Mainstream US Media Is Lost in Ukraine

Exclusive: The U.S. mainstream news media is reaching a new professional low point as it covers the Ukraine crisis by brazenly touting Official Washington’s propaganda themes, blatantly ignoring contrary facts and leading the American public into another geopolitical blind alley, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

As the Ukraine crisis continues to deepen, the mainstream U.S. news media is sinking to new lows of propaganda and incompetence. Somehow, a violent neo-Nazi-spearheaded putsch overthrowing a democratically elected president was refashioned into a “legitimate” regime, then the “interim” government and now simply “Ukraine.”

The Washington Post’s screaming headline on Sunday is “Ukraine decries Russian ‘invasion,’” treating the coup regime in Kiev as if it speaks for the entire country when it clearly speaks for only a subset of the population, mostly from western Ukraine. The regime’s “legitimacy” comes not from a democratic election but from a coup that was quickly embraced by the U.S. government and the European Union.

Right Sektor activists in the Maidan square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 22, 2014, the day of the coup. (Photo credit: Mstyslav Chernov/Unframe/http://www.unframe.com/)

Right Sektor activists in the Maidan square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 22, 2014, the day of the coup. (Photo credit: Mstyslav Chernov/Unframe/http://www.unframe.com/)

Objective U.S. journalists would insist on a truthful narrative that conveys these nuances to the American people, not simply behave as clumsy propagandists determined to glue “white hats” on the side favored by the State Department and “black hats” on everyone that the U.S. government disdains. But virtually the entire mainstream press corps has opted for the propaganda role, much as it has in the past. Think Iraq 2002-03.

You also might remember the mainstream media’s rush to judgment over the Sarin attack in Syria on Aug. 21, 2013. The State Department rashly blamed the incident on the Syrian government despite serious doubts inside the U.S. intelligence community.

To conceal those dissents, the State Department and the White House issued a four-page “Government Assessment,” rather than a National Intelligence Estimate from the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. That would have had to include footnotes revealing disagreements over the evidence among the analysts.

When the “Government Assessment” was posted online at the White House Web site on Aug. 30, it contained not a single piece of evidence that could be independently checked. That same day, Secretary of State John Kerry gave a nearly hysterical speech that sounded like a declaration of war. He insisted that the U.S. government had conclusive proof of the Syrian government’s guilt but he just couldn’t reveal any.

The U.S. press corps showed virtually no skepticism about the U.S. government’s case. Only a few Web sites, including Consortiumnews.com, noted the lack of verifiable proof and the absence of U.S. intelligence officials during the presentations, including none sitting behind Kerry when he made the rounds of congressional hearings.

The evidence regarding the Syrian government guilt apparently was so flimsy that no U.S. intelligence official wanted to play the role of CIA Director George Tenet who popped up behind Secretary of State Colin Powell during his deceptive speech on Feb. 5, 2003, asserting a definitive case that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction.

But the dog-not-barking in the missing intelligence officials on Syria was ignored by the big media. Instead, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major news outlets reprised their Iraq War roles.

The Vector Analysis

In September, the Times even fronted a story – by C.J. Chivers and Rick Gladstone – asserting that it had established Syrian government guilt for the Sarin attack, much as a 2002 Times story reported that Iraq’s purchase of aluminum tubes was proof of a secret nuclear program. That Times story became the basis for President George W. Bush and his top aides scaring the American people with warnings about “mushroom clouds.”

The Chivers-Gladstone story cited the azimuths (or the reverse flight paths) of two Sarin-laden rockets intersecting at a Syrian military base northwest of Damascus, the “slam-dunk” proof of Syrian guilt, making those of us who raised questions about lack of evidence look stupid.

But both Times stories – the one in 2002 and the one in 2013 – collapsed under scrutiny. The Iraqi aluminum tubes, it turned out, were unfit for nuclear centrifuges (and the U.S. invasion force later determined that Iraq had no active nuclear program), and the intersecting azimuths proved false because only one of the two rockets contained Sarin and its maximum range was around 2.5 kilometers, according to scientific analyses, not the necessary 9.5 kilometers for the two azimuths to cross.

