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VIDEO: When the New York Times covered up one of communism’s worst atrocities

A drama about the Holodomor, the 1930s genocide in Ukraine, is also a warning about fake news.


One of the great, universal truths is that everybody lies. From tiny white lies to great big whoppers, everyone does it, even babies. Don’t believe me?

“Sorry I’m late, traffic was terrible.”

“It’s so great to see you!”

“Doing well, thanks for asking!”

“I have read and agree to the above terms and conditions.”

These are just a handful of the easy, casual lies that we all offer up on an everyday basis. And much of the time, these kinds of lies are fairly harmless. These tiny deceptions are baked into most of our social interactions and, in many ways, grease the wheels of polite society. After all, how awkward and uncomfortable would our conversations be if we actually told the truth every time someone asked how we’re doing?

These are the lies we expect to be told and are expected to tell. And while I would personally like to see more honesty in everyone’s day-to-day interactions, I understand the purpose of these kinds of deceptions.

That said, the truth always matters. We may expect some level of insincerity in certain situations, but in others, honesty is more than simply suggested—it’s required.

When it comes to reporting news, telling the truth is vitally important.

The term “fake news” has been abused to the point of uselessness, but false reporting does exist and has for a long time. The information we receive through various media outlets and platforms is frequently critical for how we plan our days and how we plan our lives. When that information is false, intentionally or not, it can cause us very real problems.

Sometimes, the consequences are as simple and relatively benign as getting caught in the rain without an umbrella. Sometimes, though—and especially with intentionally misleading or false information—the results can be devastating to livelihoods and lives.

One of the most egregious examples of this was the coordinated cover-up of the Holodomor—a famine in the Ukraine deliberately created by the Soviet Union in 1932 and ’33.

In the span of a year, decreased output due to the forced collectivization of farms and the confiscation of foodstuffs by the Soviet army led to the deaths of between seven and ten million people, mostly ethnic Ukrainians. It was, in short, a genocide by means of starvation.

Freelance reporter Gareth Jones broke the story. He did what he was supposed to do as a journalist. He told the truth.

Unfortunately, Jones’s reporting shined an incredibly unflattering light on the fact that the news reports coming out of Moscow regarding the impressive successes of Soviet agriculture were false. Walter Duranty, the Moscow Bureau Chief for the New York Times, and the rest of the foreign press corps in Moscow promptly launched a coordinated campaign to discredit Jones’s reporting, despite the fact they all knew Jones was telling the truth.

Eugene Lyons, who was the Moscow correspondent for United Press at the time, even wrote in his 1937 book Assignment in Utopia:

Throwing down Jones was as unpleasant a chore as fell to any of us in years of juggling facts to please dictatorial regimes—but throw him down we did, unanimously and in almost identical formulations of equivocation. Poor Gareth Jones must have been the most surprised human being alive when the facts he so painstakingly garnered from our mouths were snowed under by our denials. … There was much bargaining in a spirit of gentlemanly give-and-take, under the effulgence of [Foreign Press Corps Soviet Official Konstantin] Umansky’s gilded smile, before a formal denial was worked out. We admitted enough to soothe our consciences, but in roundabout phrases that damned Jones as a liar. The filthy business having been disposed of, someone ordered vodka and zakuski.

It should be noted that both Duranty and Lyons were true believers in the communist cause and didn’t hesitate to use their positions as arbiters of truth to deceive the western world regarding the actual situation in the Soviet Union. As a result, around ten million people were starved to death during the Holodomor, and yet the Soviet Union continued to be propped up by Western governments and their investments. Furthermore, in total, approximately 100 million people have been killed by communist states since the Bolshevik Revolution which was allowed, in part, by the deceptions of professional “truth-tellers.”

This is not to say that bias, in and of itself, is to blame. Another great, universal truth is that everyone has some kind of bias. No matter how hard we try to be objective and relate only the facts, at least a little bit of that bias is going to show through. But there isn’t anything inherently wrong with having a bias, especially when it’s acknowledged.

The problems come when the bias in people we rely on to report the actual facts internally absolves them of telling outright lies to further their ideological goals.

This is not a problem of the past, either. Whether it’s an incident of claiming to have COVID-19 when they don’t or building an entire career out of fabricated “news” articles, the long and sordid story of falsified reports continues to this day.

This kind of “reporting” isn’t limited to simply lying, either. Blithely passing along uninvestigated press releases or unconfirmed allegations as fact also damages our trust in news media. Given how common such reporting is, it’s no wonder trust in news media in the US is only about 29 percent.

And then we wonder why so few people comply with suggestions and warnings given by the news media.

A commonly-offered solution to this problem with news media trust is fact-checking by a small handful of officially approved arbiters. However, the reason that Duranty and the New York Times, Lyons and the United Press, and the other members of the foreign press corps in Moscow were able to cover up the horrors of the Holodomor is precisely because only a handful of media outlets were considered legitimate.

Policies, regardless of who institute them, that centralize the distribution and judgment of truth would end up doing the opposite of what they intend. We would be right back to the bad old days of journalism where media monopolies could spread misinformation largely unchallenged.

It’s not hard to find some pretty spectacular fact-checking failures, and this is beside the fact that people tend to reject fact-checks that contradict their core beliefs regardless.

We in the US enjoy fairly robust legal protections for free speech and a free press, which, to be clear, is good thing. But what can we do when reporters don’t do their jobs correctly?

The solution is not to curb or restrict speech that doesn’t meet certain criteria. And it’s certainly not to limit the sources of various kinds of information. The only way to improve speech is to encourage more speech. We need an actual marketplace of ideas where consumers of information are able to judge for themselves what sources of that information meet their quality requirements and which do not.

The solution isn’t a single, official voice of truth. It’s billions of voices. It’s the competition of different ideas and their purveyors. It’s individuals thinking for themselves and accepting the responsibility that comes with that.

The reason the true believers of the Moscow foreign press corps faked their stories was that they feared the truth would hinder the cause they’d placed their faith in. But if a cause can be crushed by the simple telling of truth, it’s not much of a cause at all.

The truth matters and the truth will out, even in our world of “fake news” and clickbait.

But only if we let it and only if we demand it.

This article is republished from The Foundation for Economic Freedom under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Jen Maffessanti

Jen Maffessanti is a Senior Writer at FEE and mother of two. When she’s not advocating for liberty or chasing kids, she can usually be found cooking or maybe racing cars. Check out her website

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Could the Allies have Bombed Auschwitz? Controversy and Reality

Dr. Rafael L. Medoff, executive director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies once again on the eve Yom Ha Shoah 2016 raised the issue of why the allies couldn’t have bombed the death factory at Auschwitz Birkenau during 1944. A period when the USAAF 8th and 15th Air Forces were already bombing oil refineries and the Buna works less than five miles away. Medoff is the author of FDR and the Holocaust, A Breach of Faith.

Auschwitz-Burkenau Extermination Camp 8 15 1944What prompted revisiting this controversy was a Jerusalem Post article by Medoff critical of a  2015 book exonerating  FDR’s role in the decision not to bomb the Auschwitz- Birkenau, “New Whitewash of FDR;’s failure to bomb Auschwitz.”  Medoff wrote:

Alonzo Hamby is the author of a 2015 biography of president Franklin D. Roosevelt which defends FDR’ s failure to bomb Auschwitz, on the grounds that it was too far away for US planes to reach. George McGovern, the US senator and 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, was one of the World War II pilots who actually bombed oil sites at Auschwitz – proving that it was, in fact, not out of reach at all.

Hamby is a prominent historian and the author of a biography of Harry S. Truman as well as several other well-received books [wrote]:

“The death camps were located in areas largely beyond the reach of American military power,” Hamby writes in Man of Destiny: FDR and the Making of the American Century. And: “Auschwitz was in a Soviet area of operations and at the outer limit of American bomber range.”

And yet, American bombers did repeatedly bomb German oil factories that were situated in the slave labor sections of Auschwitz.

On August 7, 1944, US bombers attacked the Trzebinia oil refineries, just 21 km. from the gas chambers. On August 20, 127 US bombers… struck oil factories less than 8 km. from the gas chambers.

A teenage slave laborer named Elie Wiesel witnessed the August 20 raid. A glance at Wiesel’s best-selling book Night would have enlightened Hamby. Wiesel wrote: “If a bomb had fallen on the blocks [the prisoners’ barracks], it alone would have claimed hundreds of victims on the spot. But we were no longer afraid of death; at any rate, not of that death. Every bomb that exploded filled us with joy and gave us new confidence in life. The raid lasted over an hour. If it could only have lasted ten times ten hours!”

There were additional Allied bombings of the Auschwitz oil factories throughout the autumn.

My late brother in law as serving officer during  WWII was involved with the planning and deployment of  US 8th Air Force B-17’s based on Poltava in the Western Ukraine less than 120 miles from Auschwitz that flew some of those missions. Another late acquaintance, who was lead navigator for Gen Ira Eaker of the 15th USAAF based at Foggia, Italy  recalled using the crematoria as aiming points for bombing missions on the I.G. Farben Buna-Monwitz  works less than five miles away.

What follows  are excerpts from my 2009  and 2012 New English Review articles  summarizing the controversy, feasibility and reality of whether USAAF bombing runs  could have destroyed the Auschwitz Birkenau complex in 1944.

The Bombing of Auschwitz controversy

On September 9, 2003, a squadron of Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-15’s flew over Auschwitz in southern Poland directly from Israel. The squadron flew the ‘missing man’ formation symbolic of the Six Million European Jewish men, women and children murdered in unspeakable ways by the Nazi death camp machinery in the Final Solution, the Holocaust, or Shoah. An Agence France Presse report noted:

The F-15s, emblazoned with the Star of David, were piloted by the sons or grandsons of Holocaust victims who perished in Poland, according to the Israeli ambassador to Warsaw.

An Israeli air force statement said that as the jets flew low across the sky the pilot leading the squadron, General Amir Eshel, said: “We pilots of the air force, in the skies over these camps of shame, have risen from the ashes of millions of victims. We are the voice for their silent calls. We salute their heroism and promise to be the shield of the Israeli homeland.”

Watch this You Tube video of the 2003 IAF flyover of Auschwitz Birkenau:

The flyover of Auschwitz by the IAF was objected to by the Auschwitz Birkenau Museum as inappropriate to venerate the 1.4 million Jews murdered at the death camp complex. It was nevertheless symbolic on several levels.

It demonstrated that a Jewish sovereign nation would not permit another existential annihilationist assault, as it had the ability to take up arms to pre-empt it. There was no Jewish nation with an Army, Navy and Air Force to prevent the madness of Hitler’s Holocaust during WWII.

It brought into question what Allied air power might have done to disrupt and destroy the killing machinery at Auschwitz Birkenau, when it had the intelligence, aircraft, and crews in Italy and the Ukraine in 1944, which could have undertaken missions that might have saved hundreds of thousands of Hungarian and other European Jews from death. Dr. David Wyman, a critic of Allied war efforts to destroy death camps, estimated that an air assault might have spared the lives of 150,000 Jews whose progeny today might number more than 2 million.

