Claas Relotius

It just strikes me that fiction writer extraordinary could have kept his profitable gig – and I mean profitable in the direct sense of the word, what with news now coming out he pocketed donations made out to Syrian orphans of his own invention – if he’d stuck to a few simple rules:

First, he should have worked alone. His scam was only ended by the dogged (and uncompensated) persistence of his suspicious partner, Juan Moreno.

Second, he should have stuck to reporting about Arabs and Ukrainians with low English proficiency whose invented narratives synced with broad Western geopolitical interests, instead of tangling with Americans.

It is particularly notable that his atrocity propaganda about the Maidan massacre, which involved the hyperbolic and easily refutable claim that anti-Yanukovych protesters in Kiev were rolled over by tanks – even though Yanukovych never deployed tanks to Kiev in 2014 – not only passed muster when it was published in 2016, but has remained unmentioned to date in Western media coverage of this affair. Indeed, appears to be the only media outlet that has investigated Relotius’ reporting on the Ukraine.

Had Relotius followed this advice, he could have kept writing fake news and scamming his readers for many more years.

But in the end it was Drumpf Derangement that did him in.


Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Had Relotius followed this advice, he could have kept writing fake news and scamming his readers for many more years.

    I’m pretty sure there are MSM journalists following your advice.

    Or, on second thought, maybe not: engaging in that kind of stuff always requires a kind of reckless psychopathic personality, which is not conducive to following such easy and smart rules. This is why the perfect crimes depicted in movies rarely happen in real life: those people smart and methodical enough to follow these kinds of rules will be successful enough without having to resort to crime.

  2. Felix Keverich says

    This practice of quoting people in your articles,whom you’ve never actually met, people, who don’t actually exist – it seems to be standard practice for Western journalism. “Journalism” appears more impartial, more credible, when writer’s personal opinion is disguised as someone else’s. Western journalists are using this trick, because it works, their audience always falls for it.


    As far as Western coverage Russia is concerned, I noticed that I often see these strange “Russians” telling the weirdest things to Western press, but which fit Western narrative perfectly. They even found “Crimeans”, who oppose Crimea bridge on the grounds that it will hurt the economy – imagine that!

  3. It’s possible that all MSM coverage of Russia and other badcountries or topics like migration are like that. In which case it might not even be much of a secret among those journalists anyway.

    For example some Hungarian journalists met a few young Syrian refugees in Budapest. One was studying “economics” (in the Hungarian system, probably based on the German one, economics is taught together with business; I don’t know if the same system even exists in Syria), another one studied IT, while the third went to a medical school to be a doctor. I’m pretty sure that must have been a random sample of those refugees who were later found to be unemployable by German industry.

  4. I am 70% sure Luke Harding systemically engaged in that sort of thing when he was in Russia. Apart from his well-known instances of plagiarism (not going into more recent Wikileaks related scandals), there’s this 11 year old post that just tickled my memory:

    In that village of Lavrovo Luke met one “Sasha Ivanovich” (the author didn’t confuse last name and patronymic by any chance, and why is he calling a 56 year old “Sasha”? — this seems more like a fake Russian name that certain writers without any knowledge of Russian or how Russian names are formed make up for their debut spy novels), whose primary concerns are that “Everything has got more expensive. Bread has gone up. Cigarettes have gone up. My sister pays my gas bill. I can’t afford vodka. Can you give me 100 roubles?” Here something leads me to suspect that a person who’s concerned about the affordability of vodka and hits up strangers for 100 rubles is actually an alcoholic.

  5. In which case you don’t even need to be psychopathic or reckless to engage in it, provided you stick to the rules you wrote. If it’s standard practice, even normal people will engage in it. And then it must be pretty widespread.

  6. Thorfinnsson says

    To Der Spiegel’s credit they’re owning the L pretty well. They seem to be genuinely remorseful and ashamed. I certainly don’t recall any genuine contrition from the New York Times when their house negro was exposed for the same.

