• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 9 augustus 2014

Western Mainstream Media Propaganda

Hallo Stan,

Een lang maar intelligent artikel over de slaafsheid, haar motieven en desastreuze gevolgen voor Europa, van de Westerse Pers. Ook een waarschuwing met het oog op Oologszuchtige krachten in Duitsland, 

door Gabor Steingart is the publisher of Germany’s leading financial newspaper Handelsblatt.
Misschien kan je er iets mee.
Als je wilt vertaal ik het in het Nederlands.

Vriendelijke groet, Feng


-------------------------------------------------------- 

Beste Feng, het zou goed zijn als je dit vertaalt, want dan kunnen we het naar de Nederlandse massamedia en de politici emailen.

The West on the wrong path

08.08.2014, 13:53 Uhr
In view of the events in Ukraine, the government and many media have switched from level-headed to agitated. The spectrum of opinions has been narrowed to the width of a sniper scope. The politics of escalation does not have a realistic goal – and harms German interests.
Gabor Steingart
Gabor Steingart is the publisher of Germany’s leading financial newspaper Handelsblatt.

Düsseldorf

Every war is accompanied by a kind of mental mobilization: war fever. Even smart people are not immune to controlled bouts of this fever. “This war in all its atrociousness is still a great and wonderful thing. It is an experience worth having“ rejoiced Max Weber in 1914 when the lights went out in Europe. Thomas Mann felt a “cleansing, liberation, and a tremendous amount of hope“.

Even when thousands already lay dead on the Belgian battle fields, the war fever did not subside. Exactly 100 years ago, 93 painters, writers, and scientists composed the “Call to the world of culture.“ Max Liebermann, Gerhart Hauptmann, Max Planck, Wilhelm Röntgen, and others encouraged their countrymen to engage in cruelty towards their neighbor: “Without German militarism, German culture would have been swept from the face of the earth a long time ago. The German armed forces and the German people are one. This awareness makes 70 million Germans brothers without prejudice to education, status, or party.“

We interrupt our own train of thought: “History is not repeating itself!” But can we be so sure about that these days? In view of the war events in the Crimean and eastern Ukraine, the heads of states and governments of the West suddenly have no more questions and all the answers. The US Congress is openly discussing arming Ukraine. The former security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski recommends arming the citizens there for house-to-house and street combat. The German Chancellor, as it is her habit, is much less clear but no less ominous: “We are ready to take severe measures.“

German journalism has switched from level-headed to agitated in a matter of weeks. The spectrum of opinions has been narrowed to the field of vision of a sniper scope. 

Newspapers we thought to be all about thoughts and ideas now march in lock-step with politicians in their calls for sanctions against Russia's President Putin. Even the headlines betray an aggressive tension as is usually characteristic of hooligans when they 'support' their respective teams. 

The Tagesspiegel: “Enough talk!“ The FAZ: “Show strength“. The Süddeutsche Zeitung: “Now or never.“ The Spiegel calls for an “End to cowardice“: “Putin's web of lies, propaganda, and deception has been exposed. The wreckage of MH 17 is also the result of a crashed diplomacy.“

Western politics and German media agree.

Every reflexive string of accusations results in the same outcome: in no time allegations and counter-allegations become so entangled that the facts become almost completely obscured. 

Who deceived who first?
Did it all start with the Russian invasion of the Crimean or did the West first promote the destabilization of the Ukraine? Does Russia want to expand into the West or NATO into the East? Or did maybe two world-powers meet at the same door in the middle of the night, driven by very similar intentions towards a defenseless third that now pays for the resulting quagmire with the first phases of a civil war?

If at this point you are still waiting for an answer as to whose fault it is, you might as well just stop reading. You will not miss anything. We are not trying to unearth this hidden truth. We don't know how it started. We don't know how it will end. And we are sitting right here, in the middle of it. At least Peter Sloterdijk has a few words of consolation for us: “To live in the world means to live in uncertainty.“

Our purpose is to wipe off some of the foam that has formed on the debating mouths, to steal words from the mouths of both the rabble-rousers and the roused, and put new words there instead. One word that has become disused of late is this: realism.
The politics of escalation show that Europe sorely misses a realistic goal. It's a different thing in the US. Threats and posturing are simply part of the election preparations. When Hillary Clinton compares Putin with Hitler, she does so only to appeal to the Republican vote, i.e. people who do not own a passport. For many of them, Hitler is the only foreigner they know, which is why Adolf Putin is a very welcome fictitious campaign effigy. In this respect, Clinton and Obama have a realistic goal: to appeal to the people, to win elections, to win another Democratic presidency.

Angela Merkel can hardly claim these mitigating circumstances for herself. Geography forces every German Chancellor to be a bit more serious. As neighbors of Russia, as part of the European community bound in destiny, as recipient of energy and supplier of this and that, we Germans have a clearly more vital interest in stability and communication. We cannot afford to look at Russia through the eyes of the American Tea Party.
Every mistake starts with a mistake in thinking. And we are making this mistake if we believe that only the other party profits from our economic relationship and thus will suffer when this relationship stops. If economic ties were maintained for mutual profit, then severing them will lead to mutual loss. Punishment and self-punishment are the same thing in this case.

