John Batchelor’s latest interview of Stephen Cohen is here. Is there a secret deal for Ukraine?
Posts Tagged ‘Russia’
Posted by Charles II on January 20, 2016
Posted by Charles II on January 19, 2016
James Carden, The Nation:
In mid-December 2015, Congress passed a 2,000-plus-page omnibus spending bill for fiscal year 2016. Both parties were quick to declare victory after the passage of the $1.8 trillion package. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters “we feel good about the outcome, primarily because we got a compromise budget agreement that fought off a wide variety of ideological riders.” The office of House Speaker Paul J. Ryan touted the bill’s “64 billion for overseas contingency operations” for, among other things, assisting ”European countries facing Russian aggression.”
Whether White House spokesman Josh Earnest was referring, in part, to the Conyers-Yoho amendment as one of those “ideological riders” the administration fought to defeat is unclear. What is clear is that by stripping out the anti-neo-Nazi provision, Congress and the administration have paved the way for US funding to end up in the hands of the most noxious elements circulating within Ukraine today.
Thanks, John Conyers and Ted Yoho.
Posted by Charles II on July 9, 2015
In a curiously upbeat account, The New York Times reports that Islamic militants have joined with Ukraine’s far-right and neo-Nazi battalions to fight ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. It appears that no combination of violent extremists is too wretched to celebrate as long as they’re killing Russ-kies.
[added]“The Chechen commands the Sheikh Mansur group, named for an 18th-century Chechen resistance figure. It is subordinate to the nationalist Right Sector, a Ukrainian militia. … Right Sector … formed during last year’s street protests in Kiev from a half-dozen fringe Ukrainian nationalist groups like White Hammer and the Trident of Stepan Bandera.
Posted by Charles II on January 25, 2015
Robert Parry has a good piece on how the Rick Lyman and Andrew E. Kramer of The New York Times have done a new piece of state propaganda by decontextualizing the origins of the conflict:
One way the Times has falsified the Ukraine narrative is by dating the origins of the crisis to several months after the crisis actually began. So, the lead story in Saturday’s editions ignored the actual chronology of events and started the clock with the appearance of Russian troops in Crimea in spring 2014.
In other words, the story doesn’t start in fall 2013 with the extraordinary U.S. intervention in Ukrainian political affairs – spearheaded by American neocons, such as National Endowment for Democracy president Carl Gershman, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and Sen. John McCain – nor with the U.S.-backed coup on Feb. 22, 2014, which ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych and put one of Nuland’s chosen leaders, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, in as Prime Minister.
As I commented on the site, one could also start the story of this conflict in 1917. In that case, one would include Stalin’s brutal famine, created in part artificially, that led to mass deaths. A fully-accurate narrative of the Ukrainian crisis would state that the country does have a pro-western faction and a pro-Russian faction, that the pro-western faction resents the Russian colonial mindset but fails to appreciate that if it becomes free of Russia, it will become a Western colony, and that the pro-Russian regions are being prodded, encourage, and supplied by Russia. In other words, this may be a proxy conflict, but it has substantial support from both factions of the population.
A better antidote to the half-blind perspective of the New York Times is to bring another half-blind perspective from the other side and try to integrate the two. In that regard, I want to mention Slavyangrad and The Vineyard of the Saker, recommended by reader Jo6Pac. Slavyangrad has a big map of the hostilities that’s very useful. It shows how the pro-Russian offensive in the south would put the rebels within less than 100 miles of creating a land route between Russia and Crimea. It would give the Russians a friendly port much nearer to Crimea. The Vineyard links a pretty convincing film of a man in uniform–presumed to be in the Kiev army– who sounds like an Aussie and one might reasonably suspect of being a contractor supplied by the West. In the shelling of civilians in Mariupol, The Guardian blames it on rebels, while the Vineyard claims that the shells came from Kiev’s army. It’s just as amusing to hear The Saker talk about how professional and precise the pro-Russian artillery is, even though it’s supposedly fired by amateurs as it is to read The Guardian effectively blame the rebels for civilian deaths without providing any real evidence for culpability.
Are there Russian soldiers in there? Are there western soldiers in there? Probably yes to both. Neither Kiev’s army nor the pro-Russian militias would seem to have enough combat training or access to weapons to cause this much havoc on their own. What seems clear is that Russia has decided to re-supply the pro-Russian side and that the West is going to try to pretend that it has nothing to do with creating this proxy war. At what point is the Obama Administration going to decide that the Russians are dead serious? At what point is it going to occur to the Administration that it has other fish in the pan, fish which would have been much more easily fried with Russian help? And when will the NYT get so embarrassed by its reporting and the failure of American policy that it tells the Administration that it’s no longer going to serve as an organ of state propaganda? Based on the extensive Honduran experience documented on this blog, one would have to guess that the answer to those three questions is “Never.”