In 1998, during the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of Israel, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu visited Auschwitz on another Yom Ha Shoah and criticized the Allied lack of effort to save European Jews by striking at the death camp from the air:

All that was needed was to bomb the train tracks. The Allies bombed the targets nearby. The pilots only had to nudge their crosshairs.

You think they didn’t know? They knew. They didn’t bomb because at the time the Jews didn’t have a state, nor the political force to protect themselves.

The ‘what if’ question of ‘Could the Allies have bombed Auschwitz?’ and the killing machinery to save Jews, especially the nearly 433,000 Hungarian Jews who went to their deaths between May 2nd and July 13th, 1944 has been the subject of controversy since the liberation of the death camp on January 27, 1945. It has been the subject of intensive research and debate.

In 1978 Professor David S. Wyman brought the matter to a head in an article –“Why Auschwitz was Never Bombed,” Commentary 65, May, 1978  – on the feasibility of special air operations using the ‘wonder planes’ of WWII, the British Mosquitoes and the American Lockheed P-38’s. The speedy and highly maneuverable DeHaviland Mosquitoes were made out of marine plywood.  Wyman said if the RAF could use the Mosquitoes in special ops to free European resistance fighters, why not use it to stop the killing machinery in Auschwitz. Wyman later expanded on this in his 1984 bestselling book,The Abandonment of the Jews.” Wyman further said:

 …there is no question that bombing the gas chambers and crematoria would have saved many lives. ….without gas chambers and crematoria, the Nazis would have to reassess the extermination program.

Within a year after the publication of the Wyman article, the first archival aerial photos of the Auschwitz Birkenau death camp complex were released based on an analysis by photo intelligence expert Dino Brugioni of the CIA. They clearly indicated that British and U.S. Air Forces had targeting information in their files as early as the spring of 1944 with which to develop possible missions.

In 2000, the National Holocaust Memorial published a symposium on the ‘what if’ question of “The Bombing of Auschwitz: Should the Allies Have Attempted it?’ edited by Michael J. Neufeld and Michael Berenbaum pulling together the contending arguments and supporting data and information.

NSA Historian Hanyok’s conclusion, in a 2005 study, “Eavesdropping on Hell, was that institutional anti-Semitism in both London and Washington, DC, despite Churchill’s instructions to his Air Minister ‘to do everything possible’ and the overarching objective of destroying the Nazi war fighting capabilities led responsible officials to consider proposals for bombing the railway marshaling and, railway lines and the Birkenau killing center gas chambers and crematoria as a ‘diversion.”

Washington officials, especially Assistant Secretary of War, John J. McCloy considered such requests as ‘impossible” and ‘risky,’ given the air war commitments in the European Theater of Operations. Later McCloy put the onus on FDR for making the decision not to bomb Auschwitz.

McCloy was quoted by Miller as saying:

bombing the camp would involve a diversion of considerable air support essential to the success of our forces now engaged in decisive operations.”

A Mission to Auschwitz would be an Eight Air Force operation, a highly risky ‘round trip flight unescorted of approximately 2000 miles over enemy territory.

A 2012 study by the US  Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC reveals the opposition by WWII American President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) to bombing the Auschwitz Birkenau death complex in Southern Poland in the summer of 1944.  The findings of the USHMM study on wartime allied and Jewish Zionist leaders over the decision not to bomb Auschwitz were the subject of an EnerPub article, “Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Sin of Omission: Auschwitz” by former US diplomat, Martin Barillas.  Barillas noted the contrast with Britain’s wartime leader, Sir Winston Churchill:

 Churchill appeared interested in a military strike against the camps. He told Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden that Hitler’s war against the Jews was “probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world,” adding, “Get everything out of the Air Force you can, and invoke me, if necessary.” In July 1944 Churchill was told that U.S. bomber pilots could do the job best, but that it would be “costly and hazardous.”

The Feasibility of Bombing Auschwitz

In contrast to McCloy’s misleading statements, the reality was we could have done that and more. The resources involved-aircraft sorties, bomb ordnance and air crew losses were a finite fraction of overall air war capabilities of both the 8th and 15th USAAF. Moreover, if the bombing campaign had begun in June, 1944 for example, the weather and meager fighter aircraft and flak gun threats were most favorable to such a mission that could have destroyed the killing machinery at Auschwitz Birkenau.

The fact was that bombing Budapest on July 2nd by the heavy bombers of the 15th USAAF and intercepts by Hungarian intelligence of Jewish Agency requests from Geneva for bombing Auschwitz brought the death transports to a halt sparing the remainder of Hungary’s besieged Jews – approximately 300,000 – until Swedish businessman diplomat and hero Raoul Wallenberg arrived with the aid of the U.S. War Refugee Board and Joint Distribution Committee funds to put many Jews in Budapest in ’safe houses” until the Russians arrived in early 1945.

Based on several feasibility assessments in the Neufeld – Berenbaum study here is what could have been done:

8th USAAF B-17 heavy bombers flying from Operation FRANTIC shuttle bases at Poltava  in the Western Ukraine 150 miles away and 15th USAAF B-24 heavy bombers flying out Foggia, Italy 640 miles away could have raided Auschwitz Birkenau from June to September, 1994. Weather conditions and enemy fighter and flak gun threats over the ‘targets’ during this period were favorable for an Auschwitz Birkenau mission. There were available mission planning target folder and aerial recon photos from I.G. Farben Buna-Monwitz plant mission less than 7 miles from Birkenau killing center.

An estimated 300 sorties involving upwards of 75 heavy bombers dropping between 900 to 1,800 tons of bombs over a two to three week period would have accomplished the mission. This was equivalent to less than 7% of all sorties flown in July, 1944.

The July 2, 1944 15th USAAF raid on Budapest effectively stopped the ‘death transports’ when requests for bombing rail marshaling yards and rail lines leading to Auschwitz by the Jewish Agency in Geneva were intercepted by Hungarian Intelligence.  Unfortunately, by then, more than 433,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered, but 300,000 were ’spared”. Professor Wyman estimated that if an Auschwitz Birkenau raid had been attempted that would have spared an additional 150,000 Jews perhaps resulting in an additional 2 million, today.

However, the reality is that air war priorities and official indifference precluded the raids from occurring and that half of the Hungarian Jews were murdered before any raids could have been launched. It was left to courageous Jewish women supplying Sonderkommando at the Birkenau killing facility with explosives to destroy Crematorium IV on October 7, 1944 forcing the SS to eventually stop and destroy the death machinery in January 1945.

For more information view this comprehensive PowerPoint presentation by the author, “Could the Allies Have Bombed Auschwitz”.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Dealing with Putin: “Bomb Assad; Arm Ukraine”

Dr. Michael Rubin, Resident Scholar at the Washington, DC, American Enterprise Institute will be one of our guests on the Lisa Benson Show, Sunday, October 4th. He is the author of Dancing with the Devil:  the Perils of Engaging with Rogue RegimesWe published both a review of Dancing with the Devils and an interview with Rubin in the March 2014 New English Review. The introduction to our interview noted:

We met Rubin in 2005 when he returned to Yale to discuss his experience as a former Pentagon official on Iran and Iraq who also served as a political advisor to the Provisional Coalition Authority. He spoke about the emergence of the nuclear Iran threat under the “reformist” regime in Tehran led by Ayatollah Khatami. See Rubin’s background and blog at the AEI website, here and here. Our interview with Rubin ranged across an array of prevailing issues. Among these are the Iranian nuclear and ICBM threat and Putin’s great game of one sided politics in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. He also addressed Pakistan’s tolerance of terrorism and the lack of US support for the Kurds in both Iraq and Syria. He criticized the folly of the Administration’s support of Turkey under Premier Erdogan and the folly of its lead in the Final Status negotiations with the Palestinians imperiling Israel’s security.

As regards Putin and his current demarche to the Administration in Syria this exchange with Rubin from our interview illustrates how clear-eyed was his response:

Gordon:  How dangerous to American interests is Russian President Putin’s great game strategy in the Middle East?

Rubin:  Very. The problem is that Americans tend to see diplomacy as a means to compromise, a win-win solution. However, Putin sees international relations as a zero-sum game in which for Russia to win, everyone else must lose. When Neville Chamberlain goes up against Machiavelli, Machiavelli wins.

Rubin published in Commentary Magazine on October 2, 2015 some prescriptions on how to deal with Putin, “Bomb Assad; Arm Ukraine”.  Doubtless President Obama would aver, given his White House press conference yesterday.

Note what Obama said in response to a question from CBS Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett regarding his former Secretary of State and Democrat presidential hopeful, Hillary’s Clinton’s change of heart on Syria in this Breitbart News report:

President Obama found himself in a bit of a conundrum after he denounced critics of his Syria policy as being full of “mumbo jumbo” and “half-baked ideas.”

In response, CBS reporter Major Garrett questioned Obama whether Hillary Clinton’s proposal to enforce a no-fly zone in Syria was a half-baked idea.

“Hillary Clinton is not half-baked in terms of her approach to these problems,” Obama said carefully, reminding reporters she served in his administration as Secretary of State.

But Obama pointed out that Clinton’s rhetoric on Syria is merely campaign rhetoric.

“I also think that there’s a difference between running for president and being president,” he said carefully, pointing out that he was having specific discussions with his military advisors about the right way forward in Syria.

“If and when she’s president, then she’ll make those judgments and she’s been there enough that she knows that, you know, these are tough calls,” he said.

Clinton broke with the White House on Syria, calling for a “no-fly zone” in Syria to protect Syrian citizens in an interview with a Boston TV station on Thursday.

dr michael rubin

Dr. Michael Rubin, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute.

Here is what Rubin wrote in his Commentary column, “Bomb”:

Russia’s deployment to Syria — and its decision to bomb almost exclusively — more moderate Syrians and those who have received U.S. assistance has thrown down the gauntlet. It’s not just a matter of Syria, anymore. Vladimir Putin is showing the world President Obama’s impotence, and convincing every U.S. ally across the globe from Egypt to Estonia and from Kenya to Korea that they would have to be crazy to cast their lot with the United States.

Putin has pushed the line repeatedly and received little resistance, beyond a cute plastic button offered by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Russian forces invaded Georgia without consequence. They cheated on the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and faced no consequence. Indeed, Ellen Tauscher, the chief U.S. negotiator of the subsequent “New START” Treaty and a top Hillary Clinton aide, ended up going into partnership with a Kremlin-funded think tank while at the Atlantic Council. No wonder that, with such lack of seriousness emanating from Washington, Putin figured he could get away with murder in the Ukraine. To date, the Kremlin has faced little consequence for its actions beyond a smattering of sanctions. In the process of these outrages, Moscow demonstrated that the Budapest Memorandum in which the United States, among others, gave Kiev security guarantees wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.

