Monday 26th of September 2022

cats and dogs in moscow...

raining in moscow...
Protest group Pussy Riot, long a thorn in Vladimir Putin's side, has claimed responsibility for four people who brought the World Cup final to a brief halt by running onto the field dressed in police uniforms as the Russian President and a global audience watched.

Stewards tackled the three women and one man who charged onto the field simultaneously in the 52nd minute of one of the world's most viewed sporting events.

Croatia defender Dejan Lovren pushed the man, helping a steward to detain him.

Before being hauled away, one of the women reached the centre of the field and shared a double high-five with France forward Kylian Mbappe.

I am NOT a journalist. But I do feed on information and analysis of this information. It's human. I saw this invasion of the pitch on the Tele. Thank you SBS. My 2:34 AM blurry eyes saw it while I had the sound on mute  — for the whole game. The commentary of the World Cup is like a drone flying at low altitude and annoys my old brains. In the comfort of my own space, I could thus quietly yell to the French defender “don’t you pass the ball to the goal keeper, you moro…" that the goal keeper made a blue for the blues — and what should be considered the dumbest goal in the history of this WC was scored… Anyway, with the field invasion, the TV cameras seemed to hold back a bit and waiting. 

But the press is reporting on who claims the deed, in an example of some discreet bias. Suddenly four people disrupt the proceedings of a one billion plus audience. Disruption achieved. Putin is bad. He can’t even control Pussy Riot… In the days of Stalin ("I sometimes wish it was 1937," the man off screen says, referring to the year in which Stalinist purges were at their height)— or Any US President, though — Pussy Riot members would have been old dry bones in Siberia — or shot on the spot, should they’d been blacks in Texas. 

Putin is a more lenient sort of bloke. He will let the Russian justice system (did you notice? I did not place the word “justice” between quotes) deal with this according to the laws which would be similar to those in England or Zanzibar — about the invasion of soccer fields or cricket pitches during important events. Meanwhile, zoomlensing on his private box, the cameras showed us a RED(the cad, is he a commie or what?)-tied Putin in a shirt and no jacket, enjoying the soccer — seemingly free of worries before his own world cup with Donald Trump, in Finlandia. 

At the end Emperor Macron, as all gentlemen should do, kissed the president of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (unless she was the kissing-initiator), while his wife looked on. Then it rained… Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic did not have an umbrella while all the blokes had one held up by their respective secret service personnel. How ungentlemanly, not to bring your own secret services…

So news can be fun or weird...

For example when two more people “were affected by the novichok poison”, one had to be circumspect about the details that were missing from the onset in this information. Yet the Russians are still blamed by end of articles about this “new” case with no proof, in relation to the other case where the Russians have not been proven either to be involved, but they are found guilty anyway “often not even allegedly" by the media. Then more information about this new poisoning comes about. It’s sketchy and “not adding up” — a bit like a puzzle you buy one piece of, every week at your newsagent to build a model of Nelson's Victory. 3,467 more weeklies to buy at random. In regard to the poison, it’s not clear yet to get a picture of what happened, and yet the Russian are still blamed by end of articles, reiterating the Skripal case, etc. Blah blah blah… One should smell a rat. 

But the media does its job: bash Putin. The media does not ask questions and lazily repeats allusion about the Russians and the Skripal case again. It fills columns space and we can show the pictures of “experts” in weird suit, giving inference of chemical warfare in the middle of Dorksville, Hammerset.

In regard to the Skripals, we are even told that “…before ordering the expulsions, Britain privately presented its case against Russia to other governments, including evidence that G.R.U. cyber specialists had hacked the email accounts of Mr. Skripal’s daughter in 2013. Both Mr. Skripal and his daughter were under surveillance before the attack, and her phone was possibly infected with malware to track her whereabouts, the BBC reported this month.” 

Have you seen the “evidence” presented as a PowerPoint document? A ten year old would know he/she is being lied to about Santa Claus. And what about this “possibly infected”? It is or it is not... At this level of news, one should know that most of the malware “infections” are done by the USA (see Wikileaks uncut secret files if you don’t believe me). "Both Mr. Skripal and his daughter were under surveillance”… Yes, but from whom? Russia? MI6? The Russian Mafia that hates Putin guts? The CIA? Father Christmas? Pussy Riot?

We are somewhat led to believe that these two new case people were just bystanders that had nothing to do with the Skripal case but got poisoned for “just” being… somewhere else? Not even that. Apparently a small bottle of Novichok was found at their premises. Were these people bottle collectors? How did it get there? How big is this small bottle? Is there enough poison to kill a few thousand people considering the damage one single drop of this stuff can do to the brain of retirees, even by being only deposited on the skin? Were these people the poisoners of the Skripals who acidently spilled some stuff onto themselves? Where they linked to the Russians or to the Russian Mafia? Are they ordinary retirees or retired spies? 

Not only we have not got all the pieces of the puzzle but the pieces we have do not add up. In this case, the media is at the mercy of the police (or MI-something) that can say anything it wants, with the media always adding at the end of their “articles” that the Russians are to be blamed for all this since they invented the poison… etc etc. 

Will we find more news titbits on this case, after the Soccer World Cup? After the Trump-Putin meeting in Finland? By february 2026? Sure we will get more bits but none that fit our model of Nelson’s Victory. Are we going to end this story with a question-mark, blaming Putin because we only can get a question-mark investigation? 

This is where the whole saga becomes so twisted, we cannot trust the bits anymore. Yet most people will stick to the headlines on their smartphones: “Two more people affected by Novichok poison. Putin to be blamed” end of story. They now know everything. These are really “troubling” news: Putin is a nasty man. Pussy Riot says so and 70 per cent plus 12 per cent of communists in Russia got it wrong when the re-elected Vladimir the Impaler. How much more do we want to know? Poison = Putin = Poison. Linked. Done. That’s what the authorities want you to believe. Don’t ask questions: WMDs = Saddam = WMDs. Same caper.

Of course this is unsastisfactory, but this is the level of news most people contend with. Instant noodle news. On the other hand, the story of 12 kids and a coach trapped in a cave got the "entire” (at least, not the martians) world busy talking. Amazing rescue! It's news in progress: will they get out alive? Will they not? We’re praying for them… Elon Musk makes a submarine and apparently calls the coach a pedo… Even Elon falls for the facile quip, unless he has info we do not have. Stick to batteries and rockets, you nutso...

In Japan, more than 200 people died and 500,000 got “displaced” because of a storm (possibly due to global warming but we’re not allowed to mention this), at the same time. But this news is “passé” already, that is to say, there is no “new” ongoing voyeuristic element in it. It happened. Done. Buried between two adverts, one for dishwashing liquid and another for vitamins. 

Yet the cave story appeal does not reach the cat videos viewing proportions. Or the ephemeral world cup.

Our journalistic voyeurism is unvoidably selective, especially on issues of internal politics and on Russia. We reinforce our prejudices because we need to, otherwise we would be swimming in uncertainty, like Donald's love. Cats are funny, not as funny as dogs, but they are more fluffy. So we are distracted. We are distractable and the smarter news will distract us more than others. News about movie stars and royalties are far bigger business than “Public Interest Journalism”. Some specialist journos will be assigned to cover the voyeuristic appeal of these movie stars and royalties — EVEN IF NOTHING REALLY HAPPENS. Grey is the new pink.

So what is the real problem of journalism? Lack of cash, mostly. Traditional revenues have plummetted due to the advertising dollar migrating to cat videos and other inane websites, like Google that prey on your short attention span. 

Mind you, a new dynamic has happened in the last few days: Google has tightened its searches. It blocks searches even if only one in a million items searched could be “contentious” or have tits in it. Bing is still a bit more vague, thus on some seaches it is “better” and Bing will throw in a few red herrings as well. 

All this butt-tightening has been due to the “fake news” phenomenom that has only existed since way before the birth of Jesus Christ… but it’s now, with the proliferation of information platforms that have relegated the pulpits to wood-piles they make Pinocchios out of, that we discovered there was some fake news about. 

It’s the new buzz: “fake news” has to be suppressed… Your government tells the truth.

Same with Twitter killing some accounts because… "Twitter has a history of dishonestly employing tools to limit free speech on their platform, from shadowbanning, to putting certain accounts behind warnings or “temporarily restricting” accounts for being “abusive”. All of these measures were introduced within the last year, and all have seemed to disproportionately affect anti-establishment figures, alternate news sites or independent journalists.” There you know.

While the idiot box is still attractive with Free-to-Air and cable, for viewers and advertisers alike, most of the newspapers barely survive by doing advertorials and “features”, in which specialists advertising is bunched for impact: holidays, hair transplant, tours, real estate, fishing, towns with all mod cons, pub crawls, cars, boats, you name it. Meanwhile real journalism is shrinking to having junior barely check the spelling of press releases by the government — and from time to time one coming from ICAC. 

The government is glorious and it says so itself, then one minister is caught with his/her hands in the till. But he/she won’t get sacked like they used to be in the old days. In nowadays of ball tempering cricket, they are offered their own option to “walk” or not. It’s disgraceful as the outcome becomes attached to the size of the offence rather than to the intent. 

Anyway, what do I know… So real journos are starting to panic. Katharine Murphy is one of them:


On Disruption

Katharine MurphyThere is no way to know if the disruption will settle into a new normal, or whether chaos is the new normal.

The internet has shaken the foundations of life: public and private lives are wrought by the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week news cycle that means no one is ever off duty. On Disruption is a report from the coalface of that change: what has happened, will it keep happening, and is there any way out of the chaos?

It's something everyone should read.


Yes Geraldine… There is a malaise. Reporters cannot change into Supermen any more.


Can journalism and the news industry survive the perfect storm of digital disruption? Dr Martin Hirst reviews Katharine Murphy’s essay On Disruption

At only 120 pages, it would be unfair to expect Katharine Murphy to provide fully-articulated solutions to the almost panic-inducing problems confronting the mainstream media. Having said that, On Disruption is an insight into how establishment journalists see themselves, their mission and the state of their industry.

The key theme that Murphy explores is that the internet and social media instituted a period of disruption that has unsettled the news media and left it in a state of uncertainty that persists today.

This is true enough, but my criticism stems from the technological determinism that frames her view:

… the boss has decreed this is the future, not because he or she necessarily wants it to be, but because it is the future, and we are powerless to argue with it.

This is a classic trope of technological determinism: the belief that technological change is the root cause of everything. In this case, it is the pessimistic, and ultimately passive, view that the future is somehow pre-ordained by the technology and that we are “powerless” to shape the future for ourselves.

Inevitably, Murphy argues, journalists must adapt to the new ways, rather than challenge them. The second telling point about the quote I’ve used here is the reference to “the boss”. This metaphorical figure is present in a long anecdotal metaphor that Murphy uses to explain how disruption has affected the news industry.


Well, yes. But, unfortunately, as I’ve been arguing, this is actually harder than it might look from Murphy’s simple injunction. She is right that journalists need to be cautious and clever in how they report Trump so that what they do is not ‘straight out amplification’. I’ve made the point several times in recent columns for IA.

But I don’t think Katharine Murphy has the intellectual distance from the news establishment to see clearly how easy it is to get caught up in normalising Trump’s abnormal behaviour by just following what seem to be the cardinal rules of journalism — to report using a lens of objective pluralism.

Journalists have to watch the President and report. Watching powerful figures and keeping them accountable is the job.’

As we know, this is not enough when Trump blatantly tells dozens of lies every day and thrives on gaslighting his allies as much as his foes.

In the end, Katharine Murphy has laid bare a little of her soul and provides some useful insights into how a senior member of the news establishment sees her role and the wider journalistic profession.

