John Kelly lasted 18 months as White House Chief of Staff. Less senior figures like George Papadopoulos and Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen both served jail time. The pattern I see here is that people who may have been trying responsibly as senior U.S. officials to advance Trump’s initial wish to explore possibilities for detente with Russia – policies that he had advocated as a candidate – were progressively purged, one after another. The anti-Russian U.S. bipartisan imperial state is now firmly back in control. Trump is safely contained as far as Russia is concerned.

Russians do not believe that any serious detente or arms control negotiations can get under way while cold warriors like Pompeo continue effectively to control Trump.  There have been other casualties over the past two years of tightening American Russophobia. Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning come to mind. The naive Maria Butina is a pathetic victim of American judicial rigidity and deep state vindictiveness.

False anti-Russian Government narratives emanating from London and Washington may be laughed at in Moscow , but they are unquestioningly accepted in Canberra. We are the most gullible of audiences. There is no critical review. Important contrary factual information and analysis from and about Russia just does not reach Australian news reporting and commentary, nor – I fear – Australian intelligence assessment. We are prisoners of the false narratives fed to us by our senior Five Eyes partners U.S. and UK.

To conclude: Some people may find what I am saying today difficult to accept. I understand this. I now work off open-source information about Russia with which many people here are unfamiliar, because they prefer not to read the diverse online information sources that I choose to read. The seesaw has tilted for me: I have clearly moved a long way from mainstream Western perceptions on Russia-West relations.

Under Trump and Pompeo, as the Syria and Iran crises show, the present risk of global nuclear war by accident or incompetent Western decision-making is as high as it ever was in the Cold War. The West needs to learn again how to dialogue usefully and in mutually respectful ways with Russia and China. This expert knowledge is dying with our older and wiser former public servants and ex-military chiefs.

These remarks were delivered by Tony Kevin at the Independent Scholars Association of Australia in Canberra, Australia on Wednesday.

Watch Tony Kevin interviewed Friday night on CN Live!

Tony Kevin is a retired Australian diplomat who was posted to Moscow from 1969 to 1971, and was later Australia’s ambassador to Poland and Cambodia. His latest book is Return to Moscow, published by UWA Publishing.

63 comments for “The Devolution of US-Russia Relations

  1. Bruce
    September 17, 2019 at 08:58

    Excellent article. It’s very interesting to see how the state and its media lackey set the narrative.

    Most of this comment relates to the Skripals but also applies to other matters (the Skripals writing was some of Craig Murray’s finest work in my opinion). One of the hallmarks of a hoax is a constantly evolving storyline. I think governments have learned from past “mistakes” with their hoaxes/deception where they’ve given a description of events and then scientists/engineers/chemists etc have come in and criticised their version of events with details and scientific arguments. Nowadays, governments are very reluctant to commit to a version of events, and instead rely on the media (their propaganda assets) to provide a scattergun set of information to muddy the waters and thoroughly confuse the population. The government is then insulated from some of the more bizarre allegations (the headlines of which are absorbed nonetheless), and can blame it on the media (who would use an anonymous government source naturally). Together with classifying just about everything on national security grounds, they can stonewall for as long as they want.

    The British are masters of propaganda. They maintained a global empire for a very long time, and the prevailing view (in the west at least) was probably one of tea-drinking cricket playing colonials/gentlemen. But you don’t maintain an empire without being absolutely ruthless and brutal. They’ve been doing this for a very long time.

    When we hear something from the BBC or ABC, we should think “State Media”.
    That’s probably why its got a nice folksy nickname of “aunty”….build up the trust.

  2. September 17, 2019 at 04:00

    Society is suffering the extreme paradox; there is the potential for everyone to have a voice, but the last vestiges of free speech have been whittled away. Fake news is universal, assisted by the fake “left”. It is impossible to get published any challenge to even the most outlandish versions of identity politics. As the experience of Tony Kevin exemplifies, all avenues for dissent against hegemonic orthodoxies are closed off.
    Disinformation is now an essential weapon in waging hot and cold wars. Cold War historians are well informed on false flags, “black ops”, and other organised dirty tactics. I do not know what happened to the Skripals, and while it is legitimate to bear in mind KGB assassinations, despite the enormous resources at its disposal, the English security state has been unable to construct a credible case. Surely scepticism is provoked by the leading role being played by the notorious Bellingcat outfit.