There’s an irony here, of course, when it comes to the White House conception of credibility: Obama’s team shrugged off commitments to the Ukraine by insisting that the Budapest Memorandum was an agreement and not a treaty and so wasn’t sacrosanct. However, talk about walking away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the so-called Iran deal, which is an agreement and not a treaty, and the White House and State Department insists that its terms must be observed with the entirety of U.S. credibility at stake.

Regardless, what is clear is that the White House has consistently misjudged Putin. There are two possibilities as to why Obama and Kerry fell into Putin’s trap: Either there has been a massive intelligence failure at the Central Intelligence Agency with regard to Putin’s outlook and intentions, or Obama and Kerry simply ignored what they were being told. Either way, in an atmosphere where accountability mattered, there would be resignations, either at the CIA or at the top of the State Department.

So what to do to restore credibility? There really is no option other than the military: Russian planes bomb targets close to those forces aligned with the United States? Then U.S. forces should bomb Syrian targets close to the Assad regime. A U.S. general in Iraq might give the Russian embassy there an hour’s notice to de-conflict. Kerry might be under the delusion that Assad can be worked with, but that simply shows how out-of-touch he is with the situation in Syria: He long ago passed the point of no return. Assad’s presence in Syria has become the chief recruiting tool for the Islamic State.

At the same time, it’s essential to arm the Ukrainians with enough lethal goods to help them roll back Russian proxies and send Russian forces home in body bags. That might not be the style of diplomacy to which Obama and Kerry adhere, but both are naïve if they think diplomacy means simply talking at the table absent any leverage or the threat of worse to come. Putin must realize that there is real cost to his course of action. If he isn’t stopped in Syria, ultimately he will have to be stopped in the Baltics, and that will be a far more tragic outcome for all sides.

The Lisa Benson Show will air Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 4PM EDT, 3PM CDT, 2PM MDT, 1PM PDT and 11PM in IsraelListen live to the Lisa Benson Radio Show for National Security on KKNT 960The Patriot or use SMARTPHONE iHEART App: 960 the Patriot.  Lisa Benson and New English Review Senior Editor Jerry Gordon will co-host this show.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Surprise! Wikileaks Report bears out Year-old Analysis

I sometimes wonder why I bother writing anything but Ruth Hank pie recipes (Mom could have patented some of her recipes, quite honestly). I can’t remember how many times I have reported things that ought to be obvious to everyone with a broad view of world events, and then a year or two later, sure enough, someone else reports essentially the same thingas “news” and everyone acts shocked.

Just for example, last December, I showed that the Chinese RMB (yuan) was destined to challenge the dollar mightily within a very short time. It was a no-brainer. I presented a brief analysis and my translation of an interview with China’s top monetary policy expert who reported, among other things, that RMB clearing centers were popping up all over Europe as well as in Asia. His statements tied in with what I had said earlier about the worldwide dedollarization campaign, which was being absurdly ignored by the most “respected” U.S. media outlets, depriving you of any inkling of what was inevitably coming your way and hence of any chance to prepare for it. But of course, who would trust a news report from a web site without a donate button?

Hence, the world was later shocked to learn that almost every single U.S. ally had abandoned the U.S.-dominated World Bank/IMF in favor of the Chinese investment bank AIIB, despite Obama’s stern warnings. I showed that this was most likely in part a response to the way these agencies bullied Third World countries, denying them any respect whatsoever for their national sovereignties.

But getting back to Wikileaks and the Soros revelations, anyone paying attention to George Soros’ TV interview with Fareed Zakarias in May of 2014 had to know that Soros was at least one of the masterminds of the Maidan armed uprising in Kiev. Especially if they read my analysis of that interview.

Yet most people reading the recent Wikileaks report proving that Soros was in fact virtually the sole mastermind behind that coup are reacting as if said recent report of Soros’ involvement were blockbusting news.

The fact is, Soros gave away his dirty secret in that interview, for example, in this segment from May of 2014, over a year ago:

ZAKARIA: […deletia…] … during the revolutions of 1989 [you] funded a lot of dissident activities, civil society groups in eastern Europe and Poland, the Czech Republic. Are you doing similar things in Ukraine?

SOROS: Well, I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia. And the foundation has been functioning ever since and played an important part in events now. [my highlighting]

Arch-Neocon Soros also blasts Russia’s Putin in this interview, claiming he “came out of the closet” as a nationalist through his protection of the Russian speakers in Eastern Ukraine. I showed that this was nonsense because, unlike the supranational Satanists like Soros and most Western “national” leaders, Putin instinctively desires to protect his people, in contrast to the US government, which has no clear cut singular purpose at all in its foreign interventions beyond pretending to protect a set of undefined “Western values” and most certainly would never be caught protecting American lives (I later pointed out that the only unifying aspect of US foreign and military policy was that it invariably redounds to the promotion of Saudi interests). Unlike U.S. presidents, Putin does not see himself as President of the World, but merely president of Russia and protector of Russian interests, nothing else. In fact if Putin is guilty of anything in the eyes of the Western hegemons, it is humility and a love of his country. What a horrible man!

The point is, Soros’ unfounded anti-Putin remarks and his admission that his foundation played “an important part” in the “events now” in Ukraine are solid evidence that the powerful amoral supranational Neocon elites like Soros are not only behind the Ukraine tragedy but also behind all or most of the Russophobia and Putin bashing in the Western press and political world. (An intelligent American patriot will instinctively reject this bashing of a man whose only purpose in intervening in Eastern Ukraine was to protect his own peopleagainst the Nazi-infested Ukrainian military which bombs innocent civilians from the air).

Now just recently, Wikileaks leaked what I had leaked to you over a year ago simply by taking Soros at his word. If you listened to or read this interview carefully in light of my analysis at the time, you heard Soros’ unequivocal confession and knewfull well back then, a full year ago, that he was at least one of the culprits in blowing Ukraine apart.

In light of the above, I am hereby starting an “I was shocked” contest.

To enter, please submit photos of your shocked look when you heard the recent Wikileaks revelation of the news I reported to you last May.

Address: zoilandon@msn.com

RELATED ARTICLE: Trade agreements like TiSA, TPP and TTIP will sideline national laws, Wikileaks says

Why did the Ukraine parliament outlaw Communism and Nazism?

On April 9th, after a 24-year delay, the Ukrainian parliament (Rada) has passed a legislation banning communist propaganda along with its symbols, from street names and flags, to monuments and plaques.

The new legislation, passed by 56% of parliamentarians, declares the communist government that ruled Ukraine during the Soviet era a criminal regime that conducted policies of state terror. The ban similarly extends to Nazi propaganda and symbols, even though unlike Communism, Nazism has hardly had any following in a country that was hit hard during WWII and the Nazi occupation.

With urgent and serious problems facing Ukraine’s economy, finances, government reform, and a war with Russia-backed separatists, what was the sudden rush to condemn Nazism and communism simultaneously, given that Nazi Germany and the USSR had collapsed in 1945 and 1991 respectively?

On the surface, bundling together these two antihuman, totalitarian ideologies may seem like a symbolic gesture, but in reality each of them was banned for a very different practical reason, both of them of an existential nature.

Communism 2.0: Russians of the world, unite!

Since the beginning of Ukrainian independence, local communists have remained loyal to Moscow, doing the bidding of the political forces in Russia that sought the restoration of the totalitarian Soviet empire. Protected by the constitution, communist demagoguery has worked as a busy conduit for the Kremlin’s anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western imperial agenda.

Patriotic parade with Stalin

The pro-Russian separatists in the self-proclaimed “People’s Republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk are also driven by a similar imperial agenda they call Russkiy Mir (Pax Russiana), rallying under old Soviet flags, with portraits of Lenin and Stalin in their hands.

Those in the Crimea who cheered Russia’s military takeover of their peninsula were similarly nostalgic of the old USSR and the rule of Stalin’s strong hand; they welcomed Russian troops by carrying red flags, portraits of Soviet leaders, and other communist paraphernalia.

Russia’s state-run media cleverly conflates Soviet nostalgia with being Russian or being part of Pax Russiana. This sentiment, fully supported by Ukrainian communists, was effectively used to start a war that has killed more than 6,000 people since April last year and is still simmering in the eastern regions of Ukraine.

Under these circumstances, a ban on communist propaganda and the condemnation of the USSR as a criminal totalitarian regime serves a very concrete purpose of protecting the nation’s sovereignty and independence at a time of war. In this sense, it functions as a Treason and Sedition Act aimed to disable the Fifth Column which is aiding the foreign enemy from within.

Grassroots de-communization

Most Eastern Bloc and some post-Soviet nations marked their independence with policies of de-communization, cleansing their governments of corrupt officials and dismantling the communist legacies in their cultures and psychology. This worked much to their advantage, strengthening their democratic institutions, transparency, international standing, and ultimately their economies.

Ukraine Lustration

That had never happened in Ukraine, let alone Russia. Though de jure an independent nation, Ukraine continued to vegetate in Russia’s shadow, instructed by Russia’s media, and manipulated by Russia’s elites who were interested in keeping Ukraine vulnerable, dependent, and corrupt.

Today’s messy developments in Ukraine are largely the result of belated attempts by this vulnerable, dependent, and corrupt nation to right itself and clean up its act under incessant attacks from behind the fence by the drunken abusive ex who thinks nothing of violating restraining orders and believes he has a sacred right to do so.

Last year, tired of waiting for the government to act, grassroots activists throughout Ukraine undertook a self-styled, anarchic effort at de-communization by throwing corrupt, pro-communist politicians into large garbage bins and posting these videos online.

Their bottled-up, spontaneous outburst also resulted in a massive unauthorized demolition of Lenin monuments all over Ukraine. That only threw more fuel on the smoldering separatist sentiment among the pro-Russian minority in Ukraine, as well as on the already blazing nationalism among a powerful majority in Russia, for whom attacks on communist symbols are no different from attacks against Russia itself.

Lenin statue in Ukraine, 2014

In the end, communist movements in Ukraine and other Eastern European nations aren’t as much about the Marxist theory as they are about the return of Russia’s domineering role in the region. With the inevitability of a speeding freight train, a restoration of Russia’s dominance will also bring back economic, cultural, and political subjugation, Russification, brain drain, persecution of local nationalism and the implied status of inferior people for all non-Russians.

The fascists of today are called anti-fascists

Kiev’s official condemnation of Nazism serves a very different purpose: it aims to undercut Russia’s grotesquely surreal canard that describes last year’s Maidan Revolution in Kiev as a U.S.-backed fascist coup d’état. Repeated over and over, the Russian media’s portrayal of Ukrainians as Nazis has gone a long way to pit ethnic Russians against the formerly brotherly nation.