Her conclusions are rightly pessimistic.

I don’t know if journalism will ultimately survive the great disruption, I don’t know if I can sustain myself as a journalist through this period of change or whether I will burn out or be tossed out or go crazy.

Nevertheless and sadly in my view, Murphy’s choice is to carry on rather than resist.

But rather than worry ourselves to paralysis, my colleagues and I press on… and will go on doing that for as long as the endeavour remains viable.’

To me that sounds like playing in the band while the Titanic slips beneath the waves.


Gus: unfortunately, I think that Dr Martin Hirst own review of Katharine Murphy’s essay On Disruption, also falls a bit short. First, when the Titanic was sinking, the sea was flat as a pancake. There was no waves. Only an iceberg. I saw the movie.
So to continue with the iceberg analogy, I think that Dr Martin Hirst should get his hand on “The Crucial Role of Public Interest Journalism in Australia and the Economic Forces Affecting It”. It’s a report written by Henry Ergas, Jonathan Pincus and Sabine Schnittger. 
This very dry report, like the Gibber desert with plenty of stones unturned — that landed on Gus’ desk by accident — has also a lot of appendices and graphs showing this and that in the news consuming patterns and delivery, including the cost of “Public Interest Journalism”. It’s also grim, yet if fails to explore the real problem as it underhandedly blame the ABC for encroaching on the digital turf and the “defamation laws" that prevent the media from being nasty to people. 

They do not mention that opinionation has given “Public Interest Journalism” a bad name, by often mixing the two with boundaries rarely being well-defined. Henry Hergas would be familiar to the readers of Gus’ YD opinionations. Henry is an old American (or canadian?) guy, paid by Rupert, to harp on The Australian, about what we can’t mention — global warming. Henry is a full-blown denialist and a rabid neoconservative economist, as well. He’d like to see the ABC take a massive pay cut, like his own hair cut — a near full shave. Uncle Rupes loves him. He should kiss Ergas’ egg-polished head like Emperor Macronleon kissed that of French Soccer player, Kylian Mbappe, a new son. 

Gus has rambled at length on the subject of Public Interest Journalism way before one of his earlier published cartoons on YD in 2005, reproduced here. 

We would have hoped that by now all these issues of the financing of good old journalism would have been ironed. Nupe. The traditional media went on as if nothing was amiss and then it hit the Iceberg: Google News and the others such as Yahoo News coming on your smartphone. 

The next problem is the attention span of the reader, now falling way below three seconds per item. Barely time to read a headline but enough to scan a picture. Pictures become the stories. Anyone has a smartphone that can take pictures.  

The conclusion of this comprehensive Ergas report is quite wishy-washy and asks more questions than it provides answers. It’s a bit lost at sea without floaties, like Katharine Murphy’s On Disruption, it seems.

This is understandable, yet this state of affairs was predictible at least ten years ago and by now new “business models” of delivering news would have been adopted by the “traditional” media. Murdoch worked hard to find a crack in the wall. He build one. A Pay wall. But often, as soon as a new model is adopted a new delivery platform challenges this. Adaptation is crucial. Cash is scarce.

And any moron, like me with a small computer, can challenge the journalistic pitch like Pussy Riot. Yet ORIGINAL sources are precious, but they are costly and we, the morons like me, are no more than blood-sucking parasites on the information gathering beast, including the secret services. History tells us that blood-sucking parasites tend to survive beyond the death of the beast, but we need to find a new host. 
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is a unique model, with that of SBS. They have a  quality, fairness and balance to uphold, yet the present Australian government is trying to kill them off — to favour the commercial media which to say the least apart from a few journos, are the pits of news.

