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Who produces fake news? Russia, America, or both?

Comparing facts on the ground with the track record of the media in both countries, provides us an answer

Eric Zuesse

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(Washington’s Blog) – The biggest difference between American and Russian news-reporting has been a simple factual issue between the two sides, on what incident started the ‘New Cold War’ between the U.S. and Russia. (The original Cold War was between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and had an ideological, capitalist-versus-communist, alleged basis, but this one doesn’t — so, it’s not really a ‘New Cold War’; it is quite different, but it might be even more deadly.)

The U.S. and its allies say that what started it was in March 2014 when “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” and “the invasion of Crimea” and Russia’s “conquest of land” by means of that “invasion,” sparked America’s sanctions against Russia and NATO’s military buildup along Russia’s borders; but Russia says that what started it was in February 2014 when Ukraine was victimized, as Russian Television reported it, on 13 March 2014, by:

an armed coup. The Maidan do not appoint these people; rather, it’s the US that does it. It’s enough to look at the newly appointed officials: Parubiy, Gvozd, Nalyvaichenko are all people who followed somebody else’s orders, the orders of the US, not even Europe. They are directly linked to the American intelligence.

In the American account, Ukrainian democracy started when the democratically elected President of Ukraine was overthrown in February 2014; in the Russian account, Ukrainian democracy ended when the democratically elected President of Ukraine was overthrown in February 2014, and only after (and in response to) that, did two regions (Crimea and Donbass, both of which had voted more than 75% for that man) break away from, and refuse to be governed by, the newly installed Ukrainian Government, which was now being imposed upon them.

For nearly three years now, there has been this ‘debate’; but, there has actually been no debate at all, because the media on the two sides, have different alleged ‘historical’ accounts of what the cause of the ‘New Cold War’ is. The people on the two sides disagree about history (was it a coup that had occurred in Ukraine in February 2014, or was it instead a revolution?), and not only about the news. Fake ‘news’ isn’t the only issue here; fake ‘history’ also is.

This is an exceedingly dangerous situation to exist between the two nuclear superpowers, because it goes deeper than mere semantics (‘coup’ or else ‘revolution’) to the real evidence, to reality. One side or the other is — or else both sides are — simply ignoring crucial evidence, in this case. This could produce nuclear Armageddon. There are two mutually contradictory accounts of the history, which have been continuing unchanged for nearly three years already, and the only way that the problem is being dealt with is by there continuing to be no public adjudication of the issue on the basis of the wealth of incontrovertible evidence that exists (including crucial leaked phone-conversations such as this and this) regarding this incredibly important matter.

Was the precipitating event Obama’s ‘coup’ in February 2014, or was it instead Putin’s ‘invasion’ in March 2014? Western media don’t, at all, use the term “coup” to refer to the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, but Russian media do.

On Saturday, October 28th, the RT (Russian Television) website used the word “coup” to refer to the overthrow and replacement that occurred in February 2014 of Ukraine’s Government. In the U.S. and its allied countries, that replacement of the Ukrainian Government is instead called a “democratic revolution” or “2014 Ukrainian revolution” or “Uprising in Ukraine”, referring to it as a supposedly not-CIA-organized operation (though the Obama Administration had actually started planning it in 2011). The U.S.-backed article “Uprising in Ukraine” described this Governmental overthrow as follows (which provides a good summary of the official U.S.-and-allied ‘news’media’s account of what had happened):

Three acts unfolded on the Maidan. First came the citizen protests. Then, the brutal government crackdown. And finally, after the first guy was killed on Hrushevsky Street, what I call “the Maidan of dignity.” At that point, it had become obvious that the people would never accept Yanukovych again. It was the beginning of his end, and the start of this journey toward Russia that is still playing out.

Once, Ukraine looked at its leaders like Olympic Gods; they know what to do, and how to do it, and we’ll just follow them. But over these last three months, the people have seen that’s not true. Politicians are no better than the rest of us. People want to participate in politics now. They demand equality, the right to assembly, and a fair court system. And they see their leaders for what they are—really old. If you asked Yanukovych or some others about Facebook, they wouldn’t understand what it can do.

I understand that the moment I posted on Facebook, I was no longer acting as a journalist; I was an activist. As a journalist, one must remain independent. On the other hand, as a citizen, I had to act. It is difficult to do nothing as your future is being destroyed right before your eyes. As the crackdown began, I realized I could no longer stand by as an unbiased observer while the government was killing people. It has been a long time coming.

The press gained freedoms under Yanukovych. But it wasn’t until 2013 that a group of us left our jobs at companies owned by oligarchs or political partisans and began to create a truly independent media. In the first months of the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych we formed Stop Censorship! to protest persecution of the press.

Three years later, we founded the first Internet TV channel in the country that operates through donations from our viewers — Hromadske.tv, where I work now as editor in chief. The media showed everything that was happening—helping people to believe that if we all act together, we can accomplish great things.