Crimean referendum poster

In addition to conflating communism with Russian chauvinism, the Kremlin’s propaganda is also effectively using the old Soviet trick of conflating everything that opposes the will of the Kremlin with fascism and Nazism: “Communist Russia has defeated Nazism, therefore anyone who opposes communism or Russia must be a Nazi.”

This obvious logical folly would be laughable if it didn’t continue to shape the minds of many in Russia and beyond, even despite the fact that Russia’s own policies of land grab and national chauvinism almost exactly follow those of Nazi Germany in the years leading to WWII.

Trumped up with the reanimated “Great Patriotic War” rhetoric, the Kremlin’s Goebbels-like propaganda is inspiring thousands of Russian volunteers to cross the border and shoot at imaginary fascists in eastern Ukraine, proving Winston Churchill’s prophetic insight: “The fascists of the future will be called anti-fascists.”

American communist fighting against Ukraine

The effects of this mind game aren’t limited to Russia alone. This video, taken recently in Donetsk, shows a self-described American communist (pictured on the left) who volunteered to join the Russian nationalists and kill Ukrainians within the belief that he was being an “anti-fascist.” Like an “A” student during a school test, he diligently recites all the Kremlin-generated talking points: the Ukrainians are Nazis, the fascist coup in Kiev was instigated by the imperialist United States, the war is part of America’s anti-Russian strategy, and other memes he has likely picked up from the English-language RT and similar propaganda channels and websites. Described in the video as a “Texan” but sounding more like a Californian surfer dude, he promises to keep fighting until a complete and unconditional surrender of all fascists (or until he runs out of that stuff he’s smoking, whichever comes first).

In contrast, this Russian-speaking volunteer from Kirghizstan, who had been also been misled by the propaganda on Russian television and arrived in eastern Ukraine on a moral quest to fight “fascists,” eventually became disillusioned and returned home, accompanying the sealed coffins of two fellow Kyrgyz soldiers. “I thought that there were fascists there,” he says in an interview to Radio Liberty, “but I didn’t see any. We fought against the regular Ukrainian Army.” Unlike the English-speaking “Texan” above, he was able to communicate with local residents and captive Ukrainian soldiers. “It turned out that everything was agitation, propaganda,” he concludes. “This was really offensive to me.”

Why now?

Red Square Victory Day Parade

On May 9th Russia is going to celebrate Victory Day: the 70th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany to allied forces in World War II (the official Russians term for it is the “Great Patriotic War,” which lasted from June 22, 1941 to May 9, 1945).

Stalin victory day poster

Every Russian government starting with Stalin has habitually attributed all credit for the victory to itself and sometimes to the “unbreakable friendship of Soviet nations united under Russia and guided by the Communist Party and personally by Comrade Stalin.” Faithful to the tradition of utilizing Victory Day as a vehicle for a self-serving political agenda, Russia’s state-run media has already begun to whip up jingoistic fervor in the run-up to the holiday, using victory over Nazism as a launching site for spectacular anti-Ukrainian fireworks.

This year’s Victory Day was meant to be especially bombastic. Every more or less significant world leader had been invited to attend the military parade on Red Square. They were expected to stand side by side with Vladimir Putin, thus reaffirming the Russian (and, by extension, Soviet) military’s leading role in the “struggle for peace,” which would validate Russia’s current policies and show everyone who’s boss.

Stalin victory day poster

Putin has once boasted in an interview that, as a chess player, he never makes a political move without calculating several steps ahead. The conflict in Ukraine and the annexation of the Crimea, however, has been nothing but a series of fundamental miscalculations. As a result, all serious heads of state have declined his invitations. The “group of international leaders” on the podium will likely be limited to Third World miscreants hoping to get on Putin’s good side in order to score cheaper oil, weapons, or nuclear technology. The biggest international celebrity will undoubtedly be North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un, who has officially confirmed his appearance.

Until now Ukraine had been slavishly following Russia’s lead in perpetuating Stalinist mythology of the “Great Patriotic War” – a trend jealously enforced by Russia as a symbol of Moscow’s continued sway over the neighboring post-Soviet states. But another new law, adopted in Kiev along with the ban on communist and Nazi propaganda, has broken the old pattern.

From now on, Ukraine will join the rest of the world in marking the end of the war on May 8th, as the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during World War II, in 1939-1945. After all, the war came to the western part of Ukraine two years before it came to Russia, after the 1939 Nazi-Soviet pact started WWII by splitting Poland in half. What transpired in Ukraine wholly contradicts Russia’s “Great Patriotic War” narrative.

The Nazi smear

The Red Army invasion into well-off western Ukraine (then part of Poland) in September of 1939 brought repressions and deportations, provoking armed resistance on the part of Ukrainian patriots. Upon the advance of the German army in 1941, nationalist groups organized into the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which fought against the Third Reich throughout the Nazi occupation. After the return of the Red Army in 1944 they continued to fight a losing battle against the communists in western Ukraine all the way through the mid-1950s. The Stalinist regime self-servingly described these anti-communist freedom fighters as Nazis – a myth in which most Ukrainians were later forced to believe under the threat of imprisonment, and which is still thoroughly cultivated in Russia.

Ukraine map west east fighting

Today many in Ukraine feel that the UPA fighters must be recognized and remembered along with other WWII heroes and victims. This notion is still being fiercely rejected by most Russians and those Soviet-era Ukrainians who can’t part with the Soviet mythology, believing that the UPA were Nazi collaborators.

Putin and Hitler buddies

The Nazi smear allowed the Soviet communists to keep Ukrainian nationalism in check until the day the USSR collapsed. But Russian state-run TV channels, which continued to be available throughout Ukraine, persisted with the Nazi smear even after the independence, effectively influencing Ukrainian voters in every election cycle by painting pro-Western politicians as neo-Nazis and promoting Moscow-backed politicians, one of whom was the ousted president Viktor Yanukovych.

Thus, Russia’s current allegation that the 2014 revolution in Ukraine was a Nazi coup orchestrated by the CIA and the U.S. State Department is not a new invention, but merely a modern-day remake of the hoary propagandistic myth started 70 years ago by Stalin.

Accordingly, Ukrainian parliament’s official condemnation of Nazism was clearly an attempt to put that damaging Stalinist narrative to rest.

In an effort to replace the old Soviet symbolism with a new one, on April 7th Ukraine’s First Lady Maryna Poroshenko attended a “Remembrance Poppy” event marking the anniversary of the Nazi surrender.

Since many older people may still want to follow the old Victory Day tradition on May 9th, the holiday will remain, but the phrase “the Great Patriotic War” will now be replaced by “World War II.” Given that most Red Army veterans in Ukraine will likely parade with their Soviet medals in violation of the ban on communist symbols, enforcing the new law may put the government in an uncomfortable position. Perhaps the police will be advised to turn a blind eye; we’ll have to wait and see.

As part of Russia’s angry response to this legislation, its Foreign Ministry representative Konstantin Dolgov, endowed with an Orwellian title “Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law,” called Ukraine’s ban on communist ideology a “cynical move,” which violates international obligations by depriving many of its citizens their legal rights. The E.U. and the U.S. should no longer ignore this,” he wrote on his Twitter blog. The diplomat ended his statement on a surreal note, saying that a law that equates communism and Nazism somehow “reveals Kiev’s depraved unwillingness to break with the neo-Nazis.”

The Russian social media’s reaction is a lot more vocal but a lot less quotable. In the minds of pro-Putin patriots, the world outside of Russia’s borders is populated entirely by virulent Russophobes whose only purpose in life is to hurt Russia out of sheer hatred for Russia’s big heart and spirituality. But, like a broken clock that shows the correct hour twice daily, this time they get it right: Ukraine’s ban on both communist and Nazi propaganda is directed, quite deservedly, against Russia with its Orwellian policies.

Red Square Victory Day Parade

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Peoples Cube.

Sexy wartime pinups are back in style – this time in Ukraine

Sexy American pinups of the ’40s and ’50s take a special place in the hearts of post-Soviet artists. When pinups were on the rise in the States, the Soviet government had decisively excluded such “bourgeois decadence” from the culture of the builders of communism. Instead, Soviet men were encouraged to rest their eyes on the portraits of exemplary workers and collective farmers who happened to be women, painted in the tradition of socialist realism.Today, feeling nostalgic for that which never was, artists in different parts of the former USSR are trying to reconstruct the missing link in their cultural evolution – either by drawing a series of clever mashups, mixing vintage American pinup girls with Soviet propaganda posters, or by visualizing scantily clad retro-babes in classic pin-up poses but with Soviet enthusiastic fire in their eyes, who can only exist in an imaginary alternative timeline, in which the Soviet government hadn’t been so zealous in suppressing the sexuality of its citizens.

And today, Ukrainian graphic artist Sviatoslav Pashchuk is bringing back military-styled pinups – after all, it was during World War II that the pinup culture was born originally, satisfying the need of American GIs to gaze at creatures of beauty in the midst of cruel wartime brutality.

Now that a brutal war is raging in the east of Ukraine, the new series is quickly becoming a hot item among Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers, who are defending their country against the Russian aggression. The guys are grateful to the artist for the diversion. They get the reference, admitting that this patriotic erotica is even sweeter to their eyes than it was to the American GIs during WWII. These pinups are also a reminder of the bigger world they had left behind and to which they hope to return after the war is over. Alas, not all of them will.

Each pinup is dedicated to a different branch of armed service or a volunteer battalion, accompanied by humorous and often rhymed patriotic slogans, with a warning at the bottom in fine print: “separatism is dangerous to your health.”

The artist is offering them for sale with the understanding that part of the proceeds will go to support the Ukrainian military. Since this is not a real commercial operation, the only way to order them for now is by sending him an email at sviatko@ukr.net.

Donbas Volunteer Battalion: Goodies For The Bullies

Sexy wartime pinups in Ukraine

 

Special Forces: Fatal Dating

Sexy wartime pinups in Ukraine

Artillery: The Final Lullaby
(The stenciled acronym on the howitzer stands for “F-U Putin”)Sexy wartime pinups in Ukraine

 

Air Force: A Hot Nosedive

Sexy wartime pinups in Ukraine

Border Patrol: The Hunter Instinct

Aydar Volunteer Battalion: Our Kind of Happy

Sexy wartime pinups in Ukraine

 

Ukrainian National Guard: Gentle Ukrainization

Sexy pinup Ukraine

UPDATE:

Last night I contacted this Ukrainian artist via Facebook, sending him a link to the Cube and some additional questions. When I woke up I already had his responses (the time difference is seven hours). Here’s what he wrote:

Sviatoslav Pashchuk: Good day to you! We are already sending our posters to American buyers and soon we will also have a special website, it’s almost done now. I’m also going to make English-language versions for the American market.

You are correct – all money from the sales will go to help our soldiers. Most of the proceeds will be used to buy sniper equipment and ammunition for volunteer fighters.

Thank you very much for the promotion.

I’m going to continue with this series, making as many as 12 posters. The site will have a link to the blog where I’ll keep the readers updated on my coming creations.