    I almost even feel sympathy for the publication after America’s obnoxious homo-ambassador to Germany used this as an excuse to attack Der Spiegel for “anti-Americanism”.

  7. , maybe not:

    Definitely yes.

    A lot of journalistic stories are at least partly fake like here, more in modern journalism which uses “personal literary style reporting”. Reporting this case as unusual is a bit of a distraction, as it is quite common: if you try to read some reports about a topic you know personally, you start to see the fakes easily.

    In other cases, the message of the report is mixture of anecdotes people said to the journalists, with the journalist’s emotion disposition (which was decided before they exit their house).

    It’s the same as when you were at school and there was in any class usually one guy always exaggerating stories from their imagination for some reason – well now these are the same characters who are writing articles, blogs, etc.

    And this is not just “mainstream media”. Mainstream media fake reports, or at least large fictions are common, while in “non mainstream media”, it seems to be almost all fake/invented clickbait.

    It’s why it’s usually wasting time to read journalists reports about topic, etc, you don’t know personally, or at least strong opinions about them.

  8. “Everything has got more expensive. Bread has gone up. Cigarettes have gone up. My sister pays my gas bill. I can’t afford vodka.

    He met someone begging him for money. The story a standard kind of thing they say (around the world) before asking for money. Just in this example, beggar was too honest that he really wants the money for vodka – so maybe it was a positive sign of the area and economy, that the beggars are not well practiced there.

    (More often, when they want money for alcohol, they say “The price of the train/bus ticket has increased. I just need train ticket to see my ill sister in the next city, etc.” – repeating the story with enough people until they can buy the bottle of vodka).

  9. Is his name, at least, a real one? Woudn’t Klaus Rollmops be more genuinely German? 🙂

  10. You might be giving them too much credit.

    They hadn’t acted on prior complaints, and apparently threatened Jose Moreno with consequences for blowing the whistle, before the accumulated evidence became too much to deny.

    They are also blaming it all on Relotius with no self criticism for themselves. No fact checkers, editors, bosses etc. have been fired, or even reprimanded AFAIK.

    Which is par for the course and I am not moralizing but I don’t see how they’re a cut above organizations that’d face similar scandals.

  11. Felix Keverich says

    A tragic story of a middle-aged Russian woman, who cannot fix her missing teeth, because of Putin’s pension reform.

    She begins to cry at the mention of pension reform. “My salary isn’t enough to restore my teeth,” Kovalyova said. “I thought I’d suffer for another eight years and fix my jaw, but now I’ll have 16 years to wait. I won’t live that long.” She gets around $330 per month, half of which she spends on rent. She supports two adult children and her partner, all of whom are unemployed. “Without the pension, I can never crawl out of this trap,” Kovalyova said.

    So the question I have: does this person even exist? Did the author really meet her, or was he simply trying to invent a sob story, and went a bit overboard with it? I reckon it’s the latter.

  12. Claas wrote stories for money. The stories simply reflected what the ones paying him wanted to see. He is a symptom of paid-for journalism – in other words a form of PR. The endless ‘some people say‘ paragraphs in today’s MSM is a euphemism for ‘this is what my boss wants to see in the story‘.

    It is an equivalent of a barrista making your drink the way you like it – so she gets paid. Claas is not the issue, Spiegel is. Their big problem for MSM today is that nobody in the history of civilisation has figured out how to make money on propaganda, people instinctively refuse to pay for it. The current solution of rich guys paying for it as ideological outreach (Bezos for Wash Post), or governments using taxes to pay for it (BBC), is inherently unstable. It is too costly, activities without economic basis in reality eventually fizzle out.

  13. Thorfinnsson says

    Let’s assume she does exist and the story is true (big assumptions admittedly).

    Russia has an unemployment rate of 4.5%. Yet her husband and two adult children are both unemployed.

    Not exactly a real batch of winners.

    And she’s one of the more sympathetic figures in the piece.

    The others just seem like slackers. A 48 year old woman outraged that she can’t retire at 55, and then a 71 year old man who wants a Kuwait-style economy with guaranteed income (and, presumably, helots to do the actual work). And then an obese prosecutor who retired at 45.

    If this article were set in the West the writer would be telling everyone to Learn to Code and explaining the necessity of “entitlement reform”.

  14. A few beggars in Hungary approached me telling me that they honestly need the money to buy some drinks, and some of my friends told me the same. We have always gave them, maybe to reward their honesty. I think some young guys might be successfully approached that way, in fact, it’s probably more successful than other methods. (“Sure, dude, you need it for your train ticket… fuck off!”) I’m usually inclined to give some to beggars, but don’t want to always give them, so often I politely tell them that I don’t have money. But someone telling me he needs it to drink… I’d probably always give some, if I had any cash on me.

  15. I tend to give small change when I’m in a generous mood, and to give substantial amounts to people who are visibly disabled consistently.

    A female acquaintance has told me not to give to cripples because it is supposedly mafia run (I have heard the horror stories but I doubt it’s true in 90%+ of cases), but I don’t take her seriously since she once gave money to a pregnant (or pretending to be – not that I really care) Gypsy.

  16. I used to drink a lot when younger, and I always felt some sympathy for the homeless, who were – I assumed – mostly alcoholics.

    Usually I make a point of giving at least once while I’m in a city.

  17. No, these are usually real people and real quotes. What usually happens is this. Seemingly friendly reporter interviews you for a couple of hours, then uses a single twisted, spliced, taken out of context sentence out of the whole conversation.

    Never talk to reporters from hostile publications, even if they seem friendly.

  18. German_reader says

    Jose Moreno

    It’s Juan Moreno (an annoying, anti-German Spaniard).
    Claas Relotius just went somewhat too far, and invented too many details that were too good to be true and could be easily checked; and given how many prizes he got for his work, it was probably bound to arouse the jealousy and suspicion of colleagues sooner or later. But the basic tendency is certainly true of most establishment German journalists who are doing little more than propaganda nowadays and regard themselves as noble combatants in a struggle against the forces of evil (e.g. East Germans and AfD voters in Germany, Trumpkins in the US, Assad and Putin in international politics). In August they invented an entire anti-foreigner “pogrom” in Chemnitz that never happened, but which has become established as truth among German lefties and was used as a pretext by Merkel’s government to remove the president of Germany’s Verfassungsschutz.
    It’s unlikely that the Relotius case will change anything about the systemic issues.

  19. And what about the three Syrian university students (friends of each other) the Hungarian journalist just stumbled upon in Budapest in 2015? Given how uneducated and unemployable the Syrians proved to be once in Germany, how easy could it have been to find such three guys even if you were looking for them?

  20. Beggars are asking me quite often.

    Externally I probably seem like a naive guy who will give them a few coins.

    But I’ve never given a single coin to any beggar in my life.

    I think it’s funny how outward appearance does not match my views on this topic.

  21. My favorite transparent lie was that “American Sniper” was playing for two years straight. I thought it was a terrible movie myself , but, even if it were the best movie ever, it is an obviously false and absurd claim.

    That’s not how movies work anymore. The DVD is out almost in three months or something.

  22. I do think this is partly a function of them getting more money. What would be the ratio of globalist dollars in print to nationalist in the West? I’d be surprised if it were less than 100:1. It may even be 1000:1.

    Partly it is the establishment, but it is also corporatism. Globalism is more friendly to advertisers’ dollars. If I recall, on Youtube, the top 10 Left make something like 3x the top 10 Right. It is advertisements, Patreon, as well as Paypal. Coming up with a better way to fund is a must.

  23. Thorfinnsson says

    Next time don’t tell people this

  24. Felix Keverich says

    No, these are usually real people and real quotes.

    I’ve seen too many freaky Russia stories in Western press to believe that. I mean you would have to filter through hundreds of individuals to find someone in Crimea, who opposes Crimea bridge. It would be easier to simply invent this person. And it’s not like you ever get punished for lying as a Western journalist.

  25. Have you encountered teenagers asking you to buy them alcohol outside the supermarket? (They want to give you money, so you buy alcohol for them with the money)

    I had this experience earlier this year, when I was on vacation in another country.

    I said no, but was wondering after, that maybe you should buy the bottle of vodka and then keep it for yourself and not give it to them, say to them to go home and do their homework (it’s tough for them – but what are they going to do, call their parents on you? parents should thank you after that they learned about not drinking alcohol or giving money to random people).

  26. ghey

  27. Well it’s a difficult life, to live with moral principles, and not occasionally boast about it on the internet.

  28. No need to filter anyone. Any half-competent reporter can get a regular person like you and me to say something in an hour-long conversation that can be twisted into a negative quote.

    Admittedly, when it comes to Russia reporters don’t even do this much work. They simply dial up a representative of an anti-government NGO who either gives them a quote right there or refers them to some local activist. The reporter doesn’t have to mention that their “man in the street” has an agenda.

  29. Incidentally, anyone remembers the hilarious story of Greg Packer, a professional man-on-the-street?

    Newspapers continued to quote him even after Ann Coulter outed him in 2003. That’s how lazy reporters are.

  30. redneck

  31. One thing is for sure, the typical political propagandist (aka as journalist) will despite this continue to pretend that the term lugenpresse has no basis in reality, and that they really are the paragons of truth and objective reporting.

  32. but what are they going to do

    Stomp the shit out of a spas like you. If you knew what redneck means you would know that.

  33. Reading Dmitry’s comments about never giving money to beggars and then about his thoughts on stealing the teenagers’ money felt a bit like a guy telling me about his bouts of sex with children and then mentioning how interesting it would be to torture to death a naked tween girl or boy.

  34. That escalated quickly.

  35. I find it interesting that you incentivize begging, but refuse to give surplus food to starving children.

  36. When I was in Yalta kids about 14 would occasionally approach me to go buy cigarettes for them. I thought about being cool and obliging but I didn’t know what the laws were or if they were actually enforced. Imagine the potential fallout. “In occupied Crimea, Putin regime fines American for his brave work assisting troubled youth.”

  37. Never happens in Moscow, and rarely in provincial Russia, these days. But happened loads a decade ago and earlier.

    One more way in which Ukraine is toxic to anything it touches.

    Nothing would have happened to you but you did the right thing.

  38. Swarthy Greek says

    If we consider the fact that most Russians are homeowners and that unemployment is very low it’s very probable that the woman doesn’t exist.

  39. I don’t do either always.

    But you seem to have trouble distinguishing in person behavior with abstract ideas.

  40. But you seem to have trouble distinguishing in person behavior with abstract ideas.

    Possibly, but I do like my behavior to align with my ideas, always, otherwise, I go WTF. And what would be the importance of abstract ideas if they had no impact on behavior?

    I haven’t given to beggars on the street for over 15 years. I used to give to NGOs that said they were going to buy hoes (not hos) and donkey powered water pumps for third world villages. “They only need a pump, they already have the donkey! potable water for hundreds on your gift!” Then I noticed that all such NGOs mutate into political organizations.

  41. That is funny. It is hard for me to imagine teenagers outside the US needing to ask for alcohol, while in the US, where they would need to ask, I don’t think there is the culture of trust, where they would ask a stranger – perhaps decades ago.

    I suppose there must be someplace with laws like the US but more trusting.

  42. Beggars are members of my community who – usually through bad decisions – became homeless. Giving to them is an inoffensive social safety net, which I’d like to feel under myself, to remind myself of my heavy drinking days and how I could have become an alcoholic. (And maybe it’s still possible?)

