Friday, April 18, 2014

Ukrainian Offensive Falters

Ukrainian Offensive Falters

by Stephen Lendman

Western media headlined it. The New York Times said "Ukraine Push Against Rebels Grinds to a Halt." Things "unraveled in disarray."

An "entire contingent of 21 armored vehicles…surrendered or pull(ed) back…It was a glaring humiliation for the new government in Kiev. (Events) underscored (its) weakness."

The Wall Street Journal said "Ukraine's Efforts to Regain Control of East Sputter." Locals "halted army columns."

"The faltering 'antiterrorist' operation, launched a day earlier, leaves the government looking increasingly powerless in the face of separatists who are holding government buildings in as many as 10 cities close to the Russian border."

"The stumbling start underscored difficulties faced by the new government…(It) leaves Kiev with narrowing options."

"(M)uster(ing) more force…risk(s) further undermining its already shaky legitimacy in the east, as residents accuse it of sending soldiers against unarmed civilians."

BBC headlined "Ukraine crisis: Armored vehicle(s) 'rebranded as Russian." 

Russian flags were hoisted. Weapons were surrendered. Soldiers joined locals.

One resident asked: "Why did you come to our land? Why are you driving over our fields? We are peaceful people! And we just want our demands to be respected!"

Reuters said "pro-Moscow separatists took control of some of their armored vehicles and crowds surrounded another column, forcing the troops to hand over the pins from their rifles and retreat."

Other reports highlighted elite Ukrainian units defecting. They refused to attack unarmed civilians.

Ukrainian forces were lied to. They were ordered to wage an "anti-terrorism operation." One soldier perhaps spoke for others saying:

They were told "Russian invaders who have taken the local population hostage are waging war at us." Orders said "free Donbas from occupants."

"This morning, we started our attack, but the picture we saw (in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk) turned out to be completely different." 

"We saw in front of us a crowd of locals, mostly adults, women and men." 

"They explained to us that there are no occupants here and there is no one to fight. Instead, they gave us food and talked to us."

Dozens of soldiers vowed "not to follow orders and shoot at these people." Some sided with residents. Others stayed neutral.

APCs hoisted Russian flags. Elite units refused to obey orders. They fraternized with residents. They surrendered their weapons.

Following negotiations in Slavyansk, around 300 Ukrainian soldiers refused to fight. They agreed to go home. Locals cheered.

Media scoundrels lied. They didn't seize armored vehicles and weapons. Soldiers switched sides peacefully. A Slavyansk activist said:

"…Ukrainian troops arrived here flying a Russian flag. (T)hey have taken the side of the people."

Photos showed women and children climbing atop APCs. They fraternized with soldiers. In Pchyolkino village, similar scenes occurred.

Ukrainian troops were exhausted. According to one soldier:

"They've had us running around for about two months now. We're being sent to one city, then to the next. We cannot even wash, or eat normally or rest."

Others complained about media propaganda. "(F)ake information is spread." Doing so "creat(es) unnecessary tension." 

Soldiers found "no (local) aggression." Peaceful locals weren't threatening.

State-controlled Ukrainian media lied saying soldiers will "never surrender."

Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR) leader Vitali Kitschko allies with illegitimate fascist putschists.

He lied claiming Eastern Ukrainian pro-Russian supports get "300 to 500 dollars a day." Funds come "from abroad," he said. Moscow sends them, he added.

No evidence whatever suggests it. State-controlled Ukrainian media featured his comments.

Separately, they claimed they claimed Russian "shock troops" massed on Ukraine's border near Chernihiv, Sumy and Kharkov.

Ukrainian Center of Military and Political Studies head Dmytro Tymchuk lied, saying:

They consist of "airborne forces and special groups of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the Russian Federation." They're "battalion" sized tactical groups.

Another report said "(s)abotage and terrorist groups and local extremists have seized several armored vehicles of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region."

"In the center of the town the column was blocked by locals, including representatives of Russian subversive and terrorist groups."

So far, one exception proved the rule. Mariupol-based soldiers attacked unarmed civilians. 

Illegitimate putschist interior ministry head Arsen Avakov lied. He called them "armed militant." Three deaths were reported. Over a dozen others were injured.