This story with the posters is now cross-posted in PJ Media, with the teaser currently sitting at the top of their main page. Why Sexy Wartime Pinups Are Back in Style — This Time in Ukraine

Additionally, the artist says he’s receiving emails from the frontline, with pictures of his pinups in the corresponding interiors. Here’s one:

Ukraine_Pinup_gun.jpg

EDITORS NOTE: The column originally appeared on The Peoples Cube.

The Two Ukraine’s

“Obama is just not up to the task—a geopolitical lightweight who was easily outmaneuvered in Syria and Iran.”

Cover - The Colder WarThat’s Marin Katusa, writing in his new book, “The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped from America’s Grasp”. Katusa is no fan of President Obama, but one might wonder who is these days other than the 48% of Americans who think he’s doing a great job. Calling them stupid as the now famed Jonathan Gruber of ObamaCare fame has done is not far from the mark.

Katusa is a successful fund manager with a specialty of investing in the energy sector and helping to create energy companies. Along the way he has been to many nations around the world to see firsthand how their governments impact the energy companies working domestically and beyond. This is particularly true of Russia’s Vladimir Putin who took the collapsed Soviet Union and brought Russia back to life as the Russian Federation. At the core of the revival were and are his energy strategies.

That is what is at work these days in the Ukraine, divided between those who want it to join the European Union and NATO, and those who want to ally with Russia. Katusa reminds us that “At one time, Ukraine was Russia. Kievan Rus, the first East Slavic state, was established by the Varangians in the ninth century.”

“At the end of the eighteenth century, Ukraine was partitioned, with a small slice going to Austria/Hungary and the rest to the Russian Empire. The second decade of the twentieth century was as chaotic for Ukraine as it was for the rest of Europe. Civil War raged from 1917 to 1921, with a host of factions vying for control of the government of the newly proclaimed Ukrainian Republic. Their sovereign state proved to be short-lived.”

“By 1922, the Ukrainian army was overpowered and the nation became the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.” World War Two was a horror for Ukraine. One out of every six Ukrainians died during the war, many of whom sided with Nazi Germany against Russia. It was recaptured in 1944 by the USSR.

Why is it important to Putin and Russia in 2014?

He wants to ensure that Ukraine, via pipelines, accommodates Russia’s natural gas production to buyers in Europe. “Half of Russia’s gas exports to the European Union (which cover 25 percent of the EU’s consumption) pass through Ukraine.”

Putin also needs to ensure that the Russian Navy has a secure port at Sebastopol on the Crimean Peninsula for to access to the Black Sea. Moreover, having Ukraine in its sphere of influence provides what the former USSR satellite nations did, a buffer that keeps NATO at a distance. Russia annexed Crimea shortly after Ukraine had political problems in March 2014.

Finally, Putin wants Moscow to be seen as the protector of all Russian people, including the eight million, 18% of Ukraine’s population, who live in the eastern part of the nation.

“For 15 million Ukrainians, about one-third of the population, Russian is the first language,” notes Katusa, “They are concentrated in the eastern parts of the country, and in some areas, including Crimea, they are a majority.”

In a very real sense, the Ukraine is actually two nations, a western leaning one and an eastern leaning one. When “an independent Ukraine emerged in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union” it was, as Katusa notes, a country that was plagued by corruption and political intrigue from day one. For Russia, pre-and-post collapse, it has always been a real pain, often stealing gas from the pipelines passing through it or defaulting on payment for its use.

I will pass on the politics of Ukraine that got us all to this point, but suffice to say that Putin’s efforts to bring at least the eastern portion under Russian influence or control has not gone down well with European nations, virtually all of whom are highly dependent on the gas and oil they purchase from Russia. The U.S. has put sanctions on Russia and Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, bluntly told Putin to get out of the Ukraine at the recent G-20 conference in Australia.

The fear is that, if Putin is successful in breaking away the eastern half of Ukraine, he would not only want the other half but set his eyes on former Soviet Union satellite nations in Eastern Europe.

Speaking in Australia after the G-20 conference, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Putin was practicing a foreign policy reminiscent of the Cold War. “This isn’t just about Ukraine” she said in a question-and-answer session. “This is about Moldova, this is about Georgia, and if this continues then one will have to ask about Serbia and one will have to ask about the countries of the Western Balkans.”

“What happens next in Ukraine,” writes Katusa, “is anyone’s guess. But it’s not likely to be pretty.” Putin has said he will not intervene militarily, but adds that he would act to protect the Russian population in its eastern half if he thought they were being threatened.

I personally believe Putin is far too canny to engage in an active overt military takeover of Ukraine. He is more likely to fund and arm the eastern half to a point where they can declare themselves a separate nation. It is doubtful that either the EU or NATO would intervene. Russia has already demonstrated that it would turn off the gas if they did. That would essentially shut down Europe.

A new, Colder War is developing says Katusa. “Its weapons would be oil wells, gas fields, uranium mines, energy processing plants, pipelines, and ports. Again, Europe would be the primary zone of engagement even though the United States would be the primary opponent.”

Now consider this. Prior to and during the past six years of the Obama administration, the environmental movement in the U.S. has thrown up all manner of obstacles to the development of any of the U.S. reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas. The refusal to approve a Canadian oil pipeline to our Gulf coast is just one dramatic example, the failure to be able to tap the huge energy reserves in Alaska is another, and the slowness of issuing permits to seek oil on federal lands and offshore is another.

For two decades the U.S. has tied its own hands despite being the Saudi Arabia of coal and having more oil than any other nation. The size of our natural gas reserves is huge. And we need to be building more nuclear facilities to generate electricity. Instead, the EPA is forcing coal-fired plants out of business. Our electrical grid is in need of repair and expansion. Et cetera!

Putin must look at Obama and the U.S. and wonder just how stupid we are.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Putin manhandles Obama in Moscow’s propaganda art gallery

The artistic value of new Russian propaganda is way below its glorious Soviet predecessor, but the paranoid, attack-dog mentality remains the same.

According to Gazeta.ru, last Friday, at the “Flakon” art factory in Moscow, a pro-Putin group of nationalist youth called “Young Guard” together with the “patriotic artists and well-known graphic designers” organized an exhibition of over 100 political cartoons glorifying the policies of President Vladimir Putin and demonizing his opponents. The politically “correct” organizers must have been too dead-serious about their sycophancy to notice the grotesque irony of the event’s title, “Without Filters.”

Forget the filters. The exhibited artists had to be wearing blindfolds not to notice the dangerous cusp to which the current Russia’s regime has taken the country by whipping the nationalistic fervor, xenophobia, and paranoia. They have portrayed Putin as a hero, a winner, and savior of the nation at a time when Russia’s ruble is crumbling, the country’s international standing has hit a new low, and the falling oil prices threaten to knock out Russia’s oil-oriented economy, which Putin had a chance to diversify, but didn’t.

Instead, the Russian president is shown as a winner who knocks out a bloodied man resembling Vitali Klitschko – a heavyweight boxing world champion from Ukraine, who became a politician leading his own country towards independence.

Another drawing pictures Putin on top of a tank, addressing two peasant girls to ask if they had seen any fascists around. The girls have the faces of Barack Obama and Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko, whom the artist apparently considers to be “fascists” and who had disguised themselves out of fear of being caught.

The event organizer, “Young Guard,” is to Vladimir Putin’s puppet political party “United Russia” what the Soviet Young Communist League was to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Not coincidentally, it is named after a glorified, if mostly fictional, underground militia group who fought the Nazis on the occupied territories during WWII. Decades after the Nazis had been defeated, the Soviet and now Russian government have continued to steep generations of young people in the same Stalinist war-time mythology – keeping alive the memory, the hatred, and the eagerness to throw themselves under the tanks and die defending the Motherland against the fascists.

When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Similarly, just about every opponent of the regime has become a fascist. Putin only needs to point a finger. Today, his finger is pointing at Ukraine – and thus the fascists and the Nazis are now all those Ukrainians, from politicians to common citizens, who want to join the West and are defending their country against Russia’s aggression.

Putin’s finger is further pointing to the United States and other Western countries that oppose Putin’s corrupt regime and his militaristic policies. Hence the self-righteous anti-American, anti-Western, and “anti-fascist” hysteria that is sweeping today’s Russia, causing many, including famous actors and writers, to come out with shrill anti-Western rhetoric. Some of them go as far as travel to the “historic Russian territories” controlled by the puppet pro-Russian “separatists” and shoot some Ukrainians.

Once again, they are so dead-serious about their “anti-fascist” delusion that they fail to notice it’s their own rhetoric and their own actions that quite accurately resemble the rhetoric and the actions of the German Nazis on the brink of WWII, complete with militant nationalism, cult of the strong leader, resurrection of Aryan mythology, and popular support for Hitler’s annexation of “historic German territories” in France, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.

The “patriotic” exhibition in question is a fair reflection of such a mindset – from glorification of blood and violence to fascistic symbolism and dehumanization of the opponent to conspiracy theories and the supremacy of Russia “uber alles.”

Quite a few pictures ridicule Barack Obama, who is being spanked, pulled by the ear, and even has a barrel of a gun stuck in his bloodied face by Vladimir Putin. In one such poster, Putin and Obama are watering a tree. On Putin’s side the tree is green, while on the U.S. President’s side it’s dead, with human skulls showing through the roots. Without defending Obama’s policies, it would be fair to say that in this metaphor Putin’s side of the tree would really be on fire.

There is a picture where Putin hands out a saw and a log to the leaders of Germany and Ukraine, as a way of saying that their countries may have to heat their homes with firewood this winter because Putin has the power to turn off the supply of Russia’s gas. The writing on the saw says, “From Russia with love,” but it might as well be “Who’s your daddy?”

One image depicts Putin as the owner of the Crimea, inviting world leaders to have a pleasant visit. Another one shows world leaders holding signs saying, “Forgive us, Putin,” with only the leaders of the U.S., Germany, and Poland talking about sanctions.

At least in two cartoons Putin is pulling Obama’s ear. In another, Putin is holding up a cell phone for a selfie, with a defeated Obama behind him. An objective observer might conclude that the Russian leader is just as vain as Obama, but in the eyes of the artist that’s obviously a merit. There is a cartoon showing a bare-chested Putin riding a bear with an owl on his shoulder, next to Obama who is riding a donkey, with the American eagle sitting on his head.

There is also a collection of macho images of Vladimir Putin on a wall behind Barack Obama, who is sitting with crossed fingers, hoping those images had been Photoshopped. Of course, the whole world knows that those are real photos – they had been carefully staged by professional art directors in a project that cost the Russian taxpayers a lot more money than mere computer graphics.

There are many other comparisons between Putin and Obama – mostly derivative, crude collages that blatantly steal brownie points from American Photoshoppers. Truth be told, in the past this author himself has made quite a few scathing images of Obama, including the unflattering comparisons of our president with Vladimir Putin. However, the fact that Americans are freely ridiculing their own president somehow escapes the “patriotic” Russian artists who promote Putin while depicting his critics as fascists and demons.

Whatever your views of the sitting American president, make no mistake: Barack Obama is not a factor here. This phenomenon would be happening regardless of who the U.S. president is. If it were Ted Cruz, they’d be making pictures of Putin spanking Ted Cruz. And instead of cleverly helping Republicans to ridicule Obama, the Kremlin’s propaganda would be just as cleverly helping the Democrats to ridicule Cruz. In 2016, Obama’s face will be simply replaced with that of whoever the next U.S. president will be, Republican or Democrat. And that would be the face reflected in Putin’s cool sunglasses in the poster where the Russian president is sticking a pistol barrel into the bloodied mouth of the American president.

In the not-so-distant Soviet past, graphic artists had neither freedom of expression, nor commercial outlets for their creativity. The only game in town left for those who had talent was to work for the state and to create visual propaganda that glorified the Party and its leaders, while demonizing the enemies. A few gifted artists went that route, producing unforgettable classics of the genre and brilliantly executing otherwise rotten concepts.

Things are different now. Even with the corrupt and oligarchic version of capitalism that exists in today’s Russia, gifted artists have a variety of commercial venues and a much greater freedom of expression – a situation in which they don’t have to sell out to the powers that be. You won’t see their names in this gallery. As a matter of fact, this collection represents the scrapings from the bottom of Russia’s artistic barrel.

And yet, in spite of its lack of artistic or intellectual insight, this “patriotic” exhibition it is a fair representation of the depraved state of mind of millions of zombified Putin’s supporters. The straw men they are fighting may be imaginary, but the paranoid worldview of Russia’s regime and the crowds behind it is a grim reality to be reckoned with.

See more complete slide shows on Russian websites here and here. These are only some samples:

Witnessing a Failed Presidency

When we elect someone—anyone—to the office of President, it is only natural that we attribute great political skills, intellect, and judgment to that man. We want to believe we have selected someone with the ability to do what must be done in a dangerous and very complex world.

This may explain why Presidents who have presided in times of war are more highly regarded than those that have not. Washington brought the nation into being by patiently pursuing a war with Great Britain, Lincoln saw the Civil War to a successful conclusion, preserving the Union

The last century offered two world wars and several lesser ones, Korea and Vietnam. Voters put Franklin D. Roosevelt in office in 1933 and then kept him there until his death in 1945 just before the conclusion of World War Two. They had no wish to disrupt his conduct of the war with anyone else. It fell to Harry Truman to wrap up World War Two and to pursue the Korean War to repulse communist North Korea’s invasion.

The Vietnam War had its genesis in the JFK years, but it was Lyndon Johnson who committed to it with a massive influx of infantry and massive bombing, neither of which was able to deter the North Vietnamese from uniting the nation. Having lied the nation into the war LBJ concluded at the end of his first term which he had won in a landslide that he should not run again given the vast level of unhappiness with the conflict.

The failure to respond in a strong way to the Iranians who took U.S. diplomats hostage left Jimmy Carter with a single failed term in office. Neither domestically, nor in the area of foreign affairs did he demonstrate strength or much understanding.

After 9/11 George W. Bush used U.S. military strength to send a message to the world in general and al Qaeda in particular. By the end of his second term, a completely unknown young Democrat emerged as the Democratic Party candidate for President by campaigning on a promise to get out of Iraq and offering “hope and change.”

AA - Going from bad to worseBarack Hussein Obama captured the imagination of the voters. He was black and many Americans wanted to demonstrate that an African-American could be elected President. He was relatively young, regarded as eloquent, and seemed to project a cool, self-composed approach throughout his campaign.

The only problem was that he lacked a resume beyond having been a “community organizer.” He had graduated from Harvard Law School, but all of his academic and other public records had been put under seal so they could not be examined. Twice he ran against relatively lackluster, older men who did not possess much charisma, if any.

In his first term, his “stimulus” to lift the economy out of recession was a trillion-dollar failure. By his second term, however, the singular first term “achievement” was the passage of the Affordable Patient Care Act—Obamacare. When finally ready to enroll people it instantly demonstrated technical and policy problems. Obama began to unilaterally make changes to the law even though he lacked the legal power to do so.

The war in Iraq whose conclusion he had ridden to victory in 2008 and 2012 came unraveled and the Syrian civil war in which he had resisted any involvement metastasized into a barbaric Islamic State that seized parts of Iraq and northern Syria.

Halfway through his second term, it was increasingly evident that Obama did not want to fulfill the role of the Presidency to provide leadership in times of foreign and domestic crisis.

On August 28 Gallup reported “Americans are more than twice as likely to say they “strongly disapprove” (39%) of President Barack Obama’s job performance as they are to say they “strongly approve” (17%). The percentage of Americans who strongly disapprove of Obama has increased over time, while the percentage who strongly approve has dropped by almost half.”

His passion for golf became noticeable in ways that went beyond just a bit of vacation time. The time he spent fund raising seemed to be more of a priority than dealing with Congress. Not only did he fail to develop strong political working relations with members of his own party, his churlish talk about the Republican Party began to grate on everyone.

Though no President cares much for the demands of the press, they play an essential role in a democracy. His administration went to extremes to close off access to its members and by striking out at the press in ways that turned it from one that had gone out of its way to support him in the first term to one that actively, if not openly, disliked him in the second.

One characteristic about Obama had become glaringly obvious. He lies all the time. He lies in obvious and casual ways. In politics where one’s word must be one’s bond, this is a lethal personality trait. He dismissed the many scandals of his administration as “phony.”

Given the vast implications of what is occurring in the Middle East, in Ukraine, and elsewhere around the world his response was to interrupt his golf game to give a short speech and then return to the greens. In a recent press conference he said he has “no strategy” to address the threat that ISIS represents.

What Americans have discovered is that they have twice either voted for (or against) someone with fewer skills and even less desire to do the job for which he campaigned. This lazyness combined with his radical liberal politics have finally become obvious even to his former supporters.

His statement that he had no strategy to deal with the threat of the Islamic State and that it was perhaps too soon to expect one to have been formulated has led to the conclusion that he was far less intellectually equipped to be President than many had thought.

Now he must be endured and survived.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image was taken by the AP on May 12, 2014 of President Obama speaking during a press availability in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.

Back from the Dead: The Return of the Evil Empire

Below is a book cover I designed last month for Cliff Kincaid’s Back from the Dead: The Return of the Evil Empire written by him and three other authors. The book is now on Amazon.
Stalin_Poster_300.jpg
I modeled it on an iconic Stalin-era poster, changing Stalin to Putin and adding a peeling tri-color flag of the new Russia. The bad Soviet paint that had been hastily brushed over the old flag in the 1990s is now falling off in big clumps, revealing the solid red USSR flag with the hammer and sickle.

Putin is wearing a WWII-era St. Georgi ribbon on his chest, as do his murderous agents in the east of Ukraine today, falsely comparing their supremacist warfare on the independent Ukraine to WWII.

Since the old Evil Empire has now returned from its shallow grave, it is only appropriate that Putin would tower over a crowd of “undead” brainless followers. I had been tempted to sprinkle this gathering of zombies with the faces of modern Russian politicians and public figures, but they wouldn’t be recognizable in America anyway. The only face I couldn’t resist adding was that of Alexander Dugin (the bearded ghoul on the right), whose monstrous theories of Nazi-like national-chauvinism are fueling Russia’s modern supremacist movement, which Putin is so cleverly exploiting.

I got a complimentary copy of the book in today’s mail; it looks great and I can’t wait to read it. Here’s a synopsis from America’s Survival website.

A new book — Back from the Dead: The Return of the Evil Empire – exposes how America’s political leaders and intelligence agencies were caught off-guard as Vladimir Putin brought back the USSR, invaded Ukraine, and now threatens the world with a conflict that Putin’s apologists say could go nuclear.

The back cover and spine back from the dead

The back cover and spine. For a larger view click on the image.

The fall of the Berlin Wall misled many into thinking the Soviet KGB was dead. But infiltration of the West continued through “cultural Marxism,” and penetration by enemy agents, while the KGB, now called the FSB, looted Russia, consolidated its power, and rebuilt the Russian military, including its nuclear forces. America’s survival hangs in the balance.

Cliff Kincaid, founder and president of America’s Survival, Inc. (ASI), is a journalist and media analyst based in the Washington, D.C. area for almost 40 years and contributes one of the chapters in the new book. Other chapters are written by former KGB officer Konstantin Preobrazhensky and anti-communist analysts J.R. Nyquist and Toby Westerman. ASI has published the book, available on the website usasurvival.org and through Amazon.com

“Having fled from the Putin regime, Preobrazhensky understands modern-day Russia,” Kincaid said. “Analysts Nyquist and Westerman were writing about the return of Soviet military power under Putin at a time when Obama and Hillary were arranging a Russian policy ‘reset’ and Congress passed trade benefits for Russia.”

In reaction to assertions by some American conservatives such as Patrick J. Buchanan that Vladimir Putin is a Christian leader, Kincaid said that “We expose these claims as Russian disinformation, perhaps the greatest deception of all time.” The book describes in detail how Putin is using the Russian Orthodox Church as an ideological front in his war on the world, and how the Roman Catholic Church has failed to confront this evil. The book also examines how the KGB/FSB secretly manipulates Islamic and Palestinian terrorist groups and even the Iranian regime.

I have already made two book covers for Mr. Kincaid in the past, see them here.

back from the dead book cover

For a larger view click on the book cover.

Arrest of 25 Ukrainian Nationalists by Russian Security Forces is Evidence of an “Asymmetric Operation”

LONDON, April 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The tensions between Russia and Ukraine have dramatically increased as Russian security forces intercepted and detained 25 Ukrainian nationalists suspected of plotting sabotage acts and a major bombing campaign on the Russian mainland.

Professor Chris Bellamy

Professor Chris Bellamy

Professor Chris Bellamy, the leading military expert on Russia and the former Soviet Union monitoring these events, said: “Ultra-nationalists including the radical movement “Right Sector” within Ukraine may have seized on an opportunity to attempt to de-stabilise the region in the wake of the Crimea referendum. Such actions could increase tensions that already exist between NATO and its Allies with Russia if support for these factions continues and there are more sabotage and terrorist attempts made against Russia in the Rostov, Volgograd, Tver, Oryol and Belgorod regions.”

According to Russian news media reports, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has already charged the leader of “Right Sector” Dmitry Yarosh in absentia of criminal offences including plans to carry out terrorist and extremist activities on the Russian mainland. There are also reports that Yarosh had contacted the Chechen-based terrorist group leader Doku Umarov to help equip anti-Russian factions in the Ukraine with arms and ammunition.

“I would be surprised if such provocation would force the Russian Government to escalate the already tense situation that exists in the region. Russia has long faced terrorist threats, until now primarily connected with the Chechen issue, but these latest developments are worrying.

