Category Archives: FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

Glenn Greenwald: The Censorship Campaign Against Western Criticism of NATO’s Ukraine Policy Is Extreme

. HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article by Glenn Greenwald in Scheerpost

If one wishes to be exposed to news, information or perspective that contravenes the prevailing US/NATO view on the war in Ukraine, a rigorous search is required. And there is no guarantee that search will succeed. That is because the state/corporate censorship regime that has been imposed in the West with regard to this war is stunningly aggressive, rapid and comprehensive.


[Alisdare Hickson / CC BY-SA 2.0]

On a virtually daily basis, any off-key news agency, independent platform or individual citizen is liable to be banished from the internet. In early March, barely a week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the twenty-seven nation European Union — citing “disinformation” and “public order and security” — officially banned  the Russian state-news outlets RT and Sputnik from being heard anywhere in Europe. In what Reuters called “an unprecedented move,” all television and online platforms were barred by force of law from airing content from those two outlets. Even prior to that censorship order from the state, Facebook and Google were already banning those outlets, and Twitter immediately announced they would as well, in compliance with the new EU law.

But what was “unprecedented” just six weeks ago has now become commonplace, even normalized. Any platform devoted to offering inconvenient-to-NATO news or alternative perspectives is guaranteed a very short lifespan. Less than two weeks after the EU’s decree, Google announced  that it was voluntarily banning all Russian-affiliated media worldwide, meaning Americans and all other non-Europeans were now blocked from viewing those channels on YouTube if they wished to. As so often happens with Big Tech censorship, much of the pressure on Google to more aggressively censor content about the war in Ukraine came from its own workforce: “Workers across Google had been urging YouTube to take additional punitive measures against Russian channels.”

So prolific and fast-moving is this censorship regime that it is virtually impossible to count how many platforms, agencies and individuals have been banished for the crime of expressing views deemed “pro-Russian.” On Tuesday, Twitter, with no explanation as usual, suddenly banned one of the most informative, reliable and careful dissident accounts, named “Russians With Attitude.” Created in late 2020 by two English-speaking Russians, the account exploded in popularity  since the start of the war, from roughly 20,000 followers before the invasion to more than 125,000 followers at the time Twitter banned it. An accompanying podcast with the same name also exploded in popularity and, at least as of now, can still be heard on Patreon.

What makes this outburst of Western censorship so notable — and what is at least partially driving it — is that there is a clear, demonstrable hunger in the West for news and information that is banished by Western news sources, ones which loyally and unquestioningly mimic claims from the U.S. government, NATO, and Ukrainian officials. As The Washington Post acknowledged  when reporting Big Tech’s “unprecedented” banning of RT, Sputnik and other Russian sources of news: “In the first four days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, viewership of more than a dozen Russian state-backed propaganda channels on YouTube spiked to unusually high levels.”

Note that this censorship regime is completely one-sided and, as usual, entirely aligned with U.S. foreign policy. Western news outlets and social media platforms have been flooded with pro-Ukrainian propaganda and outright lies  from the start of the war. A New York Times article from early March  put it very delicately in its headline: “Fact and Mythmaking Blend in Ukraine’s Information War.” Axios was similarly understated in recognizing this fact: “Ukraine misinformation is spreading — and not just from Russia.” Members of the U.S. Congress  have gleefully spread  fabrications that went viral to millions of people, with no action from censorship-happy Silicon Valley corporations. That is not a surprise: all participants in war use disinformation and propaganda to manipulate public opinion in their favor, and that certainly includes all direct and proxy-war belligerents in the war in Ukraine.

Yet there is little to no censorship — either by Western states or by Silicon Valley monopolies — of pro-Ukrainian disinformation, propaganda and lies. The censorship goes only in one direction: to silence any voices deemed “pro-Russian,” regardless of whether they spread disinformation. The “Russians With Attitude” Twitter account became popular in part because they sometimes criticized Russia, in part because they were more careful with facts and viral claims that most U.S. corporate media outlets, and in part because there is such a paucity of outlets that are willing to offer any information that undercuts what the U.S. Government and NATO want you to believe about the war.

Their crime, like the crime of so many other banished accounts, was not disinformation but skepticism about the US/NATO propaganda campaign. Put another way, it is not “disinformation” but rather viewpoint-error that is targeted for silencing. One can spread as many lies and as much disinformation as one wants provided that it is designed to advance the NATO agenda in Ukraine (just as one is free to spread disinformation provided  that its purpose is to strengthen the Democratic Party, which wields its majoritarian power in Washington to demand greater censorship  and commands the support of most of Silicon Valley). But what one cannot do is question the NATO/Ukrainian propaganda framework without running a very substantial risk of banishment.

It is unsurprising that Silicon Valley monopolies exercise their censorship power in full alignment with the foreign policy interests of the U.S. Government. Many of the key tech monopolies — such as Google and Amazon — routinely seek and obtain highly lucrative contracts  with the U.S. security state , including both the CIA and NSA. Their top executives enjoy very close relationships  with top Democratic Party officials. And Congressional Democrats have repeatedly hauled tech executives before their various Committees to explicitly threaten them  with legal and regulatory reprisals if they do not censor more in accordance with the policy goals and political interests of that party.

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Question(s) related to this article:

Is Internet Freedom a Basic Human Right?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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But one question lingers: why is there so much urgency about silencing the small pockets of dissenting voices about the war in Ukraine? This war has united the establishment wings of both parties and virtually the entire corporate media with a lockstep consensus not seen since the days and weeks after the 9/11 attack. One can count on both hands the number of prominent political and media figures who have been willing to dissent even minimally from that bipartisan Washington consensus — dissent that instantly provokes vilification in the form of attacks on one’s patriotism and loyalties. Why is there such fear of allowing these isolated and demonized voices to be heard at all?

The answer seems clear. The benefits from this war for multiple key Washington power centers cannot be overstated. The billions of dollars in aid and weapons being sent by the U.S. to Ukraine are flying so fast and with such seeming randomness that it is difficult to track. “Biden approves $350 million in military aid for Ukraine,” Reuters  said  on February 26; “Biden announces $800 million in military aid for Ukraine,” announced  The New York Times on March 16; on March 30, NBC’s headline  read: “Ukraine to receive additional $500 million in aid from U.S., Biden announces”; on Tuesday, Reuters announced: “U.S. to announce $750 million more in weapons for Ukraine, officials say.” By design, these gigantic numbers have long ago lost any meaning and provoke barely a peep of questioning let alone objection.

It is not a mystery who is benefiting from this orgy of military spending. On Tuesday, Reuters reported that  “the Pentagon will host leaders from the top eight U.S. weapons manufacturers on Wednesday to discuss the industry’s capacity to meet Ukraine’s weapons needs if the war with Russia lasts years.” Among those participating in this meeting about the need to increase weapons manufacturing to feed the proxy war in Ukraine is Raytheon, which is fortunate to have retired General Lloyd Austin as Defense Secretary, a position to which he ascended from the Raytheon Board of Directors. It is virtually impossible to imagine an event more favorable to the weapons manufacturer industry than this war in Ukraine:

Demand for weapons has shot up after Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24 spurred U.S. and allied weapons transfers to Ukraine. Resupplying as well as planning for a longer war is expected to be discussed at the meeting, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity. . .

