DIANA JOHNSTONE: Germans Down & Russians Out

On the purpose of NATO: “To keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down”saying attributed to Lord Hastings Ismay, the secretary general of NATO 1952-1957.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Berlin, December 2022. (NATO)

Anti-War Views Criminalized in Germany

By Diana Johnstone
in Paris
Special to Consortium News

Divide and rule is the eternal law of Empire. 

Above all, don’t let other big guys get together. Keep them at each other’s throats.  Half a century ago, stuck in the unwinnable Vietnam war, President Richard M. Nixon heeded Henry Kissinger’s advice to open relations with Beijing in order to deepen the split between the Soviet Union and China.

But which big guys, and when? Priorities have evidently shifted. Eight years ago, America’s most influential, private geostrategic analyst, George Friedman, defined the current dominant U.S. divide et impera priority, at work in Ukraine.

“The primordial interest of the United States is the relationship between Germany and Russia, because united, they’re the only force that could threaten us,” Friedman explained. 

Russia’s main interest has always been to have a neutral buffer zone in Eastern Europe. But the U.S. purpose is to build a hostile cordon sanitaire from the Baltic to the Black Sea, as a definitive barrier separating Russia from Germany.

“Russia knows it. Russia believes the United States intends to break the Russian Federation,” said Friedman, jokingly adding that he thought the intention was not to kill Russia but only to make it suffer.

Speaking to an elite group in Chicago on April 13, 2015, Friedman noted that the U.S. Army commander in Europe, General Ben Hodges, had just visited Ukraine, decorating Ukrainian soldiers and promising them trainers.  He was doing this outside NATO, said Friedman, because NATO membership required 100 percent approval and Ukraine risked being vetoed, so the U.S. was going ahead on its own. 

What the U.S. has long dreaded, said Friedman, is the combination of German capital and technology with Russian resources and labor.  The Nord Stream pipeline was leading in that direction, toward mutual trade and security arrangements that would no long require either the dollar or NATO. 

“For Russia,” said Friedman, “the status of Ukraine is an existential threat. And the Russians cannot afford to let it go.”  For the United States, however, it is a means to an end: separating Russia from Germany.

Friedman concluded that the big question was, how will the Germans react?

So far, German leaders have been reacting like the loyal managers of a country under U.S. occupation – which it is.

The German Peace Movement Threat

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock during a virtual press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, D.C., Jan. 5, 2022. (State Department/Ron Przysucha)

Any sign of sympathy with Russia has been so demonized, repressed, even criminalized since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24, 2022, that most German protests initially avoided taking any position on the war and focused on the economic hardships caused by sanctions. 

But on Jan. 25 of this year, Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave in to U.S. pressure to send German Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, about the same time that German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, of the Green Party, casually told an international meeting that “we are fighting a war against Russia.”  

This jolted people into action.

Spontaneous demonstrations broke out in large and small cities all over Germany with slogans such as “Ami (Americans) Go Home!”, “Greens to the Front!”, “Make Peace Without German Weapons.” Speakers condemned the tank deliveries for “crossing a red line,” accused the United States of forcing Germany into war with Russia, and called for Baerbock’s resignation.

The wave of demonstrations peaked one month later on Feb. 25 when up to 50,000 people rallied to the “Uprising for Peace” (Aufstand für Frieden) in Berlin, called on the initiative of two women, left politician Sahra Wagenknecht and veteran feminist writer and editor Alice Schwartzer.

Over half a million people signed their “Manifesto for Peace” calling on Chancellor Scholz to “stop the escalation of arms deliveries” and work for a ceasefire and negotiations.  Organizers called for reconstruction of a massive German peace movement, on the model of the anti-nuclear missile movement of the 1980s that led up to Russian acceptance of German reunification.

However, building a peace movement in Germany today faces many obstacles. Under U.S. military occupation since the end of World War II, German institutions and media are permeated with American influence, as is the legal order. Paradoxically, the trans-Atlantic American grip seems only to have tightened since German reunification.