    Giving to another dysfunctional community is a different matter. For example beggars are often old or middle aged men, and they have a low chance of reproducing any further. I’m more reluctant to give to younger beggars or those who are probably not homeless. (Female beggars often strike me as not homeless. That’s a red flag, because they might use the money to support dysfunctional families.)

    Also, the personal and the abstract are different levels. While I recognize the importance of occasionally killing people, I wouldn’t trust those who easily kill others without reluctance. It’s pretty useful to have moral ideas which are not subject to logic, because logical thinking can be faulty (like false assumptions or erroneous reasoning). So I recognize that Africans shouldn’t be fed, but perhaps I’d give from my food to a starving African if I were there.

  43. It is (or was) totally a thing with British teens.

    And it’s certainly a thing with US college students, in SWPL areas at any rate.

  44. Godfree Roberts says

    China has reached the same conclusion, that nobody in the history of civilisation has figured out how to make money on propaganda and identified it as an Achilles heel.

    They’ve consolidated their media outreach under the Voice of China brand, set up full-service news agencies in every world capital and have been studying–and sharing facilities with–RT, testing formats with inserts into Western media and hiring experienced, out-of-work Western journalists on excellent salaries: 300 in London alone this year.

    Expect the Voice of China to be the most reliable source of world news by mid-2021 on all media everywhere.

  45. That’s a red flag, because they might use the money to support dysfunctional families.

    Social Darwinist to the core. 🙂

    Beggars in the US are usually young and are usually alkies, druggies or professionals. I rarely see elderly beggars.

    Giving to another dysfunctional community is a different matter.

    What about the common human community? BTW, I don’t want to be hypocritical, I haven’t sent any food to Africa for years.

    While I recognize the importance of occasionally killing people, I wouldn’t trust those who easily kill others without reluctance.


  46. This was not Russia. It was teenagers outside the supermarket in Bat Yam, in Israel (I was there for vacation this year).

    That place is a bit of a landfill of gopniks (not just from the former USSR, but mixed up with what is the equivalent of gopniks from Iraq or Morocco).

  47. Hyperborean says

    Is his name, at least, a real one? Woudn’t Klaus Rollmops be more genuinely German?

    His name sounds Dutch.

  48. To not give money to alcoholic scammers, and to dream about removing illegal vodka from teenagers, in order to consuming the vodka yourself – moral and compassionate in both cases 🙂

  49. This was Bat Yam, in Israel, where I was in my vacation early this year

    Yes, it is some combination of low class, people looking like gopniks – but not dangerous.

  50. Zeit reported that Spiegel could have exposed him in mid-2017 after Spiegel TV editors noticed contradictions in a Relotius article about IS child soldiers. They reported them to the Spiegel higher-ups who ended up siding with Relotius.

  51. Lies in Media Going Unchecked

    This past December 1, around the time of Putin’s G20 press conference, the BBC’s Tim Willcox stated on air as fact that the Russians intentionally built the Kerch Strait bridge to be low, so that Ukrainian “tall ships” can’t go thru it.

    Put mildly, this statement seems fishy. I haven’t seen any fact checking on that particular – despite having sent out query on this matter to a broad range of individuals in media and academia.

    Another example is Julia Ioffe claiming that Russia was stripped of its first place 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic finish, without mention that its first place tally was returned c/o an appeal reviewed by a panel of non-Russian individuals:

    Concerning Bosnian Civil War casualties:

  52. Admittedly, when it comes to Russia reporters don’t even do this much work. They simply dial up a representative of an anti-government NGO who either gives them a quote right there or refers them to some local activist. The reporter doesn’t have to mention that their “man in the street” has an agenda.

    Golts, Felgenhauer et al.

