sabato 3 maggio 2014 01:05
New York Times covers up fascist atrocity in Odessa
By Barry Grey
5 May 2014
The criminal character of the US-European Union intervention in Ukraine was tragically exposed for all to see Friday when supporters of the US-installed regime in Kiev, led by neo-Nazi Right Sector thugs, set fire to the Trade Unions House in the Black Sea port of Odessa, killing 38 pro-Russian demonstrators who had taken refuge in the building.
The anti-Kiev regime protesters had retreated into the building after the Ukrainian nationalist mob set fire to their nearby tent encampment. Authorities say 30 people died from smoke inhalation and another eight were killed when they jumped from windows and balconies in an attempt to escape the blaze.
According to eyewitness accounts, those who dropped from the building and survived were surrounded and beaten by Right Sector fascists. Videofootage shows bloodied survivors being attacked.
This massacre occurred on the same day that government military forces, including armored personnel vehicles and helicopter gunships, attacked towns in the southeast of the country under the control of pro-Russian opponents of the regime, which was illegally installed last February in a coup led by Right Sector paramilitaries and backed by Washington and the EU.
The Obama administration, along with the governments of Germany, France, Britain and the other European imperialist powers, bears political responsibility for Friday’s atrocity. They have sponsored the Right Sector, as well as the neo-fascist Svoboda party, and seen to it that they were integrated into the new anti-Russian regime in Kiev.
The US media, led by the so-called “newspaper of record,” the New York Times, shares political responsibility, having brazenly promulgated government propaganda and lies since the Ukraine crisis began last November. The Times, in particular, both in nominal “news” stories and in columns by State Department mouthpieces such as Andrew Higgins, C.J. Chivers, Roger Cohen, Nicholas Kristof and Thomas Friedman, has promoted the line that the incipient civil war in Ukraine is the result of Russian aggression, not US-European subversion.
In order to promote this grossly distorted version of events, the Times has gone so far as to publish an article with fabricated “evidence” and doctored photos supposedly proving that the rebellion in southeast Ukraine is the work of Russian military and intelligence forces—a story the newspaper was forced to retract—and dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic politics of Washington’s ultra-right allies in Kiev. Chivers has also penned on-the-spot reports on the right-wing Maidan protests in Kiev sympathetically painting the ultra-nationalist paramilitaries as honest patriots and obscuring their fascist politics and pedigree.
Thus it is not surprising that the Times responded to the fascist murder of 38 people in Odessa on Friday by burying the story and deliberately obscuring the identity of the perpetrators. The only mention of the torching of the Trade Unions House and murder of 38 people holed up inside occurred in a story on page A7 of the Saturday edition of the newspaper—on the fourth page of the International section.
The reference to the massacre, moreover, was a fleeting mention well down in the article, carefully formulated to avoid attributing blame. The authors, C.J. Chivers (Who else?) and Noah Sneider, wrote: “Violence also erupted Friday in the previously calmer port city of Odessa, on the Black Sea, where dozens of people died in a fire related to clashes that broke out between protesters holding a march for Ukrainian unity and pro-Russian activists.”
The Sunday Times published a front-page on-the-spot report by Chivers and Sneider from Slavyansk on the anti-Kiev government insurgents. Despite being unable to produce any evidence of the presence of Russian spies or troops, the authors wrote that “one persistent mystery has been the identity and affiliations of the militiamen.”
To further bolster the US State Department line they wrote, in relation to a rebel leader named Yuri, whom they described as “an ordinary eastern Ukrainian of this generation,” that his background as a former Soviet special forces commander in Afghanistan “could make him authentically local and a capable Kremlin proxy.”
Mention of the torching of the Trade Unions House and murder of dozens of pro-Russian protesters in Odessa was once again relegated to the back pages. The article falsely stated that “it was not immediately clear who had started the blaze.”
The cover-up by the Times is consistent with the dishonest treatment provided by the rest of the so-called “mainstream” press in the US—only more crude than most. The Washington Post had a front-page article that featured the deaths in Odessa and acknowledged that the fire was set by supporters of the Kiev regime, but omitted any mention of the Right Sector.
