zondag 20 april 2014

De Mainstream Pers 194



Portret van Boa Sr 


Extinct: Andaman tribe’s extermination complete as last member dies 4 February 2010

The last member of a unique tribe has died on India’s Andaman Islands.

Boa Sr, who died last week aged around 85, was the last speaker of ‘Bo’, one of the ten Great Andamanese languages. The Bo are thought to have lived in the Andaman Islands for as much as 65,000 years, making them the descendants of one of the oldest human cultures on Earth.

Boa Sr was the oldest of the Great Andamanese, who now number just 52. Originally ten distinct tribes, the Great Andamanese were 5,000 strong when the British colonized the Andaman Islands in 1858. Most were killed or died of diseases brought by the colonizers.

Having failed to ‘pacify’ the tribes through violence, the British tried to ‘civilize’ them by capturing many and keeping them in an ‘Andaman Home’. Of the 150 children born in the home, none lived beyond the age of two.

The surviving Great Andamanese depend largely on the Indian government for food and shelter, and abuse of alcohol is rife.

Boa Sr survived the Asian tsunami of December 2004, and told linguists, ‘We were all there when the earthquake came. The eldest told us ‘the Earth would part, don’t run away or move’. The elders told us, that’s how we know.’

Linguist Prof. Anvita Abbi, who knew Boa Sr for many years, said, ‘Since she was the only speaker of [Bo] she was very lonely as she had no one to converse with… Boa Sr. had a very good sense of humor and her smile and full throated laughter were infectious.’

‘You cannot imagine the pain and anguish that I spend each day in being a mute witness to the loss of a remarkable culture and unique language.’

Boa Sr told Abbi she felt the neighboring Jarawa tribe, who have not been decimated, were lucky to live in their forest away from the settlers who now occupy much of the Islands.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The Great Andamanese were first massacred, then all but wiped out by paternalistic policies which left them ravaged by epidemics of disease, and robbed of their land and independence.

‘With the death of Boa Sr and the extinction of the Bo language, a unique part of human society is now just a memory. Boa’s loss is a bleak reminder that we must not allow this to happen to the other tribes of the Andaman Islands.’


Libertarian ideology favors privatization. However, in practice privatization is usually very different in result than libertarian ideology postulates. Almost always, privatization becomes a way for well-connected private interests to loot both the public purse and the general welfare.

Most privatizations, such as those that have occurred in France and UK during the neoliberal era, and in Greece today and Ukraine tomorrow, are lootings of public assets by politically-connected private interests.

Another form of privatization is to turn traditional government functions, such as prison operation and many supply functions of the armed services, such as feeding the troops, over to private companies at a large increase in cost to the public. Essentially, the libertarian ideology is used to provide lucrative public contracts to a few favored persons who then reward the politicians. This is called 'free enterprise.'

The privatization of prisons in the US is an example of the extraordinary cost and injustice of privatization. Privatization of prisons requires ever higher rates of incarceration in order to build profitability. The US, supposedly 'a land of liberty' has by far the highest incarceration rates of all countries. The 'free' US has not only the highest percentage of its population in prison but also the highest absolute number. 'Authoritarian' China with four times the US population has fewer citizens in prison.
Paul Craig Roberts. Privatization Is A Ramp For Corruption and Insouciance Is a Ramp for War. 16 april 2014


De Russische annexatie van de Krim en de permanente onrust in Oekraïne hebben in het Westen langzamerhand een begin van paniek doen ontstaan. Na de Koude Oorlog heeft wat we toen de Vrije Wereld noemden bij gebrek aan de volgende globale tegenstander haar defensie verwaarloosd. In het begin werd dat in dit deel van de wereld als een geweldig voordeel beschouwd. 
H.J.A. Hofland. Provinciaal Europa. 2 april 2014


Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.
Paul Wolfowitz. Defense Planning Guidance. 18 februari 1992

A new report released today by SIPRI, a Swedish-based think tank, reveals that U.S. military spending has almost doubled since 2001. The U.S. spent an astounding $698 billion on the military last year, an 81% increase over the last decade.



In zijn 'opstel' getiteld De elite verongelukt schreef anno 1995 Henk Hofland:

Ik opper dat in de worsteling der sub-elites er één is die een bijzondere rol speelt. Daarom noem ik die ook een klasse. Zoals er een politieke klasse is, zo hebben we een literaire, bestaande uit allen die schrijven: de filosofen, de historici, de dichters, de schrijvers, de journalisten. Uit hun werk komt de geheimzinnige eenheid voort die we 'de literatuur' noemen — onze beschaving noemen — onze beschaving in woorden. Daar krijgt de samenleving haar bewustzijn, het inzicht in haar verleden, de waarde die ze eraan toekent. De literaire klasse formuleert de normen van het bestaan, laat zien hoe het lot van individuen wordt beïnvloed, verandert al doende zichzelf, werkt op de dagelijks verschuivende grens van continuïteit, de beweging van verval en vernieuwing, is tegelijkertijd een spiegel en een roer. In onze beschaving zouden zonder de literaire klasse ons wereldbeeld en ons bewustzijn van een toekomst bestaan uit een chaos van incidenten.

Maar in tegenstelling tot wat Hofland pretendeert is een gefragmenteerd 'wereldbeeld,' met zijn 'chaos van incidenten,' nu juist het product van het werk van de mainstream-journalistiek, zoals talloze literatoren met klem hebben benadrukt. Van Flaubert tot Kundera, en in Nederland, wijlen Frans Kellendonk. Laten we beginnen met Flaubert:

U heeft het over de verdorvenheid van de pers; die maakt mij zo doodziek dat kranten me een regelrechte lichamelijke walging bezorgen. Ik lees liever helemaal niets dan die verfoeilijke lappen papier.

Kundera, over journalisten, de 'termieten van de reductie': 

Over de hele wereld strooien ze dezelfde simplificaties en cliche’’s uit waarvan mag worden aangenomen dat ze door de meerderheid zullen worden aanvaard, door allen, door de hele mensheid. En het is niet zo belangrijk dat in de verschillende organen van de media de verschillende politieke belangen tot uiting komen. Achter het uiterlijke verschil heerst een en dezelfde geest. 

Kellendonk over de journalistiek:

Niets is zo levend, of deze geestdodende vervreemdingsmachine weet het onverwijld op maat te snijden.

Met name de 'maat' van goed en kwaad. Wij goed, zij slecht. Voor Hofland is er sprake van 'het vredestichtende Westen,' terwijl het kwaad 'Rusland' heet. Zijn wereldbeeld is die van de kitsch, dat zo scherpzinnig door Kundera is beschreven:

Het woord kitsch verwijst naar de houding van degene die tot elke prijs zoveel mogelijk mensen wil behagen. Om te behagen dien je je te conformeren aan wat iedereen wenst te horen, in dienst te staan van de pasklare ideeën… Op grond van de dwingende noodzaak te behagen en zo de aandacht van het grootst mogelijke publiek te trekken, is de esthetiek van de massamedia onvermijdelijk die van de kitsch en naarmate de massamedia ons gehele leven meer omsluiten en infiltreren, wordt de kitsch onze dagelijkse esthetiek en moraal.

Die kitsch is onvermijdelijk omdat het wereldbeeld van Hofland voortkomt uit het simplistische manicheïsme, in een massamaatschappij het wapen van de gedachteloze. Hij kan niet anders, want precies zoals Kundera stelt: 

De mens wenst zich een wereld waarin het goed en het kwaad duidelijk van elkaar te onderscheiden zijn, want in hem huist het ingeschapen en ontembare verlangen te oordelen alvorens te begrijpen.


