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Who's Telling the 'Big Lie' on Ukraine?


September 5, 2014
Robert Parry / Consortium News

Analysis: If you wonder how the world could stumble into World War III -- much as it did into World War I a century ago -- all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire US political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats vs. black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason. In 2012, US neocons publicly identified Ukraine as "the biggest prize" in a campaign to topple the Russian government.

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/09/02/whos-telling-the-big-lie-on-ukraine/

(September 2, 2014) -- If you wonder how the world could stumble into World War III -- much as it did into World War I a century ago -- all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire US political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats vs. black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason.

The original lie behind Official Washington's latest "group think" was that Russian President Vladimir Putin instigated the crisis in Ukraine as part of some diabolical scheme to reclaim the territory of the defunct Soviet Union, including Estonia and other Baltic states. Though not a shred of US intelligence supported this scenario, all the "smart people" of Washington just "knew" it to be true.

Yet, the once-acknowledged -- though soon forgotten -- reality was that the crisis was provoked last year by the European Union proposing an association agreement with Ukraine while US neocons and other hawkish politicos and pundits envisioned using the Ukraine gambit as a way to undermine Putin inside Russia.

The plan was even announced by US neocons such as National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman who took to the op-ed page of the Washington Post nearly a year ago to call Ukraine "the biggest prize" and an important interim step toward eventually toppling Putin in Russia.

Gershman, whose NED is funded by the US Congress, wrote: "Ukraine's choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. . . . Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself."

In other words, from the start, Putin was the target of the Ukraine initiative, not the instigator. But even if you choose to ignore Gershman's clear intent, you would have to concoct a bizarre conspiracy theory to support the conventional wisdom about Putin's grand plan.

To believe that Putin was indeed the mastermind of the crisis, you would have to think that he somehow arranged to have the EU offer the association agreement last year, then got the International Monetary Fund to attach such draconian "reforms" that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from the deal.

Then, Putin had to organize mass demonstrations at Kiev's Maidan square against Yanukovych while readying neo-Nazi militias to act as the muscle to finally overthrow the elected president and replace him with a regime dominated by far-right Ukrainian nationalists and US-favored technocrats. Next, Putin had to get the new government to take provocative actions against ethnic Russians in the east, including threatening to outlaw Russian as an official language.

And throw into this storyline that Putin -- all the while -- was acting like he was trying to help Yanukovych defuse the crisis and even acquiesced to Yanukovych agreeing on Feb. 21 to accept an agreement brokered by three European countries calling for early Ukrainian elections that could vote him out of office. Instead, Putin was supposedly ordering neo-Nazi militias to oust Yanukovych in a Feb. 22 putsch, all the better to create the current crisis.

While such a fanciful scenario would make the most extreme conspiracy theorist blush, this narrative was embraced by prominent US politicians, including ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and "journalists" from the New York Times to CNN. They all agreed that Putin was a madman on a mission of unchecked aggression against his neighbors with the goal of reconstituting the Russian Empire. Clinton even compared him to Adolf Hitler.

This founding false narrative was then embroidered by a consistent pattern of distorted US reporting as the crisis unfolded. Indeed, for the past eight months, we have seen arguably the most one-sided coverage of a major international crisis in memory, although there were other crazed MSM stampedes, such as Iraq's non-existent WMD in 2002-03, Iran's supposed nuclear bomb project for most of the past decade, Libya's "humanitarian crisis" of 2011, and Syria's sarin gas attack in 2013.

But the hysteria over Ukraine -- with US officials and editorialists now trying to rally a NATO military response to Russia's alleged "invasion" of Ukraine -- raises the prospect of a nuclear confrontation that could end all life on the planet.

The 'Big Lie' of the 'Big Lie'
This madness reached new heights with a Sept. 1 editorial in the neoconservative Washington Post, which led many of the earlier misguided stampedes and was famously wrong in asserting that Iraq's concealment of WMD was a "flat fact." In its new editorial, the Post reprised many of the key elements of the false Ukraine narrative in the Orwellian context of accusing Russia of deceiving its own people.

The "through-the-looking-glass" quality of the Post's editorial was to tell the "Big Lie" while accusing Putin of telling the "Big Lie." The editorial began with the original myth about the aggression waged by Putin whose "bitter resentment at the Soviet empire's collapse metastasized into seething Russian nationalism . . . .

"In prosecuting his widening war in Ukraine, he has also resurrected the tyranny of the Big Lie, using state-controlled media to twist the truth so grotesquely that most Russians are in the dark -- or profoundly misinformed -- about events in their neighbor to the west. . . .

"In support of those Russian-sponsored militias in eastern Ukraine, now backed by growing ranks of Russian troops and weapons, Moscow has created a fantasy that plays on Russian victimization.

By this rendering, the forces backing Ukraine's government in Kiev are fascists and neo-Nazis, a portrayal that Mr. Putin personally advanced on Friday, when he likened the Ukrainian army's attempts to regain its own territory to the Nazi siege of Leningrad in World War II, an appeal meant to inflame Russians' already overheated nationalist emotions."

The Post continued: "Against the extensive propaganda instruments available to Mr. Putin's authoritarian regime, the West can promote a fair and factual version of events, but there's little it can do to make ordinary Russians believe it. Even in a country with relatively unfettered access to the Internet, the monopolistic power of state-controlled media is a potent weapon in the hands of a tyrant.

"Mr. Putin's Big Lie shows why it is important to support a free press where it still exists and outlets like Radio Free Europe that bring the truth to people who need it."

Yet the truth is that the US mainstream news media's distortion of the Ukraine crisis is something that a real totalitarian could only dream about. Virtually absent from major US news outlets -- across the political spectrum -- has been any significant effort to tell the other side of the story or to point out the many times when the West's "fair and factual version of events" has been false or deceptive, starting with the issue of who started this crisis.

Blinded to Neo-Nazis
In another example, the Post and other mainstream US outlets have ridiculed the idea that neo-Nazis played any significant role in the putsch that ousted Yanukovych on Feb. 22 or in the Kiev regime's brutal offensive against the ethnic Russians of eastern Ukraine.

However, occasionally, the inconvenient truth has slipped through. For instance, shortly after the February coup, the BBC described how the neo-Nazis spearheaded the violent seizure of government buildings to drive Yanukovych from power and were then rewarded with four ministries in the regime that was cobbled together in the coup's aftermath.

When ethnic Russians in the south and east resisted the edicts from the new powers in Kiev, some neo-Nazi militias were incorporated into the National Guard and dispatched to the front lines as storm troopers eager to fight and kill people whom some considered "Untermenschen" or sub-human.

Even the New York Times, which has been among the most egregious violators of journalistic ethics in covering the Ukraine crisis, took note of Kiev's neo-Nazi militias carrying Nazi banners while leading attacks on eastern cities -- albeit with this embarrassing reality consigned to the last three paragraphs of a long Times story on a different topic. [See Consortiumnews.com's "NYT Discovers Ukraine's Neo-Nazis at War."]

Later, the conservative London Telegraph wrote a much more detailed story about how the Kiev regime had consciously recruited these dedicated storm troopers, who carried the Wolfsangel symbol favored by Hitler's SS, to lead street fighting in eastern cities that were first softened up by army artillery. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Ignoring Ukraine's Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers."]

You might think that unleashing Nazi storm troopers on a European population for the first time since World War II would be a big story -- given how much coverage is given to far less significant eruptions of neo-Nazi sentiment in Europe -- but this ugly reality in Ukraine disappeared quickly into the US media's memory hole. It didn't fit the preferred good guy/bad guy narrative, with the Kiev regime the good guys and Putin the bad guy.

Now, the Washington Post has gone a step further dismissing Putin's reference to the nasty violence inflicted by Kiev's neo-Nazi battalions as part of Putin's "Big Lie." The Post is telling its readers that any reference to these neo-Nazis is just a "fantasy."

Even more disturbing, the mainstream US news media and Washington's entire political class continue to ignore the Kiev government's killing of thousands of ethnic Russians, including children and other non-combatants. The "responsibility to protect" crowd has suddenly lost its voice. Or, all the deaths are somehow blamed on Putin for supposedly having provoked the Ukraine crisis in the first place.

A Mysterious 'Invasion'
And now there's the curious case of Russia's alleged "invasion" of Ukraine, another alarmist claim trumpeted by the Kiev regime and echoed by NATO hardliners and the MSM.

While I'm told that Russia did provide some light weapons to the rebels early in the struggle so they could defend themselves and their territory -- and a number of Russian nationalists have crossed the border to join the fight -- the claims of an overt "invasion" with tanks, artillery and truck convoys have been backed up by scant intelligence.

One former US intelligence official who has examined the evidence said the intelligence to support the claims of a significant Russian invasion amounted to "virtually nothing." Instead, it appears that the ethnic Russian rebels may have evolved into a more effective fighting force than many in the West thought. They are, after all, fighting on their home turf for their futures.

Concerned about the latest rush to judgment about the "invasion," the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of former US intelligence officials and analysts, took the unusual step of sending a memo to German Chancellor Angela Merkel warning her of a possible replay of the false claims that led to the Iraq War.

"You need to know," the group wrote, "that accusations of a major Russian 'invasion' of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the 'intelligence' seems to be of the same dubious, politically 'fixed' kind used 12 years ago to 'justify' the US-led attack on Iraq."

But these doubts and concerns are not reflected in the Post's editorial or other MSM accounts of the dangerous Ukraine crisis. Indeed, Americans who rely on these powerful news outlets for their information are as sheltered from reality as anyone living in a totalitarian society.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. His newest book is America's Stolen Narrative.

Comment
Joe
(September 2, 2014) -- It would seem that I am not the only one whom has had a lot of questions from the very beginning of this crisis and, to me, I see a narrative being shaped by our media (I still remember the narrative before the Iraq invasion) -- which scares me. I do believe that we are getting propaganda from all sides so it is very hard to know what to believe so I think it is very important to question. My questions are as follows:

1) Why did much of the MSM, along with western governments, hide the involvement of neo-fascists/neo-nazis in the initial protests in Kiev? It is well documented the existence of these groups in Western Ukraine going all the way back to Stepan Bandera who aided the Nazis in killing 70,000 Poles and a number of Jews, not too mention statues erected to Stepan Bandera in Western Ukraine, and Stepan Bandera being named the "Hero of Ukraine" by the outgoing President in 2010.

The BBC did stories about the rise of Svoboda in 2012 and even the EU Parliament proclaimed the dangers of Svoboda in a December 2012 meeting. Only a small amount of western stories actually speak about the Neo-Nazi influence in Kiev (BBC Newsnight, Salon etc.).

2) Why did the United States warn Yanukovych NOT to use the military against the protesters in Kiev but then went onto support military aggression against the people in Eastern Ukraine? Most of the protesters were peaceful on the Maidan but there were factions of Svoboda and Right Sector that were throwing Molotov Cocktails, taking over government buildings and using live ammunition -- the same could be said about the protests in Eastern Ukraine before it erupted into full blown fighting.

3) Why were western governments so quick to acknowledge the legitimacy of a government that overthrew the previous one? I believe in the US it is actually illegal to support a coup regime. Yanukovych was "democratically elected" and yet had to flee after Svoboda and Right Sector stormed Presidential buildings. Subsequently the Ukrainian Government, the Verkhovna Rada, had a vote to "impeach" Yanukovych but failed to get the required 3/4 vote to legally impeach him according to the Ukrainian Constitution, Article 111. So technically Yanukovych, bad guy or not, was still the President.

4) What part did the $5 Billion US Dollars, Victoria Nuland, and the National Endowment have to play in overthrowing the government in Ukraine? The US has been funneling $5 Billion into Ukraine since 1991.

Other countries that the US government has funneled money into through institutions like the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID are countries like Venezuela where there was an attempted coup in 2002, Egypt where there was a coup last year, as well as operations in Cuba such as creating a Cuban Twitter to try and stir unrest.

5) If Russia is so guilty of everything, then why do we see the US State Department constantly resort to "social media" and evidence from Kiev (which has been debunked a few times over) as proof of Russian involvement in Ukraine? Matt Lee of AP pointed out the US State Department "in-lieu" of information and poked fun by asking if they could point him to a "YouTube video".

Even former US intelligence officials have written a letter to Obama asking him to release any information on Ukraine and to stop resorting to "social media" because it is flimsy.

6) If Russia and the "rebels" are guilty of shooting down MH-17 then why haven't the US released satellite "exact" photos showing the BUK missile being fired and the downing of the airplane? I mean, the US has the largest spy apparatus on the planet watching Eastern Ukraine like a hawk with a spy satellite directly overhead when it was downed, then why don't they present those photos -- they would show who, what and where?

Actually I have been reading some articles on Consortium News by Robert Parry, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist and George Polk Award Winning Journalist that broke the Iran Contra Scandal for AP, which according to Robert's sources point the finger at the Ukrainian Army and not the "rebels". Also, it was also curious that Russia and the rebels were blamed for the downing of MH-17 even before any investigation had even begun -- that gets my Spidey Sense going.

7) What are the financial interests in Ukraine? I have seen that the IMF has put conditionality on loans based on the inclusion of Eastern Ukraine. Also we have seen the US Vice President's son take a position on the board of Ukraine's largest natural gas company along with John Kerry's family friend. Not too mention the interests of companies such as Monsanto, Chevron, and Shell among others.

8) Could the demonization, and attempted isolation, of Russia be about world economics? Russia has made it no secret that they want the world to replace the US Dollar as the world's reserve currency and remove the US's competitive advantage (not too mention all of the trade agreements being made without the US Dollar).

In 2009, President Medvedev even went as far as creating a prototype of a proposed new reserve currency. Also, along with the other members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) they have created a new Development Bank which will open in Shanghai in 2015 and start to lend in 2016.

This would put the BRICS Development Bank in direct competition with the IMF, WorldBank, and SWIFT (these institutions ensure western hegemony over the entire world). A BRICS Development Bank would significantly reduce the power of sanctions on any given country because it would be an alternative to the Western Banking model.

Also, if the terms for lending are more appealing then IMF austerity and privatization of a countries resources then it would greatly diminish western influence over the world.

I do actually believe that the US/EU pulled off a coup in Ukraine and that is why so much of the narrative is missing in our media. This may not be what you believe but we should at least question what we are seeing especially after the illegal invasion of Iraq where 1/2 Million to 1 Million people were killed based on lies from our governments and the MSM._

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

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