Rightwing Ukraine Forces Vow to Ignore Cease Fire: Head of Senate Intelligence Committee Caught Spreading Faked Propaganda Photos

February 14th, 2015 - by admin

Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Adam Weinstein / Gawker & Robert Mackey / The New York Times – 2015-02-14 00:08:31

Ukraine Ultranationalists Spurn Ceasefire, Will Continue ‘Active Fighting’

Video: Watch Senator Imhoff Lie about
Phony ‘Evidence’ of Russian Presence inside Ukraine

(C-SPAN, February 13, 2015)

Ukraine Ultranationalists Spurn Ceasefire, Will Continue ‘Active Fighting’
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com

(February 13, 2015) — The ceasefire between Ukraine’s government and eastern rebels is set to begin over the weekend, with both sides scrambling to secure some last minute territorial gains, predictably. Not everyone is planning on stopping, however.

Dmytry Yarosh, the leader of the ultranationalist Right Sector, insists they have no intention of stopping the war against ethnic Russians in the east, and that they intend to continue according to their own plans even if their allies in the government stop.

Yarosh insisted that the Right Sector considers easterners to be “terrorists,” and that therefore the ceasefire with them is unconstitutional, and will be ignored. Ukraine has been using far-right militias as front-line fighters in the civil war.

The Right Sector is fascist, using a lot of neo-Nazi imagery. They insist the ethnic Russian population of the nation’s east is a threat to Ukraine’s national greatness, and have pushed heavily for the civil war against them.

Senator “Duped” Into Using Old Photos to Promote New War With Russia
Adam Weinstein / Fortress America: Gawker

(February 12, 2015) — This afternoon, the Washington Free Beacon published EXCLUSIVE photos, obtained by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), that purportedly showed new Russian aggression in Ukraine and vindicated Inhofe’s case for US intervention. Apparently, neither Inhofe’s staff nor the Beacon bothered with a Google reverse image search.

Coming from the Beacon, a conservative cool-kids’ blog that tends to pass off as reporting the document dumps it’s fed by friends on GOP congressmen’s staffs, it was a typical Beltway “whoa if true” scoop:

Exclusive Photos Show Russian Military in Ukraine Arming Separatists
WARNING: graphic images
BY: Adam Kredo
February 12, 2015 1:15 pm

New photographs exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon reveal that Russian military forces have been more involved in the arming and training of Ukrainian separatist forces than previously disclosed.

The often-gruesome photographs clearly display Russian troops entering Ukraine with advanced military hardware and weapons, including tanks and advanced infantry fighting vehicles.

It was immediately embraced as a BIG DEAL by the Beltway’s most hawkish conservative publicists-cum-reporters:

Josh Rogin @joshrogin -2h
Exclusive Photos Show Russian Military in Ukraine Arming Separatists
WARNING: graphic images freebeacon.com/national=secur…

And it certainly seemed big. The photographs, the Beacon said, “could help bolster the case on Capitol Hill for a new piece of legislation that would enable the United States to provide lethal military aid to the Ukrainians.” That legislation, of course, is sponsored by Inhofe, whose staff provided the photos for publication:

The pictures were taken between Aug. 24 and Sept. 5 in the midst of a Russian-backed incursion into Eastern Ukraine. The fighting has only grown more bloody in the ensuing months, as hundreds more Russians enter the country, according to congressional sources briefed on the conflict.

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee first viewed the graphic pictures in December. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.) then obtained the photos and worked to independently verify and confirm the authenticity of the photos, before providing them exclusively to the Free Beacon.

It’s not clear what Inhofe’s independent verification process involved, but it didn’t work. Several national security experts on Twitter immediately set about determining the provenance of the images and found that some of them were from as far back as 2008, and a few were traceable to the conflict in Georgia and Ossetia, rather than the current war in Ukraine.

For example, Inhofe and the Beacon reportedly used several images as evidence that “Russian troops can be seen entering Ukraine on T-72 tanks and Russian-made BMPs.” Like this one:
[See image on original posting.]

But tweeter Graham Jenkins pointed out that the same image dated from at least 2012:
[See image on original posting. “Gilad Sharon: Israel Should Flatten Gaza Like Hiroshima.” November 20, 2012.]

And Dan Trombly suggested a striking similarity between that tank column and this 2008 tank column in Ossetia:
[See image on original posting.]

A similar story surrounded this photo from Inhofe…
[See image on original posting.]

… Which actually appeared to have been taken in Russia in early August 2008 by the AP:
[See image on original posting.]

And tweeter @RBelleme pointed out that one of the other “exclusive” images of Russian incursions into Ukraine…
[See image on original posting.]

… Actually turned out to be an AFP file photo of alleged Russian separatists in the Luhansk region of Ukraine from last October, a movement that was both previously known and monitored by NATO, according to this Business Insider post:
[See image on original posting.]

The skepticism among readers was palpable:
Dan Trombly @stcolumbia
What a f’ing joke. WFB runs photos from Inhofe as proof Russia arming Ukraine. At least 1 from Russo-Georgian War:

Dan Trombly @stcolumbia
So @jiminhofe’s “new intel” on Ukraine armor consists, in part, of 2 photos from Ossetia, 1 AFP wire service photo cc @FreeBeacon

Graham Jenkins @GrahamWJenkins
.@stcolumbia Pretty sure Inhofe just opened up his DocumentsMy PhotosRussiaAtrocities folder and pulled pics at random
12 Feb 2015

And eventually, the Beacon was forced to append its story with a fascinating account of how the site — and one of the most powerful senators on the Hill — screwed up so royally:

UPDATE 3:11 P.M.: Following publication of this story, serious questions have been raised about the authenticity of some of the photographs provided by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.). Several images of the Russian convoys appear to have been taken in 2008, during Russia’s conflict with Georgia. Given the similarity’s of these images to those provided by the senator’s office, theWashington Free Beacon is investigating further and will update as necessary.

When asked about the discrepancies, Donelle Harder, Inhofe’s communications director, said that the office is checking back with its sources.

“These were presented to the Armed Services Committee from a delegation from Ukraine in December,” Harder said. “In December, we talked to them about publishing the photos and giving them the credit, and they were fine with that. We thoroughly checked our sources again prior to releasing the photos, and felt confident proceeding because the photos also match reporting. We are currently making calls to our sources.”

None of this, of course, proves that Putin’s army isn’t committing grave violations in Ukraine and lying about it. A few photos may have been authentic, though that can’t be verified yet. And even the discredited photos do show that Russia’s military has regularly been aggressive and imperious in a variety of lands in its “near abroad.”

But more than that, the images show how easily and routinely a credulous member of Congress and a well-funded PR machine posing as a news blog can be snowed by propagandists bearing “scoops.”

Dion Nissenbaum ✔ @DionNissenbaum
Newspaper prints dubious photos of alleged Russian atrocities in #Ukraine provided by Sen. Inhofe:
12 Feb 2015. . . .

Tony @TonyinOKC
Jim Inhofe spreads propaganda and people just roll with it. This is an amazing correction.
12 Feb 2015

Sifting Ukrainian Fact From Ukrainian Fiction
Robert Mackey / The New York Times

(February 13, 2015) – When Senator James Inhofe took the floor of the Senate on Wednesday to argue for arming the Ukrainian military, he brought with him what he called indisputable proof of Moscow’s support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine — a poster with three large photographs of “Russian tanks entering Ukrainian territory.”

In his prepared remarks, Mr. Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, said the images of “Russian troops in T-72 tanks, B.T.R. armored personnel carriers, and B.M.P. infantry fighting vehicles entering eastern Ukraine” constituted evidence of “an invasion of the Ukraine by Russia.”

While none of his colleagues made any objection, just minutes after Mr. Inhofe had finished speaking a friendly conservative news outlet his staff had provided the same images to, The Washington Free Beacon, acknowledged that “serious questions have been raised about the authenticity of some of the photographs” by bloggers with access to Google Image search.

The debunking of the senator’s evidence, which came as the State Department accused Russia on Friday of deploying artillery and rocket systems around a contested town in eastern Ukraine, was quickly seized upon by Kremlin-run news sites which argue that all proof of Moscow’s involvement is fabricated. . . .

Asked by Rosie Gray of BuzzFeed to explain how the error had come about, Senator Inhofe’s office said that the images were provided during a meeting with a large delegation of Ukrainian commanders and officials who were in Washington last year when he was the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. A list of the participants in the meeting showed that it included three members of Ukraine’s Parliament and a former Pentagon official, Phillip Karber.

Mr. Karber, who has advocated better equipping Ukraine’s military since early in the conflict, told BuzzFeed that he had only meant to confirm to Mr. Inhofe’s aides that a second set of images, showing the badly mangled corpses of Ukrainian fighters, were authentic.

As questions were being asked about why the senator’s office did not vet the images online itself, Mr. Inhofe — who is perhaps best-known for calling global warming “a hoax” that can be refuted with “biblical evidence” — revealed some apparent confusion about the mechanics of digital photography. He said in a statement that the Ukrainians “gave us these photos in print form, as if” they “came directly from a camera.”

The debunking of the senator’s evidence, which came as the State Department accused Russia on Friday of deploying artillery and rocket systems around a contested town in eastern Ukraine, was quickly seized upon by Kremlin-run news sites which argue that all proof of Moscow’s involvement is fabricated.

While there appears to be much more compelling evidence of Russian military involvement in Ukraine, this is also not the first time that Ukraine’s government has presented photographic evidence that was later revealed to be false.

In fact, one of the images showing Russian tanks in South Ossetia in 2008 that was provided to Mr. Inhofe was posted on the website of Ukraine’s foreign ministry on Aug. 1 as supposed proof that “a long convoy of armored vehicles and several KAMAZ with armed men crossed Ukrainian-Russian border” one day earlier.

Sifting fact from fiction in Ukraine remains a challenge nearly a year after the conflict erupted after weeks of peaceful demonstrations in the capital, Kiev.

Earlier this week, a BBC News investigation of a pivotal moment in the transformation of last year’s peaceful protest movement in Kiev into deadly violence — the killing of dozens of protesters on Feb. 20 — suggested that the security forces might not have used deadly force until after they were first shot at by armed supporters of the pro-Western demonstrators.

“Snipers at Maidan: The Untold Ukraine Story,” an investigative report on the events of Feb. 20, 2014, in Kiev.
BBC Newsnight, via YouTube

(February 12, 2015) — A day of bloodshed on Kiev’s main square, nearly a year ago, marked the end of a winter of protest against the government of president Viktor Yanukovych, who soon afterwards fled the country. More than 50 protesters and three policemen died. But how did the shooting begin? Protest organisers have always denied any involvement – but one man told the BBC a different story.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.