So, in December 2013, three months after the Times ran its front-page “vector analysis,” Chivers got the assignment to write a grudging retraction, though the admission of his error was mumbled in the 18th paragraph of a story stuck deep inside the newspaper. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Backs Off Its Syria-Sarin Analysis.”]

Because the retraction was “buried,” however, much of Official Washington still thinks the earlier story, supposedly proving the Syrian government’s guilt, is operational. That’s why you see politicians, like Sen. John McCain, accusing President Barack Obama of cowardice for failing to bomb Syria after it crossed his “red line” against using chemical weapons.

You’ve had a similar rush to judgment in connection with the violence that broke out in Kiev last month. The U.S. government and news media blamed lethal sniper fire on the government of President Viktor Yanukovych and – after he was driven from office by a neo-Nazi-led putsch on Feb. 22 – the U.S. media made much of how the new rump regime in Kiev had accused Yanukovych of mass murder.

However, according to an intercepted phone conversation between Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, Paet reported on a conversation that he had with a doctor in Kiev who said the sniper fire that killed protesters was the same that killed police officers.

As reported by the UK Guardian, “During the conversation, Paet quoted a woman named Olga – who the Russian media identified her as Olga Bogomolets, a doctor – blaming snipers from the opposition shooting the protesters.”

Paet said, “What was quite disturbing, this same Olga told that, well, all the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides.

“So she also showed me some photos, she said that as medical doctor, she can say it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened. … So there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition.”

Ashton replied: “I think we do want to investigate. I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh.”

This important evidence regarding who was responsible for the crucial sniper fire, which sparked the violent coup, has been virtually blacked out of the mainstream U.S. news media, along with the sudden disinterest on the part of the coup regime to investigate who committed those murders. Yet, instead of repairing the rotting foundation of Official Washington’s false narrative, the major news organizations just keep building upon it.

Whiting Out the Brown Shirts

The next step is to white-out the brown shirts of the neo-Nazi storm troopers who led the final violent overthrow of Yanukovych. Then, you clean up the unsavory coup regime by having its U.S.-chosen leader, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, receive a formal welcome at the White House. Next, you pretend that the concerns of the ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s east and south are simply the result of Moscow’s propaganda and intimidation.

That’s what we’re seeing now. The New York Times even dispatched correspondent C.J. Chivers, the same guy who falsely fingered the Syrian government with that “vector analysis” last September, to co-author a dispatch entitled “Pressure and Intimidation Grip Crimea,” with the subtitle, “Russia Moves Swiftly to Stifle Dissent Ahead of Secession Vote.”

Chivers and co-author Patrick Reevel wrote: “With a mix of targeted intimidation, an expansive military occupation by unmistakably elite Russian units and many of the trappings of the election-season carnivals that have long accompanied rigged ballots across the old Soviet world, Crimea has been swept almost instantaneously into the Kremlin’s fold.

“This has happened well ahead of the referendum set for Sunday, after which, barring an extraordinary surprise, the peninsula’s interim authorities, led by a previously unsuccessful politician nicknamed the Goblin, will announce that its citizens have voted to leave Ukraine and seek a place in President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia.”

You get the picture? While the New York Times accepted the rump parliament’s actions in Kiev last month as “legitimate” – voting in lock step under the watchful of eye of neo-Nazi militias to depose Yanukovych and strip away rights of ethnic Russians – a different standard will apply to Crimea’s referendum on bailing out of the failed Ukrainian state.

That vote, if it favors secession, must be seen as rigged and resulting only from Russian coercion, all the better to continue the false narrative that now dominates the U.S. political/media process.

Yet, the danger of false narratives – as the American people saw in Iraq and almost revisited in Syria – is that policies, including warfare, can be driven by myth, not by fact. The real story of Ukraine is far more complex than the black-and-white caricature that the New York Times, the Washington Post and others are presenting. It is in the truthful grays that responsible policies are shaped and bloody miscalculations are avoided.