Resupplying as well as planning for a longer war is expected to be discussed at the meeting. . . . The White House said last week that it has provided more than $1.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion, including over 5,000 Javelins and more than 1,400 Stingers.

This permanent power faction is far from the only one to be reaping benefits from the war in Ukraine and to have its fortunes depend upon prolonging the war as long as possible. The union of the U.S. security state, Democratic Party neocons, and their media allies has not been riding this high since the glory days of 2002. One of MSNBC’s most vocal DNC boosters, Chris Hayes, gushed that the war in Ukraine has revitalized faith and trust in the CIA and intelligence community more than any event in recent memory — deservedly so, he said: “The last few weeks have been like the Iraq War in reverse for US intelligence.” One can barely read a mainstream newspaper or watch a corporate news outlet without seeing the nation’s most bloodthirsty warmongering band of neocons — David Frum, Bill Kristol, Liz Cheney, Wesley Clark, Anne Applebaum, Adam Kinzinger — being celebrated as wise experts and heroic warriors for freedom.

This war has been very good indeed for the permanent Washington political and media class. And although it was taboo for weeks to say so, it is now beyond clear that the only goal that the U.S. and its allies have  when it comes to the war in Ukraine is to keep it dragging on for as long as possible. Not only are there no serious American diplomatic efforts to end the war, but the goal is to ensure that does not happen. They are now saying that explicitly, and it is not hard to understand why.

The benefits from endless quagmire in Ukraine are as immense as they are obvious. The military budget skyrockets. Punishment is imposed on the arch-nemesis of the Democratic Party — Russia and Putin — while they are bogged down in a war from which Ukrainians suffer most. The citizenry unites behind their leaders and is distracted from their collective deprivations. The emotions provoked by the horrors of this war — unprecedentedly shown to the public by the Western media which typically ignores carnage and victims of wars waged by Western countries and their allies — is a very potent tool to maintain unity and demonize domestic adversaries. The pundit class finds strength, purpose and resolve, able to feign a Churchillian posture without any of the risks. Prior sins and crimes of American elites are absolved and forgotten at the altar of maximalist claims about Putin’s unprecedented evils — just as they were absolved and forgotten through the script which maintained that the U.S. had never encountered a threat as grave or malignant as Trump. After all, if Putin and Trump are Hitler or even worse, then anyone who opposes them is heroic and noble regardless of all their prior malignant acts.

And that is why even small pockets of dissent cannot be tolerated. It is vital that Americans and Europeans remain entrapped inside a completely closed system of propaganda about the war, just as Russians are kept entrapped inside their own. Keeping these populations united in support of fighting a proxy war against Russia is far too valuable on too many levels to permit any questioning or alternative perspectives. Preventing people from asking who this war benefits, and who is paying the price for it, is paramount.

Big Tech has long proven to be a reliable instrument of censorship and dissent-quashing for the U.S. Government (much to the chagrin of corporate media employees, Russian outlets still remain available on free speech alternatives  such as Rumble and Telegram, which is why so much ire is now directed at them). A rapid series of ostensible “crises” — Russiagate, 1/6, the COVID pandemic — were all exploited to condition Westerners to believe that censorship was not only justified but necessary for their own good. In the West, censorship now provokes not anger but gratitude. All of that laid the perfect foundation for this new escalation of a censorship regime in which dissent, on a virtually daily basis, is increasingly more difficult to locate.

No matter one’s views on Russia, Ukraine, the U.S. and the war, it should be deeply alarming to watch such a concerted, united campaign on the part of the most powerful public and private entities to stomp out any and all dissent, while so aggressively demonizing what little manages to slip by. No matter how smart or critically minded or sophisticated we fancy ourselves to be, none of us is immune to official propaganda campaigns, studied and perfected over decades. Nor is any of us immune to the pressures of group-think and herd behavior and hive minds: these are embedded in our psyches and thus easily exploitable.

That is precisely the objective of restricting and closing the information system available to us. It makes it extremely difficult to remain skeptical or critical of the bombardment of approved messaging we receive every day from every direction in every form. And that is precisely the reason to oppose such censorship regimes. An opinion or belief adopted due to propaganda and reflex rather than autonomy and critical evaluation has no value.

(Editor’s note: Thank you to Transcent Media Service for calling our attention to this article.)

Russian Nobel Laureate Muratov Doused With Red Paint By Unknown Attacker

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from Radio Free Europe (Copyright (c)2020 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.)

Dmitry Muratov, the editor in chief of one of Russia’s leading independent newspapers, Novaya gazeta, said he was attacked by an assailant who threw a mixture of red paint and acetone on him.

(Editor’s note: So far Muratov has avoided assassination, but when he received the Nobel Peace Prize last year, he said the prize was for his colleagues at Novaya Gazeta who had been assassinated: “for Yuri Shchekochikhin, it’s for Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya, it’s for Nastya Baburova, it’s for Natalia Estemirova, for Stas Markelov,” he told Russian media. “It is that of those who died defending the right of people to freedom of speech.”)
 


A photo of Muratov posted by the newspaper on Telegram showed his head, shirt, hands, and arms covered in red paint.

Muratov, co-winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize with Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, was on a train bound from Moscow to Samara on April 7  when the attack occurred.

A photo of Muratov posted by the newspaper on Telegram showed his head, shirt, hands, and arms covered in red paint.

Muratov said the attacker shouted, “Muratov, here’s to you for our boys.”

He told the new European edition of Novaya gazeta about the attack, saying that his eyes were burning badly

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Question(s) related to this article:

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

The courage of Mordecai Vanunu and other whistle-blowers, How can we emulate it in our lives?

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Novaya gazeta, a leading independent Russian newspaper, suspended operations  last month after it said it received warnings from Russian authorities.

The newspaper said it had been warned twice by Roskomnadzor, meaning the state communications regulator was open to pursue closing the independent outlet down through legal action.

Earlier on April 7, journalists from Novaya gazeta who fled Russia amid the ongoing crackdown on independent reporting said they have launched  a new media outlet that aims to cover news and developments in Russia and around the world in Russian and several other languages.

Kirill Martynov, the former editor of Novaya gazeta’s unit on political issues, will be the editor in chief of Novaya gazeta Europe, the publication said in a statement on its website.

“We know that we have readers around the world who are waiting for verified information,” the statement said.

“That is why we, Novaya gazeta journalists who were forced to leave their country because of a de facto occupational ban being in put into effect, are pleased to announce that we have launched Novaya gazeta Europe — an outlet that shares our values and standards.”