  3. Zenobia van Dongen
    September 17, 2019 at 00:29

    Here is part of an eyewitness account:
    “After the Orange Revolution which began in Kiev, the country was divided literally into two parts — the supporters of integration with Russia and the supporters of an independent Ukraine. For almost 100 years belonging to the Soviet Union, the propaganda about the assistance and care from our “big brother” Russia, in Ukraine as a whole and the Donbass in particular has borne fruit. At the end of February 2014, some cities of the Southeast part were boiling with mass social and political protest against the new Ukrainian government in defense of the status of the Russian language, voicing separatist and pro-Russian slogans. The division took place in our city of Sloviansk too. Some people stood for separation from Ukraine, while Ukrainian patriots stood for the unity of our country.
    On April 12, 2014 our city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region was seized by Russian mercenaries and local volunteers. From that moment onward, armed assaults on state institutions began. The city police department, the Sloviansk City Hall, the building of the Ukraine Security Service was occupied. Armed militants seized state institutions and confiscated private property. They threatened and beat people, and those who refused to obey were taken away to an unknown destination and people started disappearing. The persecution and abduction of patriotic citizens began.”

  4. Michael McNulty
    September 16, 2019 at 11:36

    Watching Vietnam news coverage as a kid in the ’60s I noticed the planes carpet-bombing South East Asia were American, not Russian. And as I only watched the footage and never listened to the commentary (I was waiting for the kids programs that followed) the BS they came out with to explain it all never reached me. I saw with my own eyes what the US really was and is, and always believed growing up they were the belligerent side not Russia. Once the USSR fell it was clear there were no longer any constraints on US excesses.

  5. dean 1000
    September 15, 2019 at 18:17

    Doublethink, not to mention doublespeak, is so apt to describe what is happening. If Orwell was writing today it would have to be classified as non-fiction.

    Free speech is impossible unless every election district has a radio/TV station where candidates, constituents, and others can debate, discuss and speak to the issues without bending a knee to large campaign contributors or the controllers of corporate or government media. It may start with low-power pirate radio/TV broadcasts. No, the pirate speakers will not have to climb a cell tower to broadcast an opinion to the neighborhood or precinct.
    If genuine free speech is going to exist it will start as something unauthorized and unlawful. If it sticks to the facts it will quickly prove its value.

    Download a free pdf copy of ‘1984.’ https://www.planetebook.com/free-ebooks/1984.pdf

  6. Njegos
    September 15, 2019 at 03:39

    Excellent article. The only exhibit missing was reference to Bill Browder’s lies. Browder’s rubbish has been exposed by intrepid journalists and documentary makers such as Andrei Nekrasov, Sasha Krainer and Lucy Komisar but to read or listen to our media, you’d think BB was some sort of human rights hero. That’s because BB’s fairy tale fits nicely into the MSM’s hatred of Putin and Russia. Debunk Browder and a major pillar of anti-Russia prejudice collapses. Therefore, Browder will never face any serious questions by the MSM.

    • John A
      September 16, 2019 at 09:18

      judges of the European Court of Human Rights published a judgement a fortnight ago which utterly exploded the version of events promulgated by Western governments and media in the case of the late Mr Magnitskiy. Yet I can find no truthful report of the judgement in the mainstream media at all.
      https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/09/the-magnitskiy-myth-exploded/

      MSM propaganda by omission. Anything that doesn’t fit the government narrative gets zero publicity.

  7. Vaughan
    September 15, 2019 at 02:15

    Grow up Ken. Open your mind. You can do that by broadening your reading and your News gathering from Channel Nine and the ABC.
    There are quite a few Australians that have woken up to the propaganda that is being forcefed down our throats.
    James O’Neill writes some very good articles and is a keen truth teller. Caitlan Johnstone is another.

    If only Australia had such a leader as Russia’s Putin. Maybe then we could break off the shackles of US and British control. Maybe then we could plot our own foreign policy path that would profit Australia and her people. Putin is hated because he has been so successful in saving Russia from the jaws of Western Predatory Capitalists.

  8. Vaughan
    September 15, 2019 at 02:15

    Grow up Ken. Open your mind. You can do that by broadening your reading and your News gathering from Channel Nine and the ABC.
    There are quite a few Australians that have woken up to the propaganda that is being forcefed down our throats.
    James O’Neill writes some very good articles and is a keen truth teller. Caitlan Johnstone is another.