Protesters approached the base peacefully. They posed no threat. They urged soldiers to support their struggle. They refused. 

They fired on defenseless civilians. Whether this type incident repeats remains to be seen. So far, Kiev's offensive failed.

Illegitimate putschist president Okeksandr Turchynov ordered Ukraine's 25th separate airborne brigade "disestablished."

It "showed cowardice and surrendered (its) arms," he said. Its members "will stand trial," he added. Kiev's prosecutor-general was told to prepare charges.

Illegitimate putschist prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk lied accusing Moscow of "exporting terrorism."

"The Russian government must immediately call off its intelligence-diversionary groups, condemn the terrorists and demand that they free the buildings," he said.

Eastern Ukrainian activists aren't terrorists. "Who are you at war with," they asked soldiers? "With which terrorists?" Local residents are peaceful. They threaten no one. 

One perhaps spoke for others, saying:

"Today, Ukrainian troops sided with the people. (T)roops sent to our city to suppress 'terrorism' " found none.

"We do not see any terrorism in our city. This means they have been sent to fight with peaceful civilians, with women and children…to fire at those women and elderly people who have gathered on the city's square."

"Before we had chance to talk with the boys, we had to feed them. It is because they threw those boys at us like kittens, to fire at us, but forgot to even provide them with food."

One soldier called himself a 25th paratrooper division member. "We are all boys who won’t shoot our own people, he said.

Kathrin Hille is Financial Times Beijing correspondent. She shills for power. She headlined "Putin: Russia's great propagandist," saying:

He "annex(ed) Crimea." On March 18, he "lashed out against a 'fifth column' of 'national traitors' enlisted by the West to subvert Russia."

"He vowed to respond forcefully." Hille called Russia's "imperfect democratic institutions under severe threat."

"Since the Crimea annexation, there have been frequent moves that symbolise a Soviet revival," she claimed.

No evidence whatever suggests it. Invented misinformation substitutes for hard facts. Russian democracy shames America's sham process.

Putin enjoys overwhelming popular support. Polls at times shows it tops 80%. Major Western leaders are scorned. 

Hille didn't explain. She claims "Putin is tightening his grip."

"The Russian government is determined to control the internet as part of its quest to tighten the noose around free speech."

Voice of Russia, RT International, RIAN, and other Russian media shame their Western counterparts.

They feature real news, information and analysis. Don't expect Hille to explain. 

She lied claiming "Putin brought almost all traditional media either directly under state ownership or into a position where they could be indirectly controlled…"

Western media feature Russia bashing. Putin is public enemy number one. He defends Russian sovereignty. He does so responsibly.

He opposes lawless US imperialism. He says what everyone needs to hear. 

A separate article discusses his April 17 annual televised Q & A session. He holds them with ordinary Russians.

In 2013, it ran a record four hours, 48 minutes. No Western leader matches him. Rare US events are carefully scripted. 

Regime supporters alone participate. They do so by invitation. Questions and answers resemble a love fest. Propaganda substitutes for straight talk.

Ongoing events are worrisome. Kiev wants direct NATO intervention. Putschist grip on power is weak without it. 

Eastern resistance shows its vulnerability. So do military units refusing to fight. London's Guardian said "large chunks of the east (are) in open revolt."

"Ukraine is rapidly vanishing as a sovereign state. Its army is falling apart."

"What was meant to be a show of strength" turned into a fiasco. Kiev declared war. 

It did so on Washington's orders. Soldiers refused to fight. It remains to be seen what follows.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Putin Speaks

Putin Speaks

by Stephen Lendman

On April 17, Putin held his annual televised Q & A session. He did it with ordinary Russians nationwide. He did it for the 12th time. Doing so connects with them. 

He responded to questions forthrightly. Most concerned Ukraine and Crimea. He covered lots of ground. 

Trust lost is hard to regain, he said. It's been "undermined to a great degree, but why is this happening?

"We believe in this situation we are not at fault." Restoring trust requires Washington abandoning its "double standards."

"We are not trying to undermine the relations between Russia and Europe, and I hope that this is not a part of our European partners' plans."

More on his comments below. Separately, Russia's Foreign Ministry said NATO exceeded the worst of Cold War rhetoric.