Jim Walton (born 1958) is the former president of CNN Worldwide.

Meende Hofland nog in 1995 te behoren tot 'één' van de 'sub-elites,' veertien jaar later, in 2009, heeft hij zichzelf inmiddels gepromoveerd tot 'de elite,' om precies te zijn 'de politiek-literaire elite,' waar geen enkele 'natie zonder' kan. Uit het werk van ondermeer 'de journalisten' als 'literaire klasse,' zo beweert de nestor van de polderpers, ontleent 'de samenleving haar bewustzijn,' dankzij ondermeer de mainstream journalistiek die 'de normen van het bestaan' formuleren. Kortom, het werk van de commerciële pers is voor de mensheid 'een spiegel en een roer.' Vergis u niet, Hofland meent dit echt! Wat hier vooral opvalt is de brutale zelfgenoegzaamheid van de journalistieke 'klasse.' Misschien wel het grofst is de verregaande arrogantie waarmee de opiniemakers hun onbenulligheden aanprijzen. Het toppunt van Hoflands aanmatigende houding wordt bereikt wanneer hij in hetzelfde 'opstel' het volgende poneert:

De literaire klasse, kort gezegd, beheert het gebied waar de waarheid, de tijdgeest, de betekenis van het verleden, de waarde en onwaarde van het heden, de bewustheid van de toekomst, tot uitdrukking komen — dit alles zonder compromis met het klein belang, het revanchistisch gevecht om het klein gelijk. Dat is het eigenlijke werk van de literaire klasse. Haar verraad bestaat in deze tijd hierin dat ze zich in beslag heeft laten nemen door een curieuze Schöngeisterei, dogmatisch onbeschaamd, bij voorbaat lompenproletarisch cynisch en tegelijkertijd aanspraak makend op de hoogste plaats in de rangorde.

Toen Hofland dit opschreef moet hij gedacht hebben: 'Zo, daar kunnen ze mij mooi niet van beschuldigen.' Maar zijn beschuldiging is niet meer dan bluf. Als er iemand kan worden beschuldigd van 'verraad' aan intellectuele normen en waarden, aan de 'literaire waarheid,' dan is het zonder enige twijfel H.J.A. Hofland zelf. Zijn 'cynisch' mens- en wereldbeeld bepaalt dat de mensen die er niet toe doen een te verwaarlozen detail zijn in het grote schaakspel tussen de degenen die er wel degelijk toe doen. De burgers — in de woorden van de Britse historicus Mark Curtis — 'the Unpeople' oftewel 'those whose lives are deemed worthless, expendable in the pursuit of economic and political goals,' vormen hooguit de categorie van 'collateral damage,' in goed Nederlands, 'bijkomende schade,' want hoe dan ook, in Hoflands ogen blijft 'het Westen [vredestichtend],' en waar gehakt wordt vallen spaanders. Het gevaar is niet de macht maar de machtelozen, zo weet hij telkens weer in talloze varianten te melden. Overal loert de dreiging van de ordeloze, ongehoorzame burger:

Bestuurders voelen zich in het nauw gedreven, aan de ene kant doordat het onvermijdelijke internet ook een middel tot voorbarige openbaarheid kan zijn, aan de andere kant doordat ze daarmee worden uitgeleverd aan het onmiddellijke oordeel van de dan plotseling goedgelovige massa. De verborgen zwakte van internet is dat het oorzaak kan zijn van een laaiende volkswoede.

In werkelijkheid leven we in de chaos van een totalitair systeem waarop niemand meer een greep heeft, en waarvan de dynamiek de mensheid naar de afgrond voert, begeleid door het zelfingenomen gebabbel van de mainstream-opiniemakers. Kritische en dus dissidente intellectuelen als Mark Curtis wijzen er intussen op dat 

the underlying strategy of misleading the public springs from a less conscious, endemic contempt for the general population. The foreign-policy decision-making system is so secretive, elitist and uncountable that policymakers know they can get away with almost anything, and they will deploy whatever arguments are needed to do this.  

Een illustrerend voorbeeld is de illegale invasie van Irak die ook nog eens in een totale ordeloosheid uitliep. Ondanks het feit dat de meerderheid van het Westerse publiek tegen het massale westerse geweld in het Midden Oosten was, weigerden, om slechts één voorbeeld te geven, de 'kwaliteitskranten' NRC/Handelsblad als de Volkskrant destijds aandacht te besteden aan het volgende:

In het ambtenarenblad PM (22 januari) lees ik onder de kop ‘Kabinet zette commissie Volkenrecht buitenspel’ dat uw krant in 2003 een kritische petitie over Irak zou hebben geweigerd. De petitie was ondertekend door volkenrechtexperts, onder wie Karel Wellens, de toenmalige voorzitter van de Commissie van Advies inzake Volkenrechtelijke Vraagstukken (CAVV). De petitie onderstreepte dat 'er geen volkenrechtelijke rechtvaardiging was te bedenken voor de inval in Irak.' In PM zegt Wellens: 'Wij boden onze tekst ter publicatie aan zowel NRC Handelsblad als de Volkskrant aan, maar geen van beide ging tot onze ergernis en verbazing over tot publicatie van de brief, die uiteindelijk wel werd afgedrukt in het Nederlands Juristenblad,'
aldus een brief van eind januari 2010 geschreven door Marten Hofstede uit Leiden, gericht aan de NRC-redactie. Wat de redactie van deze mainstream-krant wel publiceerde was het volgende redactionele commentaar, op de dag dat de shock and awe-aanval begon, 20 maart 2003:
Nu de oorlog is begonnen, moeten president Bush en premier Blair worden gesteund. Die steun kan niet blijven steken in verbale vrijblijvendheid. Dat betekent dus politieke steun - en als het moet ook militaire.

Het is één van de vele voorbeelden van het veel voorkomende fenomeen van 'censorship by omission.' Ik geef een ander voorbeeld van deze vorm van censuur:
Januari 2009 kreeg de Israelische hoogleraar Martin Levi van Creveld, die bekend staat als een zionist met extremistische opvattingen, zes kolommen breed de kans van de NRC om het Israelische 'disproportionele geweld' tegen de Palestijnse bevolking in Gaza aan te prijzen met argumenten als: 'het laatste wat de Israeliërs willen is de steegjes van Gaza, Rafah en Khan Yunis bestormen.' En dus schoten tanks en de artillerie vanaf veilige afstand op alles dat ze konden raken, met als gevolg dat eenderde van de rond 1400 gedode Palestijnen uit kinderen bestond, en meer dan de helft burger was. En dit alles louter en alleen omdat de Israelische soldaten te laf waren de Palestijnse strijders te 'bestormen.' Uit officieel onderzoek bleek naderhand dat de Israelische strijdkrachten oorlogsmisdaden hadden gepleegd en mogelijk ook misdaden tegen de menselijkheid.
Donatella Rovera, Amnesty's researcher on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories said that such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza's densely populated residential neighborhoods is inherently indiscriminate. 'Its repeated use in this manner, despite evidence of its indiscriminate effects and its toll on civilians, is a war crime,' she said. The Goldstone report accepted that white phosphorus is not illegal under international law but did find that the Israelis were 'systematically reckless in determining its use in built-up areas.' It also called for serious consideration to be given to the banning of its use as an obscurant… 
Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) is a type of bomb developed to minimize collateral damage. DIME is a relatively new weapons technology being developed mainly in the United States. Several studies, including the one of Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, indicate that the tungsten residuals of the DIME weapon in the muscles of the laboratory animals result in severe malignant carcinogenesis. It is yet to be seen if this will have the same effect in humans. Because of possible high inclination to develop cancerous tumors in humans, some argue that the use of tungsten in weapons may be more dangerous than depleted uranium.
Casualties show unusual injuries. A military expert working for Human Rights Watch said judging by the nature of the wounds and descriptions given by Gazans made it seem likely that Israel used DIME weapons. A Norwegian doctor who worked at Gaza's Shifa Hospital said that pressure waves generated by missile hits are likely the cause and produced by DIME weapons. Another Norwegian doctor said they had 'clear evidence that the Israelis are using a new type of very high explosive weapons which are called Dense Inert Metal Explosive.'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_War

