new york times propaganda
An editorial in the New York Times on 19th May illustrates clearly that this US propaganda bullhorn of choice has totally lost the plot with its anti-Russian hysteria.

The article in question is a litany of misinformation, distortion and...dare I say it, lies. Virtually every sentence is beyond the pale in misrepresenting the actions of Russia under the presidency of Vladimir Putin, the unmitigated bias serving to present the USA as a bastion of goodness and benign intention.

It is difficult to know where to start and end with this piece of full spectrum Orwellianism, but there are four paragraphs which deserve special mention, presented below:
A year after invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea in 2014, Russia signed an agreement in Minsk that was supposed to end the fighting. It is now violating that agreement; violence between Ukrainian and Russian-backed separatist forces has reached its highest level since a 2015 cease-fire.

Russia is also engaging in aggressive and dangerous behavior in the air and on the high seas. Last week, British fighter jets intercepted three Russian military transport aircraft approaching the Baltic States. On April 29, a Russian warplane came within 100 feet of an American fighter jet over the Baltic Sea and did a barrel roll over the jet, which could have been catastrophic. Two weeks earlier, two Russian warplanes flew 11 simulated attack passes near an American destroyer in the Baltic.

All this risks direct confrontation with the United States. American military forces have gone out of their way to exercise restraint, but decisions on whether oncoming planes are a threat are made in an instant, and restraint cannot be assumed.

Anxieties about Russia among NATO members in Eastern Europe had forced the alliance to make plans to deploy four combat battalions of roughly 1,000 troops each in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Two battalions will be American, one German and one British. They aren't enough to repulse a Russian invasion, but NATO hopes they will deter Moscow from crossing alliance borders. NATO is also proceeding with a European missile defense system intended to protect against Iranian missiles. Last week, a base in Romania became operational and ground was broken for a base in Poland. More and bigger military exercises are also on the agenda.
To dare to say that Russia invaded Ukraine, when in reality the US engineered an illegal coup against the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, then stood and applauded as the Maidan neo-Nazis went on the rampage in the south east is contemptible. In truth people in the Donbass cried out for direct Russian intervention as they hid from the bombs of Petro Poroshenko, a man who, echoing the genocidal rhetoric of Benjamin Netanyahu, called fellow Ukrainians terrorists and vowed to get "rid of the parasites."

pesky school
© AFP Photo/Anatolii Stepanov
A school in Pesky, Donetsk, shelled by Ukrainian forces on the first day of school in October, 2015.
The US, through its misinformation centrepiece, the State Department, repeatedly claimed the Kiev regime was acting to restore law and order and to protect citizens against the "pro-Russian separatists." No amount of evidence of bombing civilian areas, killing thousands, hitting schools, hospitals and workplaces, would sway the US from its dogmatic line, adopted in pursuit of using Ukraine as a pawn to weaken Russia and bring NATO right to its borders.

The facts are that there were mass border crossings, but they were Ukrainians fleeing to Russia after being ethnically cleansed from their homes. Russia for its part did venture into Ukraine, bringing life-saving humanitarian aid to a desperate, suffering people being blockaded by Kiev. The Kiev regime cut pensions, food and medication to the Donbass, making Russian humanitarian assistance imperative.

As for the "annexing of Crimea," let the facts speak for themselves. Crimea was handed over to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev, an historical error, destined to be reversed in time in accordance with the will of Crimeans.

In 1991, as the Soviet Union was breaking up, 93.2% of Crimean's voted to reunify with Russia. After the upheaval of the Soviet break-up, Russia was hardly in a position to welcome Crimea back to the motherland.

Crimeans looked on in shock and horror at the events in Maidan Square. Their fear escalated even further with the Korsun massacre when Right Sector neo-Nazis murdered peaceful anti-Maidan protestors returning to their homes.

Crimeans had to stand their ground at the parliament as Banderites literally tried to overrun and occupy it. Russian forces stationed at the Sevastopol naval base, along with local self-defence forces, protected the populace and skilfully negotiated a bloodless vacation of military bases by Ukrainian forces. This was in stark contrast to neo-Nazis deliberately sniping to death police and protestors at Maidan. US and EU political figures tried to pin the blame on Yanukovych, but when the evidence pointed to the neo-Nazis they went strangely quiet.

Russia will never let the vital naval base at Sevastapol be lost. Troops were stationed there as part of the Ukraine/Russia Black Sea Fleet agreement of 1997, allowing up to 25,000 based there. So the idea that these forces invaded is a fallacy; they invaded nothing.

As the coup was being planned, Crimea was viewed as the cherry on top, a tremendous geo-strategic achievement in the encirclement of Russia, complete with routing it from its strategic naval base. Russia could not allow Ukraine to be swallowed up by NATO. Unable to stop the Kiev junta taking power, it had to compromise, protecting a grateful Crimean people, fervent in their desire to rejoin Russia.

The attitude of Crimeans was soon expressed in a fair, democratic referendum, exercising their right to self-determination in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 96.7% voting to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia. US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said the sanctions imposed on Russia won't get lifted until it returns Crimea to Ukraine. In other words, democracy means nothing to the USA, and the sanctions will remain indefinitely.

korsun massacre

On February 20, 2014, Right Sector ambushed busloads of civilians returning to Crimea, torturing, beating, and murdering many of the passengers.
As for violating Minsk 2, the NYT is slipping deeper into the mire of its own BS. Under Minsk 2 the Ukraine government is to adopt constitutional reforms allowing for special status for the Donbass region, with elections to follow. This has not happened. Ukraine is stalling for time, clearly with no intention of complying with an agreement 17 months old and counting.

