Charles Bausman
This week on Behind the Headlines we spoke with Charles Bausman, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Russia Insider. Charles has worked in finance in Russia since the early 1990s. Noticing strong anti-Russian bias in Western media that didn't square with the country they knew, Charles and some friends pooled together last summer to create their hard-hitting news portal, and have recently launched a crowdfunding appeal on Kickstarter as they seek to grow their not-for-profit project to topics beyond Russia.

Running Time: 01:51:00

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Here's the transcript:

Niall: Hello and welcome to Behind the Headlines on the SOTT Radio Network. I'm Niall Bradley. My co-host as usual is Joe Quinn.

Joe: Hi there.

Niall: This week we're speaking with Charles Bausman. He's the founder and editor-in-chief of Russia Insider, the news portal set up in September last year to counter some of this abysmal betrayal of Russia's portrayal, maybe it's betrayal as well, in the western mainstream media. They're essentially tracking what's being reported in the west and sort of truthifying the narratives for the English speaking audience. You've probably heard of it by now. In a short time Russia Insider has already generated some 20 million page views. Besides continuing to grow rapidly Charles and his team recently launched a kick-starter crowd funding appeal as they seek to expand the topics beyond Russia.

So let's welcome Charles. Great to have you here.

Charles: Well thanks for having me. It's a pleasure.

Niall: We're big fans of your site. I've got to say, first thing, it's funny.

Charles: (laughing)

Niall: Obviously it's great to have someone else out there just countering some of the awful stuff that's said about Russia, about Russians even, and of course about Putin and his actions and policies. So you're a major welcome addition to some truth perspective.

Charles: Yeah, we just started this thing. It was just a handful of us, last summer, who wanted to blow off some steam. We had no idea it would get this kind of a response from readers and volunteers. And so I think when you blow off steam you also sometimes want to use humour to sort of ridicule the people who've gotten on your nerves for so long. And then we realized that it was a lot of fun and we just made it a point to keep humour in the mix as much as possible. And it seems to be really popular with readers. They like it.

Joe: Well absolutely because how could you not make fun of the kind of stuff that's coming out of the west, for any rational-minded person who isn't completely enured in western propaganda and the American or the western dream? You just look at it coldly and even partially objectively, every time you see it you can't help but go "What the hell?!?" I don't want to get into this right now, but one example is I think John Kerry last year talking about the Russian invasion of Crimea and he made some reference to "You don't just go around invading other countries", and him as a representative of the US? On the back of Iraq, Afghanistan...

Charles: It's just terrible. It's incredible.

Joe: But I wonder how he can say that. He's obviously deluded himself.

Charles: Exactly.

Joe: The sad thing is there's probably a lot of people in the US listening to that who don't get the hypocrisy. That's what bugs me.

Charles: Yeah, unless somebody were to point it out. But what that incident shows me, and you see this again and again in the top ranks of officialdom in the US and the EU, is incredible incompetence. It's like they're not that smart and they repeatedly open themselves up to ridicule in so many ways that you'd think they'd be better at it. But it's almost like they've gotten too comfortable and too complacent and it has all the signs of decay and sort of things starting to collapse, when I see that kind of behaviour at that level. It's extraordinary.

Joe: Yeah. It is amazing and that's why we're saying that you have to make fun of it. You can't not but make fun of it. You report on the facts, you say that it happened, but you've got to throw in some humour there, some sarcasm because it's just asking for it. But Charles, you mentioned that you started the Russia Insider website. I'll just give the URL here, it's It's a great website. It's very accessible. It almost reminds me a little bit of the way RT and a lot of other websites style their websites in this way. It's very accessible. All of the titles and the subject headings are all very clear and pretty much in your face and available there and it's simple at the same time. But you said you started it last year, you and a group of friends.

Charles: Yeah, none of us are journalists.

Joe: Really?

Charles: Yeah. None of us are journalists. We're all guys from business or law or diplomacy. And I for the longest time have thought that the coverage of Russia was really unfair before the Ukraine crisis started. I've been working on and off in Russia for many years and I have a lot of friends who are journalists, for the big name publications. And we would have these raging arguments at dinner. It was like "You guys, you keep writing this stuff about Putin and it's just not true! And you keep writing this stuff about Khodorkovsky and it's just not true." And on and on, right? But it was always like a friendly sort of disagreement and it was left at that.

But then when the Ukraine crisis broke out last summer, the propaganda and the dishonesty went off the charts. And suddenly I found myself in the situation where I was living in a country where I knew Russians who had relatives there who were getting killed. I understood very well that the most raging lies were being told about what was happening. And it came to a point where I just felt I couldn't be quiet anymore. I was like "Listen, if I don't speak up and do something, I can't really respect myself."

So I got together with literally three other guys and we were sort of like-minded on this and we thought about what to do. And we thought "Well maybe we should buy one of those ads in the New York Times which is a common practice in America if you want to get an alternative view out, you can just buy an ad. And we thought about different things and I said "No, why don't we put up a website so we can sound off regularly and mention this stuff?" Honestly, we thought it would be read by 20 of our friends or 100 of our friends and it would just be sort of this thing.

What happened was people discovered it on Facebook and somebody started posting it into Facebook Russia groups that are sympathetic to Russia. We started finding these volunteers and all these people writing to us and urging us to do more and offering to help and it just became like this online movement. That's really what it was. We've put very little money into this and we've put all of it out of our own pockets, which are not deep and it's really been built 90 percent by people who've shown up and said "I'd like to help". They're all over the world. Actually there's four or five people in Moscow now, but there's 50 people all around the world who put this out, by just mostly contributing their free time. So it's a really interesting kind of journalism phenomenon. It's real citizen journalism. It's user-generated. It's not top down. It's a little bit chaotic. I can't always control what goes on there. Sometimes I look at the headlines and I go "Oh no!" So that's what we're doing. It's been a lot of fun.

Niall: Awesome. Yeah, we're kind of familiar with that model because we're also volunteer-based and have got people translating our material, contributing material from all over the world. There are just a few of us who actually work together, so-to-speak in the same space, but then it's kind of an international network and that's what makes it a success.

Charles: Yes.

Niall: All power to you. You have a faith in that model because it works.

Charles: Okay, well I'm glad to hear it's working for other people too.

Joe: Yeah.

Charles: That's fantastic.

Joe: So recently you started a kick-starter fundraiser basically for...

Charles: Yeah. crowd-funding.

Joe: Crowd-funding, yeah. I'm just looking at it now on your website. It's doing pretty good. It's right there on the right hand side of Russia Insider where people can donate whatever they can, just to support what you're doing basically, which is really important. A bit like the US, although for different reasons, do you have any expansionist plans specific to some particular area, or is it just to continue doing what you're doing?

Charles: We also sort of realized our goal and our mission is a work in progress and it's constantly evolving and we kind of have to figure out very quickly well where are we going with this and what's happening here? And we realized that what we really wanted to focus on is media criticism and understanding how media malfunctions, dysfunctions and gets as screwed up as it is today. And so we're really good at that, as it concerns the Russia story because we're all Russia specialists and we can see where things are going haywire. But we're also learning a lot of things about just how media works in general and we think "Well why don't we apply that insight and that knowledge to other subjects that are being poorly informed on by the media?". And so we want to expand to US foreign policy in general, the Middle East very much and there's a big Russia angle in the Middle East.

Joe: Right.

Charles: So we want to talk about that. We want to talk about the NSA and its encroachment and the spying on citizens. That isn't particularly a Russia story except for Edward Snowden who's somewhere here in Russia. Nobody ever sees him. (Laughing) And then just get into any kind of areas of media failure and try and reform media and try and invent ways and think about ways to have media function better and be better protected against the weirdness and corruption that's so widespread today.

Joe: That's an excellent idea because, like you've said, it's what you've been focusing on largely in terms of US policies towards Russia. Those same policies are going on in other places around the world, the same kind of attempts to subvert democracy or interfere with the process, the democratic or the political processes inside countries.

Charles: Absolutely.

Joe: That's going on all around the world, so you can make so many parallels. To bolster the argument of what the US is doing and to show what the US is doing in Russia, you could say "Well look, here's what they're doing in Venezuela. Here's what they're doing in the Middle East. Here's what they're doing in Asia."

Charles: Yeah. So there's just an unlimited amount to do. It really depends on how much money we can raise and how many people volunteer. And it's interesting, we're doing this kick-starter campaign and we're going to be running these campaigns continuously. We don't see it as a one-time thing. We're going to just keep them going all year round on various platforms. We think we could probably raise maybe two or three hundred thousand dollars a year doing that. And then we're also talking to investors to put in more money. We have a business background and I guess that's a big advantage because we can think of this in terms of a sustainable business model and building a media company that'll survive and compete in the contemporary media market.