But the Russian media are different. They are trying to create a parallel reality. They are under Putin’s control, and he is trying to convince Russians that evil has overtaken Kyiv. The Russian people don’t have access to a free Internet, like we do. …

Wikipedia says of that writer:

Using Facebook, Nayem was one of the first activists to urge Ukrainians to gather on Independence Square in Kiev to protest Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to “pause” preparations for signing an association agreement with the European Union.[9] His summons to rally on Facebook on November 21, 2013 were the start of the Euromaidan protests which led to the overthrow of the Yanukovych government.[10]

His main financial backer was actually an American “oligarch” or aristocrat, the lifelong hater of Russians, George Soros, whose Open Society Foundation and other rabidly anti-Russian ‘non-profits’ and ‘charities’, such as the International Renaissance Foundation, had pushed that writer forward to become ultimately a member of Ukraine’s post-coup parliament or “Rada.” But in that article by him, which was published at Soros’s Open Society Foundation site on 4 April 2014, he was identified at that time as: “Mustafa Nayem is a Ukrainian journalist and co-founder of the online channel Hromadske.TV.” In other words: Nayem was very successful as a Soros employee, not only before the “uprising” but after.

Where Nayem had used in his article the phrases “the brutal government crackdown” and “the Maidan of dignity,” I thought of the event that occurred on 25 January 2014, and that was captured so well in a video uploaded that day to the Web by Russian Television, “Ukrainian rioters brutally assaulting police”, in which the terrified police, who are being beaten and worse by America’s hired masked paramilitaries, try to ward off the clubs and brickbats by means of their shields. The assault’s PR agents labelled such realites as “the Maidan of dignity,” and Soros’s Nayem parroted the phrase, for whatever trusting fools (people who don’t ‘need’ evidence) might happen to be reading Soros’s site — which is just about everyone who reads there. Those PR agents had actually been inside the Vatican (institutionally hostile toward Russia); and, in fact, on that very day (January 25th), Vatican Radio had headlined “Ukraine movement a ‘Maidan of dignity’, says bishop”, and Orthodox Churches, including the Russian one, were infuriated. But, anyway: this was the reality behind “the Maidan of dignity.”

Here was a superb article by the tech journalist Carola Frediani on 28 February 2014, the last day of the coup, in which she had explained “How Ukraine’s EuroMaidan Revolution Played Out Online” (because calling it a “coup” that early was too shocking even for her; she apparently still trusted the Western ‘news’media), and reported:

Protestors began to mobilize on Nov. 21, 2013, after the Ukrainian government suspend preparations for the EU-Ukraine Association agreement. They gathered in Independence Square (Maidan) in Kiev and used the hashtags #euromaidan and #евромайдан on Twitter and Facebook. The Facebook posts of Hromadske TV journalist Mustafa Nayem, encouraging Ukranians to gather at Maidan, received more than 1,000 shares in a few hours. At the same time, a number of independent video streams were set up, on platforms like UStream, live broadcasting what was happening on the streets.

The demonstrations swelled on November 24 when ultimately 250,000 people took to Kiev’s streets, demanding reforms as well as Ukraine’s European integration. The first social media pages also started to gain traction: the Euromaidan Facebook page gained 70,000 followers in less than a week. As noted by two NYU researchers in the Washington Post, Facebook was being used much more actively than Twitter, acting as a news hub, as well as coordinating protests by noting the location of demonstrations, providing logistical and support information, distributing flyers for printing and dissemination, giving tips on how to behave and react to police, and uploading videos of police brutality.

A recent independent research study conducted by Kyrylo Galushko and Natalia Zorba from the National Pedagogical University ‘M.P. Drahomanov’ in Kiev confirmed the predominance of Facebook in organizing the protests. According to a poll of 50 Ukrainian social media experts and Internet opinion leaders, conducted between December 2013 and January 2014, Facebook played the largest role in mobilization. Twitter came in second place, followed by the Russian social networking site, Vkontakte, which is the second most popular social networking site in Europe. “Social networking services were the leading communication feature of protesters, instrument of mobilization for taking part in different actions and establishing other forms of social support,” explains Galushko. …

Even she didn’t recognize, at the time, that she was covering a coup. But, on 12 March 2014, was uploaded to the Web this stunningly brilliant 12-minute video showing that it was actually a coup and a very bloody one; and, then, six days later, that video was used as the opening 12 minutes of a 62-minute video which added yet more videos of what had been happening behind-the-scenes there. And, then, on 27 January 2015, a deeper layer of the behind-the-scenes operation was revealed, and I picked up on it and tied it in with the other extremely reliable evidence that was by now available on the Web about the overthrow, and all of it fit into the same picture: that of its having been a U.S. coup. On 8 February 2015, I posted “New Video Evidence of America’s Coup in Ukraine — and What It Means” and linked to this video which had been taken inside the Ukrainian Rada on 20 November 2013, immediately before the “Maidan ‘Revolution’,” in which video a Rada member, Oleg Tsarev, delivered an address to the other members, providing there a detailed description of what had been happening for months already, inside the U.S. Embassy, “tech camps” training far-right paramilitary Ukrainians how to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter in order to raise a mass of ‘democracy’ demonstrators, behind which those paramilitaries would then be able to take over the Ukrainian Government by their guns, and become the country’s new rulers. Tsarev said:

In my role as a representative of the Ukrainian people, activists from the Volya Public Organization turned to me, providing clear evidence that within our country, with support and direct participation of the US Embassy in Kiev, a “TechCamp” project is under way in which preparations are being made for a civil war in Ukraine. The “TechCamp” project prepares specialists for information warfare and for the discrediting of state institutions [the Government] using modern media — potential revolutionaries for organizing protests and the toppling of the Government. This project is overseen by and currently under the responsibility of the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt. After the conversation with the Volya Organization, I learned that they actually succeeded to access facilities in the “TechCamp” project [they had hacked into it] disguised as a team of IT specialists. To their surprise, were found briefings that were held on peculiarities of modern media. American instructors explained there how social networks and Internet technologies can be used for targeted manipulation of public opinion as well as to activate potential protest to provoke violent unrest on the territory of Ukraine — radicalization of the population, and triggering of infighting. American instructors show examples of successful use of social networks to organize protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. “Tech Camp” representatives currently hold conferences throughout Ukraine. A total of five events have been held so far. About 300 people have been trained as operatives, who are now active throughout Ukraine. The last conference took place on 14 and 14 November 2013, in the heart of Kiev, inside the US Embassy!

That article also described Tsarev’s background, and his past and subsequent enormous courage, risking his life and losing his fortune, to protect Ukraine’s democracy — and, then, failing that, to help Donbass to protect itself from the new Ukraine’s ethnic-cleansing operation. I furthermore noted there:

The U.S. Embassy in Kiev had even posted in Spring of 2013 an announcement of its “Tech Camps.” Here is an announcement from the Embassy in Ukraine, on 1 March 2013, titled, “U.S. Embassy Hosted TechCamp Kyiv 2.0 to Build Technological Capacity of Civil Society.” (That Ambassador is now our Ambassador to Russia.)

This new evidence from Tsarev, piled on top of all the other evidence that already proved the assertion by the founder of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor, that the overthrow of Yanukovych was “the most blatant coup in history,” simply cements the reality, that all of the sanctions against Russia, and all of the “me too” statements supporting Obama’s coup and ethnic cleansing in Ukraine, by David Cameron, Stephen Harper, and Obama’s other co-nazis, are abominations, which should be loudly condemned by all decent persons in all countries. The aggressor here is Obama, not Putin; and NATO must end, now: all decent nations should quit it ASAP. (War crimes trials against Obama and his agents should follow. After all: these people are bringing the world closer to a nuclear war than has been the case since 1962, and there is no decent reason for it.)

Subsequently, on 17 September 2016, I traced the origin of the February 2014 coup back farther, to a meeting that had occurred on 23 June 2011 between Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, Google’s Eric Schmidt, and the Hillary Clinton U.S. State Department’s Jared Cohen (now hired by Google), in which Schmidt and Cohen drilled Assange for tips on how to use social media to foment a revolution, and Assange didn’t figure out till later, that they were planning both the Arab Spring operations and the takeover of Ukraine. On 23 October 2014 Assange headlined “Google Is Not What It Seems”, and called Cohen “Google’s ‘director of regime change’.” Assange also explained his disillusionment: “I began [prior to meeting Schmidt] to think of Schmidt as a brilliant but politically hapless Californian tech billionaire who had been exploited by the very U.S. foreign-policy types he had collected to act as translators between himself and official Washington — a West Coast–East Coast illustration of the principal-agent dilemma. I was wrong.”

The great investigative historian Nafeez Ahmed took that insight even farther, in his stunning 22 January 2015 “How the CIA made Google”, which tells, in remarkable detail, the origin of the military-industrial complex’s takeover of the then-emerging digital economy — the internet, Google, the ‘news’media, and, more broadly, of Americans’ emerging fascism-accepting political attitudes and beliefs — the manipulation of the public mind (mass mind-control), starting with the mathematician William Perry’s service as U.S. Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton. Whereas the anodyne CIA-editedWikipedia article on Perry presents him by deceptive phrases such as “Perry did everything he could to improve relations with Moscow,” and ignores the deeper reality to the exact contrary (which followed through on President G.H.W. Bush’s lie issued on 24 February 1990), Ahmed recognizes this deeper reality (which I documented at the present link). Perry was doing everything he could — and not just in the former Yugoslavia — to expand America’s empire right up to Russia’s borders.