Even the idea that economic pressure and political isolation would bring Russia to its knees was not really thought all the way through. Even if we could succeed: what good would Russia be on its knees? How can you want to live together in the European house with a humiliated people whose elected leadership is treated like a pariah and whose citizens you might have to support in the coming winter. 

Of course, the current situation requires a strong stance, but more than anything a strong stance against ourselves. Germans have neither wanted nor caused these realities, but they are now our realities. Just consider what Willy Brandt had to listen to when his fate as mayor of Berlin placed him in the shadow of the wall. What sanctions and punishments were suggested to him. But he decided to forgo this festival of outrage. He never turned the screw of retribution.

When he was awarded the Noble Prize for Peace he shed light on what went on around him in the hectic days when the wall was built: “There is still another aspect – that of impotence disguised by verbalism: taking a stand on legal positions which cannot become a reality and planning counter-measures for contingencies that always differ from the one at hand. At critical times we were left to our own devices; the verbalists had nothing to offer.“

The verbalists are back and their headquarters are in Washington D.C. But nobody is forcing us to kowtow to their orders. Following this lead – even if calculatingly and somewhat reluctantly as in the case of Merkel – does not protect the German people, but may well endanger it. This fact remains a fact even if it was not the American but the Russians who were responsible for the original damage in the Crimean and in eastern Ukraine. 

Willy Brandt decided clearly differently than Merkel in the present, and that in a clearly more intense situation. As he recalls, he had awoken on the morning of August 13, 1961 “wide awake and at the same time numb“. He had stopped over in Hanover on a trip when he received reports from Berlin about work being done on the large wall separating the city. It was a Sunday morning and the humiliation could hardly be greater for a sitting mayor. 

The Soviets had presented him with a fait accompli. The Americans had not informed him even though they had probably received some information from Moscow. Brandt remembers that an “impotent rage“ had risen in him. But what did he do? He reined in his feelings of impotence and displayed his great talent as reality-based politician which would garner him a stint as Chancellor and finally also the Nobel Prize for Peace.
With the advice from Egon Bahr, he accepted the new situation, knowing that no amount of outrage from the rest of the world would bring this wall down again for a while. He even ordered the West-Berlin police to use batons and water cannons against demonstrators at the wall in order not to slip from the catastrophe of division into the much greater catastrophe of war. He strove for the paradox which Bahr put as follows later: “We acknowledged the Status Quo in order to change it.“

And they managed to accomplish this change. Brandt and Bahr made the specific interests of the West Berlin population for who they were now responsible (from June 1962 onwards this also included this author) into the measure of their politics.
In Bonn they negotiated the Berlin subvention, an eight-percent tax-free subvention on payroll and income tax. In the vernacular it was called the “fear premium“. They also negotiated a travel permit treaty with East Berlin which made the wall permeable again two years after it was put up. Between Christmas 1963 and New Year’s 1964, 700 000 inhabitants of Berlin visited their relatives in the east of the city. Every tear of joy turned into a vote for Brandt a short while later.

The voters realized that here was someone who wanted to affect the way they lived every day, not just generate a headline for the next morning. In an almost completely hopeless situation, this SPD man fought for western values – in this case the values of freedom of movement – without bullhorns, without sanctions, without the threat of violence. The elite in Washington started hearing words that had never been heard in politics before: Compassion. Change through rapprochement. Dialog. Reconciliation of interests. And this in the middle of the Cold War, when the world powers were supposed to attack each other with venom, when the script contained only threats and protestations; set ultimatums, enforce sea blockades, conduct representative wars, this is how the Cold War was supposed to be run. 

A German foreign policy striving for reconciliation – in the beginning only the foreign policy of Berlin – not only appeared courageous but also very strange.
The Americans – Kennedy, Johnson, then Nixon – followed the German; it kicked off a process which is unparalleled in the history of enemy nations. Finally, there was a meeting in Helsinki in order to set down the rules. The Soviet Union was guaranteed “non-interference into their internal affairs“ which filled party boss Leonid Brezhnev with satisfaction and made Franz Josef Strauß's blood boil. In return, the Moscow Communist Party leadership had to guarantee the West (and thus their own civil societies) “respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including that of thought, conscience, religion or belief“.

In this way “non-interference“ was bought through “involvement“. Communism had received an eternal guarantee for its territory, but within its borders universal human rights suddenly began to brew. Joachim Gauck remembers: “The word that allowed my generation to go on was Helsinki.“

It is not too late for the duo Merkel/Steinmeier to use the concepts and ideas of this time. It does not make sense to just follow the strategically idea-less Obama. Everyone can see how he and Putin are driving like in a dream directly towards a sign which reads: Dead End. 

“The test for politics is not how something starts but how it ends“, so Henry Kissinger, also a Peace Nobel Prize winner. After the occupation of the Crimean by Russia he stated: we should want reconciliation, not dominance. Demonizing Putin is not a policy. It is an alibi for the lack thereof. He advises condensing conflicts, i.e. to make them smaller, shrink them, and then distill them into a solution.

At the moment (and for a long time before that) America is doing the opposite. All conflicts are escalated. The attack of a terror group named Al Qaida is turned into a global campaign against Islam. Iraq is bombed using dubious justifications. Then the US Air Force flies on to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The relationship to the Islamic world can safely be considered damaged. 

