Letter to my MP regarding David Cameron’s decision to send “military advisers” to Ukraine:

I am writing to you to express my concern with the Prime Minister’s decision to send military advisers to Ukraine. Mr Cameron seemed to imply this afternoon that he supports the Minsk 2.0 agreement to bring about an end to the war, yet the peace deal explicitly calls for the removal of all foreign troops from the conflict zone. Therefore, deploying British forces runs counter to the protocols laid out at Minsk, whilst also giving the impression that Britain seeks an escalation of the war rather than a peaceful settlement. That the UK and United States were missing from the meetings in Moscow and Minsk made clear that such confrontational posturing is not viewed as helpful by mainland Europe. Thus, my first concern regarding the PM’s decision is that he seems to be unaware that taking such an action breaches the ceasefire deal. By pouring fuel on the fire Mr Cameron may end up encouraging an escalation in the fighting, and so far it is not clear that this is not actually his intention.
Secondly, I would like to make you aware of my dismay that this plan has been decided upon with no debate or vote in parliament. By sending these troops, the UK is involving itself in a civil war – and one in which the other side is supported by a country with nuclear weapons. The conflict itself is not nearly as black and white as Mr Cameron is making it out to be, and myself and many others in this country find what the new Ukrainian government is doing to its citizens in the East to be utterly abhorrent. If action must be taken, let us work alongside both Ukraine and Russia to reach a settlement that takes into consideration all parties involved, rather than pursuing reckless warmongering policies that continue to erode our credibility on the world stage.

Best wishes,
Sophie Stephenson

VIDEO: The Israel Lobby Protects Neo-Nazis in Ukraine

This short video was adapted from Max Blumenthal’s article “How the Israel Lobby Protected Ukrainian Neo-Nazis” (AlterNet, 11/18/14) by the anti-war group St Pete for Peace. Find out more about them at: http://stpeteforpeace.org

Video footage details:

Battalion AZOV From US to Ukraine.
Fascists Creating Child Soldiers in Ukraine.
Military battalion AZOV War in Ukraine.
Neo-Fascist Mercenaries From Europe Fill the Ranks of Ukraine’s Army Azov.
Right Sector( Pravy Sektor)- Neo- Nazis from Euromaidan.
Ukrainian Fascism Exposed A Cyber Documentry.
Факты о Фашизме Украины.
Imagine a World Without Hate (Official Video)

Pro-Kiev Militias Block Aid from Entering Eastern Ukraine

russiaukraineconvoy

Amnesty International has disclosed that battalions fighting for the Kiev regime in eastern Ukraine are blocking humanitarian aid from entering the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Amnesty reports:

“As winter sets in, the already desperate situation in eastern Ukraine is being made even worse by the volunteer battalions preventing food aid and medicine from reaching those in need. It is no secret that the region is facing a humanitarian disaster with many already at risk of starvation,” said Denis Krivosheev, acting Director of Europe and Central Asia for Amnesty International.

“These battalions often act like renegade gangs and urgently need to be brought under control. Denying food to people caught up in a conflict is against international law and the perpetrators must be held to account.”

Battalions such as Dnipro-1, Aidar, and the Pravyi Sector militia are said to have blocked 11 roads leading to the DNR-controlled territory, as they do not feel they should be feeding the same people that they are fighting. However more than half the population of the breakaway republics are now entirely dependent on humanitarian aid, as the Kiev government have closed all banks, hospitals and other social services in these areas. Amnesty continues:

An aid worker from the Luhansk Region has informed Amnesty International that Aidar battalion is also stopping and searching cars that travel from Starobil’sk to Luhansk and vice versa. Members of the battalion, which was previously implicated in arbitrary detention and torture, are reportedly stopping food and medicines getting through to the region.

The aid worker recalled a particular case when medicines for four elderly people in Krasnodon, who are suffering from heart and blood pressure conditions, were snatched from a bus at a checkpoint.

“Checking the content of humanitarian convoys crossing frontline is one thing. Preventing it is another. Attempting to create unbearable conditions of life is a whole new ballgame. Using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is a war crime,” said Denis Krivosheev.

While Krivosheev – acting Director of Europe and Central Asia – says that the dire humanitarian situation in the east is no secret, it is clear that Kiev and its allies are doing their best to cover up what’s going on. With Ukraine about to enforce strict austerity measures on the rest of the country, it probably won’t be long before the new government faces an even larger backlash.

