Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Conflict, where Censorship turns Propaganda into Information and Vitriol

Somehow, we have arrived at a point where we need some adults in the room, preferably women, but adults, who leave their hats outside the door

I never thought I would find myself in a position in which I would see a bipolar world forming before my eyes, with oceans of hatred pouring from the mouths of western politicians and from the keyboards of western journalists, as the “us and them” ratchets up to astronomical proportions. For over twenty years I have been writing about a multi-polar world in which crisis management takes place in the United Nations Security Council and in which all sides are able to sit down around a table, listen to one another, I repeat, LISTEN TO ONE ANOTHER and to diffuse crises before they materialise.

For twenty years I have been writing about the barbarity of the western approach, imposing democracy and removing governments from thirty thousand feet, bombing the crap out of countries and civilians then claiming the high moral ground through puerile opinion pieces which reach puerile easily-led readers and viewers.

For seventy years or more, Russia and Russians have read and viewed hatred being spewed out of western media outlets, never a positive story, always a skewed version of events. Always anti-Russia, always anti-Russian.

Anti-Russian Vitriol hits the stratosphere

Now that Russia is involved in an active military operation in Ukraine, the vitriol reaches the stratosphere and the urge now is to read how western outlets were reporting when military aircraft from the USA and UK were strafing fields of cereals in Iraq so that children would be starved to death (they didn’t report it, only RAI UNO showed footage which was quickly removed from the Net to fool the gullible public); how western outlets reported the carnage in Iraq in which 1,200,000 civilians were murdered directly or indirectly by the intervention called Shock and Awe. Remember? When Iraqi kids had their faces blasted off, or their limbs, or their families blasted away. I could continue with Kosovo, with Libya and with the support given to takfiri terrorists in Syria.

And so on.

So now the shoe is on the other foot, western outlets are watching as their prize beloved enemy number one is engaged in a military operation and they are going for blood.

Us and them

In this “us and them” world, someone has to be sensible here. Guys, we are facing a situation in which an escalation which could see nukes flying over our heads. After seeing the constant humiliation of Russia, after seeing NATO encroaching eastwards towards Russia’s borders (why??), after seeing that nobody said anything about the residents of Donbass while they were being slaughtered for eight years (who said anything about Russian-speaking Ukrainians being massacred by the Azov Battalion of neo-Nazis wearing Fascist insignia? Who said anything about the children in Donbass, victims of shelling from the Ukrainian side?), my take in recent years was that Russia should slam the door, bolt it, lock it and throw away the key, turn its back and open markets in Iran, India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil (an enlarged BRICS). But I never thought it would actually happen.

Now, I don’t want it to happen either. So what we need today is some adults in the room as the world shifts gear into a bipolar situation with the same old players banging the war drums: the FUKUS Axis, (France-UK-US) followed by the ASS (Anglo-Saxon Syndicate, Australia, UK, US) and the Holy Roman Empire (France, Germany, Belgium). Notice the common denominators present in all the conflicts, always the same ones. On the other side, we have the SCO (Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan) eyeing NATO nervously and the CSTO also looking on (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan). We are looking at an east-west divide with many flashpoints waiting to explode.

Do we want a Third World War with nuclear missiles flying over our heads, sending civilisation back to the stone age, slaughtering innocent civilians, animals, plants and waking up to a dark morning with blisters on our skin, vomiting blood and waiting for the big day?

Censorship removes the counter-balance

So what we need is information from all sides, not censorship. Censorship respects nobody. So why does the European Union try to stifle RT and Sputnik? Why are there constant DDOS attacks on media outlets from Ukraine and elsewhere? To stifle the free flow of information from one side so that “information” from the other becomes propaganda? Censorship turns propaganda into information and vitriol. Censorship turns information into propaganda. Information becomes vitriol, with no counter-balance.

If someone is planning something, I want to know about it; if someone is saying something, I want to hear it. I want to read what the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense says, and for sure I want to read what the Russian Ministry of Defense says, I don’t want to ignore it. I want to listen to Russians and Ukrainians in all walks of life to get a global picture. I, and most of the informed public, are capable of taking our own decisions after being shown the facts. Is that asking too much? Why shut down the Russian side of communications? Does it make any difference? Does it stop events happening? Or does it justify the one-way flow of information from one of the sides, justifying anything from the other? And anyway why are third parties taking sides? Are they Russians or Ukrainians? No? Then butt out and find solutions, do not spread hatred and take sides.

