anti-putin propaganda
© Metro (UK)
What passes for 'objective information' in the Western media
In case you haven't noticed, a war has been raging all around you for the past 12 months. Not a 'hot' war, but a massive propaganda war of the kind that usually precedes such military action.

The US' full-spectrum disinformation offensive against Russia began in earnest back in 2006 with the death by polonium poisoning of anti-Putin campaigner Alexander Litvinenko. Despite the fact that, before Litvinenko, the only murderers with previous form for death-by-polonium were those responsible for the murder of Yasser Arafat, the Western media immediately and persistently pointed to Putin as the culprit in Litvinenko's murder.

Earlier this year a UK government inquiry into his death began and the same allegations, based on the "everyone knows Putin's a thug" school of a priori, evidence-bereft, legal argumentation were made. One small piece of information revealed by the inquiry that completely undermined the claim that Putin had anything to do with the death of Litvinenko was, however, studiously ignored by the Western media.

According to the British government's story, the arch 'anti-Putin crusader' was dispatched by two FSB agents who administered the radioactive poison to him by offering him the rest of the pot of tea (about half a cup) they had ordered in a London hotel. The problem with this claim is that Litvinenko himself spontaneously arranged the meeting with the two men just a few hours before he met them. So to believe that the two agents killed their former compatriot, we have to assume that they somehow suspected that Litvinenko was going to ask them for a meet-up and had been carrying around a stash of Polonium for just such an occasion. In addition, one of the agents introduced his 8 year old son to Litvinenko, even telling him to shake his hand, after Litvinenko had drunk some of the supposedly radioactive tea. Litvinenko's wife, Marina, told the inquiry that at the time of his death Litvinenko was working for MI6.

Putin's somewhat famous speech at the 2007 Munich Security Conference is presented as the moment when Russia publicly and unilaterally 'broke' with the West. But Putin's comments in Munich were made on the back of several years of US and British government covert and overt attempts to destabilize the Russian government and force it to accept the reality that the anglo-American empire rules supreme. Rather than bow to this pressure, Putin chose to administer a dose of truth and reality to the warmongers:
"The history of humanity certainly has gone through unipolar periods and seen aspirations to world supremacy. And what hasn't happened in world history? What is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making.

It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious, not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.

And this certainly has nothing in common with democracy. Because, as you know, democracy is the power of the majority in light of the interests and opinions of the minority.

Incidentally, Russia - we - are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves. Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force - military force - in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state's legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?"
Since that speech, Russia has been on a collision course with the USA and its subservient ideologues in the EU. While Russia made concrete efforts to redress the imbalance in the unipolar world by establishing multi-lateral economic, political and social links with non-empire-aligned countries (BRICS), the USA and EU continued their demonisation and destabilization campaign against the Russian government. Along with the concerted anti-Putin media campaign, tactics have included the funding and training of 'opposition' groups within Russia, an attempt to frame Russia for the shooting down of a civilian airliner, economic and political sanctions, speculative currency attacks, manipulating energy markets to Russia's (and most everyone else's) detriment, and of course organising the violent overthrow of the Ukrainian government to impose a gaggle of pusillanimous quislings who could be relied on to launch a war against the ethnic Russians of Eastern Ukraine, all in an effort to bait Russia into a war with Ukraine, and potentially Europe.

All of these maneuvers (and others) have been for the purpose of instigating 'regime change' in Russia to prevent the emergence of a new, more equitable world order led, in large part, by Russia. The anglo-American empire rules supreme today because its agents have spent the last 100 years (more in the case of the UK) infiltrating, manipulating, subverting, and blackmailing other governments. They have also repeatedly waged war on the people of other nations and consistently plundered their resources. Built on this edifice, the anglo-American empire cannot continue to rule supreme without continuing to appropriate the wealth (human and natural) of other nations. It is not hard to see how Putin's moves towards the creation of a more equitable global economic order so perplexes the agents of empire, and drives them to take increasingly extreme measures to thwart Russian intentions.

When writing or speaking on the Ukraine crisis, most geopolitical pundits in the alternative media, (including leading lights like William Polk, who worked at the US State Dept. under JFK, and former Asst. Sec. of the Treasury under Reagan, Paul Craig Roberts) spell out the rather basic causes of - and propose solutions to - the current impasse: that US/NATO interfering in Ukraine is viewed, understandably, by Russia as a direct attack on its interests; that the US would never accept similar treatment by Russia (like Russia sponsoring a coup in Mexico and the installation of anti-US Mexican government); and that the US/NATO should accept this and back down or run the risk of embroiling the planet in nuclear war. The aforementioned William Polk recently wrote:
"We must recognize that the Ukraine is not part of our sphere of influence or dominance. It is neither in the Western Hemisphere nor in the North Atlantic. On the Black Sea, the concept of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an oxymoron. The Black Sea area is part of what the Russians call 'the near abroad'. [...]

The danger, of course, is that , for domestic political reasons - and particularly because of the urging of the neoconservatives and other hawks - we may not accept this geostrategic fact. Then, conflict, with all the horror that could mean, would become virtually inevitable."
Polk hints at what I have already explained above - that the preservation of US global hegemony requires that US 'hawks' ignore facts. The "domestic political reasons" refer to the need for the US to continue doing what it is doing. For one thing, current US energy consumption levels require that it seek oil abroad. And that's just one factor. Imperial war and plunder are the glue that holds the US economy together, an economy that is extremely unbalanced between rich and poor, and between debt and credit. Any sane analyst can see that the United States is in dire need of radical restructuring and sound governance.

