The Complete Compendium of Ukraine War Hypocrisy

Nato bombing = Good, Russia bombing = Bad (Image courtesy of Alan MacLeod, Twitter @AlanRMacLeod)

When establishment politicians, the mainstream media and the cultural elite are all saying the same thing and won’t tolerate a sliver of dissent – hello Keir “don’t mention Nato” Starmer – we should always be suspicious.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is as barbaric and outrageous as liberal commentators claim, daily, with megaphones. However, we can all point the finger and condemn the evil deeds of others.

As Noam Chomsky reminds us, a foundational moral principle is that “we apply to ourselves the same standards we apply to others, if not more stringent ones”.

It isn’t, therefore, “Putin apologism” or “Whataboutery” to ask whether those so proudly railing for peace, war crimes tribunals, divestment and censorship have a consistent record of doing so, it is basic morality. Does the Western establishment have a record to boast of in this regard?

Here, to the best of our ability*, is a rundown of the most startling hypocrisies and double-standards on display from the Western media-political-business establishment when it comes to the Ukraine…

*With special thanks to the Twitter accounts of Media Lens, Alan MacLeod, Jonathan Cook and Black Lives Matter, which were indispensable to the writing of this article. The majority of examples in the article were found/flagged to us by these sources. We have tried to credit each individual find, but if anyone notices a missing or erroneous attribution please let us know and we’ll amend.

#1 – Russian Bombs are Evil, Our Bombs are Angelic

Image courtesy of Alan MacLeod, Twitter @AlanRMacLeod

The most obvious Ukraine War hypocrisy has been documented in a series of parallel images by journalist Alan MacLeod. As you can see, according to the corporate media Russia’s invasion is brutal, illegal, dripping in blood. Our invasions are…”heart-rending but necessary”…and even “open the door to peace”.

Image courtesy Alan MacLeod

The hypocrisy is especially tough to swallow when it comes from architects and apologists for the Iraq War (estimated death toll one million). The Chilcot Inquiry into the war concluded that the UK committed to war before “peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted…Military action at that time was not a last resort.”

That’s the polite way of stating that it was an illegal war.

Gordon Brown and Alastair Campbell, two of the primary architects of the Iraq War, were among those bold enough to put their heads above the parapet on Ukraine.

Note that Brown (alongside current “anti-war” Labour MPs like David Lammy and Chris Bryant) not only voted FOR the Iraq War, he also voted AGAINST investigations into the war. You know your cause was righteous and just when you try to avoid scrutiny of it…

UK corporate journalists – including leading “liberals” – fare little better. Here’s Andrew Rawnsley showing us the evil vs angelic dynamic in action.

Image courtesy of Media Lens, Twitter @medialens

That “mercifully short” occupation is effectively still ongoing, by the way (the US “formally” ended the occupation of Iraq in 2021, 18 years after invading) – Rawnsley’s “voices of doom” were so wrong!

The ultimate prize for hypocrisy in this category, however, goes to Condoleezza Rice, who as the National Security Adviser to President Bush from 2001-2005 bears as much responsibility for the invasion of Iraq as anyone.

Image courtesy of Alan MacLeod, Twitter @AlanRMacLeod

#2 – Refugees are Awesome – Say the Daily Mail…

Here’s what we found when we typed “Daily Mail refugees” into a standard search engine. Anyone would think they’ve spent the past 20 years campaigning against migrants from war-torn countries!

That can’t be the case, though, because here they are in 2022 praising the “caring Britons” offering Ukrainian refugees a home…

Image courtesy of thepaperboy.com

The Mail will be comforted to know they have “highbrow” company in the gutters of hypocrisy. Here’s the pseudo-intellectual Spectator representing Turkish migrants as zombie army “problem” but putting a very different spin on Ukrainian refugees:

Credit: UncleTrash (@UncleTrash) / Twitter

And let’s not forget the illustrious Times of London:

The “Corbyn Cruises” reference is worth highlighting. One of the (many) things UK journalists liked to batter Jeremy Corbyn over the head with was his humanitarian attitude towards refugees fleeing countries bombed by Britain. According to Sky News Political Editor Beth Rigby, this attitude only appealed in “North London”, but she had a different song to sing about Ukrainian refugees…

Image courtesy of Black Lives Matter, Twitter @jrc1921

To be fair to corporate journalists, they may not be hypocrites, they may simply be racist. Moustafa Bayoumi and others have documented a startling number of cases of Western elites attributing special significance to the “European” appearance of Ukrainians.

CNN’s senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata contended that Ukraine “isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European – I have to choose those words carefully…”

The former deputy prosecutor general of Ukraine told the BBC (without challenge) “It’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blond hair … being killed every day,” while an ITN journalist stated to the camera: ‘Now the unthinkable has happened to them, and this is not a developing, third world nation, this is Europe.”