"The North Atlantic Treaty Organization made a series of publications lately, including 'Russia's accusations - setting the record straight,' in which NATO in its usual biased manner called Russia responsible for the recent crisis (in Ukraine)." 

"Moreover, NATO's recent anti-Russian political rhetoric has surpassed the propaganda during the aggression against Yugoslavia."

Moscow continues going all-out to change things. On April 17, Sergei Lavrov participated in four-party summit talks.

So did his US, EU and Ukrainian counterparts. They met in Geneva. They addressed Ukraine's crisis. 

Ahead of discussions, Lavrov said "deescalation, disarmament of illegal formations, constitutional reform and elections must be prioritized.

Most important is real constitutional reform, he said. Legitimate elections can't be held without it. Putin stressed it, saying:

"If the constitution is not changed, new elections cannot be held as President Viktor Yanukovych still remains the legitimate president."

Illegitimate putschists rule. Putin referred to presidential aspirant Oleh Tsarev's brutal beating saying:

"How can elections be legitimate if candidates from the east are always being beaten, poured with some kind of ink, and are not allowed to meet with the voters."

"The presidential race is proceeding in absolutely unacceptable forms. If it continues like this, we certainly will be unable to recognize the events that will follow May 25 as legitimate."

"The beginning of the preparation of a real constitutional reform, which would take into account the interests of all Ukrainian regions without exception is a key to the crisis settlement," Lavrov added.

"It must be real, and not cosmetic," he stressed. At the same time, he knows the futility of negotiating with Washington.

Its agenda is hardline. Hegemons operate this way. Expect nothing positive following Geneva. A deal was reached, Lavrov said after talks concluded.

It's not worth the paper it's written on. US history reflects promises made. Promises broken. The pattern repeats with disturbing regularity. Don't expect this time to be different.

According to Ukraine's illegitimate putschist UN envoy Yuriy Klinenko before talks began:

Kiev "does not intend to discuss at this meeting Ukrainian internal issues, so we will not discuss matters relating to Ukraine's federalization."

Lavrov took sharp issue, saying:

"Don't believe the statements suggesting that this meeting is not going to discuss the internal Ukrainian crisis. It's a blatant lie."

"We gather to discuss exactly the Ukrainian internal crisis." Focus will stress steps Russia and other parties must take.

Ukrainians must be involved, Lavrov said. "Because the crisis originates from a deep malfunction of Ukrainian statehood, and without the beginning of a dialogue with equal participation of all political forces and all regions, it is impossible to overcome this crisis."

Putin called allegations of Russian forces in Ukraine "nonsense. There are no Russian units in eastern Ukraine." 

"There are no Special Forces. There are no instructors. These are all local residents, and the best proof of this is that the people have literally removed their masks."

He hopes no military forces will be needed to protect the safety and security of Russian nationals.

"I remind you that the Russian Federation Council has given the president the right to use the armed forces in Ukraine," he said. It did so unanimously.

It did it without hostile intent. It focused solely on protecting fundamental civil and human rights.

"I hope that I won't have to use this right and that we will be able to solve all the pressing problems in Ukraine today by political and diplomatic means," Putin stressed.

At the same time, he's realistic. He knows Washington's dark side. Permanent war is official policy. So is eliminating Russia as a major military rival.

Putin addressed sending military forces against peaceful Eastern Ukrainian protesters. "Have they lost their minds," he said. 

"They are deploying tanks, armored vehicles and weaponry. Against whom? Are they nuts?" Crisis conditions can only be resolved diplomatically through dialogue, he stressed.

"The coup-appointed government in Kiev needs to come to its senses before we can negotiate."

Outside party intervention is unacceptable, he stressed. "Compromise must be reached between various political forces" internally, "not between third parties."

"This is of paramount importance. This is a keynote issue. All we can do from the outside is to support it in some way and go along with it."

Kiev must respect Crimeans' rights. International law affirms self-determination inviolability.  

"If we treat each other with respect, we will have to recognize each other's right of choice. People who live in Ukraine have to respect the choice of those who live in Crimea," said Putin.

They reject Kiev putschists. They acted legitimately against them. They did so to protect their sovereign rights. They acted independently.

