Renee Parsons / Counterpunch & Dr. Paul Craig Roberts / Global Research – 2014-08-23 01:20:01
Ukraine Crisis Continues
More NATO False Claims: Ukraine Humanitarian Aid Flounders
Renee Parsons / Counterpunch
(August 20, 2014) — As the violence in east Ukraine continues to spiral out of control, it is readily apparent that US diplomatic efforts to bring peace to the region are non-existent — except to stir opposition against a 280 vehicle humanitarian convoy stalled at the border and to reiterate a cycle of uncorroborated fictions against Russia.
With intensified fighting in Ukraine, new allegations that a column of 23 Russian armored personnel carriers had crossed the border and beendestroyed by Ukraine artillery in rebel-held territory have proven to be totally unfounded — and yet an acquiescent media continues to repeat the unsubstantiated charges as if factual.
At the same time, as the massacre of a civilian population in Gaza revealed the gross inhumanity of the Obama Administration, the currentblocking of urgently needed humanitarian and medical aid from Russia to east Ukraine is the latest provocation by the US-supported Kiev government.
Since earlier incitements failed in its desired effect to lure Russian troops across the border and the downing of MH 17 failed to prove that Putin was to blame, the US has moved on to the strategy of using the Ukraine’s civilian population, an estimated 1,200 of which are abandoned orphans, as bait to achieve the hoped-for result of encouraging a Russian military intervention.
Not that there is not already a wealth of evidence from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere that a defenseless civilian population is always an expendable commodity in the larger aim of US global dominance. The president and other US officials continue to do their best to undermine the urgency of the convoy as well as spreading panic that Russia is imminently planning an unprovoked invasion.
Despite newly elected President Poroshenko’s approval for the humanitarian fleet (which is carrying 2,000 tons of food, water, blankets, sleeping bags, condensed milk and other necessities) with the support of the International Red Cross, the Russian convoy remains stuck 30 kms from the Ukraine border. In spite of Proshenko’s agreement to allow access, the convey is still being denied entry by border guards into Ukraine.
Caught in the diplomatic cross-hairs of the Kiev government’s efforts to derail the convoy, the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) formally petitioned the government to allow humanitarian aid to travel through east Ukraine as an ICRC team arrived to negotiate the stalemate with Ukraine border guards.
Six hours later, the convoy received official designation as humanitarian aid and a tentative green light only to be stalled again. Agreed-upon conditions include inspection of the 280 trucks by Red Cross personnel with a Red Cross employee required to accompany each truck into Ukraine.
While a random inspection has begun, it is uncertain how long inspections might take with the expectation that it will be at least another week before the convoy is allowed to roll again.
Even as the UN conservatively estimates over 2,000 citizen fatalities to date, what has not been agreed-upon is a ceasefire without which the convoy will be traversing through an exceedingly dangerous war-torn territory.
With a ceasefire nowhere in sight, Ukraine security forces have intensified their offensive shelling of residential neighborhoods in six Donetsk cities as the Kiev government is also fighting for control of the Yuzivska shale gas field.
Located near Slavyansk on the Kharkov Donetsk border, residents had organized protests against the Yuzivska development including a planned ballot referendum. Today, as the conflict spreads creating more casualties, the humanitarian convoy waits at the border.
With fighting in the beleaguered Luhansk, a city of over 400,000 without water and electricity for at least the last two weeks and desperately awaiting arrival of the convoy, the alarming report of planned road attacks by one of the several neo-Nazi militias in the area continues to fan the fears of more violence.
If and when the unarmed convoy, its drivers unequipped with helmets or defensive gear crosses into Ukraine and heads for the Donbas, confronts a hostile military presence, Putin may be forced to act in a way he has so far resisted — that is, to order the Russian army into Ukraine to protect the convoy and its Russian citizens.
While NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a rabid Russophobe, suggested that “a Russian incursion” had occurred “through a gap in a barbed wire fence that demarcates the border.” Seriously — 23 APC’s ‘through a gap in a barbed wire fence’? The Russian Defense ministry has denied the claim as ‘fantasy’ and ‘fabrications’ and that “such statements should not be subject for a serious discussion by top officials of any country.”
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has further testified that no Russian ammunition or military has crossed the border at the two most populated checkpoints. It is not as if the Kiev and US governments have not, in the past, provided speculative assertions of wrongdoing on the part of the ‘rebels,’ this latest narrative is more transparent than their other constructed fiction.
