Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Open Letter to Abby Martin

Open Letter to Abby Martin

On her interview with Carolyn Baker Abby made comments about MH-17 along the lines that "the rebels probably did it".

I take issue with that, as well as previous comments where she criticised her employer, RT, on air over Russia's actions in Crimea.

In reponse, I wrote the following:

Robin Westenra I cannot condone Abby Martin's comments re MH-17 and Ukraine - it seems naive at best.
Like · Reply · 6 · 28 July at 20:25

And Abby the following:

Abby Martin · 17 mutual friends
We don't have to agree on everything. But what in particular do you disagree with? Send me a link/story?
Unlike · Reply · 2 · 22 hrs

As I had not really responded to her question -  and as I have no way to correspond directly - I have written this open letter to Abby Martin.

Dear Abby,

May I say first off that I have huge respect for the work you do at cutting through the b..shit of corporate media.

Secondly , I can understand that your statements on Crimea and now on MH-17 have come after much reflection on your part

Thirdly, I think I have a sense of pressure there might be on you as someone working for “the enemy” - especially right now.

However, whilst I think I understand where you are coming from I do not agree with it and find it difficult to understand how anyone of good conscience who is in possession of the facts can take such a position.

I am not going to try and convince you of anything other than say that CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING.

Talking for myself, if ever I had any doubt about the veracity of what RT and other Russian outlets have been saying about the whole Ukrainian crisis, this has been exploded by hearing what senior statesmen from the Cold War era have been saying about this.

People such Malcolm Fraser (ex- PM of Australia), Helmut Schmidt of Germany, amongst many others have come out and endorsed Russia's position (including the 'invasion' of Crimea).

First and foremost, I have great respect for what Prof. Stephen F Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian history (and adviser to previous US presidents) has to say about the situation.

If you haven't already (and I realise you are probably super-busy), I strongly urge you to listen to Prof. Cohen to understand some of the context.

Two of his recent interviews are here:

On MH-17:

Discussion wth Thom Hartmann

Two of the most important points in my mind (in understanding this are:

  • The place of what the Russians call the Great Patriotic War in the collective memories of the people of the former USSR. 20 million people were killed fighting nazism, so that when they see what is without doubt neo-nazism raise its head at their back door the reaction is strong and visceral. They will not tolerate a resurgence of fascist ideology in their space.
  • The betrayal of Russia by the United States and the West. In return for allowing the Berlin War to come down promises were made to Gorbachev that NATO would not move “1 inch” to the West. The opportunity to disestablish NATO came with with the disestablishment of the Warsaw Pact. Since then NATO has expanded Into all the countries that border Russia – and now Ukraine.

War has been brought through the treachery and aggression of one side practically to the gates of Moscow.

When looking at European history (and especially Russian history, which has a specially heavy karma) an understanding of the historical context is ESSENTIAL.

I made my own contribution to trying to understand this in this essay

I am not going to talk about MH-17 other than say that the following article gives a good summing up of the evidence for the Ukrainian government being behind the shooting-down of MH-17.

I have been following people that I have come to trust – Russian and non-Russian. They include Mark Sleboda in Moscow; Vladimir Suchan (who is Czech, not Russian) – on Facebook - and the Saker.

Generally on reliability I would say that EVERY source has its own biases, and it is incumbent on us to find out what those biases are ( this is what you do so well!)

I would be interested if RT has engaged in any conscious DIS-information (in the sense of Fox, CNN, BBC). If it has it has escaped me.

If I was in your place I'm sure I would be listening to your Russian colleagues and trying to understand their heartfelt views on this – and listening to someone like Aleksey Yarsohevsky I cannot accept that it is anything OTHER than heartfelt and sincere. The man's heart is bleeding for Ukraine.

One final point – If I did not have such esteem and admiration for what you are doing I would not be bothering to write this. I trust you will take it in the spirit it is offered.

Best wishes,

Robin Westenra


  1. I do hope Abby reads this Robin, because your tone and your content reveal that she could not probably have a better friend than you these days. May she be able to share the truths she learns as this continues to unfold. I speak from Australia where the need for humane forensic protocols looms large as dozens of families await the ability to bury their dead from MH17. Thanks to the both of you.