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. I think it's very much sustainable particularly at this point in time and history because there's so much going on and even people who are usually asleep to politics or what's going on in the world, their consciousness is being invaded a little bit just because of the extent of the kind of craziness and chaos going on around the world. So there's more and more people, or more than ever maybe, people today who are looking at what's going on and looking for answers. So it's definitely sustainable in that sense because the interest in information from so many people is really at a high level. I was thinking to raise more funds to further what you're doing, obviously those kinds of funds would go to getting people maybe on the ground, outside reporters on the ground getting their own information from various different areas. And that obviously costs money to send people around the world, maybe even with cameras.

Charles: Sure.

Joe: So all of that does take money but having your own unique reports, your own information, not just from pulling it from the web, or pulling it from other sources, but generating it yourself is really valuable because you can put your own unique perspective on it.

Charles: Absolutely. And we do generate a lot of our content from contributors. They're all contributors.

Joe: Right.

Charles: Twenty percent of our content is original and if you look at it in terms of page views, it's probably closer to 40 percent because those are the articles that tend to be the most popular which is kind of interesting, I think. But I mentioned the crowd funding and what I realize is as important, as valuable as the crowd funding is a different kind of drive that we're doing on the site which is trying to bring in volunteers. And I finally got a great volunteer coordinator in place about a month ago and so we put out a headline saying "Call for volunteers" and listed all the things that we wanted to do. A hundred people wrote to us. A hundred people! I was completely bowled over. I was like "Wow!" We'll probably only use maybe 20 percent of them, but it would cost a lot of money to hire 20 people!

Joe: Right.

Charles: So in a way that's as valuable in terms of a money value as money we can raise from other sources. So it's a really important part of what we're doing.

Niall: Yeah, it's an interesting comment you made that the people are drawn to original content I think because while they're happy to see criticism of the original media "content" that put out by western media, what they want to see is the analysis of it. They want to see it taken down and what is there instead; what's really going on instead. And you've got it on your kick-starter page that you'd like to distribute things evenly between media criticism, which you're kind of focused on now, and investigative reporting, which takes time and resources.

Charles: Yeah. We've existed for only six months really. We launched the website on September 20th of last fall but one thing we realized is that there's a great network of fantastic investigative journalists out there, many of whom are under-employed or not very well paid.

Niall: Yeah.

Charles: Many of whom were working on really important stories and they were kind of squeezed out of their news organization because the news organizations didn't want to cover that kind of stuff. And so we've got this wonderful network of great people. Many of them are experienced journalists, some of them actually very well known and we can activate these people and get material out of them for much more inexpensively than the big media companies. We're so much more efficient and we've got a flat management structure, very low overhead, very little office space. Everybody kind of works off their own equipment. We can do an amazing amount with tens and tens times less than what's spent at the BBC and places like that.

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. And those kind of people you're talking about are kind of gold in a certain sense because I'd say for most of them, they're not in it for money. Obviously they need money to keep body and soul together type thing and a roof over their heads, but their main motivation is to write and tell the truth about certain things. So that's where their drive comes from so compared to people like in the western media and the big newspapers and stuff, they're all getting six figure salaries for just spouting the party line basically. You could almost get a computer to produce what they produce.

Charles: Yeah.

Joe: Or just ask the state department of Jen Psaki. She'll write it for them.

Charles: Exactly. Yeah. You mentioned the historical situation and that things seem to be getting really sort of out of kilter. I have a good analogy for you in terms of history. I studied history at university and when I think about "Well what does this remind me of?" I think it's very similar to what Europe was like on the eve of the reformation; when the catholic church, which basically ran everything, became so hopelessly corrupt that a lot of people were aware of it and were unhappy with it but nobody was really speaking up. And it just got to a breaking point so that it was enough for one monk to stand up and say "no" and the whole thing came crashing down on top of itself within a matter of years. And that collapse in Europe is like if you compare that to the collapse of a major contemporary empire like the Soviet Union or eastern bloc.

And I have this feeling that there's this sense of rotten corruption in the air that's gotten so extreme that I think something similar might happen with the world that we live in today. The more extreme the lies and the craziness gets in the media, it's just like a barometer of the impending end of a rotten system.

Joe: Absolutely, yeah. That's definitely a feeling we get as well.

Niall: Yeah. The more shrill they get the higher the fall I guess.

Joe: As soon as the Americans, for example, or this kind of Anglo-American empire, whatever you want to call it that's been around for so long, as soon as they meet the first bit of resistance they push back very strongly and they try and shut it down. But if in this case, Russia for example, if that opposition doesn't fall as easily as other oppositions have fallen in the past or the empire can't just make it shut up or destroy it or buy it off, well then they start to get something they haven't really experienced before; someone who can stand up and give as good as they're getting.

Charles: Yeah.

Joe: And the Americans are in a really difficult position because, like you just said, their entire edifice is built on so much corruption and lies, it's just so easy to pull it down and they're desperate to silence any exposure of that corruption and lies that it's built on. But how do you stop that from happening when you're sitting basically on a giant pile of shit for your empire, how do you stop people from pointing out and saying "You're all full of shit" basically?

Charles: Yeah, you're sitting on a pile of shit basically.

Joe: It's self-evident. You can't do anything about it. So they get more and more extreme and more and more ridiculous really, in their counterclaims, etc. and they're their own undoing because you can only take that so far before even the stupidest person is going to go "Really? We don't believe you anymore, really."

Charles: Yeah, and you know in Europe on the eve of the reformation you could find a lot of extremely intelligent people who had the best educations available of the day who were powerful and had influence and were respected in society and they would prepare to argue very, very convincingly that the sale of indulgences is a perfectly good way to run a religion. So there's just all these officials and academics who defend the current system and how it works, but they're wrong. Just because they have these fancy degrees and high positions doesn't mean that they're not spouting total nonsense.

Niall: Absolutely. There's definitely a pattern to history here that we're seeing. I'd like to ask you if hopefully not you personally, but has Russia Insider been accused of being Kremlin propagandists yet?

Charles: Oh yeah. We get that all the time, especially in America because in America I think they're more brainwashed than the Europeans, I think just because it's a factor of distance and history and all kinds of things. People are really timid in America.

Niall: Wow.

Charles: And even the ones who are critical of Russian policy, liberals in America, they've been a little bit careful about us, like "I don't know. We don't want to associate with these people. They seem kind of like radical bomb-throwers and they're probably getting paid by somebody in the Kremlin" or something like that. So we get that a lot. In a way you could almost understand why because there is Kremlin-funded propaganda out there and all sorts of things and the Russians have been very aggressive actually in the cyber propaganda thing, the artificial tweet storms and all these sorts of things. And the reason they're aggressive with it is that they're really good at it. It's an incredibly technologically advanced country and it's one of the resources they have to fight back so they use it a lot.

But that impression that it's being paid by the state dissolves pretty quickly if they don't know us well and they just sort of have a first impression like that. But if they go onto the site, they start reading about all the details, about all the people who work there, they see a couple of interviews with me on TV or things like that and I explain that I'm just a regular guy, honestly, "I was just working here as an American businessman and I just decided to do this", it's really convincing. And so most people are like "Yeah, these guys aren't propagandists."

Niall: Exactly. Your credentials, your background in finance, coming there as an American and living in Russia and the rest of your team as well, you're ex-pats. You're the least likely people to be spouting "Kremlin anti-western propaganda" just because of who you are.

Charles: Yeah.

Joe: Well hang on a minute. They could be double agents, you know, or they could be American agents working for the CIA inside Russia, posing as genuine...

Charles: Critics.

Joe: ...yeah, as critics. But in that case that would say that all the Americans should read Russia Insider, because inside there's the truth about what's really going on inside Russia if they really dig for it.

Charles: Yeah, here's what I would say about that.

Joe: I would pose that to people. Who would want to believe that?

Charles: If we're Kremlin-paid propagandists, then I think we all deserve an academy award this year because nobody has ever acted as well as we've acted if we're faking it. That's all I'm saying.

Joe: Yeah, and on the other hand, if you're working for US intelligence then you're doing a really bad job. You've missed the memo there about what you're meant to be promoting about Russia. Russia's evil. You're not meant to be telling everybody that America's evil. (Laughter)

Niall: What happened was the Kremlin turned them.

Joe: Exactly. They're turned. It gets a bit complicated at that point. I would just say read the information and decide for yourself, based on your own ability to weight up right and wrong and what makes sense and what doesn't. That's what everybody should do.