"Nothing was prepared beforehand. Everything was done on the fly, so to speak, to accommodate the situation. But it was executed flawlessly and professionally," Putin added.

Independent monitors agreed. Everything went smoothly. Things were open, free and fair. Not a single irregularity was reported. Claims otherwise were false.

Kiev putschists usurped power lawlessly. They killed over 100 civilians and police doing so. Their rampaging continues unabated.

"Instead of realizing that something has gone wrong in the Ukrainian state and making attempts to start dialogue, they have intensified their threats to use force and have even decided to send tanks and aircraft against the civilian population," said Putin.

"It is another very serious crime on the part of the current Kiev authorities."

He said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen secretly recorded a conversation they had when he was Danish prime minister.

He leaked it to the press. "I couldn't believe my ears and eyes," said Putin. "What nonsense. How can you trust someone after an incident like that?"

He stressed the importance of "transparency, stability and partnership" in interpersonal relations.

Energy wars with Russia will harm European countries most, he said. "Can Europe stop buying Russian gas?" 

"I think it's impossible. Will they make themselves bleed? That's hard to imagine," he added.

He ruled out anything on Russia's part to erect a post-Soviet iron curtain. "We are not going to close our country and our people, and our public from anyone," he stressed.

He doesn't fear NATO expansion, he said. At the same time, "we have to bear the realities in mind." 

He called for assessing things pragmatically. "We will choke them all," he said. "What are you afraid of," he asked?

At the same time, Moscow strongly opposes further NATO expansion east. Encroaching near Russia's borders is unacceptable.

Putin remains open to cooperative relations. Suspending them helps neither side's interests or security.

His press secretary Dmitry Peskov he's well informed on major domestic and geopolitical issues. He reviewed many questions asked. He's mindful about public concerns.

A successful Q & A "is one that people watch, listen to, discuss, and the one that results in a range of the president's commissions," said Peskov.

Russians asked them by phone, text messages, emails and video services. Crimean and Sevastopol residents participated for the first time.

Moscow provided special toll free numbers to do it. Doing so encouraged calls. Edward Snowden participated. He spoke in English. He did so by prerecorded video.

"I'd like to ask you: does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals," he asked?

"And do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of intelligence or law enforcement investigations can justify our placing societies rather than subjects under surveillance?"

"Mass eavesdropping" like in America is "impossible," said Putin. "Russia's special services are under strict control."

"Mr Snowden, you're a former agent, I also had something to do with this, so we'll talk in a professional language."

"We have strict legal regulation of the use of special surveillance by special services, including tapping phone conversations, surveillance on the Internet and so on."

"Nevertheless, special services do use 'appropriate modern means' (to surveille) criminals and terrorists."

"Of course we do not allow ourselves to do it in a mass scale, on an uncontrolled scale. And I hope, I very much hope, we never will."

"We don't have the technological means and money the United States has, and most importantly, thank God, in our country, special services are under the control of the state and society and their activities are regulated by the law."

Putin said US/Moscow reset relations ended when Obama waged war on Libya. In 2011, he called Security Council Resolution 1973 "deficient and flawed."

"It allows everything, and is reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade. It effectively allows intervention in a sovereign state."

It's becoming a "trend," he added. "Now it's Libya's turn - under the pretext of protecting civilians. 

Where is the logic and conscience? There is neither. The ongoing events in Libya confirm that Russia is right to strengthen her defense capabilities."

He warned against direct foreign intervention against Syria. "Moscow won't allow anyone to repeat the Libyan scenario," he added. 

He forthrightly opposes attacking Iran. He drew a red line. He highlighted it against Ukraine. He'll defend Russia's vital issues responsibly. He's not rolling over for Washington.

Separately, Kiev putschists banned Russian males aged 16 - 60 from entering Ukraine. Crimeans and Sevastopol residents are included. Police states operate this way.

Ukrainian State Border Guard Service authorities said "these temporary measures apply primarily to healthy males who could somehow influence the situation in Eastern Ukraine."

Kiev outrageously holds Russia responsible for spontaneous grassroots resistance. Moscow isn't involved. 

