Saturday, July 5, 2014

Israeli jets raid southern Gaza Strip

News | 06.07.2014 | 00:57Xinhua
Israeli fighter jets carried out a series of air raids on the Gaza Strip on Friday, as Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets into Israel, security sources said.
Israeli warplanes carried three air raids on a Hamas military site in the city of Rafah and another Hamas site in Khan Younis City, both in southern Gaza Strip, the sources told Xinhua, adding that more airstrikes targeted open space in Rafah and Khan Younis. No casualties have been reported so far.
The air raids came as Gaza militants continued to fire rockets into neighboring Israeli cities on Friday. Israel's Public Radio reported that six rockets hit Israeli cities, causing no damages or casualties.
Earlier in the day, an Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas was restored after bloody days of tit-for-tat violence between the two sides, a Hamas official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
"Egypt's intelligence and UN officials have brokered the ceasefire in order to avoid more deterioration," the Hamas official said, stressing that both Hamas and Israel are not interested in a wider cycle of violence.
Gaza has witnessed an increasing violence since three Israeli teenagers disappeared in the West Bank city of Hebron on June 12. Israel accused Hamas of abducting the teens who were found dead near Hebron on Monday.
The ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip threatens the validity of the Egypt-brokered ceasefire agreement reached between Israel and Hamas in 2012. The deal ended eight days of large-scale Israeli aerial operation in the coastal enclave, during which about 180 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed.

Thousands Demonstrate at Funeral of Slain Palestinian Youth

In-depth Report: 
  3  0 
Palestinians carry the body of Mohammed Abu Khudair during his funeral in Shuafat
Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated Friday at the funeral in East Jerusalem of the 16-year-old youth kidnapped and murdered Wednesday in an evident revenge killing by ultra-right Jewish nationalists. The throng carried aloft the coffin of Muhammad Hussein Abu Khudair and shouted slogans calling for a new “Intifada,” or popular uprising, against Israeli repression.
Israeli riot police massed along the route of the funeral march in the Shuafat neighborhood where Khudair lived and was abducted while waiting at a shop near his home to go to morning prayers. The police attacked demonstrators with stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets. The Red Crescent said some 30 Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets fired by Israeli forces. Dozens more were treated for tear gas inhalation.
Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters also occurred in other parts of East Jerusalem, including the neighborhoods of Ras al-Amud and Wadi al-Joz. There were also incidences of rock-throwing by Palestinian youth and Israeli police reprisals near the Al Aqsa Mosque complex, which the government had closed to all men under 50 years of age.
video widely circulated on the Internet shows two Israeli police savagely beating a Palestinian demonstrator who is lying helpless on the ground, then dragging him away.
Fighting occurred as well on the West Bank. On Friday, eight Palestinians were said to have been injured in clashes with the Israel Defense Forces in Ramallah.
The West Bank, which is controlled by the US- and Israeli-supported Palestinian Authority, has been the target of mass arrests and harassment by Israeli forces since the disappearance June 12 of three Israeli teenagers who lived in settlements near Hebron. The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately blamed the Islamist Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, for the abductions, without providing any evidence to back up its claims. Hamas has denied any involvement.
The discovery on Monday of the bodies of the three Israeli youth—Gilad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel, both 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19—was seized on by Netanyahu to launch air strikes against Gaza, mobilize Israeli troops to the border, and threaten another invasion of the impoverished territory.
The Israeli government is utilizing the tragic deaths of the Jewish youth to press its demand that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas disavow his announcement last April of a unity government between his Fatah-led authority and Hamas. Netanyahu seized on that announcement to break off so-called “peace” negotiations that were being overseen by the United States.
