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Archive for February, 2022

Governments Typically Lie (Because That’s Just What Governments Tend to Do)

Angry Russian Guy: I hate that other country so much!

There’s this stigma or stereotype associated with people who allege that the government, through politicians and state media for the most part, misleads its people. Sure, they typically lie to populations outside the country too. The stigmas or stereotypes are intended to discourage such view being held or publicly expressed. Of course the government does not always lie (absolutism), but oftentimes there’s more incentive to tell supposedly ‘white’ lies.

Over the past few months I’ve covered many examples where both our government and the BBC lied to us, mostly for business reasons.

Governments aren’t in the business of science, mere facts, truth, evidence…

Governments in modern history — even in supposedly civilised nations — act more like front groups of wealthy businesspeople. The politicians are beholden to them.

This does mean we should expect lies; this is especially true at times of war. I’ve decided to archive this old and rusty page, seeing it’s likely to be offline altogether some time in the future and it’s likely Fair Use given the diversity of voices and of course key quotes going centuries back. The underlying HTML looks like something from the 1990s.

Who coined the phrase, “The first casualty of War is Truth”?

Mike Owen, Hebden Bridge UK
  • In 1918 US Senator Hiram Warren Johnson is purported to have said: The first casualty when war comes is truth. However, this was not recorded.

    In 1928 Arthur Ponsonby’s wrote: The ‘When war is declared, truth is the first casualty’. (Falsehood in Wartime)

    Samuel Johnson seems to have had the first word: ‘Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.’ (from The Idler, 1758)

    Peter Brooke, Mewmachar Scotland

  • The original quote is “The first casualty when war comes is truth”. Hiram W Johnson, staunchly isolationist senator for California, to the US Senate in 1917 (the year of his election to the Senate, where he remained until his death in 1945).
    Philip Draycott, Leicester UK

  • …”The first casualty when war comes is truth,” was coined by Hiram Johnson a Republican politician from California who served in the United States Senate for nearly 30 years, beginning in the midst of World War I and concluding with his death in 1945–as it happens, on the same day the U.S. dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima…
    Gareth, Leeds UK

  • Rudyard Kipling.
    Paul Hardy, Croydon England

  • It has been attributed to both Athur Ponsonby in “Falsehood in Wartime” (1928) and US Senator Hiram Johnson in a 1918 speech. However, the true origin may be in the edition of “The Idler” magazine from 11/11/1758 which says “…among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.”
    Andy Ward, LONDON UK

  • Hiram Johnson (USA). The full qoute is “The first casualty when war comes is truth”.

    Coincidentally Johnson died on August 6th 1945 (of old age!)

    Kevin Wooldridge, Lowestoft UK

  • Boake Carter, an American Radio Reporter. Not sure when though. I seem to remember hearing the original broadcast in a TV origram some time ago.
    Ken Blair, Stirling Scotland

  • Hiram Johnson (1866-1945) – a Progressive Republican senator in California. His actual quote, ‘The first casualty, when war comes, is truth’, was said during World War 1. He died on Aug. 6, 1945, the day the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
    Gilbert Sharp, Bury St Edmunds UK

  • Michael Herr in his book “despatches” based on his experience as a journalist in the Vietnam War.
    Martin Togher, London England

  • Aeschylus.
    Joy, Doha Qatar

  • In war, truth is the first casualty.
    Greek tragic dramatist (525 BC – 456 BC)
    B Smith, Chicago Il USA

  • The most fundamental of the Chinese fifth century general Sun Tzu’s principles for the conduct of war is that “All warfare is based on deception”.
    Ed Richardson, Deer Lake, Canada

  • Alfred E. Neumann
    David Page, Gatineau, Canada

  • Aeschylus

    Frank Olsen, Ringoes United States

  • Although frequently attributed to Sun Tzu (544?496 BC), “All warfare is based on deception”; the Sun Tzu quote actually refers to methods of subterfuge in war and goes further to explain, “Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

    The first corroborated quote reflecting the true essence, almost verbatim is “In war, truth is the first casualty,” attributed to Greek writer/poet Aeschylus (525BC – 456BC).

    Reese, Jeffersonville, IN United States

  • “In war, truth is the first casualty”, this quote is from Aeschylus

    Ensar, Dusseldorf, Germany

  • Read “the First Casualty” by Philip Knightley – a history of deception in war – it’s all in there.
    John, London

  • Aeschylus

    “In war, truth is the first casualty.”

    Susanna Richards, Somerset West, South Africa

  • Aeschylus greek tragic dramatist
    525-546 BC
    In war, truth is the first casualty
    Andy, South Boston, Ma USA

  • There are now two books that give authoritative answers to these kinds of questions, namely the Yale Book of Quotations and the Dictionary of Modern Proverbs. The latter records that Mrs. Philip Snowden wrote in the Journal of Proceedings and Addresses of the National Education Association: “Someone has finely said that ‘truth is the first casualty in war’.” A similar quotation appears in E. D. Morel, Truth and the War (1916). The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs further notes that “Currently the proverb is often attributed to Aeschylus, but the attribution seems to be no older than the 1980s.”
    Fred Shapiro, Bethany, Connecticut USA

  • Soooooo many answers…. yet sooooo many of them are wrong, ignorant, and ethnocentrically shortsighted!

    The first to coin such a phrase (and then be PLAGIARIZED by all these other people that you all tout and argue over) was a Greek writer (Dramatist – theatrical arts) named Aeschylus.

    Good job proving the ignorance of the masses (especially since you can learn the etymology of this particular phrase with a little researching online these days… or by GOING TO COLLEGE and taking a dramatic literature course or two!)

    “Ignorance is a disease that can never truly be cured”

    James T., San Diego USA

  • Perhaps “James T., San Diego USA” would likely to cite precisely where Aeschylus wrote it. As presently he’s is looking the most ignorant poster here.
    Davey F=Dave, Ickenham England

  • This quote was stolen from Aeschylus “In war, the first casualty is truth.” Aeschylus lived from 456 B.C. to 524 B.C
    Jayme Ariss, Shelburne, Canada

  • Let’s cut the sniping. Would anyone like to support their arguments by accurately citing the primary source?

    Many thanks,

    Ian Buckingham, Norwich, UK

Official NHS Numbers: COVID-19 Vaccination Uptake Lowest Since Records Began

This past week, across the UK at large, the number of COVID-19 vaccines administered (including “boosters”) was lowest since the tallies began back in January 2021 (source)

COVID vaccine totals

Maybe this is what happens when the government gaslights victims and wants people to go “back to the office”. Yesterday I was irked if not irritated by a COVID-19 denier (COVIDiots like to pretend either that it’s “old news” or “fake news”). My mom did what the government said — she went “back to normal” so to speak — and got COVID-19 (she told me yesterday). A pandemic isn’t something you can wish away (in the US they still have ~2,000 deaths in weekdays), as my mom can attest. She took not only one booster but two. And yet, she is taking the real thing very hard. This time it’s an actual potent virus. It’s a real problem and it has already killed many people. It is still killing people. You can see these mortality graphs. “In week 6 2022,” said this latest report (from Thursday), “an estimated 11,558 all-cause deaths were registered in England and Wales (source: Office for National Statistics (ONS)). This is a decrease compared to the 11,862 deaths registered in week 5 2022.” Over 15,000 were dying at the same time last year. So the vaccines did work. They did reduce mortality, overall (all causes combined).

Is this problem over? Hardly!

“From the week of 21 February 2022, the UK Health Security Agency will stop publishing dashboard updates at weekends,” says the official COVID portal of our government. So the regime is trying to sort of ‘wish’ COVID-19 away… because of “the economy”, the precious businessman’s wealth! Notice how few get newly vaccinated for COVID now (it’s like 7k a day). The graphs are flattened almost:

COVID vaccine uptake

Keep the mask on, keep distance too. Don’t get this virus if you haven’t already. And even if it infected you before, remember it can infect you again. And again… and again.

Social Control Media Isn’t Social Because You Don’t Lose Real Friends (or Social Life) Just Because Some Site/Instance/Pod Shuts Down

I will soon make changes to my microblogging routine. Probably some time next month. Here’s the alta vista of it.

“Social Control Media” is a term I coined many years ago; many people, even Wikileaks, have adopted the term since then. When I say “Social Control Media” I don’t limit myself to Twitter and Facebook; it also applies to LinkedIn (Microsoft claiming to ‘own’ your identity), GitHub (Microsoft claiming to ‘own’ your work/code), YouTube (video), and TikTok (crap). More importantly, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out in Techrights, Free software- and freedom-based sites aren’t robust to many of the same issues (volatility, misinformation) and even if they’re self-hosted, decentralised, federated etc. their existence is transient. Some sites or software will cease to be maintained within 5 years or less (in the case of self-hosting, a new version of PHP, for instance, can break the software you self-host).

Static sites with simple files are generally a good idea if you intend to keep your data, not only through the Web but whatever protocols will exist and get popularised in the future. More importantly, never rely on making “connections” online; make them “in real life” as real friends don’t need the Internet to keep in touch. I’ve hardly used the Internet at all to keep in touch with real friends.

Next Friday JoinDiaspora will go offline after more than a decade. When it comes back online it’ll be “read-only”, available temporarily only for users to be able to export their data and move it elsewhere (to another pod). All the connections will be lost, even if posts and comments are going to be preserved, according to the promises from the project’s core team.

Maybe I’ll fondly remember those 3,000+ “followers” I gained in JoinDiaspora.

schestowitz joindiaspora connections

What about the 2,000+ “followers” of Linux (TuxMachines)? I hardly ever knew them.

linux joindiaspora connections

After thinking about it for over a month and having spoken to another person who has posted heavily to JoinDiaspora for over a decade (with many “followers”, too) I am pretty certain I’ll migrate both accounts to another domain, another pod. I’ve not decided which one yet, but it needs to be something that can last and keep alive for at least another decade. As I explained here a few days ago, I’ve already lost more accounts than I can remember. I don’t want to jump from one dying pod to another soon-to-die pod. As for self-hosting, it’s out of the question due to complexity (Diaspora became bloated; I tried installing it almost 8 years ago and it was already very heavy and complicated to manage).

For me, IRC provides a more reliable means of communication and it’s vastly easier — not to mention a lot cheaper — to maintain.

NHS Data: COVID-19 Casualties in England, by Age Bracket/Group

England COVID-19 deaths

In a nutshell:

  • Data collected until last month
  • Death’s cause based on mention in the death certificate
  • England only

Raw data as ODF

COVID-19 Deaths in England, Split by Ethnicity

England COVID-19 deaths

In a nutshell:

  • Data collected until last month
  • Death’s cause based on mention in the death certificate
  • England only

Raw data as ODF

BBC Isn’t Journalism Anymore, It’s Misleading Clickbait


The misinformation (or deliberate clickbait) reaches new heights, as they provoke people into thinking there’s a fifth dose already (but that’s not what the article says). With writers and several editors involved, surely they knew it would bait people.

Official NHS Data: This Week We’ve Had Record COVID-19 Death Toll in 12 Months

COVID-19 record

And of course some media still wants us to pretend it’s all (mostly) over and we need to get “back to business” for “the economy!”

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Original styles created by Ian Main (all acknowledgements) • PHP scripts and styles later modified by Roy Schestowitz • Help yourself to a GPL'd copy
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