[For more of Consortiumnews.com’s exclusive coverage of the Ukraine crisis, see “Can Obama Speak Strongly for Peace?”; “Neocons Have Weathered the Storm”; “Crimea’s Case for Leaving Ukraine”; “The ‘We-Hate-Putin’ Group Think”; “Putin or Kerry: Who’s Delusional?”; “America’s Staggering Hypocrisy”; “What Neocons Want from Ukraine Crisis”; “Ukraine: One ‘Regime Change’ Too Many?”; “A Shadow US Foreign Policy”; “Cheering a ‘Democratic’ Coup in Ukraine”; “Neocons and the Ukraine Coup.”]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

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26 comments on “Mainstream US Media Is Lost in Ukraine

  1. Jenny on said:

    Dear Robert Parry,

    I started reading article because of the headline. I quickly stopped when you tried to defend a so called democratically elected President, who supposedly was earning $100,000, yet lived in a 100,000,000.00 just outside Kiev. Same man changed the Constitution to allow him total power, ran away from his job as former government leader discovered ousted president had stolen roughly $70 billion dollars from Ukraine’s Treasury. Now, as soon as former President’s name is added to Interpol criminal list, they will demand his extradition from Russia.

    Robert Barry, I am sure I missed a few things, like the $12 million in cash he left with, and the $56 million dollar house he bought in Moscow as he fled there which would lead anyone to determine that he has kept some of that $70 billion in his own bank accounts. Barry it is one thing to be democratically elected, but another massively break rules while at the Presidential post. Barry please feel to ramble on about the west and how it is uninformed, or does not understand why Putin is justified to invade a foreign country, or why the west should not stop doing business with it.

    What is really scary now is fracking has just been made a household term. Everyone who didn’t have oil before and now knows they have it and can produce their own wants to. And Barry, that is the real story. The real story is not how badly Russia will hurt for the next 20-50 years because one of it’s leaders over reacted and invaded another country on false reasoning, the seconds later took over what it really came for, the oil companies it is already stealing from former owners even before a new democratic election is performed. This one is so fair that Russians event to the Tartars and told them they would give them a 20% stake in Parliament. What is so democratic about that? And the Ukrainians vote? Well the entire vote is held at the end of a gun barrel. And the vote is to leave Ukraine and join Russia or to leave Ukraine, so either way the books are cooked. Meaning the democratic election is rigged and anyone who doesn’t like it can leave or die.

    • F. G. Sanford on said:

      Jenny. Hmmm. I wonder if that’s short for Jennukanyovich?

    • B Drizzle on said:

      CIA troll. Parry never said Yanukovych wasn’t corrupt, so not sure who or what you’re arguing with there. Simply pointing out that this is a lot more complicated than the US media would like you to believe. Crimea is majority Russian & today’s vote was a foregone conclusion. Why would Russia need to enforce it at the barrel of a gun as you claim? That’s straight propaganda. The hypocrisy of the west is out of control & it disgusts me as an American. I’m tired of my country shitting on international law when it suits & then posing as the defender when it suits.

    • LucasFoxx on said:

      I don’t feel so alone in not understanding how their President was somehow more democratically elected than their parliament.

  2. I thought Michael Gordon did that Sept 2013 Times “reporting” on the rocket vectors. (I guess Chivers may have also done some of that “reporting” back then. Well at least he walked it back a few months later, unlike Gordon.)

    Isn’t Chivers an exMarine captain, not someone real likely to question whatever the official story of the week is? NB, according to Wikipedia: he’s someone who while in the military served in riot control in LA, 1992–so again not a sign of someone who can think for himself.

  3. mrtmbrnmn on said:

    You are performing a fine and necessary service with your recent pieces laying out the latest neocon con. Alas this is only the latest example of at least 50 years of treachery and treason by this gang of pathological liars and lunatics. And the sheer noise of their lies always drowns out the truth. They own the megaphone. And the public is an ass. Obama, unfortunately for the rest of us, is a purchased poltroon and his legacy will be “the President who wasn’t there”. As Gertrude Stein declared in another context: “There’s no there there.” Keep up the good work!