The statement did not say where the newspaper would be based.

Russia has placed strict limits on how media can describe the war Moscow launched in Ukraine. According to the regulator, media must follow official government communications only for what Moscow calls a “special military operation.” Usage of the words “war” or “invasion” with regard to the fighting in Ukraine is banned.

In early March, President Vladimir Putin signed into a law legislation that punishes those who distribute what is deemed “false information about the Russian Army” in their reports about Ukraine, with a prison sentence of as much as 15 years.

Several other Russian media outlets have already opted for suspending operations rather than face heavy restrictions on what they can report, and the Kremlin has also blocked multiple foreign news outlets, including RFE/RL.

From Mosul to Raqqa to Mariupol, Killing Civilians is a Crime

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article by by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies in Codepink

Americans have been shocked by the death and destruction of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, filling our screens with bombed buildings and dead bodies lying in the street. But the United States and its allies have waged war in country after country for decades, carving swathes of destruction through cities, towns and villages on a far greater scale than has so far disfigured Ukraine. 


Bombed homes in Mosul  Credit: Amnesty International

As we recently reported, the U.S. and its allies have dropped over 337,000 bombs and missiles, or 46 per day, on nine countries since 2001 alone. Senior U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency officers told Newsweek that the first 24 days  of Russia’s bombing of Ukraine was less destructive than the first day of U.S. bombing in Iraq in 2003.

The U.S.-led campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria bombarded those countries with over 120,000 bombs and missiles, the heaviest bombing anywhere in decades. U.S. military officers  told Amnesty International that the U.S. assault on Raqqa in Syria was also the heaviest artillery bombardment since the Vietnam War. 

Mosul in Iraq was the largest city that the United States and its allies reduced to rubble  in that campaign, with a pre-assault population of 1.5 million. About 138,000 houses  were damaged or destroyed by bombing and artillery, and an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence report counted at least 40,000 civilians  killed.

Raqqa, which had a population of 300,000, was  gutted even more. A  UN assessment mission  reported that 70-80% of buildings were destroyed or damaged. Syrian and Kurdish forces in Raqqacounting 4,118 civilian bodies. Many more deaths remain uncounted in the rubble of Mosul and Raqqa. Without comprehensive mortality surveys, we may never know what fraction of the actual death toll these numbers represent.

The Pentagon promised to review its policies on civilian casualties in the wake of these massacres, and commissioned the Rand Corporation to conduct  a study  titled, “Understanding Civilian Harm in Raqqa and Its Implications For Future Conflicts,” which has now been made public. 

Even as the world recoils from the shocking violence in Ukraine, the premise of the Rand Corp study is that U.S. forces will continue to wage wars that involve devastating bombardments of cities and populated areas, and that they must therefore try to understand how they can do so without killing quite so many civilians.

The study runs over 100 pages, but it never comes to grips with the central problem, which is the inevitably devastating and deadly impacts of firing explosive weapons into inhabited urban areas like Mosul in Iraq, Raqqa in Syria, Mariupol in Ukraine, Sanaa in Yemen or Gaza in Palestine.  

The development of “precision weapons” has demonstrably failed to prevent these massacres. The United States unveiled its new “smart bombs” during the First Gulf War in 1990-1991. But they in fact comprised  only 7%  of the 88,000 tons of bombs it dropped on Iraq, reducing “a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society” to “a pre-industrial age nation” according to a UN survey

Instead of publishing actual data on the accuracy of these weapons, the Pentagon has maintained a sophisticated propaganda campaign to convey the impression that they are 100% accurate and can strike a target like a house or apartment building without harming civilians in the surrounding area. 

However, during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Rob Hewson, the editor of an arms trade journal that reviews the performance of air-launched weapons, estimated that 20 to 25%  of U.S. “precision” weapons missed their targets. 

Even when they do hit their target, these weapons do not perform like space weapons in a video game. The most commonly used bombs in the U.S. arsenal are 500 lb bombs, with an explosive charge of 89 kilos of Tritonal. According to UN safety data, the blast alone from that explosive charge is 100% lethal up to a radius of 10 meters, and will break every window within 100 meters. 

That is just the blast effect. Deaths and horrific injuries are also caused by collapsing buildings and flying shrapnel and debris – concrete, metal, glass, wood etc. 

A strike is considered accurate if it lands within a “circular error probable,” usually 10 meters around the object being targeted. So in an urban area, if you take into account the “circular error probable,” the blast radius, flying debris and collapsing buildings, even a strike assessed as “accurate” is very likely to kill and injure civilians. 

U.S. officials draw a moral distinction between this “unintentional” killing and the “deliberate” killing of civilians by terrorists. But the late historian Howard Zinn challenged this distinction in letter  to the New York Times in 2007. He wrote,

“These words are misleading because they assume an action is either ‘deliberate’ or ‘unintentional.’ There is something in between, for which the word is ‘inevitable.’ If you engage in an action, like aerial bombing, in which you cannot possibly distinguish between combatants and civilians (as a former Air Force bombardier, I will attest to that), the deaths of civilians are inevitable, even if not ‘intentional.’ 

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Question related to this article:
 
Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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Does that difference exonerate you morally? The terrorism of the suicide bomber and the terrorism of aerial bombardment are indeed morally equivalent. To say otherwise (as either side might) is to give one moral superiority over the other, and thus serve to perpetuate the horrors of our time.”

Americans are rightfully horrified when they see civilians killed by Russian bombardment in Ukraine, but they are generally not quite so horrified, and more likely to accept official justifications, when they hear that civilians are killed by U.S. forces or American weapons in Iraq, Syria, Yemen or Gaza. The Western corporate media play a key role in this, by showing us corpses in Ukraine and the wails of their loved ones, but shielding us from equally disturbing images of people killed by U.S. or allied forces.

While Western leaders are demanding that Russia be held accountable for war crimes, they have raised no such clamor to prosecute U.S. officials. Yet during the U.S. military occupation of Iraq, both the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) documented persistent and systematic violations of the Geneva Conventions by U.S. forces, including of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention that protects civilians from the impacts of war and military occupation.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and human rights groups  documented systematic abuse and torture of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, including cases in which U.S. troops tortured prisoners to death. 

Although torture was approved by U.S. officials all the way up to the White House, no officer above the rank of major was ever held accountable for a torture death in Afghanistan or Iraq. The harshest punishment handed down for torturing a prisoner to death was a five-month jail sentence, although that is a capital offense under the U.S. War Crimes Act.  

In a 2007 human rights report  that described widespread killing of civilians by U.S. occupation forces, UNAMI wrote, “Customary international humanitarian law demands that, as much as possible, military objectives must not be located within areas densely populated by civilians. The presence of individual combatants among a great number of civilians does not alter the civilian character of an area.” 

The report demanded “that all credible allegations of unlawful killings be thoroughly, promptly and impartially investigated, and appropriate action taken against military personnel found to have used excessive or indiscriminate force.”

