Orlov is one of our favorite essayists on Russia and all sorts of other things. He moved to the US as a child, and lives in the Boston area.
He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed ‘The Dystopians’ in an excellent 2009 profile, along with James Howard Kunstler, another regular contributor to RI (archive). These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up.
He is best known for his 2011 book comparing Soviet and American collapse (he thinks America’s will be worse). He is a prolific author on a wide array of subjects, and you can see his work by searching him on Amazon.
He has a large following on the web, and on Patreon, and we urge you to support him there, as Russia Insider does.
His current project is organizing the production of affordable house boats for living on. He lives on a boat himself.
If you exist within the by now almost hermetically sealed-off mindscape of Western mainstream media, and if you also happen to like knowing the truth, then life must seem increasingly unfair to you—because you can’t win.
For decades now the modus operandi has been as follows. Regardless of which party has the majority in Congress or controls the presidency, the same unchanging national (and increasingly transnational) elite ensconced in Washington sets the agenda and pushes it through using any means necessary, whether legal, illegal or blatantly criminal (increasingly the latter as national bankruptcy looms and desperation sets in).
Their operatives make sure that there is no real investigation of what happened. All Western media reports that contradict the official mendacious narrative are quashed. Any independent efforts to investigate and to find out the truth are denigrated as “conspiracy theories”—a derogatory term coined by the CIA for exactly this purpose.
Any non-Western media sources that dare to contradict the official mendacious narrative are ignored, subjected to ad hominem attacks and all manner of false allegations and, if all else fails, banned outright (as is currently happening with the satellite TV channel Russia Today).
If that happens to be prevailing method of communicating with the public (as I am convinced, and as you should convince yourself by doing some research if you are not), then what chance do any of us stand of finding out the truth to our satisfaction?
Typically, we expect to be presented with a few, possibly somewhat contradictory, versions of events and, after some probing and deliberation, render a verdict and socialize it among ourselves to reach a consensus which then becomes another brick within the edifice of our consensual reality.
These are high-priority tasks, because maintaining a sense of consensual reality is important: it allows us to distinguish the sane from the insane, and it makes it possible for us to tell our young people, whose minds are too immature to let them reach their own conclusions without being driven toward unfounded or extremist views, what is safe for them to think.
If we are deprived of our ability to maintain a sense of consensual reality, then we lose face before our peers (and our children) and our self-respect suffers because we no longer feel socially adequate.
But what choices are there?
If we swallow the official lies we are being told, knowing full well that they are lies, then we feel like fools. If we refuse to swallow them, then we either have to accept some alternative interpretation or narrative as real in spite of lacking all the facts we need to prove the case—because nobody is going to give them to us—and risk ostracism and marginalization, or we have to take an agnostic stance and declare that while we are not privy to the truth, we know enough to declare that the official story is a tissue of lies. The first two of these are both clearly losing moves while the last is a refusal to play and therefore a forfeit; thus, all three are defeats.
There are no winning moves here.
But it’s even worse than that; not only do we lack a winning strategy, but we also happen to be on a losing team that doesn’t know how to play and loves to be played.
As Ron Unz, the publisher of unz.com, recently put it,
“I’ve sometimes joked with people that if ownership and control of our television stations and other major media outlets suddenly changed, the new information regime would require only a few weeks of concerted effort to totally invert all of our most famous ‘conspiracy theories’ in the minds of the gullible American public.
The notion that nineteen Arabs armed with box-cutters hijacked several jetliners, easily evaded our NORAD air defenses, and reduced several landmark buildings to rubble would soon be universally ridiculed as the most preposterous ‘conspiracy theory’ ever to have gone straight from the comic books into the minds of the mentally ill, easily surpassing the absurd ‘lone gunman’ theory of the JFK assassination.”
Take the example of the ill-fated US invasion of Iraq: 4,801 servicemen dead, 1,455,590 dead Iraqis, a once prosperous country destroyed and turned into a terrorist playground with a weak central government that is aligned with Iran, buying weapons from Russia and increasingly hostile toward the US.
