Chessboard Drenched in Blood – By Pepe Escobar

THE ROVING EYE
A chessboard drenched in blood
ASIAN TIMES
By Pepe Escobar

“The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” Everyone remembers the Downing Street Memo, which unveiled the Bush/Blair “policy” in the run-up to the 2003 bombing/invasion/occupation of Iraq. The “policy” was to get rid of Saddam Hussein via a lightning war. The justification was “terrorism” and (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which had “disappeared”, mounted in trucks, deep into Syria. Forget about intelligence and facts.

The tragedy of MH17 – turned, incidentally, into a WMD – might be seen as a warped rerun of imperial policy in Iraq. No need for a memo this time. The “policy” of the Empire of Chaos is clear, and multi-pronged; diversify the “pivot to Asia” by establishing a beachhead in Ukraine to sabotage trade between Europe and Russia; expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to Ukraine; break the Russia-China strategic partnership; prevent by all means the trade/economic integration of Eurasia, from the Russia-Germany partnership to the New Silk Roads converging from China to the Ruhr; keep Europe under US hegemony.

The key reason why Russian President Vladimir Putin did not “invade” Eastern Ukraine – as much as he’s been enticed to by Washington/NATO – to stop a US military adviser-facilitated running slaughter of civilians is that he does not want to antagonize the European Union, Russia’s top trading partner.

Crucially, Washington’s intervention in Kosovo invoking R2P – Responsibility to Protect – was justified at the time for exactly the same reasons a Russian intervention in Donetsk and Luhansk could be totally justified now. Except that Moscow won’t do it – because the Kremlin is playing a very long game.

The MH17 tragedy may have been a horrendous mistake. But it may also have been a desperate gambit by the Kiev minions of the Empire of Chaos. By now, Russian intel may have already mastered the key facts. Washington’s predictable modus operandi was to shoot from the hip, igniting and in theory winning the spin war, and doubling down by releasing the proverbial army of “top officials” brimming with social media evidence. Moscow will take time to build a meticulous case, and only then lay it out in detail.

Hegemony lost
The Big Picture spells out the Empire of Chaos elites as extremely uneasy. Take Dr Zbigniew “The Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski, who as a former foreign policy mentor has the ears of the increasingly dejected White House paperboy. Dr Zbig was on CNN this Sunday challenging Europe’s leaders to “stand up to Putin”. He wonders if “Europe wants to become a satellite” and worries about “a moment of decisive significance for the future of the system – of the world system”.

And it’s all Putin’s fault, of course: “We’re not starting the Cold War. He [Putin] has started it. But he has gotten himself into a horrendous jam. I strongly suspect that a lot of people in Russia, even not far away from him who are worried that Russia’s status in the world is dramatically being undermined, that Russia’s economically beginning to fail, that Russia’s threatened by the prospect of becoming a satellite to China, that Russia’s becoming self-isolated and discredited.”

Obviously Dr Zbig is blissfully unaware of the finer points of the Russia-China strategic partnership, as well as their concerted voice inside the BRICS, the G-20 and myriad other mechanisms. His trademark Russophobia in the end always gets the better of him. And to think that in his latest book, Strategic Vision (2012), Dr Zbig was in favor of an enlarged “West” annexing Turkey and Russia, with the Empire of Chaos posing as “promoter” and “guarantor” of broader unity in the West, and a “balancer” and “conciliator” between the major powers in the East. A quick look at the record since 2012 – Libya, Syria, Ukraine, encirclement of China – reveals the Empire of Chaos only as fomenter of, what else, chaos.

Now compare a fearful Dr Zbig with Immanuel Wallerstein – who was a huge influence in my 2007 warped geopolitical travel book Globalistan.

In this piece (in Spanish) Wallerstein argues that the Empire of Chaos simply can’t accept its geopolitical decadence – and that’s why it has become so dangerous. Restoring its hegemony in the world-system has become the supreme obsession; and that’s where the whole “policy” that is an essential background to the MH17 tragedy reveals Ukraine as the definitive do or die battleground.

In Europe, everything hinges on Germany. Especially after the National Security Agency scandal and its ramifications, the key debate raging in Berlin is how to position itself geopolitically bypassing the US. And the answer, as pressed by large swathes of German big business, lies in a strategic partnership with Russia.