Monitoring ‘Extremes’

Germany monitors political “extremism” through a domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, BfV (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz). Although strictly speaking Germany does not have a constitution, it has a strong Constitutional Court designed specifically to prevent any reversion to Nazi power practices.

Instead of a constitution, a transitional Basic Law approved by the Western occupying powers (the U.S., Britain and France) in 1949 enabled the Federal Republic to assume the government of West Germany. Upon reunification, the Basic Law was extended to all of Germany.

In the spirit of liberal “antitotalitarianism,” the BfV monitors both “left-wing extremism” and “right-wing extremism” as potential threats. “Islamic extremism” has more recently come under supervision. The underlying political implication is that “right-wing extremism” designates Nazi tendencies, while “left-wing extremism” leans toward Soviet-style communism. 

This 20th century political topography implicitly establishes “the center” as an innocent middle-ground where citizens can feel at ease.  Even the most radical militarism is not “extreme” in this scheme of things.

Article 5 of the Basic Law grants individuals the right to express opinions, but there are numerous limitations in the Criminal Code, with punishment for “inciting hatred,” racism, anti-Semitism and prison terms for Holocaust denial.  Also prohibited are propaganda or symbols of “unconstitutional” organizations, disparagement of the State and its symbols, blasphemy against established religions and especially failure to respect “human dignity.”

Of course, what matters in all these laws is how they are interpreted.  The ban on “rewarding and approving crimes” (Section 140), that was originally intended to apply to convictions for violent civil crimes, has now been extended to the geopolitical sphere, namely, outlawing “approval or support” of what it terms “aggressive war.” 

Antiwar activist Heinrich Bücker’s speech in Berlin last June 22 calling for good relations with Russia on the anniversary of the 1941 Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union was condemned by a Berlin court for “approving Russia’s crime of invasion.” In practice, any effort to clarify the Russian position by referring to NATO expansion and Kiev regime attacks on Donbass since 2014 can be interpreted as such “approval or support.”

Needless to say, Germans were never threatened with criminal prosecution for approving the U.S. invasions of Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan, much less the totally aggressive and illegal 1999 bombing of Serbia, in which they enthusiastically took part.  Widely celebrated as a laudable act of humanitarianism, that bombing campaign, killing civilians and destroying infrastructure, forced Serbia to allow NATO to occupy its province of Kosovo, where the Americans built themselves a huge military base. Ethnic Albanian rebels declared independence and thousands of non-Albanians were driven out.  

German Police Enforce Centrist Conformity

As demonstrators gathered for the “Uprising for Peace” demonstration in Berlin, an organizer appeared on the speakers’ platform to read out a long list of things banned by police.  The list included numerous symbols or signs related to the Soviet Union, Russia, Belarus or Donbass; Russian military songs; “endorsement of the war of aggression currently being waged by Russia against Ukraine,” etc.

The day before, Berlin police had delivered to the organizers a detailed explanation justifying these prohibitions, specifying that “public safety was in imminent danger.” Police said that according to their information, “the participants of your meeting will mainly consist of people with an old-left, pro-Russian basic attitude, who are against the arms deliveries of the German government to Ukraine, the geopolitics of the ‘West/the USA’ and against NATO in general.”

The police had reason to believe that the Feb. 25 meeting would attract “very heterogeneous” participants “with their own views (state delegitimizers, conspiracy believers, supporters of the Putin regime, etc.)” and therefore, precautions must be taken.

The Cross-Front Threat

Weimar-era Communist Party of Germany, or KPD, leader Ernst Thälmann, in center front, with raised clenched fist, and members of the Alliance of Red Front-Fighters or RFB, marching through Berlin, 1927. (Bundesarchiv, CC-BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Police referred to a comparable meeting a month earlier, on Jan. 27, whose organizers were accused by leftwing and antifascist groups of having “tolerated cross-thinkers (Querdenker) and people of the right scene at their meeting.” A cross-thinker is one who crosses the enemy front lines between left and right, an offense called “cross-front,” also referred to as “red-brown”. 

