Why has BBC Panorama gone after Putin?

Last week, BBC Panorama exposed President Putin, and allegations of corruption against him. At first the programme focuses on Putin’s lifestyle – his expensive watches and tracksuits – and quickly moves on to hearing journalists, former allies and politicians dredge up old accusations: $40 billion in assets and the Cape Idokopas palace. It notes that the CIA and the FBI agree that Putin may be worth $40 billion in assets. We’ve heard much of this before. However, Panorama does flesh out its coverage with new goodies for its viewers. The US Treasury’s Adam Szubin makes an appearance to call Putin … Continue reading

EU: the neoliberal union

David Cameron has signalled that the long-awaited referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union could be held early as the summer of 2016. This is big news for Britain, its Europhiles and its Eurosceptics. Not only does it demonstrate that the Conservative Party is still looking to settle old scores. The Tory government is looking to play both cards at once. Cameron does not really want a ‘Brexit’ – the portmanteau for a British exit from the EU. But he does want to increase the distance between Westminster and Brussels. Once again, the government is looking abroad to … Continue reading

Catastroika

So Russia is now an active participant in the Syrian civil war. The pretext is standard: Islamic State must be defeated at any cost to the Syrian people. Yet the bombs are falling on other rebel targets – al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, no doubt – and civilian targets are not out of bounds. Russian bombs have already hit hospitals and medical centres. These incidents will only increase as the bombing continues, and the war continues to hurtle onward. As I wrote before the Russian army began bombing Syria, Vladimir Putin has a more coherent strategy than the Western powers – which … Continue reading