On 3 January 2015, I submitted to all U.S. newsmedia, for them to consider for possible publication, a news-report that opened:

Czech President Says ‘Only Poorly Informed People’ Don’t Know About Ukraine Coup

Eric Zuesse

The Czech Republic’s President Milos Zeman said, in an interview, in the January 3rd edition of Prague’s daily newspaper Pravo, that Czechs who think of the overthrow of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych, on 22 February 2014, as having been like Czechoslovakia’s authentically democratic “Velvet Revolution” are seeing it in a profoundly false light, because, (as Russian Television translated his statement into English) “Maidan was not a democratic revolution.” He said that this is the reason why Ukraine now is in a condition of “civil war,” in which the residents of the Donbass region in Ukraine’s southeast have broken away from the Ukrainian Government.

He furthermore said that, “Judging by some of the statements of Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, I think that he is rather a prime minister of war because he does not want a peaceful solution, as recommended by the European Union (EU), but instead prefers to use force.”

He added, by way of contrast to Yatsenyuk, the possibility that Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko “might be a man of peace.” So: though Zeman held out no such hope regarding Yatsenyuk (who was Obama’s choice to lead Ukraine), he did for Poroshenko (who wasn’t Obama’s choice, but who became Ukraine’s President despite Obama’s having wanted Yatsenyuk’s sponsor, the hyper-aggressive Yulia Tymoshenko, to win the May 25th Presidential election, which was held only in Ukraine’s pro-coup northwest, but claimed to possess authority over the entire country). …

That news-report was published at no mainstrean news-site and was rejected by almost all alternative-news sites, but was published at the following six: RINF, washingtonsblog, thepeoplesvoice, countercurrents, blacklistednews, and pontiactribune.

If such news-reports were published in U.S. newsmedia, especially in mainstream ones, then one could reasonably trust U.S. newsmedia, but such news-reports are not published in the U.S. (nor in its allied countries)

Here is terrific journalism (click onto that link) from “The Saker” documenting both with video from Hromadske TV, and with links to that TV operation’s annual financial reports, that the three top funders of Hromadske TV — Nayem’s springboard into Ukraine’s Rada —  were, in order: the Dutch Embassy, the American Embassy, and the International Renaissance Foundation (mis-identified there as the “International Renaissance Fund” — this is one of Soros’s ‘non-profits’, not one of his hedge funds). That report by The Saker was dated 3 August 2014, and afterward the linked-to “Hromadske TV Annual Financial Report, 2013” was taken down, but here it had been web-archived, so that you can see and authenticate it for yourself, showing on its second-to-last page, exactly what the screen-shot by The Saker showed. Interestingly, the “International Renaissance Fund” error was in the original financial report itself. The error wasn’t by The Saker.

That article by The Saker included the 31 July 2014 video of a Ukrainian ‘journalist’ being interviewed on George Soros’s and Mustafa Nayem’s and the U.S. Government’s and the Dutch Government’s Ukrainian TV station, explaining why “You need to kill 1.5 million people in Donbass” — arguing for ethnic cleansing there, of the genocidal type. The U.S.-imposed Ukrainian regime did attempt that, and such ethnic-cleansing started being Ukrainian Government policy as soon as the new Government was installed. On 19 November 2014, I headlined “Meet Ukraine’s Master Mass-Murderer: Dmitriy Yarosh”and noted that Yarosh had been the person who not only was very active in the ethnic-cleansing program, but he had trained the paramilitaries who had executed the overthrow, and I linked to a video of Yarosh being interviewed as a hero on the new regime’s television. I also wrote:

As Yarosh said this past March in an interview with Newsweek, he has “been training paramilitary troops for almost 25 years,” and his “divisions are constantly growing all over Ukraine, but over 10,000 people for sure.” More recently, in October, a pro-Government Ukrainian site interviewed Yarosh and he mentioned specifically a “DUC,” or Volunteer Ukrainian Corps of fighters. He was then asked “How many soldiers in DUC?” and he answered, “About seven thousand men.” These would be his real military force, by far the biggest private army in Ukraine. So, in his private files are everyone’s individual background and skill-level as a “paramilitary,” or far-right mercenary, and they all respect and obey him as the top man. He is the indispensable person in this new Ukraine. Yarosh’s teams carry out the most violent operations for the CIA in Ukraine (including the coup).

Already by the time of 9 December 2014, Russian Television headlined “’They’ll try to shut you down’: Meeting Assange & the non-stop ‘War on RT’”, and RT’s chief Margarita Simonyan covered 5 specific ways in which Assange was predicting that the U.S. would try to shut down RT in America:

1. Pressuring of our employees.

2. Hordes of Western media outlets attempting to discredit our work.

3. Flogging the ‘cash cow’

4. Explicit threats to revoke our broadcasting license.

5. Pressuring independent experts who appear on RT.

Assange there scored a 100% accuracy-of-prediction; and, so, on 1 October 2017, RT headlined “‘If RT leaves the US, American media might stop broadcasting in Russia’ – RT editor-in-chief”.