Instead of investigating, the U.S. has actively covered up its war crimes. A tragic example  is the 2019 massacre in the Syrian town of Baghuz, where a special U.S. military operations unit dropped massive bombs on a group of mainly women and children, killing about 70. The military not only failed to acknowledge the botched attack but even bulldozed the blast site to cover it up. Only after a New York Times exposé  years later did the military even admit that the strike took place.  

So it is ironic to hear President Biden call for President Putin to face a war crimes trial, when the United States covers up its own crimes, fails to hold its own senior officials accountable for war crimes and still rejects the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). In 2020, Donald Trump went so far as to impose U.S. sanctions on the most senior ICC prosecutors for investigating U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan.

The Rand study repeatedly claims that U.S. forces have “a deeply ingrained commitment to the law of war.” But the destruction of Mosul, Raqqa and other cities and the history of U.S. disdain for the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions and international courts tell a very different story.

We agree with the Rand report’s conclusion that, “DoD’s weak institutional learning for civilian harm issues meant that past lessons went unheeded, increasing the risks to civilians in Raqqa.” However, we take issue with the study’s failure to recognize that many of the glaring contradictions it documents are consequences of the fundamentally criminal nature of this entire operation, under the Fourth Geneva Convention and the existing laws of war. 

We reject the whole premise of this study, that U.S. forces should continue to conduct urban bombardments that inevitably kill thousands of civilians, and must therefore learn from this experience so that they will kill and maim fewer civilians the next time they destroy a city like Raqqa or Mosul.

The ugly truth behind these U.S. massacres is that the impunity senior U.S. military and civilian officials have enjoyed for past war crimes encouraged them to believe they could get away with bombing cities in Iraq and Syria to rubble, inevitably killing tens of thousands of civilians. 

They have so far been proven right, but U.S. contempt for international law and the failure of the global community to hold the United States to account are destroying the very “rules-based order” of international law that U.S. and Western leaders claim to cherish. 

As we call urgently for a ceasefire, for peace and for accountability for war crimes in Ukraine, we should say “Never Again!” to the bombardment of cities and civilian areas, whether they are in Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, Iran or anywhere else, and whether the aggressor is Russia, the United States, Israel or Saudi Arabia.

And we should never forget that the supreme war crime is war itself, the crime of aggression, because, as the judges declared at Nuremberg, it “contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” It is easy to point fingers at others, but we will not stop war until we force our own leaders to live up to the principle spelled out  by Supreme Court Justice and Nuremberg prosecutor Robert Jackson:

“If certain acts in violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace, and author of several books, including Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Nicolas J. S. Davies is an independent journalist, a researcher with CODEPINK and the author of Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.  

Global Progressive Leaders Urge Biden to Drop US Charges Against Assange

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article by Jake Johnson in Common Dreams (licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

A coalition of progressive leaders from across the globe demanded Monday (April 11) that the Biden administration immediately drop all charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently jailed in a high-security London prison as he fights U.S. extradition attempts.


Demonstrators rally in support of freeing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange outside of the Royal Courts of Justice in London on January 24, 2022. (Photo: Thomas Krych/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“Freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and freedom of the press constitute an instrument that can controvert the interests of any government.”

In a letter to Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), more than 30 progressive advocates, intellectuals, and former heads of state argued that dropping the Espionage Act charges against Assange would “send a strong message to the world: that freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and freedom of the press constitute an instrument that can controvert the interests of any government, including that of the United States of America.”

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Click here for the Spanish original of this article.

Question related to this article:
 
Julian Assange, Is he a hero for the culture of peace?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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“The cases where there are reports of serious violations of freedom of expression would also be impacted by the dropping of the 18 charges against Assange,” the letter reads. “It would affirm the defense of this fundamental human right and would undoubtedly represent a clear and robust sign that everyone can express their opinion without fear of retaliation; that all the press outlets can give news to all the citizens of the world, with the certainty that the pluralism of thought is guaranteed.”

Signed by former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chilean intellectual Carlos Ominami, and 30 others, the letter was sent on the third anniversary of Assange’s forced removal from the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2019.

Assange has since been languishing in Belmarsh prison under conditions that human rights experts have characterized as “torture.” Last month, the U.K. Supreme Court denied Assange’s request to appeal an earlier decision allowing him to be extradited to the U.S., where he could face up to 175 years in prison.

The charges against Assange stem from his publication of classified material that exposed U.S. war crimes, including video footage of American forces gunning down civilians in Iraq.

Given that journalists frequently report on and publish classified documents, U.S. efforts to prosecute Assange have been denounced as a grave threat to press freedoms.

But despite pressure from rights groups, the Biden Justice Department has continued to pursue charges against Assange that were originally brought by the Trump administration, which reportedly considered kidnapping or assassinating the WikiLeaks founder.

In their letter on Monday, the progressive leaders wrote that the U.S. “has a long tradition of defending freedom of expression, freedom of thought, and freedom of the press.”

“It is precisely in the name of this tradition,” they wrote, “that we, progressive leaders of the world, address you to ask that, within the scope of its constitutional and legal competence, in respect of due process of law and the democratic rule of law, that your presidency exercise its prerogative of dropping all 18 charges leveled against journalist Julian Paul Assange.”

Statement of The Ukrainian Pacifist Movement Against Perpetuation of War

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

A statement published in Pressenza

Ukrainian Pacifist Movement is gravely concerned about the active burning of bridges for a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on both sides and signals of intentions to continue the bloodshed indefinitely to achieve some sovereign ambitions. We condemn the Russian decision to invade Ukraine on 24 February 2022, which led to a fatal escalation and thousands of deaths, reiterating our condemnation of the reciprocal violations of the ceasefire envisaged in the Minsk agreements by Russian and Ukrainian combatants in Donbas prior to the escalation of Russian aggression.

We condemn the mutual labeling of parties to the conflict as Nazi-alike enemies and war criminals, stuffed into legislation, reinforced by the official propaganda of extreme and irreconcilable hostility. We believe that the law should build peace, not incite war; and history should give us examples of how people can return to peaceful life, not excuses for continuing the war. We insist that accountability for crimes must be established by an independent and competent judicial body in due process of law, in the result of unbiased and impartial investigation, especially in the most serious crimes, such as genocide. We emphasize that the tragic consequences of military brutality must not be used to incite hatred and justify new atrocities, on the contrary, such tragedies should cool the fighting spirit and encourage a persistent search for the most bloodless ways to end the war.

We condemn military actions on both sides, the hostilities which harm civilians. We insist that all shootings should be stopped, all sides should honor the memory of killed people and, after due grief, calmly and honestly commit to peace talks.

We condemn statements on the Russian side about the intention to achieve certain goals by military means if they cannot be achieved through negotiations.

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Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

How can we be sure to get news about peace demonstrations?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

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We condemn statements on the Ukrainian side that the continuation of peace talks depends on winning the best-negotiating positions on the battlefield.