What is remarkable is that in Germany, the establishment, the media, the BfV and notably the police have taken up the term “cross-front” (Querfront) with the same opprobrium as the Antifa movement where it is used ostensibly to enforce the ideological purity of the left. Initially it meant a rightwing appropriation of leftwing themes intended to seduce and mislead leftists into fascist combinations. The historical basis of the term lies in unsuccessful coalition attempts of rightwingers in the late Weimar Republic in a context of intense rivalry between strong Nazi and Communist movements vying for working class support, totally unlike the political atmosphere of today. 

In the absence of either a strong Nazi or Communist movement, the term is currently used to denounce any cooperation, or even contact, between leftists and movements or individuals described as “extreme right.”  This label is frequently based on not much more than opposition to unlimited immigration, denounced as racism.

By this standard, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) opposition party (with 78 out of 736 seats in the current Bundestag) is “extreme right.” Since most Bundestag members critical of arming Ukraine come either from Die Linke (Left) party or the AfD, the anti-crossfront vigilance condemns in advance a broad, open antiwar opposition.

Subjective Evaluations by Police

German riot police during 2017 protests in Hamburg against the G20 meeting. (t–h–s -, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

According to the Feb. 24 Berlin police warning, “The approval of the war of aggression against international law, which the Russian Federation is currently waging against Ukraine, is punishable under Section 140 …”  Such approval can be expressed not only by words but by a number of signs and symbols.  In particular, the display of the letter “Z” (supposedly standing for the Russian expression za pobyedu – for victory) would constitute a criminal offense.

Even more far-fetched, the flag of the defunct U.S.S.R. is also criminalized, because, according to police: “the U.S.S.R. flag symbolizes a Russia within the borders of the former Soviet Union.” This, according to Berlin police, “is seen by experts as the actual desired goal of Russian President Vladimir Putin” and explains his attack on Ukraine. 

“The present restrictions are expressly not directed against the content of expressions of opinion, which may not be prevented within the framework of Article 5 of the Basic Law, but are intended, from a contextual point of view, to prevent your assembly, in the manner in which it is conducted, from being suitable or intended for conveying a readiness to use violence and thereby having an intimidating effect, or from violating the moral sensibilities of citizens and fundamental social or ethical views in a significant manner.”  

A Cautious Demonstration

The “Uprising for Peace” in the end provided no opportunities for police interventions or arrests.  Like the “Manifesto for Peace,” the German speeches largely avoided references to U.S. and NATO provocations leading to the war.

Only Jeffrey Sachs, whose opening speech in English was broadcast to the crowd on a screen, dared speak of the background to the Russian invasion: the 2014 Kiev coup, the U.S. arming of Ukraine, the U.S. opposition to peace negotiations, the likelihood that the U.S. was responsible for blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines and other facts susceptible of offending certain sensibilities.  But there was no chance that Berlin police would arrest Sachs, who was not in Germany.

The other speakers largely ignored the origins of the war, concentrating instead on fears of where it might lead: constant escalation of arms deliveries, even nuclear war. The huge crowd was bundled up against the icy cold and light snow.  Flags mostly portrayed peace doves and slogans called for diplomacy, for peace negotiations instead of arms deliveries, for avoidance of nuclear war.  Neo-Nazis and extreme rightists were declared unwelcome and must have come in disguise as they were scarcely visible.  The whole event could hardly have been more well-behaved and respectable.

Attacking Wagenknecht

Despite all this niceness, the demonstration and its organizers were fiercely attacked by politicians and media.  Sahra Wagenknecht is a popular figure, being pushed out of her dwindling Left Party (Die Linke) by leaders who tend to follow the increasingly bellicose Greens in the hope of being included in leftwing coalition governments. 

