Why Would Bloomberg News Completely Disappear the February, 2014 Ukraine Coup?

Ukraine-anniversary-Maidan-coup-2-400x263Bloomberg says in a post today that the “confrontation between Russia and the US” over Ukraine was “provok[ed]” by Putin’s annexation of Crimea:“…Putin annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea last March, provoking the biggest confrontation between Russia and the U.S. and Europe since the Cold War.”

That’s odd, though, because the reintegration of Crimea into Russia (after a vote in favor – but remember democracy is what we say it is) happened, as Bloomberg says and BBC confirms, in March, 2014, about five months after violent, US-backed protests began in November 2013, and ended in the the elected Ukrainian president, Victor Yanukovych, being driven out of the country by, as BBC put it, “radical groups”, including neo-Nazis: see BBC’s “Neo-Nazi Threat in Ukraine“, Feb. 28, 2014.  (“BBC Newsnight’s Gabriel Gatehouse investigates the links between the new Ukrainian government and Neo-nazis.”  Later articles covering the topic were published by, among many others, Glenn Greenwald, Robert Parry, and even, albeit 8 or 9 months too late to make a difference, NBC)

It’s also strange that BBC would say the following (even in a piece rife with the British state-run outlet’s typical pro-Western spin):

Pro-Russian forces [ie the Russian troops already stationed in Crimea by agreement] took control of Crimea in February.  They moved in after Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted after street protests.

So, they reacted to the US-backed overthrow of elected Yanukovych.  To be precise, Russian troops began the process of, in US political-speak, liberating and securing Crimea on “February 23rd, 2014“.

Yet, again oddly, here is Time on February 22nd, 2014:

“Ukraine protesters seize Kiev as President flees”

“Yanukovych fled to the eastern city of Kharkiv where he traditionally has a more solid base of support…”

It is noted in Wikipedia that Yanukovych had “won election in 2010 with strong support in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and southern and eastern Ukraine.”

Here is US historian William Blum, March 7, 2014, on these events:

The Ukrainian insurgents and their Western-power supporters didn’t care who their Ukrainian allies were in carrying out their coup against President Viktor Yanukovych last month … thugs who set policemen on fire head to toe … all manner of extreme right-wingers, including Chechnyan Islamic militants … a deputy of the ultra-right Svoboda Party, part of the new government, who threatens to rebuild Ukraine’s nukes in three to six months. … the snipers firing on the protestors who apparently were not what they appeared to be – A bugged phone conversation between Urmas Paet, the Estonian foreign minister, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, reveals Paet saying: “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.” … neo-Nazi protestors in Kiev who have openly denounced Jews, hoisting a banner honoring Stepan Bandera, the infamous Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.

And who could forget the pictures of Victoria Nuland and John McCain meeting with Ukrainian neo-Nazi and extremist leaders who use terms like “cleanse” and “kike”, or Nuland’s bragging to Chevron that the US had put billions and billions of dollars into these events, highly reminiscent of the US investment in overthrowing Iran’s democracy in 1953 after Iran nationalized its oil.

To the untrained eye, it would certainly seem that, in “liberating” Crimea, Russia was, very understandably, reacting to the above-mentioned series of events (not to mention the encroachment of a hostile, US-led, nuclear military alliance, NATO…).

So why would Bloomberg publish a piece that says the confrontation between Russia and the US was provoked by the annexation of Crimea, when it was provoked by a US-backed overthrow (one of about 60) of an elected president, who had strong ties to the highly ethnic-Russian east (including Crimea)?

We cannot credibly postulate that the Bloomberg author is unaware of the events prior to the “annexation of Crimea”, so we are forced to assume that he has a desire to paint Russia as the aggressor in the West/East standoff, as do so many working for the Western information systems.

This time, he has taken the easy way out by just pretending that nothing happened before Crimea, but other Western outlets have risen to the challenge, with impressive results.

When forced to acknowledge events that show the West as current aggressor in the (now perhaps winding down) West/East conflict, Western outlets have done what they do best: spin crackpot conspiracy theories about how everyone is trying to destroy the “free world” (the US happens to imprison more of its own people than any country in history, but in the free world we are smart enough to know that doesn’t count).

