Thursday 29th of February 2024

100 years of fake news, with a few hard truths in between....

The other day I stumbled across a 2014 opinion piece in The Guardian, “It’s not Russia that’s pushed Ukraine to the brink of war,” by Seumas Milne, who the following year would go on to become the Labour Party’s executive director of strategy and communications under Jeremy Corbyn.

I bring this up because the perspectives you’ll find in that article are jarring in how severely they deviate from anything you’ll see published in the mainstream press about Ukraine in 2023. 


By Caitlin Johnstone


It places the brunt of the blame for the violence and tensions in that nation at that time squarely at Washington’s feet, opening with a warning that the “threat of war in Ukraine is growing” and saying there’s an “unelected government in Kiev,” and it only gets naughtier from there.

I strongly recommend reading the article in full if you want some perspective on just how dramatically the mass media has clamped down on dissenting ideas about Ukraine and Russia, beginning with the frenzied stoking of Russia hysteria in 2016 and exploding exponentially with the Russian invasion last year. 

I doubt there’s a single paragraph which could get published in any mainstream outlet in the media environment of today.

Milne writes about how “the Ukrainian president was replaced by a U.S.-selected administration, in an entirely unconstitutional takeover,” and about “the role of the fascistic right on the streets and in the new Ukrainian regime.”

He says that “Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia,” and that “you don’t hear much about the Ukrainian government’s veneration of wartime Nazi collaborators and pogromists, or the arson attacks on the homes and offices of elected communist leaders, or the integration of the extreme Right Sector into the national guard, while the anti-semitism and white supremacism of the government’s ultra-nationalists is assiduously played down.” 

He says that “after two decades of eastward Nato expansion, this crisis was triggered by the west’s attempt to pull Ukraine decisively into its orbit and defence structure.”

Milne says “Putin’s absorption of Crimea and support for the rebellion in eastern Ukraine is clearly defensive,” and says the U.S. and its allies have been “encouraging the military crackdown on protesters after visits from Joe Biden and the C.I.A. director, John Brennan.” 

He correctly predicts that “one outcome of the crisis is likely to be a closer alliance between China and Russia, as the U.S. continues its anti-Chinese ‘pivot’ to Asia,” and presciently warns of “the threat of a return of big-power conflict” as Ukraine moves toward war.

To be clear, Milne was not some fringe voice who happened to get picked up for one Guardian op-ed by a strange editorial fluke; he published hundreds of articles with The Guardian over the course of many years, and kept on publishing for a year and a half after this Ukraine piece came out, right up until he went to work for Corbyn. He was on the left end of the mainstream media, but he was very much part of the mainstream media.

This article would of course have drawn controversy and criticism at the time; there were many people who were on the opposite side of the debate in 2014, though they would’ve had a fraction of the numbers of the shrieking conformity enforcers we see on all matters related to Ukraine today. 

Milne himself says that “the bulk of the western media abandoned any hint of even-handed coverage” after the Crimea annexation, so his article would have been an outlier to be sure. But the fact remains that it was published in The Guardian, and that it would never be published there today.

Seriously, try to imagine an article like that about what happened in Ukraine in 2014 appearing in a mainstream publication like The Guardian in 2023. Can you imagine the hysterics? The histrionic garment-rending from the establishment narrative managers? The social media swarming of Zelenskyite trolls? 

This is after all the same media environment that pressured CBS to retract its story about arms shipments to Ukraine not getting where they were supposed to, and pressured Amnesty International to apologize for saying anything about Ukrainian war crimes.

Or how about this Guardian article by John Pilger titled “In Ukraine, the U.S. is dragging us towards war with Russia,” subtitled “Washington’s role in Ukraine, and its backing for the regime’s neo-Nazis, has huge implications for the rest of the world,” published two weeks after Milne’s?

Pilger’s article is somehow even more heretical than Milne’s, saying Washington “masterminded the coup in February against the democratically elected government in Kiev” and that “Ukraine has been turned into a C.I.A. theme park – run personally by C.I.A. director John Brennan in Kiev, with dozens of ‘special units’ from the C.I.A. and F.B.I. setting up a ‘security structure’ that oversees savage attacks on those who opposed the February coup.”

