Ukrainian history of farce

Derek Monroe is a writer/reporter and consultant based in Illinois, USA. He has reported on international and US foreign policy issues from Latin America, Poland, Japan, Iraq, Ukraine, Sri Lanka and India. His work appeared in Foreign Policy in Focus, Alternet, Truthout and Ohmynews, and has been published in over 20 countries.

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Injured police officers scream in pain as they fall, shortly after an explosion outside the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, August 31, 2015. © Stringer Injured police officers scream in pain as they fall, shortly after an explosion outside the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, August 31, 2015. © Stringer / Reuters

 

This week’s events in the ongoing saga of the EuroMaidan “revolution” has cooked up another old cliché coined in Karl Marx’s 1851 letter that: “first time history enacted presents itself as grand tragedy, and the second time as rotten farce.”

Any observer can make assumption of the kind looking at the turn of events, for instance, in Syria which is on the way to an even more hardcore apocalypse than ever thought possible. But in the case of Ukraine and its national statehood, the self-inflicted wounds of the 2004 Orange Revolution, 2014 EuroMaidan and the current 2015 Maidan (EuroMaidan 2.0) are a farce of needlessly spilled blood of almost 7000 Ukrainians with no end in sight to the chaos.

While President Poroshenko denounced the riot at the Verkhovna Rada, calling out yesterday’s “freedom fighters” as today’s out of control “terrorists”, it is amazing to see the sudden change of colors and political labeling du jour in the US and its friendly international media. AP, AFP, ThomsonReuters, Bloomberg and others are now selling the message of “courageous and law enforcing” Poroshenko administration standing up to terrorists appearing out of nowhere, ultra-nationalists and even anarchists hell bent on bringing destruction to Ukraine as a state.

It is all served cold and calorie free in a historical version of Diet Coke sans any retrospect or context that could result in indigestion caused by memory. Never mind the political “night of the long knives” that is currently taking place at the highest echelons of the political elite in Kiev while many factions and personalities are now feeding themselves on the corpse of the country. The real and always available “culprit” in Ukrainian narrative bordering on delusion: Putin is now presented as instigator of fascist violence in Kiev in which three policemen lost their lives.

Unfortunately for the Ukrainians, they are now exposed, and are slowly waking up to the nightmare of government that came about as a result of the February coup and the historical truth of “chickens coming home to roost” is now visited upon them. Despite seeing the same old movie of the Orange Revolution that was supposed to bring the break with the past in 2004, they are seeing the re-run of the same production. This time around with the US and EU subtitles enforced by political sign language open for any interpretation and manipulation possible, thus yesterday’s friends and allies are today’s foes and vice versa .

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Demonstrators, who are against a constitutional amendment on decentralization, clash with police outside the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, August 31, 2015. © Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters

While the economy is being effectively decimated, the oligarch class is holding all the cards on and off the table in the same time while securing its own interests in the Rada and abroad. The failed state that is a de-facto new Ukraine has reported cases of children paralyzed in Ukraine in a polio outbreak while the Kiev government is going to European capitals hat in hand asking for a military and political support. In this spirit Poroshenko just announced his new military doctrine that will redeploy and invest money the country doesn’t have in the south and east as bulwarks against perceived “Russian imperialism”.

 

In other words the government will be defending itself against its own population in the east, its own ex-allies in Kiev while continuing its own propaganda war against Putin and the “evil” empire supported by the “good” empire in conjunction with austerity program imposed on whatever is left of the Ukrainian economy.

This will in turn create a fantastic investment landscape for the foreign vulture investor class coming in and getting everything for pennies on the dollar. If the “coupon” privatization was ever a rip-off, wait to see this scheme playing out in free money environment cooked up by Western central banks and the US “private” Federal Reserve. If this is the recipe for success then I would hate to see the recipe for failure as in the parallel universe of Ukrainian political reality, the chocolate cake prepared by the chocolate king can obviously eat itself and be intact in the same time. In the “real” reality the joke might actually be on the EU when looking at the current waves of refugees coming out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Ukraine is actually not that far behind and the resulting exodus will be the unpaid bill for the adventurism it chose to partake in.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Unruly Hearts.

The U.S. Is Destroying Europe

 

europe-usa-eu-flags-400x199In Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and other countries at the periphery or edges of Europe, U.S. President Barack Obama has been pursuing a policy of destabilization, and even of bombings and other military assistance, that drives millions of refugees out of those peripheral areas and into Europe, thereby adding fuel to the far-rightwing fires of anti-immigrant rejectionism, and of resultant political destabilization, throughout Europe, not only on its peripheries, but even as far away as in northern Europe.