One of the major point often missing in all these analysises is bias and the quality of the journalism — even in its minimalist format. Investigative journalism is going to meet resistance from the people being investigated, as well as being expensive and not always fruitful. Only dedicated journalist can achieve that, often for no other rewards than being dragged over coal by the government and other jealous media. 
Copyright is also a major issue. Delivery system like Google and Yahoo are mostly automated to redistribute the news in snippets with a link, and flount Copyrights thus. They have been banned from certain countries in Europe. Google News is dead in Spain. Where to from here?
The next instalment next...

Gus the Elder
Your local born every minute...

the news from the north pole — not in brief...

When Russian President Vladimir Putin sits down at the table in Helsinki on Monday, he will surely have in the back of his mind some intelligence worries that have nothing to do with the U.S. president seated across from him.

Putin’s elite spy world has been penetrated by U.S. intelligence. That’s the implication of the extraordinarily detailed 29-page indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence (GRU) officers handed up by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators on Friday. The 11-count charge includes names, dates, unit assignments, the GRU’s use of “X-agent” malware, its bitcoin covert funding schemes and a wealth of other tradecraft.

Putin must be asking himself: How did the Americans find out all these facts? What other operations have been compromised? And how much else do they know?

“The Russians have surely begun a ‘damage assessment’ to figure out how we were able to collect this information and how much damage was done to their cyber capacity as a result,” says Jeffrey Smith, a former CIA general counsel, in an email. “They are probably also doing a CI (counter-intelligence) assessment to determine whether we have any human sources or whether the Russians made mistakes that we were able to exploit.”

Must the GRU assume that officers named in Friday’s indictment are now “blown” for further secret operations? Should Russian spymasters expect that operations they touched are now compromised? What about other Russian operations that used bitcoin, or X-agent, or another hacking tool called X-Tunnel? Has the United States tracked such operations and identified the targets? Finally, how are U.S. intelligence services playing back the information they’ve learned — to recruit, exploit or compromise Russian officers?

“I suspect the senior officers of the GRU who were involved do not have bright futures,” says Smith. “Putin will never extradite them, but it would be great if they were to defect to the U.S. and tell us what they know.”

Looking at this case through a counterintelligence lens raises an intriguing new series of questions. In putting all the detail into the indictment, Mueller was giving Russian intelligence a hint of how much America can see. But this public disclosure may mask much deeper capabilities — perhaps a capacity to expose many more layers of GRU military-intelligence operations and those by the Russian civilian spy services, the FSB and the SVR. American intelligence agencies rarely tip their hand this way by disclosing so much in an indictment; clearly they did so here to send messages.

Explains one former CIA officer: “Given that we clearly had so much of the Russian internal communication and cyber footprints, they must be asking what else do we have? Do we have communications between the units and more senior officers in the GRU? With the General Staff? With the Kremlin? With Putin? Probably not the latter directly, but the Russians are very bureaucratic and it’s hard for me to imagine there is not a clear trail of higher level approvals, progress reports, etc.”

Friday’s indictment is a legal document. But it’s also a shot across the Kremlin’s bow. The message is: If you don’t stop cyber-operations against the United States, we have the detailed information to identify and disrupt your intelligence services, officers, sources and methods. Mueller isn’t asking Russia to stop; he’s warning them of the consequences of going forward.

The indictment also sends a message to President Trump and members of his entourage who are potential targets of Mueller’s probe: Here’s a hint of what we know; how much are you willing to wager that we don’t know a lot more about Russian contacts and collusion? For example, the indictment is a proffer of Mueller’s information about contacts between GRU cut-out “Guccifer 2.0” and Roger Stone, Trump’s friend and adviser. What else does Mueller have?

Seeing these details, we have new appreciation for the dilemma of FBI officials James B. Comey, Peter Strzok and the handful of others who saw the unfolding story of Russia’s secret attempt to undermine Hillary Clinton and help Trump. As Strzok put it in his statement to a House committee Thursday: “In the summer of 2016, I was one of a handful of people who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with members of the Trump campaign.”

Strzok kept quiet about the conspiracy he was watching. Trump was elected president. But now, at last, with Friday’s indictment, we see a bit of what Strzok and the other intelligence officials saw.