    If only Australia had such a leader as Russia’s Putin. Maybe then we could break off the shackles of US and British control. Maybe then we could plot our own foreign policy path that would profit Australia and her people. Putin is hated because he has been so successful in saving Russia from the jaws of Western Capitalists.

  9. Jim Ingram
    September 14, 2019 at 21:12

    Well said and needing to be said Tony.

  10. September 14, 2019 at 19:41

    I have stopped following australian mainstream media including the darlings of the ‘left’ ABC/SBS over a decade ago, completely. My disgust with their ‘coverage’ of the 2008 GFC was more than enough. Since 2008-9 things have deteriorated drastically into conspiracy theory propaganda by omission la-la land *it seems*, given I don’t tune in at all.

    The author has a well supported view. I find it a little naive in him thinking that the MSM has that much power over shaping public opinion in australia.

    People who want to be informed do so. The half intelligent conformists on hamster wheel of lifetime mortgage debt have ‘careers’ to hold onto, so parroting the group think or living in ignorance is much easier. The massive portion of australian racists, inbred bogans and idiots that make up the large LNP, One Nation etc. voting block are completely beyond salvation or ability to process, and critically evaluate any information. The smarter ones drool on about the ‘UN Agenda 21’ conspiracy at best. Utterly hopeless.

    I don’t expect things to change as the australian economy is slowly hollowed out by the rich, and the education system (that has always been about conforming, wearing school uniform and regurgitating what the teacher/lecturer says at best) is gutted completely. Welcome to australistan.

  11. Fran Macadam
    September 14, 2019 at 19:21

    Note that the prohibition against false propaganda to indoctrinate the domestic population by the American government was lifted by President Obama at the tail end of his administration. The Executive Order legalizes all the deceptive behavior Tony itemizes in his article.

    • Josep
      September 17, 2019 at 04:10

      I thought it was Reagan who did that by abolishing the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. At least in terms of television and radio (?) broadcasts.

  12. September 14, 2019 at 19:02

    Thank you Tony for your thoughtful talk (and interview on CN Live! too).

    What’s encouraging is this cohort of what might be called ‘millennial journalists’ coming through willing to do ‘shoe-leather’ journalism and stand up to smears and flack for revealing uncomfortable facts and truth. They’re the online 5th estate holding the 4th to account (to steal Ray McGovern’s apt view), and they’re congealing against the onslaught.

    Some include Max Blumenthal and Rania Kahlek (both now being pilloried by MSM and others for visiting Syrian government held areas and reporting that life isn’t hellish as MSM would have everyone believe heaven forbid); Vanessa Bealey who’s exposed a lot of White Helmet horrors and false-flag attacks in Syria (and being attacked by all and sundry for exposing the White Helmets in particular); Abby Martin whose Empire Files are excellent and always edifying; Dan Cohen who has written the best expose of the actors behind the Hong Kong rioting and co-authored the best expose of the background of Guaido et al.; Whitney Webb of Mint Press whose series on Epstein is overwhelming and likely a ticking timebomb; Caitlin Johnstone of course; and Aaron ‘Buzzsaw’ Mate who made his first mark with a wonderful takedown interview of Russiaphobe MI6 shill Luke Harding. Others too of course, with most appearing or having written pieces on CN. John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Greg Palast, et al. won’t drop off their twigs disappointed.

    This, along with the fact that MSM — that cowed and compromised fourth estate — increasingly is held in such laughable contempt by most people under about 50 yr, is highly encouraging indeed. Truth is the new black.

    • nwwoods
      September 15, 2019 at 11:49

      The Blogmire is an excellent resource for detailed analysis of the Skripal hoax. The author happens to be a long-time resident of Salisbury, and is intimately familiar with the topography, public services, etc., and a very thorough investigator.

  13. John Wright
    September 14, 2019 at 18:35

    I’m not surprised that Mr. Kevin is being isolated and shunned by the Australian establishment. Truth and truth tellers are always the first casualties of war. I do hope that his experience will encourage him to increase his resistance to the corrosiveness of mendacious propaganda and those who promulgate it.

    Truth is the single best weapon when fighting for a peaceful future.

    If Australia is to flourish in the 21st century, it really needs to understand Russia and China, how they relate to each other, and how this key alliance will interface with the rest of the world. Australia and Australians simply cannot afford to get sucked down further by facilitating the machinations of the collapsing Anglo-American Empire. They have served the empire ably and faithfully, but now need to take a cold hard look at reality and realign their long-term interests with the coming global power shift. If not, they could literally find themselves in the middle of an unwinnable and devastating war.

