I would appreciate if you could publish the following letter
While any invasion of another country is deplorable and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is to be condemned, one needs to remember that prior to this invasion, more than 10,000 Russian speaking Ukrainians have been killed by the Kiev government in the Donbass since 2014; predominantly by neo-nazi groups like the Azov Battalion- the very same neonazi group that Brenton Tarrant , the Christchurch mosque shooter, was an ardent adherent of.
We should all be aware that truth is the first casualty of war, but the level of war hysteria and blatantly distorted propaganda we are seeing across the Western world about this tragedy in Ukraine, is extremely alarming- our media now howls for World War Three.
Our prime minister talks about how New Zealand supports the “rule based international order”; the U.S. imposed version of how they believe the world should be; not United Nation’s rules.
It is time to step back from the brink of a massive, potentially nuclear, war which would involve China Russia and its allies, and the Western camp.
Saner heads need to prevail; we need peace and an effective response to the imminent climate catastrophe unfolding, not this foolish provocation by New Zealand.
In my ‘neck of the woods’ in New Zealand I am entertained each evening by the propaganda from TVNZ1 -one of our government funded TV channels. In their extensive coverage of the tragedy in Ukraine they somehow fail to mention:
That the Kiev government has been fighting a war with Eastern Ukrainians that they call ‘terrorists’ (or if you’re a neo-nazi, ‘cockroaches’) for 8 years with over 13,000 deaths with active support from NATO; and that Ukrainian shelling of civilian infrastructure in the Donbass is ongoing.
That British, American and German military ‘advisors’ have been training and providing ‘defensive’ weapons to these rabidly anti-Russian groups for those 8 years (and more) (note that there is militarily no such thing as a defensive weapon-anything that makes you safer in war also makes you more capable of fighting offensively)
That civilian casualty figures for the 12 days of war so far are astoundingly low ( 407 in 12 days), in comparison with say America’s ‘shock and awe’ terror campaign in Iraq ( 6,700 deaths in the first 3 weeks)– but noting that every death is a tragedy.
That all the while this hellish Ukraine war is going on, the Americans and the British are actively supporting a decidedly more hellish genocide in Yemen by the Saudis and other gulf states.
That the Russian Army and separatists from the Donbass have now encircled in a ‘cauldron’ the majority of the Ukrainian army in the East.
That the Russians claim to have found evidence of a number of American sponsored Ukrainian biolabs producing germ warfare agents, which the Americans both confess to and deny!
That the Russians claim to have found documental evidence of the Ukrainian Army’s intent to destroy the Donbass separatists in an offensive starting 25h February.
That the maternity hospital in Mariupal had been publicly identified by the Russians as having been turned into a Ukrainian military base 3 days before the shelling by the Russians of the building.
That the Western media’s constant pressure on the Americans and their European allies to implement Zelinsky’s plan for a NATO ‘no fly zone’ over Ukraine would result in shooting war that could easily end in nuclear war. (It would be like America having dog-fights and missile strikes over Canada or Mexico)
I guess TVNZ and the rest of the Western media are just trying to protect me from Russian propaganda- so I really feel quite relieved that I don’t need to know about any of this! Let’s keep it simple after all….
‘The first casualty when war comes is truth’. Hiram W Johnson (1917)
As this horrendous war in Ukraine unfolds, we see the Western media carefully following their politicians’ lines. ‘There is no Nazi problem in Ukraine’, ‘NATO is not a threat to Russia’, “Putin is a madman dictator’ etc etc…
Curiously, as I have noted in a previous blog, these memes were becoming increasingly strident even before Russia recognised the 2 Donbass republics, even in my little country of New Zealand (part of ‘Five Eyes’) we are apparently an enthusiastic supporter of the (neo)- nazi Azov Battalion in the Ukraine and their propaganda videos, should you want to believe our government funded TVNZ ‘news’.
But perhaps the most obscene media article I have seen is this recent Guardian article by a Mr Jason Stanley who states ‘no democratic country is free of far-right nationalist groups, including the United States’, in downplaying the risks of Nazis in Ukraine. What Mr Stanley deliberately omits to say is that Ukraine is the only country in the world where Nazi battalions are an integral part of their army, and whose battalions have been actively involved in killing as many Eastern Ukrainian Russian speakers in the Donbass as possible (13,000 at the last count) – with the full support of the Ukrainian government in Kiev. Let us also not forget the post-Maidan coup Kiev government’s enthusiastic sanctifying of Stepan Bandera, the white (Ukrainian Slav) supremacist and killer of ‘Asiatic’ Russian Slavs, Poles, Gypsies, the LGBTIQ community, Communists and Jews, both during and after the second world war (with support for his OUN-B group and its successors from the Americans).