Israel launched three new air strikes Friday evening, this time against the southern Gaza town of Rafah. The Israeli air strikes, using the most advanced weaponry, are said to be in response to the firing of crude rockets and mortars from Gaza into southern Israel. Hamas and other groups began launching rockets several weeks ago in response to the mass arrest of Hamas supporters on the West Bank.
Israeli officials said 18 rockets from Gaza struck southern Israel on Friday. The military says some 150 rockets have been fired at southern Israel in recent weeks. The air force has responded with air strikes against 70 targets in Gaza, according to the military.
On Thursday, at a celebration of the July 4 Independence Day holiday at the residence of the US ambassador, Netanyahu threatened to respond with “full force” if the rocket launches continued. There were reports Friday of negotiations for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Egypt. Unnamed Hamas officials said they supported a truce and expected one to be announced. Israeli officials made no comment on the claim, however.
Instead, Netanyahu said his government would delay any major military escalation for 24 hours while cease-fire talks continued.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities claim to have been unable to determine either the perpetrators or the motive for the killing of Khudair. This is despite eyewitness reports that the men who bundled the Palestinian youth into a car were Jewish, and the fact that the victim’s family supplied the police with vehicle’s license plate.
Moreover, the abduction and murder of Khudair came only hours after several hundred ultra-right and pro-settler Israelis held a march through East Jerusalem Tuesday night in which they chanted “death to the Arabs” and attacked Palestinian passers-by. The right-wing rampage followed Tuesday’s nationally televised funeral of the murdered Israeli teenagers.
Israeli authorities seem to be encouraging rumors that the teenager’s death was the result of an “honor killing” carried out by members of his family because he was supposedly gay. The family of the slain youth has denounced these claims and the insistence of Israeli police on questioning the youth’s cousins on their possible involvement in the crime.
The government’s posture of strict agnosticism as to the perpetrators of the Khudair murder stands in glaring contradiction to its blanket and unsubstantiated claim of Hamas’ responsibility for the killing of the Israeli youth, a contradiction that is ignored in the American media.
The attempt of Netanyahu to use the deaths of the Israeli teens as the pretext for stepped up aggression against the Palestinians, and the racist and fascistic agitation of pro-settler elements, prompted some 3,000 mostly young Israelis to stage a rally for peace and tolerance on Wednesday.
The rally was organized by Tag Meir, a pro-peace coalition of 43 organizations. USA Today quoted one of the participants, Jonah Clarfield, 25, as saying, “This is a response to the racist march that took place last night.” Marchers held hand-made posters reading, “We Are All Human Beings” and “Light, Not Terror.”
Powerful sections of the Israeli political and media establishment, on the other hand, are agitating for all out war with overtones of genocide against the Palestinians. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman traveled Friday to Sderot, the Israeli town that borders Gaza and has been the main target of Hamas rockets, where he attacked Netanyahu for being insufficiently ruthless.
“Not all terrorist targets can be destroyed from the air,” he declared. “Most of the rocket production sites are under schools, hospitals and mosques. We are only postponing a problem instead of dealing with it.” He went on to call for the assassination of key Hamas leaders.
The Jerusalem Post on Friday published a column by Martin Sherman, the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, under the headline: “Into the Fray: ‘Cry Havoc! and let slip the dogs of war.’”
“It is time for a bold new offensive—before we are overtaken by events,” he wrote, adding, “For anyone with half a brain it should be crystal clear: The peace-with-Palestinians paradigm is irredeemably broken.”
He continued, “In other words, we must inflict strategic defeat, and impose strategic surrender, on the Palestinians…” He set out as components of this policy the need to: “Coercively dismantle and disarm the Palestinian security forces,” and “Refrain from any support for the unsustainable Palestinian economy, withhold any services hitherto rendered to it and allow it to collapse, as it inevitably will.”