On 28 October 2017, RT bannered “Budapest vetoes Ukraine-NATO summit, says Kiev’s new law a ‘stab in the back’”, and reported that some of the formerly Russia-allied European nations were turning away from the U.S. (NATO & EU) alliance. The core of that news-report was the statement from Hungary’s Foreign Minister saying “Hungary cannot support Ukraine’s integration aspirations, so it vetoed the NATO-Ukraine summit in December.” RT’s article linked to the Hungarian Government video of that person saying this. However, my Web-search of that statement “Hungary cannot support Ukraine’s integration aspirations, so it vetoed the NATO-Ukraine summit in December” brings up only the RT news-report, none other. A Web-search for that Minister’s name, Peter Szijjarto, also fails to bring it up. Perhaps his statement isn’t suitable for inclusion in “All the News That’s Fit to Print”. Apparently, it just doesn’t fit; so, it won’t be printed. Like none of this has been published in America.

On 22 August 2014, Steven Starr, who is one of the world’s leading experts on what would be the results of a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia, headlined “’The Russian Aggression Prevention Act’ (RAPA): A Direct Path to Nuclear War with Russia”, and he opened:

The “Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine.

Any US-Russian war is likely to quickly escalate into a nuclear war, since neither the US nor Russia would be willing to admit defeat, both have many thousands of nuclear weapons ready for instant use, and both rely upon Counterforce military doctrine that tasks their military, in the event of war, to preemptively destroy the nuclear forces of the enemy.

RAPA provides de facto NATO membership for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova via RAPA

The Russian Aggression Prevention Act, or RAPA, “Provides major non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova for purposes of the transfer or possible transfer of defense articles or defense services.” Major non-NATO ally status would for practical purposes give NATO membership to these nations, as it would allow the US to move large amounts of military equipment and forces to them without the need for approval of other NATO member states. Thus RAPA would effectively bypass long-standing German opposition to the US request to make Ukraine and Georgia part of NATO.

Fortunately, Corker’s bill turned out to have ended on 1 May 2014 when it was sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and failed to be voted on even there. Corker is that extreme a neoconservative. No one in the U.S. Government can be more fascist than that. He was even more of a fascist than U.S. President Barack Obama was.

On 28 October 2017, the AP bannered “Corker: Possible 2020 run against Trump not ruled out” and reported that Senator Corker, who had earlier announced that he won’t be running for another term in the Senate, is now leaving open the possibility of a primary campaign to block Donald Trump from again receiving his Party’s nomination. The article said: “And any impeachment of Trump isn’t realistic today and is not going to happen, Corked added.” So: maybe the reason why he wanted not to be a Senator after 2018, is that he had decided he wants to be free during 2019 and 2020 to campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination for himself. The AP noted that, “Early this month, Corker charged that Trump had turned the White House into an ‘adult day care center’ and was setting the U.S. ‘on the path to World War III’.” But, of course, Corker was actually describing himself there (regardless of whether he was also describing the current President), and no one in the U.S. ‘news’media was pointing out this important fact about him. Corker was already running for the White House. He seemed already to be aiming to be the Republican version of Hillary Clinton who would win what she had failed to win: the White House.

This article, like every article that I do, is being sent free-of-charge for publication, to all U.S. newsmedia that cover international issues; but, all of the major newsmedia, and almost all of the “alternative news” sites, have refused to publish any among the many hundreds like this that I have submitted to them in the past. Perhaps the reason for this is the same reason why the U.S. ‘news’media never admitted that they had entirely uncritically reported to the American people, in stenographic fashion, really as propaganda instead of as a democratic newsmedia, the lies that George W. Bush and his Administration asserted in 2002 and 2003 regarding ‘Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction’ etc., as if it those lies weren’t clear, even at that time the lies were made. How does a ‘news’media which has a record of deceiving its public into invasions, ever admit that this is what they long have been doing, and continue even now to do? Any of them that would publish the present article would be making a fundamental change-of-course, to becoming finally part of the press in a democracy, no longer part of the propaganda-operation in a dictatorship. Can a leopard change its spots? We’ll see, by web-searching the title here, “Does Russia Produce ‘Fake News’? Or Does America? Or Both?” and seeing where this article has been published — and where it hasn’t.

Perhaps the people who run America’s ‘news’ media don’t care whether they are participants in bringing about nuclear Armageddon. We’ll soon see.

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Must we pay attention to every piece of Russian propaganda? “…Ukrainian democracy started when the democratically elected President of Ukraine was overthrown in February 2014…” And what happened with the “democratically elected” President of Ukraine? Why is he wanted on charges of corruption, murder, and treason in Ukraine and is still hiding in Russia? “…two regions (Crimea and Donbass, both of which had voted more than 75% for that man)…” So why didn’t Yanukovych go to Crimea or Donbass? Could it be because he didn’t have the support of the people in those two regions, even the ones that have… Read more »

Latest

Trump Demands Tribute from NATO Vassals

The one thing that we should all understand, and which Trump perfectly and clearly understands, is that the members of NATO are a captive audience.