The New York Times, for example, attempted to explain the events that provoked Russia’s actions in Crimea (the US-backed protests and violent overthrow of an elected leader), by claiming Putin orchestrated all of that, too.

Robert Parry reports on the Times’ fanciful effort:

Is the New York Times really suggesting that Putin pulled the strings on the likes of Merkel and Nuland, secretly organized neo-Nazi brigades, and ruthlessly deployed these thugs to Kiev to provoke violence and overthrow Yanukovych, all while pretending to try to save Yanukovych’s government – all so Putin could advance some dastardly plot to conquer Europe?

…the Times’ narrative is something that would make even the most dedicated “conspiracy theorist” blush. Yet, the Times not only asserts this crazy conspiracy theory but calls it “incontrovertible.”

True to form, another times article recently proclaimed:

In all likelihood no one in the Kremlin actually ordered the killing [of Nemtsov]… The Kremlin has recently created a loose army of avengers who believe they are acting in the country’s best interests, without receiving any explicit instructions.

If someone in the US were to insist that Obama or Bush created a “loose army of avengers” who went around killing people “without receiving any explicit instructions”, he or she would be told to take off the tinfoil hat, leave mom’s basement, and get a job.

But when discussing the dark, ruthless, senseless forces of pure evil outside of our huddling “free world”, we are *free* to boldly rewrite history in our favor, concoct wild-eyed conspiracy theories to our hearts’ content, and use our new and improved histories and our nut-job theories to promote mass-violence against the bad people conspiring against “our freedoms”, and then kill millions of them.

Follow author Robert Barsocchini on Twitter@_DirtyTruths

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s).  Unruly HeartsThe Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

Longstanding US Cuba Policy: Regime Change!

 

 

drapeau-cuba-400x318Obama is right. Sanctions don’t work. Not against Cuba. Russia. Iran or other countries. Provided they stay firm.  

Defending their sovereign rights. Cuba did admirably. For over half a century. Against US imperialism.

Its leadership a testimony to successful sovereign resilience. Prevailing against long odds.

 

Longstanding US Cuban policy failed. Washington’s objective remains unchanged. Regime change! Installing pro-Western stooge governance. Returning Cuba to its bad old days.

Castro gained power on January 1, 1959. Transforming a repressive brothel into a populist state. Ousting Washington’s man in Havana. Fulgencio Batista. A despot by any standard.

Franklin Roosevelt once called former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza “a son of a bitch. (B)ut he’s our son of a bitch,” he explained.

America supports many like him. Batista’s fascist regime earlier. Current repressive Central America/Caribbean governments. In Honduras. Guatemala. Haiti.

Saudi Arabia. Other Gulf states. Ukraine in central Europe. Fascists running Israel. Numerous other repressive regimes.

Obama’s new Cuba gambit reflects imperial policy by other means. Hold the cheers. More on this below.

Until illness in 2006 forced him to step down, Fidel was the world’s longest serving political leader. Now aged 88, its preeminent elder statesman.

Still expressing important views. “Reflections of Fidel.” In September saying “just ideas or disaster will triumph.”

“Global society has known no peace in recent years.” Because of US/European policies. Threatening world peace. With “weapons which could mean the end of human existence.”

He called Western regimes “unscrupulous actors.” Especially America. “(I)nterven(ing) militarily in Cuba…” Earlier owning most of the country. Raping it for profit.

Preventing Cubans from “produc(ing) enough grain to feed the population…Cynicism is something which has become symbolic of imperial policy.”

Rapaciousness defines it. “(O)ur interests,” said Obama. Castro knows them well. Duplicity writ large. Plotting control over Cuba again.

Intending to colonize it for profit. Plunder its resources. Including offshore oil. Exploit its people. Obama is a serial liar.

Claiming US policy is “rooted in the best of intentions…” Brazen dishonesty. Willful deception. Longstanding US policies speak for themselves.

Serving monied interests exclusively. At the expense of beneficial social change. Mindless of democratic rights. Rule of law principles.

Including prohibitions against interfering in the internal affairs of other nations. Sovereign independence is inviolable.

Not according to Washington rules. Imposing them lawlessly. With full scoundrel media support. The New York Times outrageously calls Cuba “a repressive police state.”

Ignoring decades of ruthless US anti-Castro policy. Hailing a “historic move.” “Transformational.”

Claiming Washington is right in demanding “greater personal freedoms and democratic change.”

Instead of exposing it as the world’s most egregious civil and human rights abuser. None match America’s abusive record. Longstanding. Horrific by any standard.

The Times was right calling US Cuban policy “one of the most misguided chapters in American foreign policy.” Mindless of Obama’s intent.

Opening Cuba to America’s monied interests spells trouble. Like it always does. US policies aren’t benign.

Cuba already infested with US anti-government operatives. USAID. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

International Republican Institute (IRI). Freedom House. Center for a Free Cuba. Institute for Democracy in Cuba. Cuba Dissidence Task Group.

Various other groups and initiatives. Raul Castro warned earlier about “attempts to subtly introduce platforms for neoliberal thought and for the restoration of neocolonial capitalism.”

Saying he “reiterated on many occasions our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the United States on the basis of sovereign equality in order to deal reciprocally with a wide variety of topics without detriment to the national Independence and self-determination of our people.” [Raul Castro is the Cuban version of Vlad Putin] Read below:

“We propose to the Government of the United States the adoption of mutual steps to improve the bilateral atmosphere and advance towards normalization of relations between our two countries, based on the principles of International Law and the United Nations Charter.”

“We don’t demand that the US change its political or social system and we don’t accept negotiations over ours.”

It bears repeating. Longstanding US policy call for regime change. Obama’s pronouncement shows tactics alone changing.

By establishing diplomatic relations. Opening a Havana embassy. Regime change headquarters. Infested with CIA operatives for sure. Plotting destabilization tactics.

Obama loosening embargo conditions. As much as possible by executive order. Without congressional approval. Unlikely with Republicans in charge next year.

Or Democrats like current Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez (D. NJ). Blasting Obama.

Turning truth on its head saying his “actions have vindicate the brutal behavior of the Cuban government. (S)et(ting) an extremely dangerous precedent.”

“(I)nvit(ing) dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips. I fear that today’s actions will put at risk the thousands of Americans that work overseas to support civil society, advocate for access to information, provide humanitarian services, and promote democratic reforms.”

The New York Times cited unnamed administration officials. Saying Treasury will issue easing Cuban trade regulations. On US agricultural exports. Banking relations.

Commerce Department will permit exports of construction materials. Telecommunications equipment. Scientific, athletic and cultural products. Various other goods.

Efforts will move quickly to replace old rules with new ones. Facilitating travel. Financial dealings. Exports. According to US officials.

“The Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department will scrap a measure that requires people who are already eligible for travel to Cuba to receive special permission from the government for trips such as those involving family visits, professional, religious or cultural programs and humanitarian projects,” said The Times.

“New rules will also make it easier to get there, by allowing the direct purchase of airline tickets to Cuba rather than requiring travelers to go through a travel agent and charter a flight.”

Treasury is increasing how much money Americans may send Cubans. Fourfold. From $500 to $2,000.

The State Department may end Cuba’s unjust state sponsor of terrorism designation. Longstanding US Cuban policy reflects it writ large. Don’t expect The Times to explain.

According to US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson:

“We would anticipate that we will have an embassy before” nominating an ambassador.

“That process is relatively straightforward, frankly, from a legal perspective. We can do that via an exchange of letters or of notes. It doesn’t require a formal sort of legal treaty or agreement.”

White House officials said they spent months determining how far to go unilaterally. Without violating the letter of embargo conditions. Or “eviscerat(ing)” them.

Washington’s Havana Interests Section will serve as its embassy. A future nest of destabilizing spies.

Political analyst Andrew Korybko asked if Raul Castro “reverse(d) the entire Cuban revolution.” Did he make “a fatal mistake?”

By getting in bed with the devil. It remains to be seen how much. Will color revolution follow? At age 88, Fidel’s time is passing. Whether soon or later who knows.

Korybko believes he’s closer to death than Havana admits. An era will pass with his loss. Inevitable sooner or later. Key is what follows.

Raul is 83. Reportedly in good health. Last year saying he’ll step down in 2018. “This is my last term,” he said. Shortly after National Assembly members reelected him for another five years.

At the same time naming Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez First Vice President. Next in line to Raul.

Cuba’s current government appears its last under Fidel and Raul. Possible succession figures include Diaz-Canel. Four other vice presidents.

Including Jose Machado Ventura. Aged 82. Ceding his first vice presidential position to Diaz-Canel.

Commander of the Revolution Ramiro Valdes. Aged 80. Comptroller General Gladys Bejerano. Aged 66. Both vice presidents.

Others include First Secretary of the Communist Party Mercedes Lopexz Acea. Aged 48. Labor federation head Salvador Valdes Mesa. Aged 64.

In 2013, 68-year-old former vice president Estaban Lazo was named National Assembly president. Replacing longtime leader Ricardo Alarcon.

Earlier he commented on who would succeed Fidel, saying:

“All those who have been trying to fool the world and put out the idea that something terrible would happen in Cuba, that people would take to the streets, that there would be great instability, the door slammed on them and they must have very swollen hands now.”

Cuban policy going forward remains to be seen. New leaders will replace old ones. Hopefully revolutionary spirit won’t change.

Remaining vibrant. Resilient. Redoubtable. Too precious to lose.

Western sanctions are aimed at regime change in Russia – Lavrov

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov)

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov)

 

RT news – 11-22-2014

The ultimate goal of the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by some Western nations is to stir public protests and oust the government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

“Western leaders publicly state that the sanctions must hurt [Russia’s] economy and stir up public protests. The West doesn’t want to change Russia’s policies. They want a regime change. Practically nobody denies that,” he told a leading think-tank in Moscow.

Lavrov said that the tensions between Russia and the West had been brewing for years before the Ukrainian crisis, adding that now the Europeans had decided to go for all-or-nothing and play chicken with Russia. But at least the positions have been made clear, Lavrov said.

‘Ideology blinds Europe’

Russia and the EU are having a moment of truth focused on Ukraine, Lavrov said, but stressed that Moscow would not be the one to break off ties with Europe. However, Russia won’t simply go back to how things were before the crisis hit, he said.

“The EU is our largest partner,” Lavrov said. “Nobody is going to shoot himself in the foot and reject cooperation with Europe, but everyone understands that it won’t be business as usual anymore.

“But we don’t need the kind of business we had. [That] was like ‘Russia must do this and must do that,’ and we want to cooperate as equals,” he added.

Claims about Russia’s isolation are not worth even discussions – Lavrov http://en.tass.ru/russia/761132 

US Now Admits it is Funding “Occupy Central” in Hong Kong

 

 

Region:
 
 
Just as the US admitted shortly after the so-called “Arab Spring” began spreading chaos across the Middle East that it had fully funded, trained, and equipped both mob leaders and heavily armed terrorists years in advance, it is now admitted that the US State Department through a myriad of organizations and NGOs is behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong. 

The Washington Post would report in an article titled, “Hong Kong erupts even as China tightens screws on civil society,” that:

Chinese leaders unnerved by protests elsewhere this year have been steadily tightening controls over civic organizations on the mainland suspected of carrying out the work of foreign powers.

The campaign aims to insulate China from subversive Western ideas such as democracy and freedom of expression, and from the influence, specifically, of U.S. groups that may be trying to promote those values here, experts say. That campaign is long-standing, but it has been prosecuted with renewed vigor under President Xi Jinping, especially after the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych following months of street demonstrations in Kiev that were viewed here as explicitly backed by the West.

The Washington Post would also report (emphasis added):

One foreign policy expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive subject, said Putin had called Xi to share his concern about the West’s role in Ukraine. Those concerns appear to have filtered down into conversations held over cups of tea in China, according to civil society group members.

“They are very concerned about Color Revolutions, they are very concerned about what is going on in Ukraine,” said the international NGO manager, whose organization is partly financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), blamed here for supporting the protests in Kiev’s central Maidan square. “They say, ‘Your money is coming from the same people. Clearly you want to overthrow China.’ ”

Congressionally funded with the explicit goal of promoting democracy abroad, NED has long been viewed with suspicion or hostility by the authorities here. But the net of suspicion has widened to encompass such U.S. groups as the Ford Foundation, the International Republican Institute, the Carter Center and the Asia Foundation. 

Of course, NED and its many subsidiaries including the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute do no such thing as “promoting democracy,” and instead are in the business of constructing a global network of neo-imperial administration termed “civil society” that interlocks with the West’s many so-called “international institutions” which in turn  are completely controlled by interests in Washington, upon Wall Street, and in the cities of London and Brussels.

NEDcorporateInterests_1

Just as the US admitted shortly after the so-called “Arab Spring” began spreading chaos across the Middle East that it had fully funded, trained, and equipped both mob leaders and heavily armed terrorists years in advance, it is now admitted that the US State Department through a myriad of organizations and NGOs is behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong. 

The Washington Post would report in an article titled, “Hong Kong erupts even as China tightens screws on civil society,” that:

Chinese leaders unnerved by protests elsewhere this year have been steadily tightening controls over civic organizations on the mainland suspected of carrying out the work of foreign powers.

The campaign aims to insulate China from subversive Western ideas such as democracy and freedom of expression, and from the influence, specifically, of U.S. groups that may be trying to promote those values here, experts say. That campaign is long-standing, but it has been prosecuted with renewed vigor under President Xi Jinping, especially after the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych following months of street demonstrations in Kiev that were viewed here as explicitly backed by the West.

The Washington Post would also report (emphasis added):

One foreign policy expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive subject, said Putin had called Xi to share his concern about the West’s role in Ukraine. Those concerns appear to have filtered down into conversations held over cups of tea in China, according to civil society group members.

“They are very concerned about Color Revolutions, they are very concerned about what is going on in Ukraine,” said the international NGO manager, whose organization is partly financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), blamed here for supporting the protests in Kiev’s central Maidan square. “They say, ‘Your money is coming from the same people. Clearly you want to overthrow China.’ ”

Congressionally funded with the explicit goal of promoting democracy abroad, NED has long been viewed with suspicion or hostility by the authorities here. But the net of suspicion has widened to encompass such U.S. groups as the Ford Foundation, the International Republican Institute, the Carter Center and the Asia Foundation. 

Of course, NED and its many subsidiaries including the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute do no such thing as “promoting democracy,” and instead are in the business of constructing a global network of neo-imperial administration termed “civil society” that interlocks with the West’s many so-called “international institutions” which in turn  are completely controlled by interests in Washington, upon Wall Street, and in the cities of London and Brussels.

Image: US Senator John McCain on stage in Kiev, Ukraine cheerleading US
funded sedition in Eastern Europe. In 2011, McCain would famously taunt
both Russia and China that US-funded subversion was coming their way.
“Occupy Central” is one of many waves that have hit China’s shores since.

 

Pro-war and interventionist US Senator John McCain had famously taunted both Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping’s predecessor in 2011 that the US subversion sweeping the Middle East was soon headed toward Moscow and Beijing. The Atlantic in a 2011 article titled, “The Arab Spring: ‘A Virus That Will Attack Moscow and Beijing’,” would report that:

He [McCain] said, “A year ago, Ben-Ali and Gaddafi were not in power. Assad won’t be in power this time next year. This Arab Spring is a virus that will attack Moscow and Beijing.” McCain then walked off the stage.

Considering the overt foreign-funded nature of not only the “Arab Spring,” but now “Occupy Central,” and considering the chaos, death, destabilization, and collapse suffered by victims of previous US subversion, “Occupy Central” can be painted in a new light – a mob of dupes being used to destroy their own home – all while abusing the principles of “democracy” behind which is couched an insidious, diametrically opposed foreign imposed tyranny driven by immense, global spanning corporate-financier interests that fear and actively destroy competition. In particular, this global hegemon seeks to suppress the reemergence of Russia as a global power, and prevent the rise of China itself upon the world’s stage.

The regressive agenda of “Occupy Central’s” US-backed leadership, and their shameless exploitation of the good intentions of the many young people ensnared by their gimmicks, poses a threat in reality every bit as dangerous as the “threat” they claim Beijing poses to the island of Hong Kong and its people. Hopefully the people of China, and the many people around the world looking on as “Occupy Central” unfolds, will realize this foreign-driven gambit and stop it before it exacts the heavy toll it has on nations that have fallen victim to it before – Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Egypt, and many others.

What Russian invasion?

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September 8, 2014

by DAVE LINDORFF

The separatist rebels of eastern Ukraine and the government in Kiev that controls the Ukrainian army have reached a cease-fire in place that leaves the separatists largely in control of the Russian-majority regions of the eastern part of that country.

The agreement to stop the fighting was reached at negotiations organized and led by Russia and held in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. It was reached at the same time that the US was pressing leaders of the NATO countries, at a meeting in Wales, to boost their military spending and to set up more offensive military positions in countries bordering Russia.

The one thing that did not happen as a result of the cease-fire, and that in fact never even got addressed in the Minsk talks, was a withdrawal of Russian troops from eastern Ukraine.

There was no withdrawal or even mention of those troops — said to number about 1000 by the US and the Kiev government — because there never were Russian troops invading Ukraine.

As both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic have, quite logically, pointed out, if Russia had invaded eastern Ukraine, it would not have done so by just secretly slipping in 1000 troops. It would have gone in with all 20,000 of the heavily armed troops it has reportedly massed on the Russian side of the border with Ukraine, and with its overwhelming air power, and by now would be threatening Ukraine’s capital of Kiev.

The Pentagon knows this. The CIA knows it. The State Department knows it. Anyone who’s watched the Russians in prior military actions (Afghanistan, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, etc.) knows it. Never mind, President Obama continues talking ominously and speciously about a Russian invasion. But as I learned when I wrote a spoof piece about that “invasion” a few days ago and tried to find some photos of Russian soldiers or Russian weapons in Ukraine on-line to go with it, there is absolutely no photographic evidence of such an attack.

Oh, there were some alleged satellite photos of perfectly lined up heavy mobile artillery which the US claimed were Russian arms inside Ukraine aiming westward, allegedly targeting Ukrainian forces. But these photos, which looked suspiciously like screen shots of video game images, and not like the crisp photos we have grown accustomed to seeing provided by military and even commercial satellites, didn’t even include GPS coordinates. The weapons were also far too perfectly lined up to be actually in operation in the field under wartime conditions. There was no effort to camouflage them from aerial attack, no effort to put them in protected positions, for example in a forest. Rather they were out in what appeared to be a plowed field (one which, significantly, didn’t show any piled up ammunition around the weapons, either).

There were also those nine Russian paratroopers who were captured in Ukraine, and subsequently paraded before the media in Kiev, but they claimed they had gotten lost and had crossed the border by mistake — a thoroughly credible explanation given that a large number of Ukrainian forces have done the same thing in reverse, crossing inadvertently over into Russia, which has been letting them return home.

Where there were articles in the media about an alleged Russian invasion, it always turned out that the accompanying photos of Russian troops or Russian tanks, instead of being of invading forces, either were of Russian troops on the Russian side of the border, or were old stock photos from Crimea, where Russian troops have long been stationed under the terms of a long-term lease agreement between Russia and Ukraine. (This was another earlier lie pushed by the US — that Russian troops had swept into Crimea like Nazi stormtroopers in the Anschluss — when in fact the troops that supported Crimeans’ desire to leave Ukraine and seek to rejoin Russia, were already there legally under a treaty agreement with Ukraine. Actually, there was no way for a Russian army to “cross the border” into Crimea, given that the only way to get from Russia to Crimea, at least back then, was a small ferry across the Kerch Strait that links the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea and that separates Crimea from Russia.)

Surely if there had been a real invasion of the Donbass region by Russian troops and their equipment over the past two weeks, the US would have had plenty of incriminating photos, including really impressive satellite images, to spread around. (US spy satellites can pick out license plate numbers from space!)

The claim of a Russian invasion was so weak, that Michael Gordon, the ethically compromised and politically tainted reporter at the New York Times who, back in 2002, brought us the bogus “aluminum tubes for uranium enrichment centrifuges” story and other war-mongering lies about Iraq, and to whom the Times, either in spite or, or because of that sorry record, handed the job of ginning up a new war hysteria, this time about Russia, was stumped. In the end, he was reduced to claiming Moscow was involved in a “stealth” invasion — one which you cannot see but just know is happening.

As a group of 30 former intelligence professionals in an organization called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) wrote in a memo delivered to German Chancellor Angela Merkel just before the NATO summit:
“The accusations of a major Russian ‘invasion’ of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the ‘intelligence’ seems to be of the same dubious, politically ‘fixed’ kind used 12 years ago to ‘justify’ the U.S.-led attack on Iraq”.
Merkel appears to have taken the VIPS memo seriously, and has backed away from her earlier solid support for more economic sanctions against Russia. She even hedged her reference at the NATO gathering to an alleged Russian invasion of Ukraine, calling it a “supposed” invasion.

Indeed, while the US has dissed the new cease-fire agreement, huffing that there was no implementation plan included (cease-fire agreements, as opposed to peace treaties, are always works in progress, as the US surely knows, and as we saw recently in Gaza, and the important thing is just to stop the guns and bombs, so talks can take place), the NATO countries, led by Merkel, have refused to blindly cave in to US pressure to put added sanctions in place against Russia, preferring instead to approve tentative sanctions but hold them in reserve to give the cease fire a chance.

That hasn’t stopped US war-mongering. Although any sane observer knows that Russia’s support for the embattled Russian minority in eastern Ukraine, far from being a sign that Putin and the Russian government want to try and recapture the former satellite states of Eastern Europe, is rather a logical response to a US-led effort to turn Ukraine into an armed and threatening US/NATO outpost on Russia’s southern border. (Just recall how the US responded when the old Soviet Union tried to enlist Cuba in its NATO equivalent of the Warsaw Pact by installing missiles on the island!).

In any case, Russia’s support for the rebellion of the ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s east (the same kind of moral, financial, tactical and military support the US has given to Chechnyan rebels, the Georgian military, Nicaraguan Contras and anti-Castro rebels) has been a smashing success. The US neo-con dream of pushing Russia out of its Crimean naval base, which would have left Russia with no navy in the Mediterranean region and scant access to the Atlantic, is gone with the annexation earlier this year of Crimea, following a plebiscite. Meanwhile, the cease-fire leaves ethnic Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in control of half of Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline, and, should the cease-fire collapse, within striking distance of the port cities of Mariupol and Odessa, which would leave western Ukraine an impoverished and landlocked nation.

The US, having seen its $5 billion plan for a NATO puppet state on Russia’s southern flank resoundingly crushed, is still pushing disconsolately for a more threatening NATO stance against Russia, with more weapons and troops posted near to Russia’s western border, for example in the Baltic states and in Poland, Rumania and Poland. But saner heads in Europe, particularly in Germany, are balking, noting that NATO and Russia have a treaty that bars the placing of permanent military bases in those countries. European NATO countries area also largely ignoring US calls for them to boost their military spending to bring it to 2% of GDP (US military spending is officially 3.8% of GDP, among the highest rates in the world, according to the World Bank, though adding in interest on war funding debt, veterans benefits and health care and the intelligence budget, it is really closer to 5%).

As a sop to Washington’s bruised ego, the NATO countries have approved a plan to pre-position weapons in the so-called “front-line” NATO states nearest to Russia, and to create a small “rapid action force” of several thousand NATO troops who could presumably gear up and go to those pre-positioned weapons within days in a crisis involving Russian aggression.

That plan, while a provocation, is unlikely to trouble Russia much, because a) Russia has no interest in trying to invade any of those countries like Estonia or the Czech Republic, and b) because if it did ever have such a plan, its 1-million-strong military would not be deterred by a few thousand NATO troops.

The Ukraine crisis is not over. The cease-fire is precarious, and the US is talking about providing arms to Ukrainian forces, and has announced plans for sending some US troops to Ukraine for “war games” with Ukrainian troops.

Hopefully, though, with its diplomatic nose already bloodied by the military successes of the separatist forces, Washington will decide not to risk having things get even worse, with Russia regaining full control of the Black Sea coast as it had under the old USSR, and Europe left with a rump “Novopoland” economic basket case to contend with.

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).