  4. Rehmat on said:

    Israel Shamir, a Russian-Israeli Jewish writer said recently: ”The oligarchs who financed the Maidan operation divided the spoils: the most generous supporter, multi-billionaire Igor “Benya” Kolomoysky, received the great Russian-speaking city of Dnepropetrovsk in fief. He was not required to give up his Israeli passport. His brethren oligarchs took other Russian-speaking industrial cities, including Kharkov and Donetsk, the Ukrainian Chicago or Liverpool. Kolomoysky is not just an ‘oligarch of Jewish origin’: he is an active member of the Jewish community, a supporter of Israel and a donor of many synagogues, one of them the biggest in Europe. He had no problem supporting the neo-Nazis, even those whose entry to the US had been banned because of their declared antisemitism. That is why the appeals to Jewish consciousness against the Brown putsch demonstrably failed.”

    On the other hand, French Jewish writer Steve Weissman brings in the usual Jewish victimization card. “Hating Jews is nothing new in Ukraine. As far back as 1648-49, Cossacks and their allies in the Chmielnicki Massacres that killed more than 100,000 Jews and destroyed some 300 Jewish communities. In 1920, as American, British, and French troops were intervening against the Soviet Revolution, Ukrainians waged a massive pogrom that killed some 60,000 Jews.”

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/03/14/ukraine-the-jewish-blame-game/

  5. yuri_nahl on said:

    100,000,000,000 pad outside Kiev? I thought only Madonna could afford something like that. It’s funny, how the President, running to save his life can be accused of “abandoning the ship of state” !

  6. I would like to point to any important legal tidbit of Chimea’s history of referendums,
    http://law.marquette.edu/facultyblog/2014/03/16/understanding-the-constitutional-situation-in-crimea/

    However I hope US historic efforts at shock and awn don’t get equated with Russian policy which can be pushy but so far re-framed from violent US lobbying efforts.

    In contrast to the above link please click on the TV coverage of the first hour of the war between US and Iraq,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NktsxucDvNI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANv0e7gBXQA

  7. angryspittle on said:

    We are being manipulated. Just as always. For the nefarious purposes of unkown entities that have something to gain from all of this. Most likely big oil and the banks.

  8. Okasis on said:

    Parry is doing something that needs doing. IMO, he simply does not go far enough. No mention of the lies being told about the ‘violent’ protests in Venezuela. No mention of the US Press no longer making any pretense of doing the job of a free press in a Democracy. Instead of being presented with News, and Facts, all we get are Celebrity snippets, and the latest twitter feeds – with no pretense of investigative journalism.

    The US Public is poorly informed. It is ignorant of History – not only our own History, but the History of the many people we share this Planet with. We are presented with Climate Deniers treated as equals of PhD Climatologists; and Religious Kooks spouting about Creationism as if it were Scientific Fact. Ignorance is the new bench mark for the US Working Class. Anyone who has a reading comprehension score above the 3rd grade level, is assumed to be over 50 and too old to get a job.

    Any fact, or potential event, that undercuts the theme of US Exceptionalism and the need to pursue unlimited resource development for the enrichment of the almighty Capitalist Banksters doesn’t get printed. It might corrupt the minds and/or create dissension among the masses of uninformed, ignorant, members of the ‘Public’.

    • So you are going to complain about ethics in journalism while simultaneously making sweeping generalizations about america?Climate change deniers and creationists are whats known as a vocal minority. Your diatribe is so filled with liberal talking points that irony of your referencing the “uninformed public” riled me enough to tell you what a jackass you are

      • KHawk on said:

        Sometimes the truth hurts, Jeff. But don’t worry, no one is going to deny you the right to cling to the safety of your delusions as part of the “vocal minority” on those issues. But I can relate. I’m in the vocal minority that’s able to recognize what the actual evidence from the events of 911 describes – Demolition.

  9. Joe Tedesky on said:

    I just had dinner tonight with another couple. He a lawyer, she a retired banker. This same couple has an adult daughter who got out of Kiev when the violence got really bad a few weeks back. This couple told me how they were keeping up on the news coming out of the Ukraine. What was most interesting was they never heard of Victoria Nuland, among other things. I of course told them my side of the Ukraine story. They were stunned. They admitted they got their news from the MSM. I naturally gave them this website and some others whereas they could get the deeper story they so hunger for.

