Citizen Action Monitor

CBC’s Evan Solomon’s knowledge base found wanting in interview with Foreign Minister John Baird

Both talked “pure crap” about the recent downturn of the Russia economy, alleges Canadian columnist

No 1217 Posted by fw, December 27, 2014

“After having watched this interview I watched an alternate site’s report on Russia and its problems that highlighted that much of what Solomon and Baird were saying was simply – sorry gentlemen – pure crap. So this might be a rather long report, but again, for those wanting to know what is really happening in the world outside the neo-Conservative’s spin-doctoring, it will be worth the read, as well as following up on several references provided if my voice is not enough for you.”Jim Miles

To read Miles’ original lengthy article, click on the following linked title. Alternatively, below, a slightly edited version is cross-posted with added subheadings in bold italics, inserted as hanging indents, plus added text highlighting, intended to bring key ideas to the fore and facilitate easy browsing. In addition, the post has some minor editing, reformatting, and a few added hyperlinks, including one in the opening paragraph that links to a video of CBC’s Solomon-Baird interview.

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Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird’s Lies About Russia by Jim Miles, Countercurrents.org, December 26, 2014

Choreographed CBC interviews with Harper and Baird

Jim Miles

Jim Miles

WOW – After listening to the Stephen Harper interview with Peter Mansbridge and now having listened to Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird interview with Evan Solomon (CBC), it is apparent that they both have their talking points down pat. They could have exchanged places and the comments would have come out pretty much the same.

At the same time, the same could be said for Mansbridge and Solomon: if they were exchanged, the questioning would have remained at about the same level as well. It makes me wonder if the questions were all vetted beforehand, or if the government, as owners of CBC decreed that this is the way it would go and that this the language you must use. Or, as I indicated in my previous report, all these scenarios are correct.

Interview with Baird “a masterpiece of controlled deception”

This third interview [with Baird] (after Breedlove and Harper), is so full of calumny, propaganda, canards, double standards, dissimulations, narrow minded thinking, and outright lies that it can only stand as a masterpiece of controlled deception. That references both the interviewers and the interviewees, wherein the mainstream media (MSM) appears to be in bed with – or perhaps more appropriately, in bondage with – the government.

There are some generalities that run through the interview. John Baird goes from talking about the “civilized world” to the “democratic world” and finally to “our friends and allies,” a nice devolution each time approaching the truth more closely. He is also good at the parenting role, using “Listen,” on many occasions, as well as using the word “Obviously” in most of his arguments as if those not knowing what he was going to say were by implication all ignorant and lacked any political knowledge.

CBC’s questions and Baird’s responses are displays of “pure crap” about Russia/Ukraine, North Korea, and ISIS

But those are small bits compared to the ignorance of both the questions and the responses that shaped around three topics: Russia/Ukraine; North Korea; and ISIS. I won’t spend any time on North Korea as it is truly a tempest in a teapot (albeit good domestic political fodder for the sycophantic followers), and none on ISIS as it has been covered generally with the [NATO General] Breedlove interview. Most of this report is on Russia and its problems as that is where the greatest MSM deviousness arises, and where the answers are mostly pure propaganda.

After having watched this interview I watched an alternate site’s report on Russia and its problems that highlighted that much of what Solomon and Baird were saying was simply – sorry gentlemen – pure crap. So this might be a rather long report, but again, for those wanting to know what is really happening in the world outside the neo-Conservative’s spin doctoring, it will be worth the read, as well as following up on several references provided if my voice is not enough for you. [Poor Evan Solomon. It’s not the first interview he’s bungled an interview and probably won’t be the last. See, for example: CBC’s Evan Solomon no match for Palestinian spokesperson in televised interview posted March 11, 2013].

For those interested in “what’s really happening in the world outside neocons’ spin”, read on…

Russia

The first question from Solomon is a pretty obvious one, “The Russian economy, the rubles collapsed, the price of oil collapsed, they are facing serious economic problems. What do you make of what Putin is saying?”