Ordinary people want their rights respected. They want local autonomy. They reject putschist rule. They're Ukraine's best and bravest. They deserve worldwide support.

Note: A separate article will discuss four-party so-called Geneva agreement on deescalating Ukrainian crisis conditions.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Four-Party Agreement on Ukraine

Four-Party Agreement on Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

On April 17, Russian, US, EU and Ukrainian foreign ministers met in Geneva. Discussion focused on deescalating Ukrainian crisis conditions.

A joint document was agreed on. It's not worth the paper it's written on. Washington's word isn't its bond. Its history reflects one broken promise after another.

Don't expect this time to be different. Ukraine's crisis may escalate. Perhaps the worst of all possible outcomes will follow. The fullness of time will tell.

Following discussions Sergei Lavrov explained an agreement reached, saying:

All parties must refrain from "violence, intimidation, or provocative actions."

"Participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism."

Agreement "calls for an immediate commencement of a broad national dialogue which must be inclusive, transparent and accountable."

It must be "within the framework of the constitutional process, which must be inclusive and accountable."

It "must be resolved by the Ukrainians themselves concerning an end to the conflict."

Real constitutional reform is vital. Without it, legitimate May elections are impossible.

Illegal armed groups must be disarmed. Seized buildings throughout Ukraine must be freed.

"The measures we have stated concern all regions of Ukraine without exception and all problematic questions without exception," said Lavrov.

"An amnesty for all the protesters must take place, except for those who committed grave crimes.

"Those who took power in Kiev as a result of a coup - if they consider themselves as representing the interests of all the Ukrainians - must show the initiative, extend a friendly hand to the regions, listen to their concerns, and sit down with them at the negotiation table."

All Ukrainians must agree on decisions reached. They "must be mutually acceptable...as this is a guarantee of stability of the Ukrainian state with due regard for the linguistic peculiarities of different regions of the country."

Russia supports OSCE monitoring. It endorses constructive dialogue among all sides.

"We urge the special monitoring mission of the OSCE to play a leading role, in accordance with its mandate, in assisting Ukrainians and the Kiev authorities in carrying out measures to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine."

"We will support the work of this mission to foster dialogue between the sides in order to unblock the situation step by step."

"We have agreed to meet in different formats" by way of followup.

Agreement terms exclude specific guidelines for a future political system.

"We did not use any terms," said Lavrov. "There are federations where the rights of the regions are limited, and there are unitary states in name only where the regions have broad authority."

Lavrov said Ukrainians are responsible for their own stability. They must ensure "each region can protect its history and language."

"Only then will Ukraine be a strong state, a proverbial bridge between the East and the West."

Lavrov provided his US, EU and Ukrainian counterparts with documents Eastern Ukrainians prepared.

They call for "a through vision of how their interests should be reflected in the new (Ukrainian) constitution."

Washington has "decisive influence" over Kiev putschists, said Lavrov. He wants it used responsibly to resolve crisis conditions.

He knows how America operates. It takes a giant leap of faith to believe it supports doing the right thing.

He said Russia "does not want to send any troops to Ukraine." Doing so runs against "the fundamental interests of the Russian federation," he added.

His chief concern is protecting the rights of all Ukrainians, including Russian nationals. He wants them respected.

He called undermining Ukraine's non-aligned status unacceptable.

"The fact that Ukraine has chosen non-aligned status and enshrined it in its law must be respected by all and there should not be any attempts to doubt it or to erode its meaning," he stressed.

He categorically rejected allegations of Moscow instigating Eastern resistance.

The New York Times reported agreement terms its way. It "calls for armed pro-Russian bands to give up the government buildings they have seized in eastern Ukraine and outlines other steps to de-escalate the crisis," it said.

It "does not specifically require Russia to remove the approximately 40,000 troops it has on Ukraine’s border, as President Obama has demanded."

It can't remove what's not there. No Russian hoards threaten Ukraine. No invasion is planned. No aggression. No seizure of Ukrainian land.

Russia isn't committed "to holding direct talks with the interim Ukrainian government, which has been another American demand," said the Times.

Putin was clear and unequivocal. He rejects Kiev putschists. He called them "illegitimate." Ukrainians deserve real democracy, he said.

