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‘Free Press’? USAID Increases Funding to Pro-Kiev Media

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | May 3, 2014

In the name of a “free and independent media,” the US government through its Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that it will dedicate an additional $1.25 million to subsidize the Ukrainian media in advance of the May 25th presidential election.

Through its multi-year “U-Media” project, USAID has been a major sponsor of the Ukrainian press. It goes without saying that the media outlets and organizations underwritten by the US government in Ukraine adhere closely to the US government’s foreign policy position in the country and region.

The infusion of more than a million dollars into US government-friendly media outlets and NGOs in Ukraine just weeks before the presidential election should be seen for what it is: direct external manipulation of the democratic process in Ukraine.

Nevertheless, the US interference is advertised as “supporting platforms for free and open communications.”

But USAID makes it clear which side this project is intended to support:

USAID is supporting the Government of Ukraine as it implements constitutional and electoral reforms that fulfill its stated goal of becoming a fully inclusive and economically stable democracy.

It is an attack on language itself for the US government to claim that the media it funds is “independent,” as that belies the meaning of the term. Nevertheless the State Department continues to waterboard the English language:

‘USAID supports a strong and independent media in Ukraine,’ said Paige Alexander, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Europe and Eurasia (E&E). ‘This additional funding will help to protect vulnerable journalists while also advancing press freedoms and democratic governance in Ukraine.’

At a time when US Secretary of State John Kerry and his State Department continues to attack the Russian-government funded station RT for being state supported, it should be instructive to witness the hundreds of pro-Washington media outlets that are funded by the US government overseas. It should be instructive to see the electoral processes that are manipulated by the US government’s cash infusion to the side it favors.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

May 4, 2014 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Another NYT ‘Sort of’ Retraction on Ukraine

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | May 4, 2014

The New York Times, which has asserted for weeks that the Russian government is behind the unrest in Ukraine’s east, finally sent some reporters to the region to dig up the proof, but all they found were eastern Ukrainians upset by the coup regime in Kiev that replaced President Viktor Yanukovych.

The Times, which has been an unapologetic promoter of the “pro-democracy” uprising that ousted the democratically elected president through violent extra-constitutional means, has recently been promoting the “theme” that Ukrainians would be happy with their new unelected government if only the Russians weren’t “destabilizing eastern Ukraine.”

Times’ editors thought they had the goods two weeks ago with a front-page scoop featuring photographs supposedly proving the presence of Russian special forces troops. According to the Times, the photos “clearly” showed Russian special forces in Russia and then the same soldiers in eastern Ukraine.

However, only two days later, the scoop unraveled when it turned out that a key photo – supposedly showing a group of soldiers in Russia who later appeared in eastern Ukraine – was actually taken in Ukraine, destroying the premise of the entire story.

So, the Times belatedly dispatched reporters C.J. Chivers and Noah Sneider to Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine to talk with the militants who are opposing the coup regime in Kiev. To their credit, the two reporters actually seem to have recounted what they found, albeit with some of the anti-Russian bias that is now deeply embedded in the Western media narrative.

Noting that Moscow says the Ukrainian militants are not part of the Russian armed forces while “Western officials and the Ukrainian government insist that Russians have led, organized and equipped the fighters,” the reporters write:

“A deeper look at the 12th Company [of the People’s Militia] — during more than a week of visiting its checkpoints, interviewing its fighters and observing them in action against a Ukrainian military advance here on Friday — shows that in its case neither portrayal captures the full story.

“The rebels of the 12th Company appear to be Ukrainians but, like many in the region, have deep ties to and affinity for Russia. They are veterans of the Soviet, Ukrainian or Russian Armies, and some have families on the other side of the border. Theirs is a tangled mix of identities and loyalties.

“Further complicating the picture, while the fighters share a passionate distrust of Ukraine’s government and the Western powers that support it, they disagree among themselves about their ultimate goals. They argue about whether Ukraine should redistribute power via greater federalization or whether the region should be annexed by Russia, and they harbor different views about which side might claim Kiev, the capital, and even about where the border of a divided Ukraine might lie.”