As with Milne, Pilger criticizes the media environment at the time, saying “propaganda” about Ukraine is happening in an “Orwellian style.” But again, he was writing in The Guardian, whereas today it never would be.

Pilger has actually provided some background for this shift in mass media reporting, saying that there was a “purge” of dissident voices from The Guardian’s ranks around 2014-2015.

“My written journalism is no longer welcome in The Guardian which, three years ago, got rid of people like me in pretty much a purge of those who really were saying what The Guardian no longer says any more,” Pilger said in a January 2018 radio interview.

Interestingly, a 2019 Declassified UK report found that British intelligence services began aggressively targeting The Guardian after its 2013 publication of the Edward Snowden documents and the outlet’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, was replaced by Katharine Viner in March 2015. 

After that point The Guardian began moving away from critical investigative reporting and began publishing softball “interviews” with chiefs of the MI5 and MI6 — the U.K.’s domestic and foreign intelligence services — willingly participating in the West’s information war against Russia.

Once the Western world plunged in unison into blinkered Russia hysteria after Hillary Clinton lost the U.S. presidential election in 2016, we began seeing things like that time a BBC reporter admonished a guest for voicing unauthorized opinions about Syria because “we’re in an information war with Russia.”

Whether or not you agree with the perspectives authored by Milne and Pilger is irrelevant to the very important fact that they could say things in the mainstream media in 2014 that they could never say in the mainstream media in 2023. 

The dramatic shift from a media environment where criticism of establishment narratives on Russia is permitted to one where it is not permitted is worth noting, because it means there was a conscious shift toward converting the mass media into full-fledged cold war propaganda outlets.

A lot of things have happened since 2014, but nothing about what happened in 2014 has changed since 2014. It’s still the same year it always was, because that’s how time works; nothing has changed about 2014 other than the thoughts you’re permitted to voice about it in mainstream outlets like The Guardian.

This bizarre historical revisionism has been occurring not just in The Guardian but throughout the mainstream media. 

Last year Moon of Alabama published “Media Are Now Whitewashing Nazis They Had Previously Condemned,” a piece that compiles numerous instances in which the mass media have reported on Ukraine’s neo-Nazi problem over the years, and contrasts this with the way the mass media now whitewashes those paramilitaries and pretends they’re just fine upstanding patriots. 

In the years prior to the Russian invasion there were neo-Nazis in Ukraine; now there are no neo-Nazis in Ukraine and there never have been and you’re a treasonous puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin if you say otherwise. Nothing actually changed about Ukraine’s neo-Nazi problem; all that changed is the narrative.

Everyone should be aware that the mass media have drastically changed the perspectives they’re willing to publish on Ukraine, because these outlets are not working to help create a well-informed populace and facilitate important conversations, but are in fact knowingly operating as war propaganda firms. 

They’re not trying to inform people about what’s going on in the world, they’re trying to manipulate the way people think about the world. These two goals could not possibly be more different.

Power is controlling what happens; true power is controlling what people think about what happens. They’re re-writing history to influence control over what people think about the present. As George Orwell put it, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.





1923 unreal newsreel:





BY Salman Rafi Sheikh


While Ukraine is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the way the West has supplied weapons to the Ukrainian army to fight the Russian forces has increasingly NATOized Ukraine’s forces. As I mentioned previously, Russia is fighting a conflict not with Ukraine but with NATO. This is evident not just in terms of the fact that the whole Western alliance against Russia happens to be part of NATO but also in terms of the very weapons that the Ukrainian forces are using. Importantly enough, this NATOization is not something that started to happen after Russia began its military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. As NATO itself mentions on its website, the alliance has been supporting Ukraine since the 2014 Crimea events. The support includes, NATO says, “equipment and financial support” as well as “training for tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops.” It also mentions that the alliance has enhanced its support ever since February 2022.