Show me the missile
Slowly, with no hype and no spin, the Russian military are starting to deliver the goods. Here, courtesy of the Vineyard of The Saker blog, is their key presentation so far. As The Saker put it, Russia had – and has – a “20/20 radar vision”, or full spectrum surveillance, on everything going on in Ukraine. And so, arguably, does NATO. What the Russian Ministry of Defense is saying is as important as the clues it is laying out for experts to follow.

The damaged MH17 starboard jet engine suggests a shape charge from an air-to-air missile – and not a Buk; that’s consistent with the Russian Ministry of Defense presentation graphically highlighting an Ukrainian SU-25 shadowing MH17. Increasingly, the Buk scenario – hysterically peddled by the Empire of Chaos – is being discarded. Not to mention, again, that not a single eyewitness saw the very graphic, thick missile trace that would have been clearly visible had a Buk been used.

Way beyond the established fact of a Ukrainian SU-25 trailing MH17, plenty of unanswered questions remain, some involving a murky security procedure at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport – where security is operated by ICTS, an Israeli company based in The Netherlands and founded by former officers from the Israeli Shin Bet intel agency. And then there is the unexplained presence of “foreign” advisors in Kiev’s control tower.

As much as Bashar al-Assad in Syria had absolutely no motive to “gas his own people” – as the hysterical narrative went at the time – the Eastern Ukraine federalists have no motive to down a civilian airliner. And as much as Washington doesn’t give a damn about the current civilian slaughter in Gaza, it doesn’t give a damn about the MH17 civilian deaths; the one and only obsession is to force Europeans to sanction Russia to death. Translation: break up Europe-Russia commercial and geopolitical integration.

One week before the MH17 tragedy, the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies was already sounding the alarm concerning the Empire of Chaos’s “policy” and its refusal to “adhere to the principles and norms of international law and the rules and spirit of the existing system of international relations”.

Moscow, in building its case on the MH17 tragedy, will bide its time to debunk Kiev’s claims and maximize its own credibility. The game now moves to the black boxes and the cockpit voice recorder. Still Ukraine will remain the do or die battlefield – a chessboard drenched in blood.

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.)

US Intelligence on Malaysian Flight MH17: Russia Didn’t Do It. “US Satellite Photos do not Support Obama’s Lies”

In-depth Report:

Ukraine prime minister resigns as NATO, Australia prepare intervention in east

 

d0e12c193c72822828158cb8d18bac2f_thumb_russianatoThe far-right parliamentary coalition in Kiev collapsed yesterday, as the Western-backed regime met with visiting Dutch and Australian officials to prepare a foreign military intervention in war-torn east Ukraine, under cover of investigating the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (Fatherland Party) announced his resignation after the withdrawal from the coalition of the fascist Svoboda Party and the UDAR (“Punch”) party of boxer Vitaly Klitshcko. Yatsenyuk will remain as prime minister until either a new coalition is formed or after elections sometime later this year.

Billionaire oligarch and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko supported the dissolution of the government, claiming it would permit a “full-scale reset” of the Ukrainian state that Ukrainian society desires. Porsoshenko, who assumed office last month, is hoping that new elections, which Poroshenko can call if a new coalition is not formed in 30 days, will be an opportunity to strengthen his own grip on power.

The collapse of the parliamentary coalition points to the weakness of the regime that emerged from the February 22 putsch. As it prepares to support a Western military intervention in the civil war it is waging in east Ukraine, posing the risk of an escalation into a clash between NATO and Russia, the Kiev regime is preparing austerity measures demanded by the EU that will have a devastating impact on broad sections of the population throughout the country.

Under these conditions, the government cannot tolerate any political opposition, even from such establishment forces as the Stalinist Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU). Explaining his party’s decision to leave the government, Svoboda Party leader Oleh Tyahnybok denounced the presence of pro-Russian forces (the KPU) in the Ukrainian legislature: “We believe that in the current situation, such a parliament which protects state criminals, Moscow agents, which refuses to strip immunity from those people who are working for the Kremlin, should not exist.”

These comments were apparently designed to increase pressure for a ban on the KPU. A party that supported the restoration of capitalism in the USSR, the KPU became an ally of the Party of the Regions of former pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in February’s Western-backed, fascist-led putsch that brought the current regime to power.