Chuckling at Kiev

The Times reporters cited one unit leader named Yuri as chuckling “at the claims by officials in Kiev and the West that his operations had been guided by Russian military intelligence officers. There is no Russian master, he said. ‘We have no Muscovites here,’ he said. ‘I have experience enough.’ That experience, he and his fighters say, includes four years as a Soviet small-unit commander in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in the 1980s.

“The 119 fighters he said he leads, who appear to range in age from their 20s to their 50s, all speak of prior service in Soviet or Ukrainian infantry, airborne, special forces or air-defense units.”

The reporters also discovered mostly well-worn and dated weaponry, not the newer and more sophisticated equipment that is available to Russian forces.

“During the fighting on Friday, two of the fighters carried hunting shotguns, and the heaviest visible weapon was a sole rocket-propelled grenade,” Chivers and Sneider wrote. “Much of their stock was identical to the weapons seen in the hands of Ukrainian soldiers and Interior Ministry special forces troops at government positions outside the city. These included 9-millimeter Makarov pistols, Kalashnikov assault rifles and a few Dragunov sniper rifles, RPK light machine guns and portable antitank rockets, including some with production stamps from the 1980s and early 1990s.”

Other Western journalists, who have bothered to report from eastern Ukraine rather than just accept handouts from the U.S. Embassy in Kiev or the State Department in Washington, discovered a similar reality.

For instance, on April 17, Washington Post correspondent Anthony Faiola reported from Donetsk that many of the eastern Ukrainians whom he interviewed said the unrest in their region was driven by fear over “economic hardship” and the IMF austerity plan that will make their lives even harder.

“At a most dangerous and delicate time, just as it battles Moscow for hearts and minds across the east, the pro-Western government is set to initiate a shock therapy of economic measures to meet the demands of an emergency bailout from the International Monetary Fund,” Faiola reported.

But this on-the-ground reality of legitimate and understandable concerns among the eastern Ukrainians has been missing from the U.S. propaganda barrage, which has overwhelmed the mainstream press as thoroughly as a similar P.R. campaign did during the run-up to the Iraq War, if not more so. Official Washington’s “group think” now is all about blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Ukraine crisis.

One of the more preposterous theories that I have heard from Washington punditry and officialdom is that Putin arranged the Ukraine chaos as part of a scheme to reclaim land lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Though this notion of Putin as the aggressor plotting to reassert Russian imperialism has become something of a “conventional wisdom,” it is fully unsupported by the facts.

To believe that Putin instigated the Ukraine crisis, you would have to believe that he organized the Maidan protests, that he built up the neo-Nazi militias that spearheaded the Feb. 22 coup, and that he intentionally overthrew his ally, Yanukovych, whom Putin seemed to be trying to save. Though this conspiracy theory is ludicrous, it is now widespread in Official Washington.

Caught Off-Guard

The reality was that Putin was caught off-guard by the events in Ukraine, in part, because he was preoccupied with the Sochi Winter Olympics and the threat that the games would be marred by a major terrorist attack. He spent a great deal of time in Sochi personally overseeing the security.

Meanwhile, the Maidan uprising was unfolding in Kiev, cheered on by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and partly financed by American entities, such as the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy, whose longtime president Carl Gershman deemed Ukraine “the biggest prize” in a Washington Post op-ed published in late September, months before the current crisis erupted.

Though many of the protesters from western Ukraine had legitimate grievances over the pervasive corruption in Ukrainian politics and the inordinate power of a handful of wealthy oligarchs, the final violent coup was carried out by well-trained neo-Nazi militias organized in 100-man brigades, known as “the hundreds.”

After the Feb. 22 putsch when Yanukovych and many of his officials were forced to flee for their lives, Putin began reacting to this deteriorating situation on Russia’s border. What he was doing was “crisis management,” not implementing some Machiavellian scheme that had long been contemplated.

But the demonization of Putin in the Western media has been so total that anyone who dares question the most extreme interpretations of his behavior is denounced as a “Putin apologist.” Indeed, any attempt to present a nuanced narrative of what has happened in Ukraine is dismissed as somehow promoting Russian imperialism or spreading Russian propaganda.

This oppressive “group think” has, in turn, made formulating any rational policy toward Russia and Ukraine politically impossible in Official Washington.