Viktor Yanukovych remains Ukraine's legitimate president. Claiming otherwise is false.

Don't expect The Times to explain. It supports putschist governance. It said US officials want Ukraine given time for its May elections "without more extensive Russian interference."

None whatever exists. Russia respects national sovereignty. Washington ignores it. Ousting democratic governments is Exhibit A. So is assassinating foreign leaders.

High crimes too grave to ignore reflect longstanding US policy. It bears repeating. Don't expect The Times to explain.

Agreement terms excludes Crimean/Russian reunification. Washington and rogue EU partners falsely accused Moscow of orchestrating Eastern Ukrainian resistance.

John Kerry wants all government seized buildings vacated. He holds Russia responsible for assuring it. Local activists acted on their own volition.

"If there is no progress in these next days, then there will be additional sanctions, additional costs," said Kerry.

Unresolved is whether federalizing Ukraine will follow. Growing numbers of Eastern Ukrainians demand local autonomy.

They reject fascist rule. It remains to be seen how they'll react. Their demands are fundamental. Expect likely resistance if they're not met.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Ukraine on the Brink

Ukraine on the Brink

by Stephen Lendman

Obama declared war on Ukraine. He dispatched CIA chief John Brennan to Kiev. He arrived with administration instructions.

Obama's proxy putschist stooges were unleashed to wage war on Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters. The battle for Ukraine's soul escalated.

The country is "on the verge of civil war," said Putin. Prime Minister  Medvedev said the same thing. Putschists launched violence.

"The illegal rulers are trying to restore the order they cynically trampled on when they participated in an armed uprising," Medvedev added.

Their military forces headed east. Tanks, armored vehicles and artillery are on the move. An assault on activist controlled Eastern Ukrainian cities began.

Kramatorsk's airfield was stormed. Gunfire and explosions were heard. Ukrainian warplanes were involved.

Soldiers manning six tanks switched sides. They hoisted Russian flags. A local resident said:

"We found them at a square near the railway station. A group of women surrounded them." 

"We started telling them we were peaceful residents who are just fighting for their rights and that there are no terrorists. They won't shoot us."

"The main armored transport vehicle had a Russian flag on it and they left together with our insurgents towards Slavyansk."

"We are deeply concerned over the military operation launched by the Ukrainian special forces with support of the army. There have already been victims," he said.

"Current events demonstrate persistent unwillingness of Kiev's authorities to organize a dialogue with Ukrainian regions, which is necessary for the country," he added.

On Tuesday, Slavyansk was attacked. According to Donbass people's militia head Sergey Tsyplakov:

"Currently there is a major attack on Slavyansk. Armored personnel vehicles are entering the city."

"There are many troops. The men are getting ready to defend" the city. "There is a lot of military machinery here. But the shooting hasn't started yet."

An uneasy calm awaits a likely storm. Activists still maintain control. Hundreds gathered in central Skavyansk. 

They're not leaving. They want local autonomy. So do growing thousands across Eastern Ukraine. They're putting their bodies on the line for freedom.

One activist said civil war erupted. So far no major hostilities. Just local flareups. It remains to be seen what's next.

Fascists operate lawlessly. Washington runs things. Putschists are proxy stooges. Claiming they acted with "great caution" is polar opposite truth. So is saying they're "prov(ing) law and order."

Behind the scenes manipulation is longstanding US practice.

Sergei Lavrov condemned using military force against Eastern Ukrainian civilians.

"We will seek tranquility and insist on the respect of Kiev leaders for the opinions and demands of the southeast and Ukrainian citizens who live there, as well as on negotiations aimed to de-escalate the situation rather than escalate it with the involvement of law enforcement authorities, moreover, the army, which is clearly prohibited by Ukrainian law," he said.

Putschists have no legitimacy. Growing numbers of Eastern Ukrainians reject them. East/West divisions threaten civil war.

"(U)nity state (authority) stopped working in Ukraine," Lavrov added.

"Its foundations were shattered by a series of political disasters that were shaking the country for years." 

"One of the main reasons of such situation is the absence of a balanced basic law in Ukraine, which adequately takes into account the interests of all ethnic and language groups and ensures the rights and interests of all the citizens of Ukraine."

