SURE, I knew last week’s ‘expert’ quarterbacking would be florid but wow. Maybe Davis – a ‘senior analyst’ with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute – can explain why Western states are sending arms to Ukraine. The thing about a cryptic event like the Wagner mutiny a fortnight ago is that one man’s interpretation of it is as plausible as another’s because nobody knows anything about it. For example, if I didn’t know any better – and neither yours truly, nor anyone else, does – I’d speculate that 62 year-old Yevgeny Prigozhin has always had a Blofeldian escape plan on standby if his safety or military situation were threatened. He is, presumably, a profiteer first and a nationalist second. If he wants to enjoy his ill-gotten gains, sooner or later he has to skedaddle. Given that his fortunes in Ukraine were solid – Kiev’s ballyhooed “counteroffensive” being widely seen as a debacle – it’s possible he bolted anyway because he’d found out his designs in extremis had become known. US ‘spy agencies’ have already claimed foreknowledge of Prigozhin’s itchy feet – which might explain his star turn as Slavic John Lewis on a freedom ride. Instead of parlour games, though, let’s stick to propaganda and hypocrisy. The worst of those are matters of fact.
Take the aforementioned ASPI and its wilfully dishonest gaslighting about “fraudulent narratives.” To make sure messy truth never gets in the way of a saleable angle – specifically, that dear old Ukraine is Europe’s holiest democracy – neocons dismiss historical realities as ‘Russian disinformation’ and critics as Putinists. Ad hominems and guilt by association have been unleashed to silence the prudent and denigrate the agnostic for hundreds of years but have never been as enmeshed in communications as they are in the 2020s. If you’re not familiar with ASPI, there are two things you need to know. First, to the tune of around $10 million a year, the institute is bankrolled by what passes for a native military-industrial complex, with a further $2 million donated by “overseas government agencies.” Wink-wink. Second, its writers always encourage Canberra – and the public – to support any war the United States is currently waging, inciting or pondering. Despite a cornucopia of sources – official and reputable – they ignore or flat-out deny that Ukraine has ever had a Nazi problem, that the CIA orchestrated the 2014 coup or that its military and para-military personnel ever committed grotesque criminal acts in the Donbas War.
It isn’t just News Corp that runs payola-fuelled mania for Ukraine. Nine and the ABC have warmly embraced the same think-tankery – albeit for different reasons. The strict company line at News is that supporting Joe Biden’s proxy war safeguards ‘Western values.’ The orthodoxy at Ultimo is that supporting it expedites globalised woke. The result is the same: editorial stances indistinguishable from dubious journalism sourced exclusively from intelligence ‘officials.’ The prolific Mick Ryan – whose perfect military résumé is unadorned only by combat and victory – this week filed a column for the national broadcaster to explain away the failure of Ukraine’s ‘summer offensive.’ As a fellow of the Lowy Institute and the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, he is sponsored by their members and financiers. These include ASIO, the ONI and the Department of Defence; in America: Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics and General Atomics. Needless to say, these companies and institutions are not paying for Western publics to be told the war they’re funding is far more complex historically and morally than they’re allowed to know. The objective is to keep the cash flowing.
The Prigozhin story was important for what it might tell us about the trajectory of the Russian state over the next three to five years. However, it also highlighted more longstanding crises of authority in the United States and the extent to which company-owned advocates – more zealous to protect a foreign war than their own nations – enabled a domestic catastrophe. For Ryan, that single day of high drama “demonstrated how weak and incapable the Russian institutions of state are” and that “Russian intelligence agencies have failed – again.” Putting to one side the CIA’s failure to predict the collapse of the USSR, 9/11 and the Kabul Airport disaster, these observations may well be true; they are not untrue merely because arms-dealers are associated with their author. But the ongoing anarchy in America makes the Wagner march look like a Macy’s parade. Let’s limit ourselves to a few highlights: a summer of street violence coordinated to undermine the government; a partisan intelligence community illegally interfering in two elections; a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff secretly telephoning his Chinese counterpart to denounce the President; an assassination attempt on a Supreme Court judge. The Anti-Trump Mutiny is being ignored or downplayed for one reason above all others: if justice prevails, the Endless War will end.