    Mr Parry’s article here brings up a most serious problem we all have here in this country, and that is our news is propaganda not news reporting. I scour the internet to try to get the various accounts of our current events. I probably am not as informed as I would like to be, but I know the MSM is a failing prospect when it comes to getting reliable information.

    I must admit I learn a lot by reading the reader comments on the various websites I frequent. Often the comments are as good as the articles I read. So good on all of you, and of course much thanks for Consortiumnews.com.

  10. Larry Polsky on said:

    Too bad Hillary didn’t take Susan Rice and Samantha Power with her when she left office. Reckon John Kerry became embittered with
    the new Heinz Balsamic Vinegar Ketchup.

  11. Bogotano on said:

    The CIA went on a massive recruiting binge during the Bush II years, so is it any surprise that the MSM is now staffed mostly by young undercover spook journalists? We need to stop acting surprised at the unanimity of MSM propagandizing and instead reflexively consign their reports to the place they belong — the proverbial dustbin of history.

    • Agree with you 100% Bogotano. Their goal was to reach one generation beyond, and they have ALMOST succeeded.

  12. Armin Wright on said:

    Jenny, stating that you stopped reading the article when Parry, “… tried to defend a so called democratically elected President…”, is not a good foundation from which to criticize the article. You go on to criticize Parry for not mentioning failings of Yanukovych when the thrust of the article was not about Yanukovych – it was about the failings of US major media to adequately inform the public about Ukrainian and other historical events.

    I see only two references in the article to Yanukovych. In one, Parry states, “Somehow, a violent neo-Nazi-spearheaded putsch overthrowing a democratically elected president was refashioned into a “legitimate” regime, then the “interim” government and now simply “Ukraine.”“

    I find that to be a perfectly accurate statement by Parry and I see nothing that could be called a “defense” of a “so called democratically elected president.” The undisputed fact that Yanukovych was democratically elected is an entirely separate matter from the question of how corrupt he turned out to be in office.

    The second reference to Yanukovych was to observe (accurately) that there is no evidence that Yanukovych was responsible for the killings of people in the street by snipers and, in fact, some evidence that snipers were associated with the opposition.

    I believe that one of Parry’s points was that the US totally disregards the fact that the coup that drove Yanukovych to flee for his life was in violation of the Ukrainian constitution, while simultaneously decrying the Sunday election as being in violation of the constitution. Of the two, one being a violent coup and the other being an election in Crimea, however hastily conducted, the outcome of which probably did, in fact, represent the will of the majority of voters, which is more of a violation of the constitution and why should one be ignored and the other touted as a legitimate basis for imposing sanctions on Russia and rattling sabers in a most dangerous manner?

    The Ukrainian constitution had provisions for impeachment of a president accused of malfeasance in office. This constitutional provision was ignored by those committing mayhem in the streets which the US and its obedient supporters in the EU now laughably refer to as the “legitimate government of Ukraine.” Such statements can only be made by an intelligent person (as I assume Kerry to be) if he knows that the US propaganda machine assures that the public will remain ignorant and, therefore, incapable of challenging his foolish, ahistoric comments and threats.

    Isn’t it striking that violent uprisings of right-wing elements seem to occur mostly in states with governments not favored by the US and in which vast amounts of US taxpayer’s money have gone for “preparation for democracy?” Don’t you see, if not direct causation, at least remarkable coincidence?

    Whatever Parry’s point is, I believe that the US fomented the unrest in Ukraine (and in Venezuela and in Chile and in…) for its own geopolitical goals, primary of which is tightening the economic and military noose around Russia (which the US promised Gorbachev it would not do) by installing a government that will request membership in (or affiliation with) NATO and will accept installation of US missiles. I also regard this as criminally stupid behavior by the pitifully weak Obama which Putin must resist.

    The US threatened nuclear armageddon over the completely legal Russian installation of missiles in Cuba, separated from the US by 90 miles of ocean. How does it expect Russia to react to the US fomenting a fascist, anti-Russian coup in a former part of the Soviet Union with a long border with Russia?

  13. mojo pin on said:

    Azimuth. I don’t think it means what you think it means…

    • observer on said:

      RE: use of azimuth
      It seems as though Parry used the term correctly. According the Merriam Webster definition #2, it is a:

      “horizontal direction expressed as the angular distance…etc”

      source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/azimuth

      A “reverse azimuth” might have been more accurate in the context perhaps.

  14. Jan Kees on said:

    I thank Parry for his continued good work exposing the facts about the sad, pervasive reality about the MSM’s war propaganda role, be it lazy lazy or sycophantic or both.

    But here’s the good news (and the MSM hasn’t covered this very much either): People don’t buy it! Remember the war against Syria that didn’t happen? Ordinary people stopped it at least in part because they still remember the strong cheerleading role the media played in selling the lies that enabled hawks to start the war against Iraq. We already have a good sense that the MSM is always trying to sell something, including machismo and war.

    So look at the polls about Ukraine. Says Pew: “By a roughly two-to-one margin (56% vs. 29%), the public says it is more important for the U.S. to not get involved in the situation with Russia and Ukraine than to take a firm stand against Russian actions… Half of Republicans (50%) say it is more important for the United States not to get too involved; just 37% think the U.S. should take a firm stand against Russian actions. Among Democrats, 55% prefer not getting too involved and three-in-ten (30%) say the U.S. should take a firm stand.” http://www.people-press.org/2014/03/11/most-say-u-s-should-not-get-too-involved-in-ukraine-situation/

    Not just here. The German public, despite favoring the coup in Ukraine, and despite the same NATO-led propaganda, is still VERY hesitant about sanctions against Russia. Says Reuters: “In the survey by Infratest Dimap for broadcaster ARD and the newspaper Die Welt, only 38 percent of those polled said they favored economic sanctions against Russia… The survey also suggests public support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s stance. She has been cautious about imposing anything but symbolic sanctions on Russia as she tries to convince Putin to agree to a “contact group” that would reopen communications between Moscow and Kiev.” http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/07/us-ukraine-crisis-germany-poll-idUSBREA2616620140307

    That’s good news. The propagandists are NOT all-powerful. Parry’s seeds of truth about the MSM’s propaganda role are falling on already fertile ground. There’s hope.

  15. william p. homans on said:

    John Kerry does anything that he does, always has, strictly for the advancement of A. John Kerry, and B. the Republicrat two-party system. In 1972, I was the Massachusetts State Coordinator of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), and I was sitting in the Cambridge office when John Kerry, erstwhile a member of the Chapter, called.

    The time was July of 1972, sometime after the Democratic Convention and after Sen. Eagleton had to step down as George McGovern’s running mate. Members of the VVAW had been indicted on FBI agent-provocateur-generated charges of conspiring to disrupt the Republican Convention that would not yet happen for a month. 22 of our brothers had been taken to jail simultaneously with the Democratic Convention, and 8 faced charges.

    In that phone call, John Kerry disavowed his brothers, and anything else the VVAW did in the future. He told me (who had met him on Bunker Hill the month after his testimony before the Joint Congressional Committee and asked his never-to-be-forgotten question: “how do you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake?”) that the only positive thing I and VVAW could do was support the Democratic nominee for President. I was cordial and thanked him for his past service to VVAW, not fully understanding what really motivated Kerry at that time.

    1972 was the year John Kerry, an underachieving journeyman of a lawyer and politician, made his first losing run for national office. He attempted to take the congressional seat of Rev. Robert Drinan, who resigned. He was already acting to insert himself more and more centrally in the Democratic Party. HIS BROTHERS WERE IN JAIL while he disavowed them.

    Jump to 2004: Kerry, who had by that time won posts as Suffolk County DA, Lieutenant Governor, and US Senator, progressing nicely with his plan to become President and Party leader, was plagued and harassed by a Republican-big-money-supported group called the Swift Boats for Truth (swift-boating is now a word in Oxford and other dictionaries). The Swift-Boaters called his decorated military record the result of stolen valor, called his 3 Purple Hearts scratches that he wrote up himself.

    Delegates at the 2004 Republican Convention actually put purple bandaids on their bodies. Everyone agreed it was uber-tasteless, but it pointed out something very important about John Kerry: that either he didn’t have the b– uh, guts– to confront the Swift-Boaters’ lies and tell them to go back under their rock, or that their calumnies were actually the truth. Had Kerry come to, uh, Minneapolis wasn’t it, overturned a table or two and pulled a purple bandaid off of the face of a shocked Republican matron, he would have won the election.

    However, as I said, besides himself, John Kerry’s greatest cause is the stability and continuity of the dominant two-Party system. It was so important to him in November of 2004 that he refused to question the results from the state of Ohio upon which the election turned in the Electoral College.

    He refused to countenance the private suit Fitrakis V. Ohio, in which Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips (PhD) delineated the nature and scope of the fraud, voter intimidation and outright Watergate-style burglary that occurred in that state (Read Phillips’ book: Witness to A Crime: A Citizens’ Audit of An American Election {Canterbury Press, Rome, NY, 2008). Copies contain a DVD of all the primary evidence Phillips and co-workers photographed as they researched).

    He just didn’t have the ba– oops, guts. Bombast, but no real depth. He would make a great movie secretary of state or President, providing the watchers were ready for a profoundly negative ending. Today, he’s actually attained a position where his bombast and his relative incompetence, combined with the premature public pronouncements of his boss that we’re gonna bomb Syria have become a threat– not the only threat, mind you, but one of the larger obstacles– to peace on earth, or even its survival.

    As a Skull and Bones, and an actual unrepentant killer of Vietnamese (forget that he helped conceive the VVAW Winter Soldier Investigation; he wouldn’t himself participate! Aaargh), it may actually be that he gets off on playing with fire as hot as the possibility of World War Three.

    I voted for Senator Obama in 2008 because the opponent was Senator John McCain, a 40-plus-year case of untreated Vietnam PTSD. McCain would have the cover blown off the earth in nine months if he actually had the power to order nuclear bombardment after some diplomatic insult or crisis. He’d get angry, and poof, there we’d all go.

    Now, with John Kerry obviously having moved to the position of Obama’s right-hand warmonger in the Cabinet, I feel less confidence that Obama, father of the most functional family to have inhabited the White House for at least the last century, will keep the matches away from the nuclear fuses.

    To think John Kerry and I were once antiwar comrades!

    William P. Homans

    VVAW Life Member

    VVAW/OSS Operations Co-coordinator

    Clarksdale, Mississippi

  16. William P. Homans on said:

    The root problem is this: neocon (PNAC) analysis requires that the US government continually engage in “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” actions in various nations in which they want to force regime change. We are arming al-Qaeda/al-Nusra in Syria– I seem to remember that the official narrative of 9/11/01 says that al-Qaeda struck us then!– and now we are supporting Svoboda, an overt neo-Nazi organization, in our attempt to install an anti-Russian government in Ukraine.

    WE ARE STANDING BY OUR ENEMIES, or those who under other circumstances OUGHT to be our enemies. And the mainstream media is doing its best to make sure that the American People do not think about that.

    Obama has not fired Victoria Nuland, a neocon holdover from the GWB administration. The American People are NOT allowed to consider the question of whether Nuland is a rogue operative, or on the other hand, that it is Obama’s policy to spearhead neocon regime changes.

    Such opinions, regardless of evidence presented, are “spiked.”

    I was, once upon a time, a newspaper reporter (BA, Journalism and History with Honors, University of Oregon, 1986). I didn’t like working as an entry-level newsman, and went back to truckdriving after giving it an extended try. But today I would be utterly ASHAMED to work in the US mainstream press.

    • F. G. Sanford on said:

      Thanks- I hope there are many, many people besides me who have taken the time to read this far down the column. Yours are comments everyone should read.

    • KHawk on said:

      Maybe another alternative is that the President, whomever they may be, does not genuinely have the authority to decide who fills certain positions in government. Maybe that authority exists at a higher level.