And here’s a spooky final question: How much has the intelligence community told Trump about its operations against Russia? If you were one of the American intelligence officers who helped gather the information that’s included in Friday’s indictment, what would you think about the fact that Trump has asked for a private meeting first with Putin?


Gus: and you would think that Putin would be phased out by this?

Why? Because Putin would have to know how much can be “fabricated to try and spook him", especially as he is going to meet Trump. His own side would know as much crap as the CIA… Not only you would hear about the GRU, but not about the other Russian agencies that would be working backstage without YOUR knowledge… Putin is aware that the west will use any tricks to belittle him and the Russian people.

The “disinformation is rife" and the Western snoot is like snort… Lucky some "things" are foiled:

Russia has come under nearly 25 million cyber attacks targeting its critical information systems and infrastructure during the FIFA World Cup tournament, Vladimir Putin revealed.
Throughout the duration of the World Cup, we neutralized almost 25 million cyber attacks and other criminal activities against the information infrastructure of Russia, which, in one way or another, were associated with the holding of the World Cup, the Russian president said.
Speaking at a meeting dedicated to the security of the World Cup, Putin thanked the representatives of 55 special services and law enforcement agencies from 34 countries which helped ensure security during the month-long tournament.

Read more:

And some people in other countries see through the crap:

A journalist from the leading German paper Die Welt has criticized the media for painting an unfairly grim picture of Russia during the FIFA World Cup and for boycotting the tournament. She called this an example of hubris.
Die Welt reporter Kathrin Spoerr called out the press on what she believes is the unfair treatment of Russia during the nation’s hosting of the World Cup. The journalist says she is thrilled to see the final game on Sunday, but also recalls how the German media was riddled with negative stories on Russia, and how some of her colleagues declared ‘private boycotts’ of the tournament for political reasons.
“Ahead of the final, I’m wondering about two things. First, will I have enough popcorn? Second, what horrible stories on Russia will be reported before the kick-off?” Spoerr wrote on Saturday.

Writing about the prevalence of Russia-bashing and fearmongering ahead of the World Cup, Spoerr noted how “amused” she was by the fact that her colleague had just recently ‘discovered’ that “the Russians had learned to laugh”during the games. “Look, the savages can laugh,” she sarcastically writes.
When Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006, people celebrated in Berlin and Munich the same way they are celebrating in Kazan and St. Petersburg, because “it’s summer and the World Cup is awesome,” the journalist recalled, adding with irony: “Certainly, a few Russian journalists were present at the time. I wonder whether they were just as surprised by the sight of laughing Germans.”
However, things were not always this way, Spoerr notes: “There was a time when Helmut Kohl and Boris Yelstin sat together in a sauna to talk and decide how to overcome the Cold War. But soon after Kohl’s departure, we snapped back into the old German habit of imagining Russia is a country with low morals, and even as a nation unworthy of the World Cup.” The journalist added that such an attitude towards Russia amounts to “hubris.”
Determining who should host the games based on morals and politics is wrong, she writes. “If the World Cup were awarded on the criteria of political morality, it would be difficult for FIFA to find a suitable host in the future,” Spoerr explained. “Neither Turkey, nor Hungary, Italy, Japan, France, Great Britain, the US, Australia, and Africa would qualify since everyone is resting on dead bodies from their past.”

Read more:

Meanwhile the Russia/Putin bashing continues at the Guardian:

There were protests in a number of Russian cities in early July, organised by an unusually broad coalition of political forces, including parliamentary opposition parties that are usually broadly loyal to the Kremlin. The organisers did not hold protests in World Cup host cities.
The retirement age will rise gradually from 55 to 63 for women and from 60 to 65 for men over a number of years. Economists say it is important to raise the age from norms that were set in the era of Joseph Stalin, but the move is extremely unpopular with Putin’s supporters.
His approval ratings, while still high by the standards of western democratic leaders, are his lowest since March 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and a wave of patriotic fervour boosted his popularity.
Kolesnikov pointed to another survey, by the independent Levada Centre, which asked Russians whether “things are going in the right direction” in the country. Only 46% said they agreed, again the lowest figure since the annexation of Crimea. “And there is no second Crimea option available, even if we storm the North Pole,” wrote Kolesnikov. 