Niall: Yeah. Well this criticism "Oh they're just running propaganda", I want to bring that out to a bigger scale. It's hilarious trying to watch them frame the Putin/Russian ideology. So he's attacked for being Hitler. He's attacked for being a Stalin. He's attacked for being a this and that. He wrote extremes left and right and all over the place. But you've been in Russia during a time when it is essentially a capitalist, democratic country in the global arena with other countries. It's open. That comparison can't be made. And it's absurd the kind of pejorative projections they put onto a Russia that doesn't actually exist.

Charles: Yeah. They've got so much invested in demonizing this guy they'll just go to any limits. But if your audience is very unsophisticated, which is what the audience is in many ways in the United States, you can make those kinds of allegations and parallels and people will say "You know, I guess so." What I realized about this as part of our kind of media criticism experience and insight that we've had recently, is it's about the cumulative lie, right? You can't go from saying Putin is a decent man to saying he's like Hitler overnight. You kind of have to build it up over years. You kind of say "First he murdered this journalist then he unfairly treated that oligarch, then he blew up an apartment building, then he invaded Georgia."

And so you have this tapestry of lies going back many years and people who don't pay much attention to Russia have heard this on and on and on, that Putin's done all these mean nasty things. So then you can come out with the final sort of thing and say "In fact he is the modern Hitler" and people have already sort of been...

Joe: Primed.

Charles: Yeah, kind of trained to think that that's probably what he is, that he did all those terrible things. And so the interesting thing is I go back four or five times a year and I socialize with people and meet friends and go to parties and people tell me these things all the time and they absolutely believe them. They believe that Mr. Khodorkovsky is a really good, sort of democratic hero and was unfairly thrown into jail and they believe that Putin poisoned that secret agent in London with the radiation poisoning.

Joe: Right.

Charles: And on and on. And these are all untrue. They're just untrue. These are manufactured accusations that don't have any proof behind them. So it's the cumulative long-term lie that's very effective.

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. And it's interesting because they built it up, as you say, over several years. It kind of started around the Litvinenko murder, I think that was 2006, but even maybe there was another journalist that was supposedly killed by Putin himself, he pulled the trigger type thing. There's plenty of evidence that that's just nonsense despite what this guy Litvinenko said himself. Despite what he's alleged to have said, there's other things that he said that make it kind of clear that those two guys that are accused of being SSB agents who killed him couldn't have been responsible. I've actually written a little bit about that recently. The impression I get that particularly in the US, but also in Europe, some of the American-ophiles in Europe, they have this dream, this image of the system of government that they live under and that it's so wonderfully democratic and open and it's the power of people and the people decide. They get this message from Russia that it's an autocracy, it's almost like a dictatorship with Putin and that challenges their own sense of self worth, of their own good feelings about themselves and the system they live under.

Charles: Yeah.

Joe: That they live in democratic countries. It's kind of like what the US state department tried to convince them of. They want to give these poor oppressed people in Russia and elsewhere around the world, the "freedom" that they have. "I feel so good about the country I live in and I want other people in the world to have that and if there's one person stopping that, then it's terrible." But it's so deluded because I think the Russian government itself is officially listed as a limited democracy where technically you have democracy at certain levels, but at the level of the President or the cabinet or the government, basically they're the ones who are elected but then they decide and the people can't come along and say "We don't like that position you made. Every single point we're going to question it and we're the ones who are going to decide."

But that doesn't happen. It doesn't happen in the west either. Americans get democrat or republicans who follow the same policy decade after decade.

Charles: Sure.

Joe: And they can elect different faces and people with different hairstyles and stuff who say different things, but when it comes down to actually deciding on policy, it's the US government and the executives and the congress, some of them anyway, they're the ones who decide and the people don't get to question those. So it's exactly the same situation in Russia as it is in the US. Americans have this idea of the American dream. And it is a dream, literally. They live in a fantasy land basically. It's just incredible, but like you said, they're not very sophisticated.

Charles: Yeah, I couldn't agree with you more on everything you just said. It's absolutely true.

Joe: Well I was just going to ask you something, on that point, what's your feeling since you spend a lot of time in Moscow and Russia, what do you get from people in Russia about all of this western propaganda? Does anybody believe it? Are they wise to it?

Charles: It's really interesting. It's really interesting. You have a wing of Russian society which tends to be sort of the more educated people, intelligentsia, what they call the intelligentsia here, creative people, progressive people, people who you'd call very liberal in their values in the west, sort of the equivalent of liberals. And they are very against Putin. They are just willing to go to extremes sometimes to achieve some things. And then you've got the main (bad audio), well we maybe don't know the details but we basically think these people are okay and we support them. And then you have the strong 20-30 percent (bad audio). Those are very small, there may be a five percent of the population. And so there's a very lively debate in Russia because there is a lot of public debate and it (bad audio) a lot. But on the whole Russian internet there's a huge public discussion. And it's of a very high level. That's one thing I have to say.

For all their pluses and minuses, Russians are very well educated and they're very widely read and I'd say they're much more open-minded and oftentimes better informed than people in the west. There's less structures here to keep them in the boundaries of certain things that are acceptable to think about or discuss. So sometimes you have these debate shows on the evening political talk shows that are just extraordinary, with really, really brilliant people going on about the most fascinating things at an extremely high level and it's just head and shoulders above what you would find in the United States on TV shows. And I think that's a really interesting sort of thing that people don't realize about Russia and what's going on there.

Niall: So in fact we could say they have more freedom of speech in Russia than in the west.

Charles: You know what they have? They have freedom of thought because I think in the west you've got this deadening effect of political correctness and everything's muffled somehow. It seems muffled when you watch American TV. They're just sort of dancing around a pretty narrow set of issues. In Russia it's much more wide open.

Niall: Wow!

Joe: Yeah, because what precedes the freedom of speech is freedom of thought; not just freedom of thought but the ability to think and then to speak on a wide, broad range of topics and understand things. But for that to happen you have to have the incoming...

Niall: Range of information.

Joe: Range of information.

Niall: Which suggests that it's higher quality in Russia.

Joe: Right.

Charles: I'll give you guys an example. Are you familiar with the website Zero Hedge?

Joe: Yeah.

Niall: Yeah.

Charles: And it has a lot of people on there who are talking about how gold is the only solution to things and the whole financial system's a Ponzi scheme and sort of what would be considered like an alternative view in the United States and a narrow view. In Russia those kinds of ideas are discussed mainstream. The biggest, most respected academic personalities in the country talk about this a lot and talk about the world financial system in these terms a lot. And it's considered not fringy, but kind of like intelligent to think about these things and think how important they are. So that's an example of the difference. I think there's more willingness of more people to go outside some boundaries here and consider things that aren't really taken seriously by the mainstream in the west.

Joe: I think it's obviously in the interests of the Russian government for people to be that way as well, to be well informed because you're talking about two opposites here really, or two sides of a coin in that the US for a long time has been the leading expansionist power in the world that has gone around the world using all sorts of corrupt and devious and warmongering activities to suppress democracy and to make the world free essentially for American corporations and for America to continue to dominate the world. And for that to happen obviously it's wrong and it's anti-democratic but for people in the US to go along with that, they have to be kept in the dark about it. But the countries on the receiving end of that, the governments of those countries that receive that kind of aggression, they are protected by a very well-informed population. So it's in their interests to just put as much information out there as possible and have a very well-informed and educated population.

Charles: Yes, that's an interesting point. That's interesting. It's in their interest to have a well-informed citizenry.

Joe: Yeah, because when it comes to the day of a coup, for example, a western-backed coup in Russia, people won't just roll over and believe the bullshit lies from the US about freedom and democracy. They're aware of the history of the past 10 or 15 years, about the US spreading freedom and democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan and that it's all just lies, well they're much less likely to accept it in their own country when they're aware of that.

Charles: Yeah.

Joe: But you take the average American and they still think that Iraq was given freedom by America.

Charles: Yeah.

Joe: They still actually think Afghanistan was given freedom.

Charles: I would say that the Russians - and I noticed this in eastern Europe too as opposed to western Europe, like eastern Germans for example are more this way than western Germans - is they've got a higher bullshit detector ability because they lived under a very stifling system which had very extreme propaganda and twisting of information so when they see it happening they say "Oh, I've seen this. I remember this is what it was like 20 years ago in Eastern Europe." So they're more resistant to this. It's almost like they think the Europeans and the Russian had to live with this stuff for so long and they know very well what it looks like and smells like. But Americans have kind of lost the immune system for this. They've been living in this weird world for so long that they don't recognize it. It's like that boiling frog analogy. They've slowly, slowly slipped into this sleepiness about information.