Dat de Israelische oorlogsmisdaden onderdeel waren van de officiële militaire tactiek van de 'Joodse staat' was al sinds 2006 bekend en werd eind 2009 nog eens bevestigd in
an interview in which the one confessing was none other than GOC Northern Command Gadi Eisenkot.
'What happened in the Beirut suburb of Dahiya in 2006 will happen in every village from which shots are fired in the direction of Israel,' Eisenkot said to journalists from Yedioth Ahronoth. 'We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases. This isn't a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorized.'

Hence, in two short sentences, one of the Israel Defense Force's senior commanders stated, with the world as his witness, his
intention to violate the two central tenets of the international laws of war: the principle of distinction, which states that every time military force is used, it is imperative to differentiate enemy combatants from enemy civilians, and that attacks may be directed only at the former; and the proportionality principle, which states that even in attacks against enemy combatants, disproportional use of power is prohibited.

It is important to understand this: T
he international legal definition of an illegal military attack is one directed at civilians, or one that involves a disproportional use of force. It was as if Eisenkot, then, was standing on a hilltop, declaring his intention to commit war crimes, yelling to passersby, 'My intentions are biggest of all!'
Martin Levi van Creveld mocht desondanks van de NRC-redactie de oorlogsmisdaden van de zionistische staat uitgebreid verdedigen. De collectieve bestraffing is in strijd met het internationaal recht, maar weerhield de Israelische autoriteiten niet om vooraf al publiekelijk bekend te maken dat de Israelische strijdkrachten 'disproportioneel geweld' zouden gebruiken. Ook de NRC-correspondent ter plaatse wist dit, aangezien hij ook nog eens via de AIVD gewaarschuwd was niet naar Gaza te gaan, omdat het daar veel te gevaarlijk zou worden voor journalisten, een waarschuwing die hij serieus nam waardoor hij uit Gaza wegbleef en zo niet getuige kon zijn van de wijze waarop de Israelische strijdkrachten op grote schaal oorlogsmisdaden begingen. En dat was ook precies de bedoeling geweest van de Israelische autoriteiten. Israelische oorlogsmisdaden waren en zijn evenwel in de extremistische gedachtenwereld van Martin Van Creveld een te verwaarlozen detail. Kinderen, vrouwen, bejaarden lopen in de criminele Israelische militaire doctrine nu eenmaal 'de kans een zeer hoge prijs te betalen. Mais c'est la guerre,' aldus zijn betoog in de NRC.

'Mais c'est la guerre.' 

Acht dagen voordat Van Creveld zijn enthousiasme voor het schenden van het internationaal recht in de NRC mocht verspreiden, weigerde de krant een ingezonden stuk te plaatsen, geschreven door Nederlandse juristen, waarin deze deskundigen gedocumenteerd wezen op het feit dat Israel bezig was oorlogsmisdaden te plegen. Geweigerd, omdat een artikel over oorlogsmisdaden ‘weinig nieuwe gezichtspunten bevat... Met vriendelijke groet, Anna Visser, redacteur Opinie NRC/H.' Dankzij het Nederlands Juristen Blad en vervolgens internet, kwam desondanks de informatie over de Israelische oorlogsmisdaden bij een breder publiek terecht, met als gevolg dat de schrijfster ervan door de ambtelijke top van het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken werd gevraagd om de juridische aspecten te komen toelichten, omdat het kennelijk nog niet tot het ministerie was doorgedrongen dat oorlogsmisdaden niet door de Nederlandse regering consequentieloos gesteund kunnen worden. Met andere woorden: Van Creveld kreeg van de NRC breeduit de ruimte om zijn disrespect voor het oorlogsrecht en de mensenrechten te etaleren, terwijl Nederlandse juristen acht dagen eerder vernamen dat er geen behoefte was aan een artikel over de Israelische schendingen van het internationaal recht 'daar wij van mening zijn dat hij weinig nieuwe gezichtspunten bevat.' En we weten nu dankzij de internationale mensenrechtenorganisaties en de VN-rapportage welke oorlogsmisdaden daar allemaal door Israel gepleegd zijn. Overigens was algemeen bekend dat Martin Levi van Creveld extremistische standpunten op na hield. Hij werd ondermeer geciteerd in David Hirst's beroemde boek The Gun and the Olive Branch (2003). Hirst, 'a veteran Middle East correspondent' citeerde Van Creveld als volgt: 
We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen, before Israel goes under.' He quoted General Moshe Dayan: 'Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.'
We hebben het hier over de 'kwaliteitskrant,' waarvoor H.J.A. Hofland het merendeel van zijn werkzame leven heeft gewerkt. Deze informatie werpt een heel ander licht op zijn  bewering dat de 'journalist,' onderdeel vormend van de 'literaire klasse,'
de normen van het bestaan [formuleert],  laat zien hoe het lot van individuen wordt beïnvloed, 

en 

tegelijkertijd een spiegel en een roer [is].

Hofland heeft gelijk, de journalistiek 'formuleert,' net als de geestelijkheid in de middeleeuwen, de 'normen' van vandaag de dag en 'is tegelijkertijd de  spiegel en een roer.' Met andere woorden: de journalistiek functioneert in een massamaatschappij als het propagandakanaal van de economische en politieke elite, zoals de invloedrijke Amerikaanse media-ideoloog en journalist Walter Lippmann al in 1914 beschreef in zijn tweede boek Drift and Mastery: An Attempt to Diagnose the Current Unrest, waarin hij ondermeer het volgende stelde:

The chaos of too much freedom and the weaknesses of democracy are our real problem. The battle for us, in short, does not lie against crusted prejudice, but against the chaos of a new freedom. This chaos is our real problem. So if the younger critics are to meet the issues of their generation they must give their attention, not so much to the evils of authority, as to the weaknesses of democracy.

In 1922 stelde Lippmann in zijn beroemd geworden standaardwerk Public Opinion daarom ook dat

public opinions must be organized for the press if they are to be sound, not by the press... Without some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible. In order to conduct propaganda there must be some barrier between the public and the event. Access to the real environment must be limited, before anyone can create a pseudo-environment that he thinks is wise or desirable... Though it is itself an irrational force the power of public opinion might be placed at the disposal of those who stood for workable law against brute assertion.