In this context of asking who’s the real propagandist, it’s worth looking back on another New York Times front-page story from mid-April by David M. Herszenhorn, who accused the Russian government of engaging in a propaganda war.

In the article entitled “Russia Is Quick To Bend Truth About Ukraine,” Herszenhorn mocked Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev for making a Facebook posting that “was bleak and full of dread,” including noting that “blood has been spilled in Ukraine again” and adding that “the threat of civil war looms.”

The Times article continued, “He [Medvedev] pleaded with Ukrainians to decide their own future ‘without usurpers, nationalists and bandits, without tanks or armored vehicles – and without secret visits by the C.I.A. director.’ And so began another day of bluster and hyperbole, of the misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and, occasionally, outright lies about the political crisis in Ukraine that have emanated from the highest echelons of the Kremlin and reverberated on state-controlled Russian television, hour after hour, day after day, week after week.”

This argumentative “news” story spilled from the front page to the top half of an inside page, but Herszenhorn never managed to mention that there was nothing false in what Medvedev wrote. Indeed, as the bloodshed has grown worse and a civil war has become more apparent, you might say Medvedev was tragically prescient.

It was also the much-maligned Russian press that first reported the secret visit of CIA Director John Brennan to Kiev. Though the White House later confirmed that report, Herszenhorn cited Medvedev’s reference to it in the context of “misinformation” and “conspiracy theories.” Nowhere in the long article did the Times inform its readers that, yes, the CIA director did make a secret visit to Ukraine.

Perhaps, the Chivers-Sneider story about the backgrounds of the fighters in the People’s Militia of eastern Ukraine – what looks like another New York Times’ “sort of” retraction of its earlier claims – will give some pause to the U.S. propaganda stampede into another unnecessary war. [For more details, see’sUkraine, Though the US ‘Looking Glass.’”]


Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

May 4, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

The Wall of Shame

May 4, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Video, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

How dismal it all is

Sometimes the daily, petty nastiness of the occupation is encapsulated in the dismal theft of a few tools

By Yossi Gurvitz | Yesh Din | May 1, 2014

Ryad, a resident of the Bethlehem region, has a small orchard with apricot, hazelnut, olive and fig trees. Near the orchard is an ancient agricultural structure, aged some one hundred years, which serves Ryad and his family as a tool shed, as well as a resting place in the far too many hot days.

One day, Ryad was asked by his nephew, Khader, to hold a family barbecue in the place. Ryad agreed. As Khader reached the place, however, he was shocked to see a few men, whom he would soon identify as Israeli civilians, attempting to damage the structure. Khader shouted at them and moved in their direction, and the three immediately fled.

When Ryad reached the place, after being summoned by Khader, he found that the Israeli civilians did not limit themselves to their attempt to destroy the structure: they also stole some agricultural tools and silverware that were in it. Why? Because.

We’ve already become pretty much inured to the daily violence against Palestinians, whether coming from the military or civilians. We’ve grown used to it. After all, it happens so often you could mumble the excuses in your sleep: The soldier felt in danger, they were near the fence, they were somewhere they shouldn’t be, and anyway, you-know-what-they-would-do-to-us-if-they-only-could. Violence towards a person can always be excused, if that’s your cup of tea. Just as rapists and their supporters can always find excuses for sexual violence towards women (she wanted it, why did she leave the house at such an hour, what kind of person walks around such places, why did she dress like that). Such excuses are necessary for any injustice. You want to be able to look in the mirror afterwards, after all; furthermore, you should be ready for a situation where such actions are routine.

“To plunder, to butcher, to steal: these they falsely name empire: they make a desolation and they call it peace.” These are piercing words by the Roman historian Tacitus in the mouth of the warlord Calgacus, planning his final battle against the Roman invader. To the insurrection of people fighting for their freedom, we give the misnomer of “disturbances of order”; land stolen from them by the cunning of jurists, is called “public lands”; coated steel bullets, “rubber bullets”; shooting an unarmed man, “the force was acting in accordance with the rules of engagement.”