Apart from the significant errors in the question, the answer goes pretty much according to the talking points,

[John Baird] — “Listen to me, we believe he’s made a big mistake in invading and annexing Crimea and materially supporting the separatists in eastern Ukraine. We want him to take a different path that’s why the civilized world has come together to push back, and we’re doing it through economic sanctions. We’re obviously hoping that he’ll reverse course and allow people in Ukraine to live in freedom.”

I’ll deal with Solomon’s errors shortly, but first Baird’s answer –

  • For Crimea, there was no invasion, his security forces were already there – I know, subtle difference but no invasion was required.
  • As for the annexation, it was voted overwhelmingly in favour by the citizens of Crimea. Under military duress, the neocons would argue, but it could also be argued under military protection from the neo-Nazis who assumed power in a coup d’etat and proved themselves willing to murder and physically attack opponents.
  • As well, an intelligent person would also be able to compare that referendum with the votes in Afghanistan and Iraq that were undertaken under full military occupation by the U.S. and considered to be democratic.
  • As for the civilized world, well if the U.S., Canada, and the EU are all that are considered civilized, then this might be a correct statement. But our civility is strongly correlated to the actions of our militaries which recently have included the illegal invasion of Iraq, and the quasi-legal “no fly zone” military attacks on Libya. This civility also includes the over 800 U. S. military bases of different kinds scattered throughout the majority of the world’s countries. Civilization is looking pretty thin…and of course denies civility to the Chinese, Indians, Latin Americas, and anyone in Africa.

Solomon’s next two questions followed up on the same theme. First he asked, “Why ratchet up sanctions now while he’s already on the point of collapse?” followed by “Is there fear, though, if he’s backed into an economic corner because of the sanctions, because of the price of oil and the collapse of their economy…what happens when he’s backed in…more violent, less predictable, is this the right moment?”

After the second question, Baird answered —

“…we can’t accommodate evil but we’ve got to confront it and that’s why the civilized world is speaking with one voice – strongly – and Canada, the United States, the European Union, are all seeking to get the Russian Federation to take a different course…Listen, my job is to stand up for Canada’s interests and promote Canadian values and when those interests and values are challenged to such an extent where one man in the Kremlin thinks he can redraw the borders of Europe through military force, that’s just not….in 2014, and I think cowering away from confronting that type of evil is just the wrong way to go.”

  • Okay fair enough the civilized world seems to have shrunk a bit now,
  • and of course they want Russia to take a different course and bow down to the Washington consensus political/financial hegemony.
  • So far no one has redrawn the boundaries of Europe other than – here I go again – the neo-Nazi skinheads who attacked the Donbas region in order to get rid of its ethnic Russian population.
  • As for Canadian values, they increasingly represent the neo-conservative Republican values witnessed in the U.S.

And Solomon is persistent as if he has not yet received the answer he is looking for, or still has some scripted questions he needs to get out, asking, “How long can Putin hold out if the economy retanks, if the ruble collapses, interest rates go up, people are already cashing the ruble to buy cars because they need some kind of stable commodity, how long can Putin hold on for?” Wow, Solomon, either your ignorance is overwhelming me here, or your orders from your producers are simply full of propaganda – or both.

  • [Baird’s] response to the latter mentions the inaccuracy of U.S. economic estimates (nice dodge) but “Listen…” Baird thinks Harper is doing a great job as Canada is “punching above our weight in this effort to stand up for the architecture of our international security system….”

Ahhhh….the international security system! I think I already described that – the military bases spread around the world, the control of most global finances through the IMF/World Bank/NATO/ and the declining usage of the U.S. fiat currency as the global reserve currency thanks to its petrodollar status – maintained in part by the attacks in Iraq (oil, gold, oil and pipelines), Libya (oil, gold, water), Mali (oil, gold, uranium), Ukraine (gold, oil/gas, pipelines) and the list goes on.