Niall: Yeah, the term inoculation a very interesting one, certainly from our perspective. We published a book called Political Ponerology written by a guy, in fact a group of people who were in the east Soviet bloc of Eastern Europe in the 1930s and '40s and they started to understand and develop ideas about how the system will work to keep them in terms of information. The information that people are lacking and the extent to which it exists, and particularly how psychopaths and other character disturbed people will rise to the top in any given area and gradually take it over, annex the entire system.

Charles: Yeah.

Niall: And I think in a sense Russians and eastern Europeans, to use your analogy, are inoculated because they have a vestal memory of this.

Charles: Yeah. But I think psychopaths rise to power all over the world as much as anywhere else. I think that's a fascinating concept and I'm so glad it's sort of getting traction and getting out there, that there might be something fundamentally wrong with Ameritocracy because if the Ameritocracy keeps pushing forward people who are hell-bent on power at any cost, it'll attract people who are...

Niall: Want to increase their power.

Charles: Yeah.

Joe: They'll do anything to get that power, anything.

Charles: Yeah. So I think it's a fascinating argument.

Niall: Speaking of Germany in general, you are fluent in German.

Charles: Yeah.

Niall: I've heard you on the record saying that you track the kind of narratives going on in the German media and you think it's worse there than in the US in terms of how anti-Russia it is?

Charles: Oh yeah, it verges on ridiculous. I don't know, and you guys are in the UK?

Joe: We're in France right now actually.

Charles: Oh, okay, because in America they used to have these comedy shows about World War II sorts of things, like Hogan's Heroes and basically they were sitcoms of WWII era Germany and really silly, just really, really ridiculous. And you know, the German media is in the tightest straitjacket of all. It's really, really, really tightly controlled. There's no question that it's controlled and manipulated by the German and American intelligence services.

Niall: Right.

Charles: And that some of these guys are just literally paid agents. There's no other way to explain their behaviour. And this goes back to post-WWII history when the Americans were worried about the resurgence of perhaps Nazism or sympathy with communism so they set up a very tight system to control and manipulate the German media. Then that sort of just hung on through the 60s and 70s and into this century and it still exists and it has a bureaucratic inertia. There are just people who have made their careers in that system and they've got certain vested interests and they've brought in people who sort of think the way they do and it's a thing that can continue for decades and decades, right?

Well it's very much in place in Germany and when the Ukraine crisis hit, it's almost like they got an order from headquarters "We have to do anything we can to keep the Germans on the American side because if Germany turns we've lost it" basically. So they really ramped up the propaganda and it got a little bit silly and the Germans were like "We're not going to put up with this anymore. This is ridiculous." And there's this massive movement now in Germany that's very, very critical of the media and it's a fascinating story. It's going totally unreported in the west. This is what's so interesting.

We were writing about this and I searched the western media for information about this and there's nothing there. It's not in the New York Times, not in any of the other things.

Niall: What was the name of that German journalist who recently wrote a book and he said basically "The CIA gives orders and...

Joe: Right. "Tells us what to write."

Niall: ...the entire media structure in Germany.

Joe: Yeah, even Hansen's. He says that he works on his video, I think it was a video on Press TV?

Niall: Or RT.

Joe: Or RT. I think it might have been RT.

Charles: I'm back here.

Joe: Charles, we were just mentioning there about the a German journalist back some time last year gave an interview, I think it might have been RT, where he basically said that he feels bad about the fact and feels he needs to come out now and say that working in German media for a long time, he basically worked for the CIA. He was given his orders about what to write from the Americans. Do you remember that guy? I can't remember his name.

Charles: Absolutely. His name is Udo Ulfkotte.

Joe: That's right, yeah.

Charles: There are three books like that. His was the first and then he's been followed by two more and they're all bestsellers; all these German journalists are coming out of the woodwork saying "You know, this is actually a really screwy system." It's a fascinating thing. As I was saying, it's so under-reported and it's so massively important because Germany is such a juggernaut in Europe. It's emerged as sort of this dominating force, especially over the last five years as the economic crisis has lowered the position of the countries around Germany and Germany has actually risen because they've managed still to export a lot.

I tell you, it's so important what happens there. What the German public opinion believes and supports is just becoming more and more critical all the time and it's really turning against the US. And that's a fascinating geopolitical shift of historic proportions and big news and people aren't writing about it, except for us. Russia Insider's covering the story.

Joe: Yeah, to be honest, the whole situation with Russia over the past year largely, or a little bit before, has opened my eyes and made me think about the history of the past 100 or more years in a very different way. The more I've looked at it, and I go back to, for example, the beginning of the 20th century and what was going on then in the US as far as Europe and Russia was concerned; obviously the First World War, the Bolshevik Revolution then the Second World War and on and on until the Cold War. I look at all that and historically I think I see at least for those 100 years, a lot of American foreign policy, particularly on Europe and the Eurasian landmass, has all bee been designed or followed with the goal of neutralizing Russia, keeping Russia...

Niall: Contained.

Joe: Contained and down essentially because I think way back then, using the idea of the grand chessboard and this idea of geopolitics, and what geopolitics is, is the politics of geography, essentially, landmasses and human and natural resources on those landmasses. You have all these Europeans who decant from Europe a couple of hundred years ago over to America and set up their centre of empire and essentially from there they decided they were going to control the world and the first place they look is Eurasia, that entire landmass which has by far the most people and the most natural resources and you see Russia, this massive country that owns that landmass and they look and they say "If we don't control this whole area and particularly Russia as one big country, by far the biggest country in the world and obviously in that landmass, if we don't control them, we don't control the world." That area of Eurasia would control the world. That's the centre.

Charles: That's the Eurasianist theory.

Joe: Yeah. It seems to make a lot of sense to me.

Charles: So Eurasia controls the world basically. Yeah, and it's a very popular theory these days in Russia.

Joe: Well it seems to make sense with everything they've done. There's evidence from one guy anyway, a professor who's now dead, Anthony Sutton, who talks about Wall Street's financing of the Bolshevik Revolution and even of Hitler to some extent.

You look at what happened with the Bolshevik Revolution, you had the destruction of Russian industry and the collapse of the whole system of the Czarist system. That Czarist system at the time was a kind of world leader in terms of actual real life democracy and peoples' rights and of industry. It was a real power and perhaps the pre-eminent power at the turn of the 20th century.

And then suddenly the whole thing gets destroyed and you have this gaggle of nut jobs who come in and lead this ridiculous nihilistic revolution in Russia that just neutralizes Russia effectively, even though it was built up then afterwards. But then you have the Cold War imposed and segregation and through all of that whole 20th century you have the US, the Anglo-American empire going from strength to strength and dominating the world and Russia contained.

So I just looked at it and said "If that's what happened then maybe that's what was planned to some extent." And it continues today.

Charles: I think there is a degree of truth to that. I remember when we were studying international relations in university, we were always taught that England always played this game of playing off different powers in Europe against each other and that they'd always try and get them to fight each other and then they'd take the side of whoever was losing and always keep these people at each others' throats so that nobody would threaten England. And I think America pursues a similar policy.

Joe: Yeah, they inherited it from the British.

Niall: To remind our listeners that Russia Insider is an awesome website. We've been following it since it started up. Are you going to be setting up - I see mentioned on your kick-starter page, you're going to be a non-profit registered in the US?

Charles: Yeah. We want to do that because as an American I'm very familiar with this, but there's fantastic tax incentives for charitable giving in the US and you see a lot of the news business has gone completely into the red, almost nobody can exist on a commercial basis. So a lot of American news organizations are shifting to non-profit status and relying on donations to survive. And so the US is a great environment to do that in so that's what we're planning to do. And it's also a big whopping country with a lot of people who can make charitable donations. So we're in the process of doing that.

Niall: It makes sense. Although we've discussed how in the US the people are less sophisticated to this stuff, there is still a lot of people in America who are sick of what they're hearing and they are looking for alternatives. To put it in culture, there is a market for it.

Charles: Absolutely. What I want to get across to your listeners is if you're sympathetic to this kind of thing, the way this crowd funding works is that the more people pile in at the beginning, the more successful the campaign is. It works on the principle of crowd psychology. People are more willing to contribute to and join a crowd if there are more people in it.