Read more:


ALL Western leaders would love to have at least 63 per cent approval... Please consider that the retirement age in Australia has also been raised to 65.5 for women and 67 for men. Why Because we are healthier and live longer? Sure but also we can pay taxes for a longer time and reduce the payout to pensioners...
Meanwhile Putin’s pragmatism might prevail:

Vladimir Putin is pragmatic enough to accept Donald Trump placing US national interests above all else but, to build a mutually beneficial relationship, he expects his counterpart to respect Russia’s, Dmitry Peskov told RT.
Ahead of the much-anticipated summit between the Russian and US leaders in Helsinki, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov sat down with RT for an exclusive interview, in which he touched upon Donald Trump’s seemingly controversial but very natural ‘America first’ motto.

POLL: What is the likely outcome of the Trump-Putin meeting?

This principle works for any head of state. Any head of state, when talking to their foreign counterparts, has to take care of the interests of their state. And our president is quite pragmatic, quite consistent, quite practical. He always says that he cares about the national interests of Russia, above everything else. That's why he understands the reciprocal beliefs of Donald Trump, as applied to his country,” Peskov said.

Read more:

Read from top

an own goal at the bild....

On the sidelines of the World Cup, Lothar Matthäus, a former German football player, is traveling across the tournament’s host country. In particular, he met Russian President Vladimir Putin and shook hands with him for a photo. In doing so, he apparently angered the newspaper Bild. However, Matthew countered its criticism like a true champion.

Apparently, Julian Reichelt, Bild's chief editor, didn't like the fact that Lothar Matthäus, who also contributes to the newspaper, was photographed with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Julian's article states that Matthäus shouldn't have "shaken bloody hands" with Putin. The article also says that "the worst world's regimes would buy these tournaments with their unlimited funds."

Brilliant Response

However, Matthäus couldn't just sit back. The former German team captain tweeted a photo showing the hypocrisy of the newspaper's management. The picture shows Kai Diekmann, the former chief editor, Nikolaus Blome, the deputy chief editor, and Vladimir Putin. In the photo, Blome is shaking hands with the president, and Diekmann is in a good mood.

READ MORE: Fans Take to Twitter to Vent After Croatia Beat England at FIFA World Cup

That was a classic own goal of the Bild: while the newspaper's article got just under 80 likes on Twitter, Matthäus's response generated 1,400 likes. Also, Bild's management has been hit hard by the Twitter users — someone called it a "golden goal", and there was even someone who said: "That's quite a counter-attack. Bravo, Lothar."

Sore losers

Someone's probably a sore loser: Kai Diekmann, the former chief editor of the Bild, griped that Lothar Matthäus should pay a fine for reposting the Diekmann-Putin photo because he doesn't hold the copyright for the picture. That didn't go down well with the Twitter community: "Kai, just take a breath," one user replied. Another user comments: "Oh Kai, you'd better keep silent now." Matthäus also repeatedly offered financial support in case he has to pay a fine.


Read more:



15 days in the kooler...

The four protesters who barged onto the field at the World Cup final in Moscow have been sentenced to 15 days in jail.

The protesters, members of the Pussy Riot punk collective, ran onto the pitch at Luzhniki Stadium dressed as police officers during the second half of Sunday’s match between France and Croatia. 

They called for the release of political prisoners, the end for illegal detentions at political rallies, stopping the policing of people’s political views on social media and for more open political competition.


Read more:


Read from top.

people voted...

Italian Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said that Crimea “legitimately” belongs to Russia as he argued with a US journalist who called the 2014 referendum held on the peninsula “fake.”