The war was sold to the public in the US using a technique called “proof by juxtaposition” which works like this: keep showing a picture of Bob next to a giant pile of corpses and eventually everyone comes to believe that Bob is a mass murderer, never mind the fact that Bob only killed maybe half a dozen people, and all but one in self-defense or by accident.
This is what was done with Saddam Hussein (who, by the way, was Osama bin Laden’s arch-enemy, who, in turn, had worked for the CIA). By 2003 70% of Americans had been made to believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center.
“Proof by juxtaposition” works well for the TV-addled zombies in the US, but for the rest of the world, as represented by the UN Security Council, a stronger tissue of lies had to be woven—using forged “intelligence” of Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction.” The world blinked and either voted for or failed to veto the resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq.
The putative weapons were never found and the intelligence that was used to convince the world of their existence turned out to have been fabricated.
This is actually a very big deal, because a reputation for telling the truth can only be lost exactly once, and from then on the use of the phrase “US intelligence sources” became synonymous with “a conspiracy of barefaced liars.” In turn, the standard response to proposals based on “US intelligence” became something along the lines of “go jump in a lake.”
But it took a while for the penny to drop; the last country the US will have ever gained UN’s permission to attack using false intelligence (of a humanitarian disaster) was Libya. Dmitry Medvedev, who was serving as Russia’s president at the time, was still attempting to ingratiate himself with the West and failed to block the resolution—a decision he later regretted.
The delay in processing the fact that all trust is gone, and the additional death and destruction that resulted from it, are deplorable, but now the verdict is in, and it is not subject to appeal. If this last paragraph comes off sounding a bit angry, then that’s probably appropriate; all those wrongful deaths justified using made-up “facts” ought to be on somebody’s conscience—let’s hope not yours or mine.
Getting back to the original question: how can we play this game to win? Based on the above, the base assumption that, whatever the issue, the dominant, official Western narrative is a tissue of lies, is a good one.
Whatever message Washington and Western mass media are trying to push, a perfectly valid response is to point out all the times they have lied in the past, and to pose a simple question: When did they stop lying? Since it is very hard to come up with a reasoned answer to this question, the resolution is to treat all Western governments and media as suspect.
If the official narrative is to be disregarded, then an opening is created for alternative narratives. These can be of at least three kinds.
There are the straw men set up specifically to be torched, along with all those who fall for them: if they can’t convince you of False Narrative A, then they try to convince you of False Narrative B (which seems attractive to you because it makes them look bad) so that they can label you as a “conspiracy theorist” and run you off the road and into a ditch.
Then there is False Narrative C: counter-narratives crafted by other nation-states—geopolitical adversaries (like Russia, China and Iran) or pariah states (such as Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea).
Here, you risk being labeled as peddler of foreign influence (if you fall for them) or become stuck in a mental no man’s land (if you don’t).
In each case, you can try to make sense of the situation by asking the question, Cui bono? With Falsehood A, the beneficiary is the US elites, oligarchs, deep state, etc. Same with False Narrative B, except within a “they win or you lose” pattern. Same again with False Narrative C, except that here “they” are foreign liars rather than domestic ones. But even if you know who is lying to you and why, you still can’t win, in the sense of getting at the truth.
But you can win—by looking at the results. What you are looking for is a consistent pattern of failure. You see, those who lie to others also tend to lie to themselves.
Out of any large group of people, only a few high-performing sociopaths can consistently lie to others while remaining truthful and honest within their own minds; for everyone else the experience of being immersed in a cesspool of lies is spiritually corrosive, emotionally debilitating and so demoralizing that they are unlikely to adequately perform their duties.
I have downed many a beer with both enlisted men and officers who have been through tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, and listened carefully to their tales of woe. Rarely did any of their official indoctrination survive contact with “the enemy.” Most unfortunately, the emotional damage caused by this experience is often permanent.