The Wall Street Journal in a news report attributed the fire to “a clash between pro-government and anti-government mobs.” In an editorial published Saturday, the Journal actually implied that Russia was responsible for the mass murder. The editorial stated: “Pro-Ukraine demonstrations in the southeast are large, and the Russians have tried to beat them into silence. Some three dozen people died on Friday during clashes in Odessa.”
In downplaying the mass killing in Odessa and concealing the identity, politics and US connections of the perpetrators, the American media is not simply covering up for the fascists and the regime in Kiev, it is concealing the criminal responsibility of the Obama administration and American imperialism.
Even as Ukrainian military forces were attacking protesters in the east and fascist mobs allied to the government were burning and killing in Odessa, President Barack Obama was giving his unconditional support to the actions of the regime at a joint White House press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “The Ukrainian government has the right and responsibility to uphold law and order within its territory,” he declared, and went on to praise Kiev for its “remarkable restraint.”
At a meeting Friday of the United Nations Security Council, US Ambassador Samantha Power put the entire blame for the violence on Moscow and called the military crackdown in the east “proportionate and reasonable.”
Nothing of any significance that the US puppet regime in Kiev does is independent of its masters in Washington. That the US is calling the shots in the mass repression of anti-government forces in eastern Ukraine was highlighted by the separate visits to Kiev of Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan and Vice President Joseph Biden, after each of which the regime launched new attacks on the rebels in the east.
The United States has worked closely with the neo-fascist Svoboda party as well as the Right Sector, and signed off on their incorporation into the government it installed in Kiev after the February 22 putsch that overthrew the elected, pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Initially, the head of Right Sector, Dmytro Yarosh, was offered the post of deputy head of internal security, but he turned it down in order to operate more freely while providing the regime with a pretense of separation from the fascist militia.
Nevertheless, the Kiev government set up a new National Guard, recruited largely from the Right Sector and other ultra-nationalists and fascists, and has thrown it, as well as the Right Sector directly, against pro-Russian oppositionists in the east to supplement the operations of the Ukrainian military.
In an interview last month with the German publication Spiegel Online, Yarosh boasted of state support for his forces, saying, “Our battalions are part of the new territorial defense. We have close contact with the intelligence services and the general staff.”
The handprints of Washington are all over the fascist massacre in Odessa, and the New York Times, along with the rest of the “mainstream” media, is exposed as an accomplice. The cover-up of this crime by the Times is a guarantee that it will whitewash even greater crimes of US imperialism in the days and weeks to come.
The German media and the massacre in Odessa
By Peter Schwarz
6 May 2014
A politically conformist media has long been considered a characteristic of dictatorships. Not any more. One can also speak of such a conformist press in the coverage of Ukraine in the German media.
Last Friday, over 40 opponents of the Kiev regime fell victim to a fascist massacre. Although German television stations and newspapers have many correspondents on the ground, you will not find a serious report concerning the background to this terrible crime. Instead, the events are falsified, downplayed or simply ignored.
From the outset it was clear that the victims who lost their lives, burning to death in the Odessa trade union hall, suffocating or jumping out the window, were opponents of the government in Kiev. Despite this, the media has deliberately left the origins of the victims and the culprits in the dark.
On the day of the events, Spiegel Online reported untruthfully that dozens of people had “died in clashes between Ukrainian nationalists and pro-Russian activists.”
Two days following the massacre, the Frankfurter Rundschau reported: “Violence escalated in the port city on Friday between hundreds of supporters of the government in Kiev and Moscow. In street battles, both sides threw Molotov cocktails, a trade union building was set alight. Four people died in the fighting, a further 38 lost their lives in the probably deliberate fire.”
To date, there has still been no word on the website of the Rundschau about who started the fire in the union hall and who was killed as a result. And this is despite the fact that the date of the fire alone—May 2—should surely have brought to mind dire memories in the editorial offices. On May 2, 1933, the Nazis stormed trade union buildings in Germany and murdered or arrested numerous union leaders.
The events in Odessa do not conform to the flood of propaganda pumped out daily by the Rundschau and other media. According to their narrative, the regime in Kiev stands for “western values” and “democracy”, while the opposition is being directed by Russian agents and Putin personally.
That is a lie, as even the Ukrainian interim president Alexander Turchynov had to angrily admit. He agreed that his government is meeting with widespread rejection in the east of the country.
“Let’s be honest”, Turchynov told the Kiev broadcaster TV5, “the citizens in this region support the separatists, they support the terrorists, which has considerably impeded the anti-terror operation”. He said the fact that the police also sympathised with the pro-Russian forces was a “colossal problem”.
Because it is rejected by broad layers of the population, and even by sections of the security apparatus, the putschist regime in Kiev rests on murderous fascist gangs in order to defend its power. Far-right militias such as the “Right Sector”, the so-called “self-defence” of the Maidan, and members of Svoboda brought the regime to power on February 22. The same forces are now responsible for the murder of dozens of their opponents in Odessa.
According to reports of local activists, members of these militias travelled to Odessa last Friday under the cover of a soccer game between Odessa and Kharkov. They mingled with the football fans and marched through the city undisturbed by the police. It was here that the first bloody clashes occurred between about 1,000 armed fascists and 250 opponents who stood in their way.
The fascists carried on to the union building and set fire to a tent camp that had been built earlier by opponents of the regime. The occupants fled into the union building, which the right-wing militias also set on fire. The grisly scenes of the burning union house, surrounded by jeering nationalists, in which regime opponents burned alive, died from smoke inhalation or jumped out of the window in panic have been captured on film. As have scenes showing the seriously injured being mistreated by the fascists.
The German media are deliberately hiding these facts from the public.
Like the Rundschau, the pro-Green Party taz has not said a word about the identity of the victims and culprits. Three days following the massacre, the online edition of taz reported: “At least 46 people were killed in a serious fire in the town’s trade union house and in street battles on Friday, with more than 200 injured.” The day after the fire, they said the fire was the result of “criminal arson”, citing the transitional government in Kiev.
On Monday, when the circumstances and background of the massacre were long known, the Süddeutsche Zeitung asked, referring to the “chaotic situation” in the country: “Who can know who is concretely responsible for the rampage?”
The conservative Die Welt reported that at least 42 died “in clashes between pro-Russian activists and government supporters in Odessa”. Instead of naming victims and culprits, they cite the nationalist politician Julia Tymoshenko, who accused Moscow of trying to drive a wedge between the population and of being responsible for the deaths.
Germany’s public television broadcasters, subsidised with a monthly contribution of 18 euros from every household, and which are legally bound to report objectively, match the propaganda of the print media in every respect.
On Monday, the morning show on ARD provided extensive airtime to Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, who claimed the dead in Odessa were “provocateurs who acted on behalf of the Kremlin”. “This was a well-prepared commando action”, he declared. “It’s all part of the Russian plan to get its hands on Ukraine and destroy it. Well-trained agents initiated the conflict and then quickly disappeared.”
Although ARD correspondent Golineh Atai reported daily from Donetsk, nothing regarding the true background to the political events was explained. And when the news anchors Thomas Roth and Caren Miosga ranted against Russian president Putin, they brought to mind the infamous Cold War propagandists of the 1960s, Gerhard Löwenthal on West German television channel ZDF, and Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler on East German television.
In response to the angry protests of their viewers, the news programme switched its editorials to their website, “as a result of overload”, they said.
The political conformity of the media is part of a fundamental change of course in German foreign policy. Faced with growing social tensions and a continuing crisis of the European economy, the German government has abandoned its previous military reticence and is again following an aggressive militarist policy. Together with the US administration, they have organised the putsch in Kiev and are now provoking a dangerous confrontation with Russia.
The media support this course. They have ditched all moral scruples and are helping through their lies to prepare future wars.