If the West had judged the then US government which marched into Iraq without a resolution by the UN and without proof of the existence of “WMDs“ by the same standards as today Putin, then George W. Bush would have immediately been banned from entering the EU. The foreign investments of Warren Buffett should have been frozen, the export of vehicles of the brands GM, Ford, and Chrysler banned. 

The American tendency to verbal and then also military escalation, the isolation, demonization, and attacking of enemies has not proven effective. The last successful major military action the US conducted was the Normandy landing. Everything else – Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan – was a clear failure. Moving NATO units towards the Polish border and thinking about arming Ukraine is a continuation of a lack of diplomacy by the military means.

This policy of running your head against the wall – and doing so exactly where the wall is the thickest – just gives you a head ache and not much else. And this considering that the wall has a huge door in the relationship of Europe to Russia. And the key to this door is labeled “reconciliation of interests“.

The first step is what Brandt called “compassion“, i.e. the ability to see the world through the eyes of the others. We should stop accusing the 143 million Russian that they look at the world differently than John McCain. 

What is needed is help in modernizing the country, no sanctions which will further decrease the dearth of wealth and damage the bond of relationships. Economic relationships are also relationships. International cooperation is akin to tenderness between nations because everyone feels better afterwards.

It is well-known that Russia is an energy super-power and at the same time a developing industrial nation. The policy of reconciliation and mutual interests should attack here. Development aid in return for territorial guarantees; Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier even had the right words to describe this: modernization partnership. He just has to dust it off and use it as an aspirational word. Russia should be integrated, not isolated. Small steps in that direction are better than the great nonsense of exclusionary politics.

Brandt and Bahr have never reached for the tool of economic sanctions. They knew why: there are no recorded cases in which countries under sanctions apologized for their behavior and were obedient ever after. On the contrary: collective movements start in support of the sanctioned, as is the case today in Russia. The country was hardly ever more unified behind their president than now. This could almost lead you to think that the rabble-rousers of the West are on the payroll of the Russian secret service.

One more comment about the tone of the debate. The annexation of the Crimean was in violation of international law. The support of separatists in eastern Ukraine also does not mesh with our ideas of the state sovereignty. The boundaries of states are inviolable.
But every act requires context. And the German context is that we are a society on probation which may not act as if violations of international law started with the events in the Crimean.

Germany has waged war against its eastern neighbor twice in the past 100 years. The German soul, which we generally claim to be on the romantic side, showed its cruel side.
Of course, we who came later can continue to proclaim our outrage against the ruthless Putin and appeal to international law against him, but the way things are this outrage should come with a slight blush of embarrassment. Or to use the words of Willy Brandt: “Claims to absolutes threaten man.“

In the end, even the men who had succumbed to war fever in 1914 had to realize this. After the end of the war, the penitent issued a second call, this time to understanding between nations: “The civilized world became a war camp and battle field. It is time that a great tide of love replaces the devastating wave of hatred.“

We should try to avoid the detour via the battle fields in the 21st century. History does not have to repeat itself. Maybe we can find a shortcut.



West Wants War 5

NATO is desperate for war
By Pepe Escobar 

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is desperate; it is itching for a war in battlefield Ukraine at any cost. 

Let's start with Pentagon supremo, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has waxed lyrical over the Russian Bear's "threat": "When you see the build-up of Russian troops and the sophistication of those troops, the training of those troops, the heavy military equipment that's being put along that border, of course it's a reality, it's a threat, it's a possibility - absolutely." 

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu could not elaborate if it was "threat" or "reality", absolutely or not, but she saw it all: "We're 
not going to guess what's on Russia's mind, but we can see what Russia is doing on the ground - and that is of great concern. Russia has amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine's eastern border." 

In trademark, minutely precise NATOspeak, Lungescu then added that Russia "most probably" would send troops into eastern Ukraine under the cover of "a humanitarian or peace-keeping mission". And that settled it. 

Hagel and his remote-controlled Romanian minion Lungescu obviously have not read this or simply ignored its detailed explanation by Russian Air Force's spokesman: the "threat" or "build-up" happens to expire this Friday, the last day of Russian military exercises announced in advance. 

Fogh of War gets antsy
Right on cue, NATO secretary-general Anders "Fogh of War" Rasmussen arrived in Kiev practically foaming war in his mouth, ready to lay down the groundwork for NATO's summit in Wales on September 4 when Ukraine, enthroned as a major non-NATO ally, could be projected to become, in lightning speed, fully NATO-weaponized. Moreover, NATO is about to seriously "build up" in Poland, Romania, the Baltics and even Turkey. 

But then all sorts of Khaganate of Nulands (as in Victoria Nuland, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs) derivatives started to spin out of control. One can imagine the vain Fogh of War vainly trying to regain his composure. 

That took some effort as he was presented with the spectacle of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko - a certified oligarch dogged by dodgy practices - trying hard to evict the Maidan originals from the square in the center of Kiev; these are the people who late last year started the protests that were later hijacked by the Banderastan (as in Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan)/Right Sector neo-Nazis, the US neo-con masters. 