Shamus Cooke at Off-Guardian headlines on 3 August 2015, “Obama’s ‘Safe Zone’ in Syria Intended to Turn It into New Libya,” and he reports that Obama has approved U.S. air support for Turkey’s previously unenfoceable no-fly zone over Syria. The U.S. will now shoot down all of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s planes that are targeting the extremist-Muslim groups, including ISIS, that have taken over huge swaths of Syrian territory.

Cooke reports:

Turkey has been demanding this no-fly zone from Obama since the Syrian war started. It’s been discussed throughout the conflict and even in recent months, though the intended goal was always the Syrian government. And suddenly the no-fly zone is happening — right where Turkey always wanted it — but it’s being labeled an ‘anti-ISIS’ safe zone, instead of its proper name: ‘Anti Kurdish and anti-Syrian government’ safe zone.

The New York Times reported on July 27th, that,

“the plan calls for relatively moderate Syrian insurgents to take the territory, with the help of American and possibly Turkish air support.”

However, the Times, stenographically reporting (as usual) from and for their U.S. Government sources (and so propagandizing for the U.S. Government), fails to define “relatively moderate,” but all of the “relatively moderate insurgent” groups in Syria cooperate with ISIS and help them to find and decapitate, or sometimes hold for ransoms, any non-Muslims there. Under Assad, Syria has been a non-clerical state, and has enjoyed freedom of religion, but all of the Syrian opposition to Assad’s rule is alien to that. The U.S. is now, even more clearly than before, anti-Assad, pro-Islamist.

Seymour Hersh reported in the London Review of Books on 17 April 2014, that the Obama Administration’s Libyan bombing campaign in 2011 was part of a broader program to bring sarin gas from Libya to the al-Nusra Front in Syria, in order to help produce a gas-attack upon civilians, which the U.S. Administration could then blame upon Assad, as being an excuse to bomb there just as Obama had already so successfully done in Libya. Both dictators, Gaddafi and Assad, were allied with Russia, and Assad especially has been important to Russia, as a transit-route for Russia’s gas supplies, and not for Qatar’s gas supplies — Qatar being the major potential threat to Russia’s status as the top supplier of gas into Europe.

Obama’s top goal in international relations, and throughout his military policies, has been to defeat Russia, to force a regime-change there that will make Russia part of the American empire, no longer the major nation that resists control from Washington.

Prior to the U.S. bombings of Libya in 2011, Libya was at peace and thriving. Per-capita GDP (income) in 2010 according to the IMF was $12,357.80, but it plunged to only $5,839.70 in 2011 — the year we bombed and destroyed the country. (Hillary Clinton famously bragged, “We came, we saw, he [Gaddafi] died!”) (And, unlike in U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, that per-capita GDP was remarkably evenly distributed, and both education and health care were socialized and available to everyone, even to the poor.)

More recently, on 15 February 2015, reporter Leila Fadel of NPR bannered “With Oil Fields Under Attack, Libya’s Economic Future Looks Bleak.” She announced: “The man in charge looks at production and knows the future is bleak. ‘We cannot produce. We are losing 80 percent of our production,’ says Mustapha Sanallah, the chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation.”

Under instructions from Washington, the IMF hasn’t been reliably reporting Libya’s GDP figures after 2011, but instead shows that things there were immediately restored to normal (even to better than normal: $13,580.55 per-capita GDP) in 2012, but everybody knows that it’s false; even NPR is, in effect, reporting that it’s not true. The CIA estimates that Libya’s per-capita GDP was a ridiculous $23,900 in 2012 (they give no figures for the years before that), and says Libya’s per-capita GDP has declined only slightly thereafter. None of the official estimates are at all trustworthy, though the Atlantic Council at least made an effort to explain things honestly, headlining in their latest systematic report about Libya’s economy, on 23 January 2014, “Libya: Facing Economic Collapse in 2014.”

Libya has become Europe’s big problem. Millions of Libyans are fleeing the chaos there. Some of them are fleeing across the Mediterranean and ending up in refugee camps in southern Italy; and some are escaping to elsewhere in Europe.