Last (and least) Bayoumi documents Baron Daniel Hannan of Kingsclere, appointee to the House of Lords, writing in the Telegraph: “They seem so like us. That is what makes it so shocking… War is no longer something visited upon impoverished and remote populations.”

#3 – Oh, So NOW You’re Political

Politics and sport don’t mix, we’re told – especially when sportspeople choose to protest issues like systemic racism or Israel’s ongoing occupation and oppression of Palestine – now labelled Apartheid by a number of human rights organisations, including Amnesty International.

Here’s Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, demanding FA charges for professional footballers holding a Palestine flag but approving a tweet suggesting Liverpool face Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea wearing the colours of Ukraine’s flag.

Such blatant hypocrisy is little surprise from the editor of a highly partisan and increasingly controversial publication – since 2018, academic Steven Barnett reports, the Jewish Chronicle “has been found by IPSO’s complaints committee – which is notoriously reluctant to find fault with member publications – to have breached the Editors’ Code 33 times.”

What’s Sainsbury’s excuse?

BDS is a campaign for divestment from apartheid Israel. Sainsbury’s switch from a “non-political” organisation to one with apparent principles, we would suggest, mirrors the switch of many Western elites and elite organisations who’ve suddenly discovered principles – albeit ones applied with zero consistency.

#4 – We’d Never Commit Those War Crimes…

Image of a thermobaric bomb detonating – courtesy of The National Interest

There was outrage in the Western corporate press when it was revealed that Russia had been using thermobaric weapons in Ukraine. This was understandable – all you have to do is look at the image above to see how terrifying the weapons are.

Click the link, however, and you’ll see that the image is from a website promoting “American interests…guided by the belief that nothing will enhance those interests as effectively as the approach to foreign affairs commonly known as realism”. The site is linked to The Centre for National Interest (“America’s Voice for Strategic Realism”), whose board of directors includes Henry Kissinger (Honorary Chairman), Senator Pat Roberts and Julie Nixon Eisenhower.

The article itself notes that “the United States has used thermobaric weapons against terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq” and its title (below) reads like a brag.

Labour MP Chris Bryant (who we’ve already met in this article) was among those to – accurately – label Russian use of the weapons “barbaric”. What he neglected to mention, alongside the entirety of the Western political-media commentariat, is that the US and the UK cheerfully partake in such barbarity whenever it suits them.

Thermobaric missiles aren’t the only awkward conversation for Western elites. Criticising the bombing of hospitals should be as much of a non-controversial position as you can take, but not if you’re an ex-US Secretary of State.

Image courtesy of Black Lives Matter, Twitter @jrc1921

That’s the US effectively admitting liability for a hospital strike (paying out compensation), while Obama was in the White House and Clinton was the Democrat’s candidate for President.

Cluster bombs have always been controversial weapons. As you’ll see, the US had plenty to say about Russia using the weapons – before they remembered that they use them, too.

Image courtesy of Media Lens and Iona Craig

Apparently, not only have the US failed to support a cluster bomb ban, they have used their sizeable influence to undermine the whole process (source):

Is this what the corporate media laud as “US Exceptionalism”?

It seems that the International Criminal Court believes in US exceptionalism, too – or is forced to, more like – given the rapidity with which Russia has been investigated for violations of International Law, while crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere are left to the Pentagon to “self-investigate”.

Image courtesy of Media Lens and Ajit Singh

Image courtesy of Alan MacLeod, Twitter @AlanRMacLeod

#5 – Ban Everything RussiaN…Especially That TV Channel THAT Used to Pay Me

The Western corporate establishment has been so determined to preserve democracy and free speech that they’ve…campaigned to abolish every Russian voice up to and including anti-war agitator Tolstoy.

Russia Today may be a less fearless operator than Tolstoy (it is clearly under Russian state control) but reams of hypocrisy surround its censorship.

The BBC reported Russia Today’s cancellation somewhat sheepishly. No wonder. Just days after RT was banned because, according to culture secretary Nadine Dorries, it “is the wrong thing to do to stream Russian propaganda into British homes”, the government made another announcement:

This funding comes directly from the UK government, not licence fee payers. According to the Guardian, “the BBC already receives direct government funding to the tune of £100m a year from the Foreign Office for many of its World Service operations, often in countries that are seen as key to Britain’s strategic aims.”

It takes a special kind of mind to, on the one hand, ban Russian state-sponsored content from the UK, while investing more of your own money on expanding British state-sponsored content in “countries that are seen as key to Britain’s strategic aims” such as Russia and Ukraine.

Anyone naïve enough to agree that Russia spread “propaganda” while the BBC merely “counter disinformation” would be advised to check out an article that appeared on the BBC website the very same day, announcing the death of Madeleine Albright.