    * * *

    The first Anglo-American Russian cold war began with the Russian revolution and was only briefly suspended when the West needed the Soviet people to throw themselves in front of the Nazi blitzkrieg in order to save Western Europe. Following their catastrophically costly contribution to the victory on the Continent, the Russians were greeted with an American nuclear salute on their eastern periphery, signalling their return to the diplomatic and economic deep freeze.

    While the Anglo-American Empire solidified and extended its hold on the globe, the enlarged but war-ravaged and isolated Soviet Union hunkered down and survived on scraps and sheer will until its collapse in 1989. Declaring the cold war over, and with promises to help their new Russian friends build a prosperous future, the duplicitous West then ransacked their neighbors resources and sold them into debt peonage. The Russians cried foul, the West shrugged and Putin pushed back. Unable to declaw the bear, the west closed the cage door again and the second cold war commenced.

    * * *

    The first cold war was essentially an offensive war disguised as a defensive war. It enabled the Anglo-American Empire to leverage its post-war advantage and establish near total dominance around the globe through naked violence and monetary hegemony.

    Today, with its dominance rapidly slipping away, the Anglo-American Empire is waging a truly defensive cold war. On the home front, they fight to convince their subjects of their eternal exceptionalism with ever more absurd and vile propaganda denigrating their adversaries . Abroad, they disrupt and defraud in a desperate attempt to delay the demise of the PetroDollar ponzi.

    The Russians and the Chinese, having both been brutally burned by the Western elites, will not be fooled into abandoning their natural geographic partnership. They are no longer content to sit quietly at the kids’ table taking notes. While they may not demand to sit at the head of the table, it is clear that they will insist on a round table, and one that is large enough to include their growing list of friends.

    If the Americans don’t smash the table, it could be the first of many peaceful pot lucks.

    • John Read
      September 15, 2019 at 02:11

      Well said. Great comments. Thanks to Tony Kevin.

  14. Mia
    September 14, 2019 at 18:33

    Thank you Tony for continuing to shine light on the pathetic propaganda information bubble Australians have been immersed in .. you demonstrate great courage and you are not alone ??

  15. Richard Steele
    September 14, 2019 at 13:02

    Assertions made without evidence can be dismissed without consideration.

  16. Peter Loeb
    September 14, 2019 at 12:58

    WITH THANKS TO TONY KEVIN

    An excellent article.

    There is a lack of comments from some of the common writers upon whose views I often rely.

    Personally, I often avoid the very individual responses from websites as I have no way
    of checking out previous ideas of theirs. Who funds them? With which organizations are they
    affiliated? And so forth and so on.

    Peter Loeb, Boston, Massachusetts

  17. Peter Sapo
    September 14, 2019 at 10:24

    As a fellow Australian, everything Tony Kevin said makes perfect sense. Our mainstream media landscape is designed to distribute propaganda to folk accross the political spectrum. Have you noticed that the ABC regurgitates stories from the BBC? The BBC has a long history (at least since WW2) of supporting government propaganda initiatives. Based on this fact, it is hard to see how ABC and SBS don’t do the same when called upon by their minders.

  18. Francis Lee
    September 14, 2019 at 09:48

    I just wonder where the Anglo-Zionist empire thinks it is going. It should be obvious that any NATO war against Russia involving a nuclear exchange is unwinnable. It seems equally likely the even a conventional war will not necessarily bring the result expected by the assorted ‘experts’ – nincompoops living in their own fantasy world. The idea that the US can fight a war without the US homeland becoming very much involved basically ended when Putin announced the creation of Russia’s set of advanced hypersonic missile system. But this was apparently ignored by the ‘defence’ establishment. It was not true, it could not possibly be true, or so we were told.

    Moreover the cost of such wars involving hundreds of thousands of troops and military hardware are massively expensive and would occasion a massive resistance from the populations affected. It was the wests wars in Korea, and Indo-China that bankrupted the US and led to the US$ being removed from the gold standard. The American military is rapidly consuming the American economy, or at least what is left of it. From a realist foreign policy perspective this is simply madness. Great powers end wars, they don’t start them. Great powers are creditor nations, not debtor nations. Such is the realist foreign policy view. But foreign policy realists are few and far between in the Washington Beltway and MIC/NSA Pentagon and US/UK/AUSTRALIAN MSM.

