-- Nord Stream terrorism, UN failure, and “Official Secrets”
Secret “war-crime” warrants by International Criminal Court is mischief-making
Getting the full story about Ukraine
The west vs the rest – the world is changing
Ukraine commemorates Nazi collaborators
Do New Zealanders no longer support Ukraine?
The subtlety of neo-Nazi influence in Ukraine – ignored by our media
Where are Ukrainian refugees going? – an update
Is New Zealand covertly supporting the glorification of neo-Nazism?
Following the war in Ukraine – an update
Russian anti-war protester goes to see for herself
You can’t understand Ukraine without acknowledging its deep divisions
Once again, those Russian neo-Nazis – the Wagner group
A heartwarming story about a Ukrainian prisoner of war
Over 50 POWs killed. A military accident or a cynical war crime?
Ukraine/Russia war, an intelligence operation or a sting, Ukrainian and UK spies, and Bellingcat
Mainstream media defends poor journalism by smearing good journalism
Ukraine war – a shocking failure of our mainstream media
How is the war going?
Why should Ukraine listen to lame duck Boris Johnson?
Ukraine war – a failure of honest diplomacy and reason
British volunteer soldier in Ukraine speaks up
What about those Russian neo-Nazis?
Neo-Nazis in Ukraine – stages of denial
Confusion about neo-Nazis in Ukraine-Russia war
Neo-Nazis in Ukraine. Comedians are often more truthful than politicians.
Ukraine – a beginner’s guide
Why the silence on censorship?
Everything You Know About Ukraine Is WRONG
Some sense on the Russia-Ukraine war
British volunteer soldier in Ukraine tells his story
Virtue signaling over Ukraine
Fluoridation and child IQ – the problem of counting chickens before they hatch
August ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
July ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
June ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoridation group tells porkies about NZ fluoridation review
Opponents of fluoridation all at sea with new legislation
Update of NZ fluoridation review timely and useful
May ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation contribution to heavy metals in drinking water is too low to measure
April ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Hip fractures in the elderly and fluoride – contradictory evidence
March ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
An open letter to Paul Connet and the anti-fluoride movement
February ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Data dredging, p-hacking and motivated discussion in anti-fluoride paper
Censorship: Thinking you are right – even if you’re wrong
Embarrassing knock-back of second draft review of possible cognitive health effects of fluoride
The promotion of weak statistical relationships in science
Can we trust science?
January ’21 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
I don’t “believe” in science – and neither should you
December ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Science is often wrong – be critical
November ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Hyping it up over fluoridation
September ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
August ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
July ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Even studies from endemic fluorosis areas show fluoride is not harmful at levels used in fluoridation
Canadian studies confirm findings of Broadbent et al (2015) – fluoridation has no effect on child IQ
Child IQ in countries with endemic fluorosis imply fluoridation is safe.
Anti-fluoride 65 brain-fluoride studies not evidence against fluoridation
June ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking delayed
Another study used by anti-fluoride activists actually shows community water fluoridation OK
May ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
When scientists get political: Lead fluoride-IQ researcher launches emotional attack on her scientific critics
New study touted by anti-fluoridation campaigners actually indicates fluoridation is safe
No relationship of bone cancer to fluoridation – another new study the anti-fluoride brigade will attempt to ignore
New review finds fluoride is not a developmental neurotoxicant at exposure levels relevant to fluoridation
April ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoride campaigners still rely on irrelevant studies
Author confirms anti-fluoridation activist misrepresentation of her work
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 6: Incestuous relationship of these studies
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 5: Don’t censor yourself
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 4: Till et al (2020)
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 3: Riddell et al (2019)
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
No; a new study from Ethiopia does not indicate fluoridation is bad for your bones
Anti-fluoridationists put faith in new “strong” studies to provide evidence missing in draft NTP review
Industry-funded translation can introduce bias in selection of studies for scientific review
Another embarrassment for anti-fluoride campaigners as neurotoxic claim found not to be justified
February ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Beware of scientific paper abstracts – read the full text to avoid being fooled
January ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation and sex steroid hormones – or the mouse that roared
What are the recent fluoride-IQ studies really saying about community water fluoridation?
December ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation science and political advocacy – who is fooling who?
Scientific integrity & fluoridation – Dr Ghali responds
Sleep disorders and fluoride: dredging data to confirm a bias
Some fluoride-IQ researchers seem to be taking in each other’s laundry
Statistical manipulation to get publishable results
Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
October ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
ADHD and fluoride – wishful thinking supported by statistical manipulation?
Experts complain to funding body about quality of fluoride-IQ research
What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
September ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Biostatistical problems with the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
Fluoridation – A new fight against scientific misinformation
An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
August ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Bye, bye to the collusion lie
If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help
Anti-fluoride activists misrepresent a new kidney/liver study
July ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
MH17 tragedy- 5 years on
June ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Chemical watchdog confirms suppressed report but justifies the suppression
May ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Does international chemical watchdog cherry-pick evidence to confirm a bias?
Psychology of Russiagate – an adult discussion for a change
April ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Russiagate – Some insights into its origins and results
Russiagate: Lessons for the media. But will they listen?
March ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Aftermath of the Mueller report – the media starts looking at itself
Mueller report to be released mid April – but it will be redacted
Collapse of the “Russiagate ” myth exposes how corporate media has failed
Getting out alive – why we should always demand evidence
Terrorism in Christchurch – some thoughts
“Disinformation” and the mainstream media
February ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
January ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Preempting the annual misrepresentation of NZ dental health data by anti-fluoride activists
December ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation: Another study shows stopping fluoridation bad for child tooth decay
November ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Media manipulation – the tail wags the dog
Protection of teeth by fluoride confirmed – yet again
And you thought Russiagate could not get sillier.
Trump and the media – codependents wallowing in the mud
Julian Assange’s mother appeals for her son’s freedom
October ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Nuclear dangers if INF treaty abandoned could be worse than in the 1980s
Fluoridation and ADHD: A new round of statistical straw clutching
September ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
September ’18 NZ blog ranking – delayed
Flight MH17 tragedy in Ukraine – new evidence
Novichock detection and the Salisbury tourists
A more convincing take on prenatal maternal dietary effects on child IQ
Fluoridation: “debating” the science?
Opportunities and problems for grassroots activism offered by the internet
August ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Who is weaponising the vaccination debate?
Another BUK accident in Ukraine
Policing social media – who is coming next and who is behind it?
Political interference prevents investigators from considering the “bleeding obvious”
July ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Mainstream media “mob violence” over Helsinki summit
Blatant misreporting of latest OPCW report on chemical weapons in Syria
Time for a serious auditing of Porton Down’s nerve agent stocks?
June ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoride campaigners exhaust their legal channels with another loss
Magical World Cup Gala Concert
May ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoridation activists buy scientific credibility using a predatory publisher
Another shonky OPCW chemical incident report on Syria
Not just another rat study
Russian sports doping scandal looking like an illusion?
April ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Mainstream media-political alliance gets vindictive
Novichock – a marketing ploy?
The “heart of the Syrian chemical weapons programme” destroyed?
OPCW on Salisbury poisoning – one step forward, two back?
Anti-fluoridationist Paul Connett misrepresents NZ data
Anti-fluoridationists rejection of IQ studies in fluoridated area.
March ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
A conference paper on the maternal prenatal urinary fluoride/child IQ study has problems
The 52 IQ studies used by anti-fluoride campaigners
The real lessons from Vladimir Putin’s re-election
Why is it so difficult to get an open discussion on fluoridation?
Mary Byrne’s criticism is misplaced and avoids the real issues
Anti-fluoride group coordinator responds to my article
Where could you get a nerve agent in Salisbury?
The first casualty . .
Paul Connett’s misrepresentation of maternal F exposure study debunked
February ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Anti-fluoride activist commits “Death by PowerPoint”
Paul Connett “updates” NZ MPs about fluoride?
Anti-fluoride activists misrepresent another thyroid study
Fake news from the White Helmets returns
RT election subversion – yet again?
January ’18 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Yet another fluoride-IQ study
So you are saying . . . . . !
Jordan Peterson demonstrates the importance of free speech
Select your conspiracy theory and connect the dots
Whose who in the Russiagate affair – an infographic
A week of good news in New Zealand
Is “Russiagate” another deception like Iraqi WMDs?
“Fire and Fury” exposes the fundamental problems of the anti-Trump movement
Confirmation bias – we all suffer from it but how can we reduce its effect?
December ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Yet another way Russia is undermining our society
Anti-fluoridationists misrepresent New Zealand dental data – an annual event
Fluoridation means money in the pocket
Anti-fluoridation campaigners often use statistical significance to confirm bias
November ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The problem with scepticism
Chemical weapons use in Syria UN report flawed by political bias
Anti-fluoride “expert” finds the real reason oral health has improved – and it’s not fluoride
Meat substitutes – prospects and new ethical questions
October ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
New fluoride debate falters
Political maturity in New Zealand – at least compared to the US
Flaw and porkie in anti-fluoride report claiming a flaw in Canadian study
Do we need a new fluoride debate?
September ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Endemic fluorosis and its health effects
Maternal urinary fluoride/IQ study – an update
Fluoride, pregnancy and the IQ of offspring
Facts about fluorosis – not a worry in New Zealand
We need more post-publication peer review
Cassini plunges into Saturn tonight – a grand finale
What’s with the anti-fluoridationist promotion of dental health programmes?
Non-violence in the defence of free speech
August ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation not associated with ADHD – a myth put to rest
From Charlottesville to Boston – a lesson
Hypocrisy, irrationality and wise words from Monty Python
Are we all anti-fascist now?
Are fluoride researchers sacked for their findings?
Fluoridation and cancer
Local anti-fluoride activists tell porkies yet again
July ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The main stream media is out of touch
Don’t rely on sources – follow the evidence
Stovepiping to produce fake news
June ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Darwin, sexual selection and Putin
Fluoridation: Open letter to Democrats for Social Credit
Fluoridation: What’s happening with the New Zealand legislation?
May ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The “information war” and social media, or how to tell if you are a Kremlin troll
Anti-fluoridationists commonly misrepresent Ministry of Health data
ChildSmile – a complement, not an alternative, to fluoridation
Fluoridation helps protect adult teeth as well as children’s
Fluoridation: the truth about heavy metal contamination
Visualising the numbers – The Fallen of World War II
Bottle fed infants: fluoridated water not a problem
April ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Citing scientific studies and the arrogance of ignorance
No, fluoridation is not associated with leading causes of death
Anti-fluoridationists exploit infant deaths by fiddling statistics
Here we go again
The Putin Derangement Syndrome
Bottle fed infants: fluoridated water not a problem.
March ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Another anti-fluoridation whopper
2018 Global Atheist Convention
Fluoridation: Making sense of the Ministry of Health data
Fluoride, coffee and activist confusion
Trump didn’t invent the problems – and his opponents didn’t invent protest
Anti-fluoride authors indulge in data manipulation and statistical porkies
Be careful what you wish for
An Oscar for Al Qaeda?
February ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
EPA comprehensively debunks anti-fluoride claims of a fluoride-IQ effect
Anti-fluoridationists go to Supreme Court – who is paying for this?
Debunking a “classic” fluoride-IQ paper by leading anti-fluoride propagandists
Islamophobia or mental illness?
Tha Amnesty report – and a response from Syria
Non-fluoridated Christchurch does not have better teeth than fluoridated Auckland
January ’17 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Debunking anti-fluoridationist’s remaining 12 reasons for opposing fluoridation
Madonna teaches us a lesson in critical thinking
New research confirms adults benefit from community water fluoridation as well as children
Premature births a factor in cognitive deficits observed in areas of endemic fluorosis?
Sources our mainstream media uses to promote their narrative about Syria
More nails in the coffin of the anti-fluoridation myths around IQ and hypothyroidism
Water fluoridation – what to expect in the near future
Fluoridation: New scientific review of fluoride and oral health
Critical thinking, not censorship, is the solution to fake news
Anti-fluoride IQ claims are false
December ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Large Swedish study finds no effect of fluoride on IQ
Fake news and the new fact-free reporting paradigm
Fluoridation: New research confirms it is cost effective – yet again
Fluoridation: members of parliament call from submissions from scientific and health experts
Fake news, human suffering and the fight against terrorism
November ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Sometimes I think the world has gone mad
Leader of flawed fluoridation study gets money for another go
White Helmets confirm authenticity of acted “rescue” video
Manufacturing news, and opinion, about Syria
Why should we subsidise religious leaders and their silly statements?
Warriors, scouts, Trump’s election and your news media
US elections – who should you be angry with?
Trump’s victory – why the surprise, why the anger?
Anti-fluoride claims often not relevant to New Zealand
October ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
White Helmets dupes New Zealand government?
Voluntary media censorship is ethically wrong
Fluoridation not associated with hip fracture, heart attacks of osteosarcoma – new study
Anti-fluoridation activist Paul Connett has a senior moment about our debate
“Humanitarian” intervention and war crimes
Crocodile tears over Syria at UN security council
Anti-Syrian propaganda and the White Helmets
Shyness of anti-fluoride election candidates
Syria & the fog of war
September ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
But will it stand up in court?
Flogging a dead horse – anti-fluoridationists lose in court again
Syria UN Ambassador makes sense of the war in Syria
The shaky Syrian ceasefire agreement staggers on – or does it?
Fluoridation & democracy: Open letter to DHB candidate Andrew Buckley
When will they ever learn?
Ceasefire in Syria is exposing real nature of “moderate” rebels
What do Syrians think of the new cessation of hostilities agreement?
Dissecting pseudoscientific and political propaganda
August ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
An anti-fluoride trick: Impressing the naive with citations
Does community water fluoridation reduce diabetes prevalence?
“Filtering” out fluoride
Rio Olympics – what are those gold medals worth?
Fluoridation – freedom of choice
Is water fluoridation better than salt fluoridation?
Ethics and the doping scandal – a response to Guest Work
Being better informed – unexpected advice from The Guardian
July ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Quantifying the problem of international sports doping
Dental health – it’s not all about fluoride
The Putin diversion
The insult of low expectations
MH17 tragedy – 2 years on
Misrepresenting fluoride science – an open letter to Paul Connett
Are you really right?
June ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Why don’t feminists fight for Muslim women?
Permission to have that conversation
A cynical take on effective speakers
Richard Dawkins – speech to Reason Rally, 2016
Chemophobic scaremongering: Much ado about absolutely nothing
MH17 tragedy – new investigation launched
Fluoridation: News media should check press releases from anti-fluoridationists
Fluoridation debate: Responding to Tom O’Connor
May ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
New review shows clear economic benefits from community water fluoridation
Debating fluoridation and tyranny – Tom O’Connor responds
Attempting a tyranny of the minority on fluoridation
Writing to please the reader’s ear
Fluoridation: One small step sideways?
New research confirms water fluoridation does not cause bone cancers
Public discussion of science can be toxic
Fluoridation cessation studies reviewed – overall increase in tooth decay noted
Mistakes were made – but by who?
Don’t be fooled by simple media “science”
“Do the math” – a bit like “Do the research!”
Victory Day celebration of defeat of terrorism in Palmyra
Will we be using contact lens cameras in future?
Barrel bombs, hell cannons, Aleppo and media bias
April ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Korean community water fluoridation supported by new evidence
Science and management – a clash of cultures
Anti-fluoride campaigners cherry-pick irrelevant overseas research but can’t find relevant New Zealand research
Cochrane fluoridation review described as “empty”
Anti-fluoridationists misrepresent new dental data for New Zealand children
A challenge to anti-fluoridationers to justify their misrepresentation of New Zealand research
Fluoridation decisions to be made by District Health Boards
Nadine gives a necessary message to her fellow Muslims
Anti-fluoridationists now scaremonger about silica in your drinking water
Reversed responsibility and the burden of proof
Anti-fluoridation cherry-pickers at it again
March ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation: My podcast with with Howard Farran
Why is Donald Trump so successful – and will he win?
Why are our politicians so silent on Palmyra’s liberation from clutches of Daesh?
The US speaks in two tongues on terrorism
Chemistry is everywhere – even in those natural products
Life for women under Daesh (ISIS)
The toxicity of chemophobia
Anti-fluoridation campaigner, Stan Litras, misrepresents WHO
Hiding behind “experts”
The “interfaith” trap – particularly for atheists
A Chinese study the anti-fluoridation crowd won’t be citing
Misrepresentation, misogyny and misandry – these should concern sceptics
Searching articles on fluoride
February ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Big business funding of anti-science propaganda on health
Anti-fluoridationist’s flawed attacks on Calgary study
Media misleading on Syria
Stephen Fry on Twitter
Richard Dawkins and the Skeptics Conference controversy.
Is the media lying to you about Syria?
Fluoridation: Whakatane teaches us something we should already know
Chemistry – “to dupe, to cheat?”
What a pleasant surprise!
Censorship by demonisation
Once more on the IQ and fluoride myth – why ignore other factors?
January ’16 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoridation: Whakatane District Council makes the Hamilton mistake
New study finds community water fluoridation still cost effective
“Crusade Against Multiple Regression Analysis” – don’t throw baby out with bathwater
Fluoridation: Some simple chemistry
The danger of insisting on your own facts
Flight MH17 in Ukraine – what do intelligence services know?
Iron and fluoride in human milk
Hubris of the google researcher
The Harvard study and the Lancet paper
Cultural and ideological bias in scientific literature reviews
Facts, beliefs and delusions
Science – a method of investigation, not a belief system
Yet another misrepresentation of a dental health study
December ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peer review – the “tyranny” of the third reviewer
Christmas – “White Wine In The Sun”
Community water fluoridation still cost-effective
Democracy and expert advice on scientific issues
Fluoride and IQ – another study coming up
The hardest thing in life . .
Climate deal signed – now for the hard bit: action
Traditions and social arrangements out of step with social diversity
“Natural News” on trial in The Hague for crimes against science
Rejection of scientific studies in online discussions
Another defeat for anti-fluoridation claims about arsenic
November ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The problem with reasoned discussion
John Pilger on Paris, ISIS and Media Propaganda
Science is never done – some scientific terms explained
Studies show – or do they?
Should we trust science? – Wellington talk
Can world leaders learn from the Paris terror attacks?
Anti-fluoride hypothyroidism paper slammed yet again
Cyberchondria and similar “illnesses”
Onehunga and the “fluoride-free” myth
Thames voters decisively support fluoridation
Why doesn’t Putin shirtfront someone?
October ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Scientific papers, civil disobedience and personal networks
The quackery of anti-fluoride internet trolls
Our beautiful planet: Astronaut art works
Christian co-option of karakia
Combatting anti-fluoride Gish gallopers
MH17: Final technical report
Responding to Tracey Brown on fluoridation
“The ugly truth” – Tracey Brown ticks me off
MH17 – another Boeing sacrificed for investigation.
The ugly truth about critics of “the ugly truth” in science
Many Syrians see Russians as saviours
Door knockers should pay to interrupt us
September ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoride: More scaremongering using drug warnings
Putin’s UN address: “Do you realise what you’ve done?”
Obama’s United Nations address: “We Must Stamp Out ‘Apocalyptic Cult’ ISIS”
European and Māori major non-believers in NZ
Cochrane responds to misrepresentation of their fluoridation review
ChildSmile dental health – its pros and cons
Should all scientists really be militant atheists?