Nuclear war, anyone?
Posted by Charles II on December 6, 2014
Apparently Yanukovych didn’t steal the gold.
US-born Natalie Jaresko became finance minister, Lithuania’s Aivaras Abromavicius economy minister and Aleksandre Kvitashvili – from Georgia – health minister. Hours before the vote in the parliament that installed them, all three were granted Ukrainian citizenship by President Petro Poroshenko.
The move is part of a fresh anti-corruption drive in Kiev.
Posted by Charles II on October 21, 2014
So, Der Spiegel reports that the Russians definitely did not shoot down the Malaysian airliner MH-17. In the meantime, Kiev’s army has been defeated in battle, the Russians are dictating how Ukraine is going to pay to heat their homes, and there’s a danger of the Poroshenko government getting overthrown.
None of this can be mentioned on the Daily Kos without getting called a “Kremlin troll.” By a guy who has joined Daily Kos today, and has four comments of five total on my thread.
Usually a third of the comments are excellent, or at least sincere. But in this thread, there were three comments I was glad to receive–not because they were supportive, but because they brought me new information. That’s approximately 5% of the comments that were not outright manure.
Posted by Charles II on October 15, 2014
Robert Parry, Consortium News:
For months, the New York Times and other major U.S. news outlets have insisted that it’s just Russian propaganda to say that a significant neo-Nazi presence exists inside Ukraine, but thousands of these “non-existent” neo-Nazis battled police on Tuesday outside the parliament building in Kiev demanding recognition of their Hitler-collaborating forebears.
The parliament, aware of the obvious public relations fiasco that would follow if it bowed to far-right demands to honor members of the Nazi-affiliated Ukrainian Insurgent Army (or UIA), defeated the proposal. That touched off riots by an estimated 8,000 protesters led by Ukraine’s right-wing Svoboda party and the Right Sektor.
So, is the Kiev government going to last, or will it be overthrown as the Yanukovych government was overthrown?
Posted by Charles II on September 20, 2014
This is just another story of what is forming a pattern. Deutsche Welle did a program on The Aryans, which describes the re-emergence of Nazism in Germany. There are towns where Jews and non-whites cannot go out after dark, and where local people are afraid to talk about the extremists. We know about the neo-Nazis in the Ukraine. And now this, from Libby Brooks of The Guardian:
Six people were arrested amid angry scenes in Glasgow on Friday night as a group of young pro-union supporters clashed with pro-independence supporters who had been gathering in George Square throughout the day.
Police acted to separate a small group of pro-independence supporters from a group of skinheads believed to have marched from the loyalist pub the Louden Tavern in nearby Duke Street.
Individuals argued over the referendum result and a chorus of Rule Britannia was countered by Flower of Scotland.
As the evening wore on, and the yes supporters dispersed, more loyalists converged on the square, many of them draped in union flags.
A number were teenagers, and clearly drunk. At one point a section of the crowd broke through police lines and marched up the central shopping area of Buchanan Street, chanting the words to Rule Britannia. Some shouted loyalist slogans and racist abuse, and appeared to make Nazi salutes.
I do not think these are isolated events. I think there is an aggressive, international neo-Nazi movement, fueled by unemployment and culture change, and to some degree abetted by reactionary elements in business and government. The rest of the world should react accordingly.
Max Blumenthal on neo-Nazi elements in the Ukraine government.
Posted by Charles II on September 10, 2014
Shaun Walker of The Guardian had an interesting story:
But there is an increasing worry that while the Azov and other volunteer battalions might be Ukraine’s most potent and reliable force on the battlefield against the separatists, they also pose the most serious threat to the Ukrainian government, and perhaps even the state, when the conflict in the east is over. The Azov causes particular concern due to the far right, even neo-Nazi, leanings of many of its members.
Dmitry claimed not to be a Nazi, but waxed lyrical about Adolf Hitler as a military leader, and believes the Holocaust never happened. Not everyone in the Azov battalion thinks like Dmitry, but after speaking with dozens of its fighters and embedding on several missions during the past week in and around the strategic port city of Mariupol, the Guardian found many of them to have disturbing political views, and almost all to be intent on “bringing the fight to Kiev” when the war in the east is over.
The battalion’s symbol is reminiscent of the Nazi Wolfsangel, though the battalion claims it is in fact meant to be the letters N and I crossed over each other, standing for “national idea”. Many of its members have links with neo-Nazi groups, and even those who laughed off the idea that they are neo-Nazis did not give the most convincing denials.
Indeed, much of what Azov members say about race and nationalism is strikingly similar to the views of the more radical Russian nationalists fighting with the separatist side.
The Ukrainian armed forces are “an army of lions led by a sheep”, said Dmitry, and there is only so long that dynamic can continue. With so many armed, battle-hardened and angry young men coming back from the front, there is a danger that the rolling of heads could be more than a metaphor. Dmitry said he believes that Ukraine needs “a strong dictator to come to power who could shed plenty of blood but unite the nation in the process”.
