Category Archives: Vladimir Putin

British “watchdog” journalists unmasked as lap dogs for the security state

Events of the past few days suggest British journalism – the so-called Fourth Estate – is not what it purports to be: a watchdog monitoring the centers of state power. It is quite the opposite.

The pretensions of the establishment media took a severe battering this month as the defamation trial of Guardian columnist Carole Cadwalladr reached its conclusion and the hacked emails of Paul Mason, a long-time stalwart of the BBC, Channel 4 and the Guardian, were published online.

Both of these celebrated journalists have found themselves outed as recruits – in their differing ways – to a covert information war being waged by Western intelligence agencies.

Had they been honest about it, that collusion might not matter so much. After all, few journalists are as neutral or as dispassionate as the profession likes to pretend. But along with many of their colleagues, Cadwalladr and Mason have broken what should be a core principle of journalism: transparency.

The role of serious journalists is to bring matters of import into the public space for debate and scrutiny. Journalists thinking critically aspire to hold those who wield power – primarily state agencies – to account on the principle that, without scrutiny, power quickly corrupts.

The purpose of real journalism – as opposed to the gossip, entertainment and national-security stenography that usually passes for journalism – is to hit up, not down.

And yet, both of these journalists, we now know, were actively colluding, or seeking to collude, with state actors who prefer to operate in the shadows, out of sight. Both journalists were coopted to advance the aims of the intelligence services.

And worse, each of them either sought to become a conduit for, or actively assist in, covert smear campaigns run by Western intelligence services against other journalists.

What they were doing – along with so many other establishment journalists – is the very antithesis of journalism. They were helping to conceal the operation of power to make it harder to scrutinize. And not only that. In the process, they were trying to weaken already marginalized journalists fighting to hold state power to account.

Russian collusion?

Cadwalladr’s cooperation with the intelligence services has been highlighted only because of a court case. She was sued for defamation by Arron Banks, a businessman and major donor to the successful Brexit campaign for Britain to leave the European Union.

In a kind of transatlantic extension of the Russiagate hysteria in the United States following Donald Trump’s election as president in 2016, Cadwalladr accused Banks of lying about his ties to the Russian state. According to the court, she also suggested he broke election funding laws by receiving Russian money in the run-up to the Brexit vote, also in 2016.

That year serves as a kind of ground zero for liberals fearful about the future of “Western democracy” – supposedly under threat from modern “barbarians at the gate,” such as Russia and China – and about the ability of Western states to defend their primacy through neo-colonial wars of aggression around the globe.

The implication is Russia masterminded a double subversion in 2016: on one side of the Atlantic, Trump was elected US president; and, on the other, Britons were gulled into shooting themselves in the foot – and undermining Europe – by voting to leave the EU.

Faced with the court case, Cadwalladr could not support her allegations against Banks as true. Nonetheless, the judge ruled against Banks’ libel action, on the basis that the claims had not sufficiently harmed his reputation.

The judge also decided, perversely in a British defamation action, that Cadwalladr had “reasonable grounds” to publish claims that Banks received “sweetheart deals” from Russia, even though “she had seen no evidence he had entered into any such deals.” An investigation by the National Crime Agency ultimately found no evidence either.

So given those circumstances, what was the basis for her accusations against Banks?

Cadwalladr’s journalistic modus operandi, in her long-running efforts to suggest widespread Russian meddling in British politics, is highlighted in her witness statement to the court.

In it, she refers to another of her Russiagate-style stories: one from 2017 that tried to connect the Kremlin with Nigel Farage, a former pro-Brexit politician with the UKIP Party and close associate of Banks, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been a political prisoner in the UK for more than a decade.

At that time, Assange was confined to a single room in the Ecuadorian Embassy after its government offered him political asylum. He had sought sanctuary there, fearing he would be extradited to the US following publication by WikiLeaks of revelations that the US and UK had committed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks had also deeply embarrassed the CIA by following up with the publication of leaked documents, known as Vault 7, exposing the agency’s own crimes.

Last week the UK’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel, approved the very extradition to the US that Assange feared and that drove him into the Ecuadorian embassy. Once in the US, he faces up to 175 years in complete isolation in a supermax jail.

Assassination plot

We now know, courtesy of a Yahoo News investigation, that through 2017 the CIA hatched various schemes either to assassinate Assange or to kidnap him in one of its illegal “extraordinary rendition” operations, so he could be permanently locked up in the US, out of public view.

We can surmise that the CIA also believed it needed to prepare the ground for such a rogue operation by bringing the public on board. According to Yahoo’s investigation, the CIA believed Assange’s seizure might require a gun battle on the streets of London.

It was at this point, it seems, that Cadwalladr and the Guardian were encouraged to add their own weight to the cause of further turning public opinion against Assange.

According to her witness statement, “a confidential source in [the] US” suggested – at the very time the CIA was mulling over these various plots – that she write about a supposed visit by Farage to Assange in the embassy. The story ran in the Guardian under the headline “When Nigel Farage met Julian Assange.”

In the article, Cadwalladr offers a strong hint as to who had been treating her as a confidant: the one source mentioned in the piece is “a highly placed contact with links to US intelligence”. In other words, the CIA almost certainly fed her the agency’s angle on the story.

In the piece, Cadwalladr threads together her and the CIA’s claims of “a political alignment between WikiLeaks’ ideology, UKIP’s ideology and Trump’s ideology”. Behind the scenes, she suggests, was the hidden hand of the Kremlin, guiding them all in a malign plot to fatally undermine British democracy.

She quotes her “highly placed contact” claiming that Farage and Assange’s alleged face-to-face meeting was necessary to pass information of their nefarious plot “in ways and places that cannot be monitored”.

Except of course, as her “highly placed contact” knew – and as we now know, thanks to exposes by the Grayzone website – that was a lie. In tandem with its plot to kill or kidnap Assange, the CIA illegally installed cameras inside, as well as outside, the embassy. His every move in the embassy was monitored – even in the toilet block.

The reality was that the CIA was bugging and videoing Assange’s every conversation in the embassy, even the face-to-face ones. If the CIA actually had a recording of Assange and Farage meeting and discussing a Kremlin-inspired plot, it would have found a way to make it public by now.

Far more plausible is what Farage and WikiLeaks say: that such a meeting never happened. Farage visited the embassy to try to interview Assange for his LBC radio show but was denied access. That can be easily confirmed because by then the Ecuadorian embassy was allying with the US and refusing Assange any contact with visitors apart from his lawyers.

Nonetheless, Cadwalladr concludes:In the perfect storm of fake news, disinformation and social media in which we now live, WikiLeaks is, in many ways, the swirling vortex at the centre of everything.”

‘Swirling vortex’

The Farage-Assange meeting story shows how the CIA and Cadwalladr’s agendas perfectly coincided in their very own “swirling vortex” of fake news and disinformation.

She wanted to tie the Brexit campaign to Russia and suggest that anyone who wished to challenge the liberal pieties that provide cover for the crimes committed by Western states must necessarily belong to a network of conspirators, on the left and the right, masterminded from Moscow.

The CIA and other Western intelligence agencies, meanwhile, wanted to deepen the public’s impression that Assange was a Kremlin agent – and that WikiLeaks’ exposure of the crimes committed by those same agencies was not in the public interest but actually an assault on Western democracy.

Assange’s character assassination had already been largely achieved with the American public in the Russiagate campaign in the US. The intelligence services, along with the Democratic Party leadership, had crafted a narrative designed to obscure WikiLeaks’ revelations of election-fixing by Hillary Clinton’s camp in 2016 to prevent Bernie Sanders from winning the party’s presidential nomination. Instead they refocused the public’s attention on evidence-free claims that Russia had “hacked” the emails.

For Cadwalladr and the CIA, the fake-news story of Farage meeting Assange could be spun as further proof that both the “far left” and “far right” were colluding with Russia. Their message was clear: only centrists – and the national security state – could be trusted to defend democracy.

Fabricated story

Cadwalladr’s smearing of Assange is entirely of a piece with the vilification campaign of WikiLeaks led by liberal media outlets to which she belongs. Her paper, the Guardian, has had Assange in its sights since its falling out with him over their joint publication of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs in 2010.

A year after Cadwalladr’s smear piece, the Guardian would continue its cooperation with the intelligence services’ demonization of Assange by running an equally fabricated story – this time about a senior aide of Trump’s, Paul Manafort, and various unidentified “Russians” secretly meeting Assange in the embassy.

The story was so improbable it was ridiculed even at the time of publication. Again, the CIA’s illegal spying operation inside and outside the embassy meant there was no way Manafort or any “Russians” could have secretly visited Assange without those meetings being recorded. Nonetheless, the Guardian has never retracted the smear.

One of the authors of the article, Luke Harding, has been at the forefront of both the Guardian’s Russiagate claims and its efforts to defame Assange. In doing so, he appears to have relied heavily on Western intelligence services for his stories and has proven incapable of defending them when challenged.

Harding, like the Guardian, has an added investment in discrediting Assange. He and a Guardian colleague, David Leigh, published a Guardian-imprint book that included a secret password to a WikiLeaks’ cache of leaked documents, thereby providing security services around the world with access to the material.

The CIA’s claim that the release of those documents endangered its informants – a claim that even US officials have been forced to concede is not true – has been laid at Assange’s door to vilify him and justify his imprisonment. But if anyone is to blame, it is not Assange but Harding, Leigh and the Guardian.

Effort to deplatform

The case of Paul Mason, who worked for many years as a senior BBC journalist, is even more revealing. Emails passed to the Grayzone website show the veteran, self-described “left-wing” journalist secretly conspiring with figures aligned with British intelligence services to build a network of journalists and academics to smear and censor independent media outlets that challenge the narratives of the Western intelligence agencies.

Mason’s concerns about left-wing influence on public opinion have intensified the more he has faced criticism from the left over his demands for fervent, uncritical support of NATO and as he has lobbied for greater Western interference in Ukraine. Both are aims he shares with Western intelligence services.

Along with the establishment media, Mason has called for sending advanced weaponry to Kyiv, likely to raise the death toll on both sides of the war and risk a nuclear confrontation between the West and Russia.

In the published emails, Mason suggests the harming and “relentless deplatforming” of independent investigative media sites – such as the Grayzone, Consortium News and Mint Press – that host non-establishment journalists. He and his correspondents also debate whether to include Declassified UK and OpenDemocracy. One of his co-conspirators suggests a “full nuclear legal to squeeze them financially.”

Mason himself proposes starving these websites of income by secretly pressuring Paypal to stop readers from being able to make donations to support their work.

It should be noted that, in the wake of Mason’s correspondence,  PayPal did indeed launch just such a crackdown, including against Consortium News and MintPress, after earlier targeting WikiLeaks.

Mason’s email correspondents include two figures intimately tied to British intelligence: Amil Khan is described by the Grayzone as “a shadowy intelligence contractor” with ties to the UK’s National Security Council. He founded Valent Projects, establishing his credentials in a dirty propaganda war in support of head-chopping jihadist groups trying to bring down the Russian-supported Syrian government.

Clandestine ‘clusters’

The other intelligence operative is someone Mason refers to as a “friend”: Andy Pryce, the head of the Foreign Office’s shadowy Counter Disinformation and Media Development (CDMD) unit, founded in 2016 to “counter-strike against Russian propaganda”. Mason and Pryce spend much of their correspondence discussing when to meet up in London pubs for a drink, according to the Grayzone.

The Foreign Office managed to keep the CDMD unit’s existence secret for two years. The UK government has refused to disclose basic information about the CDMD on grounds of national security, although it is now known that it is overseen by the National Security Council.

The CDMD’s existence came to light because of leaks about another covert information warfare operation, the Integrity Initiative.

Notably, the Integrity Initiative was run on the basis of clandestine “clusters,” in North America and Europe, of journalists, academics, politicians and security officials advancing narratives shared with Western intelligence agencies to discredit Russia, China, Julian Assange, and Jeremy Corbyn, the former, left-wing leader of the Labor Party.

Cadwalladr was named in the British cluster, along with other prominent journalists: David Aaronovitch and Dominic Kennedy of the Times; the Guardian’s Natalie Nougayrede and Paul Canning; Jonathan Marcus of the BBC; the Financial Times’ Neil Buckley; the Economist’s Edward Lucas; and Sky News’ Deborah Haynes.

In his emails, Mason appears to want to renew this type of work but to direct its energies more specifically at damaging independent, dissident media – with his number one target the Grayzone, which played a critical role in exposing the Integrity Initiative.

Mason’s “friend” – the CDMD’s head, Andy Pryce – “featured prominently” in documents relating to the Integrity Initiative, the Grayzone observes.

This background is not lost on Mason. He notes in his correspondence the danger that his plot to “deplatform” independent media could “end up with the same problem as Statecraft” – a reference to the Institute of Statecraft, the Integrity Initiative’s parent charity, which the Grayzone and others exposed. He cautions: “The opposition are not stupid, they can spot an info op – so the more this is designed to be organic the better.”

Pryce and Mason discuss creating an astroturf civil-society organization that would lead their “information war” as part of an operation they brand the “International Information Brigade”.

Mason suggests the suspension of the libel laws for what he calls “foreign agents” – presumably meaning that the Information Brigade would be able to defame independent journalists as Russian agents, echoing the establishment media’s treatment of Assange, without fear of legal action that would show these were evidence-free smears.

‘Putin infosphere’

Another correspondent, Emma Briant, an academic who claims to specialize in Russian disinformation, offers an insight into how she defines the presumed enemy within: those “close to WikiLeaks,” anyone “trolling Carole [Cadwalladr],” and outlets “discouraging people from reading the Guardian.”