Wagenknecht, married to Oskar Lafontaine, who as a leading Social Democrat was prominent in the antimissile movement of the 1980s, is rumored to be preparing to found a party of her own. This would fill a yawning gap in the current German political scene: an antiwar party firmly on the left. She must therefore be seen as the main political threat to the reigning coalition.

Thus Wagenknecht has been vehemently attacked for the fact that her antiwar speeches have been applauded in parliament by members of the AfD. And despite having repeatedly condemned the Russian invasion for breaking international law, other things she has said have been described as “close to the narrative” of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Despite her caution, she is blamed for “understanding” the Russian viewpoint, which is unacceptable.

In a major hit piece,  journalist Markus Decker called Wagenknecht the most influential enemy of democracy in Germany. Wagenknecht, he wrote, “is the personified embodiment of what intelligence officers have been warning about for years: the blurring of the boundaries between the political fringes and the extremes.” 

[Translation of Sahra Wagenknecht’s tweet: “Rally at the BRB gate was a huge success & biggest #peace rally in years. Attempts to belittle or defame them will not work. Thanks to everyone who came! My speech at the rally:”]

In other words, she should be monitored by the BfV as a sponsor of the dreaded cross-front. “Wagenknecht, who has been systematically blurring the lines between dictatorship and democracy since the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine, is not about peace. It’s about destroying democracy. Wagenknecht is probably its most influential enemy in Germany,” Decker wrote.

In the past few years, as hostility toward Russia has been building in the West, the Antifa exclusionary dogma has strengthened within the left. The result is that the left is less interested in winning over conservatives than in excluding them.  This is a sort of essentialist identity politics: anyone “on the right” must be inherently an irreconcilable enemy. 

There is no thought that perhaps some people may vote for the Alternative for Germany because they feel let down by other parties, for instance by the Left Party.   This could be especially true in East Germany, where both parties have roots.

Freedom of Opinion Under Threat

On March 15, a group of leftist artists and intellectuals released a petition calling for the defense of free expression. It reads:

 “Germany is in a deep crisis. … Disinformation and manipulation of the population largely determine the current media culture. Anyone who does not share the prescribed official opinion on the Ukraine war, criticizes it and makes this known publicly, is defamed, threatened and sanctioned or ostracized. … In such an atmosphere, open debates, the exchange and presentation of differing views in the media, science, art, culture and other areas are hardly possible anymore. A truly free formation of opinion by weighing different arguments is impossible. Bias and ignorance, but also intimidation, fear, self-censorship and hypocrisy are the consequences. This is incompatible with human dignity and personal freedom.”

Last month, Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) introduced a new law making it possible to dismiss “enemies of the constitution” from the civil service by a simple administrative act.  “We will not allow our democratic constitutional state to be sabotaged from within by extremists,” Faeser said.  But in the view of the German Civil Servants’ Association, the bill “sends a message of mistrust to both employees and citizens.” 

A war atmosphere is supposed to unite a nation. But imposed artificially, it exposes and creates deep divisions.

Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her latest book is Circle in the Darkness: Memoirs of a World Watcher (Clarity Press). The memoirs of Diana Johnstone’s father Paul H. Johnstone, From MAD to Madness, was published by Clarity Press, with her commentary. She can be reached at [email protected] .

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

33 comments for “DIANA JOHNSTONE: Germans Down & Russians Out

  1. peter mcloughlin
    March 23, 2023 at 08:15

    “Divide and rule is the eternal law of Empire.”
    What every empire forgets is that principles also comes to apply to them eventually.

    • evelync
      March 23, 2023 at 13:20

      hah hah – and I think those chickens/principles are coming home to roost, peter mcloughlin!
      I’m not happy about having our country run by paranoid, egoists who think they can run the world (when they can’t run this country properly)
      They’ve accomplished manufacturing enemies out of the other super powers and uniting them in friendship, cooperation, successful business arrangements and so on:

      Interesting that these leaders don’t point fingers at each other or bully people. They seem to treat each other with great respect, a sentiment that our leaders lack and replace with hubris and arrogance.

