A segment of the “anti-imperialist” left has amplified Vladimir Putin’s imperial propaganda

Guy might enjoy this, since it’s time to pick on the shallow thinking of many lefties.

Putin’s Megaphone

It’s a hard truth to face, but a segment of the “anti-imperialist” left has amplified Vladimir Putin’s imperial propaganda.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 2nd March 2022

Yes, there is something we can do. Something that, even if small, is meaningful. The propaganda war has always been crucial to Vladimir Putin. He uses floods of disinformation to confuse and misdirect people overseas and bolster support at home. The Kremlin knows that every action requires an apparatus of justification. Russia cannot continue its costly war without the consent of its troops and many other citizens.

Putin’s troll factories are notorious for turning out misleading claims, but their power is limited by their lack of credibility. What serves him well, as a study by Cardiff University’s crime and security research institute suggests, are “organic comments”: statements by real people, repeating and amplifying his propaganda. These are liked or upvoted by his bots then reproduced in Russian media to create the impression that he has widespread overseas support.

Obviously, real people have a right to express their opinions, however mistaken. But, given their utility to the Russian disinformation machine, I believe we have a duty to debunk and contest misleading justifications. In doing so we could, in our very small way, help the resistance in Ukraine.

This puts me in a difficult place. Among the worst disseminators of Kremlin propaganda in the UK are people with whom I have, in the past, shared platforms and made alliances. The grim truth is that, for years, a segment of the “anti-imperialist” left has been recycling and amplifying Putin’s falsehoods. This segment is by no means representative: many other leftists have staunchly and consistently denounced Russian imperialism, just as they rightly denounce the imperialism of the US and UK. But it is, I think, an important one.

At the end of last year, the writer and film-maker John Pilger claimed “it was the US that overthrew the elected govt in Ukraine in 2014, allowing Nato to march right up to Russia’s western border”. This is a standard Kremlin talking point, dismissing the revolution as a US coup. Ukraine, of course, is not a Nato member.

Outrageously, …

In France, we have the same breed …

One point nevertheless : The government overthrown by the Maïdan revolution had been honestly elected. He wanted to sign a pact with Europe but changed idea under the pressure of Poutine blackmail.

And USA approved the coup.

Those individuals are correct.

Some basic facts about Putin:

  • He was baptized and raised by a very devout mother
  • He was an officier of KGB in East Germ:any and has been humiliated by the conditions in which KGB had to leave RDA
  • For him, the fall of USSR ans of the communist system is the more severe disaster of the XXth century
  • He is an authoritarian, with very conservative views about society and morale
    -He is an enemy of West seen as feeble, decadent and corrupt.

Given these facts, he is admired by the ultra right, who supports him and which he supports. And as enemy of occident, he is admired by a part of the ultra-left.

Both sides look at him look through the small end of the telescope and support him for bad reasons.

It is not because one had ideological affinities with a man that this man cannot lier, act wrongly and that his enemies are in the wrong.

further, Putin

  • has mass killed Chechens, but it was admitted because they were Islamistes and terrorists,
  • he has attacked Georgia and taken 20 % of its territory, but Georgia attacked first and is far, and West could not do much.
  • has mass killed in Syria, but he was supporting Assad, who was fighting Islamistes terrorists, and Syria is far and we could not do much.

In fact, in 3 instances, he did what he wanted, reached his aims and West let him act. Why would it be otherwise with Ukraine ?

I started an article yesterday on “Worthy and Unworthy Victims”. America has committed similar war crimes to what Putin is doing, using similar rhetoric, but for us, one of our bombs hitting a hospital is “collateral damage”.

Important not to forget though, and people like Noam Chomsky often miss this, it matters who is running our administration on any given year. Reagan supported people in Central America that most of us would call “terrorists” now. Both Bushes dropped a lot of bombs in the Middle East. If you just count bombs, Clinton and Obama did their fair share of creating enemies too, but there are differences.

And Putin is very different from all of them. Calling Ukrainians “Nazis” is blatantly lying. Saying he is somehow making life better for Russians while he hoards wealth for himself, that’s just a joke.