Mason himself produces an eye-popping, self-drawn, spider’s web chart of the supposedly “pro-Putin infosphere” in the UK, embracing much of the left, including Corbyn, the Stop the War movement, as well as the Black and Muslim communities. Several media sites are mentioned, including Mint Press and Novara Media, an independent British website sympathetic to Corbyn.

Khan and Mason consider how they can help trigger a British government investigation of independent outlets so that they can be labeled as “Russian-state affiliated media” to further remove them from visibility on social media.

Mason states that the goal is to prevent the emergence of a “left anti-imperialist identity,” which, he fears, “will be attractive because liberalism doesn’t know how to counter it” – a telling admission that he believes genuine left-wing critiques of Western foreign policy cannot be dealt with through public refutation but only through secret disinformation campaigns.

He urges efforts to crack down not only on independent media and “rogue” academics but on left-wing political activism. He identifies as a particular threat Corbyn, who was earlier harmed through a series of disinformation campaigns, including entirely evidence-free claims that the Labour Party during his tenure became a hotbed of antisemitism.

Mason fears Corbyn might set up a new, independent left-wing party. It is important, Mason notes, to “quarantine” and “stigmatize” any such ideology.

In short, rather than use journalism to win the argument and the battle for public opinion, Mason wishes to use the dark arts of the security state to damage independent media, as well as dissident academics and left-wing political activism. He wants no influences on the public that are not tightly aligned with the core foreign policy goals of the national security state.

Mason’s correspondence hints at the reality behind Cadwalladr’s claim that Assange was the “swirling vortex at the centre of everything.”

Assange symbolizes that “swirling vortex” to intelligence-aligned establishment journalists only because WikiLeaks has published plenty of insider information that exposes Western claims to global moral leadership as a complete charade – and the journalists who amplify those claims as utter charlatans.

In part two, we will examine why journalists like Mason and Cadwalladr prosper in the establishment media; the long history of collusion between Western intelligence agencies and the establishment media; and how that mutually beneficial collusion is becoming ever more important to each of them.

First published in Mint Press

The post British “watchdog” journalists unmasked as lap dogs for the security state first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Market God + Private Profits = Public Loss

All people need food, shelter and health care. In an alleged democracy, none of them need the religion of market forces governing their ability to get them. Nor do those of us temporarily comfortable while enjoying the benefits that come to a minority which does well with capitalism (as it did with slavery) but now face a choking atmosphere that no individual status or identity as glorified house negroes of slavery days will protect us since the house itself, our planet, is under deadly attack.

Brutal abuse of logic, savage assaults on morality, perverted molestations of reason; do those describe Russian military behavior in the Ukraine or western political-media market practice? Incredibly booming profits in the death industry accompany the world tour of a Ukrainian political hustler for NATO as he is treated as an international hero for escaping his country on a world go-fund-me trip to raise more weapons to assure more murder of his people with a potential bonus of hosting a late night TV show in America while the bodies are being counted.

The incredible reporting (?) of the Russian defense of its borders has it being depicted as an ugly rape of neighbors led by a comic book madman supposedly bent on building an empire by defending his nation from an imperial monster failing desperately by the day and threatening to destroy the world in a frenzy of trying to maintain its criminal domination of the market god religion. This while its own nation shows signs of crumbling with citizens lashing out at one another and losing faith in all aspects of what passes for leadership but reduced to blaming special villains and identity groups while pursuing decency and freedom for other and often the same villains and identity groups. The one most dangerous and unjust group, the incredibly rich who own and operate what passes for a democracy under thought control, are only just beginning to get the attention they have always deserved.

Low election day turnouts are an American tradition but worse than ever as divisions forced on a public taught to identify as anything but a democratic majority – while paying lip service to something called “our” democracy, which amounts to slaves claiming “our” plantation – while foreign slaughter is accompanied by homeland mass murders that reduce citizens to more fear, sorrow and anger directed at everything but the systemic breakdown and focused by media on scapegoats.

Class society is composed of all of us but we are hardly all members of the same class in a market-dominated capitalism in which rulers separate us by everything but class. Do we have testicles or vaginas? We are all human beings. Lighter skin or darker skin? We are all human beings.  But when a tiny minority among us are rich and everyone else ranges from fairly comfortable to relatively comfortable to uncomfortable to suffering severe discomfort to being ground to pulp by marketism, that defines class society, which is absolutely necessary under the market forces controlled by the rich and their servants in government, industry and media.

American dollar democracy finds 8% of us being millionaires, multi-millionaires, billionaires, and multi billionaires. The 92% majority, of course, control everything democratically. That is the definable truth if you believe deep nose-picking is a way of performing self lobotomy or that the tooth fairy is really a gay dentist. Sadly, a minority of us, including all too many voters, might as well be stuck in such a mental trap. But a growing majority sense that something is terribly wrong and that real change is necessary for humanity and not just one or another identity group’s survival is causing greater desire than ever for substantial change in the way we organize our society. Unfortunately, that desire is still under the control of the profit-making industries of division, violence, ignorance and more division.

It is possible to believe that a billionaire and a pauper are equal when shopping at the market, if one is among the nose picking tooth fairy faith. The rest of us must see the numbers which do not lie and get worse every day when it comes to what is called economic inequality. While that is the foundation of marketism which affords massive estates and riches so vast it takes several banks to hold them, hundreds of thousands of humans, whether possessing testicles, vaginas, or both, light skin, dark skin, or both, heterosexual, homosexual or both, do not have shelter, publicly beg for food and forage through garbage for clothing. This while millions of residents in a so-called democracy have no health care and more than a million die of a virus which is believed by some to have been created by one or another villainous force but hardly due to the capitalist market system which demands money for most of what is needed for survival while essentially telling those without enough money they can drop dead.

While formally educated and mentally deranged manipulators of policy are using Ukraine to affect murdering Russians and using Taiwan to encourage murder of Chinese, common sense and near universal desires for global peace are impossible to find in the mass murder market dominated and controlled by minorities at growing danger to the overwhelming majority of earth’s inhabitants. The socially diseased imperial beast calling itself a force for global peace and democracy has become a raving monster desperately in need of a truly democratic force of the American people to take control before the rest of the world, led by China, Russia and the many nations fed up with a disintegrating economic, social and political environment, have to exercise control, democratic or otherwise.

Peace is impossible while life is controlled by minority profiteers whose control of information is as menacing as its weapons making. The world outside the USA is growing restive, fed up, and beginning to tell us to bug off, as at the recent farce of an alleged meeting of Latin American countries formerly under our total domination showed. Nato countries reduced to suffering for obeying American orders to sanction Russia are being to think about banding together to sanction The USA. There has never been a greater time for real democracy in America but it won’t come about by making war on one another, which will only make the imperial situation worse. Our identity is as human beings, not sub-categories of humans with no need for food, clothing and shelter but only separate-but-allegedly-equal status slaves to a market god, and our fate is in coming together and acting as such. We need to do that in greater numbers and more quickly than ever.

The post Market God + Private Profits = Public Loss first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Paradigm for Peace Applied to Ukraine: Proposal for a Peaceful Pathway Forward (Part 2B)

Part 2B. The Violence of Ukrainian Ultranationalists

We’ve been examining how threats to life are driving much of the violence of the current crisis in Ukraine. In the last part, we discussed how threats to Russian lives posed by the US and NATO have in turn provoked Russia to take military action. In this part, we’ll look at some of the threats to life within Ukraine itself, threats that Ukrainians feel from other Ukrainians, particularly the violence of ultranationalists.

Some Ukrainians have feared for their lives and safety because of Ukrainian extreme right-wing violence, a form of violence that seems to be aggressive and clearly criminal, since the targets of its violence appear to often be unarmed and non-violent. Groups such as the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, the Svoboda Party—which used to be named the Social-National Party, Right Sector, Azov battalion, C14, the police regiments Dnipro 1 and Dnipro 2, and the Tornado, Donbass, and Aidar battalions are all linked with fascism and far right-wing violent extremism. Andriy Parubiy, the co-founder of Svoboda and Patriot of Ukraine, whose members became the core of Azov, reportedly regularly meets with Washington DC think tanks and politicians.1

As an aside, note that some consider fascism to be left-wing, rather than right-wing. It’s true that the very word Nazi comes from the words National Socialist, and the word “socialist” implies left-wing. However, others argue that while the Nazis were socialist in name, they were not socialist in action. In fact, the first groups that Hitler attacked and imprisoned were the left-wing political groups: socialists and Communists. Typically, Communism and socialism are considered left-wing, and fascism is considered right-wing.

For purposes of this essay, while I’ll continue to call them right-wing, it doesn’t matter to me whether you want to consider them left-wing or right-wing. A simple two-dimensional left-and-right line might not even be the best way to think about political viewpoints. But most importantly, my point in calling them far-right wing is not to disparage the right wing, or to suggest that the violence of the far-right wing is due to their being on the right wing. It’s due to their being “far,” which also doesn’t necessarily mean violent either.

Left-wing violence and left-wing dictatorships, such as that of a Communist totalitarian dictatorship, and right-wing violence and right-wing dictatorships, such as life under Chile’s Pinochet, are both horrendous, and they both violate the principles of left-wing and right-wing individuals who do not believe in such violence, dictatorship, or totalitarianism. Violence and aggression should be addressed with caring and concern and without bias, whether it is far-left wing or far-right wing. The deeper point is to address these groups, their aggressive ideas, their violence, and also their fears and grievances, no matter which side of the political spectrum they fall.

Perhaps in addition to the left-right horizontal line it would be more meaningful and purposeful to also draw a vertical line running through it and extending from cooperative, egalitarian non-violence at the top to dominating, hierarchical violence at the bottom so that there are four quadrants. Hopefully, whether we’re left or right, we can aim for the top.

It’s important to note that not all people in these groups are neo-Nazis, and perhaps some have views that are distinct in significant ways. Most or all of these groups do not formally embrace Nazi ideology. In fact, members of these groups have often vociferously denied that they are neo-Nazis. The label only angers them, and they explain that they are Ukrainian nationalists. At the same time, many of the groups do include some neo-Nazis in their membership. For example, in 2015 a spokesperson for the Azov battalion stated that 10 to 20 percent Azov’s recruits were neo-Nazis. The Svoboda Party supposedly expelled its neo-Nazi members when it was trying to transform its image and changed its name from the Social National Party to the Svoboda (Freedom) Party in 2018.

Perhaps a better term than neo-Nazi for these groups would be fascists, since Nazis are more specifically associated with Hitler’s Third Reich and perhaps many of these far-right-wing Ukrainians care much more about Ukraine than Hitler. An excellent article about the defining beliefs and fears of fascists is written by Dan Tamir, “When Jews Praised Mussolini and Supported Nazis: Meet Israel’s First Fascists.” 2 The article lists these defining characteristics of fascism: conviction of superiority of one’s group, a feeling of victimhood, feeling justified to commit any form of revenge, subjugation of the individual to the group, and belief in the supreme leader as having extraordinary, even divine or supernatural powers. Many also would include as a characteristic a repulsion to left-wing policies. While fascist beliefs are intolerant, ruthless, and violent, they appear to be goaded simultaneously by convictions of superiority and by fears and convictions of victimhood.

Not mentioned in the article is the idea that fascist governments are defined by some as existing when a strong, undemocratic tie exists between government and big business, so that government and businesses collaborate in harmful ways to serve each other’s purposes. To my knowledge, such collaboration is not something that’s being promoted by Ukraine’s far-right-wing violent extremists who seem extremely angered by the stealing, dishonesty, and corruption within government and the disproportionate power of oligarchs within the nation.

Many articles refer to Ukrainians’ violent far-right wing simply as ultranationalists, and this may be the best term for them, a type of extreme nationalism that includes violence and hatred towards those who are not of their ethnicity. But again, I don’t have access to any type of survey of these groups, and I don’t know whether they all look down on others or not. Most of all, it’s important to listen to the particulars of their beliefs. It would be a disservice to smear an entire group with the ideas and actions of its most violent and intolerant members, who may not even be representative of the entire group. In fact, in situations of conflict, this tactic, called pathological stereotyping, of defining and perceiving an entire group by the most repulsive behaviors and actions of unrepresentative members, is a tactic that only heightens misunderstanding and places harmony and reconciliation even farther out of reach. Of course, just because a group isn’t neo-Nazi doesn’t mean it’s harmless, non-violent, and just. It could be highly prejudiced, fascist, and violent whether it’s neo-Nazi or not.

With regard to US foreign policy, it’s critical to understand that US weapons and funding are helping, either intentionally or unintentionally, to support the behaviors of these violent Ukrainian extremists. It’s reportedly difficult to keep US aid and weapons from ending up in the hands of these groups. Yet these groups are not representative of the Ukrainian population as a whole. The Svoboda Party, for example, won 10 percent of the vote in 2015, and that was much more than it had ever gained. 3 In supporting these groups more than others, therefore, US policymakers can hardly say they’re supporting democracy within Ukraine. In fact, it’s impossible to help one side kill another side in a foreign nation’s civil war and call that assistance democratic and supportive of that nation’s population. Democracy involves caring equally for all, not obliterating the side you disagree with. For this reason, Biden’s sending weapons to Ukraine is an extremely undemocratic gesture. US policymakers try to make it seem democratic, as if the other side of the civil war is really a bunch of Russian puppets. But that’s not the truth of it.