What sort of reporting does the western side want? Some slewed tissue of lies like this:

One Ukrainian girl carrying a pea-shooter managed to destroy sixty-thousand Spetsnaz troops in three seconds using a dried pea and her backside after eating a plate of beans, while a 4-year-old boy destroyed the entire Russian air force in three seconds with a laser he had fabricated in his grandfather’s shed using chicken shit and rotten pieces of wood. The Russian soldiers have been roasting babies after sucking their brains out through their eye sockets and farting the Ukrainian national anthem noisily sitting on tree trunks. No really, I heard someone say they’d seen it on the TV?

Or something like: The Russians have been targeting farm animals because they don’t like the army biscuits (who the Hell does?) and have lost 6 million troops in three days?

Is this the type of nonsense they want? Is this the truth? Is this respecting all sides or making clowns out of the Ukrainian side? Then let RT speak, let Sputnik speak, let us hear all sides, which means respect for all sides. How can I respect one side by not hearing the other?

Hate crimes

This also does not mean that I want to read hate stories peddled in the media, such as “Russians are targeting schools”. Of course they are not. If someone puts an artillery piece near a school and fires at soldiers, when what are they expected to do, tickle each other’s backsides with feather dusters and giggle? Why are they there? For the same reason that the residents of Donbass have been crying for eight years while the west armed the other side. Anything to screw the Russians. They report one side, stifle information from the other and create legends of monsters, creating hatred.

And look where it has led us.

If I wanted to, I could detail some shocking revelations about Ukraine and the history of Fascism in that country, I could detail shocking crimes against children for instance, in fact I have beside me a pile of documents detailing what they did, to the point where just looking at it makes me feel sick. I could write hundreds of pages about it.

I am not going to engage in hate crimes

But I am not going to because my focus is not to spread hatred as so many are doing. I do not hate Ukraine or Ukrainians, neither does anyone else (except their victims of course). But I am not Ukrainian so my position is to keep my nose out of others’ business, but I insist, I want to hear information from both sides. In the European Union, they have cut RT and Sputnik, so I cannot access what they say (well I can ask my friends in Russia to tell me what they say, but that is not the point. I subscribe to cable TV so I demand my right to see what I paid for). There are other sources, such as this newspaper, suffering DDOS attacks all the time and having a “danger” message slapped on the screen. This is called censorship. Censorship turns propaganda into information and information into vitriol, fueling hatred.

This said, I want to suggest solutions (peace talks and a ceasefire; Ukraine does not join NATO but joins the EU at a later date, a commercial solution and not a military one). I want to counter hate crimes. I want to see generations of children brought up respecting one another, not hating their neighbours for generations to come. I want to promote sports events, cultural events between both sides to put this behind us. But how can we, if one side is hate-mongering and censoring the free flow of information?

So we need a free flow of information, not censorship and we need some adults in the room who will leave their hats outside, sit down and listen to one another. Why doesn’t Biden sit with Putin and discuss things, openly, as friends, not in a top-down theatre with Biden being rude and pretending he is a man, what’s he afraid of, tripling his laundry bill?

My mother's own experience...a must-read

Just to finish, my mother’s experience in the last great war is a fitting way to conclude my piece. She passed away two years ago, a very old lady, having been a tremendous influence in the lives of her two sons, my twin brother and myself, and an enormous reference in the lives of so many people, a flawless ninety-plus years in which she worked tirelessly for communities, and a consequence of her passing being my inability to write anything much of any substance for the last two years, except diatribes about Covid. This thing has shocked me back into some kind of reaction.

My mum’s childhood was one which would have today’s kids spending decades in therapy, although her family life was very happy. Her schooling was studded with the sound of bombs dropping and glass shattering, her own home was hit directly by a bomb and destroyed (if they had not moved the day before they would have been killed). A typical lesson would be interrupted by the air raid warning, everyone under the tables, bombs dropping, glass smashing, all-clear given, out from under the tables, shake the glass out of the books, brush the shattered shards off the desks and carry on with the lesson.

One evening she was walking home, already a young lady, and she saw a German bomber caught in the flashlights with tracer bullets going up and hitting the plane, which was trying desperately to escape. Everyone around her was shouting “Go on, get the bastard!” and she said all she could think was that there were young boys up there in that aircraft, terrified, who wanted to get back to their mothers.

She never hated the Germans after the war and always told us that they experienced the same things themselves. This, despite the fact that her whole life was lived after the images created by those five years of conflict, in which she was involved directly and the older she grew, the more she spoke about her memories. Despite all that, she forgave them and we enjoyed, as children, some very happy holidays in Germany. So I finish my piece with my mother’s example. Can we all please try to follow it?

Thank you. It would mean a lot to me and to everyone else. Including Russians and Ukrainians.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey can be reached at [email protected]

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