Monday, August 27, 2012

Pussy Riot are nothing but pawns of the American government. Apparently.

There's been a lot written about Pussy Riot, but there's always room for a new angle, right?

Meet Paul Craig Roberts, who believes the band are "dupes":

My heart goes out to the three Russian women who comprise the Russian rock band, Pussy Riot. They were brutally deceived and used by the Washington-financed NGOs that have infiltrated Russia. Pussy Riot was sent on a mission that was clearly illegal under statutory law.
Should we take Paul Craig Roberts - a man whose name consists entirely of first names - seriously?

Let's check the headline on his piece to help us decide:
Pussy Riot, The Unfortunate Dupes of Amerikan Hegemony ~ Paul Craig Roberts
There's two things here - first, he appears to have signed his own headline, on an article which appears on his own website.

Secondly, he spells America with a k.

Now, just in case you've got as far as this point and gone "oh, America with a k, so he's either seventeen years old and about to graduate High School, or else he's in his thirties and about to graduate High School." But, oh, no. Here's his about page:
Dr. Roberts was awarded the Treasury Department’s Meritorious Service Award for “his outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy.”

In 1987 the French government recognized him as “the artisan of a renewal in economic science and policy after half a century of state interventionism” and inducted him into the Legion of Honor.

He is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.
I think he might be in Men of Achievement 1974, and his area's Thomson Local listed under "Well-dressed One Person Think Tanks, wholesale and retail".

So, he has a Meritorious Service Award and was some sort of economics renewal artisan. Maybe that should balance out his sophomoric spelling of America like he's self-printing pamphlets from a cabin in the Ozarks. How do we break this tie?
The western bought-and-paid-for presstitute media will focus on Russia’s evil, not on the evil of Washington, London, and the EU puppet states who are slaughtering Muslims by the bucket-full.
Ah, he's deployed the phrase "bought-and-paid-for presstitute media". I think that helps us decide which side of the line he's on.

As we escort him across the room to stand with the bug-eyed and the shrill, though, let's return to his argument. He has some sort of point - that a focus on Pussy Riot in the media (or the "whoremedia", as he probably thinks of it) makes a nifty cover to take attention off other things:
There are so many more important issues on which media attention should be focused. There is Bradley Manning’s illegal detention and torture by the US government. Manning has already been in prison without trial for longer than Pussy Riot’s sentence!
[...]
WikiLeaks Julian Assange, accused of posting on the Internet the leaked documents, is confined to the Ecuadorean embassy in London. The British “human rights” [yes, human rights in quotation marks. It's like Littlejohn with a letterhead] regime refuses to abide by international law and allow Assange, who has been granted political asylum by Ecuador, safe passage. Everyone familiar with international law knows that asylum takes precedence over the other legal claims, especially specious ones.
Pussy Riot coverage stopping the media focusing on Assange? Oh, don't you wish it had taken out at least a couple of op-ed pieces by people churning out "it's only a little rape, and besides those women sound like they're no better than they ought to be" columns.

The trouble with Paul Craig Roberts' argument here, though, is that it's meaningless. Leaving aside the obvious point that people are quite capable of holding more than one thought at a time, his own belief in a compliant media undercuts him anyway.

If the media are all in the tank for the establishment, why would you need to organise a elaborate distraction? Wouldn't the government just call up the journahustlerists and say 'don't put Bradley Manning on the news tonight?'

But they wouldn't even need to do that - TV news can be relied on to not cover shit all by itself. We rang the TV news to find out why it sometimes doesn't find room for big stories.

- "Hello? Is that the TV news? I'm just calling to ask why sometimes you don't...
- You're through the to TV news. Sorry, but we're all busy wandering round Essex looking for a giant lion. If you wish to leave a message about some sort of government conspiracy, press 1. If you wish to report problems on the Cambridge guided busway, press 2...

He also suggests that by using Pussy Riot to make Russia look bad, it'll put pressure on Russia to support US policy on Syria at the UN. Not quite sure how that would work - "it turns out we're terrible people when confronted with a Riot Grrrl, so we better sign off on this mission to unseat a leader we're propping up."

So, his motives for the dupery don't really make any sense. But what about his evidence to back up his claims? You'll remember those:
They were brutally deceived and used by the Washington-financed NGOs that have infiltrated Russia. Pussy Riot was sent on a mission that was clearly illegal under statutory law.
What comes through quite clearly from between the lines of Roberts' writing is that, in his heart, he can't quite believe that young women might be quite capable of thinking for themselves, deciding for themselves; that they might be the authors of their own actions.
You have to admire and to appreciate the spunk of the women. But you have to bemoan their gullibility.
Heh. He said spunk.