Beyond the emotional impact of lies, there is the practical effect of hampered judgment in those in command. Lies beget other lies, and pretty soon unbiased intelligence-gathering, rational analysis and proper mission planning become impossible.
The guaranteed, repeatable result is a fiasco:
Look at Kosovo: a failed narco-state run by a mafia.narco-state run by a mafia.
Look at Afghanistan: the Taliban are back and better than ever, and the heroin business is booming.
Look at Iraq: a playground for terrorists and aligned with Iran.
Look at Libya: a destroyed country that is a playground for Islamic militants and a transshipment point for European migrants.
Look at Syria: the Syrians and the Russians have largely reconquered it from the US-armed, US-trained terrorists.
Look at the Ukraine: it has splintered, the best part of its population has fled to Russia, and it now makes a compelling case study for all five stages of collapse.
Look for counterexamples to this pattern: you are unlikely to find any.
Those who march into battle under the banner of Truth are far more likely to prevail than those who sally forth with their loins girded with the fig leaf of public deceit.
You may not be able to decipher the writing on the banner, but you can certainly tell when the winds of autumn blow away the fig leaf; then,
“Ye shall know them by their fruits.” [Matthew 7:16]
Source: Club Orlov
‘Deep concern’ over cancellations of 999 calls to Garda
The failure by gardaí to respond to 999 calls from domestic violence victims was of “deep concern”, Women’s Aid has said.
The Garda force, it added, was the “key frontline responder to combating and preventing” domestic abuse and public trust in their response was “absolutely vital”.
Women’s Aid made its remarks after a report in The Times stating a large number of calls from domestic violence victims were among thousands of 999 calls that had been cancelled by the Garda in 2019 and 2020.
Women’s Aid chief executive, Sarah Benson, said it was “of critical importance” that gardaí now reach out to victims who rang 999 seeking help, only to have their calls cancelled. The system that allowed this practice needed to be overhauled so it “can never happen again”.
“All members of the gardaí must be reminded of their responsibilities under the Garda domestic abuse policy and held to this standard,” Ms Benson said, adding her organisation would always be there to support victims. “We have been given assurance that these actions are current high priorities for An Garda Síochána. ”
In late April, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris told a meeting of the Policing Authority that a Garda audit had found many 999 calls were cancelled, and therefore not given a policing response, between 2019 and October 2020.
At that time he was not able to say how many calls were treated in this way, though the number was believed to be in the thousands and to involve a wide variety of calls and alleged crimes. Mr Harris added a major trawl was under way, including retrieving recordings of the emergency calls, to establish the volume and nature of the calls cancelled at source.
When that work was done, and other records were examined, a “definitive” number of cancelled calls would be established. However, Mr Harris said it may not be until the end of July before that became clear.
He added the matter was identified when an examination of the Garda’s computer aided dispatch (CAD) system was carried out. That system is used to record and map incoming 999 calls and police responses to them.
When that examination was carried out, a “systemic” practice of cancelling calls, meaning the person seeking assistance received no policing response, was identified. Mr Harris explained the system had been changed to ensure that many calls could not be cancelled again.
He added that under the new system, calls could only be cancelled with permission of a supervisor. As a result, the number of cancelled calls now being examined was not increasing.
However, Mr Harris also said there were at times legitimate reasons for cancelling 999 calls. For example, some incidents would generate multiple calls when only one response was required. At other times, other emergency service responders were more suitable than the Garda to respond, while other calls could be “silent”. However, the audit being carried out was examining calls cancelled “erroneously”, he said.
Covid-19 in Spain: Madrid’s Teatro Real forced to cancel performance after audience protests lack of social distancing | Culture
Madrid’s famous Teatro Real was on Sunday forced to cancel a performance of Verdi’s opera Un ballo in maschera due to a protest from audience members over the lack of social-distancing measures. Madrid has once again become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with the region accounting for more than one third of all new Covid-19 cases.