We condemn the unwillingness of both sides to a ceasefire during the peace talks.

We condemn the practice of forcing civilians to conduct military service, to perform military tasks, and to support the army against the will of peaceful people in Russia and Ukraine. We insist that such practices, especially during hostilities, grossly violate the principle of distinction between militaries and civilians in international humanitarian law. Any forms of contempt for the human right to conscientious objection to military service are unacceptable.

We condemn all military support provided by Russia and NATO countries for militant radicals in Ukraine provoking further escalation of the military conflict.We call on all peace-loving people in Ukraine and around the world to remain peace-loving people in all circumstances and to help others to be peace-loving people, to collect and disseminate knowledge about a peaceful and nonviolent way of life, to tell the truth, that unites peace-loving people, to resist evil and injustice without violence and debunk myths about necessary, beneficial, inevitable, and just war. We don’t call for any particular action now to ensure that peace plans will not be targeted by hatred and attacks of militarists, but we are confident that pacifists of the world have a good imagination and experience of practical realization of their best dreams. Our actions should be guided by hope for a peaceful and happy future, and not by fears. Let our peace work bring closer the future from dreams.

War is a crime against humanity. Therefore, we are determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.

UPM
Fb.com/PeaceUkraine
yuriy.sheliazhenko@gmail.com
Tverskyi tupyk street, 9, app. 82
01042
Kyiv
Ukraine

Censorship in Russia: Do not use this word

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

(Editor’s note: On March 17 we wrote with regard to the war against Ukraine that “Russians are taking risks to express their opposition in the face of police action that is sometimes even ridiculous.” Here are some new examples taken from the April 11 blog of Sergey Aleksashenko .)

On March 15, the police detained Anastasia Parshkova, who had attended an anti-war picket gathering with a placard reading: “The Sixth Commandment. Thou shalt not kill.” (In the Orthodox Church, this is the Sixth, not the Fifth.)

On April 10, the police detained Konstantin Goldman, who stood at the pedestal of the Hero-city of Kyiv in the Manezh Garden near the Kremlin, holding in his hands the book War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. 

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

How can we be sure to get news about peace demonstrations?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

(Continued from left column)

On April 9, a St. Petersburg court fined Artur Dmitriev 30,000 rubles (50% of the average Russian salary) based on the article “public actions aimed at discrediting the Russian military.” On April 7, Dmitriev had gone to an anti-war picket event holding an A4 sheet of paper with the following words: “The war brought so much grief that it is impossible to forget it. There is no forgiveness for those who once again plot aggressive plans.” The phrase for which Dmitriev was detained was said by the President of Russia on May 9, 2021, during the Victory Day parade on the Red Square.

Facing severe repression, Russians are turning to antiwar graffiti

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An article by Colleen Wood and Alexis Lerner in Waging Nonviolence published on March 21

As the Kremlin cracks down on antiwar protests, subversive street art critiquing the war in Ukraine is proliferating across Russia.

It is exceedingly difficult to organize peaceful protests in Russia. Since the Kremlin’s “Special Operation” began on Feb. 24, police have detained nearly 15,000 people across the country in connection with peaceful demonstrations. On March 4, the Kremlin expanded the scope of illegal activity with two laws that criminalize war reporting and antiwar protest. As of March 15, 180 charges have been lodged against protesters. Given — or despite — these restrictions, activists and artists are turning toward more subtle and subversive tools for political expression: namely, graffiti.


Spray-painted on a snowbank in the Russian city of Perm, this graffiti reads “Stop bombing Kharkov.” (Twitter/@RusMilkshake)

In the last 20 years, the Kremlin has limited free speech and citizens’ right to public assembly. While Russia has not been a democracy for many years, the Putin regime has generally avoided the Soviet approach to censorship, instead permitting some degree of political expression. In recent years, there have been calls for nuclear disarmament, environmental protection, maintaining pensions, and better treatment of LGBT communities. The precedent has been to criticize policy, not Putin.

But authorities are quick to crack down when citizens cross “red lines” of criticism on taboo topics like corruption and Chechnya, a republic in the North Caucasus where Moscow led two wars in the last 30 years. However, just because people cannot safely or legally speak out against unfavorable policies does not mean that they remain silent.

In order to circumvent this control over free speech and assembly, Russian activists and artists use spray paint to share anonymous and subversive views on a city’s walls. While this art form has existed in the region since the 1970s, it took a distinctly political turn in the early 21st century. Today, graffiti is an effective form of anonymous and accessible political critique, functioning as a “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to sharing otherwise privately-held political discontent.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, there has been a resurgence of politically subversive graffiti that the state has spent the last 10 years trying to crowd out of public spaces.

Spray-painted tags with a simple message — “No to War!” — appeared as early as Feb. 25, even before the first major antiwar demonstration in Moscow. This same message has been painted in metro stations, schoolyards and pedestrian thoroughfares in Moscow and St. Petersburg, which are Russia’s biggest cities and have traditionally been the hub of political dissent, as well as in smaller towns including Lipetsk, Irkutsk, Samara and Tomsk.

In addition to the ubiquitous, scrappy “No to War” tags, artists are painting more sophisticated pieces with targeted critiques of Putin and the regime. In Moscow, for example, an anonymous artist used a stencil to write “You’re carrying us to hell” in Russian, implying that the Kremlin is dragging the country into an undesirable conflict and, subsequently, unwanted hardship for attacked Ukrainians and sanctioned Russians. Other anonymous works stress in all-caps that “Putin is an aggressor” and “Kremlin thieves need the war, but not me or you.” The latter, in particular, implies that the Putin regime benefits from its war in Ukraine, either through the capture of warm water ports on the Black Sea, the installation of a pro-Kremlin puppet government in Kyiv or by pocketing profits from military contracts.

Authorities are struggling to paint over the proliferation of antiwar tags across the country. But street art is not always painted with a spray can. Other media include stickers, stencils, moss, snow, yarn-bombing and wheat-pasted posters.

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

Can popular art help us in the quest for truth and justice?

(Continued from left column)

In Krasnoyarsk, Vera Kotova etched “No to War” in snow that had gathered on a statue of Vladimir Lenin. She was promptly charged under the new law criminalizing antiwar protest. She faces a fine of 30,000 rubles, about $290.

Activists also leverage visual irony to critique censorship and the political environment in Russia. One placard on the back of a bus stop in St. Petersburg graphs “fear” against “hope” in Russia since 1983, with hope surging in 1991 as the Soviet Union collapsed and again in 2012 following massive protests. While the piece — installed by the Yav crew, whose name comes from the Russian word for “reality” — does not specifically mention the war, it is heavily implied.

In Nizhny Novgorod, police dragged a woman holding a blank placard in the city’s central square. One video, viewed 1.1 million times on Twitter, shows people in the crowd asking the police to justify the detention.

