Yves here. We’re offering two posts on Ukraine tonight, in part because Greece dominated our coverage last week, and each post covers a different aspect of this devolving situation. Ilargi focuses on the thin, as in WMD-in-Iraq-like, justifications for escalation.
By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor-in-chief of The Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth
I’ve addressed the issue a hundred times, and it pains me to see it only gets worse. But it does. And it’s not my pain that counts, it has no meaning whatsoever, it’s the fact that we are inching ever closer to the kind of situations none of us would choose.
That is, war, people dying from sheer misery, people dying because they have no access to the services we take for granted, and even people being shelled by their own government.
All these things are happening as we speak, and we accept them lying down – on our couches -, and choose to ignore and even deny them, because we are trapped in narratives spun by those who see a profit in spreading these narratives. And who have a solid grip on what gets spun and what is not.
This is not going to end well. Not unless we speak up. Not for anyone amongst us. This one will not pass by your door, or mine. We’re approaching decision time. For the world, for your life and mine. It’s time to pick sides.
As I said, I’ve talked about this numerous times. I suggest you read for example 2014: The Year Propaganda Came Of Age. And then realize that the age of innocence is gone. That ‘I didn’t know’ no longer counts for anything. That ‘I’m just trying to make a living’ only goes so far. That your life is not only about you.
February 12 seems to have been a busy day. There had been a 16 hour – largely overnight – meeting in Minsk attended by Merkel, Hollande, Petroshenko and Putin. Why Putin was asked to attend – ostensibly representing the Donbass ‘rebels’ – is up for questioning, but he was there. The rebels themselves were not.
Not long after the cease-fire was announced, perhaps even prior to it, US Senator Jim Inhofe released photos, which he claimed prove Russian troops are in Ukraine. These were subsequently found to be fake. Like every other single ‘proof’ has been found wanting.
Think about that for a second, another second: it’s been a year since Maidan, since Yanukovich was chased out, and still not one piece of ‘evidence’ has been made to stick. Not one. While the US have the most advanced spy technology ever seen on the planet, it has not been able to produce one piece of information, for a whole year, to prove its assertions that Russia provides weapons to the ‘rebels’, sends soldiers to fight in the Donbass, or has anything to do with shooting down a plane. Not one single piece of evidence.
And then comes Inhofe. Who’s a bigwig, and whose claims may well sway Senate votes towards sending US arms to Kiev:
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) released photographs Thursday of what he says is confirmed Russian military action against Ukraine. He gave them “exclusively” to the Washington Free Beacon. Except there’s just one problem — some of the photographs given to WFB from the 80-year-old senator date back to 2008 from the AP and aren’t exclusive at all.
The photos are fake. Completely fake. Just like all the other evidence presented over the past year. There is nothing that proves any Russian involvement. And if there were anything, you bet your behind they would trump it all over Fox and CNN until the cows had come home and left again for greener pastures. The US is attempting to start a war out of nothing, and for nothing, just because a group of deluded people think they can, and need to, conquer the largest nation on earth for their own advantage.
At roughly the same time Senator Inhofe tried to peddle his fake pictures, Ukraine ultranationalist leader Dmitry Yarosh, of the Right Sector, proclaimed he wouldn’t honor the Minsk deal.
Ukraine’s Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh said his radical movement rejects the Minsk peace deal and that their paramilitary units in eastern Ukraine will continue “active fighting” according to their “own plans.” The notorious ultranationalist leader published a statement on his Facebook page Friday, saying that his radical Right Sector movement doesn’t recognize the peace deal, signed by the so-called ‘contact group’ on Thursday and agreed upon by Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia after epic 16-hour talks. Yarosh claimed that any agreement with the eastern militia, whom he calls “terrorists,” has no legal force.
Not only did Yarosh, who now says he wants to keep on fighting, play a pivotal part in the Maidan movement,and was heavily supported by the US and EU, this same man who ignores the agreement his own president signed, is a member of the Ukraine Parliament. And he’s on Interpol’s wanted list too. Yarosh, an acknowledged neo nazi, fights on ‘our’ side, and if if people like John McCain get their way, he’ll soon be provided with heavy US armory.
Not to be outdone, NATO has this:
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claims that the intelligence service of the alliance has some documented data of Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine. Stoltenberg announced it on air of the Kommersant FM radio. According to Stoltenberg, the militias of eastern Ukraine wouldn’t have been able to achieve the success they are demonstrating without Russia’s support. He said that NATO receives data on Russian military presence in Ukraine from the intelligence services, journalists and other sources but presented no concrete facts.
Moscow has repeatedly denied alleged presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in late January that those accusing Russia of sending troops and weapons to the conflict-torn south-eastern Ukraine need to substantiate their accusations with proof. “We hear a lot about the flow of Russian troops and arms,” Lavrov said speaking at his annual news conference. “And every time I respond that if one speaks with such certainty, than one should present some facts. However, no one is either capable or willing to present the facts.”
Again, if they has any such data, it would be plastered over every news paper and every TV screen in the western world, and likely beyond. But, turns out, Stoltenberg is as reliable as Senator Inhofe and the rest of them are:
Lamberto Zannier, secretary general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), told a forum on OSCE’s project coordination in Ukraine he could not confirm the movement or the presence of Russian forces there…
To top off the madness, apparently yesterday, one day after the Minsk cease-fire accord, the EU announced new anti-Russian sanctions for Monday:
Maja Kocijancic, European Commission’s spokesperson for foreign affairs, confirmed Friday that the EU will add 19 individuals, including five Russians, and nine entities to the list of sanctions over Ukraine on February 16. The statement was made a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with the leaders of Germany, France and Ukraine, brokered a new deal on the crisis reconciliation in Minsk. “The political decision of additional listings has been taken on January 29. The [EU] Foreign Affairs Council on Monday adopted a legal act so it made it fulfilled this political commitment and has set to give the diplomatic efforts a chance that entering into force will happen on February 16, which is this coming Monday,” Kocijancic said.
The European Union, the United States and other countries have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia over its alleged role in the Ukrainian conflict. The restrictions target the country’s defense, energy and finance sectors, as well as a number of individuals. Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it is not militarily involved in Ukraine’s internal affairs. Following the Minsk talks, EU leaders convened for an informal meeting but a new-wave of anti-Russia sanctions was not on the agenda, European Council President Donald Tusk announced. Meanwhile European leaders agreed that the implementation of Thursday’s deal will become a touchstone for further relations with Russia.
That doesn’t make any sense at all, to declare new sanctions when you’ve just signed a deal. That smacks of less than honorable intentions.
Ultra right wing military hothead Yarosh, honorable member of the Ukraine parliament, states he will not abide by what his own superior signed, while the ink he signed it with was still fresh. Which means the Kiev government, and by extension the US and EU, can claim it wasn’t them who violated the accord, but it will be violated regardless. And then when the rebels, alternatively labeled pro-Russian or Russian-led, defend themselves against the Right Sector, the west will have its narrative to declare war on Russia.
And that will not turn out well for us, for you and me. There’s nothing there that will benefit us. The lives of our children will be sacrificed on the altar of a few handfuls of crazed psychopaths. Unless we stop them. It would seem there’s not much time left.