I have become increasingly interested in the reasons why completely different versions of reality emerge from the ‘independent’ western Main Stream Media (MSM) and from the Moscow controlled ‘propaganda’ channels (Russia Today, etc.)
The vast majority of Americans and western Europeans believe that Russia is aggressive, is trying to re-establish the Soviet empire and is attacking the popular and democratic government of the Ukraine. The reality (and I have been following the events in the Ukraine, conference by conference, report by report, meeting by meeting, statement by statement, ever since the rioting broke out in Kiev in November 2013) is completely contrary to this view.
The background is the ambiguity that remained at the end of the negotiations between President Gorbachev and the Reagan administration over the reunification of Germany. At that time it was understood (at least by the Russians) that NATO would not move in to fill the power vacuum that would be left upon the USSR’s withdraw of its forces from Eastern Europe. The American’s dispute this – but the evidence for this assurance having been given, is supported by Roland Dumas, the French Foreign Minister at the time, and would certainly suffice for Putin to feel justified in claiming it to be true. To the Russians, the quid pro quo for the USSR allowing Germany to be re-united was an assurance that NATO would never expand any further east than the reunited Germany’s eastern frontier. https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/nato-s-eastward-expansion-did-the-west-break-its-promise-to-moscow-a-663315-2.html
Almost as soon as the agreement was made, the internal collapse of the communist USSR took place, with the newly capitalist Russia reaching its nadir during Yeltsin’s presidency. The Americans moved quickly to disown any assurances to the contrary that they might have given and to expand NATO as far eastwards as possible. Might is right; it hardly entered the American leadership’s calculations that fossil fuels and an old fashioned Russian patriot in the shape of Putin, might see a return of Russia’s power to resist. By the time Putin came to power, he was faced with a fait accompli and with the USA trying to make even further gains by destabilising Georgia and the Ukraine.
Russia lacks all natural obstacles between its major cities and the Western European flatlands. The only thing that has preserved Russia from past European invasions, is distance. Napoleon (who managed to burn Moscow to the ground) , Kaiser Willem and then Hitler (who managed to cause in excess of twenty million Russian deaths) in turn, were defeated by the vast kilometres of hostile territory their armies had to traverse, before they could get to the core of their Russian opponent’s power and inflict a mortal injury. The USSR’s occupation of Eastern Europe (at a time when the Ukraine was a fully integrated component of the USSR) at the end of WWII (amazingly described by Arseni Yatsenyuk, the Ukraine’s new Scientologist Prime Minister, on a recent visit to Germany as “Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and Germany,”) was primarily to re-establish a safe buffer between the European breeding ground of invading armies and the Russian homeland.
Unsurprisingly, American attempts to occupy this buffer arouse an alarmed and paranoid response in the minds of any Russians familiar with their country’s history. The Russians have good reason to suspect hostile intent. Even the American’s own intelligence agencies have repeatedly confirmed that there is no Iranian nuclear weapons programme, but America has consistently used the threat posed by these non-existent missiles as an excuse for its impending stationing of anti-ballistic missile batteries on NATO’s Eastern Polish border. Now, with its de-stabilisation of the Ukraine, the USA seems to be attempting to move these missiles even closer to the Russian heartland.
Since Hitler’s time, technological strategic considerations have moved against Russia’s sense of security. The theory of nuclear deterrence is based on the MAD principle – Mutually Assured Destruction. This rests on a reality that, though one nation may unleash a surprise first-strike of nuclear missiles against its opponent, there will always be sufficient of the opponent’s missiles in hardened bunkers, or otherwise concealed, that survive to assure the first-strike nation that a riposte will be made, which will ensure it too will be destroyed.
With the very recent developments in anti-missile technology and the huge American budget devoted to its further development, Russia can no longer be assured that any riposte remaining to it after an American first-strike, would actually get through in sufficient numbers to deter a Dr Strangelove in the Pentagon or a General Breedlove as (the current) Commander US Forces in Europe. The closer the anti-ballistic missile batteries are to the launch-point of the Russian riposte, the greater likelihood they have of being able to contain it. In short, the American moves in Ukraine are interpreted by the Kremlin as evidence of hostile intent and that that intent is to manoeuvre the USA into a position from which it can, with impunity, indulge in nuclear blackmail and pose an existential threat to Russia. In the Ukrainian crisis, the USA, having chosen a battlefield tens of thousands of kilometres removed from any of its vital territories, has nothing to lose and all to gain. Russia, with the Eastern Ukrainian frontier only a four hundred kilometre drive from Moscow, is in the diametrically opposite situation.