With regard to the dangers from these groups in Ukraine, several articles, especially Lev Golinkin’s highly informative article in The Nation, provide much evidence. 4 Human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the UN, have reported and condemned rising far-right-wing paramilitary violence in Ukraine, including attacks on women’s rights marches, the LGBTQ community, and several attacks on the Romani (Gypsies), who were also the primary target of Hitler’s Nazis in terms of percentage of the ethnic group destroyed.5

The UN has accused the Azov regiment of violating international humanitarian law.5 Azov’s infliction of rape and torture in the Donbas region of Donetsk and Lugansk is documented for the years 2015–2016.6  Yet right-wing extremists from several nations on three continents, including the United States, have travelled to Ukraine to join with Azov. 7

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In 2018, the far-right group C14 drove away a Romani community, chased Romani women and children, and burned down their tents. A few months later, using batons and other weapons, they attacked a Romani community, injured several, and killed one young Romani man. C14 was originally the youth wing of the Svoboda party. The seven suspects in the murderous attack were aged 16 and 17. 8 

The UN insisted that Kiev cease persecution of the Romani, but months later, a human rights group reported that C14, in collaboration with Kiev’s police, was allegedly intimidating the Romani. Well prior to the 2014 coup, the BBC reported that Svoboda Party activists attacked and sprayed tear gas at a gay rights rally in Kiev. The party also was calling for a requirement that passports specify the holder’s ethnicity. 9  

Meanwhile, at the start of the civil war in 2014, the Aidar battalion, referred to as a neo-Nazi battalion, fired weapons at a monastery and held 300 monks and other civilians hostage.  10   Amnesty International has documented cases of abuse it states were committed by Aidar in 2014 and are classified as war crimes, including extorting money, abducting, and beating Ukrainians suspected of collaborating with pro-Russian Ukrainians. Aidar’s leader himself honestly admitted, “‘I don’t deny people were looting there (in eastern Ukraine).’” The Tornado battalion, as well, was accused by Ukraine’s government of including about 40 members who have criminal records, though the types and severity of the crimes committed are not stated. The 2015 article states that eight members had been accused of crimes including rape, forcing captives to rape another man, murder, and smuggling.11    

As Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies of Code Pink explain, the extreme right-wing Svoboda (Freedom) Party played a major role in Ukraine’s 2014 coup. The peaceful protests against the administration of President Viktor Yanukovich turned into violence, thanks to the armed behavior of the extreme right-wing Right Sector. 12 Russ Bellant, who has written about the ties of right-wing Nazi-collaborating Eastern European immigrants with US Republican Party campaigns since the 1950s, has stated that the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, an intolerant, violent organization from the 1920s that backed the all-Ukrainian 14th Waffen SS Division during WWII, is behind the Svoboda Party, a party supported by the US government and a party that was a force within the 2014 coup. 13 

In stating the reasons for Russia’s invasion, Putin referred to this violence and to the war crimes of Ukrainian extremists, but US media makers called his grievances phony. Putin referred to the inhumane blockades which prevented Russia’s humanitarian aid from reaching Donetsk and Lugansk. Russia also claimed that Kiev cut off utilities, including water, to the republics. Again, US politicians and their obedient media makers dismissed these fears as phony.

This denial of Putin’s and Russia’s fears is the same callous, dehumanizing disrespect for another’s fears and the same denial of suffering, assault, and violence that has been present towards the victims of other forms of US prejudice, including prejudice against women, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and African Americans, as well as less-recognized forms of prejudice within our systems and institutions against the rights and dignity of children, employees, and the non-wealthy.

A truly evolved society is one which can recognize its own prejudices, not merely in hindsight, but in the present, when groupthink and mainstream media are at their zenith in applauding prejudice, and particularly in times of conflict when prejudice is harnessed and fueled to justify violence and injustice against certain people deemed evil, dangerous, and morally inferior. When people truly think someone else is dangerous and malicious, prejudice, itself dangerous, suddenly seems moral and is allowed to grow like cancer, disguised as good but actually taking over one’s cells.

While US policy and media makers have been busy drowning truth in the stew of their prejudice, in 2014, Amnesty International accused the Dnipro-1 battalion of war crimes, including the use of starvation of civilians as a weapon of warfare. Amnesty also accused Dnipro-1 of blocking humanitarian aid. An Amnesty International official also described as a war crime the actions of the Dnipro, Aidar, and Donbas battalions in blocking food and clothing to Donetsk and Lugansk, regions where more than half the people depend upon food aid. Golinkin reports that six months after this accusation, US Senator John McCain visited Ukraine and praised Dnipro-1. 14  Articles from German and British news sites reported on Ukraine’s attacks in 2014 that damaged a power plant in Donetsk, thus cutting off access to water, and on Ukraine’s cutting off the electricity supply and funding to the republics in 2017.15 

In addition to the blockades of food, water, electricity, and humanitarian aid, and in addition to the physical attacks, abuse also comes in the form of symbolism. The use of Nazi symbolism, such as swastikas and swastika-like symbols, has been on the rise—Golinkin refers to an “explosion” of swastiskas. Statues and streets have been dedicated to Ukrainians connected with the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists who massacred thousands of Jews and Poles and collaborated with Nazis during WWII. Right Sector, who formed the most militarized parts of the 2014 coup, included demonstrators who wore anti-Semitic symbols. At the same time, Jewish Holocaust memorials, Jewish centers, and Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized and at least one synagogue was firebombed.

Verbal abuse against minorities has also escalated. Golinkin reports that torchlight marches celebrating Nazi collaborators have become a routine feature under the post-coup Ukrainian government. In a march in 2017 honoring Stepan Bandera, the former leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, thousands chanted, “Jews out!” Other forms of verbal abuse, such as by right-wing members of parliament, have been coarse, vulgar, and threatening towards minorities such as Jews and Russians. A politician, Golinkin reports, regretted that Hitler hadn’t annihilated the Jews completely. These remarks and these statements of goals are made without repercussions.

Hatred against Russia has become venomous amongst far right-wing extremists. One article reported that a Ukrainian man was attacked simply for speaking Russian. In 2015, Reuters quoted a member of the St. Mary’s battalion who stated that he’d like to create a Christian “Taliban” to reclaim eastern Ukraine and Crimea. “‘I would like Ukraine to lead the crusades. . . .Our mission is not only to kick out the occupiers, but also revenge. Moscow must burn.’”

In 2012, the European Parliament passed a resolution asking Kiev not to associate with the Svoboda Party due to its racist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic views. But after the 2014 coup, Svoboda Party members were appointed to about one-quarter of the Cabinet positions in the interim government. One Svoboda Party member even assaulted a Ukrainian state TV station merely for broadcasting a speech given by Putin. In 2014, NBC reported that the party’s goals listed on its website included preserving Ukraine’s national identity, protecting Ukraine’s “living space”—the lingo used by Hitler, and criminalizing any displays of “Ukrainophobia.” 16 In other words, it’s okay to be fearful or even hateful and violent towards Russians, Jews, feminists, and gays, but it’s not cool to be fearful, hateful, or violent towards heterosexual male ethnic Ukrainians.

Israel itself has publicly requested Kiev to stop the epidemic of anti-Semitism. In 2018, the World Jewish Congress, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and 57 members of the US Congress denounced this Nazi glorification and anti-Semitism emanating from Kiev. Golinkin reports that, while many Ukrainian Jewish leaders supported the anti-corruption protests in 2014, 41 Ukrainian Jewish leaders have since condemned the growth of anti-Semitism. 17

The connections between violent far-right extremists, including neo-Nazis, and Ukraine’s government and legal apparatus are disturbing. Neo-Nazis work in Ukraine’s police, national guard, and military, which is said to be the reason why far-right-wing violence in the streets is given impunity. The Azov battalion was incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard in 2014 to become the Azov regiment. Shortly after the 2014 coup, the US began equipping and training Ukraine’s National Police, which is under the jurisdiction of Ukraine’s Ministry of the Interior, a cabinet post given to Vadim Troya, a veteran of Azov and Patriot of Ukraine.  18 Volunteer battalions have received some of their weapons from Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and others from oligarchs. Al-Jazeera’s article states that Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president at the time, praised Azov when it was integrated into the National Guard in 2014 as “our best warriors.”

Yet, while the post-coup Ukrainian government seems to have directly supported these groups and has also been accused by human rights organizations of ignoring their violence, at the same time, at least back in 2015, the post-coup Ukrainian government itself saw many of these volunteer unofficial battalions or certain criminal members within them as problematic. The Reuters article from 2015 pointed out that President Poroshenko stated that these illegal groups must disarm because they’re threatening to make the country even more unstable than it already is. He also stated that groups could not be both politically involved in government and also militant; they could only be one or the other, presumably because militant vigilantism in Ukraine is allowed only in order to support Ukraine’s police and protect the Ukrainian population as a whole, not a particular political party.

The Ukrainian Minister of the Interior and Ukraine’s military prosecutor were both intent on weeding out the criminal elements within these volunteer battalions and prosecuting them for crimes. However, as the article from 2015 reveals, hostility has occurred between these far-right wing groups and the Ukrainian government and police. Extremists are angered that the revolution of 2014 has still not been completed and that corruption still exists. They’ve also been angered by the government’s attempt to dismantle them. Right Sector and the police even had a shoot-out. Far-right-wing extremists poured manure in front of the office of Ukraine’s military prosecutor.  19 

While the Ukrainian government is accused of collaborating with neo-Nazis by bringing the Azov regiment into military service, it’s possible that this was part of an attempt to control Azov. The 2015 Reuters article states that the Ukraine government, in an effort to bring Aidar and other volunteer battalions under control, ordered Aidar to reform into the 24th assault battalion as part of Ukraine’s official forces. In 2015, Aidar members were lighting tires on fire in front of Ukraine’s Department of the Interior in protest of government attempts to disband them. Therefore, incorporating them into official forces may have been an attempt to disempower their criminal elements while empowering their non-criminal elements. 20 Even Poroshenko’s praise could have been intended to be aimed at the non-criminal aspects of Azov, as a way of helping them to feel proud of being a part of the official forces and more inclined to stay non-criminal.

Clearly, ultranationalist violence has been an enormous, complicated problem for many in Ukraine. Since US media is so one-dimensional and narrow in scope, it’s not clear that US weapon shipments are something that most Ukrainian leaders would even advocate, given the consequences of building up the violent capabilities of far-right-wing extremists. Nonetheless, with brazen falseness and stuffing its ears to Putin’s, Israel’s, Ukrainian civilians’, and the Ukrainian government’s severe concerns, with callousness that denies the suffering of victims of neo-Nazi and other far-right-wing violence, American “experts” deny the whole problem by first inflating these accusations of neo-Nazism and far-right-wing extremist violence into an accusation that the entire government of Ukraine is neo-Nazi, and then by rejecting that accusation as ridiculous.

So-called US “experts” persist in “educating” Americans by uttering with unwarranted confidence the simple-minded argument that it’s impossible for Ukraine’s government to be neo-Nazi or to collaborate with neo-Nazis because Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy is Jewish. Infographics, which repetitively derides Russia and Putin with relish throughout the program, mocks Putin’s accusation of neo-Nazism within Ukraine’s government by stating that the idea of a Jewish president leading a Nazi government is “not only blatantly false…but ridiculous.” The tone of the narrator is meant to assure us that Infographics has accurately explained Putin’s concerns and validly denied its foundations.21

Other US “experts” and scholars also dismiss neo-Nazism, claiming it is no more a problem in Ukraine than in other nations. They seem to forget that the neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists in Ukraine are being armed with US and NATO heavy weaponry to fight on the front lines in Donetsk and Lugansk. Moreover, Ukraine is the only nation in the world with a neo-Nazi formation in its armed forces.22

And if neo-Nazism has no more power in Ukraine than any other nation, then why were Ukraine and the US the only two nations that voted against the Feb. 2022 UN resolution to condemn the glorification of Nazism? In his July 2021 essay, Putin points out that Ukraine has repeatedly voted against past attempts to pass this resolution. In 2022, the resolution was passed with 130 nations voting in favor, 51—including the entire EU—abstaining, and only 2 voting against it: Ukraine and the US.23 The US supported its decision by falsely claiming that the resolution was a thinly veiled attempt by Russia to serve as fraudulent cover for its actions in Ukraine. This denial of neo-Nazi violence, vandalism, and symbolic, verbal, and physical abuse is maddening. Perhaps US policymakers should speak with the human rights groups and the victims of assault, rape, and robbery that have condemned neo-Nazi violence in Ukraine.

With its typical spineless sense of morality, the US government briefly forbade US support and training to Azov in 2015 but then lifted the ban in 2016, under some sort of unknown pressure from the Pentagon.24 (US foreign policy is always made by this “pressure,” not by informed, cooperative thought and discussion.) The very presence of the Azov battalion on the front lines of war in Donetsk and Lugansk is yet one more factor that provoked Russia to invade Ukraine to protect Ukrainians from horror.

Nonetheless, with a sense of logic matching its sense of morality, US policymakers decided that Azov, whose violent presence was helping attract a Russian invasion, wasn’t so bad after all since it was fighting the invading Russians. Of course, perhaps US policymaker logic is the same as US National Security Adviser Brzezinski’s logic in 1979: arming the mujahideen in Afghanistan is a great idea because it will provoke the Soviets to invade and get mired in their own “Vietnam.” 25

It seems US policymakers are going to extremes to both support neo-Nazism and other forms of far-right-wing violence and also to deny its existence as a significant force in Ukraine, a behavior so peculiar that it deserves more attention. The use of President Zelenskiy’s Jewish ethnicity as “proof” of the lack of neo-Nazism as a force in Ukraine’s government and society is illogical on many levels. Of course, it’s understandable that Americans equate Nazism solely with anti-Semitism, since that’s pretty much all that’s emphasized in the US. We certainly don’t learn about Hitler’s viciousness towards socialists, Communists, the Romani, and Slavs in general—such knowledge would not have been conducive to fueling American Cold War anti-Soviet fear and hatred. And we certainly don’t learn about Jewish fascism as it exists in the form of Jewish Revisionism.