Eastern Ukraine: Humanitarian disaster looms as food aid blocked

Western Media’s Ukraine Narrative Continuing to Strain Credibility

tumblr_n20u1tRhSn1r55d2io1_500

It seems that there are no lengths the Western press will not go to in order to wage their propaganda war against Putin’s Russia. The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent, Shaun Walker, is suggesting that Russia’s current economic woes may result in a ‘palace coup’ – as the country’s elites see their fortunes decline. Walker says:

Falling oil prices have combined with western sanctions to create the worst economic crisis of Putin’s 15 years in power. With oil revenues tailing off sharply, on the one hand it will expose how little has been done to diversify the Russian economy during the boom years, while on the other the amount of money to share among the group of billionaires around Putin will shrink dramatically.

Part of the rationale behind western sanctions against people in Putin’s inner circle was to harm them and prompt them to pressure the leader. If the economic situation continues to deteriorate, and the political turmoil continues, one school of thought suggests Putin could be in trouble from within his own inner circle.

Most Russian officials feel the west is to blame for apparently “instigating” the Maidan protests in Kiev, but many are privately uneasy at the way Putin responded. For those in the inner circle, sanctions have in some cases meant losing business, property and travel opportunities in the west. Those affected have been falling over themselves to insist publicly that their personal pain is a small price to pay for the revival of a Great Russia, but what they think in private may be another matter. Even among those ideologically in tandem with Putin, if their vast wealth begins to be threatened their loyalty may waver.

Why the Russian oil crash could threaten Putin with a palace coup

Basically his entire premise is based upon what Russia’s oligarchs *might* be thinking; that while they publicly profess their loyalty to the Kremlin, secretly they may think something completely different. Pretty poor journalism for a Pulitzer Prize winning publication.

images (1)

Most shameless however, is the continued insistence that ‘the west’ did not instigate the Maidan protests and subsequent coup. It is quite insane, that these so-called journalists act as though the mere idea that the Kiev colour revolution was planned from the American embassy is something to be ridiculed; that such thoughts can only derive from the minds of paranoid conspiracy theorists. So hard are the media trying to push this narrative, that op-eds are published stating that anyone who dares to say otherwise, has to be receiving payment to do so. This editorial by Nick Cohen is a good example:

Vladimir Putin is the world’s corrupt policeman. He finds the seediness in every country and nurtures it. On some occasions, he exploits cynicism and paranoia at once; on others, he banks it for later use. Often he appears to fan corruption for the hell of it because that is all he knows how to do.

The posters appearing on British advertising hoardings promoting his propaganda channel give a notion of the scale of his effort. His underlings have rebranded his Russia Today station “RT” – in the hope that its dumb viewers will not realise that they are watching a channel whose political line follows the Kremlin line with puppyish eagerness.

While reputable news organisations from the BBC to the New York Times fire news reporters who try, however inadequately, to tell the truth, Russia Today has extended its reach. Putin is about to increase its $300m budget by 40%. Its resources will soon compare with Fox News. But while Fox serves the peculiar tastes of the American right, Russia Today has global ambitions. The channel broadcasts in English, Arabic and Spanish and can reach 600 million people. It claims to have surpassed a billion hits on YouTube, and will add German- and French-language channels. For the supposedly pariah leader of a country whose population is collapsing and mafia economy stagnating, Putin has the best publicity money can buy.

Anyone who writes critically about him soon learns the price of lese majeste. BuzzFeed revealed that state-sponsored Russian trolls maintain a Stakhanovite regime of tweeting and commenting on hostile news pieces as they spread the Kremlin’s message across the web. (Hello down there in the comments, by the way. Hope the sanctions aren’t hurting the pay cheques.)

Russia Today: why western cynics lap up Putin’s TV poison

Such pompous commentary reads like an act of frustration, and insulting your readership in this manner will only turn people away. However this is the absurd level that the British press are sinking to, in a desperate attempt to win the information war over Ukraine. Unfortunately, they are tying themselves in knots in the process, as a piece from ten years ago on Kiev’s Orange Revolution could easily be mistaken for a description of the 2013-14 Maidan.

With their websites and stickers, their pranks and slogans aimed at banishing widespread fear of a corrupt regime, the democracy guerrillas of the Ukrainian Pora youth movement have already notched up a famous victory – whatever the outcome of the dangerous stand-off in Kiev.

Ukraine, traditionally passive in its politics, has been mobilised by the young democracy activists and will never be the same again.

But while the gains of the orange-bedecked “chestnut revolution” are Ukraine’s, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.