  2. Litchfield
    March 22, 2023 at 22:08

    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you to Diane Johnstone and CN for this brilliant exposition of the current political and free-speech crisis in Germany. The rationales behind the repression seem more insidious than either the Nazi or Soviet repression within their respective countries—-because of the conviction on the part of the repressive narrative nannies that they are correcting a historical mistake.

    I appreciate the links to the demo and to Wagenknecht’s speech.

    The repressive narrative nannies seem to be so wholly entrapped in their obsession with the past that they are completely blind to the present, to the dystopia they are bringing into existence in Germany, to their own crimes against their fellow citizens and even in a sense, to their own actual creation of deep distortions of truth and reality that are most reminiscent of the parallel thought universe constructed by the Third Reich.

  3. Caliman
    March 22, 2023 at 20:02

    Ve vill not tolerate tolerance of different viewpoints … such vill be rooted out.

  4. Senusret
    March 22, 2023 at 16:38

    One of the most important articles of the year and, of course, it was Ms. Johnstone who wrote it.

    The idea that the small part of the left that supports negotiations and peace can’t associate with those on the right that think similarly is an idea enforced by servants of the Empire. I heard someone from Answer saying that those on the left must be “principled” and not include voices from the right who also want peace. That is just a recipe for failure–BY DESIGN! When Antifa (the neo-liberal enforcement police who call themselves “anarchists” and “communists”) infects the entire left with its idiotic prohibition against “red-brown” alliances then you know that most of the left is just stupid and evil. Shake the hand of the MAGA-supporter who wants an end to the US arms shipments to Ukraine. MAGA is more peace-loving than the left!

    BTW, depleted uranium is only used on countries that can’t defend themselves. If a British Challenger tank fires a DU round at a Russian tank they will be in for a huge surprise. The Russians have allowed some red lines to be crossed by NATO but this is probably one too far. Liberals will be shocked and apoplectic when a Russian hunter-killer submarine sinks a British ship carrying weapons for its NATO-proxies and, not knowing the history of what has been going on, they will scream about what an outrageous provocation the Russians are guilty of.

    Liberals should be on their knees in thanks that the moderate Putin is president of Russia. If Medvedev or Ramzan Kadyrov were president, they would be living in absolute terror for their crimes of willful stupidity and warmongering.

  5. Fitzroy Herbert
    March 22, 2023 at 12:24

    George Freidman also used to brag publicly that shortly after the 2008 financial crash he visited Germany. During a meeting he was approached by a very senior German banker, who complained bitterly that the US banks had essentially committed fraud selling all those dodgy Consolidated Debt Orders. Freidman replied; “Hey, sucker. You bought them!’
    That apparently, wasn’t a joke. It just explained the principles upon which US business is founded…

    • Fitzroy Herbert
      March 22, 2023 at 13:24

      Oh, and lest we forget. Friedman wrote a book called The Next 100 Years… Albeit with his fully justified caveats over the length of time he was purporting to cover, considering Friedman is considered a brilliant geo-strategist, it’s amazing just how totally wrong he has proven to be, even during the 13 years since he wrote it…But his career has been a shining example of how much prestige you can accumulate by telling people exactly what they want to hear.. However power-crazed and deluded they might be…One should also check the things Stratfors’ deputy CEO said about Julian Assange and what he would like to see happen.. These guys are ghouls…

  6. Anton P
    March 22, 2023 at 10:19

    The more United States delay their recognizing that multipolar world is a reality, the more they will be in disadvantage when it reaches the time of forced acceptance. They are losing a unique opportunity to insert themselves in an advantageous point of view, but their greed doesn’t allow this kind of pragmatism. Actually, they are risking survival or becoming a third-world country very soon, only by their fault.

  7. Packard
    March 22, 2023 at 09:52

    Well, give him this much. Candidate Joe Biden did promise to bring people together.

    Who knew the people he was talking about were Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s President Xi? Throw in revolutionary Iran and maybe even Germany should a plurality of Germans ever get wise to what we did to their Nord Stream pipeline, and the Biden Administration will have pulled off an international hat trick in united half of the world.

    Ukrainian war, what is it good for? A great deal more, it would seem, than most Americans currently realize.

    • Susan Siens
      March 22, 2023 at 15:50

      I’ve read this comment previously and I enjoy reading it a second time!

  8. March 22, 2023 at 02:22

    Wonderful piece which brought back memories. In 1990after the Berlin Wall had come I happened to be in Hamburg on my way to Berlin from Helsinki. There, I met a German couple who were leaders in the German left movement. I was interested in their views on the future of NATO given the collapse of the Warsaw Pact at the moment when given the mood in Europe that dissolving NATO seemed to be such an obvious consequence.
    But no, the friends did not support dissolving NATO; it was needed, according to their logic to contain “instability.” Over the next few years position papers by both the Finnish and Swedish foreign ministries appeared giving indications of NATO’s changing role and that it was being reorientated and given a new lease on life. That the instability would target the then crippled USSR and then Russia was clear in my mind.
    Finally, wonderful piece by Diana Johnston’s who picks up the thread 33 years later

  9. Kiwiantz62
    March 22, 2023 at 00:28

    America reminds me of the character Biff from the Back to the Future Movies? Biff was a sadistic, psychotic, evil, depraved Bully but he got smacked in the mouth & knocked unconscious to the ground by George McFly when he was about to rape & pillage Lorraine in her Car at that Enchantment under the Sea Dance! Biff was laughing like a demented hyena, safe in the knowledge that no one would stand up & confront him, let alone fight him? When confronted by George & told to beat it & walk away, George got angry & infuriated & took Biff out with a savage, single haymaker punch that knocked Biff’s lights out! Well George is Russia, Lorraine is Germany & Biff is the evil US Empire! Germany will never be a free & Sovereign Nation until the sadistic bully called America is knocked out & taken out by Russia with backup from China! The Global Bully called America, that most of the World outside of the West despises, abhors & hates, is rooting for Russia & China to to stick it to the Yanks because they are sick to death of the US Empires economic terrorism via sanctions, bullying, murderous Warmongering & chaos & insidious coercion & the sooner this Biff like Bully gets taken down, the better place this World will be!

    • Marie-Christine
      March 23, 2023 at 00:49

      What a brilliant and creative comment! Couldn’t agree more.

  10. Sean I. Ahern
    March 21, 2023 at 23:08

    Thank you Diana Johnstone and Consortium News! Can I buy a t-shirt emblazoned with a large red Z! Banned in Germany, Banned in Ukraine and in Greece in many years ago.

  11. Ellen Mass
    March 21, 2023 at 21:05

    Now that Xi has publicly offered to the world via Russia a “cease fire”, where are the peace movements’ responses of support?
    Perhaps Germany, Greece, British, Belarus or France peace activists etc. etc. might support this war solution by the capable super powers that can make a difference.

  12. SH
    March 21, 2023 at 18:45

    Germany is taking cues from the US and carrying it to further extremes …

  13. Valerie
    March 21, 2023 at 17:59

    “Above all, don’t let other big guys get together. Keep them at each other’s throats.”

    Ms. Johnstone is absolutely right with this statement. A very good Iraqi friend told me over 40 years ago, that if the Arab nations were not at loggerheads with each other, they could easily expel the Israelis.

    As far as the German scenario goes: as i posted a while ago on another article; after meeting with German tourists here in southern europe, it became apparent from our conversation, that anyone in Germany protesting against war was labelled “Nazi” and instigator. The young German was quite indignant about it, as he pointed to himself and asked the question “i am a nazi?” He also said reporting of protests was greatly reduced in the number of protesters.

