The media narrative about Ukraine – that the “Maiden revolution” was a democratic European-values oriented revolt against a tyrannical Russian-controlled puppet – has always been a fairytale, largely perpetrated by the Western media in complicity with the US State Department and the European Union. Yet now that same media is being forced to reexamine their bias in the wake of the Ukrainian government’s banning of 34 journalists and seven bloggers from entering the country. The list of the banned includes journalists from Britain, Switzerland, Israel, Slovakia, Germany, Spain, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Estonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Latvia, Moldova, Macedonia, and Serbia.
Unlike most of the rest of the English-speaking news media, the Committee to Protect Journalists is reporting that the list of banned journalists represents but a portion of a larger blacklist consisting of 388 individuals and over 100 organizations forbidden from entering the country on the grounds of “national security” and an alleged threat to Ukraine’s “territorial integrity.” Here is the complete list (in Ukrainian). The Guardian is reporting that the list also includes businesspeople and journalists from the United States.
After an uproar – not over the existence of such a list, but over the fact that three BBC reporters were included, along with two Spaniards who have been captured by the Islamic State in Syria, and a German writer – the six Western journalists everyone was making such a fuss about were removed from the list. The rest remain.
In his statement defending the ban, “President” Petro Poroshenko averred that the move to censor the international media was taken “in coordination with our partners from the European Union, the United States of America and other countries.” Which explains why we haven’t heard a word about this – not a peep of public protest – from the US State Department, or the EU, who authored the coup that brought Poroshenko to power in the first place.
I don’t know if I’m on the list, as I don’t read Ukrainian, but I have to say I’ll be very much disappointed to discover that I’m not – and I’ll be working assiduously to ensure that I’ll be added. Hopefully this column will serve to wake the Ukrainian authorities up to the fact that I represent a threat to their dictatorship.
For a dictatorship it is: in a statement accompanying the ban, Poroshenko made it clear the move was “in response to the rebels’ plan to hold local elections in October and November in territory they control. ‘This adventurism and irresponsible decision requires our exact, coordinated reaction to the threat that has been created to the Minsk (peace) agreements.’”
Shorter Poroshenko: We don’t want the international media covering those elections.
And of course the Minsk agreements, both of them, call for local elections to be held in the disputed eastern part of the country, as well as a reasonable degree of autonomy for the rebellious region.
When the Western-backed coup overthrew the democratically-elected government of Viktor Yanukovich, I warned that – in spite of the Western media narrative depicting the “Maiden” rebellion as “democracy”-loving liberals – Ukraine was headed for authoritarian rule. My prediction has been borne out several times over. The media crackdown in Ukraine is nothing new: the television journalist Ruslan Kotsaba was arrested on “treason” charges last year – for making a video opposing Ukraine’s conscription law. His story was ignored or buried in the Western media, and as far as I can tell he’s still in detention – facing a possible death penalty.
Speaking of the death penalty, the prominent writer Oles Buzina was murdered in cold blood recently, along with several opposition figures who – we were told – simply committed “suicide.” Not one word of protest was heard from those ubiquitous “democracy”-promoters in the West. People have been rounded up and jailed for their political views routinely in Poroshenko’s “democratic” utopia, and the silence in the West was deafening – until, that is, a couple of BBC journalists were banned from the country.
The irony is that BBC coverage of the Ukrainian civil war has been decidedly pro-Kiev, and at pains to take the Ukrainian government line that what is in fact a civil war is really a Russian “invasion.” Are the Ukrainians just stupid or did they get wind that one of the banned BBC’ers used to work for Russia Today, and was that a factor? We’ll never know, but I’m betting on the stupidity factor, never a loser when we’re talking about the Kiev coup leaders.
And it isn’t just journalists, bloggers, and NGOs who are being banned from Ukraine: actors, singers, movies, books – nothing and no one is safe from the prying eyes of the censors. (And it’s spreading here, in Canada and the United States.) Yet we in the West have heard very little about this – now why do you suppose that is?
The reason is because the US government and its European sock puppets have installed a friendly regime in Kiev, and are determined to subsidize and even protect the oligarch Poroshenko from his own people by military force – all under the guise of resisting “Russian aggression.” The reality is that the only real aggression taking place in Ukraine is the Kiev government’s directed at Ukrainian citizens, in the western provinces as well as in the east. Tens of thousands of young people are fleeing the country in order to avoid being conscripted into Poroshenko’s slave army, while the few remaining independent media outlets are being shut down by government decree.
And the worst is yet to come. Radical right-wing nationalists are gathering their swelling forces in a bid for power. Angry that the Europeans, led by Germany, are insisting on Poroshenko’s adherence to the Minsk accords, they are accusing the Kiev coup leaders of “betraying the revolution,” and have been staging violent protests in Kiev and around the country. The specter of fascism – real fascism, complete with neo-Nazi symbols and skinheads wielding truncheons – looms large over Ukraine.
Meanwhile, US “trainers” are in Ukraine, putting the neo-Nazi Azov battalion through their paces, and the Pentagon is dusting off war plans designed to confront nuclear-armed Russia.
This is utter madness. We have no business supporting the Ukrainian dictatorship and the idea of going to war with Russia is Strangelovian, to say the least. It is nothing short of criminal that Washington is provoking a showdown with Russia in the interests of a regime in Kiev that is as outright authoritarian as our own cold warriors imagine Russia to be.
Ukraine is on a path to unabashed fascist rule – and its rulers are taking us on the road to war. Who will stop this craziness before it’s too late?
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.