The violent neo-Nazi proxies trained and unleashed at Maidan have come to haunt the government of Poroshenko, with Andrey Biletsky, the founder of the nationalist Azov battalion, vowing that "in case of treacherous elections (in Donbass), we will oust the parliament and the presidential administration, and find new deputies." Poroshenko, a deeply unpopular president, has a powerful incentive to walk away from Minsk, or he may find himself walking, or rather running, from the likes of Right Sector, Azov, et al.

EU countries, particularly Germany and France, are becoming increasingly frustrated. Ukraine continues to be mired in corruption, promised reforms unfulfilled and with an economy bleeding from huge unemployment, plummeting growth and a staggering inflation rate.

The NYT is correct in saying violence has escalated across the contact line and there are ongoing breaches of the cease fire. In the last week this escalation has taken the form of daily violations of the cease fire by Ukrainian forces using heavy weaponry, as reported by Dontesk in their daily defense situation reports:
Over the past week the Ukrainian military intensified its daily shelling the Donetsk People's Republic. Overall, Kiev forces shelled the territory of the Republic two thousand eighty-six times, including a thousand forty-forty times with heavy weapons.
In additional violation of the Minsk agreements, Ukraine has concentrated forbidden arms along the line of contact, including 120mm, 122mm and 152mm mortar shells. It has deployed 152 mm howitzers, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and Grad rocket launcher units. Aidar, Azov and Right Sector, responsible for so much ultra-nationalist violence, maintain their threatening presence.

The people of the Donbass are tired of the blockade. They live in constant fear of massed Ukrainian military forces and genocidal neo-Nazi militias waiting for the opportunity to cause mass deaths.

The European Union and the US need to pressure Kiev to fulfill its obligations to enable the holding of local elections as stipulated under Minsk 2. The head of the Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, said if Ukraine fails to implement the Minsk Agreements until this autumn, the country will hold a plebiscite, stating, "In any case, I have already said many times that we need the local elections for ourselves, to finish the state building. This means that we will not tolerate this situation forever. If the European Union and the United States do not force Kiev to fulfill its obligations in an acceptable and reasonable period of time, we will hold the elections ourselves, by our own laws."

This is in opposition to the view of Victoria Nuland, US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, who said, "we will not recognize the results or will anybody else in the international community of any elections held in Donbass outside of the Minsk framework."

By "international community," Nuland means, of course, the US and anyone else it can bully, bribe and cajole into its lawless camp. Worrying times lie ahead, but I am sure we can rely on "objective" NYT reporting.

The "American destroyer in the Baltic" was the USS Donald Cook, armed with the Aegis combat system, a missile system capable of attacking Russian nuclear, as well as non-nuclear, missile batteries on land, sea, and in the air.

Donald Cook
© US Navy / Reuters
A Sukhoi Su-24 jet makes a low altitude pass by the USS Donald Cook April 12, 2016.
The destroyer was only 70 kilometers from the Kaliningrad naval base. What sane nation interested in its own preservation would not respond to such dangerous provocation? But no, this is "aggressive and dangerous behaviour" by Russia in the mystifying world of the NYT.

The newly opened US Aegis Ashore missile system in Romania and the one in Poland due for completion by 2018 are designed to counter the "Iranian threat" according to Washington and Brussels. Only in Washington's groupthinkistan can such claims be treated with anything other than disdain.

Iran will attack whom exactly? Poland? France? Estonia perhaps? Iran has not been at war since the war with Iraq in the 1980's. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has ensured it will not have the capacity to develop nuclear weapons for many years to come. Iran has always maintained it does not intend to produce nuclear weapons and there has never been evidence to the contrary.

The Aegis system is offensive in nature, capable of launching cruise missiles at Russia, the real target. If the US is able to intercept Russian ballistic missiles, it can adopt a first strike doctrine, confident in the knowledge it can neutralize Russian retaliation.

While the US anti-ballistic missile system is currently far too small to counter Russia's nuclear arsenal, expansion of the system poses a real threat. When George W. Bush withdrew the US from the ABM Treaty in 2002, it left the door open for just such an expansion.

An ABM system which potentially carries cruise missiles, sitting on Russia's borders with a flying time of a matter of minutes, threatens the annihilation of the Russian state and has tilted the balance of power in an extraordinarily dangerous provocation.

Vladimir Putin, normally calm and conciliatory in his remarks, was understandably frank in his reaction, saying, "Those people taking such decisions must know that until now they have lived calm, fairly well-off and in safety. Now, as these elements of ballistic missile defense are deployed, we are forced to think how to neutralize the emerging threats to the Russian Federation."

NATO is steadily encircling Russia with no signs of slowing down. It has announced the deployment of the biggest build-up of troops since the end of the cold war; continually conducts drills on Russia's borders, and sea and air operations in the Baltic and Black Seas, which is why Russian aircraft intercept US destroyers and fighter jets; because they are provocative and aggressive to Russia.

Russia is no threat to the US. The real motivation behind the Aegis system is the profits of the military/industrial complex. The military/industrial complex needs wars and "existential" threats to justify billions of dollars in defence spending. It controls US military policy and will continue to do so. Barack Obama and Ash Carter function as lobbyists for the complex, with Carter hyping up the Russian "threat" conveniently when announcing a four-fold increase in defence spending in Eastern Europe.

Robert Parry, in a recent article said:
Does any intelligent person look at a New York Times article about Russia or Vladimir Putin these days and expect to read an objective, balanced account?
How true Mr. Parry, how true.