But there is more to this problem than mere cognitive dissonance on the part of US policy-makers. Psychopaths make up an estimated 2-6% of the global population, although they are not spread equally across the world.

In a paper titled 'The Sociobiology of Sociopathy: An Integrated Evolutionary Model', Linda Mealey of the Department of Psychology at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, addressed the increase in psychopathy in American culture by suggesting that in a competitive society - one in which capitalism dominates, for example - psychopathy is adaptive and likely to increase. She writes:
I have thus far argued that some individuals seem to have a genotype that disposes them to [psychopathy].

[Psychopaths] always appear in every culture, no matter what the socio-cultural conditions [...]

Competition increases the use of antisocial and Machiavellian strategies and can counteract pro-social behavior.

Some cultures encourage competitiveness more than others and these differences in social values vary both temporally and cross-culturally [...] Across both dimensions, high levels of competitiveness are associated with high crime rates and Machiavellianism.

High population density, an indirect form of competition, is also associated with reduced pro-social behavior and increased anti-social behavior.
The conclusion is that the 'American way of life' has optimized the survival of psychopaths with the consequence that it is an adaptive "life strategy" that is extremely successful in American society, and thus has increased in the population in strictly genetic terms. What is more, as a consequence of a society that is adaptive for psychopathy, many individuals who are not genetic psychopaths have similarly adapted, becoming "effective" psychopaths, or "secondary sociopaths."

It's not that capitalism is psychopathic per se; rather, when the ingredients that go into successful capitalism - entrepreneurship, innovation, hard work, long-term vision, and 'that pioneering spirit' - become corrupted and diverted towards satiating (though never succeeding) pure greed, you know that psychopathy has taken hold. The specific term used by Andrew Lobaczewski in Political Ponerology to describe this process was 'ponerization'. Just as people and animals can be infected with parasites that take over their minds and cause them to behave in utterly self-destructive ways, so too are 'isms' (ideologies) and organizations (up to and including national governments) morphed over time and used to mask psychopathic activity. [Lobaczewski, by the way, was a Polish psychologist and part of a clandestine network of researchers studying this phenomenon in Communist Eastern Europe in the early to mid-20th century.]

Given that centers of power, influence, corruption and greed would attract psychopathic individuals of a particular 'caliber', we can presume that psychopaths are probably overrepresented in the US government (high population centers, competitiveness and anti-social behavior = job in government). Most academic studies agree that most psychopaths lack foresight, specifically the ability to imagine the consequences to themselves of their actions. They see only that which they want to see, and what they want is based on their primitive unconscious drive for domination and destruction. To the psychopath, rules and facts are annoying things that they continually strive to circumvent or deny. They are all too willing to impose rules on others, but never for a moment consider that those rules might also apply to them.

For the 'common' or 'garden variety' psychopath, this often leads to repeated arrests and stints in jail, from which they fail to learn anything, other than ways to avoid getting caught again, which also usually fail. Circumstantial evidence suggests, however, that some psychopaths - they could be called 'ambitious' - are able to understand that their inclinations are not acceptable in normal society (although they cannot understand why), that the rules are a threat to them, and that elevating themselves above 'normal' society where different rules apply (or they get to make the rules) is the best way to facilitate the free expression of their domineering and destructive impulses, without suffering any negative consequences. A position of power and influence in a monolithic and monumentally corrupt organisation like the US government is, therefore, the perfect place for a psychopath to ply his trade. But once in that position, and (rightly) convinced of his immunity to consequences, the psychopath will revert to ignoring facts and rules and, certainly, show no regard for the negative consequences of his actions for others.

And so we come back to William Polk's problem that "for domestic political reasons - and particularly because of the urging of the neoconservatives and other hawks - we may not accept [the] geostrategic fact [that] Ukraine is not part of our sphere of influence or dominance". This is true, but from the point of view of the psychopaths in the US government (and beyond) who are directing US policy towards Russia, "domestic political reasons" have little to do with their non-acceptance of the facts. For these psychopaths, at the level of their primitive drives, the problem with the facts is the facts themselves: they conflict with what they want. And as I have noted, what they want is to dominate and, when necessary to achieve that domination, to destroy. Their positions of power and influence combined with their unique ability to totally disregard facts and instead 'create their own', is the core problem facing humanity today. It's solipsism with a profoundly narcissistic slant all the way around. It's greed and control, not for some even remotely noble end, (although all manner of noble narratives and justifications are used to bamboozle the normal people of this world into going along with the psychopathic agenda), but as an end in itself.

This is the truth of the situation with which we are confronted. Yet the idea that our 'authority' figures are inhuman predators bent on global domination and control for its own sake is almost impossible for the average person to accept because it is so fundamentally inhuman, alien even. This is the reason the comfortable (yet hopelessly naive) lie that "Putin is a thug" (for example), and that the US government is attempting to secure 'freedom and democracy' for all, is accepted by the masses.