So I'm just telling everybody I know and every public venue possible, "Look, it's not about the money, okay? I don't care if you donate a dollar or half a dollar. Just come and put your name on the site, give whatever you can, no matter how little, because if people see that a couple thousand people supported this thing, that's as impressive as the amount of money that's been collected. And it's really voting with your voice and your presence in a certain thing and it sends a big message. So I would encourage you, if you're sympathetic and you think we're doing good stuff, don't wait until the end. Do it in the beginning and don't worry about if it's not much money. It's not about the money. It's about people getting behind something.

Joe: Right! Absolutely! We would fully endorse that, for our listeners to go and whatever they can, because it's putting your money where your mouth is, type of thing. If you support this Russia Insider very much in line with the kind of analysis or the angle that we at take. So it's just another way to support the general, overall movement essentially, to tell the truth in this world and to get the truth out there to as many people as possible. So even if it's only a few dollars or something, you're psychologically you're committing yourself to it and you're putting your money where your mouth is basically. And that's important.

Charles: Yeah! We're getting about a hundred people a day to sign up and we're running for 40 days. Well you know, if we can keep it up or even increase that, that's 4,000 people! And that says something.

Joe: Right.

Charles: That's not insignificant.

Niall: Yeah, exactly.

Joe: Charles, I just wanted to ask you something since you're in Moscow. Do you have any inside sources - maybe you're not allowed to tell it, but since you're not far from the Kremlin, do you ever get or have you ever had an idea that someone who contacted you has extra specially interesting information to impart?

Charles: No. No.

Joe: Unfortunately.

Charles: We just can't do that. We're not doing investigative stuff here on the ground in Russia. Our guys are all over the world really. We're more on the organizational side of it, a couple of guys who are here. I've met some people who are very close to the Kremlin but they would never admit it, because as soon as they start talking about it they're no longer close.

Joe: Exactly, yeah. That's the problem.

Niall: That's the way it works. Well this is the information war, so yeah people, get engaged, help Charles and the project out. Russia Insider's doing a great job.

Joe: Yeah, absolutely.

Niall: And we wish you all the best Charles.

Joe: Yeah, thanks a million for talking to us.

Niall: Thank you very much.

Charles: I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it. It was great fun. Thanks.

Joe: Alright. Take care.

Niall: Bye-bye.

Charles: Okay. Bye-bye.

Joe: So that was Charles, who is a very interesting guy. It's good to see Russia Insider doing a good job. There needs to be more websites like Russia Insider and obviously. But there really aren't enough compared to when you consider what we're up against, the opposition, let's say.

Niall: Yeah, vast armies of connected people. Even just small publications, just online websites, say about the size of Russia Insider.

Joe: Right.

Niall: Are there other sights? Multiple in the English language in any country in Eastern Europe. All of them date back usually from some kind of open society.

Joe: Yeah, and there's also a lot of genuine ideologues in the US who are just totally weaned or brought up on western propaganda and as soon as they see any opposition, any alternative argument coming from east or from Russia or wherever, they immediately fire up a blog.

Niall: This is the remarkable thing about it. Charles was being accused of being a paid Kremlin propagandist which is ridiculous simply because he's there and he's saying things that run totally different to what these guys on the other side are saying. The thing is, the guys on the other side, they're not going to find a smoking gun connection to George Soros necessarily. They were simply brought up that way and he went to a school that had its system changed before they were born. They were born into the new system and it's all they know. So in a sense, it's just as ridiculous to say both sides are paid because that takes us back to times of clear, blatant Pravda, Nazi party or whichever silly fascist regime or totalitarian regime you want to say, look, it's obvious their stuff is propaganda. The lies exposed in the west and would be right to be called propaganda.

Joe: Yeah.

Niall: People really believe it, but they're like fish in water. They're drowning in it but you have a kind of western liberty. You can even find people who say "What are you talking about?"

Joe: Some people are saying that the audio is pretty bad. I wonder if we shouldn't just try and hang up and hook back in to check if that helps any. So maybe our sound technician would play something nice just for 30 seconds or so.

Niall: Let's go to commercial break.
Makin' Bacon....

Joe: Does it sound any better? I don't know, if the sound's no better, then there's not much we can do about it right now.

Niall: That was a song from our sponsor, breakfast bacon.

Joe: That was our sponsor, Mr. Piggyman. What's going on? I don't know what's going on. Carry on Niall, what were you saying?

Niall: I wondered, the news of the week, Putin's gone awol.

Joe: Yeah, he's disappeared, he's missing, he was abducted by aliens, he was abducted.

Niall: He gave birth or something.

Joe: He gave birth? No, he didn't give birth. Well he may have given birth because everybody knows that Putin is so remarkable that he may be able to do that. That's what someone on the same level as "our lord himself". He may be able to give birth. He may have been abducted by the shape shifting lizards in Buckingham Palace.

Niall: Uh-huh. That's plausible Joe. We have no evidence to the contrary.

Joe: Right. Or he could have been taken out by a Kremlin coup backed by the CIA.

Niall: (whispers) Oh! My god!

Joe: Or he could just be taking a bit of down-time, getting some proper work in rather than going around the world shaking hands and doing deals. He might be doing some kind of study; studying the situation that's confronting him and the other people in the Russian government in terms of what's going on in the world and what to do about it, how to restore balance, bring balance back to the force. Now and again you need some down time, some time away in your study to really consider that problem and what to do about it and what steps to take next.

It's funny that people are shocked or amazed that he would have disappeared for a week or ten days or something, because they're so used to puppetry in the west, which is always on presidents and PMs who are always around just shoving their face on television programs and talking nonsense basically, keeping the masses happy and placated and safe in the knowledge that their great leader is always looking out for them, type thing.

Niall: Well their agenda for the day is basically written for them and is packed with photo ops, with visiting dignitaries, interviews with the media, shake a hand, kiss a baby.

Joe: Or eat a baby.

Niall: Sign this law please. They have no clue. Read this teleprompter.

Joe: Yeah, they're just spokespeople.

Niall: Go to bed. George Bush, what did he say, he sleeps 13 hours a day and the rest is just shake hands.

Joe: The rest is naps.

Niall: Naps in between.

Joe: So they're spokespeople and that's what they do. They get out there and catapult the propaganda, as they say. That's their job in the west. But someone like Putin who's more in the line of actually a real honest-to-god leader from way back in the old days, old school type thing, and he actually does work, proper work, real work, that doesn't involve him being in front of a camera all the time, which obviously can't be the work of somebody who's seriously involved in trying to run a country, do whatever he's doing.

Niall: Yeah. He actually reads the reports given to him, analyzes them, makes notes, sends them back and says "Do some more", whatever, and then considers where to go from there. That's the actual work you'd expect of a leader.

Joe: Right. We've got Kent from West Virginia on the line. He's a regular listener. Hi Kent, how are you doing?

Kent: Yeah, a couple of things.

Joe: Hi Kent.

Kent: They can't have a fellow who gets his hands dirty. He's setting a bad example for example for everybody else. He's just like Castro down there, teaching everybody how to read and given them medicare. These are bad examples, you know.

Joe: Exactly.

Kent: One thing you were talking about earlier in the show about how the United States goes around and quashes democracy. I listen to what would pass as an alternative radio station here in the states and the guy that runs it was always talking about this and it just dawned on me; there's something on the internet called US Army Training Manual Number 2000-25. You can judge for yourself. Apparently it was something that was issued to the US army in the '20s or something like that and I guess Roosevelt withdrew it they claim. They're always ranting and raving in the United States about how this country is a republic, that it's not a democracy. And this manual draws the distinction. This explains why the US has no qualms about going around and squashing what you and everybody else think are democracies and saying citizenship democracy, a government of the masses, authority derived through mass meetings. And the idea of it is it's a mobocracy. It results in demogoguism, licensed agitation, citizenship republic, authority derived through election by the people of public officials best suited. So you're allowed to vote for your betters who are there to best direct you of your own direction.

Then it says "Why democracies fail. A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It only exists until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury." So that's why this type of thinking, although it still exists in the minds of obviously the American military, and that's why they say Allende in Chile or wherever there's a democracy "Well they voted for that but they don't know any better. That's democracy. But that failed. And we'll guarantee it fails. We'll go in and stomp it so it does fail. So check out that US Army Training Manual No. 2000-25. It's just various things on the internet and I presume it's authentic. It's discussed at various sites. That really lays out the thinking of the American military to this day.

Joe: Yeah, absolutely. I don't know, it's interesting because in Russia, for example, we were just speaking about Russia, it's pretty much accepted officially that in Russia you have something called guided democracy, or managed democracy, which is democratic government with increased autocracy. There are elections, etc., free and fair, but there isn't really much scope for the people who vote in those elections to change state policies. It's almost accepted within Russia itself even that that's the kind of democracy that they have, which is far closer to the way things happen in the US for example. People can vote all they want but it's never going to change any policies.