If the events in Kiev vindicate the US in its strategies for helping other people win elections and take power from anti-democratic regimes, it is certain to try to repeat the exercise elsewhere in the post-Soviet world.

The places to watch are Moldova and the authoritarian countries of central Asia.

US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev *

Incidentally, Moldova’s pro-Russian party was barred from taking part in the election that took place a few weeks ago, on account of receiving money from a foreign country – a bizarre turn of events considering all the above mentioned US-funded parties in Eastern Europe over the last decade. However this outcome was considered a resounding success for the EU. It is also worth mentioning that the US Congress’s Ukraine Freedom bill includes clauses that essentially threaten to impose sanctions if Russia dares to make closer economic ties with countries in central Asia; these nations are likely to be next in line for a dose of Washington’s regime change.

Returning to the Guardian: the difference in approach between 2004 and 2014 leads one to wonder what exactly has changed in this period, and why the huge cover-up? How does Shawn Walker sleep at night, knowing that he’s complicit in the mass-murder of ethnic Russians by neo-nazi battalions?

* Credit to Tony Cartalucci at Land Destroyer for finding the 2004 article. Read his essay ‘The Impending “Russian Maidan”‘  here.

Photos: Kiev Police Clash with Far-Right Nationalists

kiev1

Several clashes have erupted this week between police  and far-right nationalists in Kiev. Members of the Svoboda and Right Sector parties, as well as Azov battalion militants, marched through the Ukrainian capital to Independence Square on Tuesday to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA).

kiev2

President Petro Poroshenko announced the creation of ‘Defender of the Nation Day’ annual public holiday on Tuesday (October 14), thus dissolving the existing  ‘Defender of the Motherland Day’ that usually occurs on February 23 in both Ukraine and Russia; similar holidays are held on various dates in other ex-Soviet nations.

1065330

Kiev’s decision to move the holiday to coincide with the UPA’s anniversary is a bold statement: the UIA were a Ukrainian nationalist paramilitary group whom fought alongside the Nazis against the Russian army in World War II. The group committed a number of horrific war crimes during their existence; massacring Poles and Ukrainian Jews. Members planned to win Ukraine with support from Germans and physically eliminate all non-Ukrainians; their slogan was “Ukraine only for Ukrainians”.

1065334

UIA groups fought against Soviet and Polish underground resistance organization members in 1943-44. Following the end of the war and when the Soviet rule was restored in Ukraine, the UIA organized attacks against Soviet servicemen, law-enforcement authorities, Soviet officials and others who came from the “east”.

1061908

After parliament failed to pass a bill that would formally recognise the UIA as war heroes on – who fought for Ukrainian independence during WWII – riots broke out outside the building. This was the seventh time parliament speaker Olexandr Turchynov, in violation of established procedures,  put this issue to a vote -and each time the motion failed to score the required 226 votes. Following this decision, groups of masked men proceeded to throw bricks, smoke bombs and explosive devices at policemen on duty at the parliament – leading the session to be terminated.

18

The clashes have also been attributed to another bill that was passed on Tuesday – a law granting self-rule status to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east for three years – part of a peace deal brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin. It seems ironic that these neo-nazi groups want to both celebrate those who fought for Ukraine’s independence, whilst also quelling notions of separatism in the east. What does seem to be fueling both of these issues is extreme Russophobia, which is very worrying indeed. It is unfortunate that most of western Europe has chosen to encourage this growing prejudice and cozy up with Washington, rather than admit that Russia was right.

1413296426619_wps_6_A_radical_protester_clash
1413297068461_Image_galleryImage_Radical_protesters_R_top_
1413297151620_wps_16_Radical_protesters_clash_

1413296761711_wps_12_Far_right_parties_and_mov

20
1065338
21
1061909
1061906
1065337
22
23
19
24
kiev4
1065495
kiev3

Sources:

Ukraine ‘Defender’s Day’ appeases pro-Nazi group, says Russian lawmakers
http://voiceofrussia.com/uk/news/2014_10_15/Ukraine-Defenders-Day-appeases-pro-Nazi-group-says-Russian-lawmakers-0594/

Right Sector, Azov Battalion march to commemorate the Ukrainian Insurgent Army
http://www.kyivpost.com/multimedia/photo/right-sector-azov-battalion-march-to-commemorate-the-ukrainian-insurgent-army-368060.html

Right Sector nationalists protest against self-rule law for east Ukraine
http://en.itar-tass.com/world/749936

At least 15 policemen injured in clashes with nationalists in Kiev
http://en.itar-tass.com/world/754338