Monday, April 21, 2014

The Smell of Neocon Times in the Morning

The Ukraine reporting by the New York Times gets more shameless and shoddy by the day, a reflection of the increasing desperation of the neoliberal powers that be in their power grab for Ukraine. Tennessee union-busting Senator Bob Corker summed it up succinctly and inelegantly on the televised Sunday blatherfest: "We're going to lose Eastern Ukraine!"

He might as well have admitted that the re-ascendant American neocons already think they own the place, just because they orchestrated a coup and installed a puppet into power.

And now to today's lead Neocon Times article, ominously and inelegantly headlined "Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia."
For two weeks, the mysteriously well-armed, professional gunmen known as “green men” have seized Ukrainian government sites in town after town, igniting a brush fire of separatist unrest across eastern Ukraine. Strenuous denials from the Kremlin have closely followed each accusation by Ukrainian officials that the world was witnessing a stealthy invasion by Russian forces.
Orwell would have had a field day with this opening paragraph. Little green men with guns have landed upon a civilization recently infiltrated by red, white and blue men with guns, and the alien abduction cult victims reciting the script provided by the hack writers of Hollywood-on-the-Potomac are fighting a valiant battle against an extra-galactic enemy (Putin.)
Now, photographs and descriptions from eastern Ukraine endorsed by the Obama administration on Sunday suggest that many of the green men are indeed Russian military and intelligence forces — equipped in the same fashion as Russian special operations troops involved in annexing the Crimea region in February. Some of the men photographed in Ukraine have been identified in other photos clearly taken among Russian troops in other settings.
The Obama administration studio bosses have assigned themselves the  preternatural ability to instantly identify photos and costumes as authentically alien, green-men couture, as opposed to those shoddy knock-offs sewn by disabled sub-minimum wage slaves in a CIA-front sweat shop. Masked men are always easily identified by their identical masks, of course. Just like sarin bombs are easily traced to the Assad regime in Syria when proclaimed by White House fiat.
And Ukraine’s state security service has identified one Russian reported to be active among the green men as Igor Ivanovich Strelkov, a Russian military intelligence operative in his mid- to late 50s. He is said to have a long résumé of undercover service with the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian general staff, most recently in Crimea in February and March and now in and around the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk.
Another name for Ukraine's "state security service" is probably Blackwater, XE, or whatever State Department and CIA contractors are calling themselves these days. Strelkov -- assuming that he is indeed one of the green men -- is only "said to" (we are not told who is saying) have a history of undercover work.
“There has been broad unity in the international community about the connection between Russia and some of the armed militants in eastern Ukraine, and the photos presented by the Ukrainians last week only further confirm this, which is why U.S. officials have continued to make that case,” Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said Sunday.
Translation: We marauding elites are all in this together. We hold our trumped-up pieces of evidence to be self-evident. (The Times, as a unified member of the Broad community, helpfully publishes all the fuzzy photos.) Jen Psaki, incidentally, is not a career diplomat. She is a career public relations and marketing pro who has worked on several Democratic political campaigns, was the Obama spokesperson for his re-election bid before her appointment to the White House communications shop, and then was quickly transferred over to State to replace neocon Victoria "Fuck the EU" Nuland. Psaki also worked in the private sector, for the Global Strategy branding and consulting group. In other words, she is a professional bullshit artiste.
But masking the identity of its forces, and clouding the possibilities for international denunciation, is a central part of the Russian strategy, developed over years of conflict in the former Soviet sphere, Ukrainian and American officials say.
John R. Schindler, a former National Security Agency counterintelligence officer who now teaches at the Naval War College, calls it “special war”: “an amalgam of espionage, subversion, even forms of terrorism to attain political ends without actually going to war in any conventional sense.”
Wow. So Putin has his own private, secret army, like Obama doesn't also have his own private, secret army. And some Russian wars are secret, incorporating spying, agitprop and terrorism? Of course, the Times fails utterly to mention the whole parallel universe thing. Russia has its KGB and “maskirovka” (disguised warfare), but if you just woke up after a half-century nap and picked up the Gray Lady today, you would never have learned that the United States has its CIA and its top-secret Special Ops military forces operating in more than 100 countries throughout the world.
In the eastern city of Slovyansk, under the control of pro-Russian insurgents for more than a week now, the green men have worked hard to blend in with locals but have occasionally let the mask slip, apparently to send a clear message that any push to regain control by Ukrainian forces would risk bringing down the wrath of the Russian military.
A gradation of forces control the city and other areas now in the hands of separatist rebels, ranging from clearly professional masked soldiers and unruly groups of local men in camouflage, rifles slung over their shoulders, to teenage boys in sweatpants carrying baseball bats or hunting knives. At most times, only the local toughs are visible on the streets.
Any science fiction worth its salt has the aliens blending in with the locals. This is a real invasion of the body-snatchers, folks! Every once in awhile, you see the eyes of a perfectly normal looking human transform into either soulless black pools or pulsating red dots. And then the real humans go bananas. Teenage boys take to wielding baseball bats and knives. Groups of men become "unruly" and dress up in right-wing camouflage. The streets are overrun by "local toughs." That Gray Lady is certainly showing her age, envisioning those hordes of James Dean rebels without a cause!
But when a woman sidled up to one of the masked gunmen in the city’s central square last week and asked where he was from, she got an answer that summed up Russia’s bedeviling and constantly shifting disguises. The gunman initially said he was “from Russia,” but when pressed, said coyly that he was “from New Russia,” a long-forgotten czarist-era term revived last week by Mr. Putin to describe a large section of eastern and southern Ukraine.
Asked by the woman what would happen if the Ukrainian Army attacked, he replied, “We have to stand for only 24 hours, to tend the fire, and after that, a one million man army will be here.”
Every shlock movie has that anonymous, slightly unhinged woman who suddenly stumbles into the war zone and engages the alien (who turns out to be a coy philosopher) in a heartfelt conversation, eliciting a grand Moment of Truth. The whole paragraph, especially the last hackneyed sentence, comes straight from a Hollywood-on-the-Potomac scriptwriter's fevered brain. I nominate it for a Raspberry.