At least in Russia they're honest about it, but in the US it's this complete illusion and dream where anybody can be President and "we elect our representatives and we can fire them and they work for us". And people keep telling themselves this in the US, desperately holding on to that illusion as if it's ever been true. If they would just wake up and realize that okay, that's never really been the case, where the people actually had power. They were the ones who decided on every policy or every law that may or may not be passed. Obviously they give that power to leaders. But even in the case where they give the power to leaders, they don't have the option to remove those leaders, or to change the type of people who are governing them because the same type of people keep coming in.

So if Americans would just admit that to themselves and recognize that that's the way it is, I don't know if they'd be able to change anything, but they would be in a better place psychologically I think, to at least recognize that that's the kind of system they live under and that's the way it's always been. Because then you'd be able to then consider more seriously the type of people that are in power and don't ever thing that you're just going to be able to get rid of them, or that if you get rid of them something will change. It would confront them with the core of the problem, but they keep running from it into illusion of "the powers in the peoples' hands" when it's not. It never has been. It's so childish. It doesn't even take stock of almost self-evident reality. So I don't know, yeah. You got anything else Kent?

Kent: No, that's it. I just wanted to point that out. So that's strange why democracy is just a word like freedom. It's just one of those words that means a different thing to....

Joe: Everybody.

Kent: It's personal. It really means very little. When anybody says freedom or democracy, I sort of tune them out.

Joe: You walk away.

Kent: Yeah. Alright, well thanks a lot.

Joe: Alright Kent, thanks for your call.

Niall: Take care. Bye Kent. So here's something from Russia Insider actually. They put it up a few days ago. I don't know if it was reported anywhere else, but apparently not. They had to get this from German Economic News and they translated it. The headline they gave was "Intelligent Think Tank Stratfor" - which is the US private military intelligence - "says the US is using Ukraine to weaken Russia's position in the Middle East." And it goes on "The conflict was sparked by the US in response to Russia's activities in the Middle East." They didn't explicitly say that but they did strongly suggest it. "Washington was unhappy with Moscow's role in the Syrian conflict" which you remember back in 2013 they more or less nipped in the bud by stepping in and sort of being the arbiter of the dismantlement of Syria's chemical weapons, whether they had an arsenal or not.

Joe: Right, well that was the cover story to a certain extent.

Niall: Okay.

Joe: And it may have been a cover story and that was the deal that was worked out. Go ahead. I don't want to interrupt you. Have you got more on that? I just wanted to go off on that point you just made. Can I?

Niall: Yeah, go on.

Joe: Because there's a story going around that has been going around since then that at that point in time, we're talking September 2013 I remember quite clearly when you had John Kerry and various other talking psycho-heads from the US ramping up the war rhetoric that they were going to have a NATO bombardment of Syria and it was really getting to the point where you could tell by the things that they were saying that they were going to do a Libya basically, on Syria and "decapitate" the regime, the euphemism. And then all of a sudden from one day to the next almost, Kerry backs down and you had this vote in the British parliament where the majority of MPs in the British parliament voted against any attack on Syria.

It was an amazing turnaround and I tend to not believe that all it was, was Russia saying "Hey, if chemical weapons is your problem, we can get rid of those for you in a proper and official way, we'll manage the removal of these weapons of mass destruction from Syria, in a transparent way so that everybody can see it because that's clearly the only thing you're interested in, right Secretary Kerry? You're saying that Assad has used chemical weapons and has chemical weapons and this is terrible. Obviously that's your real reason about wanting to bomb Syria, right? That's the only reason you want to bomb Syria, right? That's the only reason you went into Iraq, right because of the weapons of mass destruction, right? Everybody knows that."

So I'm being facetious here obviously. It's a ridiculous proposition. What I'm saying is I don't think that Russia offering to do that would have resulted in the back-down that we saw in 2013. The Americans would have said "Pah, we can't do business with Russia. They're not trustworthy." They could have easily batted away that offer because that's what it was, an offer. They were under no obligation to accept that offer.

Niall: Well if the whole priming, and they were about to launch the fighter jets...

Joe: Right.

Niall: ...but if the whole thing was geared around this alleged attack in Damascus or near Damascus, and then Russia stepping in using their narrative, it might have been enough to sabotage at least that narrative.

Joe: But it was behind closed doors. There was no reason to go public with it. They could have just said "No!!" and do their bombing. I don't see what pressure that would have been put on them because obviously I'm dismissing the idea that they their only reason for wanting to bomb Syria was to get rid of the chemical weapons. They don't care about those chemical weapons. It's the same as in Iraq. They said "We need to go to Iraq because Saddam has weapons of mass destruction." They made up an entire fantasy to justify that. "Saddam can bomb us with his chemical weapons in 45 minutes." It was bullshit. They obviously have another agenda. So the same applies here. They're just using the chemical weapons story as a rationale for bombing Syria for other reasons.

Niall: So what do you think Russia - what other cards did they have?

Joe: Well it seems to me that there was something else happening, that Russia did something that made it clear that this was a dangerous proposition; that they would be starting...

Niall: A proxy war between them.

Joe: Or a real war because if you go back and look at the time, there were a lot of reports. Obviously they were gearing up for this bombing campaign and they had various US navy ships off the coast of Syria. Apparently they had some British and US submarines as well. They were planning for a sustained kind of Tomahawk cruise missile and they had an aircraft carrier in the area as well, or coming to the area at the time. But the thing is, if you look at the reports, there was also about five or six Russian navy ships in that area, off the coast of Syria, off the coast of Lebanon at the same time.

Niall: Yeah, I remember. I think someone test-fired a missile in the eastern Med.

Joe: Right, there was a report of two missiles being fired and then they didn't go anywhere. So a scenario all of this was put together that somebody fired a couple of missile up the Mediterranean towards Syria and the Russians used radar jamming or GPS jamming or whatever it is, that sank them. The point being in some way or other they conveyed to the warmongers, to NATO that if they were going to try and have another Libya-type bombing campaign, months-long bombing campaign against Syria, it wasn't going to go as easily as Libya, for example. The Russians could do enough passively to make it very difficult for them and there was also obviously a threat as well that it could very easily escalate into what? Somebody hits a Russian ship. You've got the Russian ships off the coast of Syria and there's American ships off the coast of Syria. And they're going to fire their Tomahawk missiles over the heads or the Russians, type thing?

I think that that's what they did. They basically just stood in the doorway and said "You have to come through me" to a certain extent.

Niall: Right. That was made clear.

Joe: So "Push me out of the way".

Niall: Yeah, that makes sense. Just a side note. Libya was the only intervention of all of these Middle Eastern ones since 9/11 where it got flying colours in the UN Security Council, the only one that actually got the Security Council resolution. So then at the time the President was Medvedev and whether it was his decision or some other reason, the Russians went with it. Them and China both approved air strikes against Libya, 2011, although Putin went on the record...

Joe: But it wasn't air strikes. It wasn't tabled as air strikes. It was tabled as creating a no-fly zone. They bombed the crap out of Libya under the excuse or the aegis of creating a no-fly zone. You shoot down Libyan aircraft...

Niall: That are "shooting civilians".

Joe: Well that's it. But there were no Libyan aircraft in the air. And they went ahead and bombed the infrastructure in several places, Sirte being one place. They're liars!

Niall: Yeah. Now come back to the Syrian chemical weapons charade in August 2013, September then it's definitively neutered as you just described. The next month, not November, it was actually in October 2013 when Euro-Maidan was kicked off. I know that because I happened across it this week. I saw photos of the official launch party of the Euro-Maidan. It was indoors. There were no crowds protesting it, but an actual launch of basically a PR campaign. And they brought over the then-head of the US congress Senate Arms Committee senator Inhofe. This is the guy who was out there "protesting" global warming nonsense by throwing a snowball on the congress floor and people were like "Oh yeah, yeah, good for him. He's against global warming". He didn't really say anything. He didn't make it clear one way or the other where he stands on the issue.

But that's Inhofe and he was brought in for atta-boys and the drinks and launch party of Maidan in October. That's just one month after the Syrian issue.

Joe: Well yeah.

Niall: So this fits in with the Stratfor report this week where they more or less boast, gloat or must matter-of-factly state that Ukraine was to get back and to give Russia something to think about. Why? Because US interests exist in the Middle East. There can be no one else's interests in the Middle East. And this comes back to what we've been saying for weeks. And I know it's hard in a way for people to get their heads around because it's like too grotesque or whatever. But they are setting the Middle East on fire so Russia and no one else can have it.