Vandaar ook dat Hoflands bewering dat 

In onze beschaving zouden zonder de literaire klasse ons wereldbeeld en ons bewustzijn van een toekomst bestaan uit een chaos van incidenten

naadloos aansluit bij de mening van de elite en haar woordvoerders dat een ware democratie onmogelijk is. Tegelijkertijd moet de 'chaos' van de neoliberale ideologie worden gepresenteerd als de logische, zelfs natuurlijke en derhalve onvermijdelijke 'orde' waar geen zinnig mens tegen kan zijn. Dat die 'orde' in de praktijk chaos betekent omdat ze in een permanente staat van oorlog verkeert tegen mens en natuur, moet verzwegen blijven. Met als gevolg dat de terreur van de westerse wereld in Hoflands Newspeak 'het vredestichtende Westen' heet. Zoals George Orwell in zijn roman 1984 schreef: 'War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.' En wanneer de VS in tien jaar tijd zijn 'defensie-uitgaven' (what is in a name) met meer dan 80 procent heeft verhoogd dan heet dit bij opiniemaker Hofland dat 'de Vrije Wereld' sinds de val van de Sovjet Unie 'haar defensie verwaarloosd' heeft. Wanneer de NAVO steeds verder oostwaarts oprukt en Rusland omsingelt met militaire bases en nu noodgedwongen tegendruk geeft, heet dit in de Newspeak van de polderpers dat 'NAVO balt de vuisten. Straaljagers en oorlogsschepen tegen Russische dreiging,' aldus de Telegraaf, terwijl de Volkskrant op dezelfde dag, donderdag 17 april 2014, over de volle breedte van de voorpagina laat weten dat 'NAVO laat Moskou tanden zien. In de hoop Rusland af te schrikken.' 

Intussen doet Hofland het voorkomen alsof hij als éminence grise van de 'vrije pers' boven de partijen staat en een authentieke visie op het geheel der gebeurtenissen geeft, en hij als een Olympische God vanuit zijn onaantastbare positie de ene waarheid na de andere meedeelt. Op 1 januari 1994, terwijl het volk nog met een kater in bed lag, schreef hij in zijn 'opstel,' onder de pedante titel 'De denkers in het gedrang,' het volgende:
Onder mediatisering versta ik het proces waarbij mensen, feiten en ontwikkelingen ondergeschikt worden gemaakt aan de media, respectievelijk zich anders voordoen, anders worden belicht en gearrangeerd, geregisseerd dan bij afwezigheid van de media het geval was geweest. Het doel van mediatisering is de 'kwadratuur van de werkelijkheid'
Hoewel Hofland suggereerde dat hij iets geheel nieuws op het spoor was, berustte zijn aanspraak op niets anders dan op zelfoverschatting. Al in de jaren twintig van de vorige eeuw formuleerde de Amerikaanse marketing goeroe Edward Bernays 'mediatisering' als volgt:
The counsel on public relations not only knows what news value is, but knowing it, he is in a position to make news happen. He is a creator of events.

Op die manier is de afgelopen eeuw een virtuele wereld ontstaan van persconferenties, reclameblokken, babbelprogramma’s, roddel over bekende mensen, infotainment, en talloze andere vormen van wat de befaamde Amerikaanse opiniemaker Walter Lippmann ‘pseudo-events’ noemde. Lippmann:

Without some form of censorship, propaganda in the strict sense of the word is impossible. In order to conduct a propaganda there must be some barrier between the public and the event. Access to the real environment must be limited, before anyone can create a pseudo-environment that he thinks is wise or desirable.

Aangezien de Nederlandse 'politiek-literaire elite' een zichzelf bevestigende en elkaar napratende kongsi is, zonder nauwe contacten met intellectuelen uit belangrijke cultuurlanden, weet ze nauwelijks of niet wat internationaal eerder is uitgedacht. Dit geldt zeker voor de Nederlandse mainstream-pers. De auteur Frans Kellendonk typeerde in 1986 deze coterie met de volgende woorden:

In de overzichtelijke waanwereld van kranten en weekbladen voelt de literatuurbeschouwing die weet waar ze het over heeft zich het prettigst. Haar belangstelling gaat uit naar de mens achter het kunstwerk. Die mens is de werkelijkheid waarvan het kunstwerk de uitdrukking is. De paradox van het zichzelf verijdelende realisme werkt hier op volle kracht. Als kunst niets anders is dan het verbloemen van naakte feiten die een journalist in een handomdraai uit de schepper weet te trekken, dan is kunst toch overbodig? De lezer van het onthullende vraaggesprek, dat geniepige mengsel van portret en zelfportret, heeft aan het kunstwerk geen boodschap meer. Hij weet al waar het over gaat. Intussen is de kunst niet uit de werkelijkheid verklaard, maar is, integendeel, de werkelijkheid via de beproefde transformaties van dweepzucht en roddel naar het vormpje van de journalistiek gebakken.

Maar kennelijk kent Hofland ook Kellendonk's kritiek niet. Voor degenen die niet meer geïnformeerd willen te worden door corrupte opiniemakers zijn er altijd nog echte journalisten als Robert Parry.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat. His two previous books are Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth.'