    Thus the neo-hubris of the English speaking world is such that if it is followed to its logical conclusion then total annihilation would be the logical outcome. A sad example of not very bright people who face no domestic opposition, believing in their own bullshit:

    ”American elites proved themselves to be master manipulators of propaganda constructs … But the real danger from such manipulations arises not when those manipulations are done out of knowledge of reality, which is distorted for propaganda purposes, but when those who manipulation begin to sincerely believe in their own falsifications and when they buy into their own narrative. They stop being manipulators and they become believers in a narrative. They become manipulated themselves.” (Losing Military Supremacy – Andrei, Martyanov)

    Or maybe just the whole thing is a bluff. Those policy elites maybe just want to loot the US Treasury for more cash to be put their way.

    • John Wright
      September 15, 2019 at 19:15

      The self-serving Israeli Zionists know that the American cow is running dry and their days of freely milking it are coming to an end. They have an historic relationship with Russia and, leveraging their nuclear arsenal, know they can make a deal with the emerging China-Russia-centric global paradigm to extort enough protection to maintain their armed enclave for the foreseeable future. Their no so hidden alliance with the equally sociopathic Saudis will become even more obvious for all to see.

      Israel, like China and Russia, knows how to play a long game. Thus, Israel will consolidate its land grab with the just announced expansion into the Jordan Valley and quietly continue as much ethnic cleansing as possible while the rest of the world is preoccupied with the incipient global power shift (True victims of history, the Palestinians have no real friends). While they will bemoan the loss of their muscular American stooge, Israel enjoyed a very lucrative 70 year run and will part with a pile of useful and deadly toys. They’re also fully aware that no one else will ever let them take advantage to the degree they’ve been able to with the U.S.A. (Unlimited Stupidity of Arrogance?)

      Eventually, the social schizophrenia that is the state of Israel will catch up with them and they will implode. Let’s hope that breakdown doesn’t involve the use of their nuclear arsenal.

      Yes, the U.S. Treasury will continue to be looted until the last teller turns the lights out or the electricity is shut off, whichever comes first.

      The Western transnational financial elites will accept their losses, regroup and make deals with the new bosses where they can; but their days of running the game unopposed are over.

      Today is a good day to learn Mandarin (or Russian, if you prefer to live in Europe).

    • Bill
      September 16, 2019 at 03:36

      Very well said and I agree with a lot of what you say.

  19. Tiu
    September 14, 2019 at 06:01

    Won’t be too long before writing articles like this will get you busted for “hate-speech” (e.g. anything that is contrary to the official version prescribed by the “democratically elected” government)…
    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/uk-tony-blair-think-tank-proposes-end-free-speech
    Personally I always encourage people to read George Orwell, especially 1984. We’re there, and have been for a long time.

  20. geeyp
    September 14, 2019 at 01:15

    Tony Kevin – Nice rundown of what ails society. You have a fine writing style that gets the point across to the reader. Kudos and cheers.

  21. Michael
    September 13, 2019 at 22:34

    The ‘modernization’ of the Smith Mundt Act in 2013 “to authorize the domestic dissemination of information and material [PROPAGANDA] about the United States intended primarily for foreign audiences” was a major nail in the Democracy coffin, consolidating the blatant ruling of the US Police State by our 17 Intelligence Agencies (our betters). The Telecommunications Act of 1996 lead to ownership of (>80%) of our media (the MSM by a handful of owners, all disseminating the same narratives from above (CIA, State Department, FBI etc) and squelching any dissenting views, particularly related to foreign policies.
    Tony’s article sadly just confirms the depth and breadth of our Global Stasi, with improved, innovative and (mostly) subtle surveillance, and the controlling constant interference with alternate viewpoints and discussions, the real basis for free societies. It is bad enough to be ruled by neoliberal psychopathic hyenas and jackals, soon we won’t be able to even bitch about what they are doing.

  22. Tom Kath
    September 13, 2019 at 21:42

    The most impressive article I have read in a very long time. I congratulate and thank Tony.
    I have myself recently addressed the issue of whether it is a virtue to have an “open mind”. – The ability to be converted or have your mind changed, or is it the ability to change your own mind ?
    Tony Kevin clearly illustrates the difference.