It is no more possible to imagine that a column of 23 Russian tanks had moved quietly across the border (through a gap of barbed wire) and into Ukraine without any detection and been so devastatingly annihilated as described without any photos of the wreckage, satellite images or other evidence on display than it would be if President Obama had missed the opportunity to provide irrefutable evidence of a Russian ‘invasion’ of Ukraine on primetime TV.
Is it reasonable to believe that the movement of that large a force of APC’s would not have immediately brought down the full wrath of the US military and NATO in an immediate apocalyptic armed response? And yet all the major players remain strangely silent, not one word of outrage and no presidential announcement to the nation that Russia had invaded Ukraine.
As if the aforementioned crises were not enough to heighten the already fraught tensions that threaten to expand the battlefield beyond its current boundaries, the upcoming annual NATO Heads of State Summit in early September, a gesture to the dying dinosaur, promises to add more fuel to the fire.
While it appears that the promised approval of NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine may remain on the backburner for the short term, every NATO member fully understands that the depth of Russia’s antagonism in an already volatile environment is rooted in a vehement opposition to a missile presence on its borders.
Rasmussen, who rivals US Secretary of State John Kerry’s indiscreet hyperbole offered that the summit will be a ‘turning point’ for the Alliance and that “We are at a crucial point in history: our peace and security are once again being tested . . . by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.” If that was not enough to sound like a prelude to military action, then
“We will adopt an action plan to boost our readiness. . . . We are looking closely at the forces we need, where they should be deployed, how fast they should be able to respond and how to reinforce them” depth of today’s Russian antagonism in an already volatile environment.
In contrast to US and NATO blathering officials who only know how to bully, cajole and speak in a coercive, threatening manner is Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. A career diplomat, reliably erudite, poised and focused, Lavrov’s recent comments accurately nailed the Ukraine crisis as NATO’s pretext for existing:
“Previously Afghanistan helped NATO justify its being,” and “NATO is looking for a new reason to exist.”
“. . . when the West said that Assad can’t be a partner anymore, while we still adhered to the principle that you can’t just overthrow regimes, negotiations [are] needed”
“NATO’s policy is based on the desire to assert their will at any price.”
“And for those who do not agree, they apply sanctions. . . take revenge, I know no other way to call it, but avenge for independence and for the unwillingness to follow the one-sided, unipolar world.”
Ukraine Crisis Continues
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts / Global Research
(August 20, 2014) — Having served Washington’s propaganda purposes, the downed Malaysian airliner and the alleged Russian armored column that entered Ukraine and was allegedly destroyed have dropped out of the news even though both stories remain completely and totally unresolved.
Washington’s stooge government in Ukraine has not released the records of communications between Ukrainian air traffic control and Malaysian flight 17, and Washington has not released the photos from its satellite which was directly overhead at the time of the airliner’s demise.
We can safely and conclusively conclude from this purposeful withholding of evidence that the evidence does not support Washington’s and Kiev’s propaganda.
We can also safely and conclusively conclude that the Western media’s sudden disinterest in the unresolved story and failure to demand the evidence kept secret by Washington and Kiev is in keeping with the Western media’s role as a Ministry of Propaganda.
In other words, Washington and its presstitutes are protecting the lie that Washington and its media vassals successfully spread around the world and have used as the basis for further sanctions that escalate the conflict with Russia. Washington could not possibly make it clearer that Washington intends to escalate, not defuse, the conflict that Washington alone orchestrated.
Ditto for the alleged Russian armored column. The Russian government has labeled the story a fantasy, which it clearly is, but nevertheless Washington and its media vassals have left the story in place.
As English is the world language and as the European press follows the lead of the American presstitutes, the propaganda war is stacked against Russia (and China). Russian and Chinese are not world languages. Indeed, these languages are difficult for others to learn and are not well known outside the countries themselves. The Western media follows Washington’s lead, not Moscow’s or Beijing’s.
As facts are not relevant to the outcome, Moscow and Beijing are in a losing situation in the propaganda war.
The same holds for diplomacy. Washington does not engage in diplomacy. The exceptional country uses bribes, threats, and coercion. The Russian government’s diplomatic efforts come to naught. As Russian President Putin has complained, “Washington doesn’t listen, the West doesn’t hear us.”