For his part, Parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Turchynov pledged to destroy the KPU. “We only have to tolerate this party for another day,” he said.

These statements came a day after KPU leader Peter Symonenko accused Svoboda members fighting in east Ukraine of killing Ukrainians and harvesting their organs for the illegal organ trade. Significantly, Svoboda did not even attempt to answer Symonenko’s charges. Instead, it responded by beating KPU legislators and trying to throw Symonenko out of the parliament.

KPU officials from the Donetsk region reported yesterday that a KPU official in the nearby village of Glinky, Vyacheslav Kovshun, had been tortured to death at a Ukrainian National Guard checkpoint in the night of July 22-23. He was stopped at the checkpoint, beaten, and repeatedly shot to the legs and chest. He was found dead.

These events point to the utterly reactionary character of the regime installed by the February putsch, which was carried out in close collaboration with Washington, Berlin, and their European allies. After the putsch, Svoboda officials filmed themselves beating Ukrainian television executives. Forces like Svoboda and the Right Sector militia—both of which glorify Stepan Bandera, who collaborated with Nazi SS units that carried out the Holocaust in Ukraine during World War II—now lead the Kiev regime’s forces in east Ukraine.

In his resignation speech yesterday, Yatsenyuk warned that the dissolution of his government might slow the pace of Kiev’s unpopular social cuts against the Ukrainian people to fund the civil war. These include billions of dollars in cuts to energy subsidies, social programs, and government workers’ wages, while not touching the hundreds of billions of dollars of ill-gotten wealth held by the oligarchs.

“Who wants to go to elections and simultaneously vote for unpopular laws?” Yatsenyuk asked. “History will not forgive us. Our government now has no answer to the questions: how are we to pay wages, how are we tomorrow morning going to send fuel for armored vehicles, how will we pay those families who have lost soldiers, to look after the army?”

As the crisis of the Kiev regime mounts, the Western powers and their allies continue to push further to the right in their campaign against Moscow. While this campaign is led by the United States and Germany, all of Washington’s imperialist allies are moving aggressively against Russia—now spearheaded by the Australian and Dutch governments, which are cynically exploiting the large numbers of citizens they lost on the MH17 flight.

While Washington has been unable to substantiate any of its charges that Russia is responsible for the crash, and evidence increasingly points to involvement by the Kiev regime itself, Australia and the Netherlands are seizing on the crash to justify a provocative intervention in east Ukraine.

Yesterday, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop visited Kiev to discuss a military deployment to east Ukraine, ostensibly to secure the MH17 crash site, which is in territory held by anti-Kiev regime forces.

The Netherlands announced they would send 40 unarmed military police to east Ukraine, while Australia is reportedly sending 50 police to London as a first stop on the way to Ukraine.

The Dutch government is reportedly waging an international diplomatic campaign to post hundreds of Dutch soldiers on the crash site—ostensibly to protect investigators from pro-Russian forces—with the support of the Dutch media.

In the Netherlands, Elsevier’s commentator Eric Vrijsen demanded that Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte “threaten to send in these troops in order to up the pressure on the rebels and Russian President Vladimir Putin. And if he does this, he will probably have made up his mind to act on his threat …. The Dutch Special Forces (army commandos and the Marine Corps Marsofs) are internationally respected. Rutte doesn’t have these elite troops at his disposal for nothing.”

Such a deployment would be a reckless maneuver risking an escalation into a direct clash between NATO and pro-Russian forces in east Ukraine—that is, a NATO intervention in the Ukrainian civil war and the possible outbreak of war between NATO and Russia itself.

The threat of such a conflict erupting was underscored by rising border tensions between Ukraine and Russia. After Ukrainian forces shelled Russian border areas two weeks ago, killing one Russian civilian, Washington alleged yesterday that Russian forces are firing artillery from within Russia at Ukrainian military positions in east Ukraine.

Pressed again at a US State Department press briefing yesterday to provide some evidence for her claims, however, spokeswoman Marie Harf was unable to provide any. “This is just some pieces of info I’ve been able to get from our intelligence friends for you. I can’t tell you what it’s based on,” Harf said.