Many in the Azov battalion [and other batallions] with whom the Guardian spoke shared this view
Anti-Semitism and strongman worship are so common in parts of the world that one hesitates to call them abnormal. They are part of the air that people breathe. But the part about the Azov fighters and others like them might turn on the Poroshenko government should give Washington pause. It’s crazy that the US has sided with Kiev given its use of neo-Nazi elements.
Posted by Charles II on September 5, 2014
The scale of the devastation suffered by Ukrainian forces in southeastern Ukraine over the last week has to be seen to be believed. It amounts to a catastrophic defeat and will long be remembered by embittered Ukrainians as among the darkest days of their history.
A week ago a major rebel offensive began. On September 3 on a sixteen-mile stretch of road from the village of Novokaterinivka to the town of Ilovaysk, I counted the remains of sixty-eight military vehicles, tanks, armored personnel carriers, pick-ups, buses, and trucks in which a large but as yet unknown number of Ukrainian soldiers died as they tried to flee the area between August 28 and September 1. They had been ambushed by rebel forces and, according to survivors, soldiers from the army of the Russian Federation.
These destroyed vehicles were of course only the ones I could see—those that were not destroyed are now in the hands of rebels.
The fortunes of war have changed dramatically in the past two weeks. In spring, anti-Kiev rebels, taking the new and revolutionary Ukrainian government by surprise, seized towns and cities across the two predominantly industrial and mining regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. At first, Ukrainian forces either fell apart, were captured, or defected to the rebel side. By summer, however, the Ukrainians were better organized and went on the offensive driving the rebels back.
…The Ukrainians said that regular Russian troops were crossing the border, a contention supported by western intelligence reports. More and more stories are being written in the Russian press too about soldiers killed in action in Ukraine, though the Russian government flatly denies that any regular soldiers—as opposed to volunteers who have come on their own—have crossed the frontier. However not only is there mounting evidence of the presence of regular Russian soldiers but the fact that the military situation has changed so rapidly also suggests the rebels have acquired new strength.
From Neil MacFarquar at the NYT:
Timothy Ash, a market analyst at Standard Bank in London who closely monitors developments in Ukraine and Russia, said the agreement signed in Minsk on Friday meant the conflict would probably be frozen in a political stalemate similar to those in other Russian-dominated, quasi-independent “gray zones” like Transnistria in Moldova and Abkhazia in Georgia.
“Russian regular and irregular forces are not going to withdraw unless Poroshenko delivers on Putin’s agenda for a federal solution for Ukraine, which is really a nonstarter for any Ukrainian politician and political suicide, in effect,” Mr. Ash wrote on Friday in a note to clients.
Without a cease-fire now, Mr. Ash wrote, Mr. Poroshenko risked losing Mariupol, which remained under heavy attack by pro-Russian forces on Friday. “Any delay would probably have seen the loss of Mariupol, and then a land corridor secured by Russia to Crimea,” he wrote, which would have been “likely terminal” for Ukraine’s already struggling economy.
Judah was there. He saw troops he believes are Russian, though not in large numbers. Cameron’s call to assemble a rapid-reaction force and the plan to have NATO troops train in western Ukraine therefore puts us on the brink of a full-fledged hot war between the US and Russia. Certainly there are forces in Ukraine that would be happy to light the match.
One does not need to support the Russians–I don’t–to realize that Ukraine is a vital interest for them and not for us. So, they are quite willing to go to war over it, and we aren’t. So, we should shut up and try to accomplish change through more constructive means than overthrowing the government, sending their soldiers off on a fool’s mission, and then using our own troops in as a tripwire on an active battlefield.
Also, we should stop trying to silence the people who know what the f–k they’re talking about. As an aside, I called the attempt to silence those of us urging caution as a kind of neo-McCarthyism on July 22, several weeks before Stephen Cohen said the same thing.
And, as a final interesting aside, you may notice we have heard nothing new about the Malaysian airliner? There has been an agreement between the western powers who are conducting the investigation not to talk about it:
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean there seems to be an agreement between the major countries?
STEPHEN COHEN: Well, in addition to the insurance company for the airplane, which technically has legal responsibility, the major countries that are doing it, Britain has the black boxes, the Netherlands are involved. There was a report the other day that these parties, these states, have agreed that they would not divulge individually what they have discovered. Now, they’ve had plenty of time to interpret the black boxes. There are reports from Germany that the White House version of what happened is not true, therefore you have to look elsewhere for the culprit who did the shooting down. They’re sitting on satellite intercepts. They have the images. They won’t release the air controller’s conversations in Kiev with the doomed aircraft. Why not?
So… maybe somebody other than the Russians or the pro-Russian rebels shot down the airliner?