Strategic Culture Foundation

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Authored by Tim Kirby via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Regardless of whether one loves or hates President Trump at least we can say that his presidency has a unique flavor and is full of surprises. Bush and Obama were horribly dull by comparison. Trump as a non-politician from the world of big (real estate) business and media has a different take on many issues including NATO.

Many, especially in Russia were hoping that “The Donald’s” campaign criticism of NATO would move towards finally putting an end to this anti-Russian alliance, which, after the fall of Communism really has no purpose, as any real traditional military threats to Europe have faded into history. However, Trump as President of the United States has to engage in the “realpolitik” of 21st century America and try to survive and since Trump seems rather willing to lie to get what he wants, who can really say which promises from his campaign were a shoot and which were a work.

So as it stands now Trump’s recent decision to maintain and build US/NATO bases across the world “and make country X pay for it” could mean anything from him trying to keep his campaign promises in some sort of skewed way, to an utter abandonment of them and submission to the swamp. Perhaps it could simply be his business instincts taking over in the face of “wasteful spending”. Making allies have to pay to have US/NATO forces on their territory is a massive policy shift that one could only predict coming from the unpredictable 45th President.

The one thing that we should all understand, and which Trump perfectly and clearly understands, is that the members of NATO (and other “allies”) are a captive audience, especially Germany, Japan and South Korea, which “coincidentally” are the first set of countries that will have to pay the “cost + 50%” to keep bases and US soldiers on their soil. Japan’s constitution, written primarily by American occupation forces forbids them from having a real military which is convenient for Trump’s plan. South Korea, although a very advanced and wealthy nation has no choice but to hide behind the US might because if it were to disappear overnight, then Gangnam would be filled with pictures of the Kim family within a few weeks.

In the past with regard to these three countries NATO has had to keep up the illusion of wanting to “help” them and work as “partners” for common defense as if nuclear and economic titan America needs countries like them to protect itself. Trump whether consciously or not is changing the dynamic of US/NATO occupation of these territories to be much more honest. His attitude seems to be that the US has the possibility to earn a lot of money from a worldwide mafia-style protection scam. Vassals have no choice but to pay the lord so Trump wants to drop the illusions and make the military industrial complex profitable again and God bless him for it. This level of honesty in politics is refreshing and it reflects the Orange Man’s pro-business and “America will never be a socialist country” attitude. It is blunt and ideologically consistent with his worldview.

On the other hand, one could look at this development as a possible move not to turn NATO into a profitable protection scam but as a means to covertly destroy it. Lies and illusion in politics are very important, people who believe they are free will not rebel even if they have no freedom whatsoever. If people are sure their local leaders are responsible for their nation they will blame them for its failings rather than any foreign influence that may actually be pulling the real strings.

Even if everyone in Germany, Japan and South Korea in their subconscious knows they are basically occupied by US forces it is much harder to take action, than if the “lord” directly demands yearly tribute. The fact that up to this point US maintains its bases on its own dime sure adds to the illusion of help and friendship. This illusion is strong enough for local politicians to just let the status quo slide on further and further into the future. Nothing is burning at their feet to make them act… having to pay cost + 50% could light that fire.

Forcing the locals to pay for these bases changes the dynamic in the subconscious and may force people’s brains to contemplate why after multiple-generations the former Axis nations still have to be occupied. Once occupation becomes expensive and uncomfortable, this drops the illusion of friendship and cooperation making said occupation much harder to maintain.

South Korea knows it needs the US to keep out the North but when being forced to pay for it this may push them towards developing the ability to actually defend themselves. Trump’s intellectual “honesty” in regards to NATO could very well plant the necessary intellectual seeds to not just change public opinion but make public action against US/NATO bases in foreign countries. Japan has had many protests over the years against US bases surging into the tens of thousands. This new open vassal status for the proud Japanese could be the straw to break the camel’s back.

Predicting the future is impossible. But it is clear that, changing the fundamental dynamic by which the US maintains foreign bases in a way that will make locals financially motivated to have them removed, shall significantly affect the operations of US forces outside the borders of the 50 States and make maintaining a global presence even more difficult, but perhaps this is exactly what the Orange Man wants or is just too blind to see.

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High-ranking Ukrainian official reports on US interference in Ukraine

It is not usually the case that an American media outlet tells the truth about Ukraine, but it appears to have happened here.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Hill committed what may well have been a random act of journalism when it reported that Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Yuriy Lutsenko, told Hill.tv’s reporter John Solomon that the American ambassador to that country, Marie Yovanovitch, gave him a “do not prosecute” list at their first meeting.

Normally, all things Russia are covered by the American press as “bad”, and all things Ukraine are covered by the same as “good.” Yet this report reveals quite a bit about the nature of the deeply embedded US interests that are involved in Ukraine, and which also attempt to control and manipulate policy in the former Soviet republic.

The Hill’s piece continues (with our added emphases):

“Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute,” Lutsenko, who took his post in 2016, told Hill.TV last week.