And Syria is now yet another nation that’s being destroyed in order to conquer Russia. Even the reliably propagandistic New York Times is acknowledging, in its ‘news’ reporting, that, “both the Turks and the Syrian insurgents see defeating President Bashar al-Assad of Syria as their first priority.” So: U.S. bombers will be enforcing a no-fly-zone over parts of Syria in order to bring down Russia’s ally Bashar al-Assad and replace his secular government by an Islamic government — and the ‘anti-ISIS’ thing is just for show; it’s PR, propaganda. The public cares far more about defeating ISIS than about defeating Russia; but that’s not the way America’s aristocracy views things. Their objective is extending America’s empire — extending their own empire.

Similarly, Obama overthrew the neutralist government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine in February 2014, but that was under the fake cover of ‘democracy’ demonstrations, instead of under the fake cover of ‘opposing Islamic terrorism’ or whatever other phrases that the U.S. Government uses to fool suckers about America’s installation of, and support to, a rabidly anti-Russia, racist-fascist, or nazi, government next door to Russia, in Ukraine. Just as Libya had been at peace before the U.S. invaded and destroyed it, and just as Syria had been at peace before the U.S and Turkey invaded and destroyed it, Ukraine too was at peace before the U.S. perpetrated its coup there and installed nazis and an ethnic cleansing campaign there, and destroyed Ukraine too.

Like with Libya before the overthrow of Gaddafi there, or Syria before the current effort to overthrow Assad there, or the more recent successful overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, it’s all aimed to defeat Russia.

The fact that all of Europe is sharing in the devastation that Obama and other American conservatives — imperialists, even — impose, is of little if any concern to the powers-that-be in Washington DC, but, if it matters at all to them, then perhaps it’s another appealing aspect of this broader operation: By weakening European nations, and not only nations in the Middle East, Obama’s war against Russia is yet further establishing America to be “the last man standing,” at the end of the chaos and destruction that America causes.

Consequently, for example, in terms of U.S. international strategy, the fact that the economic sanctions against Russia are enormously harming the economies of European nations is good, not bad.

There are two ways to win, at any game: One is by improving one’s own performance. The other is by weakening the performances by all of one’s competitors. The United States is now relying almost entirely upon the latter type of strategy.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Russia Under Attack

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Global Research
In-depth Report:

 

While Washington works assiduously to undermine the Minsk agreement that German chancellor Merkel and French president Hollande achieved in order to halt the military conflict in Ukraine, Washington has sent Victoria Nuland to Armenia to organize a “color revolution” or coup there, has sent Richard Miles as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan to do the same there, and has sent Pamela Spratlen as ambassador to Uzbekistan to purchase that government’s allegiance away from Russia.  The result would be to break up the Collective Security Treaty Organization and present Russia and China with destabilization where they can least afford it.

For details go here:  http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/03/18/4656

Thus, Russia faces the renewal of conflict in Ukraine simultaneously with three more Ukraine-type situations along its Asian border.

 And this is only the beginning of the pressure that Washington is mounting on Russia.

On March 18 the Secretary General of NATO denounced the peace settlement between Russia and Georgia that ended Georgia’s military assault on South Ossetia. The NATO Secretary General said that NATO rejects the settlement because it “hampers ongoing efforts by the international community to strengthen security and stability in the region.”

Look closely at this statement. It defines the “international community” as Washington’s NATO puppet states, and it defines strengthening security and stability as removing buffers between Russia and Georgia so that Washington can position military bases in Georgia directly on Russia’s border.

In Poland and the Baltic states Washington and NATO lies about a pending Russian invasion are being used to justify provocative war games on Russia’s borders and to build up US forces in NATO military bases on Russia’s borders.

We have crazed US generals on national television calling for “killing Russians.”

The EU leadership has agreed to launch a propaganda war against Russia, broadcasting Washington’s lies inside Russia in an effort to undermine the Russian people’s support of their government.

All of this is being done in order to coerce Russia into handing over Crimea and its Black Sea naval base to Washington and accepting vassalage under Washington’s suzerainty.

If Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad, and the Taliban would not fold to Washington’s threats, why do the fools in Washington think Putin, who holds in his hands the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, will fold?

European governments, apparently, are incapable of any thought.  Washington has set London and the capitals of every European country, as well as every American city, for destruction by Russian nuclear weapons.  The stupid Europeans rush to destroy themselves in service to their Washington master.

Human intelligence has gone missing if after 14 years of US military aggression against eight countries the world does not understand that Washington is lost in arrogance and hubris and imagines itself the ruler of the universe who will tolerate no dissent from its will.

We know that the American, British, and European media are whores well paid to lie for their master.  We know that the NATO commander and secretary general, if not the member countries, are lusting for war.  We know that the American Dr. Strangeloves in the Pentagon and armaments industry cannot wait to test their ABMs and new weapons systems in which they always place excessive confidence.

We know that the prime minister of Britain is a total cipher. But are the chancellor of Germany and the president of France ready for the destruction of their countries and of Europe?  If the EU is of such value, why is the very existence of its populations put at risk in order to bow down and accept leadership from an insane Washington whose megalomania will destroy life on earth?

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s).  Unruly Hearts will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. The Center of Research on Globalization grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: publications@globalresearch.ca

Ukraine’s Poison Pill for Peace Talks

 

Ukraine-USA-drapeaux-400x270By adding a poison pill to legislation implementing the latest Minsk agreement, the Ukrainian government has effectively guaranteed a resumption of the civil war, which U.S. hardliners and the mainstream U.S. media will no doubt blame on ethnic Russian rebels and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

 

The U.S. media has focused on the so-called Minsk-2 agreement’s cease-fire component, first claiming it was being sabotaged by the rebels and Russia but now acknowledging that it is shaky but relatively successful. But the larger point of Minsk-2 was that it would provide for a political settlement of the civil war by arranging talks between Kiev and authorities in the east that would lead to giving those areas extensive self-rule by the end of 2015.

But the implementing law that emerged this week from the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev inserted a clause requiring the rebels to first surrender to the Ukrainian government and then letting Kiev organize elections before a federalized structure is determined.

The Minsk-2 agreement had called for dialogue with the representatives of these territories en route to elections and establishment of broad autonomy for the region, but Kiev’s curveball was to refuse any talks with rebel leaders and insist on establishing control over these territories before the process can move forward, in effect requiring a rebel capitulation.

Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Reflecting that view, Vadim Karasyov, director of the independent Institute of Global Strategies in Kiev, said: “Ukraine isn’t going to go along with any legalization of those so-called people’s republics. We need them to be dismantled,” according to the Christian Science Monitor.

The leaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” have protested this bait-and-switch tactic, declaring in a statement that the change was unacceptable: “We agreed to a special status for the Donbass within a renewed Ukraine, although our people wanted total independence. We agreed to this to avoid the spilling of fraternal blood.”

Kiev’s maneuver – reflecting the bellicose position of neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and other U.S. hardliners – puts pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande to either get Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko to return to the original understanding of Minsk-2 or watch the fighting resume leading to a potential showdown between nuclear-armed Russia and the United States on Russia’s border.

The surrender-first-negotiate-later stipulation also raises questions about the strength of Merkel and President Barack Obama to overcome resistance from America’s powerful neoconservatives who have exploited the Ukraine crisis to isolate Russia and drive a wedge between Obama and Putin. The two leaders had cooperated to reduce tensions with Syria and Iran in 2013 when the neocons were hoping for more “regime change.”

Following those Obama-Putin collaborations, Nuland and other neocons both inside the Obama administration and in Congress took aim at Ukraine, egging on public disruptions in Kiev to destabilize the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych during the winter of 2013-14. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Neocons — Masters of Chaos.“]

To a great extent, the Ukraine crisis became Nuland’s baby as she rallied Ukraine’s business leaders and political activists to challenge Yanukovych and discussed with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in early February 2014 how, in his words, to “midwife this thing.”

In that same conversation, Nuland expressed her disgust at the European Union’s less aggressive approach to the crisis with the pithy expression, “F**k the EU.” She also handpicked new leaders, ruling out some politicians and declaring that “Yats is the guy,” a reference to Arseniy Yatsenyuk who became the post-coup prime minister. (This past week, it was Yatsenyuk who oversaw the insertion of the poison pill into the legislation for implementing the Minsk-2 agreement.)

Cue in the Neo-Nazis

The uprising in Kiev reached its peak on Feb. 22, 2014, when a violent coup – spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias from western Ukraine – drove elected Yanukovych from office, with the U.S. State Department immediately declaring the new regime “legitimate.” The coup government then sought to impose its control over the ethnic Russian east and south, which had been Yanukovych’s base of support.

Protected by Russian troops who were already based in Crimea on a base-lease agreement, the people of Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, an annexation that took place one year ago. Uprisings also occurred in the eastern Donbass region with hastily arranged referenda also seeking independence from Kiev.