Meanwhile, the neocons are ramping up the pressure on Obama to be more openly forceful with the alien invaders. Robert Parry points to Nicholas Kristof's Sunday column as a prime example of the Times' bellicose complicity: (Kristof, whose father hailed from Ukraine, insists that that nation's fondest desire is to be fondled by the West)
 On Sunday, Kristof wrote: “For people with such fondness for American culture, there is disappointment that President Obama hasn’t embraced Ukraine more firmly.”
Kristof also blamed Ukraine’s economic woes on Russia when a more honest explanation would be that the free-market “shock therapy” that Western advisers imposed on Ukraine after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 allowed a dozen or so well-connected “oligarchs” to plunder the country’s wealth and amass near total economic and political control. They are the principal reason for Ukraine’s pervasive corruption and poverty.
But Kristof appears to be readying his New York Times readers to support the violent crushing of the popular resistance in eastern Ukraine, which was President Yanukovych’s political base. Kristof is a renowned R2Per, urging a “responsibility to protect” civilians from government force, but his sense of responsibility appears to be highly selective, fitting with his favored geopolitical priorities.
More broadly, the U.S. news media’s hiding of Ukraine’s neo-Nazis has become a near obsession, indeed, done in greater uniformity across the mainstream press and even much of the blogosphere than the misguided consensus on Iraq’s WMD in 2002-03 that led to the disastrous Iraq War.
Testosterone rhetoric is definitely on the upswing. To complement Kristof's creepy desire to see Obama "firmly embrace" Ukraine, another of the paper's doltish columnists publicly complained on Resurrection Day (Easter Sunday) that Barry's failure to commit is proof that he has no balls. Said David Brooks on Press the Meat:
 And, let's face it, Obama, whether deservedly or not, does have a (I'll say it crudely) but a manhood problem in the Middle East: Is he tough enough to stand up to somebody like Assad, somebody like Putin? I think a lot of the rap is unfair. But certainly in the Middle East, there's an assumption he's not tough--
Putin, though, said dirty old man Brooks, is "going to relentlessly expand."

 I hereby nominate David Brooks for the Raspberry for worst performance in a whole lifetime of shlock performances in the annals of overpaid corporate media hackdom.

Update: Robert Parry notes that today's Times headliner was co-written by the same reporter (Michael Gordon) who co-wrote, with Judith Miller, the phony "tubes of uranium" story that became the excuse for invading Iraq. Gordon also helped write the phony Sarin story that was going to be the excuse for Obama bombing the hell out of Syria. I guess that makes him a bona fide member of the Broad group-think community of excuse-makers touted by Jen Psaki.


annenigma said...

Thank you Karen for this blog. It's great to read the truth, especially when the Gray Lady starts stinking up the place. Neocon or Neolib - they smell like two brands of the same stench to me. The NYT is getting truly nauseating.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks to you, too, Anne -- you are a valued reader and commenter here.

It is amazing and disheartening that so many people are swallowing the government propaganda these days, their knee-jerk reactions obviously having their origins deep within whatever primitive part of the brain harbors tribalism. New York Times readers are not exempt, unfortunately.

Dennis Nilsson said...

Thanks from Sweden to sharing your thoughts.

Zee said...

Mr. Nilsson--

Can you share some thoughts with us from the European perspective regarding the current mess in Ukraine, and, especially, the U.S.'s role in fomenting all this?

You needn't respond,of course, but as always, I'm curious.

Will said...

Hey peeps. Twitter's been having a blast with the #myNYPD hashtag the last couple of days. Great story. Check it out!