"It is impossible to consider the situation, when after each Presidential election the Constitution of the country fixing a particular form of government was changed depending on the desire of the victorious political forces, to be normal."

"Therefore, federalization is a way to ensure that each region feels comfortable and secured in his rights, traditions and traditional ways of life."

"All this should be reflected in the reformed Constitution, and the multi-ethnic Ukrainian society should treat it as a reliable foundation of the legal state meant for a long-term perspective." 

"I am convinced that it will be difficult for Ukraine to preserve its unity and to solve urgent tasks aimed at overcoming the current severe crisis."

"Of course, no one can dictate a scheme of organizing a state system to the Ukrainian side. But Ukrainians must start a dialogue and ensure its inclusive and comprehensive character." 

"The idea is that all regions and political forces of Ukraine, without exceptions, should participate in it on an equal basis and have equal rights in solving essential issues."

Media scoundrels twist truth daily. They disgrace themselves in the process. They're presstitutes. They make street whores look respectable by comparison.

On April 15, The New York Times continued its daily Russia bashing. Gore Vidal once called The Times the "Typhoid Mary of American journalism."

He did so for good reason. It headlined "Russia Is Quick to Bend Truth About Ukraine."

It called above quoted Putin and Medvedev comments "bluster and hyperbole." It lied calling their honest assessment "misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and, occasionally outright lies…"

It claimed "an extraordinary (Kremlin) propaganda campaign." A "new brazenness," it added.

A "24-hour vortex of alarmist proclamations of Western (sponsored) aggression…"

"Sinister claims of rising fascism and breathless accounts of imminent hostilities by the 'illegal' Ukrainian government in Kiev…"

You can't make this stuff up. It bears repeating what earlier articles stressed. All the news Times editors call fit to print isn't fit to read.

Truth is systematically buried. Lies, damn lies and bigger ones substitute. Times editors and management notoriously support lawless US imperialism. 

Their longstanding overall record is deplorable. It's worst of all when America goes to war, plans one or uses proxy stooges. Unquestioning support follows.

A companion April 15 Times article headlined "UN Cites Abuses in Crimea Before Annexation Vote."

A litany of lies followed. A previous article discussed duplicitous human rights misinformation on Ukraine. Not according to The Times.

It reported bald-faced lies as truth. It said Crimea's model democratic voting process was "rigged." 

It falsely claimed harassment, journalist abductions and torture occurred. It ignored independent monitors saying Crimea's process was scrupulously open, free and fair. 

Not a single irregularity took place. Not a sign of wrongdoing. No crimes were committed before, during or after Crimeans voted. Claims otherwise were false.

Twisting truth for power is longstanding Times policy. It's buried. Readers are systematically lied to. Misinformation is featured.

Washington propaganda is worst of all. On March 5, the State Department published misinformation on Russia. It claimed Putin "fiction."

Russia "spins a false narrative to justify its 'illegal' actions in Ukraine," it said. It wrongfully claimed "Russian aggression in the Ukraine."

A litany of lies followed. More on April 13. The State Department headlined "Russian Fiction the Sequel: 10 More False Claims About Ukraine."

It lied claiming "Russia continues to spin a false and dangerous narrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine." 

"The Russian propaganda machine continues to promote hate speech and incite violence by creating a false threat in Ukraine that does not exist." 

"We would not be seeing the violence and sad events that we've witnessed this weekend without this relentless stream of disinformation and Russian provocateurs fostering unrest in eastern Ukraine.

More lies, damn lies, and bigger ones followed.

(1) "Russia Claims: Russian agents are not active in Ukraine."

No evidence suggests otherwise. Not according to the State Department. 

It said Kiev putschists arrested "more than a dozen 'suspected' Russian intelligence agents…"

Innocent victims are targeted. Lies substitute for truth.

(2) "Russia Claims: Pro-Russia demonstrations are comprised exclusively of Ukrainian citizens acting of their own volition…"

Again no corroborating evidence refutes this. "This is not the grassroots Ukrainian civic activism of the EuroMaidan movement," said the State Department.

No "grassroots" activism existed. Washington orchestrated Kiev lawlessness. It manipulated events disruptively. 