According to one of the spectators, who had a seat in the upper gallery of the opera house, where tickets are less expensive, up to 15 people were seated side by side in this area with no space between them. The spectator told EL PAÍS that audience members complained to the ushers as soon as they saw that they were seated right next to other theatergoers, with no empty seats between them. In a press release, the Teatro Real maintained that capacity was at 51.5%, meaning 905 seats were occupied.
On the ground floor, some of the seats were closed off, but in the upper galleries, there were entire rows of 15 people side by side
Spectator at Teatro Real
The situation became increasingly tense, and many members of the audience began to stamp their feet and clap to express their anger at the lack of social-distancing measures. The commotion became so great that one of the theater managers decided to announce over the megaphone that the performance would be delayed so that anyone who wished to could leave the theater and ask for a ticket refund. The lobby was then overwhelmed with angry patrons, and the police were called in to control the situation.
“There were no complaint forms, they had to go to the offices to print them. On the ground floor, some of the seats were closed off, but in the upper galleries, where there are lots of people much closer together, there were entire rows of 15 people side by side,” said one of the spectators. “It’s unacceptable, a lot of elderly people come here and they should take that into account.” The Teatro Real has not clarified whether the level of seat occupation was the same in all areas of the theater.
Another audience member, who was seated in one of the front rows on the ground stall, also complained that the theater had not left empty seats. “The entire row was filled, there was not one seat free, we were like fleas. And that’s in the most expensive area of the theater. My companion and I went to the back, where there seemed to be more space.” According to this spectator, after the theater announced that it would offer refunds, the orchestra entered the pit and started to play. The overture was played and some of the first singers came out onto the stage, but the booing was so loud that Italian conductor Nicola Luisotti left the theater and the performance was cancelled. According to a press release from the Teatro Real, the conductor tried twice to continue with the opera but a “very small group insisted in continuing their protest to boycott the performance, and for this reason it was canceled at around 9.10pm.”
Under the regulations of the Madrid regional government, the theater is allowed to be at 75% capacity, a figure that, in practice, does not allow safe distances to be established between all audience members. At a press conference for the presentation of the opera, which opened last Friday, the managing director of the Teatro Real, Ignacio García-Belenguer, said that the theater had decided not to sell more than 65% of available tickets to make the public feel safer.
Many of the theatergoers took to social media to express their outrage at what happened. “The Teatro Real opera was canceled due to the protests over the overcrowding of people,” Spanish writer Rosa Montero wrote in a message on Twitter. “I was there and it was shameful. There was a total lack of distancing [measures]. And at this time, with 37 areas restricted! We love opera but not like this,” she added, in reference to the new selective lockdowns aimed at curbing contagion in the capital and the Madrid region.
The Teatro Real has said that it will open an investigation “into this regrettable incident and will take the necessary measures so that future performances take place normally.” The iconic theater was the first opera house in the world to reopen after its closure due to the coronavirus lockdown and has pioneered the creation of new protocols that allow performances to continue safety while the pandemic continues to affect the country.
English version by Melissa Kitson.
Polish Russophobia is Mostly Artificial, Stoked by Russia’s Enemies
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has blasted the Polish government for inculcating anti-Russian attitudes among the population. Speaking to Sputnik, political observer Eduard Popov said that while Warsaw regularly uses Russophobia for political reasons, there’s no evidence to suggest that Poles have a sort of natural hostility toward Russia.
Speaking to students and teachers at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations on Friday, the Russian foreign minister lamented that the Polish public is being “brainwashed” into holding “unequivocally anti-Russian” attitudes.
“I see here an obsession with creating an atmosphere of total resentment by society of anything related to Russia,” the diplomat said, answering a question about the reasons behind Warsaw’s anti-Russian policy, including the recent decision to demolish hundreds of Soviet-era war monuments.”
According to Lavrov, Poland’s Russophobia is being whipped up by people who “diligently” rewrite history, who are working to revise Polish nationalism based on ideals of superiority over others, and who would like to “pin the blame for all of Poland’s misfortunes on [Russia].”