Mr Stanley’s customary caricature of Putin as the ‘global leader of the far right’ is, to be polite, somewhat strange. Putin is certainly a nationalist, an anti-communist, a Russian Orthodox believer and a fervent conservative (none of those Putin attributes particularly endear him to me; as do most politicians’ ‘values’ in the West or East!), but ‘far right’? -no.
The decision by European countries to constrain Russian economic interest in Europe and beyond is an entirely valid response to Russia’s aggression, but the decision to suppress access to Russian government media like RT and Sputnik in the West indicates a strong wish to ensure the views of only one side of the war are circulated to Western populations; a series of views that are indisputably half-truths in many cases and often lies (e.g. the 4 years of ‘Russia-gate’ fabrications), as noted above. Such repressive actions lead the public to believe right is completely on our side and no compromise is possible with the evil aggressor. A recipe for a third world war, or worse.
And that is not to say that the Russian government and its media are the epitome of truth. The Russian government and its media unequivocally stated that no Ukrainian invasion was planned, while they were preparing for just such an invasion.
Reports from websites that are Russian supporters are as likely to provide a slanted or untrue version of events on the ground in Ukraine as the Western media. Part of that false view can be attributed to the ‘fog of war’ – journalists rely on narratives from people in the war-zone with their own agendas, or from people who are simply making things up to suit their audience. And then there are the journalists in the West, and no doubt in the East as well, who are paid by their various ‘intelligence’ agencies to provide that ‘special’ messaging for a gullible public.
Emotive videos of Ukrainian women filling bottles with petrol to make Molotov cocktails, of a man supposedly holding back a Russian tank, or of an armoured personnel carrier (Russian or more likely Ukrainian) deliberately running over a car, the Snake Island defenders who died but are now resurrected etc etc are all designed to dull our intellectual acuity and make us react with anger and fear rather than a calm consideration of the facts, and make mediation between the warring factions impossible.
The current fad to sanction Russian cats, deprive Russian paralympians of competing, remove access to Russian authors or composers or remove Russian media from the Western world is bizarre. Perhaps a glimpse into this madness can be seen in a recent CNN article by one Oliver Darcy where the Russian website RT is blasted for actually giving a Russian point of view to the Russian invasion! How dastardly is that! We of course should know that there is only one viewpoint to be had on this deadly event, and that is the American official line! Knowledge of any other viewpoint is therefor treasonable an un-American!
We should also note the ‘extraordinary’ levels of white racism that pervade Western media- they imply how shocking that this war could have happened to European, well-dressed educated white people who look just like us!, not those people of darker skins in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Be warned! The populations of Arab, African, South American and Asian countries who have endured so much pointless war by the U.S. and its allies over the past 50 years are taking due note of the total hypocrisy and racism of Western media.
The enemy is inherently evil and resembles the devil.
We defend a noble cause, not our own interests.
The enemy commits atrocities on purpose; our mishaps are involuntary.
The enemy uses forbidden weapons.
We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.
Recognized artists and intellectuals back our cause.
Our cause is sacred.
All who doubt our propaganda are traitors.
On the Russian side we hear of the Ukrainian government military using illegal phosphorous shells near Kyev, or prisoners released from jails given automatic weapons, of Azov battalion units using Eastern Ukrainians as human shields in the Donbass – fact or fiction? We may never know.
The increasing practice in both West and East to use legislation to designate foreign media companies as ‘foreign agents’ also exacerbates the considerable risk for governments and their publics to misinterpret, deliberately or otherwise, the intent of a ‘foreign’ government, and thereby increase the risk of war.
After talking to a very frightened and distraught friend in Ukraine over the weekend, I know that the internet is up and running there, that water and electricity are (at least so far) not being destroyed, unlike the terror attacks by the Americans in Korea, Vietnam, Libya and Iraq (to name just a few) that deliberately destroyed all infrastructure (a ‘shock and awe’ war-crime).
This terror and destruction needs to stop -now. Russia needs to negotiate in good faith with the Kiev government; withdraw its troops and compensate for lives lost and destruction caused. In turn, Kiev and NATO need to recognise the very real fears by Russia about the likely destruction of Russia by NATO. A neutral Ukraine (as Austria was during the cold war) is the only solution. A neutral Ukraine will not only be of benefit to Russia, but also Ukraine, its neighbours, and the wider world.
We instead need to mobilise globally now to ‘fight’ catastrophic climate change and species loss . The intensely environmentally destructiveness of armies and wars of aggression need to be replaced with deliberate processes to safely reduce global consumption of commodities, to plant billions of hectares of trees that can grow in perpetuity and restore natural eco-systems – to create a sustainable planet.
