In Background, Media critique, Roger Annis, Ukraine

By Roger Annis, Aug. 10, 2014

Robert Parry has published an excellent article examining the self-censorship prevailing in U.S. media over reporting of the role of extreme right and fascist political movements and militias in the war against the people of southeast Ukraine.

​The self-censorship that Robert Parry observes in the U.S. media is also in play big time in Canada. The role of fascist and far-right militias and political movements in Kyiv’s war in southeast Ukraine is absent from mainstream media, as is the horror of the bombings and shellings of civilian populations by the army and its allied militias.

Yesterday, Canada’s Globe and Mail national daily editorialized in favour of the aggressive, NATO posture that wants Russia to forget about domestic public opinion and let the slaughter in eastern Ukraine continue unabated. In remarkably frank language, the Globe editors say that Russia should be given some space to back away in order that “we” may win want “we” want–a pliant, “independent” Ukraine.

The Canadian government is backing its support to Kyiv with action–last week, it shipped $5 million in “non-lethal” military equipment to Ukraine and it is pledging more such assistance. It is running to catch up with the $31 million in assistance being provided by Washington, plus the $19 million now pledged by the U.S. to train Ukraine’s National Guard.

The progressive Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom made a rare foray for a Canadian columnist into the subject of the Ukraine war in his column yesterday. Unfortunately, he repeats a lot of the misinformation and outright falsehoods about events over the past months, so his welcome, cautionary note about the folly of Canada backing Kyiv’s war gets lost.

A Guardian writer, meanwhile, mused on Aug 5 about what will happen when the fascist and rightist militias being armed to the teeth by Kyiv and NATO return home from the battlefront. He wrote:

The proliferation of these battalions also poses important questions for the postwar settlement, and Poroshenko will need to find a way to integrate the groups either into the army or back into civilian life when the conflict in the east is over.

“A new Maidan could pose a danger to the very nature of Ukrainian statehood, and of course there will be a major issue about what happens to all of these volunteer battalions when they return from the east. They are heavily armed, and many have links to oligarchs or political forces,” says Fesenko. On Monday, there was an early warning of what could be to come, when the Kiev-1 battalion, back from the front, raided a cafe in central Kiev in order to evict other activists who had allegedly taken it over.

The Kyiv regime has been shelling and bombarding towns and cities in southeast Ukraine for several months. Three quarters of a million people have been forced to flee to shelter in Russia, while more than 100,000 have been made refugee in Ukraine. Kyiv recently warned the remaining residents of the three largest cities in the southeast to leave as it prepares intensified bombardments.

This planned final solution to the “separatist” problem in southeast Ukraine is going unreported in Canada. Indeed, as the Russian government comes under increased pressure domestically to act to prevent the announced massacre, media such as CBC is reporting with a straight face NATO’s claim that any expressed humanitarian concerns by Russia are but a “guise” for territorial ambitions. Russia has announced it will not act unilaterally, which will greatly disappoint the people of the region under attack and many people in Russia itself.

CBC reports clinically on the intensified shelling of the city of Donetsk as though it were normal wartime conduct. A new low is being set by Canadian media in turning a blind eye to what amount to war crimes in southeast Ukraine.



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