In addition to capturing moments of state violence or mass mobilization, activists are also taking advantage of digital communications to criticize the war and mobilize nonviolent demonstrations.

Post Tribe Inspiration created a virtual gallery on Red Square, home of the famous St. Basil’s Cathedral, as part of their ART NOT WAR campaign. Users can visit the Metaverse through the Spatial app to view a virtual antiwar art exhibit, filled with doves and peace signs drawn in blue and yellow, the colors of Ukraine’s flag. Users are invited to add their own pieces to the online gallery.

Other works integrate virtual and real-life spaces through weblinks and QR codes that can direct a viewer to a particular website with their cell phone camera. In St. Petersburg, an anonymous “lost dog” sign appeared in the metro, describing a search for a pet named Peace. The sign reads, “On February 24, an unpleasant man with hints of Botox stole our Peace!” The sign has a QR code that links passengers to resources to “help return peace,” which actually directs to a petition on Change.org demanding an end to the war in Ukraine.

Before it was banned on March 14 in Russia, activists leveraged Instagram’s emphasis on images to spread information about protest logistics. One Instagram post informed Muscovites of a protest on Feb. 24 without specifying any details in text. The caption insists, “This is just a pretty picture,” and the image features a sketch of famous poet Aleksandr Pushkin and the number seven surrounded by an emoji of a walking man. Politically motivated followers had to solve the rebus to figure out where and when the demonstration was happening. The walking emoji nods to the coded language of “taking a walk” to protest, the portrait of Pushkin leads people to Pushkin Square, an open pedestrian space in central Moscow, and the number seven is a sign to show up at 7 p.m.

Social media also enables activists to mobilize sympathetic minds and atomize dissent. The hashtag #тихийпикет — “quiet picket” in Russian — has more than 1,600 posts on Instagram, including posts that instruct social media users how to participate in single-person antiwar demonstrations. Photos with the hashtag show subtle symbols of dissent, including masks and tote bags with the “No to War” slogan painted on and green ribbons.

These kinds of subversive and coded emblems of dissent mirror past tactics. In 2012, passersby might have been informed of a St. Petersburg protest through stickers on lampposts, such as the one showing then-St. Petersburg Mayor Valentina Matvienko being trampled by Peter the Great on horseback next to the time and location of the meeting.

These more subtle tactics were more commonplace in the years when Russia’s activist circles and political opposition lacked centralized leadership. Alexei Navalny emerged as a central figure in late 2011, and over the last decade, his team has played a crucial role in organizing large gatherings against corruption, pension reform and environmental degradation. But Navalny was poisoned and imprisoned last year, and on March 15 a court extended his sentence by 13 years. This dismantling of organized opposition makes it even more difficult to organize mass demonstrations in the streets.

The arrest of 15,000 protesters, independent journalists, opposition politicians and graffiti artists has significantly raised the stakes for dissent. Some graffiti artists have responded to this by going into the shadows, painting critical works in abandoned buildings and on the outskirts of town to avoid detection. Others have chosen to leave Russia altogether.

Despite the repression and hollowing out of Russia’s graffiti and activist communities, artists continue to innovate to publicize their critical views on the Kremlin, its violation of individual rights and its war in Ukraine. This is key in demonstrating to others around the country — and around the world — that dissent of Putin’s leadership is still alive.

Appeal of the Clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church Calling for Reconciliation and an End to the War

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A report from Virtue Online – the Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism

Russian Priests for Peace News March 1, 2022

(Click here for the original Russian version published in Google docs.)

We, the priests and deacons of the Russian Orthodox Church, each on our own behalf, appeal to everyone on whom the cessation of the fratricidal war in Ukraine depends, with a call for reconciliation and an immediate ceasefire.


We are sending this appeal after the Sunday of the Last Judgment and on the eve of Forgiveness Sunday.

The Last Judgment awaits every person. No earthly authority, no doctors, no guards will protect you from this trial. Caring for the salvation of every person who considers himself a child of the Russian Orthodox Church, we do not want him to appear at this court bearing the heavy burden of maternal curses. We remind you that the Blood of Christ shed by the Savior for the life of the world will be accepted in the sacrament of Communion by those people who give murderous orders, not into life, but into eternal torment.

We mourn the ordeal to which our brothers and sisters in Ukraine were unfairly subjected.

We remind you that the life of every person is a priceless and unique gift of God, and therefore we wish all the soldiers – both Russian and Ukrainian – to return to their homes and families unharmed.
We are bitterly thinking about the abyss that our children and grandchildren in Russia and Ukraine will have to overcome in order to start being friends with each other again, respect and love each other.
We respect God-given human freedom, and we believe that the people of Ukraine should make their choice independently, not at gunpoint, without pressure from the West or the East.

In anticipation of the Forgiven Sunday, we remind you that the gates of paradise are opened to anyone, even a person who has sinned heavily, if he asks for forgiveness from those whom he humiliated, insulted, despised, or from those who were killed by his hands or by his order. There is no other way but forgiveness and mutual reconciliation.

“The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the earth; and now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand,” God said to Cain, who envied his younger brother. Woe to every person who realizes that these words are addressed to him personally.

No nonviolent call for peace and an end to war should be forcibly suppressed and regarded as a violation of the law, for this is the divine commandment: “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

We call on all the warring parties to engage in dialogue, because there is no other alternative to violence. Only the ability to hear another person can give hope for a way out of the abyss into which our countries were thrown in just a few days.

Let yourself and all of us enter Lent in the spirit of faith, hope and love.

Stop the war.

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Continued from left column)

Abbot Arseniy (Sokolov), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Antioch and the Whole East

Abbot Nektary (Morozov)

Priest Alexy Antonovsky

Abbot Nikodim (Balyasnikov)

Priest Hildo Bos

Priest Vasily Bush

Archpriest Stefan Vaneyan

Hieromonk Jacob (Vorontsov)

Priest Alexander Vostrodymov.

Priest Dionysius Gabbasov

Priest Andrey German

Archpriest Evgeny Goryachev (veteran of the Afghan War)

Hieromonk John (Guaita)

Priest Alexy Dikarev

Priest Alexander Zanemonets

Archpriest Vladimir Zelinsky

Archpriest Peter Ivanov

Archpriest George Ioffe

Deacon Ilya Kolin

Archpriest Andrew Kordochkin

priest Lazarus of Lenzi

Archpriest Andrei Lorgus

Abbot Peter (meshaninov)

Archpriest Constantine Momotov

priest Eugene frost

hieromonk Dimitry (Pershin)

father Alexander Piskunov

Archpriest Stephen Platt

Archpriest Dionisy Pozdnyaev

Archpriest George Roy

priest Nikolay Savchenko

hieromonk IBAS, instead (of Senchukov)

Archpriest Joseph Skinner

Archpriest Dimitry Sobolewski

deacon Pimen Trofimov

Archpriest Alexander Shabanov

hieromonk Cyprian (Countrymen)

priest John Leontiev

Archpriest Vitaly Shkarupin

Archpriest Sergiy Dmitriev

Archpriest Vladimir Korolev

Archpriest Sergey Titkov

Priest Artemiy Morozov

Priest Alexy Zorin

Archpriest Andrey Lvov

Archpriest Sergiy Storozhev

Priest Ilia Gavryshkiv

Archpriest Vitaly Fonkin

Priest Artemiy Kolyagin

Hierodeacon Elisha (Romantsov).