“My response of that is it is inadmissible. Nobody in this country, neither our president nor our parliament nor our ambassador, will stop me from prosecuting whether there is a crime,” he continued.

Indeed, the Prosecutor General appears to be a man of some principles. When this report was brought to the attention of the US State Department, the response was predictable:

The State Department called Lutsenko’s claim of receiving a do not prosecute list, “an outright fabrication.” 

“We have seen reports of the allegations,” a department spokesperson told Hill.TV. “The United States is not currently providing any assistance to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), but did previously attempt to support fundamental justice sector reform, including in the PGO, in the aftermath of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. When the political will for genuine reform by successive Prosecutors General proved lacking, we exercised our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer and redirected assistance to more productive projects.”

This is an amazing statement in itself. “Our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer”? Are Americans even aware that their country is spending their tax dollars in an effort to manipulate a foreign government in what can probably well be called a low-grade proxy war with the Russian Federation? Again, this appears to be a slip, as most American media do a fair job of maintaining the narrative that Ukraine is completely independent and that its actions regarding the United States and Russia are taken in complete freedom.

Hill.TV has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine for comment.

Lutsenko also said that he has not received funds amounting to nearly $4 million that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine was supposed to allocate to his office, saying that “the situation was actually rather strange” and pointing to the fact that the funds were designated, but “never received.”

“At that time we had a case for the embezzlement of the U.S. government technical assistance worth 4 million U.S. dollars, and in that regard, we had this dialogue,” he said. “At that time, [Yovanovitch] thought that our interviews of Ukrainian citizens, of Ukrainian civil servants, who were frequent visitors of the U.S. Embassy put a shadow on that anti-corruption policy.”

“Actually, we got the letter from the U.S. Embassy, from the ambassador, that the money that we are speaking about [was] under full control of the U.S. Embassy, and that the U.S. Embassy did not require our legal assessment of these facts,” he said. “The situation was actually rather strange because the funds we are talking about were designated for the prosecutor general’s office also and we told [them] we have never seen those, and the U.S. Embassy replied there was no problem.”

“The portion of the funds, namely 4.4 million U.S. dollars were designated and were foreseen for the recipient Prosecutor General’s office. But we have never received it,” he said.

Yovanovitch previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Armenia under former presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan under Bush. She also served as ambassador to Ukraine under Obama.

Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who was at the time House Rules Committee chairman, voiced concerns about Yovanovitch in a letter to the State Department last year in which he said he had proof the ambassador had spoken of her “disdain” for the Trump administration.

This last sentence may be a way to try to narrow the scope of American interference in Ukraine down to the shenanigans of just a single person with a personal agenda. However, many who have followed the story of Ukraine and its surge in anti-Russian rhetoric, neo-Naziism, ultra-nationalism, and the most recent events surrounding the creation of a pseudo-Orthodox “church” full of Ukrainian nationalists and atheists as a vehicle to import “Western values” into a still extremely traditional and Christian land, know that there are fingerprints of the United States “deep state” embeds all over this situation.

It is somewhat surprising that so much that reveals the problem showed up in just one report. It will be interesting to see if this gets any follow-up in the US press.

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President Putin’s anti-fake news law is brilliant, but the West makes more

Western media slams President Putin and his fake news law, accusing him of censorship, but an actual look at the law reveals some wisdom.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The TASS Russian News Agency reported on March 18th that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new law intended to block distorted or untrue information being reported as news. Promptly after he did so, Western news organizations began their attempt to “spin” this event as some sort of proof of “state censorship” in the oppressive sense of the old Soviet Union. In other words, a law designed to prevent fake news was used to create more fake news.

One of the lead publications is a news site that is itself ostensibly a “fake news” site. The Moscow Times tries to portray itself as a Russian publication that is conducted from within Russian borders. However, this site and paper is really a Western publication, run by a Dutch foundation located in the Netherlands. As such, the paper and the website associated have a distinctly pro-West slant in their reporting. Even Wikipedia noted this with this comment from their entry about the publication:

In the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis, The Moscow Times was criticized by a number of journalists including Izvestia columnist Israel Shamir, who in December 2014 called it a “militant anti-Putin paper, a digest of the Western press with extreme bias in covering events in Russia”.[3] In October 2014 The Moscow Times made the decision to suspend online comments after an increase in offensive comments. The paper said it disabled comments for two reasons—it was an inconvenience for its readers as well as being a legal liability, because under Russian law websites are liable for all content, including user-generated content like comments.[14]

This bias is still notably present in what is left of the publication, which is now an online-only news source. This is some of what The Moscow Times had to say about the new fake news legislation:

The bills amending existing information laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Russian parliament in less than two months. Observers and some lawmakers have criticized the legislation for its vague language and potential to stifle free speech.

The legislation will establish punishments for spreading information that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.”

Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.

As is the case with other Russian laws, the fines are calculated based on whether the offender is a citizen, an official or a legal entity.

More than 100 journalists and public figures, including human rights activist Zoya Svetova and popular writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, signed a petition opposing the laws, which they labeled “direct censorship.”

This piece does give a bit of explanation from Dmitry Peskov, showing that European countries also have strict laws governing fake news distribution. However, the Times made the point of pointing out the idea of “insulting governmental bodies of Russia… including Putin” to bolster their claim that this law amounts to real censorship of the press. It developed its point of view based on a very short article from Reuters which says even less about the legislation and how it works.

However, TASS goes into rather exhaustive detail about this law, and it also gives rather precise wording on the reason for the law’s passage, as well as how it is to be enforced. This law is brilliant, for it hits the would-be slanderer right where it counts – in the pocketbook.

We include most of this text here, with emphases added:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on blocking untrue and distorting information (fake news). The document was posted on the government’s legal information web portal.

The document supplements the list of information, the access to which may be restricted on the demand by Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies. In particular, it imposes a ban on “untrue publicly significant information disseminated in the media and in the Internet under the guise of true reports, which creates a threat to the life and (or) the health of citizens, property, a threat of the mass violation of public order and (or) public security, or the threat of impeding or halting the functioning of vital infrastructural facilities, transport or social infrastructure, credit institutions, energy, industrial or communications facilities.”

Pursuant to the document, in case of finding such materials in Internet resources registered in accordance with the Russian law on the mass media as an online media resource, Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies will request the media watchdog Roskomnadzor to restrict access to the corresponding websites.

Based on this request, Roskomnadzor will immediately notify the editorial board of the online media resource, which is in violation of the legislation, about the need to remove untrue information and the media resource will be required to delete such materials immediately. If the editorial board fails to take the necessary measures, Roskomnadzor will send communications operators “a demand to take measures to restrict access to the online resource.”

In case of deleting such untrue information, the website owner will notify Roskomnadzor thereof, following which the media watchdog will “hold a check into the authenticity of this notice” and immediately inform the communications operator about the resumption of the access to the information resource.
The conditions for the law are very specific, as are the penalties for breaking it. TASS continued:

Liability for breaching the law

Simultaneously, the Federation Council approved the associated law with amendments to Russia’s Code of Administrative Offences, which stipulates liability in the form of penalties of up to 1.5 million rubles (around $23,000) for the spread of untrue and distorting information.

The Code’s new article, “The Abuse of the Freedom of Mass Information,” stipulates liability for disseminating “deliberately untrue publicly significant information” in the media or in the Internet. The penalty will range from 30,000 rubles ($450) to 100,000 rubles ($1,520) for citizens, from 60,000 rubles ($915) to 200,000 rubles ($3,040) for officials and from 200,000 rubles to 500,000 rubles ($7,620) for corporate entities with the possible confiscation of the subject of the administrative offence.

Another element of offence imposes tighter liability for the cases when the publication of false publicly significant information has resulted in the deaths of people, has caused damage to the health or property, prompted the mass violation of public order and security or has caused disruption to the functioning of transport or social infrastructure facilities, communications, energy and industrial facilities and banks. In such instances, the fines will range from 300,000 rubles to 400,000 rubles ($6,090) for citizens, from 600,000 rubles to 900,000 rubles ($13,720) for officials, and from 1 million rubles to 1.5 million rubles for corporate entities.

While this legislation can be spun (and is) in the West as anti-free speech, one may also consider the damage that has taken place in the American government through a relentless attack of fake news from most US news outlets against President Trump. One of the most notable effects of this barrage has been to further degrade and destroy the US’ relationship with the Russian Federation, because even the Helsinki Summit was attacked so badly that the two leaders have not been able to get a second summit together.

While it is certainly a valued right of the American press to be unfettered by Congress, and while it is also certainly vital to criticize improper practices by government officials, the American news agencies have gone far past that, to deliberately dishonest attacks, based in innuendo and everything possible that was formerly only the province of gossip tabloid publications. The effort has been to defame the President, not to give proper or due criticism to his policies, nor credit. It can be properly stated that the American press has abused its freedom of late.

This level of abuse drew a very unusual comment from the US president, who wondered on Twitter about the possibility of creating a state-run media center in the US to counter fake news:

Politically correct for US audiences? No. But an astute point?

Definitely.

Freedom in anything also presumes that those with that freedom respect it, and further, that they respect and apply the principle that slandering people and institutions for one’s own personal, business or political gain is wrong. Implied in the US Constitution’s protection of the press is the notion that the press itself, as the rest of the country, is accountable to a much Higher Authority than the State. But when that Authority is rejected, as so much present evidence suggests, then freedom becomes the freedom to misbehave and to agitate. It appears largely within this context that the Russian law exists, based on the text given.

Further, by hitting dishonest media outlets in their pocketbook, rather than prison sentences, the law appears to be very smart in its message: “Do not lie. If you do, you will suffer where it counts most.”

Considering that news media’s purpose is to make money, this may actually be a very smart piece of legislation.

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