Kiev officials continue to describe the Donbass separatists as “terrorists’ even while the Kiev administration has signed up to negotiating with separatists as part of the Normandy and Minsk agreements – but has never actioned that agreement . Defining the separatists as ‘terrorists’ makes it virtually impossible for Kiev to negotiate anything with them. Kiev is supported in this position (at least officially) by Poland, the U.K and U.S.)
The new government in Berlin however appears to be currently more reticent in supporting Kiev in its aggressive stance and has declined Kiev’s request for more weapons. There are real risks to Ukraine’s neighbours of neo-nazi military brigades like the Azov battalion and other extremist groups supported by the Right Sector, that those groups would not only continue to fight against the Donbass separatists , kill Russian speaking Ukrainians in other parts of Ukraine, and, as in the past, Poles and Jews as well as Russian speakers elsewhere, but also foment trouble in disaffected youth in their own countries…
Despite the 9/11 blowback that occurred with the U.S. and U.K support of Saudi and Turkish backed wahhabist extremists in Afghanistan against the Soviets, the strategy of using local extremists continues to be a key item in the U.S. destabilisation playbook. Extensive Ukraine government and Right Sector media has portrayed Western Ukrainian as ‘true slavs’, unlike the Russians in the north and east who are deemed to be lesser beings with eastern mongol genes; a strategy that gives permission for extremist groups like the Azov battalions to exterminate Russian speaking eastern Ukrainians with impunity.
Berlin’s current reticence to fully support the NATO and U.K./U.S. agenda in Ukraine appears to come from a sudden realization that they are hugely reliant on Russian gas. The Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russian to Germany was initiated at the insistence of Germany with the understanding that Russian gas would not only be much cheaper than U.S. gas shipped across the Atlantic to Germany, but was also both more reliable and able to be delivered in greater volumes than the Americans could ever provide. Germany’s economy therefore relies on cheap Russian gas, particularly now that its coal fired electricity producers have been largely shut down in response to climate change concerns . The German government therefore walks a tightrope between supporting its NATO allies, and getting the energy it needs for its economy .
The Russians have insisted that the expansion of NATO up to its borders be reversed ( an outcome of the negotiations that led to East Germany and the other Easter European countries becoming independent from Russia in the 1990s, on the verbal understanding that NATO would not expand beyond its 1990s borders). U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken and NATO’s Stoltenberg have insisted that that agreement never existed ( despite multiple citings of evidence of its existence) and that NATO will continue to expand its membership and site weapons wherever it wishes to, regardless of the resultant explicit threat to Russia’s existence..
Exactly what NATOs current purpose is now that communist Soviet Russia has gone, is never explicitly stated, but it is clear that its purpose is to stop Russian ‘aggression’ and intimidate Russia through ongoing military threats. U.S. think tanks have also intimated their wish that Russia be balkanised, so that the carve-up of Russia’s economy can continue from the Yeltsin years, and so that Russia does not have the capacity to militarily oppose any Western military plans (as it has done in Syria).
While Western media and the U.S. continue to hype up the threat of a Russian land invasion of the Ukraine ( with extensive videos of Russian tanks conducting military exercises in Russia), the reality is that it would simply not be worth-while for Russia to invade Ukraine with tanks and troops.
It is possible however, that if the Kiev government or its extremist wings were to launch a large scale attack on the Russian speaking Donbass ( emboldened by Western weapons supplies and bombacity) that Russia would feel obliged to protect its Russian speaking neighbours and respond militarily. Sending columns of Russian tanks into Eastern Ukraine, let alone across the Dnieper River into Western Ukraine, where Ukrainian nationalism is most fierce, would however be a suicidal endeavour; not least because the Ukrainian economy is devastated after years of corruption and mismanagement, and Russia would have to take responsibility for economically supporting 37 million Ukrainians, whilst countering an Eastern Ukrainian insurgency (supported and trained by the U.S. and U.K)
Russian not only wants a NATO pullback, but also the Kiev government to officially adhere to and implement the Minsk agreements they signed up to-i.e. negotiate with the Donbass separatists and agree to their self-government within a Ukrainian federal structure. However the level of Kiev propaganda against the ‘terrorists’ in the East and against Russian speaking people generally, seems to indicate that such a compromise is currently not possible; particularly while the extremist right wing groups hold such sway in Kiev. Those groups would also be fearful that a re-integration of the Donbass population into a federal Ukrainian democratic framework, would tip the balance towards a national government that once again would be more favorable to Russia, and likely result in many of the underhand deals that have occurred since 2014 between the Kiev government and Ukrainian oligarchs, being re-aligned once more towards Russian interests.