And yet the Russian government continues to try to deal with the Ukrainian situation with facts and diplomacy. This approach is proving to be very costly to the residents of the former Russian territories in eastern and southern Ukraine.
These people are being killed by air and artillery strikes against their homes and infrastructure. Large numbers of these people have been displaced by the Ukrainian attacks and are refugees in Russia. The Western media does not report the violence that Washington’s stooge government in Kiev is inflicting on these people. The Western media speaks only with Washington’s voice: “It is all Russia’s fault.”
The crisis would have been prevented if the Russian government had accepted the provinces request to be reunited with Russia as in the case of Crimea. However, the Russian government decided to avoid any decision that Washington could misrepresent as “invasion and annexation,” thinking that Europe would see Russia’s unprovocative behavior as reassuring and resist Washington’s pressure to enter into conflict with Russia.
In my opinion the Russian government over-estimated the power of diplomacy in the West. Washington is interested in fomenting crises, not in resolving them.
In the 23 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, many Russians have been of the opinion that Washington, not the Soviet government, was the party to be trusted in the Cold War. What the Russian government has learned recently is that Washington cannot be trusted and that the Soviet government’s suspicions of the West were very well founded.
Kiev’s military assault on eastern and southern Ukraine is not going to stop because Europeans finally see the light and object. Europeans not only stood aside for 13 years while Washington bombed civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, and organized outside forces to attack Syrians, while isolating Iran for military attack, but also actively participated in the attacks.
Europe has stood aside while Israel has massacred Palestinians on numerous occasions. For Russia to rely on Europe’s moral conscience is to rely on something that does not exist.
The continued slaughter and destruction of the Russian populations in eastern and southern Ukraine will eventually demoralize the Russian people and undermine their support of Putin’s government for failing to halt it. The Russian government’s acceptance of the slaughter makes Russia look weak and encourages more aggression against Russia.
If the Russian government intends to resolve its problems in Ukraine and to forestall Washington’s ability to further erode Russia’s political and economic relationships with Europe with more sanctions, the Russian government will have to turn to more forceful measures.
In Ukraine the Russian government has two alternatives. One is to announce that the ongoing slaughter and the unresponsiveness of Kiev and its Western backers to Russia’s efforts to end the killing with a diplomatic settlement has caused Russia to reconsider the provinces’ requests to be reunited with Russia and that any further attacks on these territories will be regarded as attacks on Russia and be met with a devastating military response.
The other alternative is for Putin to meet privately with Washington’s stooge and convey to the corrupt oligarch that enough is enough and that if the attacks continue Russia will accept the requests for reunification and protect the provinces.
Putin would explain to Washington’s stooge that if he wants to retain the former Russian territories as part of Ukraine, he will have to work out satisfactory arrangements with the provinces. In other words, Putin would deliver an ultimatum, one that required an immediate answer so that the stooge couldn’t run to Washington and Washington would not have time to create a new propaganda.
Karl Marx regarded morality as a rationale for class interests. As each class created a morality to justify its interests, there was no basis for good will between people. With reform impossible, violence becomes the only effective method of change. Washington has its own version of Marx’s doctrine.
As the exceptional country, history has chosen the US to prevail over other countries’ interests. Prevailing rules out diplomacy which requires compromise. Therefore, Washington, like Marx, relies on violence.
The Russian government cannot rely on diplomacy and good will if the West is relying on violence.
Perhaps s solution could be found by President Putin meeting separately with Merkel and Hollande and explaining that Russia cannot indefinitely accept sanctions based on lies and propaganda without taking more determined steps than Russian sanctions against European agricultural products.
Putin could make it clear that if Europe continues to accommodate Washington’s assault on Russia, the flow of energy could be restricted or be turned off.
Additionally, President Putin might explain to the European leaders that the dynamics of Washington’s campaign to demonize Russia can escape control and result in war that would devastate Europe. Putin could tell Europeans that by disassociating from Washington’s foreign policy and adopting foreign policies that serve their own interests instead of Washington’s, Europeans have nothing to lose but their chains of vassalage.
Putin could explain to Europeans that Russia is prepared to guarantee Europe’s security and, therefore, that Europe does not need Washington’s guarantee against a nonexistent Russian threat.
If this very reasonable and diplomatic approach to Europe fails, then Russia and China know that they must prepare for war.
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