There is a response to monbiots article from johnothan cook

With this part I found to be quite profound in monbiots style.

Monbiot accuses people like John Pilger of being Putin apologists not by refuting Pilger’s facts (which are documented) but by arguing that Putin has said similar things. As though, the truth becomes false as soon as it serves Putin’s interests

J.Cook’s thread for the record:

Monbiot has never written a column on the worst assault on press freedom in a generation: the political persecution of Julian Assange. Soil erosion, he said, took precedence. Now he’s prioritised a witchhunt of left heretics on Ukraine over Assange’s freedom. He’s an utter fraud

What’s astounding is that Monbiot accuses people like John Pilger of being Putin apologists not by refuting Pilger’s facts (which are documented) but by arguing that Putin has said similar things. As though, the truth becomes false as soon as it serves Putin’s interests

Despite a headline claiming the ‘anti-imperalist left’ is amplifying Russian propaganda, Monbiot simply throws mud. Apparently he doesn’t need to cite counter-evidence. He suggests all critics of Nato or US foreign policy are heretics by definition

Further, Monbiot revives a CIA-style black propaganda talking point. Pilger is discredited not because his facts are wrong – after all they’re well documented, including by senior US officials – but because bad people have shared them on the net. It’s a puerile argument

This dirty tactic is popular with the Israel lobby. Write a piece exposing ugly facts about Israel and they’ll scour the net till they find a neo-Nazi site that republished it. Then, they don’t need to address the facts. Truth becomes a lie just because it serves neo-Nazis too

There’s a reason Monbiot is attacking the last of the old school foreign correspondents – Pilger, the late Robert Fisk and Seymour Hersh. They saw firsthand how ‘our’ elites controlled the media to brainwash the public to maintain their power. Courageously, they told it straight

Monbiot, by contrast, is way out of his depth on anything he can’t run through his fingers. Listen to him on the environment. Otherwise, treat whatever he has to say with the disdain it deserves
I’ve challenged Monbiot every time he’s written this type of poison. He ducks a confrontation with those he insults: Chomsky, Pilger, Fisk (now he is dead), and others. He knows they’d take him to the cleaners.

More on Monbiot the fraud:

George Monbiot

Actually he is spot on in this tweet:


There’s no future for fracking in this country. Potential reserves are tiny and local opposition is rock-solid. Suggesting it might resume, as some in the government are now doing, is just another way of delaying the action we must take - to get out of fossil fuels.

The earth is running out of oil there may be enough recoverable oil for 25-30 years max. In the mean time the oil companies are trying to make as much profit as possible before the wells run dry.

The best thing that could happen out ukraine war is countries fast tracking away from FFs

Thanks for the link. I read some of Cook’s articles. He obviously doesn’t not like Monbiot and seems to have a long running feud with the dude. Interesting and worth becoming familiar with his complaints.
So okay Monbiot, doesn’t deserve a halo - on the other hand,
Assange is no hapless innocent victim either, he was as manipulative a player. Playing his own back-stabbing games with the big boys, well, that just might get a knife into one’s own back.

Although the basic premise you seem to be implying is that whatever happened in 2014 justified Putin’s insanely vicious civilian focused war with its atrocity saturated Scorched Earth mentality in 2022.

That’s really twisted.

This line sum up the monbiot fraud

He ducks a confrontation with those he insults: Chomsky, Pilger, Fisk (now he is dead), and others. He knows they’d take him to the cleaners.

Assange is being punished for doing his job as a journalist, something that would never happen in a truly democratic society.

Have you seen john mearsheimer 2015 lecture - why Ukraine is the Wests fault

I don’t think it’s quite that simple.

What of it? Are you implying Russia is the victim here?


On the distinction between explanation and justification, Eric Levitz at New York Magazine is predictably lucid.

to argue that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was a predictable response to American policy choices is not to say that it was a justified response to those choices.
Too often in recent days, people trying to make the former argument have been denounced for making the latter one. … Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was a free choice.
And whatever role U.S. policy played in determining Putin’s decision, it did not force his hand.
Critics of NATO expansion would be wise to stipulate this point, since doing otherwise only renders their causal analysis easier to stigmatize.