Despite this mismatch of strategic vulnerability, according to the western MSM, Russia has behaved with cynical irresponsibility and has excited, to its own detriment, a justified Western response of sanctions. Not only have these inflicted huge damage upon the Russian economy, they have also forced upon the NATO ‘victims’ of Russian aggression, a massive upgrade in the alliance’s ‘defensive readiness’ and in the arms purchases (mainly from the USA) of the individual member states.
Rather than set down here a chronology of events as they have unfolded since the Americans took the decision to take the Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and into theirs, I have chosen this link to a former, high-ranking CIA officer’s reading of events. I have not detected any fundamental inaccuracies in anything that Ray McGovern has to say. https://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12628
The picture of events given by McGovern, is completely at odds with that held by the western public and paid lip-service to by their political leadership. (Most of who, one must hope, will be aware that they are pulling the wool over the eyes of their flocks.)
There is another hyperlink that is necessary reading – an official interview with Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister – given in December 1914 and setting out Russia’s extremely mild and unaggressive objectives in the Ukraine. https://www.mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/0/AEB8DD305080A07EC3257DB000514786
For those of the West who would argue that Russia’ has only moved over from aggression to conciliation thanks to Western sanctions and other measures taken in defence of Ukrainian democracy, here is what Lavrov was saying on the same subject in March 2014 – the same reasonable, statesmanlike and most nonthreatening posture. https://www.france24.com/en/20140329-kerry-lavrov-paris-talks-crimea-crisis-ukraine/
Russia’s objectives are simple and by no means extreme or unreasonable:
• To see the Ukraine remain as a neutral buffer on its western frontier and free from NATO forces.
• To see the eastern, Russian-speaking provinces of Ukraine, made safe from persecution by the Russophobic government now installed in Kiev. This to be achieved through the introduction of a new constitution that will allow them a certain amount of autonomy.
• To see the million or so refugees, who, having been displaced by Kiev’s indiscriminate artillery fire, have crossed over to Russia, return to their homes.
• To see the economic life of Eastern Ukraine, a key trading partner of Russia, restored to health.
These simple aims run completely contrary to the shrill claims of NATO and EU leaders that Russia is threatening to invade Europe.
The map on the right shows that were Russia truly inspired to annex a significant potion of the Ukraine, its territorial ambitions would have moved much further to the West. One has to accept as highly probable the Russian military’s claim that it would take it less than week to occupy Kiev, should it receive Putin’s order to do so.
The only exception to Russian willingness to preserve Ukrainian territorial integrity, has been the Crimean Peninsula. The ousting of Russia’s navy from its only warm water port and its replacement by NATO forces, was to have been a major NATO benefit to ensue from the coup in Kiev. There is no way Russia could afford to let a clearly hostile alliance occupy such a strategic vantage point.
The Crimea has been an integral component of Russia since the time of Catherine the Great. It was only in 1954, that Khrushchev, himself a Ukrainian, transferred it for administrative convenience, to the Ukrainian SSR, which at that time was a fully integrated member of the USSR. Over 80% of the Crimean population are Russian speakers. The new, Russophobic government in Kiev had, as its first act, declared its intention to ban Russian as an official language. Regarding this as an harbinger of what was likely to be in store for them, 87% of Crimean citizens voted to re-join the homeland from which they had been so recently separated. Under a lease agreement between the governments in Moscow and Kiev, the peninsular was already garrisoned by Russian troops and naval units and so, the takeover was completed with no loss of life.
How many western leaders have been seen to stand up for the Crimean people’s rights of self-determination: not one! So much for the democratic principles to which such lip service is paid by the West! Had 51% of Scots voted for independence from London, that would have been acceptable. When 87% of Crimea voted for independence from Kiev, that was cause for the whole western world to launch economic warfare against Moscow. Western leaders say that any changes to European frontiers are absolutely unacceptable and that the stability and peacefulness of the Continent depends on their having being set in stone. They conveniently ignore the mergers of East and West Germany, the NATO forced separation of Kosovo from Serbia and the voluntary division of Czechoslovakia into two separate republics, all of which have occurred with full EU and NATO support.