Priest Gleb Krivoshein

Deacon John Myzdrikov

Deacon Valerian Dunin-Barkovsky

Priest Vladislav Bogomolnikov

Archpriest Vladimir Drobyshevsky

Priest Vadim Karpenko

Archpriest Gleb Vechelkovsky

prot. Theodore van der Voort

Priest Fyodor Kosolapov

Priest Anthony Lynov

Priest Anthony Kovalenko

Archpriest Dionysius Kuznetsov

Priest Dmitry Lukyanov

Priest Pavel Kasperovich

Archpriest Valentin Bonilla

Hieromonk Onesimus

the priest Alexei Pichugin

Archpriest Oleg Shulgin

Archpriest Dionisy the wards

Archpriest Victor Teplitsky

Archpriest Anatoly Bark

priest Alexey Cosoleto

deacon Alexander Pushkarev

hieromonk Hilarion

Archpriest Alexander Dubovoy

Archpriest Pavel Serdyuk

priest John Burdin

father Alexander Kuchta

deacon Dmitry Korostelev

Archpriest Georgy Zavershinsky

Archpriest Andrey Kuzma

priest Paul Countrymen

father Dimitry Vinitsky

the priest George Khristich

priest Anthony Serafimovich

monk Laurel (Solomon)

Deacon Alexey Perunovsky

Archpriest Vasily Petrov

Deacon Stefan Kuzmin

Priest Dmitry Ushakov

Priest Yakov Korobkov

Priest Alexander Nasibulin

Archpriest Mikhail Ilyin

Priest Konstantin Lebedev

Hieromonk Peter (Belov)

Hieromonk Seraphim (Standhardt)

Deacon Andrey Georgievich Morozov

Deacon Alexy Khilko

Archpriest Mikhail Fast

Protodeacon Igor Panachev

Archpriest Mikhail Evgenievich Klochkov

Priest Alexander Lebedich

Deacon Vladimir Olshevsky-Davydov

Priest Vasily Maksimishinets

Archpriest Peter Korotaev

Archpriest Igor Precup

Archpriest John Gate

Archpriest Sergiy Markevich

Priest Oleg Usenkov

Priest Alexander Novikov

Priest Sergiy Voinkov

Priest Anthony Kopaev

Deacon Oleg Karlashchuk

priest Dimitri Savin

Archpriest Pavel Kivovich

Priest Mikhail Bakker

Archpriest Igor Tarasov

Priest Sergiy Dudin

Archpriest Andrey Lobashinsky

Archpriest Mikhail Nemnonov

Priest Roman Savchuk

Priest John Terauds

Abbot Varlaam (Borin) Abbot Anthony (Loginov)

Deacon Oleg Ageenko

Archpriest Alexy Shishkov

Hierodeacon Kliment (Volyansky)

Priest Vyacheslav Shafarenko

Priest Sergiy Dyrman

Priests and deacons of the Russian Orthodox Church who wish to subscribe to the letter can write to russianpriestsforpeace@gmail.com”

More examples available of Russian opposition to the war against Ukraine

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

A compilation by CPNN

Recent additions to the google list “Russians are against the war in Ukraine”
Sources marked with an asterisk are no longer available


Frame from Video by Hero of Russia Alexander Garnayev with his grand-daughters

Political movements and civil activists

International appeal of famous writers to Russian speakers regarding the war in Ukraine — 17 Russian-speaking writers, including Belarussian writer, Nobel Prize winner in Literature Svetlana Alexievich

Meduza, Mar 5

Appeals of professional communities

Open appeal by alumni, students, graduate students, and staff of St. Petersburg State University against Russia’s military actions in Ukraine — more than 2,500 people 

Military aggression contradicts the culture and the values of Russian citizens, who have learned from the bitter experience of the Great Patriotic War [World War II], and the legacy of Russian artistic culture, which is anti-war in its very nature

Google docs

Declaration of Orthodox hierarchs and scholars of Orthodoxy condemning the concept of ‘Russian peace’ and its use to justify the war in Ukraine — more than 500 people, including several Russians, including Archimandrite Kirill and former editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate Sergey Chapnin

…we reject the heresy of the ‘Russian world’ and the shameful actions of the Russian government, which has unleashed a war against Ukraine. This war relies on a vile and indefensible doctrine condoned by the Russian Orthodox Church. We reject it as profoundly un-Orthodox, un-Christian, and hostile to humanity <...>. Just as Russia has invaded Ukraine, so the Moscow Patriarchate of Patriarch Kirill has invaded the Orthodox Church (as, for example, has happened in Africa), causing division and strife that not only results in uncountable deaths, but also endangers the souls of people, the salvation of the faithful

publicorthodoxy.org

Open letter from children’s writers, poets and other book industry workers of Russia — more than 40 people

writer Alexey Oleynikov’s Facebook, Feb 26*

(available from Echo of Moscow in the wayback machine)

Statements of celebrities and organizations

Businesspeople:

the board of directors of Lukoil, Russia’s largest private oil company 

Kommersant, Mar 3

Scientists:

biologist Evgeny Levitin, who has published an anonymous appeal on behalf of Russian biologists, condemning false reports about the development of biological weapons in Ukraine, published by the pro-government Russian media

The Insider, Mar 11

Musicians and music industry workers:

Miron Fedorov (Oxxxymiron), who has organized a charity concert in Istanbul and raised over $30,000 for the Ukrainian refugees

The Flow, Mar 16

Manizha Sangin, the bands Little Big and Bi-2, Danil Prytkov (Niletto), Darya Shikhanova (Dora)

Dozhd, Feb 25*

Ivan Dryomin (Face), who has left Russia and declared that he would no longer tour in his homeland

The Flow, Mar 12

Maksim Pokrovsky, frontman of the band Nogu Svelo

Telegram channel February Morning, Mar 16

Alexei Kortnev (band Neschastniy Sluchay)

Dialog UA, Mar 8

Television celebrities, hosts, and showpeople:

Alexander Gudkov, Anastasiya Ivleyeva, Ksenia Sobchak

I’m ashamed I was born on this day — Alexander Gudkov, showman

Dozhd, Feb 24*

(available on Ukranews)

editor of Channel One Marina Ovsyannikova, who spoke out against the war in a live broadcast on Vremya on March 14, appearing behind the host with an anti-war banner, and was soon detained

No war [in English]. Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They are lying to you [in Russian]. Russians against war [in English again] (Ovsyannikova’s banner)

Meduza, Mar 14

former chief artist of Channel One Dmitriy Likin, who had resigned from his post after the beginning of the war

Meduza, Mar 19

Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

How can we be sure to get news about peace demonstrations?