When Washington Post journalist Lally Weymouth confronted Salvini with the apparently provocative question of whether or not he supports Russia’s “annexation” of Crimea, Salvini pointed out that there was actually a referendum, prompting her to claim it was “fake.”

In response, Salvini noted that it was just the journalist’s subjective “point of view.” “There was a referendum, and 90 percent of the people voted for the return of Crimea to the Russian Federation,” the Italian interior minister said.

Weymouth then implied that the referendum was illegitimate due to the presence of some Russian forces on the peninsula at that time. Salvini replied that what was indeed illegitimate was the change of power in Kiev at that time, which he called a “pseudo-revolution funded by foreign powers,” just like the unrest in the Middle East, known as the Arab Spring revolutions.

“There are some historically Russian zones with Russian culture and traditions which legitimately belong to the Russian Federation,” Salvini then said, apparently referring to Crimea. His words immediately provoked an angry reaction in Kiev. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry even summoned the Italian ambassador to voice its protest following Salvini’s comments.

“We condemn the position of the Italian politician as one that is not based on real fact and contradicts … the principles and norms of the international law,” the Ukrainian ministry said in its statement, adding that it “expects”Italy to once again condemn what it called the Russian “aggression.”

The Italian minister, meanwhile, once again said he would like to lift anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the EU back in 2014, following Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the outbreak of crisis in Ukraine. The sanctions “didn't prove to be useful, and according to the data, they hurt Italian exports,” Salvini told Weymouth.

He also praised the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart, Donald Trump in Helsinki, calling it “a very positive sign.” “A rapprochement between the US and Russia is good news for Italy and for Europe.”

Salvini visited Moscow earlier this week, where he met with Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev to discuss cyber security, the fight against terrorism, and drug trafficking, among other issues. During his visit to Russia, Salvini also said that Rome might address the issue of sanctions by the end of the year.

His statement comes at a time when the EU announced that sanctions against Russia would remain in place until January 2019. In 2014, the US and EU imposed sanctions after accusing Russia of supporting a military uprising in eastern Ukraine. Moscow denied the accusation and responded with counter-sanctions, banning imports of certain agricultural products, raw materials, and foodstuffs from countries that target Russia with sanctions. The restrictive measures have been extended by both sides on multiple occasions.


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cats in a shitty alley...

"Today”, the communications minister Mitch Fifield intoned on Thursday, Nine and Fairfax “are taking the opportunity that our media laws present to bring together two great Australian media organisations.”

As Tony Abbott once observed in a happier context, a context where he imagined himself on a grand adventure shirt-fronting the Russian president, Vladimir Putin: you bet they are, you bet I am. 

The federal government’s decision to remove regulatory barriers to media acquisitions makes a Nine takeover of Fairfax possible. Just in case you’ve forgotten, the Coalition, with the support of various crossbenchers in the Senate, last year scrapped rules safeguarding diversity of media ownership in Australia – in essence paving the way for mergers, increasing the power of the biggest media companies.


As well as styling himself as midwife at the birth of a piece of Australian media history – in this case, the disappearance of a newspaper company that had amassed more than a century of history as an independent identity in the Australian media firmament – Fifield was out reinforcing all the old arguments again on Thursday.

“I think it’s important to recognise that we can’t pretend we’re still in the 1980s,” the minister said. “We can’t pretend the internet doesn’t exist”.

This really is a stupid argument; it’s beyond patronising.

No one in the Australian media is pretending the internet doesn’t exist.

Even if someone was inclined to indulge in that sort of delusion, it would be hard to sustain, given the internet has disrupted our operations, triggered substantial lay offs, smashed the business models of commercial media companies, and transformed what journalism is, changing the conduct of political discussion and society along with it.

So here’s some free advice for the communications minister.

Spare us, Mitch.


Don’t even bother.

Fifield then transited nimbly in a tone of great reassurance to the second line of defence. If the government had maintained the previous media laws, “we could have seen significant Australian media organisations going out the back door”.


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Fifield is an IPA stooge...