A long time back I was visiting some remote villages where the murder of a youth who had raised his voice against corruption of a powerful local contractor and politician had attracted a lot of attention. There was an undercurrent of simmering anger among people but no one was willing to discuss many details openly, much less make any accusations.
Returning to the region a few months later, I discussed this issue with a local reporter. “How come the issue attracted so much attention but no one has been formally accused or arrested yet? And even you reporters have also not come up with anything convincing.”
The reporter replied, “The problem is not at all about knowing about the identity of the murderer, or those behind the murder. In fact everyone knows who is behind the murder but no one wants to name him. He is the most powerful man of the entire area and to name him is to invite endless problems for oneself. So what everyone has done is to pretend to look at this angle or that angle, at this motive or that motive, without openly coming even close to the reality which is actually already known inwardly to everyone.”
I was reminded of this conversation when reading about the Nord Stream sabotage cover-up efforts. The big difference here is that a very highly reputed journalist has already named the most powerful country and persons as the planners of this huge act of sabotage, and many, many people recognize this account to be the closest to truth. Still most of them, including the big media, the big intelligence agencies, the big leaders keep pretending to be looking here and there, including at bizarre Hollywood type stories, as they do not want to be seen pointing their fingers at the most powerful country and the most powerful persons there. So this biggest international industrial and energy sabotage of recent times, which also happens to be one of the biggest environmental crimes ever (having been identified to be the biggest single source point of emission of methane, a greenhouse gas reported to be 87 times more potent in its global warming impact than carbon dioxide in the course of the first two decades of its release) remains officially an unsolved case; moreover an unsolved case that none of the affected or involved western countries ( Norway, Sweden , Denmark, Germany ) would like to solve (despite having the undoubted capability for solving this), or even pursue honestly with the objective of seeking and sharing the truth. Sweden has declared it cannot share what it has already found with others, for reasons of security!
The world’s most prestigious newspapers and journals are supposed to exist in western countries. The biggest promoters of transparency and truth are supposed to be based here. The topmost international law experts who can tell much about the legal implications of such a serious crime of industrial sabotage and environmental destruction are also based here. But their response to the well-known truths about this sabotage, truths most of them recognize inwardly, is to pretend that these do not exist or have no basis. In fact even without the benefit of the investigation by Seymour Hersh, the strong motive factor, in this case to a large extent the self-declared motive, going by important publicly made statements of US leaders, strongly indicated a US involvement. Similarly the capability factor indicates clear involvement of State agencies. By now of course much more is known.
Before Hollywood type stories of daring patriotic sailors came to the fore, there were stories of Russia, the biggest loser, having itself undertaken a suicidal task, and the efforts to plant this lie ended only after discovering that this had absolutely zero credibility. However as this had been published several times despite such low credibility, it may be useful to explore who was trying desperately to spread this.
More seriously, as several western countries are known to be at the top of the press freedom index, the transparency index and are known widely as the biggest promoters of freedom of expression, it would be useful to know how many of the biggest media organizations of the west have explored the following questions in detail truthfully and honestly, questions which are of critical importance for world peace and stability—
What were the promises made to Gorbachev regarding the non-expansion of NATO and to what extent these were kept or violated? Did western countries interfere in Russian elections to ensure the election of Yeltsin and then used him for advancing plunder and privatization in Russia? Were efforts of Gorbachev and even earlier efforts of Putin for peaceful accommodation within the western system rudely rebuffed and was this to prove very harmful for world peace and European peace? Is it true that following this the most urgent, genuine security concerns of Russia were routinely violated by seeking to extend and actually extending NATO destructive weapons and delivery systems as close to the borders of Russia as possible? Is it true that the coup which removed a democratically elected government of Ukraine in 2014 was planned by the USA and its allies? Is it true that subsequently all Ukraine governments were both pressurized and enticed by the USA and close allies to be anti-Russia, and wasn’t this bound to lead to a conflict situation sooner or later? Is it true that following the coup neo-Nazi forces within Ukraine were armed, assisted and helped to attack Russian speaking citizens of eastern Ukraine in particular? Is it true that several thousand persons were killed in such violence? Is it true that such attacks increased further towards the latter half of 2021? Is it true that deliberately USA-led western elements tried to create conditions in which a Russian invasion of Ukraine would become more and more likely, while at the same time proclaiming their strong opposition to this? Were Minsk accords used by western nations and leaders (there is much self-admission on this point) as a cover only to facilitate adequate military preparation of Ukraine and was this ethically justified? Is the Ukraine war essentially USA’s proxy war aimed at weakening Russia and Putin, and are people of Ukraine being made to suffer endlessly in the process, with the peace possibilities being deliberately blocked? When peace possibilities emerged very early in the Ukraine conflict, were these blocked by western efforts as seen, for example, during the sudden visit of Boris Johnson? Are the weapons and all aid to Ukraine grants, or are these substantially loans which have to be paid back at some point, or else result in permanent subservience? Can the kind of brinkmanship and provocation seen in the Ukraine conflict lead, accidentally perhaps, to a direct conflict between the USA/NATO and Russia, and hence to nuclear war and Third World War? Is it true that USA and close allies are pursuing oil and gas, land-grab and agribusiness gains in Ukraine? Is it true that corrupt forces, weapon smugglers and traffickers have also acquired a stake in this conflict? If several critical arms control treaties have broken down or are not renewed, is the USA most to blame (along with others)? If several countries, including some who had good human development indictors earlier, have suffered huge destruction in recent times, who is most to blame? Who is most to blame for the massive destruction suffered by the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and former Yugoslavia? If over a million innocent persons have died in Iraq in recent times, which countries and leaders are the most to blame? Have these leaders faced any punishment, or are they living in great comfort? What about the intellectuals and journalists who gave their full-throated support to the invasions of Iraq, even instigated ? Were they punished or discouraged, or were they facilitated to become more powerful to keep making such contributions in future? Which country is responsible for the most number of coups aimed at toppling democratic governments all over the world, and who are the closest allies of this country? Is the USA’s insistence on making European allies join in such violent pursuits justified and what do democratic people in Europe really feel about such a past and more importantly, future? Are proud European democracies really free to pursue their independent path of enlightened self-interest which is in harmony with world peace? Is the increasing and widespread use of sanctions or freezing or grab of foreign assets justified or is it a gross misuse of dollar hegemony? Have sanctions led to avoidable and unjustified large-scale misery and deprivation for millions of poor people in many countries, resulting also in deaths and child deaths in large numbers? Is it true that the weapons industry in the USA is so powerful as to control several decision makers? Are several foreign/strategic policy decisions here driven to an important extent by the arms industry, resulting in ever-continuing search for enemies and war-mongering? What are the implications of this for world peace, at a time world peace is most needed for resolving other survival issues like climate change? If critical components of survival crisis like weapons of mass destruction and climate change are worsening, which single country is most to blame?
These questions should be very important for those at the top of freedom of press index, who are champions of freedom of expression and democracy and are associated with the biggest, most prestigious and resourceful media organizations of world. They should very honestly and truthfully explore such questions in detail.
Eminent author and film maker John Pilger asked several senior journalists a simple question—if mainstream media organizations and journalists in the west had spoken and explored truth at the time of Iraq invasions, could a million lives have been saved, and these senior journalists replied that yes, if the media had fully done its duty and stood by the truth then these lives could have been saved.
Bharat Dogra has written from the perspective of peace, justice and environment protection for over 50 years in English and Hindi. His recent books include Planet in Peril, A Day in 2071, Protecting Earth for Children and Earth without Borders. He is presently Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now and was formerly Convener, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information.