The Alternative Medicine Racket
The chemical party
A job with a view – but not for the clumsy
Fluoridation: Freedom of choice – and responsibility
My talk to the Reason & Science Society – an invite
Why the internet annoys chemists
Freedom of religion and belief – not a license to interfere with others
Humanitarian intervention – but when & how?
Discussing science on social media
August ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Australian census religion question – progress
In the end, it came down to the science in Denver
Subverting democratic consultation on the fluoride issue
Religious instruction scrapped from school curriculum in Victoria
Alternative reality of anti-fluoride “science”
What is life?
Anti-fluoride propagandists get creative with statistics
Fluoridation: Connett’s criticism of New Zealand research debunked
Fluoridation: Connett’s naive use of WHO data debunked
Time to give up on Sitemeter
70th anniversary of first use of atomic weapon against civilians
Connett misrepresents the fluoride and IQ data yet again
Fluoridation: Newsweek science journalism bottoms out
July ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The bureaucratic solution to a problem
Fluoridation: “Sciencey” sounding claims ruled unacceptable
Comparing the Cochrane and NZ Fluoridation Reviews
Rapid change in attitudes to marriage equality
Scaremongering and chemophobia
MH17 tragedy: 1 year on
Talk of “mini ice age” bunkum
Progress in removing religious instruction from public schools?
Fluoridation: Beliefs about safety and benefits
Climate change: Our time really is running out
Cochrane fluoridation review. III: Misleading section on dental fluorosis
June ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Cochrane fluoridation review. II: “Biased” and poor quality research?
Cochrane fluoridation review. I: Most research ignored
What is causing warming of the earth?
New science bloggers wanted for Sciblogs 2.0
Gagging of scientists – a common problem?
I wish more people were aware of this
Misrepresentation of the new Cochrane fluoridation review
News media – telling us how to think
Misrepresenting the York fluoride review
Fluoridation: Misrepresenting the “saliva theory”
Something to consider
Fluoridation and horses – another myth
Science and social media in new Zealand
Monday morning proverb
Fake weight-loss study example of wider problem
Calcium fluoride and the “soft” water anti-fluoridation myth
May ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Connett & Hirzy do a shonky risk assesment for fluoride
Making mountains out of scientific mole hills
Don’t expect to see chemical safety data sheets in restaurants
RSNZ Science Book Prize winner – Tangata Whenua
Don’t put all the blame on the Germans – a lesson from World War II
The problem of “Fact-Resistant Humans”
What a nice idea
Water fluoridation effective – new study
Follow the money?
The distrust of science – a task for science communication
We always seem to ignore the causes
April ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Wise words from Carl Sagan
Poor peer review – and its consequences
Connett fiddles the data on fluoride
ADHD link to fluoridation claim undermined again
Commercial and ideological support of anti-fluoride activity
Why is Vladimir Putin so popular in the USA?
Is comfirmation bias essential to anti-fluoride “research?”
The will to find out
IQ not influenced by water fluoridation
Making sense of scientific research
The frustrations of modern technology
March ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Poor peer-review – a case study
The arrogance of science?
New Zealand science book prize – 2015 Short list
ADHD linked to elevation not fluoridation
Anonymous comments on social media
More poor-quality research promoted by anti-fluoride activists
Free download – “Severe dental fluorosis and cognitive deficits”
Are submissions on fluoridation worth it?
Social media and science – the problems and the challenge
A couple of “oldies” inject some sense into international politics
Open letter to Lisa Hansen on NZ Fluoridation Review
February ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Paper claiming water fluoridation linked to hypothyroidism slammed by experts
Dirty tactics by anti-fluoride activists in Taupo
NZ Fluoridation review – Response to Micklen
NZ Fluoridation review – HS Micklen responds to critique
Did business interests interfere with Hamilton’s fluoride tribunal process?
A perspective of distances in space
Download report analysing anti-fluoride attacks on NZ Fluoridation Review
Social health policies, freedom of choice and responsibility
Reality of war for civilians
Stephen Fry not pulling any punches
January ’15 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
US meddling in Ukraine behind coup
Sunday reading – Richard Dawkins reads some of his “fan mail”
Is debating with anti-science activists worth the effort?
Six months on – concerns about MH17 investigation
Severe dental fluorosis and cognitive deficits – now peer reviewed
Those evil chemicals
“Internet and social media misinform thousands daily”
“I just know”
The victims of terror
Fluoride Free NZ report disingenuous – conclusion
Spotting Bad Science
October ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
December ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The MH17 blame game
Science never claimed to know everything
Special pleading by Philippe Grandjean on fluoride
The inverted ethics of doxxing?
Fascinating and painless chemistry lessons
Did the Royal Society get it wrong about fluoridation?
“Do your own research!”
Dirty politics over MH17?
Cherry-picking and misinformation in Stan Litras’s anti-fluoride article
Today’s fantasy, tomorrow’s possibility
The farce of a “sciency” anti-fluoride report
November ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Creationist ‘audits’ science museum
“Real” experts’ on climate change? Really?
Water fluoridation and dental fluorosis – debunking some myths
Proving anecdotes are reliable
Declan Waugh pushes another anti-fluoride myth
Severe dental fluorosis the real cause of IQ deficits?
Catch 22 in Ukraine
Let’s rely on anecdotes instead!
Standing up to junk science in New Zealand
Declan Waugh claims it’s “clear as day”
Unusual photo of Moon and Earth.
Criminal investigation of MH17 tragedy – where is it at?
There is something about those climate records that keep getting broken
Putting politicans in their place on climate change
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 – what really happened?
Fluoridation – a racist conspiracy?
Curiosity’s historic comet photo
When science deniers turn to science
Fluoride debate: Second response to Rita Barnett-Rose – Daniel Ryan
Fluoride debate: Response to Daniel Ryan’s critique – Rita Bartlett-Rose
Fluoride debate: A response to Rita Barnett-Rose – Daniel Ryan
Fluoride debate: The scientific evidence against fluoridation – Rita F. Barnett
Another legal defeat for NZ anti-fluoridation activists
Anti-fluoridation propagandists promoting shonky “review”
How to change your Mind – and why it is good for you
The science and politics of climate change
Science and belief
September ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peer review of an anti-fluoride “peer review”
The information war – The NZ Listener takes up arms
MOM “a thousand times better than cricket”
Activist’s anti-science adverts found misleading – again
Don’t you get tired of this?
It’s time we did something about sugar
Crude dredging of the scientific literature
Anti-fluoride activists define kangaroo court as “independent”
MH17 – Preliminary report leaves most conspiracy theories intact
Do you prefer dental fluorosis or tooth decay?
Emotion Drives Decision
Ingested fluoride, dental health and old age
August ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Sad news – Victor Stenger has died
Making money out of fanatics
Dirty politics on the Royal Society fluoride review
Review finds community water fluoridation safe and effective
Anti-fluoride activists unhappy about scientific research
The Mind of the Science Denier
Open letter to Jane Nielson – a “fluoridation convert.”
Accidental Renaissance – or intuition?
Tactics for science denial
Natural News comes out with a load of heavy metal rubbish on fluoride
July ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Declan Waugh continues his distortion of Finnish fluoride research
Another fluoridation whopper from Declan Waugh
I am still waiting for my cheque
An answer to the anti-fluoride critics – in one image
Some answers to the confusion about the #MH17 crash site
Informed parents know water fluoridation is good for their children
Making political capital out of the deaths of innocents
Elected officials must ignore activists and listen to own voters
The irony of some peer-review and citation complaints
Ken Ring pontificates on climate change
Anti-science US Congressman on House science Committee!
“Creative” reporting of fluoridation science
What happens when fluoridation is stopped?
June ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Controversial IQ study hammered in The Lancet
New group challenging the anti-science brigade
Fluoridation: what about reports it is ineffective?
Approaching scientific literature sensibly
Declan Waugh’s misinformation on fluorosilicic acid
A healthy attitude towards quantum mechanics
An open letter to Declan Waugh – new mechanism for fluoride toxicity?
Toxicity is in the dose or concentration of fluoride
Councils and scientists targeted by anti-fluoride activists
Lugansk – a modern Guernica?
Inna Kukuruza – “her eyes spoke to the whole world”
Connett’s hypocrisy on fluoride & IQ
May ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Confirmation blindness on the fluoride-IQ issue
Where do teeth come from? The stork theory
There is research and there is “research”
Fluoridating water does not lower IQ – New Zealand research
Fluoride and IQ – once more
Another anti-fluoride myth in the making
A balanced debate
It’s all the fashion in Ukraine
Fluoridation: What a difference a year makes?
Wishart misrepresents fluoride science to advance his extreme ideology
Fluoridation: emotionally misrepresenting contamination
April ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peer review, shonky journals and misrepresenting fluoride science
Ingested fluoride is beneficial to dental health.
Anti-fluoridation advertising deceptive
Fluoridation: putting chemical contamination in context
The first victim!
An outdated tax anomaly – charitable status of relgion
Declan Waugh scaremongers over fluoride – again
Arrogance of ignorance?
Pandering to anti-fluoridation campaigners
International cooperation in space serving humanity
Is anyone listening?
March ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Scientific cooperation despite political posturing
Fluoridation returns to Hamilton City.
European border changes over 5000 years
Dental fluorosis: badly misrepresented by FANNZ
What makes something right or wrong?
How do we know what is true?
Cherry-picking and ring-fencing the scientific literature
Fluoride and heart disease – another myth
Graphic information in science
Corporate backers of anti-fluoride movement lose in NZ High Court.
Terry Pratchett making sense
Fluoride and the 5 easy steps of a conspiracy theory
February ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Pseudoscience in your supermarket
Another god debate
Repeating bad science on fluoride
Truth about those science fairs
Quality and selection counts in fluoride research
The precautionary principle
How can scientists use social media?
Curiosity sees a familiar “evening star.”
The fluoride debate – what do the experts say?
January ’14 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Entertainment is brain exercise
Download The Fluoride Debate
Determining scientific knowledge by petition
Fluoride debate: Final article – Ken Perrott
Fluoride debate: Paul Connett’s Closing statement
The good(?) old days of scientific writing
Most of us missed this one
False balance and straw clutching on fluoridation
Who is funding anti-fluoridation High Court action?
Astro-turfing for scientific credibility
Losing trust in religious leaders
Conspiracy theorists misuse analytical evidence
All things bright and beautiful
December ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoride debate: Ken Perrott’s closing response to Paul Connett?
Putting vaccination risks into context
Fluoride debate: Arguments Against Fluoridation Thread. Part 8. Paul
Alan Turing receives royal pardon
The true meaning of Christmas
Where is the heat going?
Fluoride debate: Response to Paul’s 5th article
Back to the moon!
Fluoride debate: Arguments Against Fluoridation Thread. Part 5. Paul
Census 2013 – religious diversity
Fluoride debate: Response to Paul’s 6th article.
Testing the God theory
Fluoridation debate: Against Fluoridation Thread. Part 6.
November ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
‘The particle at the end of the universe’ wins Winton Prize
Fluoridation debate: Why I support fluoridation – 2nd reply to Connett
Psychics have it easy these days
Fluoride Debate: Why I support fluoridation – 2nd response from Connett
From dental neglect to child abuse?
Fluoride Debate: Why I support fluoridation – response to Connett
Fluoride debate: Why I support fluoridation – Response from Connett
Word of wisdom, and otherwise
Have local climate pseudosceptics come to the end of the road?
Fluoride debate: Why I support fluoridation
Sin is relative
Fluoride debate – I get email
Fluoride debate Part 1a – response to Connet’s response: Perrott
Fluoride debate – some housekeeping
Fluoride debate Part 1a – response: Connett
October ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fluoride debate Part 1: Perrott
Fluoride debate Part 1: Connett
The fluoride debate – introduction
The origins of ethics and violence
What’s really true?
Anti-fluoridation porkies – Mullinex’s rats
Science and faith
NZ climate change “sceptics” abandon appeal
Christianity has hijacked human values
Fluoridation: Hangout with the University of Waikato
The universe – it is bigger than you think
Our Far South – time we learned about it
Christian ethics and Peter Singer
Fluoride – friend or foe: a lecture
Cyber bullying of science
Fluoridation: the hip fracture deception
September ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Tim Minchin – an inspirational speech to graduates
Jon Stewart interviews Richard Dawkins
Anatomy of an anti-fluoridation myth
NZ experts deplore anti-fluoridation misrepresentation of science
Helping kids to wonder
Fluoridation – the IQ myth
When politicians and bureaucrats decide the science
Welcome counter to scientific and health misinformation
New “evidence” for global cooling?
Phobos eclipses the sun – as seen by Curiosity
Dentists you can trust?
Activists peddle chemical misinformation for fluoridation referenda
August ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Cherry picking fluoridation data
Anti-fluoridationist astro-turfing and media manipulation
Anti-fluoride activists attempt to silence science
Crazy ideas and “supernatural” phenomena
Experts speak out on fluoridation
Fluoride sensitivity – all in the mind?
Earthquakes and twitter
Cyber-bullying – what’s with sunscreen?
Anti-fluoridation study flawed – petition rejected
News media influences public trust in science
The “consensus message” in communicating science
Hamilton – the water is the problem, not the fluoride!
Topical confusion persists
Celebrate your curiosity – one year on
July ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Is this the way to reorganise science?
The limits of science and a world record
Water treatment chemicals – why pick on fluoride?
Are you qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell?
The Galileo fallacy and denigration of scientific consensus
A new Cosmos
Michael Mann’s defamation lawsuit on track
Is fluoridated water a medicine?
Debunking anti-fluoridation myths
Source of moral authority has shifted
Fluoridation – an organised campaign to misinform.
Hamilton gets its fluoridation referendum
Not your usual rocket launch
Fluoridation – topical confusion
Communicating climate science – Michael Mann comments
Fluoridation and conspiracy theories
Richard Dawkins learns about the Bible
Fluoridation – the violation of rights argument.
June ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The victim mentality of conspiracy theorists
Poisoning the well with a caricature of science
Fluoridation petition – for Hamilton citizens
The importance of books for kids
Fluoridation – it does reduce tooth decay
Stop feeling guilty
Getting a grip on the science behind claims about fluoridation
Is fluoride an essential dietary mineral?
Will Hamiltonians finally get a voice on fluoridation?
Scientists, political activism and the scientific ethos
Fluoridation – are we dumping toxic metals into our water supplies?
When science is under attack
Tactics and common arguments of the anti-fluoridationists
Hamilton City Council reverses referendum fluoridation decision
Global warning in science fiction
May ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peter Singer on effective charity
The science of consciousness
Collapse of Arctic sea ice
An eReader breakthrough?
Singing about the periodic table
Black cat in a dark room – and the role of science
A New Zealand climate change pseudosceptic apologises!
Pseudosceptics are at it again – misrepresenting and attacking climate scientists
Chris Hadfield’s 5-month Space Mission in 90 Seconds
Confusion and distortion – has global warming stopped?
“Incontrovertible” is it, Rodney?
Video coverage of astronauts’ return to earth next Tuesday morning
A beggar’s market?
The limits of philosophy
April ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
‘The Unbelievers’ and science
A global warming hoax meme is born – in New Zealand too!
Friday follies – what happened to the “official AGW hypothesis?”
Fiddling with census figures for religion in New Zealand
The beginning (of the universe) for beginners
Terrorism and the West’s obsession with oil
Marriage equality, retribution and moral progress
A sombre night in Boston
Moving into the mainstream – on the coat tails of the “New Atheists”
Thatcher, Monckton and Pinochet
Potty Peer in Waikato
New Zealand Blog ranking Montage
What is global temperature?
I was wrong about Lord Monckton
New “Hockey Stick” but same tired old denial
March ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
April Fools and Agenda 21
Christchurch from space
A war between religion and science?
Climate contrarians/deniers are cherry picking again
Dishonesty of intelligent design “research”
Something for all those lapsed catholics
Dawkins’ new book
Our world from the International Space Station
Creationists prefer numerology to real scientific research
Talking sense about morality
Extreme confirmation bias in action
Greedy Lying Bastards
Those arguments against marriage equality
Census 2013: That religion question
Climate change is not simple
February ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
A sensible Christian perspective on Peter Singer
No immutable truths, no eternal dogmas
Global climate – and your grandchildren
Entertaining – and the science is good
The truth about the hockey stick
Origins of religious ethics and violence
Sean Faircloth, Director of Richard Dawkins Foundation, visiting NZ
The Russian meteor – what we know
Should we be prepared?
Does religion blur understanding of evolution?
The “dynamic duo” of science?
A day for cheap shots
Science as the best, possibly only, way to truth
The reality of cancer
Education should never validate ignorance
“Divine commands” and personal conscience
January ’13 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Is your region warming?
No cause for alarm – if you cherry pick
The political alarmism behind climate change denial
Can philosophers, or anyone, tell us what is “right” and “wrong”?
History of science – for Kiwis
What a shock!
Who is guilty of misusing science?
Deconstructing climate change, and its deniers
Amazing photos of Shuttle Endeavour flight deck
Australia’s “New Normal?”
Going beyond the evidence
A time for hypocrisy
Historians and sociologists just as human as scientists
December ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
A problem with logic
Historians and sociologists lecture scientists – about science
Wonders of Life coming – we hope
A dose of reality
Pulling the wool over the eyes of the faithful
Scientists and philosophers discuss morality and meaning
Christmas present from NASA
At last – Moving Naturalism Forward videos
Getting the Book Invented
Sense on evolutionary psychology.
Does science have a cognitive privilege?
Sceptical humility and peer review in science
Cancer – an emotional rollercoaster
Sceptical arrogance and evolutionary psychology
And now for a bit of drama
Agreement polar ice sheets are melting
November ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Regarding women as animals
Christmas present for nerds – what about science books?
Time for philosophical honesty about Darwin
Religion in schools – a sensible approach
Climate change deniers don’t understand expertise
The arrogance of supernatural privilege
Morality and non-human animals
More damage from megastorm Sandy
Capturing kid’s minds with emotions
That particle again
Who were Stalin’s victims?
Reports from the Moving Naturalism Forward workshop
The elephant in the US elections
October ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life. Episode 3: Meaning
Who are these “credible experts”?
The mini-iPad and original sin
Death – part 2 of a series
Beer, anxiety and depression – their origins
Why (some) Christians support discrimination
Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life – Sin
Moving Naturalism Forward
A concise summary of climate change – science and politics
From evolution to belief
Are you offended yet?
This has to stop
Sneaking in the magic man
Naturalism and science are incompatible
None so blind
A Kiwi makes it to Mars!
September ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The most important place you didn’t know about
A useful map of the human body
The paradoxes of theological gullibility
The internet – Yeah, right!
US air traffic on a typical day and on September 11, 2001
Finish the sentence . . .
People saying stupid things on the Internet
Another anti-science attack on Mann fails – but the lies continue
Secularism – its internal problems
Politics and economics of Arctic ice loss
Internet silos become ideological ghettos
Climate change denier’s false “deep distress” fools no-one
Changing that light bulb while in denial
High Court ruled on integrity – not science
New Zealand climate change denial defeated
I don’t know!
Making giant flowers out of fireworks
Moral evolution in today’s society
August ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Drifting moral values
Subjective morality – not what it seems?
Objective or subjective laws and lawgivers
Neil Armstrong by Buz Aldrin
The science philosophy “conflict”
Making sense of religion, science, and morality
Kiwi science fiction with a message
Science – the greatest story ever told
A sundial on Curiosity?
Scientific shift work
Cynical evangelisation of children
Curiosity requires patience
Going for gold – on Mars
A load of science
July ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
NZ Blog Rankings FAQ
So scientism = non-theism?
Saying it with flowers
What really happens in religious instruction classes?
What Is Life? From Schrödinger to Watson to Venter
Their mission – values or advancement of religion?
The story behind the High Court action
Ethical enquiry or moral instruction?
Scepticism, denial and the high court
William Lane Craig’s philosophy – the condensed version
So you think science has a problem?
Peter Singer on the misrepresentation of Peter Singer
Human values are secular
End of life decisions
Why the Higgsteria?
Cost of scientific research – and political naivity
The creationism controversy – a summary
Is there room for religion in science?
June ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Scientific knowledge should trump “belief”
Seven Minutes of Terror
Australian census confirms healthy trend
Science is messy – for girls too!
Print-on-demand books – what’s the hold-up?
How to write a best-seller!
Sharp increase in “nones”
A disciplined discussion
What did Galileo ever do to you?
Gnu bashing once again
The prejudiced journalist
Do atheists need religion?
Mixing values and Jesus in secular education
The Scamtific Method
May ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Scientific knowledge – reliable but not certain
Weather extremes and climate change
“Web monkeys” and science presentation
Dementia – There’s an app for that!
Give them enough rope . . .
Why won’t Inland Revenue subsidise my life expenses?
Human morality is evolving
So you’re considering switching to eBooks?
Welcome to the Anthropocene
Naturalism in science
“Lose” your faith, gain your life?
What’s in store for eBook readers
Heartland ignorant of public relations – let alone science
Belief and morality
What has science ever done for us?
April ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The problem with philosophy
Puddles and “fine-tuning”
Great science talks in Auckland
Science denial is a diversion from the real problems
When the “best explanation” is the worst explanation
Toss out the moderator for a better discussion
Jesus heals – but not cancer!
Emotional time for Shuttle fans
Catholic popes victims of sexual abuse!
Who is committing fraud here?
Morality and the “worship” of reason
The silliness of a self-proclaimed “investigative journalist”
Moral behavior in animals
Conservatives, liberals and purity
The trouble with physics?
Is God incredible – or what?
Science and the folly of faith
March ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Another lousy photo of the sun?
The Sand Creatures
A fuzzy photo of the sun
The “public square” myth
Yes, please try this at home!
Whanganui District Council comes to senses
“Good faith” science – and its enemies
Climate change controversy in context
Shy climate denier in “science team” reveals himself.
The chickens are hatching
February ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The size of things
Theological pretzel twisting
A universe in an eBook (or app)
Souvenirs for scientists
Heartland Insitute gets mail
Heartland’s climategate – and Mann’s book
Bioluminescence in space!
Defeat for imposed prayer
ID research and publications
Theological mental gymnastics over evolution
“What, me worry?” – distorting climate change data
Free will – problems of definition
January ’12 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The scientific method – what about the philosophical method?
In the front lines of the “climate wars”
Who is funding the climate change denial groups?
Our fingerprints are all over it!
The [in]compatibility of science and religion
Comprehending reality – Should we give up so easily?
Nothing is something
Who drives the science/religion conflict?
Choosing your religion
Open letter across the barricade
New book formats
The argument from authority (or lack thereof)
December ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Peter Jackson – Satan’s Little Helper”
“Other ways of knowing” and their result.
Slaughtering some sacred seasonal cows
Reacting to a death with respect and hatred
Christmas present ideas: This Hell would be useful!
Higgs and homeopathy
Christmas gift ideas: Aussie wisdom
Christmas gift ideas: The human mind – a history
Christmas gift ideas: Evolution of gods, morals and violence
Christmas gift ideas: Working on Mars
Christmas gift ideas: One for the kids
Christmas gift ideas: Why we deny climate change
Christmas gift ideas: Thinking of our grandchildren
Christmas gift ideas: How We Know What’s Really True
Christmas gift ideas: Kids – it’s OK to be different!
A debunking handbook provides lessons in science communication
November ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Finding out about the astronomers who found the universe
Climategate 2.0 and “toecurling” journalism
It’s crowded up there
Creative science writing
Royal Society’s science book of year Winton Prize winner.
Reclaiming ‘intelligent design’
A lesson in human logic
Is Keith Ward really that naive about science?
Demolishing Craig on morality
Cultural effect of The Big Bang Theory
Answer simple question – win an iPad
New Zealand in good company. Pity about the USA
October ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
What’s your number?
Concern over William Lane Craig’s justification of biblical genocide
Outsourcing moral decisions to justify genocide
New Zealand happy – some preachers upset!
The never ending battle
Having it both ways
Ranking human conflicts and tyrannies
Dawkins responds to a stalker – Craig gets his debate
Avoiding possible catastrophe – even if you are confused
You CAN be good with God!
Big money behind local climate change deniers?
Historians of science sometimes miss the wood for the trees
Approaching morality scientifically
Ethicists have problems with ethics!
The climate change denial machine
How do you know that?
How We Know What’s Really True
Problems with pdf eBooks – metadata issues
September’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Compulsory payments for advancement of religion – let’s get rid of that.
Some recent recommended science books
Art in science
Where have we been?
Rings around Uranus
William Lane Craig’s “logic”
Science and the “supernatural”
Empathy for colleagues
Approaching a Middle East peace
Atheists aren’t shrill – just disgusting?
What’s this about cosmic rays and global warming?
Making life from the primordial soup
A fight-back – or simply spite?
Evolution and education – advice for teachers
That’s what I like to see in a young woman!
A reminder of reality’s magic
August ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Religious theology of secularism
Martydom of the priveliged
Another book for the kids
Secular democracy and its critics
2012 Global Atheist Convention – Melbourne
Hitler objects to atheist charge
440 FOI requests in one day! From one person!
There is something about Wellington
Some things for the kids
The blinkered view of politics?
I get email
NZ blog rankings update
Is Monckton good value?
The reality of scientific research
Monckton messes own nest
July ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Videos on morality
Pat Churchland on the science of morality
Breivik’s terrorism and science
Terror in Norway
Atlantis returns home – viewed from ISS
Background Briefing for Mockton’s NZ visit
Science has the real debate
Bias in the history of science
Seven years of discovery
Your chance for a free book
That hacking scandal
Are scientists hostile to religion?
Galileo’s modern critics
Debates in the philosophy of science
Does science lead to secularism?
June ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Personal attacks on climate scientists
A silver lining to Expelled?
Galileo’s revolutionary contribution
Science, religion and respect for meaning
Protecting yourself against bullshit
Clarifying some myths in the history of science
Early history of science
Converting beliefs to “truths”
Ideology and violence
Painless science writing
May ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Waking from a coma!
American Imams supporting evolutionary science
A secular bible
Daniel Dennett on conflict between religion and science
Visible signs of the rapture
The Magic of Reality for young people
Don’t drink the punch!
Working on Mars
A non-theist feast down under!
The chances of Royal Weddings arising randomly…
Designer spin II
What’s special about religious “knowledge?”
Climate change lectures in Auckland
April ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Exposing the pretense of Christian unity
Is there a role for science in morality?
Philosophical justifications for morality
Answering questions on morality
Problems with philosophers and theologians
More on the science of morality
Selling the family silver!
Craig brings some clarity to morality?
Foundations of human morality.
Church rejects power of prayer!
Limits of logic
Something to celebrate
Advocating or explaining secular moral values?
March ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
What is Life? Another Great Debate
The Galileo myths
Beauty, mystery and science
Christianity gave birth to science – a myth?
The implausibility of reality
Is atheism bad for science?
Myths within a myth
Thank goodness for eBook Readers
Theistic science? No such thing
The ethics of exploitation
Blogging for New Zealand
Science Under Attack?
Acceptance of science – dangerous for some
Making sense of Ring gate?
February ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
From “Grand Design” to “On Being”
A human response to Christchurch quake
Alan Turing documentary
Taking the census seriously
The future of books – and Santa?
On being philosophical about science
The secular Egyptian protest a good start for a successful revolution
Shonky climate-change denial “science”
Reinterpretation “research” on climate change
A hymn for Darwin Day
Celebrating Alan Turing’s life and achievements
The scientific study of religion
January ’11 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Converging evidence on climate change
eBook “singles” – and the problems
Marie Curie Lecture Series – 2011
Comparing blog visit statistics
Shoddy reporting on “god genes”
The god gene – or is it a meme?
Certainty is useless – a scientific concept
The nature of the science-religion conflict?
“Other ways of knowing” – some sense at last
Culture and the scientific renaissance
Sharing a chemical moment
The moon and the ISS
Secular News Daily – useful source
New views of eclipses
Deriving “ought from is” scientifically?
December ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Science and morality – a panel discussion
A physicist comments on science and morality
A philosopher comments on science and morality
Telling right from wrong – unreligiously
Another local climate change denial meme
Wine and the Watchtower
It’s that time of the year
A handy app for your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad
A philosopher’s Christmas present
Painted into a corner?
Real science – warts and all
WikiLeaks and climategate
2011 – International Year of Chemistry
The “You Can’t Trust Science!” agenda
NASA and old lace
November ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Cutting off your nose for Christmas?
“Other ways of knowing” purpose?
What is the problem?
A victory for secular ethics
The Hitchens – Dembski debate
The joys of eBook readers – the Sony PRS-650 Touch
Secularism is important
Dawkins answers questions
Telling right from wrong?
Can science shape human values?
Some book ideas
The ISS – a decade of growth
October ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
The human mind – a history
Check out those climate change claims on the internet
Waking up to morality
Four signs of a stroke
Can the “supernatural” be of any use?
Are ebooks taking off?
Some pesky delusions
Strident, militant atheists?
Why we deny climate change
Attitudes will change. Life will get better
Your computer is the enemy!
Death by stoning for adultery!
Scientific misconduct and skepticgate
Breaking away – an interesting case study
Sam Harris on The Daily Show
Move over – old fellow!
Hawking’s grand design – lessons for apologists?
Arrested moral development.
September ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Treating statistics sensibly
Not about Einstein
Bus adverts a human rights issue
Check out your ancestors
Trust the experts – if they say what we want
The Bible – a book review
A scientific consensus on human morality
Pope Benny’s speech – graphically
Putting the Pope in his place
Popes cunning straw mannery?
Human Evolution and the Organ of Mind
Mind change – a moral choice?
Putting the IPCC in its place?
Mapping modern science
An unnecessary being?
What is matter? What is materialism?
New science blogs in New Zealand
The Grand Design – neither God nor 42
Earth and Moon from Mercury
The Challenge of the Human Brain
August ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Fallout from Hauser affair spreads
A lesson for NZ critics of climate science?
Nicholas Stern to present Robb Lectures
So you want a conversation?
The myth of the noble scientist
The heart of PZ Myers
After NIWA, God?
Marc Hauser replies – acknowledges mistakes
Hauser misconduct investigation – Full text of Dean’s statement
Fallacy of Fine Tuning
A desperate plea to be noticed?
A stormy future?
A sympathetic take on Marc Hauser and the “scientific misconduct” issue
A paper by Marc Hauser retracted – Harvard Magazine
Climate change is complex
A nice little tool for printing blog posts
“God of the surprises”
Recognising good science bloggers and Big Blog Theory winners
It’s politics, not science
July ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Suzan does a mini- Monckton
Evolution of gods, morals and violence
Is and ought
The new science of morality
Science, faith and limits of knowledge
Liability of scientific denialism to political conservativism
Evolution and the Holocaust
Life on the building site
Theological critiques of billboards required
Support John Abraham against Monckton’s bullying
Ways of not knowing
The changing face of science communication
A regular climate science podcast
Climategate – Journalist withdraws and apologises
Making room for faith in science?
Getting straight on marriage
“Climategate” smears found false – Mann cleared
NZ Atheists Swap Buses For Billboards
June ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Religion in public life – two approaches
Ridiculing ridiculous science commentary
Truth getting it’s boots on!
A question of expertise and credibility
Climate scientist’s’ register?
Kids – it’s OK to be different!
Twinning with Venus
Avoiding grown-up discussion
A competition for Aussie science blogs
Apologies would be nice
Historic shuttle launch photos
Australians concerned about tax exemption for cults
Pseudoscience and anti-science nonsense
Science on New Zealand TV
Hot science blogs
May ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Journalists create world’s first artificial news story!
Don’t trust Monckton!
This is scary!
Theological intrusions into science
God, stop ‘playing science’
Why Don’t We Go To Church?
The heart of opposition to climate science
Last chance – almost!
What’s that about global cooling?
Are you threatened by clarity?
Supporting good science communication
We don’t know!
Monckton and Shimkus get silly together
The Dawkins Delusions
Climate change and the integrity of science
Secularism in Australia and New Zealand
Natural selection or domestication?
April ‘10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Thinking of our grandchildren
Science, values and ethics
Avoiding tax – supernaturally
Climate scientist sues newspaper for false reporting
Climategate, Lord Monckton and Monty Python
Climate change deniers wallets threatened
Climategate summed up
Superstition – inevitable?
Libel Reform campaign continues
RIP Antony Flew
Officially a fake scandal from science perspective
Dangerous science denial
You have to laugh!
A more transparent approach
Orbital debris, the ISS, moon and sun
A space nerd’s Easter
Getting to the truth – gradually
March ‘10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Climate scientist Phil Jones exonerated
The origins of science?
The rickety bandwagon of climate change denial
Are religious scientists worried about their brethren?
The climate change denial industry
Can science answer moral questions?
Periodic Table of of science blogs
Creationism, climate change and scientific denialism
Open Letter from U.S. Scientists on the IPCC
From Melbourne to Copenhagen
Are science and religion compatible?
Chris Mooney interviews Michael Mann on “climategate”
Science bloggers talk teaching
Great photo of the Solar Corona
Clear science communication
Institute of Physics in hot seat
Climate science for you and me
February ’10 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
Richard Dawkins – wrong again!
Freedom of information and responsibility
This game looks familiar
Anti-science lies being exposed – slowly
Deniers distort Phil Jones
New Zealand has bigots too
Belief and social identity
Etiquette for the office global warming denier
NZ blogs sitemeter ranking – February ‘10
Climate change confusion – a conspiracy of sorts
WARNING! People might find us out!
One for the kids
Get your climate change science on the run
Can science solve all problems?
Spinning exoneration of Dr. Michael Mann Into “Whitewash”
Self-exposure – a journalist out of depth
A photographer’s dream
Get in line – who is the odd one out?
I want one of these!
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BCA libels Simon Singh?
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Humanity’s most important image
NZ’s largest science blog network goes live
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The naked emperor
From the keyboards of scientists…
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Charles Darwin – Art & science
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New Hubble images
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Behe’s “objectionable” interview reinstated
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Carl Sagan’s challenge ignored
Behe’s “objectionable” interview
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PZ needs an iPod
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”In recent years I have lamented the absence of any genuine peace movement anymore.” Years? I have been searching sincere souls for ENGINEERING WORLD’S PEACE over a decade and found none.
And now the Russians have apparently forgotten the excuse about neo-nazis they used to invade Ukraine; at least the Russian ambassador to the UK made no mention of it when interviewed by the BBC about the reasons for the invasion.
The whole interview was broadcast, but unfortunately only this small part, about the professionalism of Russian forces in Ukraine, is available online
This seems to be a far longer version of the interview:
I don’t know about “excuses” – they are usually in the mind of the observer, aren’t they? But clearly, the reason for the Russian action was the failure of the diplomatic talks on the guarantees of security in Europe that Russia had been seeking. As I pointed out, they warned that failure to negotiate honestly on these would leave them no alternative than independent “technical-military” action.
Guaranteeing the security of the independent republics in Donbass, demilitarisation and denazification were given as objectives. They are general and I am sure specific objectives will be clearer as the action develops – and I am sure the longer Kiev holds out the longer the list of specific objectives will be.
There is no evidence Russians have abandoned their aim of acting against neo-Nazis. The fact that likely criminal suspects have been identified in the large number of POWs captured in the Mariupol battle and the preparation for legal cases against them surely indicates this.
However, my point here is that the unfortunate growth of ultranationalism in Ukraine after independence meant not only the overthrow of democracy in that country in 2014 but the torpedoing of international endorsed agreements for solving the ethnic problems. This was done with the support of their main sponsor, the USA. In effect, the USA and NATO have operated in tandem with the neo-Nazis not only to destroy Ukraine but also to destroy the European security that had been built up over previous decades.
” specific objectives will be clearer as the action develops”’. Totally agree. I have a clear theory of the (Russian) Putin’s objective. I told my contacts that Ukraine is not a big deal for Putin. Minimum is NATO. Now it is very clear. The question now is how Putin and NATO avoid all-out war. Who want what?
Dear Ken, subject Neo-Nazis and Engineering World’s Peace
Here is my email to Mark Leon Goldberg, UN Dispatch, sent on 2nd June 2022.I include my comment to your post on 22nd May 2022 “confusion about neo-Nazis in Ukraine war”. Hope you will find it acceptable.
UN Dispatch UNdispatch@gmail.com
Jun 1, 2022, 11:14 AM
Fwd: Suggestions to meet people and discuss for Engineering Peace
I sent an email regarding the subject about three years ago (2019 October 24 ) and you responded almost immediately(sent 5:41 AM; received reply 11:11 PM). Now, I sent similar subject a month ago but received no response till now. So I forwarded that email again. May I ask your action or any idea you have for those emails?
For your information here are some actions I have taken regarding the subject.
To Elon Musk on Twitter
[ “Stupid! Attacking others make you a fool. Learn Aikido, last days of late Prof. Morihei Uyeshiba and William James Sidis . From Ai perspective. You will know your stupidity and correct the foolishness before too late. For you and the World.”]
replying to his tweet on 29th April 2022 which says “The far left hates everyone, themselves included!”
To Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook
Hi!Everyone, especially Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Edward Snowden and Best Brains. I am Aung Min from Myanmar. I am using Facebook for Engineering World’s Peace, starting with TheMost Sacred Teachings of Religions about Metta, and trying to build ‘Metta” between Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Edward Snowden. I welcome Metaverse and hope some of you, if not all, will urge Mark Zuckerberg to consider “Building Love among Best Brains” for Metaverse to develop METTA all over infinite-verse. Thank you.
to his facebook communities summit speech.
To Edward Snowden
“Try to think of religious conspiracies: theories and practices. You could become KING of Kings.”
Replying his 03 July 21 tweet which says “ It took years- 8 years and counting in exile- for me to realize that I was missing the point: we talk about conspiracy theories in order to avoid talking about conspiracy practices, which are often too daunting, too threatening, too total.”
To Open Parachute
“| May 22, 2022 at 7:35 pm https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2022/05/22/confusion-about-neo-nazis-in-ukraine-russia-war/#comment-266181 |
Thanks for the information. I found it valuable for engineering peace in that region. Hope you have enough comments and suggestions from as many angles as possible. I will be waiting for further reading.”
on the post Confusion about neo-Nazis in Ukraine-Russia war
Posted on May 22, 2022 https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2022/05/22/confusion-about-neo-nazis-in-ukraine-russia-war/ |
Email to the embassies in my country [Russia, Ukraine, European Union, U.S, Cambodia]
Sun, Mar 6, 5:00 AM
I am Aung Min, retired Myanmar Naval Engineer Officer, organising Engineering World’s Peace.
May I request a precious moment of your Excellency to discuss Engineering Peace for Europe?
Please let me know a date, time and the way the discussion be permitted if my request be granted.
Thanking you in advance
To World Health Organization fb
[“Stupid! You must emphasize daily breathing exercises and eating, drinking habit suitable for climatic and pandemic situations. Stop working for profiteers and think for all ordinary people. ]
commenting on their post on 15th? May 2022 which says
“ From preventing diseases to boosting mental wellbeing, every moves counts. WHO recommends adults to
-at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity; or
-at least 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity
Throughout the week.
Muscle-strengthening activities done at least twice a week also provide additional health benefits.”
To Universities on Twitter
Method of teaching history is more important than the facts and events. Method of teaching holocaust and other hard histories could be the most important for hate reductioon and crisis elimination. The ethic of the teacher is the most important. Check Russia and Ukraine history.
15 February 19
My idea for all universities coordination in strategizing but not just for voting but for “ENGINEERING WORLD’S PEACE”. Also not only students but teachers and authorities must include .
Wished they consider ENGINEERING WORLD’S PEACE.
Hope you find something useful to recondition UN. With Unconditional and Unlimited LOVE ‘Metta’ Aung Min Organizer (for) Engineering World’s Peace (+95)0943202550 (+95)09798657855
I personally have no opinion on why Russia invaded Ukraine. I suspect the only person who does know is Putin, and he’s never going to reveal the real reason.
I just think that, no matter the excuses given, there is no valid reason in these days for a civilised nation to invade another sovereign nation.
Stuart, I think if you follow the diplomatic negotiations since December started by the two draft security treaties and also read the speeches and interviews of Lavrov and Putin the reason for the invasion is very clear. It is also consistent with the warnings about the consequences of the broken promise in NATO movement since 1990 from senior politicians (eg Kissinger and several US ambassadors) and Russia experts like Cohen.
I share your abhorrence of invasions like this and that of Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, the aggression against the former Yugoslavia, etc., etc. All of these were not consistent with international law (but the aggressors always argued they were legal).
But legal arguments are simply justifications – countries act in the interests of their country – not international law. However, in the past, we have resolved situations, at least to some extent by diplomacy and good sense. This time diplomacy wasn’t honest and politicians seem to have lost all reason.
I think the difference in the current case is that the conflict is existential for both Ukraine and Russia and that will determine its outcome. I think that is how both countries see it, and how NATO and the US see it (it is really a proxy war between NATO and Russia). This contrasts with the US invasions – in no case were they existential for the USA and that country survived despite losing most of the wars they were engaged in.
To understand Russia you don’t just look back at decades or even whole of the last century.
You look back centuries.
Russia was threatened by NATO.
USA’s proxy, NATO, deliberately pushed the issue.
Russia won’t feck around and risk seeing another Grande Armee at Moscow’s gate nor watch another fascist horde invest Volgograd (Stalingrad).
They also want to retain their warm water port.
I sympathise completely.
Ken, let’s see if I understand your viewpoint:
Since another country did the same in the past, that justifies the invasion of a sovereign nation now?
The invasion makes no sense to me, no matter the excuses given.
Where have I argued US and NATO invasions justify the present one?
All I have said is that aggressors in the past had argued a justification based on international law – as did the Russian Federation this time. But international law is meaningless. Countries act in their own interest and use such arguments (including human rights, genocide and weapons of mass destruction) as justifications.
The current war may not make sense to you, but it does to a lot of people – including notable politicians, diplomats, and Russian/Ukrainian experts. We shouldn’t deny that knowledge by labelling their presentations as “excuses.”
And let’s not concentrate on the specific invasion. The war in Ukraine has been going on since 2014 and there is a current economic war that has been going on for quite a long time. Many Europeans now say the sanctions war makes no sense to them. They are the ones suffering (not the Russians) “no matter the excuses.”
“Where have I argued that US and NATO invasions justify the present one?”
Since you brought up “US and NATO invasions”, I understood that you were intending or inviting direct comparison of them with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Otherwise, why the mention?
And yes, I totally understand your point that the Russian invasion of the sovereign state of Ukraine actually began in 2014.
Are you asking me to ignore the invasions, bombings, and destruction of countries by NATO and the USA? Are you resorting to the “rule-based” arguments where the USA makes the rules so it can never be accused of breaking the rules?
Why do you react this way to a simple statement of mine:
“I share your abhorrence of invasions like this and that of Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, the aggression against the former Yugoslavia, etc., etc. All of these were not consistent with international law (but the aggressors always argued they were legal).”
The fact is that there are similarities (and of course differences) in all the aggressions. We can condemn the aggressions, but we can also attempt to understand why they occurred. To claim that analysing the reasons for this current invasion is “justification” is simply arguing for ignorance and jingoism. You are being bombarded every day with racist and ideologically motivated “explanations” for this latest aggression and have you condemned these? None of those jingoistic “explanations” contributes anything to our understanding – or to resolving the underlying issues.
And please don’t attempt to put words into my mouth. Attempts to justify the overthrow of an elected president and neo-Nazi aggression against an ethnic minority by calling it a “Russian invasion”: is hardly a responsible position. It is the argument used by the more extreme Ukrainian ultranationalists who are promoting and excusing that aggression. Such a description simply supports these ultranationalists and does not help our understanding of the problems.
I’m not trying to put words into your mouth. Let me repeat myself:
“I personally have no opinion on why Russia invaded Ukraine. I suspect the only person who does know is Putin, and he’s never going to reveal the real reason.
I just think that, no matter the excuses given, there is no valid reason in these days for a civilised nation to invade another sovereign nation.”
I don’t have the expertise or knowledge of that area of the world even to assess reasons/excuses. I recognise my deficiency, so all I am doing is looking at undisputed facts.
As to why I called it a “Russian invasion”, it’s because it is one. Armed Russian troops left their bases in Russia, pretended to have exercises near the border of Ukraine, then crossed the border into Ukraine whilst using those arms to attack Ukrainian troops. Russian armed forces remain within the internationally recognised borders of Ukraine.
No matter the excuses, reasons, justifications, or comparisons, the fact that armed forces of one nation have forcibly crossed internationally recognised borders into another sovereign nation certainly meets the definition of invasion.
Everyone calls the intrusion of February 24th an invasion.
What I reacted to is your assertion that the invasion started in 2014. Which it didn’t What happened was the overthrow of a democratically elected =government followed by civil war and 8 years of shelling and bombing of innocent civilians in the Donbass. Only those attempting to cover up the facts of the coup and the civil war (and the role of neo-Nazi elements in both) refer to 2014 being an invasion.
2014 – armed Russian troops crossed internationally recognised borders into the sovereign nation of Ukraine. They are still there. It’s still an invasion, even if Russia now claims the Crimean peninsula is now part of Russia.
Oh, you are talking about Crimea, not the Donbass.
Actually, there was no invasion there. Not necessary as the Russian troops stationed at their bases in Crimea assisted in security for Crimea as it held its referendum. The Crimeans had been very unhappy about what happened with the collapse of the USSR and had made several attempts since 19981 to get their own independence or autonomy. The results of the referendum were widely predicted and all sensible reporting of the current situation in Crimea indicates the population still support the return to Russia.
The invasion of Crimea was a myth. There were no Russian tanks advancing on Crimea. It was not necessary to cross any borders
But at the time I remember the Ukrainian army tanks advancing on the east of Ukraine and met determined opposition for the locals. In fact, many of these troops defected to the rebels – Poroshenko admitted to 30% so probably more than that.
The collapse of the arming was the reason the Junta and Poroshenko resorted to arming militant ultranationalists in the national guard who were more militantly opposed to the ethnic Russians in the east of Ukraine.
Some observations of my own regarding Ukrainian situation:
Putin has made very clear his non-recognition of the sovereignty of the Ukrainian state. The use of ethnic members of one’s own country residing in the target nation as a pretext to intervene/invade is an old ploy – refer Hitler and the Sudeten Germans of Czechoslovakia in 1938.
Yanukovych was elected in Ukraine based on his apparent support for closer relations with the EU. His reversal of this policy and turn toward Russia instead was seen as a betrayal by enough people, especially in the west of Ukraine, to start the Euromaidan Revolution. Yanukovych was repudiated by his own Ukrainian parliament and showed his true colours by fleeing to and being welcomed by Russia. Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine were threatened by this turn away from Russia, agitated accordingly (with tacit then overt Russian support) and were then easily branded as traitors by ultranationalists (not all of whom were neo-Nazis) and treated as such.
Please do not confuse ultranationalists with neo-Nazis. While outright neo-Nazis may be unwelcome in Russia, the Russians have their own ultranationalists who organise street marches and are very much welcome there. Why ultranationalist banners appear in Kyivan street marches is the same reason as why gang regalia can (currently) be worn openly on our streets – there’s this inconvenient thing called “freedom of expression”. Contrast the Russian treatment of their own anti-Ukrainian-war protesters.
Casting the US and NATO as the “bad bogeymen” in all the above makes about as much sense as McCarthyist “reds under the bed” hysteria did in the US. What Putin wanted was a pro-Russian Ukrainian president receptive to dictation by Moscow, like Lukashenko in Belarus. Ukrainians begged to differ on this.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the democratically-elected president of Ukraine. The fact that his country is still resisting after four months of fighting when many commentators early on said they would be lucky to last four weeks is a measure of how much of Ukraine has rallied to his cause. Long may they continue to resist.
Thanks for your observation, Leonard. They follow the conventional story our mainstream media presents to us. I have responded to some aspects of my article and it’s a pity you didn’t deal with the specific points I made.
I will just respond to some details of your observations in a series of comments.
1: You say: “Putin has made very clear his non-recognition of the sovereignty of the Ukrainian state.” Could you please provide a link, document, or something to support that? My recollection of his article on Ukraine from the middle of last year is that he did, in fact, underscore the right of existing nations, whatever their ethnic makeup, to have a sovereign nation. Specifically referring to Ukraine.
The problem is that we face an extreme demonisation of Russia, and particularly Putin, in our country so it is easy to make assertions like that you have made, which have no basis. I always urge people to actually read the specific speech or article to check out what he did say and not rely on the distortions our media present to us. It might be my scientific training g but I always ty to find the data, the evidence, and not rely on unsubstantiated claims.
Having said this the reality is that the longer this war goes on the less likely there will be a Ukrainian state left. That is sad and I discussed this in my article. All these problems could have been resolved diplomatically and by following agreements like those from Minsk (which had the unanimous support of the UN Security Council – including New Zealand.
We should be asking why honest diplomacy did not occur in response to Russia’s security concerns and why western nations did not follow through with their responsibilities under the Minsk Agreement.
2: Yes, countries do often use the presence of their nationals in other countries as an excuse for possible intervention. We are seeing that possibility now with Hungary, Romania and Poland regarding western Ukraine. And, clearly, a large portion of Ukraine where Russians reside will eventually end up in the Russian Federation. The fact that Hungarians and Russians clamour to take up passports from their home country indicates that these minorities will probably feel happier living in their own country than in Ukraine where they have been subjected to various degrees of discrimination because of the ultranationalist there.
Unfortunately, modern countries almost always have substantial ethnic minorities. The way the USSR incorporated large parts of Russia into Ukraine and the way the USSR collapsed ((largely caused by Russian leaders wanting independence despite the attitude of the people) without resolving these sort of anomalies is now history and we must live with the consequences. Modern countries do this with language and governance policies which give rights to all minorities. Where they don’t, as in Ukraine and some of the Baltic republics, there will only be trouble.
In Ukraine the EU brokered agreement between the president and opposition parties in February 2014 provided a democratic basis for resolving these issues. That agreement was torpedoed because the democratically elected government was overthrown by minority extremist elements in the Maidan demonstration (with the support of the US who were caught deciding the leadership positions of the resulting coup government).
The Minsk Agreements also provide a good basis for resolving the constitutional and ethnic issues and stopping the civil war. Ex-president Poroshenko has now admitted his signature on this agreement was dishonest and his plan was to rearm, with the help of NATO, and resolve the civil war militarily.
Is it any wonder the Russian Federation now says it can no longer trust western governments? They will even ignore the agreements that they do sign. In contrast, the Russians, particularly Putin, championed the Minsk agreements and held off recognition from the breakaway republic until the last moment. (I gather he faced a lot of criticism for that conservative approach). Putin fought very hard to retain the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state. He was perhaps wrong to do so.
3: I do not confuse ultranationalists with neo-Nazis. In fact, “neo-Nazis” as a term is very vague, and its meaning has been undermined by the way the term has been thrown around in our society as a way of demeaning discussion opponents instead of engaging with the real issues. Unfortunately, while I don’t like it “neo-Nazis” is a convenient shorthand. And its undeniable that Nazi-type slogans, tattoos and emblems are commonly used by ultranationalists in Ukraine. Perhaps unsurprising as the surge in nationalist sympathy in Ukraine has made heroes of people like Bandera and Shukhevych leaders of the OUN and the UPA which participated in the ethnic murders and collaborated with German Nazis during the war.
The fact is that the ultranationalists in Ukraine are particularly brutal and evil people. This was evident even before the coup and certainly during the coup and shortly afterwards. They have committed many crimes and murders. There will by a series of human rights tribunal trials coming out of this war which will expose a lot of what they were up to in the Donbass and in Mariupol.
There are of course lots of attempts to explain away this extremism now (although before the war started our media was more honest about them). But I see your attempt to excuse the manifestations of neo-Nazi marches in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities as like wearing gang patches disgusting. Would you excuse the German criminals who appeared before the Nuremberg trials in this way?
Yes, I understand that over 2000 anti-war demonstrators in Russia were arrested and fined for their activity and can condemn that being a peace activist myself in the past (when we actually had a peace movement). But surely you should expect ultranationalists who have murdered and tortured civilians and committed war crimes to be treated much more harshly by the judicial system.
4: I think you have a very idealised picture of the Ukrainian situation. It is an extremely corrupt country. Its politicians are all corrupt. Constitutions seems to be changed more frequently than people change their socks. And presidents get elected with great majorities only to be unelected with very small votes. Remember Poroshenko. And Zelensky was elected on a peace platform and would likely be unelected because of his failure to proceed with the Minsk agreements. In fact, he has been steadily banning all opposition parties. Even in the last week the Ukrainian formalised the ban on some opposition parties and confiscated their property. Zelensky is now seen to be a captive of, and a puppet, for the ultra-right nationalists.
Ukraine is clearly not democratic no matter how much our media tells us it is.
Yes, of course, the Russian political leadership wanted a Ukrainian government which was friendly. Understandable considering their shared ethnicities, histories, family connections and huge trade. Your description as that being “receptive to dictation by Moscow” simply illustrates your political bias. Many of the ex-Soviet countries have friendly relations with Russia but still carry out policies in their own interests and often not in the interests of the Russian government. Yes, also in the case of Belarus.
Your description of Viktor Yanukovych’s international politics is naïve. Yes, he pursued close relations with the EU. In late 2013/early 2014 he refused the offer of a much-needed loan from the EU because the conditions were too harsh (price rises, removal of subsidies, etc) and instead turned to Russia for a condition-free loan of $15 billion. This didn’t mean later negotiations were not on.
Russia’s concern about negotiations with the EU were mainly centred around the problem of how this affected Ukraine-Russia trade and asked for negotiations on handling this. The EU rejected that – but after the coup when Russia no longer had influence in Kiev efforts were made by the EU to handle the issue showing it was still important.
The reality is that Ukraine’s corruption, its lack of democracy and its treatment of ethnic minorities meant it was never going to become a member of the EU. All attempts to enforce reforms on Ukraine have failed and even in the current idealised propaganda about Ukraine EU membership is not considered a reality. In fact, some commentators have said that by the time Ukraine carries out the necessary reforms the EU may no longer exist.
5: Finally, your idealised picture of Ukraine and Zelensky extends to your final comment about the war. The country is not unified in the way you claim – see the map of language distribution.
A sizable fraction of the country is not behind Zelensky at the moment (although they did overwhelming vote for him as a peace candidate). A sizeable portion is excluded from the political life of the country, see their language and cultural rights continually eroded and have been denied local governance expected in modern multi-ethnic countries. You yourself point out that the large Russian minority are seen as traitors and very often treated as such by the SBU, the military, and especially the nationalist militias which have ruled in large parts of the east and south. There is plenty of documentary evidence that the people in the east and south hate Zelensky and the nationalist – and have suffered from them.
I am no military expert but am not surprised at how long this war is taking. Firstly, there is the refusal of Zelensky to proceed with proper negotiations which shows some early promise. The fact is that in the last 8 years the Ukrainian military has been trained and armed to NATO standards, have become battle-hardened with the ongoing civil war in Donbass and has prepared for an eventual military elimination of the breakaway republics. They are well dug in to reinforced positions.
The fact that Russia is unable to safely eradicate the artillery and missile formations which dally attack civilians in Donetsk illustrate this. There is no doubt that Russia and its allies would dearly like to eradicate these placements but cannot do so quick within the current restraints – although I believe they eventually will be able to.
It’s easy for commenters to make judgements about the progress of this war but how many base their judgments on the real situation in Ukraine and Russia. I suggest not many.
Thanks for your prompt response to my comments. Further to these:
“Modern Ukraine was created by Bolshevik, Communist Russia…by separating, severing what is historically Russian land.”
“It should be noted that Ukraine actually never had stable traditions of real statehood. And therefore, in 1991 it opted for mindlessly emulating foreign models….”
From address by the President of the Russian Federation, Feb 21, 2022 at 2235 hours.
So – Ukraine should never have been created in the first place and is an illegitimate state to be criticised in its modern political infancy for emulating foreign political systems. Also ignoring that for much of its history, including under the Cossacks, the governance of the lands which are now Ukraine did not emanate from what is now Moscow.
Ultranationalist and far-right flags and symbols are not confined to Ukraine. The world only became, justifiably, horrified at them during and after the Second World War when the testimonies of the Nuremberg trials became common knowledge. Before then, they were tolerated and even lauded in some sectors of society (e.g Mosley’s Brown Shirts in the UK) and, unfortunately, remain so with groups such as the Proud Boys in the US. Gang patches are tolerated (currently) despite our full awareness of what they can represent. Of course, any actual crimes committed by the adherents of any ideology must be prosecuted. However, unless and until the display of symbols becomes an offence (as is the Swastika in Germany), they can, quite legally, be on public view. Unless you are in Russia, where only supportive nationalist banners are allowed in demonstrations. Incidentally, if “neo-Nazi” is such an imprecise term (which in its strictest sense should be applied only to those who embrace the exact ideology and symbolism of the NSDAP – Nazi – party), why use it at all? The more accurate and catholic term would be “far-right extremists”, who, incidentally, show little evidence of having “moved on” from their hatred of Jewish people.
Demonisation of Western media and NATO in general and the US in particular as distortions and manipulative liars, at the same time accepting Russian statements as unvarnished truth, shows political bias on your part too. Akin to the Donald Trump (a man I detest, by the way) tendency to label any information contrary to his worldview as “Fake News”. Lukashenko’s readiness to permit Russian military access through and from his country of Belarus certainly does imply his readiness to accept dictation from Moscow.
I agree with you that the extremist elements of the Euromaidan Revolution were a minority, albeit one whose presence was (understandably) magnified and highlighted by Russia for its own ends. We will have to agree to differ on how much the Revolution was a legitimate expression of popular will. Certainly, the presence and persistence of over twenty thousand protesters in the Kyiv Maidan alone, in the face of deadly force used against them, argues in my mind that this was a recognition and repudiation by ordinary people of Yanukovych’s acceding to obvious Russian pressure.
You say that Russia has little cause to trust the US and NATO. They in their turn claim they have little reason to trust Russia – the exact situation which perpetuated the Cold War (history actually does not repeat itself but it rhymes quite often). The Poles seem to agree with the NATO assessment, hence their willingness to be both a provider and conduit of military assistance to Ukraine. Finland and Sweden seem to agree also with their new willingness to become part of NATO. Ukraine, with the NATO weapons and military intelligence now being provided to it, rapidly is becoming a NATO member in all but name. Hence Russia could well have a NATO presence right up against its western borders as a result of this war – an irony which appears to have been lost on Putin.
If the claim can be made that Ukrainian artillery has been attacking civilians, a similar claim definitely can be made also that Russian artillery has been doing so too. And there is much more Russian artillery than Ukrainian. The initial Russian airborne landings at Hostomel and the push south toward Kyiv from Belarus hinted strongly that the initial Russian hope was for the Ukrainian military to fold like a house of cards (as it did in the earlier Donbas and Crimea actions) and Zelenskyy’s government to collapse. There was enough support for Zelenskyy both in the military and the populace for this not to happen, with this support hardening when the bodies of the murdered civilians of Bucha and other villages to the north were left behind when the Russian tide ebbed finally.
The silencing of opposition in Ukraine is an unpalatable but unsurprising occurrence in a nation at war. See the treatment of conscientious objectors in supposedly democratic countries during both world wars. Various Ukrainian governments can be seen to have erred in not granting more autonomous voices to the eastern regions. However, given the Ukrainian unwillingness to see the country partitioned and the Russian insistence that “Nazis” were running the Ukrainian government, I doubt this would have resulted in a permanent solution, Minsk agreements notwithstanding.
I believe the Ukrainian state will exist as long as enough of its people want it to exist and are prepared to suffer and die for it to exist, together with how willing the people and governments of the West are prepared to support them for the duration of a war which could last months or even years.
Carl von Clausewitz famously described war as a “mere continuation of policy with other means”. A totally cynical view therefore could be that this war, given the limited success of other diplomacy, was an inevitable means to produce some sort of conclusion.
Nice argument. I’m still watching for more different views. Why there is no one for more than just this two different views? I will say this is only one way of thinking . Blaming. Russian, Ukraine, NATO,EU……How about peace building way? War promoters eliminating strategies? Engineering Peace?
how many base their judgments on the real situation in Ukraine and Russia. I agree. Not only in Ukraine and Russia. Myanmar, my country, and other warring parts of the world. We need to re construct UN for that.
Leonard – I will attempt to respond in several different comments dealing with separate points you make.
1: You illustrate the problems when we have demonisation of a political leader. You selectively cherry pick an extract from a speech and then you declare “Ukraine should never have been created in the first place and is an illegitimate state to be criticised”. To be clear, and you do not make it clear, those are your words – not Putin’s.
I think it is dishonest to put words into a politician’s mouth, claim you know what the politician thinks, etc., and then attribute to him something he did not actually say. It is disgusting that our media does this all the time.,
Putin’s understanding of Ukrainian sovereignty and his attitude to the problems created by ultranationalism in Ukraine cab be understood by reading his July 2021 article.
He does say:
“We respect the Ukrainian language and traditions. We respect Ukrainians’ desire to see their country free, safe and prosperous.”
But he underlines the problem:
“In the anti-Russia project, there is no place either for a sovereign Ukraine or for the political forces that are trying to defend its real independence. Those who talk about reconciliation in Ukrainian society, about dialogue, about finding a way out of the current impasse are labelled as ”pro-Russian“ agents.
Again, for many people in Ukraine, the anti-Russia project is simply unacceptable. And there are millions of such people. But they are not allowed to raise their heads. They have had their legal opportunity to defend their point of view in fact taken away from them. They are intimidated, driven underground. Not only are they persecuted for their convictions, for the spoken word, for the open expression of their position, but they are also killed. Murderers, as a rule, go unpunished.
Today, the ”right“ patriot of Ukraine is only the one who hates Russia. Moreover, the entire Ukrainian statehood, as we understand it, is proposed to be further built exclusively on this idea. Hate and anger, as world history has repeatedly proved this, are a very shaky foundation for sovereignty, fraught with many serious risks and dire consequences.”
He provides examples of how a modern state should operate and contrast that with the situation in Ukraine:
“The incumbent authorities in Ukraine like to refer to Western experience, seeing it as a model to follow. Just have a look at how Austria and Germany, the USA and Canada live next to each other. Close in ethnic composition, culture, in fact sharing one language, they remain sovereign states with their own interests, with their own foreign policy. But this does not prevent them from the closest integration or allied relations. They have very conditional, transparent borders. And when crossing them the citizens feel at home. They create families, study, work, do business. Incidentally, so do millions of those born in Ukraine who now live in Russia. We see them as our own close people.”
The problem with Ukraine is not that it wished to be independent and sovereign but that it was effectively driven by ultranationalist elements which advanced hatred for Russians (comprising a good portion of their population). It desired a mono-ethnic country where minority language, cultural and governance rights were suppressed. Further, because of this hatred it, together with foreign hostile states, was willing to create a serious security danger to an important neighbouring state.
These were the reasons that, in the end, and despite consistent diplomatic efforts over a long time to resolve the situation, the Russian Federation undertook the current military action.
We may disapprove of that action and consider it illegal as I do – I am on record comparing this invasion to other illegal invasions in in my life time – US invasions of Indochina, Iraq and many South and Central American countries. The NATO wars against Yugoslavia and Libya, etc.
But we should attempt to understand the underlining causes if we wish to see an end to this war. I believe the underlying causes of this current war were far more relevant to the Russian Federation (they have existential effects) than the cause underlying the US and NATO wars were.
Please be observant in your reading – the lack of quotation marks in my own comments very definitely mean that they are my own and not attributed to Putin. I also believe I am free to make my own inferences and comments on what I read, including the quoted parts of Putin’s address to the nation. Your unequivocal acceptance of his statements as unvarnished truth highlights your own biases on the matter, as I have said previously. Whether or not my inferences reflect the meaning of the speech is a matter for the sort of debate we are having now.
Ukrainian animosity toward Russia dates from at least Stalinist times. Being collectivised forcibly and having a large proportion of one’s population starve to death tends to do that. It explains largely why the invading Germans were welcomed initially with the traditional bread and salt by many of the villages they passed through, as they were seen as potential liberators from the Bolsheviks. Unfortunately, they also fitted right in with the anti-Semitic ideology present not only in Ukraine, but most of Eastern Europe at the time. It only was later on, when the Nazis showed their true colours, that the populace turned against them.
Ultranationalism tends to be a dysfunctional response to a perceived threat. The response is ugly and deplorable, but it does not arise in a vacuum. Racism raises its head especially when one culture feels threatened by another. Nationalism does similarly when one national identity feels threatened by another. In Ukraine’s case, this is a fear of domination by Russia. Again, the Russian ultranationalists who rue the dissolution of the Soviet Union seem to be ignored conveniently here. Similarly, the scramble by Sweden and Finland to join NATO and the determination of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to stay there have been motivated by the understandable fear that what is happening in Ukraine may happen to them.
Everyone is entitled to state their own views of course. Mine just happens to align with that of the western world on this, which is why I was proud to make my own tiny contribution with a donation to purchase the “St Javelin of Ukraine” flag which now flies proudly by my front door.
2: Incidentally, I object to the use of smear tactics in an honest discussion. You wrote:
When have I ever advocated “accepting Russian statements as unvarnished truth?” That simply smacks of claiming a discussion partner is “pro-Russian” and a “useful idiot.” It is an excuse to opt out of considering my arguments.
The fact is I have a healthy cynicism about politicians of all trends. At the same time, I am more willing to consider the arguments about the international financial crisis presented by President Putin in his recent speech at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum than I can accept the dumb statement from President Biden on this issue. As Putin said:
“we all hear about the so-called ‘Putin inflation’ in the West. When I see this, I wonder who they expect would buy this nonsense – people who cannot read or write, maybe. Anyone literate enough to read would understand what is actually happening.”
Just because I am willing to honestly consider a politician’s claims or arguments does not make me a willing tool of that politician,
Similarly, I am not “demonising” western media. I have often urged people to not naively accept the media messages – any media, including Russian. But to always approach such messages critically and intelligently – to attempt to derive information on the real events behind these messages. I particularly object to argument by citation which I often encounter. If an article has good information why not discuss it – I am not convinced by citations.
Yes, I am critical of NATO – for good reasons. My criticisms are not blind. I am also critical of Russia and much about Russian society.
The fact is that the US and NATO are lying, promoting disinformation in this war. Surely that is not news – it happens in all wars. But it is particularly evident this time. The politicians and media in Kiev are particularly bad. I imagine the propaganda within Russia is also bad – but we don’t get exposed to it here. Partly due to censorship and the fact that Russia seems unwilling to get into the disinformation game at the same level as Kiev, possibly because it is the aggressor and can’t win sympathy that way.
So please avoid the smears in your contributions. Please consider my arguments honestly and criticise them for their content. That is the intelligent approach – smearing is not intelligent and contributes nothing.
And I am not I’m pressed by the smear comparing me with Donald Trump. The term “fake news” was hardly invented by him and the fact is these days there is a lot of fake news around. You cannot avoid that fact by smearing me. If you think my use of the term is unjustified in a specific case then say so and explain why.
Of course I notice the lack of quotation marks and I merely pointed out that you were giving your interpretation, which in no way represented what Putin actually said. I think I made that clear. This is the problem of demonisation – all sorts of reporters attribute unintended meanings to Putin’s comments without making clear they are ideologically motivated interpretations – and not the actual meanings. You have just confirmed that in your case.
So, if we can be clear about that. Let’s keep away from putting words in other’s mouths. Of course it is valid to express one’s opinion – but let’s recognise that it is an opinion and therefore not proof. It is simply debatable without pretending otherwise.
And lets’ stay away from the smears – “Your unequivocal acceptance of his statements as unvarnished truth highlights your own biases on the matter.” Just because a quote the guy, and think it is important to look at what he says, does not mean I see his statements as “unvarnished truth.”
I have often pointed out that Putin is a politician, and that breed is known for lying. We are used to that. It is not honest to take my insistence on actual quotes rather than opinion for determining what a politician says as blind belief in a politician’s statements. I am simply advocating for use of proper evidence and not pretending our opinions are facts. That happens a lot when our media reports Putin’s speeches and articles.
Biden has said – and I quote “We’ve never seen anything like Putin’s tax on both food and gas.” That is a quote – its not my opinion. I am not presenting that as the “unvarnished truth” but if we are to discuss Biden’s attitudes to or explanation of the financial crisis then it is a verbatim statement we should consider. It is certainly not the “unvarnished truth,” and I would never claim it was.
3: You ask “if “neo-Nazi” is such an imprecise term (which in its strictest sense should be applied only to those who embrace the exact ideology and symbolism of the NSDAP – Nazi – party), why use it at all?” I have already explained why I think it is imprecise and only use it as a convenient short-hand – used by our media when discussing the Azov groups, etc. (or used to be used before the media decided that “they may be Nazis but they are our Nazis.”) I notice that many Russian reports prefer to use the term “militants” or “nationalist” when discuss that section of Ukrainian soldiers they have captured. Also, many on-line commentators who rely of YouTube are avoiding “Nazi” and prefer to use terms like “Nauties” or “Nasties” to avoid the censorship.
I think you are working hard to try to excuse the brutal and evil nature of the Ukrainian ultranationalists, their relationship to the Ukrainian state, the fact they a filly armed and that they have overwhelming influence in Ukraine. I guess your donations and virtue signally indicate your own bias and hence your own desire to make the excuses you do.
Incidentally, the Ukrainian government has legally banned manifestations of totalitarian Communist and Nazi symbols. They prosecuted people displaying Soviet symbols, the St George ribbon, etc., but I am unaware that any serious attempt has been made to ban the open display of Nazi symbols, flags, etc. How could they as many of their nationalist brigades have such displays on their flags and uniforms (and bodies).
Noticeably Russians living in the liberated areas of the East and Mariupol have this year been able to commemorate Victory day and have immortal regiment marches which have been banned when under the yoke of the nationalist military groups.
You purposely misinterpret my point about the nationalist groups being a minority in the Maidan demonstrations. This has nothing to do with the Russian state or their reporting of the event. It is to do with the undemocratic nature of that coup. Nationalist groups have been honest about their ability to influence things despite their minority and their purposeful intent to do so in the Maidan demonstrations and throughout the country in their closing down of local councils, news media and other companies. And it is a fact that the EU brokered agreement had the support of all the opposition parties, as well as the president. It offered a democratic way out of the crisis and the possibility of governmental change if people desired it.
The nationalist coup was clearly undemocratic. But it was clearly also supported by the USA – as made clear in Newland’s “fuck the EU’ exchange with the US ambassador just before the coup where they planned what the government personal would be in the resulting coup.
The coup and the militant takeover were obviously undemocratic and clearly against the will of the people. That is not to say the Maidan demonstrations did not represent deep unease in the country over the corruption and economic crisis. Attitude towards the EU were of course divided – our media was strangely silent about the anti-Maidan demonstrations occurring in Kiev at the same time.
And it is simply misrepresentation to describe the president declining an EU loan which had condition meaning widespread poverty for Ukrainians as “acceding to Russian pressure.” Why attempt cover up the facts by blaming Russia. Silly question, we are used to being told Putin is to blame for everything. Even now he is blamed for western inflation and financial crisis. The president was simply acting in what he saw as the best interests of his people. It had absolutely nothing to do with Russia.
“Your description as that being “receptive to dictation by Moscow” simply illustrates your political bias.” These are your own words, implying my own political bias. Please therefore not be the pot calling the kettle black and make “smear” accusations when I propose that your views show a political bias at least comparable to that of which you accuse me.
“Cherry-picking” is misleading only if the excerpts are not representative of the article as a whole. However, if they do reflect the overall tone of the piece, they become a useful precis and summary.
Putin’s speech combined self-justification, portrayal of Russia as a victim (laughable if it were not so grotesque) and victim-blaming of Ukraine (equally grotesque). I contend that my quoted segments reflect this and so my own assessment agrees with that of much of the western media.
I see much criticism of the US and NATO in your posts, much less, if any, of Russia. There is a very definite implication here that Russian statements carry more weight than those of Ukraine or anyone else. You have made the point in your pro-fluoridation posts (an area where I agree with you totally) that a favourite tactic of the anti-fluoridation lobby is to throw out alarmist accusations which they then challenge people to disprove (a difficult thing, as you yourself acknowledge). Using the US and NATO as the bogeymen on which to hang the current situation in Ukraine is akin to exactly this.
You accuse me of making excuses for the Ukrainian far-right extremists. I acknowledge their existence and the conditions which generated them and that the Ukrainian Government acknowledges them as a liability. They also form a convenient excuse out of all proportion to their actual efficacy when a pretext is needed to invade Ukraine. Ironically, the Russian actions probably are doing more to recruit for these gangs than anything else. I in turn notice you gloss over the ultranationalists on the Russian side, who Putin tolerates because their goals broadly mesh with his.
Ukrainian corruption is mentioned and undeniable. How successful Zelenskyy is in combating this deep-rooted problem remains to be seen. What seems to be overlooked is that Russian corruption and the influence of Russian oligarchs is at least comparable to that of Ukraine.
Let’s be clear here. Russia has strong armed forces and a formidable nuclear arsenal. No one is about to attack Russia, making it somewhat disingenuous that Russia claims NATO is a threat. Rather the opposite, when Sweden and Finland have been frightened into joining NATO.
Let us also be clear who the real victim is here. It is Ukrainian cities which are being bombarded, Ukrainian apartments, schools and shopping centres which are being smashed, exhausted Ukrainian refugees who are streaming across the Polish border. It is fields of ripening Ukrainian wheat which are being rutted and torn up by the necessary emplacement of Ukrainian artillery pieces. It is the body of a Ukrainian man shot by retreating Russian troops, still lying on top of his fallen bicycle on a roadside in Bucha.
The eventual collapse of both NATO and EU are a staple of Russian disinformation, which you allude to in your posts. Would be convenient for Russia, time will tell if it actually happens. The Ukrainian government and army were supposed to collapse within weeks too. Instead they fight on against overwhelming odds with surprising success.
In amongst the horrible images mentioned above, I noted one of hope. It was of a young Ukrainian couple on their wedding day. Both are in their army uniforms, with rifles slung across their backs. The bride wears a garland of flowers on her brow and she is whispering something in the ear of her husband-to-be. It is clear that after their nuptials, there will be very little interlude before they both return to the fighting where one or both could be killed. Nevertheless they carry on.
A people with that sort of spirit may bend, but are unlikely to break.
Especially with the international support they are enjoying. Nothing like the spectacle of an underdog fighting back as best it can to maintain this support.
A postscript – the leaked “fuck the EU” diplomatic phone call showed clearly which side the US favoured – as if this common knowledge needed to be publicised. In fact, the popular uprising of the Euromaidan (a reaction to Yanukovych’s abrupt turn away from the EU agreement and toward Russia) did not need any help from the US to succeed. It is an interesting question as to how a similar leak, embarrassing to the Russian government, would be treated. The fact that simply referring to the Ukrainian crisis as a “war” or “invasion” can render one liable for significant Russian incarceration time will answer that unequivocally. Not to mention that the independent Russian press, after such courageous efforts as the lone television newscaster with the sign urging people not to believe the government’s propaganda, has now been muzzled.
There is a quote attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte – “Never interrupt an enemy when he is making mistakes”. In this case, from the US and EU view, it was a case of “Do not interrupt the people when they are making a choice in your favour.” The Euromaidan Revolution unseated a President who was seen to have betrayed one of the causes for which he was elected. A president who showed where his ultimate sympathies lay by fleeing and being welcomed by Russia. The Revolution did not need any outside help to do this – they did perfectly well on their own.
4: Finally, when I referred to the lack of democracy in Ukraine I was not referring to measures taken specifically during the war. Both Ukraine and the Russian Federation have introduced anti-democratic measures expected during wartime (interestingly, though, our media has concentrated on the Russian ant-I democratic laws). However, I was referring to measures taken since 2014 and before February 2022 – although some of these have been cemented in to place legally during the last few months.
The Ukrainian Rada is a bit of a joke and is recognised as more of a plaything for the oligarchs. Parties come and go. Names change. But in 2014 the Communist party was one of the first to be banned from participating in the Presidential elections. One of the main opposition candidates in the May elections was badly beaten by ultranationalist brutes and he eventually fled to the separatist-held areas.
The main opposition party at the time was banned in May 2021, the leader arrested, and property confiscated. It was polling well at the time, Zelensky wasn’t, so some saw that party as a serious challenge to Zelensky. The leader’s media property was also closed down. Other parties were banned before the war – one leader (whose name escapes me) I have followed fled to Spain where the Ukrainian government is attempting to have him extradited.
Poroshenko has been under threat of arrest (13 changes against him) and it was felt he would not return to the country this year. So far, he has kept out of prison, but I would not be surprised to hear he is arrested any day – or worse executed as has happened to other leaders accused of treason or collaboration.
The fate of one of the Ukrainian peace negotiators, Denis Kireev, illustrates some of the arbitrary lawlessness by the SBU during this was (and before). He was shot dead when arrested. The reasons for this appear confusing with different stories from the security bodies and I note that I can no longer access the Ukrainian newspaper article describing where I originally saw the details.
In short the picture we get of Ukraine being a democracy and our support for the war being a fight for democracy are so much rubbish.
These were your words – not mine – “What Putin wanted was a pro-Russian Ukrainian president receptive to dictation by Moscow” – https://openparachute.wordpress.com/2022/06/01/ukraine-war-a-failure-of-honest-diplomacy-and-reason/#comment-268667
Leonard, I find this comment of yours strange – “What seems to be overlooked is that Russian corruption and the influence of Russian oligarchs is at least comparable to that of Ukraine.” Why do you feel the need to make a comparison – do you see that as somehow a justification of Ukrainian corruption and the dominance of oligarchs there?
I realise that Ukrainian and Russian corruption and oligarchs have the same origins within the USSR at the alter stages and the period of the 90s where people’s assets were stolen with disastrous consequences. My personal assessment is that while Russia has made some progress in overcoming corruption (and they need to do a lot more) and the worst of the oligarchs have famously had their wings clipped by Putin, Ukraine seems still to be stuck in the 90s as far as corruption and the oligarch political power is involved.
I have seen a lot of discussion of these problems in Russia. Putin took it on himself to eradicate corruption in the military industrial areas (and we can see the results now to the surprise of NATO). As a scientist I just wish he would do the same for the space industries – I would love to see Russia regain some of the inventive flairs that the USSR demonstrated in the 60s and 70s. I look forward with hope to the effects of the reorientation of their space programme to cooperation with China and India
Putin’s rolling back of the oligarch political influence is well known but the results are limited. One advantage of the failed NATO/EU economic war against Russia is that it has freed Putin up to further clip the oligarchs wings. His speech on this in the early days of the war was very informative to me (but misrepresented in western media of course.
But here is the thing. In all the discussions of Russian corruption and the power of oligarchs, the need to fight them, etc., I have never seen any commenter feel obliged to make the comparison with Ukraine you made. No one has said anything like “What seems to be overlooked is that Ukrainian corruption and the influence of Ukrainian oligarchs is at least comparable to that of Russia.”
Thank you for quoting my words regarding Russia’s preference for a Ukrainian president responsive to dictation by Moscow. I stand by them.
For your information, I again quote your response which immediately followed my statement and my comment regarding this.
““Your description as that being “receptive to dictation by Moscow” simply illustrates your political bias.” These are your own words, implying my own political bias. Please therefore not be the pot calling the kettle black and make “smear” accusations when I propose that your views show a political bias at least comparable to that of which you accuse me.”
I could go on at some length about this political bias, with several examples, but doing that would put this discussion on the path to being an unproductive time wasting ad hominem slanging match, changing the views of neither of us, which neither you (I presume) nor I would want. I therefore restrict myself to one example, as per the quote below:
“One advantage of the failed NATO/EU economic war against Russia is that it has freed Putin up to further clip the oligarchs wings. His speech on this in the early days of the war was very informative to me (but misrepresented in western media of course.” Leaving aside that it remains to be seen whether, given the long-term action of economic sanctions, they have failed or not, the salient part here is the “misrepresented in western media OF COURSE” (my emphasis).
Once again, we have the “western media only deals with distortions and misreporting” theme beloved of all those for whom a free press is anathema, together with the implication that, by contrast with western media “misreporting”, Putin’s speeches are to be taken at truthful face value. To reuse your own phrase, this “simply illustrates your political bias.”
A distressing irony is that, when allowed, the people of the Russian media can report and comment as freely as anywhere else. An example was the action of TV news employee Marina Ovsyannikova, who famously (and courageously) held up a sign reading “No war. Don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here” during an official news broadcast.
“Leonard, I find this comment of yours strange – “What seems to be overlooked is that Russian corruption and the influence of Russian oligarchs is at least comparable to that of Ukraine.” Why do you feel the need to make a comparison – do you see that as somehow a justification of Ukrainian corruption and the dominance of oligarchs there?”
I feel the need to make the comparison because you had not, hence the “what seems to be overlooked” part of my comment. The comparison of itself justifies nothing. Much attention has in fact been paid to Ukrainian corruption in the western news media (indeed this has been and is a major stumbling block to EU membership) and by yourself – as if this was a uniquely Ukrainian problem. Zelenskyy knows this all too well – indeed his “Servant of the People” satirised this aspect of Ukrainian politics mercilessly – as he also knows that controlling it is one of the vital tasks to be done before the country can move on. Dealing with the local far-right extremists is another. These will be difficult tasks, given the entrenched nature of both groups and that the war has given the rightists the perfect ammunition to recruit new members. Again, what seems to be overlooked by detractors is that Ukraine is a relatively new democracy grappling with (especially now) significant problems of all kinds.
1: OK, Leonard, we will, agree to differ on Yanukovych. I prefer to look at the details of his negotiations with the EU, his refusal of a loan with harsh conditions and his acceptance of a non-conditional loan from Russia. You see that has him being “responsive to dictation by Moscow.” It’s part of my scientific training to actually look at evidence and beware of placing my own bias or wishful thinking onto events (a wise comment – the easiest person to fool is yourself This goes for scientists and well as non-scientists and is so true in politics). But it could be worth you reading the recent article by Yanukovych I mention in my article (it has not been covered anywhere else that I have seen) to get some ide of his views On the Verge . . . The Fate of Statehood of Ukraine is Being decided now.
The western media, with few exceptions, do distort Putin’s speeches – its part of the demonisation of the man. That is why I always check the actual speech if I am interested. In this case the distortion was extreme and missed a vital point. We were told that Putin’s reference to a fifth column, etc., referred to anti-war demonstrators. He didn’t even refer to them in his speech. He was referencing to oligarchs who took the assets to the west and lived in the west.
As for Putin’s speeches – Being a politician they may be full of lies. But it is stupid to say we should ignore them if we want to know what he actually said, truthful or not. If we are to call him out on his lies at least we should be able to identify the actual lies (as I did with the actual text of Biden’s comment about Putin’s price hikes). And this example simply highlighted this fact. Your deliberate misconstruing that fact to claim I think Putin is always truthful just displays your own bias. A bias which is dangerous because it refuses to actually consider the evidence.
You say “I feel the need to make the comparison because you had not, hence the “what seems to be overlooked” part of my comment. The comparison of itself justifies nothing.” But this doesn’t expolain your ned to make the comparison.
I made my point with this: “But here is the thing. In all the discussions of Russian corruption and the power of oligarchs, the need to fight them, etc., I have never seen any commenter feel obliged to make the comparison with Ukraine you made. No one has said anything like “What seems to be overlooked is that Ukrainian corruption and the influence of Ukrainian oligarchs is at least comparable to that of Russia.”
Yes, sure, both Russia and Ukraine are new democracies. Their corruption and lawlessness have very similar origins. My point is that to a large extent while Russia has made progress overcoming both (yes, still a long way to go) Ukraine has not. They are, to a large extent, stuck in the 90s as far as democratic institutions, oligarchical power and lawlessness are concerned. Consequently, Ukraine has lost may of the advantages they were left with when the USSR broke up and has a very low standard of living.
I would say that the western media has paid more attention to these problems in Russia than in Ukraine. We barely hear about the banning o political parties since the coup and the murder of political opponents by the SBU The very fact that the UE is offering Ukraine “candidate” membership – after all this time – illustrates how these problems are ignored. Expect, of course by the EU politicians who must process this membership and are well aware of the corruption, the problem of neo-Nazis and the mono-ethnic language policies and civil war when mean membership would never be a reality.
How many people choosing to virtue-signally with Ukrainian flags know anything about the country. I suppose we should be pleased they at least use the yellow and blue flag instead of the red and black flags some of the more knowledgeable and politically motivated people have used.
“Your deliberate misconstruing that fact to claim I think Putin is always truthful just displays your own bias.” I don’t think I misconstrued anything at this point. You said yourself “As for Putin’s speeches – Being a politician they may be full of lies. But it is stupid to say we should ignore them if we want to know what he actually said, truthful or not.” So why so quick to point out “distortions” in the Western media’s reading of said speeches, yet no mention yourself of any inconsistencies or untruths in Putin’s speeches – are you saying these do not exist? Once again, I am saying I am not the only one who can be accused of bias here.
The Minsk agreements were fine in principle. but in practise were not adhered to by both sides – perhaps an example of a good compromise which displeased both parties equally. It is an exaggeration to say that Ukraine wanted a mono-ethnic society – the language law which promoted Ukrainian as the official language of the country also recognised minority languages such as Tatar. Remember that the Ukrainian language was suppressed (or at least discouraged) while Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire and later on in Soviet times. Ukrainian democracy, with its flaws, managed to elect a Russian-speaking Jewish president (who had lost family in the Holocaust) hailing from a Russian-speaking part of the country. Certainly the far-right (as it tends to do in any country) spoke in terms of “ethnic purification”, but Zelenskyy’s election underscored their ultimate lack of significant influence where it mattered. To claim he is somehow a tool of the far-right ignores that, especially early on, his opponents accused him of being pro-Russian. His refusal of refuge offered by the United States, in the early stages of the war when Kyiv was under real threat of occupation, made him a rallying point for his nation rather than a “tool” of anyone.
It remains to be seen if Ukraine is losing badly. I say that, given the great disparity in force favouring the Russians, the Ukrainians are doing remarkably well. What started with a thrust toward Kyiv from the north and predictions of Ukrainian defeat within weeks turned into a Russian pullback from Kyiv in favour of a slow war of attrition in the east which has now reached the four month mark. Certainly the Russian tactic of striking targets such as theatres and shopping malls (and blaming Ukrainians for this) is not the sign of a military which is confident of a certain defeat of the Ukrainian army in the field. They therefore have to try and break civilian morale (they seem to have forgotten that the London Blitz only served to harden British resolve). Afghanistan also showed both the Russians and Americans that even occupation of large parts of a country is no guarantee of ultimate victory. Paradoxically, the equipment crises in the Ukrainian army caused by chronic government underfunding, by giving rise to community support groups raising money to supply equipment for the soldiers and in some cases “adopting” military units, had the result of making ordinary Ukrainians much more personally invested and supportive of their armed forces.
I am sure that people showing support by flying Ukrainian flags see a country that has been invaded, undergoing suffering and damage inflicted by Russians and needing help in order to defend themselves. That is all they need to know.
Leonard, you ask why I “point out “distortions” in the Western media’s reading of said speeches, yet no mention yourself of any inconsistencies or untruths in Putin’s speeches – are you saying these do not exist?”
Of course not. The content of Putin’s speeches arose here only because I pointed out you had misrepresented him and cited a section of a key speech on Ukraine in my reply. Are you insisting that anyone doing so must precede their quote by saying “I don’t think Putin is nice” or something to that effect? Would you expect me to make a similar qualification when citing anything from the western media to support an argument? I think it is cowardly to make such qualification and it simply displays one is succumbing to mindless pressure to avoid smears.
I do not feel the need to make excuses for simple quotes. One should not be ashamed of providing real evidence just because a discussion partner hates the source.
You want me to criticise Putin. OK. I think his article on Ukraine was very informative and deep. It has been criticised by some historians. I think it lacked a complete analysis. From memory it concentrated mainly on the Russian origins of the Ukrainian population and virtually ignored the non-Russian sector – despite their importance as a source of the neo-noaghties and ultranationalism. (Then again, I am influenced by my reading in the academic literature – the sources of ultranationalism and the atrocities committed by ultranationalists get important mention because of the attempts to cover them up).
You brush of the Minsk agreements too lightly (suggesting that you side with the ultranationalist rejection of them). Agreements like this always take an effort – particularly in the measures aimed at restricting heavy weapons near the contact line. There were control organisations (including rebel, Ukrainian and Russian militaries and the OSCE) which put a lot of effort into monitoring the situation and resolving problems. For many years I used to get copies of the OSCE daily reports on this and the border crossings.
The basic problem, which you ignore completely, is that the Ukrainian side, or at least President Poroshenko, had no intention of fulfilling their obligations. He has recently admitted they never intended to carry out the agreements and instead worked hard, together with their US allies, to rearm and dig in for a military solution (which seemed to be starting just before the invasion).
Most of the important clauses, and certainly the constitutional and legislation change clauses, required action by the Ukrainian government, not the separatists. Despite introducing some preliminary proposals to the Rada this never went anywhere – and pressure from the ultranationalists was a strong factor in this.
If you think the separatists attempted to undermine the agreements – then be specific. Tell me which clauses the separatists reneged on. Given that they could not even win formal recognition from the Russian Federation until February this year and the agreements offered them autonomy, I think they would have favoured the agreements.
I realise there is widespread propaganda at the moment to deny the influence of the neo-naughties, and to deny the legislation operating against minorities. Similarly, to use Zelensky’s ethnicity to deny there can be such influence. This just ignores the reality of the situation.
Ukraine is not the ethnic paradise you are claiming. I suggest reading a book like that of Richard Sakwa’s Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands. It is very informative, and I could quote endlessly. But he refers to the conflict between “the monist Ukrainian nationalist aspiration of creating a culturally uniform Ukrainian-speaking nation” (which had benefited from the 2008 recession) and “the pluralist concept of Ukraine as culturally and linguistically diverse.” And do not be taken in by nationalist claims about the suppression of the Ukrainian language. As part of the USSR the Ukrainian language often got special promotion (maybe for political or ideological reasons at times) and was always used in education, etc., despite the fact that the Russian language was also taught throughout the union.
As for the progress of the war and the actions of the participants we will have to disagree. I don’t have a interest in military matters by there are some good military channels offering daily updates – most are pretty objective. And things are going really bad for the Ukrainians. That is why I say that the longer they avoid negotiations the worse they will get. And the more likely the Russian Federation will take territory beyond its original aims. One of the effects of the economic and military failures of the west and Ukraine in this war is that the Russian people have gained a new confidence, have become very patriotic, and strongly support their government’s actions in the war. I fear this new confidence could have disastrous consequences the longer this goes on. I am thinking beyond Ukraine also, and Lithuanian provocations will not help.
I could perhaps urge you to attempt to be more objective about these matters. It is easy, for example, to be taken in by Zelensky’s mythology. For example, his story about a missile attack on the Kremenchuk shopping mall with over a 1000 shoppers is pure fiction. Whatever the truth about the missiles the fact is the mall had been permanently closed for several months which explains the low casualties (see my image of the google map entry where the last review was made 4 months ago).
I could speculate that the reason was its proximity to the neighbouring factory used for military weapons and ammunition and the railway station (The Ruissian military is attempting to prevent movement of westerns supplied weapons to the front).
I don’t know if the mall itself was used for storage although the malls attacked in Kiev and Odessa were being used for storage of military equipment. These things happen and remember – truth is the first casualty of war. Zelensky has a motive in feeding irrational anti-Russian hatred.
Finally you have not convinced me that those virtue-signally over Ukraine really understand what is happening. In my interactions with such people, I have always found them to be ignorant of many facts about Ukraine and European security.
Indeed, truth is the first casualty of war. Instance below:
“It is easy, for example, to be taken in by Zelensky’s mythology. For example, his story about a missile attack on the Kremenchuk shopping mall with over a 1000 shoppers is pure fiction. Whatever the truth about the missiles the fact is the mall had been permanently closed for several months…”
I would rephrase this (removing the obvious anti-Ukrainian bias) to: “It is easy to be taken in by Russian disinformation efforts, such as claims that the Kremenchuk shopping mall had been permanently closed. This claim is pure fiction, in that videos and still photographs have emerged that show shoppers inside the building and apparently normal activity there up to two days before the attack. If the mall had been closed, there would have been very few to no casualties, not the at least 18 dead and 60 wounded, with more still missing. Russian claims that the mall fire was a secondary result of a legitimate strike on a weapons storage facility also appear unlikely, as the factory mentioned by the Russian defence ministry is located roughly 300 metres north of the shopping centre and separated by a wall, vegetation and rail tracks.”
Minsk 2 specified a withdrawal of all heavy weapons by both sides and withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment and mercenaries. Moscow argues that it cannot remove armed forces and military hardware from Donetsk and Luhansk given that the combatants are part of the separatist insurgency and are not its own, which can be seen as sophistry, given that much of the equipment and combatants were supplied by Russia.
Again the Ukrainian ultranationalists are brandished and the Russian ones not. “I realise there is widespread propaganda at the moment to deny the influence of the neo-naughties, and to deny the legislation operating against minorities. Similarly, to use Zelensky’s ethnicity to deny there can be such influence. This just ignores the reality of the situation.” In fact, no-one is denying their influence – but instead saying that (thankfully) it is not the all-encompassing, all-controlling monster portrayed by anti-Ukrainian propaganda. Using Zelenskyy’s ethnicity in fact reinforces the reality of the situation – that the flawed Ukrainian electoral system nevertheless elected a Russian-speaking Jewish president hailing from the working class, Russian-speaking area of Kryvih Rih. No-one is calling Ukraine an “ethnic paradise”, whatever that catch-phrase means (we have racism in New Zealand too, so it is arguable we do not fit that category either). However, calling it an “ethnic hell” would be equally extreme – refer the Yugoslav civil war, with its attendant “ethnic cleansing” by Serbs and Croats, for a situation more befitting this title. Despite separatist and Russian claims of “genocide” (a potent term now misappropriated as a political smear), no impartial evidence has been produced of a situation which would fit its definition.
If by condemning the “demonisation” of Putin by the western media, you are saying he is “not as black as he is painted”, you are likely correct. The private Adolf Hitler apparently was a surprisingly soft-spoken man who liked dogs, was a competent artist in his youth and treated his domestic and secretarial staff with respect and courtesy. I know nothing of the private Vladimir Putin, but he managed to bring significant economic reforms to Russia and may be an admirable private individual. However, these admirable traits must be balanced against their public actions. To labour the simile further, admitting someone is not as black as painted should not obscure the fact they had to be painted black in the first place.
“Finally you have not convinced me that those virtue-signally over Ukraine really understand what is happening. In my interactions with such people, I have always found them to be ignorant of many facts about Ukraine and European security.” The thing is, I have no real need to convince you or anyone else about the motives of people who express solidarity with Ukraine.
My own views on the matter should be very clear by now.