Ukraine is in crisis; its young people drifting in the multitudes to more favourable economic conditions in Western Europe, and an accelerating drift towards a centralized autocracy in Kiev driven largely by extremist groups like the Right Sector, with corruption widespread throughout the economy. The loss of revenues from Russia from the Russian gas pipeline which passes through Ukraine to Europe (and the siphoning of some of that gas for Ukraine’s use) with the inevitable advent of the opening of the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline to Germany and beyond, via the Baltic Sea , will only exacerbate this crisis. The Ukrainian ex-comedian President Zelensky’s position is extremely fragile- torn between the demands of the ever-increasing power of the right wing extremists in Kiev and Western Ukraine, and the demands of the U.S and U.K., while his popularity with the majority of Ukrainians plummets. Zelensky has tried to eliminate some of his key political rivals like Petro Poroshenko and Viktor Medvedchuk, with legal challenges of ‘treason’, but the opposition forces are gathering against him.
What options does someone like Zelensky now have in the face of such challenges ? War can so often improve a leader’s political chances..
An insurrection , according to the (American) Merriam Webster dictionary, is a ‘usually violent attempt to take control of a government’.
The January 6th 2021 invasion of the U.S. Capitol definitely had elements of violence: property damaged, people assaulted, and as Wikipedia notes ‘Five people died either shortly before, during, or following the event: one was shot by Capitol Police, another died of a drug overdose, and three died of natural causes’.
The intent of the 2000 invaders of the Capitol was to disrupt the counting of the votes for the new President of the United States, because they believed that ‘their’ candidate, Donald Trump, had been wrongfully deprived of the Presidency through voter fraud. Few of the protesters had weapons and most of those were not guns.
In its attempt to portray the violence of the protesters, Wikipedia notes that ‘the large majority of people charged with crimes relating to the attack had no known affiliation with far-right or extremist groups’ and that Pipe bombs were found at each of the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee headquarters, and Molotov cocktails were discovered in a vehicle near the Capitol’. Those statements from Wikipedia clearly demonstrate that neither pipe bombs or molotov cocktails or other weapons were held by the protesters on the Capitol site, nor was there a coordinated plot of ‘insurrection’.
To ‘take control’ of a government of 329 million people would clearly require considerably more weaponry than a few molotov cocktails in parked cars. The protesters therefore had no capacity to take control of the United States government, but were able to express their displeasure at what they considered to be a ‘stolen election’.
It is curious therefore that the vast majority of mainstream media- not just in the United States, but also in other Western countries, continues to portray those 2000 protesters as violent insurrectionists and a threat to democracy in the United States.
Leaving aside the fact that United States ‘democracy’ is a two part farce between largely identical factions ; the Republican and Democratic parties; both entirely corrupted by corporate money, it is more curious that the U.S. Democratic party and its mainstream media supporters continue to play up the threat of the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. The only agency able to actually violently overthrow the U.S. government is the U.S military, or possibly a foreign power.
Indeed President Biden’s recent speech on the anniversary of the January 6th protests continues to exaggerate the threat of a Trump supported insurrection with extraordinary hyperbole calling it the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” .
Given that almost 50% of the American voting population supported Trump at the last election, this seems a very foolish strategy for a President to take. A stateperson-like approach would surely acknowledge the differences between the parties and the need for peace and reconciliation. However the skills of reconciliation and diplomacy do not appear to be something that American politicians have much mastery of.
Attacking the political beliefs of 50% of your population as violent and unacceptable is not a sensible approach for any politician wishing to achieve great things – and be re-elected. (not too dissimilar to Hilary Clinton’s foolish disparagement of Trump supporters as ‘deplorables’, in the previous Presidential election). To deliberately undermine the opposing party’s supporters ( however foolish and misguided their views are) in such a caustic manner, is to fracture a nation .
While many Americans legitimately fear what a new Trump-like presidency would mean for them, the risk of some other organisation (and they would need to be highly organised) attempting to truly subvert the government, becomes ever more real as both political parties insist that democracy has already been subverted by the other.
The use of ‘terrorism’ terminology to describe those American citizens who oppose the U.S. government’ position on various issues, is again, a dangerous one. The United States has consistently used its foreign terrorism legislation and military mechanisms to murder, torture and ‘disappear’ people who thwart its ‘interests’ outside of its borders, at will, and without any regard for international norms or rights.
All of this hyperbole in an already violence fueled nation, is a recipe for disaster and disintegration. The United States desperately needs statesmen, not representatives of vested corporate interests in positions of power. Statesmen (and other genders) who understand that the United States is not , and never has been, that shining city on the hill that President Reagan once spoke about (“America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere’), that the United States is not the ‘exceptional nation’ and can only marginally be called a democracy, and that its history is stained with more than 200 years of savagery, bloodshed, treachery and infamy.
Statesmen who understand there needs to be radical real change in the United States before it begins to respect and support its own citizens, let alone the citizens of other countries – statesmen and women who understand that mealy-mouthed slogans and threats are not enough!