Having patted the band on the head, he then produces his evidence that they're little more than puppets of the Washington Imperialist state:
The international attention focused on Pussy Riot, an obscure rock group which apparently has no recordings on the market, demonstrates the complicity of the Western media in US propaganda.
Ah, the joy of being an American economist, who must look to the market to validate everything. "You can't buy their records on the market, therefore they are irrelevant."

Here, by that logic, are some acts who do have recordings on the market, and thus would be allowed to protest against Putin under this strange law:
- Brown Sauce, featuring Keith Chegwin and Maggie Philbin
- Steve Brookstein
- The woman who plays Audrey in Coronation Street

Hang about, though, you don't have your artisan-economics praised by the French government without being wise to the weakness in your arguments. I think Paul Craig Roberts is about to raise the entry bar for protest from 'having something you can order in a branch of Barnes And Noble' to a test a little higher:
Pussy Riot is not the Beatles of the 1960s.
I don't think, to be fair, that he's saying you have to be a band who has achieved the longest period of sustained success through the history of rock. I think the Beatles are the only band he's head of. I bet if you look at the original version of this article, there's a note attached 'add another? Wasn't there a Rolling something?'

And if he hadn't heard of Pussy Riot, he's damn sure that nobody else had, either:
doubt that most of the young people demonstrating in favor of Pussy Riot had ever before heard of the group or have any understanding of how they are being manipulated.
"Had Pussy Riot come up as a question on Ken Bruce's Popmaster, I can say without fear of contradiction that fewer than one in one hundred contestants would have been able to answer the question correctly. I shall go further. I am absolutely rock-solid certain that they would have always, hitherto, constituted a Pointless answer should Richard have ever set 'Russian beat combos' as a category."

Yes, Paul, you're probably right. I'm not entirely sure why this is important, though. Given you're rightly supportive of Bradley Manning, am I to assume that you were totally familiar with all of his work prior to his detention? Or does this surprising 'you can be angry at a miscarriage of justice if you knew the people involved prior to their arrest' rule only apply in certain cases?

Roberts also tries to smudge the question of guilt and punishment:
By intentionally offending religious worshipers–which would be a hate crime in the US and its European, Canadian, and British puppet states–the women violated a statutory Russian law.
It's easy to take a chunk out of Pussy Riot's supporters by implying their case is that the band did nothing wrong. I don't think there's any argument that what they did was against the letter of the law - and, hey, we all know about Moscow's long-held tradition of religious tolerance. The question is how the authorities reacted to a minor bit of street theatre, and the heavy-handedness of that reaction.

But what of Paul's contention that in this British puppet-state, the band's reactions would be treated as a hate crime? Luckily, we don't have to just roll our eyes at his hysterics, but we can point to evidence that he's failed to do any research at all on this one.

You'll remember Peter Tatchell's crashing of George Carey's Easter sermon in 1998. Arguably, this was a much more significant offence to religious-worshippers, coming as it did at the centre of their religion, in front of the church's highest priest, on the holiest day of their calendar.

Did the British puppet state treat it as a hate crime?

Did it buffalo:
Mr Tatchell, 46, stands accused of "indecent behaviour in a church" under an obscure ecclesiastical law last invoked more than 30 years ago. If found guilty, he could be fined pounds 200 or face a maximum prison sentence of two months.
In the end, Tatchell was fined eighteen pounds and sixty pence. I think there might have been a gentle tutting, too.

Ah, Roberts retorts, there's all this demanding clemency, but, oh, there was leniency:
Prior to the women’s trial, Russian President Putin expressed his opinion that the women should not be harshly punished. Taking the cue from Putin, the judge gave the women, deceived and betrayed by the amerikan-financed NGOs, two years instead of seven years.
I don't know if Roberts enjoys maffia movies. But if he does, I picture him going 'they shot Lenny The Snitche's legs off instead of killing him, on account of him being family. That's generous."

The women were not waterboarded, raped, or forced to sign false confessions, all well-established practices of amerikan “justice.”
He really would. "Cheer up, you've not been raped." A job at Hallmark surely beckons if the bottom ever falls out of the one-man economic think tank business, doesn't it?


1 comment:

Robin Carmody said...

Pussy Riot and Assange really have brought out the latent misogyny of a certain wing of the (not necessarily even all that old) Left.

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