Neymar down: Brazil to face Germany in World Cup semi-final without star striker

Brazil's Thiago Silva celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals between Brazil and Colombia at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza July 4, 2014 (Reuters / Marcelo Del Pozo)
Neymar down: Brazil to face Germany in World Cup semi-final without star striker
Mass celebrations in Brazil over victory in a quarterfinal match against Colombia have been tainted by the announcement that young star striker Neymar will not be doing his magic for the remainder of the World Cup after suffering a broken vertebra.
click to read all D

Ein Hilferuf aus Donbas - Ukraine - es ist die Hölle

„Heute bin ich in totale Hoffnungslosigkeit verfallen. Es ist eine Sache, wenn man im Fernsehen Berichte über die Konsolidierung der Nationalgarde und des Rechten Sektors sieht, eine andere, wenn man diesen Prozess mit eigenen Augen mit ansieht.
Ich war mit dem Auto unterwegs, und plötzlich wurde der Verkehr aufgehalten, weil eine Kolonne mit Militärtechnik durchgelassen wurde, die uns entgegen kam und aus Kiew über Saporoshje nach Donbass fuhr.
Kiewer Regent lässt auf die Stadt Slawjansk Phosphorbomben abwerfen! Slawjansk brennt! Quelle:
 Allein 50 Militärfahrzeuge, die mehrere Tonnen Benzin transportierten, befanden sich in der Kolonne. Ich habe keine Ahnung, was die Ukrainer mit dieser Menge an Treibstoff betanken wollen, vermutlich Panzer.
Wir standen eine halbe Stunde, während diese Kolonne in Begleitung von Verkehrspolizei vorbeifuhr. Ich hatte plötzlich das Gefühl, dass die Junta gegen zwei Städte, Lugansk und Donezk, die gesamte ukrainische Armee mobilisiert. Es ist einfach eine unvorstellbare Menge an Kriegstechnik, die dorthin geschickt wird, durch ganz normale Städte hindurch, ohne es vor den Zivilisten zu verbergen, am helllichten Tage.
Jetzt verstehe ich wirklich, dass man das Donbass von der Erdoberfläche radieren will. Weshalb? Weil diese Leute für eine föderale Struktur eintreten? Deshalb muss man sie vernichten? Da leben 5 Millionen Menschen. Das ist einfach ein Genozid. Wie soll man es sonst nennen, wenn die reguläre Armee Krieg führt, um das eigene Volk zu vernichten? Ich denke, es wird eine Zeit kommen, da wird es einen neuen Nürnberger Prozess geben. Hase, Karnickel und Baptist (Spitznamen für Jatsenjuk und Minister seiner Regierung) sowie Avakov müssen als Kriegsverbrecher verurteilt werden. Was ich sagen möchte, ist: „Menschheit, wach auf!“ Amerika und die europäische Union – das sind einfach Monster. Sie begreifen einfach nicht, was sie tun.
Und die Ukrainer ermorden einander, wie unter Hypnose. Wenn Du diese Parade von Militärtechnik am helllichten Tag gesehen hättest, wäre Dir schlecht geworden. Die armen Menschen im Donbass. Sie sind einfach verloren. Ich sage das aufgrund dessen, was ich heute gesehen habe: Europa hat den Bandera-Leuten gesagt, sie sollen sämtliche Truppen von allen Grenzen abziehen und in das Donbass schicken. Dort wird die Volkswehr einfach niedergewalzt, zerquetscht wie in einer Schrottpresse. Man braucht gar keine militärische Strategie und Taktik, sie werden einfach wie Schrott und Kanonenfutter zerquetscht. Wenn man die Bandera-Leute nicht aufhält, wird es eine Tragödie im Weltmaßstab gaben.
Bosnien wird im Vergleich damit ein Waldspaziergang bei Regenwetter sein. Das also ist der Friedensplan des Schokoladen-Hasen. Und im Fernsehen erzählen sie pathetisch von hunderten getöteten „Separatisten“, als ob von einer wild gewordenen Hammelherde die Rede wäre. Separatismus – das ist eine Meinung, ein Standpunkt zur Frage der staatlichen Organisation, weiter nichts. Und wegen einer poltischen Meinung tötet man Menschen? So etwas haben wir schon einmal erlebt. Allem Anschein nach wiederholt sich die Geschichte nicht nur als Farce. Das ist es, was mich heute so traurig gemacht hat. Grüße an alle, Umarmung.“ 
Hierzu Dokumentation auf Youtube:

 “Сегодня мне стало совсем грустно. Одно дело, когда смотришь по телевизору
сообщения об укреплении нацгвардии и правого сектора, и совсем другое дело,когда смотришь на этот процесс своими глазами. Сегодня ехал на машине, и вдруг движение остановилось, навстречу пропускали колонну военной техники, которая двигалась со стороны Киева через Запорожье на Донбасс. Только пятьдесят военных машин бензовозов многотонных было в колонне. Я не знаю, что хохлы собираются заправлять таким
количеством солярки, но похоже это для танков. Мы стояли полчаса, пока эта колонна проезжала в сопровождении ментов. Мне вдруг показалось, что против двух городов – Донецка и Луганска, хунта решила воевать всей армией Украины. Это просто немыслимое количество военной техники, которую туда
прут, не стесняясь, через гражданские города, днем. Теперь я точно понимаю,
что Донбасс хотят стереть с лица земли. Но за что? За то, что люди пр
Ѝ сят
федеративное устройство? И за это нужно всех уничтожить? А это пять
миллионов человек. Просто геноцид. А как иначе назвать то, что регулярная
армия ведет войну на уничтожение собственного народа? Думаю, придет время, и будет новый Нюрнбергский процесс. Заяц, кролик и баптист с Аваковым должны быть судимы, как военные преступники. Хочется сказать – Человечество проснись! Америкосы и Евросоюз – это просто чудовище. Они не в едают, что творят. А хохлы, как под гипнозом, мочат друг друга. Если бы ты увидела этот парад военной техники посреди белого дня, тебе бы стало плохо. Несчастные люди на Донбассе. Они просто обречены. Я это понял, по тому, что сегодня увидел, Европа сказала бандеровцам снимать все войска со всех границ и переть их на Донбасс. Там ополченцев задавят только количеством металлолома. Не нужно никакой военной тактики и стратегии, задавят чисто железом и пушечным мясом. Если бандеровцев не остановить, будет трагедия мирового масштаба. Босния пок ажется прогулкой в лесу в дождливую погоду. Вот такой у шоколадного зайца мирный план. А по телевидению с патетикой рассказывают о сотнях убитых “сепаратистах”, как будто речь идет о стаде бешеных баранов. Сепаратизм – точка зрения на государственное устройство, и больше ничего. И за политическую позицию нужно уничтожать людей? Где-то мы это уже видели. Похоже, что история повторяется не только, как фарс. Очень грустно мне стало сегодня. Всем привет, обнимаю.”
5. Juli 2014 15:03
Sie haben sich zum Empfang diese Mitteilung angemeldet.

