by Dmitry Orlov
Club Orlov (March 11 2014)
The guest post from Renee last week appeared on this blog because Huffington Post refused to run it. And now I hear that no comment linking the new Ukrainian government to the neo-Nazis or the neo-Nazis to the mass murder in Kiev can get through on any news site. It seems like there is an actual news blackout on this message:
“It appears that the US State Department gave $5 billion to Ukrainian neo-Nazis who used some of the money to hire mass murderers who massacred protesters, policemen and bystanders in order to provide a rationale for overthrowing the democratically elected government of Ukraine and installing an anti-Russian puppet government”.
That’s about as short and sweet as I can make it. Please go and see how many places you can cut and paste that sentence. It would give us an idea of the extent of the censorship in the US. First they take over Ukraine, then Huffington Post, what’s next? Your living-room?
Everybody now admits that the Kiev massacre was a false flag operation, just like I said it was. The leading theory is that the snipers who fired indiscriminately on policemen, demonstrators and bystanders were hired by the Ukrainian opposition. (Interesting question: Were they paid with US State Department funds?) But in response the newly installed authorities in Kiev have gone full-retard and are blaming … why, Russia, of course! So obvious! Russia had just signed a historic deal with Yanukovych, accepting Ukraine into the Customs Union and giving it a huge discount on natural gas, plus the Winter Olympics in Sochi were underway. Of course Russia would want to throw all of that away, watch helplessly as Ukraine’s government gets overthrown and replaced by US-financed neo-Nazis, and now face sanctions for defending the rights of its citizens in Crimea. No, not really.
Meanwhile, Putin is having trouble explaining to Western leaders that Russia is not doing anything illegal: Russian troops are in Crimea legally, based on a long-term agreement with Ukraine and the self-defense forces in charge there are irregulars who do not report to the Russian military. Crimea is about to hold a referendum on independence from Ukraine (having ended up as part of Ukraine as an accident) but the West says the referendum is illegal. You see, unlike the Albanians in Kosovo or the South Sudanese or just about any other group, the Russians in Crimea do not have the right of self-determination. Why? Because they are Russian?
This week’s guest post is by Outlook Zen. It strikes me as exceptionally balanced; the one quibble I have is against mentioning Godwin’s Law while ignoring this: Godwin rightly called out people who use the terms “fascism” and “Nazi” and gratuitously compare people to Hitler. But what about those who don jackboots and Swastika armbands and stomp around saluting each other with the Hitler Salute? Is the comparison still gratuitous? There seems to be a taboo in the US against mentioning that there were neo-Nazis behind the putsch in Kiev. The allegations that they hired snipers to shoot other protesters, to produce a rationale for overthrowing the government, are being hushed up too. Too embarrassing? Well, it should be! But there should still be a full investigation.
Just two weeks ago, we had discussed the bias in international reporting, and the tendency of media outlets to report the most sensational facts without providing proper context and a full-view of the situation. How time appropriate, given the outbreak of the Russia-Crimea situation in the past few days. As we hear the reporting of the situation in US and western media, I’m reminded over and over again of my earlier complaints. So many of the articles seem so sensational and biased in their reporting. What stands out glaringly is the extent to which Russia has been condemned. Over the past days, I’ve seen Putin compared to Hitler, Russia compared to Nazi Germany, and the Crimean annexation compared to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. The same media that has always jumped to condemn Bush-Hitler comparisons, is now the first to invoke Godwin’s Law when describing Russia and Putin.
Personally, as someone who has no ties to Russia, neither positive nor negative, none of their actions thus far strike me as being outrageous. Hence why the hyperbolic media reporting in the US strikes me as being a bit too biased & extreme.
A recap of the key events in recent days:
Ukraine’s democratically elected government was overthrown by mass-protests in the capital, Kiev.
These protests represent popular sentiment in Western Ukraine, but not in the East. Eastern Ukraine is strongly pro-Russian, and it was this faction that won the most recent elections and installed the President Viktor Yanukovych. The protests could thus be seen as a non-democratic overthrow of a democratically elected government, by the losing minority. It can also be credibly cast as the political censorship and subjugation of the pro-Russia Eastern-Ukraine, by the pro-EU Western-Ukraine.
Russia, in protest of the above, annexes/liberates Crimea, the already semi-autonomous and most heavily pro-Russian province in Ukraine. It was a bloodless takeover, with no casualties. There is no local protest or uprising against the Russian occupation. The Russian army is cheered on and; greeted warmly by the local population. Secession fever breaks out all over Eastern Ukraine, as people protest against the protester-installed government in Kiev. Pro-Russian protesters drape Russian flags over government buildings. Ukraine’s own Admiral Berezovsky, who was appointed by the interim government in Kiev, orders Ukrainian naval forces on the peninsula to disregard any orders from the “self-proclaimed” authorities in Kiev. Pro-Russian leaders in Crimea have scheduled a referendum to be held later this month, that will let the locals decide on secession and ties with Russia. Ironically, both Kiev and the West are opposed to this democratic vote that would allow the locals to chart their own future. Recapping these events, I’m having a hard time expressing outrage over anything Russia has done in the past weeks.
To be sure, this is a very complicated situation, and I certainly do not mean to oversimplify it. What exactly the locals in Crimea and Eastern-Ukraine want, and whether this is aligned with Russian intervention, is certainly a debatable topic. There are good arguments that can be made both for and against Russian intervention in Crimea. If the day ever comes when Russia ignores or suppresses the popular will of the Crimean people, I will be the first to condemn Putin.
However, what I do find most objectionable today is the hyperbole with which Russia is being regarded by Western media. The bias inherent in almost all reporting, and the arguments presented to justify only one of the two sides, is virtually bordering on propaganda. Even worse is the lack of context with which Russia’s actions are being presented. Consider the following list of US interventions in foreign countries over the past half century.
* The US invasion of Panama, in order to protect their interests in the Panama Canal
* The US sponsored invasion of Cuba to overthrow the popular revolutionary, Fidel Castro
* US Intervention in Vietnam
* US Invasion of Iraq, in violation of both UN law and Iraqi public sentiment, resulting in 500,000 Iraqi civilian deaths
* US assassination attempts on foreign leaders, such as Fidel Castro, in the past decades
* US spying on Allies, other countries’ Heads of States, and virtually everyone using the Internet
After looking at this list, it’s hard to make the case that Russian intervention in Crimea is outrageous compared to what we have been doing for decades. At no point during any of the above controversies did the media question whether our country is deserving of economic sanctions, whether we should have our G8 membership revoked, or whether we’re becoming a police-spy-war state like Nazi Germany. And yet, Russian intervention in Crimea has been deemed worthy of all the above.
Let me conclude by proclaiming one thing clearly. I greatly admire & am proud of our nation. I’m extremely glad to be living here in the USA, and not in Russia. But this patriotism is no excuse for biased reporting & hyperbole against Russia. It’s been 25 years since the Cold War ended. It’s time we evaluated Russia’s actions objectively, and not from the narrow prism of Western ethnocentrism.
The original version of the guest post by Outlook Zen, below the <<<>>> mark above, contains a number of links to further information not included here. You can find them at https://outlookzen.wordpress.com/.