People will make up their own minds about this as with all other issues. Calling them ignorant because they do not agree with your version of “many facts about Ukraine and European security” merely confirms your own biases on the matter. As far as European security goes, it appears that the ironic twist is coming to pass, with the war providing the impetus for both Sweden and Finland to join NATO and Turkey removing its objections.
Interestingly, the anticorruption watchdog group Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index figures for 2021 places Ukraine at 122/180 and Russia at 136/180 – rather comparable with perhaps Ukraine at a slight advantage. New Zealand is one of the countries at top equal 1/180, beating Australia.
1: Leonard, it’s interesting how people protect themselves against considering evidence that conflicts with their preconceived notions. It’s almost as if you have been immunized to reject evidence by a virus – Russophobia. So that you can refuse to consider new evidence by labelling “Russian disinformation efforts.”
Try to see it from my perspective – I find that knee-jerk rejection of my evidence personally insulting. I give evidence I have gleaned from a simple search of Google maps and Google earth. Absolutely nothing to do with Russia. And you reject it as “Russian disinformation.” Would it not be more honest to check the evidence I provided?
OK you claim to have evidence that the mall was operating normally just days before the attack. I would like to see it as I go by evidence not claims of either Zelensky or the Russian MOD. Can you please provide it so I can evaluate it?
In the meantime, I do treat the Google map description that Amstor was “permanently” closed and the lack of any reviews in the last 4 months as being more reliable to your personal anecdote.
I do want to find out what the Russian MOD reports about their attack., Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate their reports yet, but I will continue to look as I am thinking of doing a post on this. The censorship by both the western media and Russia makes it difficult to get such reports. In this case, Russia blocks my access (I am in an unfriendly country) to the Russian MOD website.
2: Apparently my criticism of Putin, using a concrete example, was not enough for you. You say, “admitting someone is not as black as painted should not obscure the fact they had to be painted black in the first place.”
It’s a strange reaction – probably you would only accept an emotional hatred towards the man, without any evidence, as being acceptable.
It’s interesting that Putin was “painted black” by the very people who manoeuvred him into power as head of the FSB. Berezovsky (who determined such things in the 90s) and Litvinenko thought he would do their bidding (Berezovsky wanted to blame the murders he engineered on to the FSB). My own attitude towards the man has varied over the years (I was very critical of the gerrymandering of the presidential position in 2012 – I understand things a bit more now) but I can only conclude that as an international politician he stands head and shoulders over what the US and Europeans have to put up with. His attention to raising living standards of the ordinary people in this crisis is exceptional (mind you, the backfiring of the western economic war against Russia means he has plenty of money to do this). And his analysis of the international financial and economic crisis given at the recent St Petersburg forum makes the attempts of Biden and Johnson look comical.
But, of course, no one is perfect, and he should always be judged on the evidence. So my question is why on earth would people paint the main as black? Why the emotional demonisation? Why should anyone who attempts to talk about him in a normal way (as I would about other politicians) be shouted down? After all, your claim that Putin has introduced beneficial reforms (a public action) and may be an admirable person would win you hatred from the opinion makers in this country. Why?
What are the specific “public actions” you refer to as blackening? I can’t think of any.
I would consider authorising the invasion of Ukraine to be a very public action by Putin, well worthy of “blackening”. Hitler’s infamous championing of race laws (amongst many other issues) in turn publicly blackened him. The final judgment has to be based on whether the good actions outweigh the bad. Your reaction to my pointing out that one-sided praise of Putin and one-sided ridicule of his Western counterparts (“I can only conclude that as an international politician he stands head and shoulders over what the US and Europeans have to put up with.”) as some sort of requirement to advertise personal hate of Putin is rather an emotional overreaction.
“It’s almost as if you have been immunized to reject evidence by a virus – Russophobia. So that you can refuse to consider new evidence by labelling “Russian disinformation efforts.”” This deserves rephrasing – “It’s almost as if you have been immunised to reject evidence by a virus – Ukrainophobia. So that you repeat statements mass-produced on Russian-linked websites as truth and class all else as anti-Russian propaganda.” Again, “I find that knee-jerk rejection of my evidence personally insulting.” However, I find the knee-jerk repetition of recurring themes (with little or no evidence) culled straight from Russian websites to show a disturbing lack of impartiality e.g. “the malls attacked in Kiev and Odessa were being used for storage of military equipment.” To each their own. I await the “United States was developing bioweapons in Ukraine targeted at Slavic people” narrative.
It is instructive to see how the mall attack narrative has evolved. First, the missiles only hit a nearby military facility housing Western equipment and the resulting fire spread to the mall (which was not open anyway). Then, yes, a missile did hit the mall after all, but again, it was closed and being used to store military equipment. Finally, the old chestnut – the Ukrainians bombed their own mall to make Russia look bad (as one YouTube commenter said, “when your own infrastructure is being wrecked daily, how logical to smash even more of it yourself to cast aspersions on people who are already being adequately blamed for their actions”). No proof has been offered that weapons of any sort were stored at the mall. Satellite imagery and local security cameras showed no evidence of a spreading fire from outside reaching the mall.
Your Google Earth extract showing the mall as “permanently closed” is interesting. Last I looked, this had changed to “temporarily closed” (a laughable understatement if it were not so tragic). It would have been more convincing if supported by corroborating evidence. However, that evidence tends to support the opposite view. Bellingcat (bellingcat.com), a non-profit online journalism collective dedicated to war crime investigations, collected receipts from purchases at the mall in recent days that were posted on social media by residents in Kremenchuk to show that the mall was indeed open. Local people who shopped at the mall confirmed this, as did owners of shops in the mall who had staff injured or missing.
A Google search on the term “Family Lapkin Life” soon leads one to the YouTube channel of a young Ukrainian family, who joined the site in March 2019. In common with hundreds of thousands around the world, this family, for reasons of their own, feel the need to post an almost blow by blow running video account of their personal lives for the inspection of complete strangers on the Web (this degree of exhibitionism is something I personally find incomprehensible – whatever floats one’s boat, I suppose). One video, dated 26 June 2022 (just before the attack), shows the young couple and friend driving to the Amstor shopping centre, shown clearly in a sweeping shot just before they follow other shoppers in through automatic doors and then proceed to browse, in great detail, through the wares of some of the shops inside. The shopping centre looks the exact opposite of “closed” or “empty”.
A point which seems to have been overlooked is that the targeting of even a closed shopping mall, with attendant massive property damage, is an attack on civilian infrastructure, with little or no military applicability. The photographic evidence of smashed apartments in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and other cities shows that damage and destruction of non-military buildings is of little import to the Russian armed forces (after all, Russian cities are not being attacked).
The most charitable interpretation of the events is that both Russian missiles were in fact aimed at the unoccupied machinery repair facility, but their inherent lack of accuracy meant one missed and hit the shops instead. The strike appeared to be near the edge of the building, giving a little time for the occupants to escape the resulting spreading fire than would have been the case if it had hit dead centre and collapsed the whole building on top of everyone instantly. The Ukrainians claim (with some justification, given the Russian claims that the mall was in fact targeted deliberately because of “stored munitions”, “soldiers’ headquarters” or whatever) that this was an intentional act, which would of course be mass murder if true. Even if “accidental” (mass manslaughter), it shows very much that collateral damage involving civilians is seen as a “cost of doing business” by the Russian armed forces.
And yet the public actions of invasion of Vietnam, and Iraq, The NATO war on Yugoslavia. The NATO war of Libya and the action of the US secretary of state laughing at the terrorist raping and murder of President Gadhafi has not led to the demonisation of these western leaders or the blackening of them. Neither of those actions had anything like the justification (however weak) of the Russian invasion.
So I don’t buy that argument. And anyway, the demonisation of Putin, started by Berezovsky and Litvinenko soon after Putin’s election and actively taken up by our media soon after preceded by far this current invasion. Your argument simply stops you from looking at the real reasons for the demonisation and therefore [prevent you from understanding a key aspect of geopolotics..
Re the Amstor mall. I asked for specific evidence. Can you please provide a link? As I said I do try to find evidence (of the sort I have provided already) and don’t base my conclusions on hearsay. So please – provide the evidence. A link, photo, video?
According to your current narrative, the alleged hit on the mall (yet to see direct evidence, like the bomb craters in the machinery factory that was hit) was a mistake. Mistakes happen in war. Are you backing away from your original claim:
That claim implies an inhuman attitude on the Part of the Russian military – a story Zelensky and the naive Ukrainian propagandists (and western leaders) love to promote. But it does not accord with the facts.
One should avoid being taken in by such naive propoaganda.
Please provide quotes of mine to justify your claim:
“So that you repeat statements mass-produced on Russian-linked websites as truth and class all else as anti-Russian propaganda.”
One should avoid demonising one’s discussion partner.
“I could perhaps urge you to attempt to be more objective about these matters. It is easy, for example, to be taken in by Zelensky’s mythology. For example, his story about a missile attack on the Kremenchuk shopping mall with over a 1000 shoppers is pure fiction. Whatever the truth about the missiles the fact is the mall had been permanently closed for several months.. I could speculate that the reason was its proximity to the neighbouring factory used for military weapons and ammunition”
The whole “closed mall” and “factory used for military weapons” claims mentioned above by you are the exact excuses (as in no proof given) repeated by various pro-Russian websites and the Russians themselves. Hence the “repetition of Russian statements.”
It appears you did not read my previous post completely. If you had bothered to do so, I provided information to link with both the Bellincat website and the YouTube channel of a young Ukrainian family who videoed themselves shopping in the supposedly closed mall on 26 June. The Russians themselves claim the mall was hit because it was used to store ammunition (with no evidence produced).
“According to your current narrative, the alleged hit on the mall (yet to see direct evidence, like the bomb craters in the machinery factory that was hit) was a mistake…” Is this “not seeing” or “not wanting to see?” Even the most casual Google search reveals websites with satellite imagery and security camera footage from both the mall and a public park with a lake nearby, all pertaining to the missile strikes. Also, please do not accuse others of cherry-picking when you do it yourself; provide my entire quote, which was that this was the most charitable interpretation of what happened. Even if this interpretation was true, it implies an attitude toward possible collateral damage which is at best cavalier. It would have been much more positive for the image of the Russian armed forces to have said from the start that this was a regrettable mistake while aiming at a military target, if this was in fact the case. Of course, no such admission was made. So no, I stand by my comment which is quoted below;
“Are you backing away from your original claim:
“the Russian tactic of striking targets such as theatres and shopping malls (and blaming Ukrainians for this) is not the sign of a military which is confident of a certain defeat of the Ukrainian army in the field.”
“That claim implies an inhuman attitude on the Part of the Russian military – a story Zelensky and the naive Ukrainian propagandists (and western leaders) love to promote. But it does not accord with the facts.”
One should avoid being taken in by such naive propoaganda (sic).”
So there we have it – an exoneration of the Russian military, coupled with the claim that Zelensky and the West produce naive (obviously, because anti-Russian) propaganda “which does not accord with the facts.” The question of course is – “facts according to whom?” or the quote attributed to Pontius Pilate “Quid est veritas?” (what is truth?). Note my comments about the shifting Russian narrative in my previous post. In short – I stand by my statement regarding your “classing all else as anti-Russian propaganda”.
Last, but not least:
“It’s almost as if you have been immunized to reject evidence by a virus – Russophobia. So that you can refuse to consider new evidence by labelling “Russian disinformation efforts.” Since you directed the above quote at me, it is fitting I also can direct a quote back at you.
“One should avoid demonising one’s discussion partner.” Especially as my purpose in carrying on this “exchange of views” is not to convince you of anything. Rather, it is to provide the casual peruser of your website that interpretations other than yours exist, so they can make up their own minds.
Leonard – I did provide evidence from Google maps and Google earth. These are not “pro-Russian websites and the Russians themselves.” You have refused to consider them. It’s not good enough to reject such evidence as being pro-Russian – whatever that means.
You did not provide any links to the evidence you suggested despite my request. Please do so – I want to evaluate it. If I have somehow missed the links, please provide them again.
You say “The Russians themselves claim the mall was hit because it was used to store ammunition.’ Please provide a link to this – I have not seen it for this specific case (although I did see it for the malls in Kiev and Odessa.
I am finding difficulty in following your arguments and you do not seem to reply to the specific points I make.
My search of google maps today still shows Amstor as permanently closed – https://www.google.com/maps/place/Amstoremail@example.com,33.4225541,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x40d75322b00163bb:0x9981e1c6d335dd9c!8m2!3d49.0702474!4d33.4247481. Of course the corroborating evidence is the lack of reviews more recent than 4 months ago – https://www.google.com/maps/place/Amstorfirstname.lastname@example.org,33.4225541,17z/data=!4m7!3m6!1s0x40d75322b00163bb:0x9981e1c6d335dd9c!8m2!3d49.0702474!4d33.4247481!9m1!1b1
I try not to reject a claim based on a source. I recognise all media as having their biases and agendas so always try to dig below the claims to look at the evidence. That is why I find people who reject evidence as “pro-Russian” to be extremely biased – not interested in evidence. There is a lot of good information coming from Russian and Ukrainian sources at the moment – but as always check for the evidence as claims made in wartime are always suspect without evidence. That is why I checked Zelensky’s original claim about the mall..
I am not interested enough to undertake the search you suggest at this stage – that is why I asked for your links. I am currently satisfied from what I have observed from Google Maps, and Google Earth, the lack of cars in the car park, the low casualty rate and the presence of only young men, often in uniforms in the early photographs. The lack of women is telling – who would expect a crowded mall to be without women!
Now having said that I can only conclude your unwillingness to provide the links you have found illustrate your lack of confidence is your sources. Probably wise as it is easy to be fooled by claims mmade on social media. Always look for concrete evidence.
Belingcrap is well known as a very biased source. It is funded by NATO and NATO countries. The common approach is for them to start with a biased position and then look for “evidence” that they can twist to support their biased. They have been caught out before manufacturing evidence, distorting evidence, etc. This is well recorded in the stories supporting the jihadi terrorists in Syria and covering up corruption in the OPCW – but a separate subject.
Having said that I have used a good report from Belingcrap which provided good evidence of the links between our own murdering Christchurch terrorist, Tarrant, and neo-Fascist groups in Ukraine. The fact these groups translated his manifesto into several local languages, including Russian and Ukrainian, and that the Azov groups make it available in their retail branches.
I think this illustrates the mindlessness of our government choosing to effectively support these Ukrainian neo-Fascist groups despite their link with the Christchurch tragedy. But then, politics is never rational.
And, no I did not use an equivalency argument – your distortion is dishonest. I simply asked why the US and NATO leaders have not been demonised for their invasions and attacks if you are giving the current invasion as a justification. And I pointed out how that demonisation started very early in Putin’s presidency. A sensible person must look the real reason instead of hiding behind a claim like you made.
So, I suggest you try again as I will otherwise draw my only conclusion about the motives for your demonstration of the country and it’s president.
“(Zelensky’s) story about a missile attack on the Kremenchuk shopping mall with over a 1000 shoppers is pure fiction. Whatever the truth about the missiles the fact is the mall had been permanently closed for several months”
“Can you please provide a link? As I said I do try to find evidence (of the sort I have provided already) and don’t base my conclusions on hearsay. So please – provide the evidence. A link, photo, video?”
“I give evidence I have gleaned from a simple search of Google maps and Google earth”
This turned up on my Google News feed a few days ago. Maybe it will help?
The shopping mall has an active web site, as do many of the individual stores within the mall. These are easily sourced from Google. Be free to draw your own conclusions.
The imagery date given by Google Earth (which is also used for the satellite data on Google Maps) is 3/4/2021. I don’t know whether that is universal or USA date format, but, either way, the evidence you are using is over a year old.
It certainly predates the “fiction” of the attack.
As a scientist, you should be well aware of the necessity of checking the validity of your source material.
Seriously Stuart, are you suggesting that the mall, the railway station or the machine factory used for storing and repairing weapons have substantially changed in the last year or that Google Maps, showing the same information, is out of date?
Could you provide me with the link to the mall web site? I have not found anything recent as I looked for some sort of announcement of the mall’s closure as part of my checking. All I found is general country-wide announcements of closures and openings of shops due to the war.
I generally check these sort of things rather than take a politician like Zelensky’s propaganda as fact.
Hey guys, it’s a war, things get bombed, cities laid waste.
I find bizarre the whole “look they bombed something they weren’t allowed to” from any active party in a war.
It’s a war, what else do you expect apart from death and destruction? It’s what happens.
On personal ethical reasons I reject reasoning that argues that there is a legitimate vs illegitimate way to murder people in a war. The whole whole concept of legitimate illegal weapons is also obscene. How can one argue that a gas weapon should be banned while simultaneously legitimising physically disembowelling people with explosives and projectile weapons? All weapons are obscene.
But making the illogical and repulsive argument of unlawful conduct in war is a common and easy way to demonise a party to it.
The worst aspect of the propaganda onslaught we are currently suffering in the West is that most people don’t even perceive that it is happening.
True Richard. Unfortunately, people do get emotional about civilian casualties – and politicians play on that emotion.
Zelensky claimed the fire at the mall resulted from a purposeful attack on the mall – purposely aimed at civilians, etc., etc.
This issue only really came up here because Leonard alleged:
“Certainly the Russian tactic of striking targets such as theatres and shopping malls (and blaming Ukrainians for this) is not the sign of a military which is confident of a certain defeat of the Ukrainian army in the field.”
This is the sort of anti-Russian propaganda we get quite often. It avoids completely the fact that casualties like this are inevitable. But it seeks to allege that their opponents are doing it purposely because they have anti-human values.
Now, I do not think either side in this war is treating it as an opportunity for genocide. They are not actively seeking to kill civilians. But in this information war that claim will be made – and Zelensky does this often. He is a politician, and an actor (with a production team by his side).
Where accidents occur that is convenient for the propagandist (like Zelensky) – but they are also not averse to inventing incidents (which appears to be the case for the maternity hospital in Mariupol which had been taken over by Ukrainian troops as a firing position, and probably also the theatre which may have been blown up by retreating Azov militias).
By the same token, these propagandists will ignore completely the accidents their side is responsible for. A sort of mirror example is the recent missile attack on the maternity hospital in Donetsk in the DPR. (The evidence this was a factual Ukrainian attack is very clear).
While I don’t think either side is actively interested in genocide, attacks on civilians and inhuman treatment of prisoners will occur. There is the well-documented shooting of Russian POWs by Ukrainians. On the other side I have seen military groups amongst the Russians and allies refer to their recent decision not to take prisoners when dealing with the Georgian mercenary group which had assassinated Russian POWs. (They may have a similar attitude toward the militant groups of Kraken and the Right Sector which have recently been eliminated in the Donbass offensive).
Similarly, the missile and artillery attacks on Donetsk, going on for 8 years, were probably not targeted specifically but represented acts of rage or revenge against people seen as collaborators which justified random firing into areas which were clearly civilian. A few months ago such a missile attack on a public square in Donetsk killed and wounded slightly more civilians than occurred in the recent Amstor fire. Of course, this was hardly reported by the mainstream media (although some bright sparks did report it but blamed it on Russians!).
I am also picking up that in the recent advances by Russia and its allies in Donbass Ukrainian troops will sometimes evacuate civilians but consider those pro-Russian civilians who chose to stay as fair game and subsequently have no aversion to shelling civilian targets in the cities they have left.
“I am not interested enough to undertake the search you suggest at this stage – that is why I asked for your links. I am currently satisfied from what I have observed from Google Maps, and Google Earth, the lack of cars in the car park, the low casualty rate and the presence of only young men, often in uniforms in the early photographs. The lack of women is telling – who would expect a crowded mall to be without women!
Now having said that I can only conclude your unwillingness to provide the links you have found illustrate your lack of confidence is your sources.”
Interesting that all of the comments re “low” casualty rate (18-20 dead and at least 60 injured is “low” apparently), lack of women etc. have been made before by websites with a Russian bias. A point I made several times before – an instant dismissal of Bellingcat as biased, yet an uncritical repeating of Russian claims, simply illustrates your own preconceptions on the matter.
“Not interested enough” – why? Rather than illustrating my lack of confidence in my sources (why would I do that by providing an exact search term, which in my case led me straight to the family’s website on the first page?). Perhaps this illustrates your own unwillingness to search wider than the sources from which you repeat the statements of the Russian government uncritically.
Since you cannot find the inclination to chase the video yourself, please paste the below into your browser:
This takes you to the Lapkin family’s YouTube channel.
Click on “Videos” and then the video dated 26 June 2022 (one day before the attack). The relevant footage starts about 12:50, as the young couple walks toward the Amstor mall and follows other shoppers through the automatic doors inside. A spoiler – there are plenty of others there, including women, in a shopping centre which is very much operating.
The mall attack was either deliberate (i.e. mass murder) or accidental (i.e. cavalier disregard). The Russians have not admitted to any accidental targeting. The young couple mentioned above also loaded another video, dated 27 June 2022, where their previously cheery demeanour is missing. They are visibly shaken by what has happened at the place they were shopping in earlier and realise that they could have been amongst the casualties easily. The comment has been made that “this sort of thing happens in war” (presumably accompanied by the classic Gallic shoulder shrug). It certainly does, but those who accept this as an excuse merely show how callous they have become. It is easy to have abstract discussions on comparative propaganda as we sit here in our peaceful country, forgetting that ordinary people are suffering under very real dangers in Ukraine.
Now that wasn’t hard was it, Leonard. It is simply good manners when making a claim to post a link t then evidence and not to pass of a request by saying “search for it yourself.”
I am still waiting for the link to your claim that the Russian MOD claims the mall was being used to store arms. Can you get on to that please? I have not seen that claim anywhere else.
You say “The mall attack was either deliberate (i.e. mass murder) or accidental (i.e. cavalier disregard). The Russians have not admitted to any accidental targeting.“ I guess also accidental in the sense of fire spreading from the original attack site also.
What do say about the frequent missile attacks on Donetsk over the last 8 years? Many civilian deaths. The recent one on the town square had slightly more casualties than the mall attack. But was hardly reported in our media.
Or what about this attack occurring in the last few hours.
The poster claims it was “Russia . . .indiscriminately attacking civilian residential areas in #Ukraine.” But actually it was a Ukrainian attack on the Russian city of Belgorod
Haven’t heard anything from Ukraine about the attack, whether it was intentional or not. But it illustrates the sort of thing that is happening in this war. Despite the intentions of governments many of these attack (as those occurring over the last 8 years in Donetsk) appear to be generally aimed at civilian areas, without any serious targeting. )Granted the attack causing the mall fire was targeted – just not at the mall)
Yes, “ordinary people are suffering” in Ukraine (and also to some extent in Russian now). They have been for the last 8 years. To say “this sort of thing happens in war” is simply a fact – it is not an excuse.
Just don’t fall into the trap of claiming such accidents are intentional – as does Zelensky.
The real sad thing about this war is that it was not necessary – as my article pointed out. Starting with the EU-brokered agreement in February 2014, followed by the Minsk Agreements, and going on to serious proposals for solving the problems of European security there were plenty of opportunities to prevent this.
As IO pointed out in my article this problem was a failure in honest diplomacy and reason. Made worse by the ultranationalism that had been built up in Ukraine. Also assisted by the demoinsation of the sort you seem to project.
By the way I object to your attempts at slander. My comments on the low casualty rate were based ion figures from Ukrainian papers. My comments on the lack of women, the low number of cars and the prominence of young men, many in uniform,, was based on early videos of the scene of the fire.
Similar comments have been by others on social media – because they are simple facts. Anyone can see them. You attempt to slander facts by claiming they “have been made before by websites with a Russian bias.” I suppose you will accuse me of Russian bias because as a chemist I use the periodic table, basically proposed by that horrible Russian Dmitri Mendeleev?
This sort of slander is childish and simply attempts to stamp down on honest discussion. And no, I did not make “an instant dismissal of Bellingcrap as biased.” I actually said I have used some of their material which I found fairly objective but in general, because of its links and funding with NATO and it links with western intelligence agencies it is generally recognised as a biased source – often used to plant stories. As such I advocate careful checking – which I also advocate for all media – western and non-western. There is just so much fake news about these days.
So please. Show some respect. If I make a mistake or you feel I have not considered particular evidence simply say so and present the evidence. Don’t’ indulge in this sort of slander which I can only interpret as an attempt to close down a discussion because some facts disturb you.
My comments on the low car numbers, the prevalence of young men, many in uniform, the lack of women, the relatively low casualty numbers (Zelensky claimed a crowd of 1000) and the Google maps information of the mall being permanently closed (with the most recent review 4 months old) are simple facts. Nothing to do with Russia. Simply deal with them. Don’t resort to slander – it is not at all helpful.
Yes, you did make an instant dismissal of Bellingcat as below. Damning with faint praise afterward does not change this.
“Belingcrap is well known as a very biased source. It is funded by NATO and NATO countries. The common approach is for them to start with a biased position and then look for “evidence” that they can twist to support their biased.” Interesting that it is very easy to check Bellingcat’s finances – indeed they have a section of their website devoted to nothing but that. So it is in the open, for all to quote or misrepresent as the case may be. They ask for public donations on their website – hardly a sign they are wallowing in government or corporate money.
Those who pass on disinformation inspired by or originating from the Russian government, such as the so-called “War on Fakes” site (let’s call them “Russian apologists” for convenience) tend to have much to say on the subject of everything from Biden’s senility to the lack of women in shopping malls. Indeed, their approach also is “for them to start with a biased position and then look for “evidence” that they can twist to support their biases.” Things get a bit quieter when the questions are asked about who pays their bills. Not so much open disclosure there.
Bellingcat has, as you mentioned, done a detailed investigation of the right wing linkages and personages behind the Christchurch mosque murders and has been threatened by them as a result. It is quite something when a website can get under the skin of both far right extremists and Russian apologists – a sign they are doing something right, I believe.
By the way, the spelling is BellingCAT. Attempting to demean by name-calling tends to be the resort of those who can bring no meaningful argument to the table and is a habit supposed to be grown out of. I may be wrong about the last part, I do admit.
“My comments on the low car numbers, the prevalence of young men, many in uniform, the lack of women, the relatively low casualty numbers (Zelensky claimed a crowd of 1000) and the Google maps information of the mall being permanently closed (with the most recent review 4 months old) are simple facts.” Again, facts according to whom? Quid est veritas? If you had bothered watching the video I linked to you, the “permanently closed fact” and the “lack of women fact” become rather less so. And how many needed to die and be injured out of a crowd of 1000 before casualty numbers stop being “relatively low?”
If I am able to find items of interest easily by a simple Google search, I do not see why it is such a problem for you to do the same. Good researchers are prepared to make an effort to uncover relevant information and the context of that information.
“You attempt to slander facts by claiming they “have been made before by websites with a Russian bias.” I suppose you will accuse me of Russian bias because as a chemist I use the periodic table, basically proposed by that horrible Russian Dmitri Mendeleev?
This sort of slander is childish and simply attempts to stamp down on honest discussion.”
Yes, it is a fact that all the named claims have been made before by websites with a Russian bias. To make things clearer, I should have said “Russian government bias”. “Honest discussion” includes acknowledging where information was obtained from, be it Bellingcat or War on Fakes. And please don’t play the self-righteous deflection card – we are not discussing chemistry here and Mendeleev was not a propaganda tool. And as for “childish” – please refer to above comments regarding correct spelling of BellingCAT.
We have both pointed out the biases in each of our positions, many times. I suppose, on average, this makes for a balanced discussion while agreeing to differ. No more can be asked than that.
The claim that the Amstor shopping centre was used as weapons storage was listed on the self-styled “War on Fakes” website, as below:
If you take a detailed perusal of this site, you will indeed find practically all of the claims I mentioned as coming from “pro – Russian government” sites. And not a single comment on who is funding this site, apart from the comment “we don’t do politics” – when practically every statement contradicts this.
Click on the mall location in Google Maps (or Google Earth). The web site for the mall is given there.
Zoom in further in Google Maps (or Google Earth). You will find the individual stores identified. If you click on the stores you will find their active web sites, or their active Facebook pages.
I’m just using the same information, from the same sources, that you did. But I also noted the date of the satellite imagery.
You state that this war could have been avoided via diplomacy and adherence to the Minsk Agreements. There is a simpler and more immediate comment. This war could have been avoided if Vladimir Putin had not ordered his troops to cross the national borders of Ukraine.
Regarding “slander”. My Oxford dictionary defines this as “false report maliciously uttered to person’s injury.” When comments about the Amstor attack appear to have been taken nearly verbatim from Russian-affiliated websites and are repeated without modification, despite rebuttal from Bellingcat and other fact-checking websites, I can point out the origin of this information, question its quality and by extension, the conclusions drawn from it and the objectivity (or lack of it) of the person drawing those conclusions. If you consider it some sort of slanderous personal attack to have your information sources, conclusions and impartiality questioned in the same way as you commented on my own biases, you are welcome to preach to the converted in an echo chamber of your own making. There would be no questioning of anything then.
I know nothing of your own personal probity or morality, so I cannot make any true or false comment on them. Making false allegations in these areas would fall under the definition of slander. I trust you can see the difference.
Did that some time ago. Couldn’t find any specific information on closures. Yet the google maps description listed the mall as permanently closed. And the last reviews were 4 months old.
Leonard, so not a Russian source as you originally claimed.
You can find almost any claim on social media. That is why it always pays to check information. That is what I did through Google maps and through the original photographs. I did find industry reports of the use of the machine factory for servicing military equipment but no credible report of the use of the mall for that. Importantly I did not see any official Russian report of that claim although I did see several pro-Ukrainian claims that there were no military targets in the area.
You should be careful of attributing random social media claims to either the Russians or the Ukrainians. Unfortunately, our media and politicians have a rule of finding any stupid social media report they like and attributing it dishonestly to official Russian sources. Just be aware of that. Remember the first causally in war is truth. Reason is a close second. And social media is not reliable.
Always check such claims.
Regarding satellite imagery. I of course used Google earth which is never up to date, but I don’t have ready access to up-to-date satellite photos. But I have seen more recent equivalent photographs on social media – exactly the same except, as you will expect, except they show the bomb craters in the Machine Factory which was targeted./ Haven’t seen any images of bomb craters in the mall wreckage so it does appear it caught fire from munitions stored near the mall (One of the bomb craters was in an area of the factory next to the mall).
Of course the war could have been avoided, for a time, if the Russian invasion had not occurred. But that is a copout. Don’t forget the Ukrainian government has resolved to settle the Donbass issue militarily and had made an announcement of their intention to recapture Crimea militarily. (They had already taken action to prevent the normal flow of water which had caused serious agricultural problems in Crimea).
So there was a war waiting to happen – whoever precipitated it. It was widely being predicted as likely by academic specialists on Ukraine and Russia. There were real problems no matter how much you wish to deny them and avoid discussion of the Minsk Agreements and the European security issues. I guess the Russians might claim their strike was pre-emptive. Whatever, both sides were preparing (and I include the US and NATO decisionmakers in that conscious planning).
It now appears that the Russian planning was more realistic. That the military and economic war planning of NATO, Ukraine and the US has failed miserably. Which brings me back to the issue of slander.
You slander tactic simply replicates the information war tactics of NATO and the USA. Realistic information is rejected as “Russian propaganda”. Media and social media sites getting labelled to indicate that they promote Russian propaganda – whatever truth. The problem is that NATO, Ukraine, and the USA have fallen into the trap of believing their own lies. That Russia is so weak economically it was described as a petrol station masquerading as a country. That Putin had no support. The rouble would be reduced to rubble by the economic war. That the Russians were running out of arms, their military morale is low, and their soldiers were running away from the battles.
Any sensible person knows now those things are simply untrue. (Unless they are stupid enough to slavishly believe the Ukrainians are winning the war through tactical and strategic retreats, etc).
Now my comments on the Amstor mall were not taken “taken nearly verbatim from Russian-affiliated websites and are repeated without modification.” Not at all. I have always been clear that my sources were Zelensky’s propagandist claims, my observation of the early photos of the fire, the casualty figures reported by Ukrainian newspapers, and my own work checking Google maps. I have since added the observation of the lack of women in the crowd watching the fires (Bellingcrap managed to produce one – one – out of focus woman which demonstrates the way that crowd works).
Now you have not, as you claim, attacked my information sources – you have consistently refused to consider them – except you did once refer to the Google Maps information as “interesting” after me repeatedly pointing out that Google was not a Russian source – I guess you did not have a Bellingcrap source which discussed that information. 😊
No, the slander is your continual charge that I am uncritically using Russian sources for my information when I have made very clear that so far I haven’t even had time to hunt out and check the reports from the Russian MOD. Google maps are not a Russian source. Nor were the photographs I considered form Russian sources. It is simply untruthful of you to claim they are, and it is slanderous to claim I am using Russian sources.
(I must make the proviso that should be obvious. There is nothing wrong with using Russian, Ukrainian or US sources – providing one looks at the evidence. One should always dig below the claims whatever the source used).
But you are making the mistake of believing your own propaganda in the same war NATO, Ukraine and the USA do.
This specific mall incident is beside the point. There is so much disinformation and wishful thinking about this war that people are making serious mistakes in judgment, fooling themselves and therefore onto understanding when the truth turns out differently.
The mall is a diversion. This discussion started because of your claim:
“Certainly the Russian tactic of striking targets such as theatres and shopping malls (and blaming Ukrainians for this) is not the sign of a military which is confident of a certain defeat of the Ukrainian army in the field.”
Let me suggest your judgments about the confidence of the Russian military were way off, and your acceptance of disinformation about shopping malls and theatres reveals your willingness to believe that Russians do hateful things simply because they are Russian. That is the cause of your lack of judgment.
“Couldn’t find any specific information on closures. Yet the google maps description listed the mall as permanently closed.”
So, because the mall website doesn’t say they are closed, individual shop websites don’t say they are closed, facebook sites don’t say the shops are closed, the BBC produces up to date references and social media showing the mall and shops to be open with shoppers present, but Google Maps lists the mall as closed, you have reached the conclusion that the reports of an attack on the shopping mall are “fiction”?
I would suggest that, as a scientist, you should be prepared to examine all of the evidence, or even wait until all of the evidence is in, rather than cherry picking a single piece of evidence to support your opinion.
I’m quite happy to wait until all the evidence is in. My opinion at the moment is that IF this was an attack by Russian forces, then it was a result of either deliberate targeting or of horrendously inaccurate targeting, based on the known accuracy of modern weapons such as the X-22 that appears to have been used. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/29/evidence-contradicts-russian-claims-about-kremenchuk-mall-attack
Stuart, this discussion has been diverted into pointless speculation about the opening/closure of a mall but it was initiated by Leonard’s charge that Russia is purposely attacking civilian in effective acts of genocide. He was using this to somehow imply Ukraine is winning this war:
“Certainly the Russian tactic of striking targets such as theatres and shopping malls (and blaming Ukrainians for this) is not the sign of a military which is confident of a certain defeat of the Ukrainian army in the field.”
This is, of course, Zelensky’s argument. But absolutely no one produces evidence for this. As I have said neither side has advanced aims of genocide. To the extent that civilians are purposely targeted this is done by local units, probably out of revenge or racist ideology.
This was the case with the Azov groups in Mariupol where civilians were used as human shields, and many were shot by the militants when they tried to escape to evacuation. It appears to have happened during the recent retreats in the battle for the Lugansk oblast with Ukrainian soldiers showed hostility to civilians who refused to evacuate and preferred to stay in their own homes for the arrival of the Russian and allied troops. One western report quoted a Ukrainian soldier saying he would kill the remaining civilians if he was forced to retreat and remaining locals have charged that their houses have been targeted after the retreats. It appears also to have happened where Russian and allied soldiers said they would not take prisoners from the Georgian mercenary militias who had previously indulged in the torture and murder of POWs. They seem to have a similar attitude towards the Kraken and Right Sector ultranationalist militias.
The question of evidence. I have no interests in deeply investigating this particular mall incident (especially as I also have neither the time or interest in deeply investigating the maternity hospital attacks in Donetsk and Mariupol or the recent apparently unexplained Ukrainian missile attack on non-military targets in Belgorod which killed 5 civilians – 3 of them Ukrainian refugees. Or, indeed, the unexplained missile and artillery attacks on non-military targets in Donetsk city that have been going on for 8 years.
My response to Leonard cited the early evidence – Zelensky’s propagandist statement, the videos of the people outside to mall, the low numbers of cars, the Google maps description and the timing of reviews on the Google map description, and the low casualty numbers (which certainly conflicts with Zelensky’s claim, of 1000 shoppers being present. All that was available at the time. Now you might like to dismiss these as “Russian propaganda” but that are facts.
Yes, there is new evidence (which neither Leonard or I had) – like the video of a visit to the mall. This was posted after the attack and my quick perusal did not reveal any dates or evidence of times for the recording. If I was interested in pursuing the incident, I would attempt to check that out (although I understand YouTube deletes meta data from videos).
I do not consider your lack of evidence from websites you looked at as real evidence. My checking of the reviews for the mall was an honest attempt to give some verification to the description of “permanently closed” as that could have been quickly posted after the attack. So, I still consider the evidence I presented as important and needing explanation if one was to make an objective assessment. (For example, some of the evidence may explained by one social media post from someone claiming to be local that while the mall was closed a few shops still traded and he/she used them).
But this specific incident really doesn’t warrant a person like me submerging myself in the matter (especially as there are more important incidents occurring all the time in this brutal war). I am happy with the conclusion that this was an accident, whether the mall was closed or not, and that the Russian military were not specifically targeting the mall. (This is why I checked out Leonard’s claim that the Russian military claims they did target it the mall because it was storing military equipment. That claim proved to be false as Leonard could only cite a tweet unconnected to Russian military).
Finally, your comment on missile accuracy is important. I simply cannot make a judgement. I have seen other claims that the missiles used were known to be older, inaccurate, ones.
I sincerely hope the Russians are using modern accurate missiles. They do claim these missile attacks use precision weapons and this does prove to be the case in previous attacks. But, then again, we are told the Russians have used almost all the missiles and are now resorting to using old stock. I think that is propaganda but there could well be something in it. After the attacks on the Kramatorsk railway station many people posted photos of serial numbers of the missiles used which should have bene used as evidence. Have not seen any for this case.