Wenn Sie sich abmelden oder ihre Einstellungen ändern möchten besuchen Sie bitte:

Donbass: Russians Subject to Unparalleled Ethnic Cleansing

Olga CHETVERIKOVA | 06.07.2014 | 00:00

The Ukrainian army continues a large-scale offensive against the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Indiscriminate shelling results in more civilian deaths. Grad, Uragan and Smerch multiple launch rocket systems were used in Nikolaevka to practically wipe this populated area out from the earth. There is no connection with the town so it’s impossible to know exactly what the death toll is. Semionovka and Slavyansk living quarters are regularly subject to regular bombing. Life support systems in Slavyansk are out of order; the city is encircled and blocked. Cars trying to get out are shot at. 
The details of the bloodshed are to be studied before they become known to public. In late January 2013 when former President Yanukovych still was in power, the Ukrainian government and Royal Dutch Shell inked the country's first major shale gas 50 year profit sharing agreement. Shell plans to develop the Yuzov field in the Donetsk and Kharkiv regions. In June 2014 the company confirmed its intention to go on with the agreement as soon as the conflict gets de-escalated and the situation stabilizes. The information about the deal is classified. The Ukrainian government allegedly cannot refuse the extension of its term. The territory to be explored is 7886 square kilometers, including Slavyansk (situated right in the heart of deposit), Izium, a major part of Kramatorsk and a large number of smaller populated areas like, for instance, Krasny Liman, Seversk, Yasnogorsk, Kamyshevka etc. 

In accordance with article 37.2 of the agreement, the local residents have to sell their land and property. In case of refusal they are to be coerced to do it to serve the Shell’s interests. The company’s expenditure is to be compensated by Ukraine at the expense of produced gas. 
The government takes on responsibility for finding a solution to all the problems with local authorities. 
There are other actors involved in shale gas projects in Ukraine: 
- Eurogas Ukraine, some of its shares are owned by British Macallan Oil & Gas (UK) Ltd, which belongs to US Euro Gas;
- Burisma Holdings, with Hunter Biden, the son of US Vice President being a member of board of directors. 
That is the main goal of those who launched the “anti-terrorist operation” or the Donbass slaughter. They want to establish total control over the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to clear the way for shale gas extraction (80-140 thousand wells). Arable lands would not be used for agricultural purposes, houses and churches will have to be destroyed to erect gas production infrastructure. Ukraine boasts 27% deposits of black earth. It’ll have to sell it abroad. It’s hard to do it in peacetime, but war time changes a lot of things. It’s important to reduce the population leaving only those who are needed to extract gas. The new Mayor of Krasny Liman appointed by Turchinov after the Ukrainian troops took the town has already promised local dwellers to create new working places instead of the ones they have lost as a result of industrial facilities damaged in war. 
Many believe that if the resistance is quelled, the control over the Donetsk and Lihansk regions will allow isolating Russia from a major part of European gas market. Experts believe the situation will get clearer in the autumn of 2014. 
The issue blew up earlier this month after comments from an unlikely source, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The normally low-key official, who rarely comments on energy matters, told the London-based think tank Chatham House on June 19 that Russia was, as he put it, secretly backing some Europeans anti-fracking environmentalists in order to stop Europe from joining the U.S.’s shale-gas revolution—and hence keep the continent dependent on Russian gas exports. Rasmussen claimed NATO allies had detected Russian manipulation at work in the “sophisticated information and disinformation operations” within Europe’s well-organized anti-fracking groups.
The Russian Aggression Prevention Bill of 2014 went to the US Senate on May 1 in an election-year broadside against administration policy, eight Republicans led by GOP Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a package of penalties on Russia, assistance for NATO and exportation of U.S. natural gas. The senators said they hoped to secure Democratic support and, at a minimum, force the White House to develop a cohesive strategy rather than its ad hoc response. It means that the goal of establishing control over the Donetsk-Dneprovsk region deposits turned the war against the local people into an operation of extermination. Mass slaughter, spreading fear around turning local dwellers into refugees have become the main tools of implementing the policy of Kiev authorities who came to power after the coup. They serve the interests of transnational companies by being involved in ethnic cleansing of Russian population of Donbass. Human lives, the norms of international law and rules of waging contemporary wars don’t mean anything for those who are responsible for bloodshed. Some experts (E. Gilbo, for instance) say the estimations on how many people should remain in the regions have already been done. 
On July 4 the head of Donetsk self- defense formations of Donetsk People’s Republic Igor Strelkov said that if Russia will not achieve an agreement on ceasefire and will not launch a peace making operation, the Slavyansk with its 30-thousnad population will be wiped from earth in a week or two. 
* * *
P.S. For many weeks the self-defense formations have distracted large forces of Ukrainian army keeping them concentrated around the besieged Slavyansk. Later on June 5 the militia units broke through the encirclement to gain freedom of action outside the limited battle area.