  23. ML
    September 13, 2019 at 16:15

    Why, you’re the perfect propagandized mind, Ken; you bit it hook, line, and sinker. How does it taste? Keep reading independent journalism and perhaps you can shake the line and swim free…

  24. Litchfield
    September 13, 2019 at 16:11

    Great article.
    Please keep writing.
    Do start a website, a la Craig Murray.
    There are people who are proactively looking for alternative viewpoints and informed analysis.
    How about starting a website and publishing some excerpts of your book there?

    Or, sell chapters separately by download from your website?
    You could also have a discussion blog/forum there.

  25. John Zimmermann
    September 13, 2019 at 16:02

    Excellent essay. Thanks Mr. Kevin.

  26. rosemerry
    September 13, 2019 at 15:37

    At least Tony Kevin was an Australian ambassador, not like Mike Morrell and the chosen russop?obes the USA assumes are needed as diplomats!! Now he is treated as Stephen Cohen is- a true expert called “controversial” as he dares to go by real facts and evidence, not prejudice.

    If instead of enemies, the West could consider getting to understand those they are wary of, and give them a chance to explain their point of view and actually listen and reflect on it.
    (Dmitri Peskov valiantly explained the Russian official response as soon as the “Skripal poisoning” story broke, but it was fully ignored by UK/US media, while all of Theresa May’s fanciful imaginings were respectfully relayed to the public).

    • geeyp
      September 14, 2019 at 23:26

      As you usually are with your comments, you are spot on again, rosemerry.

  27. Martin - Swedish citizen
    September 13, 2019 at 14:46

    Excellent article!
    I find the mechanics of how the propaganda is spread and the illusion upheld the most important part of this article, since this knowledge is required to counter it.
    When (not if) the fraud becomes more common knowledge, our societies are likely to tumble.

  28. Pablo Diablo
    September 13, 2019 at 14:45

    Whoever controls the media, controls the dialogue.
    Whoever controls the dialogue, controls the agenda.

  29. September 13, 2019 at 13:40

    ‘…The present risk of global nuclear war…is as high as it ever was in the Cold War.’ And possibly higher. The Cold War, though dangerous, was the peace. The world has experienced periods of peace (or relative peace) throughout history. The Thirty Years Peace between the two Peloponnesian Wars, Pax Romana, Europe in the 19th century after the Congress of Vienna, to name a few. The Congress System finally collapsed in 1914 with the start of World War One. That conflict was followed by the League of Nations. It did not stop World War Two. That was followed by the United Nations and other post-war institutions. But all the indications are they will not prevent a third world war. The powers that are leading us towards conflagration see this as a re-run of the first Cold War. They are dangerously mistaken.
    https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

  30. Guy
    September 13, 2019 at 13:21

    With so many believing the lies ,how will this mess ever come to light . I don’t reside in Australia but anywhere in the Western world the shakedown is the same .In my own house ,the discussion on world politics descends into absolute stupidity . As one can’t get past the constant programming that has settled in the minds of the comfortable with the status quo of lies by our media. There are intelligent sources of news sources but none get past the absolutely complete control of MSM.So the bottom line is ,for now ,the lies and liars are winning the propaganda war.

  31. September 13, 2019 at 13:16

    He speaks the truth. Liars and dissemblers have won over the minds and hearts of so many lazy shameful citizens who will not accept the truth Tony Kevin wants to share with the world.

  32. September 13, 2019 at 13:08

    Washington resumes military assistance to Kyiv. According to American lawmakers, Ukraine is fighting one of the main enemies. “Contain Russia”: what the US pays for Ukraine

    “Contain Russia”: what the US pays for Ukraine

    • Lily
      September 13, 2019 at 23:42

      The Pentagon is using the Ukrainian territory for experiments on chemical weapons.

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3T9ktfz_FfA

    • John A
      September 14, 2019 at 06:55

      Anyone or article who spells Kiev as Kyiv can be safely ignored as western anti-Russia propaganda. It’s a true tell.

  33. Robert Edwards
    September 13, 2019 at 12:53

    The Cold war is totally manufacture to keep the dollars flowing into the MIC – what a sham…. and a disgrace to humanity.

  34. Cavaleiro Marginal
    September 13, 2019 at 12:52

    “The key tools are repetition of messages, and diversification of trusted voices. Once a critical mass is created of people believing a false narrative, the lie locks in: its dissemination becomes self-sustaining.”

    This had occurred in Brazil since the very first day of Lula’s presidency. Eleven years late, 2013, a color revolution began. Nobody (and I mean REALLY nobody) could realize a color revolution was happening at that time. In 2016, Dilma Rousseff was kicked from power throughout a ridiculous and illegal coup perpetrated by the parliament. In 2018 Lula was imprisoned in an Orwellian process; illegal, unconstitutional, with nothing (REALLY nothing) proved against him. Then a liar clown was elected to suppress democracy…

    I knew on the news that in Canada and Australia the police politely (how civilized…) went to some journalist’s homes to have a chat this year. Canadians and Aussies, be aware. The fascism’s dog is a policial state very well informed by the propaganda they call news.

  35. Robert Fearn
    September 13, 2019 at 12:48

    As a Canadian author who wrote a book about various tragic American government actions, like Vietnam, I can relate to the difficulties Tony has had with his book. I would mail my book, Amoral America, from Canada to other countries, like the US, and it would never arrive. Book stores would not handle it, etc. etc.

    • Josep
      September 17, 2019 at 05:21

      Not to disagree, but some years ago I read about anecdotes of anti-Americanism in Canada, coming from both USians and Canadians, whether it be playful banter or legitimate criticism. I believe it is more concentrated among the people than among the governmental elites (with the exception of the Iraq War era when both the people and the government were against it). And considering what you describe in your book and the difficulty you’ve faced in distributing it abroad, maybe the said people are on to something.

  36. TH
    September 13, 2019 at 12:35

    Oh Jeez. Give it a rest, mate.

  37. Stephen
    September 13, 2019 at 11:44

    This interview by Abby Martin with Mark Ames is a little dated but is a fairly accurate history. I post it to try and counter the nonsense.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7HwvFyMg7A

    All the empire wants is to do it all again.

  38. Skip Scott
    September 13, 2019 at 11:17

    Please define this “liberalism” that Russia is in an information war against.

  39. Jeremy Kuzmarov
    September 13, 2019 at 10:33

    Outstanding article and analysis. Thank you Sir! Jeremy Kuzmarov

  40. Jeff Harrison
    September 13, 2019 at 10:17

    Thank you, sir. A far better peroration than I could have produced but what I have concluded nonetheless.

  41. Skip Scott
    September 13, 2019 at 10:10

    Fantastic article. Left unmentioned is the origin of the west’s anti-Russia narrative. Russia was being pillaged by the west under Yeltsin, and Russia was to become our newest vassal. Life expectancy dropped a full decade for the average Russian under Yeltsin. The average standard of living dropped dramatically as well. Putin reversed all that, and enjoys massive popular support as a result. The Empire will never tolerate a national leader who works for the benefit of the average citizen. It must be full-on rape, pillage and plunder- OR ELSE. Keep that in mind as we watch the latest theatrical performances by our DNC controlled “Commander in Chief” wannabes.

    • Nescio
      September 14, 2019 at 05:21

      When Putin was campaigning in 1999, he promised to:

      1) Get the economy going.
      2) Modernize the armed forces.
      3) Protect the rights of Russian minorities in ex Soviet states…

      He has done all of the above. So, could Putin be the only honest politician in the world?
      I am from the Netherlands and we have no leaders here, and they kill anyone that goes against the grain, either with bullets or with propaganda/disinfo… The Netherlands are (historically) at the heart of the empire that rules us right now.

    • Realist
      September 17, 2019 at 05:48

      ?The ongoing success of the “Great Lie” (that Washington is protecting the entire world from
      anarchy perpetrated by a few bad actors on the global stage) and all of its false narrative subtexts
      (including but far from limited to the Maidan, Crimea, Donbass, MH-17, the Skripals, gassing
      “one’s own people,” piracy on the high Mediterranean, etc) just underscores how successful was
      the false flag operation known as 9-11, even as the truth of that travesty is slowly being
      unraveled by relentless truth-seekers applying logic and the scientific method to the problem.
      Most Americans today would gladly concur, if queried, that Osama bin Laden was most certainly
      a perfidious tool of Russia and its diabolical leader, Mr. Putin (be sure to call him “Vlad,” to
      conjure up images of Dracula for effect). The Winston Smith’s are rare birds in America or in
      any of its reliable vassal states. Never mind that the spooks from Langley (and the late
      “chessmaster”) concocted and orchestrated all these tales from the crypt.

  42. Lily
    September 13, 2019 at 07:54

    Great summary of the developement of a new cold war. The narrative of the Mainstream Media is dangerous as well as laughable. I am glad to hear the Russian reaction to this bullshit propaganda. As often the people are so much wiser than their government – at least in the West.

    During the Football WM a famous broadcaster of the German State TV channel ARD, who is a giftet propagandist, regrettet publicly the difficulty to convince the stubborn Germans to look at Russia as an enemy because they have started to look at Russia as a friend long ago.

    Contrary to the people and the big firms who are completely against the sanctions against Russia and 100 % pro Northstream the German government with Chancelor Merkel is one of the top US vassalles. Even the Green Party which started as an environmental and peace party are now against North Stream and in favour of the filthy US fracking gas thanks to NATO propaganda although Russia has never let them down. Most of “Die Grünen” party have been turned into fervent friends of our American occupants which is very sad.

    Thank you Tony Kevin. It has been great to read your article. I cant wait to read your book ‘Return to Moscow’ and to watch your interview on CN Live.

  43. Godfree Roberts
    September 13, 2019 at 07:37

    Good summary of the status quo. From my experience of writing similarly about China, precisely the same policies and forces are at work.

    The good news is that they are failing.

  44. September 13, 2019 at 07:15

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the end of the war in Syria and the country’s return to a state of peace. “Syria is returning to normal life”: Lavrov announced the end of the war

    “Syria is returning to normal life”: Lavrov announced the end of the war

  45. September 13, 2019 at 05:47

    You hit several nails squarely on the head with your excellent article Tony. Thank you for the truth of how the media is in Australia. It is indeed chilling where all this is leading. The blatant lies just spewed out as fact by both ABC and SBS. They, in my opinion are nothing but stenographers for the Empire, of which Australia is a fully subservient vassal state, with no independence.
    I try to boycott all Australian presstitutes…. Oops, I mean ‘media’ now. Occasionally, I do slip up and watch SBS or The Drum or News on ABC.
    Virtually all my news comes from independent news sites like this one.
    I have been accused of being a ‘Putin lover’, a Russian troll, a conspiracy theorist, while people I know have claimed that “Putin is a monster whose murdered millions of people”.
    On and on this crap goes. And the end result? Ask Stephen Cohen. Things are very surreal now. Sadly, you’ve been made an Unperson Tony.

  46. Ian
    September 13, 2019 at 05:20

    Do tell…

    You’d almost think that Russia was the country attempting to convict Julian Assange, and Australian national publishing in a third country, with a 170 year sentence for constitutionally protected activities. Maybe it was Russia that kidnapped Huawei’s CFO in a third country for violating their unilateral sanctions, or committing piracy against Iranian ships. Maybe Russia are the ones spying on all electronic communications in the world, censoring the social media, killing faceless innocent people with drones, drowning out information with jingoism and propaganda, choking other countries civilian populations with economic war, holding people in prison forever without trial, and supporting far right and terrorist regime change campaigns around the world. THAT would certainly be a war on liberalism…

    • Realist
      September 14, 2019 at 00:33

      Perhaps he does believe all that. Whatever they have put in the water has been extraordinarily effective at superseding the truth and verifiable facts with their lies and false narratives. Maybe they have perfected the art of mass hypnosis via those ubiquitous “smart” phones they have foisted onto 99% of society’s herd animals.

  47. Robyn
    September 13, 2019 at 04:08

    Bravo, Tony, great article. I enjoyed your book and recommend it to CN readers who haven’t yet read it.

    The world looks entirely different when one stops reading/watching the MSM and turns to CN, Caitlin Johnstone and many others who are doing a sterling job.

  48. Cascadian
    September 13, 2019 at 03:52

    I don’t know which is worse, to not know what you are (reliably uninformed) and be happy, or to become what you’ve always wanted to be (reliably informed) and feel alone.

    • Realist
      September 14, 2019 at 00:19

      Knowing the truth has always seemed paramount to me, even if it means realising that the entire world and all in it are damned, and deliberately by our own actions. Hope is always the last part of our essence to die, or so they say: maybe we will somehow be redeemed through our own self-immolation as a species.

  49. Deb
    September 13, 2019 at 02:54

    As an Australian I have no difficulty accepting what Tony Kevin has said here. He should do what Craig Murray has done start a website.

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