“Given the asymmetry of conventional military power between Ukraine and Russia it’s not at all surprising that factions in Ukraine might seek to undertake some sort of asymmetric – terrorist – operation.

“These events indicate there needs to be an urgent international peace conference in order for all sides to feel that their territorial integrity and security are recognised under international law. And steps to reduce the tension between Russia and Ukraine need to be taken in the short term to the satisfaction of all parties, rather than the escalation of tensions that fall directly into the hands of extremists,” observes Prof Bellamy.

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) immediately distanced itself from the terrorist incursion into Russia, but according to Prof Bellamy the move had classic hallmarks of a covert operation.

“It serves Ukraine’s interests to claim it faces imminent attack from Russia and that it may have to fight a guerrilla war. This latest episode is worrying as it demonstrates how extremist elements could influence military decisions taken by the Ukrainian Armed Forces with dubious chances of achieving their aims and objectives,” says Prof Bellamy.

SOURCE: The office of Ardafrevesh Kolah FCIPR

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo was taken by Spetsnaz Alpha and is of Alpha Group – an elite, stand-alone sub-unit of Russia’s special forces and is a dedicated counter-terrorism task-force of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Obama’s War on America is His Top Priority

We all know that the “sanctions” Obama has placed on a few of Putin’s pals thus far and those Obama wants the European Union to impose will have no effect whatever on Putin’s decision to annex the Crimea from Ukraine.

One of Obama’s solutions to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty includes giving it a billion dollars because Russia has raised the price of the natural gas it sells to the Ukraine. This means Putin just made a billion while reacquiring Crimea.

One way to bring Russia to its knees would be for Obama–if he could–to impose the same things he is doing in America on the Russian Federation:

  • Require Russia to adopt Obamacare.
  • Ban the mining and use of coal in Russia.
  • Do not allow any drilling on Russian publicly-held land.
  • Redefine the Russian work week to 30 hours.
  • Raise the Russian minimum wage.
  • Mandate overtime pay for Russian government workers.
  • Demand that Russia pay welfare benefits to its illegal immigrants.
  • Require Russia to enact the same regulations as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Increase the Russian national debt by $6 trillion dollars.
  • Require Russia to reduce all elements of its military force and capabilities by reductions to its military budget.

These policies since 2009 have weakened the United States and, if applied to Russia, they would have the same effect. It’s bad enough what Obama has done and is doing to the U.S., but neither we nor the rest of the world would be better off with a weak Russia. Its economy is too tied into the world’s.

Putin insists that it was the West led by the U.S. that resulted in the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 after seventy years of communist rule, but it was Communism that brought it to its knees. The other element was a decline in the prices of oil and natural gas–still the primary source of income for the Russian Federation—that undermined its economy.

While a panoply of experts keeps talking about the prospect of Russia aggression toward its former satellite nations in Eastern Europe, the simple fact is that Putin’s reacquisition of the Crimea just added to Russia’s financial pressures. He can barely afford Crimea. All the hand-wringing about its annexation ignores the fact that it was part of Russia for hundreds of years.

Ruchir Sharma, the head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, recently spelled out Russia’s economic woes in a Wall Street Journal commentary titled “Putin’s Potemkin Economy.”

“Mr. Putin’s real power base, the economy, is crumbling,” says Sharma. “Russia’s economic growth rate has plummeted from the 7% average annual pace of the last decade to 1.3% last year,” adding that “the Central Bank of the Russian Federation has been fighting to prevent a ruble collapse since the Crimean crisis began.”

Does that sound like a Russia that wants to invade its neighbors at this time?

“The result,” says Sharma, “is that the Russian state has few new sources of income outside of oil and gas, at a time when it is taking on more dependents” in Crimea. As for the rest of the Ukraine population, it’s only the younger generation that did not grow up under the oppression of the former Soviet Russia that thinks giving up its sovereignty is a good idea. Ukrainians with a memory of the pre-1991 days know better.

Europe, much of which depends on Russian gas, will be in no hurry to punish Russia beyond a few relatively meaningless sanctions. It’s all a charade.

It’s true that Europe went to war twice for far less reason than the Crimean annexation, but its present leaders have no wish to repeat that error for all the talk about international law.

What is being debated now is whether Putin will, for whatever reason, invade Ukraine. Only Putin knows that and the decision would be a bad one for him and everyone else.

As we strive to survive Obama’s war on the U.S. economy and the current havoc resulting from Obamacare, it is doubtful that even Obama has any inclination to see Russia collapse and could not reverse the Crimean situation even if he cared about it.

He doesn’t seem to care about what he’s doing to the rest of us so it’s the war at home which we have to survive.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

The Essence of Sarah Palin’s Message for 2014

I watched a great old movie in the time period of the 1700s starring Anthony Quinn. A small village was brutally abused by an evil bandit and his army of thugs. Quinn organized and inspired the fearful villagers to fight back. When villagers were killed, many blamed, criticized and rejected Quinn. Displaying true leadership, Quinn remained willing to fight. He informed his critics that cowardice begets more tyranny. Freedom ain’t free.

Folks, true leaders pay a heavy price which is why they, as do eagles, fly alone. Sarah Palin has led by example, displaying tremendous courage, backbone and grit by standing up for conservative principles, traditional values, freedom and liberty; even when some conservatives and establishment Republicans joined the chorus of liberals, Democrats and MSM calling her a fool.

Someone said if you promote a lie long enough, for some, it becomes reality. Such is the case regarding Palin’s smarts. Meanwhile, Obama’s list of faux pas including his recent inability to correctly spell “respect” are ignored or laughed-off.

Threatened by her enormous presence and the extreme impact of her inspiring 2008 VP nomination acceptance speech, Democrats and the MSM immediately launched a campaign to destroy Palin. In their joint effort to discredit her, every word out of Palin’s mouth has been viewed through an unjust false lens which assumes that she is an idiot. I challenge anyone on the planet to survive such extreme critical scrutiny.

Sarah Palin is not perfect. She is a human being like the rest of us. But, Sarah Palin is an unmistakably gifted charismatic born leader who inspires millions to fight back against the horrible evil attempting to overtake our great nation. Palin’s passion is fueled by her love for God, family and country and her knowledge that freedom ain’t free. Thank God Palin is conservative.

For those on our side who wish to nit-pic everything Palin says and does, I ask, what the heck are you thinking? Stop it! Obama and his vile minions (Lois Lerner and others) are launching daily unprecedented outrageous assaults on our freedoms. Why waste time, energy and resources beating up on one of our few generals leading the charge to restore America?

As a proud conservative, I hold our leaders to a higher standard than the Democrats. I expect conservative leaders to make character driven decisions rooted in the best interest of the American people. However, I think it is unfair and foolish to demand that our leaders be perfect in every way. We should not join our enemies in berating them every time a conservative has a less than home run hitting media appearance. Our laser focus should be on exposing and stopping Obama’s non-stop crimes against our Constitution. Attacking our own is counter productive.

Despite the left’s best efforts to silence her, Palin has been relentless, sounding the alarm of all the bad things that would accompany an Obama presidency. Palin was right. America’s chickens have come home to roost for electing Obama.

Here are Palin’s predictions which have come true.

Obama pacifying world aggressors would have negative consequences.

Russia (which had just invaded the sovereign nation of Georgia, a U.S. ally) would feel emboldened to send troops in Ukraine as well.

Under Obamacare there would be government “death panels” that would determine whether or not a patient should be eligible to receive life-saving treatments, or whether it would be cheaper to just let that patient die. Could you ever imagine such a thing in America?

A few liberals have admitted that Palin was right when she said Obama does not have a whole lot of substance.

Sarah Palin was right on all these issues.

But the most important thing that Palin has been right about, winning her my utmost respect, is her unapologetic advocacy of true Conservatism; confidently touting Conservatism as the miracle cure for all of America’s woes. 

The 2014 midterm election must be a vote for Conservatism. Conservatives in office is the only way we defeat our outlaw president and his army of thugs. We must take the House and the Senate.

Palin’s CPAC speech confirms that she continues to lead the charge. Her battle cry is loud, strong and clear. If the GOP wishes to repeat the victory it enjoyed in 2010, it had better embrace the Tea Party (Conservatism).

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo of Sarah Palin is by Therealbs2002. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

BREAKING NEWS: Pro-Russian rioters kill and maim Ukrainians in Donetsk

A mob of pro-Russian protesters savagely attacked a pro-Ukrainian rally with clubs, metal rods, rocks, tear gas, and smoke bombs, killing a 22-year-old local man and seriously injuring scores of others Thursday in Lenin Square in Donetsk, an industrial city in eastern Ukraine.

According to witnesses, the pro-Ukrainian rally consisted mostly of local men and women, some with children, who came there after work to support the territorial integrity of Ukraine against Russia’s attempts to split the country. This angered a pro-Russian rally nearby, which held Russian flags and demanded that the coal-mining region be separated from Ukraine and joined with Russia.

At some point rocks, eggs, and smoke grenades started flying from the pro-Russian side towards a line of people who chanted Ukrainian slogans while holding a long banner with the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

Donetsk riot

As the rally ended, a large crowd of angry Russian nationalists surrounded their opponents, hurling ethnic insults, and preventing them from leaving. The confrontation quickly became violent.

A slideshow on this Ukrainian news site has the pictures. A 25-minute YouTube video, posted the same day by a local citizen reporter, shows uninterrupted footage of the most violent stage of the riot, helping to reconstruct the events.

As the police succeeded in letting most of the pro-Ukrainian side leave the square, they themselves got surrounded by an angry mob, with about twenty bloodied people huddled together next to a police bus inside a protective circle of policemen. The law enforcement, represented by both local and military police, was outnumbered; an officer was heard calling for reinforcement.

Donetsk riot

The crowd chanted “Russia! Russia!” while also screaming threats, insults, and ethnic slurs. They also chanted “On your knees,” demanding that the Ukrainian patriots kneel before their tormentors, who waved Russian flags.

As rocks, bottles, and smoke bombs continued to fly, the police managed to get the battered men into the bus, but the attackers slashed the tires and broke the windows, throwing more rocks and smoke bombs inside the bus, spraying pepper spray and forcing the people out into the street.

Donetsk riot

As the pro-Ukrainian demonstrators climbed out of the bus windows back into the street, the crowd broke the police barrier and began to beat up the unarmed men with fists and clubs, leaving several of them lying on the pavement, covered in blood, all the while calling their victims “fascists” and “faggots.” A few who tried to escape by breaking through the crowd were surrounded and beaten.

Donetsk riot

The chant “On your knees!” continued as the surrounded and beaten people, many of them unable to stand, crouched on the ground, which the mob finally perceived as compliance with their demand to kneel. Having carried the wounded away, the police were finally able to escort the remaining few to safety.

Donetsk riot

The video ends with the camera pointing downwards, as one of the pro-Russian attackers demands that the cameraman stop shooting because the footage may wind up in the “wrong” hands. During the time of this writing this video added half a million views on YouTube, with many comments in both Russian and broken English cheering the beating of Ukrainians and blaming America for the violence.

UPDATE: The New York Times posted its report with a similar account of the events and the same references, seven hours after mine in PJ Media. For once it’s good to see truthful reporting from the “newspaper of record.” They embedded a shorter video by the Vice News reporter Robert King, which shows the entire event unfold in brief segments, with English subtitles.

In another video, which shows an injured man being taken to an ambulance, gloating voices refer to him as a “Bandera” (a slur against Ukrainian nationalists) and an intruder from Maidan who got what he deserved for taking American money. This and other comments in the videos, as well as multiple pro-Russian comments on various YouTube threads, reveal a paranoid, hateful mind-set, which boils down to the following presumptions:

(a) The Ukrainian revolution was the result of a vast Western-Zionist conspiracy against Russia; (b) all pro-Ukrainian demonstrators are violent Nazis, fascists, and traitors who have been paid with dollars by their American, European, and Zionist masters; and (c) the demonstrators are all intruders from Western Ukraine, the land of hateful worshipers of the “Nazi collaborator” Stepan Bandera.

Such absurd beliefs are the result of a massive campaign of lies, distortions, provocations, and propaganda that the Putin government has been disseminating through all available media channels, both inside Russia and in the Russian-speaking areas of Ukraine, aiming to discredit and demonize the recent popular uprising against the corrupt pro-Russian government of Victor Yanukovich. Among the various reasons to suppress the Ukrainian revolution, probably the most important one was the Kremlin’s fear that it may soon spread from Maidan to Red Square.

Below is a pro-Russian sign opposing Ukrainian “fascism.” The blue and yellow Ukrainian flag never had the Nazi eagle as a symbol, but that didn’t stop the brainwashed activist from drawing it over the Ukrainian flag and then equating it with the Nazi flag.

Donetsk riot

After the Maidan uprising finally succeeded on February 22, the propaganda only intensified, with an added focus on stirring separatist sentiments and paranoia in the Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine, with the apparent goal of breaking the country apart in order to destabilize, demoralize, and subdue the new Ukrainian government – or, better yet, to absorb the breakaway regions into Russia.

A pro-Russian rioter in Donetsk burns a blue-and-yellow ribbon with Ukrainian symbols. He himself is wearing a yellow-and-black St. Georgy ribbon, which symbolizes Russia’s military pride and commemorates the Soviet victory over the Nazi Germany. Russians wearing these ribbons in Ukraine imagine they are fighting “Nazism,” which in their minds gives them a moral license to act like Nazi thugs.

Donetsk riot

The same propaganda, in a more subtle and less anti-Semitic, less gay-bashing form, has found its way to the West — first through the usual hard-left and “anti-war” channels, as well as a hired army of trolls posting anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian comments on the Internet and social media; then through more established news media and talk radio.

An important part in this propaganda has always been played by RT, or Russia Today — the second most-watched foreign news channel in the U.S. after BBC World News and the number one foreign station in five major U.S. urban areas, boasting on its Wikipedia page about being “very popular among younger American people, U.S. college students, and in U.S. inner city neighborhoods.”

Reporting on the riot in Donetsk, for example, RT predictably blamed the violence on the pro-Ukrainian side, who allegedly provoked the Russian nationalists “by shouting far-right slogans ‘Glory to Ukraine’ and ‘Glory to heroes,’ loudly demanding the respect of Ukrainian territorial sovereignty.” In that statement alone, preemptively disseminating the “correct” narrative, the RT editors revealed the unmasked voice of pervasive Russian chauvinism: how dare Ukrainians be patriotic and stand up for Ukraine while in their own country?

The important part of the story is that both the attackers and the attacked spoke Russian, which is the native tongue for the majority of people in eastern parts of Ukraine. Similarly, many speakers in Kiev’s Maidan and a large number of anti-government protesters also spoke Russian and carried Russian-language signs. Admittedly, the majority of Russian speakers in Ukraine think of themselves as Ukrainians, and favor independence from Russia and the territorial integrity of their country.

Why would one group of Ukrainians attack another group of Ukrainians for espousing allegiance to their common country?

To be sure, this isn’t a conflict between Ukrainians and Russians, or between the Ukrainian-speaking and the Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine, no matter how much the Kremlin desires to turn it into one. It is a conflict of two mindsets, two ideologies, and two allegiances. One side is nostalgic for the old Soviet era with its imperial, autocratic , and collectivist mode of existence. The other side desires freedom, individual rights, and the dignity of living outside of Russia’s shadow.

In addition, according to local sources in Donetsk, there was evidence that at least some of the attackers, who shouted at the local Ukrainians to “go home,” themselves had been intruders from the neighboring Russia. It is hardly a coincidence that during pro-Russian actions in Donetsk all local hotels were occupied by young visitors from Russia, while the separatists posing as Ukrainian citizens weren’t familiar with the name of the local governor.

Pro-Russian demonstrators, earlier that day in Donetsk, getting ready to attack the pro-Ukrainian “fascists.”

Donetsk riot

This wasn’t their first riot, either. On March 1, a 7,000-strong pro-Russian separatist rally in the same Lenin Square in Donetsk marched on the office of the regional government, took down the Ukrainian flag on its spire and raised the flag of Russia instead.

Earlier they demanded that the Donetsk region split from Ukraine and join Russia, declared the new Ukrainian government illegitimate, refused to obey the newly appointed local governor, and elected a local populist leader, Pavel Gubarev, as “the people’s governor.”

Gubarev then declared that the local law enforcement and military units must obey his orders and compared himself to the Venezuelan Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez, as well as such autocratic leaders as Belarus president Lukashenko, Russian president Putin, and Kazakhstan president Nazarbayev, adding that the future belongs to the Eurasian Union, which is based on the authoritarian model of government.

Russian and communist flags together in Lenin Square, Donetsk. Communists strongly support pro-Russian separatism, willing to split Ukraine and join Russia.

Donetsk riot

A speaker at a Maidan rally in Kiev later described these events, suggesting that the only way for the Ukrainian patriots to stop such Russian intruders from going to Ukrainian cities, inciting separatism, and tearing down Ukrainian flags with impunity was to start shooting them so they begin to respect another country’s sovereignty.

video of that speech soon went viral in Russia. Taken without context, a claim that Ukrainian protesters now want to start shooting Russians stirred a wave of indignation among Russian nationalists. It is easy to imagine that part of this indignation translated in today’s beatings of local pro-Ukrainian demonstrators in Donetsk, whom the pro-Russian attackers imagined to be “murderous intruders” in the service of “Western imperialism.”

So far, however, the only people killed and maimed were those on the Ukrainian side. In the meantime, anti-Ukrainian propaganda and the incitement of ethnic hatred by the Kremlin continues unabated at home and in many languages abroad, creating preconditions for more military incursions to “protect” ethnic Russians from “Ukrainian violence.”

In a predictable development, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that the new Kiev government is unable to control the situation in Ukraine and, therefore, Moscow reserves the right to protect its “fellow citizens” on the Ukrainian territory.

A pro-Russian rioter waves Russian flag in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

Donetsk riot

Obama’s Faceoffs with Putin and Netanyahu

Washington was the center of contretemps over Putin’s seizure of Crimea and widening public differences with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

We recently interviewed Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute and reviewed of his new book Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes. (See The Peril of Engaging Rogue States: An Interview with Dr. Michael Rubin  and Engagement is Folly}.

Putin, according to Rubin is the consummate zero sum geo -politician. Diplomacy for the Kremlin thugocracy pales in comparison to unleashing military adventurism to recreate the former Soviet empire. Witness Georgia in 2008 with the severance of South Ossetia, Abkhazia and even the Kremlin support for Russian speaking breakaway state of Transnistria between the Ukraine and Moldavia. Remember Putin abhors NATO presence anywhere near the Russian sphere of influence. See the prescient title of a piece I wrote back in August 2008, Georgia: “Moscow Rules” and the West Wimps Out.  We had Bush and Condoleezza Rice back then.

The 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) witnessed the transfer of nearly 2000 nuclear missiles to Russia followed by 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances by the UK, US and Russia that guaranteed Ukrainian sovereignty including the rights of Russian citizens who chose to live there.  Recently Russia negotiated the extension of the lease on the Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol from 2017 to 2042. The move was heavily criticized by the opposition forces now in power in Kiev.  By seizing the Crimea province from Ukraine, the Russian guarantee of Ukrainian sovereignty has been breached. Russian military exercises near Finland and the Ukraine are clear demonstrations of military force to send a message to the EU and the Obama White House West Wing not to dare send NATO forces to the Polish Ukrainian border. Thus, while there will be lots of economic sanctions and isolation rattling by Washington and Brussels, it is up to the G-8 and G-20 groups to consider ejection of Moscow, which will doubtless come up short.

Sochi may lose tourist revenues from the upcoming Paralympics, followed by the loss of the G-8 Summit in June and even the inaugural Russian Formula 1 race scheduled for August 2014.  Meanwhile the Moscow Stock Exchange and Ruble were punished in trading today. Whether that continues will be influenced by Putin’s contempt for the West and the threats by Obama that “there will be consequences”.  So, while Obama’s Russian reset strategy like his pivot to Asia and push for a Final Status agreement between Israel and the PA have been potential failures.

Just look at the interview with Obama by Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg about the President’s entreaties to Netanyahu to “seize the moment and make peace”. This included  a veiled no veto threat by the US should the PA, as suggested in the Oxford Union remarks of PA negotiator Saeb Erekat on Al Jazeera’s Head to Head program of last Friday,  might opt for accession to the UN Security Council for statehood.

This would let 5 million Palestinian UNWRA refugees file for compensation against Israel.  Further, the PA could file a case for crimes against humanity brought before the International Criminal Court at The Hague the day after the April 29 deadline is passed for an agreement set by Secretary of State Kerry.  Even the brief comments by Obama and Netanyahu in the Oval Office about “tough choices” versus non helpful Palestinian moves sent a chilling message.  (See this CBS news report, here).

Tomorrow, we shall see what happens when Netanyahu speaks to 14,000 delegates at the AIPAC Policy Conference following Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ)   speech. They would urge the delegates to scamper up Capitol Hill to convince their Senators and Representatives to pass the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act, S. 1881 co-sponsored by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Menendez. Problem is that Iran may already have its nukes given a decade long cooperative weapons development and ICBM program with North Korea. Read my article; Has Iran Developed Nuclear Weapons in North Korea?

As to Israel’s capabilities, realize that it already has ICBMs – the nuclear equipped Jericho III.  Yes, as the ancient Chinese curse goes, “may you live in interesting times”.

RELATED COLUMN: ‘Delusional’: Krauthammer Slams Obama Admin’s Belief that Putin has ‘Blinked’ on Ukraine

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.