The Silence of American Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities

By Stephen F. Cohen, June 30, 2014, appeared fist in The Nation

For weeks, the US-backed regime in Kiev has been committing atrocities against its own citizens in southeastern Ukraine, regions heavily populated by Russian-speaking Ukrainians and ethnic Russians. While victimizing a growing number of innocent people, including children, and degrading America’s reputation, these military assaults on cities, captured on video, are generating pressure in Russia on President Vladimir Putin to “save our compatriots.”

The reaction of the Obama administration—as well as the new cold war hawks and establishment media—has been twofold: silence interrupted only by occasional statements excusing and thus encouraging more atrocities by Kiev. Very few Americans (notably, the independent scholar Gordon Hahn) have protested this shameful complicity. We may honorably disagree about the causes and resolution of the Ukrainian crisis, the worst US-Russian confrontation in decades, but not about deeds that are rising to the level of war crimes, if they have not already done so.

* * *
In mid-April, the new Kiev government, predominantly western Ukrainian in composition and outlook, declared an “anti-terrorist operation” against a growing political rebellion in the Southeast. At that time, the rebels were mostly mimicking the initial Maidan protests in Kiev in 2013—demonstrating, issuing defiant proclamations, occupying public buildings and erecting defensive barricades—before Maidan turned ragingly violent and, in February, overthrew Ukraine’s corrupt but legitimately elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. (The entire Maidan episode, it will be recalled, had Washington’s enthusiastic political, and perhaps more tangible, support.) Indeed, the precedent for seizing official buildings and demanding the allegiance of local authorities had been set even earlier, in January, in western Ukraine—by pro-Maidan, anti-Yanukovych protesters, some declaring “independence” from his government.

Considering those preceding events, but above all the country’s profound historical divisions, particularly between its western and eastern regions—ethnic, linguistic, religious, cultural, economic and political—the rebellion in the Southeast, centered in the industrial Donbass, was not surprising. Nor were its protests against the unconstitutional way (in effect, a coup) the new government had come to power, the Southeast’s sudden loss of effective political representation in the capital and the real prospect of official discrimination. But by declaring an “anti-terrorist operation” against the new protesters, Kiev signaled its intention to “destroy” them, not negotiate with them.

On May 2, in this incendiary atmosphere, a horrific event occurred in the southern city of Odessa, awakening memories of German extermination squads in Ukraine and other Soviet republics during World War II. An organized pro-Kiev mob chased protesters into a building, set it on fire and tried to block the exits. Some forty people, perhaps many more, perished in the flames or were murdered as they fled the inferno. A still unknown number of other victims were seriously injured.

Members of the infamous Right Sector, a far-right paramilitary organization ideologically aligned with the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party, itself a constituent part of Kiev’s coalition government, led the mob. Both are frequently characterized by knowledgeable observers as “neo-fascist” movements. (Hateful ethnic chants by the mob were audible, and swastika-like symbols were found on the scorched building.) Kiev alleged that the victims had themselves accidentally started the fire, but eyewitnesses, television footage and social media videos told the true story, as they have about subsequent atrocities.

Instead of interpreting the Odessa massacre as an imperative for restraint, Kiev intensified its “anti-terrorist operation.” Since May, the regime has sent a growing number of armored personnel carriers, tanks, artillery, helicopter gunships and warplanes to southeastern cities, among them, Slovyansk (Slavyansk in Russian), Mariupol, Krasnoarmeisk, Kramatorsk, Donetsk and Luhansk (Lugansk in Russian). When its regular military units and local police forces turned out to be less than effective, willing or loyal, Kiev hastily mobilized Right Sector and other radical nationalist militias responsible for much of the violence at Maidan into a National Guard to accompany regular detachments—partly to reinforce them, partly, it seems, to enforce Kiev’s commands. Zealous, barely trained and drawn mostly from central and western regions, Kiev’s new recruits have reportedly escalated the ethnic warfare and killing of innocent civilians. (Episodes described as “massacres” soon also occurred in Mariupol and Kramatorsk.)