The question that cries out for an answer is: “how has it come about that Western public opinion has been so effectively mobilised against Russian ‘aggression?’”
The crucial instrument for the orchestration of public opinion is control of the media. A key component in the current Ukrainian crisis has been distorted reporting in the western media. As one tiny example, here is the BBC doing what it can to help the anti-Russian hysteria on its way. https://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2735139/russian_aggression_and_the_bbcs_drums_of_nuclear_war.html (Oliver Tickell, who wrote the piece, is one of the most respected figures in environmentalist circles and, ironically, a regular contributor to the BBC.)
The above represents just one minor example of a massive multimedia, multinational campaign of biased reporting. One of the peculiar aspects of this campaign is the seemingly remarkable lack of western accredited war correspondents to be found on the ground, reporting on the Kiev inflicted civilian carnage that has caused several thousand deaths and more than a million civilians to flee their homes. In such a readily accessible theatre, there is no shortage of Russian correspondents attempting to provide reports from the front-line (more than eighty have been either killed or expelled from the Ukraine since the civil war began) but where are the western correspondents? Is the true situation not only being misreported, but even knowledge of it being deliberately avoided? One of the handful of western correspondents to give a first-hand account of events was published in the Daily Telegraph in August 2014 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/11025137/Ukraine-crisis-the-neo-Nazi-brigade-fighting-pro-Russian-separatists.html The content of his report was clearly unwelcome news and I can find no instance of other mainstream media outlets having picked up on it.
Earlier this month, I came across a report that provided a fresh insight into what was going on. I had always been aware that the CIA, was prepared to manipulate the media to a limited extent. https://www.activistpost.com/2015/01/1975-video-cia-admits-to-congress.html
Furthermore, there is no doubt that Western journalists, particularly foreign correspondents, modify their behaviour and what they report, due to an awareness of continuous surveillance by state security agencies. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/02/05/two-out-three-investigative-journalists-us-believe-theyre-being-spied
But if that is the stick, the more fortunate among them might also be given the chance to munch on carrots. This whistle-blower’s claims, if true, represent a level of manipulation on an altogether grander scale than anything I had imagined up to this point. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm4OUcfiM-8 https://americanfreepress.net/?p=20355
If Udo Ulfkotte’s story is true, it makes us call into question everything we read and hear in our newspapers. In my report on the MH17 downing, I had given the hyperlink to a Correct!v post. This presented a well-argued and apparently thoroughly researched case that it was a regular unit of the Russian Army that shot down the Malaysian aircraft. https://khakispecs.com/?p=343
I am no longer so sure. In subsequent correspondence, David Crawford, the Berlin-based, American journalist, who produced the Correct!v report, has failed to answer any of my remaining queries in a forthright manner. His replies to particular questions regarding what I saw as inconsistencies in his report were so evasive that I found myself thinking that he too, might be on a CIA reward list. (It is very hard to believe that the whole of Correct!v, which appears to be a highly respectable and independent organisation, has been suborned.)
One of the interesting points is that the German State Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst) produced a report that stated with absolute certainty that it was the Russian speaking rebels, using a captured Ukrainian army missile, who shot down the aircraft. https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/german-intelligence-blames-pro-russian-separatists-for-mh17-downing-a-997972.html Both reports cannot be right – and now, I am thinking that there is no reason why both reports should not be wrong.
Unfortunately the Western public’s media across a whole range of foreign policy issues (and certainly not confined to the Ukrainian question) is not only open to CIA manipulation, but, its independence, which, in a healthy democracy, should be preserved by multifaceted private ownership, has ended up concentrated in very few hands. The composition of that small coterie of hugely influential media barons is heavily biased towards those with a strong interest in grinding a Zionist axe. In short, its content is grievously distorted by those Jewish owners and influencers of the western media who are prepared to place Israeli interests above any objective reporting of the truth. This will be the subject of another blog.
In New Zealand, with its geographic isolation and its media’s almost total reliance on reports syndicated from externally owned media, this problem of which reports to trust, is particularly acute. New Zealand politicians and key foreign policy decision makers (if not their specialist advisers) are imbued with the same ‘truths’ and world-view that have been fed to their electorates – however remote from reality they might be. With a leadership unaware of the extent of its unknowing, no one need be surprised if on occasion, New Zealand foreign policy finds itself up a proverbial gum tree! Let us hope the Koalas are cuddly because, just at the moment, we are heading up a gum tree in Iraq.