But while we’ve become accustomed to excusing violence towards persons, we still have a problem explaining away simple theft. Such incidents pierce the security veil of fog. Every IDF veteran can easily recite all the excuses for why it is proper to fire a lead bullet from an assault rifle through the body of an unarmed child; but he’d have a hard time justifying the looting of the body. And such incidents allow us to see what lies beyond the veil of excuses.

And what we see, when all is said and done, is theft. Theft on the part of people living in a well-to-do settlement, enjoying all the munificence the government of a high-tech superpower can throw at them. The theft, as we’ve seen in an earlier case, of a donkey and a few obsolete agricultural tools. Did the thieves who broke into Ryad’s shed need those tools and utensils? Not likely. But they took them because they knew they could take them, and nothing would happen. There would be no investigation, no indictment; they knew they were the lords of the land, and that they could express their lordship by carelessly harming the property of others.

Is there, or can there be, any excuse – a security excuse, a national excuse, a religious excuse – for damaging a shed used by farmers for shelter and stealing their tools, tools which will not make much of a difference to the thief,  but for the victim, cause real damage to his ability to make a living?

And, behind all the bright shining lies that the Israeli civilians in the West Bank tell themselves – the “security needs” lie, the “redemption of land” lie, the “land of our forefathers” lie – can’t we see the same urge, the urge to better yourself at the expense of someone whose condition are far worse than yours? The urge to show your lordship by harming the defenseless? Is there anything behind the big words, aside from a small, dismal robbery?

May 4, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Dozens of FBI, CIA agents in Kiev ‘assisting Ukraine security’

RT | May 4, 2014

Numerous US agents are helping the coup-appointed government in Ukraine to “fight organized crime” in the south east of the country, the German newspaper Bild revealed.

According to the daily, the CIA and FBI are advising the government in Kiev on how to deal with the ‘fight against organized crime’ and stop the violence in the country’s restive eastern regions.

The group also helps to investigate alleged financial crimes and is trying to trace the money, which was reportedly taken abroad during Viktor Yanokovich’s presidency, the newspaper said.

The head of the CIA, John Brennan, visited Kiev in mid-April and met with the acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and first Vice-President Vitaly Yarema to discuss a safer way to transfer US information to Ukraine.

Jen Psaki, spokeswomen for the United States Department of State, said that there was nothing to read into Brennan’s visit to Kiev, and that the head of the CIA did not offer support to the coup-appointed government in the country to help them conduct tactical operations within Ukraine.

However, following the visit the toppled President Viktor Yanukovich linked the CIA chief’s appearance in Kiev to the first stage of the new government’s crackdown in Slavyansk.

Brennan “sanctioned the use of weapons and provoked bloodshed,” Yanukovich said.

Bild’s reports comes as US President Barack Obama rules out that Washington will interfere in the situation in Ukraine.

“You’ve also seen suggestions or implications that somehow Americans are responsible for meddling inside Ukraine. I have to say that our only interest is for Ukraine to be able to make its own decisions. And the last thing we want is disorder and chaos in the center of Europe,” he said speaking in the White House after meeting the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, just two days ago.

May 4, 2014 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | 1 Comment

Radicals shooting at people in Odessa’s burning building caught on tape

RT | May 4, 2014

New video has emerged online which shows a man shooting at the windows of Odessa’s burning House of Trade Unions. At least 39 anti-government activists died in the flames on May 2 in the building besieged and set ablaze by radicals.

A man in the video is wearing a bulletproof vest and shoots several times in the direction of the burning House of Trade Unions.

Another video of the same man shows him speaking on the phone passionately arguing that he and his people are unarmed, while having to confront armed anti-government protesters. The man introduces himself as sotnik Mykola (“sotnik” is what Maidan group leaders in Kiev call themselves) He also says he was wounded in the leg by protesters, although he doesn’t look hurt in the footage.

Both the videos have gathered thousands of views on YouTube, stirring a wave of indignation at the man’s hypocrisy and his shooting at the people trapped inside the burning building.

Survivors of the fire say they had to barricade themselves inside the House of Trade Unions, to hide from an aggressive mob, which had torched their tent camp.

Radicals then began throwing Molotov cocktails at the Trade Unions building, setting it on fire. Witnesses say that those who managed to escape the fire, were severely beaten outside by the besiegers of the burning building.