Initially, the “anti-terrorist” campaign was limited primarily, though not only, to rebel checkpoints on the outskirts of cities. Since May, however, Kiev has repeatedly carried out artillery and air attacks on city centers that have struck residential buildings, shopping malls, parks, schools, kindergartens and hospitals, particularly in Slovyansk and Luhansk. More and more urban areas, neighboring towns and even villages now look and sound like war zones with telltale rubble, destroyed and pockmarked buildings, mangled vehicles, the dead and wounded in streets, wailing mourners and crying children. Conflicting information from Kiev, local resistance leaders and Moscow make it impossible to estimate the number of dead and wounded noncombatants—certainly hundreds. The number continues to grow due also to Kiev’s blockade of cities where essential medicines, food, water, fuel and electricity are scarce, and where wages and pensions are often no longer being paid. The result is an emerging humanitarian catastrophe.

Another effect is clear. Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” tactics have created a reign of terror in the targeted cities. Panicked by shells and mortars exploding on the ground, menacing helicopters and planes flying above and fear of what may come next, families are seeking sanctuary in basements and other darkened shelters. Even The New York Times, which like the mainstream American media generally has deleted the atrocities from its coverage, described survivors in Slovyansk “as if living in the Middle Ages.” Meanwhile, an ever-growing number of refugees, disproportionately women and traumatized children, have been fleeing across the border into Russia. In late June, the UN estimated that as many as 110,000 Ukrainians had already fled across the border to Russia and about half that many to other Ukrainian sanctuaries.
It is true, of course, that anti-Kiev rebels in these regions are increasingly well-armed (though lacking the government’s arsenal of heavy and airborne weapons), organized and aggressive, no doubt with some Russian assistance, whether officially sanctioned or not. But calling themselves “self-defense” fighters is not wrong. They did not begin the combat; their land is being invaded and assaulted by a government whose political legitimacy is arguably no greater than their own, two of their large regions having voted overwhelmingly for autonomy referenda; and, unlike actual terrorists, they have not committed acts of war outside their own communities. The French adage suggested by an American observer seems applicable: “This animal is very dangerous. If attacked, it defends itself.”

* * *

Among the crucial questions rarely discussed in the US political-media establishment: What is the role of the “neo-fascist” factor in Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” ideology and military operations? Putin’s position, at least until recently—that the entire Ukrainian government is a “neo-fascist junta”—is incorrect. Many members of the ruling coalition and its parliamentary majority are aspiring European-style democrats or moderate nationalists. This may also be true of Ukraine’s newly elected president, the oligarch Petro Poroshenko.

Equally untrue, however, are claims by Kiev’s American apologists, including even some academics and liberal intellectuals, that Ukraine’s neo-fascists—or perhaps quasi-fascists—are merely agitated nationalists, “garden-variety Euro-populists,” a “distraction” or lack enough popular support to be significant.

Independent Western scholars have documented the fascist origins, contemporary ideology and declarative symbols of Svoboda and its fellow-traveling Right Sector. Both movements glorify Ukraine’s murderous collaborators in World War II as inspirational ancestors. Both, to quote Svoboda’s leader Oleh Tyahnybok, call for an ethnically pure nation purged of the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” and “other scum,” including homosexuals, feminists and political leftists. And both hailed the Odessa massacre. According to the website of Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh, it was “another bright day in our national history.” A Svoboda parliamentary deputy added, “Bravo, Odessa…Let the Devils burn in hell.” If more evidence is needed, in December 2012, the European Parliament decried Svoboda’s “racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views [that] go against the EU’s fundamental values and principles.” Still worse, observers agree that Right Sector is even more extremist.

Nor do electoral results tell the story. Tyahnybok and Yarosh together received less than 2 percent of the June presidential vote, but historians know that in traumatic times, when, to recall Yeats, “the center cannot hold,” small, determined movements can seize the moment, as did Lenin’s Bolsheviks and Hitler’s henchmen. Indeed, Svoboda and Right Sector already command power and influence far exceeding their popular vote. “Moderates” in the US-backed Kiev government, obliged to both movements for their violence-driven ascent to power, and perhaps for their personal safety, rewarded Svoboda and Right Sector with some five to eight (depending on shifting affiliations) top ministry positions, including ones overseeing national security, military, prosecutorial and educational affairs. Still more, according to the research of Pietro Shakarian, a remarkable young graduate student at the University of Michigan, Svoboda was given five governorships covering about 20 percent of the country. And this does not take into account the role of Right Sector in the “anti-terrorist operation.”