The original Maidan protests - a sort of Occupy Kiev - were against monstrous corruption and for the end of the perennial Ukrainian oligarch dance. What the protesters got was even more corruption; the usual oligarch dance; a failed state under civil war and avowed ethnic cleansing of at least 8 million citizens; and on top of it a failed state on its way to further impoverishment under International Monetary Fund "structural adjustment". No wonder they won't leave Maidan. 

So Maidan - the remix - has already started even before the arrival of General Winter. Chocolate King Poroshenko must evict them as fast as he can because renewed Kiev protests simply don't fit the hysterical Western corporate media narrative that "it's all Putin's fault". Most of all, corruption is even nastier than before - now with plenty of neo-Nazi overtones. 

With Fogh of War already fuming because "Russia won't invade", the pompously named "Secretary" of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, neo-Nazi Andrey Parubiy - who is the most likely candidate for having ordered the hit last month on the MH17 civilian aircraft - decided to step out; a certified rat abandoning a sinking ship move mostly provoked by the fact he did not get an extended ethnic cleansing overdrive in Eastern Ukraine, and had to endure a ceasefire. Poroshenko is not an idiot; after loads of bad PR, he knows his nationwide "support" is evaporating by the minute. 

Compounding all this action, a US missile cruiser enters the Black Sea again "to promote peace". The Kremlin and Russian intel easily see that for what it is. 

And then there's the horrendous refugee crisis building up in eastern Ukraine. This past Tuesday, Moscow during a UN Security Council meeting requested emergency humanitarian measures - predictably in vain. Washington blocked it because Kiev had blocked it ("There is no humanitarian crisis to end"). Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin dramatically described the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk as "disastrous", stressing that Kiev is intensifying military operations. 

According to the UN itself, at least 285,000 people have become refugees in eastern Ukraine. Kiev insists the number of internal refugees is "only" 117,000; the UN doubts it. Moscow maintains that a staggering 730,000 Ukrainians have fled into Russia; the UN High Commission for Refugees agrees. Some of these refugees, fleeing Semenivka, in Sloviansk, have detailed Kiev's use of N-17, an even deadlier version of white phosphorus. 

When Ambassador Churkin mentioned Donetsk and Luhansk, he was referring to Kiev's goons gearing up for a massive attack. They are already shelling the Petrovski neighborhood in Donetsk. Almost half of Luhansk residents have fled, mostly to Russia. Those who stayed behind are mostly old-age pensioners and families with small children. 

Humanitarian crisis does not even begin to describe it; there's no water, electricity, communication, fuel and medicine left in Luhansk. Kiev's heavy artillery partially destroyed four hospitals and three clinics. Luhansk, in a nutshell, is the Ukrainian Gaza. 

In a sinister symmetry, just as it gave a free pass to Israel in Gaza, the Obama administration is giving a free pass to the butchers of Luhansk. And there's even a diversion. Obama was mulling whether to bomb The Caliph's Islamic State goons in Iraq, or maybe drop some humanitarian aid. He opted for (perhaps) "limited" bombing and arguably less limited food and water airdrops

So let's be clear. For the US government, "there might be a humanitarian catastrophe" in Mount Sinjar in Iraq, involving 40,000 people. As for at least 730,000 eastern Ukrainians, they have the solemn right to be shelled, bombed, air-stricken and turned into refugees. 

The new Somalia 
Moscow's red lines are quite explicit: NATO out of Ukraine. Crimea as part of Russia. No US troops anywhere near Russia's borders. Full protection for the Russian cultural identity of southern and eastern Ukraine. 

Yet the - real - humanitarian crisis (which Washington dismisses) is another serious matter entirely. Kiev's forces are not equipped for prolonged urban warfare. But assuming these forces - a compound of regular military; oligarch-financed terror/death squads; the neo-Nazi-infested "voluntary" Ukrainian national guard; US-trained foreign mercenaries - decide to go for mass carnage to take Donetsk and Luhansk, arguably Moscow will have to consider what NATO types spin as a "limited ground intervention" in Ukraine. 

NATO spinsters are foolish enough to believe that if Putin can disguise the intervention as a peacekeeping or humanitarian mission, he may be able to sell it to Russian public opinion. In fact Putin has not "invaded" because Russian public opinion does not want it. His popularity is at a staggering 87%. Only an - improbable - Kiev-perpetrated mass carnage would change the equation, and sway Russian public opinion. Considering this is exactly what NATO wants, Fogh of War will be working overtime to force his vassals to bring about such carnage. 

Still, considering the latest developments, what facts on the ground point to is the current oligarch dance in Kiev already unraveling - as in this example here. Moscow won't even have to bother to consider "invading". Meanwhile, Poroshenko's slow motion genocide in Eastern Ukraine, as well as his crackdown of Maidan remix in Kiev, will keep getting a free pass. All hail Ukraine as the new Somalia; a fitting Frankenstein created by the exceptionalist Empire of Chaos. 


Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).


He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com. 


(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.) 

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-01-080814.html

MH 17 Mystery 4


Was Putin Targeted for Mid-Air Assassination?


Exclusive: Official Washington’s conventional wisdom on the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down blames Russian President Putin, but some U.S. intelligence analysts think Putin, whose plane was flying nearby, may have been the target of Ukrainian hardliners who hit the wrong plane, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

U.S. intelligence analysts are weighing the possibility that the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was a botched attempt by extremists in the Ukrainian government to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin whose aircraft was returning from South America the same day, according to a source briefed on the U.S. investigation.
If true, the direction of the investigation into the July 17 crash has veered dramatically from initial U.S. government allegations that eastern Ukrainian rebels, using a Russian-supplied anti-aircraft battery, were responsible for bringing down the plane killing 298 people onboard.
A side-by-side comparison of the Russian presidential jetliner and the Malaysia Airlines plane.
A side-by-side comparison of the Russian presidential jetliner and the Malaysia Airlines plane.
The Obama administration used those claims to whip up an anti-Russian hysteria that prompted European countries to ratchet up economic sanctions against Moscow, starting what now looks like an incipient trade war.
But the U.S. analysts dismissed those original suspicions because they could find no evidence that such a missile battery had been supplied by the Russians or was in the possession of the rebels, prompting a shift in thinking toward a scenario in which Ukrainian hardliners working with elements of the air force may have tried to ambush Putin’s plane but instead hit the Malaysian airliner, said the source speaking on condition of anonymity.
Putin flies in a plane with similar red, white and blue markings as the Malaysian airliner and was known to be on his way home after a six-day visit to South America. But his plane took a different route and landed safely in Moscow.
After the crash, as U.S. intelligence analysts pored over phone intercepts and other intelligence data, they began to suspect that the motive for the shoot-down was the desire among some Ukrainian extremists to eliminate Putin whom they had been privately vowing to kill – words initially viewed as empty bluster but which were looked at differently in hindsight – the source said.
If some Ukrainian authorities were hoping to ambush Putin’s plane, they also would have had only a matter of minutes to detect the aircraft’s presence and make a decision to fire, so it could be plausible that the attackers made a hasty decision to hit Putin’s plane before they realized that they had made a tragic mistake.
Blaming Russia
After the crash, the Ukrainian government quickly assembled some pieces of information from “social media” to pin the blame on the eastern Ukrainian rebels and the Russian government for what would have been a reckless decision to supply such powerful weapons to a poorly trained force.
The rebels denied having a Buk anti-aircraft battery capable of reaching an aircraft flying at 33,000 feet and the Russians denied having supplied one, but those denials were brushed aside by the mainstream U.S. news media and were rejected as well by senior U.S. officials. Only three days after the crash, Secretary of State John Kerry made the rounds of five Sunday talk shows to embrace the Ukrainian government’s assertions although the official investigation into the crash had just begun.
The following Tuesday senior U.S. intelligence officials briefed mainstream reporters from several news outlets offering qualified support to the claims by Kiev and Kerry, but some journalists noted the lack of any real evidence and the briefing’s curious reliance on “social media” rather than aerial reconnaissance, phone intercepts or other official sources. The absence of this corroborating evidence suggested that the case against the rebels and Russia was weaker than the Obama administration was letting on.
Yet, because of the high-level endorsements of Russia’s presumed guilt, the U.S. intelligence analysts are moving cautiously in developing their alternative scenario, said the source, who added that another line of inquiry still being pursued is that the Ukrainian military brought down the passenger plane simply to create a provocation that could be turned against the rebels and Russia.
But the assassination motive would seem to make more sense given the intense hatred expressed by Ukrainian leaders toward Putin and how Ukrainian extremists would view the murder of Putin as a giant feather in their cap.
Still, the idea of assassinating the Russian president by shooting down his plane – even if the attack were carried out by hardliners without the approval of top officials – could have provoked a major international crisis. Nuclear-armed Russia would have almost surely retaliated against Ukraine, possibly with a full-scale invasion which could have escalated into a dangerous military confrontation with the United States.
This possibility of a cascading crisis beyond the control of rational policymakers has always been a risk since the U.S.-backed overthrow of elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22, a putsch spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias though also supported by more moderate political figures. The U.S. State Department quickly embraced the coup regime as “legitimate,” but ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, which had been Yanukovych’s political base, resisted the new order.
Crimea, another stronghold of ethnic Russians, voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, a move endorsed by Putin and backed by Russian troops who were stationed in Crimea, the site of the Russian naval base at Sebastopol. The annexation of Crimea was heartily denounced by President Barack Obama and U.S. allies in Europe, who began applying sanctions on Russia.
Meanwhile, the new Ukrainian government, which gave the neo-Nazis several ministries in appreciation for their key role in the coup, began calling the ethnic Russian resistance “terrorists.” New National Guard units, formed from neo-Nazi militias, were dispatched to intimidate ethnic Russians in the southern city of Odessa, where scores were killed when a pro-Kiev mob set a trade union building ablaze.
A Worsening Crisis
As the crisis worsened, several eastern cities in the Donbass region also voted to secede and an armed resistance emerged against the Kiev regime, which responded by vowing to crush the rebellion with an “anti-terrorist operation” that has included artillery and aerial bombardments against towns and cities held by the rebels.
On Friday, a Ukrainian parliamentary group reported that more than 10,000 people have been killed in Kiev’s offensive since April, a number far higher than earlier estimates.
Angered by the mounting violence, the Russians lodged murder accusations against two Ukrainian officials, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and Ihor Kolomoisky, a billionaire oligarch who was appointed by the coup regime to be governor of the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk Region.
Kolomoisky, known for his strong-arm business tactics including deploying paid thugs to intimidate rivals, is now using his fortune to finance paramilitary units, such as the Dnipro Battalion which is considered one of the most aggressive and brutal units in the “anti-terrorist operation” in eastern Ukraine.
Since the February coup, Kolomoisky also has engaged in a bitter war of words with Putin whom he publicly mocked as a “schizophrenic shorty.” But Kolomoisky’s fury toward Putin has intensified in the face of the Russian murder charge and other threats to the billionaire’s PrivatBank holdings. In private conversations, Kolomoisky has made angry threats against Putin, the source said.
Other Ukrainian officials have vowed to kill Putin. Ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a onetime Kolomoisky ally, said in an intercepted phone: “It’s about time we grab our guns and kill, go kill those damn Russians together with their leader.”
Though U.S. intelligence was aware of such threatening anti-Putin rhetoric via American intercepts, the rants were not taken seriously, at least not until after the shoot-down of the Malaysian airliner, the source said. Now, they are reportedly being studied as a possible motive for the July 17 attack.
Another curious development was the sudden resignation on Thursday of Andriy Parubiy as chief of Ukraine’s national security. A longtime neo-Nazi leader, Parubiy had organized and directed the paramilitary forces that spearheaded the putsch on Feb. 22 forcing Yanukovych and his government officials to flee for their lives.
Parubiy refused to explain his reason for quitting but some analysts believe it may have a connection to the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down, the source said. The U.S. intelligence analysts specifically said their evidence does not implicate Ukraine’s current President Petro Poroshenko or Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, but they did not extend that clearance to the more extreme elements of the government, the source said.
Russian Evidence
Based on technical evidence that Moscow has supplied to U.S. and other investigators, it appears that the Ukrainian military had several Russian-made Buk anti-aircraft missiles along the path of the Malaysia Airlines flight as well as two jetfighters in the air in the vicinity of the doomed plane.
Eyewitnesses also reported seeing one or two Ukrainian jetfighters near the airliner right before it was blown out of the sky. Two theories are that the jetfighters were trying to identify the plane or were responsible for finishing it off if the missile failed to do the job.
An independent analysis by an expert on the Buk systems, who has reviewed the Russian evidence,says it shows that one of the Ukrainian anti-aircraft batteries was in position to take down the Malaysian airliner by inflicting damage consistent with the wreckage that has so far been recovered from the plane.
As the pieces of this puzzle fill in, the image that emerges is of a possible Ukrainian ambush of a jetliner heading into Russian airspace that had markings very similar to President Putin’s official plane. As shocking as that picture may be, there is a grim logic to it, given the demonization of Putin who has been likened to Hitler and Stalin by pundits and politicians from Ukraine to the United States.
However, even if the U.S. intelligence analysts do assemble a strong case implicating an extremist faction within the Ukrainian government, there is still the political problem for the Obama administration of dealing with a conclusion so dramatically at odds with the original accusations aimed at the rebels and Russia.
Powerful people are notoriously unwilling to admit mistakes, especially when it could open them to charges that they rushed to judgment and behaved recklessly. There are similarities with the hasty U.S. conclusions a year ago when sarin gas killed hundreds outside Damascus on Aug. 21 – and the finger of blame was pointed immediately at the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
On Aug. 30, Secretary Kerry declared repeatedly that “we know” that the Assad regime was guilty, but some U.S. intelligence analysts were privately expressing their doubts and refused to endorse a “Government Assessment” which presented no verifiable evidence to support the accusations. The four-page white paper also suppressed the dissents of the analysts.
Over the ensuing months as much of Kerry’s case fell apart, some of these analysts came to believe that rebel extremists were likely responsible for the attack as a provocation to draw in the U.S. military into the civil war on their side. But the U.S. government has never retracted its allegations against the Syrian government. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case.”]
Given how far senior U.S. officials have gone in heaping blame for the Malaysia Airlines shoot-down on the rebels and the Russians, it is hard to envision a walk-back of those accusations regardless of the actual evidence. To compel that would require true courage from U.S. analysts or from international investigators looking into the crash.
It is never easy to contradict important people, especially when they have leveled such serious accusations so confidently. That is one reason why Kerry and the mainstream U.S. news media should have held back on their conclusions until a thorough investigation had been done.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.
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Paul Craig Roberts 25

Washington Threatens The World — Paul Craig Roberts

Washington Threatens The World
Paul Craig Roberts
The consequence of Washington’s reckless and irresponsible political and military interventions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria has been to unleash evil. The various sects that lived in peace under the rule of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, and Assad are butchering one another, and a new group, ISIS, is in the process of creating a new state out of parts of Iraq and Syria.
The turmoil brought into the Middle East by the Bush and Obama regimes has meant death and displacement for millions and untold future deaths. As I write 40,000 Iraqis are stranded on a mountain top without water awaiting death at the hands of ISIS, a creation of US meddling.
The reality in the Middle East stands in vast contradiction to the stage managed landing of George W. Bush on the US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln where Bush declared “Mission Accomplished” on May 1, 2003. The mission that Washington accomplished was to wreck the Middle East and the lives of millions of people and to destroy America’s reputation in the process. Thanks to the demonic neoconservative Bush regime, today America is regarded by the rest of the world as the greatest threat to world peace.
The Clinton regime’s attack on Serbia set the pattern. Bush upped the ante with Washington’s naked aggression against Afghanistan, which Washington clothed in Orwellian language–”Operation Enduring Freedom.”
Washington brought ruin, not freedom, to Afghanistan. After 13 years of blowing up the country, Washington is now withdrawing, the “superpower” having been defeated by a few thousand lightly armed Taliban, but leaving a wasteland behind for which Washington will accept no responsibility.
Another source of endless Middle East turmoil is Israel whose theft of Palestine is
Washington-enabled. In the middle of Israel’s latest attack on civilians in Gaza, the US Congress passed resolutions in support of Israel’s war crimes and voted hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for Israel’s ammunition. Here we witness Great Moral America 100 percent in support of unambiguous war crimes against essentially defenseless people.
When Israel murders women and children, Washington calls it “Israel’s right to defend their own country”–a country that Israel stole from Palestinians–but when Palestinians retaliate Washington calls it “terrorism.” By supporting Israel, declared to be a terrorist state by a few moral governments that still exist, and accused of war crimes by the UN General Secretary, Washington is in violation of its own laws against supporting terrorist states.
Of course, Washington itself is the leading terrorist state. Therefore, it is illegal under US law for Washington to support itself. Washington, however, does not accept law, neither domestic nor international, as a constraint on its actions. Washington is “exceptional, indispensable.” No one else counts. No law, no Constitution, and no humane consideration has authority to constrain Washington’s will. In its claims Washington surpasses those of the Third Reich.
As horrific as Washington’s recklessness toward the Middle East is, Washington’s recklessness toward Russia is many orders of magnitude greater. Washington has
convinced nuclear armed Russia that Washington is planning a nuclear first strike.
In response Russia is beefing up its nuclear forces and testing US air defense reactions.http://freebeacon.com/national-security/russian-strategic-bombers-conduct-more-than-16-incursions-of-u-s-air-defense-zones/
It is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible act than to convince Russia that Washington intends to hit Russia with a preemptive first strike. One of Putin’s advisers has explained to the Russian media Washington’s first strike intentions, and a member of the Russian Duma has made a documented presentation of Washington’s first strike intentions.http://financearmageddon.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/official-warning-u-s-to-hit-russia-with.html By marshaling the evidence, I have pointed out in my columns that it is impossible for Russia to avoid this conclusion.
China is aware that China faces the same threat from Washington.http://yalejournal.org/2013/06/12/who-authorized-preparations-for-war-with-china/ China’s response to Washington’s war plans against China was to demonstrate how China’s nuclear forces would be used in response to Washington’s attack on China to destroy the US. China made this public, hoping to create opposition among Americans to Washington’s war plans against China.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2484334/China-boasts-new-submarine-fleet-capable-launching-nuclear-warheads-cities-United-States.html Like Russia, China is a rising country that does not need war in order to succeed.
The only country on earth that needs war is Washington, and that is because Washington’s goal is the neoconservative one of exercising hegemony over the world.
Prior to the Bush and Obama regimes, every previous US president went to great efforts to avoid telegraphing any nuclear threat. US war doctrine was careful to keep nuclear weapons limited to retaliation in the event the US suffered a nuclear attack. The purpose of nuclear forces was to prevent the use of such weapons. The reckless George W. Bush regime elevated nuclear weapons to preemptive first use, thus destroying the constraint placed on the use of nuclear weapons.
The overriding purpose of the Reagan administration was to end the cold war and, thereby, the threat of nuclear war. The George W. Bush regime, together with the Obama regime’s demonization of Russia, have overturned President Reagan’s unique achievement and made nuclear war likely.
When the incompetent Obama regime decided to overthrow the democratically elected government in Ukraine and install a puppet government of Washington’s choosing, the Obama State Department, run by neoconservative ideologues, forgot that the eastern and southern portions of Ukraine consist of former Russian provinces that were attached to the Ukraine Soviet Socialist Republic by Communist Party leaders when Ukraine and Russia were part of the same country–the Soviet Union. When the Russophobic stooges that Washington installed in Kiev demonstrated in word and deed their hostility to Ukraine’s Russian population, the former Russian provinces declared their desire to return to mother Russia. This is not surprising, nor is it something that can be blamed on Russia.
Crimea succeeded in returning to Russia, where Crimea resided since the 1700s, but Putin, hoping to defuse the propaganda war that Washington was mounting against him did not accept the pleas from the other former Russian provinces. Consequently, Washington’s stooges in Kiev felt free to attack the protesting provinces and have been following the Israeli policy of attacking civilian populations, civilian residences, and civilian infrastructure.
The presstitute Western media ignored the facts and accused Russia of invading and annexing parts of Ukraine. This lie is comparable to the lies that US Secretary of State Colin Powell told the UN about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in behalf of the criminal Bush regime, lies that Colin Powell later apologized for to no avail as Iraq had been destroyed by his lies.
When the Malaysian airliner was destroyed, before any facts were known Russia was blamed. The British media was especially primed to blame Russia almost the instant it was known the airliner was downed. I heard the BBC’s gross misrepresentation and blatant lies on American National Public Radio, and only the Daily Mail’s propagandistic account was worse. The entire “news” event has the appearance of orchestration prior to the event, which, of course, suggests that Washington was behind it.
The airliner deaths became all important for Washington’s propaganda war. The 290 casualties are unfortunate, but they are a small fraction of the deaths that Israel was inflicting on Palestinians at the same moment without provoking any protests from Western governments, as distinct from Western peoples in the streets, people whose protests were conveniently suppressed for Israel by Western security forces.
Washington used the downing of the airliner, which probably was Washington’s responsibility, as an excuse for another round of sanctions and to pressure its European puppets to join the sanctions with sanctions of their own, which Washington’s EU puppets did.
Washington relies on accusations and insinuations and refuses to release the evidence from the satellite photos, because the photos do not support Washington’s lies. Facts
are not permitted to interfere with Washington’s demonization of Russia any more than facts interfered with Washington’s demonization of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Iran.
Twenty-two reckless and irresponsible US senators have introduced the “Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014,” US Senate bill 2277, sponsored by Senator Bob Corker, who well represents in his ignorance and stupidity what appears to be the majority of the American population or the majority of voters in the state of Tennessee. Corker’s bill is a mindless piece of legislation designed to start a war that would be likely to leave no survivors. Apparently, idiotic Americans will elect any fool to power.
The belief that Russia is responsible for the downed Malaysian airliner has become fact in Western capitals despite the total absence of even a tiny scrap of evidence in behalf of the claim. Moreover, even it the accusation were true, is one airliner worth a World War?
The UK Defense Committee has concluded that a broke and militarily impotent UK must “focus on the defense of Europe against Russia.” The military spending drums, if not the war drums, are beating and the entire West has joined in. A militarily impotent Britain is going to defend Europe from a non-existent, although much proclaimed, attack from the Russian bear.
US and NATO military dignitaries and the Pentagon chief are issuing Russia Threat Warnings based on alleged but non-existent Russian troop-buildups on Ukraine’s border. According to the the Western Ministry of Propaganda if Russia defends the Russian populations in Ukraine from military attack from Washington’s stooge government in Kiev, it is proof that Russia is the villain.
Washington’s propaganda campaign has succeeded in turning Russia into a threat. Polls show that 69 percent of Americans now regard Russia as a threat, and that the confidence of Russians in American leadership has vanished.
Russians and their government observe the identical demonization of their country and their leader as they observed of Iraq and Saddam Hussein, of Libya and Gaddafi, of Syria and Assad, and of Afghanistan and the Taliban just prior to military assaults on these countries by the West. For a Russian, the safest conclusion from the evidence is that Washington intends war on Russia.
It is my opinion that the irresponsibility and recklessness of the Obama regime is without precedent. Never before has the United States government or the government of any nuclear power gone to such great efforts to convince another nuclear power that that power was being set up for attack. It is difficult to imagine a more provocative act that more endangers life on earth. Indeed, the White House Fool has doubled up, convincing both Russia and China that Washington is planning a preemptive first strike on both.
Republicans want to sue or to impeach Obama over relatively inconsequential issues, such as ObamaCare. Why don’t Republicans want to impeach Obama over such a critical issue as subjecting the world to the risk of nuclear armageddon?
The answer is that the Republicans are as crazed as the Democrats. Their leaders, such as John McCain and Lindsay Graham, are determined that “we stand up to the Russians!” Wherever one looks in American politics one sees crazed people, psychopaths and sociopaths who should not be in political office.
Washington long ago gave up diplomacy. Washington relies on force and intimidation. The US government is utterly devoid of judgment. This is why polls show that the rest of the world regards the US government as the greatest threat to world peace. Today
(August 8, 2014) Handelsblatt, Germany’s Wall Street Journal, wrote in a signed editorial by the publisher:
“The American tendency to move from verbal escalation to military escalation–the isolation, demonization, and attacking of enemies–has not proven effective. The last successful major military action the US conducted was the Normandy landing [in 1944]. Everything else – Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan – was a clear failure. Moving NATO units towards the Polish border with Russia and thinking about arming Ukraine is a continuation of relying on military means in the absence of diplomacy.”
Washington’s puppet states–all of Europe, Japan, Canada, and Australia–enable Washington’s unrivaled danger to the world by their support of Washington’s agenda of exercising hegemony over the entire world.
The 100th anniversary of World War I is upon us. And the folly that caused this war is being repeated. WWI destroyed a civilized Western world, and it was the work of a mere handful of scheming people. The result was Lenin, the Soviet Union, Hitler, the rise of American Imperialism, Korea, Vietnam, the military interventions that created ISIS, and now resurrected conflict between Washington and Russia that President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev had ended.
As Stephen Starr has pointed out on my website, if merely 10% of the nuclear weapons in the US and Russian arsenals are used, life on earth terminates.
Dear readers, ask yourselves, when has Washington told you anything that was not a lie? Washington’s lies have caused millions of casualties. Do you want to be a casualty of Washington’s lies?
Do you believe that Washington’s lies and propaganda about the Malaysian airliner and Ukraine are worth risking life on earth? Who is so gullible that he cannot recognize that Washington’s lies about Ukraine are like Washington’s lies about Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Iranian nukes, and Assad’s use of chemical weapons?
Do you think that the neoconservative influence that prevails in Washington, regardless of the political party in office, is too dangerous to be tolerated?
 
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.