It funded fascist thugs. It did so to unleash violence. It ousted Ukraine's democratically elected government.

(3) "Russia Claims: Separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine enjoy broad popular support."

The State Department claims a "large majority" of Donetsk region residents reject them.

No evidence suggests it. Growing thousands across Eastern Ukraine reject Kiev putschists. The State Department didn't explain.

(4) "Russia Claims: The situation in eastern Ukraine risks spiraling into civil war."

It's happening. It risks spilling cross-border. It risks a potential East/West confrontation.

Uprisings "would not be happening without Russian disinformation and provocateurs fostering unrest," claims the State Department. 

They "would not be happening if a large Russian military force were not massed on the border, destabilizing the situation through their overtly threatening presence."

No Russian disinformation exists. No provocateurs. No Russian forces massed on Ukraine's border. No threatening presence. State Department Big Lies don't wash.

(5) "Russia Claims: Ukrainians in Donetsk rejected the illegitimate authorities in Kyiv and established the independent 'People's Republic of Donetsk.' "

Not according to the State Department. It ignored mass anti-Kiev opposition. It lied claiming a "small number of separatists" are involved.

For every one active on Donetsk streets and elsewhere across Eastern Ukraine, hundreds, perhaps many thousands, more support them.

(6) "Russia Claims: Russia ordered a 'partial drawdown' of troops from the Ukrainian border."

"No evidence" suggests it, said the State Department. Russian forces are involved in nonthreatening military exercises.

Western monitors observed them. They've had direct contact with Russian commanders. 

They took on site photos. They reported no irregularities. Nothing suggests Moscow threatens Ukraine. US officials lie claiming otherwise.

(7) "Russia Claims: Ethnic Russians in Ukraine are under threat."

The State Department lied claiming no threat exists. Neo-Nazi thugs run key ministries. They hate all opposition elements. They live under threat. Their lives and safety are endangered.

(8) "Russia Claims: Ukraine's new government is led by radical nationalists and fascists."

The State Department twisted truth claiming otherwise. Neo-Nazi thugs prominently display swastikas, Iron Crosses, SS insignia and other fascist symbols.

US officials ignore it. Obama's new friends are thugs. They represent the worst of societal misfits. 

They threaten all Ukrainians. They threaten regional peace. They risk turning Ukraine's crisis into global conflict.

(9) "Russia Claims: Ethnic minorities face persecution in Ukraine from the 'fascist' government in Kyiv."

All Ukrainians are at risk. Fascists tolerate no opposition. Presidential aspirant Oleg Tsarev is Exhibit A. He opposes Kiev putschists.

A previous article discussed him. Neo-Nazi Right Sector Sector thugs attacked him. They brutally beat him. He's hospitalized in critical condition. Washington ignored what happened. Scoundrel media buried the story.

His candidacy stands. He's not pulling out. If he recovers, maybe putschist thugs will kill him. Fascists operate this way. Obama supports them.

(10) "Russia Claims: Russia is not using energy and trade as weapons against Ukraine."

The State Department lied claiming otherwise. Since 2009, Moscow subsidized Ukraine's economy.

It provided unprecedented natural gas discounts. They totaled $17 billion. Plus another $18.4 billion Ukraine incurred as a minimal "take-or-pay fine."

"No other country provided such support except Russia," said Putin. Western ones provided none.

They want Ukraine colonized. Plundering its resources is planned. Exploiting its people. Turning Ukraine into a pro-Western vassal state. Incorporating it into NATO. 

Deploying US nuclear armed missiles on Russia's borders. Threatening regional peace and stability unconscionably. Risking WW III.

Don't expect the State Department to explain. Or neocon infesting Washington. 

Or supportive scoundrel media. War winds head dangerously toward gale force. Risks demanding headlines are buried.

A Final Comment

On April 16, Odessa anti-Maidan activists proclaimed the People's Republic of Odessa. They issued a statement saying:

"From today, Odessa region becomes the People's Republic of Odessa, where the power belongs to the people living in its territory."

City residents were urged to prevent outside traffic from entering except ambulances. Odessa activists joined their counterparts in over a dozen other Eastern Ukrainian cities.

Growing protests demand local autonomy and democratic rights.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


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