    This beaut from Goble quoting Soldatov:

    Contrary to what’s suggested, most of the national Orthodox Christian churches haven’t supported Bartholomew’s Vatican like decision, regarding the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

    At issue, isn’t breaking relations with the Istanbul (Constantinople) based Orthodox Church, while simultaneously not necessarily agreeing with all of its stances – the matter of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church being a case in point.

  53. Last paragraph changed to underscore that not breaking relations with the Istanbul (Constantinople) based Orthodox Church, doesn’t necessarily mean necessarily mean agreeing with all of its stances – the matter of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church being a case in point.

  54. If dysfunction in a person is the supreme disqualifier for group entry, how can you be certain that you are cognizant of all the effects on the group of the existence of those individuals? If you consider the group as a functioning organism, it may “need” the variation to insure its long term survival. What if caring for dysfunctional individuals is some sort of cosmic test of whether “the group” has what it takes for long term survival?

  55. Got it – you have such an eloquent way of putting things. Do you also teach English writing courses in addition to your usual high level output in international relations and political philosophy? 🙂

  56. Farley Mowat is a good example of a supposed non-fiction writer that began his career lying in People of the Deer and never stopped, right up to his last book Otherwise, published a few years before he died. Canada has always embraced him, although he was always being called a liar by some credible person, sometimes even his subject, with each book he published.

    On another subject, the Guardian’s Gary Younge tells a conspicuous lie. He claims to have been strolling through New York’s Central Park one sunny summer afternoon when he approached two cops to ask for directions. Per the lying Younge, one of the cops pulled his gun, pointed it at Younge and jokingly said, “Gotcha!” Now I ask you, is a veteran SJW with a megaphone going to let that incident slide, only to bring it up years later as an example of how he to has suffered at the hands of The System?

    Also, it’s the only time I’ve ever heard anyone say that a NYC cop drew his gun as a joke.


    Gary Younge is just really dumb

  58. A bit too advanced for yuh.

  59. Nothing unusual that he lied: 90% of Western MSM reporting on Russia, Ukraine, Syria, or Iran are blatant lies, with the remainder being the truth twisted beyond recognition. Rather unusual that he got caught: most liars in Western MSM are never caught. Even less usual that he suffered for it in any way. If liars suffer, it would undermine the basis of current Western “journalism”.

  60. Gary Younge is just really dumb

    That’s exactly why The Guardian loves him.

  61. Philip Owen says

    She could exist in the countryside. They have a private plot. They have hens and ducks and geese. Enough to sell one occasionally. Across the yard they have 12 pigs which they feed with grain and chick peas from their share of the rent income from the collective. They get a new batch of pigs every six months. £100 each. From May to August, October where sunflowers are grown, the two unemployed adults work for the private farmers who pays anyone who isn’t drunk quite well and mostly in cash.

    Yes, they are in some way poor. Try living in a farming village in Russia. It doesn’t seem fun. However, they are far from destitute and they are established in their community which has strong non fiction benefits.

    Not forgetting the daughter in the city bringing stuff home.

    I used to meet them daily when there was still foreigner interest in Russian farming.

  62. Philip Owen says

    My wife does charity work with homeless people in the UK. There are places for them to go but they are too chaotic or dangerous to the other residents to stay there. Drink, drugs, PTSD, mental illness all get in the way of support and recovery. Even homeless people cameras benefits. Rough sleeping is àn indication of their priorities. A lot are ex military recruited from children’s homes. Without family, PTSD is tough. Most need a mental hospital. They don’t have the self discipline for a flat. I don’t give to them.

    Some beggars are immigrants but not local to me – big city problem. They don’t get benefits. Social workers and some charities shop them to the Home Office for deportation. Usually they are not homeless but part of an organized group struggling for income at different levels. Albanians and Romanians typically.

  63. visibly disabled consistently.

