LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Lies, lies and statistics

AFTER reading Clive Phillips’ letter (All patriots now labelled far-right) printed in your December 15 edition, I felt the need to correct his litany of errors that appeared to be pulled from conspiracy and propaganda websites.

There is no record of Putin saying “the war began in 2014 when the elected government was forced out by the WEF to be replaced by their puppet.”

When Putin told the Russian people that the goal of the military operation was “to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine”, this was a lie. Putin’s real goal was to subjugate the mostly pro-western Ukraine population. Furthermore, former Ukraine President Yanukovych — a puppet of the Kremlin — rejected a deal from the European Union that would have bolstered trade and integration between the two entities. Yanukovych took a $15 billion bailout from Russia, which the Ukrainian people saw as a major reason to protest. The Ukraine parliament ultimately forced him out of office.

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And Clive Phillips’ comment about the World Economic Forum (WEF) forcing people to pay for arms? It’s true that the terrorist organisation Boko Haram are receiving western armaments via shipments meant for Ukraine. But Boko Haram are also receiving Russian armaments that are supplementing the finances for Putin’s illegal invasion.  

Mr Phillips calling Volodymyr Zelenskyy by the derogatory name “Nazi Zelenskyy” is childish and offensive. How are Zelenskyy’s pockets “bulging”? Social media posts have falsely claimed that Zelenskyy is profiting off the Ukraine conflict at a rate of $11 million per month and he hopes to draw out the conflict as long as possible. The claims have rightly been debunked.

Tying Zelenskyy to the Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros is bizarre, but it’s not surprising when anti-Semites have tried this before. What’s more, Clive’s comment about George Soros handing his own Jewish brethren over to the Gestapo during World War Two is one of the oldest fake comments perpetrated by the far-right (and often by anti-Semites). It has been debunked by reputable organisations several times.

Furthermore, Hungary vetoed the European Union’s 18 billion euro financial aid to Ukraine because Prime Minister Viktor Orban did not agree to certain conditions that were attached to a spending package from the EU budget, which was allocated to Hungary. It appears that Orban is now trying to veto the EU’s aid to Ukraine simply out of spite. The 5.8 billion euros for Hungary comes with certain conditions that include:

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* A corruption oversite watchdog (Orban has funneled EU funds to himself and his cronies in the past despite setting up an “anti-graft agency” that was in name only, just to appease the EU’s concerns)

* Allowing rights for the LGBTQ+ community, and

* Loosening the state control grip on the courts, media, academia and NGOs.

The mass demonstrations in Germany that Mr Phillips referenced? They have certainly been reported by the mainstream media, contradicting what he wrote. German citizens from the left and right-wings — and those that don’t identify either persuasion — have demonstrated in Germany over the government’s distribution of funds dealing with high energy prices, a quicker transfer away from fossil fuels, and general living costs. But there are also many other people around the world demonstrating over similar issues. Britain has not seen this many picket lines in decades.

As for Mr Phillips mentioning that 11 patriots were arrested for planning a coup? If he was referring to the arrests in Germany by the police, then his number is incorrect. It was actually 25 people arrested in 11 of Germany’s 16 states. Patriots? They were QAnon followers that had fallen deep into the rabbit hole, not German patriots.

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And Mr Phillips’ incorrect information regarding CO2 emissions, the actual amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere is 0.0407 per cent. Yes, that’s even smaller than Clive’s 0.4 per cent, but his subsequent numbers become even more distorted. It’s actually 32 per cent of that 0.0407 per cent that is produced by man. To separate the UK’s contribution of that 0.0407 per cent to 0.000011 per cent  is about as nonsensical as Herschel Walker, the failed candidate for the US Senate, commenting that “China’s bad air will move over to American air space”.

Let me also elaborate by saying that during the ice age, CO2 made up just 0.018 per cent of the Earth’s atmosphere. The Keeling Curve shows that CO2 levels will cross 500ppm by 2050, and with the world’s population booming the CO2 level will reach a frightening 2,000ppm by 2250. If Clive Phillips is asserting that only a small amount of CO2 contributes to global climate change, he has failed to mention that this is not the only greenhouse gas that is responsible. There’s also methane, nitrous oxide, and certain amounts of fluorinated gases (F-gases).   

It’s not that CO2 is bad, it’s that too much spewed into the atmosphere can cause long-term damage to the environment. CO2 is needed by beverage manufacturers and other industries.

It’s an old myth that the coal from the proposed Woodhouse Colliery site at Whitehaven, Cumbria, is needed to help the steel industry. The coal from that area has too much sulphur in it. It’s not the same high quality metallurgical coal or coking coal that is mined elsewhere. If the mining at the Woodhouse Colliery goes ahead, most of that coal will be exported to countries where the poor quality coal is used, and that’s due to steel-makers in the UK and Europe rejecting the Cumbria coal in favour of greener alternatives. The mine will add approximately 400,000 more tons of carbon dioxide per year.

If anything, the cynical Tory government is planning on opening this Cumbria mine to create jobs and ultimately win votes.    

Tony Rodda, Market Street, Rotherham