“We couldn’t go down, we were seeing people from other floors being brought down and then those rioters down there attacked them like a pack of wolves,” a survivor of the fire, who was hiding on the roof of the building, told RT.

Afraid of falling into the hands of radicals, people didn’t leave the House of Trade Unions, where dozens eventually burnt alive, suffocated or jumped out of windows.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry however offers a different version of events, saying the victims of the violent unrest started the fire themselves, when they began throwing Molotov cocktails from the upper floor.

Multiple videos of the incident, however, show Molotov cocktails flying from outside the building.

Several hundred people rallied overnight in Odessa outside the local police headquarters, demanding the release of the fire survivors who had been detained on May 2.

People claim around 60 survivors of the Trade Unions House are currently being held in jails. The rally participants told journalists that anti-government activists who managed to get out of the burning building were first beaten by nationalist militants outside and then detained by police.

Many of the rally participants were holding pictures of their relatives and friends, who have been missing since clashes broke out in Odessa two days ago.

May 4, 2014 Posted by | Video, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

Avoiding facts? MSM uncertain who is behind deadly Odessa blaze

RT | May 4, 2014

Despite clear evidence that the pro-Kiev radicals set Odessa’s House of Trade Unions ablaze on Friday killing dozens, the mainstream media is being ambiguous about the causes of the tragedy.

On Friday, Ukraine’s eastern town of Odessa saw brutal street battles between pro-autonomy activists and nationalist radicals which left 46 people dead. The majority of the victims died in the Trade Unions House that was set on fire by pro-Kiev radicals.

Very carefully worded commentary on the tragedy in Odessa came from the mainstream Western media, as if they were trying to avoid assigning the blame to those who actually set the building on fire. Their coverage of the event was heavily reliant on statements from Kiev that blamed the violence on pro-autonomy activists, as well as witness accounts given by the nationalist Right Sector members.

Based on their reports, it may seem that the House of Trade Unions just caught fire.

“At some stage yesterday – and it still unclear exactly how this started – but there were rival pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protests here. It led to fierce street clashes, which culminated in a huge fire in a building last night,” reported Sky News.

“Violence is escalating in Ukraine. Police in normally calm Odessa say a clash between pro-Russians and government supporters led to a fire that killed at least 31 people,” said a report by Fox News.

But the actual video footage from the scene of the incident clearly shows how pro-Kiev radicals are throwing Molotov cocktails into the Trade Unions House where pro-autonomy activists were trapped.

Asked by the Washington Post who had thrown Molotov cocktails, a pro-Ukrainian activist Diana Berg admitted “Our people — but now they are helping them to escape the building.”

The BBC website merely quoted the regional office of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, writing that “it did not give details of how the blaze started,” stressing that “the exact sequence of events is still unclear.”

Reuters news agency reported that “a pro-Kiev march was ambushed, petrol bombs, stones, explosive devices were thrown, police soon lost control and the building was later set on fire.”

CNN covered the incident by stating that it was “unclear exactly what may have caused it [the fire].” Later, however, the channel acknowledged the fire was started by Kiev supporters throwing Molotov cocktails at the building.

The New York Times goes with the headline: ‘Ukraine Presses Pro-Russia Militants After Fighting Spreads to a Port City.’ The words “pro-Russian militants” could create the impression that those were not just ordinary people and anti-Kiev demonstrators trapped inside a burning building, but militants. And that kind of wording can almost justify the act of killing, notes RT’s Gayane Chichakyan.

The Guardian quotes a member of extreme-right nationalist group Right Sector as saying “The aim is to completely clear Odessa [of pro-Russians]… They are all paid Russian separatists.”

Such statements – be they from Right Sector, or the coup-imposed government – perpetuates a narrative that whoever opposes the Kiev authority and feels strong ties with Russia is simply a puppet of Moscow. And this narrative is just perfectly in line with how the US and European officials see the situation. They have firmly sided themselves with the authorities in Kiev and are ready to justify and defend whatever action Kiev takes against the protesters, says Chichakyan.

May 4, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Video | , | 1 Comment