Nor does it consider the political mainstreaming of fascism’s dehumanizing ethos. In December 2012, a Svoboda parliamentary leader anathematized the Ukrainian-born American actress Mila Kunis as “a dirty kike.” Since 2013, pro-Kiev mobs and militias have routinely denigrated ethnic Russians as insects (“Colorado beetles,” whose colors resemble a sacred Russia ornament). More recently, the US-picked prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, referred to resisters in the Southeast as “subhumans.” His defense minister proposed putting them in “filtration camps,” pending deportation, and raising fears of ethnic cleansing. Yulia Tymoshenko—a former prime minister, titular head of Yatsenyuk’s party and runner-up in the May presidential election—was overheard wishing she could “exterminate them all [Ukrainian Russians] with atomic weapons.” “Sterilization” is among the less apocalyptic official musings on the pursuit of a purified Ukraine.

Confronted with such facts, Kiev’s American apologists have conjured up another rationalization. Any neo-fascists in Ukraine, they assure us, are far less dangerous than Putinism’s “clear aspects of fascism.” The allegation is unworthy of serious analysis: However authoritarian Putin may be, there is nothing authentically fascist in his rulership, policies, state ideology or personal conduct.

Indeed, equating Putin with Hitler, as eminent Americans from Hillary Clinton and Zbigniew Brzezinski to George Will have done, is another example of how our new cold warriors are recklessly damaging US national security in vital areas where Putin’s cooperation is essential. Looking ahead, would-be presidents who make such remarks can hardly expect to be greeted by an open-minded Putin, whose brother died and father was wounded in the Soviet-Fascist war. Moreover, tens of millions of today’s Russians whose family members were killed in that war will regard this defamation of their popular president as sacrilege, as they do the atrocities committed by Kiev.

* * *
And yet, the Obama administration reacts with silence, and worse. Historians will decide what the US government and the “democracy promotion” organizations it funds were doing in Ukraine during the preceding twenty years, but much of Washington’s role in the current crisis has been clear and direct. As the Maidan mass protest against President Yanukovych developed last November-December, Senator John McCain, the high-level State Department policymaker Victoria Nuland and a crew of other US politicians and officials arrived to stand with its leaders, Tyahnybok in the forefront, and declare, “America is with you!” Nuland was then caught on tape plotting with the American ambassador, Geoffrey Pyatt, to oust Yanukovych’s government and replace him with Yatsenyuk, who soon became, and remains, prime minister.

Meanwhile, President Obama personally warned Yanukovych “not to resort to violence,” as did, repeatedly, Secretary of State John Kerry. But when violent street riots deposed Yanukovych—only hours after a European-brokered, White House–backed compromise that would have left him as president of a reconciliation government until new elections this December, possibly averting the subsequent bloodshed—the administration made a fateful decision. It eagerly embraced the outcome. Obama personally legitimized the coup as a “constitutional process” and invited Yatsenyuk to the White House. The United States has been at least tacitly complicit in what followed, from Putin’s hesitant decision in March to annex Crimea and the rebellion in southeastern Ukraine to the ongoing civil war.

How intimately involved US officials have been in Kiev’s “anti-terrorist operation” is not known, but certainly the administration has not been discreet. Before and after the military campaign began in earnest, CIA director John Brennan and Vice President Joseph Biden (twice) visited Kiev, followed, it is reported, by a continuing flow of “senior US defense officials,” military equipment and financial assistance to the bankrupt Kiev government. Despite this crucial support, the White House has not compelled Kiev to investigate either the Odessa massacre or the fateful sniper killings of scores of Maidan protesters and policemen on February 18-20, which precipitated Yanukovych’s ouster. (The snipers were initially said to be Yanukovych’s, but evidence later appeared pointing to opposition extremists, possibly Right Sector. Unlike Washington, the Council of Europe has been pressuring Kiev to investigate both events.)
As atrocities and humanitarian disaster grow in Ukraine, both Obama and Kerry have all but vanished as statesmen. Except for periodic banalities asserting the virtuous intentions of Washington and Kiev and alleging Putin’s responsibility for the violence, they have left specific responses to lesser US officials. Not surprisingly, all have told the same Manichean story, from the White House to Foggy Bottom. The State Department’s neocon missionary Nuland, who spent several days at Maidan, for example, assured a congressional committee that she had no evidence of fascist-like elements playing any role there. Ambassador Pyatt, who earlier voiced the same opinion about the Odessa massacre, was even more dismissive, telling obliging New Republic editors that the entire question was “laughable.”

