Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
THE DECAY OF AMERICAN MEDIA — Patrick L. Smith on the decline and fall of American journalism; Peter Lee on China and its Uyghur problem; Dave Macaray on brain trauma, profits and the NFL; Lee Ballinger on the bloody history of cotton. PLUS: “The Vindication of Love” by JoAnn Wypijewski; “The Age of SurrealPolitick” by Jeffrey St. Clair; “The Radiation Zone” by Kristin Kolb; “Washington’s Enemies List” by Mike Whitney; “The School of Moral Statecraft” by Chris Floyd and “The Surveillance Films of Laura Poitras” by Kim Nicolini.
The Smoking Pop-Gun

Obama Endorses a Forgery

by DIANA JOHNSTONE

On Friday, April 18, President Obama voiced his righteous indignation over anti-Semitic fliers pasted on synagogue walls in the pro-Russian eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.  The fliers, calling on all Jews to register or face expulsion, had appeared the day before and were instantly denounced by Donetsk leaders as a gross provocation and a forgery.

The next day, however, Obama “expressed his disgust quite bluntly”.  At least, that is what his hawkish national security advisor, Susan Rice, told the public. “I think we all found word of those pamphlets to be utterly sickening, and they have no place in the 21st century,” she declared.

This presidential reaction occurred 24 hours after the pamphlet in question had been thoroughly denounced as a fake, not only by the Donetsk leader, Denis Pushilin, who said his signature on the document had been forged, but by local Jewish community leaders and even by The New Republic, which cannot be accused of indifference to anti-Semitism.

Scarcely had the fake document been glued to a wall than Secretary of State John Kerry mounted his habitual high horse to declare resoundingly that: “In the year 2014, after all of the miles travelled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable, it’s grotesque. It is beyond unacceptable.”

(It is an essential part of the Imperial rhetoric to assert on every such occasion what is or is not acceptable in “the second American century”.)

Now let’s be logical. When John Kerry denounces this document before the ink is dry, when President Obama and Susan Rice publicly endorse this forgery after it has been amply exposed in world media as disinformation, we must logically conclude that this propaganda morsel was a deliberate part of the US strategy to destabilize Ukraine by slandering pro-Russian anti-fascists as anti-Semitic. The purpose is clearly to drown out news of the pro-Nazi sympathies of the Svoboda party and the Right Sector that the US has chosen as anti-Russian allies.  How can top US leaders be perfectly aware of what is written in Ukrainian on a piece of paper glued to a synagogue in Donetsk, and not know what was written in Haaretz and The New Republic?  These endorsements are strong evidence of complicity in the forgery, since it is not credible that Kerry, Rice and Obama were too innocent to suspect a forgery.

I call this the smoking pop-gun.

And meanwhile, while the US neocons try to smear the Eastern Ukrainian anti-fascists as anti-Semites, Benyamin Netanyahu is trying to cozy up to Putin.  The Israeli leader is clever enough to bow out of a losing game.  All those US leaders who constantly pledge their allegiance to Israel are outraged at such disloyalty.

Never before have U.S. leaders been quite so reckless in asserting falsehoods as in this Ukrainian operation.  They have a scenario and they are carrying it out, despite
foolsjohnstonerevelations that Victoria Nuland personally selected the new Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk, that the Kiev snipers who facilitated the putsch the put Yats in office were hired by the pro-Western rebels, that their “freedom fighters” this time are Hitler fans and that about half the population of Ukraine identifies with Russia.

Never mind, the show must go on.  They are counting on the vast, bottomless ignorance of the American masses concerning the rest of the world to allow them to get away with anything. The public doesn’t need to know anything about Ukraine, all they need is to be persuaded that it is Goldylocks being threatened by a big bad bear.

But the whole world is not that ignorant.

Notably not the Germans.

All Is Not Quiet on the Eastern Front

German media, who, like other NATO satellites, have been largely following the anti-Putin Russophobe line laid down by Washington, are being besieged by complaints from readers and television spectators.  The German public seems to know where Ukraine is located and what is happening.

Just as John Kerry was reminding the world of US moral leadership in the 21st century, three hundred German intellectuals addressed a respectful and supportive letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Directly answering Putin’s request for understanding from the German people, the letter recalled that “the Soviet Union had made the decisive contribution to freeing Europe from National Socialism, at an incomparable loss of life,” and was ready in 1990 “to support German reunification, to dissolve the Warsaw Pact in 1991 and to accept united Germany’s membership in NATO”. But the West had failed to honor its agreement, and had rewarded Gorbachev’s generosity by aggressively expanding NATO right up to Russia’s doorstep.

It is fully documented, the letter notes, that “the United States has taken advantage of the justified protests of the Ukrainian population for its own aims”, along the model of other countries such as Serbia, Libya, etc.

Under these circumstances, with some thousand US military bases worldwide and US control of straits and the resulting danger to the Russian Black Sea fleet, the German signatories see the secession of Crimea as “a defensive measure with a clear message: up to here and no farther! The decisive difference with the declaration of independence of Kosovo is that for the latter the precondition was an illegal bombing campaign by NATO – unfortunately with German participation.”

The U.S. Purpose

The German letter recalls that Putin has called for economic cooperation in a “Common European House” from Lisbon to Vladivostok, in which Ukraine could act as an “ideal bridge” for future cooperation between the European Union and a Eurasian Union.

“We are convinced that the purpose of the United States’ massive seizure of influence is to make this bridge function impossible.”

Observing that recent polls show that a majority of Germans understand the Russian reaction to Ukraine events and reject any confrontation with the Russian Federation, the signatories promise, despite the foreseeable difficulties, to do what they can to prevent the splitting of Europe.  They close with personal wishes to Putin for strength, perseverance, wisdom and good luck.

We are certainly not there yet, but it would be some sort of poetic justice if the final historic outcome of the land-grabbing caper by Victoria Nuland, John Kerry, Susan Rice and Samantha Power were to gain control of a divided, quarrelsome and bankrupt Ukraine… and lose control of Germany.

Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr