Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ukraine Behind the Headlines: Disinformation, Manipulation, Propaganda

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Since December of last year world attention has focused on Ukraine, as demonstrations escalated in Kiev’s Maidan Square, the government was toppled, President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia, Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border, and Russian troops took over some military bases in Ukraine’s Crimean region. The western “mainstream media” (MSM) and even much of the alternative media — including both rightward and leftward tilting — have tended to celebrate the Ukrainian developments as a triumph of “democracy,” “freedom,” and “people power,” while harshly condemning every Russian move as an attempt to reassert Soviet-style imperialism.

It hasn't helped that many critics of the Ukrainian “coup” who have challenged the authenticity of the demonstrations and the legitimacy of Ukraine’s new interim government frequently also have been apologists for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s claimed interests in the Ukraine. Oftentimes these critics appear on Putin’s KGB-run propaganda outlets, such as RT (Russia Today), Rossiya, Izvestia, TASS, Novosti, and First Channel, which does little to establish the critics’ credibility with audiences rightfully suspicious of the Putin regime’s motives and the Kremlin’s record of lies, deception, oppression, and terror.

So, does this mean that all critics of U.S. involvement in the “Euromaidan” demonstrations are anti-American propagandists, and all exposure of the interference in and manipulation of the Ukrainian “crisis” by the U.S. government should be dismissed as Kremlin-directed propaganda? Are the only options for viewing the unfolding events in Ukraine to choose between the official lines of either the Putin administration or the Obama administration — and their respective media choirs? Must the Ukrainian people choose between only two options: to be dominated either by the European Union/NATO or Russia? 

We answer, emphatically, No, No, and No to the above. And we at The New American are certainly no shills for Putin and his Kremlin cronies; we were exposing Putin’s KGB pedigree and his obvious role in the false “liberalization” of Russia when President George Bush and the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and other MSM voices that are now attacking Putin were gushing over him with glowing accolades. The New American has not signed paid contracts to place Putin’s “soft power” propaganda supplements Russia Beyond The Headlines (RBTH) in our print edition and incorporate the RBTH website into our own, as have the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. We have also been in the very forefront for decades of exposing and opposing the scheme for socialist revolution through what is now known as the European Union, or EU. And we have steadily exposed the stealth schemes to saddle American savers and taxpayers with bailouts for the EU and the Wall Street bankers that have been financing the EU’s destructive socialist policies.

Russia’s deployment of troops to the Crimea and other actions by Putin are certainly not welcome by most Ukrainians and constitute blatant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty. Nevertheless, the Obama administration and the globalist organizations it is fronting for — most especially the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Brookings Institution — have orchestrated and manipulated the Ukraine situation from the get-go, and “our” illegal interference in the sovereign affairs of Ukraine is only slightly less blatant (though, arguably, more extensive) than Putin’s. The evidence is overwhelming that the “Euromaidan” demonstrations were completely synthetic “astroturf” operations, not the grassroots, populist movement portrayed by the MSM chorus. This was another replay of the “democracy revolution” narrative that has accompanied similarly fraudulent “Arab Spring” revolts and other “people power” gambits that have replaced one set of corrupt dictators with another. Often the new “democratic” regimes are more tyrannical and deadly than the old. Consider Egypt, Libya, and Iraq. And the people of Ukraine are, tragically, just as likely to suffer the same consequences — and the American people will be stuck with the bill, as well as the ill will from the unfortunate victims.

CFR Handprints Everywhere on Euromaidan

Let’s review some facts. The “Euromaidan” revolt began, ostensibly, because President Viktor Yanukovych, under pressure from Putin, pulled out of the partnership agreement between Ukraine and the EU. So-called experts repeatedly cited in MSM news reports have claimed that Ukrainians turned out en masse, several hundred thousand strong, in Kiev’s Maidan (Independence Square), to defy President Yanukovych and show overwhelming popular support for joining the EU.

First of all, multiple polls, by Ukrainian polling organizations as well as European and U.S. media, have shown that Ukrainians are, and have been, fairly evenly divided on whether or not to join either the EU or the Moscow-led Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, with many Ukrainians unenthusiastic about either prospect. Even the IFES 2013 survey sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) showed only 37 percent of Ukrainians indicating support for joining the EU and 33 percent indicating a preference for the Customs Union. Most reasonable people would concede that 37 percent is far from proof of “overwhelming” support by Ukrainians for joining the bankrupt and sinking EU. Undoubtedly, even many Ukrainians who favor closer relations with the EU than with Russia are dubious about trading one corrupt regime for another corrupt one, and jumping from one sinking economy to another that is also sinking.

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Asian Affairs Victoria Nuland has, of course, been the subject of much controversy, especially regarding her notorious hacked cellphone conversation with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt that went viral on YouTube on February 6.

Although her obscene comment regarding the EU — and the diplomatic scandal it caused — seemed to dominate many of the news stories that touched it, the larger story is the extent to which the telephone recording indicates that Nuland, Pyatt, and other U.S. officials and agents were/are managing the Ukraine turmoil from behind the scenes. During the conversation, Nuland is clearly attempting to play the kingmaker, determining who should — or should not — rise in the new Ukrainian government. Aside from her very “undiplomatic” and “unladylike” profanity, her casual slang references to Ukrainian politicians Vitali Klitchko  and Arsneiy Yatseniuk as “Klitch” and “Yats,” respectively, reinforce the content of the cellphone conversation, the substance of which is that Nuland and Pyatt view themselves (and the Obama administration) as the puppet masters and the Ukrainian politicians as their sock puppets. In the following excerpts from that phone call, it’s obvious that Nuland and Pyatt see “Yats” as their guy, while “Klitch,” most likely because he is seen as being too independent, is targeted for marginalization. Here are excerpts from the recording: 

Pyatt: I think we're in play. The Klitschko piece is obviously the complicated electron here. Especially the announcement of him as deputy prime minister and you've seen some of my notes on the troubles in the marriage right now so we're trying to get a read really fast on where he is on this stuff. But I think your argument to him, which you'll need to make, I think that's the next phone call you want to set up, is exactly the one you made to Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk]. And I'm glad you sort of put him on the spot on where he fits in this scenario. And I'm very glad that he said what he said in response.

Nuland: Good. I don't think Klitsch should go into the government. I don't think it's necessary, I don't think it's a good idea.

Pyatt: Yeah. I guess ... in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I'm just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok [Oleh Tyahnybok, another opposition leader] and his guys and I'm sure that's part of what [President Viktor] Yanukovych is calculating on all this.

Nuland: [Breaking in] I think Yats is the guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the ... what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in ... he's going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it's just not going to work. 

And, sure enough, as we reported previously, Arseniy Yatseniuk and a lineup of similarly “acceptable” politicians — nearly all of whom are “former” communists and/or have close ties to Ukraine’s ruling mafia oligarchs, have taken over the new interim government in Kiev. More of the Nuland/Pyatt transcript is available here and is worth a read to understand how the Obama/Kerry State Department worked on multiple levels, coordinating a succession of strategic “atta-boy” visits by U.S. and United Nations officials to decide the outcome of the process that was going to be sold as the decision “of the Ukrainian people.” Among the people Nuland mentions by name as important cogs in the wheel is Jacob “Jake” Sullivan (former CFR and Brookings fellow, and colleague of Strobe Talbott) who now serves as national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. Nuland told Pyatt that she had contacted Sullivan, who would get Biden ready for a rush trip to Ukraine to solidify details with an “atta-boy” session with the new leaders.  

Nuland Just the Tip of the CFR Iceberg

Of course, Victoria Nuland’s intercepted phone call was not her only embarrassing and damaging public faux pas vis à vis Ukraine. In December, at a speech to the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation in Washington, D.C., that also has gone viral, Nuland, who had just returned from Kiev, boasted that “we” had “invested” more than $5 billion in Ukraine over the past couple decades to promote “democratic institutions ... and a good form of government.” Nuland has not provided any breakdown of that $5 billion as to the “we” sources (government and/or private) and the recipients, but, clearly, one could fund a considerable astro-turf movement with that amount of cash. And that is precisely what “we” have done.

While photos of Nuland and Pyatt handing out bundles of hundred dollar bills to Maidan demonstrators have not surfaced yet, we do have photos of the duo handing out cookies to the same (see here and here). Obviously, if officials of a foreign power were behaving similarly in the United States — assisting, encouraging, funding, and feeding massive crowds of demonstrators — they would rightfully be condemned for interference and would be ejected from the country. 

Nuland, it should be pointed out, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the subversive “think tank” that has dominated the executive branch of the U.S. government and both of our major political parties for much of the past century. This is not merely an incidental association with little or no bearing; it is central to the key role she has been playing in Ukraine. She is married to Robert Kagan (CFR), a Brookings Institution Fellow and Washington Post columnist, who is a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

During the presidency of Bill Clinton (CFR), Nuland served as chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott (CFR), who was Bill Clinton’s roommate at Oxford — before being tutored in Moscow by the KGB’s most famous “journalist” agent, Vitali Yevgenyevich Lui, aka “Victor Louis.” During the George W. Bush administration, Nuland was the principal foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney (CFR), a committed “Republican” globalist who boasted at a CFR luncheon (see video here) that he had successfully kept his CFR membership secret while a congressman so that his conservative constituents in Wyoming wouldn’t find out. In the Obama administration, Nuland currently serves under Secretary of State John Kerry (CFR), who came to Kiev on March 4 with the promise of $1 billion is U.S. aid that has yet to be approved by Congress. Prior to Kerry, Nuland served under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is not herself, formally, a CFR member (although her husband Bill and daughter Chelsea both are), but who, in a speech to the CFR (see video here), infamously referred to the CFR as the State Department’s “mother ship” and confessed that the State Department looks to the CFR “to be told what we should be doing and how we should think.”

While working for Secretary Clinton, Victoria Nuland was a key operative directing the CFR/State Department-scripted "Arab Spring" demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square (produced from the same template as Maidan) that brought about the Muslim Brotherhood’s electoral victory in Egypt. Subsequently, Nuland was also a key operative in another bloody fiasco: Benghazigate. It was Nuland, recall, who orchestrated the Benghazi cover-up, drafting the State Department’s revised “talking points memo” used by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice (CFR) to spread disinformation about the deadly attack during her round of media appearances on September 16, 2012.

Other CFR luminaries with notable roles in the Ukraine turmoil, either directly as operatives or as media facilitators, are: Nuland’s predecessor as assistant secretary of state for European and Asian affairs and currently Special National Security Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region Philip H. Gordon; billionaire investor/activist George Soros; the National Endowment for Democracy’s Larry Diamond and Nadia Diuk; former U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine Steven Pifer; former U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Ivo Daalder; former Secretary of State Madeline Albright; Senator John McCain; lobbyist and political consultant Douglas E. Schoen; Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Fiona Hill; PBS/CBS commentator Charlie Rose; Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder; former Carter national security adviser and Trilateral Commission founder Zbigniew Brzezinski; former Bush Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky. 

And that barely scratches the surface. We will be detailing the roles of these and other CFR actors in forthcoming articles. Unfortunately, many of the critics of the Obama administration’s interventionism in Ukraine (as in Egypt, Libya and Syria) either ignore completely the central part played by the Council or minimize its importance. Trapped in their own ideological straightjackets, these critics all too often blame “U.S. imperialism,” the “Israeli lobby,” “capitalism,” or other similarly vague forces. Some get a bit closer to the truth, pointing to the “globalists,” but failing (whether through ignorance or cowardice) to specifically name the Council on Foreign Relations and point out how the current disastrous political and economic policies of our governing elites are the continuation of a long train of conscious betrayals by CFR operatives aimed at destroying American sovereignty and, ultimately, merging the United States into a global government. We are not careening toward tyranny because of blind, amorphous, impersonal forces of history. We are losing our freedoms because people have willfully organized to take those freedoms from us — and because too many weak, ignorant, apathetic, faithless, and cowardly people are allowing them to do so. Unless and until more Americans are awakened and are made willing to courageously expose and oppose this treachery and treason in high places, it will continue — and will accelerate — with truly frightful consequences. We are perilously close to losing altogether our precious legacy of liberty; we must not allow that to happen. 

Photo of Ukrainian riot police at a pro-Russian rally in Donetsk, Ukraine: AP Images

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The Shadows of Power: The Council on Foreign Relations and the American Decline

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