Beginning in the 1920s, Jewish Revisionists, perhaps psychologically traumatized by their own family backgrounds experiencing pogroms in Eastern Europe, believed in the necessity of the ruthless use of force to achieve their goals of Israeli statehood. Ironically, Jewish Revisionists admired Hitler and sought to collaborate with the Axis powers to rid themselves of Britain’s attempts to equitably manage and remedy the fact that enormous numbers of impoverished Arabs were not only being economically threatened by rising Jewish immigration but were being pushed out of Palestine.

So while Britain was attacking Nazi Germany which was slaughtering Jews, the Jewish Revisionists’ Irgun, at one point led by future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and the Stern Gang, at one point led by future Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, launched terrorist campaigns against British personnel and Arab civilians.  26 The Irgun was a political predecessor of today’s Likud party in Israel, strongly supported by US policymakers who, in turn, receive financial contributions from pro-Likud lobbyists of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). 27

Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy is not necessarily fascist. He could simply be under pressure to cooperate with the extreme right-wing. But the point in mentioning this aside about Jewish fascists in Israel is to prove even further that this US “expert” claim that a Jewish president cannot exist or even collaborate with neo-Nazis within the same government is false.

So you have to wonder, if this US expert claim is false, what else is false? And why are Americans making up false stories? Is their argument against Russia and against Putin too shaky to stand on its own without lies?

Ukrainian fears for life from attack by far-right-wing violent extremists—both before and after the 2014 coup—are valid fears that deserve attention, not denial. At the same time, as we follow the Paradigm for Peace model which entails seeking to understand and analyze the Defensive and Aggressive Roots of Violence on all sides of conflict, we must also learn whether these far-right groups, including neo-Nazis, have feared for their own lives and safety.

One of the worst things to do to people is simply to condemn them without even trying to understand their fears and their point of view. It’s also poor human relations to condemn an entire group based upon the worst behavior of its members, if those members’ actions are not representative of the group’s typical behavior. We need to learn whether these ultranationalist groups hold legitimate grievances or even certain legitimate aspects of grievances that should be addressed.

For example, why do these groups attack the Romani? Is it possible that any members of these groups have been threatened in major or minor ways by the Romani? Were ultranationalists’ lives threatened? Or property? Or feelings? If so, were the offending Romani acting typically for Romani, or were they more poorly behaved than most? If so, why should an entire camp be attacked? To what extent are attacks on Romani simply a way for ultranationalists to fulfill certain psychological needs that are otherwise unmet? Such as needs for identity and superiority? Can we talk about this?

For those grievances that prove to be largely illegitimate, irrational, or immoral, we need to figure out which forces and circumstances in culture created those perspectives, for these people, while inflicting suffering upon others, seem to be suffering in their own way. So much rage and hate must be difficult to endure. And be sure not to confuse sending weapons to these groups with solving these groups’ problems, for the weapons are not solving their problems and are only making them capable of worse crimes, which will, in turn, make their cause and their very existence appear even more illegitimate.

In her work, Women of the Klan, Kathleen Blee shows how Ku Klux Klan members in the 1920s truly thought of themselves as good people. It’s important to understand this and find out why. Highly-prejudiced, violent extremist groups such as the KKK do have underlying fears, not necessarily about their lives, but often about their economic security, values and morality in society, their social standing in society, and their personal value.28) They tend to irrationally blame their problems on entire categories of people of certain ethnic groups, religions, or socioeconomic classes other than their own. Without excusing or supporting right-wing or left-wing extremists’ violence and callous hatred, we’ve got to listen to their fears and see if they possess certain legitimate grievances that can be alleviated or simply irrational fears that also need to be addressed.

In order to understand why right-wing Ukrainians honor Ukrainians who collaborated with Nazis during WWII and massacred thousands of Jews and Poles, we might also try to understand the rational and irrational fears of those WWII Ukrainians, such as the all-Ukrainian SS unit, who committed the murders. Is it possible that these Ukrainians felt, correctly or not, that their lives were endangered by Jews and Poles? If so, to what extent was this feeling a result merely of propaganda?

In the course of my research and writing, I’ve run the Paradigm for Peace model through the circumstances of Nazi Germany, and it’s easy to see that German Nazism emerged from severe threats to life, power, wealth, land, love, worth, and respect from WWI, the Treaty of Versailles, the Great Depression, and unequal international relationships of power, wealth, and trade. Nazi views about Jews and Communists and German convictions that Hitler was a man of peace fighting on the defense against aggressors, resulted from heavy, lengthy doses of propaganda.29 Not only that, US banks, law firms, and businesses directly helped build up Hitler’s arsenal.30 To what extent were Ukrainian Nazi collaborators during WWII and to what extent are ultranationalist Ukrainians today experiencing these same types of threats, these same types of propaganda, and these same types of access to weapons? To what extent are Americans?

Obviously, the point is not to understand to the point of agreeing that Jews and Poles should be murdered or that certain people are inferior. The point is to discover how these extremists have felt threatened, even if only psychologically, even if only as the result of propaganda, in order to help them feel physically, emotionally, socially, and psychologically safe without having to resort to violence or injustice, in order to help prevent people from ever experiencing such fears and frustrations and from ever feeling the need to respond to fears and frustrations so violently. As repulsive as it might seem to various people to try to understand neo-Nazis, or Russians, or US policymakers, it’s critical not to exclude any group from our efforts to understand fears and hopes and the forces in society that have shaped these minds.

While all fears cannot be remedied in conflict resolution and cooperative negotiation, especially since some may originate in the physical and emotional insecurities of childhood dynamics, school and community dynamics, or personal biologies, and while perfect understanding and harmony is impossible, these efforts, unlike weapon-corporation-sponsored efforts and good-guy-killing-evil-guy efforts, could actually move us forward instead of backward. Moreover, if some American, Ukrainian, or Russian fears are more irrational and are rooted, not in actual current threatening circumstances, but rather more deeply in the stress, trauma, threats, frustrations, or alienation of childhood or community dynamics, in the skewed information developed by propaganda, or in the skewed mentalities festering within certain organizational cultures, such an analysis can point to the need for reforms in societies’ priorities and traditions of human relations to help humans grow and develop with much more social and emotional security, caring, and friendship and with respect for the truth as something to seek, not contort.

  1. Lev Golinkin, “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine,” The Nation, February 22, 2019.
  2. Dan Tamir, “When Jews Praised Mussolini and Supported Nazis: Meet Israel’s First Fascists“, Haaretz, July 20, 2019.
  3. David Stern, “Svoboda: The Rise of Ukraine’s Ultra-Nationalists,” December 26, 2012, BBC.
  4. Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine,” The Nation, February 22, 2019.
  5. Lev Golinkin, “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine,” The Nation, February 22, 2019.
  6. Al Jazeera, “Profile: Who Are Ukraine’s Far Right Azov Regiment?” March 1, 2022.
  7. See Lev Golinkin, “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine,” The Nation, February 22, 2019; Josh Cohen, “Commentary: Ukraine’s Neo-Nazi Problem,” Reuters, March. 19, 2018; Olga Sukharveskaya, “How Ukraine’s ‘Revolution of Dignity,’ Led to War, Poverty, and the Rise of the Far Right,” Russia Today; Ria Novosti, Interview with Dennis Kucinich, “NATO ‘Anachronistic Nightmare’ and Should Be Disbanded—US Politician,” April 9, 2014; Democracy Now, “Debate: Is Ukraine’s Opposition a Democratic Movement or a Force of Right-Wing Extremism?” January 30, 2014; Kirit Radia, James Gordon Meek, Lee Ferran, and Ali Weinberg, “US Contractor Greystone Denies Its ‘Mercenaries’ in Ukraine,” ABC News, April 8, 2014; and Tass, “Militia claim spotting up to 70 mercenaries of US military company Academi in east Ukraine“, April 21, 2015.
  8. BBC, “Ukraine Roma Camp Attack Leaves One Dead,” June 24, 2018.
  9. David Stern, “Svoboda: The Rise of Ukraine’s Ultra-Nationalists,” BBC, December 26, 2012.
  10. Neo-Nazi Aidar Battalion Holds 300 Locals and Monks Hostage,” Al Mayadeen, March 13, 2014.
  11. Elizabeth Piper and Sergiy Karazy, “Special Report: Ukraine Struggles to Control Maverick Battalions,” Reuters, July 29, 2015.
  12. Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, “The Presence of Neo-Nazis in Ukraine”, Fair Observer, March 11, 2022.
  13. Paul H. Rosenberg, “Seven Decades of Nazi Collaboration: America’s Dirty Little Ukraine Secret,” Interview with Russ Bellant, Foreign Policy in Focus, March 18, 2014,
  14. Lev Golinkin, The Nation.
  15. Russia Today, “War in Ukraine Started 8 Years Ago, Russia Is Now Ending It—Moscow,” February 24, 2022, BBC; “Ukraine Crisis: Donetsk without Water after Shelling,” November 19, 2014; DW, “Ukraine Cuts Electricity to Rebel Areas, Russian Steps In,” April 15, 2017.
  16. NBC News, “Analysis: US Cozies Up to Kiev Government Including Far Right,” March 30, 2014.
  17. Lev Golinkin, “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine,” Nation, February 22, 2019.
  18. Golinkin, “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine,
  19. Elizabeth Piper and Sergiy Karazy, “Special Report: Ukraine Struggles to Control Maverick Battalions.
  20. Piper and Karazy, “Special Report: Ukraine Struggles to Control Maverick Battalions,” Reuters, July 29, 2015.
  21. Infographic Show, “Russia’s Big Problem with Ukraine,” April 8, 2022.
  22. Lev Golinkin, “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are on the March in Ukraine.
  23. Countercurrents, “US and Ukraine, Only Two Countries Vote against UN Resolution Condemning Nazism,” December 17, 2021.
  24. Al Jazeera, “Profile: Who Are Ukraine’s Far Right Azov Regiment?
  25. Bill Van Auken, “Zbigniew Brzezinski, Architect of the Catastrophe in Afghanistan, Dead at 89,” World Socialist Web Site, May 29, 2017; and Nick Turse, The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan (New York: Verso, 2010); and Chalmers Johnson. “Abolish the CIA!” 31-32; and David N. Gibbs, “The Brzezinski Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur (1998),” Translated by William Blum and David N. Gibbs.
  26. William Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East, 3rd ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2004), 262-63.
  27. M. J. Rosenberg, “This Is How AIPAC Really Works,” The Nation, February 14, 2019; and Connie Bruck
  28. Kathleen M. Blee, Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s, (Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California, 1992
  29. Ian Kershaw, The “Hitler Myth”: Image and Reality in the Third Reich (Oxford: Oxford University, 1987).
  30. Christopher Simpson, The Splendid Blond Beast: Money, Law, and Genocide in the Twentieth Century (New York: Grove Press, 1993), 48, 63-65; and Stephen Kinzer, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War” (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013), 38-39, 50-51.
The post Paradigm for Peace Applied to Ukraine: Proposal for a Peaceful Pathway Forward (Part 2B) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Paradigm for Peace Applied to Ukraine: Proposal for a Peaceful Pathway Forward (Part 2A)

Part 2A. Russian Fears for Life

In the Paradigm for Peace model, the Roots of Violence are divided into seven categories. While a few of the categories aren’t as easily divided into defensive and aggressive motivations, for the most part, we examine how each party to the conflict may be defensively motivated or aggressively motivated to inflict violence with regard to each category. For example, with regard to the category Wealth, Land, and Possessions, a person using violence to protect his home from attack has a defensive motivation to use violence. A person using violence to attack another person’s home to seize that other person’s wealth and belongings has an aggressive motivation to use violence.

Matters can get complicated, and it can sometimes be quite difficult to distinguish between defensive and aggressive. Sometimes the motivations are mixed within a single person or appear defensive or aggressive simply depending upon one’s perspective. However, without getting all harried about trying to figure out who exactly is motivated by what, it’s hugely helpful to be generally aware of these two categories of violence and to think in these terms so that we never rule out the possibility of legitimate motives in the so-called bad guys and illegitimate motives in the so-called good guys.

Most importantly, it’s crucial to have policy solutions that address both Defensive and Aggressive Roots of Violence. After all, if US foreign policymakers’ policies are always based on the assumption that terrorists, Iranians, North Koreans, left-wing Latinos, and Russians are aggressive and malicious, then US policymakers will never implement policies that help address the very real and legitimate Defensive Roots of Violence in the so-called enemies. Also, note that while Defensive Roots of Violence have legitimate motivations, the use of violence for defensive reasons isn’t necessarily legitimate, especially if there are non-violent means to protect what’s under threat.

In the condensed analysis below, I tend to spend more time writing about the Defensive Roots of Russian Violence and the Aggressive Roots of US Violence, rather than the Aggressive Roots of Russian Violence and the Defensive Roots of US Violence. This imbalance is largely due to the fact that I’m much more aware of these particular roots of violence for these nations. I’m not deliberately hiding anything to create this imbalance but am sharing what I know. This angle also helps place a counterweight to the dominant narrative in the US media that Russia is aggressive and the US and the Ukrainian government are defensive. However, please understand that in a full analysis with cooperative dialogue, equal attention should be paid to all sides’ defensive fears and all sides’ aggressive motivations.

In this essay, we’ll look at the first of seven categories: Life and Safety.

If we were creating a quick chart of the Roots of Violence, we’d list down the left side of the chart the seven categories. Across the top, we’d write in the names of the players in the external and internal conflict. We’d look at the first category, Life and Safety. How do people feel that the lives and safety of those they care about are under threat?

For example, let’s start with Russia. We’d list under Russia’s and President Vladimir Putin’s fears for life several items. NATO has expanded straight across Europe into Slavic lands and former Soviet republics. This is obviously a severe threat to Russia’s survival. After all, NATO was formed precisely to combat the USSR, and now NATO is in Poland, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It’s as if the American Southwest seceded, allied with Mexico, and deployed missiles in Texas aimed at Washington, DC.

While those who support NATO may think of NATO’s expansion as enhancing US and European security, they fail to recognize the psychological ramifications of NATO on potential enemies: its existence topped by its expansion could easily cause physical insecurity by creating an ever-present threat to Russia. Emotional insecurity can lead to hostility, thus augmenting physical insecurity. And that, in fact, has happened with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This failure to sympathize with an enemy’s perspective, to be able to imagine an enemy’s feelings of being threatened, to respect the need for another’s emotional and psychological security, is the Achilles Heel of US foreign policymakers, who perpetually only think of how to control and dominate enemies. It’s the Achilles Heel because, by provoking rather than alleviating tension in the so-called enemy, US foreign policymakers actually weaken US security, weaken respect and genuine friendship for the US, and weaken the international foundations of democracy—caring equally for all. The resulting policies are also extremely costly and deadly. This is why in cooperative dialogue, or right now in this essay, it’s important for us to practice really sinking into Russia’s shoes and pretending we’re the leader of Russia, feeling these threats, and determined to protect our people.

When NATO expands, it means more than just a picture on the map of NATO covering nearly all of Europe. It means that physical weapons and military bases to potentially be used against Russia have also expanded in coverage across the continent. For example, Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Ashore Mark 41 Vehicle Land System with its SM-3 Block IIA missile interceptors has been deployed in Romania and Poland by the US through NATO. This system is capable of intercepting and destroying an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), thereby theoretically rendering ineffective Russia’s missiles and the strategy of mutual deterrence. If Russia can no longer feel safe, it will feel the need to develop more weapons and new strategies.

Moreover, the Mark 41 VLS, while allegedly intended solely for defensive purposes, could be fitted with aggressive weapons. 1 Making the weapon-imposed threat even more precarious is the fact that the Trump administration withdrew in 2018 from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which had previously regulated land-based ballistic missiles and missile launchers. Even more ominous are the joint US-Ukrainian and NATO-Ukrainian military training in the nations and seas bordering Russia. 2

US policymakers and media makers have denied Russia’s accusations of US chemical and biological weapon intentions in Ukraine, but with US policymakers and media makers so untruthful about so many things, even the representation of Putin’s essay, and with a terrible documented record throughout the decades of US presidential administrations lying to the American people and Congress, we would be foolish simply to believe these denials on faith alone. Therefore, we should open-mindedly consider these Russian reports and predictions. Russia’s Ministry of Defense recently claimed that forces loyal to Kiev are preparing a chemical attack in eastern Ukraine. Russia has also previously warned of chemical weapons being stored in Ukraine. US policy and media makers, as they have done repeatedly and without proof, reverse Russia’s claims and state that Russia is using its claim as a pretext for its own planned chemical attack. 3

As civilians, how can we know the truth? Who’s preparing a chemical attack? Is anyone? It’s impossible for us to know. But we should understand one thing that’s based upon a long record of US government lies to the American people: there is absolutely no reason to believe US policymakers more than Russian policymakers. Just because we are Americans and each of us may be truthful does not mean that American policymakers are truthful. Our individual identities as Americans are not melded with the identities of US policymakers. They are strangers to us and we do not know them at heart.

Russia has also released documents that allegedly prove that Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, has played a significant role in providing and seeking funding for a military biological program, particularly with the labs of Black & Veatch and Metabiota, in Ukraine. According to Russia’s Defense Minister Igor Kirillov, the Pentagon issued contracts with a number of labs, including Black & Veatch, Metabiota, and CH2M Hill, for this military biological program. Investors in the program have included Hunter Biden, his investment fund Seneca Rosemont, and George Soros and his Open Society Foundation. Documents have reportedly revealed Hunter Biden’s close connections with both the labs and with the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the part of the Department of Defense engaged in the biological weapons program.

In the past, the Russian Defense Ministry has repeatedly drawn attention to the Pentagon’s military biological programs in former Soviet republics, including Ukraine. During its invasion, Russia found more than 30 biological laboratories in Ukraine, some of which may be for military purposes. In fact, Russia reports that it has found traces of a biological weapons program in the labs, which Ukraine reportedly was desperately trying to hide.4 Again, although US policymakers deny such an operation, they obviously would never admit it if it were true. And in the current climate, in which US policymakers automatically dismiss every single one of Russia’s fears as absurd, even the obviously valid ones, we cannot gauge the validity of Russia’s fears based upon US denials of their legitimacy.

In fact, a reading of “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (2000) by Project for a New American Century is enough to be jolted into awareness of the ardent enthusiasm the neoconservative writers feel for conquering several other nations, for enhancing and preserving US hegemony, and for developing weapons including pocket-sized robots to be let loose on enemy territory, skin-patch pharmaceuticals to negate fear in US troops, and biological weapons to target specific genotypes—a recipe, perhaps, for genocide.  5

PNAC is defunct, but one of its co-founders, William Kristol, is an advisor to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a neoconservative-liberal hawk mix of individuals that has the singular mission of thwarting, weakening, and basically destroying Putin.  PNAC’s other co-founder, Robert Kagan, is the husband of Biden’s Undersecretary of State, Victoria Nuland, infamous for the leaked tapes at the time of the 2014 Ukrainian coup. She is also the former CEO of the similarly-sounding Center for a New American Security. To deny that US policymakers have the intention to develop biological weapons seems unwise.

In the column of our chart under Russian fears, we might also include the US-built Ukrainian naval base on the Black Sea, particularly because of the US ties. We could include Russian and German news reports of the presence in 2015 of US private military contractors connected with Academi in Ukraine training far right-wing Ukrainian extremists.  6 We also might investigate whether there were further results from meetings between Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy and Erik Prince, former head of the infamous Blackwater, regarding the development of a private military contract in Ukraine. 7

Instead of dismissing these fears as “phony”—as US policymakers and media makers perpetually do—we’d recognize the validity of each of these fears. This is how kind, responsible people treat others with fears. They listen to the fears, whether rational or irrational, until they understand the other’s feelings. Then they help them address these fears. Had the tables been turned with all of these military alliances, bases, weapons, and military drills transpiring along US borders or in former US territories or states, US policymakers would have been quaking in their boots long before this. The Russians have shown remarkable restraint.

The Russians also are not stupid and, unlike Uncle Sam, they’re not prone to war. They’re very unlikely to invade anywhere unless they’re feeling severely threatened by realistic, actual threats. They know full well from experience that any invasion attempt will be severely skewed by Western propaganda to make them look bad. With that in mind, it behooves us to seriously examine Russia’s and Putin’s fears, including the threats of chemical and biological weapons, for only something severely threatening must have drawn Russia out.

If Russian fears seem rational, participants should try to create solutions to give Russians valid reasons to no longer fear. Americans can’t simply say, “Trust us.” They have to provide valid reasons not based merely upon trust. If Russian fears come across through discussion as more irrational, then participants should work together supportively to uncover the psychological reasons for these irrational fears.

In dialogue, participants would discuss these fears and really try to step into Russia’s shoes to understand why these factors are mortally threatening. Participants would ideally reverse roles, or reverse the scenario and imagine a similar situation occurring to the US in reverse, such as if Alaska seceded, allied with Russia, and deployed missile launchers aimed at Washington, DC. The goal here is understanding and empathy—not control or intimidation of the other side, and certainly not dismissal of another’s fears as absurd.

For all those foreign policymakers who believe understanding and empathizing with others’ fears—especially enemies’ fears—is not appropriate to foreign policy, I suggest you find another line of work.

In light of these Russian fears, consider that statement made by Defense Secretary Austin, who expressed his belief that the US needs to “weaken” Russia “to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”8 Austin totally misses the point: Russia invaded because it felt militarily threatened and it felt Ukrainians’ lives in Donetsk and Lugansk were threatened. Russia invaded because it felt existentially threatened by expanding US and NATO domination in Eastern Europe and Ukraine and by threats to Ukrainian lives in Donetsk and Lugansk. Why make it feel even more threatened by insisting that Russia become militarily weaker? It doesn’t make sense.

US policymakers persistently demonstrate zero capacity for understanding human dynamics. Their answer to those who resent US domination is always more US domination. Is it because US foreign policymakers want to dominate so completely that no significant signs of resistance are possible? But why? Is this some misguided attempt to seek pseudo-popularity by forcing itself upon those who don’t want it? Are policymakers mistaking domination for being liked and accepted? Is this craze for domination in part the result of clumsy social skills magnified by a billion? What on Earth is going on with these people in power?

And why wasn’t Austin’s idea of weakening an improperly-behaving nation to prevent future misbehavior suggested after the US invasion of Iraq? Or Afghanistan? Or Panama, Grenada, Vietnam, and Korea? Or after the first weapon shipment to the contras in Nicaragua? After the very first US extrajudicial drone attack? After the very first CIA coup? As far as I can see, the answer is that US foreign policymakers do not support justice. They support themselves.

To continue with our chart, we should include for Putin the fear of assassination, which he likely feels. After all, the CIA and its paid foreign agents are infamous for their assassinations which they inflict with impunity, as described in several books and articles, including William Blum’s Killing Hope.  9  The venomous anti-Putin US propaganda which falsely depicts him as both cruel and stupid, the economic sabotage against Russia by means of sanctions and shutting off Nord Stream 2, the cutting off of money to Russia, and even the collaboration with neo-Nazis are all reminiscent of the CIA’s propaganda and economic war against Chile’s President Salvador Allende. With its lies and economic tactics, the CIA helped foment riots and also funded the fascist Patria y Libertad thugs to help with the 9/11/1973 coup, in which Allende was killed. Patria y Libertad also helped ensure a gory aftermath for tens of thousands of civilians of Chile. A coup in Russia is obviously hoped for by American leaders. The blatantly propagandistic program by Infographics, “Russia’s Big Problem with Ukraine,” even portrays with its paper cut-out art a group of Russian troops leveling their weapons at a man intended to be Putin.10

We should also include for Putin’s and Russia’s fears some of the ideas Putin set forth in his February 2007 Munich speech, including Putin’s disappointment that the US and NATO nations failed to ratify the newly adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. The original treaty of 1987 between Russian President Gorbachev and US President Reagan was adapted in 1999 to reflect the expansion of NATO and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. However, only Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan signed the new treaty.

It was an important treaty for Russia because NATO had expanded to include the nations of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovenia, but these nations were not parties to the original treaty. After years of hoping the other nations would sign, Russia pulled out of the treaty in December 2007. If the Baltic nations on the border of Russia were not required to observe the treaty, it didn’t make sense for Russia to observe it either. Russia blamed the West for not signing. The US and NATO nations blamed Russia for not complying with certain terms. Either way, one would think that intelligent negotiators talented in integrative negotiation could have worked something out.11

In the 2007 speech, Putin also expresses the dangers of weapon proliferation, nuclear arms, weapons in space, and the hyper-use of force by the US government. Putin offered Russia’s cooperation in disarmament, 12 but instead of reciprocation, his honorable speech was instead followed by a 15-year anti-Putin campaign 13 and by the continuation of US policies of proliferating weapons, revitalizing its nuclear arsenal, preparing for weapons in space, and favoring the hyper-use of force, by US troops and private military contractors.

After really sinking into Russia’s shoes to feel these fears, we’d step out of those shoes and then step into the shoes of Americans who mortally fear Russia. Now I’ll admit right here that I don’t understand US fears, so in this essay I won’t be able to fairly represent those fears. However, in an actual cooperative dialogue, the idea is to ensure it includes people who can sincerely represent US fears, both as American civilians and as US policymakers from groups such as the Alliance for Securing Democracy. Just as we did with Russia and Putin, we’d all sink into these people’s shoes and feel their fears and sincerely try to see their logic as they do. As with Russian fears, there may not be agreement as to which fears are rational and which are irrational. However, participants will try to provide valid reasons for Americans not to mortally fear Russia, and they’d also work together to try to uncover psychological reasons for irrational fears, including decades of propaganda and social dynamics within US culture.

So we’d ask, during the decade or two prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and also since the invasion, have any Americans felt their lives and safety were threatened by Russia? If so, how exactly? Did Americans or other NATO members feel the need for NATO expansion in order to feel safe and sleep peacefully at night? Was there disagreement amongst NATO members? Ukraine and Russia had improved their relations in 2010, when Ukraine officially abandoned the goal of joining NATO.14  Was the abandonment of this goal threatening to Americans? Which ones? Why?

Did any Americans feel a sense of lethal danger and an urgent need to send weapons to the Ukrainian government to fight in its civil war? Do Americans feel their current fears are connected with the decades of anti-Soviet Cold War propaganda? Did they think of the USSR as malicious, belligerent, and untrustworthy then and do they think of Russia as malicious, belligerent, and untrustworthy now? What fatal scenario do some American civilians or policymakers fear could result from Russia’s actions?

Whether fears are rational or irrational, we must spend time in dialogue learning about the nature and causes of these American fears. They won’t go away just by dismissing them as absurd. And, frankly, I also don’t think they’ll go away by merely continuing an arms race, sending weapons, and devising lethal strategies for use against Russia. While weapons are one component of security, they’re not even half of what it takes to feel emotionally and psychologically secure and to actually be secure. That type of security requires—not the transfer to nations far and wide of an American form of plutocratic pseudo-democracy pinned upon elections, capitalism, privatization, globalization, and US dominance—but rather egalitarian justice, mutual understanding, and genuine friendship.

It’s not only foreigners who need these components to feel secure, it’s Americans. This is probably why US policymakers have been forever on this wild goose chase for security: they’re feeding an insatiable need for security that is insatiable precisely because they’re feeding it all the wrong food. They seek domination when what they need is friendship. They insist that others understand US goals and serve US interests, when what they really need is two-way mutual understanding and caring. They’re giving themselves junk food when what they really need are all the root vegetables of a big bowl of borsch.

Within Ukraine, we should ask Ukrainians from a range of perspectives how they felt about billions of dollars of US and NATO weapon shipments arriving since the civil war began in 2014. Did these weapons help them feel safer? Did they protect them from harm? Or did they put Ukrainians in greater danger from other Ukrainians and from Russia? Would Ukrainians be suffering now if the weapons had never been sent? Do Ukrainians feel the weapons helped resolve the problems that caused the civil war or did they make the problems worse? Did Ukrainian government members all agree that they wanted to receive US and NATO weapons? Or not? Were the weapons placed in responsible hands? What effect did US and NATO weapon shipments have on the effectiveness and strength of any formal or grassroots non-violent conflict resolution initiatives that may have been unfolding, including the Minsk Agreements?

We should also ask whether Russian weapons were sent to Donetsk and Lugansk, as the West claims. If so, how did these weapons make various Ukrainians feel with regard to their safety? Better or worse? The same set of questions we asked about US and NATO weapons should be asked about Russian weapons.

In the next part, we’ll look at threats to life within Ukraine with regard to the violence of Ukrainian ultranationalists.

Read Part 1 here

  1. Jack Detsch, “Putin’s Fixation with an Old-School US Missile Launcher,” Foreign Policy, January 12, 2022; Tass Russian News Agency, “Russia Slams US Aegis Ashore Missile Deployment in Europe as Direct Breach of INF Treaty,” November 26, 2016; and Ankit Panda, “A New US Missile Defense Test May Have Increased the Risk of Nuclear War,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, November 19, 2020.
  2. NATO, “NATO and Ukraine Navy Together in the Fight against Piracy,” October 30, 2013; and Reuters, “Ukraine Holds Military Drills with US Forces, NATO Allies,” September 20, 2021.
  3. Russia Today, “American Mercenaries Preparing ‘Chemical Weapon’ Incident in Eastern Ukraine, Russia Claims,” December 21, 2021; and Paul D. Shinkman, “Fears of False Flag Operation Grow as Russia Claims Ukraine Poised for Chemical Weapons Attack,” May 6, 2022.
  4. Al Mayadeen, “Russia Releases Documents in US-Funded Bio-Weapons, Hunter Biden Exposed,” March 31, 2022; and Al Mayadeen, “Russian Forces Find 30 Biological Labs in Ukraine, Possibly for Bioweapons,” March 7, 2022.
  5. Project for the New American Century (PNAC), “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” Donald Kagan and Gary Schmitt, Project Co-Chairmen; Thomas Donnelly, Principal Author, (Washington, DC, 2000).
  6. Tass, “Militia Claim Spotting up to 70 Mercenaries of US Military Company Academi in East Ukraine,” April 21, 2015.
  7. Simon Shuster, “Exclusive: Documents Reveal Erik Prince’s $10 Billion Plan to Make Weapons and Create a Private Army in Ukraine,” Time, July 7, 2021.
  8. Julian Boyer, “Pentagon Chief’s Russia Remarks Show Shift in US’s Declared Aims in Ukraine,” Guardian, April 26, 2022.
  9. William Blum, Killing Hope, (London: Zed, 2014).
  10. Infographic Show, “Russia’s Big Problem with Ukraine,” April 8, 2022.
  11. Daryl Kimball, contact, “The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and the Adapted CFE Treaty at a Glance,” Arms Control Association, last reviewed August 2017.
  12. Vladimir Putin, Munich Security Conference, February 11, 2007.
  13. Diana Johnstone, “For Washington, War Never Ends,” Consortium News, March 16, 2022.
  14. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, “Svoboda Party”.
The post Paradigm for Peace Applied to Ukraine: Proposal for a Peaceful Pathway Forward (Part 2A) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Operation Inventory Reduction: The West’s Thin Spin Over Ukraine

Watching a buffoon commit suicide is never a pleasant thing.

— Scott Ritter on a Richard Medhurst podcast, May 19, 2022

“Putin is mad and losing his marbles all over Ukraine” goes a certain conventional AmericaNATOstani talking point bombastically broadcast over all mainstream media outlets in the Collective West these days. The idea that the Collective West’s own madness has been projected upon the figure of Vladimir Putin is considered anathema, a heresy promoted by none other than “Mad Vlad” himself, whose propaganda services, we are led to believe, have unusually penetrated our own sacrosanct Disinformation Systems.

How can this be?  Put it another way:  How is it that fervor for Ukraine, or “Ukraine War Fever!”, can so instantly inundate our psyches and senses, especially after our 2-year long struggle with Covid Disorder, or whatever the “Experts” are calling that Thing now?

Several reasons “Arab Spring” to mind, so to speak, but we need to be more specific in this space.  Putin’s “crazy” move into Ukraine was not unanticipated; after all, Western Intel agencies were screaming it from every Major Media platform rooftop, giving us all pause — including myself — not to believe it.  How now — “Mad Cow!”–could Putin actually invade sacred Ukraine?

The answer is startlingly easy and obvious to any geopolitical observer worth a grain.  Simply stated, the thesis is this:  the Collective West has lost its Collective Damned Mind.  Mr Putin in Russia knows this, frets over this, yet decided to authorize finally an “operation” that could result in the ultimate calamity, a thermo-nuclear war, if the TransAtlanticans do not come to their “common senses” in time.  Putin’s quite coy here, and Lavrov, too, because:  Who knows?  Russia is both small and large on the world stage, meaning population and resources, and a little “regime change” in Russia could change the equation for certain stakeholders whose stakes have been a bit shaky of late.

The transition from Covid hysteria to Russia invades Ukraine hysteria is perhaps nowhere better described than Fabio Vighi’s March 14 article @Philosphical Salon:  “From Covid-19 to Putin-22,” where Mr Vighi elucidates the terms and arrangements of the baton pass, as it were, from one World Crisis to the next.  In Vighi’s own words he states:  “Putin’s war is the ideal continuation of the ‘war on Covid.’  The overarching aim is to obfuscate the real issue at stake, which consists of pulling mountains of cheap money into the debt-addicted economy.”  Catch-22?  The economic boomerang of “sanctions” against Russia is already being felt — Everywhere!  This was a completely stupid idea, and severely questions the sanity of any Western leader so-called. U$A president Joe “Bidenopolous” is the first such leader, manifestly, to lead the roll call of Western “leaders” to be called to account, especially considering his weird dealings in Ukrainian corruption schemes.  We’ll leave his compromised son Hunter out of this report, as others with more knowledge of Hunter’s Burisma position are certainly pointing out.  Joe Biden’s racist old ass is without question hanging out to dry over Ukraine — and is there a Victoria Nuland or Geoffrey Pyatt in the house?  Maybe some Neo-Nazis?

Which brings us all to Azovstal, the Azovstal Steel Works, where so many Ukrainian fighters have suddenly surrendered.  Mariupol was the home to the “Azov Battalion,” which prides itself on Nazi iconography, and assumed that the Collective West would have their “back,” in any case.  Mr Putin almost made a funny joke a few weeks back, when the defenders of Azov’s home base, reduced to hiding out in the vast steel factory there, said that his forces would seal that area so tightly that not even a fly could go in or out.  Harking back to the beginning of the “Special Military Operation,” many Western folks were clamoring for a “No Fly Zone” over Ukraine, presumably to deny Russian aerial operations there  Ironically, Mr Putin issued an actual “No Fly Zone” over Azovstal, declaring that not even a fly would be allowed entry or exit.  Some still claim that Zelensky’s Ukraine is at least winning the “Media War!,” as if that is a Thing.  The reality is that the Ukrainian General Staff wants nothing to do with this war, which is really NATO’s war, but they are stuck with their oaths of duty, and duty they must.

I am not a militarist.  However, honestly, anyone reading this note, please understand how horrible it truly is for Ukrainian commanders in the Donbass right now, because they have no choice.  The reality is that the Russians killing them really don’t want to be killing them, but they are “under orders,” too.  In other words, if you put it up to the Ukrainian General Staff, they would send Zelensky to Miami forever, and work it out with the Russians, who are actually quite close to them, strangely enough.  This is not exactly the piece I expected to write, but this is where it stands.

Personally, I hope that the Ukrainians lay down their arms before their arms are literally blown off by Russian munitions.  Seriously, DC politicos have been referring to this conflict as a “proxy war,” meaning a proxy war against Russia, with absolutely no explanation why we, the United States of America, should be waging a proxy war against Russia.  Just to be perfectly clear:  Almighty Russia is in no way waging a “proxy war” against U$.

So, in provisional conclusion, just to be clear, let’s say that it is the Collective West, the TransAtlanticans, the AmericaNATOstanis — not to mention the Nazis! — and not Mr Putin, who’s lost its damned mind!

The post Operation Inventory Reduction: The West’s Thin Spin Over Ukraine first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Operation Inventory Reduction: The West’s Thin Spin Over Ukraine

Watching a buffoon commit suicide is never a pleasant thing.

— Scott Ritter on a Richard Medhurst podcast, May 19, 2022

“Putin is mad and losing his marbles all over Ukraine” goes a certain conventional AmericaNATOstani talking point bombastically broadcast over all mainstream media outlets in the Collective West these days. The idea that the Collective West’s own madness has been projected upon the figure of Vladimir Putin is considered anathema, a heresy promoted by none other than “Mad Vlad” himself, whose propaganda services, we are led to believe, have unusually penetrated our own sacrosanct Disinformation Systems.

How can this be?  Put it another way:  How is it that fervor for Ukraine, or “Ukraine War Fever!”, can so instantly inundate our psyches and senses, especially after our 2-year long struggle with Covid Disorder, or whatever the “Experts” are calling that Thing now?

Several reasons “Arab Spring” to mind, so to speak, but we need to be more specific in this space.  Putin’s “crazy” move into Ukraine was not unanticipated; after all, Western Intel agencies were screaming it from every Major Media platform rooftop, giving us all pause — including myself — not to believe it.  How now — “Mad Cow!”–could Putin actually invade sacred Ukraine?

The answer is startlingly easy and obvious to any geopolitical observer worth a grain.  Simply stated, the thesis is this:  the Collective West has lost its Collective Damned Mind.  Mr Putin in Russia knows this, frets over this, yet decided to authorize finally an “operation” that could result in the ultimate calamity, a thermo-nuclear war, if the TransAtlanticans do not come to their “common senses” in time.  Putin’s quite coy here, and Lavrov, too, because:  Who knows?  Russia is both small and large on the world stage, meaning population and resources, and a little “regime change” in Russia could change the equation for certain stakeholders whose stakes have been a bit shaky of late.

The transition from Covid hysteria to Russia invades Ukraine hysteria is perhaps nowhere better described than Fabio Vighi’s March 14 article @Philosphical Salon:  “From Covid-19 to Putin-22,” where Mr Vighi elucidates the terms and arrangements of the baton pass, as it were, from one World Crisis to the next.  In Vighi’s own words he states:  “Putin’s war is the ideal continuation of the ‘war on Covid.’  The overarching aim is to obfuscate the real issue at stake, which consists of pulling mountains of cheap money into the debt-addicted economy.”  Catch-22?  The economic boomerang of “sanctions” against Russia is already being felt — Everywhere!  This was a completely stupid idea, and severely questions the sanity of any Western leader so-called. U$A president Joe “Bidenopolous” is the first such leader, manifestly, to lead the roll call of Western “leaders” to be called to account, especially considering his weird dealings in Ukrainian corruption schemes.  We’ll leave his compromised son Hunter out of this report, as others with more knowledge of Hunter’s Burisma position are certainly pointing out.  Joe Biden’s racist old ass is without question hanging out to dry over Ukraine — and is there a Victoria Nuland or Geoffrey Pyatt in the house?  Maybe some Neo-Nazis?

Which brings us all to Azovstal, the Azovstal Steel Works, where so many Ukrainian fighters have suddenly surrendered.  Mariupol was the home to the “Azov Battalion,” which prides itself on Nazi iconography, and assumed that the Collective West would have their “back,” in any case.  Mr Putin almost made a funny joke a few weeks back, when the defenders of Azov’s home base, reduced to hiding out in the vast steel factory there, said that his forces would seal that area so tightly that not even a fly could go in or out.  Harking back to the beginning of the “Special Military Operation,” many Western folks were clamoring for a “No Fly Zone” over Ukraine, presumably to deny Russian aerial operations there  Ironically, Mr Putin issued an actual “No Fly Zone” over Azovstal, declaring that not even a fly would be allowed entry or exit.  Some still claim that Zelensky’s Ukraine is at least winning the “Media War!,” as if that is a Thing.  The reality is that the Ukrainian General Staff wants nothing to do with this war, which is really NATO’s war, but they are stuck with their oaths of duty, and duty they must.

I am not a militarist.  However, honestly, anyone reading this note, please understand how horrible it truly is for Ukrainian commanders in the Donbass right now, because they have no choice.  The reality is that the Russians killing them really don’t want to be killing them, but they are “under orders,” too.  In other words, if you put it up to the Ukrainian General Staff, they would send Zelensky to Miami forever, and work it out with the Russians, who are actually quite close to them, strangely enough.  This is not exactly the piece I expected to write, but this is where it stands.

Personally, I hope that the Ukrainians lay down their arms before their arms are literally blown off by Russian munitions.  Seriously, DC politicos have been referring to this conflict as a “proxy war,” meaning a proxy war against Russia, with absolutely no explanation why we, the United States of America, should be waging a proxy war against Russia.  Just to be perfectly clear:  Almighty Russia is in no way waging a “proxy war” against U$.

So, in provisional conclusion, just to be clear, let’s say that it is the Collective West, the TransAtlanticans, the AmericaNATOstanis — not to mention the Nazis! — and not Mr Putin, who’s lost its damned mind!

The post Operation Inventory Reduction: The West’s Thin Spin Over Ukraine first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Subtleties of Anti-Russia Leftist Rhetoric

While the so-called liberal and conservative corporate mainstream media – all stenographers for the intelligence agencies – pour forth the most blatant propaganda about Russia and Ukraine that is so conspicuous that it is comedic if it weren’t so dangerous, the self-depicted cognoscenti also ingest subtler messages, often from the alternative media.

A woman I know, and who knows my sociological analyses of propaganda, contacted me to tell me there was an excellent article about the war in Ukraine at The Intercept, an on-line publication funded by billionaire Pierre Omidyar I have long considered a leading example of much deceptive reporting wherein truth is mixed with falsehoods to convey a “liberal” narrative that fundamentally supports the ruling elites while seeming to oppose them.  This, of course, is nothing new since it’s been the modus operandi of all corporate media in their own ideological and disingenuous ways, such as The New York Times, CBS, the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, Fox News, CNN, NBC, etc. for a very long time.

Nevertheless, out of respect for her judgment and knowing how deeply she feels for all suffering people, I read the article.  Written by Alice Speri, its title sounded ambiguous – “The Left in Europe Confronts NATO’s Resurgence After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine” – until I saw the subtitle that begins with these words: “Russia’s brutal invasion complicates…”  But I read on.  By the fourth paragraph, it became clear where this article was going.  Speri writes that “In Ukraine, by contrast [with Iraq], it was Russia that had staged an illegal, unprovoked invasion, and U.S.-led support to Ukraine was understood by many as crucial to stave off even worse atrocities than those the Russian military had already committed.” [my emphasis]

While ostensibly about European anti-war and anti-NATO activists caught on the horns of a dilemma, the piece goes on to assert that although US/NATO was guilty of wrongful expansion over many years, Russia has been an aggressor in Ukraine and Georgia and is guilty of terrible war crimes, etc.

There is not a word about the U.S. engineered coup in 2014, the CIA and Pentagon backed mercenaries in Ukraine, or its support for the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion and Ukraine’s years of attacks on the Donbass where many thousands have been killed.  It is assumed these actions are not criminal or provocative.  And there is this:

The uncertain response of Europe’s peace activists is both a reflection of a brutal, unprovoked invasion that stunned the world and of an anti-war movement that has grown smaller and more marginalized over the years. The left in both Europe and the U.S. have struggled to respond to a wave of support for Ukraine that is at cross purposes with a decades long effort to untangle Europe from a U.S.-led military alliance. [my emphasis]

In other words, the article, couched in anti-war rhetoric, was anti-Russia propaganda.  When I told my friend my analysis, she refused to discuss it and got angry with me, as if I therefore were a proponent of war  I have found this is a common response.

This got me thinking again about why people so often miss the untruths lying within articles that are in many parts truthful and accurate.  I notice this constantly.  They are like little seeds slipped in as if no one will notice; they work their magic nearly unconsciously.  Few do notice them, for they are often imperceptible.  But they have their effects and are cumulative and are far more powerful over time than blatant statements that will turn people off, especially those who think propaganda doesn’t work on them.  This is the power of successful propaganda, whether purposeful  or not.  It particularly works well on “intellectual” and highly schooled people.

For example, in a recent printed  interview, Noam Chomsky, after being introduced as a modern day Galileo, Newton, and Descartes rolled into one, talks about propaganda, its history, Edward Bernays, Walter Lippman, etc.  What he says is historically accurate and informative for anyone not knowing this history.  He speaks wisely of U.S. media propaganda concerning its unprovoked war against Iraq and he accurately calls the war in Ukraine “provoked.”  And then, concerning the war in Ukraine, he drops this startling statement:

I don’t think there are ‘significant lies’ in war reporting. The U.S. media are generally doing a highly creditable job in reporting Russian crimes in Ukraine. That’s valuable, just as it’s valuable that international investigations are underway in preparation for possible war crimes trials.

In the blink of an eye, Chomsky says something so incredibly untrue that unless one thinks of him as a modern day Galileo, which many do, it may pass as true and you will smoothly move on to the next paragraph.  Yet it is a statement so false as to be laughable.  The media propaganda concerning events in Ukraine has been so blatantly false and ridiculous that a careful reader will stop suddenly and think: Did he just say that?

So now Chomsky views the media, such as The New York Times and its ilk, that he has correctly castigated for propagandizing for the U.S. in Iraq and East Timor, to use two examples, is doing “a highly creditable job in reporting Russian crimes in Ukraine,” as if suddenly they were no longer spokespeople for the CIA and U.S. disinformation.  And he says this when we are in the midst of the greatest propaganda blitz since WW I, with its censorship, Disinformation Governance Board, de-platforming of dissidents, etc., that border on a parody of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. 

Even slicker is his casual assertion that the media are doing a good job reporting Russia’s war crimes after he earlier has said this about propaganda:

So it continues. Particularly in the more free societies, where means of state violence have been constrained by popular activism, it is of great importance to devise methods of manufacturing consent, and to ensure that they are internalized, becoming as invisible as the air we breathe, particularly in articulate educated circles. Imposing war-myths is a regular feature of these enterprises.

This is simply masterful.  Explain what propaganda is at its best and how you oppose it and then drop a soupçon of it into your analysis.  And while he is at it, Chomsky makes sure to praise Chris Hedges, one of his followers, who has himself recently wrote an article – The Age of Self-Delusion – that also contains valid points appealing to those sick of wars, but which also contains the following words:

Putin’s revanchism is matched by our own.

The disorganization, ineptitude, and low morale of the Russian army conscripts, along with the repeated intelligence failures by the Russian high command, apparently convinced Russia would roll over Ukraine in a few days, exposes the lie that Russia is a global menace.

‘The Russian bear has effectively defanged itself,’ historian Andrew Bacevich writes.

But this is not a truth the war makers impart to the public. Russia must be inflated to become a global menace, despite nine weeks of humiliating military failures. [my emphasis]

Russia’s revanchism?  Where?  Revanchism?  What lost territory has the U.S. ever waged war to recover?  Iraq, Syria, Cuba, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, etc.?  The U.S.’s history is a history not of revanchism but of imperial conquest, of seizing or controlling territory, while Russia’s war in Ukraine is clearly an act of self-defense after years of U.S./NATO/Ukraine provocations and threats, which Hedges recognizes.  “Nine weeks of humiliating military failures”? – when they control a large section of eastern and southern Ukraine, including the Donbass.  But his false message is subtly woven, like Chomsky’s, into sentences that are true.

“But this is not a truth the war makers impart to the public.”  No, it is exactly what the media spokespeople for the war makers – i.e. The New York Times (Hedges former employer, which he never fails to mention and for whom he covered the Clinton administration’s savage destruction of Yugoslavia), CNN, Fox News, The Washington Post, the New York Post, etc. impart to the public every day for their masters.  Headlines that read how Russia, while allegedly committing daily war crimes, is failing in its war aims and that the mythic hero Zelensky is leading Ukrainians to victory.  Words to the effect that “The Russian bear has effectively defanged itself” presented as fact.

Yes, they do inflate the Russian monster myth, only to then puncture it with the myth of David defeating Goliath.

But being in the business of mind games (too much consistency leads to clarity and gives the game away), one can expect them to scramble their messages on an ongoing basis to serve the U.S. agenda in Ukraine and further NATO expansion in the undeclared war with Russia, for which the Ukrainian people will be sacrificed.

Orwell called it “doublethink”:

Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty.To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality one denies – all this is indispensably necessary….with the lie always one step ahead of the truth.

Revealing while concealing and interjecting inoculating shots of untruths that will only get cursory attention from their readers, the writers mentioned here and others have great appeal for the left intelligentsia.  For people who basically worship those they have imbued with infallibility and genius, it is very hard to read all sentences carefully and smell a skunk.  The subterfuge is often very adroit and appeals to readers’ sense of outrage at what happened in the past – e.g. the George W. Bush administration’s lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Chomsky, of course, is the leader of the pack, and his followers are legion, including Hedges.  For decades they have been either avoiding or supporting the official versions of the assassinations of JFK and RFK, the attacks of September 11, 2001 that led directly to the war on terror and so many wars of aggression,and the recent Covid-19 propaganda with its devastating lockdowns and crackdowns on civil liberties.  They are far from historical amnesiacs, of course, but obviously consider these foundational events of no importance, for otherwise they would have addressed them.  If you expect them to explain, you will be waiting a long time.

In a recent article – How the organized Left got Covid wrong, learned to love lockdowns and lost its mind: an autopsy – Christian Parenti writes this about Chomsky:

Almost the entire left intelligentsia has remained psychically stuck in March 2020. Its members have applauded the new biosecurity repression and calumniated as liars, grifters, and fascists any and all who dissented. Typically, they did so without even engaging evidence and while shirking public debate. Among the most visible in this has been Noam Chomsky, the self-described anarcho-syndicalist who called for the unvaccinated to “remove themselves from society,” and suggested that they should be allowed to go hungry if they refuse to submit.

Parenti’s critique of the left’s response (not just Chomsky’s and Hedges’) to Covid also applies to those foundational events mentioned above, which raises deeper questions about the CIA’s and NSA’s penetration  of the media in general, a subject beyond the scope of this analysis.

For those, like the liberal woman who referred me to The Intercept article, who would no doubt say of what I have written here: Why are you picking on leftists? my reply is quite simple.

The right-wing and the neocons are obvious in their pernicious agendas; nothing is really hidden; therefore they can and should be opposed. But many leftists serve two masters and are far subtler. Ostensibly on the side of regular people and opposed to imperialism and the predations of the elites at home and abroad, they are often tricksters of beguiling rhetoric that their followers miss. Rhetoric that indirectly fuels the wars they say they oppose.

Smelling skunks is not as obvious as it might seem.  Being nocturnal, they come forth when most are sleeping.

The post The Subtleties of Anti-Russia Leftist Rhetoric first appeared on Dissident Voice.

On Ukraine, The World Majority Sides With Russia Over U.S.

2014 saw two pivotal events that led to the current conflict in Ukraine.

The first, familiar to all, was the coup in Ukraine in which a democratically elected government was overthrown at the direction of the United States and with the assistance of neo-Nazi elements which Ukraine has long harbored.

Shortly thereafter the first shots in the present war were fired on the Russian-sympathetic Donbass region by the newly installed Ukrainian government.  The shelling of the Donbass which claimed 14,000 lives, has continued for 8 years, despite attempts at a cease-fire under the Minsk accords which Russia, France and Germany agreed upon but Ukraine backed by the US refused to implement.  On February 24, 2022, Russia finally responded to the slaughter in Donbass and the threat of NATO on its doorstep.

Russia Turns to the East – China Provides an Alternative Economic Powerhouse

The second pivotal event of 2014 was less noticed and, in fact, rarely mentioned in the Western mainstream media.  In November of that year according to the IMF, China’s GDP surpassed that of the U.S. in purchasing power parity terms (PPP GDP).  (This measure of GDP is calculated and published by the IMF, World Bank and even the CIA.  Students of international relations like economics Nobel Laureate, Joseph Stiglitz, Graham Allison and many others consider this metric the best measure of a nation’s comparative economic power.)   One person who took note and who often mentions China’s standing in the PPP-GDP ranking is none other than Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

From one point of view, the Russian action in Ukraine represents a decisive turn away from the hostile West to the more dynamic East and the Global South.  This follows decades of importuning the West for a peaceful relationship since the Cold War’s end.  As Russia makes its Pivot to the East, it is doing its best to ensure that its Western border with Ukraine is secured.

Following the Russian action in Ukraine, the inevitable U.S. sanctions poured onto Russia.  China refused to join them and refused to condemn Russia.  This was no surprise; after all Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China had been drawing ever closer for years, most notably with trade denominated in ruble-renminbi exchange, thus moving toward independence from the West’s dollar dominated trade regime.

The World Majority Refuses to Back U.S. Sanctions

But then a big surprise. India joined China in refusing to honor the US sanctions regime.  And India kept to its resolve despite enormous pressure including calls from Biden to Modi and a train of high level US, UK and EU officials trekking off to India to bully, threaten and otherwise attempting to intimidate India.  India would face “consequences,” the tired US threat went up.  India did not budge.