    It reminds me…

  64. The usual method in this country is a cherry-picked example, commonly selected to promote social hypochondria or to embarrass the Republican caucus in Congress. One of the more egregious examples I’ve seen was around about 2011, when a documentary crew (from PBS, IIRC) arrived in Nashua, NH. They contended that the family they profiled they located at random – just the first people who answered their door when they knocked. The house in question had 11 people living in it. (About 1.4% of the households in this country have more than six people resident, encompassing about 9% of the population). IIRC, three of the seven adults (none of whom were over 60) had work, only one of them f/t (at the time, just shy of half the population over 16 had f/t work at any one time). The dense settlement in and around Nashua has about 110,000 people in it and about 40,000 odd households; the number with that many people resident it’s a reasonable wager number fewer than 50, but the reporters claim these were the first people they encounter.

  65. I, especially, am proud of my great humility!

  66. You were thinking about stealing the vodka from people significantly poorer than yourself. It’s not like it would do anything to stop their descent to alcoholism.

    2 Samuel 12 The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

    4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

    5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

    7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”

  67. I don’t like these new Bible translations.

  68. Probably more effective as “Thou art the man!” I think Poe had a story with that title.

  69. …There were two men in a certain town

    Probably a few more than two…

    David burned with anger against the man…

    There was an assumed exchange of hospitality for travelling members of the same tribe – they were mostly distant cousins or in-laws of the same blood. The rich guy shifted that hospitality on the poor man. That was unseemly but clearly not against the rules if it had to be escalated for an opinion to the Lord.

    Today in our town we are being asked to take care of migrating strangers and not travelling tribal relatives. But as before, the rich are pushing that responsibility on the others – the middle class. It displeases the Lord, so the rich man’s lambs will be slaughtered. And all will be just.

    (see, I translated it for you…)

  70. Felix Keverich says

    Michael Weiss invents anonymous “former Russian diplomat” to warn the US against withdrawing from Syria:

    “Putin will seize the oil first chance he gets,” a former Russian diplomat told Yahoo News. “The regime will bring in forces for the offensive, the Russians will negotiate a deal with the Kurds. And Moscow will work with the Kurds to reconcile with the [Bashar Assad] regime.”

    Western journalists face no accountability, when writing/lying about Russia.

  71. …Western journalists face no accountability, when writing/lying about Russia

    It is not a lie if they believe it. It is their job – why they have that job – to believe it.

    These ‘sources’ can be just about anyone, an old bitter lady who once translated something in Russia, or a Uber driver, literally anyone or noone.

    The real value of the quote is that it neatly summarises what they think the dreaded enemy will do, it is a scenario description. They really fear Assad-Kurds reconciliation – and they are right, it would be the end of the game. So does Erdogan and he will do whatever he can to prevent it.

  72. Felix Keverich says

    I brought this up as an example to illustrate the point I made earlier: Western journalists frequently invent their Russian sources, when writing articles about the country.

    Whether or not Weiss actually believes that Putin is going to “seize oil” – to me that’s unimportant. I take issue with journalistic practice of quoting people, who don’t exist.

  73. …I take issue with journalistic practice of quoting people, who don’t exist.

    I get that, and I agree. I assume that all ‘unnamed sources‘ are invented, or the quote-story is modified to fit a narrative. To ‘seize oil’ is a meaningless quote anyway, a pub-level discussion that has very little connection to how reality works.

    Journalism has always been a crappy quasi-profession based on making up stuff for the ones who are paying for it. It has gotten worse, but the value of most journalism is not in the bizarre narrative claims, the value is in succinctly presenting the sponsors’ point of view, their hopes and fears. It often – although unwittingly – discloses their plans.

  74. Lol how will you claim to take illegal vodka from teenagers, would not be action of a moral and ethical man.

    I appreciate a bible story is appropriate for the setting.

  75. Dieter Kief says

    Relotius faked in the Swiss NZZ, too, but a reader reacted an this led to the “most bizarre correction” in the history of the NZZ Folio –

  76. Plato's Dream says

    I give you the much-lauded The Guardian journo Johann Hari, caught with his pants down a few years ago: