Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 15, 2023

AP Obfuscates The Real Black Sea Grain Deal Numbers

Just two days ago I wrote about Grain Deal Shenanigans and summarized:

The grain deal had two parts. One was the access of ships to Ukrainian harbors. The other was the normal export of grain and fertilizer from Russia.

While Russia had facilitated the first part of the deal the 'West' had collectively blocked the second part.

The lengthy creation of exclusive payment channels that can be blocked and controlled by the 'West', as Guterres now offers, is not a solution that Russia will support.

When you see the next headline about 'Russia blocking Ukrainian exports to hungry people' keep the above in mind.

Today I stumbled over a new Associated Press piece of the kind I had warned about:

Why allowing Ukraine to ship grain during Russia's war matters to the world

It starts:

Agreements that the United Nations and Turkey brokered with Ukraine and Russia to allow food and fertilizer to get from the warring nations to parts of the world where millions are going hungry have eased concerns over global food security. But they face increasing risks.

It then asserts:

The Black Sea Grain Initiative has allowed 32.8 million metric tons (36.2 million tons) of food to be exported from Ukraine since last August, more than half to developing countries, including those getting relief from the World Food Program.

Are half of the Ukrainian grain exports really going to 'developing countries'?

I snooped around a bit to find the numbers. The United Nations has a Black Sea Grain Initiative Joint Coordination Centre website with some general explanations and detailed data.

Under 'Vessel Movements' there is a link to an excellent Google spreadsheet which provides cargo totals by destination and commodity:


It lists the amount of each kind of grains that the countries received due to the Initiative. The countries are classified into four types of 'Income Groups', split into 'Developing' and 'Developed' and marked as 'Least Developed Country' or 'Non Least Developed Country'.

One can sort the table by each column by clicking on its top cell. When one marks several cells in the 'total metric tons' column the spreadsheet will show the total sum of the marked cells on the bottom right.

The total of the listed grain amounts is 30,817,452 metric tons.

The total for all countries that are marked 'developed' is 14,104,113 metric tons. The total for 'developing' countries is 18,713,339 metric tons.

The AP assertion that 'than more than half' of the grain goes to developing countries is thus technically correct. But the developing/developed categorization, which is likely based on decades old World Trade Organization agreements, list China, Turkey and even several rich countries as 'developing'.

China, who's 'developing' status under WTO rules has been questioned, received the most from Ukraine with a total of 7,963,950 metric tons of barley, wheat and sunflower products. Turkey is third with a total of 3,289,155 metric tons.

China has been a long term customer of Ukraine's agricultural products. Turkey is a special case as it facilitates the transport, receives a heavy rebate and resales most of what it gets at higher world market prices:

Turkey buys Ukrainian grain at a 25% discount by the terms of the relevant agreement with Ukraine, as stated by Turkish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Fahit Kirishci. The discount was about $100 per ton of grain. On June 7, the minister spoke about the course of trilateral negotiations on the “grain corridor” with representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the UN in Istanbul: ...

Both the 'developing' countries Turkey and China are also characterizes as 'upper-middle income' countries. In fact there are even 'developing' countries, like Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which are 'high income'.

While the AP assertion that more than half of the grains goes to 'developing countries' is technically correct, it does not really say anything useful but obfuscates the real numbers.

The total of Ukrainian grain exports to the eight 'least developed' countries, of which seven are also 'low income', was just 1,896,077 metric tons or 6.8% of the total. For comparison Spain, a 'developed country' with 'high income', imported a total of 5,980,657 metric tons of grain from Ukraine which is a whooping 19.4% of the total.

The 116 million people in 'developing', 'low-income' Ethiopia received a total of 282,760 metric tons while the 17.8 million people in the 'developed', 'high income' Netherlands bought 1,920,649 metric tons of mostly corn feed for pigs.

Most exports of Ukrainian grain only go to countries 'where millions are going hungry' if one adds chicken, pigs and cattle in medium-rich to rich countries to the count.

During the next season Ukraine will have much less grain to export while other big producers, including Russia and Brazil, have increased their output. There will thus be no shortage of grains in the world markets.

Posted by b on July 15, 2023 at 14:18 UTC | Permalink


thanks b... the problem with AP and the other wire services is they are the ones that get full coverage in the western media - cbc, bbc and etc etc.. what AP, reuters and API says gets all the coverage... and yes - they are giving a superficial read of the data to pass off bullshit.. nothing unusual in that! further more these categories - developing / developed and etc etc - remind me of the imf designation which connects to voting rights that the countries of the imf have as well.. total ponzi scheme to favour some countries and keep down the other countries.. while i am on this rant - the un is now functioning in much the same way..

Posted by: james | Jul 15 2023 14:24 utc | 1

Thanks for detailing this. US propaganda is both subtle and not at all subtle. Unfortunately most consumers of it will never bother to look even a little deeper and the media’s great failure is its willingness to publish propaganda rather than inform the public. Likely nothing in the west can be fixed until that changes.

Posted by: Lex | Jul 15 2023 14:32 utc | 2

I noticed during the War to Destroy Yugolsavia that AP seemed to be 100% War Party narrative without shame. I finally concluded that AP is a pure propaganda operation

Posted by: Exile | Jul 15 2023 14:33 utc | 3

the un is now functioning in much the same way..
@ james | Jul 15 2023 14:24 utc | 1

I've come around to the view that everything USA was involved in setting up, coming out on top after WWII, is rotten to the core by design -- certainly including the UN and especially that scheme to perpetuate fossil foolishness: the IPCC. The World Health Organization, The Olympics, on and on... there's scarcely an untainted international organization anywhere in sight. Tentacles of the squid are long, and they really suck.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | Jul 15 2023 14:58 utc | 4

Thanks for clarifying report on this.

That said, have never understood why Ukie grain shipments could not be diverted through Romania via Black Sea or by train inland and west to Poland and beyond.

In other words, it seems the deal was always more about Odessa's use by both parties currently in conflict than about ensuring grain gets to feed the hungry. That always rang a little hollow as an argument; but then most rings hollow these days.

And if it all wasn't really about feeding the hungry, then what was this Odessa-use deal really about? Another example of suckering Putin into playing Mr. Nice Guy? Or something else?

Posted by: Scorpion | Jul 15 2023 15:04 utc | 5

@ Aleph_Null | Jul 15 2023 14:58 utc | 4

yes... the imf, world bank and international bank of settlements as institutions are certainly this way at this point.. i had always hoped the un was kept separate from manipulation but i think it was back in bush 2s war on iraq that i saw just how that wasn't true either.. if the usa-uk couldn't get their war in iraq, they would have to go around the un while badmouthing the un..

@ Scorpion | Jul 15 2023 15:04 utc | 5

i think its complicated, but so much of the wests priority is a big public relations campaign to make russia out to be the ogre... this grain deal is no different.. the west are full on propagandists at this point, so it is hard to understand the motives without acknowledging this at the very top of one's consideration on any particular topic - this one included.. how does the west score the most brownie points from their sheeple back home? of course erdogan and friends get a nice bone from the west here too, to keep him onside..

Posted by: james | Jul 15 2023 15:26 utc | 6

Only clueless Putin would get distracted by entangling himself with Anglo plotted grain deal to diver attention from pursuing the real war .moron!

Posted by: Sam | Jul 15 2023 15:36 utc | 7

Purpose of propaganda and censorship

I noticed during the War to Destroy Yugolsavia that AP seemed to be 100% War Party narrative without shame. I finally concluded that AP is a pure propaganda operation

Posted by: Exile | Jul 15 2023 14:33 utc | 3

CJ Hopkins explains the purpose of official propaganda:

Why Ridiculous Official Propaganda Still Works - CJ Hopkins, CounterPunch, January 13, 2017

The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an “official narrative” that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between “the truth” as defined by the ruling classes and any other “truth” that contradicts their narrative.

The primary aim of censorship in the United States is not to control what people say. It is to control what so called reliable sources say. These "reliable sources" are defined by the Wikipedia community on the page called WP:RS/P (Reliable sources/Perennial sources). It sometimes happens, that these reliable sources publish something truthful, but what contradicts the official narrative. This is when censorship kicks in. The offending article of fact is then quickly deleted from these reliable sources.

Wikipedia has thus become the record keeper of official narrative. By controlling the reliable sources, propagandist also get to control Wikipedia and the "truth".

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jul 15 2023 15:40 utc | 8

Thanks b, great info. I didn't know the turks got that much discount, no surprise so why they want to keep this deal going.
Similar to the humanitarian deal in Syria, western media is only reporting half truths which is no surprise. However, trying to convince your own public on how bad Putin is, has become super saturated to the point that normies don't give 2 shits about Ukraine or Syria.
Justification for continued western sanctions is only scoffed at by the rest of the world who like ourselves take nothing written by these news agencies as fact.
The UN is on par with western media, nobody believes a word they say, except the few nyt and guardian readers in this vast world of ours.

Posted by: Eoin Clancy | Jul 15 2023 15:40 utc | 9

No category for "Undeveloping" countries, which are most or all of those in the "Developed" category?

Posted by: William Haught | Jul 15 2023 15:56 utc | 10

@Petri Krohn | Jul 15 2023 15:40 utc | 8

Propaganda has to be ridiculous. It is central to obedience training.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 15 2023 15:58 utc | 11

I noticed during the War to Destroy Yugolsavia that AP seemed to be 100% War Party narrative without shame. I finally concluded that AP is a pure propaganda operation

Posted by: Exile | Jul 15 2023 14:33 utc | 3


In 2023, if one has an IQ above room temperature, it's imperative to understand that every institution with global reach does not have integrity. It's not that they were co-opted, it's that they were created and nurtured propaganda by design from the jump.

Not one.

Posted by: LoveDonbass | Jul 15 2023 16:27 utc | 12

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jul 15 2023 15:40 utc | 8

Thank you - very true

I worked with a buddy who used to say ‘so, what’s the party line on this ?’. He came from a massive bureaucracy.

Posted by: Exile | Jul 15 2023 16:36 utc | 13

I call bull... for 3 reasons
If the corridor is blocked Spain will get the feed for pigs anyway it will just make the price higher and ldc countries will have even less to buy than they r buying now because of higher price.
U excluded Egypt from ur calculations as Egypt is not ldc but Egypt is a basket case where a large number people r living day to day on subsistence basis and the Ukrainian grain is making it possible for them to provide food on the table. Just using ldc to calculate %going to poor countries is disingenuous as Egypt buys lots of Ukrainian grain.
Bangladesh gets a lot of grains from grain corridor and closing that will not only cause the price increase of wheat but will cause shortage in staples likerice as the ones who can now afford wheat based products for variety will switch to rice leading to suffering for the poor. Whatever is going to poor countries is a matter of life and death for poor and closing that is unconscionable.

Posted by: A.z | Jul 15 2023 16:44 utc | 14

That said, have never understood why Ukie grain shipments could not be diverted through Romania via Black Sea or by train inland and west to Poland and beyond.

Posted by: Scorpion | Jul 15 2023 15:04 utc | 5

Trains are 10 times more expensive to transport per ton/km, and trucks 30 times more, than sea cargo.

With grain being a low margin commodity as it is, the farther it goes, the more expensive it gets, until local sources are far, far more economic.

Nobody on the world is really starving anymore. It more a matter of economic trade off.

Posted by: UWDude | Jul 15 2023 16:50 utc | 15

No wonder why Erdogan is unhappy then, with Turkey making nice profits from grain. But at some point the facts have to be called - not allowing insurance and passage without embargo for Russian grain is one thing, the other thing is the west continuously uses these grain corridors for their own military purposes like driving sea drones through them and shipping weapons, fuel and ammunition into Odessa.

Posted by: unimperator | Jul 15 2023 16:58 utc | 16

Congrats b for that find. War is peace and developed is developing.

Meanwhile Brazil, Zimbabwe, Thailand etc. suffer high fertilizer prices
"As sanctions bite Russia, fertilizer shortage imperils world food supply"

Posted by: Antonym | Jul 15 2023 17:25 utc | 17

Western media will always portray anything Russia or China does that goes against US hegemonic desires in the worst possible light. What I don't understand is why Russia and China still care, and continue to try to mitigate the unmitigateable. It's like they are both in denial about who and what they face. They seem to know it on an intellectual level but not deep down where it really matters.

That is why they both still seem bent on saving something that was in truth already lost. The truth and the consequences of that truth seem just too unpalatable for them to accept.

Posted by: JustAMaverick | Jul 15 2023 17:27 utc | 18

No category for "Undeveloping" countries, which are most or all of those in the "Developed" category?

Posted by: William Haught | Jul 15 2023 15:56 utc | 10

By the time that the UN gets around to reclassifing "formerly developed countries" the appropriate term will be "failed state."

Posted by: team10tim | Jul 15 2023 17:30 utc | 19

Sam the flea thinks Putin is "clueless," which of course is the usual lie we see here constantly. In his post Future Technologies Forum plenary session informal press conference, all of which can be read here, where he was very specific about how the grain deal might be salvaged in the future:

Q: The deal expires on July 18. How long are we willing to wait for them to start performing?

Vladimir Putin: As long as it takes to fulfill the promises made [to us by the West]. [My Emphasis]

As detailed over months, the West has continually reneged on its portion of the deal in a manner very similar to Minsk, and Russia has had more than enough of that behavior. And while Russia will still talk with the West as it continues to do at several forums, the West will need to provide deeds first in almost all future negotiations on almost anything--that's how poisoned relations have become all due to the West's actions. In this situation given the gravity of the outcome, I'd conclude it's the West that's the "clueless" actor here as it's making itself an enemy of well over 90% of humanity, which is likely understated as many more within the West are likely against the West's actions too.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 15 2023 17:46 utc | 20

Seems to me if the grain deal is so important to russias enemies all the more reason to scupper it. Russias dependable business partners, including most of Africa, will figure out how to buy the food they need from russia, or Europe after Europe is done feeding it to their animals and then export their surplus from regions closer to Africa.

Just like how russian oil goes around the world before getting exported back to Europe. Sure it's more expensive but russia isn't collecting the transit fees so morally they're in the clear.

It's the sanctioning nations that bear responsibility for it.

Posted by: Neofeudalfuture | Jul 15 2023 17:48 utc | 21

Is there any work being done on alternate routes to Global South thru Caspian or Azerbaijan and Iran to Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea

Posted by: RiNS | Jul 15 2023 18:13 utc | 22

Posted by: Norwegian | Jul 15 2023 15:58 utc | 11

That is a good point. One of the main aspects is to make people remain silent even if they don't agree. If that can be accomplished for a long enough time, people will either start "believing" in what they once perceived as lies or, if they don't and no one speaks up, for the next generation that propaganda will be factual truth and base of other believes built on it.

Posted by: Grasdackel | Jul 15 2023 18:18 utc | 23

Ukraine's coast is a war zone. The grain deal allowed grain to be brought out of that war zone.

Russia's ports are not in war zones. However, they were twice as critical to world food supply, because twice as much moved out of them. They too were closed by the war, not as a war zone that endangered shipments, but as economic war that deliberately prevented shipments.

To the extent economic war works (and NATO insists that it does) that is the war taking food from the needy. Is that what NATO wants. Apparently, yes.

Posted by: Mark Thomason | Jul 15 2023 18:21 utc | 24

Back when I still got a daily newspaper, I noticed that almost all foreign news came from AP or Reuters.
No matter what was happening in the world, it all got filtered through those two organizations.

I think that most of the people in the world also get the same propaganda. I base this on the fact that Russia and China always know the daily propaganda, (and try to refute it), that people in Africa and South America occasionally chime in on social media spouting the same lines, and I used to watch a guy from Syria on YouTube (I assume he got banned), who refuted the propaganda in a humorous way. I wondered, though, how the hell does US/NATO propaganda get sent to Syria?
And I have an American friend married to a Russian woman, who said that her cellphone pushed anti-Russian propaganda on her, in Russian, back in the first days of the SMO. WTF? The cell provider was controlled by the US? This is in St. Petersburg!

Anyway, don't discount the power of the Mighty Wurlitzer to shape public opinion, even in countries that should be immune.
The belief of some, like Noam Chomsky, who insist that "People in the rest of the world are not fooled" is delusional.
They are just as fooled as those of those who live in the belly of the beast.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jul 15 2023 18:35 utc | 25

If you watch the State Dept. briefings, Matt Lee, from the AP, is usually very good with his questions, sharp and cynical.
But my local paper rarely had his byline. The few times it did, he was listed with a co-author, and the article never reflected his questioning. They must have him on a strict lease.
If you watch Pentagon or White House briefings, the only reporters asking relevant questions are from Sputnik or the Epoch Times.

I looked at the "reliable sources" Wiki link that Petri provided, but didn't get very far. When I got to the Bs and saw that Bellingcat was a "reliable source", I quit looking. I would bet my life savings that Sputnik is not listed, however. I have reservations about Epoch Times, but unless they are talking about China, they have put out some decent reporting.
Not that the vast majority of people will ever see either.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jul 15 2023 18:41 utc | 26

With grain being a low margin commodity as it is, the farther it goes, the more expensive it gets, until local sources are far, far more economic.
Posted by: UWDude | Jul 15 2023 16:50 utc

Yeah, whatever happened to "Stop the grain dumping, it drives local farmers out of business" campaign we used to see?
There was an organization called Food First that insisted that every country in the world could feed their own people, if they had land reform and governmental assistance. What happened to that?

The world population has doubled since then. Maybe it is no longer possible.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jul 15 2023 18:46 utc | 27

Back when I still got a daily newspaper, I noticed that almost all foreign news came from AP or Reuters.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Jul 15 2023 18:35 utc | 25

AP, AFP, Reuters, and to a lesser degree, Siemens.

All four are synchronized, and almost every story in the msm parrots these four, with a few changes of words for their synonyms here and there.

"Journalists" basically do nothing but pass on the carefully crafted propaganda of these four.

Posted by: UWDude | Jul 15 2023 18:55 utc | 28

Question: Is there a way to donate to MoonOfAlabama without going through PayPal?

Posted by: blimbax | Jul 15 2023 19:05 utc | 29

This is classic 'front line' monopolarity versus multi-polar world territory.
If you control the world's food you control the world, The US wants to.
That war is bigger by far than even the Ukraine war, and a major part of it is controlling the narrative.
Vladimir Putin has broad shoulders but the rest of the world needs to stand up to this for the above reason. Or the US will control a food monopoly. They need to look past the short term gains and bribes !

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 15 2023 19:17 utc | 30

In response to
Question: Is there a way to donate to MoonOfAlabama without going through PayPal?

Posted by: blimbax | Jul 15 2023 19:05 utc | 30

Some of us have been sending b cash for years successfully.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 15 2023 19:31 utc | 31

@ Sam | Jul 15 2023 15:36 utc | 7

Only clueless Putin would get distracted by entangling himself with Anglo plotted grain deal to diver attention from pursuing the real war .moron!

I do not think they, in RF, do not see that. It is a sync between Putin and RF's military, to enable the whole Black Sea domination, as a "road to Odesa", if you like. The grain deal obstructs just that. And coming back to SWIFT is not unimportant for RF.

Posted by: whirlX | Jul 15 2023 19:41 utc | 32

The worst disinfo is in the heading

»Why allowing Ukraine to ship grain«

Ukraine was never blocked by Russia from shipping grain.

It was blocked by its own sea mines littering the harbor, coast and floating around the Black Sea, plus sunken vessels in Odessa harbor that UA had sunk there to block access.

Prior to the grain deal Russia had been daily advertising an open humanitarian corridor to mariners.

It was the UA that set the Maritime Alert levels (MarSec=3) that prohibited ships from being able to navigate in accordance with insurance guidelines.

Posted by: Webej | Jul 15 2023 20:37 utc | 33

The Black Sea Grain Initiative.

DD Geopolitics swallowed the meme whole, hook line and sinker.

225Hard to argue with people who follow the memes, although most mass media could not function as mass media without stereotyping or following already well formed prior opinions and beliefs. Russians, Putin, blood thirsty, dictator, aggressive, peace loving, global initiative, world hunger, affordable healthcare, etc.

Just don't apply to some of your favorite social categories or follow the new meme, like Hollywood does.

Posted by: Acco Hengst | Jul 15 2023 20:46 utc | 34

@ Petri Krohn | Jul 15 2023 15:40 utc | 8

fully concur.. wikipedia is full on propaganda tool of the west at this point..

@ wagelaborer | Jul 15 2023 18:41 utc | 26

ditto your comments on matt lee... too bad none of it gets reported as he is one of the few to challenge the narrative operation coming out of those usa state dept news briefings..

Posted by: james | Jul 15 2023 20:51 utc | 35

The belief of some, like Noam Chomsky, who insist that "People in the rest of the world are not fooled" is delusional. They are just as fooled as those of those who live in the belly of the beast. Posted by: wagelaborer | Jul 15 2023 18:35 utc | 25

Indeed. In Brazil, all local MSM regurgitates AP's sewer info. Surely, left leaning folks are wary of the hegemon's mischiefs, but that doesn't prevent The Narrative to spread as a cancer. Even historical folks, who fought CIA's dictatorship of the last century fell for the massive campaign of "vicious Russia, poor Ukraine".

Nowadays, that doesn't fly so easily seeing G7/Nato countries going full retard "arm, arm, arm Ukraine" & "no peace talks, only war talks". Nonetheless, MSM keeps the Globalist party line.

Posted by: Madame Guillotine | Jul 15 2023 21:52 utc | 36


follow b's instructions-

Transaction costs are the smallest when you make a bank wire transfer or mail cash. Send email to MoonofA @ (remove the blanks) for the necessary details. (They are the same as before.)"

fire off an email to b.

Posted by: morongobill | Jul 15 2023 23:56 utc | 37

Scorion @ 5

I think it has been reported that the grain shipments ended up being cover for arms shipments of various sorts.

Not that no grain was shipped, but continuing this supposed humanitarian commerce through the Black Sea and the Bosporus to the Med offered an opportunity to also ship/smuggle arms. Not sure in which direction, though, whether out of or into the Ukraine.

Posted by: Jane | Jul 16 2023 2:11 utc | 38

AP isn't "obfuscating". That organization along with S&P "data visualizations" has been straight up lying about UA market share of GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY since April 2022, which is when I started following craptastic G7's Russian blockade "starving Africans" propaganda. Helmer immediately noted this, so it didn't take that much more effort to dig up prior 2020-2022 marketing year (MY) calendars, yields, and UA, EU, and USA export val and vol, before and after the SMO. Furthermore, JCC immediately published principal agreement inspection and security obligations (UKRAINE) in July 2022 and from 1 Aug 2022, "vessel movement" departures, delays, refusals, and destinations in table format (!) until Jan 2023. All weeping eyes of WFP and FAO witnesses pushing RUSSIAN CRIMES into UNSC briefs—"stolen" WHEAT, then SUNFLOWER meal and RAPESEED oil, then unspecified "GRAINS" possibly der KORN/CORN/MAIZE which may or may not have been mostly "coarse" fit only for Spanish pigs' consumption or dumped from SOLIDARITY LANES into Baltic and Balkan AG markets. I cannot understate how disgusted I am by Guterres' and Erdogan's silence in the face of outrageous Ukrainian episodes berating the intelligence of "starving Africans" from afar or delivered with their FIRST EVER diplomatic contact with any African state.

Posted by: sln2002 | Jul 16 2023 3:07 utc | 39

Superb analysis.

But what intrigued me always since the start of the grain fraud (not a deal) is why Russia kept it for so long. The fraud should have been burried a long time ago.

Ukraine purchased weapons from grain export dollars it received. Turkey has a very high inflation despite buying Ukie grain at a 25% discount. Things will go from bad to worse for Turkey.

Posted by: Jason | Jul 16 2023 3:11 utc | 40

25% discount?
Posted by: Jason | Jul 16 2023 3:11 utc | 41

yo. This post is about agricultural products not gas or oil.

Posted by: sln2002 | Jul 16 2023 3:22 utc | 41

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jul 15 2023 15:40 utc | 8

"reliable sources"'s taken me way too much time to actually find "reliable sources". I didn't actually "wake up" fully til the summer of 2021, and I've been hunting ever since. I don't think I found this site til about a year ago.

Lest I be accused of "OT", if I was Putin, I wouldn't continue on with this grain deal either. Doesn't seem like much of a deal for Russia, other than to keep the headlines in the MSM from screaming about Putin letting the 3rd world starve, although, if we'd stop giving them handouts, maybe they'd finally get their poop in a group, and start feeding their own damn selves. A hand up, I can see. As it is, seems like most of the aid goes to their leaders' wives' purchases of Gucci handbags.

Posted by: The Duchess | Jul 16 2023 5:35 utc | 42

Years ago my local newspaper the LA Times used to allow open commenting on every article. That got out of hand of course with many commenters pointing out what was omitted or misleading about the article. The current owner only allows comments on a handful of minor stories, usually local stuff like potholes, and absolutely never on the AP or Reuters stories that are flat out Neocon propaganda.

Posted by: Prompt critical | Jul 16 2023 6:40 utc | 43

The AP has been a lying, sack of s**t for well over a century. See Upton Sinclair's book "The Brass Check" for more on that.

#5 asked:

That said, have never understood why Ukie grain shipments could not be diverted through Romania via Black Sea or by train inland and west to Poland and beyond.

First of all, the reason ANYTHING is shipped by water is because it has far less friction than overland transportation. In other words, it costs way less energy and effort to move something over water than by land (trains are more expensive than cargo ships).

Secondly, as for Constanta (Romania's Black Sea port) specifically, please understand that there never been any infrastructure connecting Ukraine to Romania (pull up a map and you'll see why), so it hasn't been easy to get Ukrainian products that "last mile" across into Romania and to the port.

Furthermore, Constanta is already operating at WAY above capacity. People and tugboats and other special kinds of ships (such as bunker fueling ships) are needed to operate a port, and there's a limit on how much can be done in a day.

Additionally, Romania has NOT been charging import duties or port fees for Ukrainian goods which is leaving Romanian port workers stressed out and underpaid as well as having serious negative effects on the Romanian economy (because Romanian farmers DO have to pay to ship their goods out of Constanta).

As for Turkey, they are now operating most of the flour mills that service Europe. If the "grain deal" falls through, Europeans are going to be paying a lot more for their pasta, biscuits, and bread.

Posted by: Sam (in Tiraspol) | Jul 16 2023 7:11 utc | 44

B’s article makes it clear that this issue is not about the ‘life or death’ of ‘the poor’ but about the maintenance of profits for those who hold a monopoly in grain trade. All Putin is doing by offering free passage and free fertiliser is heading off the “Russia causes famine headlines”. If Putin didn’t take such action there’d be a repeat of the 1984 Ethiopian “famine due to communist dictator” bollocks (the starving people in refugee camps were in US funded rebel territory), but hey why let the facts get in the way of AP/Reuters counter revolutionary propaganda?

Posted by: Lev Davidovich | Jul 16 2023 9:00 utc | 45

Thanks to b for the hard digging as usual. Even with the mighty hangover I wake with today, the analysis is clear.
Raw Data matters.
‘Weighted’ data is suspect.
(That’s why pollsters are able to lie and manage the Narrative and election fixing is done , but that’s another story.)

@ Iames and comment 1

That is how the Propaganda Multiplier works.
Look up a Caitlin Johnstone’s work on it and the Swiss Propaganda peoples absolute mapping of it.

That’s why Reuters and AP etc have spooks as senior management.
That’s why all the newspapers on the stand have the SAME from page ‘exclusives’

That why I gave up the msm.

Anyway back to restoring fluids and I njoying a very happy hangover. It was quite a party.

Posted by: DunGroanin | Jul 16 2023 10:47 utc | 46

Damn, Putin just spanked Erdogan's ass! Cut Turkey right out of all their privileges as trade route facilitator. And I'm sure that Russia sees the potential for expanding their share of the lucrative Chinese grain market and further developing export through the Caspian and Iran to the Persian Gulf. There's nothing like simple cross-border trade, and I'm sure Iran could get a deal for themselves for their role as a route facilitator. That route would facilitate export to KSA and Africa. It looks like the rapprochement between Iran and KSA happened just in time. So it works as a bottom-line business proposition for Russia as well as gaining them a freer hand in the Black Sea. If Russia can cash in on expanded grain exports to China and Iran, denominated in BRICS currencies, what bargaining position does the West really have with the sanctions on Russian banks? I suspect that Russia is posturing, not bargaining, on the issue of reconnecting their banks to SWIFT. Future economic arrangements between Russia and the West will happen only on terms highly advantageous to Russia.

With regard to Turkey, this is also a serious swat with real economic consequences. And the recent shift in authority over Syrian aid to direct negotiation between Syria and the UN can also be viewed as an in-your-face to Erdogan, since it eliminates the influence Turkey had under the old agreement. Russia also hasn't been shy about attacking Erdogan's clients in Syria directly as of late. Seeing more and more signs of the end of his Syria project is a huge climb down for the old wannabe Sultan Erdogan. It kind of puts his media-centric release of Nazis caught in the Azovstal Steel Plant into perspective. Looks like kind of a sour turn for Russia-Turkey relations, but IMO there are serious convergent objective interests between Russia and Turkey that mitigate potential for things to spin too far out of control. Turkey's interest in the transit of Russian gas through the Turkstream pipeline remains. Facilitating gas and other Eurasian commodities exports to the Mediterranean region is an opportunity too good to pass up no matter what butthurt Erdogan may be feeling over Syria and the collapse of the grain deal.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Jul 16 2023 16:54 utc | 47

@ DunGroanin | Jul 16 2023 10:47 utc | 46

lol.. i don't want to interfere in your your recreational pastimes, but thanks for your comment to which i share your viewpoint! happy watering, lol...

@ Thirdeye | Jul 16 2023 16:54 utc | 47

yours is a very perceptive comment as i see it.. thanks for articulating all that..

sorry if i missed anything further up the thread..

Posted by: james | Jul 16 2023 17:02 utc | 48

When one knows what is really going on, the hypocrisy of the West becomes apparent.

Posted by: young | Jul 17 2023 0:39 utc | 49

Same with English language newspapers here in India.. AP, AFP, Reuters, NYT.. articles from these four populate the 'International' page of Indian newspapers.

So, it is clear that the situation is the same in many countries..

Posted by: R | Jul 17 2023 10:07 utc | 50

responding to: A.z | Jul 15 2023 16:44 utc | 14

A better sorting of the data would be 'lower-income' ('low-income' and 'lower-middle-income') and 'higher income' (upper-middle-income' and 'high-income'), based on column 'C' of the UN spreadsheet. Both Egypt and Bangladesh fall in the first category. The advantage of this split is that it categorizes recipient countries based on population income.

Under this sorting, 'lower-income' countries received just 26,5% of the products shipped under the grain deal. 'Higher-income' countries received the remaining 3/4. The 17 countries listed as 'high-income' in the original table got 56,4% of all grain-deal exports.

I think it safe to say that low-income populations world-wide were *not* the main beneficiaries of the grain deal - which is, after all, the point here.

According to FAO, rising wheat consumption in Bangladesh is a consequence of 'a gradual shift in local diet preferences.' The country's main staple is rice, which provides 70% of all calories. According to FAO, Bangladesh 'is almost self‑sufficient in rice and imports large quantities only when local production is not sufficient to cover domestic needs. In 2022/23 (April/March), imports of rice are forecast at 350 000 tonnes, reflecting bumper harvests in 2021 and favourable production prospects for the 2022 “Boro” crops.' According to Bangladeshi government statistics (and those published by private sources) rice prices have held fairly steady between June 2022 and June 2023. See for example: Local rice prices top local wheat prices by a significant margin.

One might also observe that average industrial wages in Bangladesh are very low, despite the fact that Bangladesh's export economy is strongly oriented toward Western consumption: according to, clothing and related goods made up 91% of Bangladesh's exports in 2022.

Thus, it seems to me that *grains* - especially rice - are not a concern where Bangladeshis are concerned. Produce and meat availability, on the other hand, have been heavily impacted by last year's disastrous flooding, which is tied to global warming.

Westerners worried about food insecurity in Bangladesh might first focus on forcing Western corporations to pay Bangladeshi workers more, which they can do by turning a larger percentage of their absurd profits over to the workforce that actually makes the goods they sell. Beyond that, making sure that, under any future Grain deal, grain actually goes to countries that are 'lower-income' would seem a basic, reasonable policy.

Posted by: Michele | Jul 18 2023 4:58 utc | 51

The comments to this entry are closed.