The coup regime responded by declaring those resisting in the east to be “terrorists” and mounting a punitive “anti-terrorist operation” that relied on army artillery to bombard cities and neo-Nazi and other right-wing militias to go in for the brutal street-to-street fighting.

Thousands of ethnic Russians were killed in these offensives as the rebels were pushed back into their strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk. However, receiving supplies and other assistance from Russia, the rebels turned the tide of the conflict and began driving the Ukrainian military back, inflicting heavy losses.

To stop the rout of government forces last September, the first Minsk ceasefire established a tentative frontline around the rebel strongholds. But Kiev continued to squeeze the rebel-held cities by cutting off access to banking and other services while neo-Nazi and other militias undertook “death squad” operations to kill rebel sympathizers in government-controlled zones.

When that first cease-fire broke down, the rebels made new gains against the Ukrainian military, prompting Merkel and Hollande to broker a second ceasefire, which included a structure for resolving the crisis with a political settlement to grant eastern Ukraine substantial autonomy.

But Nuland and other U.S. hard-liners objected to the concessions and trade-offs arranged by Merkel and Holland and accepted by Poroshenko and Putin. The U.S. hard-liners began plotting how to reverse what they claimed was “appeasement” of “Russian aggression.”

The German press has reported on some of this U.S. strategy after the Bild newspaper obtained details of conversations that Nuland and other U.S. officials held behind closed doors last month at a security conference in Munich. Nuland was overheard disparaging the German chancellor’s initiative, calling it “Merkel’s Moscow thing,” according to Bild, citing unnamed sources.

Another U.S. official went even further, the report said, calling it the Europeans’ “Moscow bullshit.”

Talking Themselves into a Frenzy

The tough talk behind the closed doors at a conference room in the luxurious Bayerischer Hof hotel seemed to be contagious as the American officials, both diplomats and members of Congress, kept escalating their rhetoric, according to the Bild account.

Nuland suggested that Merkel and Hollande cared only about the practical impact of the Ukraine war on Europe: “They’re afraid of damage to their economy, counter-sanctions from Russia.”

Another U.S. politician was heard adding: “It’s painful to see that our NATO partners are getting cold feet” – with particular vitriol directed toward German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen as “defeatist” because she supposedly no longer believed in a Kiev victory.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, got himself worked up into such a lather that he started making comparisons to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain going to Munich to “appease” Adolf Hitler, likening Merkel to Chamberlain and Putin to Hitler: “History shows us that dictators always take more, whenever you let them. They can’t be brought back from their brutal behavior when you fly to Moscow to them, just like someone once flew to this city.”

According to the Bild story, Nuland laid out a strategy for countering Merkel’s diplomacy by using strident language to frame the Ukraine crisis in a way that stops the Europeans from backing down. “We can fight against the Europeans, we can fight with rhetoric against them,” Nuland reportedly said.

NATO Commander Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove was quoted as saying that sending more weapons would “raise the battlefield cost for Putin.” Nuland interjected to the U.S. politicians present that “I’d strongly urge you to use the phrase ‘defensive systems’ that we would deliver to oppose Putin’s ‘offensive systems.’”

Yet, through all of the past year’s scheming and maneuvering by Nuland and other U.S. officials, the mainstream U.S. media has studiously ignored the coup side of the story, insisting that there was no coup and adopting an “I-see-nothing” response to the presence of neo-Nazi militias leading the fight against the ethnic Russian east.

For the New York Times, the Washington Post and the rest of major U.S. press, everything has been explained as “Russian aggression” with Putin supposedly having plotted the entire series of events as a way to conquer much of Europe as the new Hitler. Even though the evidence reveals that Putin was caught off-guard by the coup next door, the U.S. media has insisted on simply passing along Nuland’s propaganda themes.

Thus, it is a safe bet that when the current ceasefire breaks down and the killing resumes, all the American people will hear is that it was Putin’s fault, that he conspired to destroy the peace as part of his grand scheme of “aggression.” And, the Nuland-Yatsenyuk sabotage of Minsk-2 will be the next part of this troubling story to disappear into the memory hole.

 

Watch Ukraine Peace Talks LIVE

LIVE: “Normandy format” Ukraine peace talks start in Minsk

 

Started on Feb 11, 2015

France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine hold a new round of talks on February 11 in Minsk, Belarus in order to attempt to find a political solution regarding the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The summit was arranged after leaders of the four countries discussed the ongoing conflict by telephone on February 8 and after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande visited Moscow last Friday for crisis talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.