The West propagates the narrative of an aggressive Russia constantly attacking poor defenses Poland but in reality, Poland was regional power in its day, which often launched aggressive unprovoked invasions against Russia. Poland invaded Russia long before Russia ever invaded Poland. The above painting by Jan Matejko shows Polish King Boleslav the Brave capturing the capitol of ancient Russia, Kiev, in 1018. Legend has it he damaged his sword on the golden gate and since then it was called the notched sword. During the time of troubles in 1600’s, Poland even occupied Moscow.
This includes Warsaw’s claim that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the real reason behind World War II, the diplomat said. In Lavrov’s view, by focusing on the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact, Polish leaders seem to forget that “at the time of the Munich Conspiracy, when Czechoslovakia was divided up, Poland quietly took for itself a very tasty morsel.”
“The fact that this was a very serious impetus for creating potential for conflict in Europe is something Poland prefers not to speak about, just as it prefers not to mention that long before the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Great Britain and France concluded their own, similar treaty with Nazi Germany,” Lavrov emphasized.
Ultimately, the senior diplomat noted that in this environment of hostility, even elementary communication and diplomacy is difficult.
Asked to comment on Lavrov’s remarks, Eduard Popov, a Moscow-based political analyst whose areas of expertise include Russian-Polish relations, said that the idea of Poles’ naturally-occurring anti-Russian sentiment is really only one part of the equation.
“Poland’s anti-Russian traditions have a long history,” the observer said, speaking to Radio Sputnik. “Here we can recall the three divisions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth,” in which Russia took part, “the subsequent participation of the Poles in aggression against Russia on the side of the Napoleonic armies, and so on and so forth.”
During their occupation of Moscow, they imprisoned, beat, and starved to death Patriarch Hermogenes of Moscow, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, over a century before any Russian army would set foot on Polish Soil, and partition it. One could argue the Poles started the conflict, and Russia merely won.
“But anti-Russian sentiment in Poland is just one side of the coin. The other side is pro-Russian sentiment. This too shouldn’t be discounted,” Popov stressed.
The world popular Polish video game series, The Witcher, based on the book of the same name, was hugely successful in Russia due to it being based on their common Slavic mythology and culture. Whilst the game was popular enough in America, that Obama was given a copy by the Polish government, it will always be closer to the hearts of Slavic Russians. Below is a character who is clearly inspired by Russian-Ukrainian Cossacks, note the distinctive hairstyle and sabre. Despite Russophobia in Polish culture, Poles and Russians are very close.
The analyst drew attention to Lavrov’s choice of words in saying that Poles were being “brainwashed.” This was true, he said, noting that to some extent, anti-Russian views really are being artificially inculcated among the Polish public.
“Polish Russophobia, even though it has its historical roots, is something that is sufficiently engineered, something artificially imposed on Polish society. I recently spoke to representatives in the Polish opposition, and was told the following fact: about 70% of Polish media is controlled by German media structures, while the remaining 30% is controlled by Americans. Do we really need any more evidence that Polish public opinion is being formed along a deliberately anti-Russian slant?”
Ultimately, Popov said that he was optimistic, and that it wasn’t worth getting hung up exclusively on the negative aspects of Russian-Polish relations.
“We must remember that along with official diplomacy there is unofficial diplomacy – people’s diplomacy. Not all Poles adhere to the anti-Russian perspective being imposed on them. This is something that manifests itself in personal communication. According to polls, about 35% of Poles have positive attitudes toward Russia. This is a very important factor on which to build the foundation of future relations between Russia and a Poland that’s free and independent of the West,” Popov concluded.
Despite their political differences, Polish and Russian peoples are both Slavic, and share cultural and linguistic roots. Many Russians and Poles see through the Anti-Slavic agenda imposed on them by foreign powers and see each other as Slavic brothers. Check out this video to see two beautiful women comparing the Polish and Russian languages.
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