India’s close military and diplomatic ties with Russia were forged during the anti-colonial struggles of the Soviet era.  India’s economic interests in Russian exports could not be countermanded by U.S. threats.  India and Russia are now working on trade via ruble-rupee exchange.  In fact, Russia has turned out to be a factor that put India and China on the same side, pursuing their own interests and independence in the face of U.S. diktat.  Moreover with trade in ruble-renminbi exchange already a reality and with ruble-rupee exchange in the offing, are we about to witness a Renminbi-Ruble-Rupee world of trade – a “3R” alternative to the Dollar-Euro monopoly?  Is the world’s second most important political relationship, that between India and China, about to take a more peaceful direction?  What’s the world’s first most important relationship?

India is but one example of the shift in power.  Out of 195 countries, only 30 have honored the US sanctions on Russia.  That means about 165 countries in the world have refused to join the sanctions.   Those countries represent by far the majority of the world’s population.  Most of Africa, Latin America (including Mexico and Brazil), East Asia (excepting Japan, South Korea, both occupied by U.S. troops and hence not sovereign, Singapore and the renegade Chinese Province of Taiwan) have refused.  (India and China alone represent 35% of humanity.)

Add to that fact that 40 different countries are now the targets of US sanctions and there is a powerful constituency to oppose the thuggish economic tactics of the U.S.

Finally, at the recent G-20 Summit a walkout led by the US when the Russia delegate spoke was joined by the representatives of only 3 other G-20 countries, with 80% of these leading financial nations refusing to join!  Similarly, a US attempt to bar a Russian delegate from a G-20 meeting later in the year in Bali was rebuffed by Indonesia which currently holds the G-20 Presidency.

Nations Taking Russia’s side are no longer poor as in Cold War 1.0.

These dissenting countries of the Global South are no longer as poor as they were during the Cold War.  Of the top 10 countries in PPP-GDP, 5 do not support the sanctions.  And these include China (number one) and India (number 3).  So the first and third most powerful economies stand against the US on this matter.  (Russia is number 6 on that list about equal to Germany, number 5, the two being close to equal, belying the idea that Russia’s economy is negligible.)

These stands are vastly more significant than any UN vote.  Such votes can be coerced by a great power and little attention is paid to them in the world.  But the economic interests of a nation and its view of the main danger in the world are important determinants of how it reacts economically – for example, to sanctions. A “no” to US sanctions is putting one’s money where one’s mouth is.

We in the West hear that Russia is “isolated in the world” as a result of the crisis in Ukraine.  If one is speaking about the Eurovassal states and the Anglosphere, that is true.  But considering humanity as a whole and among the rising economies of the world, it is the US that stands isolated.  And even in Europe, cracks are emerging.  Hungary and Serbia have not joined the sanctions regime and, of course, most European countries will not and indeed cannot turn away from Russian energy imports crucial to their economies.  It appears that the grand scheme of U.S. global hegemony to be brought about by the US move to WWII Redux, both Cold and Hot, has hit a mighty snag.

For those who look forward to a multipolar world, this is a welcome turn of events emerging out of the cruel tragedy of the U.S. proxy war in Ukraine.  The possibility of a saner, more prosperous multipolar world lies ahead – if we can get there.

The post On Ukraine, The World Majority Sides With Russia Over U.S. first appeared on Dissident Voice.

I Cannot Live on Tomorrow’s Bread

Takashi Murakami (Japan), Tan Tan Bo Puking – a.k.a. Gero Tan, 2002.

On April 19, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its annual World Economic Outlook, which forecasted a severe slowdown in global growth along with soaring prices.‘For 2022, inflation is projected at 5.7 percent in advanced economies and 8.7 percent in emerging market and developing economies – 1.8 and 2.8 percentage points higher than projected in … January’, the report noted. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva offered a sobering reflection on the data: ‘Inflation is reaching the highest levels seen in decades. Sharply higher prices for food and fertilizers put pressure on households worldwide – especially for the poorest. And we know that food crises can unleash social unrest’.

What is the root cause of this extraordinary wave of inflation? US President Joe Biden blamed Russia’s war in Ukraine: ‘What people don’t know is that 70 percent of the increase in inflation was the consequence of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s price hike because of the impact of oil prices’. However, even The Wall Street Journal editorial board noted that ‘this isn’t Putin’s inflation’. Georgieva of the IMF has tried to walk a middle ground, saying that ‘Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created a crisis on top of a crisis’. Her view mirrored that of the World Economic Outlook, which pointed out that ‘the crisis unfold[ed] while the global economy was on a mending path but had not yet fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic’.

Beauford Delaney (USA), Exchange Place, 1943.

The No Cold War platform, with whom Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research has a close working relationship, has produced a very important intervention into this debate. Briefing no. 2, The United States Has Destabilised the World Economy, which appears below, makes the case that a governing factor in the current inflation crisis is the outsized impact of the United States on the global economy; here, US military spending, the scale of the United States in global consumption, the role of the Wall Street-Dollar-IMF regime, and other factors play a key role. We hope you find briefing no. 2 useful and circulate it widely.

The International Monetary Fund has announced that the global economy is entering a major slowdown, downgrading the growth prospects of 143 countries. At the same time, inflation rates have reached historic levels. Around the world, hundreds of millions of people are falling into poverty, particularly in the Global South. Oxfam has sounded the alarm that we are ‘witnessing the most profound collapse of humanity into extreme poverty and suffering in memory’. What is producing this immense human suffering?

An Economic Crisis ‘Made in Washington’

On 13 April, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen claimed that this global economic deterioration was due to the Russian war in Ukraine. This is factually incorrect. Although the conflict has worsened the situation, the key driver which has destabilised the world economy is the massive inflationary wave that had already built up in the United States and has now begun to crest on the world. Prior to the war in Ukraine, US inflation had already tripled in recent years from 2.5% (January 2020) to 7.5% (January 2022) before accelerating further to 8.5% (March 2022) after the war broke out.

‘This isn’t Putin’s inflation’, the Wall Street Journal editorial board noted. ‘This inflation was made in Washington’.

The US consumer market absorbs a fifth of the world’s goods and services; as the demand for these goods outstrips the global supply, the tendency for US inflation to spread around the world is very high. The average Commodity Research Bureau Index, a general indicator of global commodity markets, has risen astronomically: as of 25 April, year-to-year prices have soared for oil (60%), palm oil (60%), coffee (56%), wheat (45%), natural gas (139%), and coal (253%). These price increases have sent shock waves through the global economy.

This instability is inseparably connected to US economic policy. Since 2020, the United States has increased its budget by $2.8 trillion. To finance this budgetary expansion, the US government increased borrowing to 27% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and the Federal Reserve Bank increased the money supply (the quantity of money issued) by 27% year-on-year. Both of these increases are the highest in US peacetime history.

These huge US economic packages were generated to put cash in the hands of consumers. The US government focused on the economy’s demand side by putting money into circulation for consumption, but it did not increase spending on the economy’s supply side by putting money into investment. From 2019–21, 98% of US GDP growth was in consumption, while only 2% was in net investment. With a large increase in demand by consumers and almost no increase in supply, a huge inflationary wave grew in the United States.

Carmen Lomas Garza (USA), Tamalada, 1990.

Investing in Guns or People?

Inflation in the United States, which has global implications, is a by-product of its economic priorities. For the past half-century, US governments have not used the country’s social wealth to make substantial social investments in areas such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure, nor have they invested in the manufacturing sector to increase supply. Instead, to manage inflation the government has chosen to push an agenda which cuts demand. These cuts in demand have already lowered living standards; for instance, real wages in the United States have fallen by 2.7% in the past year.

Instead of making social investments to prevent such economic downturns, the US government has prioritised its military, which receives a budget increase every year. In 2022, the Biden administration proposed a military budget of $813 billion, a 9.2% increase over the military budget in 2021 – larger than the next eleven highest spending countries combined. To justify this massive expenditure, the Biden administration, like the Trump administration before it, has invoked the need to ‘combat threats’ posed by China and Russia.

A reduction in US military spending would free up government funds to invest in education, healthcare, infrastructure, and manufacturing. However, this would necessitate a shift in US foreign policy, which does not appear to be on the horizon. Until that time, the people of the United States and other countries will have to sustain the costs of Washington’s new Cold War.

Joseph Bertiers (Kenya), The Bar, 2020.

Against the shallow assessment that global inflation is caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine and the Western sanctions on Russia, No Cold War’s briefing no. 2 points its finger at the root of the crisis: the distortions produced by US military spending and by the Wall Street-Dollar-IMF regime gripping the world economy.

In December 2021, the IMF’s Georgieva said that Europe’s governments must not allow economic recovery to be endangered by the ‘suffocating force of austerity’. This is part of the West’s astonishing double-standards: at the same time, the IMF has enforced harsh austerity measures on the countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. As Oxfam notes in a new analysis, during the pandemic’s second year (from March 2021 to March 2022), the IMF approved 23 loans to 22 countries in the Global South – all of which either encouraged or required austerity measures. For example, the IMF’s $2.3 billion loan agreement with Kenya required a four-year public sector pay freeze alongside higher taxes on gas and food, all while 63 percent of Kenyan households experience multidimensional poverty, according to a report by the Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA).

The austerity policies that impact the vast mass of the populations in these countries must be reversed. We need less money spent on war and more money spent to solve what Frantz Fanon called the obstinate facts of human life, such as hunger, illiteracy, and indignity.

Langston Hughes’s poetry focused on the impact of these ‘obstinate facts’ on the lives of people in the United States, people who fought against a life built on wages that equalled ‘two bits minus two’. In 1962, the United States spent $49 billion on its military ($431 billion in 2022 dollars); in 2022, as noted in briefing no. 2, the US government proposes to spend $813 billion on its military, larger than the military spending of the next eleven countries combined.

There is immense social wealth available to us, but it is spent on the parts of human life that are most destructive rather than productive. In 1962, as the US military budget began to balloon, Langston Hughes wrote:

I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course.
Tomorrow is another day.
I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.

Freedom
Is a strong seed
Planted
In a great need.
I live here, too.
I want my freedom
Just as you.

We need to advance to the goal of human emancipation now. Not tomorrow, but now.

The post I Cannot Live on Tomorrow’s Bread first appeared on Dissident Voice.

US/NATO Wants War With Russia

Here is a speech Vladimir Putin DID NOT make — at least in this specific language — to the Russian people just before initiating the special military operations in Ukraine:

“It is my responsibility as the president to warn our citizens of secret, swift, and extraordinary buildup of US/NATO missiles — in an area well known to have a special and historical relationship to Russia and the nations of our hemisphere, in violation of American assurances, and in defiance of treaties and our own policies — this sudden, clandestine decision to station strategic weapons on our borders — is a deliberately provocative and unjustified change in the status quo which cannot be accepted by this country.”

Does this have a familiar feel to it?

Here is the speech which President John F. Kennedy DID MAKE to the American people on October 22, 1962, when he warned of:

… a secret, swift, and extraordinary buildup of Communist missiles — in an area well known to have a special and historical relationship to the United States and the nations of the Western Hemisphere, in violation of Soviet assurances, and in defiance of American and hemispheric policy — this sudden, clandestine decision to station strategic weapons for the first time outside of Soviet soil — is a deliberately provocative and unjustified change in the status quo which cannot be accepted by this country.

The Cuban Missile Crisis which resulted from the discovery of this military escalation by the Soviets, almost resulted in a world war and nuclear annihilation.

The tables have rotated 180º. Now it is the US which is putting the survival of humankind at risk, escalating the conflict in Ukraine by dumping more and more weapons into the conflict zone, demonizing Putin and everything Russian, apparently urging the Ukrainians to avoid a negotiated peace and to fight to the bitter end.

Do not for a moment forget . . .

There were solutions in place to prevent the entire Ukrainian situation from evolving into the terrifying mess we now see. First, there was the Minsk II Agreement of February 12, 2015, signed by Ukraine, guaranteed by France, Germany and Russia. It was ignored by Ukraine, never implemented. There is speculation that it was the US which prompted the stonewalling. Then, December of 2020, Russia itself proposed very concrete steps, as draft treaties, that could be taken to defuse the tensions and guarantee greater security for all of Europe and the world. These were formally submitted to both the US and NATO in writing. They were dismissed. Now with the conflict in full swing, Russia has repeatedly made clear its current position on ending this. What the Russians is demand is no different than what Kennedy demanded of the USSR. This has also been flatly rejected.

From the outset of the crisis, Russia has been maligned, vilified, rejected, canceled, viciously attacked at every opportunity for merely wanting the assurances and concrete reductions to the threat posed by NATO and the US on its borders, just as JFK laid out subsequent to his announcement of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

(As a revealing aside, the comprehensive scale of the vilification and attempted isolation of Russia across the planet, even in spheres completely unrelated to politics — dance, sports, art, music, cultural exchange programs, space exploration, pet shows — could not have been spontaneous. Any multi-layered attack of this scale had to have been in the works for some time. At least, that’s how I see it.)

So . . .

What conclusion can we draw from all of this? What message are we actually hearing from Biden, Blinken, Stoltenberg, Johnson, Scholz, Macron, and the rest of the US puppets around the world?

I can see only one: US/NATO wants war with RussiaWhich frankly, hardly comes as a surprise. From documents, white papers, policy statements, speeches by officials in the State Department and various administrations along the way, all easily accessed by just looking, the dismemberment of Russia and looting its vast and varied natural resources has been on the agenda for at least three decades.

Yes, folks . . .

It’s war. Not liberation. Not freedom and democracy. It’s war.

Please correct me if I’m wrong.

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