    OMGodzilla. We are so defamed and so reduced by tptb.

  14. Herman
    March 21, 2023 at 17:16

    Free speech must be restored as the linchpin of a functioning society. Without it we are at the mercy of tyrants. and the tool of tyrants. The media has betrayed us. It is groupthink in spades. George Orwell saw it as he covered the Spanish civil war, watching dispatches from the front being twisted to suit the powerful. Orwell saw not only the power of propaganda but the willingness of the masses(us) to fall for it. Beyond the power to muffle criticism, to dismiss or excoriate those who protest too effectively.

  15. Greg Grant
    March 21, 2023 at 16:50

    I love Diana Johnstone, have since the 90’s. And Consortium News is now the only news outlet that I can stand. I was down to two, Consortium and Covert Action Magazine, until Covert Action published this outrageous piece on Covid, it would have been no worse had they published an article saying QANON is correct. Enlightenment is a very lonely road to walk. I am extremely grateful to the (very very very) few who can keep it straight. That’s a pathetically short list unfortunately. But Diana Johnstone is certainly on it.

    • Gene Poole
      March 22, 2023 at 08:47

      Don’t condemn Covert Action for one article. With an attitude like that, you’ll end up with no sources of information at all. Trust is a good thing, but in the end, we must judge things by our own lights. Trust will always eventually be betrayed. And even QANON may have a grain of truth to impart.

    • Susan Siens
      March 22, 2023 at 15:54

      There are other good sources of information. I’m not that familiar with them, but Mint News had a lot to do with Whitney Webb’s superb book One Nation Under Blackmail. There is also the Grayzone and Dissident Voice. I’ve always had to pick and choose — Informationclearinghouse published some very good stuff, but also some I found so-so. (I’m guessing it’s pretty much defunct now.) I liked The Saker, but it is now frozen because I think the Saker is not well. It was a good source for updates from Russia.

  16. Richard Coleman
    March 21, 2023 at 16:48

    Does anybody remember the movie “Z”, directed by Costa-Gavras several years ago? Set in Greece, a military dictatorship also banned public exhibition of the letter Z.

    • March 22, 2023 at 13:54

      my faamily name is Czekajewski. I decided to remove the letter “Z”. From now on please call me Cekajewski

    • Susan Siens
      March 22, 2023 at 15:56

      Yes! And it was condemned by George Stevens Jr, the head of the Academy (as in Awards), which was a fantastic recommendation in my mind!

    • Litchfield
      March 22, 2023 at 22:22

      Yes, the banning of the letter Z is rife with ironies.

      I can’t help connecting Z also to Zorro!! Remember “the mark of Zorro” in the Saturday morning movies (this was in the fifties).

      Zorro was a champion of the Mexican peasants, commoners, and indigenous peoples of Alta California against malevolent Spanish grandees.

      Zorro = (Spanish) Fox.
      Z = (Greek) Zei (“he lives”)
      Z = (Russian) Za pobyedu (for victory)

      The letter Z just seems to be destined to keep popping up in new guises that make the TPTB foam at the mouth!

      I want a Z-shirt too!! Red Z on black background.

  17. Emmef
    March 21, 2023 at 16:37

    The phrase “understanding the Russian viewpoint, which is unacceptable,” is existentially dangerous.

    Solving a problem without understanding it is impossible. This is even truer when you disagree. Why do you disagree? Can we understand each others viewpoint? Can we agree to disagree? Can we compromise?

    A lack of understanding robs us from communicating as civilized, empathic and reasonable human beings. Rejecting it leaves us with a brainless following of the highest bidder or greatest charlatan and the rest. That rest, with a multitude of viewpoints, is the enemy. It is easy to take the next steps. To prosecute. To deem inhuman.

  18. shmutzoid
    March 21, 2023 at 16:15

    How Orwellian——-> “To save our democracy we will curtail your right to speak out against our gov’t. foreign policy”. As the Ukraine war becomes more unpopular with the masses, it was only to be expected the noose would tighten on flow of information as well as dissent. Codifying by law this kind of censorship reflects the deep anxiety German officials have about the uprising of antiwar sentiment in Germany. In the USA, it is (so far) merely taboo in academia and MSM to speak honestly of the origins/historical context of US-NATO/Ukraine/Russia affairs.
    …..That Germany would so willingly be a pawn in the US’s ‘great game’ against Russia at such a detrimental cost is incredible, and unfortunate. Can/will the German people break through all the propaganda and censorship edicts to coalesce into a force large enough to steer German policy in another direction? ……can that happen here in the USA??!! ….. Sadly, this seems less likely than the state using an iron fist against dissent.

  19. Francis Lee
    March 21, 2023 at 16:10

    Interesting piece by Ms.Johnstone.

    But I rather think that for all the ideological/political bluster emanating from the US-NATO bloc this seems to be a rather dubious pact. Russia and the US are both armed to the teeth, with Russia getting the edge. The collective west is in the process of upping the ante in a game of nuclear poker. Presumably the Americans and their pathetic allies in Western Europe are pushing for a victory (sic) or so they would have us believe. But the Russians have made it clear that they will defeat any NATO-US occupation of the Russian part of the Ukraine and would not back down since that would mean the end of Russia. Moreover, since it came into existence there have been 7 invasions of Russia, and only 1 invasion has ever succeeded – Rurik in 862. A war between NATO and the Russian Federation will lead to a complete nuclear destruction of the northern hemisphere.

    The Russian Federation has an arsenal of short-range, medium and long range ICBMs – Sarmat-29s that cannot be stopped from reaching their targets. They are housed in hardened bunkers somewhere in the Russian wilderness and able to ride out a NATO/US first strike. This is called ‘Perimeter Defence’ and is still in operation today. Next come nuclear armed submarines which can lurk anywhere in either the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. Long-range bombers can fly over the Russian or even outside of its heartlands and carry a nuclear payload, and mounted on trucks and trains somewhere in Russia. All of which seem to be formidable.

    There was the famous novel ‘On the Beach’ written in 1957. This was an apocalyptic book by the British author Nevil Shute after he had emigrated to Australia. The novel details the experiences of a mixed group of people in Melbourne as they await the arrival of deadly radiation spreading towards them from the Northern Hemisphere, following a nuclear war the previous year.

  20. Susan Siens
    March 21, 2023 at 15:55

    “…disparagement of the State and its symbols, blasphemy against established religions…”

    Germany is just as totalitarian as ever, laws against disparagement of the state and blasphemy being sure signs of actual fascism.

    An interesting tidbit about Blinken: His father-in-law was Robert Maxwell’s — THE Robert Maxwell — lawyer and confidant. This means that Blinken within his family had close ties to the surveillance state and organized crime. I wondered how someone as dim as Blinken appears to be got his position.

    • dieter barkhoff
      March 22, 2023 at 23:04

      It is America: what do you expect?

  21. blimbax
    March 21, 2023 at 15:53

    Diana Johnstone is one of those writers whose writings I always look forward to.

    For those unaware of it, her book, Circle in the Darkness, is an excellent book and well worth reading. Try to purchase it from someone other than Amazon if at all possible. For instance, hxxps://www.thriftbooks.com/browse/?b.search=diana%20johnstone#b.s=mostPopular-desc&b.p=1&b.pp=30&b.oos&b.tile

  22. Andrew Nichols
    March 21, 2023 at 15:27

    There has always been an undercurrent of fascistic authoritarianism in german culture originating in Prussia.

    • Sean I. Ahern
      March 21, 2023 at 23:10

      Are you referring to the German Green Party??

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