Ukraine, Through the US Looking Glass

The acting president of the coup regime in Kiev announces that he is ordering an “anti-terrorist” operation against pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine, while his national security chief says he has dispatched right-wing ultranationalist fighters who spearheaded the Feb. 22 coup that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych.The Times’ front page on Wednesday was a bizarre story by David M. Herszenhorn accusing the Russian government of engaging in a propaganda war by making many of the same points that you could find – albeit without the useful context about Parubiy’s neo-Nazi background – in the same newspaper.
On Tuesday, Andriy Parubiy, head of the Ukrainian National Security Council, went on Twitter to declare, “Reserve unit of National Guard formed #Maidan Self-defense volunteers was sent to the front line this morning.” Parubiy was referring to the neo-Nazi militias that provided the organized muscle that overthrew Yanukovych, forcing him to flee for his life. Some of these militias have since been incorporated into security forces as “National Guard.”
Parubiy himself is a well-known neo-Nazi, who founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991. The party blended radical Ukrainian nationalism with neo-Nazi symbols. Parubiy also formed a paramilitary spinoff, the Patriots of Ukraine, and defended the awarding of the title, “Hero of Ukraine,” to World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, whose own paramilitary forces exterminated thousands of Jews and Poles in pursuit of a racially pure Ukraine.
During the months of protests aimed at overthrowing Yanukovych, Parubiy became the commandant of “Euromaidan,” the name for the Kiev uprising, and – after the Feb. 22 coup – Parubiy was one of four far-right Ukrainian nationalists given control of a ministry, i.e. national security.
But the U.S. press has played down his role because his neo-Nazism conflicts with Official Washington’s narrative that the neo-Nazis played little or no role in the “revolution.” References to neo-Nazis in the “interim government” are dismissed as “Russian propaganda.”
Yet there Parubiy was on Tuesday bragging that some of his neo-Nazi storm troopers – renamed “National Guard” – were now being sicced on rebellious eastern Ukraine as part of the Kiev government’s “anti-terrorist” operation.
The post-coup President Oleksandr Turchynov also warned that Ukraine was confronting a “colossal danger,” but he insisted that the suppression of the pro-Russian protesters would be treated as an “anti-terrorist” operation and not as a “civil war.” Everyone should understand by now that “anti-terror” suggests extrajudicial killings, torture and “counter-terror.”
Yet, with much of the Ukrainian military of dubious loyalty to the coup regime, the dispatch of the neo-Nazi militias from western Ukraine’s Right Sektor and Svoboda parties represents a significant development. Not only do the Ukrainian neo-Nazis consider the ethnic Russians an alien presence, but these right-wing militias are organized to wage street fighting as they did in the February uprising.
Historically, right-wing paramilitaries have played crucial roles in “counter-terror” campaigns around the world. In Central America in the 1980s, for instance, right-wing “death squads” did much of the dirty work for U.S.-backed military regimes as they crushed social protests and guerrilla movements.
The merging of the concept of “anti-terrorism” with right-wing paramilitaries represents a potentially frightening development for the people of eastern Ukraine. And much of this information – about Turchynov’s comments and Parubiy’s tweet – can be found in a New York Times’ dispatch from Ukraine.
Whose Propaganda?
However, on the Times’ front page on Wednesday was a bizarre story by David M. Herszenhorn accusing the Russian government of engaging in a propaganda war by making many of the same points that you could find – albeit without the useful context about Parubiy’s neo-Nazi background – in the same newspaper.
In the article entitled “Russia Is Quick To Bend Truth About Ukraine,” Herszenhorn mocked Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev for making a Facebook posting that “was bleak and full of dread,” including noting that “blood has been spilled in Ukraine again” and adding that “the threat of civil war looms.”
The Times article continued, “He [Medvedev] pleaded with Ukrainians to decide their own future ‘without usurpers, nationalists and bandits, without tanks or armored vehicles – and without secret visits by the C.I.A. director.’ And so began another day of bluster and hyperbole, of the misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and, occasionally, outright lies about the political crisis in Ukraine that have emanated from the highest echelons of the Kremlin and reverberated on state-controlled Russian television, hour after hour, day after day, week after week.”
This argumentative “news” story spilled from the front page to the top half of an inside page, but Herszenhorn never managed to mention that there was nothing false in what Medvedev said. Indeed, it was the much-maligned Russian press that first reported the secret visit of CIA Director John Brennan to Kiev.
Though the White House has since confirmed that report, Herszenhorn cites Medvedev’s reference to it in the context of “misinformation” and “conspiracy theories.” Nowhere in the long article does the Times inform its readers that, yes, the CIA director did make a secret visit to Ukraine last weekend. Presumably, that reality has now disappeared into the great memory hole along with the on-ground reporting from Feb. 22 about the key role of the neo-Nazi militias.
The neo-Nazis themselves have pretty much disappeared from Official Washington’s narrative, which now usually recounts the coup as simply a case of months of protests followed by Yanukovych’s decision to flee. Only occasionally, often inserted deep in news articles with the context removed, can you find admissions of how the neo-Nazis spearheaded the coup.
A Wounded Extremist
For instance, on April 6, the New York Times published a human-interest profile of a Ukrainian named Yuri Marchuk who was wounded in clashes around Kiev’s Maidan square in February. You have to read far into the story to learn that Marchuk was a Svoboda leader from Lviv, which – if you did your own research – you would discover is a neo-Nazi stronghold where Ukrainian nationalists hold torch-light parades in honor of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.
Without providing that context, the Times does mention that Lviv militants plundered a government weapons depot and dispatched 600 militants a day to do battle in Kiev. Marchuk also described how these well-organized militants, consisting of paramilitary brigades of 100 fighters each, launched the fateful attack against the police on Feb. 20, the battle where Marchuk was wounded and where the death toll suddenly spiked into scores of protesters and about a dozen police.
Marchuk later said he visited his comrades at the occupied City Hall. What the Times doesn’t mention is that City Hall was festooned with Nazi banners and even a Confederate battle flagas a tribute to white supremacy.
The Times touched on the inconvenient truth of the neo-Nazis again on April 12 in an articleabout the mysterious death of neo-Nazi leader Oleksandr Muzychko, who was killed during a shootout with police on March 24. The article quoted a local Right Sektor leader, Roman Koval, explaining the crucial role of his organization in carrying out the anti-Yanukovych coup.
“Ukraine’s February revolution, said Mr. Koval, would never have happened without Right Sector and other militant groups,” the Times wrote. Yet, that reality – though actually reported in the New York Times – has now become “Russian propaganda,” according to the New York Times.
This upside-down American narrative also ignores the well-documented interference of prominent U.S. officials in stirring up the protesters in Kiev, which is located in the western part of Ukraine and is thus more anti-Russian than eastern Ukraine where many ethnic Russians live and where Yanukovych had his political base.
Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland was a cheerleader for the uprising, reminding Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations,” discussing who should replace Yanukovych (her choice, Arseniy Yatsenyuk became the new prime minister), and literally passing out cookies to the protesters in the Maidan. (Nuland is married to neoconservative superstar Robert Kagan, a founder of the Project for the New American Century.)
During the protests, neocon Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, took the stage with leaders of Svoboda – surrounded by banners honoring Stepan Bandera – and urged on the protesters. Even before the demonstrations began, prominent neocon Carl Gershman, president of the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy, had dubbed Ukraine “the biggest prize.” [For more details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “What’s the Matter with John Kerry?”]
Indeed, in my four-plus decades in journalism, I have never seen a more thoroughly biased and misleading performance by the major U.S. news media. Even during the days of Ronald Reagan – when much of the government’s modern propaganda structure was created – there was more independence in major news outlets. There were media stampedes off the reality cliff during George H.W. Bush’s Persian Gulf War and George W. Bush’s Iraq War, both of which were marked by demonstrably false claims that were readily swallowed by the big U.S. news outlets.
But there is something utterly Orwellian in the current coverage of the Ukraine crisis, including accusing others of “propaganda” when their accounts – though surely not perfect – are much more honest and more accurate than what the U.S. press corps has been producing.
There’s also the added risk that this latest failure by the U.S. press corps is occurring on the border of Russia, a nuclear-armed state that – along with the United States – could exterminate all life on the planet. The biased U.S. news coverage is now feeding into political demands to send U.S. military aid to Ukraine’s coup regime.
The casualness of this propaganda – as it spreads across the U.S. media spectrum from Fox News to MSNBC, from the Washington Post to the New York Times – is not just wretched journalism but it is reckless malfeasance jeopardizing the lives of many Ukrainians and the future of the planet.


The Media’s Disinformation Campaign on Ukraine: “There are No neo-Nazis in the Interim Government”

Region: 
In-depth Report: 
 570 
  84  28 

  1745
Ukraine groupe né-nazi
Since the overthrow of the Yanukovych government in Ukraine at the end of February 2014, the mainstream media en masse has attempted to whitewash the nature of the current Ukrainian government. This has occurred even in some progressive publications and websites, e.g., a recent two-part series inRabble.ca.
As soon as this government took over, the New York Times referred to it as a new wave of democracy, and this then set the tone for the media in the West. Although here and there it’s sometimes mentioned that Svoboda, a member of the coalition government, “once had some quasi-fascist inclinations,” that’s as far as it goes. All else about Svoboda and the paramilitary Right Sector has been effectively swept off into Orwell’s memory hole.
This is not to say that no one on the Internet has commented on the true nature of Svoboda. To their credit a number of well qualified observers have had no problem spelling out that Svoboda has a solid neo-nazi fascist basis, and not just “inclinations” towards these beliefs. For example, consider the views of Max BlumenthalProfessor Stephen F. CohenProfessor Francis Boyle,Professor Michel Chossudovsky,Dr. Inna RogatchiDavid SpeedieDr. Paul Craig Roberts,Oleg ShynkarenkoAndrew Foxall and Oren Kessler.
Rather than simply plead ignorance about the depth of fascist-racist beliefs   in the Svoboda membership, the least the mainstream media could have done was to mention that the European Parliament took the unusual step in December of 2012 to pass a resolution of concern about the unsavory nature of Svoboda.The Parliament’s resolution #8 states as follows:
[The European Parliament] is concerned about the rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine, expressed in support for the Svoboda Party, which, as a result, is one of the two new parties to enter the Verkhovna Rada; recalls that racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views go against the EU’s fundamental values and principles and therefore appeals to pro-democratic parties in the Verkhovna Rada not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party.
Svoboda was founded in 1991 as the Social National Party of Ukraine – its name unmistakably being an intentional reference to Adolph Hitler’s National Socialist party and it used the Nazi Wolfsangel logo which closely resembles a swastika. In 2004, with the arrival of OlehTyahnybok as leader, the party changed its name to Svoboda to somewhat moderate its image while nevertheless retaining its neo-Nazi core. Also to soften its image it changed its Nazi logo to a stylized three-finger salute.
From its very beginnings as the Social National Party, Svoboda has idolized Stepan Bandera, a Nazi collaborator who formed the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and organized theUkrainian Waffen SS Galician Division – from 82,000 initial Ukrainian volunteers, the Nazis trained only 13,000 for battle. The division was then sent to fight the Russian and Ukrainian Soviet army, but this unit was decimated at the 1944 Battle of Brody, leaving only 3,000 who went on to form the nucleus of a further rebuilt SS division, later to become the core of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).
Aside from fighting the Soviet army, Bandera’s forces assisted the Nazis by willingly killing off tens of thousands of Poles and Jews, and actively took part in the BabiYar massacre and the Holocaust in general. Although Bandera had some disagreements with the Nazis and was imprisoned for a while, he and his followers never disagreed with the Nazi Jewish policy in Ukraine, which eventually killed over 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews.
Bandera had the delusional idea that if Ukrainians helped the Nazis to fight the Soviet forces and that if the Nazis won the war and conquered the USSR, Bandera would somehow manage to establish a “free Ukraine,” independent from the Nazi regime. This was an utter delusion which disregarded Hitler’s Lebensraum objective and the fact that the Nazis considered all Slavs to be sub-humans (untermenschen).
Despite all this, Svoboda’s current leader Oleh Tyahnybok remains totally unrepentant. In 2004, in a speech at the grave-site of a commander of the UPA, he urged Ukrainians to fight against the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia” and lauded the World War II Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists for having fought “Muscovites, Germans, Jews and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.”Tyahnybok’s deputy, Yuri Mikhalchishin,a Svoboda ideologist, has founded a think tank called the Joseph Goebbels Political Research Centre. He has also translated and published articles of Hitler regime “classics” and has named the Holocaust as a “bright period” in European history.
It is worthy of note that what separates Germany from the Bandera Nationalists in Ukraine is that Germany has taken responsibility for the atrocities they committed. Contrast this to Lviv, Ukraine, where surviving members of the WW2 Galician SS, willing participants in genocide, still parade on holidays, proudly displaying medals given them by the German Third Reich. In July of 2013 the Svoboda party organized a rally to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the 14thWaffen SS Division. And on January 1, 2014, to commemorate Bandera’s 105th birthday, about 15,000 Svoboda supporters marched through Kyiv, some wearing Nazi SS Waffen army uniforms.
It is because of these incontestable facts that the European Parliament took the unusual step to pass a resolution of concern about the alarming nature of Svoboda. Recently, an American mainstream publication, Foreign Policy, stated:
“The uncomfortable truth is that a sizeable portion of Kiev’s current government –and the protesters who brought it to power – are, indeed, fascists. . . . Party leader OlehTyahnybok is on record complaining that his country is controlled by a ‘Muscovite-Jewish mafia,’ while his deputy derided the Ukrainian-born film star Mila Kunis as a ‘dirty Jewess.’ In Svoboda’s eyes, gays are perverts and black people unfit to represent the nation at Eurovision, lest viewers come away thinking Ukraine is somewhere besides Uganda.”  Yuri Syrotyuk, speaking on behalf of Svoboda, made a further racist comment: “Millions of people who will be watching will see that Ukraine is represented by a person who does not belong to our race.”
Not only does the mainstream media fail to deal with the underlying fascist beliefs of Svoboda, most extend the cover-up by glibly pointing out that right-wing parties exist in several European countries, so this is no big deal. In saying this, they studiously avoid disclosing that in all these countries the right-wing parties are totally excluded from any role in government,  but  this is not the case now in Ukraine. For the first time since the Nazi era, a basically fascist movement has entered a European government and holds key positions of power. Interestingly, so far there hasn’t been a peep about this from the European Parliament who very recently (as cited above) urged the Ukrainian Rada“not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party.”
Dmitry Yaroch (centre), leader of Right Sector
Although many in the media dismiss the Right Sector (Pravy Sektor) as insignificant, this body was formed in 2013 as an umbrella organization that included several paramilitary groups, including the Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self Defense (UNA-UNSO) whose members dress in uniforms modelled on Hitler’s Waffen SS and have been fighting Russia for years, including in Chechnya.
As of March 22, 2014, all these individual groups have coalesced into the Right Sector and have declared themselves to be an official political party, with Dmytro Yarosh as their presidential candidate in the coming election.  In the meantime, Russia has put Yarosh on an international wanted list and charged him with inciting terrorism after he urged Chechen terrorist leader Doku Umarov to launch attacks on Russia over the Ukrainian conflict. Yaroshhas also threatened to destroy Russian pipelines on Ukrainian territory.
In trying to downplay the significance and role of Svoboda and the Right Sector, the media usually point out that Svoboda has only 8 percent of the seats in the Rada and that the Right Sector doesn’t have any elected members, thus making it appear that these parties are of little consequence. The startling fact not revealed is that Svoboda has seven members within the government’s 21-member cabinet, so they compose one-third of the cabinet – all in the most key and powerful positions. Moreover, the Right Sector has a role in government as well; its leader DmytroYarosh is in charge of the police as the Deputy Secretary to the Minister of National Security.
As such, these two neo-Nazi parties have been entrusted with key positions which grant them de facto control over the Armed Forces, Police and National Security. Certainly this information is of the utmost importance – but it is practically never mentioned in the media. Why is this? Essentially, reporting of this type puts forth a very favourable propaganda image of the provisional government. In reality, in putting forth propaganda, what is not said is often every bit as important as what is said. At the very least this is damaging misinformation.
Because the issue of the role of Svoboda in Ukraine’s government is so fundamentally important, let’s take a look at the cabinet membership.
Oleksandr Sych– Deputy Prime Minister, a Svoboda parliamentarian, the party’s chief ideologist, and a virulent anti-abortion activist
IhorTenyukh – Minister of Defence, member of Svoboda’s political council, and formerly commander of Ukraine’s navybut was dismissed from his post when he tried to help Georgia following its military attack on South Ossetia which Russia quickly rebuffed.
AndriyParubiy– Secretary of the National Security and National Defense Committee (RNBOU), co-founder of the Social-National Party of Ukraine (Svoboda). This is a key position which oversees the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces, Law Enforcement, National Security and Intelligence. The RNBOU is central decision-making body. While it is formally headed by the president, it is run by the Secretariat with a staff of 180 people including defense, intelligence and national security experts. Parubiy was the head “kommandant” of the MaidanRight Sector forces and directed the masked armed men who battled the police.
OlehMakhnitsky – Prosecutor-general, Svoboda member of parliament. With this appointment Svoboda will control the judicial process.
IhorShvaika – Minister of Agriculture, an agro-oligarch and a member of Svoboda. As one of the richest men in the country, his massive investments in agriculture would seem to indicate a slight conflict of interest.
AndriyMoknyk – Minister of Ecology, Deputy Chairman of the Svoboda party and a member of their Political Council, and has been Svoboda’s envoy to other European fascist parties.
SerhiyKvit –Minister of Education, a leading member of Svoboda, noted for his efforts to glorify those who inspiredthe Bandera fascists in World War II.
DmytroYarosh – Deputy head of the National Security Council, to be in charge of the police. Yarosh is the founder-leader of the paramilitary “Right Sector,” and together with Parubiy they directed the demonstrations at Maiden.Years back, Yorash fought alongside Chechen Islamists, and proudly claims that he personally killed a large number of Russian soldiers.
So although Svoboda has only 8 percent of the members in the Ukrainian parliament, they, along with the Right Sector, compose more than a third of the government’s cabinet, including some of the key positions. Hence they have a totally disproportionate share of power, and to compound the problem, Svoboda have no elected members from the entire southeastern part of Ukraine, which has more than half of Ukraine’s population.
A further problem is that it appears there are few, if any members, from southeastern Ukraine in the entire cabinet. As such, over half the country’s population has little or no representation in the interim government’s cabinet, so on this basis alone it lacks legitimacy.
As an indication of how this fascist-inspired government would function, the day after it came into power its very first action was to pass a bill to revoke Ukraine’s very tolerant multicultural language law. In effect the bill banned the use of Russian, Hungarian, Moldovan and Romanian in any official capacity. The bill also includes a provision to ban all Russian language media in Ukraine. Immediately afterwards the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on Ukraine’s new regime to respect the rights (and languages) of its minority population. Following this outcry and condemnation, Interim President OleksandrTurchynov vetoed bill and asked that it be rewritten to be more acceptable.
But the damage was done and this mean-spirited action alerted all minority groups to what the future would hold, especially since some Svoboda members have threatened to ban the Russian language completely and even strip the Ukrainian citizenship of the nation’s Russian speakers. Moreover, a further bill has been advanced that would overturn a law that forbids “denying or excusing the crimes of fascism”. All this is surely asign of possible future discrimination against minority groups.
To put this issue in perspective for Canadians, just imagine if a newly installed government in Ottawa would suddenly ban the use of French as an official language in Canada. How long would it take for Quebec to call for a referendum and then proceed to secede from Canada? In actuality, this is exactly what happened in Crimea, where the bulk of the people speak Russian. They called for a referendum and on March 16, with a turnout of over 80 percent, there was a 97 percent vote to secede from Ukraine. Since ethnic Russians form only 58 percent of the population, it means that the bulk of Ukrainians and Tatars in Crimea also voted to secede from Ukraine.
In Ukraine about 8.3 million people, almost one-fifth of the population, described themselves in the country’s last census as ethnic Russians. However, the Russian language is spoken by at least one quarter of the population and perhaps by as much as 40 percent.  Russian speakers are especially concentrated in the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine. With respect to the prevalence of Russian language, Dr. VitalyChernetsky, a Slavic languages professor at the University of Kansas, has noted if one looks at an average Ukrainian newsstand, one will find that about 90 percent of the publications are in Russian, even in areas where the majority of the population speaks Ukrainian. “The Russian language also dominates the radio,” he said. “The only segment of the media where the Ukrainian language predominates is the national-level television channels.” Hence for this new government to put drastic restrictions on Russian media and the language is a fanatical bizarre course of action.
Going back to how this new government was formed, it is invariably made to appear that there had been a legitimate transfer of power at the end of February. It is usually pointed out that Victor Yanukovych was impeached by a unanimous vote of 328-0, or by 73 per cent of the deputies of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada. What is seldom revealed is that Ukraine’s constitution stipulates that it requires a 75 percent vote of the members of the Rada to legitimately impeach a president. Given this, although Yanukovych was removed from office, it was done in violation of Ukraine’s constitution, and as such this was not a legal impeachment – it was plainly and simply a coup d’état. Furthermore, what preceded this vote was a semi-riot in the Rada brought on by an invasion of armedRight Sector protestors. It is because of this that more than a quarter of the members of the Rada fled, in fear of their lives – hence the insufficient number for the impeachment vote.
A matter that is seldom mentioned is the February 21 agreement, brokered by Germany, France and Poland, between the Yanukovych government and the protestors to end the three-month long confrontation. The agreement was signed by President Yanukovych and the three opposition party leaders Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitalty Klitchko, and Oleh Tyahnybok. The agreement called for early parliamentary and presidential elections, the return of the 2004 constitution and the formation of a temporary government of national unity. If an early election were held it was certain that the Yanukovych government would have been defeated.
When the agreement was announced to the protestors in Maiden Square, the leaders of the armed paramilitary Right Sector immediately rejected a peaceful settlement, and were determined to carry on with their armed protest. Despite this, the blundering Yanukovych inexplicably ordered the police to withdraw from guarding the parliament and government buildings, and he himself flew to a prearranged meeting in the city of Kharkov. As such the compromise agreement for a peaceful settlement did not last a single day – on February 22 the Right Sector armed mobs stormed the government buildings and staged a coup in the parliament. And the rest is history as they say.
Strangely, there were no protests from the governments of Germany, France and Poland on behalf of their emissaries who had arranged for a peaceful transition of power in Ukraine. Instead, the obvious coup d’état was never acknowledged and the coup government has been accepted as legal, and the inclusion of fascist elements in a European government for the first time since Hitler left the scene is seemingly no cause for alarm. So much for the warnings from the European Parliament “not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party (Svoboda).” And it seems that even the Right Sector . . . is all right.
True to form, many in the media ridicule the idea that the USA had any role in helping to foment the demonstrations which resulted in the overthrow of a corrupt but nevertheless legally elected government. As Diana Johnstone in a recent article has stated:
“The U.S. Undersecretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, Victoria Nuland, has openly boasted that the United States has spent five billion dollars to gain influence in Ukraine – in reality, in order to draw Ukraine away from Russia and into the U.S. military alliance.”
Indeed, the mainstream media has been so effective that as Ms Johnstone puts it
“much of public opinion seems to accept the notion that the villain of this story is the Russian president, who is accused of engaging in unprovoked aggression against Crimea – even though he was responding to one of the most blatant provocations in history.”
At the time of the dissolution of the USSR, the USA assured Gorbachev that NATO would never extend into any of the buffer states bordering Russia. This promise was violated almost immediately and NATO has expanded into all these bordering states, except so far into Ukraine.
It would be naive in the extreme to assume that the Orange Revolution of 2004 and the recent U.S. gambit led by Victoria Nuland was not aimed at bringing Ukraine, including the main Russian naval base at Sebastopol, into the NATO orbit. This is in spite of the fact that polls in Ukraine as a whole show that about70 percent of the population is against joining NATO. The strategic function of placing missiles in Ukraine would be to provide the United States with a hypothetical nuclear first strike capacity against Russia. Putin is no fool and that is why he took advantage of the overwhelming desire of thepeople of Crimea to secede from Ukraine.
The issue of the sniper killings in Maidan Square has been downplayed by the media – with the exception The Guardianand the RT television channel there was initially no mention of the intercepted phone conversation between the Estonian foreign minister and the EU foreign affairs chief. The Estonian foreign minister related that he had been told that the snipers responsible for killing police and civilians in Kiev last month were protest movement provocateurs rather than supporters of then-president Viktor Yanukovych. This is vitally important information but somehow this was ignored by the entire American media. It was only after Russia made appeals to the European Union to investigate who was responsible for the killings (which included police and protestors) that the new Ukrainian government made a move to start an investigation. So far nothing has come of this except for the original account that this had been ordered by Yanukovych, with the most recent suggestion that this was the work of Russian agents.
This matter raises the question cui bono? The killings occurred on February 21, the very day that the European emissaries were trying to work out a peaceful resolution to the three-month protest movement. Why would Yanukovych or Russia want to scuttle the possibility of a peaceful resolution? On the other hand, the last thing the heavily armed hardcore fascist Right Sector paramilitary mob wanted was a peaceful solution – they kept demanding the overthrow of the government. Moreover, these were the people who brandished assault rifles and they occupied and controlled most of the tall buildings surrounding the square – buildings from which the shots were fired. How could it be possible for Yanukovych’s police or Russian agents, armed with assault rifles, to pass unnoticed through the crowds of protestors and enter buildings occupied by the protestors?
The sniper killings changed the entire tone of the protest movement. If the protests had been violent before, after the sniper killings the violence escalated. It was at this point that the parliamentary leaders announced to the enraged mob that they had reached an agreement with the government to have an early election and that the protest should end. These leaders were booed and DmytroYarosh, the head of the Right Sector, vowed to carry on until the government was defeated. The next day, with the police no longer on the scene, the armed mob took over all government buildings and the parliament. And the rest we know – a legally elected government (no matter that it was corrupt) was deposed by means of a coup d’état. But the word “coup d’état”is verboten in all of our media, with the sole exception of RT, which is prepared to call a spade a spade.
As for the investigation about the sniper killings, ironically, Dmytro Yarosh, the leader and founder of the Right Sector is now a deputy minister . . . in charge of the police!AndriyParubiy was the official“kommandant” of the Right Sector forces and the person in charge of all the occupied tall buildings surrounding the Maidan Square . . . but he is now the headNational Security and Law Enforcement. But of course there will be a thorough investigation into the sniper killings . . .
With Ukraine now having Europe’s first government since Hitler’s time to include fascists in high profile cabinet positions, one might wonder how their presence affects the operation of the government. On the very first day when this government“impeached” Yanukovych (legally invalid because the Rada lacked the proper quorum to do so), this video shows the rowdiness and intimidation that occurred in Ukraine’s parliament at that time. A further video shows the decorum and behaviour of this new element in the operations of the government. In an unnamed regional parliament a Right Sector “enforcer” came in with a Kalashnikov and lectured the members, saying,“Who wants to take away my machine gun, my pistol, my knives?” The scene was filmed and the video went viral, racking up more than 50,000 views in the first three days.
Another Right Sector video shows one of their members, Olexandr Muzychko, as he barged into a prosecutor’s office in the Rovno Oblast and proceeded to threaten and rough up the official, much in the line of Hitler’s brownshirts in a different era.
A prominent figure in Svoboda,Muzychko has publicly vowed to fight “against Jews, communists, and Russian scum” for as long as he lives. And finally, and equally ominous, on March 18 severalSvoboda members of Parliament, including the deputy head of Ukraine’s committee on freedom of speech, stormed their way into the offices of the president of the National Television Company of Ukraine and after beating up the official they forced him to resign.
They were furious and called it treasonous that the national TV companyshowed Russian President Putin signing a bill to make Crimea part of Russia. This would be the equivalent of Canadian MPs forcing the president of the CBC to resign. Instead of protesting this fascist behaviour, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper visited Kiev recently to offer Canada’s full support for a regime that includes neo-nazis.
There are many other significant matters that the mainstream media has ignored. To put these issues in better perspective, here are a few salient points from Katrina vandenHeuvel, editor of The Nation:
“Yanukovych’s decision to postpone the EU’s association agreement was not irrational. It would have forced Ukraine to decide between Russia and the EU, flatly rejecting Putin’s offer of a tripartite arrangement that would allow the country to sustain its ties with Russia. Quite apart from Putin’s December offer of financial rescue, Ukraine is heavily dependent economically on Russia, which supplies and subsidizes much of its energy and is its largest trading partner. The EU and the United States, for all their bluster, are not about to replace that deep connection with Western aid and trade . . . . Even as it seeks closer ties with Europe, Ukraine can’t afford to turn its back on its huge eastern neighbor. For starters, it gets more than half its natural gas from Russia. The EU couldn’t help much if Moscow turned off the tap—though it’s unlikely to do so, since Russia ships gas to Western Europe via Ukrainian pipelines. Nor can the EU suddenly absorb the $15 billion in iron, steel, grain, and other products that Ukraine annually sells Russia, its biggest trade partner. And for all the anti-Moscow rhetoric heard during the recent protests, the two countries have deep historical and cultural ties.”
It is important to note that some of the interim government’s top ministers were also ministers in previous governments and were participants in policies that created the country’s current economic basket case. During all these years they had failed to curb rampant corruption or tackle economic inefficiency. In fact, the EU has provided Ukraine with $19.1 billion in grants and loans since 1991, and together with IMF and other aid it pushes the total well over $30 billion. And despite Ukraine’s current antagonistic rhetoric, the country has received massive aid from Russia in the form of discounted natural gas—a subsidy totaling $200 billion to $300 billion since 1991. So where has all this money gone? “Into the pockets of an incredibly corrupt political elite and oligarchs,” saysEmily Holland, a specialist on energy policy at the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin.And with all the brouhaha about corruption by the protest movement, the new fascist-tainted regime has appointed some of the worst oligarchs to key regional government posts in eastern Ukraine. So what are the realistic prospects for this essentially failed state?
At the basis of the continuing political turmoil in the country is the fact that Ukraine consists of two fundamentally different regions – its eastern part and its western part. A possible solution would be the creation of a loose confederation with two autonomous regions. One autonomous region would be free to become more economically connected with the European Union while the other with Russia. In addition to other proponents for such a sensible solution, ironically, this proposal has been put forth byRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who on March 20 said:
“. . .a constitutional reform should be held, so that interests of all Ukrainian citizens and regions are respected. This is the only basis for forming legitimate authorities, legislative and executive, central and regional . . . we are convinced that thesituation in the country can be stabilized only through making Ukraine a federal state.”
An apropos concluding comment on this complex matter are the words of Katrina vandenHeuvel:
“The [US] president would be well advised to investigate whether the European Union, Russia and the United States can join together to preserve Ukraine’s territorial unity; to support new and free elections; and to agree to allow Ukraine to be part of both the European Union and Russian customs union, while reaffirming the pledge that NATO will not extend itself into Ukraine. It is time to reduce tensions and create possibility, not flex rhetorical muscles and fan the flames of folly.”
John Ryan, Ph.D., Retired Professor of Geography and Senior Scholar, University of Winnipeg. In studying for his Ph.D. at McGill, Dr. Ryan specialized in the economic and political geography of the USSR. He then taught courses on the USSR for more than 30 years at the University of Winnipeg. He can be reached at jryan13@mymts.net
SHOP GLOBAL RESEARCH
 570 
  84  28 

  1745
Articles by:Professor John Ryan

Related content: