All posts by Kim Petersen

Is Noam Chomsky a Qualified Military Analyst?

Renowned progressive intellectual Noam Chomsky, author of over a 100 books, was recently interviewed by AcTVism. The entire interview is interesting, but the focus here is on the first 20 minutes where the situation in Ukraine is discussed.

Chomsky lays out the US directive to NATO in the proxy war: “The war must continue until Russia is severely harmed.”

The professor scoffs at Russian military might. He says that western European countries “are gloating over the fact that the Russia military has demonstrated to be a paper tiger, couldn’t even conquer a couple of cities a couple of kilometers from the border defended mostly by a citizens army, so all the talk about Russian military power was exposed as empty…”

I grant that Chomsky is indeed a polymath, but is he an expert on military operations? Scott Ritter and Brian Berletic, on the other hand, are Americans steeped in militarism. Berletic is a former US marine and Ritter is a former intelligence officer for the US marines. Both of them explain the Russian strategy in shaping the battlefield. The reason for this is to minimize Russian casualties and Ukrainian civilian casualties. This is unlike American Shock and Awe warfare where “collateral damage” (as killing of civilians by US military is trivialized) is accepted to attain US military objectives. Moreover, since Donbass was the industrial heartland of Ukraine, as well as part of the wheat belt, it is in Russia’s interest to protect the infrastructure and agriculture, as well as protecting the, largely Russian speaking, people of Donbass. However, the perceived slowness of implementing the Russian strategy — surrounding enemy fighters in siege warfare and compelling their surrender — seems to make Russia a paper tiger in Chomsky’s estimation.

If Russia is a paper tiger, then what does that make Ukraine? Ukraine was trained by NATO, armed by NATO, and fed intelligence by NATO, as well as outnumbering Russian fighters while fighting on home turf?

Yet Russia has destroyed most of the Ukrainian fighters (including Ukrainian Nazi fighters), obliterated most of their weaponry, including resupplies by NATO, and has liberated Donbass and conquered other parts of Ukraine (a country on the verge of potentially becoming landlocked if it persists in fighting a losing battle).

Chomsky characterizes western countries as “free democratic societies.” [sic] He follows this by stating, “There is no conceivable possibility that Russia will attack anyone [else]. They could barely handle this [fight with Ukraine]. They had to back off without NATO involvement.”

The fighting was personalized by Chomsky as Putin’s “criminal aggression” and that Putin acted “very stupidly” because he “drove Europe into Washington’s pocket”: “the greatest gift he could give the United States.” Chomsky would heap more ad hominem at Putin’s “utter imbecility.”

“The United States is utterly delighted,” states Chomsky. The military-industrial complex is “euphoric.” “Fossil fuel companies are delighted… It’s almost unbelievable the stupidity.”

Chomsky acknowledges that Ukraine cannot defeat the paper tiger, Russia, and supposedly Russian military actions have united the western world against Russia, as if the western world were not already arrayed against Russia. Yes, Germany backed out of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for delivery of gas to the German market. But who was hurt more by this?

Fossil fuel prices have soared and Russia is the beneficiary. Despite sanctions, the Russian ruble is strong. While the western Europeans have remained fidel to their American masters, Africa, South America, and Asia have ignored the sanctions. China, Pakistan, India, among others, have stepped in to import Russian oil and gas.

While Chomsky points out that the US military-industrial complex and Big Oil are overjoyed by the Russia-Ukraine warring, unmentioned is that average American citizens (and their European counterparts) are not feeling particularly gleeful at spiking gas costs and burgeoning inflation.

Chomsky keeps his focus on the invasion. “There is no way to justify the invasion. None!” Talk of justification is “totally nonsense,” says Chomsky. He admits that there was “provocation” by the US for ignoring Russian security concerns. “But provocation does not yield justification,” he asserts. “There is nothing that can justify criminal aggression.”

Why does Chomsky not mention the 8 years that Ukraine had been aggressing Donbass, criminally, where a reported 14,000 Donbass citizens were killed? Russia refers to a genocide perpetrated by Ukraine in Donbass. Russia justified its “special military operation” (what Chomsky calls a criminal aggression) by recognizing the sovereignty of the Lugansk and Donetsk republics and entering into a defensive pact (what NATO is supposed to be about).

War is anathema, but when diplomacy fails and you are faced with a violent, belligerent hegemon, then sometimes war becomes a necessity. When an animal is backed into a corner, it will come out fighting for its life. The writing was on the wall when the US, a serial violator of international agreements, broke its promise to Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not move one inch further eastward and then expanded to the Ukrainian border, a red line for Russia. Russia was being backed into a corner. Speaking to the initiator of the war in Ukraine, a question arises: is the animal backed into a corner by a predator an aggressor for realizing that fighting was the only option?

But no lives needed to have been lost. No territory needed to have been lost (aside from Crimea which had held a referendum in which the population overwhelmingly voted to join Russia; it is a United Nations recognized right of a people to self-determination). And to think that all of this could have been averted if Ukraine had upheld the Minsk agreements that they signed granting autonomy to Donbass, nixed seeking NATO membership, and declared themselves neutral. In other words, honor a contract and use money allotted to militarism for other ends (say, for example, education, employment, and social programs). Sounded like a no-brainer from the get-go, and this has been magnified since the special military operation. But it does not seem to be sinking in to the Russophobia-addled brains of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his coterie.

All this is missing from Chomsky’s analysis. The Nazified Ukrainian government somehow escapes criticism. The US does not escape criticism, but this is mild compared to the name calling and criticism of Russia. It may not be surprising considering that Chomsky has been criticized for a biased and inaccurate version of Soviet/Russian history.

The post Is Noam Chomsky a Qualified Military Analyst? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

It is Not Love that Abandons Its Treaties

The Tsilhqot’in Struggle

On 26 March 2018, Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau spoke of the six Tsilhqot’in chiefs who were arrested during a sacred peace-pipe ceremony and subsequently hanged for their part in a war to prevent the spread of smallpox by colonialists: “We recognize that these six chiefs were leaders of a nation, that they acted in accordance with their laws and traditions and that they are well regarded as heroes of their people.”

“They acted as leaders of a proud and independent nation facing the threat of another nation.”

“As settlers came to the land in the rush for gold, no consideration was given to the rights of the Tsilhqot’in people who were there first,” Trudeau said. “No consent was sought.”

In recent years, the Tsilhqot’in people were engaged in a long, drawn-out fight to gain sovereignty over their unceded territory, spurred by the attempts of Taseko Mines to situate an open-pit copper-and-gold mine near the trout-rich Teẑtan Biny (Fish Lake). Also proposed was “destroying Yanah Biny (Little Fish Lake) and the Tŝilhqot’in homes and graves located near that lake, to make way for a massive tailings pond.”

The Supreme Court decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v British Columbia, (2014), upheld Indigenous title as declared in an earlier Supreme Court decision, Delgamuukw v British Columbia, (1997).

The Wet’suwet’in Struggle

Sometimes the law works (even colonial law), and sometimes it doesn’t. Neither the Tsilhqot’in or Delgamuukw legal precedents have, so far, buttressed the Wet’suwet’en people’s fight against the encroachment of a pipeline corporation.

In the unceded territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, corporate Canada and the government of Canada are violently seeking to ram a pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory despite its rejection by all five hereditary chiefs; i.e., no consent has been given for the laying of a pipeline.

The Gidimt’en land defenders of the Wet’suwet’en turned to the international forum and made a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous People on the “Militarization of Wet’suwet’en Lands and Canada’s Ongoing Violations.”  The submission was co-authored by leading legal, academic, and human rights experts in Canada, and is supported by over two dozen organisations such as the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and Amnesty International-Canada.

The submission to the UN was presented by hereditary chief Dinï ze’ Woos (Frank Alec), Gidimt’en Checkpoint spokesperson Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham), and Gidimt’en Checkpoint media coordinator Jen Wickham. It makes the case that forced industrialization by Coastal GasLink and police militarization on Wet’suwet’en land is a repudiation of Canada’s international obligations as stipulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Their submission states:

Ongoing human rights violations, militarization of Wet’suwet’en lands, forcible removal and criminalization of peaceful land defenders, and irreparable harm due to industrial destruction of Wet’suwet’en lands and cultural sites are occurring despite declarations by federal and provincial governments for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. By deploying legal, political, and economic tactics to violate our rights, Canada and BC are contravening the spirit of reconciliation, as well as their binding obligations to Indigenous law, Canadian constitutional law, UNDRIP and international law.

Sleydo’ relates the situation:

We urge the United Nations to conduct a field visit to Wet’suwet’en territory because Canada and BC have not withdrawn RCMP from our territory and have not suspended Coastal GasLink’s permits, despite the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination calling on them to do so. Wet’suwet’en is an international frontline to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples and to prevent climate change. Yet we are intimidated and surveilled by armed RCMP, smeared as terrorists, and dragged through colonial courts. This is the reality of Canada.

In the three large-scale police actions that have transpired on Wet’suwet’en territory since January 2019, several dozens of people have been arrested and detained, including legal observers and media. On 13 June 2022, the Unist’ot’en Solidarity Brigade expressed outrage that the BC Prosecution Service plans to pursue criminal contempt charges against people opposed to the trespass of Wet’suwet’en territory, including Sleydo’.

Treaty Treatment

The Wet’suwet’en are on their ancestral unceded lands. Would it have made a difference if they had signed a treaty with the colonial entity?

The book We Remember the Coming of the White Man (Durville, 2021), edited by Sarah Stewart and Raymond Yakeleya, does not augur a better outcome for the First People.

We Remember adumbrates how the treaty process operates under colonialism:

When our Dene People signed Treaty 11 in 1921, there had been no negotiation because the Treaty translators were not able to translate the actual language used in the document. There was not enough time for our People to consult with each other. Our Dene People were given a list that had been written up by bureaucrats declaring the demands of Treaty 11. They dictated to the Dene, ‘This is what we want. You have to agree, and sign it.’ We did not know what the papers contained. (p ix)

Treaties and contracts signed under duress are not legally binding. Forced signing of a treaty is on-its-face preposterous to most people with at least half a lobe. It is no less obvious to the Dene of the Northwest Territories:

How can you demand something from People who cannot understand? That’s a crime. I have often said that Treaty 11 does not meet the threshold of being legal. In other words, when we make a treaty, it should be you understand, I understand, and we agree. In this case, the Dene did not understand. (p x)

Unfortunately, the Dene trusted an untrustworthy churchman. The Dene signed on the urging of Bishop Breyant, a man of God, because they had faith in the Roman Catholic Church. (p x)

Oil appeals to those with a lust for lucre. This greed contrasts with traditional Dene customs. Walter Blondin writes in the Foreword,

We Dene consider our land as sacred and owned by everyone collectively as it provides life…. [T]here were laws between the families that insured harmony and sharing. No one was left behind to face hardships or starve when disasters such as forest fires devastated the lands. The Dene laws promoted sharing, and this was taken seriously as failure to follow these laws could lead to war and bloody conflict. (p 3)

The Blondin family of Norman Wells (Tlegohli) in the Northwest Territories experienced first hand the perfidy of the White Man. The Blondins gave oil samples from their land to the Roman Catholic bishop for testing. The Dene family never received any report of the results. Later, however, a geologist, Dr Bosworth staked three claims at Bosworth Creek that were bought by Imperial Oil in 1918. (p 5-6)

Imperial Oil told the families: “You are not welcome in your homes and your traditional lands and your hunting territory.” The Dene people were driven out. “Elders say, ‘It was the first time in living memory where the Dene became homeless on their own land.'” (p 6)

The Blondin family homes were torn down with possessions inside and pushed over the river bank. “No apology or compensation was ever received from Imperial Oil. Imperial Oil considered Norman Wells to be ‘their town—a White Man’s town’ and the Blondin family and other Dene were not welcome.” (p 6)

“Treaty 11 became the ‘treaty for oil ownership.'” (p 8)

“One hundred years after the fact, the Dene can see the collusion between the British Crown, Imperial Oil [now ExxonMobil] and the Roman Catholic Church in the fraud, theft and embezzlement of Dene resources.” (p 10)

Sarah Stewart writes, “Treaty 11 was a charade to legitimize the land grab in the Northwest Territories.” The land grab came with horrific consequences. Stewart laments that the White Man brought disease, moved onto Dene lands and decimated wildlife, and that the teaching of missionaries and missionary schools eroded native languages, cultures, and traditions. (p 14)

Indigenous People, whose land it was, were never considered equal partners in benefiting from the resource. As Indian Agent Henry Conroy wrote to the Deputy General of Indian Affairs in January 1921, the objective was to have Indigenous people surrender their territory ‘to avoid complications in the exploitation of oil.’ (p 15)

Filmmaker Raymond Yakeleya elucidates major differences between the colonialists and the Dene. He points to the capitalist mindset of the White Man: “‘How can we make money off this?’ Dene People are not motivated by that.” (p 24) A deep respect and reverence for all the Creator’s flora and fauna and land is another difference. “When you kill an animal, you have a conversation with it and give it thanks for sharing its body. There are special protocols and ceremonies you have to go through.” (p 28)

While Yakeleya acknowledges that not all missionaries were bad, (p 30) he points to a dark side:

A major confusion came to our People with the coming of the Catholic missionaries. I see the coming of the Black Robes as being a very, very dark cloud that descended over our People. All of a sudden you have people from another culture with another way of thinking imposing their laws. We see that they did it for money, control, and power. I heard an Elder say to me once that the Christians who followed the Ten Commandments were the same people who broke all of them.

The first time we ever questioned ourselves was with the coming of the Christians and to me, I think there was something evil that came amongst our People…. The missionaries were quick to say our ways were the ways of the devil, or the ways of something not good…. Now we see they are being charged with pedophilia and other crimes. (p 29)

As for the discovery of oil, Joe Blondin said, “The Natives found it and never got anything out of it and that’s the truth.” (p 159) As for Treaty 11, John Blondin stated emphatically, “We know that we did not sell our land.” (p 171)

At the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry in Fort McPherson [Teetł’it Zheh], Dene Philip Blake spoke words that resonate poignantly with the situation in Wet’suwet’en territory today:

If your nation chooses … to continue to try and destroy our nation, then I hope you will understand why we are willing to fight so that our nation can survive. It is our world…. But we are willing to defend it for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. If your nation becomes so violent that it would tear up our land, destroy our society and our future, and occupy our homeland, by trying to impose this pipeline against our will, but then of course we will have no choice but to react with violence. I hope we do not have to do that. For it is not the way we would choose…. I hope you will not only look on the violence of Indian action, but also on the violence of your own nation which would force us to take such a course. We will never initiate violence. But if your nation threatens by its own violent action to destroy our nation, you will have given us no choice. Please do not force us into this position. For we would all lose too much. (p 229)

The Nature of Colonialism and Its Treaties

Spoken word poet Shane L. Koyczan captures the nature of colonialism in Inconvenient Skin (Theytus Books, 2019):

150 years is not so long
that the history can be forgot

not so long that
forgiveness can be bought with empty apologies
or unkept promises

sharpened assurances that this is now
how it is

take it on good faith
and accept it

except that
history repeats itself
like someone not being listened to
like an entire people not being heard

the word of god is hard to swallow
when good faith becomes a barren gesture

there were men of good faith
robbing babies from their cradles
like the monsters we used to tell each other about

ripping children out of their mother’s arms
to be imprisoned in the houses of god
whose teachings were love

did no one hear?
did god mumble?

god said love

but the things that were done
were not love

our nation is built above the bones
of a genocide

it was not love that pried apart these families
it is not love that abandons its treaties

The post It is Not Love that Abandons Its Treaties first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Whose Security?


Insanity has often been defined as trying the same thing over and over and receiving the same result.

Case in point, Ukraine was seeking NATO membership to bolster its security. This membership would have come at the expense of Russian security, as Russian president Vladimir Putin made clear. To thwart NATO’s (i.e., the US’s) hegemonic ambitions and preserve its own security, Russia felt compelled to address its security concerns. When these Russian security concerns were treated with contempt by the US and Ukraine, Russia took action to protect itself.

Two neutral countries, Finland and Sweden, are seriously contemplating NATO membership, as did Ukraine. Will this increase security for these two countries? There has been no warring between Russia and Finland since 1941-1944 when the Finns decided to ally with Nazi Germany during World War II and fight the Soviet Union. The last Russia-Sweden war was the Finnish War that was fought over two centuries ago (1808-1809).

On its face, one lesson to be drawn from the war between Russia and Ukraine is that Russia sees NATO membership on its border as a threat to its security, and it will act to protect its security.

Why then would a country that has been in relatively peaceful co-existence with Russians since the end of WWII seek a change in that status quo that may very well diminish or destroy that peaceful coexistence?

Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson was circumspect about NATO membership noting that Sweden has to “think about the consequences…. We have to see what is best for Sweden’s security.”

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin admitted, “Of course, there are many kinds of risks involved…. We have to be prepared for all kinds of actions from Russia…” Surely, Marin is aware of the risks that were posed by the stand off between John F Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev over Soviet stationing of nukes in Cuba (and American nukes in Turkey).

News of further NATO expansion toward Russia has triggered a response from the Kremlin. Spokesperson Dimitry Peskov said Russia was considering militarily bolstering its western flank.

Across the pond, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price was welcoming of an enlarged NATO membership. He repeated, “… we believe NATO’s open door is an open door.”

However, it is quite obvious that the NATO open door has been more a closed door to Russia, as Russia has never been made a full member. It does not take a deep analysis to understand why this is so. NATO proclaims its, “purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.” However, the raison d’être for such a military alliance disappears when there is no enemy on the horizon. Thus, Russia is reified as the NATO boogeyman. The existence of NATO serves well the aims of the governmental-military-industrial complex of the US.

Sweden and Finland are considering whether to formalize NATO membership — a key trigger in Russia’s response to Ukraine. Some questions that arise: Do Finland and Sweden not consider Russia’s security concerns valid? While the circumstances differ, why would these two Nordic countries try what failed for Ukraine and expect a benign response? Would the presence of Russian nukes and hypersonic weapons targeting their countries make the Swedes and Finns feel more secure?

Instead of being regularly badgered to increase military expenditures as a NATO member, wouldn’t it be better to nix the insanity of spending the hard-earned cash of the citizens on guns, tanks, planes, and missiles and becoming less secure as a result? Wouldn’t the money of the Nordic citizenry be put to better use for housing, road repair, poverty reduction, hospitals, recreation centers, and schools at home?

Image credit: Global Times

The post Whose Security? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

What Does Standing up for Ukraine Signify When Sitting on One’s Derriere for Violence against Others?

The leaders of a bevy of NATO-aligned countries have appeared in a collage that reads “Stand up for Ukraine.” It comes across blatantly as propaganda cooked by a corporate PR firm as part of the information war being waged against Russia.

My question to these upstanding, er … these people standing up, is: When have you stood up for, in no particular order:

Palestine
Syria
Libya
Iraq
Afghanistan
Yemen
Iran
Democratic Republic of Congo
Somalia
Haiti
Serbia
Venezuela
Bolivia
Honduras
Nicaragua

This is, of course, an inexhaustive list. What follows is an analysis of what NATO types standing up for signifies for the first six listed countries above, along with two unlisted countries.

Palestine

According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, 10,165 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces since the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000, and an additional 82 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli civilians. This disregard for the life of the non-Jew is ingrained in many Talmudic Jews, as Holocaust survivor and chemistry professor Israel Shahak detailed in his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight Of Three Thousand Years. If anyone needs convincing of this Jewish discrimination and racism towards non-Jews, then peruse the statistics at the B’Tselem website on home demolitions, who can and cannot use roads in the West Bank, the water crisis, and settler crimes against Palestinians.

On 10 April, Ghadeer Sabatin, a 45-yr-old unarmed Palestinian widow and mother of six, was shot by Israeli soldiers near Bethlehem and left to bleed out and die. Will any of the politicians standing up for Ukraine also stand up for Palestine? Image Source

Many of these Stand up for Ukraine types have been been glued to their seats during the slow-motion genocide by Zionist Jews against Palestinians.

Are Palestinians a lesser people than Ukrainians?

Syria

These Stand up for Ukraine types in their spiffy business attire have also been seated while backing Islamist terrorists in Syria. Americans later invaded and still occupy the northeastern corner of Syria, stealing the oil and wheat crops.

The UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet reported that more than 350,000 people have been killed in 10 years of warring in Syria, adding that this figure was an undercount.

Are Syrians a lesser people than Ukrainians?

Libya

In February 2020, Yacoub El Hillo, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya, called the impact of the NATO-led war on civilians “incalculable.”

Are Libyans a lesser people than Ukrainians?

Iraq

I have a vivid memory of a crowd of students gathered around a TV screen in the University of Victoria to cheer on the start of Shock and Awe in Iraq. The US-led war on Iraq was based on the pretext that Iraq had weapons-of-mass-destruction although the head UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter had found Iraq to be “fundamentally disarmed.”

Chemistry professor professor Gideon Polya was critical of how the western monopoly media “resolutely ignore the crucial epidemiological concept of non-violent avoidable deaths (excess deaths, avoidable mortality, excess mortality, deaths that should not have happened) associated with war-imposed deprivation.” Polya cites 2.7 million Iraqi deaths from violence (1.5 million) or from violently-imposed deprivation (1.2 million).

Abdul Haq al-Ani, PhD in international law, and Tarik al-Ani, a researcher of Arab/Islamic issues, wrote a legal tour de force, Genocide in Iraq: The Case against the UN Security Council and Member States, that makes the case for myriad US war crimes that amount to a genocide.

Nonetheless, US troops are still stationed in Iraq despite being told to leave by the Iraqi government.

Are Iraqis a lesser people than Ukrainians?

Afghanistan

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University estimates 241,000 people have been killed in the Afghanistan and Pakistan war zone since 2001. The institute’s key findings are:

  • As of April 2021, more than 71,000 Afghan and Pakistani civilians are estimated to have died as a direct result of the war.
  • The United States military in 2017 relaxed its rules of engagement for airstrikes in Afghanistan, which resulted in a massive increase in civilian casualties.
  • The CIA has armed and funded Afghan militia groups who have been implicated in grave human rights abuses and killings of civilians.
  • Afghan land is contaminated with unexploded ordnance, which kills and injures tens of thousands of Afghans, especially children, as they travel and go about their daily chores.
  • The war has exacerbated the effects of poverty, malnutrition, poor sanitation, lack of access to health care, and environmental degradation on Afghans’ health.

Are Afghans a lesser people than Ukrainians?

Yemen

In November 2021, the UN Development Programme published “Assessing the Impact of War in Yemen: Pathways for Recovery” (available here) in which it was estimated that by the end of 2021, there would be 377,000 deaths in Yemen. Tragically, “In 2021, a Yemeni child under the age of five dies every nine minutes because of the conflict.” (p 12)

The Yemeni economy is being destroyed and has forced 15.6 million people into extreme immiseration along with 8.6 million people being malnourished. Worse is predicted to come: “If war in Yemen continues through 2030, we estimate that 1.3 million people will die as a result…” (p 12)

Countries such as Canada, the US, UK, France, Spain, South Africa, China, India, and Turkey that supply arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE are complicit in the war on the Yemeni people.

Are Yemenis a lesser people than Ukrainians?

One could continue on through the above list of countries “invaded” and arrive at the same conclusions. The predominantly white faces of western heads-of-government in their suits and ties or matching jackets and skirts did not stand up for the brown-skinned people killed in the countries adumbrated. Most of these countries were, in fact, directly attacked by NATO countries or by countries that were supported by NATO. What does that imply for the Standing up for Ukraine bunch?

The Donbass Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk

And lastly, most telling, is just how many of these people stood up for Donbass when it was being shelled by Ukraine?

If France and Germany, guarantors for the Minsk Agreements that Ukraine signed, had not only guaranteed but also enforced Ukraine’s compliance, then, very arguably, no Russian recognition of the independence of the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk would have been forthcoming and there would have been no Russian military response. But France and Germany did not stand up for their roles as guarantors of the Minsk Agreements.

Consequently, for all these politicians to contradict their previous insouciance and suddenly get off their posteriors and pose as virtuous anti-war types standing up for Ukraine is nigh impossible to swallow. Given that the historical evidence belies the integrity of this Stand up for Ukraine bunch, they ought better to have striven for some consistency and remained seated.

The post What Does Standing up for Ukraine Signify When Sitting on One’s Derriere for Violence against Others? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

A Comparison of Who the New York Times Deems Worthy and Unworthy of Propping up

The New York Times continues to selectively promote news that fits the Establishment narrative. The NYT portrays the nine-year sentence of the Russian “opposition leader” Aleksei Navalny to a high-security prison as a travesty of justice. Was it unjust? If so, justice must be demanded. What I can comment on is a factual inaccuracy by the NYT: Navalny is not the opposition leader. His party has zero seats in the State Duma. The opposition party is the Communist Party of the Russian Federation with 57 seats. Navalny’s party, Russia of the Future, has zero seats. Russia of the Future remains unregistered as a political party. This is an unassailable point for the NYT given that democracy in the US is such that the Communist Party and Communism has been outlawed since the days of president Dwight Eisenhower.

A clearcut travesty of justice is the case of the political prisoner Julian Assange. He is imprisoned for having carried out his job as a publisher at WikiLeaks: informing the public by publishing facts. WikiLeaks has a publication record which under normal circumstances would make the NYT green with envy: WikiLeaks is “perfect in document authentication and resistance to all censorship attempts.” But the NYT is not about accuracy in publication.

WikiLeak’s perfect publication record includes revealing the war crimes of the United States; for this, the US Establishment placed a target on Assange’s back.

NYT, which once collaborated with WikiLeaks to publish stories, notes that Navalny — who was tried and convicted — has been held in captivity for more than a year.

Assange — who has been tried and convicted of breach of bail stemming from fraudulent Swedish charges; since Sweden refused to guarantee non-extradition to the US, Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, subsequent events have borne out Assange’s fear — has been under one form of incarceration or another since January 2011.

In 2017, Navalny was found guilty at a retrial for embezzlement and given a five-year suspended prison sentence. He was later imprisoned for breaching the terms of his probation. In his latest trial, he was again found guilty of having embezzled people’s money. The NYT, however, paints the verdict as a move to extend Navalny’s time in prison.

Assange has only been found guilty of the relatively minor violation of breaching bail. Nonetheless, the period of his detention began with bogus charges of rape and sexual molestation cooked up by Swedish authorities. It is not difficult to join the dots and arrive at the logical conclusion that were it not for the initial fraudulent allegations against him, Assange would never have been placed into detention in the first place, and he would not be facing extradition to the US where he could sit in prison for as much as 175 years — for doing something for which he should be saluted by humanity: exposing war crimes.

Assange represents another nail in the coffin of the worthlessness of the Nobel Peace Prize, an award that has previously been conferred upon war criminals and other miscreants.

NYT is not focused on the miscarriage of justice against Assange even though the abuse of justice in Assange’s case puts its own “journalists” at risk of persecution should they reveal grave crimes of state.

Russia, the US-designated ennemi du jour, is an easy target for the NYT. Therefore, even though Navalny is a convicted criminal, he is deemed worthy of support by the NYT. Navalny is an enemy of an enemy, that plus his animus against Russian president Vladimir Putin makes him a friend for the US Establishment. Given this cozy arrangement, the NYT is free to cast aspersions on the Russian judge, Margarita Kotova, insinuating that her recent promotion is linked with the judicial finding against Navalny.

Emma Arbuthnot, who presided over Assange’s extradition case from late 2017 until mid-2019 was accused of a conflict of interest since her husband is “a former Conservative defense minister with extensive links to the British military and intelligence community exposed by WikiLeaks.” She did not recuse herself, and the legal Establishment in Britain did not have her removed from the case. In one ruling, Arbuthnot showed her true colors by dismissing a United Nations working group’s assessment that Assange was being arbitrarily detained.

Arbuthnot’s subordinate, judge Vanessa Baraitser, took over the Assange case and ruled that he should not be extradited for reasons of mental harm. However, she also stated that she believed Assange to be guilty, providing an opening for an American appeal, which the US won.

Assange’s appeal of that appeal was rejected. It seems that the appellate court accepted the Biden administration’s pledge not to confine Assange under the austerest conditions reserved for high-security prisoners and, should he be convicted, to allow him to serve his sentence in his native Australia.

Returning to Navalny, the NYT asserts there is “substantial evidence” that the Russian government was responsible for poisoning him in August 2020. And if one follows the link embedded for the “substantial evidence,” one comes to another NYT article wherein it is stated “Navalny’s revelations about his poisoning — not all of which have been independently verified.” The source of the “substantial evidence” is Navalny. In fact, there appears nothing at all that is compelling or substantial. But an investigation to determine the authenticity of Navalny’s claims would be in order.

On the other hand, there is verifiable evidence that the assassination and kidnapping of Assange was discussed at the highest levels of the CIA.

The NYT does not point out the discrediting of the rape allegations against Assange. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, destroyed the rape allegations against Assange and accused the authorities of psychological torture against the WikiLeaks publisher.

Expressing sympathy for Navalny, the NYT rued that he might be “moved to a higher-security prison farther from Moscow, making it harder for his lawyers and family to visit him.”

Meanwhile Assange, unaccused of any violent offense, is being held in the maximum security Belmarsh prison in England — about 15,000 km away from his birthplace in Australia.

The NYT mentions concerns for the life of Navalny. This concern is ostensibly missing for Assange’s incarceration in Belmarsh. Given that the British judge found imprisonment a mental health danger for Assange, it is a stark contradiction to keep him in prison where his mental health would remain at risk while awaiting the justice system’s outcome. It speaks clearly to the travesty of justice Assange has endured.

The Ripple Effect

The NYT’s shoddy journalism emerges again and again. Only recently it had to admit it had suppressed the story of what’s on the laptop of president Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. What was initially dismissed as Russian disinformation turned out to be Russiagate disinformation.

It shines a spotlight on who overwhelmingly provoked the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Grotesquely, the mother of all rogue nations, the US, led/cajoled its subservient Canadian, European, Japanese, South Korean, among other accomplices to sanction Russia (unilateral sanctions have been denounced by independent UN human rights experts who declared the right to development “an inalienable human right”) while the instigator goes unsanctioned.

Navalny deserves justice as much as any other person on the planet. If an injustice has been meted out to Navalny, then that must be corrected. The present thesis examines who the NYT deems worthy or unworthy of propping up. NYT’s “opposition leader” in Russia is without any party members in the Russian State Duma. Navalny compares in many respects to the hapless Juan Guaidó, a wannabe president of Venezuela, who the US backs and recognizes as president of Venezuela. To bring about a government amenable to American dictates in Venezuela, president Obama declared Venezuela a national security threat and sanctioned seven Venezuelan officials in 2015. Human rights expert Alfred de Zayas, who is highly critical of NYT coverage of Venezuela, estimated that at least 100,000 Venezuelans having died because of US sanctions. Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs contend that the US sanctions “fit the definition of collective punishment of the civilian population as described in both the Geneva and Hague international conventions, to which the US is a signatory.”

One victim who has not been found worthy of mention in the NYT is 16-year-old Palestinian Nader Rayan who was gunned down by Israeli border police troops. Israel’s Haaretz had the gumption to publish a piece describing the corpse of Nader Rayan:

strewn with deep, bleeding bullet wounds, his flesh is bare, his brain is spilling out, his head and face are perforated. Border Police troops shot him with pathological madness, in a rage, savagely, without restraint. His father counted 12 bullet wounds in his son’s body, all of them deep, large, oozing blood. Head, chest, stomach, back, legs and arms: There’s not a part of his son’s body without a large, gaping hole in it.

Nothing can justify this repeated shooting of a teenager who was running for his life, certainly not once he was hit and lay wounded on the road. Not even if the initial Border Police account, which for some reason was magically altered the following week – that the youth or his friend shot at the troops – is correct. Nothing can justify such unhinged shooting at a youth.

One can glean an understanding for NYT’s concern or lack of concern for humanity by comparing how it feted and eulogized genocidaire and former US secretary-of-state Madeleine Albright who blithely agreed with half a million Iraqi kids serving as sacrificial lambs for US policy objectives.

Russians, according to the NYT, have responded with insouciance to Navalny’s predicament.

Conversely, Julian Assange has garnered worldwide attention and support. Despite this, he is being subjected to a slow-motion assassination. As long as Assange draws air, there is still time for a tidal wave of humanity to drown out the injustice. It may seem unfair that one political prisoner, Julian Assange, has so much of progressivists’ attention focused on his release, but Assange is crucial in making known the crimes of state and revealing the plight of other people wrongfully imprisoned or unjustly targeted by the state.

How to stop the extradition of Assange? For instance, shutting down any airport that would seek to fly Assange to the US. Protestors in Hong Kong managed to shut down their airport, so it can be done. If enough people would surround Belmarsh prison preventing entry or exit, such a mass movement signal would be a signal. The trucker convoy with its supporters disrupted Ottawa and borders in Canada for weeks, and it had an effect because soon afterwards many provincial governments relented on the mandates. So it can be done. The protests caused the Canadian government to resort to an extremely draconian Emergencies Act and siphon people’s bank accounts. Forcing the state to turn to repressive measures is contradictorily a victory for protestors. The battle for justice will not and must not be over until Assange and all others falsely imprisoned are released. Conscience demands it.

The post A Comparison of Who the New York Times Deems Worthy and Unworthy of Propping up first appeared on Dissident Voice.

An Ill Informed Anti-war Movement Bodes Ill

… the claim that Russia should not have violated Ukrainian sovereignty is based on the erroneous belief that Ukraine was invaded. This assertion is based on ignorance. Quite aside from the international-law issues posed by the sovereign claims of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), and hence whether they could exert sovereign rights to conclude treaties and hence invite military aid, there is the long-standing original threat and active aggression of NATO in and through Ukraine’s governments. The recognition of sovereignty does not outweigh the right of self-defense.

T.P. Wilkinson

Prominent anti-war activist David Swanson focused on four of Russia’s original eight demands beginning in early December 2021:

  1. Article 4: the parties shall not deploy military forces and weaponry on the territory of any of the other states in Europe in addition to any forces that were deployed as of May 27, 1997;
  1. Article 5: the parties shall not deploy land-based intermediate- and short-range missiles adjacent to the other parties;
  1. Article 6: all member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization commit themselves to refrain from any further enlargement of NATO, including the accession of Ukraine as well as other States;
  1. Article 7: the parties that are member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization shall not conduct any military activity on the territory of Ukraine as well as other States in the Eastern Europe, in the South Caucasus and in Central Asia; and

Swanson rightfully called the original eight demands “perfectly reasonable” and that they “ought to have simply been met, or at the very least treated as serious points to be respectfully considered.”

Swanson compares the four concrete original demands, with Russia’s “new demands”:

1) Ukraine cease military action
2) Ukraine change its constitution to enshrine neutrality
3) Ukraine acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory
4) Ukraine recognize the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states

This is according to Reuters, informs Swanson. Since Swanson selected Reuters as his source, and since he presented no other demands from other sources, one assumes Swanson concurs with Reuters. But there is a very large omission! Russian president Vladimir Putin has stated several times that demilitarization and denazification are demanded. One can speculate why Reuters may have omitted the foremost demand of denazification. Surely, it wouldn’t go over well with the western public to know their government was propping up neo-Nazis.

Swanson writes,

The first two of the old four demands (items 4-5 at top) have vanished. No limitations are now being demanded on piling up weapons everywhere. Weapons companies and governments that work for them should be pleased. But unless we get back to disarmament, the long-term prospects for humanity are grim.

There appears to be some confusion here. First, the original eight Articles were meant for the United States to agree to. These “new demands” are aimed at Ukraine — not at the US. Moreover, the four “new demands,” via Reuters and Swanson, are for a different set of circumstances brought about by US insincerity that forced Russia to back up its security demands. There is nothing strange about different circumstances causing a change in demands. The original eight demands were for one set of circumstances, and the subsequent four “new demands” are for a new set of circumstances. As for disarmament, that is what Russia is carrying out right now in Ukraine. Weapons companies won’t be happy about that. However, it is time that the Kellogg-Briand Pact be adhered to.

Swanson continues,

Of course, NATO and everyone else have always wanted a neutral Ukraine, so this shouldn’t be such a huge hurdle.

This is a puzzling deduction. If NATO had wanted a neutral Ukraine all along, then why did NATO say yes to future Ukraine membership, albeit without specifying a date for joining? NATO even recognized Ukraine as an “enhanced opportunity partner.” Moreover, if the breaking news becomes verified of a US-financed military biological program in Ukraine during the ongoing military operation, then it puts an emphatic kibosh to any talk of NATO having wanted a neutral Ukraine.

Regarding the Russian demands, Swanson writes, “Of course, it is a horrible precedent to meet the demands of a warmaker.”

Swanson reveals a bias when he identifies Russia as a “warmaker.” Question: Did Swanson ever call Ukraine a warmaker for shelling Donbass since 2014? And just who made the war in Ukraine? Why did Russia “invade” Ukraine? Was it not Ukraine’s shelling of Donbass that precipitated an exodus of ethnic Russians into Russia that caused Russia to recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics? Was not Ukraine making war? Was Ukraine not undermining Russian state security by seeking NATO membership and being loaded up with NATO weaponry? Ukraine is a tool of the US. In actuality, the warmaker is the US, but Swanson failed to point this out. Yet, by “invading” Ukraine, Russia is poised to very quickly become a war-ender. The timetable for the war from the Russian side is undisclosed, but it appears Russia is proceeding slowly to ensure minimal civilian casualties. Most likely, though, in a matter of weeks Russia will have ended a war that raged for eight years between Ukraine and Donbass.

Swanson’s final paragraph reads:

One way to negotiate peace would be for Ukraine to offer to meet all of Russia’s demands and, ideally, more, while making demands of its own for reparations and disarmament. If the war goes on and ends someday with a Ukrainian government and a human species still around, such negotiations will have to happen. Why not now?

Fine, but what is the reasoning Swanson applies such that Russia should pay for reparations and disarmament to Ukraine? Will Swanson also demand that Ukraine pay reparations to Donbass? Will Ukraine pay reparations to Russia for dragging it into the mess it created at the behest of the US?

If Ukraine should be demanding reparations, then it should be demanding them from NATO (= the US) that in a cowardly maneuver abandoned (and thank goodness it did) its future ally to face Russia alone.

Nonetheless, I find it strange that the US warmonger extraordinaire and a Nazi-infiltrated Ukraine are skimmed over and blame is laid on Russia.

Although I may dissent on the facts and logic proffered on the warring among some people in the anti-war movement, I am unequivocally in solidarity with worldwide disarmament and ending war forever. Nonetheless, its is clearly that the US is the most prolific warmonger, war criminal, and genocidaire on the planet. The US is also deeply involved in the break out of war in Ukraine. It was the hand pushing on the back of the Ukrainian government. Since solidarity is crucial for a movement, a movement must not allow scapegoating, misinformation, or disinformation to taint the narrative.

The post An Ill Informed Anti-war Movement Bodes Ill first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Hypocrisy and Immorality of Sanctions

“I friggin’ hate war,” stammered Nicole, clenching her fists.

“Doesn’t everyone hate war?” asked Hiro.

He meant it as a rhetorical question. But Nicole retorted, “No. Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon and other weapon manufacturers like, er … looove war. Wall Street loves war. Blackwater, or whatever they are called now, love war. And so do the mercenaries.”

Hiro hadn’t meant “everyone” to literally mean “everyone.” But he knew his wording was imprecise.

“But one thing should come out of the Russia-Ukraine war… er” Nicole caught herself and reformulated her statement: “At least, one really good thing that is.”

Hiro stroked the three-day stubble on his chin and pondered what his clever blonde friend sitting at the opposite end of the fading chesterfield had stated.

“Hmm, okay, I give. What is the one really good thing?”

“It is as simple as what is good for the goose is good for the gander.”

Hiro tilted his head slightly to the right. “Not sure what you mean. If the Russians can invade another country, then everyone else can, too? But that’s not a good thing. Besides, the US already invades whichever country they want as long as that country can’t really fight back.”

“No. That’s not it. Look, if the world, ah …, I mean the US, Europe, and Japan are going to sanction Russia for warring, then by all rights, any country that attacks another country without UN Security Council approval should also be sanctioned.”

“Fat chance of that happening,” said Hiro. “That would mean Ukraine should have been sanctioned for shelling Donbass. The US and Turkey should be sanctioned for invading Syria. Israel would be in a permanent state of being sanctioned.”

“Exactly,” responded Nicole. “The world, er, US, EU, UK, and Japan will expose themselves as massive hypocrites if they continue to war.”

“But they already are hypocrites based on their actions against Russia and lack of action against other countries doing the same thing,” said Hiro, rubbing his chin again. “And the US only plays by its own rules. The ICC is for the US to ignore. The World Court is the same. The Rule of Law means law for the others, not for the US.”

“True,” nodded Nicole, brushing back with her hand a shock of hair that had cascaded over one eye.

“And the western media will twist the meanings and omit whatever info it so chooses,” added Hiro.

“True again, but people are starting to clue in. More and more people know the corporate media lies. Independent media is expanding. And hardly anyone watches friggin’ CNN these days. Joe Rogan blows them all out of the water.”

“And just see what happened to Joe,” grumbled Hiro.

“Hiroyuki, it doesn’t matter much because people are listening to Joe and not his cancel culture critics.”

Hiro flinched imperceptibly. He preferred the shortened form of his name. It sounded to him more heroic.

“But isn’t this all whataboutism?”

“Maybe so,” said Nicole. “But more so, it is about the equality of nations, and the UN says this is the foundation of the Rule of Law.”

“Anyway, sanctions unless approved by the Security Council are illegal. So all the countries sanctioning Russia now are breaking international law,” said Hiro pushing his glasses back on his nose bridge.

“Right again.”

“And didn’t Madeleine Albright say it was okay to kill half-a-million Iraqi kids with sanctions?” asked Hiro.

“Yes, she did. What a scandalous moment of truth it was.”

“And doesn’t Foreign Affairs magazine call them sanctions-of-mass-destruction, the deadliest WMD?”

“Yep,” agreed Nicole, “And then there is the argument that sanctions are a declaration of war. Most definitely it is economic warfare.”

“So because the US has been sanctioning Russia since before the invasion of Ukraine, it has been at war with Russia the whole time, not to mention with China, Iran, North Korea, and so on.”

Nicole rolled her eyes. “Don’t forget Cuba. Sixty years of friggin’ sanctions. And why doesn’t the media tell us about all that?”

It was a rhetorical question, but Hiro answered anyway: “Because we are not part of that mainstream.”

The post The Hypocrisy and Immorality of Sanctions first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Russophobia in Western Sports Media

Article 33: Individual responsibility, collective penalties, pillage and reprisals. “No protected person may be punished for any offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

— Fourth Geneva Convention

Rick Westhead of the Canadian sports network, TSN.ca, has presented the opinion of Bruce Kidd, a former Canadian Olympian, a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and the school’s ombudsperson, advocating that the government of Canada suspend future travel visas to Russian athletes because of Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine.

The western legacy media has been conducting its own witch hunt, calling on Russian athletes to denounce their fatherland. Hockey superstar Alexander Ovechkin decried war and was criticized afterward for “deliberately squandering an opportunity to make a real difference in this world” and for his relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Russian Alexander Medvedev, the newly ascended number one male tennis player and his compatriot, Andrey Rublev, ranked number seven in the tennis world, were also called onto the media carpet where they stood for peace.

That a sports website can be so opinionated can be shrugged off. But that its senior correspondent, Westhead, and a university professor emeritus, Kidd, would give such a poorly thought out opinion, one that is so morally repulsive, is disappointing. They have succumbed to the blatantly obvious logical fallacy of guilt by association.

Kidd notes that Canada — ignoring that Canada is an apartheid country itself — fought apartheid by banning South African professional golfers and tennis players from competing and training in Canada in 1988. Kidd claims that banning South African athletes was an effective tool in bringing an end to apartheid. Whether or not the ban was successful is besides the point. It is morally wrong.

Preceding the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Bible forcefully argued,

The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son.

— Ezekiel 18:20

The Russian athletes are not politicians. They do not have a say in the day-to-day decisions of the government. Yet TSN.ca holds that Russian athletes should be banned based on the happenstance of their birth, regardless of their views on the fighting between Russia and Ukraine.

There are several other moral quicksands in which Westhead and Kidd sink. Implicit in the argument propounded by TSN.ca and Kidd is that Canada is some paragon of morality. Far from it. That being the case, another piece of biblical wisdom is pertinent. When men, as prescribed by Mosaic law, were poised to stone a woman for adultery Jesus intoned: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

COAT (the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade), with an eye to Ukraine, has called upon the Canadian government since last October to cease the funding of groups that glorify Nazi collaborators.

Canada has its own nasty history, past and current. It is a country established through genocide, a genocide that is ongoing. Witness the weaponized gendarmerie of Canada trespassing in unceded Wet’suwet’en territory to raze buildings and arrest Wet’suwet’en defenders and media members. And why? To force through a corporate pipeline despite the unanimous opposition of the hereditary chiefs.

Do TSN.ca, Westhead, and Kidd condemn the great crimes in their backyard and call for the banning of Canadian athletes from competition?

Did TSN.ca, Westhead, and Kidd call for the banning of Ukrainian athletes while Ukraine was shelling Donbass for the last eight years? Do they even know the history of the region?

Do they know that the United States and NATO shrugged off Russia’s security concerns about NATO’s eastward expansion. That the eastward expansion represents a violated promise of the US secretary-of-state James Baker to USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev to not move one step further eastward? Bear in mind that former president Barack Obama absurdly declared Venezuela a national security threat to the US. Recall that president Ronald Reagan raised the alarm of a Central American threat, saying: “I’m speaking of Nicaragua, a Soviet ally on the American mainland only two hours’ flying time from our own borders.”

Have TSN.ca, Westhead, and Kidd condemned Israeli war crimes, apartheid, the siege on Gaza, and slow-motion genocide against Palestinians? Have they denounced grave Israeli war crimes against Syrians, Iraqis, and Iranians? Have these sports pundits called for a ban on Israeli athletes?

Canada, which occupies First Nation, Inuit, and Michif territory, is a staunch ally of the self-designated Jewish State that also occupies all of historical Palestine, the Golan Heights in Syria, and the Shebaa Farms in Lebanon?

Does TSN.ca call for the banning of American athletes? In recent times, the US devastated Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria (with the support of Canada). The US occupies an area of Syria, an area of Cuba, Guam, Saipan, and more. Hawai’i was annexed, and there was no referendum by Hawaiians seeking such a union (unlike in Crimea). The continental US represents a colossal genocidal theft by European settlers/colonialists. The military-industrial-governmental complex of the US has been warring around the globe and breaking promises and treaties with Russia. Do TSN.ca, Westhead, and Kidd realize any of this or do they just refuse to denounce this?

Are they aware that the Ukrainian government is a $5 billion US-leveraged coup by Neo-Nazi elements that form part of the government and military in Ukraine?

Having recognized the independence of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, Russia had available the Responsibility-to-Protect doctrine used by NATO. Or do TSN.ca, Westhead, and Kidd think this doctrine only applies to western nations? In which case that would only compound the prejudice shown by the TSN.ca talking heads.

Crimes and punishment must not be pick-and-choose affairs. All crimes must be denounced and punishment meted out must be equitable.

Every side loses in war. But for a government to neglect the security of its territory and citizens, especially as a self-declared foe draws nearer and nearer while arming neighbors in the region, would be a severe dereliction of duty. Russia, which was twice denied NATO membership, made overtures, stated its red lines, sought mutual security guarantees and was pretty much dismissed. Russia was pushed. It is human nature, rightly or wrongly, that when one is pushed to want to push back.

It is hoped that the Russian invasion ends soon with as few casualties as possible, that Ukraine is denazified, and that the US and western world will henceforth realize that western hegemony and bullying will no longer be tolerated in a multi-polar world. It is past time that the US return the militarily occupied Chagos archipelago to the Chagossians, stop stealing Syria’s oil and end its illegal occupation there, stop financing Israeli crimes against Palestinians, stop supporting the Saudi war against Yemen, return the Afghan people’s money to Afghanistan, and have its junior partner in crime, Great Britain, return the gold it confiscated from Venezuela. If so, then a lot of good will have come out of Putin’s steely resolve.

And, of course, the collaborators of the US hegemon deserve censure for their role in propping up the hegemon and its crimes.

The next step, the ultimate step, is to end war everywhere. The nations of the world must be verifiably disarmed. There are other urgent and important battles to be fought and won. Poverty must be eliminated. The environment must be rehabilitated and stewarded. Anthropogenic greenhouse gases, for which militaries bear a huge responsibility, must be reined in.

Finally, until that glorious day when militaries are no more, let’s not go down the rabbit hole of witch-hunting and penalizing otherwise uninvolved athletes for the decisions of politicians.

Image credit: The Island

The post Russophobia in Western Sports Media first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Putin Deftly Eludes the US-laid War Trap

Going to war and using expensive war machinery and missiles can be enticing and perversely exhilarating, but the lethality and devastation of war must not be downplayed as a game. The latest political maneuver by Russian president Vladimir Putin was a game-changing masterstroke to avoid the American war trap. At every step in the build-up of tensions surrounding Ukraine, Russia has foiled US enticements to attack. To understand it all, one needs to start further back in time.

9 February 1990 — US secretary-of-state James Baker promised USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would “not [move] one inch eastward” in exchange for allowing German unification.

1999 — Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland join NATO and move several inches nearer the dissolved USSR.

2004 — Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia join NATO.

2009 — Albania and Croatia join NATO.

February 2014 — A US-backed coup in Ukraine results in a Nazi-friendly government coming to power.

March 2014 — Crimeans vote overwhelmingly in a referendum to secede from Ukraine and become part of Russia.

September 2014 — The Minsk I Agreement is signed by Ukraine, Russia, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) calling for an immediate ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons, and prisoner exchanges.

February 2015 — The Minsk II Agreement calls again for a ceasefire, the withdrawal of weapons, ceasefire monitoring by the OSCE, and the holding of local elections in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics on their future status in Ukraine. Differing interpretations have led to major disagreements over Minsk II.

2017 — Montenegro joins NATO.

2020 — North Macedonia joins NATO. It is apparent that there is an increasing eastward crawl, and Ukraine is also seeking membership.

18 November 2021 — Russia reiterates its red lines.

17 December 2021 — Russia presents its concerns about security in proposals to the US.

16 January 2022 — Putin identifies Ukraine’s membership in NATO as a red line in Russia-NATO relations that impinge upon Russian security. US secretary-of-state Antony Blinken dismissed Russian security concerns: “I can’t be more clear — NATO’s door is open, remains open, and that is our commitment.”

26 January 2022 — Russia received a written response from the US to its security proposals. Russia would not be pleased.

16 February 2022 — According to national-security adviser Jake Sullivan, based on credible US intelligence, this was the date that Russia would invade Ukraine. The date came and went without any invasion.

17 February 2022 — Russia responds to US and NATO proposals about Ukraine and European security.

There have been many provocations leading up to the Russian recognition of the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Among them are NATO expansion, not taking Russian security concerns seriously, the arming of Ukraine, and demonizing Russia via the western monopoly media. The final nail was the shelling from Ukraine into Donbass causing the evacuation of its civilians into Russia.

It appears to be a foolhardy act by Ukraine. If Ukraine had adhered to the Minsk Agreements, Donetsk and Luhansk would still be a part of Ukraine, autonomous though they may be. Autonomy is not uncommon within countries. Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Tibet, Xinjiang are autonomous provinces in China. Russia also has one autonomous region and 10 autonomous areas. Nonetheless, the lure of war and playing with fire has caused Ukraine to shrink a little bit more.

Russia, for its part, did not take the bait and invade Ukraine. It has instead sent peacekeepers into Donbass. It would seem highly unlikely that Ukraine would attack the powerful state-of-the-art Russian military.

So Joe Biden does not get his Russian invasion. Biden’s planners have been foiled again. Biden made the right call to withdraw the US forces from Afghanistan, but that withdrawal was badly botched, recalling memories of the tail-between-the-legs escape from rooftops in Viet Nam by US troops. Then to compound the fiasco of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden had the shamelessness and heartlessness to steal the poor Afghan peoples’ monies. He follows in the footsteps of his predecessor Donald Trump who openly stole Syrian oil — a theft that continues under Biden.

Meanwhile, the situation in and around Ukraine and the breakaway republics will continue to evolve. It is hoped that saner heads will deescalate the tensions and avoid war.

The post Putin Deftly Eludes the US-laid War Trap first appeared on Dissident Voice.