Joe: Right.

Niall: "It's ours. It belongs to us."

Joe: Exactly. Everybody knows that kind of a concept, that have heard it referred to, the idea of "Well if I can't have it nobody can." Like a house or something that's disputed by two family members and one of them is trying to hold onto it and when it seems like the other one's getting it, the first one goes and burns it down and says "If I can't have it myself, I'm not willing to share. If I can't have it all, then nobody's getting it and I'm going to burn it down". And that's what they're doing. Their last desperate move to prevent effectively a rebalancing of power in the world is to just set it on fire. "If it looks like we're losing out, then just burn it."

It's the Sampson option. It's Israel's kind of Sampson option that was touted back in the '80s that if Israel ever thought its existence was in peril that it would take down Europe with it. If the west turned on Israel and let some other Middle Eastern country bomb it or something like that, they would, as a last measure fire their missiles not only at their Middle Eastern enemy but at as many people as possible in Europe as well because they're psychologically disturbed, these politicians. There's something wrong with them and this is the ideology. And this is what's happening on a global scale.

The Anglo-American empire builders that have reigned supreme for so long are seeing the writing on the wall. They're seeing a new burgeoning political and economic system spearheaded by Russia and China and other BRIC countries and there's nothing they can do about it because those countries, particularly Russia and China are smart enough to have protected themselves against anything that the Anglo-American empire can throw at them and survive and keep pushing forward with their plans to rebalance the world essentially and the Americans are getting increasingly frustrated and paranoid. You see this in the kind of rhetoric and lies and propaganda that they spread and we've all been laughing for the past year at the kind of things that come out of western governments and western media about Russia. "Putin ate my baby." It's almost as bad as that.

When MH17 was shot down the British newspapers had headlines like that in big, black, bold type "Putin killed my children" or something even worse than that. It's ridiculous. And they were coming out with this a few hours after the plane went down before anybody could possibly know. That's pure desperation when you have to resort to that level. Black propaganda has always been a part of politics and geopolitics and all that kind of stuff and the squabbles between countries, but usually it's quite subtle and they leak things out and they cover their tracks quite well. But the gloves are off completely and these people are just flailing and screaming and kicking. "Putin! We hate him." They can't take it.

One of our predictions, and other people have predicted this, going back maybe three or four years, every year there's been various alternative economic analysts who are saying that the economy is going to crash or "they're" going to crash the economy but it hasn't happened yet. But it seems to us that it's likely to happen at some point and it's possible that it would be their global Sampson option or a nuclear option. We're seeing the end of their reign and seeing the threat from a new economic system that would sideline the US and put the power in the hands of Eurasia essentially.

They would be willing to wreck the entire global economy to stop that from happening and they can only hope to wreck the global economy while the dollar is still the reserve currency and while you still have the petrodollar because that implicates pretty much everybody in the world. So by ruining the American economy, by crashing it essentially, they can strike a blow against China and Russia and most other countries. And I think they're crazy enough to do that. But I also hope that Russia and China have budgeted for that eventuality and it seems that that's what they're desperately trying to do. It's not just maybe that they're motivated to create the new economic system because they see the injustice of the unipolar American dollar-dominated world, but that they maybe suspect that one of the US's last weapons is to deliberately crash the dollar themselves and that would cause problems.

So it's not that Russia and China are going to crash the dollar. They're not afraid that they would crash the dollar, although that might happen, but in a more gradual way, according to Russia's and China's terms.

Niall: They'll precipitate it.

Joe: They're afraid that the Americans will precipitate it to strike a blow against Russia and China. And they're crazy enough to do that. That's what happens.

Niall: To use your analogy, that's like taking Brzezinski's grand chessboard and just wrecking the whole thing.

Joe: Brzezinski talks about this grand chessboard and it's a good analogy that they've been playing this grand chessboard for 150 or 200 years, particularly in the last 100 or so years, the moves on the chessboard have been going on. But now in the just the past 10 or 15 years the US has lost a lot of pieces and it's looking two more moves down the line and they're in checkmate. But they're the kind of people who, if they were playing a real chess game and they saw that happening, they would be so incensed at the idea of losing because they're the ones who win all the time - "What do you mean lose? We don't lose! We're America! We're exceptional! We win every chess game!" So when they see checkmate coming up, instead of suffering the ignominy of having to be checkmated, they'll just knock all the pieces off the board, turn the table over and burn it and say "There, see, I didn't lose! You didn't checkmate me! We have to start again."

Niall: My god!

Joe: And that's the mentality. And you can imagine some people who are crazy enough, like are schizoidal or with a narcissistic personally issue, would do that in a normal chess game. Well these are the kind of people and worse that you're talking about who are in control of the grand chess game. They have been for a long time and it's going against them. This is quite possibly what they'll do. This is their strategy; wreck it. "Alright it's wreck-it time because we're not going to lose no matter what happens. Even if it means scorched earth, at least when we build a game we'll be in a better position than we are now if we start again."

Niall: Okay. Start over.

Joe: Bring it all down.

Niall: Crazy, crazy psychos. It makes sense though once you know you're dealing with some kind of psychopath. It's kind of a psychopath with some twisted kind of insight to think of that. Or maybe not. It's just a natural expression. Like you say, if you're playing chess with someone who's just so incensed and then he comes up with this "genius idea". "I know, I'll just flip the board." Yeah, it makes sense.

They had a bit of a bombshell dropped on them this week. I know they'll just bury the story but since five or six weeks, especially in the British press because it concerns three British girls - you've probably heard this. Three British school girls 15 and 16 went missing and somehow were thought to have "gone to Syria". Who knows how the British press discovered that. But yeah, there was a big search for them. It was in the headlines in the UK and "Oh my god! If they've gone to Syria what are they doing to our girls? These evil terrorists are recruiting them on Facebook and luring them to this god-awful place."

And this week Turkish media dropped an absolute bombshell by releasing quite a bit of information and video evidence that the guy who met them at Istanbul airport and took them across the border into Syria was a Canadian intelligence asset. Of course the Canadians have denied it although they spent a day in silence. They didn't say anything. That's how you know that it was an information bomb because they didn't know how to handle it. They were massively backtracking. The timing of it is just wow! Because right now they're trying to pass a big anti-terrorist package of laws in Canada.

For weeks there have been protests planned and they're taking place today or yesterday across cities in Canada against these new terror laws and smack in the middle of it they've had this dumped on them. So this guy is legit in the sense of yeah, his story seems to check out. He was basically an informant. He was a victim of the bombings in Syria. He's left Syria to Jordan and then he sought asylum in Canada.

Joe: But he went to the Canadian embassy in Jordan.

Niall: In Jordan, yeah.

Joe: Said "Hi, I'm from Syria. I'd like Canadian citizenship."

Niall: "I'd like political asylum."

Joe: In Canada.

Niall: Yeah.

Joe: And they said "Okay, well maybe if you do a little job for us. We want you to be our man who will human traffic."

Niall: Smuggle.

Joe: "Smuggle."

Niall: His word.

Joe: "Smuggle people from western countries. For example there's three British schoolgirls who we've been monitoring online who have hooked up with one of our agents, a jihadi Muslim online in the UK, and they want to go and we want you to take those three girls, meet them in Istanbul off the plane and take them across the border into Syria to join ISIS." That seems to be a logical explanation of what they're doing. As far as it goes is that he was working for CSIS, the Canadian intelligence service.

This is according to the Turkish government, that they have evidence that he was working for them. The first thing is that they have evidence that he's working for Canadian intelligence. Also that they have hard evidence that they revealed that he did meet these three girls, take them across the border and deliver them to Syria, to ISIS, three British Muslim schoolgirls essentially, 16 years old because he had bus tickets in their names on him. He had copies of their passports and other documents that made it clear that he had actually met these three British girls.

The question then is who is this guy that's taking western teenage girls to give them to ISIS? Well the Turks say that he also was in direct contact with Canadian intelligence initially in the Canadian embassy in Jordan.

So that puts him right in the middle. We're not just talking about sending weapons to ISIS here. We're talking about managing the movement and the delivery of recruits of different types to ISIS by a western intelligence agency.

Niall: Yeah. They went through his laptop given to him by CSIS, Canadian intelligence, and his phone records and files and they found that there was at least 17 girls from western countries that this guy had helped to smuggle after they've landed in Turkey and brought them over.

Joe: The question is why would western governments and intelligence agencies want to deliver western citizens of UK, US or Canada?

Niall: Teenage girls.

Joe: Right. Why would they want to deliver them to ISIS? What's their policy?

Niall: Well this is part of creating the facts on the ground that there's an absolutely monster rampaging around the Middle East and now in Libya and northern Africa and now in Nigeria and across Africa and now in central Asia. They'll just spread it wherever they can. "There's a monster out there and it's out to get us. We need boots on the ground. We need air strikes now." I think that's part of it. Think of it; teenage girls and so many stories...

Joe: Yeah, because one of the old complaints from people of any country about immigrants is that they're taking our jobs and they're taking our women.

Niall: Right.

Joe: That's why you get racist about these people that aren't from where you're from, people that come into your country "They're taking our jobs and taking our women." ISIS can't exactly take British jobs for example. Apparently it's easy enough to create the appearance that they're taking "our women".

Niall: Oh, they have more details. The Turks clearly are up to something because it's been a running story in Turkey all week on their news channels and various newspapers. In one news channel A Haber, they reported that this guy Mehmet Rashid - he used to be a doctor. I feel sorry for the guy. God knows what his story is. He was a doctor in Syria before all this blew up. They said that he had contacted a Canadian embassy official in Jordan called Matt who Turkish police sources say was likely an employee of the British intelligence service.

So the Brits are directly involved in the specific smuggling of these three girls who for the last month people in Britain have heard nothing about, but "Oh my god! Those evil people have kidnapped our girls!" Very likely they were lured as part of a British intelligence joint Canadian operation.

Joe: Right. And there's more details here, just from a couple of days ago. This is in the Globe and Mail, a mainstream Canadian paper, that states that the Canadian embassy in Jordan, where Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, posted the former head the security detail as ambassador is at the centre of new allegations linking Canada to a suspect arrested by Turkish authorities that was used in helping British schoolgirls join the Islamic militants in Syria.

So Mr. Harper appointed this guy, Bruno Saccomani, who's a Canadian citizen, a former RCMP officer and a former head of the Prime Minister's security detail, appointed him as Canadian ambassador to Jordan and he is now being directly linked to this Syrian guy who took these three girls across the border. Now for them to turn around and say "Oh we knew nothing about this" and "Our hands are clean and this guy wasn't even an agent. We don't even know him" is ridiculous. You're talking about the Canadian ambassador to Jordan who has direct contact, who met with this guy. So he meets with him and chats with him and talks about Canadian citizenship and there's some kind of deal done we suppose for that. And then the next thing this guys does is go and get three British schoolgirls into ISIS' hands.

Niall: Well they're just the latest three probably.

Joe: Right, but you're saying there's no connection there between those two things? Come on!

Niall: Well they haven't denied it. What the Canadian government has said is he was not a CSIS employee, which leaves it open.

Joe: No, he was employed by the Canadian embassy in Jordan so it's kind of the same thing.

Niall: The Turks confiscated his mobile phone and computer, which they could tell somehow that they were provided by the Canadian government. Their own computer records, so they obviously know in Washington what's going on. It's complicated as to whether or not the Turkish government is a hundred percent complicit in this. There's a whole back story within Turkey about a parallel government structure. We're probably looking at a mix between two governments in Turkey, one complying with this dirty game and the other maybe trying to leak some information.

But anyway, they released their own computer records showing that this guy Rashid had entered Turkey 33 times with his Syrian passport since June 2013.

Joe: And received multiple money wires from people in England.

Niall: Yeah. Bank accounts opened in the United Kingdom after.

Joe: And the only thing they can say is that CSIS, the Canadian intelligence agency, did not send him any money. There's no evidence that they sent him any money. Yeah, that's because the Brits were sending him money and CSIS were operating him on the ground but paying him came from the Brits. So it was a British/Canadian operation like you said. This isn't speculation folks. This comes from mainstream, like CBC News for example, is quoting the Turkish foreign minister as saying that this guy Rashid is a Syrian national and he's working for a country in the US-led coalition fighting ISIS. He didn't elaborate further at the time but it has now come out that that country was...

Niall: Canada.

Joe: ...was Canada, but he says "The person who helped the three British girls into Syria is a Syrian national working for another country within the coalition." Then he says "The situation is complicated." You're damn right it's complicated; not so much complicated, it's probably fairly simple but it would freak people out, is what he means, if anybody were to reveal the full details of the situation, people would be freaked out. So we'll just call it complicated. (Whispers) It's complicated.

Niall: Yeah, it's a fog of war.

Joe: Yeah, it's a fog of war that's going on. So anyway, do we have anything else because I'm thinking after all this horrible, nasty, duplicitous, creepy, psychopathic intel operations that have been running this world for so long, we need something that's a bit more kind of light-hearted, maybe a bit of humour. I'm thinking that it's time to call in our old friend Relic to take us out. Take it away Relic!
Relic: Well hello there. It's Relic here coming to you again from my tiny log cabin on the northern shores of Lake Canada. I hear a lot of talk on this particular radio show about an impending ice age. Well, round here we just call that another Tuesday in February. And as you probably guessed, I'm here today to share with you all the latest celebrity pop culture gossip that I downloaded this week from the worldwide grid.

First of all, there's a very famous celebrity named Beyonce. I think she's a dancer or a singer. Anyways, Tribute Magazine is reporting that this Beyonce person has introduced a new delivery service for vegan meals where one can order bland, nutritionless food brought right to your front door. It makes sense I suppose. She makes music that is empty calories for your mind and serves meals that are empty calories for your body. Sounds to me like a two-for-one special. Yeah, it's no wonder all these pop stars are so skinny eating all that rabbit food. I think what they need is to chow down on a big plate of lard with bacon on top and smothered in butter. That'd fix 'em. That'd fix 'em good!

Yeah, celebrities these days all look like pale, wet noodles. Their pants have only one belt loop in. They probably need to wear snowshoes in the shower to stop from slipping down the drain.

Well word on the street is that children in Africa have started sending care packages for the poor starving runway models of Louis Vitton. True story!

Continuing on with Beyonce, at the Grammy Awards this year, the pop idol lost the award for album of the year to a nice man named Beck. When her friend and mentor flip flop music producer Kanye West heard the disappointing news he bounded up onto the stage in protest, thus making a huge ass of himself. Kanye (pronounces it canyon) apparently was named such on account of the vast space between his ears where his brains are supposed to be.

And speaking of huge asses, apparently Mr. Kanye is married to a lovely young lady named Kim Kardashian whose only discernable claim to fame seems to be the ability to hold a champagne glass with her buttocks. Personally, whenever I feel the need to grasp a container full of bubbly liquid, I prefer to use something called my hands. Still, with such a unique and formidable talent, I suspect that one days she has dreams of qualifying for a spot in the Special Olympics.

In other news, the Guardian newspaper is reporting that Kid Rock, the redneck, right-wing, inbred gun-totting white trash rap start has just become a grandfather. Well congratulations to you Mr. Rock. Apparently he's been quoted as saying that the news of the birth of his first grandchild helps him keep up his "street cred". Well forgive me dear listeners, but I didn't even know that hillbillies had streets. Maybe he means his dirt road cred.

Now Kid Rock may sound like a pseudonym to you, but it's a little known fact that it is actually his real given name. His parents, Ida and Harvey Rock named him Kid on the mistaken assumption that he would remain a six-year-old boy for the rest of his life. And while that might be true for him intellectually and emotionally, from what I can tell, physically he's pretty much a full-ass grown man. My suggestion for this rap star is to name the baby Grandkid Rock. That way, the child can continue the moronic family tradition of rampant public drug use, multiple assault offences and making obnoxious hillbilly music and thus avoiding the weighty burden of every having to think for himself. What do you think true detectives Rustin Cole?

Rustin Cole: I got nothing against hillbillies.

Well that makes one of us anyway. And that's all for this week kids. Until next time, this is Relic here, throwing some more split birch into the wood stove and saying always remember keep your feet on the ground and your eyes on the stars.
Joe: So that was Relic with his pop culture roundup, very insightful as usual. Pulling the curtain back on the sordid scene that is pop cultury-type things in America mainly.

Niall: And connecting them dots.

Joe: Connecting them dots. I think we should have Relic on the show at some point.

Niall: Yeah.

Joe: He sends us these recording of his musings for the past week or two, what he's observed going on, on the interwebs or the grid as he calls it. But we should have him on live some time because we'd be able to question him about where he comes from, where he gets this insight from and does he really live on the shores of Lake Canada or is there even a Lake Canada, and if there is, where is it? But those would all be interesting questions for Relic and we should have him on the show at some point I think.
But until then folks, I think we're going to call it a night for this week. We will be back again next week with generally more of the same.

Niall: More of the same. Take care of each other and good-bye.

Joe: Bye-bye.