Here’s Albright, as US Secretary of State, describing the death of 500,000 Iraqi children as “worth it”

Given the context (daily UK media outrage over loss of civilian life in Ukraine) it was interesting to see the BBC’s North America reporter Anthony Zurcher make the following observation:

Can we imagine Zurcher writing, of Vladimir Putin, that his policies “included, at times, an aggressive foreign policy that used Russian military might – in places like the Ukraine – when diplomacy failed“?

If you can’t (and we certainly can’t) that’s unequal treatment of an ally state and an enemy state – not a free press, not impartial and not countering disinformation (the article makes zero mention of Albright’s “worth it” observation).

The hypocrisy applies on an individual level, too. Here’s Ian Dunt, author of “How to Be a Liberal”, demonstrating…how to be a liberal hypocrite.

According to Dunt, in January 2015 Russia Today was not “the simple propaganda tool” they tell you – until he told us that it was in February 2022.

Image courtesy of Black Lives Matter, Twitter @jrc1921

Here he is promoting the channel in 2013:

Image courtesy of Black Lives Matter, Twitter @jrc1921

Would that be the kind of American imperialism that tried to expand NATO into Ukraine and provoked a war, Ian? We’ll wait.

#6 – Yemen. What’s Yemen?

Lastly, we must address the tragic subject of Yemen – partly because the UK corporate media won’t.

How strange that the “free press” in the UK haven’t subjected this long-running war to similar scrutiny to events in the Ukraine – especially since far more civilians have been killed in Yemen than have so far perished in Eastern Europe.

Can this be explained by the fact that these atrocities are the responsibility of our “friends, allies and partners” Saudi Arabia, carried out, in many cases, with weapons sold to them by British corporations?

The Guardian had the gall to claim, in a recent editorial, that we shouldn’t forget “other victims” of conflicts:

Meanwhile…

Listing all the figures in UK political parties who have expressed support for Saudi Arabia over the years would, like logging all the figures who’ve expressed support for Israel, amount to listing virtually every MP and journalist who operate within the current “Overton Window”. For a current, illustrative example, let’s settle on Defence Minister Ben Wallace:

That’s the same Ben Wallace who seemed determined to start a nuclear war by bragging, in the early days of the conflict, that Britain had “kicked the backside” of Russian the past and “can always do it again”.

On the day that Wallace’s boss, Boris Johnson, visited Saudi Arabia to beg them to add more oil to the market – having “pledged to raise human rights issues in Saudi Arabia during energy talks” – the Saudis executed three prisoners.

Just days before, the Saudi’s executed a record 81 men in one day (including a number of young men whose crime was “participation in anti-government protests”).

Britain’s new “ethical foreign policy” in action?

Conclusion

In truth, this article isn’t a “complete compendium”. Gathering all the hypocrisy on Russia-Ukraine would mean capturing virtually all Western mainstream media output for the past two months (since, as you’ll have seen from this article, Western elites reserve the right to bomb, torture, ban and bully any nation they choose).

Tragically, elite hypocrisy does not represent ordinary people who, as usual, when a tragedy is clearly conveyed to them, have responded by donating huge amounts of money and opening their doors (and hearts) to refugees.

It begs the question: How much longer would the Saudi bombing of Yemen, with British-made weapons, last if the victims received the same media coverage as the Ukraine? How much longer would Israel be able to sustain its decades-long occupation and brutalisation of Palestinians with the same light shone on the conflict?

Again, we emphasise that it isn’t “whataboutery” or “moral equivalence” to raise these issues. One reason is that there actually is no equivalence. We bear little responsibility for Putin’s crimes, but PLENTY for the crimes of Israel and Saudi Arabia – armed by us, enriched by us, reliant on our diplomatic support to continue their aggressive military campaigns.

British and US elites are the schoolyard bullies standing pointing fingers at a bully from another class. Tut, tut, they say, think of his poor victims – as they grind entire nations beneath their feet.

***In weary anticipation of predictable slurs, the author of this piece notes that it is possible to both oppose oppressive, warmongering Putin AND question the actions of NATO and the West. Anyone who thinks the two cannot go hand in hand – that any questioning of the West is Putin-supporting treasonis invited to submit their CV to the corporate media outlet of their choice.

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5 thoughts on “The Complete Compendium of Ukraine War Hypocrisy

    1. We know for sure what the penalty for revealing proven war crimes is in Britain. You get thrown into prison without charge
      and threatened with deportation to the country who admitted the atrocity and want to punish you for telling the truth.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You make me feel sane again!
    Saying what I’m struggling to articulate …and with loads of proof.
    Common sense analysis and level-headed compassion.
    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The usual hypocrisy from the media. the Russian actions cannot seriously be defended, but it does make me spew to read the blatant double standards of the so called democratic media. Especially when we see a bloody-handed war criminal like Blair pontificating. And, will the Klepto-Tories give back the oligarch cash that has financed their gang, which is really just a criminal conspiracy? I think not.

    Like

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