(Continued from left column)


Other culture workers and celebrities:

former Bolshoi theater prima ballerina Olga Smirnova, who had to leave the theater because of her anti-war statements

Meduza, Mar 17

Journalists:

former editor-in-chief of a pro-Kremlin media Russia Today Maria Baronova, who has resigned in protest of the war

New York Post, Mar 9

director of the Dozhd channel Natalia Sindeyeva, who has published an appeal to pro-government journalists Margarita Simonyan and Tina Kandelaki and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and asked them to speak out against the war

Novaya Gazeta, Mar 20

Military:

Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, Chairman of the ‘Assembly of the Russian Officers,’ who on January 28th had published an appeal to the President and the citizens of Russia entitled ‘The Eve of War,’ in which he condemned the possible recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics and the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine

Echo of Moscow, Feb 6*

(available in the wayback machine

honored military pilot of the Russian Federation, Hero of Russia Gennady Shtern

Air Force Command of UA Armed Forces in Facebook, Mar 13

pilot, Hero of Russia Alexander Garnayev 

Novy Prospekt, Mar 12

cosmonaut, world record holder for the longest stay in space Gennadiy Padalka

Novaya Gazeta, Mar 16

Media

Former Russian Deputy Prime Minister (2012-2018), head of FIDE Arkady Dvorkovich has publicly condemned the war with Ukraine 

MotherJones, Mar 14

Several employees of the state-controlled TV channels, which daily provide the official Kremlin view on the events in Ukraine, have resigned after the beginning of the war without making any statements. This includes NTV anchors Liliya Gildeyeva and Vadim Glusker, Channel One special correspondent Zhanna Agalakova, and many other unnamed employees of Channel One, NTV, and VGTRK

Meduza, Mar 15

Statements of some government officials

Another Duma deputy from the party New People, Sangadzhi Tarbayev, has also spoken out against the war

Kommersant, Mar 13

The Commission on Political Rights of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights has issued a statement condemning military actions in Ukraine and military censorship in Russia. It was signed by more than 12 members of the Council 

Yekaterina Schulmann’s Telegram channel 

Wayback Machine, Mar 6

____________________

Listing on Russian website Meduza February 26 under the title “In Russia itself and around the world, tens of thousands of people opposed the war.”

The following sources are in addition to the google list “Russians are against the war in Ukraine” mentioned above.

Staff and students of the Moscow Gorky Literary Institute

Google docs

Graduates, students, graduate students and employees of the Faculty of Philosophy of Moscow State University – 187 signatures listed as of March 22

Google docs

Belarusian Film Community Against War – over 500 signatures listed

Google docs

Guides-interpreters, tour guides, representatives of the tourism industry

More than 600 guide-interpreters and travel agency employees from different regions of Russia (Kaliningrad, Yaroslavl, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Moscow, Vladivostok, Kamchatka, Yekaterinburg, Saratov, Nizhny Novgorod and other regions), as well as Russian-speaking guides from different countries (Great Britain, the Netherlands , Belarus, Egypt, Spain, Italy and others) sign an appeal against military methods of resolving political conflicts.

Telegram March 1

Community of Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov against the war

We, students, graduate students, teachers, staff and graduates of the oldest university in Russia, Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov, we categorically condemn the war that our country unleashed in Ukraine.. . . The appeal was signed (at 00:10, March 5, 2022) by more than 7,500 graduates, staff and students of Moscow State University.

MSU Alumni Against War.notion.site

March 17: The struggle for free flow of information about the Russian war against Ukraine

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article by CPNN

Information sources about the Russian war against Ukraine are being blocked by both Russia and the West which makes the situation quite complicated. This is illustrated by many events today (March 17).


Photo of girl arrested for demonstrating in Russia against the war. Copyright Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto/picture alliance as published by Deutsche Welle

As of today, many of the sources are no longer available about opposition to the war in Russia as listed in the Google Doc of March 13. We may assume they have been blocked or withdrawn under threats by Russian authorities. We have been able to find alternative sources for 13 of them, including backup copies of sources that were blocked after March 13. The Statement of Russian peace supporters and the open letter of Russian cultural figures continue to be republished by CPNN but are no longer available from the source, Echo of Moscow, because the website has been blocked by the Russian authorities. Open letters from Russian scientists and from Russian mathematicians are republished in CPNN but no longer available from the source, TRV-Science, presumably withdrawn because of legal pressure.

Russian authorities have not (yet) blocked the opposition comments republished in CPNN from Lukoil, the largest private company in Russia, or from the leading Russian chess players republished in CPNN from championat, the Russian chess website.

An article published recently by CPNN describes how Russians are getting around censorship by using social networks, encrypted messaging and VPN servers.  For those of us not yet familiar with VPN, it stands for Virtual Private Networks. As described on the website of cybernews, while there are many ways that authorities can block VPNs, there are even more ways to bypass their blocking.

(Continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:
 
Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

How can we be sure to get news about peace demonstrations?

Free flow of information, How is it important for a culture of peace?

(Continued from left column)

An article yesterday in Deutsche Welle describes how Russians are taking risks to express their opposition in the face of police action that is sometimes even ridiculous. A video went viral on social media last week, showing a woman being arrested by the Russian police for holding up a small piece of paper that reads “two words.” The phrase “two words” (“два слова” in Russian) seems to hint at the forbidden slogan “no to war” (or “нет войне” in Russian). And Russian police have arrested demonstrators who protest with blank signs. A video that receive millions of views on social media, showed a woman holding a blank sign among a group of people before police officers approached her and escorted her away from the crowd. In another case, the pilot on an internal Russian flight made the following announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, here is your captain speaking. Welcome to Antalya. Thank you for flying with “Pobeda”. Also, from me personally: the war with Ukraine is a crime…”.

Two women in Canada have launched a initiative for people to telephone friends in Russia to tell them the news that is being blocked from their television reports. They are even furnished telephone numbers if someone can speak Russian and wants to call Russians whose telephone numbers have been randomly selected.

An event that reminds one of the Black Panthers who said they fought on the wrong side in Vietnam, CNN has published information from videos of interviews with Russian soldiers captured (or perhaps in some cases deserted?) in Ukraine and who go so far as to say they will return to Russia and struggle against Putin.

Finally, with regard to Russia, we recommend a very valuable analysis from the Financial Times that describes the small circle of Putin’s advisors that influence his information and decisions.

While the above information is concentrated on Russian censureship, we should not forget, as described in CPNN on January 18, that the details of Putin’s proposals for peace treaties with the West that could have prevented the war were suppressed by the Western media and only available after diligent research.

What we are seeing is really a case of cyber-warfare, as it may be said that the control of information becomes more and more an arm of the culture of war.