More anti-Putin rhetoric drivels out of Solomon’s mouth when asking about the “serious provocations by the Russians [re air force flights]. What does that signal when they’re provoking NATO like this?” Again, highly biased language as Russia is almost encircled by military bases, has constant U.S. surveillance, and NATO – against the agreement of the U.S. after the unification of Germany – has itself encroached its territory right up to the Russian border, along with missiles that can serve as a first line of attack as per the Paul Wolfowitz first strike doctrine.

  • [Baird’s] response is as to be expected including values and democracy, but also with the gem that “Putin started all this.”

WHAT? Obviously, neither Solomon nor Baird seem to be aware of the billions of dollars that the U.S. spent in western Ukraine in order to turn the government towards the EU, making full use of the Maidan protests to force out the elected Ukrainian government and replacing it with a government overseen by neo-Nazis supported by many U.S. diplomats, including Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland. The latter – the EU being – which is actually happening due to the misplaced sanctions, but more on that later.

The Russian financial nuclear option

Outside the MSM [MainStream Media], there is much information available on any and all topics, some of it very good, some of it very dodgy. One source that I have referenced many times, and have found cross references to support it, is Alasdair MacLeod, a financial critic based in Scotland. Interestingly enough, after listening to Solomon’s interview today, I then listened to an interview with MacLeod, thinking it would take my mind off the idiocy of it all, but the entire MacLeod interview dealt with Russia and its economic position.

Solomon’s knowledge base found wanting

This is where my critique is more about Solomon’s knowledge base than it is about the more or less expected neocon rhetoric from Baird, although he too shares in this lack of knowledge, or its dissimulation and denial. From this and other alternate sites to the MSM, the western position is mostly propaganda and lies. These alternate sites and readings rise mainly from western critics who have worked inside the system for most of their lives, they know what it is like in the belly of the financial beast.

Here’s what’s really happening with the Russian economy

So what is really happening with the economy vis-a-vis Russia?

  • The ruble is down, yes, but after last week’s interest rate increase, it stabilized and went back up 13 per cent in two days, and is up more than thirty per cent. So interest rates are high – that is exactly what is required in order to support the ruble, and without the significant debt loads that the west has, does not have the same impact. If (and when) the west has any interest rate increase it will have a serious negative impact on the overall economy as the western economy is based primarily on over-leveraged debt that will cascade into default if rates go too high. They are near zero now, or negative in some cases, so any increase will have storm clouds gathering.
  • As well, the decline in the ruble is from two possible causes: the oligarchs selling their ruble holdings; and/or the manipulations of people like George Soros, or the US Fed shorting the Forex markets and forcing the ruble down. The ruble itself is not that cause of its own demise. Because Russia has two strengths the U.S. does not have: their debt to GDP ratio is very low; and their holdings of foreign exchange is very high, mostly US$ and US Treasuries.
  • As for the question how long can they hold out for, the real news answer would be, ‘for a very long time.’ With the ruble down, Russia can use its Forex money to buy and support the ruble, which at the same time would weaken the US$. Alternately it can buy – but wait, first another Russian strength: yes the price of oil is down, but Russia sells in US$, thus increasing its foreign exchange reserves or alternately it can buy….But first, who is the drop in the price of oil affecting most?
  • If there really was a secret deal to break Russia with the price of oil then “Everything has backfired if it really was a plan to put pressure on Putin…pretty well wiping out the shale industry [in England], over in America as well.” The shale industry is 20 per cent high yield junk bonds tied into the financial markets which are supported only by the massive money printing by the Fed, the Japanese, and the EU. That debt load makes many businesses and the markets “Really dangerous,” partly as “Emerging markets are getting absolutely hammered,” with “huge amounts of foreign exchange currency debt denominated in dollars,” creating “a global crisis in the making” should those junk bonds and currencies fail.
  • As per MacLeod — “We all think it is Russia’s problem, but it’s not a Russian problem at all, it’s everyone else’s problem. If they really wanted to screw the west they could turn around and say, ‘Right, we’re going on a gold standard.’ It would take them out of the foreign exchange markets. It would create absolute panic in the gold market amongst the shorts, because they know very well that the Russian government would be in there buying gold very, very aggressively to add to its reserves, at the very least.” [Although Miles doesn’t cite his source, MacLeod also deals with this topic in his article Russia’s Monetary Solution, Silver Doctors, December 2, 2014].
  • Under these circumstances, the Russians would make sure that even though the ruble would be fully convertible into gold it would be in nobody’s interest to convert their rubles into gold…they could do that very, very quickly….They’re doing that already with seventeen per cent interest rates! They’re already on that course. If they do that, in the west, we’re dead. It is a financial nuclear weapon.
  • Or, as per Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Treasury Secretary, “No American markets make sense,” and “all the cards are in Putin’s hands.” Those cards, according to Roberts, include: buying up all rubles when it is at its lowest, and then demanding oil payments in rubles from others; not paying off loans when it is time to turn them over, simply delay them; buy all the gold contracts placed on the Comex in New York; turn off the gas.

Enter the Chinese – “And the financial decline of the West is pretty much guaranteed”

There is a part of the “civilized world” that Baird left out and that Solomon did not question – China (among many others). China, along with Russia and India, is purchasing huge amounts of gold from western coffers (Canada essentially has none of its own). They are intending to make the renminbi fully convertible sometime in the near future – the more pressure from the U.S. the sooner that day will arrive. Combined with a gold backing and a possible/probable gold supported basket of currencies, the US$ would simply die.

Combine this with the New Silk Road that China is in the process of building (rail, roads, cyber links, pipelines) and the decline of the west financially is pretty much guaranteed, without the U.S. resorting to nuclear war, it’s last and final solution.

Ironically, since the PNAC [Project for the New American Century] neocon statements about a ‘new world order’, followed up by the events of 9/11, and the U.S. geopolitical strategies to isolate, contain and then deconstruct the power of Russia and China, “now that it’s coming to a head it is producing the exact opposite results.”

“The west is hugely indebted, Russia is not.”

Now who is in fine financial shape? The west is hugely indebted, Russia is not. The west has a huge imbalance of payments, Russia and China hold huge foreign exchange amounts. Russia and China are buying huge amounts of that ancient relic, gold, that is valued by the vast majority of people on earth, as a guardian of wealth against declining and failing currencies – as they all do eventually. Sanctions are affecting mainly Europe as Russia turns towards the east and other regions for the technology and materials that it might be missing, only helping to strengthen the SCO and the New Silk Road.

MSM subverts its intelligence to be the servant of state propaganda

The combination of the MSM and the politicians of the west in denying, avoiding, dissimulating this information is amazing to watch. Both Peter Mansbridge and Evan Solomon are doing their best to make Putin and Russia the ‘evil other’ in spite of all the information to the contrary that it is the west – through its attempts at global hegemony, full spectrum dominance militarily, financial dominance – that is creating the problems around the world today.

I am sometimes staggered and amazed by the complicity of the MSM, and its willingness to subvert its intelligence and knowledge to be the servant of the state and its propaganda – unless, most unlikely, they are simply ignorant of it all. And hopefully there will be no more year end interviews with all the calumny, propaganda, canards, double standards, dissimulations, narrow minded thinking, and outright lies that are evident in these two interviews.

Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles’ work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications.

SEE ALSO

  • How US executed a maniacal, savage, and near-perfect takedown of the Russian economy posted December 21, 2014 – Counterpunch contributor Mike Whitney offers a very different analysis of the recent downturn of the Russian economy and ruble to that put forward by Jim Miles. For example, where Miles praised the Russian Central Bank’s rise in interest rates, Whitney was highly critical, saying it worsened the outflow of capital. Where Miles talks about a gold backing for the ruble, Whitney promoted capital controls. One important thing they did agree on – Russia would emerge victorious.

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