The claim tells many things, but the most important one is that the ongoing conflict was neither inevitable nor unprovoked. What led to the present state of affairs was precisely this ongoing NATOization of Ukraine since 2014, a policy that actually laid the groundwork for Washington to push for Ukraine’s formal membership of NATO in 2021-22. The conflict would not have taken place if the West had eschewed arming Ukraine and using this territory to expand NATO. It is this Western strategy, rather than the so-called Russian “unprovoked aggression”, that made the present conflict inevitable.

The West, in keeping with its policy, is continuing its policy, which is evident from the recent decision of the UK government to provide Ukraine with its Challenger 2 Tanks. Ben Wallace, the UK’s Defence Secretary, called this supply “the most significant package of combat to date to accelerate Ukrainian success.”

While there are not enough tanks, the US has already announced to send Bradley infantry fighting vehicles to support tank warfare. A clear escalation is taking place, but the big question is: will it work to achieve the objective that the suppliers have in mind?

The US/NATO fought a twenty-year-long war in Afghanistan against a much weaker enemy, let alone a non-nuclear country, in Afghanistan. It withdrew after two decades without achieving its key objective i.e., dismantling global terrorism. Afghanistan today has many terror groups – al-Qaeda, the IS-K, the ETIM, and the TTP – operating from within its borders. Clearly, the presence of these groups reflects a US military defeat in terms of achieving its objectives even after spending billions of dollars.

The US has so far spent only a fraction of that money in Ukraine where NATO is fighting a country that has the largest nuclear stockpile in the world. Keeping this in mind, the strategy not only seems unrealistic, but unworkable as well. Short of providing Ukraine with actual nuclear weapons and creating a nuclear deterrence vis-à-vis Russia – which is not even conceivable – there is no way NATO can arm the Ukrainian army and help Ukraine in ways to actually defeat Russia.

On the contrary, hawks in the West – especially, in the US and UK – continue to see it within the realm of possibility to achieve their objectives, which now include creating a situation favouring a coup in Russia against President Putin.

This NATOization is unlikely to work, not only because not everything can possibly be supplied to Ukraine – that is, unless the West wants a total, nuclear war – but also because Ukraine itself is fast running out of its capacity to fight a total war, let alone the present conflict.

Let’s see what the actual ground situation is. In and around Bakhmut, the Ukrainian forces lost 70 per cent of their fighting capacity in just one week in the second week of January. Does it make sense to continue to supply weapons to an army that is unlikely to win?

Many countries in the West think that it does not make sense. In a meeting held on American Ramstein Air Base in German on January 20 involving leaders from 50 countries, including NATO allies, the participants failed to reach a consensus on providing German Leopard Tanks to Ukraine. Although Germany has now decided to supply these tanks to Ukraine, the very fact that it took them so much time – and it involved lots of political pressure from Washington – to make this decision shows that the Western alliance is actually far from united. There are serious concerns that Germany itself shares.

As German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said after the January 20 meeting, Germany is not alone raising concerns. He said that “there are many allies who say we share the view that I have put forward here.” Of course, the UK is not amongst them, as it has already decided to supply Challenger 2 tanks. But the fact that the UK took a decision independent of the rest of Europe means that Europe, thanks to Brexit, itself is divided between the EU and the UK.

The root cause of this disagreement is simple to understand. Many Europeans, excluding the UK, have realised that mainland Europe, or the EU, is a victim of the US-UK politics of NATO expansion and that the continent has become a proxy land for the US to fight the war of its own survival as the global hegemon, supported by its strongest allies in London.

For the US, Russia’s success in Ukraine would be the end of NATO and the end of Washington’s influence in Europe. Many Europeans already want a European security system independent of the US and NATO. Were this to happen, Europe can most certainly rewrite its ties with Russia in ways that avoid confrontation. But if this happens, the global strategic landscape will change in ways in which Washington will no longer be the only centre. Hence, the US-UK sponsored intensification of the war as the last-ditch effort to save the system they have been dominating for many decades.



Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.









'tis stupid to suffer the slings and arrows of our outrageous lies when we shuffle off this mortal coil...