Still more shameful, no American official at any level appears to have issued a meaningful statement of sympathy for civilian victims of the Kiev government, not even those in Odessa. Instead, the administration has been unswervingly indifferent. When asked if her superiors had “any concerns” about the casualties of Kiev’s military campaign, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has repeatedly answered “no.” Indeed, at the UN Security Council on May 2, US Ambassador Samantha Power, referring explicitly to the “counter-terrorism initiative” and suspending her revered “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine, gave Kiev’s leaders a US license to kill. Lauding their “remarkable, almost unimaginable, restraint,” as Obama himself did after Odessa, she continued, “Their response is reasonable, it is proportional, and frankly it is what any one of our countries would have done.” (Since then, the administration has blocked Moscow’s appeal for a UN humanitarian corridor between southeastern Ukraine and Russia.)

Contrary to the incessant administration and media demonizing of Putin and his “agents” in Ukraine, the “anti-terrorist operation” can be ended only where it began—in Washington and Kiev. Leaving aside how much power the new president actually has in Kiev (or over Right Sector militias in the field), Poroshenko’s “peace plan” and June 21 ceasefire may have seemed such an opportunity, except for their two core conditions: fighters in the Southeast first had to “lay down their arms” and he alone would decide with whom to negotiate peace. The terms seemed more akin to conditions of surrender and reason enough for the ceasefire to fail.

The Obama administration continues to make the situation worse. Despite opposition by several NATO allies and even American corporate heads, the president and his secretary of state, who has spoken throughout this crisis more like a secretary of war than the nation’s top diplomat, have constantly threatened Russia with harsher economic sanctions unless Putin meets one condition or another, most of them improbable. On June 26, Kerry even demanded (“literally”) that the Russian president “in the next few hours…help disarm” resisters in the Southeast, as though they are not motivated by any of Ukraine’s indigenous conflicts but are merely Putin’s private militias.

In fact, from the onset of the crisis, the administration’s actual goal has been unclear, and not only to Moscow. Is it a negotiated compromise, which would have to include a Ukraine with a significantly federalized or decentralized state free to maintain longstanding economic relations with Russia and banned from NATO membership? Is it to bring the entire country exclusively into the West, including into NATO? Is it a vendetta against Putin for all the things he purportedly has and has not done over the years? (Some behavior of Obama and Kerry, seemingly intended to demean and humiliate Putin, suggest an element of this.) Or is it to provoke Russia into a war with the United States and NATO in Ukraine?

Inadvertent or not, the latter outcome remains all too possible. After Russia annexed—or “reunified” with—Crimea in March, Putin, not Kiev or Washington, has demonstrated “remarkable restraint.” But events are making it increasingly difficult for him to do so. Almost daily, Russian state media, particularly television, have featured vivid accounts of Kiev’s military assaults on Ukraine’s eastern cities. The result has been, both in elite and public opinion, widespread indignation and mounting perplexity, even anger, over Putin’s failure to intervene militarily.

We may discount the following indictment by an influential ideologist of Russia’s own ultra-nationalists, who have close ties with Ukraine’s “self-defense” commanders: “Putin betrays not just the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the People’s Republic of Lugansk but himself, Russia and all of us.” Do not, however, underestimate the significance of an article in the mainstream pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia, which asks, while charging the leadership with “ignoring the cries for help,” “Is Russia abandoning the Donbass?” If so, the author warns, the result will be “Russia’s worst nightmare” and relegate it to “the position of a vanquished country.”

Just as significant are similar exhortations by Gennady Zyuganov, leader of Russia’s Communist Party, the second-largest in the country and in parliament. The party also has substantial influence in the military-security elite and even in the Kremlin. Thus, one of Putin’s own aides has publicly urged him to send fighter planes to impose a “no-fly zone”—an American-led UN action in Qaddafi’s Libya that has not been forgotten or forgiven by the Kremlin—and destroy Kiev’s approaching aircraft and land forces. If that happens, US and NATO forces, now being built up in Eastern Europe, might well also intervene, creating a Cuban Missile Crisis–like confrontation. As a former Russian foreign minister admired in the West reminds us, there are “hawks on both sides.”

Little of this is even noted in the United States. In a democratic political system, the establishment media are expected to pierce the official fog of war. In the Ukrainian crisis, however, mainstream American newspapers and television have been almost as slanted and elliptical as White House and State Department statements, obscuring the atrocities, if reporting them at all, and generally relying on information from Washington and Kiev. Most Americans are thereby unknowingly being shamed by the Obama administration’s role. Those who do know but remain silent—in government, think tanks, universities and media—share its complicity.

- Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus at New York University and Princeton University. His Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War and his The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag After Stalin are now in paperback.

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

PO Box 652

Brunswick, ME 04011

(207) 443-9502