The Guardian Finally Starts to Report the Truth about Ukraine’s War

By Eric Zuesse
Global Research, January 09, 2015

Region: Russia and FSU
Theme: Media Disinformation

Ukraine-USA-drapeaux-400x2701On January 7th, Britain’s Guardian, which used to be a fine newspaper but isn’t now, started what will necessarily be a long road back to reality, after nearly a year of their intermittent inattention and Western propaganda on Ukraine — finally realistically reporting the war there as being what it is and always was: an attempt by the post-coup Ukrainian Government to destroy the area in Ukraine where the residents had voted 90% for the Ukrainian President who was overthrown in the February 2014 coup.

Oleg Orlov headlined “Ukraine’s Forgotten City Destroyed by War,” and he described a city in ruins from the intensive bombings during July and August.

Though most of his article avoided the key question as to which side was to blame for this, no one can deny that the invaders here were the Ukrainian Air Force and Army, and that the defenders were troops of irregular fighters who lived in the invaded region. So, anyone with an IQ above 50 would have no difficulty figuring out that the Ukrainian Air Force and Army were to blame for bombing this city — that the Government was bombing and trying to exterminate the residents there while claiming to be their rightful Government (and which Government still remains supported by the West in that war against the former Ukrainians who live, and have always lived, there).

Here is the way that Orlov reported it:

“Towards the end of July, Ukrainian troops approached Pervomaisk but ran into stiff resistance and could not take it. A massive artillery bombardment began that would continue into August. Most people fled.”

He described the damage he viewed:

“Some blocks of this city, situated 50 kilometres west of Luhansk, have been practically wiped off the face of the earth by Ukrainian artillery barrages. Hardly any houses have escaped unscathed. We had seen such complete devastation in eastern Ukraine only [once before], in the villages of Khryashchuvate and Novosvitlivka, a few kilometres southeast of Luhansk. On that occasion, though, it was LNR (Luhansk People’s Republic) and possibly Russian artillery that opened fire in August [in order to] dislodge Ukrainian troops from the villages.”

Ultimately, he acknowledged that the Government were the invaders:

“The ‘Commandant’ of Pervomaisk (the mayor, appointed by the armed men who control the city) has a grisly collection of photos on his computer that were taken at that time. The rebels, though, had set up camp not only on the outskirts of the city but also smack in the centre, goading the Ukrainian forces into firing on Pervomaisk. But that in no way justifies strikes against populated areas by multiple launch rocket systems.”

However, again, only a fool would think otherwise. The situation is hard for propagandists such as the Obama Administration to even refer to.

It should also be pointed out that when Orlov asserted that, the rebels’ having “set up camp not only on the outskirts of the city but also smack in the centre” was “goading the Ukrainian forces into firing on Pervomaisk,” he was saying that even merely defending the City constituted shared responsibility, along with the attackers, for the City’s having been destroyed. This is like saying that a woman’s attractiveness constitutes her shared responsibility for her having been raped by her attacker.

Orlov then goes on to say:

“In November, strikes on the city resumed, although they were less intense than in the summer. We talked to the staff of a maternity hospital that had been hit by a bomb on 15 November, with a further five bombs exploding next to the building. A baby girl born two months premature was in the hospital at the time: it was a miracle that she survived, the doctors say.”

Then:

“When, the following morning, a ‘repair brigade’ went to [clear away the rubble], a new barrage began and one worker was killed. They showed us some one-storey houses that were destroyed on 23 November by strikes from a Grad rocket launcher. People crowd tightly into the bomb shelters when they are under fire [but] there were no bombardments during our visit and the huddled figures were those of permanent residents who no longer have anywhere else to live.”

He describes the desperate condition of the people that the Ukrainian Govenment’s bombings (which are financed by the West) has produced:

“The worst thing is the acute shortage of food in Pervomaisk. Although there are several shops in town, many people have no money left to buy anything. The city authorities – the Commandant, mayor and Cossack, Yevgeny Ishchenko and his comrades-in-arms – are trying to keep people alive somehow.”

Perhaps because of the requirement in the West to blame Russia for these things, the article closes:

“When we were in Pervomaisk, an eighth humanitarian aid convoy crossed over from Russia into eastern Ukraine. On our way back to Moscow, we discovered that no [food or supplies] from this convoy found their way to Pervomaisk. We appealed to the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Presidential Human Rights Council. We hope that the Russian government will wield its influence and convince the LNR authorities to send some of the humanitarian aid they receive from Russia to those who need it most – the people of Pervomaisk.”

He ignores this reality: The Ukrainian Government was blocking aid convoys. The Government is trying to starve the residents there to death. To blame Russia for any of that failure of food to reach the starving is obscene. But at least this article by Orlov is a start. That’s more than one can yet say for such newspapers as The New York Times, and Washington Post — or any in America.

After all: It was Obama who installed the current Ukrainian Government. David Cameron did not. If the business of journalism is to cover-up for one’s own Government’s international crimes, then newspapers such as The New York Times, and Washington Post are authentic journalistic institutions, not mere propaganda-organs. But the Guardian is making a step away from that type of ‘journalism’ — at least to the extent that Britain is partly responsible for the February 2014 Ukrainian coup, which is a very small extent. Perhaps that’s why the ‘news’ media in Britain are a bit freer to report the truth of that war than ours are.

Only in America is the lying by media about Ukraine’s war so pervasive. That’s because it’s basically America’s war, even though the American public is overwhelmingly opposed to it. The American Government serves the American aristocracy — no longer the public.

Maybe the British aristocracy don’t hate Russians as much as America’s do; but, for whatever reason, they’re not so committed to the destruction of Russia as Obama and the American aristocracy he represents are. That American aristocracy control America’s ‘news’ media, but they fortunately do not also control Britain’s.

If one reads the American press about Ukraine now, after the coup, then one is reading lies, distortions, and propaganda: myths, not history.

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.

Rolling Stones perform in Israel despite pressure from Pink Floyd founders to cancel

The Rolling Stones performs on stage at Hayarkon Park in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv, on June 4, 2014. The Rolling Stones staged a live concert in Tel

The Rolling Stones performs on stage at Hayarkon Park in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv, on June 4, 2014. The Rolling Stones staged a live concert in Tel Aviv.

 

JERUSALEM – Recently, the two surviving founders of Pink Floyd sent the rock band equivalent of a diplomatic cable — an open letter published in Salon — to the Rolling Stones. They asked Mick Jagger and his crew to cancel their first-ever concert in Israel to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle against occupation.

But Pink Floyd hit a wall.

The Stones not only went on with the show Wednesday night in Tel Aviv but delayed their opening by 45 minutes to allow devout Jews time to reach the concert after the end of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, during which Orthodox Jews cannot drive, handle money — or press “Play” on the Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” album.

The Stones’ decision to ignore Roger Waters and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd underscored Israel’s growing popularity as a stop for major musical acts, and it signaled a setback for a campaign known as boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). The movement seeks to apply international pressure on Israel to end its military occupation of the West Bank, guarantee the right of Palestinian refugees to return to homes they fled or abandoned after 1948, and grant full rights and equality to Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel — in other words:  human and civil rights!

The BDSers are employing tactics similar to those used against the apartheid regime in South Africa a generation ago. Since 2005, the movement has pushed individuals and institutions to sever academic partnerships, boycott products such as Golan wines and Dead Sea beauty products, and divest from Israeli companies.

Israel says it is the only fully functioning [fake?] democracy in the Middle East, so it answers its critics by suggesting they boycott Syria or Iran. But the threat of BDS has rattled Israel. The movement has gained visibility on American and European college campuses, and it has also managed to inflict some financial pain — recently, the Dutch pension management fund PGGM, with assets of $200 billion, divested from five Israeli banks because of their stake in the occupied West Bank.

The BDS movement also scored global publicity — good and bad — when the charity Oxfam tussled with one of its celebrity ambassadors, actress Scarlett Johansson, after her paid endorsement for the Israeli carbonation machine SodaStream, whose manufacturer operates a factory in the West Bank.

But the campaigns to persuade musicians — some of the BDS movement’s most high-profile targets — to boycott Israel have been kind of a flop, if measured by who actually cancels a show and speaks out about it.

“As in the cultural boycott of South Africa, some bands put profit ahead of human rights and end up on the wrong side of history,” said Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian activist and co-founder of the BDS movement. Barghouti said the Rolling Stones are crossing “our boycott picket line and providing Israel with a fig leaf to hide its regime of oppression with.”

It is difficult to know how many bands have decided to forgo performing in Israel for financial reasons or other concerns. But only a relatively few well-known acts have publicly bowed out of performances over concerns about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians — and many of those cancellations occurred years ago. Some of the biggest names to renege include Elvis Costello and Carlos Santana.

“It’s been awhile since the BDS movement had any real success in the cultural arena, and it’s not for lack of trying,” said Adam Shay, a consultant for the group Creative Community for Peace, which is funded by music industry executives to fight boycotts against Israel.

Shay said, “I am not seeing a lot of chatter on the Internet and actions against the Rolling Stones,” who he said might be so huge as to be impervious to appeals. “I would say the higher the financial stakes, the lower the ideological considerations.”

The Rolling Stones charged $200 for a basic ticket.

Rolling Stones fans cheers as the band perform on stage.

Rolling Stones fans cheer as the band perform on stage.

When it comes to whether BDS is raising consciousness about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or fraying Israeli nerves, that is harder to measure. Barghouti pointed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mentions of BDS — 17 of them — in his March speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby in Washington. The BDS founder said this represents “panic.”

For his part, Netanyahu was dismissive of the movement, saying some “gullible” people “actually do believe that BDS advances peace.” Netanyahu asked: “How could anyone fall for the BS in BDS?”

BDS or not, Israel is now a popular stop on the global pop market. Last month, Justin Timberlake played in Tel Aviv, although after he posted an Instagram photo of himself leaning against the Western Wall, he caught some flak for hashtagging it #Israel. The wall is in the Old City of Jerusalem, which is contested ground.

Timberlake tweeted, “The Holyland . . . What an experience. I will never forget this day.”

Other recent acts to play in Israel include Rihanna, who cavorted in the Dead Sea in a bikini and was dragged into a mini-scandal when an Israeli journalist reported that Rihanna sang, “All I see is Palestine.” She actually sang the original lyric: “All I see is dollar signs.”

Last year, BDS activist and novelist Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Color Purple,” sent R&B star Alicia Keys a public note saying, “It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists.”

Keys played in Israel in July, anyway.

“BDS has caused no significant damage, and most of the leaders in the West are against it,” said Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz.

 

GERMANY-MUSIC-WALL-WATERS

British musician and founding member of Pink Floyd Roger Waters performs on stage during his “The Wall” show at the Olympic stadium in Berlin on Sept. 4, 2013. Odd Andersen/AFP

This year, before U.S.-brokered Middle East peace talks collapsed, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid warned that even a limited boycott “will hit every Israeli citizen directly in his pocket.” Lapid cited an internal review that suggested Israel could lose billions in export revenue if the BDS movement kicked in.

In their appeal to the bands that have scheduled shows, the Pink Floyd partners argued that “playing Israel now is the moral equivalent of playing Sun City at the height of South African apartheid.”

But bands that previously canceled shows in Israel are now coming back. The alt-rock Pixies are scheduled to perform this month.

Anti-boycott Israelis say the group’s appearance is especially significant because in 2010 the Pixies joined the Klaxons and Gorillaz Sound System in canceling shows after Israeli commandos killed nine activists on a Turkish vessel that was part of a flotilla trying to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu asks U.S. congressmen to protect Israel from war crimes charges

aljazeera1

Photo: Getty –  Aljazzera

 

(JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly asked U.S. lawmakers to help Israel avoid war crimes charges stemming from the Gaza conflict.

Netanyahu asked a delegation of visiting legislators to help keep Israel out of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Rep. Steven Israel (D-N.Y.) told the New York Post in an interview Wednesday from Israel, the newspaper reported.

Palestinian Authority leaders met Wednesday with officials from the court to discuss the process of joining.

The Palestinians and other world leaders have charged that Israel committed war crimes by firing on civilian areas of Gaza during its operation. Experts have suggested that Palestinians in Gaza also could be charged with war crimes for firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel, most in civilian areas.

Netanyahu “wants the U.S. to use all the tools that we have at our disposal to, number one, make sure the world knows that war crimes were not committed by Israel, they were committed by Hamas. And that Israel should not be held to a double standard,” Israel the congressman told the Post.